Sunday, September 30, 2012

Gaddafi was killed by French secret serviceman on orders of Nicolas Sarkozy, sources claim

I like a good conspiracy and this one fits like a glove.

France has a long history of employing the French Foreign Legion (an early version of today's private military institutions such as the infamous Blackwater) in undeclared conflicts. That is statesman jargon for invading without declaring a war. The French Foreign Legion consists entirely of foreigners, normally seeking a new identity as a French citizen.

The Legion could, in the eyes of the French, be used covertly and should they be discovered their actions can be dismissed by the French government since they are not citizens.

Infiltrating a spy into Gaddafi's camp is rather consistent with the French (and the American and the British) way of handling foreign policy. Libya produces 2 percent of the world's oil. France needs access to cheap oil, having been cut out of the other Middle Eastern producing nations by first the British and then the United States.

France's Sarkozy is implicated in the article for his overtures to Gaddafi back in 2008. Sarkozy then took the lead in the air campaign over Libya 3 years later. It insured France would be at the table when the powers that be divid-up Libya's oil production.

Daily Mail

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Is anyone paying attention?

Tis the election season which means every off-handed remark made by a candidate or incumbent will be dissected and replayed in the media ad nausea.  While part of our political process, this has by necessity pushed many other stories to the back or completely off of the radar.

For example, in the last week China and Japan are on the verge of going to war over some uninhabited
islands in the Senkaku chain.  Japan purchased several islands and took immediate occupancy igniting old tensions between the two nations.  

If you think this is hardly a reason to go to war, you need to go read about the Falklands War and how Britain and Argentina went to war over some rocky islands with only a few inhabitants.

The Chinese government is being pressure by thousands of anti-Japanese protestors who want China to take a hardline with Japan.  China has sent navy vessels to sit off the coast of the islands with the ominous warning from their defense minister to be prepared to go to war.

In response Japan has closed many of its plants (including Honda which makes over 900,000 cars per year at the plant in China).  Japan is not looking to back down and tensions are running high.

Secretary of Defense Panetta expressed his concerns which in turn forced him to reassure China that the US is not trying to contain China.  Panetta has maintained the US is neutral in this situation and is not taking sides despite the existence of the Taiwan Relations Act.  The act basically says the US treats Taiwan as an independent nation even though China does not recognize Taiwan's independence.

Meanwhile Syria has started bombing targets in Lebanon forcing refugees to flee to Turkey or Jordan.  In turn, Turkish and Syrian forces are clashing on the border.  Remember, Turkey is a member of NATO so at some point an attack by Syria will be considered an attack on NATO.

Then in the Persian Gulf, US and Allied Forces navy minesweepers are trying to keep the Straits of Hormuz open.  At the same time, Iranian has just launched a refurbished Russian attack submarine. A Tareq-901 heavy attack submarine was sold to Iran and refurbished by the Iranian Navy (along with Russian Navy technical experts.

Finally, the green on blue violence is continuing unabated in Afghanistan causing the US military to suspend joint patrols in theater. The situation in Afghanistan, Obama's forgotten war, has seen an ugly increase on US and NATO deaths.  Prince Harry, after his embarrassing  Vegas trip, finds himself right in the middle of this increased violence while being personally threatened with a bounty for his death.

Somehow, the comments of politicians seem a little less important in comparison.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Post Arab Spring

No, it isn't about a low-budget film posted on YouTube by some bogus film maker. The violence we are now seeing in Egypt, Libya and Yemen has to do with long standing power grabs in the Middle East. The movie is just a sound bite for the Western media that doesn't understand history.

One of the "victories" of the Arab Spring (at least in the eyes of the West) was the ouster of President Mubarak who proved to be an exceptionally cruel thug. Things are not always what they seem, especially in the world of foreign affairs.

President Mubarak became the Egyptian leader after President Sadat's assassination in 1981. Sadat is remembered more for his national-building between Egypt and Israel rather than his decisive in the 1973 conflict that re-aquired territory lost to Israel three years earlier.

President Sadat was an unknown who came up under President Nasser. In those days, Egypt was just emerging as a former colony so there was no real mechanism for establishment of a government. The strain ultimately killed Nasser and set the stage for Sadat's ascension.

With some many different factions vying for power, Sadat had to work with some keeping factions. Enter the Muslim Brotherhood. The modern incarnation of the Muslim Brotherhood was formed in Egypt in 1928 as an Islamist group looking to establish a pan-Islamist state in response to British colonialism. The group quickly spread to other North African countries.

The Muslim Brotherhood ends up getting sideways with Nasser when they are accused of an attempted assasination. Nasser abolished the group and imprisoned and tortured its members.

A writer named Sayyid Qutb started to prosthelytize the need to restore Islam by overthrowing modern Islamic states. Other branches of the Muslim brotherhood embraced this ideology but the Egyptian branch maintained a non-violent approach.

After Nasser's death, Sadat enlisted the Muslim Brotherhood to combat leftist groups but the Muslim Brotherhood remained illegal under the Sadat Administration. The signing of the peace accord with Israel led a violent Islamist splinter group to assassinate Sadat.

When Nasser took over, two things occurred. Students disenfranchised with Mubarak's policies joined the Muslim Brotherhood. In response, Mubarak arrested, harassed and basically shut-out the Muslim Brotherhood from the Egyptian politically system.

Continued pressure by the Muslim Brotherhood eventually wore down the political barriers in 2000, 15 members of the Muslim Brotherhood were elected to parliament. Of course, the pressure by the Mubarak administration allowed the more radical elements of the Muslim Brotherhood to assume prominence in the movement.

Mubarak amended the constitution to prohibiting independents from running for parliament. In 2010, all of the Muslim Brotherhood members lost their seats. This set the stage for the Arab Spring, the fall of Mubarak, and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Mubarak and Gaddafi were ruthless thugs that did not hesitate to use violence to suppress opposition. What is often overlooked in condemnation of these thugs is how many other thugs they are keeping at bay so that when they fall, other more violent inevitably follow. The West then wonders out loud, how did that happen?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Is the Arab Spring turning into an Arab Winter?

Hang on to your hat, kiddies! As Martin Lawrence said in bad boys, "the shit just got real!". Violent protests are sweeping across the Muslim world following a bloody attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya that led to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, as U.S. officials say they are sending warships to the coast of the volatile country.

Daily Mail

Friday, September 7, 2012

Aging before their time

Veterans Affairs Department scientists say returning Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans' bodies appear to be aging at an accelerated rate, reports USA Today. In addition to the psychological signs of post-traumatic stress and the effects of traumatic brain injuries, many former military personnel in their 20s and 30s are showing alarming early signs of heart disease and diabetes, slowed metabolisms, and obesity—maladies that usually surface later in life, states the newspaper's Sept. 6 report. "They should have been in the best shape of their lives," said William Milberg, a Harvard Medical School professor of psychology involved in this research. He added, "The big worry, of course, is we're going to be taking care of them until they're in their 70s. What's going to happen to them in the long run?" Researchers still aren't sure that their hypothesis is correct, according to the report. However, medical personnel are hoping they can get ahead of the problem "rather than waiting out 20 years to see [the combat veterans] wind up with early death and stroke and cardiovascular disease," said Ann Rassmusson, a psychiatrist and neurobiologist.--From the Air Force Association Daily Report