This is a little complicated or a rehash of events for a regular post, but I beg your indulgence and value YOUR opinions in response. In fact, this group, as you know, was hand-picked for “influencers”. A place where we could discuss larger topics, in depth, and then spread information to our “friends”, in an effort to find the truth and push back on MSM.
Here, we begin the discussion of “The Strong Man in the Middle East versus the strong men who are Democratically Elected leaders with liberties for the citizenry”. No babies allowed.
We all remember Saddam Hussein in Iraq. He was a ruthless leader, a “StrongMan” of the Middle East. He led his countrymen into an 8yr War with Iran which concluded as a “draw” and by 1987 had gassed 287,000 Kurds. https://www.thoughtco.com/top-crimes-of-saddam-hussein-1779933
When he invaded Kuwait in 1991, the USA became involved in Operation Desert Storm. We recall the warnings of Norman Schwarzkopf who was reluctant to cease operations and instead, preferred to “roll all the way to Baghdad”. Schwarzkopf knew the bigger problem was left, unresolved.
“W” Bush returned to Iraq after the WTC were destroyed for “weapons of mass destruction”, either in error or intentionally misled by the intel community and politicians. The war in Iraq was expensive in both blood and treasure for America and for Iraqis. In the end, Saddam Hussein was hunted down as the “Ace of Spades” and hung.
But — we never removed the counterbalance to the force Saddam represented. Saddam was one side of the power struggle in the Middle East. Iran’s Mullahs, backed by IRGC was the other side. By removing Saddam, Iran became the bully on the block.
In retrospect, most foreign policy experts recognized the problem of removing Saddam and “not planning for what comes afterwards”. We could say, we made the same mistake in Libya, removing Gaddafi, and not planning for the mayhem which comes from removing a strong, albeit ruthless, leader. OUR actions plunged the country into chaos. Results are mixed with the only clear beneficiaries being the weapons manufacturers…. and the politicians.
Maybe the Green Revolution in 2009, within Iran, would have removed the Mullahs and returned Iran to democracy. In this way, BOTH Iran and Iraq would have removed their “Strongmen”, the ruthless and oppressive leaders, and the Middle East would have had a chance for democracy and a few more freedoms for the people. Yet, the Obama Admin came to power in 2009, and strangely, the Obama Admin remained silent on the Green Revolution in Iran…………. giving a nod to the Mullahs.
And Iran remained the central power, the strongest, in the Middle East. Iran developed nuclear ambition and a desire to become a hedgemon, returning Persia to its former glory. The Obama Admin helped. Whether their intentions were innocent or intentional is a subject for dispute.
The Obama policy was sold as “use Iran as a balance to Saudi and Israel in the Middle East”, and found eager supporters in those inclined to hate Israel for disparate personal reasons. Obama spoke glowingly of the efficiency of the QUDS force, and in particular, admiration for men like Soleimani. See the article: https://www.hudson.org/research/11436-obama-strikes-a-deal-with-qassem-suleimani?fbclid=IwAR0qflzLSpU94PK1Me0uZnhWLmBuwEtfKMBITeEOAOkScx-K0a1bwSFCEZs
What was supposed to be a counterbalance, quickly turned into intentional “favor for Iran” as the “Strongman in region who could at least keep the peace”. Yet, the results turned over large swaths of land to Iranian direct/indirect control. Entire countries fell to Iran as proxies (Russia is not a proxy of Iran, understood).
Every foreign policy expert will agree, the most efficient form of government is the “Benevolent Dictator”. Yet, what happens when the guy in charge is not benevolent? What happens when the guy with the real power in the region is a guy like Soleimani?
At key points, the Obama Admin helped Iran’s rise to power. Were they “leading from behind”?
The Obama Admin left Iraq in 2011, without a “Status of Forces Agreement” (meaning our soldiers would be subject to Iraqi Law) allowing Iranian influence to overtake Iraq. What Iran could not win via war with Saddam, they took because they were the bully on the block and flush with cash.
Take a look at a post from Kinthenorthwest about Obama Admin actions in the following years.
2011 – Libya. Operation Odyssey Dawn. Coalition forces enforcing U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 with bombings of Libyan forces. drain
2011 – War on Terrorism. Osama Bin Laden is killed by U.S. military forces in Pakistan as part of Operation Neptune Spear.
2011 – Drone strikes on al-Shabab militants begin in Somalia. This marks the 6th nation in which such strikes have been carried out, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and Libya.
2011 – Uganda. US Combat troops sent in as advisers to Uganda.
2012 – Jordan. 150 US troops deployed to Jordan to help it contain the Syrian Civil War.
2012 – Turkey. 400 troops and two batteries of Patriot missiles sent to Turkey to prevent any missile strikes from Syria.
2012 – Chad. 50 U.S. troops have deployed to the African country of Chad to help evacuate U.S. citizens and embassy personnel from the neighboring Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui in the face of rebel advances toward the city.
2013 – Mali. US forces assisted the French in Operation Several with air refueling and transport aircraft.
ISIS was born in the interim and it was in Iran’s best interest to crush ISIS, obtaining control of more oil-rich land in northern and western regions of Iraq. In this way, Iran sided with Assad and moved into Syria.
Do you all remember $5/gallon gasoline? The profits fueled Iran’s goals and expansion. As Iran took control of region after region, they became a little greedy and went into Yemen, using the Houthis to attack Saudi Arabia. https://foreignpolicy.com/2014/10/08/the-iranian-sphere-of-influence-expands-into-yemen/
Do you remember when oil fell to $44/barrel? This was a direct act by the Saudis and other OPEC countries to starve Iran of oil profits. Iran was on the brink of destruction, economically, when Obama Admin stepped in again, with the JCPOA, releasing billions of dollars, to a designated terrorist state, WITH INTEREST. https://www.thestreet.com/opinion/indecent-exposure-91to-commodities93-12680612
Interestingly, the 18 month long campaign by the Saudis, lowering the cost of oil, brought Russia’s economy to the brink, as they cast aside support of Cuba. Yet, when Cuba was on the brink, ready for defeat, Obama again stepped in to save the dictatorship of the Castro brothers. Suddenly, Beyonce and her pals found a new playground in Havana….. and the money, in USD, flowed to Cuba.
Then, there’s the problem with Hezbollah in Lebanon, another Iranian back proxy. Hezbollah is a direct threat to Israel. We know, from Operation Cassandra and in depth reporting from Politico, Hezbollah was selling USA cars in Africa and importing hundreds of metric tons, thousands of tons of cocaine and other drugs into the USA. On the brink of a years long investigation by our DEA, ready to roll up the whole operation, again, the Obama Admin stepped in and stopped all operations, in favor of Iran. The Obama Admin didn’t want to embarrass Iran which might preclude the JCPOA deal. https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/obama-hezbollah-drug-trafficking-investigation/
In summary, the Obama admin favored Iran, the Strongman left within the region of the Middle East to maintain some sense of order and balance power between Saudi, Iran, and Israel. Yet, the Obama Team received the opposite of what they expected.
Immediately, instead of being a calming influence, benevolent, and maintaining some kind of “order”, Iran, with a blind eye from America, began to use their military and money to overthrow other countries in the region, the Saudis and Israel. Iran was the bad kid, the horrific and torturing bully, with an almost unlimited credit card, spoiled, rotten, and hungry for more power. The “teenager” whom Obama left in charge started running guns, women, drugs, and taking over friendly countries. The monster was loose from his cage.
No, Iran/Soleimani was not a benevolent dictator. And make no mistake, Soleimani was the leader of Iran. Let’s posit this question, originally from Scott Adams, paraphrasing:
If there are two men in a room, and one has a Quran and one has a gun, who is in charge? The answer is = The person in charge is whoever the guy with the gun WANTS to be in charge.Scott Adams
If Soleimani was a deeply religious man and genuinely served at the behest of his Mullah leader, then the Mullah was in charge. Yet, let us not be naive. If Soleimani wanted to overthrow the Mullahs, he could have.
- Could peace in the Middle East ever happen with a man like a Soleimani in charge?
- How could the Mullahs thwart the ambition of a man like Soleimani? If they WANTED to?
- Do you think spending on the Iranian military was ever curbed?
- Did the QUDS forces go hungry, like the people of Iran did over the last 2years?
- Do you think maybe the Mullahs were threatened by a man like Soleimani?
- With the economy of Iran crumbing under sanction by the USA, do you think the Mullahs might be worried about an overthrow……… maybe to install a military regime…….. with a leader like Soleimani?
- Do you think, perhaps, the Mullahs, who were deeply unpopular 2 weeks ago, are secretly relieved Soleimani is gone and the country is distracted from the Mullahs failure?
The DAY BEFORE he was killed, The Times of London published a list of 20 faces to look out for, rising stars, for 2020. Among them……… Soleimani of Iraq. Hmmmm…… https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rising-stars-twenty-faces-to-look-out-for-in-2020-kwcmc8mzf
Gosh, it’s a wonder the Mullahs didn’t kill Soleimani themselves, but that might have led to greater unpopularity of the Mullahs and accelerated an overthrow.
Oh, my! What to do?
Could…. would ….. anything ever stop the trajectory of a man like Soleimani?
Only a guy with a bigger gun…………. and his name is President Trump.
But…………..President Trump worked slowly and methodically to disassemble the apparatus of terror in the Middle East. In retrospect, we can see President Trump’s fingerprints all over the Middle East. It’s quite remarkable, really, unlike anything attempted heretofore.
Remember how shocked we all were with President Trump’s continued meetings with King Abdullah of Jordan, starting almost immediately?
And Al Sisi of Egypt?
Remember how the Press Corps was befuddled when President Trump’s FIRST foreign visit was to Saudi Arabia?
And the Trump speech, bold and strong, before all members of the GCC? May 21, 2017, it was one for the record books!
He called on the leaders to root out and destroy the terrorism within their own countries and topped it off with a sword dance. Always better for people within the region to police their own. Why do we have to do it?
Does ANYONE think the commemoration of the Saudi Intel building was a one-off? Remember the “orb”? Remember the Princes from the House of Saud imprisoned at the Ritz-Carlton, for months, while their corruption was sorted out? Talk about a house-cleaning….
And were you as surprised as I was when Tamir Pardo, the head of Mossad was interviewed, talking about full intel cooperation with Saudi Arabia? Did you ever think we would see it in our lifetimes?
In November and December 2017, there was a flurry of rare public confirmation of contacts between Israel and the Saudis by former IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot, minister Yuval Steinitz and then-CIA director Mike Pompeo.https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Mossad-Saudi-intel-officials-get-along-well-says-former-chief-590531
Let’s not forget the “Eager Lion” exercises in the Middle East, joint forces, kind of like a NATO for the Middle East…. a force which could counteract the Iranians.
The United States has been working meticulously to create a new security alliance comprised of the six Gulf Arab states, plus Jordan and Egypt. The new Arab NATO is expected to be formally announced during the next Gulf Summit in Washington to be held in about two weeks. The new alliance will serve as a “bulwark against Iranian aggression, terrorism, extremism and will bring stability to the Middle East”, a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council said. Interestingly, there has been a de facto alliance among the Gulf Arab states and the United States to contain Iran’s influence in the region. And yet, there has been a key difference between Saudi Arabia and the United States with regard to Iran’s growing influence on both Syria and Iraq. Surprisingly, the United States did little to reverse Iran’s ascendance in the region.http://jordantimes.com/opinion/hassan-barari/jordan-and-arab-nato
And the Christmas trip by President Trump and Melania to Iraq, when he talked to the Generals on the ground. Why was the mop-up of ISIS taking so long? The President had his answer, came home, and fired Mattis, ASAP.
And then……… all those mysterious trips by Jared Kushner to the Middle East.
The blockade of DPRK as an outlet for Iran was masterful. Again, Trump is engaging, whereas Obama, avoided.
Culminating with crippling Sanctions on Iran. …………. and the death of Soleimani.
Bottom line, President Trump is dealing with a mess in the Middle East, leftover from decades of mismanagement. Unfortunately, we cannot ignore the problems. Still, Trump is the furthest thing from a NeoCon Repub, or a war-monger like Hillary, or a “let’s light the Middle East on fire” like Obama.
President Trump is the adult in the room, AND a Strong Man with the biggest gun, an elected President of a Republic, who believes in liberty for the citizenry…. and skillfully manipulates those who oppose him to reveal themselves. He is the perfect person to clean up the mess.
President Trump wants to come to terms with the Taliban in Afghanistan and bring our troops home. Strange that the Taliban blew the cease-fire if their goal was truly to remove Americans.
President Trump wants to leave Syria. He tried and triggered politically motivated, manufactured outrage from the press. We know the backstory, but it is difficult for those voters who don’t follow geopolitics on a daily basis.
President Trump has railed against the blood and treasure lost in the Middle East, as opposed to lost opportunity here at home………… Yet, he knows it would be dangerous to hand the keys for Iraq to Iran and turn over control of the country.
We must be careful, wise, prudent, and the days ahead will be tricky. Expect a $hitload of trash-talk, wild threats, and distractions from all sides. Let’s not take the bait. The following letter, “notice of withdrawal from Iraq” was a total distraction.
Updated at 2:02 pm on January 6, 2020: This letter has been confirmed by Reuters but it is unsigned and makes no sense. Or, is this a head fake? Because the press corps would normally have a heart attack if we withdrew from Iraq? Update at 6:00pm Eastern time: For hours we wondered, but by the evening news, we received formal notice from the Pentagon……… “It was a draft letter, a mistake, never signed”, not released intentionally, a fake. https://in.reuters.com/article/uk-iraq-security-withdrawal-idINKBN1Z520F
No one knows what will happen tomorrow nor the day after. Those pundits who prognosticate of imminent threats of WW3 are shrieking in the wind, misleading and scaring readers for clickbait. It’s almost unholy to prey on people’s fears in such a way, but such is the business of the media.
Objectively, of all Presidents in the past hundred years, Trump is probably the least disposed to bumble into an accidental war. We’re in good hands with President Trump, and no doubt, the Intel Community which supplied him with the details on Soleimani was working overtime on behalf of the USA.
In the Middle East, a region where actual Strong Men are admired, and women/children/assets /land are often taken by torture or brute force, a benevolent but fearless man like President Trump has the ideal persona for this moment in time. He has an unpredictable nature, all the character traits, and strategic foresight, who can trash-talk the best of dictators. As my Marine Daddy used to say, “It’s not bragging when you can back it up.” President Trump has street cred.
It’s true, President Trump is the perfect American President at exactly the right time in history, to resolve problems in the Middle East and bring peace, either by negotiation or blunt force.
It’s time to quit toying around the edges and solve the problems.
Who are our enemies?
Just when we think we’ve correctly identified Iran as the enemy, things get a little confusing. Take a look at the Crisis Group, which is like the Atlantic Council on steroids. Members include Alexander Downer, Admiral Mcraven, George and Alex Soros, and a laundry list of those who want to protect the Iran Deal, the Mullahs, and by extension, the Iranian Hedgemon. They even have a location in ….. wait for it……… Kiev, Russia.
Perhaps these are our real enemies? Those who enable people like Soleimani to harm the citizens of Iran and the USA with no equivocation. Take a look at the Board of Directors. https://www.crisisgroup.org/who-we-are/board
If we really wanted to get out of the Middle East, bring our troops home, wouldn’t it be easier without folks like the Crisis Group or Atlantic Council standing in the way? Or the media screaming?
Can’t help but think the Iraqis, Iranians, and Americans all have the same problem = the wrong people in charge and harming the people of their countries. Gosh, I want one of those pastries the Iraqis and Syrians made to thank Trump.
We can all speculate on the best way to “bring our troops home” or resolve conflict in the ME, but we would probably be wrong. We don’t have access to all the info, nor the expertise. We’re going to have to watch, wait, and trust Trump.