July 27, 2014
After more than 14 years of continuous war in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention supporting insurgencies in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria, the U.S. departs in a zero sum game that has cost tens of thousands of lives, trillions of dollars and leaves the Middle-East totally destabilized with conflict everywhere. To make matters worse and seemingly incomprehensible, evidence suggests the U.S. and its partners are planning for war against Iran.
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The U.S. and its band of misfit coalition partners have implemented a massive military build-up on the Arabian Peninsula and Israel. Let’s take a look at the military arsenal provided a few coalition partners, most of which are also classified as human rights violators according to the State Department.
For the last three years, the U.S. has provided tens of billions of dollars in military weaponry through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE); population 5.6 million, Qatar; population 2.1 million, Kuwait; population 2.7 million and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA); population 27.3 million.
The U.S. has provided both offensive and defensive weapon systems – some are designed to protect against airborne missile retaliation and air attacks. For example, the U.S. supplied Qatar ($9.9B), Kuwait ($4.2 billion), and UAE ($1.1B) with Patriot anti-missile systems and UAE also acquired a $6.5B theater anti-air defense (THAAD) system. This type of weaponry typically protects against missile attacks from such weapons as the MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket Systems) like the 880 launchers the Islamic Republic of Iran operates. The MLRS has a range of approximately 300 kilometers, making it easily capable of reaching any of the Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, and even KSA.
America also sold KSA $6.7 billion worth of KC-130 aerial refueling tankers, the UAE $4 billion and KSA $6.8 billion of munitions including “bunker buster bombs,” (typically used to attack harden targets like nuclear facilities); Qatar a $1.2 billion early warning radar suite; KSA $1.3 billion for 30 patrol boats for use in the Gulf of Hormuz; KSA $4 billion to upgrade its national guard; Qatar spent $3 billion on Apache Longbow attack helicopters used for special operations insertions. The list also includes the Globemaster long-range air transport planes, Javelin missiles, F-18’s and F-16’s, and Sidewinder anti-air missiles.
Also for last few years the U.S. has been quietly aiding the rebel insurgency in Syria trying to overthrow the Iranian-backed government of Bashir al-Assad. There have been multiple news reports, (including this report) that the U.S. provided weapons collected from deposed Libyan Dictator Qaddafi and moved them through its CIA clearinghouse in Turkey to supply al-Qaeda linked extremist groups opposing the Assad regime. It’s worth pointing out that both Qatar and KSA have been major supporters of the anti-Assad insurgency that evolved from a national rebellion and morphed into a major jihadi operation.
Details of this massive military build-up can be found on the Department of State (DoS) website. The DoS oversees Government-to-Government defense transfers through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, and is implemented through DoD’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
Interestingly, “(I)n addition to FMS, the Department of State also issues export licenses to U.S. companies providing defense articles and services through our Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) efforts, usually after an intensive interagency review to ensure that exports further U.S. foreign policy and national security interests,” a State Department official said. However, “Export license information is not disclosed by the Department due to restrictions under the Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations, but general information is released from DCS.”
According to the State Department, in the case of either FMS or DCS, the United States takes into account political, military, economic, arms control, and human rights conditions in making decisions on the provision of military equipment and the licensing of direct commercial sales to any country, in accordance with the Conventional Arms Transfer Policy, the Arms Export Control Act, and relevant international agreements.
“Review and monitoring are an integral component of the process for U.S.- origin defense articles delivered to any recipient nation. This is to make sure that those articles are being used in the manner intended and are consistent with our legal obligations, foreign policy goals, and values,” a Senior State Department official said.
And both State and Defense argue that Middle Eastern countries have agreed to work towards U.S. security interests and abide by the President Obama’s foreign policy doctrine.
However, looking at the current Middle East conflicts finds every country focused on sectarian protectionism, especially since the Obama administration has seemingly checked out. It is essential that this high tech arsenal provided to foreign nations by U.S. defense contractors be carefully monitored. The consequences of equipment falling into the wrong hands can be deadly, as it was for flight MH17 in Ukraine.
The three-year Syrian civil war has witnessed the rise of many jihadist and terrorist groups, including the al-Qaeda spin-off, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which now attracts “fighters” from all over the Islamic world.
The mirage-like arrival of ISIS on the scene looks to tighten the noose around the Iranian backed Lebanese, Syrian, and Iraqi governments. Just two months ago the Assad regime was defeating the insurgency in Syria, but the equation changed when ISIS charged into Iraq where it unleashed its wrath and captured U.S. weapons from the U.S. trained Iraqi soldiers that sought flight rather than fight. ISIS also parlayed its unprecedented carnage (something al-Qaeda has denounced) into the seizure of Iraqi and Syrian oil fields, banks, and water supplies, which collectively fund the self-proclaimed “Caliphate.”
As the impact of ISIS’ offensive sinks in, U.S. intelligence officials contend ISIS did not just randomly explode on the scene in 2014, they claim to have been reporting to high-level government officials the rise as well as the expansion of ISIS since 2012. This murderous organization is largely fueled by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk testified before Committee claiming “the ISIS’ operations are calculated, coordinated and part of a strategic campaign led by its Syria-based leader, Abu Bakr al Baghadi.”
“This was a very clear case in which the U.S. knew what was going on but followed a policy of deliberate neglect,” said Vali Nasr, the Dean of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a former State Department adviser for the Middle East.
During its assault in the region ISIS received protection from KSA and Qatar. Both nations warned the U.S. not to interfere with ISIS’s march to conquer northwestern Iraq and its turn west toward Syria and Jordan. America obeyed and ISIS gobbled up the region and spoils of war that included American tanks, helicopters and artillery.
Many military experts said the opportunity to strike ISIS came and went when the 7,500 man Islamic Army crossed the wide-open Damascus-Baghdad Highway. Military generals said the terror group was vulnerable to air attack with minimal collateral damage concerns. In the end, ISIS got its free passage from Mosul to eastern Syria with U.S. inaction, which was tantamount to acquiescence.
“We oppose all foreign intervention and interference. There must be no meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs, not by us or by the US, the UK or by any other government. This is Iraq’s problem and they must sort it out themselves,” Saudi Prince Mohammed told the UK Telegraph. However, the Saudis immediately moved 30,000 combat troops to protect its border with Iraq.
Former Qatar ambassador to the United States, Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa, gave the Obama administration a stern warning on Monday that any military intervention on behalf of the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki would be seen as “an act of war on the entire community of Sunni Arabs.”
Many Middle East policy experts say the Sunni’s view of ISIS as an Iraqi Sunni revolution against their Shiite oppressors is myopic and foretells a broader Islamic war between Sunnis and Shiites.
From the U.S. perspective, the ISIS campaign presents a myriad of conflicts. Qatar and KSA are major recipients of billions of dollars worth of U.S. weapons through FMS, yet their direct support of ISIS, a terrorist group, means Qatar and KSA meet the definition of state sponsors of terrorism and should be banned from participation in the military program. Nevertheless, the end user certificates and export licenses are routinely approved by the State and Defense Departments, including an $11 billion sale to Qatar last month.
Furthermore, Qatar, KSA, and Kuwait are listed as Tier 2WL (Watch List) and Tier 3 under U.S. anti-trafficking reports, which require a waiver by President Obama stating the sale is in national security interests. To the outside world the U.S. ostensibly appears to be violating its own anti-terrorism and anti-trafficking laws to provide sophisticated weapons systems to these human rights violators.
Big picture factors portending an imminent attack
According to the Congressional Research Service, the U.S. has stockpiled an additional $1.2 billion in weaponry in Israel. On top of that the U.S. has recently approved the only foreign sale of the V-22 Tilt-rotor aircraft or Osprey to the Israelis for $3 billion.
More foreign military training is found in Jordan. Operation Eager Lion is an exercise in the Jordanian desert that tests combined sea, air, and land operations with the U.S., Turkey, Jordan and KSA. The joint training provides an opportunity to test the interoperability of equipment, procedures and to develop a unified command structure. Post-exercise, the U.S. maintains a force of approximately 1,000 personnel in Jordan as well as an F-16 squadron and a Patriot anti-missile battery.
The recent release of five Taliban intelligence jihadists from Gitmo by President Obama further portrays America as kowtowing to the new Middle East power broker – Qatar. As stated, Qatar remains a major supporter and fundraiser of ISIS and enjoys support from the Turkish government that has allowed jihadists to move from training camps in Libya through Turkey (link to prior Benghazi story) and finally into Syria/Kurdistan to join their ISIS terror brethren.
The latest Gaza/Israeli conflict
The silence from the usual anti-Israel Islamic states over the Israeli assault on Gaza is deafening. Why? Clearly seeing the threat from the West, the Shiite leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has urged Hezbollah forces in Lebanon to come to aid of the Palestinians/Hamas.
But Hezbollah itself also remains relatively restrained while Israel destroys the Gaza strip and is seemingly biding its time for the signal to initiate a rear-guard action in the event of an attack against Iran.
The U.S. disinformation campaign of claiming victory and initiating a military stand-down in the Middle East (while increasing FMS sales in region) in favor of a “rebalancing” of military forces to the Far East is disingenuous. As the U.S. shifts its focus East, it cannot reflect positively on its track record in the form of regime change in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Libya or Syria (Obama’s regime change train stops in Ukraine).
Meanwhile a severely neutered Congress has expressed an interest in Iranian sanction negotiations as Senator Lindsey Graham urged the White House to seek Senate approval: “President Obama felt he needed Congressional approval to move forward in Syria, and Congress should insist on being involved in any nuclear deal with Iran, I cannot think of anything more serious we would vote on other than going to war.”
When the totality of events and actions over the last several years are analyzed, there is one compelling conclusion, the U.S., KSA, Turkey, Jordan, ISIS, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, and probably Israel (in a limited air campaign) are preparing a massive strike against Iran.
The timing is not known but the deadline for Iran to comply with UN/U.S. demands to surrender its enriched uranium has been extended to November 2014. Iran has steadfastly refused to handover any uranium to the West to end harsh economics sanctions and regain world approval.
There can be little doubt that the U.S. has provided weapons in quantities and capabilities far beyond the needs or wherewithal of the Gulf States and KSA. The U.S. has been arming and supporting jihadists that seek to undo what little progress was achieved in Iraq and seems bent upon a course of action to support Sunni jihad against the Shiite governments of Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. The powder keg of the Middle East has been filled and waits only for a spark to set it off.
Lastly, the Departments of State and Defense have refused to respond to queries from this reporter as to what scenario, if any, would draw the U.S. into the expanding Middle East conflicts? Could this military build-up backfire if Gaza becomes the catalyst that galvanizes the Islamic world against Israel? Would the U.S. be compelled to fight with Israel and against the “friends” we have armed with our most sophisticated weapons? Will Americans support an attack on Iran?
As Ricky Ricardo used to say on “I Love Lucy” – “Lucy, you got some esplainin’ to do.”
Email Kimberly: email@example.com
All these details and more are covered in the most in-depth story “Did the CIA and State Department run illegal arms trafficking in Benghazi?” that was written December 10, 2012.
Readers may want to reread: Benghazi, Next Stop A Special Prosecutor…
For more Libya stories: www.examiner.com/article/it-does-make-a-difference-hillary…Benghazi revisited politics as usual
For more stories: theKDreport.com
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