Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cavuto: Ron Paul Brings In Almost 3 Million Dollars In Money Bomb !



h/t: The Daily Paul

Occupy Obama's Pocket

Founding Fathers Quote

No pecuniary consideration is more urgent, than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt: on none can delay be more injurious, or an economy of time more valuable.

George Washington

Sen Jim DeMint: Greek to U.S.?



U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), ranking Senate Republican on the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released a new report and video examining the debt crisis in Greece and lessons for America to avoid a similar fate. The report includes research from JEC Republican staff and can be accessed here in PDF format: "REPORT — Greek to U.S.?" (http://1.usa.gov/mWyGgw).

"It is tempting for Americans to take comfort in the belief that the size and strength of the U.S. economy will protect us from the consequences now facing Greece, but no nation is exempt from the basic laws of mathematics and economics," said Senator DeMint. "A closer inspection of the Greek crisis suggests that the United States may not be far behind on the road to ruin and we ignore the lessons of Greece at our own peril."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Libya and Iraq: The Price of Success

Libya and Iraq: The Price of Success is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

By George Friedman

In a week when the European crisis continued building, the White House chose publicly to focus on announcements about the end of wars. The death of Moammar Gadhafi was said to mark the end of the war in Libya, and excitement about a new democratic Libya abounded. Regarding Iraq, the White House transformed the refusal of the Iraqi government to permit U.S. troops to remain into a decision by Washington instead of an Iraqi rebuff.

Though in both cases there was an identical sense of “mission accomplished,” the matter was not nearly as clear-cut. The withdrawal from Iraq creates enormous strategic complexities rather than closure. While the complexities in Libya are real but hardly strategic, the two events share certain characteristics and are instructive.

Libya After Gadhafi

Let us begin with the lesser event, Gadhafi’s death. After seven months of NATO intervention, Gadhafi was killed. That it took so long for this to happen stands out, given that the intervention involved far more than airstrikes, including special operations forces on the ground targeting for airstrikes, training Libyan troops, managing logistics, overseeing communications and both planning and at times organizing and leading the Libyan insurgents in battle.

Perhaps this length of time resulted from a strategy designed to minimize casualties at the cost of prolonging the war. Alternatively, that it took seven months to achieve this goal might reflect the extent of the insurgents’ division, poor training and incompetence. Whatever the reason, the more important question is what NATO thinks it has accomplished with Gadhafi’s death, as satisfying as that death might be.

The National Transitional Council (NTC), the umbrella organization crafted to contain the insurgents, is in no position to govern Libya by any ideology, let alone through constitutional democracy. Gadhafi and his supporters ruled Libya for 42 years; the only people in the NTC with any experience with government gained that experience as ministers or lesser officials in Gadhafi’s government. Some may have switched sides out of principle, but I suspect that most defected to save themselves. While the media has portrayed many of these ex-ministers as opponents of Gadhafi, anyone who served him was complicit in his crimes.

These individuals are the least likely to bring reform to Libya and the most likely to constitute the core of a new state, as they are the only Libyans who know what it means to govern. Around them is an array of tribes living in varying degrees of tension and hostility with each other and radical Islamists whose number and capabilities are unknown, but whose access to weapons can be assumed. It also is safe to assume that many of those weapons, of various types of lethality, will be on the black market in the region in short order, as they may already be.

Gadhafi did not rule for 42 years without substantial support, as the tenacity of those who fought on his behalf suggests. (The defense of Sirte could well be described as fanatical.) Gadhafi is dead, but not all of his supporters are. And there are other elements within the country who may not be Gadhafi supporters but are no less interested in resisting those who are now trying to take charge — and resisting anyone perceived to be backed by Western powers. As with the conquest of Baghdad in 2003, what was unanticipated — but should not have been — was that a variety of groups would resist the new leaders and wage guerrilla war.

Baghdad taught that overwhelming force must be brought to bear in any invasion such that all opposition is eliminated. Otherwise, opponents of foreign occupation — along with native elements with a grudge against other natives — are quite capable of creating chaos. When we look at the list of NTC members and try to imagine them cooperating with each other and when we consider the number of Gadhafi supporters who are now desperadoes with little to lose, the path to stable constitutional democracy runs either through NATO occupation (unofficial, of course) or through a period of intense chaos. The most likely course ahead is a NATO presence sufficient to enrage the Libyan people but insufficient to intimidate them.

And Libya is not a strategic country. It is neither large in population nor geographically pivotal. It does have oil, as everyone likes to point out, and that makes it appealing. But it is not clear that the presence of oil increases the tendency toward stability. When we look back on Iraq, an oil-rich country, oil simply became another contentious issue in a galaxy of contentious issues.

The Lesson of Baghdad

Regarding Libya, I have a sense of Baghdad in April 2003. U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement of a complete U.S. withdrawal from Iraq gives us a sense of what lies at the end of the tunnel of the counterinsurgency. It must be understood that Obama did not want a total withdrawal. Until just a few weeks before the announcement, he was looking for ways to keep some troops in Iraq’s Kurdish region. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta went to Iraq wanting an agreement providing for a substantial number of U.S. troops in Iraq past the Dec. 31 deadline for withdrawal.

While the idea did appeal to some in Iraq, it ultimately failed. This is because the decision-making structure of the Iraqi government that emerged from U.S. occupation and the war is so fragmented it has failed even to craft a law on hydrocarbons, something critical to the future of Iraq. It was therefore in no position to reach consensus, or even a simple majority, over the question of a continued presence of foreign troops. Many Iraqis did want a U.S. presence, particularly those concerned about their fate once the United States leaves, such as the Kurds and Sunnis. The most important point is not that the Iraqis decided they did not want troops; it is that the Iraqi government was in the end too incoherent to reach any decision.

The strategic dimension to this is enormous. The Iranians have been developing their influence in Iraq since before 2003. They have not developed enough power to control Iraq outright. There are too many in Iraq, even among the Shia, who distrust Iranian power. Nevertheless, the Iranians have substantial influence — not enough to impose policies but enough to block any they strongly object to. The Iranians have a fundamental national security interest in a weak Iraq and in the withdrawal of American forces, and they had sufficient influence in Baghdad to ensure American requests to stay were turned down.

Measuring Iranian influence in Iraq is not easy to do. Much of it consists of influence and relationships that are not visible or are not used except in urgent matters. The United States, too, has developed a network of relationships in Iraq, as have the Saudis. But the United States is not particularly good at developing reliable grassroots supporters. The Iranians have done better because they are more familiar with the terrain and because the price for double-crossing the Iranians is much higher than that imposed by the United States. This gives the Iranians a more stable platform from which to operate. While the Saudis have tried to have it both ways by seeking to maintain influence without generating anti-Saudi feeling, the Iranian position has been more straightforward, albeit in a complex and devious way.

Let us consider what is at stake here: Iran has enough influence to shape some Iraqi policies. With the U.S. withdrawal, U.S. allies will have to accommodate themselves both to Iran and Iran’s supporters in the government because there is little other choice. The withdrawal thus does not create a stable balance of power; it creates a dynamic in which Iranian influence increases if the Iranians want it to — and they certainly want it to. Over time, the likelihood of Iraq needing to accommodate Iranian strategic interests is most likely. The possibility of Iraq becoming a puppet of Iran cannot be ruled out. And this has especially wide regional consequences given Syria.

The Role of Syria

Consider the Libyan contrast with Syria. Over the past months, the Syrian opposition has completely failed in bringing down the regime of Presiden Bashar al Assad. Many of the reports received about Syria originate from anti-Assad elements outside of Syria who draw a picture of the impending collapse of the regime. This simply hasn’t happened, in large part because al Assad’s military is loyal and well organized and the opposition is poorly organized and weak. The opposition might have widespread support, but sentiment does not defeat tanks. Just as Gadhafi was on the verge of victory when NATO intervened, the Syrian regime does not appear close to collapse. It is hard to imagine NATO intervening in a country bordering Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon given the substantial risk of creating regional chaos. In contrast, Gadhafi was isolated politically and geographically.

Syria was close to Iran before the uprising. Iran has been the most supportive of the Syrian regime. If al Assad survives this crisis, his willingness to collaborate with Iran will only intensify. In Lebanon, Hezbollah — a group the Iranians have supported for decades — is a major force. Therefore, if the U.S. withdrawal in Iraq results in substantial Iranian influence in Iraq, and al Assad doesn’t fall, then the balance of power in the region completely shifts.

This will give rise to a contiguous arc of Iranian influence stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea running along Saudi Arabia’s northern border and along the length of Turkey’s southern border. Iranian influence also will impact Israel’s northern border directly for the first time. What the Saudis, Turks and Israelis will do about this is unclear. How the Iranians would exploit their position is equally unclear. Contrary to their reputation, they are very cautious in their overt operations, even if they take risks in their covert operations. Full military deployment through this region is unlikely for logistical reasons if nothing else. Still, the potential for such a deployment, and the reality of increasingly effective political influence regardless of military movement, is strategically significant. The fall of al Assad would create a firebreak for Iranian influence, though it could give rise to a Sunni Islamist regime.

The point here, of course, is that the decision to withdraw from Iraq and the inability to persuade the Iraqi government to let U.S. forces remain has the potential to change the balance of power in the region. Rather than closing the book on Iraq, it simply opens a new chapter in what was always the subtext of Iraq, namely Iranian power. The civil war in Iraq that followed the fall of Saddam Hussein had many dimensions, but its most strategically important one was the duel between the United States and Iran. The Obama administration hopes it can maintain U.S. influence in Iraq without the presence of U.S. troops. Given that U.S. influence with the presence of troops was always constrained, this is a comforting, though doubtful, theory for Washington to consume.

The Libyan crisis is not in such a high-stakes region, but the lesson of Iraq is useful. The NATO intervention has set the stage for a battle among groups that are not easily reconciled and who were held together by hostility to Gadhafi and then by NATO resources. If NATO simply leaves, chaos will ensue. If NATO gives aid, someone will have to protect the aid workers. If NATO sends troops, someone will attack them, and when they defend themselves, they will kill innocents. This is the nature of war. The idea of an immaculate war is fantasy. It is not that war is not at times necessary, but a war that is delusional is always harmful. The war in Iraq was delusional in many ways, and perhaps nowhere more than in the manner in which the United States left. That is being repeated in Libya, although with smaller stakes.

In the meantime, the influence of Iran will grow in Iraq, and now the question is Syria. Another NATO war in Syria is unlikely and would have unpredictable consequences. The survival of al Assad would create an unprecedented Iranian sphere of influence, while the fall of al Assad would open the door to regimes that could trigger an Israeli intervention.

World War II was nice in that it offered a clean end — unless, of course, you consider that the Cold War and the fear of impending nuclear war immediately succeeded it. Wars rarely end cleanly, but rather fester or set the stage for the next war. We can see that clearly in Iraq. The universal congratulations on the death of Moammar Gadhafi are as ominous as all victory celebrations are, because they ignore the critical question: Now what?


Read more: Libya and Iraq: The Price of Success | STRATFOR

Ron Paul Wins Ohio Straw Poll!

Against all odds, despite the manipulation by mainstream media, in the face of the establishment Ron Paul wins 53% of the Ohio Republican Straw Poll votes.  The next closest, with less than half the votes Paul got, was Herman Cain.  The Cain voters have obviously not educated themselves on facts of the Cain campaign, which more closely resembles a mix between Bush and Obama than he does a so-called Conservative, or maybe they just like RINO's who defend the fed.

The Paul voters have come to the realization that the establishment has fairly successfully morphed the label "RINO" into "Conservative".  The word is meaningless now.  Since most Americans have lost the ability to think for and educate themselves beyond the news headlines there is no such thing as a Conservative anymore.  What voters are truly seeking, and missing the mark on, is a Libertarian. 

If Americans can move past the camouflaged attacks against Libertarians and see them for the intentional slanderous campaign statements that they are, from candidates who know their policies cannot stand against the truth, liberty, freedom, equality, and non-intervention, then they would see the Libertarian policies are based on our founding vision and the Constitution.  Ron Paul is the candidate America needs, but the establishment is fighting it like a wounded animal struggling against going to the veterinarian, even though the veterinarian's true intention and ability is to save its life.

Read for yourself what Ron Paul's stands really are.  Don't be a follower, a cohort, a drone.  Don't blindly swallow the drivel the establishment is shoving down your throat.  The establishment is comfortable, fat, and happy with the masses slothfully handing the power over their lives to them to use and abuse them in whatever way they wish.  When handed an entitlement, as opposed to earning a privilege, a group of sin-born men who tout the cloak of conservatism will never see its worth and will never respect or protect it.

This win is bigger than the establishment or the mainstream media will ever admit because their power and prestige is endangered and they know it, if Ron Paul wins.

Ron Paul On Freedom Watch

Monday, October 24, 2011

Islamic Winter: Tunisian and Libyan 'liberation' leads to Sharia

Article courtesy of Israel Today magazine, www.israeltoday.co.il.

Monday, October 24, 2011 | Ryan Jones

The "Arab Spring" was predictably hailed by naive Western leaders as a positive development that would finally bring true Western-style democratic freedom to the masses of the Middle East.

But more than one analyst, including top Israeli officials, have warned that the Arab Spring is about to give birth to the Islamic Winter.

Tunisia was the first country in the Arab Spring to oust its long-time dictator. On Sunday the north African nation held its first free election since the uprising. Voter turnout was massive at 90 percent. The results surprised many in the West, but they shouldn't have.

By Monday afternoon with many of the votes counted, Tunisia's Ennahda Party was projected to take control of the parliament with a healthy majority.

Ennahda is labeled by Western media as a "moderate" Islamic group, but the description is misleading.

Ennahda supported Iran's takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and called for attacks on US targets during the Gulf War. Furthermore, Ennahda's ideology is based on that of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks to impose Islamic law on the whole world.

And it will start with Tunisia. Ennahda leader Rachid Ghannouchi announced recently that if his group won Tunisia's election, it would impose what he called "moderate" Sharia Law on what until now was one of the Arab world's most progressive nations.

A similar phenomenon is happening in Libya, whose liberation from the rule of Col. Muammar Gaddafi was so widely celebrated this week.

Post-Gaddafi Libya will have Sharia Law as the "basic source" of its civil laws, declared interim leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil on Sunday. Already Abdul-Jalil has altered several Libyan laws that did not line up with Sharia, such as banning local banks from charging interest and making it legal to again practice polygamy.

Abdul-Jalil urged his countrymen to celebrate their newfound "freedom" by shouting "Allahu Akbar," or "Allah is Great."

Egypt has yet to hold elections since ousting former dictator Hosni Mubarak, but all estimates are that the Muslim Brotherhood will either win an outright majority in the parliament, or hold such a large bloc that any future government will be beholden to it.

The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is the grandfather of all extremist Islamic groups in the region, and the direct progenitor of organizations such as Hamas.

Islamists have also been consolidating power in Turkey and Lebanon, though did not require civil uprisings to accomplish their goals there.

As General Eyal Eisenberg, head of Israel's Home Front Command, warned months ago, the Middle East that is resulting from the Arab Spring will be a haven for radical ideology that increases the likelihood of all out war, a war that Eisenberg said "might even involve weapons of mass destruction."

With the Middle East under its former dictatorships, analysts were largely correct in surmising that weapons of mass destruction would never been used against Israel on a large scale, as those ruling regimes had a long-term interest in maintaining the status quo.

But the radical powers taking over in many nations largely do not share that concern, and are far more driven by messianic ideologies that compel them to destroy Israel in order to usher in a new Islamic golden age.

Don't miss the next issue of Israel Today Magazine, where we will explore this issue more in-depth with leading Israeli political scientists. Subscribe Now >>