Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category
NATIONAL JOURNAL: President Obama’s decision to send American warplanes into Libya opened the nation’s third military theater in the Middle East—and quickly cast the administration onto more battlegrounds at home.
Three days into the first war he’s helped to start, Obama finds himself in an increasingly familiar position in relation to the Congress: detached, under fire, and going it largely alone. American liberals who gravitated to Obama because he was the most plausible anti-war candidate broke sharply with him this weekend for projecting U.S. force into a corner of the world where it’s traditionally unwelcome, humanitarian intervention doctrine be damned. Even some congressional Democrats who voted for the Iraq invasion call the Libyan venture “gratuitous” and question Obama’s standing. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, on Monday called the U.S. involvement in Libya an “impeachable offense.”
Capitol Hill Republicans, divided for weeks about how to handle Libya, are casting an array of aspersions on Obama’s decision; he’s been too slow, hasn’t adequately consulted Congress, has not developed a clear exit strategy, and not much of an entrance strategy either.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in a statement released during Obama’s largely Libya-free speech in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, hit him over process, saying his administration should “define for the American people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is, better explain what America’s role is in achieving that mission, and make clear how it will be accomplished. Before any further military commitments are made, the administration must do a better job of communicating to the American people and to Congress about our mission in Libya and how it will be achieved.”
That, incongruously, aligned the speaker with Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., the Brooklyn liberal who backs the bombing campaign but wants Obama to obtain congressional authorization.
Impeachment? Dennis Kucinch says Obama violated Constitution by not getting Congressional authority to launch war against Quaddafi
Kucinich makes lots of good points here
Give Kucinich credit for consistency on this.
So here’s what Barack Obama said on December 20, 2007, about a President who launches a unilateral military attack on another country without Congressional authorization:
“The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
George W. Bush, you might remember, spent more than a year making the case for removing Saddam Hussein. There was an overwhelming majority vote in Congress authorizing President Bush to do exactly that.
Whatever you think of the Iraq War now, Bush had the proper Congressional authority to liberate Iraq.
Where’s Obama’s Congressional authority? Where’s the deliberation? There’s been plenty of dithering, but no deliberation. And how about explaining the policy to the American people, as George W. Bush did?
Can anyone say what the “Obama Doctrine” even is?
JON PODHORETZ-NY POST: When Samantha Power said Mrs. Clinton was a monster, Power was working on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and resigned almost immediately. Now Power is on the National Security Council, and chances are good she doesn’t think Hillary is a monster any longer.
The Tuesday-evening meeting at the White House at which the president decided to move on Libya was “extremely contentious,” according to a report in Josh Rogin’s excellent blog, The Cable.
Power and a few others took the position that the United States couldn’t stay on the sidelines as Moammar Khadafy murdered his own people and snuffed out the people-power revolt in the Middle East in its infancy.
In speaking this way, Power was, in effect, speaking for Clinton.
Three years after the “monster” remark, Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power find themselves on the same side in a profound debate over American interests and American values as they serve an opaque president whose foreign policy has now achieved a new level of incomprehensibility.
NEW YORK TIMES: Even as the allied intervention began, a group of foreign journalists were bused on a rare visit inside Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s compound — a labyrinth of concrete barracks, fortified walls and barbed wire designed to deter potential military coups.
Inside the Bab Aziziya compound which was bombed by the United States in 1986.
There, hundreds of supporters offered themselves up as human shields, cheering to newly minted dance songs about their adoration for their leader. “House by house, alley by alley,” the catchiest song went, quoting a Qaddafi speech. “Disinfect the germs from each house and each room.”
TIMES OF INDIA: Calling Barack Obama as “our son”, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi sent a message to the US President defending his decision to attack the rebels fighting to overthrow him.
Gaddafi (68) also wrote a letter to the French and British leaders, and the UN Secretary General, saying the Security Council resolution was “void” and violated the UN charter, warning them that they would “regret” any intervention.
“Libya is not for you, Libya is for the Libyans,” he said.
Details of Gaddafi’s letters were released by the Libyan government spokesman at a news conference in Tripoli.
Obama follows France and UN. Finally makes statement. Says U.S. will support UN, but no way U.S. sending in ground troops.
TPM: Newt Gingrich told reporters today that the Libyan rebels have France’s lack of bracket fever to thank for the no-fly zone that will soon protect them from aerial attacks by embattled dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Asked about the U.N. Resolution authorizing military intervention in Libya — something Gingrich has been pushing for a while now — Gingrich ripped President Obama for not acting sooner, and again mocked him for his March Madness bracket.
“I was, frankly, very disappointed that [Nicolas] Sarkozy did not share with us his Final Four picks,” Gingrich said, referring to the French president, who’s nation has led the push for military intervention in Libya. “And i think it’s his failure to understand the Final Four that allowed him to focus on Libya on a way tha. Clearly, if he had understood the American system he would have understood that his is not a good week to deal with Libya because this is the week to deal with Kansas, Ohio State, and you know things that were really important.”
THE DAILY: Fed up with a president “who can’t make his mind up” as Libyan rebels are on the brink of defeat, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is looking to the exits.
At the tail end of her mission to bolster the Libyan opposition, which has suffered days of losses to Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, Clinton announced that she’s done with Obama after 2012 — even if he wins again.
“Obviously, she’s not happy with dealing with a president who can’t decide if today is Tuesday or Wednesday, who can’t make his mind up,” a Clinton insider told The Daily. “She’s exhausted, tired.”
He went on, “If you take a look at what’s on her plate as compared with what’s on the plates of previous Secretary of States — there’s more going on now at this particular moment, and it’s like playing sports with a bunch of amateurs. And she doesn’t have any power. She’s trying to do what she can to keep things from imploding.”
FOX NEWS: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Sky News Wednesday that a no-fly zone over Libya cannot be a U.S.-led effort, and would need the backing of the international community.
“I think it’s very important that this not be a U.S.-led effort, because this comes from the people of Libya themselves,” she told Sky News.
“This doesn’t come from the outside. This doesn’t come from some Western power or some Gulf country saying this is what you should do, this is how you should live.”
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS-VANITY FAIR: When anatomizing revolutions, it always pays to consult the whiskered old veterans. Those trying to master a new language, wrote Karl Marx about the turmoil in France in the 19th century, invariably begin haltingly, by translating it back into the familiar tongue they already know. And with his colleague Friedrich Engels he defined a revolution as the midwife by whom the new society is born from the body of the old.
Surveying the seismic-looking events in Tunis and Cairo in January and February of this year, various observers immediately began by comparing them to discrepant precedents. Was this the fall of the Arab world’s Berlin Wall? Or was it, perhaps, more like the “people power” movements in Asia in the mid-1980s? The example of Latin America, with its overdue but rapid escape from military rule in the past decades, was also mentioned. Those with longer memories had fond recollections of the bloodless “red carnation” revolution in Portugal, in 1974: a beautiful fiesta of democracy which also helped to inaugurate Spain’s emancipation from four decades in the shadow of General Franco.
Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson has about the same assessment of Egypt as Hitchens
Ayman al-Zawahiri said in an online video that Osama bin Laden is still alive and in touch with al Qaeda.
Muammar Qaddafi is blaming bin Laden for fueling the revolt against the Libyan dictator.
Bin Laden was born in 1957 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia he is best known as the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attack on New York City’s World Trade Center, brining down the two towers.
Bin Laden is considered one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists.
Bin Laden first came to public notice in the early 1980s as an organizer and commander of the guerilla resistance against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
After that, bin Laden founded al Qaeda which had as one of its major goals to drive the United States out of the Middle East.