Welcome to the Middle East Today

The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Sep 29, 2011

The Prosecution of George W. Bush

The American invasion of Iraq in 2003 prompted some politicians, writers, journalists and scholars to raise many questions about the legality of the war. Some even called for the investigation of crimes committed during the Bush era. In his book The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, Vincent Bugliosi stated that, “On the evidence collected, George W. Bush should b put on trial in an American courtroom for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers fighting the war in Iraq”. Mr. Bugliosi has built a popular reputation as a public prosecutor at the L.A. County District Attorney’s office.

There are still many supporters of President Obama who are raising questions about the Bush era and the crimes committed and so far there have been no attempts to investigate members of the previous administration.

In an article written by Andrew King of the Justice Integrity Project, “Obama Team Feared Coup If He Prosecuted War Crimes”, he stated, “The transitional advisors team led by Christopher Edley, Jr., Dean of Law School at the University of California Berkeley, have advised Obama’s ‘Look Forward’ policy on Bush-era law breaking that the president elect announced on a TV talk show in January 2009.” Edley’s rationale implies that “Obama and his team fear the military/national security forces that he is supposed to be commanding. It suggests also that Republicans have intimidated him right from the start of his presidency, even though voters in 2008 rejected Republicans by the largest combined presidential-congressional mandate in recent U.S. history.”

I am of the opinion that Obama made the wrong decision by following the transitional committee’s recommendation for the following reasons. The first reason is that the majority of the American voters, especially the younger generation, cast their votes for the first time, hoping that the president elect would introduce massive political and economic reforms badly needed to put the U.S government back on its correct track.

It is unfortunate that President Obama did not learn quickly that the Republican members of Congress are not going to cooperate with him. They have made it public that he is a one-term president. During the first two years of his administration, Democrats dominated Congress, the Senate and the House. Obama was not even influential enough to control the members of his own party due to the influences of lobbyists on them. Second, one of the major promises that Obama made during the campaign was to curtail the influence of lobbyists in Washington on members of Congress and he failed to do that.

It was reported that there are more than 16,000 registered lobbyists in Washington and another equal number who are not officially registered, but still play an influential role in shaping political decisions for the benefit of companies that they represent.

Third, the National Healthcare Bill that Obama introduced was not accepted in its totality. The public sector, which was the major component, was removed from the bill, which still left the private healthcare companies as usual without the competition needed to control the healthcare cost.

Fourth, another major blunder of Obama’s policy was his tax bill, in which he proposed to tax those who are earning more than $250,000 per year. These people, who are not subject to taxes, constitute the vast majority of the American people. Unfortunately, he caved to the demands of the Republican majority in the House. It has been said that Obama’s breaths are shorter than the Republicans’ breaths, and that they knew he would cave to their demands in the end.

Fifth, U.S. society from its beginning more than two hundred years ago has been developed on the basis of democracy, which the founding fathers created. The constitution of the U.S. has set the guidelines for politicians and the public at large to follow in order of preserving democracy. No person is above the law.

Crimes and violations of human rights were committed during the Bush era, which should have been investigated. Some members of the Justice Integrity Project and other activists are still demanding the investigation of the crimes committed by George W. Bush and his vice president and the secretary of defense. Some activists’ members are organizing to replace Obama on the Democratic 2012 Ticket. This is reflected by Swanon Publications, “Insider Tells Why Obama Chose Not To Prosecute Torture” (www.readersupportednews.org/opinion2/424-national-security/7367_focus_obama_te, 9/10/2011).

Those activists were strong supporters of Obama and were a force behind his election in 2008. It is unfortunate that President Obama lacks the courage to implement the promises he made during his campaign. There is overwhelming evidence to support the prosecution of George W. Bush by lying to the nation, using fabricated and false reports to justify his policy of the Iraqi invasion. That reckless move has produced great harm to the nation economically, politically and physically. Accountability of politicians for their actions is the basis for a healthy democracy.

Sep 25, 2011

Continuous Lies and Deception

During the past year (2010-2011) three autobiographies were published by the leaders of the Iraq invasion: George W. Bush’s book Discussion Points, Dick Cheney’s book In My Life and Donald Rumsfeld’s book Known and Unknown. The three criminals, including Paul Wolfowitz, have played the major leading roles in misleading the American Public to justify the Iraq invasion (2003). All three of them have defended their roles in supporting the Iraq war, despite the fact that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. The three of them shared a similar view, which is that Iraq is better of without Saddam Hussein.

Furthermore, none of the three terrorists have admitted the negative economic and human loss on both the American and Iraqi sides. The three of them, instead of apologizing to the American people for the blunders that they committed, insisted that the invasion was justified. The three of them have left two wars that are still going on, and, in the end, the world has accomplished nothing. Furthermore, both wars doubled the American foreign debts from nearly $5 trillion to nearly $10 trillion. George W. Bush started his presidency with a federal budget surplus of more than $250 billion and left with the longest federal deficit ever and national debts exceeding $10 trillion.

When George W. Bush’s book was published and some of the mass media publicized it, I had no desire whatsoever to even look at it for one simple reason: George W. Bush is a habitual liar and I was sure that he would continue to do so in his book, just like the other two criminals, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

Nevertheless, after a few remarks made to me by some friends about Bush’s autobiography, I checked the book out from the library. The autobiography consists of 497 pages, which are divided into 14 sections. I admit that I only read the section on Iraq, and as I thought, Bush continued his lines of deception and lying to the readers, claiming that the decision to go to war and remove Saddam Hussein from power was justified by all means and that the Iraqi people are free at last (p. 226). According to Mr. Bush, Saddam Hussein massacred thousands of innocent Shiaa and Kurds following the Gulf War (p. 225). The irony of this rationale is the fact that George W. Bush did not refer to the more than one million Iraqi civilians who have been killed during the war, in addition to the more than 4,000 American soldiers who have died in vain as a result of the invasion.

George W. Bush was under the illusion that the decision he made in order to protect the U.S. was accomplished after he asked his “heavenly father” for guidance, irrespective of what other people thought. The interesting fact is that Bush did not admit in his book that even before the 9/11 tragedy occurred, he was looking for an excuse to justify the invasion of Iraq. Former White House National securityAdvisor Richard Clark has confirmed in his book Against All Enemies that Mr. Bush was determined to find evidence of cooperation between al-Qaeda and the late Saddam Hussein’s regime, which he wanted to use to support his rationale for the invasion of Iraq.

It seems that Bush was not aware of the fact that Saddam Hussein was a strong opponent of all Islamic militant groups, including al-Qaeda. He went to the extreme to slaughter many of them. For that reason, bin Laden publicly stated that Saddam Hussein’s regime was more dangerous to their cause than the U.S. Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, bin Laden offered his help to join the invading forces to get rid of Saddam Hussein.

George W. Bush was very ill informed about Iraq before and even after the invasion he admitted that he felt “blindsided” over some of the blunders that were committed in Iraq, such as the treatment of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib prisons, which were a violation of human rights. Not only was he not aware of that, but also other issues such as the financial crisis, which was increasing with the cost of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. As the Nobel Laureate recipient, economist Joseph Stiglitz, put it, “The subsequent invasion of Iraq was entirely unconnected to Al-Qaeda – as Bush tried to establish a link. That war of choice quickly became very expensive – orders of magnitude beyond the $60 billion claimed at the beginning, as colossal incompetence met dishonest misrepresentation. He continued to say that Bush’s Iraq war was based on false pretenses and it was the first war in the history of the U.S. to be paid for entirely on credit. (Project Syndicate, 2011).

It is unfortunate to point out that since the election of President Obama, no attempts have been made to investigate the rationale behind the Iraq invasion in 2003, which was based on false reports. The legality of Bush’s administrative war actions has been viewed as suspected criminal acts under U.S. and international law.

Sep 17, 2011

The Politically Naive American Public

At the CNN sponsored Republican Presidential debate (9/13/2011), candidates’ discussions focused on a variety of topics, especially the U.S. economy and unemployment. However, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas made some remarks about the economy and he criticized U.S. foreign policy as a contributing negative factor to the U.S. Economy. He said that, “The U.S. is under a great threat because we occupy so many countries. We are in 130 countries. We have 900 bases around the world. We are going broke. The purpose of al-Qaeda was to attack us, invite us over there, where they can target us. And they have been doing it. They have more attacks against us and the American interests per month than occurred in all the years before 9/11. But we are there, occupying their lands. And if we think that we can do that and not have retaliation, we are kidding ourselves. We have to be honest with ourselves. What would we do if another country, say China, did to us what we do to all those countries over there?”

After he made these remarks, Congressman Ron Paul drew boos from the crowd and rebuke from other candidates because he criticized U.S. foreign policy. It is regrettable to say that the majority of the American public is politically illiterate and in many cases, are even not aware of what is going on in neighboring states and don’t take the extra steps to be informed about American foreign policy. For that reason, American politicians in general are more influenced by lobbyists than their constituents.

Another important factor that lets American foreign policy makers get away with everything, including genocide, is “American national interest”. That slogan gives politicians the justification to do whatever their lobbyists want.

Based on the U.S. government’s foreign policy since the end of World War II, the national interest was used as a pretext to dismantle freely elected foreign governments. This happened in the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. American politicians in general think they are entitled to control the wealth and natural resources of other countries, especially developing ones. A classic example is the oil resources in the Middle East. It is the only, and in some countries the main, source of income, and they have to sell it in order to survive. The issue here is the fact that American oil companies do not only want to buy oil, they want to control its production and distribution and even its prices. Such a strategy is demanded by the pressure these oil companies put on politicians through their lobbyists who use their political financial contributions as a means to shape policy in favor of their interests and not the American consumers.

Congressman Ron Paul was telling the American people the truth. American foreign policy for many decades has been influenced and shaped by lobbyist and interest groups and not by the American voters.

Another classic example reflecting the dishonesty of some leading American politicians are those who misled the nation to go to war by choice in 2003. They have manufactured false reports to present to the American people that claimed Iraq posed a threat to the U.S. It was claimed that Saddam Hussein’s WMD posed a threat to the security of the U.S., despite the fact that there was not a single piece of evidence to support President Bush’s war strategy. He started an unnecessary war that led to many negative consequences, in the U.S. and in Iraq.

Professor Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Laureate in Economics, pointed out that, “The invasion of Iraq was entirely unconnected to al-Qaeda – as much as Bush tried to establish a link. That war of choice quickly became very expensive. This war was the first war in history paid for entirely on credit.” He further stated that government spending on those wars so far amounts to roughly $2 trillion, or $17,000 for every U.S. household. For more information, read Stiglitz and Bilms’ book, “The Three Trillion Dollars War”.

I wonder how many people in the crowd who booed Congressman Ron Paul were aware that their household share of that unnecessary war is around $17,000? Most probably none of them were aware of that fact.

An enlightened person would demand the prosecution of George W. Bush and his criminal associates. More than 4,000 American solders have died in vain during the Iraqi war.

Sep 11, 2011

The Iraqi War and Its Cost to the American Public

The American public will remember those who perished on September 11, 2001 as a result of the tragic terrorist attack at the World Trade Center that was committed by Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda.

It took ten years for the U.S. to catch and kill bin Laden. It is regrettable to say that bin Laden’s attack provided President George W. Bush and his neocon supporters with the pretext for their invasion of Iraq in 2003, despite the well known fact that planning for that invasion preceded the 9/11 attack.

Furthermore, the president and his terrorist associates (Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz) began to manufacture false reports about Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction”, which they claimed posed an imminent threat to the U.S. and should be stopped. Despite the warning from CIA director George Tenet that the Nuclear Uranium Secret Report was false. That warning was ignored and the president and his terrorist associates supported the invasion of Iraq.

No weapons of mass destruction were found after the invasion. The tragedy of Bush’s policy of intentionally lying and misleading the nation led to the killings of more than 4,000 American soldiers and the injuries of more than 30,000. The American public should also hold a candle light vigil nationwide in memory of the soldiers who died in vain.

Furthermore, the terrorists who were responsible for the war should be tried as war criminals. It is unfortunate to report that the majority leader of the Senate said that this congress is the most corrupt in the history of the U.S. The majority of the members of the U.S. congress supported the invasion of Iraq to satisfy lobbyists who foot the bill for their elections.

Bin Laden’s strategy, as he put it after 9/11, is that while al-Qaeda can’t defeat the U.S. militarily, they can ruin it economically. Unfortunately, he was right. Dr. Joseph Stigiltz pointed out in his article “The Price of 9/11” that “President George W. Bush’s response to the attacks compromised America’s basic principles, undermined the economy and weakened its security. The attack on Afghanistan that followed the 9/11 attacks was understandable, but the subsequent invasion of Iraq was entirely unconnected to al-Qaeda, as much as Bush tried to establish a link. That war of choice quickly became very expensive.”

Dr. Stigiltz continued to explain that three years ago, he and Dr. Linda Bilms estimated America’s war cost to be around $3 – 5 trillion, but since then the cost has mounted further. He also pointed out that the invasion of Iraq was the first war in U.S. history paid for entirely on credit. The direct government spending on those wars so far amount to roughly $2 trillion, or $17,000 for every U.S. household, with bills yet to be received increasing this amount by more than 50%, according to Dr. Stigiltz.

I am sure that bin Laden probably never thought that the economic cost to the U.S. would reach that magnitude. It is also unfortunate that those who were responsible for undermining U.S. security and its economic disasters are still free and busy writing their own biographies of their roles in the Iraq war to earn more dollars and continue to mislead the American public.

Sep 8, 2011

Turkish Resolute Political Strategy

The Turkish government has rejected the report prepared by former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer and former Columbian president Alvaro Uribe, which said Israel’s blockade of Gaza was a legal security measure. (bbcsnews.com, 9/5/2011).

The Turkish foreign minster A. Davitoghi, said that the report will be challenged at the International Court of Justice. Furthermore, he stated that the Israeli attack of the Marmara Turkish ship in international water on May 31,2010, which led to the killings of nine Turkish citizens, is in violation of international law.

The Israeli government’s refusal to apologize for the crime they committed led the Turkish government to expel the Israeli ambassador from Turkey and freeze its cooperation with Israeli military forces.

The Turkish government should be commended for its political strategy for challenging the Israeli aggression and arrogance, which they have been following since the creation of that state.

Arab political heads of state, especially Egyptians, have been dismissing the Israeli aggressions during the past 30 years of the deposed Mubarak’s regime. It is also of interest to notice that the killings of the seven Egyptian soldiers by Israeli forces last month (August 2011) did not lead to either an apology by the Israelis, nor a joint investigation of the incident that was requested by the Egyptian Higher Military Council.

Israeli authorities have gotten used to their arrogant behavior due to the passiveness of the Egyptian government and the total support of the U.S of Israel’s policies. In an editorial article in the New York Times, “Israel Isolates Itself’ by Roger Cohen (9/6/11), he analyzed some of the consequences of the Israeli attack on the Turkish flotilla which led to the killing of 9 unarmed Turkish citizens. Mr. Cohen emphasized one point in particular about the death of an American citizen, Mr. Dogan, who was born in upstate New York. He further stated that Geoffrey Palmer’s report pointed out that “no evidence has been provided to establish that any of the deceased were armed with lethal weapons”. Mr. Cohen continues to say that, “The Turkish prime minister, Recept T. Erdogan, had raised Dogan’s fate with President Obama. But of course no U.S. president, and certainly no first term U.S. president, would say what Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain said: ‘The Israeli attack on the Gaza Flotilla was completely unacceptable.’ Even if there’s an American citizen killed, raising such questions about Israel is a political no-no. So it goes in the taboo lettered cul-de-sac of U.S. foreign policy toward Israel, a foreign policy that is in large measure a domestic policy.”

It is of interest to say that an American Jewish journalist is still carrying the traditional Jewish Torch, “Let there be light”, exposing the Zionist Jewish influence on American foreign policy.

It is unfortunate that the Egyptian Military Council is still under the influence of the U.S. government’s foreign policy. The Egyptian Military Council should terminate the American foreign aid that has been used as an instrument of threat to implement U.S. policy, especially to protect Israel’s interests. Egyptian dignity and self-interest should supersede the $1-$2 billion of the annual foreign aid to Egypt. American policymakers, especially in the American Congress, have lost their bearings and the majority of the members have been put under Israeli influence, disregarding American national interest. The Arab states, especially the oil producing countries in the Gulf region, are in a good financial position to substitute U.S. foreign aid by their own.

Egypt is the heart of the Arab world and its military strategy will also be of vital interest to the region. It is of interest to read that the Turkish prime minister will be visiting Egypt on 9/11/2011 to discuss Egyptian-Turkish regional strategy.

The Haaretz Newspaper views such a visit as a threat to the security of Israel. Furthermore, the article reflects that such a visit is a slap on the Israeli face. Also, the Turkish policy of expelling the Israeli ambassador is encouraging the Egyptian government to follow a similar policy. (Harest Newspaper, 9/5/2011).

The Egyptian public has been calling for expelling the Israeli ambassadors, especially since the killing of Egyptian soldiers last month and a revision of the Camp David Agreement.

I doubt that the Egyptian Higher Military Council will yield to Egyptian public pressure and this still reflects that the main objective of the January 25th revolution has been implemented.

Sep 4, 2011

The Fall of the Third Tyrant – Two More to Go

The fall of Col. Gadhafi and his departure from Tripoli led the Libyan people to celebrate their holiday without the dictator for the first time since 1969. There has been much speculation about his whereabouts, but no one knows for certain where he is.

The Libyan National Transitional Council stated that more than 50,000 Libyans have been killed since the uprising started. Also, more than 30,000 have been injured and nearly 50,000-60,000 are missing and not accounted for.

Nevertheless, Libya is still not completely free from Gadhafi’s mercenaries. Sirt, the birthplace of Gadhafi, with a population around 70,000 people, is considered the strongest military community where plenty of armaments are stored.

Reports revealed that Gadhafi stored chemical and nuclear armaments in addition to heavy military equipment, such as tanks and artillery. The Libyan Transitional Council issued an order for those responsible leaders in Sirt to surrender peacefully within one week, or they would be attacked by the rebel forces. Gadhafi and his son responded negatively. Nevertheless, the days of Col. Gadhafi will come to an end within the next few weeks.

After the Libyan Transitional Council’s message, which was sent to the followers of Gadhafi in Sirt, Saif al-Islam issued a taped message that he is leading 20,000 Libyan soldiers and is ready to fight the rebels, whom he described as the rats of Libya.

In the meantime, the civil protests and violence is still going on in both Syria and Yemen. In Syria, according to an Amnesty International report, around 580 people have died in prison since the uprising nearly 7 months ago. The report is based on 45 videos that show torture used in prisons during interrogations, such as burning, electrical shock and beating.

It seems to be so clear that the Syrian government, led by the two brothers Bashar and Maher al-Assad, will not surrender their authority peacefully and they will have to be forcibly removed. The only way this might happen is if it comes from the Syrian military forces. In the meantime, the balance of regime survival is tilted more towards the government than the protestors. Regardless, the present regime’s days are limited and their government will collapse at the end.

In Yemen, the protestors continue to call for President Ali Saleh to surrender his authority and he is still refusing to do so. He just returned from Saudi Arabia after spending nearly two months in the hospital after an attempt on his life in Sana.

Recent reports revealed that the Persian Gulf mediation might be implemented, which might lead to a transitional government until a new election takes place. Regardless, the Yemeni dictator’s days are also limited, and at the end he will be kicked out.

Sep 1, 2011

Vice President Cheney’s Biography – The Iraq War

Recently, several biographies were published by previous members of President George W. Bush’s cabinet. All of them, including President Bush, Vice President D. Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld provided their personal views about the role they played in regard to the Iraqi invasion in 2003.

The latest biography is written by Mr. Cheney and is called “In My Time”. Mr. Cheney presents strong rationale from his point of view in support of the Iraq war. He expresses no regrets, even about the false reports used by President Bush to justify the Iraq invasion. The president used the secret report that Saddam Hussein obtained uranium material from Niger to be used as weapons of mass destruction, despite the fact that the director of the CIA, Mr. George Tenet, warned the administration that the report was false. The president used the report in his “State of the Union” address in 2003 to justify his plan for the invasion of Iraq. He said Iraq posed a serious threat to the security of the U.S. Mr. Cheney criticized Mr. Tenet for publicly stating that the report was not valid.

Mr. Cheney even went to extremes by saying that no apology is needed for the use of that report. Furthermore, Mr. Cheney criticized Mr. Colin Powell, the previous secretary of state, and Ms. Condoleeza Rice, Powell’s successor, for not cooperating with the administration in regard to various foreign policy issues. Mr. Cheney referred to Ms. Rice as a naïve secretary of state who tried to reach an agreement with North Korea regarding the WMD. Some of those whom Cheney criticized, such as Colin Powell, responded by blasting Mr. Cheney for his “cheap shots” on CBS’s “Face the Nation”. (8/28/2011). Mr. Powell challenged and criticized Cheney’s claim that Powell was pushed out of the Bush administration in 2004.

It seems that the vice president was very critical of all of those who were not supportive of the Iraq war. Mr. Cheney was also pushing for the bombing of the suspected Syrian Nuclear site, but no members of the Bush cabinet were supportive of such an idea. That suspected Syrian site was bombed by Israel in 2007. Such an act of aggression by Israel didn’t come as a surprise when Mr. Cheney failed to do the job for them. It is not a hidden fact to say that Mr. Cheney was a strong supporter of Israel and an active member of the neo-con group. The vice president was also a member of President Reagan’s cabinet during the 1980s. During that period, other neo-con members such as Paul Wolfowitz, began to plot the invasion of Iraq for two important reasons.

First, Mr. Cheney was connected to the American oil companies and he was aware of Iraq’s huge oil reserve. In a public meeting in Britain, Mr. Cheney said that Iraq is not a democratic state, and unfortunately will be the state that will sell the last barrel of oil.

Mr. Cheney’s strategy was to invade Iraq and regain the oilfields that were nationalized by Saddam Hussein during the early 1970s. The second rationale for the invasion of Iraq was to remove Saddam Hussein’s government because he and other members of the neo-con group thought that Iraq posed a threat to Israel. For that reason and others, Israel bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor during the Reagan administration in 1987.