The Arab Winter

Big Red Car here. Blizzard approaching New York City, y’all. Not to worry, going to be in the mid-70s all week until Friday here in the ATX. Come on down.

Things are also getting dicey in the Middle East. The Arab Spring has morphed into the Arab Winter.

Let’s review the bidding. Here’s a dirty dozen of legitimate concerns. See if you recognize them. Such ugly babies.

1. Iran is out of control supporting Hamas and Hezbollah in their regional terror and mischief. Iran and Hamas had a falling out over Syria but after the fighting in Gaza, they’re enjoying make up terror love. Nothing as sweet as make up terror love. Sure they rained down 3,000 rockets on the Israelis but who cares about that? Old news.

2. Iran was the exporter of copper fusion IEDs to Iraq during the Iraq war. Killed and maimed lots of US soldiers.

3. Iran is behind the rebels in Yemen.

4. Egypt is unstable and still reeling from the after shocks of the chaos unleashed by the Muslim Brotherhood which came to power with the support of the Obama administration. The Muslim Brotherhood had furnished two divisions to Hitler in World War II and the world was surprised that the MB turned out to be trouble?

5. Syria is in chaos and the idea that the US was going to train 5,000 indigenous troops to oppose the regime is nonsense. That’s like sending a soldier into battle armed with an unsharpened spoon. After a lot of red line drawing, we have essentially accepted that Assad has won the civil war and that ISIS was spawned in the process. What a way to be a two time loser, no? Big winner? Russia.

6. Iraq is in chaos and is under attack by ISIS. I don’t care what you call ISIS — ISIS, ISIL, IS, the Islamic State, SIC or Da’ish — they are in desperate need of eradication and nothing is effectively being done. Meanwhile the IS leadership has announced a balanced budget — no, not a typo, they have a balanced freakin’ budget something the US cannot achieve — and their Caliphate complete with a leader and everything. Meanwhile the slaughter, beheadings and attacks continue. The west is paralyzed having lost its ability to be outraged by anything.

7. Al Qaeda [and for that matter, the Taliban] is back from the Riviera and tan, rested and ready for more mischief. Now with Yemen as an operating base, this is going to get ugly on an ape.

8. Yemen has now been seized by rebels with support from Iran. Yemen had just a few months ago been upheld as a peachy keen safe country. Not so much today.

9. We have somehow managed to alienate the Saudis, an impossible hurdle given that US dollars feed them through the other end of their oil pipelines.

10. Heard much about Libya? No, because chaos is alive and well in Libya. It is essentially under the control of Al Qaeda.

11. The show stopper? We have managed to alienate the only democratic country in the region and our 51st state, Israel. The Prime Minister of our best — only real — Middle Eastern ally comes to town and the President can’t even find a minute for a latte and a chat. Too busy with YouTubers perhaps?

12. The coup de grace? We are right on the verge of accepting Iran as a nuclear armed state. The Obama administration has been negotiating and negotiating and Iran has been centrifuging and centrifuging. Bet that the Iranians go nuclear well before we make a deal with them. When the negotiations began, the US led sanctions regime had put Iran on the mat with a boot on their neck. We let them up for the chance to get horribly disrespected and out negotiated by a country for whom terrorism is a core value. Iran, a nuclear power, scare you?

The Arab Spring has now turned into a nightmare, the Arab Winter. As you review the above list, see if you can identify those pain points which will go away by themselves or which will not ultimately impact our shores. There may be one or two but do the math yourself.

In fairness, there is a temptation to blame all of these on the Obama administration. That is unfair. What is fair is the observation that the Obama administration has ignored many of these problems, has allowed them to fester, has taken half-hearted or ineffective action to deal with them — but they are not solely the Obama administration’s fault. They are, however, the Obama administration’s challenge to deal with.

The world is a very dangerous place — not just the Middle East — and Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ukraine, North Korea, Russia are all places to keep a weather eye on for the foreseeable future. There is trouble on the horizon and it is headed our way. [As an aside, know who is really getting a free ride these days? China. China is a wicked as ever but they can hide behind the smoke of all the other mischief in the world.]

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Be good to yourself this week, you deserve it.

  • We can agree on Obama criticisms when it comes to his oft-negligent handling of the middle east. He’s been focused on “getting us out of the war,” which he has only done on a surface level. And this thing is an iceberg — 90% of it lurks deep below the surface.

    I think Obama is more concerned with being seen as the good guy than doing what it takes to actually be the good guy, which often makes you look like a bad guy instead.

    Don’t fret, though. Hillary won’t have the same issues here. 🙂

    • JLM

      .
      The BRC is prepared to give the President a complete pass on both A’stan and Iraq — not because his policy is good (it isn’t) but solely because it wasn’t his deal. There is something profound about not letting any war pass through the terms of two Presidents.

      The rest of the Middle East is a goulash of to-ing, fro-ing and bad picks on who to back or failing to back anyone. We may actually end up teaming up with Assad to fight ISIS before this is over. Wow, THAT red line really circled around a bit, no?

      There is nothing wrong with wanting to be the good guy as long as it extends deeper than one’s cologne. It is the notion of “appearing” to be a good guy v actually “being” a good guy that is disastrous.

      When Gates was Sec Def, the Pentagon made quite a few good decisions. Once it became others, the President stopped getting adult advice and got a lot of holding the mirror up to his smiling face — laughing at your own jokes kind of smiles.

      Hillary is a hawk having to compensate for the slurs that will sent her way in the category of “she’s not tough enough”. She will overcompensate to prove her critics wrong.

      The bottom line is this — just like a startup, the US military has to find MPF and hand out ass kickings with a high degree of violence, kill shitheads and come home before the nation building gets unleashed. Even if you have to return every five years, this is a better policy than staying for 10-15 years and accomplishing nothing.

      BRC
      http://www.themusingsofthebigredcar.com

    • JLM

      .
      One more small point, the President — like any startup CEO — has gotten a lot of very bad advice along the way as it relates to war. And weapon systems. And political underbelly of other nations. There is not a person in his cabinet since Bob Gates who has been an intellectual force multiplier. He is very, very, very alone. Electoral politics is not good training for foreign policy.

      BRC
      http://www.themusingsofthebigredcar.com

      • The situation is also nuts. You’re right about the to-ing and fro-ing on who to back, because its a competition for the lesser of some pretty bad evils.

        That said, the inaction (as far as what the public is privy) to seems to be asking for big trouble down the road.

        Its really too bad Gates retired. McCain has some big sway now, but he can’t really be trusted to work in a cooperative manner, especially since he pretty much reports to Boehner whose job is self-defined as zigging to the President’s zag.

        • JLM

          .
          Gates did his time and served both Bush and Obama well. It is difficult to ask a man to serve much longer. Remember he had also been the head of the CIA in a former administration.

          McCain is an idiot in my book. He is not a smart guy and absent the sympathy vote for his POW status would never have been in the government. I honor his service but wouldn’t trust his intellectual gifts. He is also a meddler.

          As to Boehner, the President hasn’t bothered to develop a relationship and Boehner is a weak leader in his own right.

          Truer words were never spoken — we just about batting zero in good outcomes in the Middle East. Really can’t point to much of anything as a good outcome. I am particularly pissed off at the Army who supposedly stood up a 900,000 man Iraqi army which can’t defeat 30K ISIS horde.

          BRC
          http://www.themusingsofthebigredcar.com

  • JLM