Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Miss Me? Reporting live from the Middle East

The mounting criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of the Libya crisis is neither surprising nor logical.  Let me count the ways:
a)      It is quite logical that France and the United Kingdom would take the lead with the Libyan offensive because they are trading partners.
b)      Building a coalition of Arab League nations was critical to preempt international condemnation.
c)      The US is demonstrating that leadership in foreign affairs requires diplomacy and force.  Diplomacy in the form of getting the UAE and Qatar to sign on militarily in the campaign AND convincing permanent Security Council members China and Russia to abstain and not veto the resolution.  From a military standpoint, who else will provide logistical, air defense neutralization, command and control, and 24 hour surveillance?  That doesn’t mean we need to flying daily sorties. 
d)      Libya is not the end game.  Our services, support, and leadership will be needed throughout the region as Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria are all simmering or on full boil.

Some other tidbits:
a)      $600,000 per Tomahawk missile times 120 missiles = $72million…that buys a few hours of NPR programming.
b)      Never mind Libya.  Keep an eye on Syria.  If the al-Hassad government starts to implode, it will use all necessary force to retain power AND likely bring Iran into the mix as well AND further destabilize Lebanon where the Syrian army still has a large contingent.  Yes, Syria could be the battle ground of West versus Iran. 
c)      An unstable Syria will make Israel very nervous, more so if Iran involves itself.
d)      The above notwithstanding, I am curious as to how administration, State, and Pentagon officials would answer this question regarding Libya:  “What does a good ending look like?”
e)      The failed state in Yemen will be a ongoing problem for our anti-terrorism efforts,  We will need to rely on ‘friends’ in the region to monitor and contain terrorist organizations in Yemen.

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