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February 24, 2012

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The problem is that because no one who mattered cared what happened to Gaddhafi, Libya looked like an operation with no geopolitical cost. On the other hand with Syria, we have a stewpot that's actually on Israel's doorstep and while Assad's put forth a hostile stance towards Israel and the West, he's kept an even keel until his internal issues started. Further, it's not like whoever replaces Assad is going to be friendly toward Israel and the West.

I personally didn't like Obama's venture into Libya, but Syria doesn't look like a better idea to me.

"We went to war to supported the Libyan opposition even though Libya was no threat to us." - lil mike

This is patently untrue.

It has been reported Gaddafi wanted to stop selling oil in US dollars and institute some kind of gold-backed currency. This is exactly the kind of thing that would make ANY (Rep. or Dem. ) intervene and remove Gaddafi.

Concern for US dollar buying power is an important concern for ANY POTUS. It's an issue which shows there are continuities in how the USA must operate in order to stay viable. No president would have allowed Gaddafi to stay in power in the face of such a threat to the US dollar. This has nothing to do with the personal views of Obama. As I said in response to the recent Iran post here, it is the same reason (along with other, quite valid concerns) that we are ramping up rhetoric against Iran now.

LINK (one of hundreds) to the gold-for-oil issue:
http://thenewamerican.com/economy/markets-mainmenu-45/9743-gadhafis-gold-money-plan-would-have-devastated-dollar

There are pragmatic considerations here too. Gadaffi was militarily weak. Russia and China were not willing to defend him at the UN. Libya has oil, and cutting off Libyan oil was affecting oil markets. It was easy for US, French and British air craft to operate in Libyan air space.

Syria has a large (300,000+) army that is heavily armed by Russia. Now a large part of that arm is Sunni conscripts and many of them are deserting the army. Currently the rebels in Syria are weak and no match for the Syrian army. Over time that may change.

Syria does not have oil, so the violence in Syria is not directly affecting the US the way the violence in Libya was.

Any military operation in Syria would have to be much bigger than the Libya operation, because the Syrian military is bigger and better armed.

You need to recognize that the Arab Spring uprising are basically a lose/lose propositions for the US. Supporting the uprisings, as we did in Egypt really didn't buy us any love from the Egyptian people. Helping overthrow Gadaffi probably hasn't bought us much in Libya either.

The US has talked for years about democracy and then turned around and supported dictators like Mubarak. Many people in the Middle East do not believe that the US supports democracy at all. The Arab spring put the US in a difficult position. If the US supported Mubarak, then everyone would have said, "See the US is not serious about democracy." If the US supported the anti-Mubarak forces, then the Egyptian people would still not trust the US because of its years of support for Mubarak.

In Egypt the Egyptian Army basically decided Mubarak had to go. In Libya Gadaffi's army was weak enough the rebels could overthrow it with a lot of air cover from US, Britain and France to take out all of Gadaffi's heavy weapons under the cover of some UN resolutions.

The Syrian army is much larger, has a more heavy weapons, and is protected at the UN by Russia and China.

Are you sure this description isn't equally valid for George W. Bush?

It is more economical to postulate that Obama is anti-American. He also has a Muslim sensibility stemming from his days in Indonesia. His decades in the pseudo-Christian churches like Wright's (he has found another in DC) are a diagnostic clue to his bigotries.

We, the USA, the only country that matters, has no interests in Syria. Why should we waste resources to support a Muslim uprising again? Intervening in Syria is no necessary than intervening in Lybia.

Regarding Israel, why would they want the "devil they know" to be replaced by a devil they don't know? Why would the new Syrian regime be anymore friendly to Israel than the Assad regime? Talk about neo-colonialism gone awry.

But wait, according to Drudge and all those deep thinkers, when Syria falls we are going to find all of those WMDSs that Saddam magically transported to Syria prior to the 2003 invasion. Yup, that will prove that the Iraq war was a good idea.

Russia is backing Syria. Russia still has nuclear weapons, millions of men under arms, and controls the gas supply to Western Europe. That is really all you need to know.

The armies of the Apocalypse are gathering around Israel: Gog (Ahmadinejad) of Magog (Iran), the chief (Putin) of Rosh (Russia), Meshech (North Korea) and Tubal (China), Gomer (Turkey), Togarmah (Syria), Phut (Lybia), and Cush (post-revolution Egypt).
Either the biblical prophesies are true or the elites are engineering a similar scenario. All the pieces have been put in place, now all that's left is a catalyst to set the events in motion. One of these two countries will strike first, Israel or Iran, and when that happens all those aforementioned nations will band together with Iran under the excuse of defense and national interest. And it will be America that plays the role of God's army on earth to protect Israel.

re:[Obama]"while using his high verbal IQ" Half Sigma

How do you know that le brun bouffon has a high verbal IQ?

Anything he says that makes sense appears to be READ from a teleprompter. A whole raft of youTube spots are about his gaffs when speaking extemporaneously. Where are his school grades and test scores to prove he does have the talent? Where is the written trail of his intellectual development through college and law school? Where is the evidence, concrete evidence, of a GREAT mind behind the facade?

All I see is a slick dresser, mellifluous voice, good acting skills and the trained delivery of a TV News Reader ( News Anchor ). As to Brains, he keeps them hidden. Why? Most likely because there likely isn't much there.

Dan Kurt

Syria exports ~100,000 bbl/day of oil.

Libya, a member of OPEC, exports ~1,500,000 bbl/day.

Stop commenting about foreign policy because you don't know what the hell you're talking about. Why do you consistently latch on to the most idiotic theories from the bowels of the internet?

"Secret anti-neocolonialism," and "evil genius," Seriously? You're delusional.

Libya was a no-brainer in terms of the risk:reward ratio -- an isolate, weak, and hated Arab dictator whom most Arab states didn't even care for, a short flight across the Mediterranean, with a small population of 6 million, and a lot of oil, and a pathetic military. Oh, and he was well-known as having killed ~200 Americans, ergo, an easy political sell.

Compare Syria: 20 million, a dictator who enjoys some backing in the region, a politically problematic proximity to Israel, and no oil. Oh, and a much more well-equipped and manned military. Not a handful of paid mercenaries, like Gaddafi had.

In short, for the US and NATO, there's much less to gain and far more risk in this venture, so they're waiting it out to see if the uprisings can topple Al-Assad.

For the umpteenth time, STOP projecting Israel's interests onto the US.

GGFiddle writes:

“ It has been reported Gaddafi wanted to stop selling oil in US dollars and institute some kind of gold-backed currency. This is exactly the kind of thing that would make ANY (Rep. or Dem. ) intervene and remove Gaddafi.”

That may have been true, but it’s also irrelevant. Libya’s share of the oil market isn’t great enough to have that sort of influence. As a rogue nation coming out of the cold, Libya didn’t really have close relations with anyone. The other rogue nations like North Korea and Iran didn’t trust them since Gaddafi made his peace with the US, and the other Middle Eastern and OPEC powers thought he was just bonkers. In other words, it wasn’t the 80’s, when Gaddafi could legitimately speak for much of the third world. He could only speak for Libya. So there was never any chance that a Libyan sponsored plant to replace the dollar as the official oil currency was going to happen.

There have been other threats to the status of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency that are much greater than whatever wacky scheme Gaddafi may have had.

The International Monetary Fund has called for replacing the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/10/markets/dollar/index.htm

France has made a proposal to replace the dollar with a basket of several currencies.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0214/g20-business.html

The BRICS group of nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, & South Africa) has formally called for revamping the world financial system and replacing the dollar.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/14/us-brics-idUSTRE73D18H20110414

If we were going to intervene to protect the dollar, these are far more serious threats to the dollar than anything Gaddafi could ever have implemented.

Meanwhile, Syria has been involved with North Korea exchanging nuclear technology; threatening enough that the Israeli’s felt the need to bomb their facilities. I just don’t see that Libya was a threat to the US, at least compared to Syria.

In response to Half Sigma’s post, I would buy into the idea that Obama wants what’s best for the US, but I also think he has no idea what that is or how to implement it. The Libyan war was proof enough. Sunday everyone in his administration made the rounds of the news shows stating there was no intention of the US intervening or establishing a no fly zone, and by Wednesday we were at war, after the French somehow browbeat Clinton into going along with something she opposed a few days earler.

He’s no evil genius. He’s just totally out of depth in a field he has had little experience in.

@ lil mike

My comment wasn't meant to compare Libya to Syria.

Also, I don't buy that Libya was irrelevant. You say so. Many other commentators do not. You claim Gaddafi would have had no sway. Again, I don't buy that in its entirety. Who's to say his example wouldn't have been followed by other oil producing countries.

Your point about the other threats is not that convincing to me either. Mainly because all of the coalitions you mentioned involve nations we cannot attack or subvert easily (Russia, China, France). Also, Sarkozy considered Gaddafi a threat to the world financial system and said so.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/apr/21/libya-muammar-gaddafi

Again, I'm not doubting your comparisons and assessments of military might between Syria and Libya, but your initial claim still seems completely untrue (that Libya was no threat). The fact that other stronger entities also want to do something similar is not a real argument. We don't agree with Russia, China, or France on many things. If we could invade and bomb the shit out of these countries as easily, you would be more convincing.

Addendum to my response to lil mike:

Straight from the first link I posted:

"Adding credence to the theory about why Gadhafi had to be overthrown, as The New American reported in March, was the rebels’ odd decision to create a central bank to replace Gadhafi’s state-owned monetary authority. The decision was broadcast to the world in the early weeks of the conflict.

In a statement describing a March 19 meeting, the rebel council announced, among other things, the creation of a new oil company. And more importantly: “Designation of the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and appointment of a Governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary headquarters in Benghazi.”

The creation of a new central bank, even more so than the new national oil regime, left analysts scratching their heads. “I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising,” noted Robert Wenzel in an analysis for the Economic Policy Journal. “This suggests we have a bit more than a rag tag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences,” he added. Wenzel also noted that the uprising looked like a “major oil and money play, with the true disaffected rebels being used as puppets and cover” while the transfer of control over money and oil supplies takes place."

The last paragraph is especially telling.

Most of the claims that Assad is committing massacre is just propaganda.


Quote from Stratfor "Although regime forces have been cracking down on dissent in Homs, there have been no signs of a massacre there. Syrian opposition forces have an interest in portraying an impending massacre, hoping to mimic the conditions that propelled a foreign military intervention in Libya to prevent former leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces from leveling the opposition stronghold of Benghazi. However, the regime has calibrated its crackdowns to avoid just such a scenario. Regime forces have been careful to avoid the high casualty numbers that could lead to an intervention based on humanitarian grounds."


http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/missteps-syrian-oppositions-propaganda-effort

GGFiddle writes:

“My comment wasn't meant to compare Libya to Syria.
Also, I don't buy that Libya was irrelevant. You say so. Many other commentators do not. You claim Gaddafi would have had no sway. Again, I don't buy that in its entirety. Who's to say his example wouldn't have been followed by other oil producing countries.
Your point about the other threats is not that convincing to me either. Mainly because all of the coalitions you mentioned involve nations we cannot attack or subvert easily (Russia, China, France). Also, Sarkozy considered Gaddafi a threat to the world financial system and said so.
Again, I'm not doubting your comparisons and assessments of military might between Syria and Libya, but your initial claim still seems completely untrue (that Libya was no threat). The fact that other stronger entities also want to do something similar is not a real argument. We don't agree with Russia, China, or France on many things. If we could invade and bomb the shit out of these countries as easily, you would be more convincing.”

I don’t think Gaddafi represented any threat to the dollar, not that he couldn’t have been a threat to world stability in some way if he wanted to. He did a pretty good job of doing just that a few decades ago. But Libya was actually a success story of getting a rogue nation coming out of the cold and making an effort to rejoin the world community. Was he still a tin pot dictator? Yes. But that could describe the leadership of many nations that we don’t go to war with.

I think I had already explained why I didn’t think Libya could overturn the dollar pricing of oil by itself. Who was going to go along with it? Even our enemies want US dollars. There isn’t any sort of gold backed currency existing that could step in and take the place of dollar as a world reserve currency. Was Libya going to create it? How? Buy the gold to back the currency? How would he buy the god? Oh with US dollars…

I mentioned a few nations and coalition of nations that possibly could be a threat to dollar reserve currency status. That fact that we “we cannot attack or subvert easily” these nations doesn’t reduce the possible threat they could pose. I’m not sure why that leads you to think that makes them less of threat rather than more of one.

Of course one way or another, under our current course, the dollar is going down as the world’s reserve currency, and then you will really get to see what a declining nation looks like, but that’s another story…

Also from your other comment:

“This suggests we have a bit more than a rag tag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences,” he added. Wenzel also noted that the uprising looked like a “major oil and money play, with the true disaffected rebels being used as puppets and cover” while the transfer of control over money and oil supplies takes place.”

This has more to do with why France and some of the other European nations turned into neo con warhawks when it came to Libya as opposed to almost any other foreign policy crisis. Why we allowed them to brow beat us in to participating is still a mystery.

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