Posts tagged ‘Qatar’

04/13/2012

Close Persian Gulf Region Bases

How many military bases does the United States really need for national security purposes in the Persian Gulf and the surrounding region? The following, which excludes any lingering unclassified facilities in Iraq, is just a partial list of our presence in the area.

KUWAIT
Army: Camp Arifjan
Air Force: Ahmed Al-Jaber Air Base
Air Force & Army: Ali Al-Salem Air Base (since 1991)
Army: Camp Buehring (NW)
Army: Camp Virginia
Navy: Kuwait Naval Base

BAHRAIN
Navy: Manama Naval Base
Air Force: Sheikh Isa Air Base
Air Force: Bahrain International Airport

SAUDI ARABIA
Air Force: Eskan Village

QATAR
Air Force: al-Udeid Air Base
Camp al-Saliyah

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Navy: Fujairah Naval Base
Navy: Jebel Ali Seaport
Air Force: al-Dhafra Air Base

OMAN
Air Force: Masirah Air Base
Air Force: Thumrait Air Base
Seeb International Airport (dual use)

DJIBOUTI
Navy: Camp Le Monier

TURKEY
Air Force: Incirlik Air Base

ISRAEL
Army: Dimona Radar Facility
Navy: Port of Haifa (6th Fleet)

INDIAN OCEAN
Navy: Diego Garcia

AFGHANISTAN
Marines: Camp Dwyer
Marines: Camp Leatherneck
Marines: Camp Rhino
Marines: FOB Delhi
Marines: FOB Delaram
Marines: FOB Fiddler’s Green
Marines: FOB Geronimo
Marines: PB Jaker
Air Force: Bagram Airfield
Air Force: Shindand Airbase
Air Force: Kandahar International Airport

KYRGYZSTAN
Air Force: Manas Air Base

UZBEKISTAN
Termez Air Base Khanabad

KAZAKHSTAN
U.S. military presence

TAJIKISTAN
NATO presence

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06/20/2011

Saudi Arabia: Women Need Equal Rights

After the men of Saudi Arabia were recently ordered by their king to drive tanks into neighboring Bahrain to crush a pro-democracy uprising, a counterattack of sorts was launched last week when the Saudi women courageously took to the streets and drove cars in violation of a sexist law that bars them from operating vehicles.

Although the protest occurred in Saudi Arabia, discrimination against women pervades the entire Persian Gulf. I saw a sign at a hotel swimming pool in Dubai, United Arab Emirates that said women could use the pool between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. only. A Ponderosa Steak House in Doha, Qatar, had one entryway for men and another for women and families. As I walked through the wrong door, not noticing the warning, the waiter escorted me to the correct section for men. Throughout the Persian Gulf, where temperatures can rise to 106 F in the shade, men wear comfortable white cotton with their faces exposed, while women dress like nuns in hot black robes, with everything covered but their eyes.

Saudi Arabia’s Stone Age policy of limiting the use of vehicles to men, and other such Persian Gulf practices, are due to a lack of a representative democracy, where women are excluded from the process, a mix of church and state, and geographical isolation.

Undemocratic monarchies, like the Saudi Arabian kingdom, should be overthrown. Voices on Wall Street and in the Pentagon, who fear change in the region, should be ignored. While markets may momentary get the jitters, during a transition away from a monarch, a democratic leader will certainly continue the sale of oil and there will be no long-term disruption in energy supply.

After establishing a republic, the mixing church and state must be addressed. The problem is any form of government in Saudi Arabia will favor Islam, since the Prophet Mohammed was born in Mecca. The only way to guarantee women freedom from backward religious beliefs is to use the tension between the Sunni and Shiite Muslims to guarantee some constitutional rights.

Perhaps the best way to move the isolated Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabian kingdom into the 21st Century is through increased communication. Not all Muslim states live in the Stone Age. Those along the Mediterranean rim, physically closer to Europe, have had a greater exposure to Western values and customs. Until recently, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf was simply too far away to hear arguments supporting equal rights. With the Internet, the idea of equality is able to spread, and change is now possible.

The West should support democratic movements among our Persian Gulf allies; we should advance the American idea of a separation of church and state, and continue interjecting modern ideas into isolated regions through the Internet and other forms of communication, so someday soon equal rights can be achieved.

03/24/2011

Persian Gulf Monarchs: Not Our Friends

In this North African, Mideast and Persian Gulf time of uprising, what is the foreign policy of the U.S. with respect to the form of government that should be adopted in other countries?

In the American Revolution, we severed our ties to England’s King George and created the first government with no monarch. The overthrow of King Louis in the French Revolution soon followed. The First French Republic had it right when they decreed a “war of all peoples against all kings,” as Napoleon’s army proceeded to topple royalty throughout Europe.

Unfortunately, the European monarchs pushed back against the radical French-American ideals, defeated Napoleon’s army, and restored the rule of kings on the continent. This explains why there are now kings in Belgium, Spain and Sweden; queens in Denmark, Britain and Holland; princes in Monaco, Andorra and Liechtenstein, and a Duke still lingering around in Luxembourg.

Europeans are quick to defend monarchies, saying their royal families have constitutional constraints and are mere figureheads. While this is true, their very existence provides aid and comfort to absolute monarchs in other places, such as the Persian Gulf, where royal families have unlimited powers. If the Sultan of Oman, the Emir of Qatar, or the King of Saudi Arabia, is questioned as to their form of government, they respond saying Britain, Spain and Holland have royalty, so why can’t we? Europe needs to get into the 21st Century and set a proper example by removing their crowns.

Of the 193 independent countries, only 28 have monarchies. The other 165 do not. We need to stand with the correct allies on this issue. We need to be front and center with the French Republic and with not the British monarchy. We need to expand upon the work started by Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and the other revolutionaries who founded our country.

In the Persian Gulf, we need to do what we can to bring down the kings in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, the Emirs in Kuwait and Qatar, the Sultan of Oman, and the leader of the United Arab Emirates, who calls himself a president, but is in fact selected by heredity.

Saudi Arabia should have been criticized by the U.S. when they outlawed protesting on March 4th. The U.S. should have opposed the intervention of the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates on the side of the Bahraini King on March 14. Hilary Clinton should not have stood at the side of King Mohamed of Morocco, when he merely promised constitutional reforms on March 9th. She should have been at a distance, calling for an end to their monarchy. When Sultan Said of Oman transferred law-making to persons outside royal family on March 13, we should have pushed for a total abdication. We need to get beyond the truly nice guy image projected by King Abdullah of Jordan. When he talked about reforms on March 14, the U.S. should have suggested real democratic change, like the elimination of hereditary rule.

We need to have a consistent foreign policy opposed to the very existence of monarchy, in any form. This is a perfect time to eliminate six monarchs in the Persian Gulf and two more in Jordan and Morocco.

03/23/2011

Egypt: Libyan Rebels Need Your Tanks

A recent UN Resolution authorized intervention in Libya to protect the civilian population from Qaddafi. Since Qaddafi is an ongoing threat to those in the civilian population who oppose him, the only way to protect the people is to remove Qaddafi.

While the western states appear to willing to use air power to protect Libyan civilians, this alone will not work. The conflict will not end, until Qaddafi is removed, and that will not occur, until a well-equipped land force closes in on Tripoli.

We must start with the reality that Qaddafi will not step down peacefully. He has nowhere to go. He has the ability to remain, because he has oil money. He can purchase military materiel and keep his troops well paid. They will fight the rebels as long and as hard as they can, as their futures are tied to Qaddafi’s.

Force must be used. While targets have already been destroyed from the air, Qaddafi is one step ahead of the attacks. He has been through this before. U.S. planes bombed his residence in 1986 in a failed attempt to assassinate him. For over 25 years, Qaddafi has been looking over his shoulder. He has had time to think about the next bombing campaign. He will not be taken out by air.

The removal of Qaddafi must come on the ground. But who will use troops? The rebels themselves obviously must take the lead, but they are ill-equipped. Who will provide military hardware?

Qatar offered troops to fight Qaddafi, but this was not out of a desire to support democracy. It was instead because they have a monarchy and Qaddafi came to power in 1969 by overthrowing a king. Qatar’s motives are suspect. Their offer should be rejected.

France has a history of fighting Qaddafi. In Libya’s war against the former French colony of Chad (1980s), they sent in troops and planes. Qaddafi would however accuse France of neo-colonialism and the French should not put their boots on the ground.

Italy, Germany and Britain also have military experience in Libya, dating back to World War II. While U.S. troops advanced eastward from Morocco through Algeria into Tunisia, the English 8th Army won the battle at El Alamein in Egypt in 1942 and drove Irwin Rommel, the Desert Fox, and his German and Italian forces, westward through Libya also into Tunisia.

Italy and Germany will not get involved now. Italy has a colonial history in Libya, and if they used troops, Libyans would unite against them. Germany will also stay out. They abstained from the UN Res. and oppose even air strikes, let alone ground forces. With regards to Britain, they have a colonial history in Egypt and would be unable to mount an offensive from Egyptian soil.

This leads us to Egypt. The Egyptian people should identify with the Libyan rebels, as they just got rid of Hosni Mubarak, who ruled for 30 years. Egypt does not have a monarch. They forced their king to abdicate in 1952. Egypt shares the same Sunni Muslim religion with Libya. They could not be accused of conducting a Crusade. They have 79 million people, as compared to only 6.3 million Libyans, and could assemble a volunteer army large enough to help the rebels.

Egypt has military hardware, including tanks, as they are the largest recipient of U.S. aid (after Israel). The Egyptians should drive their tanks to the Libyan border and allow the Libyan rebels to reflag them, using the traditional Libyan symbol. They should then slowly drive the tanks from east to west, along 1,000 miles of Mediterranean coast, past Benghazi, where they would be greeted with support, and on to the shores of Tripoli, for a showdown with Qaddafi. With the barrel of an Egyptian tank pointed at his front door, my guess is Qaddafi would finally step down.

03/14/2011

Bahrain: Oppose Saudi Intervention

Over the past weeks, rebels in Bahrain have been struggling to bring down the royal family in Bahrain. Like most in the Persian Gulf, the people of Bahrain live under the whim of a monarch. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates also have governments that are able to disregard the will of the people without consequence.

The United States was the first nation in global history to devise a government that had no ruling family. It was an extremely radical idea at the time. The French Revolution soon followed. Unfortunately, several European states, such as the United Kingdom, kept their monarchies. While they later diminished their powers and reduced their roles to figureheads, it would have been much better if they had joined the U.S. and France and completely eliminated them.

As Americans, all of us should support the rebels of Bahrain. Our 5th Fleet is based in Bahrain. If it had been used to help the rebels early on, the people of that country would have loved us for promoting American ideals.

Now, we should all be saddened, that just as the rebels had pushed the royal family back up against the wall, troops from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia arrived to suppress the freedom fighters. Our concern should not be the fate of the 5th Fleet, our focus should be on the principle of freedom. Ask yourself if you would be willing to live under a monarch? If not, support for the rebels of Bahrain by demanding that Saudi Arabia remove their oppressive forces from Bahrain.