Posts tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

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

12/07/2011

Romney: Weak Foreign Policy President

Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, like George W. Bush, would be another weak foreign policy President, since he is not going to stand up to the special interests, but will instead continue the War in Afghanistan, and perhaps start another conflict in Iran, or in some other place the Israelis want us to deploy our troops.

VIETNAM: Romney, who is not a military veteran, would freely send the children of others into combat, even though he did not serve. Born in 1947, he came of age in 1965, just as the War in Vietnam was escalating. He was exposed to the draft throughout the war. He first obtained a 2-S student deferment, as a freshman at Stanford (1965-66). He then used Mormon missionary exemptions, while in France, from July 1966 through Jan. 1969. Curiously, he stayed in Europe, out of the reach of his local draft board, for a half year beyond his normal two-year Mormon hitch, which should have ended in July 1968. Upon returning to the U.S. in Jan. 1969, he added more deferments, by promptly enrolling at Brigham Young University, and by getting married on March 21, 1969. In the first military draft lottery, held in Dec. 1969, he luckily drew number 300. After finishing at Brigham Young in May 1971, the hawkish Mitt could have enlisted, but he played it safe, by enrolling at Harvard Law School. By the time the U.S. War in Vietnam ended, and the draft was abolished in 1973, he had successfully avoided military service for 8 continuous years.

ISRAEL: Romney sounds weak, like George W. Bush, because he would allow others to control our foreign policy. Not surprisingly, he said his first foreign policy trip would be to Israel. Although Israel continues to illegally construct settlements in occupied Palestine, Romney panders, claiming it’s wrong to criticize them.

MILITARY: Romney wants to appear tough, like John Wayne, by also pandering to the military.  He said in no uncertain terms he will not cut any defense spending, even though it is a major source of our national budget deficit. He seeks military support by complaining about proposed cuts for the F-22, Air Force bombers, and delays in new Navy aircraft carriers and cruisers, but he irresponsibly never suggests raising taxes to pay for these things.

FOREIGN AID: While Romney would somehow find money for guns, he has nothing for butter. He said we spend more on foreign aid than we should, and we should let China do it, because he said it makes no sense to borrow from China, to give aid to others.

ASSASSINATION: Romney incorrectly thinks it is legal for a President to order the death of Americans suspected of terrorism. He said if an individual allies himself with a group that declared war on the U.S., and bears arms, it is fair to simply execute them.

AFGHANISTAN: Although the U.S. has been in Afghanistan for 10 years, Romney cowardly fails to show any courage, by refusing to pledge a withdrawal, at any time before 2014. He instead promises to defer to the generals and conditions on the ground, code for staying indefinitely. He uses slogans from the Vietnam Era, like we cannot “cut and run,” or withdraw precipitously. The truth of course is we can, if we just did it. It would be easy. While Romney said he will not deal with the Taliban, because he does not negotiate with terrorists, he contradicts himself by saying the Afghans are now free of the Taliban, due to our efforts. Romney dupes unknowing Americans into believing we need to “train” Afghan Security Forces, as if they are utterly stupid, and learned nothing over the past 10 years.

PAKISTAN: Romney wants to make sure Pakistan allows us to go after the Taliban and Haqqani Network, but laments that only 12% of Pakistanis approve of us. He admits we aren’t doing a good job. He thinks Pakistan is fragile, nearly a “failed state.”

IRAN: Romney believes it is unacceptable for Iran to develop nuclear power for energy purposes. He worries they would obtain a nuclear weapon, if Obama is re-elected, and thinks the President should have clearly said we will take military action to keep that from happening. Romney will do what Israel wants, by imposing crippling sanctions against Iran, even though the Iranians have done nothing to the U.S. While it is ok to support the dissidents who took to the streets, and to encourage regime change, if that fails, Romney would make the mistake of using our military to illegally intervene in the internal affairs of Iran.

SYRIA: Romney correctly supports the rebels fighting Syria’s dictatorship, and favors sanctions and covert action to bring down Assad, but instead of justifying his position on democratic principles, he unnecessarily links Syria to Iran. He seriously thinks Hezbollah is at work in Latin America. Get real Mitt.

SAUDI ARABIA: Instead of calling for the end of the absolute monarchy in Saudi Arabia, Romney, a weak person, says we should support the backward kingdom, because they support us.

EUROPE: Romney’s ability to speak French is a definite plus by global standards, but a skill that will certainly raise serious suspicion among Tea Party wing nuts. While Romney believes the Europeans should take care of their own problems, he contradicts himself by saying if the economies of the world were collapsing, he would take action. When asked about U.S. contributions to the International Monetary Fund used to help the Euro-Zone, he said the U.S. must focus of our own deficits, but then he contradicts himself saying we need to prevent a contagion from affecting U.S. banks. So, no one really knows what Romney thinks, or what he would do, except perhaps speak French while in France.

RUSSIA: In one debate, Romney sounded like he considered Russia an enemy, as he accused Obama of giving them what they wanted. It was a strange, because the Soviet Union dissolved 20 years ago, and we’ve been allied with Russia for many years now.

America would be better off with Obama, than a man willing to send others into battle, despite his own avoidance of the draft. Romney is far too eager to do what Israel wants. The U.S. needs a strong President, willing to resist the Israeli Lobby. We need to withdraw from Afghanistan, a place where our troops have no winnable mission. Yet Romney promises to stay. We need to avoid additional conflict in Iran, but again Romney is not man enough to keep us out. Romney should not become our leader, as he would be just another weak foreign policy President.

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.

05/06/2011

Bin Laden Intel: Thank Bill Clinton

During Bill Clinton’s Presidency, bin Laden was suspected, in the first World Trade Center bombing (2-26-93), a car bombing against U.S. forces in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (11-13-95), a truck bombing at the USAF Khobar Towers housing complex in Saudi Arabia (6-25-96), the U.S. Embassy bombings, in Kenya and Tanzania (8-7-98), and the USS Cole attack in Yemen (10-12-00).

Under President Clinton, the CIA established a special operation in 1996 called the “Bin Laden Unit,” which started collecting intelligence on his whereabouts. After the embassy bombings, Clinton’s Atty. Gen. used the Intel to indict bin Laden, on Nov. 4, 1998, and the FBI was able to put him on their “Most Wanted” list.

George W. Bush was sworn-in on Jan. 20, 2001. If it had not been for the five years of groundwork done by Bill Clinton and his people, Bush would have had no idea bin Laden was a Sept. 11, 2001 suspect, and no clue he might be hiding in Afghanistan. It was Bill Clinton’s Intel that made possible Bush’s prompt invasion of Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, just one month after 911.

While President Obama and his team deserve 90% of the praise for the recent operation that eliminated bin Laden, if credit is to be shared with earlier presidents, then Bill Clinton must be included. Clinton started bombing suspected bin Laden sites on Aug. 20, 1998. Although Republicans accused him at the time of diverting attention away from his personal issues, it was Clinton in Aug, 1999, who first ordered the CIA to take out bin Laden.

While Clinton did not find him under his watch, neither did Bush, despite having eight years to do so. When U.S. intelligence pinpointed bin Laden’s precise location on Dec. 16, 2001, during the Afghan Battle at Tora Bora, Bush inexplicably denied a Delta Force permission to drop in over a mountain range to capture or kill him, and bin Laden was able to escape into Pakistan.

Bush later said at a March 13, 2002 Press Conference: “I just don’t spend that much time on him…I don’t know where he is…I truly am not that concerned about him.” By 2005, Bush had re-directed Delta Force away from the bin Laden objective to other unrelated missions in Iraq. The NY Times reported Bush closed the CIA unit that had been looking for bin Laden, in late 2005 (7-4-06). This was the same time bin Laden had opened his Pakistani hideaway.

The partisan desire of the right-wingers to praise Bush for a mission Obama carried out is illogical. If they want to give some credit to their former president, for whatever they think he might have done during his eight years in office, then it only logical to also give Bill Clinton credit for the work he did, during the last five years of his presidency. They can’t have it both ways.

05/03/2011

Bin Laden’s 20-Year War

Bin Laden’s 20-year War started when the first President Bush made the mistake, in the Gulf War (1990-91), of stationing American troops in Saudi Arabia. Since Saudi Arabia is to Muslims, as the Vatican in Rome is to Catholics, bin Laden was outraged that the infidel was permitted on his sacred Holy Land.

Bin Laden’s Army took the offensive, and fought their first battle against the U.S. at the World Trade Center, where they had only minimal success, as a bomb went off at the base of the buildings, but they withstood the blast, and only six Americans died (1993).

Bin Laden’s Army next won two battles on Saudi Arabian soil. A car bomb exploded at the U.S. military base in Riyadh, where five Americans died, and 60 were wounded (1995). The next hit was a more forceful blast at the USAF Khobar Towers complex, near Dhahran, where 19 Americans died, and 372 were injured (1996).

While U.S. forces held their ground at the Saudi bases, Bin Laden’s Army opened an East African Front, and scored two more victories, as bombs went off at the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (1998). 224 were killed and 4,000 were injured in Kenya, and 11 died and 85 were wounded in Tanzania (1998).

As bin Laden became enemy number one, his Army strategically retreated into Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. President Bill Clinton counter-attacked against bin Laden’s suspected sites, with air strikes, but Osama avoided harm, as the Taliban refused to cooperate, despite sanctions against Afghanistan (1999).

Bin Laden’s Army next hit U.S. forces on the Arabian Peninsula Home Front, in Yemen, where they attacked the USS Cole, as it was docked at the Aden port, killing 17 American sailors (2000).

Emboldened by their successes, Bin Laden’s Army struck at the heart of his enemy’s capitol in Washington, and again in New York. Like the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor (1941), bin Laden scored a dastardly victory on Sept. 11, 2001, as the Pentagon burned, and the World Trade Center came down, killing 3,000. Bin Laden’s Army had won a major battle, but America was awakened, and bin Laden had now signed his own death warrant.

Even though fundamentalist bin Laden was born, raised and indoctrinated in Saudi Arabia, and 15 of bin Laden’s 19 attackers on 911 were also Saudi Arabian, President Bush II decided not to overthrow the backward Saudi Kingdom. He instead entered Afghanistan (2001). After initially wanting bin Laden dead or alive, Bush II announced he abandoned the hunt for bin Laden. He then lost his compass completely and started an unrelated war in Iraq (2003).

Meanwhile, Bush II gave bin Laden what he had always wanted. He withdrew all U.S. troops from the Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia (2003). Upon doing this, the offensive phase of bin Laden’s War against the U.S. ended. There were no longer any attacks against U.S. Air bases, U.S. Navy ships, U.S. Embassies, or U.S. cities. Bin Laden himself simply slipped into seclusion.

After President Obama won the presidency (2008), U.S. troops levels in Afghanistan increased by 30,000 (2009). Bin Laden was located in neighboring Pakistan (2010). The 20-year war that had begun in 1991, when an Islamic fundamentalist was offended by Bush I and his decision to open U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia, ended on May 1, 2011, as Special Forces for a President named Barack Hussein Obama, finally took out Osama bin Laden.

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.

03/14/2011

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.