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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 26-Aug-2014
26-Aug-14 World View -- Egypt and United Arab Emirates (UAE) enter the war in Libya

Web Log - August, 2014

26-Aug-14 World View -- Egypt and United Arab Emirates (UAE) enter the war in Libya

Frightened Syrian leadership asks for American help with ISIS

This morning's key headlines from

Egypt and United Arab Emirates (UAE) enter the war in Libya

Until a few weeks ago, this was the main concourse in the main airport in Tripoli, Libya
Until a few weeks ago, this was the main concourse in the main airport in Tripoli, Libya

As we reported last week, warplanes bombed militia bases in Tripoli, the capital city of Libya, in the early morning hours of last Monday. The problem was that nobody knew whose warplanes they were, since Libyan warplanes don't have the sophisticated night vision or laser-guided technologies necessary to carry these precisions night-time strikes. The mystery deepened on Saturday, when the warplane strikes were repeated.

Now the mystery has been solved. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates secretly teamed to launch airstrikes against Islamist militias, led by ultraconservative Islamist Salah Badi, from the coastal city of Misrata. They're opposed by secular militias, former supporters of Muammar Gaddafi, mainly from the town of Zintan and led by former renegade colonel Khalifa Hifter.

The war in Libya is between militias along a major growing fault line that was exposed by the Gaza war of Israel versus Hamas. Hamas and the Islamists, including the Islamists in Libya and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, are aligned with Turkey and Qatar. The secularists, including the Libyan secularists and president Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, are on the other side of this fault line, aligned with UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Qatar and UAE have been supplying weapons to the opposing sides, the Islamists and secularists, respectively, in Libya, making it something of a proxy war. The warplane strikes used the UAE air force, considered to be one of the most sophisticated in the region, with logistics support from Egypt. However, the direct involvement of UAE and Egypt is a major escalation in the Libyan war because it changes it from a proxy war to a direct war. National Post/NYT and Gulf News

The Obama Administration and the Mideast

From the point of view of politics, the most important paragraph was the following, reported by the New York Times:

"The United States, the officials said, was caught by surprise: Egypt and the Emirates [UAE], both close allies and military partners, acted without informing Washington or seeking its consent, leaving the Obama administration on the sidelines. Egyptian officials explicitly denied the operation to U.S. diplomats, the officials said."

Even a few weeks ago, anyone bombing Libya would have coordinated with or at least notified the United States. But the bumbling, farcical foreign policy of President Barack Obama and his clownish Secretary of State John Kerry has made the Obama administration untrustworthy and irrelevant.

Probably the last straw for anyone occurred during the early days of Gaza war. Kerry went to a "peace conference" in Geneva, where he met with Hamas's allies, Qatar and Turkey, and drew up a "peace proposal" which was no more than a list of Hamas's demands. He then sent this proposal for comment to Israel and Egypt, who found it absolutely appalling.

This comes after years of overt hostility to Israel and to the secularists in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and overt friendliness to the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran, including veiled support for Hamas. The first major step in that direction, from the view of the Mideast, was throwing Egypt's long-time leader and ally Hosni Mubarak under the bus in 2011, particularly infuriating the Saudis, who simply do not trust Obama on any issue any more. The New York Times referred to Egypt and the UAE as "close allies and military partners," but that's wishful thinking.

There's been a lot of talk recently that President Obama seems "detached," plays golf all the time, doesn't enjoy his job, doesn't like governing. This is not surprising.

I'm going to retell something I've mentioned several times. When Obama was campaigning in 2008, he said a number of things that were truly crazy, the most famous of which was that when he was elected the earth would heal and the tides would recede. I thought statements like that were amusing, because they were the sorts of ridiculous empty promises that any politician would make during a campaign.

But I remember how truly shocked I was, after the election, when he kept saying the same things. It was then that I realized that he actually believed what he'd been promising, and I said to myself that he and the nation were in trouble.

It's hard to overestimate how disastrous Obama's experience has been to him personally. After 20 years of listening to Reverend Jeremiah Wright scream, "God Damn America! God Damn America! God Damn America!", Obama really believed that America was the source of all evil in the world, and that he could heal the world by apologizing and making things right. He also expected to become a national hero by implementing universal health care. According to some reports, he was expecting, as late as a few days before the Obamacare launch in 2013, that he would be hearing calls for him to run for a third term.

What has happened goes well beyond an ideological failure. This is a disastrous personal failure for the president. Obamacare has been a disaster, with the worst yet to come, and he knows it. Every foreign policy initiative has been a disaster or near-disaster, as the Libyan situation shows. And now, the worst disaster of all: Obama is being dragged back into the war in Iraq.

It's not surprising that he spends as much time as he can on the golf course, and openly couldn't care less what people think of his doing so. He's governing in a world that's completely foreign to him, where everything he's ever believed is turning out to be completely wrong and upside down. It's hard to identify a single policy area where Obama was not "wrong." So it's not surprising that he's "detaching" himself from his job. The golf course is the only place that makes sense, where he can escape from the intense depression and confusion that he must be suffering.

I recall that president George W. Bush said that prior to 9/11 he had no idea what he was going to do as president, and he was confused about how he was supposed to lead the nation. But after 9/11, he suddenly knew why God had made him president. He was going to lead the nation through this time of peril. His confusion had turned to certainty, and pursuit of a clear direction.

President Obama has gone through the opposite experience. He became president knowing exactly what he had to do and how he would do it. But every policy has turned back to indirection and confusion. Obama still has two and one-half years as president, and so far he's doubled down on many bad decisions that he's made. If he keeps doing so, he's going to make things a lot worse, for himself and the nation. National Post/NYT and Salon

Democratic Republic of Congo becomes 5th country with confirmed Ebola

The Ebola virus has been confirmed in two patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). However, this is a completely different strain from the Ebola virus that's out of control in West Africa, as if it were a completely different disease. Ebola was first identified in DRC near the Ebola river in 1976, and this has been the seventh outbreak since then. DRC has gained a lot of experience in dealing with Ebola during the last six outbreaks, and it's not expected that the DRC outbreak will spiral out of control. Guardian (London)

Frightened Syrian leadership asks for American help with ISIS

This story would be hilarious, if it weren't for the number of people who are being tortured or killed.

The forces of the regime of Syria's genocidal monster president Bashar al-Assad are losing ground to the Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS), and they're asking for help from us, of all people. They want us to bomb ISIS targets in Syria, just as we've bombed ISIS targets in Iraq -- but only if we ask the al-Assad regime's permission for each target. You have my permission, Dear Reader, to enjoy a little bit of Schadenfreude. But only a little bit, because there are people being tortured and killed, many by the genocidal monster Bashar al-Assad, who's actions are responsible for the rise of ISIS. AFP

Nigerian troops apparently flee from Boko Haram into Cameroon

Some 480 Nigerian soldiers crossed the border into Cameroon after fierce fighting with Boko Haram militants.

The Nigerian government and army have been under extremely heavy criticism since April, when Boko Haram abducted over 200 schoolgirls, and the government and army seemed paralyzed for weeks, doing nothing about it. The girls have still not been recovered.

There have been numerous reports and rumors of Nigerian troops either supporting Boko Haram or afraid to engage Boko Haram. There have been reports that the Boko Haram militants are better equipped than Nigerian army troops.

So this time, the Nigerian government says that the 480 Nigerian soldiers were not just fleeing, but were engaging in a "tactical maneuver." The Nigerian defense ministry said that the soldiers were "charging through the borders [of Cameroon] in a tactical maneuver" after a sustained battle. Whether that explanation will be believed remains to be seen. BBC

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 26-Aug-14 World View -- Egypt and United Arab Emirates (UAE) enter the war in Libya thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (26-Aug-2014) Permanent Link
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