A U.S. decision to dispatch three warships, including the USS Cole, to the coast of Lebanon to “show support for regional stability” is causing jitters within the country that such an overt show of foreign military strength is likely to exacerbate its political crisis.
Pentagon officials announced that the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole left Malta for Lebanon on Tuesday, because of “concern about the situation in Lebanon,” which is suffering the worst political crisis since the end of its 1975-1990 civil war.
The politically-divided Lebanese see the move as a show of force intended to threaten Syria and Iran, the backers of the Hezbollah-led opposition that Washington accuses of obstructing the election of a president, a post that has been vacant since pro-Syrian Emile Lahoud’s term expired in November.
While Hezbollah slammed the U.S. deployment as “military intervention” to support the anti-Syrian ruling majority and the government, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora on Friday indicated he had not sought American help, and particularly not through a show of military force.
Speaking to Arab ambassadors in Beirut, Siniora said in televised remarks that no warships were currently in Lebanese territorial waters, and that his government did “not ask anyone to send warships.”
Earlier, Siniora summoned U.S. charge d’affaires Michele Sison to clarify the presence of the USS Cole, a government source told AFP news agency. “Mrs. Sison assured him that the warship was in international waters and had been dispatched to guarantee regional stability,” the unidentified source said.
I always like Mikes analysis, but I think this is one of his most important ones. Will the exercises planned from 23 February until the 5th of March turn live after a False flag attack. France is leading exercises in the straight of Hormuz. Is Sarkozy is leading France and thus Europe into war By exposing the french Navy to and Iranian attack or another Tonkin incident. Sure looks like it.
By Mike Whitney
04/02/08 “ICH” — – Two weeks ago George Bush was sent on a mission to the Middle East to deliver a horse’s head. We all remember the disturbing scene in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” where Lucca Brassi goes to Hollywood to convince a recalcitrant movie producer to use Don Corleone’s nephew in his next film. The “Big shot” producer is finally persuaded to hire the young actor after he wakes up in bed next to the severed head of his prize thoroughbred. I expect that Bush made a similar “offer they could not refuse” to the various leaders of the Gulf States when he met with them earlier this month.
The media tried to portray Bush’s trip to the Middle East as a “peace mission”, but that just a smokescreen. In fact, three days after Bush left Jerusalem, Israel stepped-up its military operations in the occupied territories and resumed its merciless blockade of food, water, medicine and energy to the 1.5 million people of Gaza. Clearly, Bush had green-lighted the operations or Israel’s aggression would have been seen as a slap in the face of the President of the United States.
So, what was the real purpose of Bush’s trip? After all, he has no interest in peace or in honoring his commitment to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. So, why would he choose to visit the Middle East just as his second term as president is winding down and there is no chance of success?
Sometimes personal visits are important. They leave a lasting impression; especially when the nature of the information is so sensitive that the message has to be made face to face. In this case, Bush went to the trouble of traveling half-way around the world to tell the Saudis and their friends in the Gulf States that they were going to continue linking their oil to the dollar or they were going to “sleep with the fishes”. For the last two months, various sheiks and finance ministers have been groaning about the falling dollar—threatening to break from the so-called “dollar-peg” and covert to a basket of currencies. Bush’s trip appears to have rekindled the spirit of brotherly cooperation. The grumbling has ceased and everyone is back “on board”. The regional leaders now seem considerably less bothered by the fact that inflation is gobbling up their economies and driving labor, food, energy and housing through the roof. Reuters summed it up like this:
MOSCOW, January 30 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Defense Ministry plans to change the configuration of troops in Kaliningrad in response to U.S. missile shield plans in Central Europe, a high-ranking army official said on Wednesday.
“The General Staff and the main combat training department of the Russian Armed Forces are deciding how we will configure the troops,” said Lt. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov, who heads the Armed Forces combat training directorate.
British troops have been put on high alert to intervene in a possible war in Kosovo, Nato has announced.
Harry de Quetteville: Kosovo is not on the cusp of a new war
Military leaders fear renewed fighting in the breakaway Serbian province, where final negotiations for a peace deal have broken down.
|Serbia uses an adapted Churchill quote: ‘We will never surrender!’ in its campaign to keep Kosovo, while Kosovans prepare to fight
“This is in Europe’s backyard and European nations need to show real leadership,” said David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary.
He warned of a repeat of the wars that cost hundreds of thousands of lives. “We know from the mid-1990s the cost of Europe wringing its hands and failing to provide leadership.”
Nato holds three battalions, each of some 800 soldiers, in reserve to its main peacekeeping force of about 16,000 troops in Kosovo. Of those, a German battalion has already been sent to the province.
Neo-con surger Kagan is at it again.(Travellerev)
· Architect of Iraq surge draws up takeover options
· US fears army’s Islamists might grab weapons
Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark
Saturday December 1, 2007
The man who devised the Bush administration’s Iraq troop surge has urged the US to consider sending elite troops to Pakistan to seize its nuclear weapons if the country descends into chaos.
In a series of scenarios drawn up for Pakistan, Frederick Kagan, a former West Point military historian, has called for the White House to consider various options for an unstable Pakistan.
The barely reported highlight of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Tehran for the Caspian Sea summit last week was a key face-to-face meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.A high-level diplomatic source in Tehran tells Asia Times Online that essentially Putin and the Supreme Leader have agreed on a plan to nullify the George W Bush administration’s relentless drive towards launching a preemptive attack, perhaps a tactical nuclear strike, against Iran. An American attack on Iran will be viewed by Moscow as an attack on Russia.
The US military is building a base in Iraq just five miles from the border with Iran to prevent cross-border arms smuggling. The base, called “Combat Outpost Shocker,” will be manned by 200 soldiers, along with agents from the US Border Patrol, and will monitor truck traffic and cellphone conversations among Shi’ite pilgrims.”Obviously, [the Iranians] probably won’t be very happy about it,” Col. Mark Mueller, the commander of the border transition team, told ABC News.