Saturday 16 August 2014

Hillary backstabs Obama over Iraq (Pakistan Observer)

M D Nalapat. 
Friday, August 15, 2014 - Barack Obama dislikes risk, and seems not to mind making compromises with his conscience in order to avoid it. Although he won his party’s nomination for President of the United States because his team advertised a style of politics and a basket of policies very different from the crony-cosy mix favoured by Bill Clinton, once elected, very quickly adopted so many of the policies and personnel of his predecessor that in place of the expected Obama administration, what US voters got was a Clinton Lite regime.

In foreign policy, Hillary Clinton herself took charge, while at the Treasury, Tim Geithner was made the overlord. It will be remembered that the dilution as also the repeal of several safeguards to bank fraud which took place during the Clinton period ( 1992-2001) - combined with the further freeing of financial institutions from legal constraints by the George W Bush administration - was what led to the 2008 crash in financial markets. In foreign policy, the Taliban was enabled to take power in Afghanistan during the period when Bill Clinton was President. The records of travel of miscellaneous Taliban representatives to Washington during that period bear out the close relationship between that organisation and US officials, who saw in the group an ally which could “stabilise” Afghanistan at relatively low cost.

Rather than learn from such mistakes, Barack Obama embraced the very team that was responsible for them. Individuals such as David Axelrod or Davil Pflouffe who were core to his success were fobbed off with insignificant titles,while key such as control of the CIA and key departments went to Clinton favourites. Now in the final stretch of his period in office,all that President Obama has left is the ensuring of a legacy that will not be toxic but mildly inspirational. By her repeated verbal attacks on his policy during past weeks, Hillary Clinton is seeking to damage that legacy and to tarnish it,so that Obama does not overshadow her own partner, Bill Clinton.

In particular, Hillary Clinton has said that it was President Obama’s failure to “act decisively in Syria” that led to ISIS and the present disaster in Iraq. This is the reverse of the truth, which is that ISIS is the direct consequence of the policies pursued by Hillary Clinton in the region from 2011 to the period when she demitted the office of the Secretary of State. During that period, she was an enthusiastic supporter of the efforts by Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UK and France to arm, train and fund extremists willing to go into battle against Bashar Assad. This columnist is no admirer of the Baathist regime in Syria, which has imposed a form of economic control that has choked the natural entrepreneurial instincts of the gifted people of Syria.

However, the fact remains that from 2007 onwards, Bashar Assad sought - albeit very slowly and only in patches - to liberalise the economy in Syria, so that by 2011,there were for example numerous tourist locations that were privately owned. However, that year the rebellion against President Assad started, fuelled by the powerful underground network of the Muslim Brotherhood and its backers in Qatar and elsewhere in the GCC Hillary Clinton is not alone among policymakers and academics within NATO who have discovered a species that does not exist in reality, the “moderate freed fighter”.

This columnist has been to Doha and to other locations in the region, and has met several of the “freedom fighters” who later went to Syria to give battle to Assad. There was a clear disconnect between those who talked of fighting and those who actually did the fighting. The first sedum ventured beyond the comfortable hotels where they were staying, nor the television studios in which they gave interviews about their heroic struggle. All the weapons and some of the cash collected by them got transferred to the actual fighters, who almost without exception were extremists motivated by a fanatic desire to change the region and later the world into a shape which Mullah Omar in his hideout would approve of.

The “moderate fighter” is a myth which comes to life only in television screens and in the policy papers drafted by bureaucrats eager to escape responsibility for the nightmare that life in many parts of the Middle East has become. Only those motivated by a fanatic ideology found the will and the determination to do battle against the resilient Syrian army, with even those within the fighters who were nationals of the UK, the US, Germany and other NATO-bloc countries having the same worldview as those from within the GCC or from North Africa. It cannot be a secret to the CIA or to MI6 that the entire fighting is been done,and has been done, by extremists rather than by “moderates”.

However, these agencies have protected their political masters by keeping silent over this fact, perhaps because they themselves were complicit in the strategy of arming, training and funding extremists to try and ensure that Bashar Assad was removed from office. Rather than Barack Obama,who from the start appeared sceptical of the French and British policy of arming fanatics to do battle against those in the region who were seen as negative towards the US and the EU, even if only verbally, it was then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who within the US policymaking establishment was responsible for the disaster that has descended on the Middle East, beginning with the encouragement to the Muslim Brotherhood to take over power in Cairo to creating chaos in Libya by replacing Muammar Kaddafy with a clutch of feuding warlords.

Later, giving the very elements who now comprise ISIS the means to wreak their murderous vengeance on the people of the region,who are overwhelmingly moderate but who to date have not been regarded as worthy of the attention and assistance given to the few who are fanatic. The Benghazi murder of Christopher Stevens, the very individual who assisted during 2011-12 the gangs that killed him in 2013, was the fruit of Clintonite policies more than anything to do with Barack Obama. Now, eager to once again occupy the White House, Hillary Clinton is expertly placing the blame of her own policy failures onto President Obama, beginning with the disaster in Iraq, a disaster caused by her own advocacy of a policy of helping the very extremists who are today slaughtering innocents in Syria and Iraq .

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