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US Government Allowed Flight 253 to Happen

SMOKING GUN: US Government Allowed Flight 253 to Happen

globalresearch.ca
January 25, 2010

Nearly one month after passengers foiled an attempted suicide bomb attack aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as it approached Detroit on Christmas Day, new information reveals that the White House and U.S. security agencies had specific intelligence on accused terrorist, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, far earlier than previously acknowledged.

Along with new reports, evidence suggests that the administration’s cover-up of the affair has very little to do with a failure by the intelligence apparatus to “connect the dots” and may have far more serious political implications for the Obama administration, and what little remains of a functioning democracy in the United States, than a botched bombing.

What the White House and security officials have previously described only as “vague” intercepts regarding “a Nigerian” has now morphed into a clear picture of the suspect–and the plot.

The New York Times revealed January 18 that the National Security Agency “learned from a communications intercept of Qaeda followers in Yemen that a man named “Umar Farouk”–the first two names of the jetliner suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab–had volunteered for a coming operation.”

According to Times’ journalists Eric Lipton, Eric Schmitt and Mark Mazzetti, “the American intelligence network was clearly listening in Yemen and sharing that information.” Indeed, additional NSA intercepts in December “mentioned the date of Dec. 25, and suggested that they were ‘looking for ways to get somebody out’ or ‘for ways to move people to the West,’ one senior administration official said.”

Clearly, the administration was “worried about possible terrorist attacks over the Christmas holiday.” These concerns led President Obama to meet December 22 “with top officials of the C.I.A., F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security, who ticked off a list of possible plots against the United States and how their agencies were working to disrupt them,” the Times reports.

    “In a separate White House meeting that day” the Times disclosed, “Mr. Obama’s homeland security adviser, John O. Brennan, led talks on Yemen, where a stream of disturbing intelligence had suggested that Qaeda operatives were preparing for some action, perhaps a strike on an American target, on Christmas Day.”

In mid-January, Newsweek reported that the “White House report on the foiled Christmas Day attempted airliner bombing provided only the sketchiest of details about what may have been the most politically sensitive of its findings: how the White House itself was repeatedly warned about the prospect of an attack on the U.S.,” Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff disclosed.

According to the newsmagazine, “intelligence analysts had ‘highlighted’ an evolving ‘strategic threat,'” and that “‘some of the improvised explosive device tactics AQAP might use against U.S. interests were highlighted’ in other ‘finished intelligence products’.”

However, the real bombshell came last Wednesday during hearings before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee when Bushist embed, and current Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), Michael E. Leiter, made a startling admission.

CongressDaily reported on January 22 that intelligence officials “have acknowledged the government knowingly allows foreigners whose names are on terrorist watch lists to enter the country in order to track their movement and activities.”

Leiter told the Committee: “I will tell you, that when people come to the country and they are on the watch list, it is because we have generally made the choice that we want them here in the country for some reason or another.”

CongressDaily reporter Chris Strohm, citing an unnamed “intelligence official” confirmed that Leiter’s statement reflected government policy and told the publication, “in certain situations it’s to our advantage to be able to track individuals who might be on a terrorist watch list because you can learn something from their activities and their contacts.”

An alternative explanation fully in line with well-documented inaction, or worse, by U.S. security agencies prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and now, Christmas Day’s aborted airline bombing, offer clear evidence that a ruthless “choice” which facilitates the murder of American citizens are cynical pretexts in a wider game: advancing imperialism’s geostrategic goals abroad and attacks on democratic rights at home.

Leiter’s revelation in an of itself should demolish continued government claims that the accused terror suspect succeeded in boarding NW Flight 253 due to a failure to “connect the dots.”

However, as far as Antifascist Calling can determine, no other media outlet has either reported or followed-up CongressDaily’s disclosure; a clear sign that its explosive nature, and where a further investigation might lead, are strictly off-limits.

Taking into account testimony by a high-level national security official that terrorists are allowed to enter the country for intelligence purposes, one can only conclude that the alleged “failure” to stop Abdulmutallab was neither a casual omission nor the result of bureaucratic incompetence but rather, a highly-charged political calculation.

Read Full Article Here

 



Bin Laden’s Ghost Claims Flight 253 Attack

Bin Laden’s Ghost Claims Flight 253 Attack

NoWorldSystem
January 25, 2010

Yet another attempt into making sure everyone is properly scared of another devastating 9/11-style attack on US soil. According to the new Bin Laden audiotape he is claiming responsibility for the foiled Flight 253 attack on a Detroit airliner and promises more attacks if US continues to support Israel. CIA-linked IntelCenter, –a company that was CAUGHT red-handed manipulating an al-Zawahiri video– now claims that this new audio is a ‘possible indicator‘ for an upcoming attack within the next 12 months.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WhfXBXk15s

The only purpose for videos like this is to promote fear and to rationalize U.S. occupation in the middle east. However, many people are upset with the occupation of Blackwater in Pakistan and the 700 total deaths from drone strikes, the remorseless night-killings of Afghanis and the $57,077 a minute price the U.S. taxpayers are paying to protect opium crops. Not to mention the people are angry at the recent U.S. air-strike on Yemen that killed at least 120 innocent civilians, including children in December 2009.

The audiotape also fuses the links between Flight 253, AlQaeda and Yemen that will give the government talking points for the reason of the destabilization of the regions and the U.S. economy. The authenticity of the new bin laden tape is unknown, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that it’s probably an impostor that sounds like Bin Laden. In the November 12, 2002 Bin Laden recording, voice-recognition experts in Switzerland said that it was 95% certain the tape was not the voice of the AlQaeda leader, that “it could be an impostor”.

It seems that now more than ever do they want to keep perpetuating the notion that Bin Laden is alive and well to keep the War on Terror going and to keep the American people infuriated that this man who supposedly did 9/11 is still walking and talking. The U.S. Department and the FBI released a photoshop rendition of an aged Bin Laden that turned out to be from online photo of Spanish politician Gaspar Llamazares.


An organization with a budget of billions of dollars was resorting to comic-like methods in its pursuit of terrorists and criminals, said the daily El Mundo.

Is Bin Laden DEAD?

Many people were so traumatized from the events of 9/11/2001 that they immediately believed that an unknown group called AlQaeda and its so-called leader Bin Laden were the culprits based on fear alone. We were told by the Bush administration that if we did not act, the terrorists will hit us again, and so the country was coerced into obedience and accepted what they were told.

We are continued to be coerced by videotapes despite the many prominent men and women who say that Bin Laden is dead from either health problems, military strike or assassination:

This is what former USMC Colonel Bob Pappas had to say about the death of Bin Laden;

    bin Laden is dead, he was killed during the attacks on Tora Bora. The pathetic political nonsense spewed by Senator John Kerry and his lackeys that the Bush administration allowed bin Laden to walk unmolested into a Pakistani sanctuary is hogwash, no, it’s bovine scatology.”

    “However, the administration probably knew that bin Laden was dead, as does this current one, a notion reinforced by a statement made during the waning months of the Bush Administration by Vice President Cheney to that effect; and for that reason among others the Administration chose make Iraq the main effort in the War on Terror.”

According to Afghan President Hamid Karzai says Osama bin Laden is “probably” dead. FBI counter-terrorism chief, Dale Watson, also says he thinks Osama bin Laden is “probably” dead. Pakistan President Asif Ali Zadari says “I don’t think he’s alive” even his counterpart Benazir Bhutto claims Bin Laden was assassinated by “Omar Sheikh”.

Regardless if he’s dead or not, his whereabouts still remain a mystery and yet still remains the big-bad-boogieman that is continually propped up every time he is needed (dropping poll numbers) in order to control the minds of the American people. It won’t be long now until there is a need for another ‘mastermind’ (one that isn’t a corpse) that will take his place as the most evil man on earth.

 

Osama Videos Behind the Scenes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgKdXYD9VBI

Osama bin Laden: A dead nemesis perpetuated by the US government

 



Are We in Haiti because of Oil?

20,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Haiti soon!

Are We in Haiti because of Oil?

Peter Schlosser
Prisonplanet.com
January 21, 2010

It has been a little over a week since the devastating earthquake hit just outside Port au Prince, Haiti. Since that day, I have watched in horror as the Haitian people and their society have quickly submerged into a quagmire of social unrest and political grandstanding. Once I observed the mass-murder posse of Team Obama, Bush and Clinton begin circling the wagons and the rapid US militarization of Port au Prince, including the occupation of the Presidential Palace, to the tune of now almost 10,000 US boots on the ground, I began to get suspicious. Call me crazy. I know of the sad history of Haiti imposed upon the tiny former slave nation by one imperial power after the next. But when I see 10,000 American soldiers descend upon a nation in less than a week, my radar flies into the red zone. Just when I was beginning to brush up on the story behind the story regarding Yemen, now I’m thrashed about one more time and forced to begin scrambling for the next story behind the story for this week’s latest NWO hot topic.

After a few hours on the Internet, I discovered an article posted in January of 2008 http://www.abibitumikasa.com/forums/oppression-afrikans-economically/41112-oil-mining-haiti-worlds-elite-robbing-people-blind.html indicating that large amounts of, you guessed it, OIL had indeed been discovered in Haiti a short while back. According to the article, scientists Ginette and Daniel Mathurin indicated that “under Haitian soil it is rich in oil and fuel.” “We have identified 20 oil sites.” said ‘Daniel Mathurin stating that “5 of them are considered of great importance by specialists and politicians.”

“The Central Plateau, including the region of Thomonde, the plain of the Cul-de-Sac and the bay of Port-au-Prince are full of hydrocarbons,”he said adding that “the oil reserves of Haiti are more important than those of Venezuela.” “An Olympic pool compared to a glass of water; that is the comparison to illustrate the importance of Haitian oil compared with those of Venezuela,” he explains.

“Venezuela is one of the world’s largest producers of oil.”

We know that large amounts of oil had been discovered in Cuba a little over a year ago as appeared in a London Guardian article from Saturday, October 18th 2008. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/oct/18/cuban-oil .

“ Mother nature, it emerged this week, appears to have blessed the island with enough oil reserves to vault it into the ranks of energy powers. The government announced there may be more than 20bn barrels of recoverable oil in offshore fields in Cuba’s share of the Gulf of Mexico, more than twice the previous estimate.

If confirmed, it puts Cuba’s reserves on par with those of the US and into the world’s top 20. Drilling is expected to start next year by Cuba’s state oil company Cubapetroleo, or Cupet.

“It would change their whole equation. The government would have more money and no longer be dependent on foreign oil,” said Kirby Jones, founder of the Washington-based US-Cuba Trade Association. “It could join the club of oil exporting nations.” Wrote Rory Carroll, Latin America Correspondent for the Guardian.

If one looks at a map and notices that Haiti and Cuba are only about 60 miles apart separated by the Winward Passage, one might then assume that perhaps the two Caribbean nations might be sitting on the same stretch of oil field.
And the plot thickens. According to the article regarding Haitian oil: “ Daniel and Ginette Malthurin indicate that the American government had in 2005 authorized the use of strategic reserves of the United States. The door should be used by politicians to launch Haitian negotiations with American companies in the context of the exploitation of these deposits.”

“The specialists contend that the government of Jean Claude Duvalier had verified the existence of a major oil field in the Bay of Port-au-Prince shortly before his downfall.”

Hmmm, intriguing. It would seem that the Pentagon’s interest in Haiti during this crisis just might stretch a bit beyond their normal warm and fuzzy humanitarian intentions. It feels like we’ve been here before. Keep your eyes on the bouncing ball and watch for Big Oil to move into the region shortly. Perhaps this may also serve as a wee bit of gunboat diplomacy targeted at Cuba and, more ominously, a back-up plan to secure reserves in the Empire’s backyard as Obama and the War Machine get ready to take on Venezuela. More will be revealed.

20,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Haiti soon

Ex-minister warns of US ‘takeover’ of Haiti

US says it will stay in Haiti for long term

Chavez says U.S. occupying Haiti in name of aid

Why Is The US Military Occupying Four Airports In Haiti?

U.S. troops in Haiti to prevent Aristide’s return

 



Congressman seeking to bar Iranians from U.S.

Congressman seeking to bar Iranians from U.S.

Press TV
January 13, 2010

A US congressman has announced his plans to reintroduce the Stop Terrorists Entry Program (STEP) Act into Congress, which calls for the deportation of most Iranians without permanent resident status.

The STEP Act, a bill that was originally presented in 2003, would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to bar citizens of Iran, Cuba, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the United States.

Rep. J. Gresham Barrett says he is reintroducing the STEP Act in response to the Fort Hood shooting, carried out by a US citizen, and the Christmas Day attempt to blow up an airplane over Detroit, attempted by a Nigerian national.

If passed, the bill would deport all Iranians on student visas, temporary work visas, exchange visas, and tourist visas from the United States within 60 days.

It would also make it illegal for Iranians to travel to the United States, though some exceptions could be made after “extensive federal screening.”

 



Africom – Latest U.S. Bid to Recolonise Continent

Africom – Latest U.S. Bid to Recolonise Continent

All Africa
January 7, 2010

AFRICAN revolutionaries now have to sleep with one eye open because the United States of America is not stopping at anything in its bid to establish Africom, a highly-equipped US army that will be permanently resident in Africa to oversee the country’s imperialist interests.

Towards the end of last year, the US government intensified its efforts to bring a permanent army to settle in Africa, dubbed the African Command (Africom) as a latest tool for the subtle recolonisation of Africa.

Just before end of last year, General William E. Garret, Commander US Army for Africa, met with defence attaches from all African embassies in Washington to lure them into selling the idea of an American army based in Africa to their governments.

Latest reports from the White House this January indicate that 75 percent of the army’s establishment work has been done through a military unit based in Stuttgart, Germany, and that what is left is to get an African country to host the army and get things moving.

Liberia and Morocco have offered to host Africom while Sadc has closed out any possibility of any of its member states hosting the US army.

Other individual countries have remained quiet.

Liberia has longstanding ties with the US due to its slave history while errant Morocco, which is not a member of the African Union and does not hold elections, might want the US army to assist it to suppress any future democratic uprising.

Sadc’s refusal is a small victory for the people of Africa in their struggle for total independence but the rest of the regional blocs in Africa are yet to come up with a common position. This is worrying.

The US itself wanted a more strategic country than Morocco and Liberia since the army will be the epicentre of influencing, articulating and safeguarding US foreign and economic policies.

The other danger is that Africom will open up Africa as a battleground between America and anti-US terrorist groups.

Africom is a smokescreen behind which America wants to hide its means to secure Africa’s oil and other natural resources, nothing more.

African leaders must not forget that military might has been used by America and Europe again and again as the only effective way of accomplishing their agenda in ensuring that governments in each country are run by people who toe their line.

By virtue of its being resident in Africa, Africom will ensure that America has its tentacles easily reaching every African country and influencing every event to the American advantage.

By hosting the army, Africa will have sub-contracted its military independence to America and will have accepted the process that starts its recolonisation through an army that can subdue any attempts by Africa to show its own military prowess.

The major question is: Who will remove Africom once it is established? By what means?

By its origin Africom will be technically and financially superior to any African country’s army and will dictate the pace for regime change in any country at will and also give depth, direction and impetus to the US natural resource exploitation scheme.

There is no doubt that as soon as the army gets operational in Africa, all the gains of independence will be reversed.

If the current leadership in Africa succumbs to the whims of the US and accept the operation of this army in Africa, they will go down in the annals of history as that generation of politicians who accepted the evil to prevail.

Even William Shakespeare would turn and twist in his grave and say: “I told you guys that it takes good men to do nothing for evil to prevail.”

We must not forget that Africans, who are still smarting from colonialism-induced humiliation, subjugation, brutality and inferiority complex, do not need to be taken back to another form of colonialism, albeit subtle.

Africom has been controversial on the continent ever since former US president George W. Bush first announced it in February 2007.

African leaders must not forget that under the Barack Obama administration, US policy towards Africa and the rest of the developing world has not changed an inch. It remains militaristic and materialistic.

Officials in both the Bush and Obama administrations argue that the major objective of Africom is to professionalise security forces in key countries across Africa.

However, both administrations do not attempt to address the impact of the setting up of Africom on minority parties, governments and strong leaders considered errant or whether the US will not use Africom to promote friendly dictators.

Training and weapons programmes and arms transfers from Ukraine to Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Ethiopia and the transitional government in Somalia, clearly indicate the use of military might to maintain influence in governments in Africa, remains a priority of US foreign policy.

Ukraine’s current leadership was put into power by the US under the Orange Revolution and is being given a free role to supply weaponry in African conflicts.

African leaders must show solidarity and block every move by America to set up its bases in the motherland unless they want to see a new round of colonisation.

Kwame Nkrumah, Robert Mugabe, Sam Nujoma, Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, Kenneth Kaunda, Augustino Neto and Samora Machel, among others, will have fought liberation wars for nothing, if Africom is allowed a base in Africa.

Thousands of Africans who died in colonial prisons and in war fronts during the liberation struggles, will have shed their blood for nothing if Africa is recolonised.

Why should the current crop of African leaders accept systematic recolonisation when they have learnt a lot from colonialism, apartheid and racism? Why should the current crop of African leaders fail to stand measure for measure against the US administration and tell it straight in the face that Africa does not need a foreign army since the AU is working out its own army.

African leaders do not need prophets from Mars to know that US’s fascination with oil, the war on terrorism and the military will now be centred on Africa, after that escapade in Iraq.

U.S., China Are on Collision Course Over Oil

 



Aftermath of U.S. Air Strike in Yemen

Aftermath of U.S. Air Strike in Yemen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uUE-vCwV0M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGCWmqW9qoQ

 



U.S., China Are on Collision Course Over Oil

Obama’s Yemeni odyssey targets China

Asia Times
January 9, 2010

A cursory look at the map of region will show that Yemen is one of the most strategic lands adjoining waters of the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula. It flanks Saudi Arabia and Oman, which are vital American protectorates. In effect, Uncle Sam is “marking territory” – like a dog on a lamppost. Russia has been toying with the idea of reopening its Soviet-era base in Aden. Well, the US has pipped Moscow in the race.

The US has signaled that the odyssey doesn’t end with Yemen. It is also moving into Somalia and Kenya. With that, the US establishes its military presence in an entire unbroken stretch of real estate all along the Indian Ocean’s western rim. Chinese officials have of late spoken of their need to establish a naval base in the region. The US has now foreclosed China’s options. The only country with a coastline that is available for China to set up a naval base in the region will be Iran. All other countries have a Western military presence. (are western military puppet governments)

The American intervention in Yemen is not going to be on the pattern of Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama will ensure he doesn’t receive any body bags of American servicemen serving in Yemen. That is what the American public expects from him. He will only deploy drone aircraft and special forces and “focus on providing intelligence and training to help Yemen counter al-Qaeda militants”, according to the US military. Obama’s main core objective will be to establish an enduring military presence in Yemen. This serves many purposes.

A new great game begins

First, the US move has to be viewed against the historic backdrop of the Shi’ite awakening in the region. The Shi’ites (mostly of the Zaidi group) have been traditionally suppressed in Yemen. Shi’ite uprisings have been a recurring theme in Yemen’s history. There has been a deliberate attempt to minimize the percentage of Shi’ites in Yemen, but they could be anywhere up to 45%.

More importantly, in the northern part of the country, they constitute the majority. What bothers the US and moderate Sunni Arab states – and Israel – is that the Believing Youth Organization led by Hussein Badr al-Houthi, which is entrenched in northern Yemen, is modeled after Hezbollah in Lebanon in all respects – politically, economically, socially and culturally.

Yemenis are an intelligent people and are famous in the Arabian Peninsula for their democratic temperament. The Yemeni Shi’ite empowerment on a Hezbollah-model would have far-reaching regional implications. Next-door Oman, which is a key American base, is predominantly Shi’ite. Even more sensitive is the likelihood of the dangerous idea of Shi’ite empowerment spreading to Saudi Arabia’s highly restive Shi’ite regions adjoining Yemen, which on top of it all, also happen to be the reservoir of the country’s fabulous oil wealth.

Saudi Arabia is entering a highly sensitive phase of political transition as a new generation is set to take over the leadership in Riyadh, and the palace intrigues and fault lines within the royal family are likely to get exacerbated. To put it mildly, given the vast scale of institutionalized Shi’ite persecution in Saudi Arabia by the Wahhabi establishment, Shi’ite empowerment is a veritable minefield that Riyadh is petrified about at this juncture. Its threshold of patience is wearing thin, as the recent uncharacteristic resort to military power against the north Yemeni Shi’ite communities bordering Saudi Arabia testifies.

The US faces a classic dilemma. It is all right for Obama to highlight the need of reform in Muslim societies – as he did eloquently in his Cairo speech last June. But democratization in the Yemeni context – ironically, in the Arab context – would involve Shi’ite empowerment. After the searing experience in Iraq, Washington is literally perched like a cat on a hot tin roof. It would much rather be aligned with the repressive, autocratic government of Saleh than let the genie of reform out of the bottle in the oil rich-region in which it has profound interests.

Obama has an erudite mind and he is not unaware that what Yemen desperately needs is reform, but he simply doesn’t want to think about it. The paradox he faces is that with all its imperfections, Iran happens to be the only “democratic” system operating in that entire region.

Iran’s shadow over the Yemeni Shi’ite consciousness worries the US to no end. Simply put, in the ideological struggle going on in the region, Obama finds himself with the ultra-conservative and brutally autocratic oligarchies that constitute the ruling class in the region. Conceivably, he isn’t finding it easy. If his own memoirs are to be believed, there could be times when the vague recollections of his childhood in Indonesia and his precious memories of his own mother, who from all accounts was a free-wheeling intellectual and humanist, must be stalking him in the White House corridors.

Israel moves in

But Obama is first and foremost a realist. Emotions and personal beliefs drain away and strategic considerations weigh uppermost when he works in the Oval Office. With the military presence in Yemen, the US has tightened the cordon around Iran. In the event of a military attack on Iran, Yemen could be put to use as a springboard by the Israelis. These are weighty considerations for Obama.

The fact is that no one is in control as a Yemeni authority. It is a cakewalk for the formidable Israeli intelligence to carve out a niche in Yemen – just as it did in northern Iraq under somewhat comparable circumstances.

Islamism doesn’t deter Israel at all. Saleh couldn’t have been far off the mark when he alleged last year that Israeli intelligence had been exposed as having kept links with Yemeni Islamists. The point is, Yemeni Islamists are a highly fragmented lot and no one is sure who owes what sort of allegiance to whom. Israeli intelligence operates marvelously in such twilight zones when the horizon is lacerated with the blood of the vanishing sun.

Israel will find a toehold in Yemen to be a god-sent gift insofar as it registers its presence in the Arabian Peninsula. This is a dream come true for Israel, whose effectiveness as a regional power has always been seriously handicapped by its lack of access to the Persian Gulf region. The overarching US military presence helps Israel politically to consolidate its Yemeni chapter. Without doubt, Petraeus is moving on Yemen in tandem with Israel (and Britain). But the “pro-West” Arab states with their rentier mentality have no choice except to remain as mute spectators on the sidelines.

Some among them may actually acquiesce with the Israeli security presence in the region as a safer bet than the spread of the dangerous ideas of Shi’ite empowerment emanating out of Iran, Iraq and Hezbollah. Also, at some stage, Israeli intelligence will begin to infiltrate the extremist Sunni outfits in Yemen, which are commonly known as affiliates of al-Qaeda. That is, if it hasn’t done that already. Any such link makes Israel an invaluable ally for the US in its fight against al-Qaeda. In sum, infinite possibilities exist in the paradigm that is taking shape in the Muslim world abutting into the strategic Persian Gulf.

It’s all about China

Most important, however, for US global strategies will be the massive gain of control of the port of Aden in Yemen. Britain can vouchsafe that Aden is the gateway to Asia. Control of Aden and the Malacca Strait will put the US in an unassailable position in the “great game” of the Indian Ocean. The sea lanes of the Indian Ocean are literally the jugular veins of China’s economy. By controlling them, Washington sends a strong message to Beijing that any notions by the latter that the US is a declining power in Asia would be nothing more than an extravagant indulgence in fantasy.

In the Indian Ocean region, China is increasingly coming under pressure. India is a natural ally of the US in the Indian Ocean region. Both disfavor any significant Chinese naval presence. India is mediating a rapprochement between Washington and Colombo that would help roll back Chinese influence in Sri Lanka. The US has taken a u-turn in its Myanmar policy and is engaging the regime there with the primary intent of eroding China’s influence with the military rulers. The Chinese strategy aimed at strengthening influence in Sri Lanka and Myanmar so as to open a new transportation route towards the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and Africa, where it has begun contesting traditional Western economic dominance.

China is keen to whittle down its dependence on the Malacca Strait for its commerce with Europe and West Asia. The US, on the contrary, is determined that China remains vulnerable to the choke point between Indonesia and Malaysia.

An engrossing struggle is breaking out. The US is unhappy with China’s efforts to reach the warm waters of the Persian Gulf through the Central Asian region and Pakistan. Slowly but steadily, Washington is tightening the noose around the neck of the Pakistani elites – civilian and military – and forcing them to make a strategic choice between the US and China. This will put those elites in an unenviable dilemma. Like their Indian counterparts, they are inherently “pro-Western” (even when they are “anti-American”) and if the Chinese connection is important for Islamabad, that is primarily because it balances perceived Indian hegemony.

The existential questions with which the Pakistani elites are grappling are apparent. They are seeking answers from Obama. Can Obama maintain a balanced relationship vis-a-vis Pakistan and India? Or, will Obama lapse back to the George W Bush era strategy of building up India as the pre-eminent power in the Indian Ocean under whose shadow Pakistan will have to learn to live?

US-India-Israel axis

On the other hand, the Indian elites are in no compromising mood. Delhi was on a roll during the Bush days. Now, after the initial misgivings about Obama’s political philosophy, Delhi is concluding that he is all but a clone of his illustrious predecessor as regards the broad contours of the US’s global strategy – of which containment of China is a core template.

The comfort level is palpably rising in Delhi with regard to the Obama presidency. Delhi takes the surge of the Israeli lobby in Washington as the litmus test for the Obama presidency. The surge suits Delhi, since the Jewish lobby was always a helpful ally in cultivating influence in the US Congress, media and the rabble-rousing think-tankers as well as successive administrations. And all this is happening at a time when the India-Israel security relationship is gaining greater momentum.

United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates is due to visit Delhi in the coming days. The Obama administration is reportedly adopting an increasingly accommodative attitude toward India’s longstanding quest for “dual-use” technology from the US. If so, a massive avenue of military cooperation is about to open between the two countries, which will make India a serious challenger to China’s growing military prowess. It is a win-win situation as the great Indian arms bazaar offers highly lucrative business for American companies.

Clearly, a cozy three-way US-Israel-India alliance provides the underpinning for all the maneuvering that is going on. It will have significance for the security of the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula. Last year, India formalized a naval presence in Oman.

All-in-all, terrorism experts are counting the trees and missing the wood when they analyze the US foray into Yemen in the limited terms of hunting down al-Qaeda. The hard reality is that Obama, whose main plank used to be “change”, has careened away and increasingly defaults to the global strategies of the Bush era. The freshness of the Obama magic is dissipating. Traces of the “revisionism” in his foreign policy orientation are beginning to surface. We can see them already with regard to Iran, Afghanistan, the Middle East and the Israel-Palestine problem, Central Asia and towards China and Russia.

Arguably, this sort of “return of the native” by Obama was inevitable. For one thing, he is but a creature of his circumstances. As someone put it brilliantly, Obama’s presidency is like driving a train rather than a car: a train cannot be “steered”, the driver can at best set its speed, but ultimately, it must run on its tracks.

Besides, history has no instances of a declining world power meekly accepting its destiny and walking into the sunset. The US cannot give up on its global dominance without putting up a real fight. And the reality of all such momentous struggles is that they cannot be fought piece-meal. You cannot fight China without occupying Yemen.

 

Russia, China, Iran redraw energy map

Asia Times
January 9, 2010

The inauguration of the Dauletabad-Sarakhs-Khangiran pipeline on Wednesday connecting Iran’s northern Caspian region with Turkmenistan’s vast gas field may go unnoticed amid the Western media cacophony that it is “apocalypse now” for the Islamic regime in Tehran.

The event sends strong messages for regional security. Within the space of three weeks, Turkmenistan has committed its entire gas exports to China, Russia and Iran. It has no urgent need of the pipelines that the United States and the European Union have been advancing. Are we hearing the faint notes of a Russia-China-Iran symphony?

The 182-kilometer Turkmen-Iranian pipeline starts modestly with the pumping of 8 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Turkmen gas. But its annual capacity is 20bcm, and that would meet the energy requirements of Iran’s Caspian region and enable Tehran to free its own gas production in the southern fields for export. The mutual interest is perfect: Ashgabat gets an assured market next door; northern Iran can consume without fear of winter shortages; Tehran can generate more surplus for exports; Turkmenistan can seek transportation routes to the world market via Iran; and Iran can aspire to take advantage of its excellent geographical location as a hub for the Turkmen exports.

We are witnessing a new pattern of energy cooperation at the regional level that dispenses with Big Oil. Russia traditionally takes the lead. China and Iran follow the example. Russia, Iran and Turkmenistan hold respectively the world’s largest, second-largest and fourth-largest gas reserves. And China will be consumer par excellence in this century. The matter is of profound consequence to the US global strategy.

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Afghanistan: only the first move in the grand chess game for control of Central Asian resources