In The News Today

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Jim Commentary

U.S.: Pentagon Preparing Military Options For Syria, Secretary Of Defense Says
August 24, 2013 | 1215 GMT

The Pentagon is moving naval forces closer to Syria in preparation for the possibility of President Barack Obama ordering military strikes in the country, U.S. Secretary of State Chuck Hagel said during a Aug. 23 news conference, CBS and Reuters reported. Hagel declined to describe any specific movements, but he said Obama asked the Pentagon to prepare military options for Syria, some of which would require the repositioning of U.S. forces. The United States is coordinating with the international community to determine exactly what happened in the reported use of chemical weapons against civilians by the Syrian government earlier this week. It would seem irrationally overconfident of the al Assad regime to carry out chemical weapons attacks when the United States and its allies in the Syrian conflict have treated the chemical weapons threat as a potential cause for military intervention.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

A forgotten document, and little national influence in the New Normal.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

And so it starts without camouflage of any kind. The BRICS are flexing their golden muscles.

World learns to manage without the US
By Spengler

The giant sucking sound you here, I said on August 15 on CNBC’s The Kudlow Report, is the implosion of America’s influence in the Middle East. Vladimir Putin’s August 17 offer of Russian military assistance to the Egyptian army after US President Barack Obama cancelled joint exercises with the Egyptians denotes a post-Cold-War low point in America’s standing. Along with Russia, Saudi Arabia and China are collaborating to contain the damage left by American blundering. They have being doing this quietly for more than a year.

The pipe-dream has popped of Egyptian democracy led by a Muslim Brotherhood weaned from its wicked past, but official Washington has not woken up. Egypt was on the verge of starvation when military pushed out Mohammed Morsi. Most of the Egyptian poor had been living on nothing but state-subsidized bread for months, and even bread supplies were at risk. Theaaaaa military brought in US$12 billion of aid from the Gulf States, enough to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. That’s the reality. It’s the one thing that Russia, Saudi Arabia and Israel agree about.

America’s whimsical attitude towards Egypt is not a blunder but rather a catastrophic institutional failure. President Obama has surrounded himself with a camarilla, with Susan Rice as National Security Advisor, flanked by Valerie Jarrett, the Iranian-born public housing millionaire. Compared to Obama’s team, Zbigniew Brzezinski was an intellectual colossus at Jimmy Carter’s NSC. These are amateurs, and it is anyone’s guess what they will do from one day to the next.

By default, Republican policy is defined by Senator John McCain, whom the head of Egypt’s ruling National Salvation Party dismissed as a "senile old man" after the senator’s last visit to Cairo. McCain’s belief in Egyptian democracy is echoed by a few high-profile Republican pundits, for example, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Robert Kagan, and Max Boot. Most of the Republican foreign policy community disagrees, by my informal poll. Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld blasted Obama for undermining the Egyptian military’s ability to keep order, but his statement went unreported by major media.

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Washington frets over Saudi ties
By Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON – As the administration of President Barack Obama continues wrestling with how to react to the military coup in Egypt and its bloody aftermath, officials and independent analysts are increasingly worried about the crisis’s effect on US ties with Saudi Arabia.

The oil-rich kingdom’s strong support for the coup is seen here as having encouraged Cairo’s defense minister General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood and resist Western pressure to take a conciliatory approach that would be less likely to radicalize the Brotherhood’s followers and push them into taking up arms.

Along with the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, Saudi Arabia did not just pledge immediately after the July 3 coup that ousted president Mohamed Morsi to provide a combined US$12 billion in financial assistance, but it has also promised to make up for any Western aid – including the $1.5 billion with which Washington supplies Cairo annually in mostly military assistance – that may be withheld as a result of the coup and the ongoing crackdown in which about 1,000 protesters are believed to have been killed to date.

Perhaps even more worrisome to some experts in Washington has been the exceptionally tough language directed against Washington’s own condemnation of the coup by top Saudi officials, including King Abdullah, who declared last week that "[t]he kingdom stands … against all those who try to interfere with its domestic affairs" and charged that criticism of the army crackdown amounted to helping the "terrorists".

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