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Syria, Follow the Money and Oil

Why is Obama doing what he is doing in Syria? Some think this is all about Israel. I want to suggest an alternative explanation. It is a bit complicated, but I think it hangs together. It starts with Saudi Arabia. While Saudi Arabia is a majority Sunni population, it has a substantial, growing, but minority Shia population. The Shia inhabit the oil rich Eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia.

When the United States removed Saddam Hussein as the ruler of Iraq and replaced him with Shia leaders in 2005, this essentially laid the foundation for giving Iran, an overwhelming Shia nation, effective control of Iraq and its oil. This set off alarm bells in Saudi Arabia. With Lebanon under effective control of the Shia led Hezbollah, the Saudis as of 2010 were facing a new power balance in the Middle East–Iran, not Israel, was spreading its influence, largely thanks to the policy of the United States.

Within the last four years, there has been a dramatic shift in the oil relationship that had been the cornerstone of the relationship between the Saudis and the United States. The Atlantic Monthly laid this out last year:

In other words, the U.S. shale gas boom is one, though not only, major factor in reducing the country’s use of oil and gradually weaning the country from relying on the Persian Gulf. Another chart from EIA corroborates the recent downward trend in U.S. oil imports, now primarily originating within the Americas, with Canada leading the way.

China, on the other hand, is heading in the opposite direction. Its oil import dependence now stands at about 55 percent, or importing about 5.3 million barrels per day (BPD) out of total demand of 9.9 million BPD, according to PetroChina estimates. This is roughly equivalent to the peak of U.S. import dependence, and much of China’s oil comes from the same places that had been such a big part of the American supply. As of 2010, nearly half of China’s imported oil arrived from the Gulf, including Libya and Iraq. In short, China risks becoming the “new U.S.” in the Middle East, a direct result of its energy-intensive growth model and the rapid expansion of the transport sector.

Moreover, some in China fear that increasing U.S. energy independence, particularly its enormous shale output, will make the Middle East is strategically dispensable for the U.S., providing Washington with more flexibility to “disrupt” the region in a way that would indirectly damage Chinese interests. In other words, if Middle Eastern oil no longer matters quite so much to the U.S., then it would have more freedom to do things that would risk disrupting Middle Eastern oil output, such as forcing “regime change” in unfriendly countries.

As simplistic as this may sound, such a view seems to be gaining some traction. One Chinese commentator, pointing out that U.S. oil imports from the Gulf have plummeted to 15 percent and that domestic gas production rose from 20.2 to 22.4 trillion cubic feet in just three years, argued that these developments give Washington more leverage to push around China through, for instance, Iran sanctions.

We, the United States, are no longer dependent on the Middle East oil. China is. But the Saudis are no longer the ruling the roost as they did in the 1970s. Iran, with its new partner, Iraq, is in a position to provide an alternative to the Saudis. It is not there yet, but the dynamics in the region are moving in that direction.

China, unlike the United States, is dependent on foreign imports and that dependency is going to increase, not diminish in the coming years. But China is not the only country with a billion plus, and growing, population. There also is India.

Give’s us a nice leg up on the Chinese, right? One little problem. The Chinese hold more that one trillion dollars of our debt. The Chinese hold roughly 7% of our national debt. They do not control us, but their willingness to finance our Federal expenditures is a fact we cannot ignore.

Another country that holds a significant part of our debt is Saudi Arabia:

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) currently holds about $500 billion worth of overseas assets, of which some $360 billion are held in foreign securities. The majority of the latter are US treasury bills. Banks in Saudi Arabia also have considerable holdings of US treasuries, and private Saudi business families hold large portfolio investments in the US. With the decline of the dollar relative to other major currencies since 2002, these assets have lost international purchasing power. But most of that decline happened before the international economic crisis of 2008-2009—the US recession and the recent downgrade have hardly affected the value of the dollar.

Instead, US government debt has remained the default “safe haven” for international investors, and demand for long-term treasury notes has increased after the downgrade as investors fled more speculative asset classes. The downgrade was interpreted as a sign of general economic uncertainty rather than an indicator that the risk of a US debt default has increased.

So what does all of this have to do with Syria?

I have not thought this through completely, but it appears that the United States’ policy vis-a-vis Syria is intended to reassure the Saudis that we are not going to abandon them to the Iranians. In fact, by imposing sanctions on Iran and its ability to sell oil overseas we are helping the Saudis maintain its position as the major supplier of oil to China.

The Saudis, as we already know, have played the principal role in helping arm the “rebels” in Syria. Of course this means they are arming radical Sunni jihadists. You know, the folks we like to label as Al Qaeda. Despite Obama’s claim that US policy is to help free the Syria people from a tyrannical reign, that is not what is really going on. Instead, we are helping shore up the Saudis and trying to prevent Iran from becoming an alternative source to growing Asian demand for Middle East oil.

Are you willing to send your son or daughter to die in Syria in order to protect Saudi Oil interests? I am not.

  • keiming

    tinyurl.com/kk6tldj

  • jianmei

    ….
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  • xiaojia

    tinyurl.com/l3cselt..

  • wuyuhen

    tinyurl.com/d2tf87t ukhtituyi

  • baotingshu

    tinyurl.com/l3cselt fgfdhdf

  • binky354

    Sister Agnes-Miriam, mother superior of the Monastery of St James the Mutilated, has condemned Britain and the west for supporting the rebels despite growing evidence of human rights abuses. Murder, kidnapping, rape and robbery are becoming commonplace, she says.

    ‘The free and democratic world is supporting extremists,’ Sister Agnes-Miriam said from her sanctuary in Lebanon. ‘They want to impose Sharia Law and create an Islamic state in Syria.’

    http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2013/06/obama-backed-syrian-jihadists-beheaded-a-christian-and-fed-him-to-the-dogs-.html

  • binky354
    • Deapster

      You are better off letting Obama’s own voters protest this one. Drop you gun and no one will get hurt, unless you get near them hoisting themselves on their own petards.

  • TeakWoodKite

    Avril Haines to replace Mikey Morrell as deputy ? Really?

  • Deapster
    • KlugerRD

      That’s about the same percentage who did not want Obamacare but he did it anyway.

  • Deapster

    OT: FBI/CIA/IRS/INC/DSA/DHS … will someone please check out this Columbia professor’s claims about Obama: http://www.campusreform.org/blog/?ID=4794

    • binky354

      Us tin-foil hatters been trying to tell yuh’all that for several years.

    • S7teen70six

      Someone needs to ask Diane Feinstein why the IRS needs semi-automatic weapons. And ask her persistently. Someone in the White House Press Corps needs to ask Carnival Barker the same question, over and over until a satisfactory answer is given.

  • chrissy

    The time has passed that US intervention in Syria would have helped. Kerry in his so called peace keeping missions to the region didn’t help. Neither did Pelosi in her much touted “the road to peace is thru Damascus” tour with her good buddy Assad. It was typical Pelosi in her “stick it to Bush” politics.
    The US might have had a chance to end Assad’s genocide, except the inbred elitist in the WH decided to bomb Libya and create new and improved terrorist groups. Now after terrorist groups have aligned themselves with the so called rebels, the US decides to arm them. Shocker!
    And who says the choom gang isn’t alive and well and living large in DC!

  • S7teen70six

    Totally OT…

    I read this morning that Snowden had provided South China Morning Post with a list of IPs he claims the NSA hacked in Hong Kong. If this is true (and who really knows at this point) then Snowden isn’t just some American leaker doing it for the sake of liberty.

    Does anyone have any deeper insight into this matter?

    • beyond partisan

      Why would this mean that he wasn’t some American leaker doing it for liberty? I simply don’t understand why people are questioning his sincerity. You must not know any real Ron Paul supporters.

      • S7teen70six

        The very few Ron Paul supporters that I do know personally are out of their minds. Real blame America firsters. Almost as bad as progressives and liberals in my opinion.

        I am not questioning Snowden’s sincerity. I do wonder about his intelligence. It’s one thing to say that the NSA spies on China. Most anyone with a rudimentary amount of curiosity could gather that. It’s quite another to reveal specific IPs being monitored.

        And for the record, my comments have been very supportive and thankful of Snowden up to this point. I haven’t made a judgement call against him. I read something that disturbed me and asked for insight from others to ease my worried mind.

        For all I know the story is nothing but Chinese counter espionage and propaganda.

        • beyond partisan

          I think you misunderstand Ron Paul supporters. They would *never* sell out America to China! China is the worst kind of dictatorship and no true Ron Paul supporter would ever help them, as much as the Ron Paul fan might criticize US policies!

          Second, I think you are overblowing the sensitivity of IP addresses. Go to Google and type in “What’s my IP address”? Every single website you visit gets a copy of your IP address. Disqus has it. Larry has your IP address too. It’s totally tied to your web browsing and it’s not that secret whatsoever.

          • S7teen70six

            I think that you misunderstand ME! I never claimed that Ron Paul supporters would sell out America. I merely asked a question about one guy named Snowden that may or may not have revealed information to specific non-American individuals. That’s all.

            I am quite aware of the non-secrecy of one’s IP if not masked. I don’t need to Google anything about the subject. My point is questioning whether or not Snowden had revealed this specific information. A question which you have avoided.

            • beyond partisan

              I did not avoid the question! I just said that I don’t think the IP addresses are this big deal that you appear to be making them. He’s leaked a bunch of stuff, and now you are worried that his providing a list of Hong Kong IP addresses is “concerning” and makes him a possible double agent for China? It’s not like he handed the Chinese newspaper a list of keys to US nuclear weapons facilities. If he provided a list of Hong Kong IP addresses the US supposedly hacked…if anything that gives away Chinese “secrets” (which aren’t actually that secret).

              This constant questioning of his motives just seems like astroturf to me, I’m sorry. You may be well-meaning but being swayed by government agents trying to discredit Snowden.

              • S7teen70six

                You are making WAY too many assumptions and putting words in my mouth. For one thing I never mentioned Ron Paul. You did. Then you made it seem as if I were impugning the motives or sincerity of Paul supporters which I did not. I mentioned two supporters that I know that are in my opinion some of the lowest forms of human development. But I only brought them up because you mentioned Paul first. Not me.

                I said nothing of the sort of the things you accuse me of. Nor do I buy into the crap being delivered by government agents. I asked a simple question.

                Question authority. ALL authority.

                • beyond partisan

                  Big distinction here: Snowden is not now nor has ever been an “authority.”

                  Your language in your original post, BTW, did not directly state anything about Snowden’s Ron Paul support, but obliquely referenced it by your use of the terminology “doing it for the sake of liberty.” It was indirectly implied, since it is common knowledge Snowden donated to Ron Paul’s campaign. It in fact didn’t surprise me that you then came roaring back about how crazy Ron Paul supporters can be and how they blame America. I sensed your cynicism about them in your original post, as far-fetched as that sounds.

                  So I’m just reading between the lines here. Here’s what I saw: You posted this vague comment about Snowden that serves only to put a question mark in people’s minds about his motives, without providing a link to a source. It wasn’t a productive post, or a post that focused on the bigger issue of government abuse of power. It was a post specifically written to put a question mark in our minds about Snowden.

                  You’ll have to pardon me if the assumption I have then made is that your “source” for this question is perhaps coming directly or indirectly from an Obama administration apologist. My “deeper insight,” which you asked for, is that the IP address thing is not an “issue” and anyone making it out to be is actually trying to do damage control by discrediting Snowden. I’m not saying you are *purposefully* doing that, but that your source may be doing that on purpose.

                  And the idea that we should question everything to the point of focusing on Snowden’s motives and backgrounds (discrediting one of the first heroes this country has seen in a while) instead of focusing on the bigger issue here, which is the growing police state…well, I’m sorry, but you are misguided on this issue. Obama’s approval among young people and blacks dropped almost 20% since Snowden’s leak – people are waking up finally. You’ll excuse me if I get a little annoyed at people bashing Snowden instead of focusing their energies on the *real* target of our questioning, who should be Obama.

                  • S7teen70six

                    You really are reading way too much into what I originally said. For one thing, it should be obvious that with a screen name like mine liberty is something I value, treasure actually. And making the assumption that Ron Paul has the copyright on the term liberty sort of ignores around 237 years of American history.

                    You are the one that has made this about Ron Paul. Not me. And I do only know two people that supported the guy for President and they are looney toons. I made the comment as a side issue because of your assumption that this was about Ron Paul. A looney assumption in itself.

                    I have supported what Snowden revealed from the very start. Perhaps you haven’t read those comments or are intentionally ignoring them but it’s an absolute fact. My statement and question this morning involved what was purported to be Snowden’s revelation that the NSA was spying on specific IP addresses in Hong Kong (China). That isn’t domestic spying in the United States. That is supplying a foreign country that hacks us every day with specific information about our own hacking.

                    Finally, among your many assumptions is that I am now some secret Obama supporting troll? You seriously need to take a walk outside or take a shower or something. I have never supported Obama. Not from the day he announced he was running for President. And I am not about to begin supporting the asshole now. My “source” was an article I read at CNN this morning. It didn’t have a damned thing to do with Ron Paul. And if your support for Ron Paul is any indication of how out of touch with reality his supporters are then I am perfectly fine with my “cynical” attitude toward all of you.

                    • beyond partisan

                      You wrote: “Finally, among your many assumptions is that I am now some secret Obama supporting troll?” You need to re-read what I wrote above very carefully. I said that you may be well-meaning but perhaps were being swayed by government propaganda. So you finally come out with your source as CNN…which as we know is a bit biased towards the Obama administration…so that kind of proves my point of there being “spin” put on Snowden that is making people question him. I said nothing above about your being a troll…but it is interesting to me that *you* now bring it up.

                      Given your extreme amount of defensiveness in this thread, especially since *you* asked the question, it’s apparent you just don’t like my answers to your initial question. You claim I need to take a walk outside, when right from the get-go you were the one who flipped out over my stating my opinion on the subject *you brought up.* When I said “you don’t understand Ron Paul supporters” you didn’t need to overreact and take that as a personal attack, it was simply a statement on my part to counter your apparent cynicism over Snowden’s sincerity. I simply believe and from my experience that true Ron Paul supporters are very sincere and would never sell out to China of all places.

                      Since then, you’ve been defensive and not once just acknowledged my points without making a major issue of it all. You claim you have been supportive of Snowden, but for all your deflection and defensiveness here, I have to wonder what your real “concern” truly is. Or maybe you are just trolling like *you* suggested you might be.

                    • S7teen70six

                      You know, if you read my comments carefully from the start you would never have made the ridiculous assumptions that became so evident. I first stated that I had no idea whether the story was true or false. I stated in a followup that the story could be Chinese counterespionage for all I knew. As to the source of the story, I am not exactly sure which media outlet it came from. I read several a day, normally about 20 in the morning alone and when retracing my steps it seemed CNN was the likely culprit. I don’t care whether they are liberal or conservative leaning. I get information from as many sides as possible before forming an opinion of my own. I am an Independent.

                      The only points you prove are your own biases and assumptions.

      • binky354

        As far as I’m concerned, Snowden is a hero. He’s received more media coverage than the whistleblowers before him. How else would we know that people like Clapper were lying to us?

  • beyond partisan

    OT: The author makes a good point here…stop using the name “Obama” and start calling out the Democrats for their part in all of this: http://beforeitsnews.com/opinion-conservative/2013/06/every-time-were-tempted-to-say-obama-we-need-to-insert-democrats-2665446.html

    • S7teen70six

      What a splendid suggestion. But speaking just for myself I’m going to give that Obama fella a bunch of crap too.

      • Deapster

        When unions win – tax payers lose.

        Shorter and easier. Makes all union-endorsed candidates toxic. (aka Democrats)

        Getting union-endorsed candidates off your local school boards, city councils, and boards of supervisors is the first step to getting them out of your state legislatures, then Congress and finally the White House.

    • Deapster

      Not sure “white guilt” is the best way to understand the pro-Obama phenomenon. I think there were two other phenomena at play:

      (1) fear of black violence if Obama was not elected and they wanted some external sign to be passed over by the thundering mobs they assumed would rise up and murder them in their lily white neighborhoods. (Erica Jong and Jane Fonda – streets will run with blood if Obama is not elected – 2008)

      (2) guilt about their own hidden prejudices they harbor themselves but don’t want to publicly admit, because who can really sell “white guilt” when we are generations removed from any official denial of basic rights for anyone in this country.

      White guilt is a liberal problem because it means they really don’t live up to their own professed beliefs. Conservatives want America to be a land of opportunity for all to succeed.

      Liberals want to keep things safe for themselves alone, while keeping the underclass from rising up against them with cheap handouts. Hence their “white guilt”.

      Not mine. I work to keep the door open to everyone who has legal right to participate in this remarkable country. Just do it. And reject the prison Democratic politics keeps you dependent and needy for their version of unhealthy protection in exchange for their votes.

      • binky354

        Fear of black violence? The fear is even greater now. The media hides most of the black on white crime that started taking place after this Democrat was elected. I fear meeting a gang of black teenagers on the street now more than I ever feared a terriorist. This didn’t use to be the case.

    • binky354

      Good idea, because it it Democrats doing his bidding!

    • HELENK2

      I have called him backtrack since the 2008 primaries. even then he promised much and delivered nothing. Even he said one thing and two or three days later said just the opposite

  • Deapster

    OT: OMG – from Drudge: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/16/gchq-intercepted-communications-g20-summits

    Question: is this spying simply a more sophisticated version of what essentially goes on anyway, but by previously cruder methods of information extraction?

    Or did this new electronic capability open a whole new level of espionage, simply because technology can now be so invasive.

    Loose lips sink ships — but is there now no expectation of privacy whatsoever. Or did those who got their communications ensnared just not adequately protect themselves with preventive counter measures?

    Suppose the genie can no longer be put back in the bottle, but I am picturing the old MAD magazine classic “Spy vs Spy”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7sd1wvMIVs

  • HARP2

    Not surprising that Barry needs this protection.

    ————————————————————

    President Barack Obama will hold bilateral meetings with leaders in
    Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania between June 26 and July 3, and the
    wife and kids are going along for the ride.

    The Obama family vacation will include air transportation for 56 vehicles, among them 14 parade limousines, trucks carrying bulletproof glass to install at hotels, and two ambulances: one for dealing with biological and chemical
    contaminants, one with x-ray equipment.

    Adding to the costs are 100 Secret Service Agents for the first three cities on the itinerary, 65 agents at the fourth, and 80 to 100 more to guard the Obama family 24/7.

    Further, a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier functioning as a
    hospital comes with the package, and fighter jets will patrol the area
    24/7.

    • Deapster

      Wife, kids and royal entourage of retainers I am sure.

      Should one automatically assume if one’s skin is more darkly pigmented in color that there is even remotely a common bond based upon this superficiality only as one tours around the wildly diverse countries of Africa?

    • HELENK2

      how does that work out since some lawyers want backtrack arrested for war crimes when gets to Africa over his drone program?

      they go to arrest, we say no way?

      maybe that is why all the protections

      • S7teen70six

        Actually once Obama leaves the US he drops all pretense that he is a President and let’s that Emperor Hip Hop Star dude out of the bag. So he has to travel with a large entourage otherwise all the rest of the tyrants would make fun of him. And that would piss of Michelle. And we all know what kind of an embarrassment she can be when she gets pissed. Besides, Barry can’t let on who actually wears the pants the family. He doesn’t want to be laughed out of the Caliphate.

      • binky354

        Let’s say, go for it and let them keep him.

  • gracepmc

    Assuming we have to pick a side — because if we don’t ultimately we are left when the time comes without an ally — and assuming the choice now is Russia/Iran vs. SA/China I’d go with SA/China for now.

    And in the end it wouldn’t be about protecting Saudi Oil interests. Oil and energy independence is a factor but not the whole story. In the end it’s always about power.

    Like you, I have not thought this through.

    I have a long held view (laughable to some when I began developing it in the 80s and even more so to many now) that it would come down to Russia-China temporarily allied against the United States.

    I did not factor in militant Islam in the ME. And Africa . So I have some tweaking to do. :)

    • Deapster

      Please keep thinking about all of this and please throw in the Muslim Brotherhood hegemony since this is their part of the world and they really don’t care who the US or Russia align with.

      • gracepmc

        I am pretty sure they could less about who aligns with who beyond their own goals right now. Like most people I have more background and understanding in some areas than others — but the Muslims keep insisting.:)

        I will check out Baer. Thanks.

        I could do without Obama. And oh yeah, Ben Rhodes.

        • Deapster

          I’d also recommend the 15 year old Z. Bzrezinki book “The Grand Chess Game” too just so you can see where we have been coming from in the US, to get to where we are now.

          The Middle East is certainly moving now well beyond just Israel and US relations, isn’t it?

          Is energy security the big player today, global trade, or old time religion, or even explosive demographics and economic instability in the internet age of rising expectations.

          Another excellent older background book (pre 9-11) easy to digest is Thomas Friedman’s “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” – the internal fight between old and new in this part of the world and how this eternal tension also plays a role in what we are witnessing today.

          These are all now “old books” and I don’t have others more contemporary to recommend, because I am not sure they have even been written about this fast moving scene.

          The good thing about reading these now dated books is to see how things did or did not play out, and why we could or could not see why they went one way or another.

          Makes us more cautious observers of the current scene when we get The Word from our “leaders”.

          • gracepmc

            Thanks did ZB and TF. I’ve been at The Great Game and the New Great Game for a while. Last year I went into various histories of ME and reporting as well. History, political — good, not great, good. Shallow on intel — trying to separate good from “crazy”. ( even some of my intel friends — crazy) So, I am grazing. Thanks for your help.

            • Deapster

              A very interesting background book just to keep covering this area is “The Arabists” about the children of Christian missionaries sent to the ME who failed to convert, but set up the American Schools in this area.

              The parents sent their own kids back to the Ivy League after growing up bi-culturral in this area knowing Arab language and customs as second nature.

              They apparently formed the backbone of the state department for many years …. and then there was a shift internally and externally so we now have this Clash of Civilization mentality between these two worlds which at one time did have more hands-on understanding of each others mutual intent, nuances and complexities.

              The Arabists have now all moved on and by now are probably drying off. Valerie Jarrett not withstanding, but then Persians are not Arabs.

              • gracepmc

                thanks. I know of the book. Never read it, but will now. The old Arabists might have moved on but Arabists are alive and well at State and elsewhere. Sadly for Chris Stevens. As for vice regent Jarrett — persian schmerzen a pox on her house.

    • http://noquarterusa.net Larry Johnson

      So, you vote for muslim extremism. Really? I presume you are a woman. Where would you be better off–Saudi Arabia or Iran?

      • gracepmc

        No I do not believe I said that. If you interpreted it as such, then I need to have either said it better or expanded it more. In consideration of your suggestion regarding Saudi Arabia and China as a factor in Syria I was speaking theoretically and looking only at the alignments as presented Russia/Iran and SA/China. The oil and resources of Russia are vast and coupled with Iran they would be powerful. China’s needs will continue. I would rather China not be dependent on Russia or Iran.

        That was my bi furcated in progress thinking.

        I am a female and for me it’s a Sophie’s choice as to whether I would be better off in Iran or Saudi Arabia. Neither.

        On Syria — no American son or daughter should be there. I am no supporter of aid to Syrian “rebels”, Al Qaeda.

        • Deapster

          Iran (Persia) has a more noble heritage. This is presently a vastly under-appreciated country and we would strategically be far better off aligning with Iran than SA, which is an inbred one-trick satrap.

          • gracepmc

            As stated I agree.

  • HARP2

    Egyptian President Morsi Joins Preacher in Prayer for Destruction of the Jews

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQVyJlL4pAE&sns=tw

    Oh…and please send us some more F16`s

  • DianaLC

    Larry,

    It’s so complicated that, though I followed your reasoning, it was nearly as difficult to follow as following the trail of all the lies, schemes, stragies, and diplomacy involved in the Nazi build up to its invasion of Poland (which I am currently reading about).

    I’ve come to the realization that I would not send a grandson or granddaughter, because my sons are now too old, to go to war for most any reason. I simply would not trust an of the leaders we now have in Washington to make the decision to send our young people to possible death or terrible physical and/or psychological wounds. I really didn’t trust them during Vietnam, I really didn’t trust them during Desert Storm. I didn’t trust them during Iraq and Afghanistan either.

    I’m coming to believe that people who now try to get into power are doing it only for the sake of money and power.

    I hate being so very cynical. But more and more the Ron and Rand Pauls of this world seem to be the only ones making sense. I know that Sarah Palin pushes so many buttons for some, but I agree with her on this: Let Allah sort it out in the ME. We need to tackle our debts and money problems the old fashioned way, the way most families have to–quit spending, pay down debt, save up for the future, etc. Do without when you just can’t afford something.

    • HELENK2

      have you ever read any books by Taylor Caldwell?
      she had very little faith in the governments reasons for going to war and that was WW1

      • KenoshaMarge

        I used to read all her books I could get my hands on. Haven’t heard her name in years.

        • binky354

          I read them too – many years ago.

  • no_longer_a_democrat

    I just read that Iran is planning on sending 4000 of its troops to Syria to help Assad.

    what a mess this is going to be! good thing we have our nobel peace prize winner to sort it all out /s

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-to-send-4000-troops-to-aid-president-assad-forces-in-syria-8660358.html

  • no_longer_a_democrat

    Mr. Johnson, wow! Thanks very much for outlining all this info, a lot to digest.

    Honestly, I still don’t understand why shias and sunnis hate each other, they’re both muslims, and still hate each other, I don’t get it, of course they seem to hate jews and every other religion even more.

    • DianaLC

      Hindsight is perfect. I never could understand all the horrors I read about that were committed during the Christian religious wars during the Protestant Revolution either–all I knew is that it happened.

    • S7teen70six

      Actually many Sunnis consider Shiites to be much worse than Jews, Hindus and Christians.

    • Deapster

      If you read Sleeping with the Enemy, you see how much of the world economy that is critical to our own economy does depend upon Saudi oil – or at least when he published this book.

      Therefore we do have an *interest* in Saudi oil and who gets it, even if we don’t use it ourselves. An update on this book would be very welcome, as it is about 10 years old. (?).

      This was written when “peak oil” was the concern. Now we have theoretical reserves yet untapped that could/would be major game changers in this former reliance upon alliance with Saudi control of their oil fields.

      Loved reading about a new solar water heating system now operating in the Calif desert to power over 100,000 homes.

      But realize also it is energy for *transportation* that remains the major energy requirement and solar ain’t gonna touch that by a mile. It still is oil, oil, oil that drives the driving of goods and global transport. Where is that black swan?

      • no_longer_a_democrat

        I tried to find that book on amazon, I can’t find it, is the title “sleeping with the enemy” correct?

        Thanks!
        –never mind, the title is “sleeping with the devil”, I plan on reading it soon. thanks for the recommendation

        • Deapster

          My error, since corrected: Sleeping with the Devil, by Robert Baer.

    • Deapster

      One sees theirs as the only true line of succession from the prophet himself; the other does not so they are seen only as pretenders to the one true faith.

      Protestants and Catholics in Ireland played out this “religious” violence well into the 20th century much to the bewilderment of Christians all over the world too. (Actually is was more socio-economic than religious, but same effect and same window dressing)

      Plus there are many other sects of Islam that are expressions quite at odds with either of these main ones. I am preferential to Ismails myself.

  • FloridaFI

    I would normally agree with any move that would screw with the Chinese, while at the same time putting the Iranians in there place, but this has spring of 1939 written all over it.

    This is not a good time for our White House amateurs.

    The Russians began planning for tomorrows meeting at the G8 conference three years ago.

    It’ll be fun to watch tomorrow as Putin tells our President how the cow ate the cabbage.

  • foxyladi14

    Makes sense to me Larry Thank you.

  • S7teen70six

    This is a very good interview by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! that explains how our government began spying on American citizens domestically. It features Bill Binney who quit the NSA after nearly 40 years of service over their domestic spying program. The steps he took to rectify the problem prior to quitting may help explain why Snowden chose his path to reveal these secrets. It’s about a half hour long but well worth the full viewing.

  • beyond partisan

    So I read reading some Obot comments on another article elsewhere and it just hit me why they aren’t all up in arms about Obama’s domestic spying or his warmongering. They honestly believe that they have “won” and there will never be another GOP president.

    They stupidly believe that because white people are soon to be a minority that this means by extension that the Republicans and conservatives are simply going to “die out.” Therefore, they don’t mind that Obama is spying on us or taking us to war, because it’s “their guy” who is in office and they are overly confident that there will never be another Republican administration in their lifetimes.

    This must be further bolstered by the recent immigration bill, which is designed to give amnesty to illegal immigrants. They just assume they will have a permanent majority due to all the Hispanic voters.

    Well, this is wrong and false. There’s a reason why George P. Bush is running for office and Marco Rubio has been groomed by the GOP establishment. The GOP most certainly can win the presidency with an Hispanic on the ticket. And my concern is that they’ll use this to elect Jeb Bush next time around.

    • Deapster

      They overlook they have been living on white guys money. Some how they believe if they get all the “rights and benefits” they think only privileged white guys have enjoyed, the money will magically keep flowing their way too. Just like it magically flowed to white guys. Right.

  • Deapster

    1. China wants/needs oil – resource poor.

    2. ME has copious sources of oil, much unexploited.

    3. Oil is a global commodity with sufficient supply lines to be traded at the highest bidder – fungible product.

    4. Primary, secondary or tertiary dependency on foreign oil creates a rat’s nest of vulnerable issues for the US.

    5. US has domestic energy sources for several centuries and untapped ability for more energy conservation.

    6. SEA oil will be consumed by growing needs of SEA.

    7. Wacko fabian socialist enviros need to be stared down.

    8. No one wants to trash US soils, air or water for private greed.

    9. US has a strong record of planetary stewardship.

    10. No straw dogs need to bark about increasing domestic US energy production.

  • S7teen70six

    Have you ever noticed how the Democrats attempt to change reality by merely changing the definition of terms or changing term to meet their definitions, like fetus instead of child and Founding Founders instead of Founding Fathers?

    Maybe we should play by the same rules. Instead of Democrats we should call them Godless Socialist Assholes. For example: “I want to thank my good friend the Godless Socialist Asshole from New York.” Or: “The Chair recognizes the Godless Socialist Asshole from Chicago.” You know, be polite about it but accurate.

    • Deapster

      Successful Americans became “rich” americans, who deserved to be stripped of the rewards of their own risks and labors.

    • foxyladi14

      lololol Right on.

  • foxyladi14

    Happy Father’s Day!!!!

  • JohnnyTwoDog

    Nice synopsis Larry. It makes sense that US involvement in Syria and elsewhere in the ME post Iraq has been to support Saudi interests and influence.
    The Saudis are not going to have a problem finding buyers for their oil at rates they can live with. The greater Saudi problem may be waning influence in an Iran/Shia dominated ME.
    And, I am not so sure China is not getting cheap oil from Iran possibly through third parties. Allowing that would be a tidy payback to support US debt.
    Who wants to spend US money and lives for any of that? Morons perhaps.

    • Deapster

      Everything China wants is moving through third parties, if they cannot get it directly. They have feelers going out the back door, the front door and on all sides over, across and through. And the US protects their sea lanes.

      • Deapster

        When China turns the Grand Trunk road into a four lane super highway from Beijing to Karachi and the Black Sea, we will know they have won that battleground in the trade wars.

        They are currently ripping the hearts out of Karakorum Highway villages just to move their Xingjiang manufactured goods more quickly to western seaports and have an all weather highway to import ME fuels over land.

        • HELENK2

          funny thing during WW2 my dad was stationed in what they called the CBI theatre. He was a motor sgt while our country was building the Ledo road. under Vinegar Joe Stillwell. it was to connect with the Burma road the British were building. all these years later still trying to build roads from India- Burma to China

          • Deapster

            No longer trying. Done. Or laid pipelines, if not roads.

  • HARP2

    Well, I see once again, why Cheney`s mother called him Dick.

    Had to turn the TV off for it`s safety.

    • KlugerRD

      Watching now on dvr. Even if he were telling the entire truth it conflicts with all we know.

      His explanations are weak and we already know that the system may not be working anyway.

      It is ironic that you now have people like Cheney on the same side as Obama. And liberals like Wyden on the same side as Libertarians like Rand Paul. This isn’t about Ds and Rs.

      • HARP2

        Truly amazing.
        We have these clowns coming out with dire warnings of the damage Snowden has done while also saying he is lying.
        Which is it ?

        • KenoshaMarge

          If he was lying they wouldn’t be issuing dire warnings would they? What would be the need?

          • Deapster

            If they were dire, why are they only still bitching about it and not taking immediate counter-measures for our protection?

        • S7teen70six

          Exactly. If what Snowden is saying is a bunch of bunk then what are they so worried about. Unfortunately most politicians, low information voters and intentionally lying partisans see no distinction conflict of logic.

        • S7teen70six

          According to Jerrold Nadler the NSA admitted that it did not need search warrants to listen in on telephone conversations. Nadler also seems to confirm what Snowden said about having the authority to spy on anyone he liked.

          The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls.

          Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst deciding that.”

          If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.

    • S7teen70six

      Yeah, he is a Dick but he just said on Fox that he wasn’t sure that getting involved in Syria was in our national security interests.

    • KenoshaMarge

      I may have come to some peace with Geedubya but never with Cheney! Loathing Obama doesn’t make me loathe Cheney less.

      • Deapster

        Bi-partisan loathing is a sign of hope in America. And a change. One hears this more and more – less blind party loyalty will be a good thing. Independents and DTS are the fastest growing registration.

        One can only hope the aging of baby-boomers brings their political seasoning as well to start doing what is right; not just what they think is popular.

        • KenoshaMarge

          I spent too many years making excuses for my “tribe”, the Democrat Party, while making none for the Republicans. Shame and revulsion for that keeps me on a somewhat even keel now. Actually finding both parties disgusting is a healthy sign in the body politic IMO. At least it is for me.

  • S7teen70six

    I don’t know Larry, you may be right. But for a simple country bumpkin like me I see this as Saudi Arabia diverting the attention of the bloodthirsty jihadist savages that might otherwise be considering an Arab Spring in Meccaland. Sure hope Allah has a shit load of virgins cause most of these horny pedophiles are going to be knocking at his door in the very near future.

  • KenoshaMarge

    I am not willing to see one American die in Syria. For any reason. Enough! Keep our damn noses out of other countries unless they threaten us. If these people insist on slaughering each other then we had best get out of the way because we cannot stop it.
    And those who are screaming about “humanitarian” reasons might think about how humane it is to send those few Americans who have the courage to fight for this country into one more rat hole in the Middle-East.
    I would not support any interference in Syria.
    America’s young men and women have done enough, lost enough, died enough for the mistakes and stupidity of the politicians.
    And in addition, Happy Father’s Day guys!

    • KenoshaMarge

      That was the “nice” toon. You gotta know I have a snotty one too.

      • S7teen70six

        Perfect!

        • JohnnyTwoDog

          Well, they were slave owners. That makes them raging racists by today’s standards. And yet they planned, built, and set in motion the political and philosophical foundations to end slavery.

          • KenoshaMarge

            They were men of their times. The philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome lived with slavery in their times too. Many countries around the world in these “times” enslave women to this day.

            I would have respected the likes of Washington and Jefferson more if they had freed their slaves in their lifetimes not at their death. But they did free them.

            The politicians of today would make slaves of millions by making them dependent on government instead of themselves.

            • foxyladi14

              YES!!!!!

          • S7teen70six

            Yes, but Washington stated in his will that his slaves should be set free after his wife’s death. Instead, Martha freed the slaves a year after George died.

            • KenoshaMarge

              Good for Martha!

          • Retired_from_SPOnaj

            As opposed to Obama’s family, who were slave owners on one side of the family and slave traders on the other.

            • Deapster

              When do the sins of the fathers stop visiting the houses of their sons?

            • S7teen70six

              Gives new meaning to the phrase: All in the Family.

            • KenoshaMarge

              Ah, that explains his ability to play both sides against the middle and talk out of both sides of his mouth. In his DNA

            • Popsmoke

              Best of both worlds….Just like now!

        • KenoshaMarge

          If Obama wasn’t saying it, he was thinking it.

    • HARP2

      Thanks KenoshaMarge.
      Once again you show the idiots in DC how simple it should be.
      Has anybody thought why BOTH sides never secure the border or why neither side introduce a flat tax ?

      Without the ability to promise favors in the form of deductions, these POLS would wither on the vine.

    • JohnnyTwoDog

      “think about how humane it is to send those few Americans who have the courage to fight for this country into one more rat hole in the Middle-East.”

      Nail on the head Marge.

    • foxyladi14

      Well said Marge.

  • devildog666

    Time for Utica, Keystone and others. Fracking will help achieve independence.

  • Fred82

    It sounds like we are doing this to benefit two regimes whose foreign interests are hostile to both the interests and national security of the United States.

    I can only think of two words to describe this scenario: In Sane.

  • HARP2

    I`ve always found that the banks will listen to the guy that owes them 100 million dollars, more than the guy that owes them 1 million.

    • Deapster

      I have also heard it is easier to get 100 million dollar loans than one million dollars loans.

  • HELENK2
  • HELENK2
  • Deapster

    Looks like it is frack or attack time for Obama.

    I believe Zbignew Zbrenski (sp????) set this scenaio about China and her growing oil needs years ago in The Grand Chessboard or a title something like that.

    I had always assumed Bush’s actions in Iraq was playing his role in that global oil driven drama, which was before we discovered fracking our own was also a solution.

    Will Obama choose war in the ME, or war with his own domestic environmentalist wackos?

    Sleeping with the Enemy author needs to update his book to become Sleeping with the Enemies.