The Unmanageable Middle East?

Its not just a diplomatic and personal setback in Libya:

Though the agency has been cooperating with the new post-Qaddafi Libyan intelligence service, the size of the C.I.A.’s presence in Benghazi apparently surprised some Libyan leaders. The deputy prime minister, Mustafa Abushagour, was quoted in The Wall Street Journal last week saying that he learned about some of the delicate American operations in Benghazi only after the attack on the mission, in large part because a surprisingly large number of Americans showed up at the Benghazi airport to be evacuated.

“We have no problem with intelligence sharing or gathering, but our sovereignty is also key,” said Mr. Abushagour.

via Attack in Libya Was Major Blow to C.I.A. Efforts – NYTimes.com.

And one thought leader makes the case that the US should pull out altogether:

As in Southeast Asia in 1975, the limits of both American firepower and diplomacy have been exposed. Financial leverage, or baksheesh, can work only up to a point with leaders struggling to control the bewilderingly diverse and ferocious energies unleashed by the Arab Spring.

Although it’s politically unpalatable to mention it during an election campaign, the case for a strategic American retreat from the Middle East and Afghanistan has rarely been more compelling. It’s especially strong as growing energy independence reduces America’s burden for policing the region, and its supposed ally, Israel, shows alarming signs of turning into a loose cannon.

via America’s Inevitable Retreat from the Middle East

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7 thoughts on “The Unmanageable Middle East?

  1. joshuacordon says:

    The author used the phrase, “growing energy independence.” This is a very interesting phrase to use because it is very debatable to say that we are by any means independent. Declining dependence word be a far less deceptive phrasing. I say this because in the United States we still import 45% of our oil. Which means, if our foreign oil supply was cut off we would not be able to survive such a blow. Therefore we are not independent. However, it is interesting to note that only half of our imports come from the middle east. Not as much as people may think, but nevertheless it is substantial enough number that one cannot simply brush aside the issue.

    http://www.eia.gov/energy_in_brief/foreign_oil_dependence.cfm

  2. One thing this (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/09/libya-cia/) article brings up it that this entire situation is a product of many rash decisions- rash military actions in Libya, rash decisions to keep mass amounts of CIA operatives in Libya, and now rash decisions to pull every CIA operative out of Libya. This article paints the situation as very black and white which I disagree with, but I do think it’s something to take into consideration. Before we decide to completely spook and desert Libya, I think we need to take a step back and realize that since Libya is so unstable, doesn’t that qualify a CIA presence? Now, if any, is a time during the chaos that we need intel on what is happening in one of the most dangerous Middle Eastern countries. As many Libyans riot against America, those who support America are slowly being pushed into a limelight, a perfect opportunity for the CIA to find out who is foe and friend. There have been enough rash decisions concerning the Middle East, it’s time we decided to give them some thought before we spook at the first sign of discontent.

  3. bmedwards9 says:

    I agree with the author in that it is inevitable that America will leave the Middle East one day. I do not think his comparison with Southeast Asia though is accurate. The Vietnamese may or may not have liked Americans (like many people in the Middle East today) but they did not have terrorist groups. Vietnam did not come looking for revenge on the U.S. when we retreated which gives us a great relationship with them today. It is my opinion that once America leaves the Middle East, America will not be as safe as we would want it to be. The United States will need to do a lot of work in order to create like and trust for the United States in the Middle East. They need to do this before that inevitable moment of U.S. leaving the Middle East.
    Here is an article that shows some of the dislike towards America from the Middle East. http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/20/opinion/bennett-middle-east-violence/index.html?iref=allsearch

  4. kelseyclark says:

    It is interesting to note that while the author spoke about the “major blow to the C.I.A efforts” in the Libya, he failed to mention that perhaps the recent events may be an opportunity for the C.I.A.. The C.I.A. may be able to rebuild a network of Libyan informants because “tens of thousands” Libyans protested in the streets against extremist militia groups. Some of the protesters even stormed the headquarters of Ansar al-Sharia (a hard-line Islamist militia that has been linked to the attack on the United States Mission in Benghazi). In my opinion, once a local community becomes more informed of the extremists organizations in their area and their preplanned plots of attack the community may be more inclined reject the extremists. It is seemly not always the case, but if some of Libyans are aligning their interests with that of the United States’ interests the C.I.A. may be able to regain some more footings and make progress against extremist groups in Libya once again.

    Source: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/09/libya-cia/

  5. Based on what the author wrote, it makes sense that America will one day leave the Middle East, however, I do not think the author took into full account the inextricable relationship between Israel and the United States. Due to the political climate here in the United States, it’s next to impossible for any congress or administration to waiver in our commitment to protect Israel’s existence at almost any cost. That very support generated much of the anti-Americanism which ultimately led to the numerous and potent terror groups posing a threat to our nation. While I agree that the situation in the Middle East has gotten out of hand for America, I would ask, “when hasn’t it been out of hand?” Managable or not, we’re stuck there in one form or another, so we might as well make the most of it. I think the situation is not so dire as it seems, especially taking the pro-American and anti-Islamic milita protests in Lybia, there are more that be with us than against us.

  6. Even though we most likely suffer very little danger from terrorist activity here in America during the window of time of the withdrawal of the CIA personnel and their redeployment, there is still a window, and that demands consideration. After the attacks of 9/11/2001, the plan of the CIA shifted to bring the CIA more funding, flexibility, and authority, so they can eliminate potential terrorists before the ball starts rolling too fast. This plan called also for men and women on the ground who could monitor the situation in 80 countries. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/18/AR2006071800702_3.html) The statement that we are not so blind as they think may well be true if the attacks were made with the intent of some group to force the US operatives to withdraw, but the reality remains that we are still more blind without those sources than with them.

  7. Sorry I didn’t post this last night. I believe my TA Tyler sent an email that I would be posting this last night (after class) as one of my two blog posts for last week. I ended up getting home late last night and wasn’t feeling well, so I just went to bed, but I hope this may still count for last week’s blog post (I’ll do two more blog posts for this week as well).

    I do not believe that a large CIA presence in Libya was at all compromising Libyan sovereignty. It is the Islamist extremists that are doing that. The CIA works to counter such extremist movements. And I believe that although the CIA’s presence may have been weakened temporarily in Libya, there are certainly still CIA operatives on the ground conducting operations. Therefore, I think really unwise the remarks made that it would be beneficial for the United States to pull out of the Middle East altogether. If the United States were to pull out, the Middle East’s greatest supporter of democracy would be leaving; not only would this have negative consequences for Middle Eastern nations, but the United States would lose key allies in this region of growing turbulence, Israel being number one on the list. Also, if the United States would rather ease pressure against Iranian nuclear power building, or against known-terrorist groups associated with the region, or lose key sources for cheap oil (even despite increasing American independence on foreign oil), then by all mean the U.S. should certainly pull out of the Middle East. But that will never happen because American interests are extremely invested in the region.

    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/national_world/2012/09/24/cia-operatives-in-libya-pulled-following-attack.html

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