Wednesday, October 17, 2012

PF 2012 Middle East Policy - Evidence

For part 1 of the topic click here


There is no analysis in the post.  I am not sure how much analysis is required for debaters including novice to understand this topic.  It is fairly straight-forward and easy to understand.  I mean, either current middle-east foreign policy undermines national security or it does not.  A perfect delineation of the Pro and Con positions.  It is simple and clean.  What is not so simple, it cutting through the rhetoric and political grand-standing and finding good evidence.  Opinions are many and facts are few, but I think that is to be expected.  Not only because we are near the closing phase of a national election but because the nature of the subject: national security.  It is wrapped in a veil as that is actually part of the strategy to ensure security and because of the sensitivity of the topic, words matter greatly since much of "security" is often people's perception of feeling safe.  I mean, no administration would ever want to expose the failures or weakness of the nation's security.  So, we are left with conjecture, "expert" opinion, and the historical record.

In addition, because of the politically charged atmosphere, and other reasons, Con evidence is scarce.  There is a pragmatic argument that the homeland has been free of terror attacks since 2001, but one can not claim the same with respect to American interests abroad.  So below are the results of two specific searches.

First, I keyed my search on the word "blowback".  It is a common buzzword of the pundits and has proved fruitful in a google search.  Next I did a search through EBSCOhost.  There you will not find links, but the evidence should be obtainable through many schools or library computers. Enjoy.


Blowback is defined as “an unforeseen and unwanted effect, result, or set of repercussions,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Drone Attacks
Middle East Policy Council
Drone Warfare in Yemen: Fostering Emirates through Counterterrorism?
Leila Hudson, Colin S. Owens, David J. Callen
In the case of drone use in FATA, we identified five distinct forms of blowback, all of which are directly applicable to the use of drones in Yemen. The first, purposeful retaliation is typified by the events of the 2009 Khost bombing of CIA Camp Chapman and, more recently, an al-Qaeda attack earlier in 2012 on a liquid-natural-gas pipeline running through Yemen's Shabwa province. The motivation behind both of these attacks has been cited as the unremitting presence of, and specific attacks from, U.S.-operated drones. ... " - see the article for the remaining four

The Drone Blowback Fallacy
Strikes in Yemen Aren't Pushing People to Al Qaeda
Christopher Swift
July 1, 2012
(The article full text can be found here:
Religious figures echoed these words. Though critical of the U.S. drone campaign, none of the Islamists and Salafists I interviewed believed that drone strikes explain al Qaeda’s burgeoning numbers. “The driving issue is development,” an Islamist parliamentarian from Hadramout province said. “Some districts are so poor that joining al Qaeda represents the best of several bad options.” (Other options include criminality, migration, and even starvation.) A Salafi scholar engaged in hostage negotiations with AQAP agreed. “Those who fight do so because of the injustice in this country,” he explained. “A few in the north are driven by ideology, but in the south it is mostly about poverty and corruption.”

Washington Post
The inevitable blowback to high-tech warfare
By Walter Pincus, Published: October 15
Hasan Nasrallah, secretary general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia, confirmed that his organization had launched the drone it had assembled from Iranian manufactured parts....Nasrallah has made it clear that his use of drones isn’t over. “This flight was not our first, will not be our last, and we give assurances we can reach any point we want. We have the right to dispatch recon planes over occupied Palestine at any time,” he said Saturday.
In short, while armed drones have for years been a growing U.S. military and CIA weapon of choice in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, other countries have been quietly but quickly getting into the game.

Washington Post
The inevitable blowback to high-tech warfare
By Walter Pincus, Published: October 15
In a speech Thursday on cybersecurity, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta described as “probably the most destructive attack that the private sector has seen to date” the Shamoon computer virus that in August virtually destroyed 30,000 computers belonging to the Saudi Arabian state oil company Aramco....What crossed my mind was the Stuxnet virus, which has been described as a U.S.-Israeli collaboration that, beginning in 2009 and for at least a year, affected software associated with Iran’s nuclear program. In February, the Iranian Fars News Agency quoted a Tehran intelligence officer as saying that 16,000 computers in Iran had been infected by Stuxnet.
Earlier, there was Flame, another intelligence-gathering virus that focused on Iranian and other Middle Eastern computers. International computer security companies reported that Flame had some of the same characteristics as Stuxnet and apparently the same U.S.-Israeli origin.
Should we be surprised that Iran may have been behind the attacks on Aramco and probes of U.S. banks?

The State Press
US presence around globe intensifies anti-American sentiments
By Carlos Alfaro
September 18, 2012
As attacks and protests spread throughout the Middle East, everyone will ask how the U.S. will respond. Unfortunately, U.S. foreign policy for most of the 21st century and actions taken by the current administration point to more of the same: more military aid, more war and more military presence all over the globe.
The Middle East’s disdain for America is an obvious threat to our national security. Under the guise of security and good will, the U.S. government is the major culprit in cultivating the anti-American mentality.


EBSCOhost Sources

UANI Applauds President Obama, U.S. Lawmakers for Sanctioning Iran’s Central Bank By: United Against Nuclear Iran, Business Wire (English), 01/02/2012
United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) President, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s signing of new sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank and financial sector.
We applaud President Obama for signing into law sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank, which were passed by Congress with UANI’s support, research, and analysis. UANI has, since its founding, consulted with members of Congress to devise and introduce legislation to compel corporations, firms, and financial institutions to choose between doing business with the U.S., or Iranian entities including Iran’s Central Bank. If effectively implemented, these sanctions will be the toughest to date, and force banks and firms to take responsibility for their business decisions by choosing between doing commerce in Iran, or with the U.S.
As UANI noted in its letter to President Obama last month, sanctions against Bank Markazi are one of the best options the U.S. has for pressuring the Iranian regime to change course. UANI urges the Obama administration to fully implement and follow through on these sanctions, and will continue to devise measures that show the Iranian regime that the U.S. and international community will under no circumstances allow a nuclear-armed Iran.

THE STRATEGIST. By: Zakaria, Fareed, Time, 0040781X, 1/30/2012, Vol. 179, Issue 4
Columnist Walter Lippmann once wrote that "foreign policy consists in bringing into balance, with a comfortable surplus of power in reserve, the nation's commitments and the nation's power." From 2001, the U.S. went though a decade of massive foreign commitments and interventions, which proved enormously expensive in blood and treasure--and highly unpopular around the world. This overextension was followed by an economic crisis that drained American power. The result was a foreign policy that was insolvent. Obama came into office determined to pare down excess commitments, regain goodwill and refocus the U.S. on core missions to achieve a more stable and sustainable global position.
Obama can take credit for having achieved much along these lines. But to leave a more lasting legacy than one of focus, effectiveness and good public diplomacy, he will need to build on his successes and conceive and implement a set of policies that promote a vision of a better world--more stable, more open and more free. Good foreign policy Presidents (like Dwight Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush) managed a complex set of challenges expertly, making few costly errors. Bad ones (like George W. Bush and Lyndon Johnson) made mistakes that cost America in lives, treasure and prestige. But great foreign policy Presidents (like Harry Truman) created enduring structures and relationships that produced lasting peace and prosperity. Obama has been a good foreign policy President; he has the opportunity to become a great one.

Middle East buildup refutes Obama's critics By: Walter Pincus, Washington Post, The, 08/14/2012
Here are some facts that should be considered by those who criticize the Obama administration for "leading from behind" in the troubled Middle East.
A steady buildup in the number of U.S. ships and aircraft available for possible new military action in the Middle East has been underway for months, and the Pentagon has done little to hide it from the leaders of Iran and Syria.
...On another level, U.S. intelligence agencies are also at work. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton referred indirectly to this at her news conference Saturday with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul.
"We are providing $25 million in nonlethal aid, mostly communications, to civil society and activists," she said. "And I don't want to go into any further details as to how we are helping people, at the risk of endangering them at this time."
In an analysis published Thursday on al-Jazeera's Web site, Robert Grenier, a former CIA station chief in Pakistan, gave this authoritative view of the assistance: "Such [communications] equipment would have the dual benefit not only of improving intelligence flow to, and tactical coordination among the armed rebel units, but also of facilitating the flow of information from inside Syria to the providers of this assistance."

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