This information was just released by Stratfor.com, a commercial global intelligence service to which I subscribe…
“Iraq: Largest Refinery Shut Down After Attack”
June 17, 2014 | 1153 GMT
“Iraq’s Baiji oil refinery was shut down overnight June 16 after militants attacked the refinery with mortars, Reuters reported June 17. The refinery’s foreign staff were evacuated from the area, but refinery officials said that local staff are still in place and that the military is in control of the facility. An official said there is sufficient gas oil, gasoline and kerosene at the refinery to supply more than a month of domestic demand.”
Although the U.S. gets only a small fraction of our oil from Persian Gulf sources (our largest source is Venezuela) oil is traded and priced globally, so shortages WILL cause prices to rise here in the U.S… in fact they have already increased.
As oil prices rise the price of EVERYTHING else will rise because EVERYTHING travels by truck. Rising prices will hurt business – especially small business which Obama has been neglecting, even retarding, his entire term. If oil prices rise high enough that will mean higher unemployment and a return to recession.
You will recall that strategic analysts have been saying for years that war in the Persian Gulf, the subsequent constriction of oil supply and the resultant rise in global fuel prices is the most likely impetus of serious global strife… strife that will certainly hit the U.S. and our fragile economy very hard.
But there is a much larger potential crisis looming here.
In the face of the “sudden and unexpected” rise (the Obama administration probably heard about the Iranian crisis “on the news”) of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_State_in_Iraq_and_the_Levant, aka ISIS) the White House today announced that we will be sending “Special Operations Forces” (boots on the ground) back into Iraq, with the caveat that they will not engage in combat. But what if a group of those Special Forces are cornered and attacked? You can bet that they’ll engage in combat then!
ISIS is a truly brutal organization. Last week they literally lined up 1,700 Iraqi military and police and executed them in a mass execution. They have Stinger missiles and are capturing all the HUMVEEs, weapons and armored vehicles we left with the Iraqi military when we pulled out, as they roll through Iraq on their way to Baghdad. In fact the Obama administration specifically elected to leave much more equipment in Iraq than we had initially planned in order to speed our withdrawal and cut the costs of pulling out!
Secretary of State John Kerry has announced that he’s already talking to Iran to see if they will “ally” with us to help defuse the situation. This is only further proof that the Obama administration lives in a fantasy world. The Iranians are far more dangerous than the ISIS.
Whether Iran weights in “on our side” as Kerry hopes is not the issue. Iran and the Iranian Quds Force (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quds_Force) is ALREADY HEAVILY INVOLVED IN IRAQ and has been since before we left.
If the Iranians have their way they will soon control Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, which is a swath of control from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean (see map below.) If that happens Jordan may also either fall or elect to ally with Iran. In such a scenario Israel will be in very serious trouble… and they have nuclear weapons.
When we pull out of Afghanistan (and I suspect that trouble in Iraq will actually accelerate that pull-out) Iran will control at least the eastern portion of that country as well.
In the near total absence of American power in the region Iran can do all of this without hardly firing a shot, except perhaps for the brutally slaughter of the Sunni ISIS terrorist group (no loss there) and cutting the head off any remaining Sunni resistance in Iraq. This will be all the easier if Obama actually invites and condones an Iranian military intervention into Iraq.
Remember that the real conflict in Iraq – and indeed the real conflict across Southwest Asia – is a conflict between Sunni Saudi Arabia, who hate the Shia-Persian Iranians, manipulate all of the Sunni nations in the region, and control Mecca, and Shia-Persian Iran, who hate the Sunni Arabs, manipulate all the Shia nations in the region, and hate the fact that Saudi Arabia controls Mecca, the holiest site for both Sunni and Shia Islam. Iraq is about 60% Shia, 20% Sunni and 20% Kurdish and is already under heavy influence from Iran.
The Levant is the ancient demarcation line between Arabia and Persia, and the line drawn between Sunni and Shia Islam.
I believe that the rise of the ISIS is the trigger event that Iran has been waiting for to justify a military intervention into Iraq and further into Syria… and Kerry may be about to invite the Iranians in!
We already have the U.S.S. George Bush carrier group in the Persian Gulf. Incidentally if the U.S.S. George Bush were to be sunk in the Persian Gulf – and our carriers are most definitely vulnerable to a mass Iranian cruise missile attack (the Iranians are not lightly armed 12th century barbarians like the ISIS) – the immediate death toll would likely be 1,000+ American Sailors and Marines. Thus far in both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan we have lost about 4,500 American military across the span of more than 12 years of combat. Imagine the catastrophic impact of 1,000 additional dead in a single incident.
The ISIS has about 3,000 Sunni fighters – brutal fighters, yes but woefully insufficient to stand against a very brutal Iranian assault if that happens. Unlike the U.S. the Iranians have no restrictive rules of engagement and will use chemical weapons if they feel the need… Obama recently demonstrated that neither we nor the U.N. will intervene in that event. In such a situation the destruction of the ISIS should be sufficient to show any remaining Sunni resistance in Iraq that opposing the Iranians is futile.
So what to do? That’s a complicated question. “Difficult to see… always in motion is the future” as a short, green friend of mind likes to say. But at this point there are certainly fewer options than there were when Obama took office. In fact at this point it seems that Obama intends to do pretty much what he did in response to the Russian takeover of eastern and southern Crimea, which is nothing apart from sending in a small force to assist in the evacuation of Americans. He looked around for allies because he so decries “unilateral action”, and finding none he has actually turned to Iran for help. He is willing to try anything other than take decisive action as the world’s only real superpower. Anything other than do something of his own design lest he receive the sort of blame he and the Left have been slinging at President Bush for so many years. In short… anything but LEAD!
The painful truth is that on the world stage Obama has paved the way for all of the current conditions in Iraq. He withdrew American troops from Iraq too soon and too completely, and he is about to do the same thing in Afghanistan. His reaction to things like Syrian use of chemical weapons and Russian expansionism in the Crimea was laughable and impotent. He publicly stated (several times) his opinion that “al Qaeda had been decimated” and ignored the rise of organizations like ISIS. He bargained with Iran in a failed attempt to keep them from developing nuclear weapons, and a few days ago Obama released five of the most ruthless and brilliant Taliban leaders back out into the world proving that America most certainly DOES negotiate with terrorists – all in direct contradiction of long-established American foreign policy.
You will recollect the infamous Obama “Apology Tour” during which he clearly stated his opinion that American strength is at least in part the source of the world’s problems and has managed American foreign policy with that as a guiding principle.
Back in October of 2012 CNN published an article (http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/23/politics/fact-check-apology-tour) in an attempt to wash away the term “Apology Tour.” It’s interesting to re-read this now in light of all that has happened in less than two years since this was published. That article reads in part…
“In that speech, Obama said, “there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.” But in the very next sentence, Obama called out the Europeans for an “anti-Americanism that is at once casual but can also be insidious. Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what’s bad.” He then goes on to talk about forging “common solutions to our common problems.” “
OK. What does that tell us? My personal interpretation is that in the mind of our President the United States has a lot answer for – a lot to “apologize for.” Add to that the statements Obama made just last month at his commencement speech at West Point where he made it clear that during the remaining years of his leadership the United States will no longer engage in unilateral action and would not engage in any action that was not in the clear and direct defense of Americans and our interests. Outrageously he stated of his future foreign policy…
“That means taking strikes only when we face a continuing, imminent threat, and only where there is no certainty – [ed. that is to say] there is near certainty of no civilian casualties, for our actions should meet a simple test: We must not create more enemies than we take off the battlefield.
Read the full text of this critical Obama foreign policy address here… http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/29/us/politics/transcript-of-president-obamas-commencement-address-at-west-point.html
It’s no wonder then that after more than five years of Obama’s wavering, shifting and ill-defined foreign policy allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia no longer have faith and confidence in predictable and reliable future support from the United States.
Today (the 17th of June, 2014) the White House has announced that after more than 600 days we have finally captured one single individual terrorist – Ahmed Abu Khattala – that we are confident was involved in the attack on Benghazi. In the wake of Obama’s failure in Crimea and the Bergdahl prisoner swap debacle, we suddenly swoop in and capture this guy? Why now? Khattala has granted multiple interview to media during 2012 and 2013, and lived openly in Libya roaming the streets, shopping and sipping Chi tea since the days immediately following the 9-11 2012 attack on our embassy there.
Incidentally the Attorney General Eric Holder was quick to announce that Khattala would not be sent to Guantanamo – that was the strong recommendation of U.S. Intelligence officials – but would instead be confined in a U.S. federal facility and would stand trial in a U.S. federal court. Word is that Holder intends to bring charges (this is astounding) of “the use of a firearm in the commission of a crime!” So much for any likelihood that he might provide any actionable intelligence relevant to the continuing, and indeed worsening Global War on Terror.
So that’s five murderous terrorists out and one murderous terrorist in. Do you think for an instant that this action makes the terrorists of the world fear U.S. reprisal?
It is interesting to note that the spokespersons for the White House and the Pentagon are both emphasizing that there were no civilian casualties as a result of the operation, which conveniently meets Obama’s stated policy for the use of military force. If I were a terrorist (and in the eyes of people like Harry Reid I probably am) I would simply surround myself with innocent civilians.
On the domestic front Obama has retarded the growth of small business, weakened our economy with ridiculous EPA regulations and built a time-bomb in the form of ObamaCare which businesses large and small now rightly fear will implode our economy. Even the Unions are backpedaling from his economic policies. He has dramatically increased the welfare rolls and provided strong encouragement for Americans to stop seeking work and instead simply fall back into the comforting embrace of Big Government. He has attacked our energy sector on every front from his moratorium on new oil refinery construction and off-shore drilling, to his opposition of positive actions like the Keystone Pipeline project and shale oil exploitation which would produce jobs, strengthen the economy and make the U.S. (nearly) immune to this very real scenario of global oil supply interruption.
The U.S. under Obama is completely impotent in the eyes of our enemies, not because we have no strength in our military or capability in our intelligence organizations, but because the very center of gravity of American power – our will to fight – has been dismantled by our President and his supporters. They, in concert with the Leftist main stream media, have conditioned the American people to believe that nothing is worth war, that we have already spent too much “blood and treasure” as their favorite mantra resounds… that we are not the “world police.” Well I ask you – if not us, then who? The French? The Germans? The Saudis?
The anniversary of D-Day was just a few days ago. On the single day of June 6th 1944 the U.S. lost more troops than in the entire duration of both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Yet the Left led by Obama continue to beat out the steady drumbeat that “America is sick of war.” I submit to you that most Americans couldn’t find Iraq or Afghanistan on a map if you offered them $100 to do so. But most Americans can certainly tell you how much they paid for gas at their last fill-up, or whether they or their children were employed!
And so the game is set, and not only does the U.S. not have the upper hand, we aren’t even playing…
“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” ~ John Stuart Mill, English economist & philosopher (1806 – 1873)
You can watch this all unfold on Fox News, sitting comfortably in your front room, as your gas prices go up and our fragile, sputtering economy coasts to a halt. Or you can watch MSNBC and see a whitewashed version of the truth that protects Obama and the Left from blame. Or better still you can avoid the news altogether, watch America’s Next Idol and ignore the whole sordid mess.
Sorry to ruin your summer.
By the way, we have an opportunity to vote the Left out of office in November and vote IN Conservative politicians. That’s not an answer to our problems, but it’s a step in the right direction.