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Member since: Wed May 5, 2004, 09:44 AM
Number of posts: 36,418

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links in thread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1280&pid=158157

I posted 5-6 times on that thread with a bunch of links on this topic. Here's a live link to Paul Thompson's OP: http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1280&pid=158157

If you can't find what you're looking for, please respond below. I will come back in a while and try to find it for you.

Some interesting statements and developments in the US-Saudi relationship today; Obama on Libya

Note Obama's "free rider" comment about Libya, and the coalition partners identified with that problem, and how addressing that was the core of the Administration's policy there (first article) and the "real failure" to reach a deal with Saudi Arabia to deliver everything they now demand (second article)


President Obama, frustrated with allies, calls out the 'free riders'
NBC News
ERIK ORTIZ Mar 10th 2016 11:46AM

In some of his bluntest comments yet on the subject of foreign policy, Obama told The Atlantic that he warned Great Britain that it would no longer have a "special relationship" with the U.S. if it did not start spending at least 2 percent of its GDP on defense.

It was previously reported that Obama spoke with Prime Minister David Cameron about England's military spending during last year's G7 summit.

"Free riders aggravate me," Obama said in a wide-ranging interview with The Atlantic that was published online Thursday and will be featured in its April issue.

Obama said he has struggled to get other nations to take the lead and pull their weight when necessary on several issues including terrorism, Russian incursions and Chinese aggression.

Jeffrey Goldberg, who conducted the interview, said the president was especially perturbed when The New Yorker reported, citing an anonymous administration official, that the White House was "leading from behind" amid the Libya crisis of 2011.

"We don't have to always be the ones who are up front," Obama told Goldberg, the magazine's national correspondent. "Sometimes we're going to get what we want precisely because we are sharing in the agenda. The irony is that it was precisely in order to prevent the Europeans and the Arab states from holding our coats while we did all the fighting that we, by design, insisted" they lead during the mission to oust longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. "It was part of the anti-free rider campaign."

Obama held up Britain and France as examples of nations who seemed resistant to stepping up wholeheartedly at that time.

He said Cameron became "distracted by a range of other things," while former French President Nicolas Sarkozy "wanted to trumpet the flights he was taking in the air campaign (in Libya), despite the fact that (the U.S.) had wiped out all the air defenses and essentially set up the entire infrastructure" for the intervention.

Obama also questioned America's relationship with the oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has played a pivotal role in the Middle East as a U.S. ally and Iran's archrival.

He said he did not want to throw "our traditional allies overboard," but that the Saudis will need to get along with Iran for the sake of extended peace.

"The competition between the Saudis and the Iranians which has helped to feed proxy wars and chaos in Syria and Iraq and Yemen requires us to say to our friends as well as to the Iranians that they need to find an effective way to share the neighborhood and institute some sort of cold peace," Obama said.

The Atlantic piece also revealed that Obama has likened the entire Middle East to Gotham, the metropolis in the "Batman" comics, and said ISIS was akin to the Joker from the 2008 movie "The Dark Knight," according to advisers.

"There's a scene in the beginning in which the gang leaders of Gotham are meeting," the president has said, according to The Atlantic. "These are men who had the city divided up. They were thugs, but there was a kind of order. Everyone had his turf. And then the Joker comes in and lights the whole city on fire. (ISIS) is the Joker. It has the capacity to set the whole region on fire. That's why we have to fight it."

The president was also introspective of what he's accomplished in his foreign policy efforts so far. He told The Atlantic that he realizes that historians will one day question his decision to not bomb Syria in 2013 after it appeared Damascus had violated his so-called "red line" against using chemical weapons.

But of that decision, he said, "I'm very proud of this moment. ... The perception was that my credibility was at stake, that America's credibility was at stake. And so for me to press the pause button at that moment, I knew, would cost me politically."


The White House sought to quash concerns that the withdrawal of four of the six top leaders of Gulf nations from a planned summit later this week at Camp David signals strained relations between the administration and countries in that region.

Of the six Arab states invited, only two of the those countries Kuwait and Qatar plan on sending their top leaders. The remaining countries Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are all sending delegates.

"There had been some speculation that this change in travel plans was an attempt to send a message to the U.S. if so, the message was not received because all the feedback we have gotten from the Saudis has been positive," Earnest told reporters on Monday.

Monday afternoon, King Salman called President Obama and "expressed his regret at not being able to travel to Washington this week" according to the White House readout of the call. Both leaders reviewed the agenda for the summit and discussed Iran, Yemen and the need to work closely to address a range of threats.

The White House hopes the summit will be an opportunity to discuss "our shared concern about Iran's destabilizing activities in the region," and address military cooperation throughout the region, deputy press Secretary Eric Schultz had said previously. The talks will also likely include a potential deal between several world powers and Iran on that country's nuclear program as well as crises in Syria and Yemen.
[White House Denies Tension Exists Between Saudi King, Obama]
White House Denies Tension Exists Between Saudi King, Obama 1:01

However, the Obama administration is facing tough questions after King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, one of the administration's key allies, backed out of the summit. Saudi Arabia announced that King Salman will not attend the summit and would instead send Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef to lead the Saudi delegation.

A senior White House official and officials from the State Department told NBC the administration first learned of the King's possible change of plans from the Saudis on Friday night and this was confirmed by the Saudis on Saturday.

The administration also insisted that the change was not in response to any substantive issue.

"Nothing could be further from the truth that there was some 'snub' to use the term used by cable news talking points," State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said during a briefing on Monday afternoon, adding that Secretary Kerry left his visit in Riyadh last week after "very positive discussions."

When the summit was first announced by the White House on April 17th, the official White House statement said the president would "welcome leaders from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates to the White House on May 13 and to Camp David on May 14."
[Saudi Oil Min: Not worried about Iran crude]
Saudi Oil Min: Not worried about Iran crude 1:10

Saudi Arabia's decision not to send its top leader is the most jarring: both because of its role as a key ally in the region, but also because it was such an abrupt change, coming just hours after Schultz confirmed the meeting between the president and King Salman on Wednesday at the White House.

A rare Camp David summit with Gulf leaders could have been both a symbolic show of the president's foreign policy cooperation and a substantive play to boost Middle East allies and persuade nations to embrace a potential nuclear deal with Iran, foreign policy experts said. Instead, the White House spent the entire day explaining why just two of the six top leaders of Gulf nations will attend.

While White House officials insisted this is not a setback for the Obama administration, some foreign policy experts disagreed.

Former Ambassador to Morocco, Mark Ginsberg said Gulf leaders believed there would be progress, if not agreements on a mutual defense agreement, ballistic missile cover and the transfer of F-35 jets, and when they found out they weren't going to get any of the things they were asking for, they decided it wasn't worth their time to attend.

"This was a real failure," Ginsberg said.

An administration official pushed back on that idea, insisting leaders were told weeks ago there would be no formal treaty, and only one nation expressed disappointment in person at a meeting in Paris.

Petraeus was prosecuted for mishandling classified materials. What HRC did was worse.

HRC's actions differed from Petraeus. But, it's not what her defenders say. What she did was worse, both legally and ethically.

Far worse. When David Petraeus retained his diaries, "black books" after leaving DOD/CIA, and shared them with his paramour, Paula Broadwell, he put the two of them in legal jeopardy. On April 23, Petraeus pled guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or materials under 18 USC 1924. His indictment referenced a far more serious felony violation of his signed security oath, unauthorized release of Top Secret/Special Access Programs (TS/SAP). Had the former CIA Director not plea bargained down, Petraeus could have been prosecuted under the felony statute, 18 USC 793, Gathering, transmitting, or losing defense information.

When HRC set up a private email server the day of her Senate confirmation hearing, and used it exclusively until after she resigned four years later, she never displayed any sort of warning or disclaimer on the system or her messages to caution others that they were communicating on a non-secure, private system. In so doing, she required her aides to use it to communicate with her -- along with hundreds of other federal officials. In so doing, this caused them all significant risk, and some may be prosecuted for transmitting classified information across that unauthorized server.

On at least one occasion, she instructed an aide to strip out classified information from a document stamped Secret and send it to her by unsecured email. After examination by the State Department, the server holds at least 100 documents that contained information that was found by other agencies to have been classified by them as Top Secret or above, TS/SAP.

If the AG decides to prosecute her and/or some of her staff, those found to have transmitted classified information face felony charges under Section 793, which carries with it a potential penalty of ten years imprisonment. See, http://www.democraticunderground.com/1251552653

But, Hillary may hold a Stay Out of Jail Free card that her staff members don't. As Secretary of State, she gets to classify or declassify her own agency's information. She may be able to claim immunity as head of agency for releasing materials that originated with DOS. But, she could not legally permit information that were originally classified by CIA, Department of Defense, or other originating agencies to be placed on her own server. The server she set up and operated was never certified as secure to contain or transmit secret information.

If her aides are prosecuted, and she isn't, it would be incredibly irresponsible and callous of her to benefit from head of agency immunity for herself and the information she posted that would have otherwise been classified at the moment it was written, while her aides go on trial.

What a shitty boss.

Just wait until she's President and thinks she can claim Executive Privilege for everything she does.

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