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Dana White Is Upset With Roy Nelson & Frank Mir

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The UFC president is not happy with Frank Mir and Roy Nelson. Dana White blasted the two fighters to the media following Mir's one sided drubbing of Roy Nelson at UFC 130. White is disappointed in Mir and embarrassed at the performance of Nelson.

Dana White told the media following the fight that he expected more out of a co-main event. White wanted more action from the two heavyweights and felt that they owed the UFC and the fans a better fight, given the co-headlining spot.

"I think this time, with the co-main event I was disappointed in both guys, not just in Frank," White said. "I was more disappointed in Frank on that last card, even though he ends up getting a knockout. Frank Mir is a two-time world champion, he's been around for a long time, he's a super talented guy, and I expect more of him."

Continue reading & watch the Nelson vs. Mir UFC 130 fight video highlights at Camel Clutch Blog ?

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Dana White Is Upset With Roy Nelson & Frank Mir

Labels: , , ,

  x You have successfully emailed the post.

The UFC president is not happy with Frank Mir and Roy Nelson. Dana White blasted the two fighters to the media following Mir's one sided drubbing of Roy Nelson at UFC 130. White is disappointed in Mir and embarrassed at the performance of Nelson.

Dana White told the media following the fight that he expected more out of a co-main event. White wanted more action from the two heavyweights and felt that they owed the UFC and the fans a better fight, given the co-headlining spot.

"I think this time, with the co-main event I was disappointed in both guys, not just in Frank," White said. "I was more disappointed in Frank on that last card, even though he ends up getting a knockout. Frank Mir is a two-time world champion, he's been around for a long time, he's a super talented guy, and I expect more of him."

Continue reading & watch the Nelson vs. Mir UFC 130 fight video highlights at Camel Clutch Blog ?

For the latest in sports, visit Sports Page. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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The CIA-Pentagon Shuffle: The Fake Story and The Real One

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Russ Baker is an award-winning investigative reporter.

Obama announces national security team changes

Here comes more boilerplate reporting on Obama’s reshuffling of the National Security deck.  This New York Times reporter asserts with great certainty some conclusions that sound like they were hand-fed by the principals themselves.

There’s something else going on, but let’s first get the “authorized” version:

Leon E. Panetta is set to take over leadership of the Defense Department while the United States is fighting on three fronts, but he was selected for the job in no small part because his war at home will be with Congress over the Pentagon budget. And in that battle, defense budget analysts said Wednesday, he comes unusually well armed.

Mr. Panetta, 72, the C.I.A. director, previously served as director of the White House budget office and the House budget committee…Mr. Panetta has ties on both sides of Capitol Hill, where he served in Congress from California for eight terms, until he became President Bill Clinton’s first budget director in 1993.

His expertise will serve him well as he faces $400 billion in national security cuts ordered by President Obama through the 2023 fiscal year, a bracing new reality after a decade of ever bigger Pentagon budgets since the Sept. 11 attacks. Mr. Panetta’s personality — approachable and jocular — is also expected to help in negotiations with Congress.

OK, so, according to this version, the main thing the head of the Pentagon has to do is negotiate with Congress regarding those cuts. The reporter doesn’t say what exact role he will play, but presumably he has to convince military budget hawks that these cuts will not harm defense.

Well, Panetta may be “approachable and jocular” and a skilled negotiator, but it’s hard to imagine that those qualities will make such a big difference in persuading military budget fans to accept cuts. You’d think a general would be more persuasive, actually seem to know what he’s talking about when he says there is fat to trim—and far better political cover for members of Congress who have to explain lost jobs in their Red-state districts. “Leon Panetta made a good argument”? Don’t think so.

…Although Mr. Panetta is not a classic military strategist who can readily evaluate weapons systems and understand the inner workings of the Pentagon, he has a reputation as a solid manager who brought order to the chaotic Clinton White House.

This implies there is some kind of particular problem with chaos at the Pentagon. If so, it would be nice to know what that is.

The only thing that comes to mind in that regard is all those infernal leaks, via Petraeus, and McChrystal, to Bob Woodward, that forced Obama’s hand on Afghanistan and in some ways, Iraq. Obama had no choice on the troop increase because of these pressures. For more on this see our articles here and here and here.

Um…by jove, there it is! That’s the hidden story the New York Times can’t quite see or won’t, for some reason, share with us:

Obama considers the military a problem for him personally, especially with an election approaching, and he needs his guy in place to keep things under control over there. No more damaging leaks. And he can’t count on real military guys to testify before Congress with a straight face that, shucks, it’s fine to cut their allowance.

Back to the Times…

His C.I.A. job will also help him negotiate the military’s critical and frustrating relationship with Pakistan’s spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, which American officials say continues to play a double game and support both the United States and the Taliban in Afghanistan. As C.I.A. director, Mr. Panetta has met regularly with Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the head of the agency, a relationship he is certain to continue.

Ok, take note of that. Negotiate the US military’s relationship with Pakistan’s spies….

Meanwhile, over at the Washington Post, several solid reporters there (but, significantly not the Pentagon’s favorite “inside guy” Bob Woodward) are focusing on the CIA-Pentagon swap-eroo. Why General Petraeus as CIA director?

Gen. David H. Petraeus has served as commander in two wars launched by the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. If confirmed as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Petraeus would effectively take command of a third — in Pakistan.

Petraeus’s nomination comes at a time when the CIA functions, more than ever in its history, as an extension of the nation’s lethal military force.

So, if this is right, paradoxically, Panetta can’t stay at CIA because he’s too civilian for the “civilian” agency turned military proxy. And Petraeus isn’t politically reliable enough to be Defense Secretary, so why not a brilliant crossing of sides, putting him at head of a spy agency that doesn’t do all that much spying but is hugely involved in just about everything else?

Put him in charge of the war in Pakistan, not at the Pentagon, but at CIA. (By the way, the CIA was never supposed to be involved in any kind of covert activities, much less military operations, according to Harry Truman, who signed it into existence.)

CIA teams operate alongside U.S. special operations forces in conflict zones from Afghanistan to Yemen. The agency has also built up a substantial paramilitary capability of its own. But perhaps most significantly, the agency is in the midst of what amounts to a sustained bombing campaign over Pakistan using unmanned Predator and Reaper drones.

Why a CIA-run bombing campaign? Some of this has to do with undeclared war over Pakistan. Can’t have the US military in there, because, well, because the US military can’t be bombing people in that country. The CIA, well, who actually knows what the CIA is supposed to do, or what it actually does? Certainly not Congress, perpetually in the dark, its leaders constantly misled in supposedly hush-hush briefings.

Since Obama took office there have been at least 192 drone missile strikes, killing as many as 1,890 militants, suspected terrorists and civilians. Petraeus is seen as a staunch supporter of the drone campaign, even though it has so far failed to eliminate the al-Qaeda threat or turn the tide of the Afghan war.

But if Petraeus is ideally suited to lead an increasingly militarized CIA, it is less clear whether he will be equally adept at managing the political, analytical and even diplomatic dimensions of the job. His nomination coincides with new strains in the CIA’s relationship with its counterpart in Pakistan, and a chaotic reshuffling of the political landscape in the Middle East. If confirmed, he would be the CIA’s fourth director in seven years.

So, the Post is making approximately the opposite point the Times makes. Here, it’s a problem  that Petraeus will be bad at liaising with the Pakistanis. In the Times piece, it’s useful that Panetta will be good at that. Two sides of the eminently flippable military/CIA coin.

Onward…

“I think in a lot of ways Gen. Petraeus is the right guy for the agency given the way in which the operational side of the house has really increased” since the Sept. 11 attacks, said Andrew Exum, a military expert at Center for a New American Security, who has also served as an adviser to Petraeus’s staff. “Having said that, I think where Gen. Petraeus will struggle will be looking at the broader global responsibilities of intelligence.”

Pay close attention.  “…right guy..for the operational side…struggle (with) broader global responsibilities…” There’s that unspoken Truman worry—there never was supposed to be any operational side.

For Petraeus, Pakistan is likely to be a particularly nettlesome trouble spot. A series of recent ruptures — including the arrest of a CIA contractor in Pakistan — have undermined cooperation against al-Qaeda and prompted threats by Pakistan to place new limits on drone strikes.

Petraeus has been a frequent visitor in Islamabad with key players, including Army Chief Ashfaq Kayani and intelligence director Ahmed Shuja Pasha. But he has engendered the resentment of Pakistani officials because of his demands that they do more against the Afghan Taliban. Many of them believe he is too transparently ambitious — a criticism that he has at times faced among his peers in the United States.

Absolutely. Should be mentioned for context in any article about the position-hopping. CIA is a kind of graveyard for a lot of careers, notable exception CIA director-turned-president George H.W. Bush and his CIA director-turned-Defense Secretary, Robert Gates.

Oh! Panetta’s path is a repeat of Gates’ path over the course of the two Bush presidencies. A loyalist moved from CIA to Pentagon, while expendable figures are put in charge at CIA.

….Petraeus seems unlikely to encounter significant opposition from Capitol Hill. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which will consider the nomination, signaled support for Petraeus but stopped short of a formal endorsement.

“He is clearly a very accomplished officer and familiar with the parts of the world where many of the threats to our security originate,” Feinstein said in a statement. But being a military commander “is a different role than leading the top civilian intelligence agency,” Feinstein said…

Maybe, maybe not, these days.

…Petraeus’s nomination triggered some grumbling among CIA veterans opposed to putting a career military officer in charge of an agency with a long tradition of civilian leadership.

Others voiced concern that Petraeus is too wedded to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — and the troop-heavy, counterinsurgency strategy he designed — to deliver impartial assessments of those wars as head of the CIA.

Indeed, over the past year the CIA has generally presented a more pessimistic view of the war in Afghanistan than Petraeus has while he has pushed for an extended troop buildup.

“The question is, what does [the administration] want the intelligence service to be?” said a former senior CIA officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Are they going to have a civilian intelligence service or is it going to be a giant counterterrorism center?”

Obama administration officials said that Petraeus would retire from the military to take the CIA job. Even so, a U.S. official close to the general said he is likely to view running the agency largely through the prism of his experience as a wartime commander.

The official said Petraeus would likely make frequent visits to CIA stations around the world, and defer to the Director of National Intelligence on Washington-based issues such as budgets and big-ticket technology programs.

Petraeus has spent relatively little time in Washington over the past decade and doesn’t have as much experience with managing budgets or running Washington bureaucracies as CIA predecessors Leon E. Panetta and Michael V. Hayden. But Petraeus has quietly lobbied for the CIA post, drawn in part by the chance for a position that would keep him involved in the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Yemen.

As top commander in Iraq and Afghanistan, Petraeus has relied heavily on CIA and special operations forces to capture and kill mid-level and senior insurgent leaders….

And, finally, back to the Times for the really crucial last paragraph:

Mr. Panetta, the son of Italian immigrants who served as a first lieutenant in the Army in the 1960s, has a family walnut farm in Carmel Valley, Calif.

Aha! Walnut farm. Something in that, surely. Managing nuts? Tough nut to crack?

By the way, for more on power struggles between entrenched internal forces, and the president–any president (and certainly Obama)—see this piece of ours.

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The CIA’s Man in Libya?

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Russ Baker is an award-winning investigative reporter.

As the United States and its allies get deeper into the confrontation with Qaddafi in Libya, it’s worth stepping back to consider what is actually taking place—and why.

We’ve been told very little about the rebels seeking to supplant the dictator. But one in particular deserves our attention. General Khalifa Hifter, the latest person to head the rebel forces.

There’s been little effort to look at Hifter’s background. One notable exception was the work of the always-diligent McClatchy Newspapers, which briefly inquired about his background in late March. That report does not seem to have generated much additional digging by other news organizations.

The new leader of Libya’s opposition military spent the past two decades in suburban Virginia but felt compelled — even in his late-60s — to return to the battlefield in his homeland, according to people who know him.

Khalifa Hifter was once a top military officer for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, but after a disastrous military adventure in Chad in the late 1980s, Hifter switched to the anti-Gadhafi opposition. In the early 1990s, he moved to suburban Virginia, where he established a life but maintained ties to anti-Gadhafi groups.

Late last week, Hifter was appointed to lead the rebel army, which has been in chaos for weeks. He is the third such leader in less than a month, and rebels interviewed in Libya openly voiced distrust for the most recent leader, Abdel Fatah Younes, who had been at Gadhafi’s side until just a month ago.

At a news conference Thursday, the rebel’s military spokesman said Younes will stay as Hifter’s chief of staff, and added that the army — such as it is — would need “weeks” of training.

According to Abdel Salam Badr of Richmond, Va., who said he has known Hifter all his life — including back in Libya — Hifter — whose name is sometimes spelled Haftar, Hefter or Huftur — was motivated by his intense anti-Gadhafi feelings.

“Libyans — every single one of them — they hate that guy so much they will do whatever it takes,” Badr said in an interview Saturday. “Khalifa has a personal grudge against Gadhafi… That was his purpose in life.”

According to Badr and another friend in the U.S., a Georgia-based Libyan activist named Salem alHasi, Hifter left for Libya two weeks ago.

alHasi, who said Hifter was once his superior in the opposition’s military wing, said he and Hifter talked in mid-February about the possibility that Gadhafi would use force on protesters.

“He made the decision he had to go inside Libya,” alHasi said Saturday. “With his military experience, and with his strong relationship with officers on many levels of rank, he decided to go and see the possibility of participating in the military effort against Gadhafi.”

He added that Hifter is very popular among members of the Libyan army, “and he is the most experienced person in the whole Libyan army.” He acted out of a sense of “national responsibility,” alHasi said.

“This responsibility no one can take care of but him,” alHasi said. “I know very well that the Libyan army especially in the eastern part is in desperate need of his presence.”

Omar Elkeddi, a Libyan expatriate journalist based in Holland, said in an interview that the opposition forces are getting more organized than they were at the beginning up the uprising. Hifter, he said, is “very professional, very distinguished,” and commands great respect.

Since coming to the United States in the early 1990s, Hifter lived in suburban Virginia outside Washington, D.C. Badr said he was unsure exactly what Hifter did to support himself, and that Hifter primarily focused on helping his large family.

So a former Qaddafi general who switches sides is admitted to the United States, puts down roots in Virginia outside Washington, D.C. and then somehow supports his family in a manner that mystifies a fellow who has known Hifter his whole life. Hmm.

The likelihood that Hifter was brought in to be some kind of asset is pretty high. Just as figures like Ahmed Chalabi were cultivated for a post-Saddam Iraq, Hifter may have played a similar role as American intelligence prepared for a chance in Libya.

We do need to ask to what extent the Libyan uprising is a proxy battle, with the United States far more involved that it would care to admit. Certainly, Qaddafi has been on the “to-remove” list for a very long time. But after something of a rapprochement, he again became a major irritant in recent years.

As the New York Times reported, almost in an aside,

In 2009, top aides to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi called together 15 executives from global energy companies operating in Libya’s oil fields and issued an extraordinary demand: Shell out the money for his country’s $1.5 billion bill for its role in the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 and other terrorist attacks.

If the companies did not comply, the Libyan officials warned, there would be “serious consequences” for their oil leases, according to a State Department summary of the meeting.

…The episode and others like it, the officials said, reflect a Libyan culture rife with corruption, kickbacks, strong-arm tactics and political patronage since the United States reopened trade with Colonel Qaddafi’s government in 2004. As American and international oil companies, telecommunications firms and contractors moved into the Libyan market, they discovered that Colonel Qaddafi or his loyalists often sought to extract millions of dollars in “signing bonuses” and “consultancy contracts” — or insisted that the strongman’s sons get a piece of the action through shotgun partnerships.

Unfortunately, items like the McClatchy piece and the above extract from a longer Times piece are rarely patched together into a larger analysis of what is going on.

More detailed examinations of the complex history and interests in play are usually relegated to little-known blogs. For example, the Irish author and journalist  Ed Moloney writes about President Obama’s decision to authorize the deployment of CIA agents on the ground in Libya, and notes

…The rebels are by themselves incapable of dislodging Gaddafi. The allies’ no-fly zone, cruise missile strikes and bombing missions may be sufficient to deny Gaddafi a victory over his rebel opponents but it cannot assure success for the rebels.

Slowly but surely Obama and his French and British allies are being sucked into direct involvement in yet another project to secure regime change in a Muslim country. The next stage will be to give the rebels sophisticated weapons in the hope this can reverse their decline. The rebels will have to be trained of course, the training must take place in Libya and the trainers will have to be protected, in Libya, by NATO soldiers. Slowly but surely the prohibition against “boots on the ground” will be erased. If, as seems very possible, the acquisition of modern weaponry fails to transform the rebels’ fortunes the only remaining option will be to send NATO troops in against Gaddafi. Failure to remove Gaddafi means a humiliating defeat for Obama and his allies and in the end NATO may have little alternative but to fight on Libyan soil.

President Obama’s motives in ordering the bombing of Gaddafi’s forces may well have been driven by humanitarian concerns but the appointment of Khalifa Heftir to lead the armed uprising in the oil-rich North African republic, is a reminder that there is a long and tangled history of secret American efforts to oust the Libyan ruler.

Heftir’s elevation also signals that Obama’s intervention in Libya is now not just about saving civilian lives but is aimed at removing Gaddafi from power, a mission begun a quarter of a century before by a President regarded as an American Conservative icon and supposedly the polar opposite, politically, of the White House’s current resident.

The story of Khalifa Heftir’s entanglement with the CIA begins with the election to the White House of Ronald Reagan in 1980 amid gradually worsening relations with Gaddafi’s Libya and a growing obsession on the part of Reagan and his allies with removing the Libyan leader.

Here the story becomes complicated, with lots of names and dates and countries involved. If you don’t have the time or inclination to go further, that’s understandable. The key thing is to appreciate that, as the saying goes, past is prologue. Without understanding what came before, we have no real idea what is happening now, and why. In any case, here’s the back story, which itself is presumably rife with spin and manipulation, and deserves further investigation (the role of Bob Woodward as a principal reporter on these issues, for example, means that the narrative itself may be strategic—see this and this for more on Woodward’s work.)

A year before Reagan’s election a Libyan mob, imitating Iranian revolutionaries, burned down the US embassy in Tripoli and diplomatic relations were suspended. Two years later the Libyan embassy in Washington was closed down while US and Libyan jets skirmished over the Gulf of Sidra, which Gaddafi claimed to be part of Libya’s territorial waters.

Later in 1981 American press reports claimed that Libyan hit squads had been sent to the US to assassinate Reagan, shots were fired at the US ambassador to France while the ambassador to Italy was withdrawn after a plot to kidnap him was uncovered. After explosives were found in musical equipment at a US embassy sponsored dance in Khartoum, Sudan, Reagan ordered a travel ban and ordered all Americans out of Libya.

In 1983 there were more air skirmishes off the Libyan coast; two years later five US citizens were killed by bombs planted at Rome and Vienna airports and US officials blamed Libya. The worst clashes came in 1986, beginning with more air skirmishes over the Gulf of Sidra and the destruction of Libyan SAM sites by American missiles. In April a bomb exploded at the LaBelle nightclub in Berlin, a bar frequented by off-duty American servicemen. Three people were killed, two of whom were US soldiers and of the 200 wounded, sixty were American citizens. President Reagan blamed Libya and on April 15th, some 100 US aircraft, many flying out of bases in the UK, bombed Libyan bases and military complexes. The Libyans said that 70 people were killed in the attacks which also targeted Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli, killing his adopted infant daughter, Hana. One account claimed that nine of the jets had been directed to blast Gaddafi’s compound in a clear attempt to kill him.

By the mid-1980’s, the Reagan administration and the CIA believed that Gaddafi was supporting terrorist groups or helping fellow radical states throughout the globe. In a November 3rd, 1985 article for the Washington Post, Bob Woodward listed the countries where Gaddafi was said by the White House to be active. They included Chad, Tunisia, Sudan, Iran, Syria, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Lebanon and Iraq. Gaddafi was also supporting the IRA in Northern Ireland and significantly stepped up supplies of arms and cash to the group after a British policewoman was shot dead and diplomats expelled following a confrontation and lengthy siege at the Libyan embassy in London in 1984.

In May 1984, less than a month after the London embassy siege, gunmen launched rocket and gun attacks against the Tripoli army barracks where Gaddafi’s family compound was located. The initial assault was repulsed and most of the insurgents killed when Libyan tanks shelled the building overlooking the barracks where the gunmen had taken refuge. It was though the most serious challenge to Gaddafi’s hold on power in Libya, made all the more threatening by the fact that it had happened on his doorstep.

The attack was claimed by a group calling itself the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL), composed of anti-Gaddafi exiles, some of them supporters of the Idris monarchy overthrown in the 1969 revolution. Claims that the NFSL was at that time supported by US intelligence derive some support from a leak to American newspapers a few days before the attack in Tripoli that President Reagan had recently signed a new directive authorizing US agencies to “take the offensive” against international terrorism by mounting retaliatory or pre-emptive attacks. But the Americans were, at this stage, not directly involved in supporting the exile group’s activities.

The NFSL was getting aid mostly from Saudi Arabia whose ruling family despised Gaddafi after he had accused them of defiling holy Islamic sites in their country but also from Egypt and Tunisia in whose internal affairs Gaddafi had meddled. Sudan was another sponsor. Gaddafi had tried to foment an uprising against its pro-Western leadership and in response Sudan supplied the NFSL with bases from which the May 1984 attack was planned.

The Sudanese, according to one account, kept the CIA informed of the plot. CIA Director, William Casey, was heartened by the attack even though it had failed and renewed his efforts to persuade Reagan to authorize specific covert action against the Libyan leader. Casey is said to have remarked: “It proves for the first time that Libyans are willing to die to get rid of that bastard” (p. 85). From thereon the NFSL was put on the CIA’s payroll.

It was after the unsuccessful effort to kill Gaddafi in his Tripoli compound that Reagan took the intelligence offensive. Bob Woodward revealed Reagan’s move, first in the Washington Post (November 3rd, 1985) and then in his account of Reagan’s secret wars in his book Veil, published in 1987. A secret presidential directive, which Woodward was able to quote, signaled that the exile groups like NFSL would be an important weapon wielded in this campaign against the Libyan leader: “…the exile groups, if supported to a substantial degree, could soon begin an intermittent campaign of sabotage and violence which could prompt further challenges to Qaddafi’s authority.”

The Reagan directive had listed ten options for action against Gaddafi, which ranged from regime change to economic sanctions, although it was obvious that the operation could only be judged a success if Gaddafi was dislodged: “…no course of action short of stimulating Qaddafi’s fall will bring any significant and enduring change in Libyan policies”, the document read.

The former French colony of Chad on Libya’s southern border had already been a major battleground in the war between Reagan and Gaddafi and after the 1984 bid to kill the Libyan dictator it assumed even greater importance. Chad had gained independence from France in 1960 but its history for many years thereafter has been one of coups and civil wars, often sponsored by foreign powers using Chad as an arena for their rivalry.

Libyan interest and activity in Chad pre-dated Gaddafi’s 1969 revolution and centered on a piece of land in Northern Chad called the Aouzou Strip which is rich in uranium and other rare minerals. Gaddafi formed an alliance with the government of Goukouni Wedeye who allowed the Libyans to occupy the strip but in 1982 Wedeye was overthrown by Hissene Habre who was backed by the CIA and by French troops.

Hebre’s was a brutal regime. During the eight years of his leadership some 40,000 people were estimated to have died in detention or executed. Human Rights Watch observed: “Under President Reagan, the United States gave covert CIA paramilitary support to help install Habre in order, according to secretary of state, Alexander Haig, to ‘bloody Gadafi’s nose’”. Bob Woodward wrote in Veil that the Chadian coup was William Casey’s first covert operation as head of the CIA.

During the years following Habre’s coup, Gaddafi’s army and the forces of the Chad government, the CIA and French intelligence clashed repeatedly. In March 1987 a force of some 600-700 Libyan soldiers under the command of General Khalifa Haftir was captured and imprisoned. Gaddafi disowned Heftir, presumably in anger at his capture, and the former Libyan General then defected to the major Libyan opposition group, the NFSL.

A Congressional Research Service report of December 1996 named Heftir as the head of the NFSL’s military wing, the Libyan National Army. After he joined the exile group, the CRS report added, Heftir began “preparing an army to march on Libya”. The NFSL, the CSR said, is in exile “with many of its members in the United States.”

In 1990 French troops helped to oust Habre and installed Idriss Debry to replace him. According to one account the French had grown weary of Habre’s genocidal policies while the new resident in the White House, George H W Bush did not have the same interest as Reagan had in using Chad as a proxy to damage Gaddafi even though the Libyan leader formed an alliance with Debry.

A New York Times report of May 1991 shed more light on the CIA’s sponsorship of Heftir’s men. “They were trained” it said, “by American intelligence officials in sabotage and other guerilla skills, officials said, at a base near Ndjamena, the Chadian capital. The plan to use the exiles fit neatly into the Reagan administration’s eagerness to topple Colonel Qaddafi”.

Following the fall of Habre, Gaddafi demanded that the new government hand over Heftir’s men but instead Debry allowed the Americans to fly them to Zaire. There Libyan officials were given access to the men and about half agreed to return to Libya. The remainder refused, saying they feared for their lives if they went back home. When US financial aid offered to Zaire for giving the rebels refuge failed to materialise they were expelled and sent to Kenya.

Eventually the Kenyans said the men were no longer welcome and the United States agreed to bring them to America where they were admitted to the US refugee programme. A State Department spokesman said the men would have “access to normal resettlement assistance, including English-language and vocational training and, if necessary, financial and medical assistance.” According to one report the remnants of Heftir’s army were dispersed to all fifty states.

That was not, however, the end of the Libyan National Army. In March 1996, Heftir returned to Libya and took part in an uprising against Gaddafi. Details of what happened are scant but the Washington Post reported from Egypt on March 26th that travelers from Libya had spoken of “unrest today in Jabal Akhdar mountains of eastern Libya and said armed rebels may have joined escaped prisoners in an uprising against the government….and that its leader is Col. Khalifa Haftar, of a contra-style group based in the United States called the Libyan National Army, the travelers said.”

The report continued: “The travelers, whose accounts could not be confirmed independently, said they heard that the death toll had risen to 23 in five days of fighting between security forces and rebels, including men who escaped from Benghazi prison thursday and then fled into the eastern mountains.”

What part the CIA played in the failed uprising and whether the then US president, Bill Clinton had given the operation his approval are not known. By coincidence or not, three months later, Gaddafi’s forces killed some 1200 political prisoners being held in Benghazi’s Abu Simal jail. It was the arrest of the lawyer representing many of the prisoners’ families that sparked the February 17th uprising against Gaddafi and with it, the return of Khalifa Heftir.

As usual, the back story is complex. Valuable strategic resources abound. There are no good guys. And, as usual, the reporting that commands most of our attention just isn’t very good at helping us understand what is really going on.

The consequences of an uninformed public….well, we know what those are.

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Iraq Invasion Revelations: Fueled Again, UK Style

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Russ Baker is an award-winning investigative reporter.

Tell me again—why the invasion of Iraq?

As WhoWhatWhy readers know, we don’t consider this a quaint item of obscure historical interest. We’ve reported on several different angles, including a curious angle involving Bush, Blair, oil in Iraq, and oil in India.

And then there was George W. Bush’s own personal obsession with finding a reason to invade.

Now comes more on the oil angle. The revelations are contained in a new book out next week, Fuel on the Fire, and reported by the UK paper, The Independent.

Plans to exploit Iraq’s oil reserves were discussed by government ministers and the world’s largest oil companies the year before Britain took a leading role in invading Iraq, government documents show.

Graphic: Iraq’s burgeoning oil industry

The papers, revealed here for the first time, raise new questions over Britain’s involvement in the war, which had divided Tony Blair’s cabinet and was voted through only after his claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

The minutes of a series of meetings between ministers and senior oil executives are at odds with the public denials of self-interest from oil companies and Western governments at the time.

…In March 2003, just before Britain went to war, Shell denounced reports that it had held talks with Downing Street about Iraqi oil as “highly inaccurate”. BP denied that it had any “strategic interest” in Iraq, while Tony Blair described “the oil conspiracy theory” as “the most absurd”.

But documents from October and November the previous year paint a very different picture.

Five months before the March 2003 invasion, Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq’s enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair’s military commitment to US plans for regime change.

The papers show that Lady Symons agreed to lobby the Bush administration on BP’s behalf because the oil giant feared it was being “locked out” of deals that Washington was quietly striking with US, French and Russian governments and their energy firms.

Minutes of a meeting with BP, Shell and BG (formerly British Gas) on 31 October 2002 read: “Baroness Symons agreed that it would be difficult to justify British companies losing out in Iraq in that way if the UK had itself been a conspicuous supporter of the US government throughout the crisis.”

…The Foreign Office invited BP in on 6 November 2002 to talk about opportunities in Iraq “post regime change”. Its minutes state: “Iraq is the big oil prospect. BP is desperate to get in there and anxious that political deals should not deny them the opportunity.”

After another meeting, this one in October 2002, the Foreign Office’s Middle East director at the time, Edward Chaplin, noted: “Shell and BP could not afford not to have a stake in [Iraq] for the sake of their long-term future... We were determined to get a fair slice of the action for UK companies in a post-Saddam Iraq.”

Whereas BP was insisting in public that it had “no strategic interest” in Iraq, in private it told the Foreign Office that Iraq was “more important than anything we’ve seen for a long time”.

BP was concerned that if Washington allowed TotalFinaElf’s existing contact with Saddam Hussein to stand after the invasion it would make the French conglomerate the world’s leading oil company. BP told the Government it was willing to take “big risks” to get a share of the Iraqi reserves, the second largest in the world.

Over 1,000 documents were obtained under Freedom of Information over five years by the oil campaigner Greg Muttitt. They reveal that at least five meetings were held between civil servants, ministers and BP and Shell in late 2002.

The 20-year contracts signed in the wake of the invasion were the largest in the history of the oil industry. They covered half of Iraq’s reserves – 60 billion barrels of oil, bought up by companies such as BP and CNPC (China National Petroleum Company), whose joint consortium alone stands to make £403m ($658m) profit per year from the Rumaila field in southern Iraq.

Last week, Iraq raised its oil output to the highest level for almost decade, 2.7 million barrels a day – seen as especially important at the moment given the regional volatility and loss of Libyan output. Many opponents of the war suspected that one of Washington’s main ambitions in invading Iraq was to secure a cheap and plentiful source of oil….

Lady Symons, 59, later took up an advisory post with a UK merchant bank that cashed in on post-war Iraq reconstruction contracts. Last month she severed links as an unpaid adviser to Libya’s National Economic Development Board after Colonel Gaddafi started firing on protesters. Last night, BP and Shell declined to comment.

Not about oil? what they said before the invasion

* Foreign Office memorandum, 13 November 2002, following meeting with BP: “Iraq is the big oil prospect. BP are desperate to get in there and anxious that political deals should not deny them the opportunity to compete. The long-term potential is enormous…”

* Tony Blair, 6 February 2003: “Let me just deal with the oil thing because… the oil conspiracy theory is honestly one of the most absurd when you analyse it. The fact is that, if the oil that Iraq has were our concern, I mean we could probably cut a deal with Saddam tomorrow in relation to the oil. It’s not the oil that is the issue, it is the weapons…”

* BP, 12 March 2003: “We have no strategic interest in Iraq. If whoever comes to power wants Western involvement post the war, if there is a war, all we have ever said is that it should be on a level playing field. We are certainly not pushing for involvement.”

* Lord Browne, the then-BP chief executive, 12 March 2003: “It is not in my or BP’s opinion, a war about oil. Iraq is an important producer, but it must decide what to do with its patrimony and oil.”

* Shell, 12 March 2003, said reports that it had discussed oil opportunities with Downing Street were ‘highly inaccurate’, adding: “We have neither sought nor attended meetings with officials in the UK Government on the subject of Iraq. The subject has only come up during conversations during normal meetings we attend from time to time with officials… We have never asked for ‘contracts’.”

Have you heard this being discussed by the major media? Calls for investigation on Capitol Hill? Or deafening silence? As noted above, in February, 2003, Tony Blair called speculation that oil was behind the invasion “conspiracy theory.” If so, conspiracy theory is looking pretty good these days.

Image Credit:  (http://www.flickr.com/photos/monkey4u/1053963557/)

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How To Make Your Competition Work For Your

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How To Make Your Competition Work For You Login With Facebook | Login With Twitter | Login | Register Business InsiderBusiness Insider War Room Home Tech Media Wall Street Markets Strategy Sports Travel Politics Misc. Lifestyle Video Latest Management Hiring & Firing Founders' Corner Instant MBA HiveTapePRQuestionsContributors RSS Spread the word on Twitter How To Make Your Competition Work For You   1/6       Best of both creates a new market Cost sharing and economies of scale Upsell related products after the initial sale Integrate for new or critical mass Cross endorsement Possible investor   Tags: Features, Strategy | Get Alerts for these topics » Short URL Share: Twitter Facebook Buzz Digg StumbleUpon Buzz Reddit LinkedIn Email More about embedding posts » Embed More about Alerts » Alerts Newsletter See Also: abbottabadBEAUTIFUL ABBOTTABAD: Actually Bin Laden Was Living In A Scenic Tourist Town osama bin laden, ap photo 09/08/07Here's The Full Account Of How The United States Intelligence FINALLY Killed Bin Laden After 10 Years Of Tryingjames deanINSTANT MBA: Don't Leave Hiring To The HR Staff
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Martin Zwilling Email C: 480-789-1621 Subscribe to his Twitter feed Martin Zwilling is a veteran startup mentor, executive, blogger, author, tech professional, and angel investor

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Companies today are paranoid, afraid that even their allies will steal their business. Yet a creative collaboration with your biggest competitor may be the best opportunity for revenue and survival. But remember that dancing with the wolves can also get you eaten for lunch. You have to take the risk but keep your wits about you.

Your goal is coopetition: to find a way to partner with your competitor in such a way that both parties can substantially benefit from the other's resources — without stealing customers or damaging anyone's credibility. It's a great survival strategy for small companies or entrepreneurs, and a good expansion strategy for even the largest companies.

As an example, a few years ago I worked for small software company selling an expensive enterprise workflow product. It was heavy on visual development capability but light on modeling and simulation, and we kept battling a competitor in the marketplace who had essentially the inverse strengths in a similar product. We were both losing in the lucrative high-end market segment. Neither could afford to build what the other had, but we could easily integrate some of our combined features in a shared product.

We finally decided set up a strategic partnership with a joint product to capture this elusive segment of the market. As a result of our increased coverage and wider range of solutions, we both gained revenue and credibility, while reducing marketing and development. In the following quarter, we jointly signed up two new customers who loved our integrated solution.

This example is only the first of six approaches for coopetition, with potential wins for both sides.

Of course, for a strategic alliance to work, you must take precautions. Companies need to very clearly define where they are working together and where they are competing. The right place to start with a good joint non-disclosure and non-compete agreement. Also, make sure there is no misalignment of priorities between your organizations, which can negate all the positives. For example, if your pride is your customer service reputation, don't risk it by partnering with a company who has related items at a lower cost but consistently poor customer service.

While it is normal to instinctively look for ways to avoid, evade or protect ourselves from the perceived threat of a competitor, take the time to look at the opportunity strategic alliances may provide. You will find that it is sometimes smarter to capitalize on the positive aspects of a competitive situation, rather than fight to the death of both of you.

Best of both creates a new market. Your competitor has strengths, and you have different strengths. A strategic combination can win in a new segment of the market, which neither of you could do alone in the same time frame or at the same cost. Cost sharing and economies of scale. Companies work together on segments of their business where they believe they can minimize costs but not jeopardize their unique attributes. For instance, Dell and HP are both strong competitors on notebook computers, but they offer Intel processors, rather than building their own, to keep component costs down and broaden their application market through compatibility. Both now lead with the same processors, but Dell offers custom system configuration at ship, while HP capitalizes on more impressive display and battery technology.Upsell related products after the initial sale. If your customers would benefit by having both of your products, you might negotiate the opportunity to include your competitor's product as a later add-on, or vice versa. This is called up-selling, or cross-up-selling, and both parties share the profits. You see this every day in retail outlets that are not company stores. They are more than happy to sell you alternate brand of shoes that match your suit, or suggest a premium appliance from another manufacturer, once you have selected the lowest cost refrigerator.Integrate for new or critical mass. If your competitor has a similar product that could complement your own, you might consider arranging a deal where both you and your competitor would offer an integrated bundle or new product. Another way to coopetate is to create a critical new offering to address a common enemy. For example, if you're selling a travel magazine, you could add a free travel video when someone buys a subscription. You're now targeting people who want the travel magazine and those that want the specific video you are giving away. Others will now buy your travel magazine over a travel book, for example, which competes with both your magazine and the video individually.Cross endorsement. If your competitor isn't really competing with your direct market, you can refer business to each other without anyone losing customers. Affiliate marketing might actually be one of the more effective (and easier) ways to partner with someone else in the industry. Online, this starts with link exchanges, leading to referral fees. This also works for two businesses with different products but similar clientele, to increase the market for both. It could be something as simple as a chiropractic office that offers acupuncture and physical therapy cross-endorsing with a neighboring gym. Gym members could get discounts on chiropractic services and chiropractic patients might get free on-site body fat analyses from the gym. Possible investor. Once you have established your credibility and value, a strategic partnership may extend to a financial relationship. They may have the finances you need and are ready to invest in a business area they know. Also, this competitor will now be a better candidate for merger or acquisition due to the existing relationship, when either of you is ready for that step. For example, IBM, Intel, and other large companies routinely allocate and manage venture funds to invest in startups with new technology that may compete with their own. Buying the startups that get traction is cheaper and faster for them than trying to manage similar development efforts within a large company.

Of course, for a strategic alliance to work, you must take precautions. Companies need to very clearly define where they are working together and where they are competing. The right place to start with a good joint non-disclosure and non-compete agreement. Also, make sure there is no misalignment of priorities between your organizations, which can negate all the positives. For example, if your pride is your customer service reputation, don't risk it by partnering with a company who has related items at a lower cost but consistently poor customer service.

While it is normal to instinctively look for ways to avoid, evade or protect ourselves from the perceived threat of a competitor, take the time to look at the opportunity strategic alliances may provide. You will find that it is sometimes smarter to capitalize on the positive aspects of a competitive situation, rather than fight to the death of both of you.

Martin Zwilling is the founder and chief executive officer of Startup Professionals. Check out his daily blog or contact him directly.

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