Secret Obama report identified flash points in Arab world

By John Byrne
Thursday, February 17, 2011 0:16 EDT
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From Thursday’s New York Times: “President Obama ordered his advisers last August to produce a secret report on unrest in the Arab world, which concluded that without sweeping political changes, countries from Bahrain to Yemen were ripe for popular revolt, administration officials said Wednesday.

“Mr. Obama’s order, known as a Presidential Study Directive, identified likely flashpoints, most notably Egypt, and solicited proposals for how the administration could push for political change in countries with autocratic rulers who are also valuable allies of the United States, these officials said.”

The 18-page-report tangled with how America seeks to balance its foreign policy abroad — putting its strategic interests in sometimes conflict with democratic instability.

Officials told the Times that Obama’s support for the crowds in Cairo “reflected his belief that there was a greater risk in not pushing for changes because Arab leaders would have to resort to ever more brutal methods to keep the lid on dissent.”

“There’s no question Egypt was very much on the mind of the president,” said a senior official to the Times. “You had all the unknowns created by Egypt’s succession picture — and Egypt is the anchor of the region.”

The full Times story is available here.

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  • Anonymous

    Why should this be any surprise? While feigned ignorance is the preferred play in the face of events which contradict stability policies of imperial hegemony, we should be cognizant of the fact that our players in government are not stumbling blindly. They may stumble and fumble in response to such events, yet the fact must be noted that they are in possession of information which provides ample evidence of difficulties in continuing stability efforts, which evinces that we are in an age of empire beyond its capability.

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations to the Middle East for outperforming expectations! Keep up the good work and I can see a big bonus in your future!

  • http://twitter.com/Rteefact Rteefact

    So contrary to the talking heads Obama was on top of the whole uprising as he already had it planned out.

  • Anonymous

    They needed to identify which nations the CIA could push over the edge

  • Anonymous

    If a MSM outlet like the NYT is publishing this … it’s what the Govt wants people to know.

  • DesertSun59

    The Right needs to now stand up, and then bend over. Take it like a man.

  • Anonymous

    These “secret reports” are prepared for every president, for every potential hot spot in the world. I cannot say, but it is my best guess, these reports are updated, at least annually, if not more frequently than once per year. These documents probably originate from specialist’s desks within the State Department, the Defense Department and, possibly, the CIA… What would be really interesting to read would be the “back channel” communications between our military establishment, diplomatic corps and spy corps and Egypt’s counterparts, during the days leading up to Mubarak’s departure, and the time that has since elapsed. As a practical matter, It is not in the US’s geopolitical interests to have an elected, civilian government in Egypt, that is beyond the influence of American policy makers. Egypt is not an oil producer but its leaders could influence the policies of mid-east countries that are. This leads me to believe that another military strong man will emerge as Egypt’s head of state in the next few months… one who will listen to American interests even though the US is strongly disliked by 96% of Egypt’s 80,000,000 people.

  • Anonymous

    “It is not in the US’s geopolitical interests”

    Spoken like an arrogant believer in US power. Thankfully for most of the world that influence is in steep decline.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6EX2KJ7LSZMDCBZWCH62Q7CABY Sandra

    Obama’s finding Libya and Iran to be a bit of a disappointment, then. No promotion for them!

  • Anonymous

    “in sometimes conflict with democratic instability” No. more like, “consistently in conflict with democracy” Let’s not color the news RS!

    Now Obomber-lovers will probably claim this is more 11th-dimensional chess, see… Obomber knew it the whole time…

  • Anonymous

    Did he know that Wisconsin would be the first?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EKTMZWPUVVU4CBKH4HWPKPVNCY cal5000

    Well Played Mr. President.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    Bingo. This totally stinks of a planted story. Obama admin has been doing that a lot. Ass covering perhaps?

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    “Administration officials said Wednesday”, “classified”, “yet to be released”.
    This story is completely fabricated. Raw Story should know better. This is the NYT’s modus operandi. Parroting the WH’s propaganda and citing exclusively “unnamed, highly placed sources in the administration”.
    This is what we accept as journalism today?

  • realnewz

    Just like the media did with the Egyptian protest.
    Had Americans been protesting the govt.
    It might get a few seconds on tv or the last page of the paper but not the front page news for days.
    I support Egyptian rights but there is a reason the media is playing this out the way it is.
    And, that reason isnt for Egyptian/American rights.
    Its to kick out puppet govts for reasons we soon shall see.