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How satisfied are you with U.S. policy in the Middle East?
September 20th, 2012
03:40 PM ET

How satisfied are you with U.S. policy in the Middle East?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Anti-american protests, some of them violent, are raging on in the Middle East and it could get worse tomorrow - the Muslim day oF prayer.

In Islamabad, Pakistan - thousands protested the anti-Islamic film and cartoons of Mohammed outside foreign embassies, including America's, and police responded with tear gas and warning shots.

In Kabul, Afghanistan hundreds chanted "Long live Islam, death to America."

And in Iran, demonstrators in Tehran protested against the same film, shouting anti-American and anti-Israel slogans.

All this after the killing of America's ambassador and three others in Libya last week along with more anti-U.S. protests in Egypt, Yemen and Tunisia to name a few.

Back in the United States, the Obama Administration is facing questions about embassy security in the wake of the attack on the consulate in Benghazi.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was scheduled to testify to Congress in a closed intelligence briefing today.

It's been suggested that the U.S. was warned about the attack in Libya three days in advance.

But the administration insists they haven't seen intelligence about "significant advanced planning" for the attack.

But interestingly, the White House is now calling the deadly assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi a "terrorist attack" for the first time. And it happened on the anniversary of 9/11.

U.S. relations with Israel, at least on the surface, appear to be getting much worse as President Obama continues to say he doesn't have time to meet with Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Iran is continuing its march toward nuclear weapons, and Syria continues to murder its own people.

Here’s my question to you: How satisfied are you with U.S. policy in the Middle East?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: Middle East
Did Mitt Romney kill his own chances of becoming president with his reaction to the violence in Egypt and Libya?
September 13th, 2012
03:55 PM ET

Did Mitt Romney kill his own chances of becoming president with his reaction to the violence in Egypt and Libya?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Mitt Romney may have done himself in.

At the very least, the Republican candidate for president likely damaged his chances of being elected by the way he reacted to the violence in Egypt and Libya.

Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast suggests Romney's response makes him "unfit" for the responsibility of running the country.

Sullivan lays out the reasons why he thinks Romney should be disqualified from being president.

Including Romney's knee-jerk judgments, based on ideology not reality, his inability to back down when he said something wrong and his argument that President Obama sympathized with the murderers of America's ambassador to Libya.

Criticizing America's Commander-in-Chief while U.S. interests were still under attack, and Americans were dying, comes off as amateur and un-presidential, and might just be political suicide for Romney.

It's times like these when an unguarded comment can leave a lasting impression.

Compare Romney's response to how the 1980 Republican candidates for president reacted to the Iran hostage crisis under President Carter's watch.

As The Atlantic points out, when news broke that an effort to rescue the American hostages from the Tehran embassy failed Ronald Reagan said, "This is the time for us as a nation and a people to stand united."

George H.W. Bush went even further, saying he "unequivocally" supported carter and it wasn't a time to "try to go one-up politically."

Mitt Romney has been around long enough to know better.

Here’s my question to you: Did Mitt Romney kill his own chances of becoming president with his reaction to the violence in Egypt and Libya?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Egypt • Libya • Middle East • Mitt Romney
Was the Arab Spring worth it?
FILE PHOTO: Protesters carrying a giant Egyptian flag in Tahrir Square during a mass rally on November 25, 2011 in Cairo.
September 12th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Was the Arab Spring worth it?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

So much for the Arab Spring.

The wave of protests that swept parts of the Middle East and North Africa - in which the people fought to oust dictators - doesn't seem to have brought many of them any closer to a peaceful society.

Libya and Egypt are but the latest examples.

Years from now Historians might even trace the origin of the arab spring to the decision of George W. Bush to attack Iraq in the wake of 9/11:

Go in, overthrow a dictator, turn the country over to the people and nirvana will surely follow.

But violence continues in Iraq and people die there every day.

Egypt's now in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood. Mubarak is gone, they had elections and yesterday violent mobs assaulted the U.S. Embassy compound.

In Libya, Moammar Gadhafi is gone and the U.S. Ambassador and three other people are dead. Because some terrorists in that country didn't like a movie that was critical of Islam.

Syria's become a slaughterhouse with the dictator Assad hanging on and murdering the civilian population at will.

Iran continues its march toward nuclear weapons - I don't even want to think what might happen if they get them.

And al Qaeda is busy reconstituting itself in Pakistan and half a dozen other countries.

The songwriter who wrote the lyrics "Wishing won't make it so" was spot on.

And anybody who thinks the Middle East is going to suddenly transform itself into a peaceful civilization where the majority rules hasn't been reading the history books.

Here’s my question to you: Was the Arab Spring worth it?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: Egypt • Libya • Middle East
How will the meltdown in the Middle East affect the U.S. presidential election?
A vehicle and the surrounding area are engulfed in flames after it was set on fire inside the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi last night.
September 12th, 2012
03:55 PM ET

How will the meltdown in the Middle East affect the U.S. presidential election?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The violence in Libya has suddenly yanked the spotlight off the economy and put it squarely on foreign policy as far as the U.S. presidential campaign is concerned.

Mitt Romney is slamming President Obama for his administration's response to angry mobs attacking U.S. diplomatic buildings in the Middle East.

Romney said that a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was like an apology, calling it "disgraceful to apologize for American values." Other Republicans are jumping in, blasting the president's "failed foreign policy of appeasement and apology."

The White House has disavowed the embassy statement, saying it did not approve the statement. In it, the Cairo embassy condemned "continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims." This all goes back to a film produced in the United States that some Muslims found offensive.

Meanwhile the president condemned the attacks and said we must "unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence" that took the lives of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

The president's campaign said Romney is using the tragic events for political gain.

Others agree that Romney may have jumped the gun with his response.

Sen. John Kerry called Romney's remarks irresponsible, inexperienced and reckless. He said Romney was wrong to weigh in before all the facts are known.

As for voters, they tend to trust the president more on foreign policy. A CNN/ORC International Poll released this week showed President Barack Obama with a 54%-42% advantage over Romney.

Here’s my question to you: How will the meltdown in the Middle East affect the U.S. presidential election?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Egypt • Libya • Middle East
May 19th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Is now the time to increase aid to the Middle East?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama had a message for Middle East nations in his much-hyped speech today at the State Department: If you promote reform and choose democracy, we'll help you out financially. That's great. We can borrow some more money from China and give it away to the Middle East. Brilliant.

In a sweeping speech that applauded reforms and condemned the use of force by Middle East leaders against protesters, the president said this is not just about hand-outs but about encouraging democracy. This, in a part of the world where they can't even spell democracy. He also said, "It's important to focus on trade, not just aid; and investment, not just assistance."

The president announced the United States will give economic aid to Middle Eastern and North African countries that transition to democracy. He also said the U.S. will encourage investment in these regions.

President Obama also said the U.S. will relieve Egypt of up to $1 billion dollars in debt and that we'll help that country regain access to markets, as a democracy, by guaranteeing $1 billion in borrowing. Egypt has an unemployment rate of about 30 percent... and the majority of the population there is under the age of 30.

It's a noble gesture but we've got our own economic problems is this country. High unemployment… mounting debt… the inability of Congress to agree on anything. There are people here in the United States who could use some help.

Here’s my question to you: Is now the time to increase aid to the Middle East?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Middle East
April 26th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Bigger issue for you if election were today: gas prices or Middle East?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Violence rages on in the Middle East. Fighting continues in Libya. In Syria, a human rights group reports that more than 400 people have been killed over the past few weeks.

We're still engaged in Iraq, still fighting in Afghanistan. Now everybody is wondering what to do about Syria. At last word President Obama was "considering sanctions." Whatever that means. His strategy and leadership skills are increasingly being called into question, and the chorus of critics is getting louder.

While the problems continue to multiply in the Middle East, many Americans are just trying to figure out how they're going to pay for their daily commute to work. Gas prices are off the charts with predictions now that they could hit $6 a gallon this summer. We're already about 25 cents away from the record high reached in July of 2008. Rising oil prices and the falling value of the dollar don't offer much hope for relief anytime soon.

The president's been talking a lot about gas prices lately, working the topic into speeches in Virginia, Nevada and California last week. He also announced a task force led by Attorney General Eric Holder to seek out fraud and manipulation of gas prices. That's what the politicians do every time gas prices spike. They start looking for an imaginary boogey man.

Today the President wrote a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to repeal preferential tax laws for the oil companies. That'll happen.

House Republicans have announced they are planning to hold hearings and will introduce legislation in response to high gas prices. In an interview with ABC News yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner said high gas prices could cost President Obama re-election.

He might be right. The president's approval ratings are near an all time low.

Here’s my question to you: If the election was held today, which would be the bigger issue for you, gas prices or the Middle East?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Elections • Gas Prices • Middle East
April 19th, 2011
04:39 PM ET

Should U.S. be funding Mideast rebel groups?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In the abstract, it's a noble calling: Support oppressed people's yearning to breath free. Over the years, the United States has made a general practice of coming down on the side of people who are fighting for their freedom. But now that there are a dozen uprisings in the Middle East, it's probably worth taking a closer look to see if it's really that good of an idea.

Syria, for example, has been the scene of unrest since mid-March. The Washington Post reports that the U.S. State Department has secretly financed several Syrian political opposition groups since 2005. The Post reporting was based on diplomatic cables the folks at Wiki-leaks got a hold of. The State Department refused comment on the authenticity of the cables, but a deputy assistant secretary of state said the State Department does not endorse political parties or movements. Baloney.

If you provide aid - military, financial, humanitarian - you do.

In Libya, nobody knows who we are supporting but by participating in NATO-led air strikes, we're supporting someone. And as tensions continue to rise in Yemen, Bahrain, Iran, and elsewhere, we may want to exercise caution about who we are getting into bed with...

Oh, and the other part is we don't have any money. We really don't have any money. And for people in this country who have been unemployed for years, can't find a job and are faced with the thought of their unemployment benefits running out, telling them we're giving cash to a shadowy poorly organized dysfunctional group of malcontents in some faraway middle eastern country ain't going to go down so well.

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. be funding rebel groups in the Middle East?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Congress • Government • Middle East • Senate • Senate and Congress • United States
March 14th, 2011
04:56 PM ET

Is it becoming too late for the rest of the world to help rebels in Libya?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Paris today, meeting with other foreign ministers from the G8 to discuss Libya strategy. She's also meeting with Libyan rebel leaders, the first time the United States has made contact with Moammar Gadhafi's opposition since violence erupted last month.

A Libyan anti-government protester takes part in an anti-Gadhafi demonstration.

A Libyan anti-government protester takes part in an anti-Gadhafi demonstration.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Paris today, meeting with other foreign ministers from the G8 to discuss Libya strategy. She's also meeting with Libyan rebel leaders, the first time the United States has made contact with Moammar Gadhafi's opposition since violence erupted last month.

But no course of action has been decided yet. Over the weekend, the Arab League called for a no-fly zone. France had done so last week. The White House has applauded the move. It was the topic of conversation at the United Nations today. Lots of talk, no action.

Meanwhile, Libya's civil war continues even as international attention to the rebels' cause has been diverted to the natural disaster in Japan. Various reports say the opposition forces are losing their grip on Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city, and al Brega.

For the first time since the revolt began, the rebels did not allow reporters to accompany them out of fear news coverage could provide intelligence to government forces.

It's a sign of growing frustration on the part of the opposition. The rest of the world watches and talks and does nothing. Now Gadhafi's forces are gaining the upper hand.

Here’s my question to you: Is it becoming too late for the rest of the world to help the rebels in Libya?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Libya • Middle East
March 3rd, 2011
04:56 PM ET

Mideast Turmoil: Time to drill for oil in Gulf of Mexico?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
http://cnncaffertyfile.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=15240&action=edit#edit_timestamp
Violence in the Middle East has been driving the price of oil higher for weeks now. It has been more than $100 a barrel several times.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

It's times like these that our addiction to imported oil comes back to haunt us. And it has gotten worse since the horrific BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico last spring, which killed 11 rig workers and dumped nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil into the waters.

Suddenly, virtually all drilling activity in water deeper than 5,000 feet was ordered stopped. The Obama administration has given no sign that drilling there would return anytime soon – at least not to the level it was before the BP spill. The deepwater ban was lifted last fall, but no new permits were issued until just this week. Monday, the Department of the Interior issued the first permit for a deepwater well since last spring.

In a column on Politico.com, publisher and businessman Steve Forbes writes that by freezing U.S. energy assets in the Gulf, the U.S. government is "fueling an energy crisis that could bring this nation to its knees."

An estimated one-third of the oil used in this country comes from the Gulf of Mexico region, he says. And by limiting our drilling there, we become more dependent on oil-rich nations abroad, Libya included.

Here’s my question to you: In light of the Middle East turmoil, is it time to again drill aggressively for oil in the Gulf of Mexico?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Middle East • Oil Prices
March 2nd, 2011
04:40 PM ET

Should the U.S. offer exile to Gadhafi?

ALT TEXT

Gadhafi is pictured earlier today arriving for a ceremony marking 34 years of "people power" in Tripoli. At the event, he vowed to fight an uprising against his 41 year rule. (PHOTO CREDIT: MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The United States said Wednesday it is weighing a possible military role to help the Libyan revolt against Moammar Gadhafi, after the Obama administration has repeatedly asked Gadhafi to step down from power and demanded accountability for the violence and bloodshed he has visited upon his own people.

But the White House has also said all options in dealing with the crisis in Libya are on the table. One of those options may be exile.

Visiting Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States might be willing to accept a deal in which the Libyan leader would voluntarily agree to exile in a third-party country.

Tuesday in a television interview, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice urged Gadhafi to end the violence and his reign of terror and consider exile.

Rice said she's worried the situation in Libya could quickly turn into a humanitarian catastrophe.

President Obama has not yet spoken publicly about Libya this week, but a spokesman said Monday that the president is holding firm on his stance that Gadhafi needs to step down immediately and that exile was one way to make that happen.

Meanwhile, Gadhafi remains in Libya. The violence continues, unrest grows, more refugees head for the borders and the stakes get higher for everyone.

Here’s my question to you: Should the United States offer exile to Gadhafi?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Middle East
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