Line Between Defense Strategy & Development Assistance Continues to Blur

The United States will continue to provide support to its Afghan partners, counter terrorism abroad, maintain a strong forward presence in the Middle East region, and ensure U.S. military forces are ready to respond to a wide range of potential crises.~White House

The 2016 U.S. budget–released this week– reflects the Obama administration’s goals for the pita-consuming region.  Two weeks after President Obama addressed American taxpayers in the State of the Union, we can see how Obama’s words speak even louder as dollars committed to U.S. program funding.  U.S. budget allocations to program X, Y, or Z signify which countries are a priority… Iraq followed by Afghanistan …and which ones are not (Syria)… tied to to U.S. policy.

Like many other advanced economies (like France) the line between defense strategy and development assistance continues to blur.  France’s security and economic interests in Algeria almost mirror the U.S. interests in Iraq.

Specific references to the MENA region will be found under the budget heading: “Advancing National Security Priorities ” because the goals are to:

  1. Degrade and Defeat ISIL in Response to the Syria Crisis.
  2. Ensure a Responsible Transition in Afghanistan.
 Given these policy goals, the U.S. Budget proposes $8.8 billion in OCO funds for the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of State. Of the $8.8 billion, the majority of the funds will address the first security threat mentioned — ISIL/ISIS — but not directed at a state actor.
This includes $5.3 billion for DOD to continue Operation Inherent Resolve, which includes conducting airstrikes, collecting intelligence, as well as training, advis ing, and equipping the Iraqi security forces and properly vetted members of the moderate Syrian opposition.~White House

Although the U.S. has stated that it has withdrawn from Afghanistan, other U.S. initiatives will continue, according to the budget:

The Budget also continues support for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) interventions to reduce HIV infections in young women, and expands USAID’s programs in support of adolescent girls’ education, including expanded investments in educating adolescent girls in Afghanistan.~White House

Qayyum of PITAPOLICY indicated that the MENA region will continue to occupy the world of U.S. national security interests–or vice versa.  Here’s Qayyum’s thoughts… or PITA POINTS

PITA Points on #SOTU2015

Originally published on MuslimMatters

President Obama enters into his final quarter of his big game. Watching President Obama’s State of the Union Address in D.C. is like watching the Super Bowl for political junkies, foreign policy junkies and social activists. (I would like to say I fall somewhere in between, but that is for others, like my PITAPALS, to judge.) Following President Obama’s approval rating on screen was not nearly as fun as following #SOTU2015 and viewing encouraging comments like… [click here to continue]

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