Get PJ Media on your Apple

Belmont Club

Stovetop Espresso

June 21st, 2014 - 4:34 pm

The way a stove top expresso maker works is by heating one chamber full of water and letting steam push coffee into the relative vacuum of another. When ISIS drove East toward the Shi’ite areas supported members of the old Baathist regime, it was essentially the same process: it was al-Qaeda coffee percolating toward Baghdad.

The al Qaeda offshoot has captured swathes of territory in northwest and central Iraq, including the second city, Mosul. They have seized large amounts of weaponry from the fleeing Iraqi army and looted banks.

World powers are deadlocked over the crises in Iraq and Syria. Shi’ite Iran has said it will not hesitate to protect Shi’ite shrines if asked by Baghdad but Sunni-run Saudi Arabia has warned Tehran to stay out of Iraq.

When Reuters says “Sunni fighters seized a border post on the Iraq-Syria frontier, security sources said on Saturday, smashing a line drawn by colonial powers almost a century ago and potentially creating an Islamic Caliphate from the Mediterranean Sea to Iran” they are basically describing a merge between two wars. The same bad guys operated across a border without distinction. After a while the de facto threatens to become de jure.

Ian Black of the Guardian writes “jihadi advances are not only erasing the old borders and allowing Isis to claim it is in reach of its goal of creating a new Muslim caliphate, but also ensuring that the wars for Syria and Iraq have merged into one, each feeding on, affecting and sustaining the other.”

Control of territory in north-eastern Syria helped Isis capture Mosul, Iraq’s third-largest city. Money and arms flow easily. Croatian-made anti-tank weapons sent by Saudi Arabia via Jordan to mainstream rebel forces in southern Syria found their way to Isis fighters in Anbar province in Iraq. Last week convoys of trucks carrying captured Iraqi weapons arrived in Hassaka. Equipment including tanks has been moved to Raqqa in Syria, where Isis has its headquarters.

“The Iraq-Syria border is…. increasingly immaterial,” commented Charles Lister, a military analyst at the Brookings Doha Centre. “Conflict on both sides of the border has become inherently interconnected.” Comparisons are now being made with the way the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan became irrelevant for al-Qaida.

The effective erasure of the old border means that Isis can make tactical adjustments and new deployments in line with changing battlefield circumstances. It has acquired new strategic depth and more secure supply lines.

Who brewed up the Middle Eastern expresso machine? Anne Marie Slaughter, director of policy planning at the State Department from 2009 to 2011, provides the answer. Barack Obama’s policy of thinking that you could wall off one from the other was largely responsible. Writing in the New York Times she says: “experts have predicted for over a year that unless we acted in Syria, ISIS would establish an Islamic state in eastern Syria and western Iraq, exactly what we are watching.”  They let Syria fester and now this.

The campaign against Assad had to feed into Iraq across the common border. It had to. Had to. By failing to grasp events in Syria by the horns and opting instead to  ”lead from behind” Obama essentially ‘let it happen’. He let someone else — al Qaeda — drive. And what happened is now plain for all to see.

Somehow officials in the administration imagined that the legal line between “Syria” and “Iraq” had some physical meaning; that you could build up an enormous pressure in Syria without consequences. Well whoever imagined that never operated an expresso machine. The coffee flowed and now Obama is shocked at the result.

Slaughter argues that Obama could not see the connection between maintaining the Pax Americana and the “humanitarian” concerns he so loves to tout. “This is where the White House is most blind. It sees the world on two planes: the humanitarian world of individual suffering, where no matter how heart-rending the pictures and how horrific the crimes, American vital interests are not engaged because it is just people; and the strategic world of government interests, where what matters is the chess game of one leader against another, and stopping both state and nonstate actors who are able to harm the United States.”

Thus, Obama cannot see that he is at least partially responsible for headlines like: “Iraq’s beleaguered Christians make final stand on the Mosul frontline” or “More Than 50 Million People Are Displaced, the Highest Number Ever Recorded” — the highest number, in fact, since World War 2.

Refugee levels are not independent of Obama’s policy failures.  The refugees in Syria are the direct result of his geopolitical screw-ups. The flood of “migrants” besieging the southern US border did not occur independently of the administration’s immigration policy. They were caused by it. Breitbart notes that “White House Admits ‘Rumors’ of Amnesty Motivating Illegal Border Crossings”.

The humanitarian crisis is a function of the collapse of foreign policy.  Even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had to point out the obvious. “Suddenly, the cohesion and integrity of two major countries, [Syria and Iraq] not just one, is in question,” he said, as the war has spread into Iraq. “Regional powers became involved. Radical groups gained a foothold. Syria today is increasingly a failed state.”

Bubble, bubble, bubble.

As Slaughter points out, Obama, in the process of dispensing his fine humanitarianism and exquisite moral judgment has more or less blown up the Middle East.  The Guardian notes that Iranian forces are already rushing into Iraq.  Like a firestorm it sucking more and more combatants in.

Its enemies are already responding – on both sides of the frontier. According to reports from Lebanon, Iraqi Shia fighters who have been fighting in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad are heading home again to bolster Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s prime minister, in his war against Isis and a wider Sunni insurgency.

Iraq Shia militiamen deployed to Damascus to guard the revered Sayyida Zeinab shrine — along with Iranian revolutionary guards – are soon likely to be protecting the Shia holy places of Najaf and Karbala from Isis and other Sunni groups seeking to ignite a sectarian civil war. Many are with the Iraqi militia Asaib Ahl al-Haq, (League of the Righteous), an Iranian-backed force that is expected to spearhead the fightback against Isis. Men from the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah are filling the vacuum in Syria.

In another twist in the fast-moving situation, last weekend the Syrian air force staged its first raids on Isis bases in Raqqa, Hassakeh and Deir al-Zor. That was noteworthy because Assad’s enemies have often accused him of tolerating Isis or tacitly cooperating with it in order to split rebel ranks and present himself as a secular bulwark against al-Qaida and jihadi fanaticism.

Will the fighting become general? Perhaps the better question is to ask why it should not become general for the same reasons that Slaughter already described. Whether in Eastern Europe or Asia, the same practice of neglect can be observed. In each place Obama has lit a pressure chamber and the steam has to go somewhere. In he Middle East, Syria/Iraq has now become the steam chamber, and if there is any obvious reason why the high-pressure coffee won’t flow into lower conflict areas it does not readily present itself to the observer.

How Obama Made Coffee

How Obama Made Coffee

Recent items of interest by Belmont readers based on Amazon click-throughs.

I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends: Confessions of a Reality Show Villain
Luther: Man Between God and the Devil
Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality
Luther: Man Between God and the Devil
Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway
Good Hunting: An American Spymaster’s Story
The War of the Words (The World of Information)
With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa
The Weed Agency: A Comic Tale of Federal Bureaucracy Without Limits

Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific
Tip Jar or Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the Belmont Club

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
If you believe that all cultures are essentially similar. If you believe that the Muslims are just another religious group like the Jews and Christians. If you believe that the Shias, Sunnis, and Kurds can sit down and jaw, jaw to work out their differences in Iraq. If you believe that the hatred of the Islamists for the West is a result of the West’s intransigence. If you believe that the West can win over the Islamists by being fair and nice. If you believe that no one can possibly threaten you because of your awesome economy. If you believe having a strong military is acting like a bully. If you believe burning oil is bad. If you believe high oil prices are good. If you believe all those things, then your foreign policy might look a lot like Obama’s.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Since the world tends to disorder, there will always be trouble to contain. For that reason the UN and the Security Council was created. To put the lid on things. But the lid only works if there is a core of countries wise and strong enough to apply it.

So the unfortunate reality is that there will always be fires to put out. A world without fire departments is not a world without fires. So the question becomes how to put the lid on things at the minimum cost to life and property.

On one extreme is intervening everywhere. At the other is waiting for things to reach the point where World War 3 essentially breaks out. A wise hegemon knows when and how to intervene, not "for others"; not "for humanitarian reasons" -- though humanitarianism is the objective byproduct -- but to minimize cost to itself.

Hence "isolationism" and "interventionsim" are part of the same continuum. It's where they are on the line that distinguishes them. The only way to measure when to intervene or not to intervene is to have a fine sense of self-interest. And perhaps Washington has lost this sense of proportion and in the consequence cannot judge when or if a conflict requires it to get involved.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment


Abbott and Costello, Groucho and Harpo, Martin and Lewis, Sunni and Shi’ia. A laugh a minute.

There can be no sects as looney
As the Shi’ia and the Sunni
Their hatred for their bro under the skin
Is intensified by fighting
Over whose inerrant writing
States correctly dancing Imams on a pin
These two brands of Islam folly
Never smile are never jolly
Except when chopping heads from infidels
Refugees from the Dark Ages
Sunnis think the Dervish sages
While the Shi’ia look to Imams hid in wells

36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (120)
All Comments   (120)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
I see a bit different:
Obama is following an agenda set by his handlers. His attempt to overthrow Assad failed due to Russia and China intervention and threat in defense of Syria and Iran.
It's all about the destruction of the dollar.
Obama backed out of his red line due to the threat of China and Russia. I also believe that CIA is involved.
The recruiting, arming, paying and training of ISIS or ISIL was secretly in Jordan as was done previously in Libya. It was mainly to bring down Ghaddafi and Assad; the front in Iraq had to be opened to get back to Syria on different fronts.
Assad will be ousted by this monster created by Obama and plans of his handlers; however Russia and China will confront Obama and his associated crew behind the scenes. Israel already bombed 7 strategic sites in Syria in preparation to go all out in Syria using the death of the Arabian teenager - destroying the Russian air defense structure of Assad.
Look for the full beginning of WWIII - and expect false flag attacks here in the US as well.
The plans and checker pieces are in place......
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
When will we get around to admitting that Iraq is lost for the time being, no matter what the "most interesting man in the world" does?

It is lost, and Buraq Hussein lost it on purpose.

The only thing left to do is to get all the westerners out, and then try to contain the contamination of the crazies from getting Jordan, the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia.

I know, I know. They ain't worth saving. But we would only be doing it to prevent our current depression from getting massively (by several orders of magnitude) worse.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
ETAB: "What do you mean by 'unearned universal suffrage'?"

The current situation. Happen to be born in the US (or France, or lots of other places) and you are given the right to vote in that country. Walk illegally over the border of certain countries, and you will be given the right to vote soon enough. However, as many a teenage girl has learned to her cost, that which is given away freely is not valued.

One alternative is the "Starship Troopers" model -- a citizen has to earn the right to vote.

In Heinlein's formulation, citizens earned the right to vote through military service, which ensured they had skin in the game. There could be many alternatives, but the main point is that the right to vote is associated with a responsibility for constructive citizenship. Each individual should have to demonstrate that responsibility before being allowed to vote.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Israel's strategy in Syria

"Israeli warplanes bombed the Syrian military headquarters and a number of other targets inside Syria, the Israeli military said Monday, in a blistering response to a cross-border attack that left an Israeli teenager dead the previous day.

In all, Israel said it struck nine military targets inside Syria, and "direct hits were confirmed." In addition to the Syrian military headquarters, Israel said it targeted unspecified "launching positions." There was no immediate response from Syria.

In Sunday's attack, an Israeli civilian vehicle was struck by forces in Syria as it drove in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. A teenage boy was killed and two other people were wounded in the first deadly incident along the volatile Israeli-Syrian front since Syria's civil war erupted more than three years ago.

Israel has carefully monitored the fighting in Syria, but has generally kept its distance and avoided taking sides. On several occasions, mortar shells and other types of fire have landed on the Israeli side of the de facto border, drawing limited Israeli reprisals. Israel is also believed to have carried out several airstrikes on arms shipments it believed to be headed from Syria to Hezbollah militants in neighboring Lebanon. But never before has Israel gone after a target like the Syrian military headquarters.

It was not immediately clear whether Syrian troops or one of the many rebel groups battling the government carried out Sunday's deadly attack in the Golan. But Lerner said it was clear that the attack was intentional. Israel has repeatedly said it holds the Syrian government responsible for any attacks emanating from its territory, regardless of who actually carries them out.


In his address, Netanyahu said in conflicts like Syria, where al-Qaida-inspired extremists are battling Iranian-backed Syrian troops, there is no good choice and it is best for Israel to sit back and let its enemies weaken each other. "This is a fault line between civilization and savagery," he said."
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
This attack by Israel was a front to destroy Syria's Russian air defense systems; a pre-cursor of what is to come. It looks as though the Mossad and CIA are working together.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
ETAB: "What has happened in the US, is that Obama has denied the political validity and authority of Congress - aka - the middle class, the people."

Well, that is one theory. I am proud to be the last person to say anything favorable about Barry Soetero .. but he did not do anything to Congress; Congress did it to themselves.

As demonstrated by endless discussions about impeachment, the power of the purse, and Contempt of Congress rulings, Congress indisputably has the means to assert its will over a would-be dictator. And as reality has demonstrated, Congress collectively has chosen to look the other way. Congress no longer represents the middle class, the little people. The majority of Congresscritters have become members of the Political Class -- the Enemy Class.

Harry Reid is unfortunately not the only Senator-for-Life who entered Congress as a poor man and now sits on a multi-million dollar fortune. Have the under-the-table deals & compromises that a Democrat like Reid made bound him tighter to the middle class, or bound him tighter to his fellow fascists? To ask the question is to answer it.

Unearned universal suffrage is the systemic failure in today's democracy. Barry & his Bozos are merely the pox which exploits an unhealthy body. In the old days, doctors would "cure" a pox through blood-letting. And that is likely the only way the systemic failure of unearned universal suffrage can be cured.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Impeachment? It would never pass the Senate, and the MSM would red herring it as racist. Contempt of Congress? It doesn't seem to have hindered the earning power or job maintenance ability of people like Holder or Lerner. That is, if the Executive Branch of Government does not accept that Congress is The Power in govt, and that its rules for operation and for breach of its operation - have consequences - then, since it protects its key players from the rules of Congress - this nullifies Congress.

What do you mean by 'unearned universal suffrage'? How would you propose a situation that validates suffrage?

As for Harry Reid - I fully agree with you; he's a top guy in the Gang of Corrupt Congressmen.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
New House majority leader McCarthy was on Fox this morning and when asked if he could work with Obama, his answer was, "Obama has nothing to work with, the problem is Harry Reid and the Senate won't introduce House bills and pass them to the President".
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
But if Obama had any integrity or interest in America, then he would tell Harry Reid: 'Stop blocking House bills; stop infringing on the rights of the people; deal with those bills and get them to me for signing".

But Obama wants Reid to do just as he does: block all bills that he, Obama, doesn't like.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
ETAB: ... the whole ME infrastructure has remained trapped in a tribal mode of governance, without a free entrepreneurial middle class. That is, it is two class: elite rulers (usually one tribe) who rule by virtue of military and economic power enabled by oil revenues...and the powerless masses (usually other tribes)."

Sadly, that exactly describes the situation in the US -- where a tribe of super-rich politicians and business leaders (aka "Democrats") uses & abuses the rest of us (aka "the little people"). No equal justice; no rule of law.

Traditional Arab culture certainly had a Ruling Class. But those rulers were accessible to the entire population, any one of whom could go to the ruler's majlis and take his case directly to the top. In contrast to that traditional Arab style, trying phoning Congress and ask to speak to your Senator; unless you are a big contributor, the answer will be a none-too-polite version of "No way, Jose". And don't even ask about getting a chance to talk directly with Barry Soetero.

The West had a great thing going once, but those days are over. The Political Class -- the Enemy Class -- consciously & deliberately destroyed it. The sooner the rest of us recognize facts & act accordingly, the better.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
You are referring to an era with much smaller populations. Don't ignore population size. A small population, even in the hundred thousands, is quite functional as a two-class system and can provide reasonable access to rulers. That stops when the population soars into the multi-millions as it has over the past three decades in the ME - and of course, in the USA. So, it is not reasonable to expect direct access.

What happens in multimillion populations is that political power shifts from the elite upper class to the majority middle class. This class represents itself in Congress. What has happened in the US, is that Obama has denied the political validity and authority of Congress - aka - the middle class, the people. And, his economic policies have devastated their ability to make wealth and survive; his exponential increase of business regulations, his Obamacare, his taxes - all result in an impoverished middle class. The Democrats are the party of the destruction of the middle class; after all - they haven't stopped him!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Awhile back, cfbleachers stated that,

"Obama and his media have blood on their hands."

For the sake of accuracy, a better way to phrase that would be,

"MSM and its current figurehead, Obama, have blood on their hands."

36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
hb said: In Hildebeast's new book, she flat out stated ...

Doesn't matter what she states in the book, it's a lie.

etab said: Bush (and allies) were right to invade Iraq and depose one of the ME dictators. Why?

For exactly one reason, but there were supporting arguments. The ONLY reason we were right to invade Iraq was that post 9/11 it was right that we take on what was supposed to be the strongest military in Islam and defeat it.* On top of that we'd been imposing a no fly zone on Iraq since 1991 after a previous dust-up with them - when we stopped too soon for strategic reasons. Now, it just so happens that this was the loathsome Saddam Hussein, but before 1991 we'd been his buddy against Iran for some ten years, so when we attacked him in 1991 it probably confused poor Mr. Hussein something terrible - what was *with* these crazy Americans?

Once we determined to attack Iraq, we needed some post-attack rationale, but frankly that was neglected until afterwards. Bush's Christian charity thought that, given the chance, Iraq would wish to be democratic and open and secular, maybe they'd even shave and let the women wear pants, who knows. Well, that wasn't exactly a plan, and it hasn't exactly worked out, either.

*probably a better plan would have been to invade and occupy Saudi Arabia, send the royals packing, and hand the oil to the UN to be administered for the people or something. But it might be that defeating Iraq's remaining military was a first step even in this improved plan.


dtl said: One quick way to slow down "ISIS" would be to bomb Riyahd,

An interesting proposal, at first glance, I like it!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
You said "Doesn't matter what she states in the book, it's a lie."

Well...... she admitted that she lied to the American people.
Are you saying that that statement was a lie?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
In Hildebeast's new book, she flat out stated that Obama ordered her to put out a State Dept press release blaming Benghazi on the movie and that she argued that this would never be believed. She stated that she discussed this with Bill and they decided that if she did not do so and resigned leading to a potential Obama loss in 2012, the Dem Party would never forgive her and she would lose any chance of the 2016 nomination.

In other words, she just admitted that she deliberately LIED TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE just as her scumbag husband had done previously.

Hillary Lied!! People Died!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wonder how this would have played out at the Nuremburg trials:

Nazi: "I really had nothing against the Jews at all. But unless I didn't want to officially blame them for everything bad and objected to exterminating them it would have been the END OF MY POLITICAL CAREER DUDE! Now you can see why I really had no choice in the matter and can't be blamed in any form or fashion. My political career Dude, my political career. What possibly could be more important than that?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
She didn't lie, she concocted an excuse to be absent those few weeks. She isn't a liar, well she is but not in this case, she is a coward. Either way not presidential material.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
So, Hillary and Bill opted for personal power rather than the truth.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually I think the quote is not from the Hildabeast herself but from a new Klein book on a supposed long-running feud between the Clintons, especially Bill, and the Obamas. Bill and Barack apparently loathe each other. Not that this matters, I assume nearly anything (sympathic) even written about Hillary, is going to be nine kinds of lies.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've been working on a history of the Obama Administration.

Not sure whether to call it

"Team of Bozos" or "Not a Smidgen of Competence"

36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Baracktopolis: A Brief History of Crime"

...or maybe

"Blubbering Heights"
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
"No Stone Left Turned" --?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
How about "Insanity of the Masterminds"

36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bonfire of the Valkyries?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 3 4 5 Next View All