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Belmont Club


July 28th, 2014 - 3:36 pm

Napoleon once ascribed his success to being able to see things as they were, and not as reflected in a fun house mirror. “The first qualification of a general-in-chief is to possess a cool head, so that things may appear to him in their true proportions and as they really are.”

In Washington’s eyes Gaza may be the biggest conflict the Middle East; but objectively it is the littlest. The numbers tell the story. Syrian president Bashar Assad went down on his knees at a mosque following what some have called the worst week in the Syrian civil war ”amid reports of an unprecedented high death toll among his troops battling Islamic extremists.”

The military casualties came as fighting intensified in the past two weeks, with militants from the al-Qaida-breakaway Islamic State group seeking to eliminate opponents from all sides, dealing a series of setbacks for government forces and rival rebels alike … about 1,240 soldiers and other Assad loyalists have been killed in the past 10 days in northern Syria.

Other activists in Syria confirmed that past weeks have seen a record death toll. Syria’s three-year civil war has already killed more than 170,000 people, nearly a third of them civilians.

Nor should we forget Iraq was always a much bigger deal than Gaza and may be about to get worse. The Daily Beast’s Jamie Dettmer tells readers to get set for the coming Blitz of Baghdad. “Analysts at the U.S.-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War, who have been plotting the locations and types of attacks in the recent flurry of blasts buffeting the Iraqi capital, have noted a clear pattern developing. They say it suggests the Islamic State is building up to something big and is no longer just focused on consolidating its grip and developing governance in the lands it now controls.”

The institute’s analysts predict the caliphate may be readying for an onslaught, possibly timed for the end of the holy month of Ramadan on Monday or during the Eid holiday celebrations this week. The aim would not be to seize Iraq’s capital, which has a very large Shia population with every incentive to fight to the death against an organization that slaughters Shia prisoner en masse. The purpose of the Islamic State offensive would be to sow mayhem and to keep Iraq’s state apparatus from recovering from its stunning defeats in June, when it lost control of Mosul, the second-largest city in the country. …

There has been a burst of attacks by bombers wearing suicide vests and also car blasts “along avenues of approach to the capital and also within Baghdad proper,” the institute notes in an intelligence update.

Failed efforts to pull this off against US forces were discussed in an earlier post, the Siege of Baghdad.  But ISIS will probably have better luck against Maliki.

President Obama’s call on Israel to stop fighting in Gaza is going to look like a drunk pissing in a four alarm fire. Consider Libya. Remember Libya, the place Samantha Power wanted to protect?

Tripoli is literally ablaze. ” A huge fuel depot in Libya’s capital burned out of control on Monday, set ablaze in fighting between rival militias that has driven the country to chaos three years after the NATO-backed revolt that toppled Muammar Gaddafi … ignited by a missile strike that hit millions of liters of fuel.”

Two rival brigades of former rebels fighting for control of Tripoli International Airport have pounded each other’s positions with Grad rockets, artillery fire and cannons for two weeks, turning the south of the capital into a battlefield. …

Libya has appealed for international help to stop the country from becoming a failed state. Western partners fear chaos spilling across borders with arms smugglers and militants already profiting from the turmoil.

Nearly all the foreign embassies are already gone. The place is burning out — literally.  And that’s just for openers.

The fighting in the region is characterized by total war. ‘At least 160 children died digging tunnels for Hamas’. The fighters are making new ones to replace them. “Islamic State insurgents have opened an office in northern Syria where single women and widows can register to marry fighters from the radical al Qaeda offshoot, a monitoring group said on Monday.” To pay for the explosives and the tunnelling kids the militants are selling oil wherever they can lay their hands on it.

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council strongly condemned any sale of oil from Syria or Iraq by terrorist groups and reminded all countries that buying this illegally obtained oil violates U.N. sanctions.

With those oil billions ISIS can hire themselves some pretty good lobbyists on K Street. Where’s the outrage? Wrong question. Can I get paid too? Ah, now we’re talking. One commenter wrote asking why the UN never sued terrorist groups. I answered “because terrorist groups won’t pay”. And he replied “and they could not find them to sue, anyway.” True also.

Still, as Barry McGuire once put it, “the eastern world it is exploding”. One keeps waiting for the president and John Kerry to notice.  What they notice is Netanyahu if only for the reason that’s got an address.  You can sue Israel, demand that they uphold human rights. Try that with ISIS, Hamas or the Boko Haram.

The reason truces are out is because current operations in Gaza are part of a much larger canvas. The tunnels and rockets of Hamas have been part of a buildup that started as far back as 2008. Each tunnel costs upward of a million dollars and the missiles, including their smuggling into Gaza, cost a great deal more.  Hamas fighting to win. And so one might add are ISIS, Assad, the militias in Libya, al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Muslim Brotherhood. And they ain’t won yet.

These combatants are not going to stop just because the lugubrious John Kerry asks them to. Chances are that a lot news will come out of the Middle East in the coming weeks, and little of it will have anything to do with what Netanyahu decides.

In the White House things are viewed through the peculiar prism distorted by the incumbent’s view of himself.  He’s so big in his mind that it blots out the sun and he never sees the hit coming. When Bob Herbert in the New York Times claimed that “Mr. Obama is like a championship chess player, always several moves ahead of friend and foe alike,” Gary Kasparov merely replied “allow me to disagree”.  Recently Newsweek recently ran this cover:

Master of the Game?

Master of the Game?

Is he the Master of the Game? You be the judge.

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Top Rated Comments   
The more things change......

While reading "Six Days of War" by Michael Oren, he brings up a lot in the prologue to the Six Day War. The Egyptians were at war in Yemen, killing thousands every year, and using chemical weapons.
Civil war was brewing in Syria (Hafez the elder was fighting to get into power). Strife in Iraq.

This is the Muslim Arab. They are usually not builders, fighting over the spoils, grabbing power anyway they can. In the time of Saladin (the Kurd) was a high point in the Muslim Arab world, because Saladin actually practiced the ideals of Islam. As soon as he died, the bickering and infighting over the empire built was on. They tore each other apart, as always.
Since the founding of modern Israel in 1948, more Arabs have been killed by Arabs (by a large margin) than have been killed by the IDF. The world is possessed by a short memory and the always inevitable anti-Semitism, the easy hatred of the Jews. Whatever fire is burning in Syria or Iraq, the easy reporting is always the fighting in Gaza.

It would of course make GREAT reporting to see Tel Aviv burning like Tripoli, so you actually have to wonder what our so-called journalists really think. Reporting from Tripoli, or Tikrit, or Mosul or somewhere on the frontlines in Syria would actually be really dangerous. So you have our intrepid journalists looking for the car keys under the streetlight.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's an unconscious soft bigotry in the press coverage of the region. Nobody wants to accept that these exotically caparisoned militants are serious. They're not out to 'end the cycle of hatred' or to 'promote reconciliation' or to 'seek justice'. They are out for conquest. They are out for blood. They are determined to grind their heel into the enemy's face and carry off everything he owns. Or, as one Iranian general put it: they are out to hunt the Jews house to house.

Yet even when they say it, we insist on misunderstanding them, as if they were retarded children, which they are not. "Surely you don't mean that? Don't you want a ceasefire? Of course you do. Can't we all stand on a mountaintop and share a Coke?"

If we could only listen to ourselves we would conclude that we were loco in the coco.

The only thing that distinguishes Israel is they, alone of all the countries in the region, are the only ones willing to humor us. To put up with this crazy talk. Obama is Napoleon, in the sense that inmates in the funny farm are convinced they are the former Emperor of France. Sure boss, sure you're Napoleon. Anybody can see that.

The Middle East is mentally at war. And the West is mentally on the happy ranch.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama is arsonist to the world.

His dorm room/faculty lounge BS is great for choom pontificating...stoner inventions of delusions of grandeur.

Letting stoner pontificators actually run anything...well, the results are obvious.

Up In Smoke Redux, the tragedies that follows the comedy.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (123)
All Comments   (123)
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I'll see your Napoleon and raise it one Jefferson.

"Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute"

Meet the new Barbary Pirates...
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
...But all I got are these sh!tty 0bamabucks.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe the incompetence is easier explained by the fact that those in the WH are on drugs. (Afroman -

I was gonna win in Iraq, but I got high
I was gonna win in Afghan, too, but I got high
Now the jihadis are winning both, and I know why
'Cause I got high, 'cause I got high, 'cause I got hi-igh

I was gonna support Ukraine, but I got high
Was gonna support Israel, too, but I got high
They're both now fighting wars, and I know why,
'Cause I got high, 'cause I got high, 'cause I got hi-igh

I was gonna fix Libya good, but I got high
I was gonna redline Syria, too, but I got high
They are both now major disasters, and I know why
'Cause I got high, 'cause I got high, 'cause I got hi-igh

I was gonna fix immigration, but I got high
I was gonna seal the borders, too, but I got high
Now the diseased are flooding our borders, and I know why
'Cause I got high, 'cause I got high, 'cause I got hi-igh

I was gonna fix our economy, but I got high
I was gonna fix our healthcare, too, but I got high
Now it's all effed up, and I know why
'Cause I got high, 'cause I got high, 'cause I got hi-igh

Incompetence? Maybe it's that we elected a cokehead to be President? Sure, legalizing drugs is a great idea. Maybe in the future, all our leaders will be just like this! Yay.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
OldSalt said: Obama is merely a symptom; the PROBLEM is Boehner and his establishment RINO's.

To be fair, the real problem is Harry Reid and the establishment Democrats, and the MSM, and then maybe Obambus, and *then* Boehner and the white-shoe RINOs.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment

Palestinians may have started to note that none of the Hamas leadership has shown up in Gaza.

That thoughtlessly barbaric execution of the 20 protesters may have been the most colossal mistake Hamas has made internally. First, there is the duty of revenge coming from infuriated family and friends. Additionally, and closely tied to revenge, may come voluntary information on the Hamas tunnel complex. Such information could save both Palestinian and Israeli lives and markedly shorten the duration of the Israeli incursion. It might also lead to special, limited operations that would decapitate the leadership of Hamas. We should know more in a few days.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nobody cares about the numbers. To the modern progressive, leftist, whatever you call him, one dead (or even mildly inconvenienced) Palestinian is more important than thousands of dead Syrians, Iraqis, Yemenis, Sudanese, Somalians, or any other group you'd care to name.

All those others are just History. Palestinians are part of The Cause.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment

Boehner is working for the other side. As are the Institutional Republicans. The depth of the silence over the invasion of our country by a hostile foreign army of the Institutionals confirms it.

We cannot beat them at this point by mass electoral means. If they surrender the country, or if there is the "state of emergency" that I expect before November [which will be acquiesced in by the Institutionals], then we are in Clausewitz territory. And only the Great Blue Sky Tengri Nor knows what the outcome will be.

We are working at the margins here, on the off chance that elections take place and are close enough to honest to reflect some of the popular will. That latter has been getting less and less likely every year for a couple of decades. Still, we do what we can.

Boehner is arguably is a guaranteed re-election. Still, it would be worthwhile for TEA Party members and Conservatives to actually vote for the Democrat. They probably will not be able to unseat him, but if they do it will remove one of the largest obstacles to fighting the enemies of our country. If he loses, the loss of one seat in the House will not change control, and the unseating of a sitting Speaker of the House by an infuriated Republican Base will be the last warning shot across the bow of the Institutionals. If they don't, if he scrapes by with a fraction of a percent victory it will be an important indicator for the future.

I crave your indulgence for quoting something I wrote this morning elsewhere at PJM in a discussion of the Grimes-McConnell Senate race:

>>>> "Grimes is taking a familiar tack for a challenger, saying McConnell, a 30-year veteran of the Senate, has been in Washington too long, is out of touch with regular Kentuckians, and, as part of the leadership on Capitol Hill, has become part of the partisan gridlock that plagues the capital.

McConnell, meanwhile, says Grimes is nothing more than a liberal rubber stamp for President Barack Obama’s agenda, most of which is highly unpopular in Kentucky.


First, we know that the vote count nationwide is going to include massive cheating by the Democrats. We have watched it grow for decades, and the very leadership of the Institutional Republicans who demand our support have refused to fight it.

IF the Republicans are to take the Senate at all, it will have to be a wave election beyond the margin of cheating. Anything less than that means Harry Reid remains in charge anyway. Thus, the Democrats will lose well over 6 seats, or remain in control.

If the Institutional Republicans gain control of the Senate under Mitch McConnell; whose trademark is NOT fighting Obama, getting pork for it, and who has openly and without any mitigation declared war on the TEA Party and base, there is absolutely no indication that a) he will suddenly stand up to the Left, or b) he will deviate from his goal of destroying/subjugating the TEA Party and the base.

If Mitch McConnell is sent off to a lucrative career bribing his former colleagues for favors; 1) the remaining Institutional Republicans will have to realize that there are costs to collaborating with the Left against their own base, b) we might get someone in who will fight the Left so that we don't have to defeat the Republicans before fighting Obama, and c) there is therefore a slight chance that we can save the country before things go Clausewitz.

Sounds like it makes much more sense for the TEA Party and Conservatives to leave the Senate ballot blank in Kentucky. There is no real downside, and with the Democrat cheating and current polling being 50-50; that is all it should take.<<<<

If the Democrats and the Institutional Republicans cannot be told apart by their actions or without looking at the labels that show who pays for their campaign, they both need to be treated as the enemy by Constitutional Conservatives.

Subotai Bahadur
(show less)
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
So, if the Democrat wins in November, the country loses big time.

However, if the GOP wins in November, then the country loses.

Yeah, I think I follow you now ...

GOP 2014 = WINGS 2016
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
To follow-up on my comments about impeachment, e.g. "You don't threaten Impeachment. You either do it, or do not. " on this thread:

I offer the GOP response:
"Boehner rules out impeachment: ‘Scam started by Democrats’"

Obama is merely a symptom; the PROBLEM is Boehner and his establishment RINO's.

Of course, as I said in my last post, threatening impeachment (versus actually doing so) was a mistake in the first place. Backtracking now, ten times worse.

Once again, as long as Boehner and pals runs the GOP House, the GOP isn't worth a warm bucket of spit. If the GOP doesn't stop this lawless President, then no one else can (legally and within the Constitution, that is). Boehner has just ceded the high ground and probably, a whole lot of votes, to the criminal Democrats.

It just reaffirms: I'm done with the GOP. I'm done with voting, unless it's a protest vote (i.e. I'd vote against the ineffective Issa just to kick him out of Congress on his ass). I don't care if the "Democrats win because the GOP loses ..."; the GOP no longer represents nor supports the Constitutional values it once fought a nation-rending civil war to preserve.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Re: wretchard
"There's an unconscious soft bigotry in the press coverage of the region."

As a Jew on the receiving end, the media coverage is neither "soft" nor "unconscious".

As this is written, thousands are calling for the resignation of the mayor of the Hague for permitting a vicious IS demonstration. Whether they succeed or not, they do demonstrate that there are still Europeans who are not absolutely mad. From the tone of their petition, they did not find the mayor's behavior and subsequent attitude "unconscious soft bigotry".
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wretchard said: There's an unconscious soft bigotry in the press coverage of the region. Nobody wants to accept that these exotically caparisoned militants are serious. They're not out to 'end the cycle of hatred' or to 'promote reconciliation' or to 'seek justice'. They are out for conquest.

I listened to an interesting debate between Dinesh D’Souza and Richard Dreyfus on Mike Huckabee’s show on Saturday last. Although the setting of a “TV talk show” was wholly inadequate to really explore the differences between the men concerning the good or evil aspect of America, it did have one defining moment where Mr. Dreyfus gave his bottom line critique of Mr. D’Souza’s movie: “America: What if she never existed?”
Dreyfus’ bottom line was that the movie’s creator answer of the question about the result America’s non-existence, never existed. In short the great failure of the movie was that it never answered the question that it posed. That charge brought Dinesh almost to his feet on the show and he offered the following:

Dinesh indicated that the world, since it’s very beginning, employed the conquest epic to acquire wealth from other nation states or people groups. It was a way to “take” from others what the takers had not yet discovered – and that was how to “create wealth” rather than just taking something through conquest. The defeat of the American Indian and the retention of slavery up until the late 19th century are grave mistakes we did commit as a country, but we were also the only country (England led the way in the abolition of slavery) that diagnosed our “evils” and made concerted efforts to improve our grave mistakes. So when we pile up the evils of Western Civilization, we automatically exclude the real positive aspects of what America and other nations have done to acquire wealth. In the old John Housman commercial, that explanation is succinctly explained: “We make money the old fashioned way: we earn it.” Needless to say, YouTube has deleted the reference video from their files under the rubric that it is “deceptive. ”Yeah…deceptive if you’re Jesse Jackson or Barack Obama of “You didn’t build that,” as he pines away for the time of Kings, vassals, and serfs.

In that manner, the nations of the Western Civilization, in regard to our own past mistakes as evils, have been introspective enough to “change our evil ways,” as Carlos Santana quips. However, we began moving down another mine-field strewn path when in the early 20th century we began to misreport our history as being driven by economics rather than morals. And here we sit, still confused about why there is so much evil in the world. Science or economics are simply inadequate to explain the deep and eternal longings of Man. In that choice, we left ourselves bereft of any cogent way to explain our present predicament when we ditched God and assumed hysterically that the Christian and Islamist prayed to the same Creator of the Universe.

We are being taught a lesson: Will we learn, or is it too late?

Psalm 77.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Also Psalm 139.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Over at Patheos, Elizabeth Scalia (aka The Anchoress) has been all over the crisis in the Middle East, writing numerous hard-hitting posts on the situation from an orthodox Catholic's point of view. She does not shy from using the word "evil" in her assessments. Check her out at:
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
...done...good writing...empathy...Thanks!
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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