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Qatar Ain’t Cutting It

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Nathan D. Lichtman

The best chance yet at a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and Gaza failed this week, when Hamas fired rockets at Israeli cities. They broke the ceasefire agreement, and so Israel retaliated with air strikes; and now, we’re back to square one.

You might think Qatar, with its ultra-wealthy skyscraper-clad cities, is far removed from the Gaza situation. Especially given there’s almost 700 miles between them, and that Qatar is a US ally, a seemingly westernized place, and a titan of globalized industry. But Qatar is wielding a lot of influence over Hamas and the negotiations.

According to the Washington Post: “An official from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement suggested Wednesday that Qatar torpedoed the peace talks. After signs of progress last week, Hamas negotiators returned to the table after consultations in Qatar with new conditions.”

Qatar is convincing Hamas to take a hard-line stance in talks with Israel.

So how do they have such influence? Well, for one, the Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal moved to Doha, Qatar, when he was exiled from Kuwait. He is one of the primary executives within the Hamas organization, and he lives in Qatar.

Meanwhile, in 2012, Qatar promised Hamas $400 million in aid. Their cause and terrorism activities have direct funding ties to the Government of Qatar.

Also, when Hamas took charge of Gaza in 2007, the Qatari emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani was the first foreign dignitary to even visit the Palestinian territory. And, al-Thani even chartered a private plane to bring Hamas militant trainers to Doha to further their education, and experience life in the big city.

So the Qatari-Gaza relationship is strong and gives Qatar a lot of sway in cases such as this.

The reason Israel and Hamas haven’t come to a truce of some sort this go-round is the extreme demands that Gaza is putting forth. According to The Telegraph, “Hamas wants all restrictions on the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza to be lifted.” This means that Israelis are supposed to let Gazans into their country, inside their sovereign borders, with no control.

So, when we hear that Qatar is bolstering Hamas’ more radical demands, we see that they are responsible for the negotiations falling apart. Because Israel wouldn’t meet these demands, Hamas left the table and fired rockets at Israel.

The Zionist Organization of America has called for a suspension of the $11 billion arms trade deal, that US Secretary of Defense Hagel made with Qatar this July. The Zionist organization wants Qatar named an International State Sponsor of Terror, which would also bar them from having FAA rights to have flights in or out of the USA, and it would allow people to sue Qatar for damages associated with the terror acts.

I agree with the ZOA’s call, but also want the international community to condemn Qatar on a broader level.

A little over a month ago, we just finished watching the FIFA World Cup, and many of us got really into it. Cheering on the US, which did better than anyone thought they could, laughing at “Tim Howard Saves” memes, and rooting for Germany or Argentina in the final round, was exhilarating. But, in 2022, the World Cup is supposed to be in Qatar.

There are already a lot of reasons why this was a bad choice. There is no soccer infrastructure there, and it gets very very hot. And it was uncovered that Qatari billionaires had set up slush funds to bribe many African and Asian leaders into supporting their bid, and even created a whole oil trade deal with Thailand to procure their vote. They have been treating their laborers, who were hired to build from scratch stadiums around their nation, very poorly, prompting World Cup sponsors like Coca-Cola, Hyundai, and Visa to question their work conditions.

But now that we know more about Qataris involvement with the terrorist organization, Hamas, I think the US Government and US Soccer Association, as well as the World Cup corporate sponsors, should reinvigorate the call for the 2022 tournament to be competed elsewhere. The UK and the US have both been mentioned as possible replacement locales. The World Cup, and its millions of dollars in revenue, should not be in Qatar.

It’s time we show the world that there are real consequences for funding terrorism, and for going against our strongest allies, like Israel.

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Does Fighting ISIS Mean Allying With Assad?

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

The formation and execution of foreign policy can be complicated. Yet, the principles which inform those tasks are not. Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson reports on the awkward relationship emerging between the United States and the Assad regime in Syria as both find a common enemy in the Islamic State (ISIS):

“The Obama administration can’t partner with Assad overtly at this time, but the logic and trajectory of White House policy in Syria leads in that direction,” Tony Badran, a research fellow specializing in Syria and Hezbollah at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Fox News. “White House policy in Syria is predicated on preserving so-called regime institutions.”

In public, the administration is not changing its position on Assad. And State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf disputed that the U.S. and Syrian governments share a common goal in defeating ISIS.

“I would strongly disagree with the notion that we are on the same page here,” Harf said on Monday, while later admitting to Fox News, “We may be looking at some of the same targets.”

We need not wring our hands with concern over whether action taken against ISIS in defense of American lives places us in alignment with Assad on certain objectives. Moral clarity can be found by recalling the proper role of our armed forces in defending American citizens. Anxiety over “helping” Assad by undercutting his opposition in ISIS seems based primarily on concern over the death of innocents in Syria. But if ISIS presents a threat to American citizens, then failure to neutralize the aggressive Islamic totalitarian horde potentially sacrifices Americans for the sake of Syrians. That’s not a trade our government may properly make.

The other way to potentially view this, if we conclude that Assad also presents a threat to America, is that fighting the enemy of an enemy does not necessarily make friends. Certainly, when we recall the inclusion of the Soviet Union in the Allied Forces rallied to defeat the Axis, we would not in retrospect claim that common purpose made us lasting friends.

(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here. 7:58 minutes long; 7.72 MB file size. Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)

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State Department Doesn’t Believe that ISIS is at War with the United States

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

There’s no question that ISIS believes that it as at war with the US. It keeps saying so.

And the US has launched several dozen airstrikes against them, while we are also arming and advising the Kurds who are fighting them on the ground. We’re also advising the Iraqi security forces. ISIS just beheaded an American journalist and is threatening to murder another one.

But the State Department, represented here by Marie Harf, doesn’t believe that those facts constitute “war.”

At a briefing Thursday, a reporter brought up anti-American comments from ISIL leaders: “I mean, even they are announcing, ISIL people in their message, whatever, the recorded message, other messages, that now we are in a war with America.”

“This is not about ISIL versus the United States,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf objected. “They are killing anyone who gets in their way: Sunnis, Shia Muslims, Christians, Yazidis, Iraqis, Syrians, anyone who gets in their way — and now an American.”

“So this is not about what the United States is or isn’t doing,” Harf continued. “This is about ISIL stated a commitment to murder, rape, enslave people who don’t agree with their ideology and who get in their way.”

“But they are announcing that it’s a war against America,” the reporter pressed. “Right or wrong, that’s what they are saying.”

Harf maintained, “Well, they can say whatever they’d like, but what I am making clear is that’s not what ISIL represents. And they don’t represent any religion. They are at war with everybody they come into contact with.”

They’re not at war with the westerners they keep recruiting. They have about 1500 British citizens they have come into contact with, who have joined ISIS.

What’s the game here that State is playing?

I’m on the record that Harf is cute, but that she’s a terrible spokesperson for the US. Terrible. She gets snarky and defensive when reporters ask her legitimate questions, and she is of a mind that hashtags have replaced tanks and airplanes in modern warfare.

It would be nice if that were true. But it’s a fantasy to believe that it is. Hashtags won’t even get you through a game of Risk.

Here, Harf is not speaking on her own. She is delivering the official message. She is representing what Secretary of State John Kerry believes, who is supposed to be in sync with what President Obama believes. But he may not be. Obama isn’t exactly fully on task these days, unless the task is working on his putting game.

So Kerry believes that it’s not in our interests not to admit that we’re at war with ISIS — the worst thing to hit the world since al Qaeda.

Kerry also tweeted yesterday that ISIS should be “crushed.”

How and why should we crush an entity that we’re not even at war with?

h/t Ace

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Armed Services Chairman: Leak on Unsuccessful Rescue Op Puts Hostages, Informants, Troops at Risk

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee today called for an investigation into the leak that led the Obama administration to say that it attempted a rescue of ISIS hostages earlier this summer.

The Pentagon and White House released details of the operation reportedly to beat some news stories that were expected on it.

“Earlier this summer the president authorized an operation to attempt the rescue of American citizens who were kidnapped and held by ISIL against their will in Syria,” Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “The president authorized action at this time because it was the national security team’s assessment that these hostages were in danger with each passing day in ISIL custody.”

“The U.S. Government had what we believed was sufficient intelligence, and when the opportunity presented itself, the president authorized the Department of Defense to move aggressively to recover our citizens,” Monaco said in the statement. “Unfortunately, that mission was ultimately not successful because the hostages were not present.”

Armed Services chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said in a statement this afternoon that he, “like all Americans,” continues to be “shocked and outraged at the brutal execution of James Foley at the hands of ISIS terrorists.”

“I commend the bravery of our forces who attempted to rescue him and other American captives earlier this summer. They put their lives on the line for people they’d probably never met, and we are forever blessed to have such men and women in service to our country,” McKeon said.

“Successful or not, such operations are incredibly sensitive, even after they have concluded. Disclosure of these missions puts our troops at risk, reduces the likelihood that future missions will succeed, and risks the lives of hostages and informants alike.”

The chairman said while he found it “unwise for the White House and Department of Defense to formally acknowledge this operation, it is outrageous that someone would be so selfish and short sighted to leak it to the media.”

“Secretary Hagel should investigate this matter immediately and thoroughly to determine who, if anyone, at the Department of Defense was the source of this damaging leak,” McKeon said. “Likewise, the heads of the other agencies involved should take similar steps.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to address the media at 3:30 p.m. EST.

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McCain: ‘Failures of Policies Have Consequences, and We’re Paying Those in Human Blood’

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) stressed that “failures of policies have consequences, and we’re paying those consequences in enormous… cost of human blood.”

“The president wanted out of Iraq. We predicted — many of us predicted that this chaos would ensue. We did not predict the rapidity of the collapse of collapse of the Iraqi military, but certainly this was all predictable when the president of the United States — and he — he’s not telling the truth when he says that he wanted to leave a residual force behind. He did not. And that’s a huge mistake,” McCain said this morning on Fox.

“These things are not like earthquakes or hurricanes… And he still doesn’t get it.”

“He gave a very moving statement about Mr. Foley which all touched us. And then what? He said we have to contain ISIS. We don’t have to contain ISIS. We have to defeat ISIS. And we have to do whatever is necessary. And ISIS is in Syria. And they have obliterated the — the boundary between Iraq and Syria. And we have to go in, and it’s more than pinprick air strikes. And we’re going to need more boots on the ground. And that does not mean combat troops, but it does mean a significant increase,” McCain continued.

“And rather the incrementalism that we are — that they are now practicing, we need a comprehensive strategy that can be explained to the American people, which is designed to defeat ISIS wherever they are. And I hope that this tragic thing that happened with — with Foley will serve to — as a — as a strong message to the United States of America that these people are going to attack us, and they’re going to attack us in the United States of America.”

He reminded all of the words Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — now the self-styled caliph — said when he left U.S. custody at Camp Bucca in 2004: “See you in New York.”

McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) issued their first statement on the execution of journalist James Foley after President Obama’s statement yesterday.

“We agree with the President that America must take the necessary actions against ISIS to protect our people, but ISIS is not just a threat to our personnel serving in Iraq. It is a threat to our nation, as all of our top military, national security, and intelligence leaders have clearly stated. America and our allies and partners will only be secure when ISIS is defeated. That means we must get beyond half-measures, tactical responses, and defensive actions. We need to develop a comprehensive strategy – political, economic, and military – to go on the offensive against ISIS, both in Iraq and Syria,” they said.

The senators noted that Obama “did not articulate a commitment to the comprehensive strategy necessary to defeat ISIS.”

“We cannot allow the darkness to spread, and we must accept our share of the responsibility to stop it, for the sake of our people and the entire civilized world,” McCain and Graham added.

McCain reminded viewers on Fox that Obama previously said, ”It’s not a question of whether Bashar Assad will go, it’s a matter of when.”

“Another debacle, which is the 170,000 dead, 150,000 Syrians still in Bashar Assad’s prison. And the barrel bombs that are so horrendous are continuing to be dropped on innocent men, women and children,” the senator said. “This is an abject failure. And I get emotional about it, because I know these people, and what they’re going through is horrendous.”

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Hamas Admits Kidnapping and Killing Three Israeli Teens (and Therefore Starting the War)

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Early on in the latest Israel-Hamas war, which was started by the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers, many on the medialeft tried their best to exonerate Hamas of that crime.

Hamas itself has now debunked that.

“There was much speculation about this operation, some said it was a conspiracy,” [senior Hamas leader] Saleh al-Arouri told delegates at the International Union of Islamic Scholars in Istanbul on Wednesday, according to a recording of the meeting posted online by organizers.

“The popular will was exercised throughout our occupied land, and culminated in the heroic operation by the Qassam Brigades in imprisoning the three settlers in Hebron,” he said, referring to Hamas’s armed wing.

“This was an operation from your brothers in Qassam undertaken to aid their brothers on hunger strike in (Israeli) prisons,” he added.

Jewish seminary students Eyal Yifrach, 19, and Gilad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel, both 16, were abducted while hitchhiking in the Israeli occupied West Bank on June 12 and killed.

So they did it. Case closed.

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Obama Admin Says It Tried to Rescue Americans from ISIS ‘Earlier This Summer’

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The White House said that it attempted to rescue U.S. hostages held by ISIS, including James Foley, who was beheaded in a video distributed by the terror group yesterday.

“Earlier this summer the president authorized an operation to attempt the rescue of American citizens who were kidnapped and held by ISIL against their will in Syria,” Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco said in a statement. “The president authorized action at this time because it was the national security team’s assessment that these hostages were in danger with each passing day in ISIL custody.”

“The U.S. Government had what we believed was sufficient intelligence, and when the opportunity presented itself, the president authorized the Department of Defense to move aggressively to recover our citizens,” Monaco said in the statement. “Unfortunately, that mission was ultimately not successful because the hostages were not present.”

She added that “given the need to protect our military’s operational capabilities, we will not be able to reveal the details of this operation.”

“But the president could not be prouder of the U.S. forces who carried out this mission and the dedicated intelligence and diplomatic professionals who supported their efforts. Their effort should serve as another signal to those who would do us harm that  the United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to hold their captors accountable.”

Foley’s news outlet, the Global Post, received an email a week ago from ISIS stating their intentions to execute the photojournalist.

“We received an email from the captors on Wednesday night of last week stating their intention to execute Jim,” Philip Balboni, president of the online news service, told a Boston Fox affiliate.

“The email was full of rage. We pleaded (to his captors) for mercy, but to no avail,” he added.

The White House knew of the email. It released the statement about the attempted rescue op hours after the news that ISIS gave warning of Foley’s execution.

In a Pentagon statement, press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the operation “involved air and ground components and was focused on a particular captor network within ISIL.”

“As we have said repeatedly, the United States government is committed to the safety and well-being of its citizens, particularly those suffering in captivity. In this case, we put the best of the United States military in harms’ way to try and bring our citizens home,” Kirby said.

“The United States government uses the full breadth of our military, intelligence and diplomatic capabilities to bring people home whenever we can. The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will work tirelessly to secure the safety of our citizens and to hold their captors accountable.”

It has not been revealed exactly how many Western hostages are being held by ISIS, including journalists and aid workers.

At the end of the gruesome video of Foley’s murder, his executioner held journalist Steve Sotloff by the shirt and threatened to kill him next if Obama didn’t stop airstrikes against the caliphate.

At the State Department today, spokeswoman Marie Harf said they ”remain very deeply concerned” about Sotloff’s “safety and whereabouts.”

“Obviously, the intelligence community is looking to get anything they can to possibly use from this video,” Harf said. “Obviously I’m not going to outline what tactical military or intelligence options are at our disposal to respond here and don’t want to get ahead of any discussions in that regard. But we have the ability to hold people accountable for what they’ve done. We have reserved the right to take action to protect our people, including when our people have been harmed. The principle will guide what we do going forward.”

The U.S. military conducted an additional 14 strikes around Mosul dam today, she said.

When asked if any sort of rescue operation was in the works to get Sotloff, Harf replied, “I’m not ruling anything in or out specifically. I don’t — I’m not going to have more specifics to share with you right now on that.”

“But I just want to be very clear that we — no effort is spared in trying to bring our people home. While we can’t always talk about it publicly for obvious security and safety reasons of the remaining people being held, I just want to make very clear that we are taking and will continue taking steps.”

Foley’s parents appeared outside of their Rochester, N.H., home today to speak of their son — and the cruelty of his death.

“It’s horrific,” said John Foley. “People can die in lots of different ways but this was the most horrific and it haunts me how much pain he was in and how cruel this method of execution is.”

His parents learned of their son’s beheading at the same time everyone else did — when ISIS posted the video on YouTube and distributed the link widely on social media.

“It testified to his courage. He was courageous to the end and I think he accepted his situation and I think he accepted God’s faith in him and his faith in God,” John Foley said.

James Foley’s mother, Diane, stressed that her son was ”a great American and he believed in the very best of this country.”

She said they pleaded with Obama to rescue Sotloff, and she asked people to pray for the president.

“How long are we going to tolerate this?” John Foley said of the terrorists’ crimes.

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John Kerry Calls for Disproportionate Response to ISIS Beheading an American

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Secretary of State John Kerry offered remarks in reaction to the Islamic State’s murder of American journalist James Foley today. The State Department tweeted the highlights.

For the record, yes, IS/ISIS/ISIL should be crushed. Tellingly, neither Kerry nor President Obama has offered a plan and they are not gathering a coalition of the willing to get the job done. Obama went back to golf this afternoon.

Crushing IS would be right. But it’s not a proportional response to the murder of one American.

Hamas routinely kidnaps Israeli citizens, murders them and leaves their bodies by the side of the road. Hamas launches rockets into Israel with the purpose of killing Israelis and creating the feeling of dread and terror among them.

The international community, of which Kerry and Obama are members in good standing, always calls on Israel to respond “proportionally” to Hamas terrorism and rocket attacks.

Responding proportionally to terrorism is…what, exactly? So far, it’s destroying tunnels and perhaps airstriking a few terrorist leaders, but the group itself is left intact enough to come back and wage terror war another day. It’s not effective in getting rid of the problem of terrorism.

In fact, if we take “proportional’ literally, Israel should respond to Hamas by kidnapping innocent Palestinians and by launching random bombs on houses, schools and hospitals in Gaza. But that’s not what the “international community” means.

No one in the “international community” is calling on the United States to respond to IS beheading an American “proportionally.” At least not yet.

Why not? Hm.

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Obama: ‘ISIL Speaks for No Religion,’ Global Effort Should ‘Extract This Cancer So That It Does Not Spread’

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama condemned the beheading of journalist James Foley and ISIS in a strongly worded statement to reporters moments ago, but didn’t offer specifics on how the U.S. would react policy-wise to ISIS killing Americans.

“Today, the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley by the terrorist group, ISIL. Jim was a journalist, a son, a brother, and a friend. He reported from difficult and dangerous places, bearing witness to the lives of people a world away,” Obama said from Martha’s Vineyard.

“…Earlier today, I spoke to the Foleys and told them that we are all heartbroken at their loss, and join them in honoring Jim and all that he did.”

He added that “Jim Foley’s life stands in stark contrast to his killers.”

“Let’s be clear about ISIL. They have rampaged across cities and villages, killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can, for no other reason than they practice a different religion. They declare their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people,” Obama said.

“So ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day. ISIL has no ideology of any value to human beings. Their ideology is bankrupt. They may claim, out of expediency, that they are at war with the United States or the West, but the fact is, they terrorize their neighbors and offer them nothing but an endless slavery to their empty vision and the collapse of any definition of civilized behavior.”

The president said “people like this ultimately fail.”

“They fail because the future is won by those who build and not destroy, and the world is shaped by people like Jim Foley and the overwhelming majority of humanity who are appalled by those who killed him,” Obama continued. “The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done.”

“And we act against ISIL standing alongside others. The people of Iraq who, with our support, are taking the fight to ISIL, must continue coming together to expel these terrorists from their communities. The people of Syria, whose story Jim Foley told, do not deserve to live under the shadow of a tyrant or terrorists. They have our support in their pursuit of a future rooted in dignity.”

He stressed that among “governments and peoples across the Middle East, there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer so that it does not spread. There has to be a clear rejection of these kind of nihilistic ideologies.”

“One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century,” said Obama. “Friends and allies around the world, we share a common security and a common set of values that are rooted in the opposite of what we saw yesterday, and we will continue to confront this hateful terrorism and replace it with a sense of hope and civility.”

“That’s what Jim Foley stood for, a man who lived his work, who courageously told the stories of his fellow human beings and who was liked and loved by friends and family. Today, the American people will all say a prayer for those who loved Jim. All of us feel the ache of his absence. All of us mourn his loss.”

Obama, who did not take questions from reporters, did not mention the specific threat in the beheading video to kill journalist Steve Sotloff if strikes continue. “We keep in our prayers those other Americans who are separated from their families. We will do everything that we can to protect our people and the timeless values that we stand for,” he said. “Maybe God bless and keep Jim’s memory and may God bless the United States of America.”

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NBC: Islamic State Is Collecting Foreign Hostages

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

A day after news broke that the Islamic State beheaded American journalist James Foley, NBC News’ senior foreign correspondent has grim news of the near-term future.

According to Engel, IS terrorists are going about capturing foreigners and trading for them, building a cache of foreign hostages. Engel says the group already has between 30 and 40 western hostages.

IS is still holding American Steven Sotloff. The group tweeted out images of him Tuesday, and warned that his life depends on what President Obama does next.

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Syrian Town Pays Tribute to James Foley, Digs at Obama’s ‘Vague Vision’

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

It’s not the first time the northwestern Syrian fig-and-olive-producing town of Kafranbel has cited President Obama in its famous signs — see Obama as Pinocchio and a genocide enabler — but it’s especially poignant in their touching tribute to slain journalist James Foley:

 

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James Foley, Radical Islamic Terror, and How Quickly We Forget

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
Daniel Pearl by  Bosch Fawstin

Daniel Pearl by Bosch Fawstin

My two-word response to the beheading of James Foley and captivity of Steven Sotloff: Daniel Pearl. Americans still suffer under the delusion that oceans are borders. America is so physically huge that we can watch the riots in Ferguson the way we watch the rockets being fired from Gaza or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: From the comfort of our couch. Neither we, nor our families, nor our homes are physically in danger. In truth, we are disconnected. At best, those of us who do pay attention do so through screen media. We participate by commenting on internet forums or through social media, or perhaps writing a check to a charity to help those in need. But we should not confuse compassion or concern for actual awareness.

As I watch what is happening in my second home, Israel, I marvel at the reactionary comments I’ve seen from well-meaning Americans who are confident that if they lived next door to Hamas, they’d just go after the terrorists with Christianity-fueled faith in their Second Amendment rights. It’s so easy to see yourself as the next John Wayne from the comfort of your living room. It’s far more difficult when your family and your home are on the line. Much has been said about the right of those overseas to tell Israel how to run their military operations. From a writer’s point of view, I can remain at best pragmatic by saying that the surreality in which these armchair soldiers dwell is, at least, far more supportive than the stupor that plagues most Americans. For their sake, and the sake of America, I hope the bravado isn’t masking an army of summer soldiers and sunshine patriots.

I recall watching my friends collapse in horror on 9/11. As profoundly moved as I was by the horrific tragedy of that day, my response was simply: Intifada. The reality of countless suicide bombers trolling city streets, blowing themselves and countless civilians up at nightclubs, hotels, or on city buses had become a way of life for Israelis in the ’90s. Because I am so deeply connected to that land I felt that impact in a way most overseas do not. There was no shock in 9/11 for me, only awe at the sleeping America that responded to their alarm clock by repeatedly hitting snooze.

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Dem Congressman Stresses to MSNBC: ISIS ‘Personification of Evil,’ Wants Fight Against ‘Infidels’

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A leading Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee stressed to MSNBC last night that what ISIS wants is “a fight against the infidels” — us.

“It’s hard to imagine a more apt description than evil for what this group represents. They’re beheading people. They’re forcing people to convert. They’re victimizing women and children, starving whole population centers,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said. “They are the personification of evil. And we see this most graphically in this latest barbarous act.”

MSNBC host Chris Hayes then asked, “Is ISIS, ISIL evil?” — adding that there seems to be “a widespread feeling what they’re doing is just monstrous and evil.”

Hayes then said “the situation seems to have gotten better” around Mount Sinjar, where ISIS laid siege to fleeing Yazidis, and questioned whether we’re now at war with ISIS.

“The mission has broadened. It began to protect American citizens as well as the humanitarian crisis you mentioned. It then expanded to protecting critical information, the Mosul dam,” Schiff said. “And it’s a very treacherous and slippery slope, particularly when you talk about a long-term strategic plan of aiding the Iraqis and helping to defeat ISIL. We may not have declared it a war, but when we’re dropping bombs and they’re apparently beheading our citizens, it certainly looks like war.”

“So this is, you know, a very precarious situation. America doesn’t want to be dragged back in. At the same time, this is a group if left to its own device has made it clear they intend to attack us in the homeland.”

“Is this an attempt to bait America into war? Or is it an attempt to warn America away from continued airstrikes?” Hayes asked of the beheading of journalist James Foley.

“I think it may be at a bit of both. This is their way of trying to deter, on the one hand, America from engaging these airstrikes which have really set ISIL back for the first time,” Schiff said. ”At the same time, part of what al-Qaeda has done, part of what ISIL wants to do, is they want to pull us in. These are conflicting objectives. Maybe they see it as a win either way for them. But part of what they’re trying to get is the reaction, part of what they want is a fight against the infidels, and we are apparently the greatest infidel of all.”

“So, I think they have those twin objectives. Maybe most immediately, they want to halt the airstrikes, but that’s simply no going to happen.”

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Congress Reacts with ‘Fear that James Foley Will Not be the Only American to Die’ by ISIS Hands

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A Congress in recess began to react late Tuesday to the horrific beheading of journalist James Foley, with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) stressing that Foley won’t be the last American to die at the hands of ISIS unless the Islamic State is stopped.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who represents Foley’s native state and where his parents live, said in a statement that ”our hearts are broken for the Foley family.”

“James was an innocent civilian who was bravely performing his job as a journalist,” Ayotte said. “This barbaric and heinous act shocks the conscience and highlights the truly evil nature of the terrorists we confront, who must be defeated. My thoughts and prayers are with James Foley’s family at this extremely difficult time.”

Ayotte replaced Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) as the third senator in the powerful national-security trio including Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Neither McCain nor Graham has yet spoken on the Foley murder, but they have been the loudest voices in the upper chamber for some time warning that President Obama let ISIS get out of hand. “Our senior military, intelligence, and national security leaders have all stated that ISIS is a direct threat to the United States, and we should delay no further in taking the necessary actions to counter it,” they said in a joint statement the day before the gruesome execution video was released by ISIS.

Five days ago, an MSNBC piece accused Graham of “fear-mongering” on the Islamic State.

Foley’s other home-state senator, Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), noted that Foley “was a respected and accomplished journalist who devoted his life to one of our most important freedoms – the freedom of press.”

“Everyone who knew him recognized his dedication to his work and his commitment to sharing his eye-witness reporting of world events,” she said in a statement late Tuesday on her Facebook page. “His murder was a cowardly act of terrorism and underscores the threat that ISIL poses to the freedoms we hold dear. My thoughts are with the Foley family and everyone who knew and loved James, both in New Hampshire and around the world.”

Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R-N.H.), who’s aiming to unseat Shaheen this November, quickly issued a one-sentence statement after the devastating news: ”If anyone needed further evidence of the utter inhumanity of Islamic terrorism, this is it. ISIS is pure evil, and they must be stopped.”

Rubio issued a lengthy statement around midnight calling the murder “the latest example of the evil and barbarism of these terrorists.”

“My thoughts and prayers are with the Foley family and with other Western hostages who at this hour are still being held.”

The Daily Beast reported in January that terrorists hold a cache of journalists and aid workers, and moved them east and away from the reach of the Free Syrian Army when they expanded the Islamic State.

“Just as Al Qaeda’s initial killings of Americans abroad foretold the carnage they would unleash within our borders, this barbaric beheading of a defenseless hostage is the clearest indication to date that ISIL has declared war on the United States, on the American people, and on freedom loving people everywhere,” Rubio said. “For more than a year, ISIL has been murdering civilians, raping women and young girls and enslaving them, and carrying out a systematic genocide of anyone who does not share their warped and extremist Islamist views. ISIL cannot be reasoned with, they can’t be negotiated with, and their view of the world is irreconcilable with civilized society.”

Rubio added that he remains “deeply concerned that despite the preponderance of evidence that proves ISIL is a fundamentally evil and dangerous terrorist threat to the United States, President Obama continues to appear unwilling to do what is necessary to confront ISIL and communicate clearly to the American people about the threat ISIL poses to our country and to our way of life.”

“ISIL is not a problem for only Iraqis or Syrians to solve. A piecemeal approach will not eliminate the growing threat to the United States and our allies. If we do not do more to assist our Iraqi partners and those moderate Syrians who are fighting ISIL and directly target ISIL’s leadership and networks in Iraq and Syria, I fear that James Foley will not be the only American to die at their hands.”

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Pure Evil: Islamic State Beheads American Journalist James Wright Foley

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Islamic State kidnapped American journalist James Foley on November 22, 2012.

Foley was a freelance photo journalist covering the civil war in Syria at the time.

IS has held him ever since, but today they tweeted out video of his beheading.

They want publicity from this barbaric act, and I’m loathe to give it to them even by writing a few words about it.

But their barbarity needs to be exposed.

President Obama is reluctant to do anything about the Islamic State’s spread, other than to order airstrikes. Over the past few days, those airstrikes have helped the Kurdish and Iraqi forces fight IS. Iraqi forces recaptured the strategic Mosul dam.

But IS is far from broken. They still hold Mosul and several other Iraqi and Syrian cities. They are still capturing Iraqi Christians and Yazidis and reportedly selling captured women into sex slavery. They are murdering people by the dozens, by the hundreds. IS has designs on consolidating its power in Iraq and Syria and using that as a springboard to attack the United States and Europe. Tellingly, the murderer in the IS video of Foley’s execution — which I won’t post here — has a British accent.

IS is still holding American journalist Steven Sotloff. They have tweeted photos of him kneeling in an orange jumpsuit, next to a probable executioner, and declared that his life depends on what President Obama does next.

More: This is a frame from video that aired on CNN last night, from Ferguson, MO.

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Portraits of Brave People Defending Families, Homes from ISIS

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

 

 

 

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Obama Demonstrates that He Still Doesn’t Understand the Islamic State Threat

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

President Obama broke off his Martha’s Vineyard vacation today to address the situations in Iraq and in Ferguson, MO.

Responding to a question on Iraq and the possibility of “mission creep” there in an effort to deal with the Islamic State, Obama betrayed a lack of understanding of what the terrorist group is seeking in the short and long term.

QUESTION: Thank you. How do you avoid mission creep in Iraq? And how long do you think it’ll take to contain ISIL?

OBAMA: Well, I have been firm from the start that we are not reintroducing thousands of U.S. troops back on the ground to engage in combat. We’re not the Iraqi military, we’re not even the Iraqi air force. I am the commander in chief of the United States armed forces, and Iraq is gonna have to ultimately provide for its own security.

On the other hand, we’ve got a national security interest in making sure our people are protected and in making sure that a savage group that seems willing to slaughter people for no rhyme or reason other than they have not kowtowed to them, that a group like that is contained, because ultimately it can pose a threat to us.

The Islamic State has come to power a a self-declared caliphate despite the Obama administration’s protestations that such a thing would be “absurd.” The president evidently hasn’t learned from this failure to predict the enemy’s goals and actions.

In the quote above, Obama says that IS “seems willing to slaughter people for no rhyme or reason other than they have not kowtowed to them…”

That is not what IS is doing at all. They are not slaughtering “without rhyme or reason.” The Islamist army is targeting Christians, Yazidis and even fellow Muslims to eliminate them as threats, to consolidate their own power, and to serve as warning to anyone who stands in their way. IS is conducting its massacres with a serious purpose, and that purpose is by no means limited to Iraq or the Middle East. As the administration is aware.

 

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Dem Iraq Vet: If Our Mission Isn’t to Take Out ISIS, ‘We’ve Got a Real Problem Here’

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A congressional Democrat and Iraq veteran cautioned that the U.S. has a “real problem” if the current mission in Iraq isn’t to take out ISIS.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who in 2004 chose to serve in Iraq with the Hawaii National Guard over running for a second term in the state’s House of Representatives, appeared on ABC News on Sunday with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), an Air Force veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“I think it’s important as we talk about whether or not there should be troops or exactly what tactical strategy should be used moving forward we’re missing a critical question here, which is what is our mission? What is the United States’ mission. What are we trying to accomplish here?” Gabbard said.

“You know, Adam and I both enlisted, joined the military after 9/11 because we heard our nation’s leaders say after that attack that we would go and take out these Islamic extremists wherever they are. We would fight against those who are waging war against the United States,” she said. “That stated mission after 9/11 has been lost… and as we heard from White House officials last week, they said, and I quote, these airstrikes are not an authorization of a broad based counter terrorism campaign against ISIS, end of quote.”

“So if our mission is not to take out the Islamic extremists who continue to threaten and wage war against us, then I think we’ve got a real problem here. If we focus on that mission, which I think we should, then we can look at what are the tactics that we need to take them out.”

Gabbard stressed that “we need to arm the Kurds with heavy weapons, because they are doing the hard work on the ground, they are fighting against ISIS. And we can augment that and support that wit hour targeted air strikes.”

Kinzinger called the situation on the ground “the worst-case scenario.”

“Back in January I called for air strikes against ISIS, in fact, on this show. When they were just about 1,000 or 2,000 people. Today we see them in the tens of thousands and they are only continue to metastasize,” he said.

“I think what we begun doing is very good, but I think we have to get even bigger and realize that the crushing and the pushing back of ISIS, not just in Iraq, but also in Syria, is utmost priority. And allowing the Free Syrian Army who now finds itself in Syria surrounded by both the regime in Syria, al Nusra, and ISIS, has got to be emboldened to be able to fight them back. They need the equipment and the weapons.”

The congressman added, “At the end of the day I think the defeating of ISIS is the mission. And so I think everything has to be on the table for that end result.”

“The reality is they have made it very clear that they want to strike us in the United States of America. They’ve made it clear that they want to strike Europe. And they have the means to do it,” Kinzinger said. “So they have the intention and they have the means, the means being, you know, passports and westerns fighting with ISIS with the ability to get back into the United States or to get back in Europe. I think we have to have a goal of saying, we need to crush ISIS.”

“…I understand that the American people are war weary. I mean, I hear it a lot. But the reality is, is after World War II, Harry Truman didn’t look at the American people and say I know you’re war weary, so Russia is Europe’s problem. He talked about the bigger issue of what American strength means and what it means for security of our land. And he said we’re going to leave troops in Europe.”

Obama, the congressman stressed, “has got to stand up in front of the American people and say, look you may be war weary, but in five or 10 years we don’t want to look back and say that we missed all the signs, all the signals of the intention of these extremists and this is — it’s definitely there and it’s very serious.”

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Yazidis Held as Sex Slaves by ISIS Plead for Help

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

As the White House declared mission accomplished for saving the Yazidis under siege by ISIS fighters on Mount Sinjar, activists and leaders from the sect tell Kurdish news outlet Rudaw that about 2,000 Yazidis remain unaccounted for — in the hands of ISIS.

Rudaw reported today that one of its writers received a call from a Yazidi girl being held in a group of 200 others by the Islamic State in a prison hall in Mosul province.

The chilling details:

Every day, IS fighters visit the prison hall to pick out the prettiest for their emirs, said the girl, who is 24 and whose name is being withheld by Rudaw for her safety.

“Three to four times a day they visit the hall.  The girls plead with them for a bullet in the head to put them out of their misery,” she said in between sobs in a secret phone call to a Rudaw reporter.

…“We were in Gir Azair district where IS fighters appeared so suddenly that we were unable to flee. They started arresting everyone — men, women and children. Later, they took us to Shingal county, where they separated women from men.”

“We were about 200 girls together. Later, we were taken by pick-up trucks to another location close to Baaj district,” she added.

In weeping tones, the girl repeatedly gave the location of their prison, pleading for fighter jets to pound the place so they could all rest in peace.

…“Every day the fighters come and look among us,” she said, hardly able to control her emotions. “They pick two or three pretty girls. When the girls return they are in tears, exhausted and humiliated. The fighters take the girls to their emirs, and the emirs assault them sexually.

One phone conversation was suddenly interrupted when she hurriedly whispered, “Hang up, hang up, they are coming.”

In another call she said that conditions, including the food, were bad. “So far, a number of girls have committed suicide. Today, one girl hanged herself with her headscarf and died,” she recounted, pleading for help.

“Rescue us, rescue us,” she begged. “Anyone who can hear our voice — US, Europe, anyone — please help; rescue us.”

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Obama to Congress: Mosul Dam Strikes Necessary Because Break Could Endanger U.S. Lives Downstream

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama sent to congressional leaders on Sunday a notification under the War Powers Resolution that his original operation to protect Irbil and provide aid to refugees on Mount Sinjar had been extended to fighting around a key dam along the Tigris taken by ISIS.

Iraqi and Kurdish forces said today that the Mosul Dam is now back in their hands. The Islamic State said it still had control of the key water and power facility.

“On August 14, 2014, I authorized the U.S. Armed Forces to conduct targeted air strikes to support operations by Iraqi forces to recapture the Mosul Dam. These military operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to support the Iraqi forces in their efforts to retake and establish control of this critical infrastructure site, as part of their ongoing campaign against the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),” Obama said in the letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate President Pro Tempore Pat Leahy (D-Vt.).

“The failure of the Mosul Dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, endanger U.S. personnel and facilities, including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and prevent the Iraqi government from providing critical services to the Iraqi populace. Pursuant to this authorization, on the evening of August 15, 2014, U.S. military forces commenced targeted airstrike operations in Iraq,” Obama continued.

“I have directed these actions, which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive. These actions are being undertaken in coordination with the Iraqi government.”

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said reiterated that the strikes were “limited in their nature, duration, and scope and are being undertaken in coordination with and at the request of the Government of Iraq.”

“The Administration will continue to consult with the Congress on the way forward in Iraq and our efforts against ISIL, and we will continue to provide appropriate reports to the Congress consistent with the War Powers Resolution,” Hayden added.

Tweets indicated that the battle was still continuing Monday morning.

 

 

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Islamic State Sex Slavery: American Feminists Ain’t Got No Time for That

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Via Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch, a report from the UN News Centre:

Two senior United Nations officials today condemned in the strongest terms the “barbaric acts” of sexual violence and “savage rapes” the armed group Islamic State (IS) has perpetrated on minorities in areas under its control.

…“We are gravely concerned by continued reports of acts of violence, including sexual violence against women and teenage girls and boys belonging to Iraqi minorities,” Ms. Bangura and Mr. Mladenov said.

“Atrocious accounts of abduction and detention of Yazidi, Christian, as well as Turkomen and Shabak women, girls and boys, and reports of savage rapes, are reaching us in an alarming manner,” Ms. Bangura and Mr. Mladenov stated, pointing out that some 1,500 Yazidi and Christian persons may have been forced into sexual slavery….

While Iraqi women jump from cliffs to avoid becoming the next sex slaves of the Islamic State, American feminist publications spent their time focusing on male celebrities who’ve embraced the feminist demand that biology doesn’t matter:

This week, Joseph Gordon-Levitt pretty much nailed the definition of feminism…“What [feminism] means to me is that you don’t let your gender define who you are—you can be who you want to be, whether you’re a man, a woman, a boy, a girl, whatever,” Gordon-Levitt said.

And complaining about university sexual harassment policies that still aren’t strict enough, even if they include the following caveat:

The school has also adopted an affirmative consent standard, defining consent as requiring “unambiguous communication and mutual agreement concerning the act in which the participants are engaging” and noting that “silence or absence of resistance is not the same as consent.”

Which leaves one to wonder if ISIS would be totally legitimized in their use of sex slaves if said slaves signed a waver of consent and mutual agreement beforehand. Feminists don’t believe in being defined by gender, so it’s not like those women jumping off the mountain in Iraq were due any unique respect for their biology. Not that American feminists would stop to notice the crisis of Iraqi women fleeing radical Islam’s sex trade, anyway: Lena Dunham got a new haircut and that’s taking up, like, all of their time.

While American feminists, by and large, do absolutely nothing to advocate for the sex slaves of ISIS, said slaves have done something amazing for the American feminist movement. Every time an Iraqi Christian woman jumps to her death to avoid becoming a sex slave of the Islamic State, she testifies to the fact that western feminism is nothing more than nihilism in a pretty dress.

The same article that praised Gordon Levitt for his anti-biology views also praised a myriad of actors for their pro-choice stance. How ironic that feminists who rail against absentee fathers praise an actor for saying, “It’s not about abortion being right or wrong. It’s about having that choice to decide what a person should do with their own body.” In their demand that biology be ignored, these women pursue the very behavior they claim to hate in the opposite sex: The right to irresponsibility.

Over 40 years ago feminists chose to walk away from their unborn babies. It should come as no surprise, then, that they are just as willing to walk away from their fellow women suffering now under ISIS. Because when you’re a nihilist, things like biology, sisterhood, and responsibility just don’t matter.

 

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Ayatollah Khamenei Jumps on Ferguson, Goes on Twitter Tear About Racism in the U.S.

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Ayaytollah Ali Khamenei has jumped into the Ferguson fray on his official Twitter account:

 

 

 

 

 

It seems those rapprochement talks between Iran and the U.S. under the four-month extension are going… well.

 

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PLO Envoy — ‘Israel’s annihiliation has begun’

Friday, August 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Palestinian Liberation Organization are supposed to be the moderates among the Palestinians.

They say nice things about peace to Western ears. They say something else entirely to their friends in Iran, the Times of Israel reports.

The annihilation of the state of Israel has begun, said the official Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) envoy to Tehran, Salah al-Zawawi.

“The US and the western countries have created a fake regime in Palestine to get rid of it and have supplied it with the most advanced weapons and are seeking to create an Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates,” Zawawi, whose organization dominates the Palestinian Authority headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, was quoted as saying by the Iranian semi-official news agency Fars on Tuesday.

“Israel’s annihilation has begun and the new generation in Iran will certainly witness our victory over Israel,” he said during a gathering in Tehran in support of Gaza on Tuesday.

Hamas was there was as well, and called on the Iranians to help make their rockets more advanced.

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Maliki Calls It Quits

Friday, August 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Iraq’s troublesome PM is stepping down.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has resigned, in a move observers hope will end a political crisis in Baghdad.

Haider al-Abadi, a deputy speaker of parliament, has been asked by Iraq’s president to form a government.

Mr Maliki’s earlier refusal to resign after eight years in power had been blamed for deepening the crisis. The UN and US have welcomed his resignation.

The government has been unable to stop Islamist fighters from seizing vast areas in northern Iraq.

In addition to that, Maliki had deployed elements of the Iraqi army around Baghdad to protect his own hold on power. That opened the possibility of civil war, while the IS is still rampaging in the north.

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Obama Admin Halts Transfer of Key Weapon to Israel

Thursday, August 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

According to YNet News, the Obama administration has halted shipment of Hellfire anti-armor missiles to Israel.

The administration blames the decision on Israel:

The Journal reports Israel requested money for more Iron Dome interceptors from the US Defense Department mere days after the ground incursion into Gaza began. While Israeli officials told the Americans Israel had enough interceptors for the current Gaza operation, they said it wanted to replenish its stocks.

According to the Journal, the Obama administration, with Israel’s consent, decided not to seek emergency funding, and instead hold the Congress vote on the $225 million military aid proposal in the fall.

While the White House had no qualms about supplying Israel with the defensive, non-lethal Iron Dome interceptors, the Journal reports Israel took another route to secure $3 million worth of lethal munitions, including 120-mm mortar shells and 40-mm illuminating rounds.

The request, made by Israel’s Defense Ministry to the US military, was approved without needing or seeking the approval of President Barack Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry, officials told the Journal. At the same time, the standard review process was properly followed.

After the shipment of the 120-mm and 40-mm rounds caught the White House by surprise, the Pentagon was instructed to put another arms shipment to Israel – a large number of Hellfire missiles – on halt and the administration instructed all of its defense agencies to consult with the White House and State Department before approving any additional arms requests from Israel, the Journal reported.

The halt puts future shipment approvals high up in the administration, with the president and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Both Obama’s and Kerry’s relations with Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are severely strained. Hamas, a terrorist group according to the US government, started the war and has broken several cease-fires, yet US policy under Obama has not been to give Israel the benefit of the doubt. Kerry drew criticism in Israel in June when he attempted to broker a cease-fire with Hamas patrons Qatar and Turkey, while ignoring a better cease-fire offered by Egypt, which would have marginalized Hamas.

Obama’s relationship with Netanyahu has never been good. Obama and the Israeli PM are reported to have had a “particularly combative” phone call over Israel’s operations against Hamas just yesterday.

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Islamic State Threat May Force Obama to Do the Unthinkable

Thursday, August 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Does President Barack Obama have a plan to deal with the Islamic State in Iraq? If he does, he has yet to tip his hand.

In recent statements on the world’s most recently declared country, an Islamic caliphate that Obama’s own advisers said was never going to happen, the president has acknowledged that IS is a threat, but has repeatedly and forcefully declared that no matter what, no American troops will be sent back into combat in Iraq to fight against the IS or anyone else.

But the US is already engaged in Iraq. US air forces have conducted air strikes and humanitarian air drops to relieve the siege of the Yazidis, who have been encircled at Mt. Sinjar in Iraq. According to the Pentagon, those missions have been successful, and the crisis on Sinjar was not as severe as initially reported.

While the siege at Mount Sinjar may have been lifted, the crisis in Syria and Iraq has not abated at all. The United Nations on Wednesday declared that the Islamic State is creating a “level 3″ humanitarian crisis in Iraq — the UN’s most severe rating.

This Vice News documentary on the rise and spread of the Islamic State explains just how much of a threat, now and in the long term, the IS may turn out to be. IS is proudly brutal and is already recruiting the region’s Muslim children into its ranks. IS is killing and dispersing the region’s Christian and other minorities at the same time. If this continues, IS will be unchallenged in its territory. The 2014 caliphate is better armed than al Qaeda ever was in Afghanistan. Its existence threatens Iraq, Syria and every other state in the region.

Warning: Graphic images.

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IS is enforcing sharia, publicly crucifying people, beheading people, murdering children, staging pogroms against religious minorities, all while carving its territory out of Iraq and Syria. The Islamic State has declared its intention to attack non-Muslims around the world.

From the same documentary, this is probably the best map produced to date that shows the reach and limits of the Islamic State’s territorial gains.

is-vice-map

 

The Kurdish Peshmerga, even armed with American and now French weapons and even Iranian assistance, are not likely to be strong enough to defeat IS on their own. In the unlikely event that the Kurds do defeat IS, what is to stop them from carving their own state out of the husk of Iraq?

That’s a worry for another time at the moment, and given the Kurds’ pro-American outlook, might not be all that much of a worry, at least for the West. It will be a greater worry for Turkey, which has a large Kurdish population and has become more Islamist over the past few years.

The immediate worry is the Islamic State caliphate. Baghdad is in no position to defeat it. The Kurds probably cannot do it on their own. The Syrians still have their civil war, of which IS is a part.

IS is attracting fighters to its cause from all over the Middle East, indeed all over the world. Many — no one knows for sure how many — of IS’ fighters have western passports. They are fighting in Iraq/Syria now, but if they can consolidate their territory, IS can export those fighters to conduct attacks globally. IS has already declared its intention of doing that. IS sympathizers have already turned up in Malaysia, London, and the United States.

IS is so well armed because the Iraqi army, trained and armed to fight Islamist insurgents by the United States, melted away in the face of IS’ less well armed attacks earlier this year. What’s left of the Iraqi army is currently a pawn in the political struggle between factions in the Iraqi government.

President Obama clearly does not want to put American forces back into Iraq. He has already inserted hundreds of troops there in the past few days and weeks, but they are not serving in combat roles. Yet he is on a slippery slope toward combat in Iraq.

Earlier in the Syrian civil war, Obama declared that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad had to leave power. That was in August 2011. Even then it was far from clear who would replace Assad. Many of the rebels fighting him were Islamists and are now the Islamic State’s leaders and fighters. But fast forward to now, and while Assad is without question a brutal dictator, is he worse than IS? Does Assad present the same level of threat that IS poses?

Obama is dealing with two very serious international crises at the moment, Putin’s proxy war in Ukraine and the Islamic State. Obama clearly wants to do as little as possible about both and would prefer to conduct fundraisers and snipe at Republicans, but the Islamic State may force his hand.

Don’t be shocked if, in the near future, US troops join the fight on the side of both the Iraqi government, the Iranians and the Syrian regime — the very regime that Obama declared non grata three years ago.

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Obama Moves to Defend Hamas

Thursday, August 14th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu at the White House in 2010

The Times of Israel reports:

A senior Israeli official confirmed to Israeli media that the US had suspended a shipment of Hellfire missiles to Israel amid worsening ties over fighting in Gaza.

According to the report, the Israeli official corroborated a story published earlier in the Wall Street JournalWhile the article focuses mainly on the souring relationship between Netanyahu and Obama, it pays a decent amount of attention to the fact that both the White House and the State Department are actively working to block the shipment of arms to Israel.

The decision to evaluate every request by the Israeli military separately came after the White House and State Department discovered last month that the Pentagon was supplying Jerusalem with arms without their knowledge, the newspaper report said.

While one US diplomat described the American reaction to the arms transfer as a feeling of being “blindsided,” another US defense official emphasized that the back channel transfers were legitimate and did not require a sign-off from President Barack Obama or the State Department.

“There was no intent to blindside anyone. The process for this transfer was followed precisely along the lines that it should have,” a US defense official told the paper.

After learning of these transfers, the Obama administration, perturbed that much of the ammunition was used by the IDF in its offensive in the Gaza Strip, revised the review process in a move that is likely to limit or at least delay Israel’s requests for weapons.

Israeli officials are, of course, concerned over the apparent worsening of ties between Israel and the U.S., with Likud Knesset members using the incident to both defend Netanyahu and the America-Israel relationship. However, it has become impossible to deny the fact that Israel and certain political leaders in America have differing perspectives on radical Islamic terrorism:

Numerous US officials say the Gaza violence “has persuaded them that Mr. Netanyahu and his national security team are both reckless and untrustworthy,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

As far as the Israeli view of the Obama Administration, the report cited John Kerry when noting that “…Israeli officials consider the US view of the Middle East ‘weak and naive.’” Despite their lack of faith in Obama,

Netanyahu is confident his supporters in Congress will back Israel, and remains unconcerned that the sparring with Obama will have significant adverse effects.

With the American politics of the situation sure to be addressed in the upcoming mid-terms, the actions on the part of the Obama Administration (and Britain, for that matter) also make a strong case for the timeliness of crowdsourcing for Israel’s military defense.

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Rubio to Erdoğan: Knock Off the Anti-Israel Incitement

Thursday, August 14th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and potential 2016 presidential contender has asked the prime minister of Turkey to stop inciting violence against Israel.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wrote to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday “with great concern about your comments regarding Israel’s recent actions in Gaza, and reports that organizations operating in Turkey are planning to breach Israel’s naval blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza.”

“In response to thousands of rocket attacks on Israel launched by Hamas and other terrorist organizations from Gaza, Israel instituted a naval blockade to prevent items that could be used to support these attacks from entering Gaza by sea. The intent of the measures is to protect Israel, while still allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza. I encourage you to take all appropriate measures to keep these organizations from provoking a confrontation with Israeli forces and violating this blockade. A publicity stunt by Turkish organizations in 2010 led to the regrettable loss of life, and it would be irresponsible for your government not to take measures to avoid a similar outcome this time,” Rubio wrote.

The senator referred to the Mavi Marmara, which ended in a raid of the flotilla by Israeli forces in which 10 activists were killed and 10 commandos were wounded.

“The United States has not forgotten how a centuries-old legacy of tolerance led to Turkey being the first Muslim-majority country to recognize the State of Israel in 1949. Your nation led the region, and much of the world, in acknowledging the right of the Jewish people to live in peace and security. The relationship between Turkey and Israel has historically been strong, and mutually advantageous. Although strained on the political level in recent years, economic interaction remains robust,” Rubio continued. “I was thus deeply troubled by your comments at a campaign event on August 3rd comparing Israel’s recent actions to Nazi Germany’s genocidal campaign against Jews and other minorities.”

Erdoğan, who just won the presidency in what many predict will result in a saturation of executive power, said, “Just like Hitler, who sought to establish a race free of all faults, Israel is chasing after the same target.”

“Such deplorable comments and anti-Israel views have become increasingly common among senior Turkish officials and severely undermine our mutual interest in collaboration to address the common challenges our nations face,” Rubio wrote.

“Given our nations’ long-standing partnership, and Turkey’s significant role in NATO, I urge you to halt this incendiary rhetoric regarding Israel. Additionally, I request that you take all appropriate measures to keep organizations operating in Turkey from provoking a confrontation with Israeli forces by attempting to breach Israel’s naval blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza.”

President Obama and Erdoğan have been close, and Erdoğan even ripped off the styling of Obama’s campaign logo for his own campaign.

Obama called Erdoğan on Tuesday to congratulate him, according to the White House, and highlighted the Islamist leader’s (in a secular republic) “historic opportunity to further move Turkey forward.”

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Pentagon: Evacuation of Yazidis ‘Far Less Likely’ After Assessment by ‘Less Than 20′ U.S. Personnel

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The Pentagon said its reconnaissance team that checked out the plight of Yazidi refugees under siege from ISIS fighters on Mount Sinjar is not as dire as officials there believed.

“As part of the ongoing humanitarian efforts ordered by President Obama, today a team of U.S. military personnel, accompanied by USAID, conducted an assessment of the situation on Mt. Sinjar and the impact of U.S. military actions to date,” Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement. “The team, which consisted of less than twenty personnel, did not engage in combat operations and all personnel have returned safely to Irbil by military air.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced yesterday that he had asked Obama for and received permission to send 130 extra “advisers” to Iraq, but stressed to Marines at Camp Pendleton that this didn’t mean “boots on the ground.”

“The team has assessed that there are far fewer Yazidis on Mt. Sinjar than previously feared, in part because of the success of humanitarian air drops, air strikes on ISIL targets, the efforts of the Peshmerga and the ability of thousands of Yazidis to evacuate from the mountain each night over the last several days,” Kirby continued.

“The Yazidis who remain are in better condition than previously believed and continue to have access to the food and water that we have dropped. Based on this assessment the interagency has determined that an evacuation mission is far less likely,” he said. “Additionally, we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance as needed and will protect U.S. personnel and facilities.”

The Pentagon did not release their estimate on the number of Yazidis still on Mount Sinjar.

On Tuesday, UN officials warned of an imminent atrocity with an estimate of 40,000 Yazidis trying to hide from ISIS on Mount Sinjar. “All possible measures must be taken urgently to avoid a mass atrocity and potential genocide within days or hours – civilians need to be protected on the ground and escorted out of situations of extreme peril,” said Rita Izsák, Special Rapporteur on minority issues.

“We are witnessing a tragedy of huge proportions unfolding in which thousands of people are at immediate risk of death by violence or by hunger and thirst,” said Chaloka Beyani, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons. “Humanitarian aid must be delivered quickly and no efforts should be spared to protect all groups forcefully displaced by this conflict.”

Additionally, the UN noted that ISIS is hunting down religious minorities in all areas under its control.

“We cannot stand by in the face of such atrocities,” said Christof Heyns, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. “International actors must do all in their power to support those on the ground with the capacity to protect lives.”

At a Tuesday press conference, UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon called the plight of the Yazidis and others on Mount Sinjar “especially harrowing.”

“UN humanitarian personnel are in the area, doing what we can. Air drops of food and water are reaching some of the trapped people. But the situation on the mountain is dire. And even when people manage to find a way out, they remain exposed to searing heat and a perilous odyssey,” Ban said.

The White House said in a briefing earlier today that it was still assessing what to do about the trapped Yazidis.

“The Iraqis and the Kurdish forces in particular have been engaged. They have a presence on the mountain and they will certainly be cooperating with us in this effort,” Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters in Massachusetts.

“We have offers of support from a number of allies like France, Australia, Canada,” Rhodes said. “We will be in discussions with them about what they can do, both as it relates to helping the Yazidi population that has been trapped on the mountain but also more broadly helping bring relief to the displaced persons in Northern Iraq, which includes not just Yazidis but an enormous number of Iraqi Christians and others who have been driven from their homes by ISIL.”

“…The people who are on the ground fighting ISIL are the Kurdish forces and the Iraqi security forces. We are taking action from the air on the objectives of protecting our people and providing humanitarian space for the Yazidis, in particular on the mountain. If there’s additional things that we can do as part of an effort to move them off the mountain, [Obama will] certainly review those — those options.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today stressed “the United States is not the only country on Earth with an air force.”

“While I support President Obama’s decision to use airstrikes to protect the lives of thousands of innocent people of the Yazidi minority, the U.S. should not have to act alone militarily in this crisis,” Sanders said. “ISIS is a danger to the entire region and to the world. The international community must work with the U.S.”

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Hagel to Marines: ‘Every One of the Decisions That the President Has Ultimately Made’ in Iraq are ‘Recommendations I’ve Made’

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Marines at Camp Pendleton yesterday that President Obama “has authorized me to go ahead and send about 130 new assessment team members up to northern Iraq in the Erbil area to take a closer look and give a more in-depth assessment of where we can continue to help the Iraqis with what they’re doing and the threats that they are now dealing with.”

“I would tell you that, as you know what’s going on in Iraq, for example, that we are focused once again on assisting the Iraqis. They have — are in the process of forming a new government, as you know, which is going to be the centerpiece of how that government is going to be able to deal with what’s going on there, the specific threats of ISIL and the other realities that are now confronting the people of Iraq,” he said.

“…The Iraqi people, the government of Iraq, country of Iraq is now under threat from some of the most brutal, barbaric forces we’ve ever seen in the world today, and a force, ISIL, and others that is an ideology that’s connected to an army and it’s a force and a dimension that the world has never seen before like we have seen it now.”

Hagel told the Marines that Obama “made some decisions on, first, on the basis of protecting our people and our interest in Iraq, and also on the basis of humanitarian assistance, we’re doing an awful lot, and we’ll do more, as we continue to support the process now underway to form their new government.”

The secretary said the additional 130 advisers were approved after his recommendation to the president, and have already arrived in Erbil.

“I would also say it follows the criteria that President Obama has made very clearly, that this is not any extension of any role other — for the United States other than to find ways to assist and help advise the Iraqi security forces, which we have been doing,” Hagel continued.

“As the president has made very clear, we’re not going back into Iraq in any of the same combat mission dimensions that we once were in, in Iraq. Very specifically, this is not a combat boots-on-the-ground operation. We’re not going to have that kind of operation, but short of that, there are some things we can continue to do, and we are doing, and I just wanted you to know that, because that team of 130 new assessors that just arrived in Erbil, it’s a inter-service team, but there are a lot of Marines on that team.”

Still, the first question posed to the Defense secretary was “given the current situation in both Iraq and Israel” why he doesn’t see the need for boots on the ground.

“Well, as I just mentioned, boots-on-the-ground regarding Iraq, the president said we’re not going to do that. And the mission that we had in Iraq on fighting that war and combat mission is over. And he’s been very clear about that,” Hagel replied.

“But also, if you recall, the Iraqi people made some decisions on their own sovereignty on that count. As to boots-on-the-ground in Israel, no, we’re not going to do that,” he continued. “Just a reminder, what we’re doing in Iraq now is at the request of the Iraqi government. Every one of the decisions that president has ultimately made [are] recommendations I’ve made to him, the most recent I just mentioned, the 130-member assessment team going — that’s now in Erbil.”

“We are working with the Iraqi government at their request to help them. We work, obviously, with the Israeli government, as we do with all governments on our relationships of what we can do. But no boots on the ground in Iraq and Israel.”

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US Sends More Troops to Iraq

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The US sent 130 more troops to Iraq on Tuesday. But don’t call it a combat mission.

Another 130 US troops arrived in Iraq on Tuesday on what the Pentagon described as a temporary mission to assess the scope of the humanitarian crisis facing thousands of displaced Iraqi civilians trapped on Sinjar Mountain and evaluate options for getting them out to safety.

Defence secretary Chuck Hagel announced the deployment in remarks to Marines at Camp Pendleton, Southern California base on the final stop of a week-long, around-the-world trip that also took him to India, Germany and Australia.

“This is not a combat boots on the ground kind of operation,” Hagel said. “We’re not going back into Iraq in any of the same combat mission dimensions that we once were in in Iraq,” he added, referring to the eight-year war that cost more than 4,400 US lives and soured the American public on military involvement in Iraq.

The more the administration keeps saying that, the more it signals either fear or indecision to ISIS — who, while we’re dithering over what to do, are advancing in Iraq and turning up here in the US.

ISIS is poised to give us the same choice that al Qaeda did — fight them over there, or fight them right here.

Another defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity to provide additional details on the sensitive mission, said the extra troops were Marines and special operations forces whose mission was to assess the situation in the Sinjar area and to develop additional humanitarian assistance options beyond current US efforts there. Still another official said the mission for the 130 troops could last less than one week.

That official also said that while the troops were not being sent in to execute some type of rescue mission of the Yazidis on the mountain, they would assess the feasibility of a rescue or what one might look like. The also would assist in the ongoing effort to evaluate the use of airstrikes as part of the mission to protect the Yazidis from attacks by the Islamic State militants.

Hagel referred to the 130 as “assessors.”

President Barack Obama has said repeatedly he will not send ground combat forces back into Iraq.

He says lots of things. He actually means some of them.

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‘Miracle’ Wind Saves Tel Aviv from Hamas Rocket

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
irondometelaviv

Iron Dome intercepts a rocket over Tel Aviv, July 12, 2014 via Haaretz

The IJReview picked up a story from the UK Daily Mail that featured the eye witness testimony of an Israeli Iron Dome commander responsible for protecting Tel Aviv, Israel’s business center, from incoming rocket attacks:

A missile was fired from Gaza. Iron Dome precisely calculated [its trajectory]. We know where these missiles are going to land down to a radius of 200 meters. This particular missile was going to hit either the Azrieli Towers, the Kirya (Israel’s equivalent of the Pentagon) or [a central Tel Aviv railway station]. Hundreds could have died.

We fired the first [interceptor]. It missed. Second [interceptor]. It missed. This is very rare. I was in shock. At this point we had just four seconds until the missile lands. We had already notified emergency services to converge on the target location and had warned of a mass-casualty incident.

Suddenly, Iron Dome (which calculates wind speeds, among other things) shows a major wind coming from the east, a strong wind that … sends the missile into the sea. We were all stunned. I stood up and shouted, ‘There is a God!”

The story, originally circulated in Israeli media, was translated into English by the Jerusalem-based news agency Israel TodayThe commander’s testimony continued:

“I witnessed this miracle with my own eyes. It was not told or reported to me. I saw the hand of God send that missile into the sea.”

Israel Today noted that earlier unconfirmed reports circulating around the Internet had Hamas fighters have attributed the success of Iron Dome to the ability of Israel’s God to move Hamas rockets in mid-air. This is not the first report of Divine intervention in the midst of Operation Protective Edge. Following the Biblical terms of a pre-Jubilee year harvest, Orthodox farmers took enough wheat from their fields to reveal terrorists hiding in their midst. Most recently, it was reported that an Israeli soldier’s well-timed recitation of the Shema saved a Hamas female suicide bomber in Gaza.

Israel Today ended their Iron Dome miracle report by detailing another report of miracles in the midst of combat:

Also last week, Col. Ofer Winter, commander of the Givati Infantry Brigade, described a mysterious fog that favorably covered he and his troops as they advanced on an enemy position in morning light, after their nighttime raid was postponed.

Col. Winter labeled the covering as “clouds of glory.”

Earlier in the Gaza war, Col. Winter sparked heated national debate when he encouraged his troops to lead the charge against an enemy that “curses, defames and abuses the God of Israel.” Col. Winter concluded his letter by praying that the “Lord your God go with you, to fight for you against your enemies and to save you.”

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Britain: If Hamas Causes Enough Trouble, We’ll Cut Off Aid to Israel

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Cowards. And possibly, maybe, anti-Semites.

“Figures seen by the BBC show recorded hate crimes against Jewish people living in London have doubled compared with the same period last year, while police in Manchester said they had seen an increase in anti-Semitic crime over the last month,” the BBC reported.

In totally unrelated news, the British government revealed on Tuesday that they are suffering from a terminal case of moral equivalency and are prepared to cut off military aid to Israel if “significant hostilities” resume in Gaza.

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation, and Skills and Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable announced this week that the United Kingdom would suspend the export licenses of 12 British firms which send Israel arms like radar systems, aircraft, and tanks if any new hostilities in Gaza restart.

The Huffington Post U.K. reported that the British left is incensed by how “weak” this move is against Israel.

That’s from Noah Rothman at Hot Air.

 

The Conservatives lead the current government, but it’s a coalition government that includes the Liberal Democrats.

Between how the UK is behaving now, and how American millennials can be expected to behave in the future, the time for Israel to totally destroy Hamas — root and branch — is right now. Get it done and none of this aid business will matter nearly as much.

Unfettered immigration is changing the character of what was Britain. Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher would barely recognize the place. That lesson isn’t lost on today’s Democrats here in the U.S. Obama regularly tells us conservatives that we’re the problem, we’re the greatest threat to the country. We would be less of a problem, of course, if our votes were canceled out.

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George Clooney’s Fiancee Declines Appointment to Gaza War Crimes Probe

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The fiancee of the world’s former most eligible bachelor has said that she will not run a United Nations probe into alleged war crimes in the Israel-Gaza war. Which, by the way, is still going on.

GENEVA (AP) — The British-Lebanese lawyer Amal Alamuddin, who is engaged to George Clooney, on Monday pulled out of an appointment to serve on a U.N. commission on possible violations of the rules of war in Gaza.

The president of the 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council announced in a statement Monday that Alamuddin had been appointed on the commission, but the increasingly high-profile British-Lebanese lawyer later said she could not accept the role.

“I was contacted by the UN about this for the first time this morning,” she said. “I am honoured to have received the offer, but given existing commitments — including eight ongoing cases — unfortunately could not accept this role.”

Teasing out which way Alamuddin leans politically isn’t a straightforward thing. She is apparently Druze, which is an offshoot of Islam, or a re-interpretation of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Druze are not associated with Islamism or terrorism. In Israel, they are defined as Arab but have been known to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces. They don’t proselytize.

The United Nations has no business probing the Israel-Gaza war for war crimes at any rate. Hamas started the war, but the UN has played its usual role of pestering Israel while it defends itself from terrorists who are, by definition, war criminals.

UNRWA facilities have been used by Hamas to store rockets, which Hamas launches at Israeli citizens. UNRWA supplies have been found inside Hamas’ terror tunnels. If the UN must investigate, it should start by allowing an outside investigation of its own activities.

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Graham Slams Obama for Thinking Defeat of ISIS Hinges on Iraq Political Reconciliation

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) criticized President Obama’s latest vacation speech on Iraq as “yet another” address “without a strategy or vision to protect the homeland against an increasingly lethal ISIS threat.”

“ISIS has repeatedly expressed its intent to kill Americans and they are gaining increased capability. President Obama should make it clear – ISIS is not just a threat to the Middle East, it is very much a threat to the American people and the homeland,” Graham said in a statement.

“It’s time we go on offense and hit ISIS where they reside. We need a sustained air campaign to slow momentum and diminish ISIS capability.”

Obama’s brief statement at Martha’s Vineyard focused on the ongoing airdrops and airstrikes in northern Iraq and the selection of a new prime minister designate, Haider al-Abadi.

“The United States stands ready to support a government that addresses the needs and grievances of all Iraqi people. We are also ready to work with other countries in the region to deal with the humanitarian crisis and counterterrorism challenge in Iraq. Mobilizing that support will be easier once this new government is in place,” said Obama, who had dragged his feet on authorizing action against ISIS after the fall of Mosul because he insisted on Iraq putting an inclusive government in place first.

“These have been difficult days in Iraq — a country that has faced so many challenges in its recent history. And I’m sure that there will be difficult days ahead. But just as the United States will remain vigilant against the threat posed to our people by ISIL, we stand ready to partner with Iraq in its fight against these terrorist forces,” the president continued. “Without question, that effort will be advanced if Iraqis continue to build on today’s progress, and come together to support a new and inclusive government.”

Graham said that “when it comes to Iraq, I agree with President Obama that the appointment of a new Iraqi Prime Minister is a step toward helping unify Iraq.”

“I fear Prime Minister Maliki is simply incapable of bringing Sunni’s back into a unified Iraqi government. It’s time for him to go. A new prime minister at least creates the possibility Sunni Iraqi’s will break from ISIS in Iraq,” he said.

“However President Obama is wrong in believing that political reconciliation in Baghdad will address the threat posed to the region and us by ISIS. Disorder in Iraq is a threat, no doubt. But ISIS has goals and objectives which extend far beyond Baghdad.”

The senator stressed that “from the American national security perspective, it is impossible to have a successful outcome in Iraq without hitting and diminishing ISIS.”

“That seems to be a fact President Obama is incapable or unwilling to address.”

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