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Rice: ‘Informal Consultations’ with Iran on ‘Regional Issues,’ But No ISIS Coordination

Monday, October 13th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

National Security Advisor Susan Rice said the U.S. has had “informal consultations” with Iran but is not “in coordination or direct consultation with the Iranians about any aspect of the fight against ISIL.”

“We are not coordinating — we are doing this very differently and independently. Our coalition is comprised of some 60 countries. All of our core allies in the Gulf region of the Arab world, most of our NATO partners, many of our traditional partners from outside, including Australia. It’s a very broad-based, very comprehensive coalition that has come together to deal with the threat from ISIL,” Rice told Meet the Press on Sunday.

“And it’s gratifying that countries from all over the world share the same perception of the threat that ISIL poses. Iran may or may not be among those but they are not a part of our coalition.”

Rice the U.S. is still “engaging Iran on the nuclear issue” and “have had informal consultations on the margins of the nuclear talks about certain regional issues.”

“There’s no coordination,” she said. “There’s no collaboration on the anti-ISIL campaign.”

Iran’s supreme leader came out today with a scathing rebuke of the U.S. effort against the Islamic State.

“If anyone fuels the fire in this regard, he or she will definitely be helping sinister America and Britain which are the creators of the ISIL and al-Qaeda,” Ayatollah Khamenei said, according to Iran’s Press TV, urging Muslims to not get involved in the coalition.

“Shias and Sunnis shouldn’t help the enemy by desecrating their sanctities and provoking one another’s sentiments,” he said, calling ISIS and al-Qaeda a plot created by the West to challenge Iran.

Iran has given safe haven to al-Qaeda leaders including Muhsin al-Fadhli, who moved to Syria and started the Khorasan office at the direction of Ayman al-Zawahiri.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf was asked at Friday’s press briefing if the P5+1 nuclear talks deadline — already extended once — would be moved past Nov. 24.

“We believe there is sufficient time in the time that remains, adequate, sufficient, enough time to work through the issues we have to arrive at a comprehensive agreement by November 24th. It’s in everyone’s interests to get to a comprehensive agreement that assures the international community that Iran’s program is entirely for peaceful purposes, that they cannot get a nuclear weapon,” Harf said.

“By the 24th — next week, we’ll be going — as you know, the secretary will have a trilateral meeting with Cathy Ashton and Foreign Minister Zarif. There’ll be a bilateral U.S.-Iran meeting the day before. There’s enough time. We know what the issues are. There’s a path forward here, but we all need to take it.”

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New ISIS Magazine Issue Faults ‘Crusader Media’ for Making Lone Wolf Attacks ‘Appear to be Random Killings’

Monday, October 13th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The latest issue of an English-language magazine released by the Islamic State encourages “lone wolf” attackers in the United States while chiding “crusader media” for not linking attacks with Islamist terrorism.

“At this point of the crusade against the Islamic State, it is very important that attacks take place in every country that has entered into the alliance against the Islamic State, especially the US, UK, France, Australia, and Germany. Rather, the citizens of crusader nations should be targeted wherever they can be found,” an article in Dabiq states.

“Every Muslim should get out of his house, find a crusader, and kill him. It is important that the killing becomes attributed to patrons of the Islamic State who have obeyed its leadership. This can easily be done with anonymity. Otherwise, crusader media makes such attacks appear to be random killings.”

The magazine didn’t reference specific attacks, but provided a few tips for keeping attacks simple and to the point.

“Secrecy should be followed when planning and executing any attack. The smaller the numbers of those involved and the less the discussion beforehand, the more likely it will be carried out without problems. One should not complicate the attacks by involving other parties, purchasing complex materials, or communicating with weak-hearted individuals. ‘Rely upon Allah and stab the crusader’ should be the battle cry for all Islamic State patrons,” an article states.

The magazine’s fourth issue, which features the ISIS flag photoshopped in the Vatican courtyard on the cover, features pictures of electricity maintenance and road cleanup in the Islamic State, along with an ISIS-run retirement home in Mosul. It contains a story of Ansar al-Islam in Iraq pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. It also contains lengthy essays that the IS claims were written by late American journalist Steven Sotloff and British hostage John Cantlie.

“We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted,” a statement from the ISIS spokesman says. “You claimed to have withdrawn from Iraq – O Obama – four years ago. We said to you then that you were liars, that you had not withdrawn, and that if you had withdrawn that you would return, even if after some time, you would return. Here you are; you have not withdrawn. Rather you hid some of your forces behind your proxies and withdrew the rest. Your forces will return greater in number than they were before. You will return and your proxies will not avail you. And if you are not able to return, then we will come to your homeland by Allah’s permission.”

The magazine says that would-be jihadists shouldn’t think twice before killing citizens from “crusader” countries.

“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be. Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling.”

The Dabiq issue includes another article praising slavery and its “revival,” using the capture of Yazidis as an example.

It describes how Yazidi women and children were “divided according to the Sharī’ah amongst the fighters of the Islamic State who participated in the Sinjar operations” and analyzes how “one of the signs of the Hour is the increased conquests and bringing in of slaves from the lands of kufr.”

“One should remember that enslaving the families of the kuffār and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Sharī’ah that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Qur’ān and the narrations of the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and thereby apostatizing from Islam,” the article states.

“Finally, a number of contemporary scholars have mentioned that the desertion of slavery had led to an increase in fāhishah (adultery, fornication, etc.), because the shar’ī alternative to marriage is not available, so a man who cannot afford marriage to a free woman finds himself surrounded by temptation towards sin. In addition, many Muslim families who have hired maids to work at their homes, face the fitnah of prohibited khalwah (seclusion) and resultant zinā occurring between the man and the maid, whereas if she were his concubine, this relationship would be legal.”

The Dabiq issue also featured testimony “in support of the crusade headed by Barack Obama” of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last month before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a section called “In the Words of the Enemy.”

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ISIS’ European Poster Girls Now Regret Their Most Significant Life Choice

Friday, October 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

These 15-year-olds are learning the very hard way that jihadism isn’t a lot of fun.

Samra Kesinovic, 17, and Sabina Selimovic, 15, are believed to be married, pregnant and living in the Islamic State-controlled city of Raqqa in northern Syria, Central European News reports.

Dubbed by Austrian media as the poster girls for jihad, the young friends now believe their lives have been turned upside down by their new lifestyles.

The change of heart is a much different tune than the note they left behind for their parents when they fled back in April, which read: “Don’t look for us. We will serve Allah — and we will die for him.”

They thought life with Mom and Dad was a drag…

For weeks, social media accounts believed to belong to the girls have been posting pictures and information leading many to feel they enjoyed living a life of terror.

Authorities in Austria say this was all an elaborate plan set up by ISIS in order to get people to think the two wanted to be the poster girls for jihad in Syria.

Now they’re saying, “Look for us. We don’t like these animals who are telling us what to do all the time and we don’t want to die here.”

They have contacted their loved ones and told them they are sick of living with the Islamic State jihadis, but they also said they don’t feel they can flee from their unwanted new life because too many people now associate them with ISIS.

Well, that’s because they can’t. And they probably can’t get back into Austria either, since they volunteered for the jihad and are now at least suspected terrorists. Their alleged change of heart could also be an ISIS ruse to get them back into Europe.

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‘If It Wasn’t So Tragic, This Would Almost Be Farce’: McCain on Obama Not Arming Kurds

Friday, October 10th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

“If it wasn’t so tragic,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said of President Obama’s lack of support for the Kurds fighting for Kobane, “this would almost be farce.”

Kurdish officials report ”very, very intense fighting” as ISIS shells the city in its three-week advance, VOA reported. “We will continue resisting against IS terrorists but we need heavy weapons,” Kobane’s defense chief Ismet Hasan said. “If the U.S. can provide us weapons that are capable of eliminating their heavy weapons, like tanks and artillery, and continue air strikes against [the IS], we are confident we will be able to kill them all.”

The YPG fighters in Kobane have even lacked night vision equipment, allowing the better equipped ISIS to attack them in the dark.

“For John Kerry to dismiss the deaths of thousands of people and then our Pentagon touting 14 strikes, 14 strikes, in Kobani or the outskirts, because since we have no one on ground, there is no way of really identifying targets,” McCain told Fox. “And the brave Kurds, and I mean the Peshmerga, are very brave fighters. They don’t have the military capability, the arms and equipment that the ISIS has because ISIS has ours and we refuse to send weapons directly to the Kurds and the Peshmerga so they can fight better.”

McCain said he agrees with Turkey’s request for a no-fly zone, something the Obama administration is not on board with, “because what we are doing is immoral.”

“We are allowing Bashar Assad to destroy the Free Syrian Army. Every time we bomb ISIS, Bashar al Assad moves in and attacks with more intensity,” the senator said.

“By the way, these are the same ones — we are training 5,000 of them. We are going to send them back into Syria to be bombed by Bashar al Assad. This is really as convoluted and as immoral as I have seen the United States of America do.”

John Kerry has appeared to be open to a no-fly zone, while the Pentagon and White House have said it’s not on the table.

McCain noted “we keep hearing there’s a great debate in the White House” over the no-fly zone.

“I have heard that for so many years, it grows tiresome,” he said. “They tell me privately, hey, we are working on it, don’t worry, we’ll get it down, and it never gets done. I’m getting a little cynical.”

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ISIS Makes Journalists Agree to 11 Rules ‘Subject to Change at Any Time’

Thursday, October 9th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

According to Syria Deeply, the ISIS media office in Deir Ezzor came up with rules for journalists trying to document what’s going on in the Islamic State, including local Syrian journalists:

1 – Correspondents must swear allegiance to the Caliph [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi … they are subjects of the Islamic State and, as subjects, they are obliged to swear loyalty to their imam.

2 – Their work will be under the exclusive supervision of the [ISIS] media offices.

3 – Journalists can work directly with international news agencies (such as Reuters, AFP and AP), but they are to avoid all international and local satellite TV channels. They are forbidden to provide any exclusive material or have any contact (sound or image) with them in any capacity.

4 – Journalists are forbidden to work in any way with the TV channels placed on the blacklist of channels that fight against Islamic countries (such as Al-Arabiya, Al Jazeera and Orient). Violators will be held accountable.

5 – Journalists are allowed to cover events in the governorate with either written or still images without having to refer back to the [ISIS] media office. All published pieces and photos must carry the journalist’s and photographer’s names.

6 – Journalists are not allowed to publish any reportage (print or broadcast) without referring to the [ISIS] media office first.

7 – Journalists may have their own social media accounts and blogs to disseminate news and pictures. However, the ISIS media office must have the addresses and name handles of these accounts and pages.

8 – Journalists must abide by the regulations when taking photos within [ISIS territory] and avoid filming locations or security events where taking pictures is prohibited.

9 – ISIS media offices will follow up on the work of local journalists within [ISIS territory] and in the state media. Any violation of the rules in place will lead to suspending the journalist from his work, and he will be held accountable.

10 – The rules are not final and are subject to change at any time depending on the circumstances and the degree of cooperation between journalists and their commitment to their brothers in the ISIS media offices.

11 – Journalists are given a license to practice their work after submitting a license request at the [ISIS] media office.

Syria Deeply says a “number of journalists” signed an agreement to obey the rules — which, as noted by Rule No. 10, can be changed by ISIS at any time. Other journalists have fled; those who have exposed crucifixions and other ISIS horrors are threatened with the same fate.

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Does Obama Need ‘Time’ to Defeat or Forget ISIS?

Thursday, October 9th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

During U.S. President Obama’s televised speech on his strategies to defeat the Islamic State, he said, “Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL” (a reference to the Islamic State, “ISIS” or “IS”).

Now, why is that?

First, we know by “cancer” he is not referring to Islamic ideology—since he does not acknowledge that Islam has anything to do with violence and even banned knowledge of Islamic ideology from being studied by law enforcement and national security communities.

Were he referring to Islamic ideology, the need for “time” would of course be legitimate, to say the least.

No, the cancer he is referring to is the very real, tangible, and temporal Islamic State, which exists in time and space.

But this prompts the following question: Why did it take the United States military three weeks to overthrow the very real and tangible regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003 whereas “it will take time”— years, according to most military analysts — for the U.S. to defeat the Islamic State?

This question becomes more pressing when one considers that the Iraq conquered by the U.S. in less than a month had an actual government and longstanding military and was better organized and consolidated — certainly in comparison to the Islamic State, often described as a “ragtag team of terrorists” that seems to have appeared out of nowhere.

The reason it will take years is because Obama refuses to strike the Islamic State decisively and effectively, specifically by sending in U.S. ground forces — the very forces that were responsible for keeping the Islamic jihadis at bay; the forces he withdrew leading to the rise of the Islamic State; and the forces that he refuses to utilize again, even though they are necessary to decisively crush the “caliphate.”

Obama’s “it will take time” assertion prompts the following prediction: U.S. airstrikes on IS targets will continue to be just enough to pacify those calling for action against the caliphate (“we’re doing what we can”).  The official narrative will be that the Islamic State is gradually being weakened, that victory is a matter of time (remember, “It will take time”).

In the meantime, IS will slowly begin to fade away from the headlines.  After all and unreported in any Western media, soon after pictures and videos of the decapitations of Americans went viral prompting much media attention followed by international shock and outrage, the “caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, called for an immediate stop to the videotaping and internet dissemination of such beheadings and other Sharia punishments.

He called on both official channels affiliated with IS as well as unofficial sympathizers and allies on social media to cease posting such pictures and/or video-clips, adding that the Islamic State “would follow any violation of this resolution seriously.”… Keep reading

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Have We Reached Peak ISISmania Yet?

Thursday, October 9th, 2014 - by Patrick Poole

A few thoughts on the current bout of ISISmania and the systemic problems it exposes:

1) ISISmania has created a financial/legal incentive for sources (most of them “shady” to begin with) used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to manufacture info whole-cloth.

This is nothing new. Think “prison snitches.” Various foreign actors are passing along disinformation to us as well, so mountains of BS are being fed into the system from the get-go.

Imagine, for a purely hypothetical example, a member of Congress getting an authentic report from a senior agency official, but the report is later found to have originated with a non-credible source. So the member of Congress who repeated the report was actually correct that the intel had been shared with them — but the information itself wasn’t reliable.

It never should have been shared in the first place, but it’s the member of Congress who ends up with egg on their face when the agency issues its denial. No one, whether politicians or agency officials, wants to later admit they were duped, so erroneous info never gets corrected.

2) There are considerable problems on the collection and analysis sides of intel in both the intelligence community and law enforcement. In fact, very few know how to do collection — and good analysis is basically prohibited these days.

So the BS and disinfo never gets sifted out. It then gets passed on to elected officials, which is some of what we’re seeing. Then you have agencies and the administration selectively manipulating and leaking according to their own respective agendas. This is how the sausage is being made in DC these days.

3) There is only so much media space, and politicians compete with each other for that space.

So they need to come up with more outlandish claims to get a bigger share of that media space. That creates a disincentive to vet the info they get and publicly talk about. No one gets on Greta by saying: “We need to keep a cool head about this stuff.”

4) Because of that, the game of “I got a secret” is more prevalent than ever before.

Those secrets might be complete equine feces, but the desire to be “in the know,” whether they actually are or not, and the temptation to show that you’re “in the know” are strong.

5) Congress has no mechanism to vet what the agencies and administration tells them.

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Hamas-Loving Jimmy Carter Blasts Obama in a New York Times Op-Ed

Thursday, October 9th, 2014 - by Jennifer Hanin

Let’s face it. It’s a tad early for Halloween pranks. And clearly one hasn’t arrived to absurdity until former president turned Hamas-loving “human rights activist” Jimmy Carter blasts your anti-terror policies. Carter did just that by gouging Obama in his recent and somewhat surprising New York Times op-ed A Cruel and Unusual Record.  Not surprising, however, was Carter’s mention of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights that the United States adopted in 1948.

Stumping for the UN Too?

Carter champions this UN declaration in an effort to blast Obama and the current administration (and perhaps former ones) for neglecting to pursue democracy in all corners of the world. Yet there’s a huge gap that Carter conveniently or unknowingly left out. Democracy is a unique condition that few countries are ready for. We saw this when Israel, Carter’s archenemy, gave the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians. Known terrorist group, Hamas, forced their rule on the area, and rigged elections in their favor to achieve their version of “democracy.”

Hamas’s tainted version of democracy has resulting in dragging Palestinians to their death via being tied behind some old jalopy. It has resulted in homosexuals being sentenced to death. It has meant arming small children as suicide bombers. Suffice to say, “democracy” under terrorist rule resembles nothing of the sort.

It took the U.S.A. over 200 years to get democracy right. We can’t expect third-world countries to turn on a dime and gain freedom and democracy in decade or less. Egypt is perfect example of a country whose people flooded the streets to oppose their dictatorship under former President Hosni Mubarak, only to wind up under an even more suffocating Islamic dictator, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Muhammad Morsi. Once Morsi enacted an overarching set of laws that allowed him to have ultimate rule over the Egyptian congress, over 30,000 Egyptians (even more than Mubarak’s protesters) took to the streets to voice their opposition. Thus proving, democracy cannot be had overnight nor is it right for every country or ruler.

While Carter has every right to criticize any sitting (or past) POTUS in writing or on camera (and has), it’s time for our 39th President to stop stumping for terrorists and penning egregious rants and lies. Even winning a Nobel Peace Prize (2002) doesn’t change the facts. Not that I’m letting Obama off the hook for Benghazi and so many other disastrously absent plans to deal with national security threats like ISIS or Ebola (and god knows a laundry list of other beefs), but review your own sorry record.

Carter’s Sorry Record

Carter was one of the worse presidents our country has ever had. His record of presidential hemorrhages parallels with Obama’s oxygen-deprived record. Under Carter, US families were forced to endure double digit inflation, double digit unemployment, airline deregulation, a nonsensical boycott of the 1980 summer Olympics in Moscow, a depleted military with low morale, an energy crisis resulting in time-consuming gas lines, the Iran hostage and a tragic military rescue operation to boot.

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ISIS Crisis: 10-Year-Old ‘Martyr,’ Turkey Won’t Help, Obama Speaks from the Faculty Lounge

Thursday, October 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Islamic State is bragging that a young boy has died fighting for its cause.

Islamic State militants and sympathisers are triumphantly circulating images of a 10-year-old boy they claim has been ‘martyred’ while fighting alongside his father in Syria.

Describing the child as ISIS’ youngest jihadist, chilling photographs taken before his alleged death show him smiling at the camera, wearing military fatigues and brandishing a huge assault rifle.

ISIS sympathisers took to social media to identify the ‘cub fighter’ by his alleged nom de guerre Abu Ubaidah, adding that both he and his father were killed during clashes in Syria in recent weeks, but not specifying exactly where they died or who they had been fighting against.

Several images, which have not been independently verified, emerged on social media this week after a video reporting the deaths of the boy and his father was uploaded to YouTube in September.

The original video – distributed by the pro-Isis media group Al-A’amaq – is understood to have since been removed, but a number of photographs of the boy have since been widely shared by ISIS militants and their sympathisers on social media.

Kobane, Syria has yet to fall. A handful of allied airstrikes over the past couple of days have helped keep the city out of ISIS hands, according to reporter Jenan Moussa, who is tweeting from about 4 kilometers inside Turkey, near Kobane.

She spends nearly as much of her time debunking her fellow reporters as she spend reporting on the battle.

Turkey has placed tanks in its territory near Kobane, but so far it has not engaged in the battle. That is frustrating US leaders.

Islamic State fighters were battling outgunned Kurdish fighters in the heart of Kobane on Thursday as the Pentagon warned that U.S. airstrikes alone will not save the Syrian border town from being overrun by the militants.

The fresh push came amid rising tensions between the Obama administration and Turkey, a NATO ally, over who should take responsibility for helping to save the town.

The Islamic State made gains overnight despite stepped-up American airstrikes over the past three days, and senior senior administration officials expressed growing exasperation with Turkey’s refusal to intervene, either with its own military or with direct assistance to Syrian Kurdish fighters battling the militants.

“Of course they could do more,” a senior official said. “They want the U.S. to come in and take care of the problem.” The administration would also like Turkey to be more zealous in preventing foreigners from transiting its territory to join the Syrian militants.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu countered on Thursday that a unilateral ground operation by Turkish troops also would not be enough to halt the militants’ advance.

It also may not be welcomed by Kurds on the ground around Kobane.

As the battle rages on, President Obama is showing that brand of leadership that fails to reassure anyone.

“Our strikes continue alongside our partners. It remains a difficult mission,” Obama said. “As I’ve indicated from the start, this is not something that is going to be solved overnight.”

Obama said the good news was “that there is a broad-based consensus not just in the region but among nations of the world that ISIL (another acronym for ISIS) is a threat to world peace, security and order, that their barbaric behavior has to be dealt with.”

He just refuses to be the one to deal with it decisively.

President Obama has held up Yemen as a successful cast of counterterrorism, when describing what he believes ought to be done about ISIS.

About that…

SAN’A, Yemen—Two suicide bombers struck in Yemen on Thursday—one targeting a gathering of Shiite rebels in the country’s capital and the other hitting a military outpost in the south—in attacks that killed nearly 70 people, officials said.

The bombings underscored Yemen’s highly volatile situation following last month’s takeover of the capital, San’a, by the Shiite Houthi rebels, whose blitz surprised the impoverished Arab nation on the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. The Houthis’ push into San’a also prompted threats of retaliation from their Sunni militant foes in al Qaeda’s Yemen branch.

If Yemen is the model for successful counterterrorism, then the Islamic State is here to stay.

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‘Nobody is Following Obama Because They’re Not Sure If He is Committed to Winning’

Thursday, October 9th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he “can’t believe” that President Obama is “not reacting more forcefully to a threat to our homeland.”

“I don’t know when you hit bottom in foreign policy, but when you are being criticized by Jimmy Carter, you are pretty damn close,” Graham said of the former president’s criticism of Obama’s ISIS strategy.

The U.S. launched new airstrikes around the besieged border city of Kobane after essentially wanting reporters to change the subject of the impending massacre by ISIS forces.

“It shows that the airstrikes are not containing or degrading ISIS in any significant way. If that town falls, thousands will be slaughtered. That breaks one’s heart. Humanitarian disaster,” Graham told Fox last night.

“But the stronger they get over there, the more endangered we are here. President Obama’s strategy of half-measures is making it much more likely that America will be hit by another terror attack. If they take Kobane, they will be able to recruit more and more jihadists from Europe and other places. They can come back here and strike us at home. His strategy of air attacks is not working. His insistence not to have boots on the ground is a death blow to our efforts to destroy ISIL and, quite frankly, puts our country very much at risk.”

Graham said it’s certain that ISIS’ safe havens in Syria and Iraq “are going to eventually be used to attack us here at home.”

The senator called Turkey’s reticence at getting involved in saving Kobane and its allowance of jihadists to flow into Syria “a symptom of a greater problem.”

“Nobody in the region is following Barack Obama because they are not sure if he is committed to success and to winning… Turkey is a NATO nation. They have tanks within just a couple miles of this town. It is stunning that they won’t go in to help the people on the other side of the border,” Graham said. “But I think the root cause of this problem is that our allies are not sure about America and our enemies are no longer afraid of America. And that is a formula for disaster. “

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Kurdish Women Fighters Vow to ‘Make a Hell for the ISIS on Earth’

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Citing the death of a fighter who ran out of bullets and blew up herself and a group of ISIS terrorists with a grenade, the Kurdish Women Defense Units (YPJ) today called on women to unite to “make a hell” for Islamic State.

Arin Mirkan, a 20-year-old mother of two, was trying to defend Kobane from the ISIS advance Sunday when she ran out of ammunition during a gun battle outside town.

On the same day, 19-year-old Ceylan Ozalp shot herself with her last bullet rather than fall into the hands of ISIS fighters.

Ozlap told BBC last month that the women would “rather blow ourselves up than be captured by IS.”

“When they see a woman with a gun, they’re so afraid they begin to shake. They portray themselves as tough guys to the world. But when they see us with our guns they run away,” she said. “They see a woman as just a small thing. But one of our women is worth a hundred of their men.”

The YPJ said in a statement today that “the bullet fired by our women adds to their fears that they may find themselves in hell instead of heaven.”

Mirkan’s death, they said, is “the spirit of sacrifice for the freedom.”

“We will take revenge from this organization anywhere by developing our defensive systems and educating our women, for the ISIS organization cannot be defined by any terms and it is far from humanity,” the YPJ continued.

“We will avenge for those women who were sold as slaves in the markets of the ISIS organization, our vengeance will not only be bullets but by smiling faces of our women, we swear that we will make a hell for the ISIS on earth.”

The statement called on “all women” to “consciously join this struggle in the ranks of our units.”

According a Marie Claire feature profiling some of the women fighting ISIS, the YPJ numbers about 7,500 and formed in 2012. They perform the same duties as their male counterparts.

 

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Kurdish Youth ‘Occupy’ Busy London Tube Station to Protest Against ISIS

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

This is nice to see, but…

…”occupying” a London tube station will do precisely nothing to stop ISIS from taking Kobane, Syria.

Only military action on the ground will do that. It takes people who are willing and able to fight.

Among those “occupiers” are several able-bodied young men and women who could be doing quite a bit more than annoying Londoners and posing for pictures in a tube station. They could be taking up arms to defend their homelands against ISIS. Instead of asking able-bodied Americans to do it for them.

While I favor putting US troops on the ground to wipe out ISIS — because it’s inevitable that it will take Americans to do the job, and it’s naive to think that anyone else can or will do it — this protest makes me favor that a little bit less. The people in that photo are enjoying life in London while at least some of them expect Americans and others, including other Kurds, to fight on their behalf. After the protest, they will head off to dinner or back to class or whatever.

Job done? Hardly — the fighting rages on, and will for a long time.

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Carter Criticizes Obama’s ISIS Strategy: ‘We Waited Too Long’

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Even former President Jimmy Carter now thinks President Obama dropped the ball on dealing with ISIS.

In a new interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Carter said it was hard to figure out exactly what President Obama’s policy is in the Middle East.

“It changes from time to time,” Carter said. “I noticed that two of his secretaries of defense, after they got out of office, were very critical of the lack of positive action on the part of the president.”

…Carter acknowledged that the ISIS situation is complicated and he thinks the U.S. waited too long to respond.

“First of all, we waited too long. We let the Islamic state build up its money, capability and strength and weapons while it was still in Syria,” he said. “Then when [ISIS] moved into Iraq, the Sunni Muslims didn’t object to their being there and about a third of the territory in Iraq was abandoned.”

Carter sees some hope for the current American policy against ISIS in Iraq where troops on the ground will follow up after air strikes.

“If we keep on working in Iraq and have some ground troops to follow up when we do our bombing, there is a possibility of success.”

No such ground troops are available in Syria at the moment, he said.

“You have to have somebody on the ground to direct our missiles and to be sure you have the right target,” Carter said. “Then you have to have somebody to move in and be willing to fight ISIS after the strikes.”

Carter’s comments come in the same week that former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta unleashed a wave of criticism in conjunction with the release of his new book, Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace.

Panetta’s book notes that Obama too often ”relies on the logic of a law professor rather than the passion of a leader” and sometimes he “avoids the battle, complains, and misses opportunities.”

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Obama Spokesman Responds to Leon Panetta’s Accusations by Calling Him Names

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has lobbed a series of damning accusations against his old boss, President Barack Obama.

In his new book, Panetta says that Benghazi was always an obvious terrorist attack. He says that Obama approaches the world like a law professor, meaning that he does not usually see reality if it does not comport with his preconceived notions. Panetta writes that Obama’s decisions on Syria and Iraq have paved the way for the rise of of the Islamic State. Panetta writes that Obama has given up on the job, rather than continue to try working with Republicans in Congress.

The merits of some of these charges, as well as Panetta’s timing in launching them, can be debated. Obama never showed any interest in working with Republicans in Congress, for instance. In his first meeting with the opposition party, then in the minority in both houses of Congress, Obama declared “I won” and shut off debate. He lurched farther left after his overreaches, including Obamacare, led to the Republicans taking over the House in 2010. It is also probable that some of Panetta’s charges, whether correct or not, are being lodged now in order to pave the way for his friend Hillary Clinton’s run for the White House. He has revised Clinton’s role in Syria and ISIS, for instance, in a way that makes her look better and Obama look worse.

All of that said, the seriousness of Panetta’s charges isn’t debatable. He writes, essentially, that Obama is unfit for the job of president for multiple reasons. That means nothing will change for the rest of Obama’s term. He might be dragged into fighting ISIS more vigorously, which Panetta supports, but only after the world’s richest terrorist group has accumulated more territory and troops, and only after it has killed even more innocent people and become even more dangerous than it already is. By the time Obama gets around to launching more than four airstrikes per day against ISIS, the group may have further destabilized the Middle East and could even have obtained weapons of mass destruction.

So Panetta’s charges are serious, and they come from a serious man who served in Congress and who led both the CIA and the Defense Department. A man who perhaps could have done more, sooner, to make the case that he is making now — but he is serious.

President Obama is not, and he sent spokesman Bill Burton out to CNN to deflect Panetta’s accusations. Not refute, just deflect.

With childish name-calling. Watch the video on the next page.

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‘Why Don’t You Care About People Assad Killed?’: U.S. Anti-Terror PR Office Holds Q&A

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson
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The State Department’s program that attempts to turn would-be terrorists away from a life of jihad opened the floor up for questions this week.

Think Again Turn Away is trying to counter ISIS’ slick social-media recruitment and PR campaign with its own videos showing how destructive jihad can be, as well as photoshopping its own anti-terror memes. Last month the program stoked ire in some corners for tweeting then deleting photos of dead jihadis.

This week Think Again Turn Away hopped on ask.fm, a Latvia-based global social networking site that terrorists have used to conduct Q&A with would-be followers.

“Why don’t you care about the people Assad killed?” asks one poster of the State Department unit.

“The United States cares immensely about those who have been killed under the Assad administration and the terrible atrocities that have been committed. We are working hard to degrade the terrorists, including ISIS and the Khorasan group, as well as to support the Syrian Opposition Coalition. The U.S. Government has no plans to work with Assad in accomplishing these missions. We recognize that there is no solution for a stable Syria as long as Assad is in power,” the U.S. government responds.

“You are the greatest terrorist on the planet!” another posts in the question box.

“This isn’t actually a question, but we’ll take this opportunity to correct your statement. Some of the greatest terrorist organizations currently operating in the world include: ISIS, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Taliban, AQAP, and Jabhat al-Nusra amongst others. The monsters that comprise these groups kill innocent individuals indiscriminately, rape and sell women and children as sex slaves, and destroy culture and heritage. Is it any wonder that Muslims everywhere condemn the terrorists and their actions?” Think Again Turn Away responds.

Asked whether pie or cake is better, the State Department posted a photo of an American-flag pie.

“Your freedom is fake! Your bravery is faker then fake. Send some boots and clean the mess!” asks another.

“What is fake is the idyllic and peaceful existence that ISIS purports to give those who support it,” the government responds. “ISIS rules with barbarity and ultra-violence, killing and raping innocent individuals of all religions, including Muslims.”

“Mr.Obama used this sentence a few times ‘…american interests…’, what exactly are your interests in middle east/north africa? Does it mean that someone like assad can still kill if the american interests are safe/untouched?”

“The United States cares about the Middle East because of the economic, political, and security interests we have, the many friendships we have forged, and the rich spiritual and ethnic traditions we have inherited. The region is home to many of our allies and important partners in the Gulf,” Think Again Turn Away replies. “American interests are also reliant upon global security and a future without terrorists organizations like ISIS, al-Qaeda, and its affiliates, who persecute, torture, rape, and murder innocent individuals. The United States is dedicated to helping all of those persecuted by ISIS, including the people of Syria, and safeguarding their future – a future we know is not possible with the Assad regime in power.”

 

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VIDEO: State Department Spokeswoman Literally Cannot Find Evidence of Successes Against ISIS in Iraq

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

During Tuesday’s State Department press conference, the Associated Press’ Matt Lee asked spokeswomen Jen Psaki if the Obama administration is “distressed” by the fact that ISIS forces continue to gain ground while the US-led coalition conducts airstrikes against it.

Psaki disputed that that’s what is happening on the ground: “There have been certainly gains made by the Iraqi security forces in Iraq, I can go through some of those with you if that would be useful.”

Psaki noted that the coalition is “going after” a number of ISIS targets but did not specify whether the airstrikes have actually hit or destroyed any of them.

At that point, Psaki says “Let me just tick through these and then we can go to your next question. Some of the, uh, successes we have seen on the ground by the, uh, Iraqi security forces.”

Psaki flips through a few papers on the podium. Pauses. “Sorry. Um. I’ll find these. I wanted to highlight them.”

Lee asked, laughing, “Does that mean that there aren’t any?”

“It does not mean that at all,” Psaki responded, pledging to find that list of Iraqi successes and get them to Lee at the end of the presser.

Watch video of the embarrassing moment.

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Islamic State Grants ‘Non-Infidel’ Certificates

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

During its conquests in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State has had to come up with a method to allow all those non-Sunnis who ended up converting to Sunni Islam instead of being killed—the Christians, Yazidis, Shias, who for whatever reason remained under IS territory—to be identified as true and legitimate Muslims.

Accordingly, it has been issuing “non-infidel certificates.”  Like a driver’s license, these certificates have the picture of the named convert and explain to any Islamic State soldier that the named is a Muslim now and thus it is “impermissible to lash, crucify, or rape him [portion circled in red].”  The certificate is good for three months.  Its text follows:

To whom it may concern,

We hereby notify you that the one named Na’il Salu bin Basaam of the people of the al-Raqa emirate took and satisfactorily passed a course on Repentance.

Based on this, we hereby grant him this certificate confirming that he is not an infidel [kafir] and that it is impermissible to lash, crucify, or rape him, unless a legitimate reason arises for the soldiers of the caliphate or if it’s been established that he has returned to apostasy and wants his freedom.

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McCain and Graham Want to Expand the Phony War on ISIS to Attack Assad Too

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In the Wall Street Journal, Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham write that we need to take out Syrian dictator Assad in order to take down the Islamic State.

The airstrikes and other actions President Obama is taking against Islamic State deserve bipartisan support. They are beginning to degrade the terrorist group, also known as ISIS, but will not destroy it, for one reason above all: The administration still has no effective policy to remove Bashar Assad from power and end the conflict in Syria.

That’s the edititorial’s first paragraph, and it goes off the rails quickly.

For starters, there is no evidence that the US-led airstrikes are actually degrading ISIS at all. The allied air campaign is barely a campaign. Call it a “CINO” — a Campaign In Name Only.

It only amounts to about four airstrikes per day, against a group that now occupies a huge and expanding territory. Even while the airstrikes have gone on, at that pitiful rate of about four per day, ISIS has edged closer to Baghdad in Iraq and is set to seize control of Kobane on the Syria-Turkey border. That battle may yet draw Turkey, and therefore NATO, into the war.

McCain and Graham write that they disagree with the administration when it says that Assad is a problem who can be dealt with later, because Assad empowers ISIS.

Administration officials have called their approach “ISIS first.” As for Mr. Assad, in the words of Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the administration will “defer that challenge into the future.” This is not a luxury we get to choose. And Mr. Obama himself recently said he does “recognize the contradiction” in his own policy—which is that by confronting Islamic State but not Assad, the U.S. may unintentionally benefit the ruler whose ouster he continues, rightly, to demand.

Unfortunately, this is not the only self-defeating contradiction in the administration’s Syria policy.

After Islamic State stormed into Iraq in June, Mr. Obama argued that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ’s alienation of Sunnis had strengthened the terrorist group. Destroying Islamic State in Iraq, the administration suggested, required Mr. Maliki’s removal and an inclusive new government. Why not the same urgency about Syria?

For one thing, the US has leverage in Iraq as a nominal ally that we do not have in Syria. Assad is and will likely always be an enemy of the United States and the west generally, and an ally with our adversaries in Moscow and Tehran. The United States is simply in no position to order Assad to do much of anything, and the Obama administration demonstrated its lack of seriousness with the president’s disappearing “red line.”

Mr. Assad all but created Islamic State through his slaughter of nearly 200,000 Syrians, and he has knowingly allowed the group to grow and operate with impunity inside the country when it suits his purposes. Until we confront this reality, we can continue to degrade Islamic State in Syria, but Mr. Assad’s barbarism will continue to empower it.

We are not actually degrading them strategically; see above. We are hitting them tactically, in specific circumstances, such as the Mosul Dam and now the battle for Kobane. This is a recipe for a very long and largely ineffective war.

This points to another contradiction: How can we arm and train 5,000 Syrians and expect them to succeed against Islamic State without protecting them (and their families) from Assad’s airstrikes and barrel bombs? Or expect moderate groups in Syria fighting Islamic State to take advantage of U.S. airstrikes if we do not coordinate or communicate our operations with them? This is reportedly not happening. Instead, Mr. Assad is exploiting U.S. airstrikes to kill the very people we want as our partners. This is not just a recipe for failure; it is immoral.

Our efforts to build up a viable Free Syrian Army to liberate Syria from the evils of Islamic State and Mr. Assad will surely fail if the Syrian ruler is not dealt with. To expect Mr. Assad to sit on the sidelines as the Free Syrian Army gains capacity would be a colossal mistake and doom efforts to stop Syria from sinking further into the abyss.

It’s unlikely that the U.S. can maintain public support among Syrians for the fight against Islamic State, or succeed without their support, unless it does more to end Assad’s war against them. Syrians are already asking why America is bombing Islamic State but not stopping Mr. Assad from bombing them. This only hardens their pervasive belief that America cares only for itself. This belief threatens to strengthen Islamic State and discredit our moderate partners among the anti-Assad forces.

At this point it is unlikely that the Obama administration can even maintain public support for the war among Americans. He refuses to fight effectively and has already told the enemy that the greatest ground fighting forces in the world will not trouble ISIS. The Iraqi military remains mostly useless, and the Kurds are fighting heroically but they are outgunned by ISIS.

How moderate are the Free Syrian Army and other similar anti-Assad Syrian groups? McCain, who has consistently downplayed the jihadist element among Assad’s enemies, is hardly credible on that question.

According to Patrick Poole, the Free Syrian Army has been operating openly with ISIS and another al Qaeda-linked terrorist group.

Skipping to the end of the editorial, after the senators have rightly noted that it will take American forces on the ground in order to eventually defeat ISIS…

The reality is that defeating Islamic State also requires defeating Bashar Assad. Avoiding this reality, as Mr. Obama still tries to do, will only postpone the problem at growing risk to Syrian lives and American security. And when Syria deteriorates further, as it surely will, the U.S. will be compelled to respond once again, but our options will be fewer, worse and costlier.

And what of Russia? And Iran? Will those two allies of Assad merely cut him loose in the face of Obama’s military prowess, or will they defend him if only to make more trouble for the United States? Iran is likely to do what it did in Iraq and wage a jihadist proxy war against the US-led coalition. There is already evidence of Russian intelligence working alongside Assad’s forces in Syria. Putin knows that under Obama, American military forces have been cut to the bone. We are no longer capable of fighting two wars simultaneously, as we were from the Reagan through the George W. Bush administrations. Russia may find it useful to keep violence on enough of a boil in Syria and Iraq to to keep America’s attentions thee, and allow Russia a freer hand in Ukraine and eastern Europe.

Assad is a very bad guy, he is backed by very bad guys, but ISIS is worse, and removing him at this stage runs the strong risk of opening up a vacuum into which any number of people and groups who might be better, but will probably be worse, would step in.  Without any American ground forces in the fight, the US will be in no position even to contemplate getting a leader as good/bad as Maliki was in Iraq. It’s more likely that a post-Assad Syria gets led by a puppet of Iran or Russia (or both), or by an Islamist dictator, or it becomes another Libya or Somalia — a failed feudal state in which Islamist terrorists thrive.

The strategic situation in Syria is as complex and volatile as any that the United States has ever faced. It’s a terrible moment to have one of the most ineffective, inexperienced, duplicitous and indecisive presidents that America has ever had. But that is what we have, and what we are stuck with until January 2017.

 

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Senator Suggests That Congress Should Debate Things, Makes ‘News’

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

What a novel idea!

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey says it would be “very healthy” for the United States if members of Congress spend about two weeks getting briefings, holding hearings, and having a real debate about authorizing the use of force against the Islamic State terrorist group.

The Pennsylvania Democrat said in an interview Monday with The Associated Press that even if members believe, as he does, that President Barack Obama has the legal authority to mount an aerial bombing campaign against the terrorist group, a debate and even some votes could be helpful for his strategy.

That’s some cutting edge political thinking right there: suggesting that a deliberative body which expresses itself by voting should deliberate and maybe even vote on some stuff.

What next: a suggestion that they uphold the Constitution?

This really is just more media cover for The Idiot King but it does make Congress look absurd. Casey is actually only suggesting going through the motions so the president doesn’t appear to be acting unilaterally. He does have to hang onto that Nobel Peace Prize cred after all. That Casey’s suggestion for the Kabuki theater you-know-what covering is a description of what he and his colleagues should be doing all of the time while working is indicative of what a sad group we have populating the political class in Washington right now.

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19-Year-Old Chicago Man Arrested En Route to Fight for ISIS

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

A young Muslim man from Chicago was arrested Saturday and charged today with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization — the Islamic State.

Mohammed Hamzah Khan was arrested while trying to fly from O’Hare International Airport to Vienna, then to Istanbul, from which he allegedly intended to join ISIS fighters.

Khan appeared in U.S. District Court Monday morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Cox in Chicago and remains in federal custody pending a Thursday morning detention hearing.

According to the complaint affidavit filed Monday, a round-trip ticket was purchased for Khan on Sep. 26, from Chicago to Istanbul. He was scheduled to depart Saturday and return on Thursday.

Khan was stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at O’Hare while passing through the security screening checkpoint Saturday afternoon and interviewed by FBI agents at the airport.

While executing a search warrant at Khan’s residence, federal agents found “multiple handwritten documents that appeared to be drafted by Khan and/or others, which expressed support for ISIL,” according to the affidavit.

Between 12 and 100 Americans are believed to either be currently fighting for ISIS, or to have been killed fighting for ISIS. A wealthy American is also believed to be managing the Islamic State’s social media.

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ISIS Flags Seen Over Border City of Kobane; Threat of Massacre Looms

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Twitter reports indicate that the northern Syria town of Kobane is falling to ISIS despite the best attempts of Kurdish forces to beat back the advance.

The city of Kobane and surrounding towns normally have a population estimated at 350,000, but Kurdish news organization Rudaw reported that only 10 percent of residents were left. Some residents including Sunnis and Christians have been attempting to flee to Turkey, only to have their escape hampered by the border guards. Some villagers in towns already seized by ISIS have been raped and murdered or beheaded.

The city is so close to the border that Kurds and media in Turkey have been able to watch the battle from the hills.

The Observer reported on the story of Mostafa Kader, who had fled Kobane 10 days earlier with his wife and their two small children:

His uncle planned to join them but at the last minute changed his mind, unable to leave a village that had been his home for more than eight decades. The militants beheaded him, refugees arriving later told Kader.

“He was 85 – he could not even lift a weapon,” said the young father, baffled by the brutality. Even more haunting were stories from his wife’s village, where the fleeing family found the bodies of her sister and an eight-year-old niece lying in pools of blood.

“They had been raped, and their hearts were cut out of their chests and left on top of the bodies,” he said, struggling to hold back tears. “I buried them with my own hands.”

Kobane has been surrounded by ISIS for two weeks now, prompting Kurdish-Americans to plead for help from Washington and question why support hadn’t come earlier to help prevent a massacre.

“Obviously we – ISIL is clearly, as you noted, trying to gain control of the border crossings with Turkey by taking the opposition-held towns between Aleppo and the border. We’ve seen, of course, the comments of the Turkish leaders. As you also may know, several individual opposition groups have formed de facto coalitions which include both Kurds and Sunnis in some of these towns, including near the Turkish border, to kind of unite and work together to fight this,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Friday.

“We are also assisting in this. We – coalition airstrikes, some in predominantly Kurdish areas that are ongoing, we feel are helping Kurdish and opposition fighters as they exert pressure on ISIL. So this week alone, we note that CENTCOM did strikes in Kobani that hit an ISIL – hit on ISIL tanks, artillery, and armor. And obviously, this is an ongoing effort.”

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Friday that they have been “long watching the situation around Kobane.”

“We watched as ISIL — we began to, you know, watch them as they tried to — dispersing out of Raqqa, and heading towards Kobane, we’ve been aware of the threat that they pose to that place and to the residents there,” Kirby said. “…But we’re broadly focused, not just on one city and one town. We have to stay broadly focused on the whole region and the threat that ISIL poses to both countries across what is essentially no border at all.”

 

 

 

 

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ISIS Offensive May Force NATO Intervention to Protect Turkey

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Right now, NATO’s largest security concern is Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its threats against other NATO states in eastern Europe.

But that may change very soon.

Turkey is a NATO member. While its Islamist government has become an unreliable partner for both the US and Israel, an Islamic State offensive on the Turkey-Syria border may force Turkey to call on NATO for support.

ISIS forces have advance onto and into the border town of Kobane, which is just on the Syrian side of the border.

kobane-map

Jenan Moussa, a reporter for Al Aan TV in Dubai, tweets that ISIS is defeating the Kurdish forces defending Kobane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moussa and a Wall Street Journal reporter both report that ISIS forces have pushed into Kobane and that they see the ISIS flag flying over hills on the outskirts of the city.

NATO says that it stands ready to intervene and protect Turkey if it become necessary. Kobane is barely on the Syrian side of the border, but ISIS has proven that border mean very little to it.

The US-led airstrikes appear to be having very little, if any, effect as ISIS advances.

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Report: Massive Explosion at Iran Nuclear Facility

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Times of Israel reports that there was a massive explosion at the Parchin nuclear explosives plant last night.

The BBC, citing a report from the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), reported on Monday that the incident happened in an “explosive materials production unit” at the site south-east of the capital Tehran.

According to ISNA the blast was so powerful it shattered windows up to 12 kilometers away and the glare from the explosion lit up the night sky.

Several arms facilities and military bases are located east of the Iranian capital, including Parchin. UN nuclear inspectors have been seeking to visit the site to answer concerns about Iran’s atomic program.

Parchin is one of the plants that the International Atomic Energy Agency has sought to visit, but Iran has denied access to it. IAEA inspectors are due to hold talks on Iran’s nuclear program tomorrow in Tehran.

More from Michael Ledeen: 

Unscrewing Inscrutable Iran

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How Obama’s Arab Spring Created the Islamic State

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

Over a decade ago, the U.S. conquered Iraq; its military and intelligence were on the ground for years with autonomy.   In other words, U.S. influence and authority was more pronounced in Iraq than probably any other Muslim country in the world.

And yet it is in this one Muslim nation, where the U.S. had most authority, where U.S. blood and treasure were spent, that the absolute worst Islamic terrorist group—the Islamic State—was born.

Coincidence?

Or is this too related to the great “Arab Spring” failures of the Obama administration?

Consider: Obama was repeatedly warned that withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq would lead to something exactly like the Islamic State—with all the atrocities that have become synonymous with that name.

Indeed, arguing against early troop withdrawal, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, once made the following now prophetic remarks:

To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we are ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States.

It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to Al Qaeda.

It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale.

It would mean we allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan.

It would mean we’d be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.

The point here is not to “side” with Bush—the idea of transporting “democracy” to an Islamic country was ill-conceived from the start—but rather to demonstrate that Obama was thoroughly warned what troop withdrawal would lead to: the Islamic State.   The same U.S. military and intelligence sources that allowed Bush to make that prescient statement also shared their assessments with Obama.

Yet Obama withdrew anyway.  In December 2011, Obama declared the Iraq war a success and pulled out American troops.  And, to the eyes of most Americans, things were relatively quiet—until, of course, the world heard that a head-chopping, infidel-crucifying, mass-murdering “caliphate” had “suddenly” arisen.

Was Iraq also part of the euphoria of the Obama-endorsed “Arab Spring”?

Recall that final troop withdrawal from Iraq occurred at the height of the Arab Spring when the Obama administration was simultaneously betraying key U.S. allies in the Islamic world such as Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.

If the U.S. was not going to stand by its former “secular strongmen,” but instead was willing to hold hands with their traditional enemies, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, why should it have supported Iraq’s Nouri Maliki?… Keep reading 

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Coalition Leader: Iraqi Military Won’t Be Ready To Take Back Mosul For At Least A Year

Friday, October 3rd, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Deja vu all over again.

The American official coordinating the international coalition fighting the Islamic State said on Friday that the Iraqi military would not be ready for a campaign to retake Mosul, the largest Iraqi city under insurgent control, for as much as a year.

Mosul has become a symbol of the strength of the Islamist insurgency, which has made the city its stronghold, and of the failure of the Iraqi security forces, which wilted in June as militants swept across the Syrian border and overran the city as they pushed toward Baghdad.

The broad timeline given by the official, retired Gen. John R. Allen, seemed to reflect the immense challenges facing the Iraqi military command and its international partners, including about 1,200 American military advisers deployed by President Obama, as they seek to rebuild the Iraqi security forces.

“When it’s undertaken, the right kind of planning and preparation will have been done to make sure the outcome will favor the Iraqis,” said General Allen, a retired Marine who served in the Iraq War and was the top American commander in Afghanistan.

So we have to take time to rebuild the security forces we just spent a decade building and training, got it?

If there has been a huge outcry from the anti-war left about a QUAGMIRE I’ve missed it. Google “george bush quagmire” to see what a popular word it was back when it wasn’t a Nobel Peace Prize winner committing us to long-term military action.

With peace like this, who needs enemies?

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ISIS Beheads British Hostage Alan Henning; Threatens to Kill Another American Hostage

Friday, October 3rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Islamic State had threatened to behead British captive Alan Hennings. They have carried out that threat, with U.S.-led airstrikes supposedly hitting them in Iraq and Syria.

Islamic State militants have published a video that is said to depict the murder of a British aid convoy volunteer Alan Henning three weeks after warning that he would be the next to die.

If the video is found to be authentic, Henning will be the fourth western hostage to have been killed by the group, following the video-taped beheadings of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and Scottish aid worker David Haines.

The latest crime comes after the UK launched air strikes against Isis, joining the US and its Arab allies – Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – which had been targeting the group for several days.

He leaves behind a wife and two teenage children.

Henning’s is the first ISIS beheading of a western hostage to be done while the U.S. and its allies are conducting airstrikes against the group. So far, though, the U.S.-led alliance has conducted just over 300 strikes across several days. ISIS’ capabilities have apparently not been degraded at all. The group entered Kobani, Syria today and are approaching the Syria-Turkey border.

The Islamic State is now threatening to behead another American hostage.

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Obama’s Foreign Policy Faux Pas Make ISIS More Formidable

Friday, October 3rd, 2014 - by Jennifer Hanin

There’s little controversy over the foreign policy screw-ups and missed opportunities that have arisen from the Obama Administration over the last two years. Not addressing the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) is perhaps one of the biggest faux pas thus far. But there are at least nine other epic-scale gaffes that continue to plague Obama’s administration like Benghazi and its evil step-child contrived out of sheer stupidity: the cover-up video pack of lies.

So now we’re faced with the stark reality and collective baggage of how to prevail over ISIS as the terrorist group continues making headway and head-chopping videos in Iraq, Syria and beyond. President Obama recently addressed the UN National Security Council and finally outlined a set of criteria to stave off ISIS. Yet there is much more needed to win a war against an unscrupulous and formidable enemy fighting an ideological war that goes against everything we believe in as Americans. Fighting an enemy whose firm belief is deeply rooted in Wahhabism is not exactly second nature to Americans yet now we are faced with the grim reality that our national security (and that of other countries) is in jeopardy if we don’t act fast.

So what’s Obama doing right and what does he need to do better? Plenty. For instance, acknowledging that these four criteria must occur is a decent start:

1)    ISIS must be degraded and ultimately destroyed

2)    World support (especially support from Muslims) must reject ideology adopted (and spread) via al Qaeda and ISIS (and other main or fringe terrorist groups).

3)    Intervention by various countries’ governments and military to stop the cycle of conflict, especially sectarian conflict in the Middle East, which attracts terrorist groups to invade weakened war-torn nations.

4)    Arab world must renew a greater focus on their people, particularly their youth, which often makes up 60 plus percent of the population.

Yet this alone is not enough. Obama has received regular intelligence for the last two years that ISIS not only existed but was a growing threat and more is needed. At this point, its going to take not only ground forces (something the Pentagon has continually repeated) but five to eight years to undue gains made by ISIS in Iraq and Syria and beyond. Unfortunately, ground troops and a lengthy war also means countless lost American lives and treasure.

As Reagan’s national security advisor Robert (Bud) MacFarlane and senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research Lt. Col. Anthony (Tony) Shaffer indicated in a recent audiotaped call on Obama’s UN address not every country is capable of carrying out the responsibilities required by true democracies, and this was clear from our dealings with Libya. It takes very special circumstances for democratic rule to take root, and it’s exactly why many countries fall short of the real definition and succumb to invading terrorist factions who force tyrannical rule under the guise of “democracy.”

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Obama: Islamic State Acting Out of ‘Expediency’

Friday, October 3rd, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

After my article “Islamic State Atrocities: Products of Grievances’?” appeared, a reader sent me the following email, which makes similar points, specifically about Obama’s use of the word “expediency” to explain away Islamic State savageries:

Dear Mr. Ibrahim,

You are so correct to find Obama’s real point of view by paying close attention to his phraseology and vocabulary, something I find too few commentators take the time to do. Often one word, such as “grievances,” gives the whole show away. I read the transcript of Obama’s remarks made after the beheading of Mr. Foley — after which Obama returned to his old game –  and came upon this transcript from WSJ:

[ISIS] 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.

Expediency! This is an extremely revealing word. ISIS only hates America because they find it expedient to do so– I suppose for PR or recruiting reasons or some such thing in Obama’s mind.

Obama refuses to recognize the spiritual (i.e. religious/jihadist) motivation of the ISIS terrorists, because of the sympathy he and his advisers have for the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood, his contempt for America and because Obama only thinks in material — that is non-spiritual — terms.

The same applies to his usage of the word “grievances.”  These words denotes a fatal weakness in Obama’s conception and handling of terrorism both at home and abroad — in his eyes, there is no real or serious underlying threat or problem of jihadist terrorism with regard to the USA, and in particular none that he will allow to get in the way of his overriding goal of transforming America and its place in the world.

In effect, what this means is that he is willing to put the whole USA and all Americans on the same chopping block as other countries such as Israel and the Christians in Muslim lands, either out of gross negligence, or for ideological reasons, or out of incompetence, or (most likely) a combination of all three. A rather novel way of viewing the motivation for a brutal public beheading:  an act of mere expediency.

Regards,
Bill Meisler

 

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Is the Islamic State a Good Thing?

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

The following is an envisioning of what might eventually unfold if the Islamic State is left to flourish.  Although it is only one of several possible scenarios, due to its ostensibly implausible nature, it requires some delineation.

The Islamic State (IS) continues expanding its territory and influence through jihad.   Religious minorities that fall under its sway—at least the fortunate ones—continue to flee in droves, helping make the Islamic State what it strives to be: purely Islamic.

Left unfettered, with only cosmetic airstrikes by an indecisive Obama administration to deal with, IS continues growing in strength and confidence, as Western powers again stand idly by.

More and more Muslims around the world, impressed and inspired by what they see, become convinced that the Islamic State is in fact the new caliphate deserving of their allegiance.  Such Muslims—the most “radical” kind, who delight in the slaughter and subjugation of “infidels”—continue leaving Western nations and migrating to the Islamic State to wage jihad and live under Sharia.

In other words, a sizable chunk of the world’s most radicalized/pious Muslims all become localized in one region.  There they openly and proudly display their anti-infidel supremacism.

Throughout, Western media have no choice but to report objectively—so thoroughly exposed for its barbarity has IS become that it is an insurmountable task to whitewash its atrocities.  The world has seen enough about IS to know that this is a savage, hostile, and supremacist state without excuse.   Even Obama, after originally citing “grievances” as propelling the Islamic State’s successes, recently made an about face, saying “No grievance justifies these actions.”

Put differently, the “Palestinian card” will not work here.  Western media, apologists, and talking heads cannot portray IS terror—including crucifying, beheading, and raping humans simply because they are “infidels”—as a product of “grievances” or “land disputes.”…  Continue reading

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Administration Criticism That Israel ‘Poisons Atmosphere’ with Jerusalem Construction Is ‘Deplorable,’ Says Senator

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) slammed as “deplorable” the White House’s condemnation of Israel, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was visiting, for housing construction in Jerusalem.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters yesterday that the U.S. is “deeply concerned by reports that Israeli government has moved forward with the planning process in the sensitive area — or in a sensitive area of east Jerusalem.”

“This step is contrary to Israel’s stated goal of negotiating a permanent status agreement with the Palestinians, and it would send a very troubling message if they were to proceed with tenders or construction in that area,” Earnest continued. “This development will only draw condemnation from the international community, distance Israel from even its closest allies, poison the atmosphere, not only with the Palestinians but also with the very Arab governments with which Prime Minister Netanyahu said he wanted to build relations.”

“It also would call into question Israel’s ultimate commitment to peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.”

Earnest said the construction issues “did come up in the conversations” between President Obama and Netanyahu.

Netanyahu told MSNBC today that the Obama administration “should get acquainted with the facts first.”

“I find that curious, because the criticism was leveled at a new neighborhood that was mixed. It had a substantial part of the apartments apportioned — parceled out to Arabs, to Palestinians alongside Jews. So it’s — why not have them live together?” Netanyahu said.

“The second part of the criticism was actually baffling to me, because it criticized individual Jews who bought apartments in an Arab neighborhood. Now Jews buy apartments, private property, in Arab neighborhoods. Arabs buy apartments in Jewish neighborhoods. And I find that that’s the right thing to do.”

The prime minister stressed that he and Obama did not get into these specific issues, even though the White House and State Department press secretaries began slamming Israel over the construction.

State Department press secretary Jen Psaki was asked to clarify her criticism today.

“We’re talking about settlement activity and the fact that there are multiple stages in the process and the fact that it continued, and that’s why we expressed our concern,” Psaki said. “Our position is not changing. I was answering the question broadly. Obviously, as we stated yesterday, we’re also referring to provocative actions that can make it more difficult to move forward in a peaceful manner in the region.”

“Israel remains an important partner, a security partner, a friend and ally. That has not changed… I think we’re talking about what the – what we’ve already seen to be the response from the international community to ongoing activities such as these.”

Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, “Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and the United States should not be condemning zoning and permitting decisions made by Jerusalem’s municipal government.”

“Finally, the Obama Administration’s view of Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts suggests that it has learned nothing from its six years of failed efforts. The administration can continue to live in a fantasy world where we are always just one step from a renewal of the peace process and the achievement of a comprehensive agreement, but the fact of the matter remains that Israel does not have a viable negotiating partner. Palestinian ‘leaders’ who make false accusations of genocide, partner with a terrorist group, and constantly peddle hateful rhetoric, rather than take the tough decisions required to create a lasting peace, are not seeking peace with Israel,” the senator continued.

“This is another case of President Obama’s bizarre logic of tearing down our closest partners while building up those who do not share our values. Especially now, when Israel and moderate Arab states in the Middle East are facing terrorist attacks, the president should begin to treat Israel as the invaluable and reliable friend it truly is.”

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354 Members Of U.S. House Urge Kerry To Toughen Up On Iran Nuclear Talks

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

“Wake up, John.”

Hundreds of U.S. lawmakers pressed Secretary of State John Kerry to lean harder on Iran in talks over its nuclear program in a letter released on Thursday after Israel warned Washington not to go easy on Tehran.

Three hundred and fifty-four members – four-fifths – of the U.S. House of Representatives signed the letter sent to Kerry on Wednesday night, expressing concerns that an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program might not require sufficiently strict inspections of its nuclear facilities.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Sept. 5 that Iran had failed to address concerns about suspected atomic bomb research by an agreed deadline.

Finally, something with overwhelming bipartisan support. Whether that will be enough to get Kerry to stop his laser-like focus on climate change as our greatest threat remains to be seen. Once someone has slipped into that kind of detachment from reality it’s often difficult to bring him back.

It is comforting to see so many U.S. lawmakers paying attention to Benjamin Netanyahu, a leader who does attend his security briefings.

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354 House Members Appeal to Kerry to Pay Attention to Iran’s ‘Dangerous’ Lack of Cooperation with Inspectors

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A huge majority of House lawmakers have appealed to Secretary of State John Kerry to take note of Iran’s refusal to cooperate with inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency as the P5+1 tries to forge a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.

The letter was led by the leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and ranking member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) — and the 352 other signatories included House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

“As you know, the IAEA has sought information on the ‘potential military dimensions’ of the Iranian nuclear program, in particular information about Iran’s extensive research and development of a nuclear explosive device,” the letter to Kerry states, noting that in its Sept. 5 report the IAEA said Iran “had failed to meet its latest deadline.”

“We believe that Iran’s willingness to fully reveal all aspects of its nuclear program is a fundamental test of Iran’s intention to uphold a comprehensive agreement,” the lawmakers wrote. “…The only reasonable conclusion for its stonewalling of international investigators is that Tehran does indeed have much to hide.”

“We are concerned that an agreement that accepts Iran’s lack of transparency on this key issue would set the dangerous precedent that certain facilities and aspects of Iran’s nuclear program can be declared off limits by Tehran, resulting in additional wide-ranging restrictions on IAEA inspectors, and making effective verification virtually impossible.”

A “resolution” of the issue of IAEA inspections is “essential to establishing a baseline regarding the status of the Iranian nuclear program,” they stressed.

“Accurate predictions of the period of time needed by Iran to assemble a weapon and assessments of Iran’s compliance cannot be made without highly reliable information obtained from an unrestricted inspection and verification regime. Such a baseline is also critical to developing more precise estimates on the time it would take Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability without detection.”

The lawmakers added that they would like to see a negotiated solution to the crisis, but urged Kerry to “carefully monitor Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA’s inquiry.”

“As you have written, there is a ‘discrepancy…between Iran’s professed intent with respect to its nuclear program and the actual content of that program to date.’ We agree with your assessment that ‘these issues cannot be dismissed; they must be addressed by the Iranians if a comprehensive solution is to be reached.’ An agreement that effectively prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability demands transparency on the extensive research and development work that Iran has undertaken in the past.”

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Netanyahu Says He and Obama Have ‘Difference of Emphasis’ on Iran’s Nuclear Capability

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed to President Obama before their bilateral meeting Wednesday at the White House that he “fervently” hopes a bad deal with Iran isn’t brewing.

The Obama administration continued the P5+1 talks with Iran during the UN General Assembly last week.

“As you know, Mr. President, Iran seeks a deal that would lift the tough sanctions that you’ve worked so hard to put in place, and leave it as a threshold nuclear power,” Netanyahu said with Obama at his side. “I fervently hope that under your leadership that would not happen.”

In his remarks before the prime minister’s, Obama said they would “have an opportunity to discuss the progress that’s being made with respect to dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, which obviously has been a high priority for not only Israel, but also the United States and the world community.”

“It’s challenging I think for an Israeli Prime Minister to have to work so hard during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but I know that the Prime Minister’s utmost priority is making sure that his country is safe during these difficult times,” Obama added.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest stressed “there are statements from leaders in Iran indicating that they don’t have designs on a nuclear weapon.”

“And what we need to do is we need to reach an agreement between the Iranian regime and the general international community, a verifiable agreement to demonstrate that Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapon,” Earnest said. “…Previous interactions with Iran about their nuclear program have drawn the expressions of frustration from some in the international community because they have observed Iran using ongoing diplomatic conversations as cover to make advances on their nuclear program. That is not the case in the context of these talks. Rather, the opposite has occurred.”

Netanyahu told NPR this morning that Israel and Washington have “a difference of emphasis between the nuclear weapons themselves or the capability to make them in short order.”

“To the extent that an agreement emerges that is close to our position which says, no enrichment capability, no centrifuge. You don’t really need in Iran because there are 17 nations in the world that have civilian nuclear energy without centrifuges. Centrifuges are only used for one thing – to make bomb-grade material,” he continued.

Netanyahu would not promise acceptance of any agreement that comes out of the talks.

“Well, I hope very much that it approaches as close as possible our position,” he said. “Depends what it is. But I’ve often said and I’ve heard it echoed from the president, no deal is better than a bad deal. And a deal that would leave Iran with capacity to arrive in short order to nuclear weapons would be a very bad deal.”

More: 354 House Members Appeal to Kerry to Pay Attention to Iran’s ‘Dangerous’ Lack of Cooperation with Inspectors

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Howard Dean: Worries Over Obama Skipping His Intel Briefings Is More or Less Birtherism

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

As the Islamic State rose to become the terrorist mass that it is today, President Barack Obama ignored warnings and reportedly skipped about half of his presidential daily briefings. He downplayed the threat, calling ISIS “jayvee.”

Those briefings that the president reportedly skipped included “specific” intelligence about ISIS and its capabilities even before the 2012 election.

At that time, Obama was publicly campaigning on having “decimated” “core al Qaeda” and sent it “on the run.”

So was Obama reading his briefings or not? It’s an important question that aims directly at how the president is performing his duties. Obama tossed the intelligence community and his own Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, under the bus on 60 Minutes when he blamed them for “underestimating” ISIS. That comment has sparked a sort of cold war between the president and his intelligence agencies, as the nation grapples with the Islamic State’s rise and threat, and what to do about it.

But if you are concerned about this, former Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean thinks that you’re a kook.

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough asked Dean about the skipped briefings on his show this morning. “Howard Dean, you get 42% of the briefings face-to-face, 42% in the second term, missed the rest. Is that a big deal? Are there sometimes you’d rather read something than have people talk?”

Dean wasn’t subtle in dismissing the question: “This rises to the level of Obama was born in Kenya and is a right wing Muslim. I saw Crossroads did this, he has no credibility whatsoever. The presidents, leaders, governors do things differently, I just think this is ridiculous. I can’t even believe we are talking about this. This is silly.”

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Netanyahu: Iran Still a More Pressing Threat Than ISIS

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Hot mess.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President Barack Obama today at the White House in a bid to find common ground on Iran talks after a year of disputes over making peace with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu said he would stress to Obama the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, amid concern in Israel that the U.S. may lose focus on the issue because of its military campaign against Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria.

“We all support the effort led by President Obama to stop and defeat ISIS,” Netanyahu told a gathering of American Jewish community leaders in New York yesterday, using an acronym for Islamic State’s former name. “But to defeat ISIS, and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power, is to win the battle and lose the war.”

World powers are negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program as a U.S.-led military alliance strikes Islamic State, an al-Qaeda splinter group that has seized parts of Iraq and Syria and gained notoriety for beheadings and crucifixions. Although Iran isn’t part of that coalition, it’s also helping its Iraqi and Syrian allies to fight the militant group, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said it has a role to play in defeating Islamic State.

Kerry didn’t clarify exactly what Iran was offering to combat climate change, which he still maintains is our most pressing threat.

The adults in the room, however, face quite the conundrum. ISIS and its antics have made it impossible for even a detached golfer who moonlights as president of the United States to ignore. ISIS is beheading Americans but Iran hates ISIS too, and we can be safe in assuming it is not because of the way they’re treating U.S. citizens. So, if you want to play “the enemy of my enemy…” here it gets confusing.

The protracted way we’re going about dealing with ISIS just gives the Iranians more time to dupe the rest of the world when it comes to the nuclear negotiations.

We might actually welcome Ebola soon.

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