Secretary of State John Kerry is in Saudi Arabia, where he announced that 10 Arab nations including Iraq have signed on to support the fight against the Islamic State. Kerry’s announcement comes a day after President Obama announced that the US would build a coalition for the fight, but would not seek congressional approval and apparently will not seek any authorization from the United Nations.
President George W. Bush sought both congressional and UN approval, and won both, and built a coalition of some 40 nations for the war to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Kerry and Obama, then in the Senate, described Bush’s actions as “going it alone.”
Russia has reacted to Obama’s speech, with a warning, according to the BBC.
Russia has warned that US air strikes against militants in Syria would be a “gross violation” of international law.
A Russian foreign ministry spokesman said any such action, without the backing of the UN, would be “an act of aggression”.
“The US president has spoken directly about the possibility of strikes by the US armed forces against Isil (IS) positions in Syria without the consent of the legitimate government,” ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich was quoted as saying.
“This step, in the absence of a UN Security Council decision, would be an act of aggression, a gross violation of international law.”
Syria also repeated its warning that the US had to co-ordinate with the Syrian government before launching air strikes on its territory.
“Any action of any kind without the consent of the Syrian government would be an attack on Syria,” National Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar said on Thursday.
If anyone knows about acts of aggression and violations of international law, it would be Russia.
Russia’s announced position all but forecloses any UN Security Council action on ISIS, as Russia holds a permanent seat and veto power. Russia is one of Syrian dictator Assad’s few allies.
China has yet to weigh in one way or the other.
Kerry is working on plans to train the Free Syrian Army rebels on Saudi soil, despite the fact that the FSA is working with ISIS.
Transcript of the audio above…
[October 2000] We are getting word just now that Osama Bin Laden, the Muslim terrorist leader who declared war on the United States two years ago, has been killed by U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan. President Bill Clinton reportedly gave the order to take out bin Laden after viewing a live CIA video feed from a Predator drone. While some of his friends on the Left had urged Clinton’s Justice Department to indict bin Laden, and bring him to trial, the president said today, “This evil man declared war on us, had a track record of slaughter, billions of dollars in funding and a global network of slavishly-devoted suicidal soldiers. You don’t send lawyers after a man like that — you send Seals, Marines and Green Berets.”
[May 1991] President George H.W. Bush, in a triumphant speech from downtown Baghdad, Iraq, today announced the unconditional surrender of Saddam Hussein’s government and his Baathist Army. The president said that nothing short of total surrender can save Iraq. Bush added that the coalition that conquered Saddam, would stay on the job until Iraqis build a constitutional republic, under the rule of law.
President Barack Obama delivered his strategy to defeat ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State — choose the name you prefer — Wednesday night. The four-pronged strategy includes the use of American and allied air power; partnering with the Iraqis, the Kurds and the Free Syrian Army; counterterrorism operations; and humanitarian aid.
The Free Syrian Army alliance is problematic for two reasons. The FSA is weakened by years of war against both Syrian dictator Assad and against ISIS. It is also infiltrated with Islamists who are more sympathetic to radicals, and who may have sold American hostages James Foley and Steven Sotloff to ISIS. Patrick Poole reports that the FSA is working with ISIS.
The president’s speech included this strange passage. The president touted two nations in which he believes counterterrorism has worked against al Qaeda, and similar strategies can be deployed against IS.
“This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years. And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order,” the president said.
Successful? Al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab controls territory in Somalia and regularly launches attacks.
Counterterrorism in Somalia, essentially, is Whack-A-Mole. It works to some extent against terrorist leaders and cells, but IS is a very different prospect. It is a terrorist army numbering in the thousands, powered by stolen oil and robbed banks, mechanized by abandoned American tanks and HUMVEES, which is now building a capital city and gunning to bring about Armageddon. It has carved out a large territory and it is recruiting fighters from all over the world, including American and European citizens. Whack-A-Terrorist, as the Obama administration has done in Yemen, is unlikely to make much of an impact on IS.
The U.S. effort in Somalia is a particularly disturbing one for Obama to turn to. The United States has been involved in one way or another in Somalia since December of 1992.
President George H. W. Bush ordered U.S. forces into that chaotic failed east African territory as the main component of an international force dispatched to restore its government and provide food to the impoverished people there. The American military made shore along Somalia’s coast in a nighttime operation made bright by the glare of media TV lights. The cable news networks were tipped and were literally waiting onshore for the Americans to land and walk up the beach.
Not a shot was fired that night, and the Somalis initially greeted America as liberators. Operation RESTORE HOPE looked like it would be a peaceful humanitarian mission, and nothing more. The warlords who had replaced Somalia’s central dictatorship with feudal local power centers even cooperated with the international force and each other, at first. I was in the Air Force, stationed in Japan, when Somalia operations got into full swing. One of my co-workers volunteered and deployed there. Many of us, including myself, considered volunteering. I ended up staying put in Tokyo.
This is not ancient history. We all know what happened eventually. Mission creep. The hunt for Aidid. The Battle of Mogadishu. Black Hawk Down. American troops killed in a hyperviolent urban battle, and their bodies dragged through the streets of Mogadishu for all the world to see.
Americans quickly lost interest in the Somalia mission and President Bill Clinton was not inclined to continue it. Our swift exit encouraged Obama bin Laden to see us as a paper tiger. He attacked us on our soil 13 years ago today.
As President Obama laid out his “strategy” last night for dealing with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and as bipartisan leadership in Congress pushes to approve as much as $4 billion to arm Syrian “rebels,” it should be noted that the keystone to his anti-Assad policy — the “vetted moderate” Free Syrian Army (FSA) — is now admitting that they, too, are working with the Islamic State.
This confirms PJ Media’s reporting last week about the FSA’s alliances with Syrian terrorist groups.
On Monday, the Daily Star in Lebanon quoted a FSA brigade commander saying that his forces were working with the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate — both U.S.-designated terrorist organizations — near the Syrian/Lebanon border.
“We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front by attacking the Syrian Army’s gatherings in … Qalamoun,” said Bassel Idriss, the commander of an FSA-aligned rebel brigade.
“We have reached a point where we have to collaborate with anyone against unfairness and injustice,” confirmed Abu Khaled, another FSA commander who lives in Arsal.
“Let’s face it: The Nusra Front is the biggest power present right now in Qalamoun and we as FSA would collaborate on any mission they launch as long as it coincides with our values,” he added.
In my report last week I noted that buried in a New York Times article last month was a Syrian “rebel” commander quoted as saying that his forces were working with ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra in raids along the border with Lebanon, including attacks on Lebanese forces. The Times article quickly tried to dismiss the commander’s statements, but the Daily Star article now confirms this alliance.
Among the other pertinent points from that PJ Media article last week was that this time last year the bipartisan conventional wisdom amongst the foreign policy establishment was that the bulk of the Syrian rebel forces were moderates, a fiction refuted by a
Rand Corporation study published last September (CORRECTION: As the article at the link notes, the study was by IHS Janes, not Rand Corporation) that found nearly half of the Syrian “rebels” were jihadists or hard-core Islamists.
Another relevant phenomenon I noted was that multiple arms shipments from the U.S. to the “vetted moderate” FSA were suspiciously raided and confiscated by ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, prompting the Obama administration and the UK to suspend weapons shipments to the FSA last December.
In April, the Obama administration again turned on the CIA weapons spigot to the FSA, and Obama began calling for an additional $500 million for the “vetted moderate rebels,” but by July the weapons provided to the FSA were yet again being raided and captured by ISIS and other terrorist groups. Remarkably, one Syrian dissident leader reportedly told Al-Quds al-Arabi that the FSA had lost $500 million worth of arms to rival “rebel” groups, much of which ended up being sold to unknown parties in Turkey and Iraq.
At the same time U.S.-provided FSA weapons caches were being mysteriously raided by ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, one of the senior FSA commanders in Eastern Syria, Saddam al-Jamal, defected to ISIS. In March, Jabhat al-Nusra joined forces with the FSA Liwa al-Ummah brigade to capture a Syrian army outpost in Idlib. Then in early July I reported on FSA brigades that had pledged allegiance to ISIS and surrendered their weapons after their announcement of the reestablishment of the caliphate. More recently, the FSA and Jabhat al-Nusra teamed up last month to capture the UN Golan Heights border crossing in Quneitra on the Syria/Israel border, taking UN peacekeepers hostage.
But the Free Syrian Army is not the only U.S.-armed and trained “rebel” force in Syria that the Obama administration is having serious trouble keeping in the “vetted moderate” column.
Earlier this week I reported on Harakat al-Hazm, which was the first of the “vetted moderates” to receive U.S. anti-tank weaponry earlier this year. Harakat al-Hazm is reportedly a front for the Muslim Brotherhood as well as Turkey and Qatar, its Islamist state sponsors.
An L.A. Times article was published this past Sunday from the battle lines in Syria. The reporter recounted a discussion with two Harakat al-Hazm fighters who admitted, “But Nusra doesn’t fight us, we actually fight alongside them. We like Nusra.”
Despite a claim by the L.A. Times that Harakat al-Hazm had released a statement of “rejection of all forms of cooperation and coordination” with al-Nusra Front, I published in my article earlier this week an alliance statement signed by both Jabhat al-Nusra and Harkat al-Hazm forging a joint front in Aleppo to prevent pro-Assad forces from retaking the town.
As the Obama administration began to provide heavy weaponry to Harakat al-Hazm, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy published an analysis hailing Harakat Hazm as “rebels worth supporting,” going so far as to say that the group was “a model candidate for greater U.S. and allied support, including lethal military assistance.”
Look, I have to be honest here. I had about as much interest in watching a Barack Obama foreign policy speech as I’d have in watching a 48-hour Young and the Restless marathon hosted by Rosanne Bahr and Carrot Top.
It’s not that Barack Obama has lost me on foreign policy. He never had me. He has always come off as the worst combination of rank opportunist and clownish amateur on foreign affairs. This is a man who went to Berlin and declared himself a citizen of the world, and he is the same man who sincerely believed that his mere election would sate the jihadists’ thirst for American blood.
When it comes to dealing with the Islamic State, I believe that we have to be swift, overwhelming and ruthless. But in Barack Obama we have a man who fills his gassy speeches with “Let me be clear, it’s all Bush’s fault,” and who believes that American power is more a force of bad than good. Any action he orders is unlikely to get the job done.
And so we arrive at the eve of the 13th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. 9-11 is a twin mile marker now. There’s the original al Qaeda attack of 9-11-2001, and the follow-on attack in Benghazi on 9-11-12. About the second, we still do not know where Barack Obama was that night and what he was doing. We do know that he blamed a movie and refused, for weeks, to blame the terrorists. Most of the animals who attacked and killed four Americans that night are still at large.
On this eve of 9-11 memorials and remembrances, Barack Obama asked for network time to explain his strategy to defeat the Islamic State.
President Obama laid out a strategy that does the bare minimum. He wants to combine American air power with Iraqi boots and Free Syrian Army sandals on the ground, along with the courageous Kurds. IS probably laughed at two of those. It has defeated the Iraqi military already and has infiltrated the so-called “moderate” FSA. The Kurds are fighting IS bravely and have acquitted themselves well.
That leaves us with American air power, perhaps combined with the air forces of the British and the French.
Given enough time, air power might knock IS loose and might even defeat them. That’s not the way to bet, but air power did work in Bosnia during the Clinton years. IS is a different enemy, though, the best funded terrorist force in history, we’re told, and the most savvy social media terrorists around. They can fight air power with digital propaganda, with kidnappings, with beheadings, and with those attacks across the Texas-Mexico border that they’re threatening.
Syrian dictator Assad has already said that he views American airstrikes in his country as an act of war. That might complicate the picture.
President Obama had nothing to say about the US-Mexico border tonight, despite opening his speech with a claim that our national security is his “highest priority.” Skepticism of that claim, with an unsecured border and a president who downplayed the IS threat for months, is well justified.
“ISIL is not Islamic,” Obama claimed, despite the long history of Islamic terrorism and the fact that the first I in the name stands for “Islamic.”
Strange claim, that. ISIL ultimately derives its ideology from the Muslim Brotherhood. Perhaps they’re not Islamic too.
Stranger still, Obama touted Somalia and Yemen as models for the action to destroy IS. Somalia is a chaotic failed state, where the occasional droning of a terrorist leader seldom makes much strategic difference. Yemen is a longstanding haven of al Qaeda’s, where also, the occasional droning makes some, but not a great deal, of strategic difference.
The president was more energetic in tonight’s delivery than in his previous several speeches on terrorism. But his tone still contrasts with the passion, even power, he shows when speaking at party fundraisers and attacking Republicans. This is a president for whom foreign policy is a foreign language.
Well, the border is largely unguarded, to the point that children can walk across. If they can, and if coyotes and drug cartel operatives can (and they can, and do), so can ISIS. The Free Beacon reports that ISIS has figured this out.
A senior Homeland Security (DHS) official confirmed to Congress on Wednesday that militants associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) are planning to enter the United States via the porous southern border.
Francis Taylor, under secretary for intelligence and analysis at DHS, told senators during a hearing that ISIL supporters are known to be plotting ways to infiltrate the United States through the border.
“There have been Twitter, social media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility,” Taylor told Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) in response to a question about “recent reports on Twitter and Facebook of messages that would urge infiltration into the U.S. across our southwestern border.”
“Certainly any infiltration across our border would be a threat,” Taylor said, explaining that border security agents are working to tighten measures that would prevent this from taking place.
Such as? The flood of illegal aliens across the border has slowed, but every time President Obama talks about amnesty or even speaks on the subject of “comprehensive immigration reform,” he attracts more people to cross illegally.
Prediction: Obama will ignore this reality in tonight’s speech. What will it take for him to recognize the border not as a political football, but as a serious national security issue that he as commander-in-chief must deal with?
NBC phrases the question in the title a little differently:
ISIS Speech Offers Obama One Chance to Turn Bad Polls Around
I’m not so sure that they’re right. The Islamic State threat is not primarily a poll-driven problem. It’s a real-world security threat. Words and speeches will not solve it. Leadership and action are needed.
The situation that President Obama finds himself in is an uneviable one, but one that he could have avoided.
He called ISIS “jayvee,” and ignored their threat until it metastasized.
He ran for the presidency promising to end — but not win — the war in Iraq. He ended that war, so he thought, by withdrawing American troops prematurely. President Bush had warned him and others, explicitly, what would happen if U.S. troops were removed from Iraq too soon. In 2007, Bush warned the following would happen if American troops were removed from Iraq too soon.
- Leaving too soon would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region, and for the United States.
- It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaeda.
- We would risk mass killings on a horrific scale.
- It would allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq, to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan.
- Leaving too soon would make it more likely that American troops would have to return to Iraq, to face an even more dangerous enemy.
And here we are. ISIS has carved out a territory the size of the United Kingdom. It is a threat worse than the one our troops faced the first time around in Iraq. ISIS has perpetrated mass killings. Its existence does put Iraq’s immediate future in the hands of a group that’s arguably worse than Iraq.
According to NBC, Obama’s new plan for dealing with ISIS will involve U.S. air power, the Iraqi military, and “moderate” Syrian rebels, but no more American boots on the ground than the 1000+ who are already there.
Of those three, U.S. air power is obviously far and away the most effective. U.S. air power alone can achieve a great deal, but probably cannot eliminate ISIS.
The Iraqi military melted in the face of ISIS months ago, which allowed them to gather up territory and scoop up the American weapons we had provided the Iraqi military. The “moderate” Syrian rebels may have sold the American hostages to ISIS that the terrorists beheaded recently. The extent to which they were ever moderate is debatable, but they are infiltrated with Islamists now.
This moment is a moment for an American president to lead — lead the American people in battling a threat, and lead the world in building a coalition to eliminate the threat. So far, Obama has shown no ability to do either. Tellingly, he has already told Congress that he doesn’t need them. That is a recognition that Congress does not trust him, and he has no ability to change that. It also puts the success or failure of the effort to remove ISIS entirely on his shoulders, even though most in Congress have been ahead of him in recognizing the ISIS threat.
Meet the Press host Chuck Todd appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today and said that President Obama is on the brink of doing long-term damage to the Democratic Party brand — damage on a scale not seen since 1980.
For years up to the election of President Bill Clinton, most Americans saw the Democratic Party as too weak to be trusted on foreign policy. That mistrust stemmed from three things: the Democrats’ hardline anti-war stance in Vietnam and afterward, their indecision and weakness in the face of the Soviet Union after they nominated liberal George McGovern for president in 1972, and Jimmy Carter’s terrible presidency which culminated in the loss of Iran as an ally and the hostage crisis. Carter’s weakness in particular hurt the Democrat brand so badly that Bill Clinton had to run as a “new Democrat” in 1992 — meaning he explicitly rejected progressive big government policies and offered himself as someone who would be stronger in foreign affairs than Jimmy Carter. When President Clinton declared that “the era of big government is over,” he was rejecting the Democrats’ left flank, including former President Carter and, though he did not know it at the time, President Barack Obama.
Clinton has since backslidden into supporting big government, after Obama’s nomination in 2008.
Chuck Todd’s comments on MSNBC today may have another Clinton wondering what outrageous declaration she will have to make to win the presidency in 2016.
Todd tells host Joe Scarborough that thanks to President Obama’s weakness, Republicans now lead by 38 points on national defense.
“He’s on the precipice of doing Jimmy Carter-like damage to the Democratic band on foreign policy,” Todd said, to the shock of the Morning Joe hosts.
I’m partially stealing the title from the folks a Grabien for this post.
Ahead of announcing that he finally does have a strategy for dealing with the Islamic State (maybe?), President Obama dined with a group that included Sandy “Docs in Socks” Berger and other foreign policy experts. Let’s hope Democrat strategist Donna Brazile wasn’t there, or if she was, someone explained what a caliphate is. Hey, we’re only 13 years into the war on terrorism…
As for the other guests, even MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell couldn’t help notice that she talks to Obama’s big foreign policy guest on her show nearly every day.
MITCHELL: “Reaching out: Widely criticized for ignoring outside advice in the past, President Obama had a wide-ranging dinner last night with foreign experts from both sides of the aisle. He and Joe Biden brought in Sandy Berger, Zbigniew Brzesinsky, Tom Donilon, Michelle Flournoy, Richard Haas, Steve Hadley, Jane Harman, Strobe Talbot — looks like a review of our guest list here at Andrea Mitchell Reports.
Unfortunately, Mitchell is correct. Obama did turn to frequent guests on cable’s most ridiculous news network for advice.
We’re in the very best of hands…
Midland County, Texas, Sheriff Gary Painter appeared on CNN the other night. Host Don Lemon accused the sheriff of trying to “scare people,” by warning that IS and other terrorists may have already crossed the border into Texas.
Sheriff Painter dismissed Lemon’s accusation, noting evidence that IS has stated its intent to attack the US here, and noted that the federal government has failed to secure the border. Painter also told the CNN audience about an intelligence briefing he has received on terrorism and the border. Specifically, the briefing warned law enforcement officers that IS terrorist cells are active in Juarez, Mexico and are moving into the US. The briefing warned law enforcement to be on the lookout for these terrorists.
That briefing might have been one referenced by Judicial Watch in its report on IS terrorists in Juarez.
Lemon asks Sheriff Painter if he has a message for the terrorists.
The sheriff is quick to reply: “If they rear their ugly heads, we’ll send ‘em to hell.”
This past week Jewish media was abuzz with stories of how hard journalist Steven Sotloff’s family and friends worked to hide his Jewish identity after he was captured by ISIS. It seemed strange to me that Jew haters would have such terrible Jewdar. After all, the guy’s name was “Sotloff”, but apparently that’s not a “tell” in the Muslim world:
One thing journalists quickly learn is that the Jewish “tells” in the West don’t mean much in the Middle East. Jewish names obvious in the West are not at all so in the region, and stereotypical “Jewish looks” among westerners are indistinguishable from the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern features that are common throughout the Middle East.
“My name might have been Miriam Leah Goldbergstein, and I wouldn’t have worried,” said Lisa Goldman, who reported for various outlets in Lebanon and then in Cairo during the Arab Spring in 2011.
“A rose by any other name” would still be an infidel, so it would seem:
It’s not known whether ISIS was aware that Sotloff was Jewish. Colleagues believe his kidnapping by ISIS-affiliated terrorists in 2012 in Syria was one of opportunity and not a deliberate targeting. James Foley, another journalist kidnapped by ISIS and beheaded last month by the terror group, was Catholic.
Which is, perhaps, the overarching point of the latest rash of radical Islamist beheadings of Western journalists. We are all roses to be de-headed, whether we call ourselves Jews, Christians, or simply Westerners of a secular stripe. Iranian American scholar Haleh Esfandiari didn’t blink in her distinction of “The West” from the Muslim east when she commented on radical Islamist recruits:
These young men who grew up in Western cultures seem to have absorbed nothing regarding the value of human life and respect for women.
Barack Obama’s delusion of the sanitary war — with no boots on the ground — is, and will continue to be, the proximate cause of…
- bleeding vaginal lacerations in pre-pubescent girls, whose maidenhood gets rasped away by jihadis who train for child rape by penetrating goats, and of
- massive contusions, torn breasts, shattered ribs, fractured skulls and bleeding brain matter oozing from women who have been half-buried in sand then stoned to death for perceived offenses against Koranic masculinity, and of
- asphyxiation by public strangulation of homosexuals, flies swarming on their sun-baked blood-caked dangling feet, and of
- the hog-butchery of Christians, Jews, atheists and Muslims, whose relatives and countries fail to pay ransom, and of
- the creation of an unchallenged Islamic State without a fig leaf of secularism or democracy, and with utter disdain for the United Nations and for Western values.
About this clear, present and historical threat, the U.S. secretary of State blandly states in the passive voice:
We have the ability to destroy ISIL. … It may take a year, it may take two years, it may take three years. But we’re determined it has to happen.
The United States and her allies defeated Hitler’s Wehrmacht, along with the Italian Royal Army, and the air, land and sea forces of the Empire of Japan in three-and-a-half years. Now, Secretary Kerry says it may take nearly that long to defeat an enemy said to number between 5,000 and 12,000 fighters, fielded by a government that can’t build a single tank, airplane or ship.
Of course, all of this time won’t be spent building weapons, equipping troops, crafting military strategy, deploying forces and assets, re-taking territory and bludgeoning the enemy into unconditional surrender.
No, Obama and Kerry need time to draft tentative agreements, allow diplomats to drink turkish coffee (infused with Sharia-verboten spirits), smoke the hookah, kiss the cheek, bow the head before monarchs and transfer satchels of crisp Franklins to tribal leaders within and outside of Islam-professing governments.
Obama believes Americans lack the stomach for all-out war, especially against an enemy for whom he has some empathy — being subjected as both he and they are to American cultural bigotry and oppression.
Heavy fighting does tend to threaten ceasefires. Funny, that. The headline is from a story in the International News.
The Islamic State’s military force currently numbers a few thousand — maybe 15,000 tops. It is armed with American and other military hardware. It lacks an air force, despite having captured a Syrian airbase in August. The aircraft that IS captured are mostly out of date, and some do not function. There is no evidence that IS has the pilots to fly those aircraft. At any rate, American pilots are far better trained. Any IS pilots that might take to the skies would not stay there for long.
The Obama administration is not planning a decisive move to crush IS quickly, according to the Washington Post.
The Obama administration is reportedly preparing a campaign to destroy the Islamic State militant group that could outlast the president’s remaining time in office, according to a published report.
The New York Times, citing U.S. officials, reported late Sunday that the White House plan involves three phases that some Pentagon officials believe will require at least three years of sustained effort.
The first phase, airstrikes against Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is already under way in Iraq, where U.S. aircraft have launched 143 attacks since August 8. The second phase involves an intensified effort to train, advise, and equip the Iraqi Army, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, and any Sunni tribesmen willing to fight their ISIS co-religionists. The Times reports that this second phase will begin sometime after Iraq forms a new government, which could happen this week.
The third, and most politically fraught phase of the campaign, according to The Times, would require airstrikes against ISIS inside Syria. Last month, the government of Bashar Assad in Damascus warned the Obama administration not to launch airstrikes against ISIS in Syria without its permission.
This might work over time — airstrikes did work, over the course of years, in Bosnia.
But do we have the time? IS is gathering western recruits through its social media campaign daily. It is subjugating Iraqis and Syrians to brutality, sex slavery, mass murder and crucifixions daily. IS is threatening the west and its western recruits could travel to the US, UK and Europe at any time to begin conducting terror strikes.
Putin is likely to see this campaign as half-hearted, less than adequate, and ultimately subject to mission creep that resists putting troops on the ground in Iraq now, only to be forced to do so later, once IS simply morphs and finds ways to either avoid airstrikes or turn them into propaganda wins for itself and defeats for the west.
The Obama administration is in the process of cutting US military forces down to a level not seen in roughly 100 years. The United States once had a strategy in which it could fight two wars in separate parts of the globe simultaneously. We can no longer do that, not with our current force size. The whole world knows this.
Putin will see this air campaign as indecisive, and one that is likely to bog US and allied forces down in the Middle East, again, while he moves with a freer hand against Ukraine and then other former Soviet states. The United States military is the heart of the NATO deterrent. Without it, NATO is hollow.
If the plan is to defeat IS, it would be better to build a strong coalition including US, European and regional forces and go in and crush them swiftly, destroy their brand, kill or capture their leadership, and let IS’ destruction serve as a warning to other challengers.
To fully appreciate the meaning of interfaith dialogues with so-called “moderate” Muslims and friends, consider the apt Sears Optical commercial. “Mama,” Kitty’s myopic owner, fails to see without her glasses. She opens the door to let Kitty in to “snuggle with mama” but instead, a raccoon―known to carry rabies―runs in and jumps in with ‘mama’ on her cozy bed.
Consider this an analogy for a distressing drama in progress at Chautauqua Institution, a strikingly beautiful summer retreat in Chautauqua, N.Y. While enveloped by pastoral landscape, Lake Chautauqua, beautiful houses and gardens, and enriched by music, visual arts, ballet, opera, symphony, chamber music and much more, Chautauqua is opening its doors to another sort of rabid beast.
After toying with the idea for many years, Chautauqua’s religion department this summer announced plans to add a Cordoba House to the Institution’s “Abrahamic family,” to be led by the infamous Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a move it describes as “highly supported by Chautauqua Faith leaders.”
What’s the rush? Why now, when bands of Islamic brigands roam much of the Middle East and Africa, and Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers worldwide endanger Western civilization? Why at this moment, as Islamic jihadists slaughter Christians throughout the entireMiddleEast as well as elsewhere. After all, Chautauqua Institution was founded by Protestant Christians.
Rather than outrage over endemic tyrannical Islamic abuses of Christians, associate religion department director Maureen Rovegno expresses what an objective individual could at best describe as naiveté:
“The only way that this fear [of Islam] can be alleviated, or neutralized, is to get to know each other in a personal way.” As the Psalm goes: ‘How good is it, and how pleasant, when people dwell together in unity’.”
Thus, only this summer, Chautauqua featured five influential Muslim Brotherhood functionaries and apologists as guest speakers: Former Islamic Circle of North America president Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Imam Rauf, DaliaMogahed, KarenArmstrong and John Esposito, a Georgetown University professor and head of its Prince Alwaeed bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding, eponymous for the Saudi royal who in 2005 donated $20 million to the center.
Esposito has long espoused views consistent with Brotherhood doctrine and during the 1990′s was known to claim that Islamic fundamentalism, in fact, was democratic and posed no threat to the U.S. Esposito has also served with global Muslim Brotherhood leader Yusef Qaradawi―since 1999 banned for his terror support from entry to the U.S.―at both the Institue of Islamic Political Thought and the Circle of Tradition and Progress as well as the United Association For Studies and Research (USAR), part of the Hamas’ U.S. Muslim Brotherhood support infrastructure.
On Aug. 15, 2014, I tried to question Esposito following his presentation at the Chautauqua Hall of Philosophy. Chaos briefly ensued. I began with a referral to Sheikh Qaradawi, the MB spiritual leader banned in the U.S., and a major supporter of Hamas―the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
John Esposito is known to view Sheikh Yusef Qaradawias a “reformist.”
Karen Armstrong considers him a moderate.
Imam Rauf favorably describes him as “the most well-known legal authority in the whole Muslim world today.”
Dalia Mogahed, a featured Chautauqua speaker during the Week on Egypt, conducted her first interview with Qaradawi on his Islam Online website.
(All four, presumably involved with Chautauqua’s future Muslim House, were the Institution’s guest speakers this summer.)
I intended to share the following data on the horrors that Qaradawi sanctions, authorizes and stands for. Esposito refused to let me read even a small sample of Qaradawi’s edicts:
・ Qaradawi condones female genital mutilation;
・ Qaradawi endorses killing Muslims who leave Islam (apostates);
・ Qaradawi claims that Hitler was sent by Allah to punish the Jews (see video);
・ Qaradawi declares force a legitimate means to establish or support Islamic principles (“changing wrong by force whenever possible”) Priorities of the Islamic Movement chapter
・ Qaradawi promotes Islamic conquest of the West;
・ Qaradawi describes the mosque as a political institution to mobilize participants for jihad;
・ Qaradawi endorsed the use of suicide bombers and killing Americans in Iraq.
Time clearly was not at issue. The preceding questioner was as short as possible. To paraphrase, he asked (55:13-55:45)
“The U.S. state department declares Hamas a terrorist organization. Would you be willing to denounce Hamas?”
Esposito claimed that this was not his topic. When pressed, Esposito again dodged.
At other Chautauqua assemblies, questioners ran on at length but asked no question—and received applause. On Jul. 15, 2014, after Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid spoke, for example, another woman stood in the same Hall of Philosophy and for two minutes (1:03:27 - 1:05:05) bemoaned the fate of Sami Al-Arian, a “convicted terrorist-supporting felon, …under…separate indictment for criminal contempt,” as if he were a “poor victim.” Al Arian workedwith the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and served as a board member. In September 1991, Al Arian was caught on tape declaring:
“These people – whom God, the Glorious and sublime, had made into monkeys and pigs, had become discontent and angry with, had cursed in this world and in the hereafter… [Koran 5:78, 5:60, and related Hadith]”
On Aug. 15, by contrast, I could have finished my question in under one minute. However, Esposito interrupted repeatedly and instructed me to “show some civility.” (55:50 – 58:40) This same man refers to the wicked Qaradawi ― for good reason banned from the U.S. for 15 years ― as a “reformist” and “continues to consider Al-Arian a ‘very close friend’ and ‘a man of conscience with a strong commitment to peace and social justice’.” Obviously, he wished only to conceal the truth.
Fellow audience members shouted me down, displaying appallingly belligerent disrespect. They thus unveiled Chautauqua’s general tolerance for such fascist attitudes: not a single voice asked the hecklers to behave with decorum.
The sad reality: about Islam, Chautauqua won’t let the truth out. The precepts of sharia (Islamic law) prohibit criticism of Islam. As if in keeping with that, Esposito manipulatively suppressed any legitimate questions, much less open, honest discourse. He evidently acquiesces to sharia’s bans of free speech, press and conscience.
It makes sense: Esposito regularly appears as a keynote speaker at the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the U.S. fund raising arm of Hamas, and an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land terror-funding case, with ties to Hamas that led the FBI to terminateany official contact with the group.
At a recent CAIR fundraiser, Esposito smeared Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a highly acclaimed champion of the rights of Muslim women,asan “Islamophobe” (7:15-7:23), a slanderous noun for a fictitiousphenomenon. “Phobia” means an unusually persistent fear of some object or situation. Indeed, the word Islamophobia was reportedly concocted by Islamists at the Virginia offices of the Muslim Brotherhood’s International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). Chautauquans, especially, use it to tiringly silence all critics of Islam and more specifically all criticism of the barbaricIslamiclegal code. They intend solely to prohibit correct, indeed highly appropriate, expressions of alarm.
Sadly, at this pace, Chautauqua Institution’s engagement of radical supporters of Islamic law will undoubtedly render it a tyrannical place, especially regarding the alarmingly supremacist Islamic political ideology. Chautauqua apparently prefers to assume the mantle of a protector and advocate of Islam than defend the Western civilization that made its existence possible.
The myopic “mama” missing her glasses in the Sears Optical ad cannot distinguish between her kitty and a raccoon. That Chautauqua, similarly, fails to see the reality of “civilization Jihad” as described by the Muslim Brotherhood’s explanatory memorandum, could potentially have far more devastating results.
At some point, the truth will out, even at Chautauqua. Let’s hope that by then, it’s not too late to save the Institution from its own folly.
Arabic media reports indicate that Saudi authorities raided a house church in Khafji province, arresting 27 men, women and children. The raid was conducted by the Saudi Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, according to reports.
Khafji was the site of the first major ground engagement of the 1991 Gulf War.
The raid is another part of an ongoing harassment campaign directed at Christians at the exact same time that the Saudi Kingdom is making a major “interfaith outreach” push internationally.
Here is an Arabic report that appeared late yesterday on Twitter:
Another report appears to show pictures of the Saudi raid:
A 2010 Reuters report observes the plight of Christians in the Gulf states and the Arabian Peninsula:
At least 3.5 million Christians of all denominations live in the Gulf Arab region, the birthplace of Islam and home to some of the most conservative Arab Muslim societies in the world. The freedom to practice Christianity — or any religion other than Islam — is not always a given in the Gulf and varies from country to country. Saudi Arabia, which applies an austere form of Sunni Islam, has by far the tightest restrictions.
As the Islamic State engages in widespread religious cleansing in Iraq and Syria of ancient Christian communities, it might be fair to ask whether the difference between Wahhabis and the Islamic State is merely of degree and not kind.
Also read: The Islamic State vs. the Islamic Republic
This week the Drudge Report had this link from the UK Telegraph with the headline and subhead:
How Isil doctored the image of Obama, making him appear haggard in videos
The terrorist group carefully manipulate their videos to make the US president look as tired and weary as possible, demonstrating its technical prowess
Welcome to war in the modern age where our enemies use media manipulation to taunt President Obama. (Remember when Putin and the Russians made light of Obama’s wimpy image using the kitty cats? Click here if you missed that unusual caption contest.)
Below, the Telegraph describes the techniques ISIL (or ISIS) used in the screen-grab image that is the subject of our contest.
In the same way, Mr. Obama’s blue jacket is made to appear a funereal black. His strands of grey hair are picked up and exaggerated. The editor has also caused an interlacing effect of black lines to run across the president’s white shirt. For good measure, he has carefully stretched the screen length ways in order to make Mr. Obama appear thin and gaunt.
Now, here is your “special ops” mission for these dangerous times. You must translate the message written in whatever language these barbarians used, into a language that PJ Media readers can better understand.
In addition to the “official translation,” you can also write a non-official translation from the Democratic National Committee, the Republican National Committee or from any committee or organization you wish, even the NRA or the Navy Seals.
Finally, is it just me, or does the ISIS video manipulation make Obama resemble, even more than before, “this guy” from the History Channel’s Bible mini-series? (Official name of “this guy” withheld for many political, religious and IRS reasons.)
Good luck, and you don’t have to be nice with your translations because the “folks” who did this video manipulation really are the personification of “this guy” in the photo above.
During today’s NATO summit, the alliance agreed to create a rapid reaction force to respond to threats to member states.
That force is being formed specifically to deal with threats in eastern Europe. It is a direct response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
The Russians responded swiftly. The Foreign Ministry suggests a larger NATO conspiracy is at work.
The summit adopted a line towards NATO’s eastward expansion and build-up of its presence near Russia’s borders. These plans were nurtured for a long time and the Ukrainian crisis became merely an excuse for the start of their implementation.
Russia also accused NATO of “escalating tensions.”
The gist and tone of statements on the situation around Ukraine and the announced plans of NATO countries to conduct a joint drill with Ukraine on its territory before the end of this year are bound to escalate tensions, threaten the start of progress regarding a peaceful settlement in Ukraine and contribute to the deepening of the split in Ukrainian society. Moreover, they testify to NATO’s unreserved support for Kiev’s neo-Nazi and extremist forces, including the Right Sector.
Having Godwined themselves, the Russians hint that they might withdraw from the 1997 NATO-Russia Council.
We will analyse in detail the summit’s specific decisions. In part, we will review them to establish if they correspond with the provisions of the 1997 Russia-NATO Founding Act and other fundamental agreements on European security.
Reuters reports that France’s president is ready to go to take down the Islamic State.
That puts France ahead of President Obama, who called for an international coalition to take on IS but has shown little interest in actually forming such a coalition.
The American people are also ahead of Obama, according to a pair of Rasmussen polls.
One shows that 73% of Americans are worried that Obama has not been strong enough on IS so far.
Voters regard the radical Islamic terrorist group ISIS as a major threat to the United States and are very worried that President Obama doesn’t have a strategy for dealing with the problem. They remain reluctant to send U.S. troops back to Iraq to take on ISIS, but support is growing.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 67% of Likely U.S. Voters consider the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) a serious threat to this country. Just 13% disagree, while another 20% are not sure. (To see survey questions wording, click here.)
Seventy-three percent (73%) of voters are concerned that the United States does not have a strategy for dealing with this military group, with 47% who are Very Concerned.
Another Rasmussen poll says that voters are becoming more likely to support US military action in Iraq to combat IS, if there is an international coalition engaged in the fight.
Voters show even more support for continued airstrikes in Iraq against the radical Islamic group ISIS despite a second public beheading of a U.S. journalist in retaliation for those strikes. Nearly half now support sending U.S. combat troops to fight ISIS as part of an international coalition but are less enthused about U.S. troops fighting alone.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 75% of Likely Voters believe the United States should continue its airstrikes against the radical Islamic group ISIS.
Sticking with Rasmussen, overall, fewer Americans now believe that we’re winning the war on terrorism than at any time in the last 10 years.
They (I didn’t vote for him) elected a man who refused to declare that America would win wars on his watch. They elected a man with a 9-10 mentality, and who does not think the Muslim Brotherhood is a threat, and who has never demonstrated any actual leadership in his life.
What result did they expect from electing him?
More: Another American has joined the fight — for the IS.
Last night, Megyn Kelly aired this warning from President George W. Bush. He made the statement a few months after the surge in 2007, in response to critics such as then Sen. Barack Obama, who were demanding that US troops begin leaving Iraq immediately.
Bush warned what would happen. Specifically:
- Leaving too soon would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region, and for the United States.
- It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaeda.
- We would risk mass killings on a horrific scale.
- It would allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq, to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan.
- Leaving too soon would make it more likely that American troops would have to return to Iraq, to face an even more dangerous enemy.
Did President Bush get any of that wrong? The Islamic State isn’t al Qaeda, so point two isn’t entirely accurate. But IS is arguably even worse than al Qaeda.
Fox’s Brett Baier interviewed three American security operators who were on the ground in Libya on the night of September 11, 2012. Terrorists linked to al Qaeda stormed the US facility in Benghazi, Libya that night and killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
The three security specialists tell Baier that a top CIA officer delayed responding to the assault three times, costing them 30 minutes during the firefight.
The security contractors — Kris (“Tanto”) Paronto, Mark (“Oz”) Geist, and John (“Tig”) Tiegen — spoke exclusively, and at length, to Fox News about what they saw and did that night. Baier, Fox News’ Chief Political Anchor, asked them about one of the most controversial questions arising from the events in Benghazi: Was help delayed?
Word of the attack on the diplomatic compound reached the CIA annex just after 9:30 p.m. Within five minutes, the security team at the annex was geared up for battle, and ready to move to the compound, a mile away.
“Five minutes, we’re ready,” said Paronto, a former Army Ranger. “It was thumbs up, thumbs up, we’re ready to go.”
But the team was held back. According to the security operators, they were delayed from responding to the attack by the top CIA officer in Benghazi, whom they refer to only as “Bob.”
“It had probably been 15 minutes I think, and … I just said, ‘Hey, you know, we gotta– we need to get over there, we’re losing the initiative,’” said Tiegen. “And Bob just looks straight at me and said, ‘Stand down, you need to wait.’”
“We’re starting to get calls from the State Department guys saying, ‘Hey, we’re taking fire, we need you guys here, we need help,’” said Paronto.
After a delay of nearly 30 minutes, the security team headed to the besieged consulate without orders. They asked their CIA superiors to call for armed air support, which never came.
Now, looking back, the security team said they believed that if they had not been delayed for nearly half an hour, or if the air support had come, things might have turned out differently.
“Ambassador Stevens and Sean [Smith], yeah, they would still be alive, my gut is yes,” Paronto said. Tiegen concurred.
“It happened on the ground– all I can talk about is what happened on that ground that night,” added Paronto. “To us. To myself, twice, and to– to Tig, once. It happened that night. We were told to wait, stand– and stand down. We were delayed three times.”
Baier also asks the security officers whether the YouTube movie blamed by the Obama administration had anything to do with the attack. They say it had nothing to do with the attack at all.
The full interview airs tonight on Fox at 10 eastern.
On Friday before the Labor Day holiday, the third edition of the Islamic State’s glossy English-language magazine hit the Internet.
It’s called Dabiq, named after a small town in Syria where the Islamic State believes that the final battle for the world will begin. The third edition is titled A Call to Hijrah — “hijrah” means “the path to jihad.”
As we reported Friday, the magazine includes a lengthy statement said to be from James Foley, whom IS had beheaded in the days before A Call to Hijrah was released. It also calls President Barack Obama an “apostate,” which according to Islamic law marks him for death. IS may believe that Obama is a Muslim apostate because his father and grandfather were Muslims, or because he was educated in an Islamic school as a child in Indonesia, or both, and now states that he is a Christian.
In its opening chapters, Dabiq stakes the Islamic State’s claim that it is unique in all of history.
That is from page four, which includes an undated photo of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He is probably the “unknown man” that the text above refers to, because until the rise of the Islamic State he has not been the worldwide known figure that Osama bin Laden was for al Qaeda until his death.
Dabiq states if one were to travel to the Islamic State’s units on the front-lines in Syria and Iraq, they would see that the “soldiers and commanders [are] of different colors, languages and lands: the Najdi, the Jordanian, the Tunisian, the Egyptian, the Somali, the Turk, the Albanian, the Chechen, the Indonesian, the Russian, the European, the American, and so on. They left their families and their lands to renew the state of the muwahhidin in Sham, and they had never known each other until they arrived in Sham!”
The author goes on to state: “I have no doubt that this state…has become the largest collection of muhajirin in the world, is a marvel of history that has only come about to pave the way for al-Malhamah al-Kubra (the grand battle prior to the Hour).”
Part 2 of Dabiq, which begins on page 6, continues in this vein, extolling its jihadists. It connects Ibn Masud, who lived in the time of Mohammed, to al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who also praised foreign fighters who joined the al Qaeda cause in Iraq. Part 2 endeavors to put the Islamic State squarely into Islamic history, in the mainstream, as inheritors of the mantle left by Mohammed himself and carried out by Zarqawi and now al-Baghdadi.
As a propaganda and recruitment tool, Dabiq is impressive. It is well-produced and takes the time to explain many Islamic concepts that even Muslims who grew up in the West might not be familiar with. The magazine’s characterization of the Islamic State as a multi-national and multi-ethnic melting pot, coupled with photos of smiling IS warriors, is an overt pitch to westerners who have been steeped in multiculturalism in schools and media for decades. IS is pitching itself as the joyous fulfillment of the West’s ideal to bring all races, nationalities and cultures together to live side-by-side in harmony.
The Islamic State’s harmony depends not on voluntary assimilation and tolerance, but on exterminating everyone and everything that it deems haram — sinful.
Dabiq: A Call to Hijrah is embedded on the next page.
As shocking as the Muslim-run sex ring in Rotherham, England may seem to some—1,400 British children as young as 11 plied with drugs before being passed around and sexually abused in cabs and kabob shops—the fact is that this phenomenon is immensely widespread. In the United Kingdom alone, it’s the fifth sex abuse ring led by Muslims to be uncovered.
Some years back in Australia, a group of “Lebanese Muslim youths” were responsible for a “series of brutal gang rapes” of “Anglo-Celtic teenage girls.” A few years later in the same country, four Muslim Pakistani brothers raped at least 18 Australian women, some as young as 13. Even in the United States, a gang of Somalis—Somalia being a Muslim nation where non-Muslims, primarily Christians, are ruthlessly persecuted—was responsible for abducting, buying, selling, raping and torturing young American girls as young as 12.
The question begs itself: If Muslim minorities have no fear of exploiting “infidel” women and children in non-Muslim countries—that is, where Muslims themselves are potentially vulnerable minorities—how are Muslims throughout the Islamic world, where they are dominant, treating their vulnerable, non-Muslim minorities?
The answer is a centuries-long, continents-wide account of nonstop sexual predation. Boko Haram’s recent abduction and enslavement of nearly 300, mostly Christian, schoolgirls last April in Nigeria is but the tip of the iceberg.
The difference between what happens in Nigeria and what happens in Western nations is based on what I call “Islam’s Rule of Numbers.” Wherever Muslims grow in numbers, Islamic phenomena intrinsic to the Muslim world—in this case, the sexual abuse of “infidel” children and teenagers—comes along with them.
Thus in the United Kingdom, where Muslims make for a sizeable—and notable—minority, the systematic rape of “subhuman infidels” naturally takes place. But when caught, Muslim minorities, being under “infidel” authority, cry “Islamophobia” and feign innocence.
In Nigeria, however, which is roughly 50 percent Islamic, such “apologetics” are unnecessary. After seizing the nearly 300 schoolgirls, the leader of Boko Haram appeared on videotape boasting that “I abducted your girls. I will sell them on the market, by Allah…. There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell.”
It’s the same in Pakistan—the nation where many of the United Kingdom’s Muslims, including the majority involved in the Rotherham sex ring, come from. See this article for a long list of Christian children—as young as 2-years-old—who were targeted by Muslim men for abduction, enslavement, and rape. In every single case, police do nothing except sometimes side with the Muslim rapists against their “infidel” victims.
For example, last Easter Sunday, four Muslim men gang-raped a 7-year-old Christian girl named Sara, leaving her in “critical condition.” According to Asia News, “the police, instead of arresting the culprits, helped the local clan to kidnap the girl’s father… to ‘force the family not to report the story, to reach an agreement with the criminals and to avoid a dispute of a religious background.’”
As for systematic child grooming, in 2010, Kiran George, a Christian girl who was “enslaved by a woman, Sama, a dealer of youth to be sold as prostitutes or slaves to wealthy Muslim families,” was doused with gasoline by a police officer involved in the sex ring, set on fire, and burned to death… Keep reading
The United States under Barack Obama cannot manage its own southern border. But President Obama will host a meeting in New York later this month (feel the urgency!) that will center on a proposal to make it more difficult for radicalized Muslims to travel to Syria and Iraq from the West to join up with the Islamic State.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, Obama is not exactly convening a new meeting. Obama will use the United Nations’ General Assembly Meeting later in September to pitch the plan. Ahead of that, the administration is sending Secretary of State John Kerry to the Middle East to drum up support.
The UN meeting is September 25, three weeks from now. The Islamic State is known to be holding a number of hostages, including a Briton that IS says will be the next beheading victim. IS has beheaded two American journalists in the past two weeks.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has already elevated the threat level in his country to “severe” because of the Islamic State’s rise. The Obama administration continues to dribble out happy talk that there is no credible evidence of a threat from IS on the American homeland, despite a report that they are operating in Mexico across the border from El Paso, Texas and are planning a strike.
The goal of the September 25 meeting for the Obama administration: a United Nations resolution on the subject of foreign fighters joining IS.
The travel of Americans and Europeans to join IS is undoubtedly a serious problem. An estimated 140 Americans are fighting for IS, and a few thousand Europeans are believed to have joined IS as well. But at this point, a resolution on foreign travel to join IS is a rearguard action. It is also unlikely to address the flow of fighters to IS from across the Middle East, Chechnya, and Africa — even if it is effective in stopping Americans and Europeans. Given the porous borders and the numerous dual citizens holding multiple passports in the United States and Europe, it’s difficult even to predict how effective any UN resolution can be.
France has delayed delivery of a pair of warships it was contracted to sell to Russia, citing the Ukraine crisis.
France has said conditions are “not right” for delivery of the first of two Mistral navy assault ships to Russia.
President Francois Hollande’s office blamed Moscow’s recent actions in Ukraine.
France had until now resisted pressure to halt the delivery, saying it had to respect an existing contract.
Mistral-class ships are France’s most up-to-date amphibious assault ships. They can also serve as electronic command ships.
Each ship has the payload capacity and versatility to carry up to 16 heavy helicopters and one-third of a mechanised regiment, plus two LCAC hovercraft or up to four landing craft.
The ship has the capacity to carry up to 16 medium or heavy helicopters below deck, for example the NH90, SA 330 Puma, AS 532 U2 Cougar or AS 665 Tiger helicopters. The flight deck has six landing spots and a 1,800m² hangar. The 5,000m² flight deck can accommodate up to six helicopter movements simultaneously.
They might prove useful should Russia decide to open up a third front on Ukraine by going around Crimea to strike Ukraine’s southeast. Russian forces are already engaged in Ukraine’s west, both in the north and the south. Russia could use the navy base at Sevastopol for such an amphibious move.
If it had the French ships.
Earlier today, President Barack Obama said that America’s goal should be to “shrink” the Islamic State until it is a “manageable problem.”
His own vice president, Joe Biden, later contradicted him, saying that we will “follow ISIS to the gates of Hell, because Hell is where they will reside.”
This afternoon, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki did a “what he really meant to say” routine.
Fox’s James Rosen noted the president’s own contradictory comments, which went from wanting to destroy ISIS, to wanting to roll it back, to wanting to leave it as a “manageable problem.” All of those iterations came in the president’s statement in Estonia today.
Psaki took a little dig at Fox before answering that “It’s important to look at the context of the remarks that the president made.”
The administration’s juvenile digs at a single network have no place in a serious foreign policy discussion about a threat to the whole nation, by the way. They’re petty.
“Certainly our objective here is to degrade and destroy ISIL,” Psaki said.
Rosen countered that “How can reducing something so that it is a manageable problem be consistent with ‘destroying it?’”
Psaki replied “Well I would have to look at the full context, James, but I think it’s understandable that the White House press corps and others are asking questions asked in many different ways. There are many questions to be answered and discussed on this particular issue.”
Then she touted the “effort to build an international coalition” against IS, which the president only mentioned as a possibility, not an actual effort.
From the looks of things today, Barack Obama cannot even manage to keep a consistent message coming from his own mouth over the course of one day. How can he turn IS into a “manageable problem?”
“Hate is not a family value.”
That’s what Democrat strategist Donna Brazile tweeted Tuesday after news broke that the Islamic State had published video showing its beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.
The murderers butchered him at the prime of his life, because he is an American, and because he is not Muslim. Those were his “crimes” in the eyes of the Islamic State. So they cut his head off and posted video of his last moments of life for all the world to see, while they promised to kill again.
Islamic State’s operators are, among other things, serial killers.
Brazile’s tweet of a cliche might not seem to matter, but it does, because she is a big name in the media and a bigger name in the Democratic Party. That party controls American foreign policy as the Islamic State threat rises. Brazile has the ear of President Barack Obama like very few do. Her reactions are likely to align with those of most Democrats including President Obama.
Brazile surrounded that sentiment with others that indicate confusion over the Islamic State and what to do about it. She tweeted that “hate is not a strategy for victory.” Who said that it is? No one who has ever spent any time in the American military would substitute hate for a battle plan. That’s a recipe for defeat.
She called for a “full debate,” but immediately took the military option off the table. That’s not a “full debate.”
The liberal Democrat who supports every government social program questioned the cost of military action, which she had already taken off the table.
She called for a “complete, comprehensive strategy” — only, it would have to be a strategy that does not involve sending American ground troops to fight and defeat a ground army.
Brazile’s reactions betray confusion. That confusion is deeper than momentary strategy. It’s a moral confusion, which is a product of living in subjective cliches rather than reality.
Cliches stop critical thought in its tracks. Cliches crush legitimate debate.
Brazile says she is a Christian. She subscribes to the idea that “hate is not a family value.” That saying has become a staple of Democrat politics for a couple of decades now. Whatever else that statement is, it’s not a reflection of Biblical beliefs.
Don’t get me wrong here. Hate for its own sake or over racial differences isn’t a Biblical value.
But hate is depicted in the Bible as something that becomes necessary at times, and that has its place and its seasons.
The most famous scripture that addresses hate is probably Ecclesiastes 3. It reads:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
What would a “time to hate” be? What would it look like?
Verse 8 connects hate with times of war. The Obama administration refuses to state whether we’re at war with IS, but they are certainly at war with us. They have butchered two of our citizens in the past couple of weeks. They have threatened our nation and declared their intent to impose their beliefs on the whole world. They want to destroy our way of life. We stand in their way. It’s beyond doubt that they hate us, in a non-righteous way, as the next few verses explain.
Psalm 101 specifies what it’s proper to hate.
I will sing of your love and justice;
to you, Lord, I will sing praise.
2I will be careful to lead a blameless life—
when will you come to me?
I will conduct the affairs of my house
with a blameless heart.
3I will not look with approval
on anything that is vile.
I hate what faithless people do;
I will have no part in it.
4The perverse of heart shall be far from me;
I will have nothing to do with what is evil.
David wrote that psalm, and said that he “hates” what faithless people do. “Faithless” in this context means “dishonest.” He goes on to say that he will “silence” those who “slander” their neighbors. That ought to make anyone in politics a little bit uncomfortable. In particular, it should disturb Democrats who play the race card and other smears at every opportunity.
As the Obama administration struggles to address the threat from ISIS and plans to go to Congress in the coming weeks to up its commitment against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, multiple media reports indicate that the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) is operating openly with ISIS and other designated terrorist groups. And yet financial and military support for the FSA is the keystone to the administration’s policy in Syria.
Some background is essential.
It was just over a year ago that the Institute for the Study of War’s Liz O’Bagy was opining in the Wall Street Journal about her travels to Syria and purported discovery that the Syrian “rebels” really weren’t bloodthirsty jihadists, but moderates worthy of U.S. financial and military support — in particular, heavy weapons. Her claims about the Syrian rebels, particularly the FSA, were cited and praised by Secretary of State John Kerry and Senator John McCain.
That view, of course, quickly came crashing down as O’Bagy came under fire for failing to disclose that she was also a paid agent of a Syrian rebel front. (She had also lied about her academic credentials.) Within two weeks of her op-ed appearing, she was fired from the Institute for the Study of War, though she was hired two weeks later by Senator McCain as a Senate staffer.
At the same time that O’Bagy’s career was taking a hit, the narrative that the Syrian “rebels” were all secular moderates was quickly collapsing. A
Rand Corporation study (Correction: The report was by IHS Janes, not Rand) appeared two weeks after O’Bagy’s op-ed saying that nearly half of the Syrian “rebels” were jihadists or hardline Islamists (as if there were a discernible difference). Meanwhile, the FSA was under serious pressure from the very jihadist groups that Ms. O’Bagy had assured were not a problem.
Another practical problem developed with providing weapons to the FSA. As soon as weapons shipments from the CIA were arriving in Syria, the FSA weapons caches were being raided by jihadist groups, including ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, the official al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, under very suspicious circumstances. The problem got so bad that by last December, both the U.S. and the UK had stopped weapons shipments to the FSA.
But by April of this year, the Obama adminstration’s CIA weapons spigot was turned back on, with the FSA now receiving heavy weapons, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. And in late June, President Obama asked Congress for $500 million to arm and train the FSA.
This move was not without controversy as the Syrian Military Council chief-of-staff warned that the U.S. was circumventing the SMC and providing weapons directly to FSA units that could end up creating Afghan/Somali-style warlords in Syria. The State Department responded to that criticism by assuring that the weapons were going to “moderate, vetted groups” (because, of course, the State Department has such a long, illustrious history of vetting Islamic “moderates”).
On Tuesday, the Islamic State released a slickly produced video of their beheading of American journalist Steve Sotloff. IS terrorists ended the 31-year-old’s life by beheading him. In the video, IS taunts President Obama and blames him for the killing.
President Obama’s reaction to the second IS beheading of an American in the span of about a week is curious, to say the least.
“We will not be intimidated,” he said, indicated some level of intimidation.
He continued: “”We know that if we are joined by the international community, we can continue to shrink ISILl’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem.”
A “manageable problem.”
In other words, the Islamic State gets to go on existing as long as it’s “manageable.”
Where is the declaration that the Islamic State must be destroyed? Where is the declaration that anyone who harms Americans will pay with their lives? Where is the strength and decisiveness? Where is Obama’s responsibility to be commander-in-chief and protect the American people?
It’s not in Obama’s prepared remarks. After expressing his desire that the Islamic State become a “manageable problem,” he continued:
“And the question is going to be making sure we’ve got the right strategy but also making sure we’ve got the international will to do it. This is something that is a continuation of a problem we’ve seen certainly since 9/11, but before and it continues to metastasize in different ways. And what we’ve got to do is make sure that we are organizing the Arab world, the Middle East, the Muslim world, along with the internationl community to isolate this cancer.”
As the leader of the free world, President Obama’s responsibility is not to hope that there is international will to destroy IS. His responsibility is to marshal that will and build the coalition that it will take to win.
But this president expresses a strange desire not to win wars. He promised in 2008 not to win the war in Iraq, but to end it. He ended it by pulling American troops out prematurely. The Islamic State’s rise is a direct result of that.
Obama seemed satisfied declaring that “al Qaeda is on the run” during the 2012 election. Not that they were beaten or had been destroyed; merely that killing Osama bin Laden had put “core al Qaeda” “on the run.”
Now Obama declares that he intends to make the Islamic State, which occupies territory the size of Great Britain and is a growing global threat, a “manageable problem.”
That won’t do. This president cannot manage the Texas-Mexico border. We need a president who understands that Islamic State will never be a “manageable problem.” It has to be destroyed. In the words of Ronald Reagan, the strategy against the Islamic State must be “We win, and they lose.”
The White House just announced that President Obama authorized hundreds of extra troops on the ground to protect the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
Press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement that that the Defense Department authorization stemmed from a State Department request for “approximately 350 additional U.S. military personnel to protect our diplomatic facilities and personnel.”
“This action was taken at the recommendation of the Department of Defense after an extensive interagency review, and is part of the President’s commitment to protect our personnel and facilities in Iraq as we continue to support the Government of Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). These additional forces will not serve in a combat role,” Earnest said.
“The President has made clear his commitment to doing whatever is required to provide the necessary security for U.S. personnel and facilities around the world. The request he approved today will allow some previously deployed military personnel to depart Iraq, while at the same time providing a more robust, sustainable security force for our personnel and facilities in Baghdad.”
The notice came just hours after the video of American journalist Steve Sotloff’s beheading surfaced.
It also comes after Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) warned Sunday that Baghdad could be the next to fall.
“I believe their goal is Baghdad. I think it’s very, very serious and we have to have a strategy to deal with it in Syria and in Iraq in this new caliphate and to prevent that caliphate from expanding,” she said, stressing that ISIS “is on its way to Baghdad and I believe that they will try to attack our embassy from the West, which is a Sunni area where I believe they are infiltrating now.”
Earnest said tonight that “in addition to our efforts to protect our personnel, we will continue to support the Government of Iraq’s efforts to counter ISIL, which poses a threat not only to Iraq, but to the broader Middle East and U.S. personnel and interests in the region.”
“The President will be consulting this week with NATO allies regarding additional actions to take against ISIL and to develop a broad-based international coalition to implement a comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners in the fight against ISIL,” he said. “As part of this effort, Secretary Kerry, Secretary Hagel, and President Obama’s counterterrorism advisor, Lisa Monaco, will be traveling separately to the region in the near-term to build a stronger regional partnership.”
Obama had not issued a statement yet on the murder of Sotloff.
UPDATE 9 p.m.: Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the announcement “builds upon previous embassy security deployments announced on June 15 and June 30 and will bring the total forces responsible for augmenting diplomatic security in Iraq up to approximately 820.”
“The additional joint forces will come from within the U.S. Central Command area of operations and will include a headquarters element, medical personnel, associated helicopters, and an air liaison team,” Kirby said. “In all, 405 U.S. military personnel will be sent to Baghdad to provide a more robust and sustainable security presence to help the Department of State continue their critical mission. With this order, 55 personnel who have been in Baghdad since June will redeploy outside of Iraq. Those 55 personnel will remain postured to deal with other security contingencies in the region, if necessary.”
“The Department of Defense will continue to plan and prepare further military options should they become necessary, and we will remain ready to protect our diplomats, our citizens, and our interests in Iraq, while we continue to work with the Iraqi government to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.”
I’m reminded of Roger L. Simon over the weekend offering “My Isis Strategy“:
Send them a message they will never forget — and if that message resembles Dresden in World War II, so be it. They have brought it on themselves. We should not take sides in the Neanderthal Sunni-Shiite rift in which they have been killing each other for over a thousand years for pathological cultish reasons. Both sides want nothing more than a caliphate. They just want their caliphate.
And most importantly of all, we should reinstate the economic boycott of Iran even more tightly than it was before while informing the bloody mullahs and the Iranian people that we support regime change now, not pussy-foot around about it as Obama did when the students were marching in the streets of Tehran (the most morally reprehensible behavior by an American president in my lifetime). We can’t allow the mullahs to profit from our dismantling of ISIS. And if they don’t get the message, use lethal force.
I fear that soon ISIS will start upping the ante with their video releases. Beheadings won’t deliver enough shock value for the Game of Thrones postmodern pop culture. What sorts of videos should one expect next to terrorize Americans? Look at Rotherham to see another ancient method of warfare adapted for today…
Donna Brazile is a major Democrat strategist. She made her name during the Clinton administration, and has remained a fixture in Washington ever since. ABC and CNN regularly have her on to give the Democratic Party’s point of view.
After the Islamic State published video of the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff, Brazile was very quick to make sure that no Americans get all hate-y about it.
— Boss Tweet (@texasbryanp) September 2, 2014
Brazile then went on a more eloquent line of questioning, but watch where it leads at the end.
It's time we have a full debate on how to handle #ISIS in both short & long term. No more name calling & drum beat to wars in Middle East.
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) September 1, 2014
Everybody has an opinion on the threat #ISIS might pose to our homeland. But, Congress should return & engage in a full debate on topic.
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) September 1, 2014
Pay attention to Brazile’s rejection of name-calling. It doesn’t last long.
Finally, the US is already engaged with air strikes. And it's not cheap. How much & who will pay? Remember, the hawks will not raise taxes.
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) September 1, 2014
Cable airtime is not a strategy. We need a complete, comprehensive strategy. What's the mission? When will it end? How much will it costs?
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) September 1, 2014
It should end with victory over ISIS. And why is it that Democrats only care about costs when national security is involved?
Brazile calls out a few senators from both parties, then…
Lastly, we deserve answers. We need answers on #ISIS. The President, as well as Congress, answers to us — the taxpayers and voters. Agree?
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) September 1, 2014
She re-tweets this from noted military strategy expert Marc Lamont Hill.
We cannot fix Iraq or defeat ISIS by reoccupying Iraq. I'm not saying don't destroy ISIS. I'm saying US military intervention isn't the way.
— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) September 2, 2014
What is? Uploading their embarrassing photos to iCloud?
By this time, her “hate is not a strategy” tweet had blown up in her face.
So she tweets this.
For all of you so called "hillbillies" sending the usual frothing of the mouth comments: your words simply don't impress anyone. #seriously
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) September 2, 2014
And now it’s come to this.
Hate is not a family value.
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) September 2, 2014
But stupidity is in Democrat DNA.
President Obama used to hold Libya up as one of the examples of how the Arab Spring had ushered in freedom.
He had no idea…
Islamist militias are now free to take over the U.S. embassy in Tripoli and host an end-of-summer pool party bash there.
Islamist pool parties tend to be a little different from ours. No alcohol will be consumed, though Islamists are perfectly free to distribute heroin, cocaine, marijuana and any other hard drug to infidel addicts if they donate the money to the jihad.
No women are allowed unless they’re covered head to toe. Even the men stay fully covered while they jump from the roof to the pool.
Jackknifes are not entertaining ways to make a splash. They’re what the partygoers will use for the ceremonial beheading of a westerner at the end of the party.
The U.S. embassy in Tripoli, like all U.S. embassies, is under the purview of Secretary of State John Kerry.
While Kerry was not technically invited to the Islamist pool party, he showed solidarity with it.
What do you think Putin is thinking about all this?
h/t Daily Caller
Back in January, President Obama told the New Yorker’s David Remnick that the group then known as the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, or the Islamic State in the Levant, was not that big of a threat.
At the core of Obama’s thinking is that American military involvement cannot be the primary instrument to achieve the new equilibrium that the region so desperately needs. And yet thoughts of a pacific equilibrium are far from anyone’s mind in the real, existing Middle East. In the 2012 campaign, Obama spoke not only of killing Osama bin Laden; he also said that Al Qaeda had been “decimated.” I pointed out that the flag of Al Qaeda is now flying in Falluja, in Iraq, and among various rebel factions in Syria; Al Qaeda has asserted a presence in parts of Africa, too.
The al Qaeda flag flying in Fallujah was flown by ISIS.
“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama said, resorting to an uncharacteristically flip analogy. “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.
“Let’s just keep in mind, Falluja is a profoundly conservative Sunni city in a country that, independent of anything we do, is deeply divided along sectarian lines. And how we think about terrorism has to be defined and specific enough that it doesn’t lead us to think that any horrible actions that take place around the world that are motivated in part by an extremist Islamic ideology are a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into.”
But who is the “we” Obama refers to there?
The intelligence community is pushing back, saying that the growing ISIS threat has been included in the Presidential Daily Brief over the past year.
A former Pentagon official confirms to Fox News that detailed and specific intelligence about the rise of ISIS was included in the PDB, or the President’s Daily Brief, for at least a year before the group took large swaths of territory beginning in June.
The official, who asked not to be identified because the PDB is considered the most authoritative, classified intelligence community product providing the President with analysis of sensitive international events, said the data was strong, and “granular” in detail, adding a policy maker “…could not come away with any other impression: This is getting bad.”
“Granular” is an interesting word in this context. It means that the intelligence on ISIS has been quite specific, down to who the leaders are, how its field forces are armed and deployed, its capabilities, how it is raising money, and more.
But that was all included in the Presidential Daily Brief. Obama may not have attended many of those. He was routinely skipping them in the months leading up to 9-11-12, the terrorist attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya.
He now says that he reads them instead of having intelligence officers brief him, as previous presidents have. Briefings allow for a back-and-forth that Obama is not getting even if he is reading his PDBs.
The situation now is that ISIS is growing as it establishes its own capital in Syria — where Obama admits that he has no strategy to deal with them. ISIS has an unknown number of western passport holders among its troops. They can travel freely.
The Texas-Mexico border is wildly insecure. And ISIS is very aware of that.
An ally of President Obama on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee cautioned against having an “itchy trigger finger” in going after ISIS.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) was asked on MSNBC this morning about Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) assessment over the weekend that Obama was being “too cautious” in confronting the terror megastorm in Iraq and Syria.
“I have a lot of respect for Senator Feinstein, but I think he’s right to take his time. Listen, these are bad guys. They obviously present a threat to our friends in the region and the security of the United States,” Murphy said.
“But this is complicated, and the fact is that the American people do not have an itchy trigger finger right now. They want our president to take the time to build a coalition, both with our allies in Europe, and, more importantly, with our allies and partners in the region to make sure that we’re not getting dragged into a sectarian regional civil war.”
The senator added that he knows ”a lot of my colleagues want to show strength through immediate force, but that’s where the American public is.”
“I think ISIS absolutely needs to be stopped. The question is not whether there’s a will. The question is whether there is a way right now. And with American support unilaterally being expressed in the region, you’re not gonna stop ISIS. The only way you’re gonna stop ISIS is by rallying Sunni and Shiite regions and countries to the cause as well. So they need to be stopped, but it can’t be done by the United States alone,” Murphy continued.
“So I don’t think you are going to defeat ISIS in the short term. You essentially have to dramatically weaken them and stop this perceived inevitable momentum. And so, the president is right for the time being to conduct these strikes inside Iraq that are going to substantially stop their momentum.”
He called it an “incredibly tricky dance.”
“And I think that is why the president needs to take his time here. The American public do not want us rushing into a conflict. If he wants to go into Syria with military power, he’s gotta come to Congress,” Murphy said. “And frankly, that’s my bottom line, is that right now this debate needs to be happening in Congress. Because the American people have to have some say in this as well. And I hope when we get back next week we’re gonna get a request from the president for military authorization from Congress because this debate can’t happen just inside the White House.”