Understanding The Source Of What You Read

On Sunday, The New York Times posted an op-ed piece by Marwan Barghouti who criticized Israel for their imprisonment of Palestinians terrorists. Yesterday CNS News posted an article explaining some of the background of Marwan Barghouti.

The article at CNS News explains:

Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five consecutive life sentences for the murder of five people in terror attacks, wrote the op-ed published Sunday to explain a decision by some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israel to begin a hunger strike.

The aim, he wrote, was to seek an end to Israeli “abuses” which he charged included torture, degrading treatment and medical negligence.

Barghouti, 57, referred to experiences in Israeli jails, beginning when he was a teenager, but made no reference to the trial and conviction that led to his incarceration today. Instead he portrayed himself as “pursuing this struggle for freedom along with thousands of prisoners, millions of Palestinians and the support of so many around the world.”

The New York Times initially informed readers only that “Marwan Barghouti is a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.”

Needless to say, Israel quickly pointed out the history of the editorial writer.

The article includes the following comment which puts the whole incident into perspective:

“What’s next?” Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman David Keyes wrote in a letter to the paper. “Op-eds written by famed doctors Ayman al-Zawahiri and Bashar al-Assad?”

“Printing Barghouti’s sham plea for justice while omitting the fact that he’s a convicted mass murderer is outrageous.”

Keyes noted that during his imprisonment Barghouti “has taught courses, gotten a PhD and received a monthly salary from the Palestinian Authority.”

The wives and children of his victims, meanwhile, “were left heartbroken every single day.”

When the mainstream media prints an editorial from an unrepentant terrorist without identifying who the writer is, they are betraying the public trust. At least In the world of alternative media, the public has a way of finding out who the author of the editorial is and what he has done.

Why The United Nations Is No Longer Relevant

This is Article I of the United Nations Charter (from the U.N. website):

Article 1

The Purposes of the United Nations are:

  1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
  2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
  3. To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
  4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

Reuters reported yesterday:

Russia blocked a Western-led effort at the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to condemn last week’s deadly gas attack in Syria and push Moscow’s ally President Bashar al-Assad to cooperate with international inquiries into the incident.

It was the eighth time during Syria’s six-year-old civil war that Moscow has used its veto power on the Security Council to shield Assad’s government.

In the latest veto, Russia blocked a draft resolution backed by the United States, France and Britain to denounce the attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun and tell Assad’s government to provide access for investigators and information such as flight plans.

If the United Nations cannot even denounce a poison gas attack on civilians, what good is it?

Between 1955 and 2013, the United Nations issued at least 77 resolutions targeting Israel (statistics and list here), and the United Nations can’t even come up with a resolution condemning a poison gas attack on civilians? Wow.

American taxpayer dollars provide a major portion of the funding of the United Nations. I think the fact that the U.N. can’t even condemn a poison gas attack on civilians justifies the end of that funding. Until all members of the United Nations are willing to admit that it is wrong to use poison gas on civilians, I don’t think the U.N. has much relevance or credibility. Their moral authority no longer exists.

It Is Important To Know Where The Money Is Coming From

The Daily Caller posted a story today about the 2017 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report. The report labels the U.S. as a major human rights abuser. Wow! Who knew? That sounds really alarming until you look at the money behind Human Rights Watch.

The article reports:

The 687-page report provides overviews of human rights situations in approximately 90 countries around the world. It rates countries based upon their treatment of  journalists and dissenters, the freedom of their elections, and their positions on the death penalty, the use of torture and the fairness of their judicial systems.

Though Trump has yet to shape any policies in the U.S., the HRW survey mentions the Republican 19 times, including under a section with the heading “Trump’s Dangerous Rhetoric.”

The group is most disturbed with Trump’s comments regarding immigration and Muslims.

The 19 mentions of Trump is compared to 11 mentions of both Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, both of whom have cracked down heavily on reporters and dissidents. Bashar al-Assad, the dictator of Syria who has murdered tens of thousands of his own citizens, receives 15 mentions in the report.

In his introduction to the report, Roth argued that Trump is one of a new class of Western leaders who are riding a wave of anti-globalist, nationalistic populism.

So let’s look at the money behind the group:

HRW is heavily funded by Soros, a Hillary Clinton supporter who backs hundreds of leftist and progressive groups across the world. Soros pledged to give $100 million to HRW over a ten year period in 2010. Open Society Foundations, Soros’ main vehicle for funding U.S.-based groups, gave $10 million to HRW in 2014, its most recent tax filings show.

President-elect Trump hasn’t done anything yet, and this group is already accusing him of human rights violations. Nothing like getting ahead of the curve. So what is really going on here? George Soros is a globalist who supports one-world government (which he, of course, would help control). Nationalism is a threat to those who want one-world government, as is patriotism. The globalists have had a bad spell lately–they thought Britain would stay in the EU and they thought Hillary would win the election. Now they are desperate to regain some sort of relevancy in countries that are actually free and value freedom.

We can expect more of this behavior in the future from people who believe that everyone around the world should live in a third-world country and that George Soros and his friends should be in charge and live very, very well.

Bad Behavior By A Supposed NATO Ally

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that Dion Nissenbaum, a Wall Street Journal staff reporter, was detained for 2 1/2 days last week and not allowed to communicate with either his family or an attorney.

The article reports:

Mr. Nissenbaum’s detention came amid a broader crackdown on press freedom in Turkey, where dozens of reporters, mainly Turkish, are behind bars. Since the summer, Turkey, where the government has imposed a state of emergency, has closed more than 100 domestic media outlets.

While in custody, Mr. Nissenbaum, a U.S. citizen, was denied access to lawyers despite repeated requests, he said. He also wasn’t allowed to contact his family or his employer. Mr. Nissenbaum said authorities told him he was under investigation, but they declined to say for what.

It is time to reevaluate our relationship with Turkey. Turkey is moving closer to Russia, but at the same time President Erdogan is also moving toward the establishment of an Islamic state. At some time in the future, that will be a problem for the relationship between Turkey and Russia, but right now that relationship is useful to both countries. Erdogan wants to end any idea of an independent Kurdish nation by crushing the Kurds and Russia wants to keep Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power. Right now, they can work together. It is anyone’s guess as to how long that alliance will last. Erdogan’s goal is to recreate the Ottoman Empire. As a Muslim, Erdogan would be quite comfortable with the Islamic principle of taqiyya (deceit or dissimulation, particularly toward infidels–Quran 3:28 and 16:106). Much like Putin, former KGB, would have no problem using Erdogan for his own purposes, Erdogan would have no problem lying to Putin for his own purposes. Good luck to both of them, they deserve each other.

I think it’s time to reconsider the role of Turkey in NATO. As much as it would be nice to have a country in NATO that would be a bridge between east and west, I think Turkey has shown by its actions that it is not that country.

 

 

The Mess In The Middle East

Yesterday the BBC posted an article about the ongoing war in the Middle East. I generally don’t trust the BBC as a source on the Middle East because I feel that they are biased against Israel, but in this case, the article provides a lot of good information.

The article included a map showing where things currently stand:

MiddleEastAs you can see, the situation is a mess. The article was not about the map; however, the article was about a shift in the execution of the war by the pro-Bashar al-Assad forces in Russia and Iran.

The article states:

Russia’s defence ministry says it has used a base in western Iran to carry out air strikes in Syria.

Tupolev-22M3 long-range bombers and Sukhoi-34 strike fighters took off from Hamedan on Tuesday, a statement said.

Targets were hit in Aleppo, Idlib and Deir al-Zour provinces, it added. Local groups said 27 civilians had died.

It is reportedly the first time Russia has struck targets inside Syria from a third country since it began a campaign to prop up Syria’s president last year.

Iran is Bashar al-Assad’s main regional ally and has provided significant military and financial support since an uprising against him erupted in 2011.

…Russia has been operating jets and helicopters from bases in Syria for the past year, but this is the first time that Moscow has deployed aircraft to a third country in the region.

Reports indicate that up to six Tupolev Tu-22M3 bombers – known by the Nato codename of “Backfire” – are now operating from an air base in western Iran.

These planes – originally designed as a long-range strategic bomber – have already been engaged in the Syrian air campaign but operating from bases in southern Russia. Placing them in Iran dramatically reduces the duration of their missions. The Russian defence ministry says that an unspecified number of Sukhoi-34 strike aircraft have also been sent to Iran.

Their deployment marks an intensification of the Russian air campaign – perhaps a reflection of the scale of the fighting in and around Aleppo – and it is a demonstration of the growing warmth in ties between Moscow and Tehran, the Syrian government’s two closest allies.

This is not good news.

The article concludes:

Also on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch alleged that Russian and Syrian government aircraft had been using incendiary weapons in civilian areas in violation of international law – something Moscow has denied.

A review of photographs and videos indicated there were at least 18 incendiary weapon attacks on rebel-held areas in Aleppo and Idlib between 5 June and 10 August, the US-based group said. Witnesses and emergency workers reported at least 12 civilians wounded in five of the attacks.

President Obama is in the process of forming an alliance with Russia to fight ISIS. That is a serious mistake. The only reason Russia is involved in this is to prop up Bashar al-Assad, to cement its relationship with Iran, and to regain the status it had as a world power before the Soviet Union dissolved. Vladimir Putin is not our friend and should be handled as carefully as a scorpion.

The Attack On Christianity In Turkey

The U.K. Express posted an article on Friday about the attack on Christian churches in Turkey.

The article reports:

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken control of six churches in the war-torn southeastern city of Diyarbakir in his latest move to squash freedom of speech and religious movement. 

The state-sanctioned seizure is just the latest in a number of worrying developments to come out of increasingly hardline Turkey, which is in advanced talks with the EU over visa-free travel for its 80 million citizens.

Included in the seizures are Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches, one of which is over 1,700 years old.

The churches are now considered state property.

The article reports the ‘justification’ for seizing the churches:

The order to seize the churches was made on March 25 by Erdogan’s council of ministers, according to the website World Watch Monitor. 

They claim it was made on the grounds that authorities intend to rebuild and restore the historical centre of the city, which has been partially destroyed by 10 months of urban conflict between government forces and militants from the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). 

President Erdogan has been moving Turkey toward a caliphate since he took office. He has replaced many of the top military leaders in the country with Islamists who support Sharia Law. He has moved away from his alliance with Israel and closer to alliances with Muslim Countries. He has also used the Syrian Civil War as a shield to hide his actions against the Kurds. He does not want the Kurds to have their own country, and has been using the cover of the Syrian Civil War to attack them as they have been fighting ISIS.

Christians in the Middle East are under attack. The only country where they are safe is Israel. Israel is also the country in the Middle East where the Arabs who live there have the most freedom and there is a Middle Class. Israel is truly the only free country in the Middle East.

The Truth Begins To Leak Out

Fox News posted an article today about an interview former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel published Friday in Foreign Policy. The interview provided some insight into some of the decisions made in the Obama Administration during Secretary Hagel’s tenure.

The article reports:

The interview with Foreign Policy comes nearly a year after his acrimonious exit from the Obama administration. Still smarting from the circumstances of his departure, Hagel told Foreign Policy that the White House tried to “destroy” him even after he resigned.

The interview explored the tensions between Hagel and others on Obama’s team, but offered particularly revealing details about the backstory to the president’s decision backing off his “red line” with Assad.

The former Pentagon chief said that decision in 2013 dealt a big blow to U.S. credibility.

“Whether it was the right decision or not, history will determine that,” Hagel told Foreign Policy. “There’s no question in my mind that it hurt the credibility of the president’s word when this occurred.”

While it is well-known that Obama chose not to go forward with any military action against Assad in 2013 despite drawing that line – and instead pursued a diplomatic path to have Assad hand over his chemical weapons stockpile – Hagel described the military option as robust up until the moment Obama nixed it.

It will be interesting to see what papers will be made public when the Obama Administration opens its library. This administration has behaved like political thugs. They have politicized the justice department, the internal revenue, and anything else they touched. They have created a racial divide that has not existed in this country since the 1950’s. It will be interesting to see how transparent they will be with their internal records.

Are We Really That Stupid?

It was really nice of Vladimir Putin to offer to help out President Obama in the effort to stabilize Syria. The problem may be that both men have very different ideas as to what constitutes a stable Syria.

On September 29th, Yahoo News reported the following statement by President Obama:

US President Barack Obama said Tuesday that Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad must go if the Islamic State group is to be defeated, as he rallied world leaders to revitalize the coalition campaign against the jihadists.

…”In Syria (…) defeating ISIL requires, I believe, a new leader,” Obama told the gathering, held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

I agree with President Obama that ISIS (the term ISIL President Obama is using denies the existence of Israel) must be defeated. However, if Bashar al-Assad is deposed, do we have any assurance that what replaces him will be either a stable government or a humanitarian government? Are we creating another Libya?

Meanwhile, Russia has agreed to help us defeat ISIS. They have moved some serious weaponry into Syria supposedly for that purpose. It is a really interesting move when you consider that Russia’s goal in Syria is diametrically opposed to our goal in Syria. Bashar al-Assad is an ally of Iran. Russia is an ally of Iran. Russia does not want Bashar al-Assad deposed–they would very much like to keep him in power. Under the guise of helping defeat ISIS, Russia has been able to move serious weaponry into Syria that might coincidentally be used to defeat the enemies of Bashar al-Assad. Unfortunately, the enemies of Bashar al-Assad are the troops we are training and supporting.

Today’s Wall Street Journal reports:

Russia has targeted Syrian rebel groups backed by the Central Intelligence Agency in a string of airstrikes running for days, leading the U.S. to conclude that it is an intentional effort by Moscow, American officials said.

The assessment, which is shared by commanders on the ground, has deepened U.S. anger at Moscow and sparked a debate within the administration over how the U.S. can come to the aid of its proxy forces without getting sucked deeper into a proxy war that President Barack Obama says he doesn’t want. The White House has so far been noncommittal about coming to the aid of CIA-backed rebels, wary of taking steps that could trigger a broader conflict.

Vladimir Putin has again successfully eaten President Obama’s lunch.

Russia And Syria

The Business Insider posted an article about the meddling of Russia and Iran in Syria. Both nations would like to see President Bashar Assad stay in power. The situation in Syria is getting very complicated. Assad is losing ground, and Russia is about to come to his aid.

The article posted a map showing the current situation:

syria

This is not acceptable to either Russia or Iran.

The article concludes:

“Clearly Putin‘s not particularly bothered by continuing to frustrate the United States,” Bremmer ( Ian Bremmer, the president of Eurasia Group) said. “And the Europeans aren’t going to punish him for military engagement in Syria — they’re more interested in coming to terms with Assad just as they’re more prepared to see a frozen conflict in Ukraine (see Hollande’s commentson his hopes to end sanctions).”

The fallout of all of this, according to Bremmer, will be more chaos — and more refugees headed to Europe.

“As the West presses ISIS while Russia provides direct support for Assad, the Syrians are caught in the middle,” Bremmer said. “Anyone that can find a way out will. And the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe, four years in the making, is guaranteed to expand for a fifth.”

When America has a weak President, bad things happen. President Obama’s line in the sand has long since been washed away by the incoming tide.

Who’s Who In The Middle East

CBN News posted a story today that provides a little bit of background about the continuing conflict in the Middle East. It seems rather ironic that ISIS and Iran, (Shia vs. Sunni) Islam agree on “death to America” and “death to Israel,” but are fighting each other to the death. So what is going on?

The article explains:

“The Sunni and the Shia now are very much at loggerheads,” he (Matthew Levitt, with the Washington Institute) explained. “And while they may share hatred of Israel, they may share hatred of the West — certainly, suspicion of the West, this sectarianism is the dominant issue right now.”

The main battleground right now for this intra-Islam conflict is Syria.

On the Sunni side, there are ISIS, al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups. These groups, who’ve also been known to battle each other, have been supported to various degrees by Sunni governments in the region, such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

On the Shia side are Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah, both of whom are propping up the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

This Sunni-Shia conflict is also raging in Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen.

Mr. Levitt explained that Sunni Muslims make up about 85 percent of the world’s Muslim population, while Shia make up about 15 percent.

Although the Islamic governments in the Middle East all tend to be repressive, not all of these governments support terrorism. One of the interesting consequences of the ongoing conflict between Sunni and Shia and of Iran’s continuing push to obtain nuclear weapons is the alliance that is growing between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Egypt has dealt with the Muslim Brotherhood, and Jordan and Saudi Arabia are in the sights of the Brotherhood. The plan the Brotherhood voiced a few years ago was to take down the dictatorships in the Middle East, then take down the governments ruled by royal families. That was to be the basis of the new caliphate which both the Sunni and Shia Muslims would like to establish. The debate is not about establishing the caliphate–the debate is over who will control it once it is established. All things considered, ISIS is no more brutal than the government of Iran–they are simply more pubic about it. It won’t matter whether the Sunnis or the Shia control the caliphate–the caliphate will be brutal.

The Truth About The Obama Administration And Israel

The Washington Free Beacon posted a story today about former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren‘s new book, “Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israel Divide.”

The article states:

By the summer of 2013, President Obama had convinced several key Israelis that he wasn’t bluffing about using force against the Iranian nuclear program. Then he failed to enforce his red line against Syrian dictator Bashar Assad—and the Israelis realized they’d been snookered. Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the United States, recalls the shock inside his government. “Everyone went quiet,” he said in a recent interview. “An eerie quiet. Everyone understood that that was not an option, that we’re on our own.”

That is one of the saddest statements I have ever read.

The article explains the impact of Israel’s loss of United States’ support in the international community:

What Obama wanted was to create diplomatic space between America and Israel while maintaining our military alliance. Oren says military-to-military relations are strong, but the diplomatic fissure has degraded Israel’s security. America, he says, provided a “Diplomatic Iron Dome” that shielded Israel from anti-Semites in Europe, at the U.N., and abroad whose goal is to delegitimize the Jewish State and undermine her economically.

This rhetorical missile shield is slowly being retracted. The administration threatens not to veto anti-Israel U.N. initiatives, Europe is aligning with the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, and anti-Israel activism festers on U.S. campuses. Obama’s unending criticism of Israel, and background quotes calling Israel’s prime minister a “chicken-shit” and a “coward,” provide an opening for radicals to go even further.

Israel has been our only reliable ally in the Middle East since its founding in 1948. It is the only country in the Middle East where Christians, Jews, and Muslims are free to practice their religion. The Obama Administration has consistently come down on the wrong side of history in its dealings in the Middle East. Abandoning Israel in favor of a nuclear agreement with Iran would be a serious mistake. Unfortunately, that seems to be the path President Obama has chosen.

Weak Leadership Has Many Different Results

President Obama has been a weak President. He has not directly faced any of the threats against us. His comments on SONY were rather interesting considering the arrest of the man who made the video the Obama Administration blamed for Benghazi. But more important (and disturbing) is his unwillingness to stand up to Iran. This has left something of a vacuum in the Middle East power struggle which is now having interesting results.

Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line today about what has been happening to oil prices recently. Mr. Hayward points out that the Saudi decision to keep production levels up (therefore keeping prices low) may not actually be about stunting the American shale oil market. It quite possibly has more to do with crippling the economies of Iran and Russia, the two biggest problems for the Saudis in their neighborhood.

In a National Post article posted yesterday, Conrad Black explains:

Saudi Arabia has resigned itself to the fact that neither its oft-demonstrated ability to play the periodic U.S. resolve to reduce its dependence on foreign oil like a yo-yo by price-cutting until the impulse of self-discipline passes, nor the agitation of the environmentalists for restrained oil production, will work again. . . a Saudi move on this scale, with the resulting self-inflicted reduction in their income, makes no sense for the marginal impact it will have on American future production and imports; it is a geopolitical move targeted much closer to home. . .

Saudi Arabia is trying to discourage the use of Iranian and Russian oil revenues to prop up the blood-stained and beleaguered Assad regime in Damascus, to finance Iran’s nuclear military program, and to incite the continuing outrages of Hezbollah and Hamas in Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories against Israel. The exotic community of interest that has suddenly arisen between the historically Jew-baiting Saudis and the Jewish state is because the countries in the area fear, with good reason as far as can be discerned, that the UN Security Council members, plus Germany, may be on the verge of acquiescing in Iran’s arrival as a threshold nuclear military power. The oil-price weapon, in the face of the terminal enfeeblement of the Obama administration, is the last recourse before the Saudis and Turks, whatever their autocues of racist rhetoric, invite Israel to smash the Iranian nuclear program from the air.

I guess this is one time having a weak President actually helps the American economy. However, if the price of oil remains low, future investment in American oil will decrease, and that will cause an economic problem for America. For many reasons, we need to make energy independence for America a priority.

The Fiction Of Moderate Muslims In Syria

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an article at National Review Online about the Obama Administration’s policy toward Syria.

The article states:

In particular, there is the story line that Syria is really teeming with secular democrats and authentic moderate Muslims who would have combined forces to both overthrow Assad and fight off the jihadists if only President Obama had helped them. But his failure to act created a “vacuum” that was tragically filled by Islamist militants and gave rise to ISIS. At this point in the story, you are supposed to stay politely mum and not ask whether it makes any sense that real democrats and actual moderates would agree to be led by head-chopping, mass-murdering, freedom-stifling sharia terrorists.

In point of fact, there simply have never been enough pro-Western elements in Syria to win, no matter how much help came their way.

Any effort to pacify Syria will only result in events similar to what happened in Egypt. Actually, there no longer is a Syria–the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, and their buddies do not recognize the borders drawn by western nations in the Middle East. What is happening in Iraq and Syria is an attempt to combine Iraq, Syria, and Iran into a caliphate. America‘s involvement in the situation is helping no one.

The article further reports:

The ball to keep your eye on here is al-Qaeda. The al-Nusra terrorist group is just al-Qaeda in Syria. Even ISIS is just a breakaway faction of al-Qaeda. And the Khorasan group is just a top-tier group of al-Qaeda veterans doing al-Qaeda’s work in conjunction with al Nusra — i.e., al-Qaeda.

The Obama administration disingenuously emphasizes these various foreign names to confuse Americans into thinking that there are various factions with diverse agendas in Syria — that al-Qaeda is no longer a problem because Obama has already dealt with it, and what remains are sundry groups of “moderate rebels” that the administration can work with in the effort to vanquish ISIS. Meanwhile, you are supposed to refrain from noticing that Obama’s original Syrian project — remember, he wanted Assad toppled — has given way to fighting ISIS . . . the very Sunni jihadists who were empowered by Obama’s lunatic policies of (a) switching sides in Libya in order to support the jihadists against Qaddafi and (b) abetting and encouraging Sunni Muslim governments in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey to arm Sunni militias in the fight against Assad — those militias having all along included al-Qaeda elements, some of which split off to become ISIS and now threaten to bite off the very hands that once fed them.

If there is a way to aid the refugees without sending troops, we need to do that. Sending troops to Iraq after President Obama squandered the victory that American troops had won is simply not smart.

The ‘Look At Me’ President

Fox News is reporting today that two senior Defense officials told Fox News that President Obama has authorized the U.S. to fly surveillance drones over Syria. Why in the world is this being announced? Did former Presidents announce surveillance flights over other countries? We are not actually at war with Syria, so why in the world should we make this announcement? I am not opposed to the surveillance flights–we should have been doing them all along–I am opposed to the fact that the Obama Administration announced them.

The article reports:

Sources told Fox News that Obama approved surveillance missions in Syria for the first time over the weekend; they have since begun. 

It remains to be seen whether the Syrian government will raise any objections to the move. On Monday, the Syrian regime demanded that the U.S. seek permission before launching any airstrikes on its territory against Islamic State targets, but did not discuss its position on surveillance drones. 

The internal discussion over whether to expand the U.S. mission into Syria comes after the U.S. military earlier this month began launching a volley of strikes against Islamic State targets in northern Iraq. Top Pentagon officials have said that the only way the threat from the militants can be fully eliminated is to go after the group inside neighboring Syria as well. 

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday that the U.S. wants more clarity on the militants in Syria, but declined to comment on the surveillance flights.

“Clearly the picture we have of ISIS on the Iraqi side is a more refined picture,” said Dempsey, using one of the acronyms for the Islamic State group. “The existence and activities of ISIS on the Syrian side, we have … some insights into that but we certainly want to have more insights into that as we craft a way forward.”

The action is considered the first “intrusive” surveillance by the U.S. in Syria since the country’s civil war began. This differs from protective surveillance, such as the U.S. used in the failed mission to rescue American hostages held in Syria.

I don’t have a problem with destroying ISIS, but I think we need to take a very close look at who we are supporting when we oppose ISIS. In opposing ISIS, we are supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. We also need to remember that Iran also opposes ISIS. ISIS is a horrible group of people, but do we really want to align ourselves with Bashar al-Assad and Iran? I am not sure there are any good guys in this. We need to help the Kurds defend themselves, but I am not sure we need to do anything else.

After The Speech, The Truth Comes Out

Today’s Washington Free Beacon posted an article entitled, “The Big Chide,” the writer’s term for President Obama’s foreign policy.

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama stated:

American diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syria’s chemical weapons are being eliminated. (Applause.) And we will continue to work with the international community to usher in the future the Syrian people deserve — a future free of dictatorship, terror and fear.

Well, not so fast. The Washington Free Beacon reported today:

…Well, who could have predicted it, but this week we learned that Assad has retained 95 percent of his WMD stockpile while continuing to miss the deadlines to hand over his weapons. More than 125,000 Syrians are dead, millions more are displaced, and al Qaeda affiliates claim jurisdiction over much of the country.

The conflict has drawn thousands of foreign fighters from 50 countries into Syria, foreign fighters who have every intention of bringing the jihad back home when they return to Africa, Asia, Europe, and the United States. The Syrian chaos has spilled over into Lebanon and into Iraq, where ethno-sectarian conflict has resumed and al Qaeda has reappeared.

But do not worry. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is on the case. “The United States is concerned that the Syrian government is behind in delivering these chemical weapons and precursor materials on time, and with the schedule that was agreed to,” he said in a statement from Poland. And if that is not enough to get Assad back on schedule, the State Department made the hilarious claim that the military option remains “on the table.”

The Syrians have not complied, the agreement we signed assured that Bashar Assad will stay in power, and put Russia in the position of being the power negotiator in the region. That is not a positive diplomatic achievement.

The article goes on the cite some of the other results of President Obama’s concept of ‘leading from behind.’ The President has projected weakness in foreign affairs, and the perception of America as weak has made the world a more dangerous place.

The article further reports:

Russia, for instance, has been caught violating a decades-old nuclear missile treaty. A high-ranking administration official has admitted as much to our NATO allies. But the Obama State Department does not want to acknowledge the violation formally because, the New York Times reports, “With President Obama pledging to seek deeper cuts in nuclear arms, the State Department has been trying to find a way to resolve the compliance issue, preserve the treaty, and keep the door open to future arms control accords.” This is logic at which Yossarian would not be surprised: We cannot say the Russians broke the treaty because that would jeopardize our chances of signing more treaties with the Russians.

The President also stated in the State of the Union:

And it is American diplomacy, backed by pressure, that has halted the progress of Iran’s nuclear program — and rolled back parts of that program — for the very first time in a decade. As we gather here tonight, Iran has begun to eliminate its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium.

It’s not installing advanced centrifuges. Unprecedented inspections help the world verify every day that Iran is not building a bomb. And with our allies and partners, we’re engaged in negotiations to see if we can peacefully achieve a goal we all share: preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

The article reports:

Then there is the Iranian president, who says the interim nuclear deal “means the surrender of the big powers before the great Iranian nation.” There is his foreign minister, who visited the grave of a Hezbollah terrorist. There is his chief nuclear negotiator, who said the interim deal could be undone in a day. And there is the White House response: All of this is simply Iranian propaganda, meant for internal consumption. The real Rouhani, the real Zarif, the real Araqchi want exactly the things John Kerry wants.

The question the writer at the Washington Free Beacon asks is, “What will the world look like in 2017?” I just hope America can survive the reality check that is coming.

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Why In The World Should We Support These People???

Today’s New York Post posted an article about a recent beheading by the Syrian rebels.

The article reports:

A group of Al Qaeda-linked Syrian rebels beheaded a fighter then triumphantly waved his head in the air as a trophy — only to discover the poor guy was actually one of their own, London’s The Telegraph reports.

…The rebel group apologized for the gruesome case of mistaken identity on Thursday , asking for “understanding and forgiveness.”

There was no remorse at all about beheading someone–the remorse was that they beheaded one of their own. Is this the level of civilization that we need to encourage or fund?

 

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The Danger Of Executive Orders

Yesterday the Washington Examiner posted an article about a recent Executive Order signed by President Obama.

The article reports:

President Obama waived a provision of federal law designed to prevent the supply of arms to terrorist groups to clear the way for the U.S. to provide military assistance to “vetted” opposition groups fighting Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

Some elements of the Syrian opposition are associated with radical Islamic terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, which was responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., in 2001. Assad’s regime is backed by Iran and Hezbollah.

The president, citing his authority under the Arms Export Control Act, announced today that he would “waive the prohibitions in sections 40 and 40A of the AECA related to such a transaction.”

Why are we arming the people who are killing Americans in Afghanistan while we still have troops there?

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In Case You Missed It When It Happened

One of the stories the media is currently ignoring is the origin of the chemical weapons that have been used in Syria. Some were manufactured in Syria, some were supplied by the Russians, and some were given to Syria by Iraq during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq by America.

The Canada Free Press posted an article today about the weapons Iraq sent to Syria. The story is told in a book by Georges Sada entitled Saddam’s Secrets .

The article in the Canada Free Press reports:

In 2006, Sada laid out the case against Saddam Hussein in a book titled “Saddam’s Secrets,” wherein he writes that the Iraqi leader ordered barrels of chemical weapons loaded onto civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats had been removed and flew them into — you guessed it — Syria.

…Sada claims there were a total of 56 such flights. “Saddam realized, this time, the Americans are coming,” he said. “They handed over the weapons of mass destruction to the Syrians.” He also said that the Iraqi official responsible for transferring the WMDs was a cousin of Saddam Hussein named Ali Hussein al-Majid, known as “Chemical Ali,” and that the Syrian official responsible for receiving them was a cousin of Bashar Assad.

Please note that the weapons were moved when Saddam Hussein realized that the Americans were coming. Because we telegraphed our arrival, Saddam had ample time to move his chemical weapons. In Syria there is a different issue. As long as the Russians are in charge of securing the chemical weapons, they will be dealing with Bashar Assad–thus as long as that process is continuing, Assad will remain in power. Unfortunately, the choice in Syria is either Assad or Al Qaeda. Either way, the people of Syria and the Middle East lose. The situation is Syria is such that it will take someone with the wisdom of Solomon to sort it out in a way that is beneficial to both the people of Syria and the world.

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Something To Add To The Mix

I have been doing an awful lot of posts about Syria lately, but that is the issue of the day. There will be more to come today, but here is something else to add to the mix.

Gates of Vienna posted a video (and transcript) of an interview of one of two former hostages of the Syrian rebel forces. The video below can also be found on YouTube:

The transcript below can be found at the Gates of Vienna website:

00:01   Before talking about your kidnapping and release, you say you have this information
00:04 that could have the effect of a bombshell. You claim you have proof
00:08 it is the rebels themselves and not Bashar Al Assad’s regime that used
00:12 chemical weapons last August 21st, yes?
00:16 I didn’t exactly say this. For the moment, as a matter of ethics,
00:21 Dominico and I are determined not to divulge the information, it’s a bit logical.
00:25 In Italy, Dominico must first go through the judiciary
00:29 before releasing what he have witnessed on site.
00:33 So, when La Stampa thinks the moment is right
00:38 to reveal this information, I will also do so with
00:42 the media of my choice here in Belgium.
00:46 This said, it is a moral duty for Domenico and I to divulge this.
00:50 It is not the government of Bashar Al Assad that
00:55 used the Sarin or whatever other poison gas in the suburb town of Ghouta
01:04 This, we are certain of because of certain conversations we overhead
01:08 and, even though it is hard for me to say this,
01:12 since I have been a fierce supporter of the Free Syrian Army since May 2012
01:16 in its true quest for democracy.
01:20 Do you realize Pierre Peccinin that you are sparking controversy by going against the narrative
01:25 of many countries such as the U.S. and France who have
01:30 committed to strikes against the Damascus regime?
01:34 Yes, it is definitely an issue that has given us problems as soon as we were confronted with this reality.
01:40 It was August 30th, we were in Bab al Ouad in the barracks, the headquarters, of the Free Army that
01:49 we shared with the Al-Farook movement
01:51 and for us, when we heard what we were hearing,
01:55 anger overtook us because we had received information before to the effect
01:59 the U.S. were planning to punish the regime, and intervene.
02:07 We were going crazy because here we were, unable to get out and we had
02:10 this information and it was impossible for us to relay it.

Wow.

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One of the Problems with Syria

Michael Rubin was on the Bill Bennett show this morning. During his comments he restated something he had written in an AEI article on August 28.

The article states:

Remember: While the Aug. 21 attack on East Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus, was the most severe chemical weapons strike, the UN has accused both sides of utilizing chemical agents.

I haven’t heard that reported in a lot of places.

Meanwhile, the New York Times posted an article today detailing some of the brutality of the Syrian Rebels. There are the rebels that an American intervention would help. A recent video smuggled out of Syria shows rebel forces brutally executing prisoners.

The New York Times article details some of the problems with supporting the rebels:

Much of the concern among American officials has focused on two groups that acknowledge ties to Al Qaeda. These groups — the Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — have attracted foreign jihadis, used terrorist tactics and vowed to create a society in Syria ruled by their severe interpretation of Islamic law.

They have established a firm presence in parts of Aleppo and Idlib Provinces and in the northern provincial capital of Raqqa and in Deir al-Zour, to the east on the Iraqi border.

While the jihadis claim to be superior fighters, and have collaborated with secular Syrian rebels, some analysts and diplomats also note that they can appear less focused on toppling President Bashar al-Assad. Instead, they said, they focus more on establishing a zone of influence spanning Iraq’s Anbar Province and the desert eastern areas of Syria, and eventually establishing an Islamic territory under their administration.

I really think we need to consider what we would be supporting if we were to get involved in Syria’s civil war. I am still not convinced that there are any good guys in this fight. My heart breaks for the civilian casualties, but I am not sure helping the rebels will improve things for the people of Syria. It might be much more constructive simply to help the refugees as they find their way to other countries.

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President Obama’s Riechstag Fire Moment

A man by the name of Yossef Bodansky posted an article on the website Global Research asking, “Did the White House Help Plan the Syrian Chemical Attack?” At first glance that seems like an absurd question, but Mr. Bodansky makes an interesting case.

The article opens with the following thought:

There is a growing volume of new evidence from numerous sources in the Middle East — mostly affiliated with the Syrian opposition and its sponsors and supporters — which makes a very strong case, based on solid circumstantial evidence, that the August 21, 2013, chemical strike in the Damascus suburbs was indeed a pre-meditated provocation by the Syrian opposition.

The extent of US foreknowledge of this provocation needs further investigation because available data puts the “horror” of the Barack Obama White House in a different and disturbing light.

In mid-August US Intelligence was meeting in Turkey with representatives of Qatari and Turkish Intelligence.

The article reports:

Very senior opposition commanders who had arrived from Istanbul briefed the regional commanders of an imminent escalation in the fighting due to “a war-changing development” which would, in turn, lead to a US-led bombing of Syria.

Not all Syrians believe Assad was responsible for the attack:

Several Syrian leaders, many of whom are not Bashar al-Assad supporters and are even his sworn enemies, are now convinced that the Syrian opposition is responsible for the August 21, 2013, chemical attack in the Damascus area in order to provoke the US and the allies into bombing Assad’s Syria. Most explicit and eloquent is Saleh Muslim, the head of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) which has been fighting the Syrian Government. Muslim doubts Assad would have used chemical weapons when he was winning the civil war.

I am not familiar with this website. This story could have the level of truth found in Snow White. However, there are a lot of things here that make sense. I think America needs to be really sure of what is going on before we agree to get involved.

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The Other Side Of The Story

I have posted a number of articles and comments by people opposed to American intervention in Syria. Now I would like to post an article expressing support for American intervention.

On Thursday, Bloomberg News posted an article by Fouad Ajami detailing his reasons for supporting American action in Syria. Fouad Ajami is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is the author of “The Syrian Rebellion,” published by Hoover Press.

The article reminds us:

In his first term, his four principal foreign policy advisers — the secretaries of state and defense, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — supported arming the rebellion in Syria: He overrode them. Earlier this year, he himself promised the rebels weapons that were never delivered.

History will record for Obama that it was Bashar al-Assad who dragged him into this fight. Obama had made much of the distinction between wars of choice and wars of necessity. He is said to have pondered theories of just and unjust wars. To this Syrian ordeal, he came late in the hour, after the barbarisms, after the veritable destruction of Syria’s nationhood, after the jihadis had carved out their emirates. It doesn’t matter much whether this entanglement is one of choice or of necessity. This is only partly a hand that Barack Obama was dealt. To a greater extent, he has shaped the conflict with the passivity he opted for in a standoff with a petty dictator who should have been thwarted long before.

The argument here is that had America intervened at the beginning, it would have been easier to shape the rebel forces, hopefully influencing them toward democracy.

When Bashar al-Assad eventually falls (and I believe he will), there will be few tears shed anywhere. However, there does not seem to be a coalition willing to remove him. Mr. Ajami points out that one of the problems in the Middle East is that dictators get attacked, survive, and claim victory, even after having everything around them destroyed in the attack.

Because of this, Mr. Ajami suggests:

The Syrian regime must then be denied the dividends of an inconclusive military campaign. The regime itself — its barons, its secret police, its elite military units and its air bases — ought to be legitimate targets, and the same is true of Assad’s presidential palace. There should be conviction and courage in this fight with the Assad dictatorship.

President Obama has given no indications that he is capable of conviction and courage. There has been so much dithering in deciding how to deal with Syria, it makes my head hurt.

Again, I wanted to post an opinion in support of American intervention in Syria. Fouad Ajami is someone I respect and who has a very complete knowledge of how the Middle East works. However, I am still not convinced. We didn’t do too well in Egypt when we supported the ousting of a dictator–we got the Muslim Brotherhood. Unfortunately, it will be years before peace reigns in Egypt. Are we ready to do that again? It seems that all America accomplishes with her good intentions in the Middle East is to destabilize the region. Until I am convinced that American action in Syria will actually move the region toward peace and democracy, I can’t support action.

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America’s Foreign Policy Decisions Impact Countries Other Than America

Yesterday The Times of Israel reported on Israel‘s reaction to President Obama’s handling of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war.

The article explains Israel’s reaction to President Obama’s recent statements:

It is worried, furthermore, at the ever-deeper perception of Obama’s America in the Middle East as weak, hesitant and confused — most especially in the view of the region’s most radical forces, notably including Bashar Assad, Hezbollah, and Iran.

 And it is profoundly concerned that the president has set a precedent, in seeking an authorization from Congress that he had no legal requirement to seek — and that Congress was not loudly demanding — that may complicate, delay or even rule out credible action to thwart a challenge that dwarfs Assad’s chemical weapons capability: Iran’s drive to nuclear weapons.

I don’t know whether or not Congress will decide to take military action against Syria. I do know that the fact that President Obama did not call Congress into session to vote on Syria now indicates a lack of urgency which I do not believe is appropriate in the situation. It would seem to me that the gassing of upwards of a thousand innocent people might be a reason for quicker, more decisive action.

The article in The Times of Israel concludes:

Jerusalem is worried, too, of a direct line between requesting Congressional approval for military action against Syria — a relatively straightforward target — and feeling compelled to honor the precedent, should the imperative arise, by requesting Congressional approval for military action against Iran — a far more potent enemy, where legislators’ worries about the US being dragged deep into regional conflict would be far more resonant.

Israel remains hopeful that, to put it bluntly, Obama’s America will yet remember that it is, well, America. The alternative, it rather seems, is something the leadership in Jerusalem finds too awful to so much as contemplate just yet.

When America is weak and has a weak President, the world is a more dangerous place. Because we have lost the respect of the world, our having overwhelming force is not enough to deter other countries from doing bad things. Unfortunately, because we are weak, we may have to use our weapons to prevent further bad things from happening.

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What Do We Do In Syria?

Everyone who has seen the pictures of the innocent people killed by poison gas in Syria is wondering what America should do. There are questions as to who actually released the poison gas, and there are questions as to the motive of whoever used the gas. It is very disconcerting that anyone would use that kind of weapon.

The Heritage Foundation has recently posted two articles that clarify what is happening in Syria and the role America needs to play. One article, entitled “Top 5 Reasons Not To Use Missile Strikes in Syria” was posted on August 25. The other article, entitled “What to Do in Syria” was posted today.

The August 25th article lists five reasons not to attack Syria:

1. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine is not adequate justification for direct military intervention. This dangerous doctrine, promoted at the United Nations, undermines U.S. sovereignty by arguing for an obligation of nations to intervene.

2. A vital U.S. interest is not at stake. The U.S. does have an interest in the resolution of the conflict, but military force should be reserved for areas where the U.S. has a compelling need to act in defense of its own interests.

3. It would not be a wise use of military force. Military force should be used only if there is a clear, achievable, realistic purpose. Missile strikes are unlikely to deter the Assad regime and prevent further abuses. Rather, the U.S. risks escalating its involvement in the crisis.

4. Missile attacks would only make President Obama look weaker. Much like President Clinton’s ineffective cruise missile strikes on Osama bin Laden’s terrorist camps, strikes would only be seen as a sign that the U.S. is lacking a clear, decisive course of action.

5. It would distract from what the U.S. should be doing. Rather than attempting to intervene directly in the conflict, the U.S. should be working in a concerted manner with other countries in the region to hasten the end of the Assad regime and deal with the refugee crisis, the resurgence of al-Qaeda, and the destabilizing efforts of Iran and Hezbollah.

Today’s article at the Heritage Foundation suggests what we should do.

The article suggests:

Rather than attempting to intervene directly in the conflict, the U.S. should be working with other countries in the region to hasten the end of the Assad regime and deal with the refugee crisis and terrorist strongholds.

Like any solution to a difficult problem, even that is not a perfect solution. Some of the other countries in the region are working with America to bring down the Assad regime, but other countries in the region are propping up that regime.

However, bringing America into Syria’s civil war at this time will not accomplish anything.

 

 

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There Are No Good Guys In The Syrian Civil War

Reuters reported today that Israel notified the United States after it carried out two air strikes in Syria–not before.

The article reports:

Israeli jets bombed Syria on Sunday for the second time in 48 hours. Israel does not confirm such missions explicitly – a policy it says is intended to avoid provoking reprisals. But an Israeli official acknowledged that the strikes were carried out by its forces.

“It would not be unusual for them to take aggressive steps when there was some chance that some sophisticated weapons system would fall into the hands of people like Hezbollah,” the U.S. intelligence official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Israel is much closer to the war in Syria than America and has a much more vital interest. Bashar al-Assad is aligned with Hezbollah, a terrorist organization sponsored by Iran which frequently fires rockets at Israel from various locations. It is suspected that the rockets Israel stopped might eventually wind up in Lebanon aimed at Israel.

The article further reports:

Rather than an attempt to tip the scales against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Israel’s action is seen more as part of its own conflict with Iran, which it fears is sending missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon through Syria. Those missiles might hit Tel Aviv if Israel makes good on threats to attack Tehran’s nuclear program.

Another Western intelligence source told Reuters the latest attack, like the previous one, was directed against stores of Fateh-110 missiles in transit from Iran to Hezbollah.

Israel has made it clear that it will take action to prevent Iran from going nuclear. It is in the interest of Israel to make sure that if it attacks Iran the allies of Iran that surround Israel have a few rockets as possible.

The war in Syria is a civil war, but it is also a war between terrorists. Hezbollah supports Bashar al-Assad, a Shiite, and many of the rebels have ties to Al Qaeda, which tends Sunni (the majority population of Saudi Arabia). The problem with the war is that if America gets involved, both sides will unite and turn against the ‘infidels.’ At the present time the Obama Administration is said to be negotiating with some of the ‘moderate’ rebels, but there are some serious questions as to how much power the moderates have with the rebels. If America chooses to arm the rebels, we could be shipping arms to Syria that will be used against American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in the very near future. Our best bet is to do anything we can to get innocent civilians out of Syria and let the terrorists fight it out among themselves. Israel has more of a reason to get involved because Hezbollah is already sending rockets against her, and because Israel will be directly involved regardless of who wins. It is in Israel’s best interests to limit the number of rockets going from Iran to Syria so as to limit the number of rockets that will be coming in their direction when both sides stop fighting each other.

This attack on the rockets heading for Syria could be seen as a backdoor attack on Iran or as a warning to Iran. I suspect there will be retaliation against Israel and further action by Israel. By making it public that America was not notified until after the attack, it is quite possible that Hezbollah terrorist cells in America will not be activated in response.

 

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