Some Random Thoughts On The Troop Withdrawal

According to conservative news sources, the troop withdrawal from the Turkish border is simply moving fifty troops–it is not a withdrawal. I wish it were a withdrawal, we are not currently capable of fighting a war right now–we are unable to unite and focus on the job at hand.

Yesterday The Federalist posted an article about the dust-up.

The article notes:

Congress is the institution vested with the power to declare wars, to debate where we send troops, and decide which conflicts are funded. Presidents have been ignoring this arrangement, abuse authorizations for the use of military force (AUMFs), and imbue themselves with the power to engage in conflicts wherever they like, without any coherent endgame, and without any buy-in from Congress.

Congress, in turn, has shown no interest in genuinely challenging executive power, because its members are far more concerned with political self-preservation. Ignoring abuse shields them from tough choices and ensuing criticism—even as they use war as a partisan cudgel.

Even if you don’t believe all these conflicts rise to an Article I declaration, and I don’t, the more accountability there is in foreign entanglements the better. Right now we have little genuine debate or consensus building—in a nation that already exhibits exceptionally little interest in foreign policy—regarding the deployment of our troops, almost always in perpetuity, around the world.

It’s a bipartisan problem. Barack Obama, whose political star rose due to his opposition to the Iraq war, was perhaps our worst offender, circumventing Congress and relying on a decade-old AUMF (authorizations for the use of military force), which he invoked 19 times during his presidency, to justify a half-hearted intervention against ISIS (not al-Qaeda) in Syria (not Afghanistan.)

The article notes that military overreach is a problem in both parties:

It’s a bipartisan problem. Barack Obama, whose political star rose due to his opposition to the Iraq war, was perhaps our worst offender, circumventing Congress and relying on a decade-old AUMF, which he invoked 19 times during his presidency, to justify a half-hearted intervention against ISIS (not al-Qaeda) in Syria (not Afghanistan.)

Trump could bomb Iran tomorrow, use Obama’s reasoning, and have a far stronger legal defense for his actions.

It was also Obama who joined Europeans in the failed intervention in Libya, where he worked under NATO goals rather than the United States law. There was hardly a peep from Democrats fretting over the corrosion of the Constitution.

American would function much more efficiently if our Congressmen and President would simply follow the U.S. Constitution. At this point I am not sure many of them have read it–although they did take an oath to uphold it.

Maybe Extreme Vetting Was A Good Idea

Yesterday Fox News reported that the FBI arrested a Syrian refugee on Wednesday who allegedly planned to bomb a church in Pittsburgh in the name of the Islamic State.

The article reports:

Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, a 21-year-old Pittsburgh resident who was born in Daraa, Syria, and came to the U.S. as a refugee in 2016, met with an undercover FBI agent and an FBI source posing as ISIS sympathizers several times between April and June, according to the criminal complaint.

…During these meetings, he allegedly provided details to bomb an unidentified Christian church on the north side of Pittsburgh, producing plot details and bomb materials he purchased along with copies of Google satellite maps that showed the details about the church including its location and various routes for arriving and escaping the premise.

He planned to carry out the attacks in July by setting off the explosives around 3 or 4 a.m., according to the complaint.

Alowemer has been charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS and two counts of distributing information relating to an explosive device or weapon of mass destruction, activities that the Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers called “beyond the pale.”

This is Alowemar’s high school yearbook picture:

We let this person into the country and sent him to high school and treated him well. Obviously he was not willing to return the favor.

There is one thing to remember if you are ever in a situation where a terrorist has planted a bomb. There is probably a second bomb timed to go off when the police arrive or when people are fleeing after the first bomb has exploded. The best thing to do in that situation is to stay low. The second bomb is usually aimed at waist level and generally contains large amounts of shrapnel. From the reports I have seen, this was going to be a two-bomb attack.

 

The Golan Heights

On March 21st The New York Post reported that President Trump called for the US to recognize Israel’s sovereignty of the Golan Heights, the 700-square-mile northern plateau that Israel captured from Syria in the Six-Day War in 1967. Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, although the territorial claim was never acknowledged by the international community. The Golan Heights is strategic to the survival of Israel geographically.

In an article from December 2016, The U.K. Daily Mail reported on a strange event in the Golan Heights.

The article reports:

A huge cloud of dust and rain blew up along the border between Israel and ISIS last week, sparking online claims that it was a biblical storm.

Four days after ISIS fighters attacked an Israeli patrol in the Golan Heights, a plateau in Syria which the Jewish state has occupied since 1967, the bizarre meteorological phenomenon suddenly appeared. 

Eyewitnesses said the storm seemed to stop at the boundary and be unable to enter the Golan Heights, which tower above the rest of Syria.

Footage of the dust barrier was uploaded onto Facebook by Israel News Online

They wrote: ‘A weather phenomenon occurred at 8am Thursday on the other side of the Syrian border, in the same place where ISIS attacked Israel.

This strange storm of what appears to be dust, cloud and rain did NOT cross the border fence into Israel. It sat like a barrier between ISIS and Israel.’

Underneath Deborah Van Dam posted: ‘Absolutely the divine intervention of God protecting Israel. Amen!’

This is the picture (taken from the U.K. Daily Mail):

This is a map showing the location (taken from the U.K. Daily Mail):

The Golan Heights is strategic because it is high ground that overlooks Israel. It is part of what protects Israel from rocket fire or invasion from Syria. Because Syria has become a satellite of Iran, it also protects Israel from Iranian forces working in Syria.

The Bible says that he who blesses Israel will be blessed and he who curses Israel will be cursed. History bears that out. By moving the Israeli embassy and acknowledging Israel’s possession of the Golan Heights, President Trump is blessing Israel.

 

Good News

Yesterday Fox News reported the following:

The caliphate has crumbled, and the final offensive is over. While the official announcement hasn’t yet been made – Fox News has been told that this village, the last ISIS stronghold, is liberated.

It’s the first time since we’ve been here in Syria for five days that the bombs have stopped dropping and the gunfire has disappeared. We have witnessed the end of the caliphate – the brutal empire that once ruled over 8 million people – is gone.

Troops here are now bringing down the black flags of ISIS. The flags no longer fly over the town, instilling fear.

…None of the main surviving ISIS leaders have been caught inside Baghouz. Instead, they left their men to fight alone. It’s thought they prepared ahead for the insurgency.

The scale of the devastation here is incredible. And everyone acknowledges that without U.S. support, it would have taken far longer.

For four-and-a-half years, ISIS held this territory, ruling over it with an iron fist. It was the terrorist group’s heartland – and they were so dug in that the only way to push them back was to flatten whole villages. The devastation here goes on for miles – and craters like this are a reminder of the critical role played by U.S. airpower. Military jets still fly overhead.

SDF fighters are all so grateful to the U.S., not just for their help in the battle, but now for its decision to leave troops here when it’s done. Reports now suggest the figure may be around 1,000 staying.

We need to leave enough of a force to prevent ISIS from reassembling. As the article stated, the leaders fled and left the lower ranking members to fight. That means the leaders are still somewhere, possibly plotting how to take power again. I don’t want to fight the battles for all of the people in the Middle East, but if our assistance means that the bad guys will lose power,  I think we need to be ready to assist.

The Opposition To President Trump

If you had any doubt that the mainstream media is doing everything it can to discredit President Trump, these two Twitter tweets should dispel that doubt:

In all honesty, I have no idea whether or not it is a good idea to bring home troops from Syria. It does seem to me that we have been fighting in the Middle East since 2001 and have accomplished little. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That is a fairly accurate description of the wars we have been fighting in the Middle East. A new approach is needed. I am not sure what that new approach will be, but obviously the last approach is not working very well.

Meanwhile, the tweet above is what blind opposition to President Trump looks like.

 

Who Gains If We Begin A War In Syria?

A few days ago a friend sent me a video of what looked like a poison gas attack on a group of civilians. However, as the video continued, it became obvious that this was not a real attack. At the sound of a bell, everyone fell to the floor and began choking and writhing in pain and others with gas masks began administering aid. Then the bell sounded again, and everyone got up and began standing around talking and acting totally normally. I haven’t been able to locate the video again, but I have seen similar videos of other events. I have no idea who made this video, and I wonder what the person who made it had in mind in terms of using the video. Thus, I have no way of knowing whether the recent gas attack in Syria was real or staged, but not knowing raises some interesting questions.

If America goes in and bombs the assumed source of the poison gas attack, who are they bombing? Are they attacking some of Bashar al-Assad‘s forces or are they attacking the rebel forces? Who are the rebel forces? What is the rebel forces link to militant Islam? Why are Russia and Iran so interested in keeping al-Assad in power? If this turns out to be a proxy war between America and Russia with al-Assad watching as we fight his enemies, what are we fighting for?

The final question is who gains financially if America begins a targeted war against whoever initiated the poison gas attacks (if the attacks were real)? Is this the military-industrial complex President Eisenhower warned us about so many years ago? War costs money–weapons, ammunition, medical supplies, troops, etc. War also has geopolitical consequences. Who profits from our fighting?  If America can be drained of money and power through continuous wars, who gains? The globalists who are fighting President Trump see American power as an obstacle to one-world government (with them in charge, of course). That is also something that needs to be considered in decisions regarding Syria.

America has been at war since 2001. The Muslim Brotherhood has been at war with us since 1978, but their war uses different weapons than ours. This is a link to the Explanatory Memorandum: On the General Strategic Goal for the Group (the Muslim Brotherhood). The Memorandum explains their strategies for America–rather than use weapons of war, they are using weapons of influence. For a number of years there have been a number of members of the Muslim Brotherhood placed in high positions in our government. This has resulted in a purging of our national security resources of any references to Islamic terrorism. We need to spend more effort on combating the enemy within than the enemy without.

This Is Not Encouraging

Breitbart is reporting today that a terrorist on trial in Germany has stated that the Islamic State terror organization sent him to Germany telling him to disguise himself as a refugee. This certainly illustrates the need for careful vetting of refugees in all western countries.

The article reports:

The three Syrians, aged between 19 and 27, came to Germany during the migrant crisis in 2015 and were arrested in September of 2016 at asylum homes in Ahrensburg, Großhansdorf and Reinbek near Hamburg, Suddeutsche Zeitung reports.

For the last eight months, the judges in the court have tried to determine whether or not the men were sent by the Islamic State, or whether they were radicalised independently.

The eldest defendant, 27-year-old Mohamed A., confirmed to the judge that he had been commanded by the Islamic State terror group to infiltrate the wave of refugees and wait in Germany for further instructions.

The 27-year-old said that he trained with the terror group in its former capital of Raqqa for three months with four different weapons before heading to Europe. An Islamic State member also gave him a forged passport along with a sum of $1,500.

The article concludes:

The German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) released a report in late 2016 claiming that hundreds of jihadists have come to Europe disguised as refugees, and last year the Heritage Foundation released a report showing that asylum seekers made up 54 percent of the suspects in terror plots uncovered in Germany.

Letting in young men from Islamist countries without extreme vetting is national suicide. Those judges attempting to block that vetting need to held accountable when we discover (note I said when–not if) terrorists masquerading as refugees in America.

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.

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.

 

 

This Is Called Child Abuse

There are cultural differences between western culture and the culture of Islam. We need to recognize those differences when dealing with those who follow the Quran‘s edicts to kill the infidels.

On Sunday, The Clarion Project posted an article about a reported suicide bombing in Syria.

The article reports:

An eight-year-old girl carried out a suicide bombing attack at a Damascus police station, according to SANA (the Syrian Arab News Agency) and as reported by RT.

The agency cited a source in the Damascus Police Command that reported, “Terrorists sent an eight-year-old girl with a small homemade bomb to a police station in the Midan neighborhood. When she entered the building, militants activated the explosive device with a remote control, the child died at the scene, one police officer suffered light injuries.”

If you doubt the use of children as tools of violence, please read THE BLOOD OF LAMBS by Kamal Saleem. The former terrorist details his training in terrorism as a young child and relates the stories of the suicide missions he was sent on. The book also explains the circumstances that convinced this man who came to America to commit terrorism to renounce his past and educate Americans about the terrorist threat to America.

 

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.

As The Obama Administration Is Winding Down, Some Foreign Policy Experts Are Beginning To Speak Out

Ambassador Dennis Ross posted an article at Political analyzing the consequences of President Obama’s Middle Eastern foreign policy.

The article begins with comments on recent events in the Middle East:

The United States has significantly more military capability in the Middle East today than Russia—America has 35,000 troops and hundreds of aircraft; the Russians roughly 2,000 troops and, perhaps, 50 aircraft—and yet Middle Eastern leaders are making pilgrimages to Moscow to see Vladimir Putin these days, not rushing to Washington. Two weeks ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to see the Russian president, his second trip to Russia since last fall, and King Salman of Saudi Arabia is planning a trip soon. Egypt’s president and other Middle Eastern leaders have also made the trek to see Putin.

Why is this happening, and why on my trips to the region am I hearing that Arabs and Israelis have pretty much given up on President Barack Obama? Because perceptions matter more than mere power: The Russians are seen as willing to use power to affect the balance of power in the region, and we are not.

‘Leading from behind’ is not leading, and it is not a foreign policy that is respected in other nations. We have not been a reliable ally to those nations that were previously considered allies. We have not stood for the principles that we have stood for in the past. The next President will have a lot of damage to our international reputation to repair.

The article goes on to explain that in order for America to be trusted once again in the Middle East, the countries in the region will have to be convinced of a few things:

…they will want to know that America’s word is good and there will be no more “red lines” declared but unfulfilled; that we see the same threats they do; and that U.S. leaders understand that power affects the landscape in the region and will not hesitate to reassert it.

The article has a few suggestions on how to achieve that goal:

⧫ Toughen our declaratory policy toward Iran about the consequences of cheating on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to include blunt, explicit language on employing force, not sanctions, should the Iranians violate their commitment not to pursue or acquire a nuclear weapon;

⧫ Launch contingency planning with GCC states and Israel—who themselves are now talking—to generate specific options for countering Iran’s growing use of Shiite militias to undermine regimes in the region. (A readiness to host quiet three-way discussions with Arab and Israeli military planners would signal we recognize the shared threat perceptions, the new strategic realities, and the potentially new means to counter both radical Shiite and Sunni threats.)

⧫ Be prepared to arm the Sunni tribes in Iraq if Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi continues to be blocked from doing so by the Iranians and the leading militias;

⧫ In Syria, make clear that if the Russians continue to back Assad and do not force him to accept the Vienna principles (a cease-fire, opening humanitarian corridors, negotiations and a political transition), they will leave us no choice but to work with our partners to develop safe havens with no-fly zones.

We have never really had a successful Middle East policy. The problem began after World War I when western powers carved out countries in the Middle East with no regard for ethnic and tribal rivalries. We will not have peace in the region until we begin to recognize the different factions and find ways to bring them together.

 

We Need A New State Department

Anyone can make a mistake, but some people take it to a whole new level. On March 2nd, The Washington Examiner reported that the State Department had set up a hotline to take calls about cease-fire violations in Syria. That in itself is not a bad idea. However, they used volunteers with limited abilities in Arabic languages.

The article reports:

“In order to help monitor the cessation of hostilities in Syria, we did set up an information hotline that was staffed 24/7, where violations could be reported I think via a number of different apps,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Wednesday.

“There were some language issues among some of the volunteers,” he added. “And granted, these again are State Department employees who are doing this in addition to their usual jobs.”

“We are aware that there were some language issues, as you note, and we’re working to correct those, obviously, because it’s important that we have Arabic speakers who are able to field incoming calls,” Toner said.

Toner was asked whether proficiency in Arabic was a requirement for volunteering to work the hotline.

“It was, just but, you know, given the time limits on setting this up, probably some of the language skills weren’t properly vetted,” he said.

“Agreed, we should have people … agree,” Toner said when pressed further. “So, we’re working to address that.”

Shouldn’t the State Department have a good idea which of its employees are fluent in Arabic? If the language issue was a concern, could they have borrowed people from other government agencies who were fluent in Arabic? This sounds like a total lack of common sense.

Of Course They Are Vetted

Breitbart.com is reporting today that German police are tracking a terrorist commander living among the refugees.

The article reports:

Two houses in the village (Sankt Johann) are used to house Syrian refugees, but among the opponents of the Assad regime living there SPIEGEL TV tracked down a suspected commander of the Islamic State terror group after tip offs from other Syrian activists. They had identified him as a man called Bassam, a notorious commander said to be responsible for the deaths of dozens of people.

…As Breitbart London recently reported, German security forces have received more than 100 tip-offs that Islamic State fighters may be hiding among migrants currently staying in the country.

Houston, we have a problem.

 

 

This Really Does Not Sound Safe

On Thursday, Fox News reported some changes President Obama made to the Visa Waiver Program.

The article reports:

The Obama administration on Thursday eased visa rules for certain European travelers who have visited terror hotspots in the Middle East and Africa, triggering a backlash from congressional lawmakers who sought the restrictions for security reasons. 

Moments after the announcement, two key Republicans declared the administration is “blatantly breaking the law” – a law that President Obama signed – by implementing the changes.

“This is not a difference of opinion over statutory interpretation, it is a clear contradiction of the law and the agreement we reached with the White House,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., author of the bill, said in a statement. 

The revised requirements announced Thursday pertain to changes passed by Congress in the Visa Waiver Program.

Lawmakers had sought new restrictions to tighten up the program – which allows visa-free travel for residents of eligible countries — in order to prevent Europeans who have joined ISIS from entering the United States. Under the newly passed Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, nationals of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Sudan as well as other travelers who have visited those countries since Mar. 1, 2011 now must apply for a visa in order to travel to the U.S.

So what is this about? The article explains:

The new restrictions had previously been criticized by the Iranian government which suggested the U.S. might be violating the nuclear deal by penalizing legitimate business travel to the country. 

At some point, the executive branch of our government needs to realize that one of the major supporters and sponsors of terrorism is Iran. To allow people who have visited Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Sudan visa-free travel to America is simply not smart. If this policy stands, we will see increased incidents of terrorism in America. This is not about business travel.

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.

Getting Past The Rhetoric

There is a lot being said right now about what to do with the Syrian refugees fleeing their country. The Center for Security Policy posted an article yesterday that shines a different light on the situation.

The article reports:

President Obama made headlines today in reaction to a question from the press regarding the possibility of taking in Syrian Christian and other religious minorities ahead or in place of Syrian Muslims (Syria is majority Sunni Muslim.) The President responded aggressively claiming such a policy was, “… not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.”

The reality however is that the Refugee Resettlement system already has “a religious test of their compassion”, to quote the president. And that’s a test which actively disfavors Christians, according to figures released by the State Department:

Of 2,184 Syrian refugees admitted into the U.S. since the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011, only 53 (2.4 percent) have been Christians while 2098 (or 96 percent) have been Muslims, according to State Department statistics updated on Monday. The remaining 33 include 1 Yazidi, 8 Jehovah Witnesses, 2 Baha’i, 6 Zoroastrians, 6 of “other religion,” 7 of “no religion,” and 3 atheists.

According to the CIA Factbook, Syria has a Christian population of 10%. Approximately between 500,000 and 700,000 Christians have fled Syria–about 16% to 23% of the estimated 3 million Syrians who have fled. Since Christians are one of the main targets of the Islamists, this figure makes sense.

So what is going on here? America does not get to choose her refugees.

The article reports:

As Nina Shea highlights at National Review, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is typically the deciding agency, and recommends to the United States which refugees will be resettled. So the selection process hits several snags. Firstly, Christian refugees almost overwhelmingly avoid United Nations refugee camps out of legitimate fears of possible violence against them. Reports of attacks on Christians refugees by their Muslim counterparts have been reported, such as when Christian refugees on a boat in the Mediterranean were thrown overboard, and German police have openly urged publicly separating Christian and Muslim refugees, due to attacks. In one case a Christian convert was beaten unconscious by a metal baton.

The second part of the problem is the fact that the United Nations is very much controlled by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The OIC comprises the largest voting block in the United Nations. The OIC is headquartered in Saudi Arabia, where the practice of Christianity is illegal.

The article explains the third part of the problem:

Thirdly, and perhaps most largely problematic, is the appearance of overt anti-Christian bias by the State Department itself. As good friend of the Center, Institute for Religion and Democracy’s Faith McDonnell notes in her recent piece on the state of Christian refugees, the State Department has explicitly declared they, “would not support a special category to bring Assyrian Christians into the United States,” in response to a plan by a private aid group to fund, entirely free of taxpayer dollars, the transport of Assyrian Christians facing extermination by Islamic State.

In other words, even when its free, no cost to them, the State Department has preferred to snub Christians rather than save them.

There is a religious test for refugees. Unfortunately that test is not only against the best interests of America, it discriminates against a persecuted group of refugees.

This Should Make Us All Feel Very Secure

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about the Syrian refugees coming to the United States. The article brings up a rather obvious but somehow unmentioned fact–Homeland Security has no way to vet the refugees because Syria has no police or intelligence databases to check the backgrounds of incoming refugees against criminal and terrorist records. Syria is a failed state at this point. There is not enough order to keep a reliable database.

The article reports:

Senior FBI officials recently testified that they have no idea who these people are, and they can’t find out what type of backgrounds they have — criminal, terrorist or otherwise — because there are no vetting opportunities in those war-torn countries.

Syria and Iraq, along with Somalia and Sudan, are failed states where police records aren’t even kept. Agents can’t vet somebody if they don’t have documentation and don’t even have the criminal databases to screen applicants.

So the truth is, we are not vetting these Muslim refugees at all. And as GOP presidential front-runners duly note, it’s a huge gamble to let people from hostile nations enter the U.S. without any meaningful background check. It’s a safer bet just to limit, if not stop, their immigration.

“If I win, they’re going back,” Donald Trump vowed. “They could be ISIS. This (mass Syrian immigration) could be one of the great tactical ploys of all time.”

Ben Carson, for his part, said that he would bar refugees from Syria because they are “infiltrated” with terrorists seeking to harm America. “To bring into this country groups infiltrated with jihadists makes no sense,” Carson asserted. “Why would you do something like that?”

The Obama regime claims to have no evidence of terrorist or even extremist infiltration. But Sessions made public a list of 72 recent Muslim immigrants arrested just over the past year who were charged with terrorist activity.

This seems to be a rather large gamble for a national security issue. The other untold part of the story is the unwillingness of the stable Muslim countries in the Middle East and elsewhere to take in these refugees. Saudi Arabia offered to build mosques in Germany for the refugees; why didn’t they offer to build them houses in Saudi Arabia?

There is a political element in the Middle East that thrives on using refugees as pawns. The Palestinians were not Palestinians until 1967. They have never been able to settle in the lands they actually came from–they have been kept in refugee camps and blocked from forming a viable non-terrorist state.

The following quote tells it all:

Walid Shoebat Quote

One wonders what purpose the political forces in the Middle East have in releasing all of these Muslims to western countries.

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.

Cleaning Up The Mess In The Middle East

The Middle East is rapidly changing–in the past three years tyrannical dictators have been deposed in the name of the “Arab Spring” only to be replaced by chaos. The only stable country with a new stable government is Egypt. They are stable, but won’t win any more human rights awards than the government that existed before the Arab Spring.

So what is the solution? Fred Fleitz at the Center for Security Policy posted some good ideas on Thursday. Here they are:

  • Recognize that Russia and Iran are the problem, not the solution.  The United States needs to maintain dialogue with Russia but stop talking about working with Russia and Iran to fight ISIS since their goals are counter to American interests and regional security. Mr Obama needs to realize that an expanded and entrenched Russian/Iranian presence in the Middle East will have dire long term consequences for America and the region.
  • Work with our European and regional states to form a better military alliance to combat ISIS and to counter Russian and Iranian influence.  This should include creating a safe haven protected zone in northern Syria and intensified air strikes against ISIS targets.  The refugee crisis probably has made Europe more willing to participate in such an alliance.  France conducted its first airstrikes in Syria last week.
  • End the limitations on fighting ISIS in Iraq.  Let U.S. troops leave their bases so they can operate behind the lines in Iraq and support Iraqi security forces.  Provide better weapons to the Iraqi Kurds or let our allies arm them.  Incredibly, the Obama administration blocked Gulf states from sending heavy weapons to the Iraqi Kurds in July.
  • President Obama must stop making demands he has no intention of enforcing.  The world correctly sees Mr Obama’s demands that Assad leave office and Russia stop its military aid to the Assad government as idle threats.  Every time the president makes such demands, he further undermines American credibility and emboldens U.S. enemies and adversaries.  The word of the leader of the world’s superpower must be enough to change international events and not viewed as chatter that can be safely ignored.

The chances of any of these suggestions being followed is about the same as the chances of a snow storm in July in North Carolina. However, these suggestions are an example of how a strong leader would handle the current situation. In 2016 we need to elect someone who has this kind of insight into how to solve the current problems in the Middle East. Hopefully the situation will be salvageable at that point.

Some Middle East Perspective

If you read a lot of the mainstream media, they will tell you that the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East is the lack of a Palestinian State. They will conveniently forget to remind you that kindergarten children in the Gaza Strip are being trained as martyrs (see kindergarten graduation photo below):

kindergartengraduation2Would America sponsor a terrorist state on its border?

When you look at the statistics on the various conflicts in the Middle East, you see a very different picture of Israel and its Arab neighbors.

In October 2007, Front Page Magazine reported the following:

This grisly inventory finds the total number of deaths in conflicts since 1950 numbering about 85,000,000. Of that sum, the deaths in the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1950 include 32,000 deaths due to Arab state attacks and 19,000 due to Palestinian attacks, or 51,000 in all. Arabs make up roughly 35,000 of these dead and Jewish Israelis make up 16,000.

These figures mean that deaths Arab-Israeli fighting since 1950 amount to just 0.06 percent of the total number of deaths in all conflicts in that period. More graphically, only 1 out of about 1,700 persons killed in conflicts since 1950 has died due to Arab-Israeli fighting.

(Adding the 11,000 killed in the Israeli war of independence, 1947-49, made up of 5,000 Arabs and 6,000 Israeli Jews, does not significantly alter these figures.)

In a different perspective, some 11,000,000 Muslims have been violently killed since 1948, of which 35,000, or 0.3 percent, died during the sixty years of fighting Israel, or just 1 out of every 315 Muslim fatalities. In contrast, over 90 percent of the 11 million who perished were killed by fellow Muslims.

Comments: (1) Despite the relative non-lethality of the Arab-Israeli conflict, its renown, notoriety, complexity, and diplomatic centrality will probably give it continued out-sized importance in the global imagination. And Israel’s reputation will continue to pay the price. (2) Still, it helps to point out the 1-in-1,700 statistic as a corrective, in the hope that one day, this reality will register, permitting the Arab-Israeli conflict to subside to its rightful, lesser place in world politics.

Admittedly, this is not up-to-date information, but considering ISIS, the civil war in Syria, and the mischief being done by Iran, I suspect the percentage of Muslim deaths at the hands of Muslims has increased–not decreased. Unfortunately, there is now added to that number a large number of Christians being killed by Muslims in the Middle East. In recent years it has become very obvious that Israel is NOT the problem.

 

Does The Truth Change The Impact Of The Picture?

We have all seen the recent picture of a three-year-old boy who drowned as his family was traveling to Europe from Turkey. The story surrounding the picture was that the family was fleeing the violence in Syria. The facts are somewhat different.

On Monday The Daily Caller reported that Abdullah Kurdi, the boy’s father, had been living in a relatively safe part of Turkey for the past three years. The family was not fleeing the war in Syria, they were traveling to Europe in order for Abdullah Kurdi to have his teeth fixed. The trip was financed by a relative in Canada. It was reported that the family had sought asylum in Canada and been turned down, but that was also proven to be false.

The facts are important, but have gotten lost in the impact of the picture.

The truth does not change the fact that there is a refugee crisis. The truth does not change the fact that unscrupulous people are making a lot of money bringing people out of Turkey on boats that are not safe. The truth does not change the fact that western countries need to take some of these refugees in. However, the the truth also does not change the fact that because the majority of these refugees are healthy young men–not families–they need to be vetted carefully or we may find ourselves importing terrorists into western countries in the name of charity.

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.