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.

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.

Is There A Realist In The House?

While I sit here in North Carolina enjoying the beautiful weather, the Middle East is falling apart. There are three articles in today’s Wall Street Journal that cause me to wonder about the future of the Middle East and the future of America.

The first article, entitled, “Sunni Tribes in Iraq Divided Over Battle Against Islamic State” deals with the problem of tribalism in Iraq. Many Iraqis oppose ISIS. They understand that ISIS is not who they want running their country. They are willing to fight ISIS–right up to the point where as Sunnis they are asked to fight with Shiites. Some Sunnis support the Islamic State being created by ISIS. Many do not. It is very difficult to fight an ISIS takeover of Iraq when all Iraqis do not oppose such a takeover.

The second article, entitled, “Islamic State Gains New Leverage in Syria” deals with the ISIS capture of Palmyra in Syria. Palmyra, home to many archaeological treasures, is now in the hands of a group that has destroyed many archaeological treasures in the past.

The article reports:

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group that monitors the conflict via a network of activists inside the country, said that following Palmyra’s fall on Thursday that Islamic State now controls half of the country, including most of its oil fields. The crude provides a steady stream of revenue.

The third article (actually an editorial), entitled “I Don’t Think We’re Losing” deals with President Obama’s recent statement after the fall of Ramadi in Iraq. What does losing look like according to the President?

The article reports:

It’s also worth mulling over Mr. Obama’s claim that he always “anticipated” this would be “a multiyear campaign.” This is the same President who criticized George W. Bush for conducting endless war in Iraq and Afghanistan and vowing to end it in both places. The Iraqi city of Mosul fell last June, Mr. Obama laid out his anti-ISIS strategy in September, and eight months later he promises years of more American commitment to Iraq.

At least Mr. Bush, for all his mistakes after the fall of Saddam Hussein, ordered a change of strategy that left Iraq stable by the time Mr. Obama took office. On present trend Mr. Obama’s Cool Hand Luke generalship will leave his successor an Iraq in turmoil and a mini-caliphate entrenched across hundreds of miles. If this isn’t “losing,” how does the President define victory?

I don’t have the answer to the problems in the Middle East (and the rise of ISIS). However, I do know that there are some very good leaders in our military who do have answers. I question whether or not they are currently being listened to. I do not support ground troops, but also do not support standing idly by as innocent civilians are being killed or forced to flee with only the clothes on their backs. We said ‘never again’ after the holocaust killed millions of Jews. This is our ‘never again.’ ISIS is killing both Jews (if there are any remaining in the Middle East outside of Israel) and Christians. I believe God will hold us accountable for our inaction.

Fiddling While Rome Burns

I am sure you have noticed–the Middle East is on fire–Christians, Jews, and people of other religions are being slaughtered indiscriminately. America has stepped down from its role as a defender of freedom and gotten involved in some very odd alliances. Our nation, once a beacon of liberty, is now on the side of the highest bidder or the strongest dictator.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that in his speech today at the Coast Guard Academy, President Obama cites climate change as one of the causes of the unrest in the Middle East.

The article reports:

“I understand climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world, yet what we also know is that severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram,” Obama said in his speech.

“It’s now believed that drought and crop failures and high food prices helped fuel the early unrest in Syria, which descended into civil war in the heart of the Middle East,” he added.

We have had crop failures in various areas of the world since we have had people in various parts of the world. We have also had climate cycles in the world since we have had a world. We have also had nasty leaders of various groups since we have had a world. Is it possible that evil people might be the root of the problem? I can’t believe any of the graduates at the Coast Guard Academy bought into any of the garbage our President was spewing.

The article further reports:

“The science is indisputable. The fossil fuels we burn release carbon dioxide, which traps heat, and the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are now higher than they have been in 800,000 years.”

“The planet is getting warmer,” he added. “Fourteen of the 15 hottest years on record have been in the last 15 years.”

Obama stressed that climate change is an issue that will affect the jobs that Coast Guard graduates were trained to do. “Cadets, the threat of a changing climate cuts to the very core of your service,” he said.

“I’m here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security, and make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country,” he said. “So we need to act, we need to act now.”

If President Obama believes that the biggest threat to global security is climate change, he needs to be removed from office as soon as possible for incompetence.

For those of you who still believe in man-caused global warming, I suggest you follow the link to wattsupwiththat.com to get the scientific facts.

While We Were Distracted By The Torture Report and the Gruber Hearings

On Sunday, the Department of Defense issued an announcement that they were releasing six Guantanamo inmates to Uruguay. The terrorists were Ahmed Adnan Ahjam, Ali Hussain Shaabaan, Omar Mahmoud Faraj, Abdul Bin Mohammed Abis Ourgy, Mohammed Tahanmatan, and Jihad Diyab.

Yesterday, The Long War Journal posted some information on who these prisoners were.

The article reports:

The four Syrians transferred — Ahmed Adnan Ahjam, Ali Husein Shaaban, Abd al Hadi Omar Mahmoud Faraj, and Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab — were all allegedly members of the so-called “Syrian Group.” The JTF-GTMO files describe the “Syrian Group” as “comprised of dismantled terrorist cells that escaped Syrian authorities and fled to Afghanistan (AF) in 2000.”

Part of the reporting in the JTF-GTMO files on the so-called “Syrian Group” came from the Syrian government, which was opposed to this particular group of jihadists but also eventually allied with al Qaeda in the fight against American forces in Iraq. Ultimately, in a form of blowback, that one-time alliance would fracture.

Syrian intelligence authorities under the Assad regime reported that Abu Musab al Suri, a senior al Qaeda ideologue, was the head of the “Syrian Group,” whose members traveled to Afghanistan for training in al Suri’s and al Qaeda’s camps. One camp established by al Suri, known as the al Ghuraba camp, provided training in electronics, including the building of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

See the article at the Long War Journal for further information.

As for the other two detainees, the article reports:

Mohammed Abdullah Tahamuttan (ISN 684), who is originally from the West Bank, is the only one of the six transferred detainees who was deemed a “medium” risk by JTF-GTMO. Tahamuttan was captured during the same raids that netted Abu Zubaydah in late March 2002. The safe houses where Tahamuttan, Zubaydah and others were captured were operated by Lashkar-e-Taiba, an al Qaeda-linked jihadist group in Pakistan. JTF-GTMO concluded that Tahamuttan was a member of Zubaydah’s “Martyrs Brigade,” which was created for the “purpose of returning to Afghanistan to conduct improvised explosive devices (IED) attacks against US and Coalition forces.”

…Abdul Bin Mohammed Bin Abess Ourgy (ISN 502), a citizen of Tunisia, is the sixth and final detainee transferred to Uruguay. “Detainee is assessed to be a member of al Qaeda and a finance operative for the Tunisian Combatant Group (TCG),” the JTF-GTMO threat assessment reads. The TCG is a forerunner of Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, the group responsible for the Sept. 14, 2012 assault on the US Embassy in Tunis. And the intelligence collected on Ourgy showed that he worked with some of the senior TCG officials who would go on to form Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, including the group’s founder, Abu Iyad al Tunisi, and Sami Ben Khemais Essid, a longtime al Qaeda operative.

The article has full biographies–this is just a snapshot. Traditionally prisoners of war are not released until the war is over. I am concerned about what sort of mischief these men will create in Uruguay and how long it will take them to rejoin the battle in the Middle East.

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.

What Coalition?

The Hill is reporting today that Turkey has stated that it will not allow the United States to use its military bases in Turkey as operational bases against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The article reports:

National security adviser Susan Rice said Sunday on NBC that Turkey agreed to let the U.S. use its bases and territory, including the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey, to train moderate Syrian rebels.

“That’s the new commitment, and one that we very much welcome,” she said.

However, on Monday, Turkish officials denied reaching such a deal, according to local media reports that said both sides were continuing to discuss the use of the military bases and Turkey’s airspace.

Turkey does not want the United States doing anything that will strengthen Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Turkey also does not want anything to happen in the area that will strengthen the Kurds.

The awkward situation regarding Turkey, a supposed United States ally, illustrates the complexity of meddling in the Middle East. Every country where America has toppled a tyrannical dictator has disintegrated into chaos. Our ‘good deeds’ have resulted in people dying and an increase in Christian persecution. Oddly enough, I am not including the ousting of Saddam Hussein in this statement. The problem with Saddam Hussein is that had he been left in place, the United Nations would have been totally destroyed. As much as I would not object to the end of the United Nations, it is the world umpire we are currently dealing with and Saddam Hussein was thumbing his nose at the United Nations on a regular basis. Saddam Hussein had violated every condition of the peace treaty signed after the first Gulf War and he needed to be reminded that his behavior was unacceptable.

It is time to put an adviser in the White House that has some understanding of the Middle East. Right now we seem to be lacking that expertise.

 

A Solution To The Middle East Problem From Someone Who Would Know

Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin posted the following on his Facebook page:

 

I have hesitated to write this posting because I have been trying to find an alternative to what I will propose here.

The situation with ISIS is very serious now as I am sure that everyone is aware. The Obama administration is totally inept and not serious about reducing the threat to America and American interests. These airstrikes are not effective because they have not been well directed at real targets in most cases and they have not been in large numbers.

So what do we need to do now? I hate to recommend this but I have considered the alternatives and I find none acceptable.

We need to do 5 things right now:

1. Put forth a significant intel effort against ISIS. This includes flying drones throughout the ISIS area of operations as well as a big Human Intel and Signals Intel effort. The idea is to find ISIS targets and kill them including the leaders and the command and control nodes.

2. Put as many Special Operations teams on the ground as the US Special Operations Command calls for. They should operate with the Kurdish Peshmerga and any Sunni tribal entities who can reasonably be assessed as true anti-ISIS entities. They should be equipped with SOFLAMS (Laser Designators) for controlling air strikes.

3. Deploy ground forces of at least one full US Army Armor or Mechanized division with supporting assets to go into the urban areas and to ferret out ISIS an kill them with anti-tank systems and attack helicopters. Yep, I know this is controversial and I don’t like it either but we have to destroy ISIS and reduce them as a threat. The US division must go in order to convince and persuade other nations to do the same. Even the NATO nations have to see that they either stop these pigs in Iraq and Syria or they will fight them on their home turf in Europe. The same applies to America. Now we cannot deny that they are coming across the US southern border since members of congress are now acknowledging the same thing.

4. Arm the Kurds directly and not through the Iraqi government. Anything going through the Iraq government never gets to the Kurds. Fly plane loads of arms and equipment into the city of Irbil and off load it there where the Kurds will get it themselves.

5. Cancel all foreign aid and foreign military sales of US arms and equipment to any nation that will not fight with us. Start with Turkey. Turkey is not a reliable ally and Erdogan is an Islamist himself. He has no intention of ever doing anything to stop ISIS. He wants Bashar al-Asaad’s head and has no interest in destroying ISIS because they are his strongest allies in the fight against al-Asaad. NO MORE US $ for nations that will not stand with us in the fight against ISIS.