Testing, 1, 2, 3, Testing…

Iran is very unhappy that President Trump has put economic sanctions on that country and has not been willing to withdraw them until there is a change in behavior. I would like to mention that paying protesters to shout “Death to America” might not be the pathway to having the sanctions lifted. There are a few things at work regarding the attack on the American Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. The first is aggravating President Trump enough so that America is drawn further into the never-ending war in the Middle East. So far the President has resisted that temptation. The second fact is simply being so annoying that President Trump does something that the American left and international community can condemn him for.

Breitbart posted an article today about the attack.

The article reports:

Iran-backed militiamen behind an attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, have begun retreating from the area on Wednesday following a threat from President Donald Trump to hold Tehran accountable for the siege.

“Supporters of the Kataib Hezbollah militia who had spent the night camped outside the embassy began dismantling their tents and leaving the area, saying they had won a victory and would now seek the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq through the nation’s parliament,” the Washington Post reports.

Did Iran really believe they would not be held accountable for the siege?

The article continues:

The development comes after Department of Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced on Tuesday evening the deployment of 750 U.S. soldiers to the region in response to the attack. Esper said additional troops are prepared to ship out for reenforcement if needed.

Earlier Tuesday, President Donald Trump blamed Iran for orchestrating the attack and threatened the country will pay a “very big price.”

“The U.S. Embassy in Iraq is, & has been for hours, SAFE! Many of our great Warfighters, together with the most lethal military equipment in the world, was immediately rushed to the site. Thank you to the President & Prime Minister of Iraq for their rapid response upon request,” the president tweeted.

The article concludes:

The violence comes as Iran and its allies have faced unprecedented mass protests in recent months and after heavy U.S. sanctions on Iran that have cratered its economy and raised tensions across the region. In Iraq, the protesters have been angered at their own government’s corruption and economic mismanagement, as well as its close ties to Tehran.

Stay tuned.

There Is A Pattern Here That Needs To Be Acknowledged

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about terrorist attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan began May 26, and so far there have been three attacks and 149 dead, not counting yesterday’s attack in London.

The article reports:

Islamist terrorist groups usually use the holiday to mount more significant terrorist attacks, and promise their followers extra benefits for dying in such attacks during the holy month.

The major attacks of Ramadan 2017 include twin suicide bombings in Baghdad and a massive suicide borne vehicle bomb in Afghanistan. An unconfirmed terrorist incident also occurred at a casino hotel in Manila earlier this week. These attacks occurred before a reported deadly incident on London Bridge Saturday.

Make no mistake, Islam is not a religion of peace. The month of Ramadan is a time radical Muslims are encouraged to attack infidels. Western leaders need to understand that Islam has been at war with western civilization since before the founding of America. We can either fight this war or we can close our eyes in surrender. The choice is ours.

Sometimes You Just Wonder About Motives

American Military News reported on Wednesday that the U.S. government suppressed information on chemical weapons found in Iraq.

The article cites a CNN story:

The U.S. government suppressed information about chemical weapons it found in Iraq, and several servicemembers were injured by their exposure to those weapons, The New York Times is reporting.

In an article published late Tuesday, the newspaper says it found 17 American servicemembers and seven Iraqi police officers who were exposed to mustard or nerve agents after 2003. They were reportedly given inadequate care and told not to talk about what happened.

The article further reports:

According to new reports from the New York Times, between 2003 and 2011 U.S. troops were exposed to Chemical weapons in Iraq regularly, and on 6 occasions were injured by them.

 All in all 5,000 chemical warheads were found in Iraq dating back to the Saddam Hussein regime. Many of these warheads were made in close conjunction with western nations.

I don’t mention this to bring it up as an excuse for the invasion of Iraq. I bring it up to remind people that our government has not always been truthful with us. As far as the invasion of Iraq is concerned, we need to remember the situation at the time–the Iraqi government was violating a United Nations no-fly zone and other conditions of the United Nations agreement signed after Iraq invaded Kuwait. If we wanted the United Nations to survive, we had to deal with Iraq. I personally would not miss the United Nations, but that was the situation at the time. We also need to remember that the Democratic party supported the invasion of Iraq at the beginning and later used the war as a political issue. The war in Iraq is another example of politicians interfering in ways that are unhelpful in military situations.

Actions Have Consequences

The withdrawal of American troops in Iraq paved the way for the ISIS takeover. Last Tuesday BBC News posted an article about what life in Mosul, Iraq, is like under ISIS.

I strongly suggest that you follow the link above and read the entire article, but here is one example:

“One day I felt so bored at home that I asked my husband to take me out, even if I had to wear the full khimar [a long, cape-like veil that covers the hair, neck and shoulders completely, but leaves the face clear]. I had not left home since IS took over the city. As I was preparing, he told me I would be forced to put on a niqab [veil for the face]. I was shocked at this and considered staying at home for a moment, but eventually I relented.

We went to a nice restaurant by the river we used to frequent during our engagement. As soon as we sat down, my husband told me that I could finally reveal my face as there was no IS presence and the restaurant was a place for families.

“I was very happy to oblige and so I revealed my face with a large smile. Instantly, the restaurant’s owner came over begging my husband to ask me to hide it again because Islamic State fighters made surprise inspection visits and he would be flogged if they saw me like that.

The article continues:

“I was threatened and harassed [by Sunni extremists] before the capture of Mosul, but I kept on delivering babies for women from all religions and sects. I never differentiate between my patients as I believe everyone deserves equal care.

“However, I had to flee as Mosul fell. I escaped with my body unharmed, but my soul remained where I had left it: at home with my books.

“After moving to Irbil [in Iraq’s Kurdistan region] I received shocking news: Islamic State had confiscated my house and marked it with the letter ‘N’ [for Nasrani – a word used by IS to refer to Christians]. I immediately telephoned my friends in Mosul and begged them to save my books.

“But it was too late. They called back saying my library had been emptied onto the street. However, some of my neighbours were able to rescue some precious books that remain hidden.”

Another story:

Fouad: “I was arrested by IS. They came to our family home looking for my brother. When they couldn’t find him, they decided to take me to prison instead.

“Then they tortured me. The guy who did it wouldn’t stop unless he got tired. He was edgy all the time and he wouldn’t listen to what his prisoners said. He flogged me with a power cable and also tortured me psychologically.

“When my brother handed himself in, they found out that the accusations against him were false but they still kept me in prison until they judged me well enough to leave.

“They had hit me so hard with the cable that the marks are still visible on my back.”

Daily life in Mosul:

“IS takes a quarter of everyone’s salary as a contribution towards paying for rebuilding the city. People can’t say no because they would face harsh punishments. The group controls everything. Rent is paid to it and the hospitals are for its members’ exclusive use.

“The group has even replaced the imams in the mosques with pro-IS people. Many of us have stopped going to the mosques because those attending are asked to give an oath of allegiance and we hate that.

“Meanwhile, my brother was given 20 lashes just because he didn’t shut his shop during prayer time – as if you can just impose religion by force!”

I don’t have an answer–I don’t want American troops there–this is a civil war and we need to stay out of it. However, the rise of ISIS is the result of letting Prime Minister Maliki purge the Iraqi government and army of Sunni Muslims. When President Obama allowed him to do this, we paved the way for what is happening now. The possible answer is to arm the Kurds directly–not go through Baghdad. Meanwhile, the people of Iraq suffer.

Even When The Obama Administration Helps, It Doesn’t Help Much

On Wednesday, Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article about the battle for Ramadi, Iraq. For whatever reason, American has chosen to provide only minimal air support to help defend the city.

The article reports:

U.S. air strikes had been instrumental in helping to keep ISIS at bay. Without such support, the defenders of Ramadi have said they cannot hold out.

Unfortunately, during the recent rounds of fighting, U.S. air support reportedly was minimal. Local officials say they were told that U.S. aircraft are occupied on other fronts. It’s difficult to imagine what front is more critical right now than Ramadi, the site of some of the most intense fighting by U.S. troops during our war against al Qaeda in Iraq.

U.S. Central Command confirms the paucity of U.S. bombing. A spokeman said that the U.S. made two attacks on ISIS in the Ramadi area during the period from Friday through Monday. On Tuesday, it carried out one additional strike.

We have noted before that the U.S. bombing campaign against ISIS fails remotely to approach the intensity of our efforts during the early days of the Afghanistan war or during the Kosovo campaign. Even so, our failure to average even one raid per day while ISIS came close to overrunning the defenders of Ramadi is shocking.

I fear that the Obama Administration, when looked at in historical perspective, will be seen as generally being on the wrong side of history. Somehow America under President Obama has forsaken the defending of freedom and either directly supported the forces of tyranny or simply stood back as they advanced. This is not who we are.

Why There Is So Little Reporting On The Actions Of Hamas

A website called Legal Insurrection posted an article yesterday about the lack of reporting in the mainstream media about the activities of Hamas.

You may recall a April 11, 2003, New York Times article by Easton Jordan entitled “The News We Kept To Ourselves.” The article states:

Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN’s Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders. Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard — awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.

For example, in the mid-1990’s one of our Iraqi cameramen was abducted. For weeks he was beaten and subjected to electroshock torture in the basement of a secret police headquarters because he refused to confirm the government’s ludicrous suspicion that I was the Central Intelligence Agency’s Iraq station chief. CNN had been in Baghdad long enough to know that telling the world about the torture of one of its employees would almost certainly have gotten him killed and put his family and co-workers at grave risk.

That is the way thugs in the Middle East handle reporters. Things have not changed–that is the modus operandi used by Hamas.

The article at Legal Insurrection reports:

The Times of Israel confirmed several incidents in which journalists were questioned and threatened. These included cases involving photographers who had taken pictures of Hamas operatives in compromising circumstances — gunmen preparing to shoot rockets from within civilian structures, and/or fighting in civilian clothing — and who were then approached by Hamas men, bullied and had their equipment taken away.

The article at Legal Insurrection included tweets from reporters and stories of intimidation of reporters. The reason we are not hearing both sides of the story of the Gaza-Israeli war is that one side is a bunch of thugs who are endangering their own civilian population and doing everything they can to hide the truth.

ISIS Continues Its Reign Of Terror In Iraq

Yesterday the U.K. Mail Online reported that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has attacked and destroyed several centuries-old graves in the northwest city of Mosul in Ninevah. Among the graves destroyed was the grave of the Old Testament prophet Jonah. Jonah was revered by both Christians and Muslims, but ISIS believes that giving special reverence to tombs and relics is against Islam.

The article also reports:

…more than 50 bodies have been discovered by Iraqi authorities in an agricultural area outside the city of Hillah, just south of Baghdad, today.

Military spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan Ibrahim said most of the 53 bodies were found blindfolded with their hands bound and several gunshot wounds.

The grisly discovery in Hillah, a predominantly Shiite city around 60 miles south of Baghdad, has raised concerns over a possible sectarian killing amid the battle against a Sunni insurgency.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has accused the Kurds in northern Iraq of harboring extremists. Meanwhile, the Kurds are working hard to protect their area of Iraq from ISIS.

ISIS is acting in a way very similar to the way the Taliban acted when they took over Afghanistan.

What is happening in Iraq is partially the result of the fact that American forces were withdrawn. Had American forces remained, we would have been able to exert enough pressure on al-Maliki to prevent his purging his military from Sunnis and putting his cronies in their places. One of the reasons the Iraqi army fled was that it was not the trained Iraqi army that we had assembled–it was a bunch of political hacks put in place by al-Maliki.

I am not optimistic about what is happening in Iraq. Even with American help, the country is going to disintegrate. The civil war between the Shiites and the Sunnis will continue and various terrorist groups in the Middle East will take advantage of that fact. It would be a mistake for America to get involved in Iraq again. However, we should support the Kurds and provide relief for the refugees who have fled to the Kurdish areas.





The Foreign Policy Chickens Have Come Home To Roost

It’s time to pray. Americans all over the world are in danger as a result of President Obama’s foreign policy, and President Obama does not appear to be particularly involved in the situation.

The Independent Journal Review is reporting today that at least 200 Americans were trapped and surrounded at the Balad Force Air Base.

The article reports:

An anonymous contractor claiming to be among the besieged U.S. citizens posted this call for help on CNN’s “IReport” website yesterday:

I am writing from ballad Iraq as a employee of sallyport, ksillc..there are approx 500 US citizens on balad air base north of Baghdad trapped..we are part of a little known F16 iraq support mission here…The company has reportedly for the last 3 days to fly us out, we are now all herded into a central location on base..and being told nothing..The clint lockheed martin, DoS and most women have already been evacuated days ago but we are all still here.  I hope this message is received by someone that can break this as headline news to bring attention to the situation for us..we are all worried and in dire straight as last security Intel reports Isis elements around us..

The article at Independent Journal Review (IJR) was written six hours ago (about 9:35 AM EST).

The article cites another story from World Net Daily (WND):

A U.S. contractor in Iraq told WND the Iraqi Air Force has begun evacuations from Balad Air Force Base, where 200 American contractors were trapped by the al-Qaida-inspired jihadists who have seized control of two cities and are now threatening Baghdad.

A contractor with Sallyport Global, who asked not to be named, told WND through a Skype instant message that he was transported from Balad to Baghdad and was communicating from a C-130 preparing to take off to Dubai.

He said 300 in total have been evacuated from Balad, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, and another 100 are still awaiting airlift. He said the Iraqi Air Force is trying to evacuate everyone by midnight local time.

The article concludes:

The base has been under attack by ISIS forces with small arms, AK47s and rocket propelled grenades. We hope and pray Americans are able to stay out of harm’s way as Obama throws Iraq to the wolves.

Where is President Obama?

What Goes Around Comes Around

The New York Times posted a story today about a training class in Iraq that went horribly wrong (at least for the students).

The article reports:

A group of Sunni militants attending a suicide bombing training class at a camp north of Baghdad were killed on Monday when their commander unwittingly conducted a demonstration with a belt that was packed with explosives, army and police officials said.

The militants belonged to a group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which is fighting the Shiite-dominated army of the Iraqi government, mostly in Anbar Province. But they are also linked to bomb attacks elsewhere and other fighting that has thrown Iraq deeper into sectarian violence.

Unfortunately Iraq is falling into total disarray since the Americans left. This incident during a training class for suicide bombers is one example of that disarray. Recently Al Qaeda raised its flag in Falluja, an act that represented the failure of the Iraqi government to control that city.

The article further reports:

But Iraq is developing a plan, with help from the United States, that would have Sunni tribes take the lead in ending the standoff with ISIS in Falluja, with the Iraqi Army in support, a senior State Department official told Congress last week.

The official, Brett McGurk, said that ISIS had about 2,000 fighters in Iraq, and that its longer-term objective is to establish a base of operations in Baghdad, led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has been officially designated as a global terrorist by the State Department.

The rise of terrorism and the rise of Al Qaeda are a result of the weak image America under President Obama is projecting. We shouldn’t be sending troops all over the world, but there should be an implicit threat that we will deal with terrorists and that we have the strength to do so. Right now that threat is not there.

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British Special Forces In Iraq

The U.K. Mail Online posted a story yesterday about the work of the British Special Air Service (the equivalent of American Special Forces) in bringing down two of the nastiest Al Qaeda leaders in Iraq in 2008.

Please follow the link to the article and read the entire story–it is fascinating. It combines good old fashioned detective work with undercover work and infiltration into the den of the lions.

Some of the story:

Until today the true extent of the Al Qaeda men’s murderous influence has never been revealed and neither has the extraordinary story of how they were eventually stopped.

The Mail on Sunday can disclose that it was not US special forces who finally killed Rami and captured Uthman – as was reported at the time by The Washington Post – but the SAS.

How they did so was typical of the cool efficiency for which    the regiment is renowned.

Both operations were also smart, subtle and meticulously planned, using hi-tech ingenuity. Perhaps most of all, though, they were less obvious than those of their American counterparts.

The missions took place during the SAS ‘D’ squadron’s six-month tour of Baghdad in the second half of 2008, a time when car bombers were wreaking carnage in the capital.

Documents seen by this newspaper – accounts of the tour by the regiment’s senior officers – suggest the SAS was helped by a controversial set of ‘legal freedoms’ permitting the detainment of any individual, even without  evidence to justify their captivity.

I love the British perspective. We Americans are so unsubtle!

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