American Elephants


There Are al-Qaeda Affiliates Across The Middle East And Africa by The Elephant's Child

While all our attention is focused on Iraq and Syria, an al Qaeda affiliate in Nigeria is sweeping across northeast Nigeria with equally brutal means to attempt to break up the most populous nation on the continent.

Boko Haram overran Gwoza, a city of about 275,000 in Borno state, declaring on August 24, that the town now had “nothing to do with Nigeria”— and declared it part of “the Islamic caliphate.

This is the area where the kidnapping of schoolgirls in April gave birth to the hashtag campaign #Bring Back Our Girls. Wars are not won and problems are not settled with hashtag signs. Other events in the news cycle soon took over the attention of the world. Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau called the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliph  Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as among his brethren, as well as al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and Taliban chief Mullah Omar. Security experts have said that Borno state may be the start of Boko Haram’s new country. They are aggressively attacking the Nigerian military which is poorly equipped and under armed.

It is a particularly vicious  terrorist organization, linked to other terrorist organizations. Bombings, assassinations and kidnappings, genocide on Christians, attacks on schools where the students are taken if they are girls, or slaughtered if they are boys, and they have begun to operate like a conventional army with tanks and artillery.

When these groups are victorious their recruiting is more successful. They seem like conquering heroes and the bloodlust and brutality are an attraction until their armies are decimated, and reality sets in.



Democrat Attempt to End Freedom of Speech Failed. by The Elephant's Child

The Democrats attempt to rewrite the Constitution and amend the First Amendment to curtail the rights of Americans to free political speech has died in the Senate. It needed 60 votes to advance. Free political speech is the very essence of liberty, and the envy of the world.

Fifty-four Senate Democrats actually voted to give Congress the power to “regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.” Think through what that would mean.

Some, such as Senator Bernie Sanders (S-VT) said the amendment would allow Democrats to enact more of their preferred legislation. Exactly. Democrats want to be completely in charge, without any interference from those pesky Republicans. They just want Republicans gone — so they can rule.

This bunch rejects 223 years of liberty and political freedom guaranteed by the Bill of Rights since it was ratified in 1791 — because they want their own way. No arguments. No questioning our policies. No criticism. No unpleasant speech. Can they win elections without cheating?

Somebody remarked that there used to be a “Sandinista wing” of the Democrat Party. Not anymore, it’s entirely Sandinista now.



And On The Morning After… by The Elephant's Child

When President Obama famously announced to the world that he didn’t have a strategy yet for dealing with ISIS, he was speaking entirely of himself. The Defense Department has all sorts of strategies and plans. That’s one of their major tasks — developing plans for any contingency that might arise. And they have had a sharp eye on Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Russia and China as well as countries under the radar of the press.

In deciding how to deal with ISIS, President Obama has rejected the “best military advice,” the advice given to the commander in chief from his military leader. General Lloyd Austin, top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East said that his best military advice was to send a modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants, according to two U.S. military officials, the Washington Post reported shortly after the speech last night:

“The recommendation, conveyed to the White House by Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was cast aside in favor of options that did not involve U.S. ground forces in a front-line role, a step adamantly opposed by the White House. Instead, Obama had decided to send an additional 475 U.S. troops to assist Iraqi and ethnic Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment.

Recommitting ground combat forces to Iraq would have been highly controversial, and most likely would have been opposed by a substantial majority of Americans. But Austin’s predecessor, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, said the decision not to send ground troops poses serious risks to the mission.

“The American people will once again see us in a war that doesn’t seem to be making progress,” Mattis said. “You’re giving the enemy the initiative for a longer period.”

Germany and the U.K. on Thursday ruled out carrying out air strikes on Islamic State militants in Syria, a day after the president’s speech. “We haven’t been asked, nor will we do it,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters when asked about German participation in air strikes. “We need to be honest with ourselves in the current situation,m we don’t yet have a final, blanket strategy which guarantees that we’ll be successful against ISIS and similar groups.”

His U.K. counterpart Phillip Hammond explicitly ruled out air strikes in Syria, after the U.K. parliament struck down such a move last year.

Obama has assigned primary responsibility for mobilizing the Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria against ISIS. He presumably also wants their financial support and help in cutting off ISIS funding. But there is a problem. According to the Washington Post:

In common with their fear of the Islamic State, the region’s leaders also share a deep mistrust of the Obama administration, rooted in the past three years of increasing disengagement from the Middle East as the United States has sought to distance itself from the turmoil engendered by the Arab Spring revolts. . . .

Already there is a disinclination to believe [Obama’s] promises, said Mustafa Alani of the Gulf Research Center in Dubai.

“We have reached a low point of trust in this administration,” he said. “We think in a time of crisis Mr. Obama will walk away from everyone if it means saving his own skin.”

Most Arab states see the Obama administration as having created the conditions that enabled the Islamic State to thrive by not being more helpful to moderates in Syria and by continuing to back Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister in Iraq — long after it became clear that he was pursuing policies that were alienating the country’s Sunni minority.

Obama’s overtures to Iran also play a major role in Arab mistrust of the U.S. It is feared that the new strategy will further empower Iran and its Shiite allies at the expense of Sunni influence in the region.

At the Weekly Standard, Fredrick and Kimberly Kagan said that “President Obama has just announce that he is bringing a counter-terrorism strategy to an insurgency fight.”

ISIL is an insurgent group that controls enormous territory in Iraq and Syria that it governs. It maneuvers conventional light infantry forces supported by vehicles mounting machine guns and occasionally armored personnel carriers against the regular forces of the Iraqi Army and the Kurdish Peshmerga—and wins.

It is purely and simply not a terrorist organization any longer. Neither is it the simple manifestation of nihilistic evil the president makes out.

ISIL has described a very clear vision of seizing control of all of the territory of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories.  It intends to abolish all of the borders and redraw them according to a new structure of governance suitable to its hateful version of an old Islamic heresy.  That vision also makes it more than a simple terrorist organization.  It’s awfully hard to develop a sound strategy when you start by mis-diagnosing the problem so profoundly. That’s why the “strategy” the president just announced has no chance of success.

So Obama chose not to take up the strategy recommended by his military advisors. Has, according to experts, misidentified the problem. He promised a broad coalition apparently before consulting with those who he expects to make up the coalition. And promised the broad support of Arab states who no longer trust that the United States will act in an honorable manner and do what it says it will do.




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