American Elephants


As The World Turns, Altering and Illuminating the Affairs of Men: by The Elephant's Child
May 20, 2015, 7:53 pm
Filed under: Coast Guard, Middle East, Nuclear Talks, World News | Tags: , ,

TEHRAN — Iran’s supreme leader, The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed on Wednesday that he will not allow international inspection of Iran’s military sites or any access to Iranian scientists under any nuclear agreement with world powers. He told military commanders that Iran will resist “coercion and excessive demands” from America and other world powers.

The negotiators from Iran and representatives of the six-nation group —the U.S, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — have launched a new round of talks in Vienna focused on reaching a final deal that halts Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. “The two sides,” the AP says, “reached a framework agreement in March and hope to work out a final deal by June 30.” It’s just that President Obama’s description of the ‘framework agreement’ and Iranian officials’ description of the “framework agreement” didn’t seem to have much of anything in common.

The White House called the collapse of Ramadi, the largest city in Anbar province in Iraq, a “minor setback” and claimed that we are still succeeding in Iraq.The Pentagon reported that ISIS seized large amounts of American weapons including tanks, artillery pieces and Humvees when the Iraqi troops abandoned Ramadi. ISIS is reported to be now operating in Malaysia.

A Russian spy plane was photographed in British airspace over Lancashire, not far from a NATO monitoring station and a factory that makes military planes. As tensions rise  between Moscow and the West, American planes are patrolling the borders between the Latvian countries and Russia.

President Obama spoke to the graduates at the Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut. He said:.

And this brings me to the challenge I want to focus on today — one where our Coast Guardsmen are already on the front lines, and that, perhaps more than any other, will shape your entire careers — and that’s the urgent need to combat and adapt to climate change.

As a nation, we face many challenges, including the grave threat of terrorism.  And as Americans, we will always do everything in our power to protect our country.  Yet even as we meet threats like terrorism, we cannot, and we must not, ignore a peril that can affect generations. …

Perhaps we need to take a harder look at our intelligence operations. There are too many people telling the president just what he wants to hear. Or perhaps the problem is even more serious.



ISIS Has Occupied Palmayra, And Draws Closer to Damascus. by The Elephant's Child
May 20, 2015, 6:15 pm
Filed under: ISIS, Middle East, Syria, Wanton Destruction | Tags: , , ,

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The saga of Palmyra has not ended. ISIS militants have reportedly captured the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra on Wednesday as Syrian officials evacuated civilians and scrambled to keep priceless antiquities from falling into barbarian hands. Syrian activists said that Syrian soldiers were seen fleeing the area.

Authorities have rushed to remove hundreds of statues to safe locations, Syria’s antiquities chief said. But Palmyra has a museum and large monuments that cannot be moved. The city dates back to the Neolithic, it was first noticed as a caravan stop for travelers crossing the Syrian Desert. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and in the annals of the Assyrian kings, and eventually the Roman Empire. Given ISIS path of mindless destruction authorities are fearful for the Temple of Ba’al, an ancient theater and its famous colonnade. ISIS counts complete destruction of sites of of historic and religious importance. But there have been 50,000 people there who are being evacuated.

Experts have also warned that militants have smuggled priceless artifacts out of the country for sale on the black market to fund the terrorists’ army. ISIS blew up and bulldozed Nimrud.

Interesting that they revel in the destruction, yet recognize the value of the artifacts on the black market. It’s all right if others possess the evidence of past civilizations, they just don’t want any in their territory.



Once You’ve Reduced it to Rubble, You Can’t Put It Back Together Again by The Elephant's Child
May 17, 2015, 8:09 pm
Filed under: Iran, Iraq | Tags: , , ,

051615KhorsabadThe Assyrians rose around 2,500 B.C. and at one time their realm stretched from the Mediterranean coast to present day Iran. They left behind palaces and temples decorated with huge reliefs depicting their king’s military campaigns and conquests and his great hunting prowess, killing lions and other dangerous animals. The city of Nimrud was founded in the 13th century B.C.during the reign of King Ashurnasirpal II, and served as the second capital of the Assyrian empire. Another capital was Ninevah. These colossal winged man-headed lions or bulls were protective deities put at the entrances of palaces and temples weighing about 10–30 tons each.

ISIS is raging throughout Iraq and Syria, attempting to obliterate history..The ancient city of Nimrud is across the Euphrates from Mosul —or was. After looting anything movable for sale, they attacked the city with sledgehammers, drills, saws, barrel bombs and bulldozers to destroy the 4,000 year-old treasures. Now it is just rubble.2778684F00000578-3035534-image-a-8_1428835740011K.T. MacFarland, national security adviser for Fox said “it’s like brainwashing. They want to eliminate the past, remove all signs of idolatry and spread monotheism.” “There is no past, there is only us.” “God has honored us in the Islamic State to remove all of these idols and statutes worshiped instead of Allah in the past days.”

They destroy museums, and break up priceless artifacts. They destroyed the Mosul Library and burned thousands of its rare books and manuscripts. UNESCO called the burning of books and manuscripts “one of the most devastating acts of destruction of library collections in human history.”

the Washington Examiner lists the destruction, with an ISIS video bragging of their destruction and listing the other historical sites lost to the world because of ISIS wanton destruction, which seems remarkably pointless. The Crac des Chevaliers, an 11th Century Crusader castle, the Saint Simeon Church in Aleppo and the Aleppo Citadel. Jonah’s tomb, 173 priceless artifacts with statues from Hasra in the Mosul Museum. The Mosul Library, The ancient city of Nimrud, the Khorsabad Palace built between 717 and 706 B.C. and Hasra, a circular fortified city with double walls that became the capital of an early Arab kingdom.

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It was reported that ISIS had taken Palmyra, in Syria (above) but a later post says they have been forced out and Palmyra is safe.

Some of the finest artifacts reside in Western museums. Everybody has criticized the British archeologists who snapped up so many treasures for depriving other nations of their heritage. Nobody really expected barbarians.

NINEVEH 8D



Beyond Incompetence to A Different Worldview: The Obama Doctrine by The Elephant's Child
May 8, 2015, 10:15 pm
Filed under: Iran, Iraq | Tags: , , ,

Over at the Middle East Forum, Daniel Pipes has a go at “Decoding the Obama Doctrine” —  or, as we all are wondering — Why is Obama doing that? Mr. Pipes begins with Barack Obama’s former ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Iraq, who had this to say about the administration’s current record in the Middle East.

………………………………..“We’re in goddamn free fall.”

Count the mistakes: Helping overthrow Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, leading to anarchy and civil war. Pressuring Husni Mubarak of Egypt to resign, then backing the Muslim Brotherhood, leading now-president Sisi to turn toward Moscow. Alienating Washington’s most stalwart ally in the region, the Government of Israel. Dismissing ISIS as “junior varsity” just before it seized major cities. Hailing Yemen as a counterterrorism success just before its government was overthrown. Alarming the Saudi authorities to the point that they put together a military alliance against Iran. Coddling Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey, encouraging his dictatorial tendencies. Leaving Iraq and Afghanistan prematurely, dooming the vast American investment in those two countries.

And, most of all: Making dangerously flawed deals with the nuclear-ambitious mullahs of Iran.

But there also is a grand idea and it calls for explanation. As a man of the left, Obama sees the United States historically having exerted a malign influence on the outside world. Greedy corporations, an overly-powerful military-industrial complex, a yahoo nationalism, engrained racism, and cultural imperialism combined to render America, on balance, a force for evil.

The Obama Doctrine is simple and universal: Warm relations with adversaries and cool them with friends.

Several assumptions underlie this approach: The U.S. government morally must compensate for its prior errors. Smiling at hostile states will inspire them to reciprocate. Using force creates more problems than it solves. Historic U.S. allies, partners, and helpers are morally inferior accessories. In the Middle East, this means reaching out to revisionists (Erdoğan, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Republic of Iran) and pushing away cooperative governments (Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia).

There’s more.  Do read the whole thing. Hard to understand how anyone could think this way, but there you are.



Seventy Years Ago Today, Germany Surrendered Unconditionally. Long Live The Course of Freedom! by The Elephant's Child
May 8, 2015, 3:45 pm
Filed under: Russia | Tags: , ,

Winston Churchill Announces Germany’s unconditional surrender. One of those very special dates to be remembered.



101 Year-Old Funchu Tamang Pulled From the Rubble In Kathmandu on Saturday. by The Elephant's Child
May 4, 2015, 3:18 pm
Filed under: Nepal | Tags: , , ,

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Here is Funchu Tamang,101 years old, who was pulled from the rubble of his collapsed home on Saturday, a very long seven days after the earthquake. Eight Britons were rescued from a remote mountain monastery. The Daily Mail has more pictures and more earthquake coverage. Rescuers had given up hope of more survivors and turned their attention to remote villages.

The death toll rose to 7,500 on Saturday, with more than 14,000 injured. More than 100 were also killed in India and China. The death toll is expected to climb once again as they reach thousands in remote Himalayan areas. Nepal has been forced to close its only international airport to large jets flying in relief supplies and aid workers because the only runway cannot handle the strain of the stream of aircraft flying in to help. Medium and smaller jets will still be allowed to land.

Relief workers say it is now a race against time to get desperately needed shelter, food and clean water to survivors in the remote villages. Many are tiny villages perched on the side of mountains where it is difficult or impossible for helicopters to land.



The Earthquake in Nepal — The Third Day. by The Elephant's Child
April 27, 2015, 9:33 pm
Filed under: Nepal | Tags: , ,

kathmandu-devastation-AP

The death toll in Nepal has risen to 4,438 in the three countries affected. When you look at pictures like this of the aftermath in Kathmandu of the earthquake and the aftershocks, you wonder how anyone could possibly have survived. The dramatic increase in the number of the dead indicates just how hard rescuers have been working to find victims in the search for the living.

I don’t know if building standards here are so much higher that our people are better protected, and if we help other countries to learn how better building standards can help to save lives, or for that matter, if they are affordable.in poorer populous countries.

The U.S. has sent a disaster response team and $10 million in aid, and Red Cross Disaster Relief, Oxfam America, Save the Children have rushed to respond. The UK, Canada, Norway; Australia, EU, China, Germany, Singapore have sent funds. Pepsi and Coca Cola are sending bottled water, Kellogg, and Toyota are sending funds  Google and Facebook have created tools to help locate survivors, and to help survivors to let family know they are okay. It’s good to see the world respond.




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