American Elephants

$500 Million. 5 Fighters. Obama Says It’s Not His Fault! by The Elephant's Child

damaged-buildings-syrian-civil-war1  When you draw a ‘red line,’ or ‘a line in the sand’ publicly in international terms, it is a very serious threat.  When you back down your reputation is permanently damaged. That is usually a lesson that one learns on the playground.

In a 2012 press conference in Stockholm, Obama said:

I have, at this point, not ordered military engagement in the situation. But the point that you made about chemical and biological weapons is critical. That’s an issue that doesn’t just concern Syria; it concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel. It concerns us. We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.

We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.

Assad unleashed a sarin gas attack on Syrians in Ghouta just outside of Damascus. Obama avoided any action in Syria in order to help with the Iran negotiations. The image above is a neighborhood in Syria.

The answer was supposed to be investing $500 million in training some of the Syrian rebels to fight Assad’s army, but it actually yielded just four or five fighters.

So now President Obama and his foreign policy team are confused.Why is Vladimir Putin pouring troops and weapons into Syria? Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that it really isn’t helpful, and is making things worse. Russia has deployed a small number of tactical jets in Syria for the first time. Moscow is clearly preparing to help Assad cling to power. American pilots regularly fly surveillance flights and airstrike missions, the direct involvement of Russian forces could mean trouble.

Russia has been an ally of Syria since Sadat kicked the Soviets out of Egypt in 1972. Look at a map. Putin has re-claimed the Crimea and is simply asserting their influence in the Middle East. Putin’s ambition is always to avenge and reverse Russia’s humiliating loss of superpower status over 25 years ago.

Obama’s efforts to train an opposition army to fight the ISIS has been an abysmal failure. And an expensive failure. But the White House is not to blame. The finger, the White House says, should be pointed not at Mr. Obama, but at those who pressed him to attempt training Syrian rebels in the first place. The New York Times says:

In effect, Mr. Obama is arguing that he reluctantly went along with those who said it was the way to combat the Islamic State, but that he never wanted to do it and has now has been vindicated in his original judgment.

Mr. Trump simply says “Syria’s a mess, Why are we fighting ISIS in Syria? Let them fight each other and pick up the remnants.” A comment much in line with his simplistic answers to everything else.

Ryan C. Crocker who was ambassador to Afghanistan under Mr. Obama and ambassador to Iraq under George W. Bush said the president was right to think that a train-and-arm program would not work, but he either should have continued to resist or taken ownership rather than blame others.

How un-presidential that sounds — ‘We didn’t want to do it, we thought it was unsound but you made us do it,’ ” said Mr. Crocker. “It’s just indicative of their whole approach to Syria, which is not to have a policy. This is the worst thing they could say.”

Now refugees are flooding Europe. We don’t know who are refugees, who are migrants, and who are members of ISIS. What we are learning is that EU estimates are that four out of five migrants are not from Syria but from Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq and even states farther removed. Mr. Obama’s response seems to be welcoming a hundred thousand or so refugees every year into the indefinite future.

The More Things Change, The More they Stay the Same by The Elephant's Child
September 19, 2015, 6:54 am
Filed under: Africa, Europe, History, Islam, Middle East | Tags: , ,


plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

In the early years of the seventh century, when the Prophet Muhammad began his mission in Arabia, the whole of the Mediterranean world was still part of Christendom. On the European, Asian and African shores alike, almost all the inhabitants were Christians of various denomination. Of the other religions of the Greco-Roman world, only two, Judaism and Manichaeism, had survived and were professed by minorities in these lands. In the eastern Mediterranean, the East Roman Empire, known to scholarship as the Byzantine Empire, continued to flourish and with Constantinople as its capital ruled over Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and part of North Africa as well as Asia Minor and southeastern Europe. In the western Mediterranean, the Roman state had fallen, but the barbarian peoples, and the kingdoms they raised on the ruins of Rome, had adopted the Christian religion and tried with intermittent success to maintain at least the forms of the Roman state and the Christian church. Nor was the realm of Christendom limited to the Mediterranean lands. Beyond the eastern border of Byzantium, Mesopotamia, the metropolitan and western-most province of the Persian Empire, was by the early seventh century predominately Christian and thus part of the Christian though not the Roman world. Even in Arabia, beyond the imperial frontiers of both Rome and Persia. Christian and Jewish minorities lived among the pagan majority.

Within a few decades of the death of Muhammad in 632, his Arab followers had burst out of the Arabia Peninsula, attacked Byzantium and Persia, the two great empires that had divided the Middle East between them, and wrested vast territories from both. The Empire of Persia was conquered and absorbed in its entirety. From the Roman world the Arabs took Syria  Palestine, Egypt, and the rest of North Africa which, in turn, became their springboard for the invasion of Africa which, in turn, became their springboard for the invasion of Spain and the Mediterranean islands, notably Sicily. Defeating both the Byzantine and the barbarian armies, they were able to incorporate these countries in the new Islamic Empire and to threaten Christendom from both ends. In the east, Arab armies from Syria and Iraq pressing against Anatolia, then a Greek and Christian land and the heartland of the Byzantine Empire, while other Arab and  Berber armies in the west swept from conquered Spain across the Pyrenees and threatened to engulf all of Western Europe. For a while, Muslim armies occupied Sicily, parts of southern Italy, and seemed to menace even Rome itself.

The opening paragraphs from The Muslim Discovery of Europe by Bernard Lewis, New York, 1982  Highly recommended.

Michael Ramirez Once Again Captures the Essence. by The Elephant's Child


I’m afraid this may be what we have gained with Obama’s Iran Deal. I find it hard to understand why so many Democrats are willing to sell out their country for partisan purpose. Do they just take the word of Kerry and Obama without actually looking into the claims? This is not going to end well.

Iran, Expecting a Cash Windfall is Already Spurring Attacks on Israel. by The Elephant's Child

An unsettling surge in terrorism by Iranian proxies has many Israelis convinced the release to Tehran of tens of billions of dollars in frozen funds is already putting the Jewish state in danger.

In recent days, rockets have rained down on Israel from Gaza in the south and the Golan Heights to the north, Israeli forces foiled a bomb plot at the tomb of biblical patriarch Joseph, and Gaza-based terrorist groups that also have a presence in the West Bank have openly appealed for aid on Iranian television. Israeli officials fear the terrorist activity is spiking as groups audition for funding from Tehran, which is set to receive the long-frozen funds as part of its deal to allow limited nuclear inspections. They say the international focus on Iran’s nuclear ambitions has left its more conventional methods of attacking regional adversaries unaddressed.

“The nuclear context is just one aspect of the negative Iranian activities in the region,” Emmanuel Nahshon, senior Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, told “We can see the demonstration of this on a daily basis in Syria, in Yemen, and in Iraq. We see it also when we see the [Iranian] support of Hezbollah and other groups who operate against Israel.”

Susan Rice, National Security Adviser, admitted last month that some of the money to be released as part of the Iran Deal negotiated by the team headed by Secretary of State John Kerry would go to the Iranian military and could be used for the kind of “bad behavior” that we have seen in the region.

Aside from the release of sanctioned funds, the P5+1 countries are rushing to get trade missions into Tehran, envisioning a horde of major international business.

Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are eager to continue as Iranian proxies, Four rockets were fired into Israel last wee,, from Syria, two into the Golan Heights and two into the Upper Galilee, the first since the start of Syria’s civil war four years ago. There’s a new 2.5 mile tunnel from Gaza into Israel by the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. Israel thwarted an lethal bomb attack by Islamic Jihad on visitors to Joseph’s tomb in the West Bank.

Dick Cheney Speaks on the Iran Nuclear Deal by The Elephant's Child

Former Vice President Dick Cheney spoke at an event at AEI on September 8, a passionate speech about the nuclear deal with Iran and why it is a complete catastrophe. It’s a long speech, but worth every minute. Mr. Cheney explains clearly why it is such a very, very bad deal.

As for me, I was convinced that we were doomed when I learned that President Obama believes that Iran would never actually use a nuclear weapon. If he actually believes that, no wonder he has been such a complete doormat.

He believes that he can turn the problems of the Middle East over to Iran to solve, and get America out of the region entirely. Iran’s quest for intercontinental ballistic missiles does not concern Mr. Obama who envisions himself making a triumphant trip to Tehran to shake the Supreme Leader’s hand.

The Supreme Leader may not be able to bring himself to sign the deal at all, since he hates Americans so much.  Shake hands?  Not a chance.

The speech is about 35 minute long, followed by a question and answer period.

U.S. Faces Highest Terror Threat Since 9/11 by The Elephant's Child

A new report from the House Homeland Security Committee finds that there have already been more U.S.–based jihadist terror cases this year than in any year since 2011. “The terror threat level in the U.S. homeland is high, and the situation is getting steadily worse” the report warns.

Over just the past five years, the number of U.S. terrorist cases involving homegrown violent jihadists has tripled to 122 from 38 in 2010.

• The Islamic State has inspired or directed 55 terrorist plots or attacks against Western targets — including 14 in the U.S. alone — and there are already more cases this year than in all of 2014.

• U.S. authorities have arrested or charged at least 48 individuals in the U.S. in 2015 — and 63 since 2014 — in Islamic State-related cases.

• Most of the IS terrorist plots and attacks have involved targets in the New York and Boston areas.

• The majority of recent Islamic terrorist plots have targeted law enforcement or troops based inside the U.S., such as July’s Chattanooga, Tenn., attack, killing five soldiers.

• The FBI has “hundreds of open investigations” of potential IS-inspired terrorists that cover all 56 of the bureau’s field offices in 50 states.

• Potentially “thousands of Americans” are taking in IS recruitment propaganda over social media sites, and may act on jihadist commands to “kill, kill, kill.”

• IS has produced more than 1,700 “jihadeos” and other propaganda material in just the first five months of this year.

• IS and its agents are posting an estimated 200,000 jihadist messages on Twitter every day, and despite the FBI’s crackdown, American recruitment is exploding.

• IS is drawing fighters from more than 100 countries, including “dozens” from America, and can now muster between 20,000 and 30,000 foot soldiers.

ISIS recruits online in English language social media posts. They now have affiliates in at least 18 countries. 3.000 fighters in Libya have joined forces with ISIS, and as many as 1.000 Tunisians are training in Libyan training camps. Americans believe that Obama is not effectively fighting ISIS. The pinprick airstrikes in Iraq and Syria aren’t accomplishing much of anything. As usual, there’s a rules of engagement problem. Obama doesn’t want to annoy Iran.

You might want to avoid crowds on Friday’s 14th  anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. They do like to celebrate anniversaries.

The American People Oppose This Deal By a 2-1 Margin. by The Elephant's Child

KerryYesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry defended the Iran nuclear agreement as “comprehensive, verifiable, effective and of lasting duration.” He dismissed criticisms of the deal as “myths” that must be dispelled, and said the deal would rein in Iran more than sanctions alone could.

Uh huh, and I have a lovely riverfront lot on the Animas River that I’m selling at a real bargain price. We were just reaching the point where sanctions would really start to pinch. Iranian oil, and they have a lot of it, has a break-even price of $151 a barrel, and Brent crude is $51. That puts a lot of pressure on their economy, or it would if we weren’t removing all the sanctions in return for nothing at all.

The people of Israel will be safer with this deal, and the same is true for the people throughout the region. … [H]istory may judge [the Iran agreement] a turning point, a moment when the builders of stability seized the initiative from the destroyers of hope, and when we were able to show, as have generations before us, that when we demand the best from ourselves and insist that others adhere to a similar high standard – when we do that, we have immense power to shape a safer and a more humane world. That’s what this is about and that’s what I hope we will do in the days ahead.

What kind of thinking could possibly allow such a man to make such a statement in defense of anything. Iranians shout “Death to Israel” because their primary intent is to end the nation of Israel. Maps of the Middle East have only a blank spot where Israel is. Iran is the sponsor and funder of Hezbollah, of Hamas, of Lebanon’s Islamic Jihad. The Jordanians and the Saudis know that this is nonsense. The American people oppose the deal by a two to one margin, and two-thirds of the Senate oppose the deal.Obama is doing victory laps because he has won the support of one third of one house of Congress

Kerry repeated the administration’s line that the deal forces Iran to abandon its plans for a nuclear weapon for that time. “It just doesn’t make sense to vote no now for what might happen in 15 years,” Kerry said, arguing that Iran will continue on its path to the bomb if a deal is not reached. What makes him think we have 15 years?

Kerry said earlier that the sanctions on Qassem Solemani, commander of the Quds Force division of the IRGC “will stay forever” as Mr. Solemani was jetting off to Moscow to chat with Vladimir Putin, (he is forbidden to travel) probably to buy some longer range missiles, or perhaps a nuke or two. The IRGC is planning a “massive ballistic missile test” in the near future we have been warned.

The White House has apparently twisted enough arms to get the support of their 34th Democratic senator, which means Republicans cannot override a veto.  This legitimizes Iran’s nuclear program, trusts the regime to self inspect. Without a deal, Iran could produce a bomb in two months, but Kerry thinks the deal will slow that process to a year.Why would they abide by the arms embargo?

Depends on whether they want to hit us before a new president is elected, or wait till after. The idea that sanctions could be re-imposed is nonsense. Our European allies are already sending trade missions to Tehran.  There is some doubt if the Iranians will sign the deal. Their hatred for America is such that they don’t want to have any ‘agreement’ with us at all.

This one belongs to Obama and the Democrats. They own this one.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,414 other followers

%d bloggers like this: