American Elephants


ISIS Has Lost 98 Percent of The Territory It Once Held by The Elephant's Child

ISIS has lost 98 percent of the territory is once held. The so-called Caliphate has been dramatically reduced. The big gains come after years of micromanaging of the war, and the rejection of a more aggressive strategy that could have shortened the conflict. Obama was very concerned that he might be blamed  for civilian deaths, and his rules of engagement were onerous. Individual target determination was being done in the White House, which added weeks and weeks of time. The limitations actually resulted in greater civilian casualties according to retired Air Force Lt. General David Deptula, the former head of U.S. Air Force Intelligence.

The latest American intelligence assessment says there are fewer than 1,000 ISIS fighters remaining in Iraq and Syria—down from a peak of nearly 45,000 just two years ago.

U.S. officials credit nearly 30,000 U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and regional partners on the ground for killing more than 70,000 jihadists. Meanwhile, only a few thousand have returned home.

The remaining ISIS strongholds are concentrated in a small area along the border of Syria and Iraq. ISIS, at one point, controlled an area the size of Ohio.

While ISIS has been largely defeated, it continues to call on followers around the world to conduct terror attacks during the holidays with a new message sprouting up on Tuesday, and a suicide attack in Kabul on Christmas with ISIS claiming responsibility. It’s part of the terror group’s effort to expand influence into Africa and Afghanistan. The U.S. envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition warned late last week not to expect a complete defeat anytime soon.

The remaining ISIS strongholds are concentrated on the border between Iraq and Syria. ISIS once controlled an area the size of Ohio. They are continuing to call on followers around the world to conduct terror attacks during the holidays. Deptula said the fight with ISIS could have ended much sooner if President Obama had given his commanders in the field more authority. “He micromanaged the war.” Deptula said. “We could have accomplished our objectives through overwhelming air poser in three months, not in three years.”

Al- Qaeda has apparently reappeared in Syria according to Joshua Geltzer , a visiting professor at Georgetown Law School, and author of  “U.S. Counter-Terrorism Strategy and al-Qaeda: Signalling and the Terrorist World-View.” The center for al-Qaeda now seems to be in Syria, not Afghanistan. There is progress, but the threat of terrorism is still intact.

ADDENDUM: John Hinderaker reports at Powerline that Radio Farda is reporting that demonstrations have broken out across Iran, “against high unemployment, a stagnant economy with inflationary prices and expensive overseas military interventions are spreading unpredictably fast in several cities.”

On Friday, protests spread to Kermanshah in the west, Tehran, Esfahan in central Iran, Rasht in the north, Ahvaz in the southwest and even Qom, the religious capital of Shiite clergy in Iran.

Some of the protesters, at least, chanted for a return of “Reza Shah,” the dynasty that was overthrown by the mullahs in 1979.

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The Supreme Court Stays Enforcement of Travel Ban Orders by The Elephant's Child

The Supreme Court gave the Trump administration a major victory today. They stayed the orders of two lower courts that blocked enforcement of the president’s revised travel ban. This means that travel from the affected countries can be banned or limited, while the courts continue to process appeals in the two cases.

When a court requests preliminary relief like those at issue here, a key part is the court’s assessment of which party is likely to ultimately prevail. The Court’s two orders today suggest that a solid majority of the Court thinks the travel ban will be valid and enforceable.

Remember that the ban was only on those nations that have produced a significant number of jihadists or terrorists. It was not a ban, as has been claimed by the left a blanket ban on all Muslim nations and an attack on a religion.



Hungry and Demoralized, ISIS Surrenders in Hawija by The Elephant's Child

Yesterday, off in corners of the internet which was all a-flame with the latest accusers of Harvey Weinstein, there was brief mention of the defeat of of ISIS in the northern Iraqi town of Hawija — one of its last strongholds in Iraq. Around 1,000 militants surrendered among signs that the terrorist group is falling apart and unable to defend its territory.

“They’re giving up,” said Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, who commands the coalition task force fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. “Their leaders are abandoning them.”

The fall of Hawija in northern Iraq, after two weeks of fighting, is the latest in a string of defeats for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and suggests the rank-and-file fighters are demoralized as the group struggles to defend what remains of the territory it seized in 2014.

Hawija had been held by about 1,000 militants. As long as they held Hawija they could threaten Kirkuk, a major city east of the town. Coalition airstrikes have been ramping up attacks on the strongholds left in Iraq. Iraqi forces have been built up with help of U.S. arms and equipment, but the decision on when to launch ground operations is made by the Iraqi government.

In July, Iraq announced that Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, was retaken from ISIS after about nine months of intense fighting. Since that decisive battle, the pace of the Islamic State’s decline seems to have quickened.

U.S.-backed forces in Syria have recaptured about three-quarters of Raqqa, the ISIS headquarters, after about four months of fighting in the city.

ISIS reputation for the willingness to fight to the last man and never surrender seems to be gone. Surrendering forces came out with their hands up, saying their leaders have abandoned them. They haven’t been fed and haven’t been paid. Last week the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released an audio demanding his fighters to continue the battle, but they don’t seem to be paying attention.

The fall of Harvey Weinstein may be just as important as the fall of Hawija, but was anyone surprised? Hollywood has long been known as a cesspool. His disgusting trail of victims may be long, but ISIS has been trying to terrorize the world into submission. Beheadings and placing victims in iron cages to drown or burn to death didn’t seem to be a way to entice people to accept Islam. But that is in the far away Middle East, and Weinstein and kneeling football millionaires are here and local.

I don’t know that anyone, at this point, expects the media to act responsibly.



The Trump-Putin Meeting Is the Most Important Summit Since World War II by The Elephant's Child

This is turning out to be a very interesting day, as we digest the news from Poland and the Hamburg G20 meeting.

Stephen F. Cohen PhD is an American scholar and emeritus professor of Russian studies at Princeton and New York University. He is 78, an unabashed liberal, a contributing editor to the far left The Nation where his wife Katrina vanden Heuvel is editor. Dr Cohen appeared on the Tucker Carlson show:

Tucker Carlson: Professor, the first thing you notice is just how much the press is rooting for this meeting between our president and the Russian president to fail. Why would they want it to fail?

Stephen Cohen: It’s a kind of pornography. Just as there is no love in pornography, there is no national interest in this bashing of Trump and Putin. As a historian, let me tell you the headline I would write instead, about what we witnessed today in Hamburg. “Potentially New Historic Detente Anti-Cold War Partnership Begun by Trump and Putin but Meanwhile Attempts to Sabotage It Escalate.”

You said I was an expert. I actually do have one expertise. I’ve seen a lot of summits, as we call meetings between American and Russian presidents. I was present at some, and even participated in the first George Bush’s summit preparation. When he met with Gorbachev, he invited me to Camp David to debate before his team.

In that context, I think what we saw today was potentially the most fateful meeting between an American and Russian president since the war time [WW II]. The reason is, is that the relationship with Russia is so dangerous and yet we have a president who might have been crippled or cowed by these Russiagate attacks on him, and yet he was not. He was, I think, politically courageous. It went well. They did important things. And this will be astonishing to be said, I know, but I think maybe today we witnessed President Trump emerging as an American statesman. I think it was a very good day for everybody.

Do read the whole thing. Just as most of the left is demonstrating just how far gone they are in political insanity, an informed voice of reason emerges. How welcome an actual conversation is, and how troubling the excess of the left that has left Steve Scalise back in intensive care.



As We Celebrate Independence Day, Give Some Thought to Those Who are Fighting on Our Behalf by The Elephant's Child

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al Abadi said that ISIS is close to defeat in Mosul and close to being driven out of Iraq, after Iraq’s military seized a mosque in the city were the extremist group’s leader first proclaimed a caliphate. Col. Ryan Dillon, the Baghdad-based spokesman for the U.S. led coalition said that the fighting should be over in a matter of days, and then it would take time to clear the area of Islamic State holdouts. Progress has been steady, but there is still tough fighting ahead.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford told reporters that the flow of foreign fighters to the Islamic State that had peaked at about 1,500 volunteers per month has declined to fewer than 100.

More than 60 countries have been contributing to an INTERPOL database information about citizens known to have fought for ISIS. McGurk said the list is up to 14,000 names “and continues to grow.”

Defense Secretary James Mattis said the U.S. is going to focus on killing remaining foreign fighters in the Islamic State. “Because the foreign fighters are the strategic threat should they return home to Tunis, to Kuala Lumpur, to Paris, to Detroit, wherever. Those foreign fighters are a threat,” he said. “So by taking the time to deconflict, to surround and then attack, we carry out the annihilation campaign so we don’t simply transplant this problem from one location to another.”

More can be found here.

As we turn our attention to the Fourth of July and fireworks, picnics and barbecues, we do need to remember that some Americans under arms are still fighting to free us from ISIS and it’s terrorism.



A Lesson in Pure Partisanship by The Elephant's Child

More jottings from my notebook:

No date, but the conversation makes the time element fairly clear. This is Chris Matthews at MSNBC explaining partisanship to the uninitiated.

Before I get started today I want to express how grateful I am for the awe-inspiring leadership of my president. Syria is a bloodbath, Iraq is in the hands of terrorists, Israel is on the verge of war with the Palestinians, and Russian troops are in Ukraine.  On top of that we’ve got the Benghazi, IRS, NSA, and VA scandals and our Southern border is rife with diseased children, gang members and Middle Eastern terrorists donning sombreros. All these problems that were created by the Bush administration would have crippled the most stoic of leaders. Yet, last night I saw a news video of President Obama laughing and enjoying himself in Denver as he ate Pizza, drank beer and played billiards. Our president is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, but you’d never know it by looking at him. Today he’s headed to the golf course before attending three different fundraisers. Tomorrow he’s shooting a game of hoops with LeBron James and Barbara Streisand before hosting a $45,000 a seat fundraiser at Steven Spielberg’s East Hampton. Calm, cool and self-assured folks. Those are the characteristics of a leader.

You can probably guess why I copied this down. It was hard writing because I couldn’t stop giggling. It’s all so innocent.



Where Are the Moderate Muslims? by The Elephant's Child

The Script:

After every new Jihadist attack against the West, politicians reassure us that the atrocity does not represent the true nature of mainstream Islam. Of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, they constantly reassure us, the overwhelming majority are as law abiding as any members of any other monotheistic faith. Only a tiny fraction engage in terror. And Islam is a religion of peace. Furthermore, we are told, the great majority of Muslims hold moderate views.

But what does that mean? How moderate are moderate Muslims? Given the threat of radical Islam, it would seem to be a fair question. Let me start to answer it by telling you something of my own story.

I was raised in a middle class Muslim home in Cairo, Egypt. Growing up, I was told, among many other things, the following: That every day that passes on the Islamic nation without a caliphate is a sin. That the failures and miseries of the Muslim world started the moment we Muslims gave up conquests and wars against the infidels. That our prosperity depended on conquering new lands and converting new believers. That anyone who leaves the faith must die. And I also remember how my teachers and my mosque imams reacted to the news of 9/11 when it happened: joy.

My experience was typical, and there is data to prove it: According to the Pew Research Center, 88% of Muslims in Egypt, 62% in Pakistan, 86% in Jordan and 51% in Nigeria believe that any Muslim who chooses to leave Islam should be put to death. Similar, if not identical, numbers are in favor of stoning people who commit adultery, severely punishing those who criticize Muhammad or Islam, and chopping off hands for theft.

All of these practices are a part of the penal code of Islamic law, which is known as Sharia. And 84% of Muslims in South Asia, 77% in Southeast Asia, 74% in the Middle East and North Africa and 64% in Sub-Saharan Africa support Sharia as the law of the land. Less drastic, yet significant, percentages are to be found even among Muslim communities in the West.

So, too, most of the world’s Muslims believe that any acts of violence against Israel, including suicide bombers in buses and restaurants, are justified. Now, does any of this sound moderate to you? Yet if anyone raises these inconvenient truths here in the West, he is sure to be called an Islamophobe, a hater of Islam. Again, my own story is instructive.

In February of 2015, I was yelled at, cursed at, and successfully prevented from speaking at Swarthmore College by students and others who did not agree to what I was saying. Some of them were Muslim women who fit the image of the unveiled, perfect English-speaking, moderate Muslim young woman. Other seeming “moderates” tried and failed to do the same during my speech at Temple University the next day. Some of them, sadly, were students of journalism.

                                  ___________________

For the complete script, visit https://www.prageru.com/courses/polit…

These videos from Prager University are, I believe, invaluable. Short lessons that give you some food for thought, but take up only a few minutes of your time. Hopefully, the information is more likely to stick. This young man makes clear that the idea of “Islamophobia” and the idea that Sharia law is or should be protected by our First Amendment’s freedom of religion, are completely and dangerously false. Islam is badly in need of a Reformation.




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