Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

So What The Hell Is Going On in Syria?

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

The problem with doing an update on Syria is that I’m not sure anyone knows what the hell is going on there.

The motivations of the major local players are clear: Assad wants to survive and maintain power, while his paymasters in Iran want to back him and the Shia against the Islamic State and other Sunni groups. The Islamic State wants to establish its brutal medieval caliphate over first Mesopotamia and the Levant, then the entire Ummah, then the entire world, exterminating Shia and subjugating Christians and Jews to dhimmitude along the way. The Saudis want to back Sunnis (possibly including the Islamic State). The Kurds just want to survive. Etc.

However, what Barack Obama and Vladamir Putin want is considerably less clear.

Obama, after royally screwing Iraq by pulling U.S. troops out after Bush had largely stabilized it (at great expense in money and lives), seems to want to fight a pretend air war against the Islamic State and a pretend insurgency against Assad in order to keep reporters from asking him about it, thus kicking the can down the road for the next President to deal with. (Then again, perhaps this gives Obama too much credit. Maybe, like Jeremy Corbyn’s desire to give the Falklands back, Obama screwed up Iraq just for the pure leftish joy of undoing the achievements of a conservative leader he loathed…)

What does Putin want to accomplish in Syria? Prop up a military equipment-buying client state in Syria? Support a more important client state in Iran? Give Obama a black eye? Keep Russians distracted from domestic economic woes with military adventurism abroad? Make Russia the dominate political power in the Middle East, filling the vacuum Obama left with America’s withdrawal and betrayal of regional allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia? Actually destroy the Islamic State? Take the Shia side in a the wider Sunni-Shia conflict?

Here are some links on Syria:

  • Zero Hedge sees the beginnings of a regional war.

    If Russia ends up bolstering Iran’s position in Syria (by expanding Hezbollah’s influence and capabilities) and if the Russian air force effectively takes control of Iraq thus allowing Iran to exert a greater influence over the government in Baghdad, the fragile balance of power that has existed in the region will be turned on its head and in the event this plays out, one should not expect Washington, Riyadh, Jerusalem, and London to simply go gentle into that good night.

    Sure enough, some experts now predict Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey will move to counter Russia militarily if Moscow continues to rack up gains for Assad.

  • Andrew McCarthy comes out against U.S. intervention:

    The Syrian mess has gotten messier because Vladimir Putin, with all the unpredictability of the morning sun, has invaded Syria on behalf of Assad and Putin’s more important ally Iran — Assad’s longtime string-puller. The Russian strongman’s claimed purpose is to fight the Islamic State — a pretext no more real than was the supposed need to protect indigenous Russian populations that Putin cited in invading Georgia, Crimea, and Eastern Ukraine.

    Putin, with China’s indulgence, is obviously attempting to fortify a sphere of anti-American influence across the Middle East. Anti-Americanism in this Islamic-supremacist region long predates Putin, of course. What has changed is that the United States is governed by a man of the hard Left — a president who is sympathetic to the Islamist narrative about American imperialism, ambivalent at best about American power, and determined to diminish America’s regional commitments, and thus American influence.

  • Disclaimer: Newsweek.

    The move provides a foothold in a part of the world that the Soviet Union was kicked out of four decades ago. At a moment when the United States appears to be washing its hands of the increasingly bloody and chaotic region, it gives Russia an expanding military presence in the Mediterranean on the doorstep of a NATO ally (its newly established airfield at Latakia in eastern Syria sits just 75 miles from the border with Turkey), and the gambit may yet serve as leverage with the West as Putin seeks to get out from under economic sanctions imposed as a result of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in Ukraine.

  • Vladimir S. Patton.
  • “Putin’s policy is ugly — Russian airstrikes produced immediate reports of civilian casualties — but effective for its purpose. Obama’s policy is high-minded and prudent, but it has been painfully ineffective.”
  • And there are already reports that Russian planes have already violated Turkey’s airspace. And remember that Turkey is still a member of NATO…
  • The pathetic failure of the Pentagon’s efforts in Syria indicate that if anything, this culture of self-congratulation and failure [in Obama’s Department of Defense] is getting more entrenched.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • The problem for America is that a logical Middle East policy is impossible as long as Obama is President and Kerry is Secretary of State.

    Can Putin achieve long-term victory in Syria where Obama’s fecklessness couldn’t? Maybe. Can Iran and Russia together crush the Islamic State? If Russia wanted to commit serious ground combat forces (think Operation Iraqi Freedom), probably, but that would be an exceptionally expensive move that would spread Russian forces dangerously thin elsewhere. But considering that does not appear to be Russia’s immediate goal, which seems to be crushing the Free Syrian Army and allied forces in Western Syria, expect the war against the Islamic State to drag out indefinitely.

    Except for the Kurds (which Obama’s feckless policies have refused to adequately support), the Syrian Civil War is bad guys vs. bad guys all the way down. Assad surviving, or a long-running war between Russia and the Islamic State, are far from the worst possible outcomes…

    $500 Million for 54 Syrian Rebels?

    Saturday, September 19th, 2015

    Anyone paying attention has long known what a miserable failure Obama’s Syrian strategy (such as it is) against Bashar Assad has been. But only recently has it come to light just how ridiculously expensive that miserable failure has been:

    The aim was to identify reasonably secular moderate fighters in Syria, transfer them to third-party countries in the region, train them, equip them, and reintroduce them into the theater of operations. By August of this year and $500 million later, the Pentagon acknowledged that only 54 Syrian rebels had been prepared for combat. Less than a month later, almost all of them had been killed or captured.

    $500 Million for 54 guys? What were they, hand-crafted artisanal rebels? Where did the money go? Did they hire Damien Hirst to make each of their 54 uniforms? Did each of the 54 make a $1 million donation to the Clinton Foundation? Even by the pathetic standards of the Obama Administration that’s a ridiculous amount of graft, fraud and waste. You could easily have trained and equipped an effective mercenary brigade for that much money.

    There were actual reasons to support the removal of Assad early in the Obama Administration, but the rise of the Islamic State rendered most of them obsolete. Now that Obama and Kerry have rolled over to let Assad’s paymasters in Tehran rub their furry bellies, there’s no point in pretending to equip opposition fighters beyond Obama’s desire to keep up the facade of a Syrian policy as a sop to his wounded vanity.

    Since Obama can’t topple Assad and is singularly unwilling to fight a real war against the Islamic State, at this point we should probably just let Iran, Syria and Russia try their hands at crushing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s barbaric caliphate. A long, grinding Sunni-Shia civil war in Mesopotamia is probably among the least bad outcomes available for the region after Obama’s serial bungling…

    (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll on Instapundit.)

    Why Did Obama Back Jihadists in Syria?

    Monday, August 10th, 2015

    This piece in Foreign Policy Journal is certainly eye-opening:

    In Al Jazeera’s latest Head to Head episode, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn confirms to Mehdi Hasan that not only had he studied the DIA memo predicting the West’s backing of an Islamic State in Syria when it came across his desk in 2012, but even asserts that the White House’s sponsoring of radical jihadists (that would emerge as ISIL and Nusra) against the Syrian regime was “a willful decision.” [Lengthy discussion of the DIA memo begins at the 8:50 mark.]

    Amazingly, Flynn actually took issue with the way interviewer Mehdi Hasan posed the question—Flynn seemed to want to make it clear that the policies that led to the rise of ISIL were not merely the result of ignorance or looking the other way, but the result of conscious decision making:

    Hasan: You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn’t listening?

    Flynn: I think the administration.

    Hasan: So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?

    Flynn: I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.

    Hasan: A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?

    Flynn: It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing.

    The deeply puzzling thing about Obama’s Middle East policy is it’s sheer incoherence (except, of course, his unwavering dislike of Israel). His fixation on taking out Bashar Assad (a bad actor, to be sure, but not in the same league as the Iranian Mullahs who back Assad, and who Obama evidently has no qualms negotiating with) makes no strategic sense. In light of the above, he’s evidently funding the Islamic State in Syria, fighting it (in the most desultory manner possible) in Iraq, giving in to Iran on nuclear weapons, alienating allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, and has no discernible policy for a post-Morsi Egypt. Obama’s moves only make sense if he wants to promote a Sunni/Shia civil war, or as Obama’s personal fits of pique where he feels slighted. (Screw Syria for ignoring his red lines. Screw Israel for daring to reelect Netanyahu. Screw Iraq for Bush succeeding.)

    The only certainty about Obama’s foreign policy is that future administrations will be dealing with the repercussions from his feckless, aimless foreign policy for decades to come.

    (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)

    What Did Netanyahu’s Speech Accomplish?

    Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

    Over on Ace of Spades HQ, DrewM is pessimistic that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech accomplished anything. While his central premise is correct (the deal won’t prevent the Obama Administration from making a criminally stupid deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran that will actually make it easier for them to obtain nuclear weapons), the speech actually did accomplish several positive things:

  • The contrasting optics of the thunderous applause given Netanyahu in congress, and the petulant disdain Obama’s Democrats showed him, may very well help boost Likud’s chances in the Israel’s March 17 elections. (The fact that Obama has dispatched Jeremy Bird to help defeat Netanyahu helps reinforce the impression.)
  • It reminded ordinary Israelis that, no matter how much Obama may regard them with contempt, Israel still has strong support in America.
  • It helps further drive a wedge between the Obama Democrats and the small but influential community of wealthy American Jewish donors who are liberal on the vast majority of issues, but also staunchly pro-Israel. (Call them Ed Koch Democrats.) Between Obama’s feckless foreign policy and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s enthusiastic embrace of Al Sharpton, Democrats are doing more than Republicans ever could to make New York’s Jewish community reconsider their political loyalties.
  • As a high-profile speech the media couldn’t avoid covering, it reminded ordinary Americans (who are far more casual observers of politics than the people who read this blog) that Israel considers a nuclear-armed Iran not as a mere nuisance, but as an existential threat.
  • Netanyahu’s relentless pandering to a Democratic caucus leadership that obviously despises him provides solid bridge-building to post-Obama Democratic leadership.
  • It reminded many Americans, yet again, how petty and petulant the Obama Democrats are, starting at the very top.
  • LinkSwarm for February 27, 2015

    Friday, February 27th, 2015

    Welcome to the Friday LinkSwarm, where two themes are jihadis enjoying the benefits of the welfare state, and Hillary Clinton enjoying treating campaign finance laws as “optional suggestions.”

  • 96% of Australian jihadis who joined the Islamic State were on welfare.
  • Sweden’s national job agency fires its entire network of “immigrant resettlement assistants” because they were finding them jobs with the Islamic State.
  • And the hits keep coming: Swedish expert on “Islamophobia” now fighting for the Islamic State.
  • Another day, another 24 people murdered by jihad in Nigeria. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • “If it bleeds, it leads”? Not when it comes to gang rapes in Muslim countries.
  • What the hell? Terrorism trials come to a halt after the Obama Administration orders military judges to move to Guantanamo Bay until the trail is finished.
  • How one Nebraska woman lost her health care three times thanks to ObamaCare.
  • Dana Milbank is very, very upset that Scott Walker isn’t biting on liberal gotcha questions. Oddly enough, I don’t think this concern extends to Hillary Clinton ducking Benghazi questions…
  • Speaking of Hillary, blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng says that, despite her boasts to the contrary, Hillary didn’t do squat to help him. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • The Clinton Foundation took millions of dollars in donations from foreign donors while Hillary was Secretary of State. Maybe Hillary thinks every 3 AM call is a chance to ask for more money… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Related tweet:

  • Hillary-linked firm: Campaign finance laws are for the little people.
  • “Barack Obama has a great, big, heaping dose of Holden Caulfield in him.” So he’s an annoying, whiny loser…
  • “Every Obama speech has a villain, and that villain is often other Americans who disagree with the president.”
  • So Turkey isn’t willing to lift a finger to save Kurds or Yazidis, but they’re willing to invade Syria to protect an Ottoman tomb.
  • Mike Rowe defends minimum wage jobs and says why there’s no such thing as a “bad job.” “Work is never the enemy, regardless of the wage. Because somewhere between the job and the paycheck, there’s still a thing called opportunity, and that’s what people need to pursue.”
  • The PLO and the Palestinian Authority have been found liable in terrorism jury trial. Does this mean funds can be garnished directly at the UN? (Hat tip: Legal Insurection.)
  • Did you know that there was a prison riot at a Texas illegal alien holding facility?
  • Allah: The worst communicator ever:

  • Liberals are shocked that college “study centers” designed to attack Republicans are being closed by Republican legislators. “Mr. Nichol said the center’s only agenda was to raise the profile of poverty in the state through research, teaching and advocacy.” One of these things is not like the others. Research and teaching are fine. Do your “advocacy” on your own time and dime, not the taxpayers.
  • Given the (obvious) news that the Justice Department wouldn’t be indicting George Zimmerman, Legal Insurrection took it upon themselves to review all the myths around the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin trial.
  • Chicago has it’s own secret black site prison. It’s almost like it’s a corrupt one-party police state…
  • Wikipedia: “Alexis Tsipras is a Greek politician who is the 186th Prime Minister of Greece since 26 January 2015.” By my calculations, that works out to about 5 Prime ministers a day…
  • UCLA strives to make its council Juden Frei.
  • Anti-antisemitism amidst the yobs:

  • Got to admit: That’s one hell of an effective personals photo:

  • That Was Quick

    Monday, February 16th, 2015

    Yesterday: The Islamic State releases a video in which they beheaded 21 Egyptian Copts in Libya. (Libya being the Obama foreign policy masterstroke that just keeps stroking.) Egyptian leader Sisi vowed revenge.

    It didn’t take long in coming.

    Today Egyptian planes hit ISIS targets in Derna, Sirte and Ben Jawad, in coordination with Libya’s own government.

    So while Obama dithers and moves forward with plans to do just enough to keep reporters from asking him about ISIS, Jordan and Egypt have both carried out quick retaliatory strikes against ISIS.

    At this point ISIS has managed to alienate almost all the other countries in the Middle East, and yet we see no signs that Obama or his State Department have forged an effective coalition among them to crush ISIS. Evidently he feels it’s more important to appease Iran and chase a chimerical Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty than to keep a radical Islamist terrorist state from metastasizing throughout the region.

    It seems that Obama’s grand role in history is to make George W. Bush look like a foreign policy genius by comparison…

    Still More Charlie Hebdo Fallout

    Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

    Will the Charlie Hebdo killings be a turning point in how Europe deals with Jihadism? Color me skeptical, as Europe’s elites seem to have an infinite capacity to keep hitting the snooze button, and left-wing political parties need Muslim votes too badly to speaking honestly about jihad. But for now the furor over Charlie Hebdo killings refuses to die down:

  • Who do you think some Muslims blamed for the Charlie Hebdo attack? Go ahead, guess.
  • Obama’s Harriet Miers.
  • A rundown of which media outlets are and aren’t brave enough to publish the Charlie Hebdo Mohammed cartoons.
  • Obama didn’t attend the Paris rally because he didn’t want to be there. “If George Clooney can draw Hollywood applause for saying ‘we will not walk in fear’ of terrorists, he must realize that standing up to them means more than ‘Je Suis Charlie’ lapel pins. It means militarily defeating them on a global scale. That concept is kryptonite to President Obama, which is why he will never attend a rally that could remotely lead to that conclusion.”
  • Indeed, the Obama Administration admits it will push media outlets to supress anti-jihad articles. (Hat tip: JihadWatch.)
  • Rotterdam’s Moroccan-born Mayor on Muslims who do not appreciate western freedoms: “Fuck off.”
  • The American Freedom Defense Initiative will protest the Charlie Hebdo killings outside an “Islamophobia” conference in Garland, Texas on Saturday.
  • The supercut of media outlets slamming Obama for not attending the Paris march:

  • SNL Updates Schoolhouse Rock for the Obama Era

    Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

    Who needs all that tedious Bill-wrangling on Capitol Hill when you can just issue an Executive Order?

    What Michelle Obama-Approved School Lunches Are Like Vs. What Her Daughters Eat

    Monday, November 17th, 2014

    Saw this Tweet:

    Followed by this one:

    Well, Malia and Sasha Obama attend the posh, private Sidwell Friends School. So let’s look at what the lunch menu at their school looks like:

    Italian Wedding Soup
    Greek Salad
    Lemon Pepper Tuna Salad
    Italian Sausages with
    Sweet Peppers & Onions
    Sautéed Rainbow Chard
    Rotini with Pesto

    Yeah, that’s exactly the same

    LinkSwarm for October 31, 2014

    Friday, October 31st, 2014

    Happy Halloween!

  • This week’s example of Democratic elected official defrauding a non-profit comes to you from Philadelphia congressman Chaka Fattah.
  • Democratic Representative Alan Grayson, the 17th richest man in congress, has cut off funds to estranged wife, and now both she and her kids are on welfare.
  • Former Obama champion Tina Brown now says he makes women feel unsafe.
  • Secret Service investigator into prostitution scandal resigns after his own prostitution scandal.
  • Marine veteran father banned from school after objecting to his daughters history assignment to “list the benefits of Islam.”
  • The war in Ukraine has cemented Putin’s dictatorship in Russia.
  • On the other hand, the ruble is crashing, despite rate hikes.
  • How’s that Chicago model working out?

  • High and trying to grab a cop’s gun is no way to go through life, son. Which goes a long way toward explaining why Michael Brown no longer walks among the living…
  • Japan may have a low murder rate, but as the follow chart from this piece on “haunted” apartments shows, their suicide rate dwarfs our murder and suicide rate combined.

  • Texas Tech student admits to filing false sexual assault charges. Under California’s new kangaroo courts, the student falsely accused would have already been convicted and expelled by now. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Fund managers are the fish in the game. They can’t leave the table.
  • Interesting piece on GamerGate. “The feminism of male demonization and female victimhood has become an insidious force that, despite its faux-progressive trappings, stands in the way of genuine equality. Whatever its flaws, GamerGate is a politically diverse movement of cultural resistance to this brand of toxic feminism. For that, it deserves at least two cheers.”
  • Dear Ridley Scott: Moses did not wear scale armor.
  • Links to this and previous years’ Fark scary story thread.
  • Now that’s what I call shag carpeting.