Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

$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.)

LinkSwarm for March 6, 2105

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Welcome to Friday! With so much being written about Hillary Clinton’s secret email server (well, secret to mere peasants like you and me, if not foreign governments…) and the King v. Burwell ObamaCare hearings, I didn’t include anything on them in this LinkSwarm. Maybe later…

  • Egyptian-born imam called for Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s death for defaming Islam. Does the Department of Justice: A.) Seek to deport him, B.) Investigate his ties to terrorism, or C.) Hire him to teach Islam in prison? (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • The Syrian rebel group Harakat al-Hazm, the last “moderate” group backed by the White House, disbands and joins the jihadists. Another towering Obama/Clinton/Kerry foreign policy triumph!
  • So the forces trying to retake Tikrit from the Islamic State are Iranian-led Shia militias?
  • Hillary Clinton’s foreign payola wasn’t just illegal, it was unconstitutional:

    The Washington Post reported last week that the tax-exempt foundation run by Bill and Hillary Clinton accepted money from seven foreign governments while Hillary served as U.S. Secretary of State (it’s unclear how much foreign money the organization accepted while Hillary was a U.S. Senator). Super shady, right? It’s worse than that, though, because Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution actually bans foreign payola for U.S. officials.

    The constitutional ban on foreign cash payments to U.S. officials is known as the Emoluments Clause and originated from Article VI of the Articles of Confederation. The purpose of the clause was to prevent foreign governments from buying influence in the U.S. by paying off U.S. government officials. Here’s the text of the clause:

    No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

  • Ted Cruz participated in a discussion with Elie Wiesel on the dangers of letting Iran obtain nuclear weapons. But what would Elie Wiesel know about attempts to exterminate Jews?
  • Obama’s greatest accomplishment is kicking people out of the workforce. Well, at least domestically…
  • The New York Observer has a hotline to the Kremlin
  • Egypt declares Hamas a terrorist organization.
  • Maryland Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski to retire. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • Chicago’s credit rating slashed. That’s what happens when you spend like drunken sailors. Or, worse yet, Californians.
  • Via Borepatch, an entire blog dedicated to improvised arms.
  • The Top 10 GOP Donors in Texas.
  • Science shows that fracking is not responsible for earthquakes in the DFW area.
  • Guy decides to leave civilization behind and start his own Utopia. It turns out exactly as any rational observers would expect.
  • Tweet:

  • The Llamas With Hats saga is now complete.

  • 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:

  • LinkSwarm for October 20, 2014

    Monday, October 20th, 2014

    I was at a writer’s workshop this weekend, so it’s slow going getting back into the swing of things:

  • Early voting in Texas starts today. Find your polling place here.
  • ObamaCare is failing to control costs.
  • Sure, it’s screwed over the many people who have lost their policies or seen their rates skyrocket, but besides Democratic Party functionaries, is there anyone who is happy with ObamaCare? Why yes, there is: Insurance companies
  • Department of Defense hid discovery of chemical weapons in Iraq. In other words: Bush was right, and his critics were wrong…
  • Looks like U.S. air power is finally making a difference in Kobane.
  • On the other hand: “U.S. Humanitarian Aid Going to ISIS: Not only are foodstuffs, medical supplies—even clinics—going to ISIS, the distribution networks are paying ISIS ‘taxes’ and putting ISIS people on their payrolls.” Let’s not do that…
  • A sign of how deadly Ebola is: “That Science article written by 58 medical professionals tracing the emergence of Ebola—5 of them died from Ebola before it was published.” (Hat tip: Jerry Pournelle via Instapundit.)
  • The Democratic talking points that “Republican budget cuts” helped create the Ebola outbreak are such obvious lies that the Washington Post gave it four Pinocchios.
  • Speaking of Ebola…

  • “Having Jimmy Carter out-hawk you is like having Joe Biden attack you for being verbally undisciplined…Doing nothing about the Islamic State was Obama’s foreign policy until the domestic political situation made his foreign policy untenable.”
  • Another Democratic Senate candidates refuses to say she voted for Obama. Hey, remember when all those Republican senate candidates refused to say whether they voted for Reagan? Me neither.
  • So just how much did Kay Hagan’s family get from a USDA energy program? USDA: We’re not going to tell you.
  • Democrats bringing in Marc Ellis is pretty much a sign they know they’re already breaking the law.
  • Tom Harkin is not pissing his campaign contributions down Bruce Braley’s rathole of a campaign.
  • Why should blacks turn out for the Democratic Party?
  • Real rape vs. “rape culture”:

  • Why Ezra Klein supports “An Enabling Act for the Salem Rape Culture Trials.”
  • Then Klein doubled down on stupid, proving how deeply over his head he’s in. Again.
  • FIRE‘s VP also takes a wack at Klein’s stupidity.
  • Is there any doubt that, under these new kangaroo court procedures, the innocent Duke lacrosse players would have been expelled labeled sex offenders? I suspect that for Social justice Warriors, this outcome isn’t a bug, but a feature
  • has a “Get the money out of politics” ad contest. Unexpected conservative landslide ensues.
  • World’s least shocking news: New York Times reporters follow liberal Twitter feeds almost exclusively. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • The #GamerGate Hate Hoax. But it’s not like Robert Stacy McCain knows anything about online death threats…
  • Has PETA reminded us what insane lunatics they are recently? Well, they’re complaining about Google View using a camel.
  • ISIS kills ISIS.

  • Is your religion approved by the City of Houston, comrade?
  • All about the man recreating the 1918 flu strain that killed 40 million people
  • Remembering Aitazaz Hassan Bangash, whose sacrifice saved hundred from a suicide bomber in Pakistan.
  • This looks like it could be an interesting book.
  • Holly Hansen has the rundown on Round Rock ISD board candidates.
  • SXSW would like to to keep the peasants from exercising their annoying freedoms during their festival. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • What every President drank.
  • The Unexpected Return of This Week(ish) in Jihad

    Thursday, September 25th, 2014

    Bombing, revolution, and other jihad-related news breaking out, so let’s dust off this old headline category and throw up some links.

  • Our air force continues to bomb ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria, including hitting their oil refineries.
  • France has been helping us bomb ISIS in Iraq as well, though evidently not in Syria.
  • Syrian Kurds flee into Turkey.
  • Did Hamas just give up control of Gaza? If so, I’d say Israel won the war decisively…
  • Houthi rebels have taken Yemen’s capital of Sana’a just a day after signing a peace treaty with the government. They follow Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, a Zaidi Shia (i.e., Fivers rather than Twelvers) as opposed to the formerly ruling Sunnis. I can’t tell from scanty news reports how interested they are in jihad or imposing Sharia law (or imposing more Sharia law, since the existing constitution is evidently partially based on it).
  • Jury finds Arab Bank liable for supporting Hamas by paying out martyrdom payments for suicide bombings in Israel.
  • “Coming Soon in Aceh [Indonesia]: Shariah Law for Non-Muslims. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Jihadists are eyeing the porous Mexican border as a way to launch terrorist attacks in the U.S.
  • Obama praises “moderate” Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah who backed a fatwa on U.S. soldiers. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • From French fries to fatwa: the deadly path to jihad of Numan Haider.”
  • Actual ABC headline: “How #ISIS Is Complicating Al Franken’s Reelection Bid.” (Hat tip: Creeping Sharia.)
  • ISIS: More Reports From the Land of Rape

    Thursday, August 21st, 2014

    ​The two things ISIS seems to be most successful at are butchery and rape. Since there have been plenty of media reports of the former, let’s look at the latter:​

    “Muhammad Karim, one of the soldiers, said that when they arrived at the first abandoned militant checkpoint, they discovered a woman, naked and bound, who had been repeatedly raped. Farther into the neighborhood, the Iraqi forces discovered another woman in the same state.”

    Sadly, this is not an isolated incident

    ​Yezidi Kurds women are pleading for other people to kill them after barbaric rape conducted by the ISIS.”

    A mother painfully spoke of her daughters’ predicament following barbaric and savage rape conducted by the ISIS.

    She said that three of her daughters were abducted by the ISIS and were raped savagely, but were eventually freed to come back to their family.

    When her daughters came back, they were pleading for people to kill them.

    “My daughters were calling on people to kill them, but no one wanted to do that. So they jumped from the mountain and ended their bitter life,”

    But surely these are extremists, and mainstream Islam doesn’t condone sexual slavery, does it?

    Don’t be so sure. From

    Islam allows a man to have intercourse with his slave woman, whether he has a wife or wives or he is not married.

    A slave woman with whom a man has intercourse is known as a sariyyah (concubine) from the word sirr, which means marriage.

    This is indicated by the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and this was done by the Prophets. Ibraaheem (peace be upon him) took Haajar as a concubine and she bore him Ismaa’eel (may peace be upon them all).

    Our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also did that, as did the Sahaabah, the righteous and the scholars. The scholars are unanimously agreed on that and it is not permissible for anyone to regard it as haraam or to forbid it. Whoever regards that as haraam is a sinner who is going against the consensus of the scholars.

    Robert Spencer of JihadWatch elaborates on the issue:

    Take, for example, the recent revelation that, according to the UN News Centre, “some 1,500 Yazidi and Christian persons may have been forced into sexual slavery.” A similar kidnapping by Islamic jihadists in Nigeria recently horrified the world, but much overlooked was the fact that such behavior is sanctioned by the Qur’an. According to Islamic law, Muslim men can take “captives of the right hand” (Qur’an 4:3, 4:24, 33:50). The Qur’an says: “O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war” (33:50). 4:3 and 4:24 extend this privilege to Muslim men in general, as does this passage. “Certainly will the believers have succeeded: They who are during their prayer humbly submissive, and they who turn away from ill speech, and they who are observant of zakah, and they who guard their private parts except from their wives or those their right hands possess, for indeed, they will not be blamed” (Qur’an 23:1-6).

    These passages have not gone unnoticed. The Egyptian Sheikh Abu-Ishaq al-Huwayni declared in May 2011 that “we are in the era of jihad,” and that meant Muslims would take slaves. In a subsequent interview he elaborated:

    Jihad is only between Muslims and infidels. Spoils, slaves, and prisoners are only to be taken in war between Muslims and infidels. Muslims in the past conquered, invaded, and took over countries. This is agreed to by all scholars—there is no disagreement on this from any of them, from the smallest to the largest, on the issue of taking spoils and prisoners. The prisoners and spoils are distributed among the fighters, which includes men, women, children, wealth, and so on.

    When a slave market is erected, which is a market in which are sold slaves and sex-slaves, which are called in the Qur’an by the name milk al-yamin, “that which your right hands possess” [Koran 4:24]. This is a verse from the Qur’an which is still in force, and has not been abrogated. The milk al-yamin are the sex-slaves. You go to the market, look at the sex-slave, and buy her. She becomes like your wife, (but) she doesn’t need a (marriage) contract or a divorce like a free woman, nor does she need a wali. All scholars agree on this point—there is no disagreement from any of them. […] When I want a sex slave, I just go to the market and choose the woman I like and purchase her.

    There is a real “War on Women” going on, but it has nothing to do with forcing American employers to subsidize abortifacients…

    Vice Embeds With The Islamic State

    Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

    Whoa. Edgy site Vice News managed to place an embed with the Islamic State (AKA ISIS). That’s sort of like Playboy managing to embed a reporter with the Viet Cong in 1968.

    Here are the five video segments, which I’m still working my way through:

    It appears to be legit, but I’d still take it with a few (or more) grains of salt.

    Hat tip: Michael Totten.)

    LinkSwarm for June 27, 2014

    Friday, June 27th, 2014

    A small LinkSwarm for a busy Friday:

  • Evidently Obama wants $500 million to arm the Syrian rebels that we’re supposedly trying to fight in Iraq. Oh, the article says he wants to arm “moderate” rebels. Has anyone seen these moderate rebels? Who are they? Kurds? Oppressed Christians? The problem isn’t that they don’t exist, the problem is that the actual moderates seem to have forces too small to affect the outcome of the fight, and I don’t trust this administration on, well, anything, but especially on their ability to discern the difference between “moderate” rebels and radical Islamic militias from 6,000 miles away….
  • Welcome to the ObamaCare Death Spiral.
  • The War Nerd suggests that Putin is mucking around in eastern Ukraine less to take it outright than to keep it at a simmer so he gets to keep the Crimea without a fight. Also include this epic quote: “Tom Friedman, the Michael Jordan of wrong.”
  • Obama gets unanimous beatdown from the Supreme Court. For the 13th time.
  • Even liberals are turned off by Hillary’s poor, poor pitiful me act.

  • As Hillary Clinton gears up for a Presidential run in 2016, ABC decides to make one of Bill Clinton’s chief aides a network anchor. Lovely.
  • Hillary’s book sells more than 100,000 copies, but woefully short of what it would need to earn back it’s whopping $14 million advance…
  • Did Obama Fail Black America?” Obviously the question mark is unnecessary, as the only question is whether that headline is one or two words too long.

  • Feminism: The Tiny Elite: “You don’t have to look far to realize that victimhood is the flavor of the moment in America. Deeming oneself a victim delivers an afforded reverence, especially if said victimhood is biologically based.” Today feminism is “a group working largely for the interests of elite white women.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • How the media discriminates against stories than indict big government.
  • Phil Collins donates his extensive collection of Alamo relics to the state. In fact, Collins is donating not only his existing collection, but stuff he continues to acquire. Three cheers for him.
  • Much like obeying the law, word problems are not Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings’ strong suit.
  • Texas man told to remove American flag from his balcony because it was “a threat to Muslims.” Get a rope…
  • Far-left cartoonist Ted Rall gets the axe. I’m not sure there’s a violin tiny enough…
  • Finally, you too can own the screenplay to Manos: The Hands of Fate.
  • I hope to have a longer post of the kangaroo court trying Michael Quinn Sullivan next week…

    Iraq/Syria/ISIS Update

    Thursday, June 26th, 2014

    Since Iraq and Syria are now all part of the same greater Sunni/Shia conflict, let’s take a look at recent developments in the broader theater:

    The War Nerd pinpoints the biggest reason for ISIS’s rapid Iraq advance: the flat geography of the area they’ve taken: “It’s the Bonneville Salt Flats of insurgency, the place you go to set new speed records.” He also thinks the Kurdish Pesh Merga will slaughter them if ISIS is foolish enough to make a big push into the northern hill country.

    Michael Totten has a depressing interview with Lee Smith, the author of The Consequences of Syria:

  • For all Obama’s talk of arming Syrian rebels, no arms seem to have actually made it there. Indeed, the whole thing seems to have been a disinformation campaign the press lapped up. “This White House has been bad for the press, and the readership’s faith in our press, but it seems most journalists don’t much care.”
  • “The administration feared that helping topple Assad, an ally of Iran, might have angered the Iranians and pushed them away from the negotiating table, and getting a deal with Iran was the White House’s chief goal in the Middle East.” So the goal of the Obama Administration isn’t a free Middle East, or a stable Middle East, but signing a piece of paper with the ayatollahs.
  • Since Obama’s serial retreats have put us in a situation of such profound weakness, they won’t even be getting that: “What we’re seeing [is] a United States in retreat in the Middle East. So I don’t see what the accommodation would look like. It’s not a grand bargain with Iran, but an American fire sale, with the US virtually giving away its assets. The US is retreating from the region and leaving it in Iranian hands.”
  • “What we’re seeing in cities like Mosul is a Sunni rebellion against Maliki and the Iranians. In addition to ISIS, there are also former Baath party figures, like one of Saddam’s deputies, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, as well as Sunni tribes. ISIS would appear to be playing the role of Sunni shock troops, who are dispatched to the fronts to terrorize and create havoc. Behind them are the Baathis and the tribes.”
  • Reason for ISIS’ rapid advance? Maliki’s brutal sectarian incompetence. “What Maliki and the Iranians have done is unite the tribes and ISIS through their anti-Sunni policies.”
  • Read the whole thing.

    A look a Syria’s Christians, who are getting it from both sides.

    Here’s a piece that suggests that moderate Sunnis are just using ISIS to get Maliki out. (Well, what are a few Shia mass graves anyway?) Yeah, not buying it. It’s the guys with guns who use “moderates,” not the other way around. Also argues for a de jour rather than merely de facto partition of Iraq.