Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

LinkSwarm for January 13, 2016

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Time to extract more pure wheat from chaff!

  • Glenn Greenwald says Democrats will go to any lengths to avoid blaming themselves for their debacle:

    I really haven’t experienced anything even remotely like the smear campaign that has been launched by Democrats in this really coordinated way ever since I began just expressing skepticism about the prevailing narrative over Russia and its role that it allegedly played in the election and, in particular, in helping to defeat Hillary Clinton. I mean, not even the reporting I did based on the Edward Snowden archive, which was extremely controversial in multiple countries around the world, not even that compared to the attacks now.

    And the reason is very, very obvious, which is that it has become exceptionally important to Democratic partisans to believe that the reason they lost this election is not because they chose a candidate who was corrupt and who was extremely disliked and who symbolized all of the worst failings of the Democratic Party. It’s extremely important to them not to face what is really a systemic collapse on the part of the Democratic Party as a political force in the United States, in the House, in the Senate, in state houses and governorships all over the country. And so, in order not to face any of that and have to confront their own failings, they instead want to focus everything on Vladimir Putin and Russia and insist that the reason they lost was because this big, bad dictator interfered in the election. And anyone who challenges or anyone who questions that instantly becomes not just their enemy, but now, according to their framework, someone who’s actually unpatriotic, that if you question the evidence, the sufficiency of the evidence to support this theory, that somehow your loyalties are suspect, that you’re not just a critic of the Democratic Party, you’re actually a stooge of or an agent of the Kremlin.

  • In fact, Greenwald is all over this week’s LinkSwarm, saying that the U.S. “deep state” is at war with Trump:

    For months, the CIA, with unprecedented clarity, overtly threw its weight behind Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and sought to defeat Donald Trump. In August, former acting CIA Director Michael Morell announced his endorsement of Clinton in the New York Times and claimed that “Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.” The CIA and NSA director under George W. Bush, Gen. Michael Hayden, also endorsed Clinton and went to the Washington Post to warn, in the week before the election, that “Donald Trump really does sound a lot like Vladimir Putin,” adding that Trump is “the useful fool, some naif, manipulated by Moscow, secretly held in contempt, but whose blind support is happily accepted and exploited.”

    It is not hard to understand why the CIA preferred Clinton over Trump. Clinton was critical of Obama for restraining the CIA’s proxy war in Syria and was eager to expand that war, while Trump denounced it. Clinton clearly wanted a harder line than Obama took against the CIA’s long-standing foes in Moscow, while Trump wanted improved relations and greater cooperation. In general, Clinton defended and intended to extend the decadeslong international military order on which the CIA and Pentagon’s preeminence depends, while Trump — through a still-uncertain mix of instability and extremist conviction — posed a threat to it.

    Whatever one’s views are on those debates, it is the democratic framework — the presidential election, the confirmation process, congressional leaders, judicial proceedings, citizen activism and protest, civil disobedience — that should determine how they are resolved. All of those policy disputes were debated out in the open; the public heard them; and Trump won. Nobody should crave the rule of Deep State overlords.

    Yet craving Deep State rule is exactly what prominent Democratic operatives and media figures are doing.

    One need not buy all of Greenwald’s analysis of geopolitics or Trump to conclude that his analysis of the current alliance between Democrats, the media and the intelligence community is essentially correct. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • Borepatch, who is a real life computer security expert, is not impressed with the Russian hacking claims:

    My take is that several state actors certainly hacked Hillary’s email server for years and years, and silently read all her communications. Probably more than one state actor penetrated the DNC email system for several years.

    It’s plausible than an insider leaked the DNC emails – some BertieBro IT Admin type who saw how the sausage was being made and who was smart enough to cover his tracks while pointing clues towards Russia.

    Bottom line, this is a tale told by an idiot; full of sound and fury and signifying nothing. We know that something happened, but we don’t know who did it, and what they say in the report doesn’t change that.

  • Borepatch, in turn, points to this detailed analysis of the security on both Hillary’s email server and the DNC:

    At this point, we can largely dispose of Hillary’s Hack. It was an open book to all comers and at least one was Romanian (and sharing with friends) and not Russia. However, I’d say it was almost certain that at some time a Russian intrusion happened. The name of the server was obvious. The location insecure. The operating system and protective layers a joke. Frankly, I’d expect them to be “in” the same day they first looked at it. Which means something like 8 years ago. So why didn’t things leak then?

    Because the Russians Are Not Stupid. A fundamental of spycraft is you don’t expose sources and methods, you use them to collect intel for your use, not publication. I suspect they enjoyed a near real time email feed from the Secretary Of State for years, in silence. This argues for email dump to be someone other than them. My personal muse would be an NSA guy, aghast at what was in evidence. Like a Snowden, but not willing to give up the $1/4 Million salary… He (or she…) would have all the requisite skilz to pull it off and leave no finger prints, access to PRISM, and lots of neat toys to work with. Though more likely would be the underpaid I.T. guy Hillary had set it up who was making a backup one day and dropped a load… But I digress.

    The bottom line on Hillary is we know she kept a full copy (found on Huma’s Laptop with the Wiener…) and that it was around until she had her lawyers erase it. We know it surfaced in full at the time the laptop went to the FBI, and in parts before that. We know at least one of her hackers was found (though he had likely not leaked it) and that he said he had a doomsday copy for safety. He wasn’t a very good hacker, so that shows lots of good ones walked right in and snagged copies. Assigning source of any Hillary leaks is going to be an exercise is “ME ME MEE!!! PICK MEEE!” with a dozen hands up in the room.

  • More from Guccifer 2.0 himself: “I have totally no relation to the Russian government. I’d like to tell you once again I was acting in accordance with my personal political views and beliefs. The technical evidence contained in the reports doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. This is a crude fake.” (Hat tip: Zero Hedge.)
  • “The opposition research firm that hired a former British spy to dig up dirt on Donald Trump is the same shady outfit that was hired by Planned Parenthood to put a positive spin on videos showing the sale of baby parts.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Our new Secretary of Defense sounds serious about defeating the Islamic State. “We should try to shut down its recruiting, shut down its finances, and then work to fight battles of annihilation — not attrition, but annihilation — against them; so that the first time they meet the forces that we put against them, there should basically be no survivors.”
  • Speaking of which: “Islamic State publishes video of toddler executing prisoner on playground.”
  • House Republicans are already laying the groundwork to repeal ObamaCare.
  • News media buries story of Jeff Sessions bankrupting the Klu Klux Klan in Alabama because it doesn’t fit their narrative. (Hat tip: Dierctor Blue.)
  • Mexican illegal aliens are already self-deporting in advance of Trump’s inauguration. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • The problem with rule by experts:

    The problem that we are faced with, and what the American people seem to be rebelling against, are the “experts” who seek to influence government policy in ways voters are either opposed to or at the very least find ineffective and expensive.

    To put it bluntly: those experts have screwed a lot of shit up. Obamacare, American foreign policy, the war on drugs, domestic environmental policy, the economy…the list of issues is seemingly endless. The American people were told for at least the last eight years that the smart set was in charge, and things would be just dandy if only we allowed the “experts” free rein. The problem is that there are a lot of things that may seem smart on paper but which just won’t work when forcibly applied to the citizens of 50 separate states, with 50 separate economies, and 50 distinct voting bases, and this assessment assumes that those implementing policy actually have America’s best interests as a free republic at heart.

    This leads us to the real heart of the matter: liberty. The Washington political and bureaucratic classes have no Constitutional right to force the “solutions” to any of these problems on their fellow citizens. The health insurance “problem” is not a national problem insofar as there is no Constitutional right to health insurance (or even healthcare), and the answer to what problems there are in healthcare in Texas are very probably not the same as the answer for New Hampshire or Oregon. The federal government institutes regulations constantly affecting the economy that have no Constitutional basis. There is no Constitutional basis whatsoever for banning or regulating any drug at the Federal level, and yet we’re told we have a national “opioid epidemic” that demands a federal solution. Foreign policy experts are undoubtedly necessary, but our foreign policy, when any logic or reason can be discerned in it at all, certainly doesn’t seem to be guided by any experts in the field. There is even a very good possibility that actually fixing any “problem” at the federal level is viewed as bad for business, because without the problem to solve there would be a lot of unemployable experts.

    In short, the American people don’t have a problem with experts or intellectuals. What they have a problem with is incompetence, and it is just a fact of life that the larger and more remote the government and bureaucracy become, the more incompetent and unaccountable they will be.

  • Thanks Obama. “93 percent of police officers are concerned about their safety on the job; 72 percent are less willing to stop suspicious characters; and 75 percent report increased tension between cops and the black community.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • U.S. troops sent on permenant deployment to Poland. Given that Poland joined NATO in 1999, it’s a surprise it took this long. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • About half the EU has been cheating on the 3% deficit ceiling fiscal discipline rule half the time. Only Finland, Estonia, Luxembourg and Sweden have never broken the rule. And Poland, France and the brexiting UK have actually violated the rule more than Italy and Ireland. Once again: Austerity hasn’t been tried and found wanting in the EU, it’s been declared difficult and left untried.
  • Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames “terrorist exchange rates” for attacking his country. Fun how that happens when you ruin your own country… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Social Justice Warriors already deterring people from the “Women’s March on Washington.” See, they were all set to flaunt the peacock feathers of their leftwing virtue, only to be told “they had a lot of learning to do.” Because there’s nothing more fun than being lectured about how you’re a racist when you’re not. Welcome to Red State America, liberal white women! (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “DNC Chair Candidate Forum to Be Held at Anti-Israel Restaurant” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Germany court rules that an attempt to burn down a synagogue is a “justified expression of criticism of Israel’s policies.” You know, I think I’ve seen this movie before…
  • Heh: “Intolerance at Berkeley as Faculty Demand Gay Immigrant Stay Off Campus.”
  • More: Berkley Social Justice Warriors dox the hosts of Milo’s speech. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • 1. “CEO Raises Salaries to $70K for EVERY Employee” 2. ???? 3. Wrecked company. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Teach women not to lie about rape.
  • Social Justice Warrior drama at the Free Software Foundation. “‘Developer’ Leah Rowe has been making unhinged, outrageous claims of harassment and bullying on behalf of her anonymous friend who was let go by the FSF. She then stole the Libreroot project from the community, locked it down away from the other devs, and made a unhinged claims of wrongdoing by the FSF and two employees. She has provided no evidence of any of these claims and as she is a post-modernist, we’re supposed to substitute her feelings for any facts as being equivalent.” The amazing thing is that, for once, FSF head honcho Richard Stallman (who is somewhere on the continuum between “true software visionary” and “fanatic lunatic no one wants to deal with”) isn’t the person at fault for the drama…
  • “An Arizona Department of Public Safety officer has survived an attempt on his life after a passing motorist shot dead a highway sniper who took aim at the trooper after stopping to assist an individual in a rolled vehicle.”
  • Also from Arizona: Naked woman steals police car, goes joyriding.

  • Clockboy’s lawsuit dismissed.
  • William Peter Blatty, RIP.
  • What the hell? YouTube takes down Legal Insurrection’s channel at the behest of anti-Israeli activists.
  • Slate won’t even delete their big mistakes:

  • Aleppo Falls

    Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

    The Syrian city of Aleppo has fallen to pro-Assad forces. This was an all-but-inevitable result, given the Russian airpower backing Bashar Assad and the disorganized nature of the opposing forces and the desultory backing those forces received from the likes of Saudi Arabia and, intermittently, a feckless Obama Administration.

    The reduction of Aleppo had all the hallmarks of modern urban siege warfare: grinding, bloody and merciless. (Having advisors from a military with extensive institutional experience with it (Stalingrad, Grozny) probably helped Assad.) Many western observers wailed about the horror of it, evidently unaware either than this is the way modern urban warfare is fought, or that Bashar Assad’s father Hafez was every bit as ruthless in destroying Hama in 1982 as his son was in the investment of Aleppo. Endless heart-tugging pictures of bloody children aren’t going to change the ruthless nature of Middle East conflict, nor obscure the fact that America had no good options in Syria. Remember, there were no good sides in the Syrian civil war, and no faction worth backing.

    The wider Syrian civil war still grinds on, as does the war against the Islamic State and the wider Sunni-Shia conflict (never mind that Alawites are about as Shia as Lutherans are Jewish). If Obama’s goal was to engender a Sunni-Shia civil war throughout the Middle East (and there’s a grimly Machiavellian case to be made that this might be in the best long-term interests of the United States), he’s done a bang-up job. Otherwise Obama’s policy there (like the rest of the world) has been an unmitigated disaster. Foes like Iran and Russia feel contempt for us, while erstwhile allies like the Saudis (who are, indeed, scumbags, though preferable to whatever nightmare Islamic caliphate would replace them were they to fall) no longer trust us. (And indeed, have even less reason to do so now that Obama has cut off precision munitions sales to them over targeting policy in Yemen, a position both irrationally petulant and deeply ineffectual.)

    Those worried about the effect Donald Trump’s inexperience might have on our Middle East policy needn’t. How could he do worse?

    What’s Happening in the War Against The Islamic State?

    Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

    The twists and turns of the election, Hillary’s corruption, liberal derangement over Trump’s triumph, etc. have pushed a lot of other news stories onto the back-burner.

    One of the big ones being: What the hell is happening in the war against the Islamic State?

    It looks like I’m not the only one to have taken my eye off the ball. Back when Bush was President, there was heavy mainstream media reporting on conflicts in the Middle East. But ever since Obama’s Iraq pullout engendered the rise of the Islamic State, American reporting on the conflict has been (at best) sporadic.

    Which is why I was surprised to see reports that Kurdish-led fighters were closing in on the Islamic State’s de-facto capital of Raqqa:

    As the Mosul offensive drags into its second month, another fight is raging 450km to the west around Islamic State’s de facto capital at Raqqa, on the Euphrates River in northern Syria. The battle is already a tragedy for Raqqa’s 320,000 civilians, who’ve suffered under brutal Islamic State occupation for more than three years. Many have fled, with thousands crowding into already overflowing refugee camps since the latest fighting began, and others fleeing across the hills towards the Iraqi border even as night-time temperatures plunge below freezing. Their lives, like those of families still in the city, are about to get even harder.

    The battle for Raqqa will shape the Syrian war throughout the coming year. Though smaller than the vast offensive around Mosul, it will be even more significant. It may decide the fate of Islamic State’s “caliphate” in Syria and will set the tone for the incoming Trump administration’s dealings with Turkey and Russia, two critical relationships that will drive events in the region and beyond.

    During a visit to the Middle East last week, I spoke to Syrian, Kurdish, Iraqi and American leaders involved in the campaign. They told me that while the military offensive is progressing about as well as anyone expected, the politics are proving characteristically complex.

    The troops fighting Islamic State in Raqqa come from the Syrian Democratic Forces, a rebel coalition backed by the US, among other countries. SDF units have received a stream of weapons, training and advisers since last year. Supported by coalition airstrikes, they attacked Raqqa early last month, timing the offensive (known as Operation Euphrates Wrath) to coincide with the Mosul assault, to stop Islamic State shifting reinforcements between fronts.

    The SDF has achieved considerable battlefield success. In the past month it has cleared 600sq km of rural terrain in Raqqa province, recapturing 45 villages and expelling hundreds of Islamic State fighters. Many recovered settlements are ruined, however, their populations massacred or driven off by Islamic State, or bombed out by Bashar al-Assad’s regime in previous fighting.

    The frontline sits just north of Raqqa city, in Ayn Issa district, where heavy combat (including coalition airstrikes called in by observers on the ground) has killed as many as 200 Islamic State fighters in the past two weeks.

    In the same timeframe, SDF spokesmen announced the recapture of the towns of Hazima, al-Taweelah and Tel al-Samman, north and west of Raqqa, bringing the SDF main force within 25km of the city’s outskirts, with reconnaissance teams pushing forward to the edge of town.

    Islamic State resistance is increasing as SDF advances, and most commanders expect a ferocious fight against a determined enemy once they reach the fortified downtown area.

    As the investment of Mosul has been going on for weeks, the battle for Raqqa will probably be at least equally slow and grinding, especially given the difficulties inherent in managing a diverse force of various factions:

    More than 25,000 SDF members — by far the largest faction in a force of about 30,000 — come from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the affiliated Women’s Protection Units (YPJ, an all-female combat brigade of 7000 troops). SDF also includes a few hundred Arab fighters from the Shammari tribal confederation, plus an Assyrian Christian militia and a small ethnic Turkmen force. The Shammari have a longstanding blood feud with Islamic State, which has massacred their men and boys and enslaved women and girls as it seeks to intimidate tribes in its region of influence. Christians and Turkmen are fighting for survival against Islamic State, which has engaged in genocidal slaughter against both groups wherever it has gained control. There also is a small secular nationalist force drawn from regime military defectors, the Free Officers Union. But these are minorities, perhaps 15 per cent altogether, in an alliance that is overwhelmingly Kurdish.

    Evidently the fighting is going poorly enough for the Islamic State that their spokesman urged their own soldiers not to flee Raqqa and Mosul. (That would be their new spokesman, the old one having been removed from office by a Hellfire missle.)

    There’s also indications that the Iraqi forces closing in on Mosul have cut off escape routes for Islamic State fighters, though Islamic State forces just launched a counterattack.

    Some have suggested that the Islamic State is preparing to retreat to a desert stronghold, in Wilayat al-Furat near the Iraq-Syrian border if it’s ejected from both Raqqa and Mosul. (This, as far as I can figure, is about where it is.)

    isis-desert-fortress

    More far afield, Libyan militias backed by American airstrikes said they have cleared Sirte, the stronghold of the Islamic State in Libya.

    One thing that may be making battlefield progress against the Islamic State possible: Cheap oil prices. Without excess petrodollars to spend, the Islamic State’s backers on the Arabian peninsula (not to mention Anatolia) may not have the spare cash to prop up their miniature caliphate.

    That said, the war against the Islamic State is far from over, and expected it to drag on into the Trump Presidency.

    LinkSwarm for November 4, 2016

    Friday, November 4th, 2016

    Believe it or not, there is some non-Presidential race news. But yeah, I’m starting with that:

  • Trump takes lead in Florida.
  • Tied in Colorado. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Another poll shows Trump leading in Virginia. Trump jumped 10 points from early October, and Hillary dropped 5 points.
  • Trump up 13 with independents in D+7 poll. That’s a Trump rise of 6 points and a Clinton fall of 7 points. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • And he’s within the margin of error, down only one point in Michigan.
  • Michael Moore on why trump will win: “He is the human Molotov Cocktail that they’ve been waiting for; the human hand grande that they can legally throw into the system that stole their lives from them.”
  • “Former Democrat pollster Pat Caddell says this year’s election could be like 1980 – a 40 state Trump landslide.”
  • Early black voting is down this year. Bad sign for Hillary? Maybe.
  • Why Trump will win, and what comes after:

    Trump will win because:

    • The polls pervasively understate his support (the “shy Trump voter”).

    • Enthusiasm for Clinton is low, enthusiasm for Trump is high. Early voting is showing a pattern closer to 2008 than 2012 (high turnout). Given the enthusiasm gap, this is bad news for Clinton and supports the Shy Trump Voter hypothesis.
    • This (like 2008) is a “Change Election”. Three quarters or more of voters think that the country is on the wrong track. Clinton is the insider, Trump is the outsider. Advantage: Trump.
    • The Clinton camp is paralyzed by the emerging scandals. It’s been 5 days [post is from 11/2 – LP] and there’s no coherent reply to the FBI reopening the email investigation. The paralysis says that Clinton’s inner circle is divided on what to do, and she has poor leadership skills – and so the campaign twists in the wind. This is a very, very bad sign for her.
    • The Marc Rich announcement today is almost inexplicable. There’s no reason that a FOIA request announcement couldn’t wait until after the election. Instead, it came out 4 days after the previous FBI announcement. My take is that Obama has polling showing that she’s going to lose, and lose big. It’s no secret that the Obamas and the Clintons despise each other – this is his chance to dismantle the Clinton machine in the Democratic party (and hill the resulting power vacuum with his people).
    • The UK betting markets are showing the same pattern as before the Brexit vote – a few big money bets on Clinton (as with Remain), but a huge number of small bets on Trump (Leave).
    • Independents are leaving Gary Johnson and breaking hard for Trump. The latest poll from North Carolina has Johnson down 5 and Trump up 5. This feels like more confirmation of the Shy Trump Voter hypothesis.
    • There is very little or no equivalent data pointing to a strengthening by Clinton. If she were actually as far ahead as we’ve been told, there would be evidence dropping from the trees. There isn’t.
  • Florida paper apologizes to readers for such biased, anti-Trump coverage.
  • Things are getting really, really bad in Turkey. This is not a surprise, and the writing was on the wall when the “coup” failed and Erdogan’s crackdown began. But Erdogan’s purge is even more extensive than I anticipated.
  • And Iraq is threatening war with Turkey over Turkish troops in Iraq.
  • Speaking of Iraq, the good news is that Iraqi forces seem to slowly but surely be taking back Mosul from the Islamic State.
  • There’s already a no fly zone in Syria: Russia’s no fly zone.
  • But the press’ instance on focusing on trivia means that we’re not talking about the five wars America is currently involved in.
  • Indeed, the press prefers to talk about Trump’s sex life instead of Hillary’s corruption or the massive failure of ObamaCare.
  • Estonia prepares to defend itself from Russia.
  • “Sheriff Clarke: Gun Control Was Meant to Keep Arms Away from Black People.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Do most felons obtain their gun illegally? Yes. Says who? The felons themselves. (Hat tip: Hsoi.)
  • What China learned from the Gulf War. And what they then unlearned: “China did try adding more officers selected for skills rather than loyalty but since 2010 have shifted back to the “loyalty first” model. This was necessary because of problems eliminating the corruption in the military and the realization that the military would more likely be needed to deal with an internal threat rather than an external one.” (Hat tip: Austin Bay at Instapundit.)
  • ESPN lost 621,000 cable subscribers in October. “Of we’re very conservative and project that ESPN continues to lose 3 million subscribers a year…within five years ESPN will be bringing in less subscriber revenue than they’ve committed for sports rights.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • “Science” has its own superstitions. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • America’s first airplane hijacking, from 1939. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Topless, under-age drunk, taking a selfie and crashing into a cop car are no way to go through life, Aggie girl.
  • Syria: Sometimes All the Options Are Bad

    Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

    Certain factions of the Washington establishment (here’s a good example) are demanding that Obama “do something” to stop the fighting around Aleppo in Syria, the “something” in this case being the threat of force, or even actual use thereof, to stop Russian airstrikes and prevent a “humanitarian disaster.” And Hillary Clinton is calling for a no-fly zone.

    To which I reply: Why?

    We can’t back the good guys in the Syrian civil war because there are no good guys. Assad’s ruling faction are scumbags. The Russians backing Assad are scumbags. Hezbollah, fighting on Assad’s side, are scumbags. The Iranian mullahs backing Assad are scumbags. Turkey is currently ruled by Erdogan’s Islamist scumbags, and Turkey is more interested in attacking the Kurds than the Islamic State. The Free Syrian Army is riddled with Islamist scumbags. The al-Nusra front are scumbags. The Islamic State is made up of the very worst scumbags in the region (and world). The only notable faction that aren’t scumbags are the Kurds, who, as an ethnic and geographic minority, are in no position to rule Syria, or even a significant fraction of it.

    To the extent that Obama’s imaginary red lines and desultory, ineffectual backing of Syrian rebel groups have harmed America’s reputation for competence in the region, the damage has already been done. (Indeed, the Obama/Clinton/Kerry strategy for fomenting regime change in the hope that things would turn out better, like a liberal funhouse mirror distorted reflection of George W. Bush’s far more limited regime change goals in Iraq, have made things worse across the region.) We have no pressing national interest at stake in the Syrian civil war, there’s not a contending faction (outside the peripherally-involved Kurds) worth backing, and it’s not apparent what such an intervention might reasonably achieve.

    All of which makes me incredulous when I read pieces that suggest that Obama is considering military actions in Syria.

    Even some on the right have been agitating for the United States to “do something” in Syria, and S. E. Cupp’s Twitter timeline has gone to an “all heart-tugging photos of Syrian children” format without saying why it is the United State’s interest to intervene in Syria or proposing anything concrete as to what form that intervention should take.

    A large part of the current push to intervene in Syria seems to be coming from an interest group called The Syria Campaign. Who is behind it?

    From that Zero Hedge piece:

    A careful look at the origins and operation of The Syria Campaign raises doubts about the outfit’s image as an authentic voice for Syrian civilians, and should invite serious questions about the agenda of its partner organizations as well.

    A creation of international PR firms

    Best known for its work on liberal social issues with well-funded progressive clients like the ACLU and the police reform group, Campaign Zero, the New York- and London-based public relations firm Purpose promises to deliver creatively executed campaigns that produce either a “behavior change,” “perception change,” “policy change” or “infrastructure change.” As the Syrian conflict entered its third year, this company was ready to effect a regime change.

    On Feb. 3, 2014, Anna Nolan, the senior strategist at Purpose, posted a job listing. According to Nolan’s listing, her firm was seeking “two interns to join the team at Purpose to help launch a new movement for Syria.”

    At around the same time, another Purpose staffer named Ali Weiner posted a job listing seeking a paid intern for the PR firm’s new Syrian Voices project. “Together with Syrians in the diaspora and NGO partners,” Weiner wrote, “Purpose is building a movement that will amplify the voices of moderate, non-violent Syrians and mobilize people in the Middle East and around the world to call for specific changes in the political and humanitarian situation in the region.” She explained that the staffer would report “to a Strategist based primarily in London, but will work closely with the Purpose teams in both London and New York.”

    On June 16, 2014, Purpose founder Jeremy Heimans drafted articles of association for The Syria Campaign’s parent company. Called the Voices Project, Heimans registered the company at 3 Bull Lane, St. Ives Cambridgeshire, England. It was one of 91 private limited companies listed at the address. Sadri would not explain why The Syria Campaign had chosen this location or why it was registered as a private company.

    Along with Heimans, Purpose Europe director Tim Dixon was appointed to The Syria Campaign’s board of directors. So was John Jackson, a Purpose strategist who previously co-directed the Burma Campaign U.K. that lobbied the EU for sanctions against that country’s ruling regime. (Jackson claimed credit for The Syria Campaign’s successful push to remove Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad’s re-election campaign ads from Facebook.) Anna Nolan became The Syria Campaign’s project director, even as she remained listed as the strategy director at Purpose.

    From The Syria Campaign’s own website:

    The Syria Campaign is a non-profit organisation registered as a company in the United Kingdom as The Voices Project—company number 8825761. (You can’t be a registered charity in the UK if most of your work is campaigning.)

    We have a Governing Board who are legally responsible for the organisation and oversee strategy and finance for The Syria Campaign. The board members are Daniel Gorman, Ben Stewart, Sawsan Asfari, Tim Dixon and Lina de Sergie.

  • Jeremy Heimans co-founded “a campaign group in the U.S. presidential elections that used crowd-funding to help a group of women whose loved ones were in Iraq hire a private jet to follow Vice-President Dick Cheney on his campaign stops, in what became known as the “‘Chasing Cheney’ tour” among other leftist activism.
  • Daniel Gorman heads “the UK’s largest festival of contemporary Arab culture.”
  • Ben Stewart is a Greenpeace activist who has a grudge against Russia for detaining 30 of his fellow travelers.
  • Sawsan Asfari is “active in various charities that help Palestinians across the Arab world” and is the wife of Syrian-born British billionaire Ayman Asfari.
  • Lina de Sergie seems to more commonly go by Lina Sergie Attar. “She is a Syrian-American architect and writer from Aleppo. She co-developed Karam’s Innovative Education initiatives: the creative therapy and holistic wellness program for displaced Syrian children and the Karam Leadership Program, an entrepreneurship and technology program for displaced Syrian youth.” Yes, I’m sure “holistic wellness” is a big priority for Syrian refugees. Karam’s Mission Statement: “We develop Innovative Education programs for Syrian refugee youth, distribute Smart Aid to Syrian families, and fund Sustainable Development projects initiated by Syrians for Syrians.”
  • Tim Dixon has quite an extensive resume, being a former speechwriter to two Australian Labor Party Prime Ministers and involved in a large number of causes:

    – a large-scale initiative to help change hearts and minds on the global refugee crisis;
    – The Syria Campaign, to move the world to action on the humanitarian crisis in Syria;
    – Everytown, the movement to tackle gun violence in America

  • Etc.

    So, to summarize: It’s run by international left-wing activists in favor of Europe accepting more “Syrian” “refugees”, soft jihadis, and gun banners.

    These are not the sort of people I want driving American national security decisions.

    The situation in Syria is horrible, but outside territory held by the Islamic State, it’s the same type of horrible that has plagued the Middle East pretty much constantly absent control by a ruling power with sufficient force to keep the endemic ethnic strife under wraps. Wars there are fought under Hama rules, not those of the Geneva Convention.

    It is not in the best interests of the United States to intervene militarily in Syria. We have no compelling national security interest in Syria right now, there’s no faction worth backing, and trying to “create safe areas” or “establish no-fly zones” would be dangerous, cost-prohibitive and unlikely to succeed.

    Sometimes the best choice is doing nothing at all.

    Yazidis That Fled to Greece Still Being Attacked by Muslims

    Thursday, August 11th, 2016

    Remember the Yazidi, the ethnic/religious minority that the Islamic State tried to wipe off the face of the earth?

    It turns out that Muslims are still attacking them in European refugee camps:

    “One hundred and thirty Yazidis arrived to Petra just last night from Cherso camp. Muslims were attacking them.”

    Petra is the only refugee camp in Greece exclusively for Yazidis, a religious minority in Iraq who have suffered brutal treatment at the hands of ISIS. After the borders closed in March, about 3,500 Yazidis were trapped in Greece. Petra was created around that time to house about 800 Yazidis who were being harassed by some Muslim refugees in Idomeni, on the Greece-Macedonia border.

    But because of ongoing situations like the one at Cherso, its numbers have swelled to almost double that amount.

    Snip.

    Ezidi updates me on recent incidents in various camps where Yazidis have been harassed by Muslims.

    Besides the refugees from Cherso, they are very worried about a group of 200 Yazidis in Katsika camp. “I talked with an old man. He was crying and begging for help.” Ezidi says the man told her the harassment was so bad that the Yazidis where afraid to go to the area where they could charge their phones. It was also dangerous for them to go to the bathroom. Several Yazidis at both camps were punched or attacked at knife point.

    The Yazidis at Katsika eventually left the camp on their own with no clear destination. More recently, another group of Yazidis left Nea Kavala camp because they felt unsafe. Yazidis have been attacked in the detention center on Leros island, as well.

    It’s difficult to get comprehensive data on violence against Yazidis in Greece. “We are aware of what Yazidis have been through and that they are subject to harsh forms of persecution,” a UNHCR spokesperson told me. “If and when we are approached, we try to be of help.” But UNHCR doesn’t keep stats on refugees by religious group and the group doesn’t monitor Yazidis specifically. I was able to confirm the incidents at Cherso, Katsika and Nea Kavala with the UNHCR — but it’s generally the network of Yazidi refugees and activists inside and outside of Greece who have the most up-to-date information.

    “We get calls daily from Yazidis at other camps asking for help,” Ezidi says.

    The Yazidi are real refugees, and had the current wave of “refugees” flooding Europe been of their ilk, very little opposition would have arisen. But given that a disproportionate number of the so-called refugees are young men of military age, and which contain a strong Islamist component, that’s obviously not the case.

    LinkSwarm for May 23, 2016

    Monday, May 23rd, 2016

    This kept getting pushed out by other posts, so enjoy a heftier-than-usual LinkSwarm:

  • U.S. district court judge rules that House Republicans lawsuit against ObamaCare on separation-of-powers grounds can move forward. (Hat tip: Elizabeth Price Foley at Instapundit.)
  • You know how American leftists claim socialist Denmark is paradise on earth? Yeah, not so much. “Denmark’s suicide rate has averaged 20.8 per 100,000 during the last five decades, with its highest level of 32. The American suicide rate averaged only 11.1 during the last five decades, and has never exceeded 12.7. Danes are deeply deprived, driven by severe narcissism, and so more than 11 percent of adult Danes – the supposed happiest people in the world – are on antidepressants.”
  • Why the left hates the Jews:

    The Arab–Israeli conflict is a bitter and ugly one. My own view of it is that the Palestinian Arabs have some legitimate grievances, and that I stopped caring about them when they started blowing up children in pizza shops. You can thank the courageous heroes of the Battle of Sbarro for that. Israel isn’t my country, but it is my country’s ally, and it is impossible for a liberty-loving American to fail to admire what the Jewish state has done.

    And that, of course, is why the Left wants to see the Jewish state exterminated.

  • Vaguely related: “Frank Sinatra’s Love Affair With the Jewish People.
  • Brazil’s President impeached.
  • This just in: Europe is still screwed.
  • Greece approves new “austerity” measures that they’ll no doubt continue to cheat and ignore while spending money they don’t have.
  • Speaking of Greece, “More than one in five school-aged refugee children in Greece have never been to school, a study has revealed. Child refugees stranded in Greece have been out of school for on average 1.5 years, and many of them ‘cannot even hold a pencil.'”
  • Hezbollah operations chief killed by Syria, but nobody’s entirely sure by who.
  • Why did the feds give Bill Clinton’s pedophile friend Jeffrey Epstein a sweetheart deal?
  • Elijah Woods says there’s widespread pedophilia in Hollywood. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • One billionaire moving to Florida is going to cost New Jersey $140 million in tax revenue.
  • Electric cars don’t lower emissions overall.
  • No sign of a down ballot Republican crackup.
  • Target has shed $10 billion in stock value since announcing its tranny bathrooms policy.
  • Why feminists hate sex: “The new feminist puritans see heterosexual sex as confirming and reinforcing outdated gender roles. That men and women not only have sex but enjoy it is a threat to the notion that both gender and sexuality are merely social constructs, to be crafted and rejected as instinct takes us.”
  • Why did 16 Republican Senators save the agency that’s hell-bent on creating instant public housing slums across America?
  • More than 300 UK CEOs come out in favor of a Brexit.
  • Eye-open infographic on mass public shootings from John Lott.
  • More proof that Social Justice Warriors hate everything, no matter how cute.
  • World’s oldest woman, and last living American born in the 19th century, dies. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Listeria outbreak among frozen fruits and vegetables. “Some of the affected products were sold under brand names such as Earth’s Pride, Panda Express, Signature Kitchens and Trader Joe’s.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Meet the vegan Bernie Madoff. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Black Pimps Matter.
  • Safety tip: Try not to get killed over cutting in line for the taco truck.
  • Facebook bans conservative for saying that Facebook bans conservatives. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Canadian company working on 20km high space elevator.
  • Jim Geraghty visits NRRAM.
  • The Dallas convention center sucks.
  • Microsoft is gonna Microsoft redux. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Wikipedia editor contemplates suicide over toxic atmosphere of powertripping.
  • Rehab for Internet addiction. “The program costs $25,000 for 45 days at the center.” Obviously I can’t be addicted to the Internet, because there’s no way I could afford the rehab…
  • I’m stealing this from Ace of Spades HQ:

  • LinkSwarm for April 11, 2016

    Monday, April 11th, 2016

    Greetings, and welcome to the week known as “Damn, I better finish my taxes.” Here’s a LinkSwarm:

  • Obama’s foreign policy genius exemplified: “In Syria, militias armed by Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA.”
  • If Republicans end up with a brokered convention, expect Ted Cruz, not Paul Ryan, to win the nomination. “[We’re] learning more and more about who those delegates are now that they’re being chosen. They’re not members of the Washington ‘establishment.’ Instead, they’re mostly grass-roots activists, and many of them want Cruz to be their next president.”
  • “Ted Cruz on Saturday clinched the support of every pledged delegate in Colorado, capturing all of the final 13 delegates who will go to the national convention in July and demonstrating his organizational strength in the all-important delegate race.”
  • Indeed, Team Trump screwed up in lots of places:

    From Thursday to Saturday, Trump suffered setbacks in Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, South Carolina and Indiana that raise new doubts about his campaign’s preparedness for the long slog of delegate hunting as the GOP race approaches a possible contested convention. He lost the battle on two fronts. Cruz picked up 28 pledged delegates in Colorado. In the other states, rival campaigns were able to place dozens of their own loyalists in delegate spots pledged to Trump on the first ballot. This will matter if Trump fails to win a majority of delegates on the first ballot in Cleveland, as his delegates defect once party rules allow them to choose the candidate they want to nominate.

    If Donald Trump is as smart as he keeps telling us, how is it he can’t seem to hire anyone smart enough to know how each state’s delegate selection process actually works?

  • Hillary Clinton defends Israel against Bernie Sanders. Hillary finally takes the right side in an issue debate, but what do you want to bet that it hurts her, given the naked anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian bias among the Democratic Party’s activist base?
  • Thanks to the Magic Power of Socialism™, Venezuela is where Zimbabwe was 15 years ago. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Modern liberalism is dedicated to altering language to advance their agenda, not to mention hiding their many failures.
  • Naval security under Obama looks like it’s just as good as security in the rest of the Obama Administration. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • America assimilates Muslims much better than Europe.
  • Gun sales soar but “per capita criminal homicides committed with firearms are at their lowest point ever recorded since the FBI began formally tracking that information in 1960.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Millionaires are fleeing France. “Polls have shown that about 50% of all French people 18-34 years old, not just the millionaires and billionaires, would leave France if they could.” Why? “Blue model rot, deeply set in across Europe, is pervasive in France.”
  • “70 Tries After Seattle Raised Its Minimum Wage, I Still Can’t Find A Job.”
  • Conservative Rebecca Bradley defeated liberal activists Joanne Kloppenburg for a seat on the Wisconsin supreme court.
  • Thanks to global warming, sea levels are rising. And by “rising” I mean “falling.”
  • Dallas trying to screw property owners yet again.
  • Several ESPN writers are predicting an Astros-Cubs World Series. And the moon became as blood…
  • “New York taxi drivers to be banned from flirting with or ejaculating on passengers.” One of these things is not like the other/One of these things just doesn’t belong…
  • “Understanding Movement In Composition Through The Work Of Akira Kurosawa.”
  • LinkSwarm for December 11, 2015

    Friday, December 11th, 2015

    Been an awful week for a variety of reasons, perhaps the least of which is I’m getting over a nasty cold.

  • Hillary Clinton and the Chamber of Suckups.
  • Hey Democrats: Why do you insist in shoving Hillary down our throats?
  • “Our royal elites have decreed that we must stop worrying about terrorism. Now shut up and eat your Syrian refugees!”
  • Speaking of which, Obama shut down an investigations that could have thwarted the San Bernardino attack. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Gozer: “Choose your destructor!” Liberals: “Donald Trump!
  • Meanwhile, Ted Cruz has picked up the key endorsement of Bob Vander Plaats in Iowa.
  • Old and Busted: We need to tone down violent rhetoric. The New Hotness: We need to shoot Trump supporters. Bonus: Same guy.
  • Principled lefty Nat Hentoff says the ACLU is worse than useless when it comes to defending campus free speech.
  • Largest percentage of hate crimes are against Jews.
  • Study shows campus rapes are actually very rare, on par with numbers seen in the general populace. Naturally, feminists are enraged…
  • More stomach-churning details of how Rotherham’s Muslim child rape gangs operated. Funny how our elites, when faced with real Muslim child rape gangs, prefer to talk about a pretend campus rape epidemic…
  • After twenty years of relentless anti-gun propaganda from the mainstream media, a majority of Americans now oppose an “assault weapons” ban. Good work, New York Times!
  • El Chapo, the head of the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel, threatens the Islamic State.
  • Signs that the life of “everybody makes $70,000” Gravity CEO Dan Price may not be perfect: accusations he waterboarded his wife.
  • Wendy Davis even lies when shes admitting to lying.
  • There can be only one.
  • This Week in Jihad Part 2

    Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

    More links from the big bucket of Jihad news:

  • Obama’s Pentagon: We’re winning the war against the Islamic State! Whistleblowers: That’s because you’re cooking the books.
  • Scenes from the Pretend War: Obama blocks 75% of airstrikes against the Islamic State. Forget dying for a mistake, Obama is willing to risk American lives for a sham war he has no intention of winning.
  • Greeks say that it’s virtually impossible to screen terrorists out among incoming “refugees.”
  • Ayaan Hirsi Ali says that feminists are focused on “trivial bullshit” rather than fighting real threats to women like radical Islam.
  • Third Paris stadium jihadist identified as a “refugee” who came through Greece.
  • Syrian refugees: neither Syrians nor refugees. Discuss…
  • Obama’s approach to the Islamic State is entirely too wimpy for that noted right-wing troglodyte war-monger Dianne Feinstein.
  • MSNBC’s poster boy for how horrible the no-fly list has been arrested in Turkey for being part of an Islamic State cell. It’s almost as though the liberal media have been lying to us about Islam being a religion of peace…
  • Must be frustrating for the Islamic State to repeatedly detail the Koranic justifications for their actions, only for liberals to go: “No, this has nothing to do with religion. You guys are just using religion as a front for social and geopolitical reasons.”
  • Larry Correia doesn’t foresee a happy ending:

    Europe has been following the liberal, progressive, pseudo-socialist path a lot longer than we have. Instead of doing little things that make sense all along, they’ll let the problem get really big and stupid, and then it is guillotines, gulags, and cattle cars. There’s a lot of really pissed off Europeans right now, and over the centuries we’ve got plenty of examples of what masses of pissed off Europeans do when pushed.