Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

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.

    More on ISIS

    Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

    For those who haven’t been following every twist and turn of the Syrian Civil War, the sudden rise of Islamic State of Syria and Iraq probably came as quite a shock. Yesterday you’d never heard of them, and today they’re capturing Mosul and Tikrit and advancing on Baghdad. No terrorist or guerrilla force grows that quickly without some sort of major financial backing. My suspicion that they were bankrolled by the Saudis and some of the other Sunni oil sheikdoms appears to have been more or less accurate.

    Over at The Daily Beast, Josh Rogin says that wealthy donors in Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia are funding ISIS.

    Under significant U.S. pressure, the Arab Gulf governments have belatedly been cracking down on funding to Sunni extremist groups, but Gulf regimes are also under domestic pressure to fight in what many Sunnis see as an unavoidable Shiite-Sunni regional war that is only getting worse by the day.

    “ISIS is part of the Sunni forces that are fighting Shia forces in this regional sectarian conflict. They are in an existential battle with both the (Iranian aligned) Maliki government and the Assad regime.”

    And therein lies the rub. The Syrian Civil War had already undertaken the character of a Sunni/Shia conflict that was drawing in Iran and Lebanon (and, by financial proxy, Saudi Arabia); their swift success in Iraq widens the scope of the war, but not the essential nature. Sunnis and Shiias have hardly needed an excuse to slaughter each other at the drop of a hat; indeed, the far more difficult task has always been to keep them from slaughtering each other.

    For what it’s worth, the exceptionally cynical and always-entertaining War Nerd says that ISIS has already peaked:

    This is one of those dramatic military reverses that mean a lot less than meets the eye. The “Iraqi Army” routed by ISIS wasn’t really a national army, and ISIS isn’t really a dominant military force. It was able to occupy those cities because they were vacuums, abandoned by a weak, sectarian force. Moving into vacuums like this is what ISIS is good at. And that’s the only thing ISIS is good at.

    ISIS is a sectarian Sunni militia—that’s all. A big one, as militias go, with something like 10,000 fighters. Most of them are Iraqi, a few are Syrian, and a few hundred are those famous “European jihadis” who draw press attention out of all relation to their negligible combat value. The real strength of ISIS comes from its Chechen fighters, up to a thousand of them. A thousand Chechens is a serious force, and a terrifying one if they’re bearing down on your neighborhood. Chechens are the scariest fighters, pound-for-pound, in the world.

    But we’re still talking about a conventional military force smaller than a division. That’s a real but very limited amount of combat power. What this means is that, no matter how many scare headlines you read, ISIS will never take Baghdad, let alone Shia cities to the south like Karbala. It won’t be able to dent the Kurds’ territory to the north, either. All it can do—all it has been doing, by moving into Sunni cities like Mosul and Tikrit—is to complete the partition of Iraq begun by our dear ex-president Bush in 2003.

    Also this: “Insurgent groups go through leaders like Spinal Tap went through drummers.”

    This analysis of the situation strikes me as just cynical enough to possibly be true, especially given his thoughts on our non-friends the Saudis. But the fact that ISIS probably won’t be able to take Baghdad doesn’t mean they won’t try. And there’s no reason the Sunni/Shia civil war can’t widen and drag even more countries into it.

    Which is not to argue that we should be intervening at this point. Indeed, someone who was especially cynical might suggest that years of Sunnis and Shias killing each other might be just the thing to distract them from killing us…

    LinkSwarm for January 17, 2014

    Friday, January 17th, 2014

    Welcome to your complimentary Friday LinkSwarm. I steal collect these from all over, including Ace of Spades HQ, Instapundit, Twitter, Facebook, and a dozen other places

  • Really, is there any book that screams “love story” like George Orwell’s 1984?
  • Reminder: North Korea is still an unmitigated communist hellhole. Not that anyone whose name isn’t Dennis Rodman has forgotten…
  • More people in Illinois sign up for concealed carry than ObamaCare. That’s so delicious I might have to rerun it for the next ObamaCare and gun news roundups…
  • Insurers say they’re just fine and dandy with ObamaCare subsidies.
  • ObamaCare cast pall of gloom over Democratic attempts to take the House. Now if only I could figure out where I placed my nanoscale violin…
  • Jonah Goldberg further explores the theme:

    In 2009, retiring Arkansas representative Marion Berry presciently warned that Obamacare was setting up the Democrats for a huge defeat in the 2010 midterms, just like “Hillarycare” had led to a loss of 54 House seats in 1994. Obama scoffed at such concerns. According to Berry, the president told him, “Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me.” Republicans went on to win 63 House seats and six Senate seats. It was the largest swing in the House since 1938. So I guess the difference was him.

  • Liberal New York Times editor wonders why cancer patients can’t just hurry up and die.
  • Retiring congressman Jim Moran: Scumbag.
  • Compared to the Obama Administration, Chris Christie is a rank amateur in the vindictiveness Olympics.
  • “If the current president is making a mess of everything and almost no one is being held accountable, isn’t that a bigger story?”
  • Every so often. the New York Times publishes a lifestyle story whose entire purpose seems to be to make you hate New Yorkers. Today’s example Left-wing yuppie tells how capitalism (in the form of her failing business) made her start stealing stuff.
  • Obama tells Senate Democrats that he’s going to make John Boehner his bitch on illegal alien amnesty.
  • Ted Cruz is America’s most efficient Senator, while Rand Paul ties for most effective.
  • Calling all Jews, calling all Jews. Calling all Jews, calling all Jews. (Via Ace)
  • It occurs to me that people younger or older than a certain edge (“My lawn! Off it!”) may have no idea what I’m riffing on, so here’s the reference:

  • 100,000 government employees escape union control.
  • Obama (wait for it) gives a speech, claiming that the solution is (wait for it) bigger government. (Save this sentence, and you’ll find that you can use it over and over again the next three years…)
  • Michael Totten on Syria: “Today we have a near-zero chance of a non-horrible outcome.”
  • How the American Studies Association anti-Israel boycott breaks the law.
  • Baltic Dry Index collapsing?
  • I think I know what the next Alamo Draft House the Obama Administration has no serious scandals. It’s like that Monty Python skit where the British naval officer is denying cannibalism while the guy next to him is munching on a human leg.

    I am heartened to see that not a single commenter supports his absurdist whitewash.

  • Is Egypt getting ready to take the wood to Hamas?
  • German children taken from parents because they might be exposed to incorrect thought. Nazi Germany? Communist East Germany? Try today.
  • “Socialism is the anti-Semitism of intellectuals.”
  • LinkSwarm for January 6, 2013

    Monday, January 6th, 2014

    It’s in the 20s here in Austin, which for Texas does indeed count as cold. Here are a few links to keep you warm:

  • Another cheerleader for ObamaCare finds out she can’t afford it. (Hat tip: Moe Lane)
  • ObamaCare supporter unable to obtain ObamaCare after two days of trying.
  • Evidently Sarah Palin was too optimistic. The vast confusion over ObamaCare has essentially made every hospital its own death panel.
  • The Obama Administration has lost 53 of 60 rulings on the abortion drugs mandate. To put that in perspective, they’ve won a smaller percentage of victories than the 2013 Houston Texans…
  • Volunteer firefighters still trying to figure out whether they’re screwed by ObamaCare or not.
  • I’ll just leave this here (Hat tip: Economic Policy Journal):

  • Chinese bubble looking ever-more pop-able.
  • There are reports that Zimbabwe’s President-for-Life and socialist thug Robert Mugabe has collapsed, much like his country’s economy.
  • The civil war in Iraq Bush had largely won is flaring up again thanks to Syria. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • Actually residents of Prague would would like to see that Palestinian “embassy” disappear.
  • Brainwashed sheeple feed the poor.
  • Liberals make fun of black child because he’s Mitt Romney’s adopted grandson. Maybe they’d prefer adoption to be “separate but equal.”
  • It’s no wonder that MSNBC viewership is down 29% since 2012.
  • Ann Althouse: “The left I see isn’t critical of the fist [of government power]. It wants to be the fist.”
  • Paul Krugman’s SUPER-genius prediction about the Internet.
  • Obama enjoys what the New York Times describes as a “rare” vacation, in much the same way Charles Bukowski used to enjoy a “rare” drink. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • Former Republican congressman lives entirely off the gird.
  • Unions should have to undergo regular recertifications.
  • Popehat channels David Brooks channeling Hunter S. Thompson. It’s a match made in Purgatory.
  • Infographic on The Raid: Redemption‘s body count.
  • LinkSwarm for November 25, 2013

    Monday, November 25th, 2013

    This was supposed to go up Friday, but Stuff and Things interfered once again.

    Obama’s “deal” with Iran drops sanctions and lets them enrich uranium to their heart’s content. I guess Obama needs the Iran agreement as a disastrous fake achievement to distract from ObamaCare, his last disastrous fake achievement. I haven’t read all the details, so I can’t tell if it’s Madeleine Albright bad, or Neville Chamberlain bad, but it doesn’t appear to address Iran’s continued support of Assad, Hezbollah, or their other terrorist activities. Still to be decided: whether Obama personally plants the knife in Benjamin Netanyahu’s back, or has aide do it. (If Hillary Clinton wanted to put distance between herself and the Obama Administration, now would be a great time to denounce the Iran deal.)

  • Mother forced into Medicaid. “There was just one option—at the very affordable monthly rate of zero. The exchange had determined that my mother was not eligible to choose to pay for a plan, and so she was slated immediately for Medicaid.”
  • The real rationale behind ObamaCare was the redistribution of wealth. “The redistribution of wealth has always been a central feature of [ObamaCare].”
  • “Insurance is complex to buy”? Really, Mr. President? I’m pretty sure Forest Gump could have figured that out in less than 3 years…
  • The real reason behind Obama’s laughable deal with Iran is to shore up his shrinking liberal base, the only group that still supports him after the ObamaCare debacle.
  • John Bolton calls the deal “abject surrender”.
  • End result of the Iran deal? “War has now become a much more likely prospect.”
  • Given all that, Harry Reid nuking the Senate’s filibuster gets pushed further down the Stack of Perfidy. What it tells us is that Democrats believe they’re going to lose the Senate. “They think it’s very likely that they will lose their Senate majority in 2014. They are essentially writing off the last two years of Obama’s presidency, which means getting as much done as possible right now. They are going to spend the next year packing as many liberal justices and appointees onto the courts and various bureaucracies as they can.”
  • Democratic Rep mugged in DC. Does this mean she’ll turn Republican? (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • 16 things people couldn’t believe about America until moving here. (Hat tip: Michael Totten.)
  • I wonder how John Carter feels about being labeled part of “the House’s own pro-amnesty gang”?
  • Related: How Amnesty dies: Part 1, Part 2.
  • Syrian Kurds declare autonomy.
  • Crystal Mangum, the central accuser in the Duke Lacrosse “rape” case (which wasn’t) has been convicted of murder. Somehow I managed to miss Nancy Grace’s wall-to-wall coverage of her trial…
  • LinkSwarm for September 13, 2013

    Friday, September 13th, 2013

    My schedule is finally close to getting back to normal after Worldcon, so here’s the latest Friday LinkSwarm:

  • Greek unemployment hits 27.9%. Remember: For all the mentions of “austerity measures,” they’ve never balanced a budget.
  • Why we were in Benghazi. Short answer: Smuggling arms to Syrian rebels. Remember: No Americans died in Iran-Contra.
  • Syrian rebels do what they do best: kill women and children.
  • Obama’s Syrian policy is “is an unmitigated cl*st*rf*ck.” And that’s from his friends at The New Republic.
  • Charles Krauthammer calls it epic incompetence.
  • Today is the 20th anniversary of the Oslo Accords, which, as we all know, finally brought long-lasting peace and stability to the Middle East. “Decadal stasis points to the sterility of the Arab-Israeli diplomatic process.”
  • Mark Steyn on ObamaCare.
  • Mickey Kaus is worried that Republicans can still snatch amnesty defeat from the jaws of victory.
  • How often does Defensive gun use occur? “From about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year.”
  • PPP’s poll data showed Giron was in trouble, but they didn’t release the poll, ostensibly because they didn’t believe it. That may be the case, but their explanation is suspect, given they actually testified in court as part of the effort to get the recall effort thrown out. Also, they didn’t do Giron and the gun-grabber side any favors by suppressing the results (the Liberal Reality Bubble strikes again). Bonus: Pollster Twitter slap fight!
  • Is the House Republican leadership actually stupid enough to kill the sequester in a deal with Obama? Let’s hope not…
  • Jihadi rapper killed by fellow jihadis. And you thought Vanilla Ice’s reviews were brutal…
  • To a visitor from India, America looks like a classless society. “I’ve noticed that most Americans roughly have the same standard of living. Everybody has access to ample food, everybody shops at the same supermarkets, malls, stores, etc. I’ve seen plumbers, construction workers and janitors driving their own sedans, which was quite difficult for me to digest at first since I came from a country where construction workers and plumbers lived hand to mouth.” (Hat tip: Ace.)
  • How can Newspapers make money these days? How about by selling off their old photo morgues?
  • UK’s NHS: Now With Added Death.
  • Million Muslim March falls a mere 999,970 marchers short of their goal.
  • Rep. Peter King of Long island is running for President. Expect GOP voters to greet his campaign with the same enthusiasm with which they greeted Jon Huntsman’s.
  • Super-genius astronomer wants to name an asteroid “Trayvon”.
  • New Jersey police: hate crimes don’t happen to white people.
  • Police Chief meeting with Sheriff Joe Arpaio on his own time and money? That’s a suspension.
  • Austin: 13 murders in 8 months. “Otherwise known as a slow weekend in Chicago.”
  • Holly Hansen takes a look at Williamson County judicial races.
  • Just For the Record: Rep. John Carter Against Syrian Intervention

    Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

    It looks increasingly like a moot point, but since I previously mentioned it, I wanted to confirm that my own Representative, John Carter, is a firm “No” on bombing Syria, as per this letter from him:

    Dear Mr. Person:

    Thank you for contacting me about President Obama’s proposal to launch a military strike against Syria.

    President Obama has asked Congress to authorize a U.S. military strike in the wake of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces use of chemical weapons on August 21, 2013.

    My constituents and the majority of Americans have voiced their opposition to this ill-conceived proposal and I stand with them. The President has not provided a solid reason as to why he believes the United States should attack the sovereign nation of Syria or how this action would deter al-Assad in the future. A political agenda is no reason to put our sons and daughters in danger or involve our country in another costly war while dealing with a budgetary crisis, the President’s damaging sequester and reduced troop levels.

    The lack of a legitimate foreign policy since the beginning of this administration has placed America into the situation we face today. I believe the President’s decision to attack Syria is not based on defending the security of our nation, but is based on defending his political agenda and his ‘red line’. The administration’s plan to support and aid the rebel faction which include members of Al Qaeda and the assumptions that they will call America their friend after attacking President Bashar al-Assad is a misguided strategy at best. There are many issues that the country should be focused on and kicking a hornets’ nest is not one of them.

    Nothing has proven President Obama’s proposal would be effective and he has not given specific timetables for a resolution to the crisis. I believe we should work with the world community through diplomatic measures that will protect others from the deplorable use of chemical weapons. The central question for policy makers remains how best to bring the conflict in Syria to a close before the crisis consigns the region to one of several destructive and destabilizing scenarios.

    You can be sure I will keep your strong views in mind as I monitor developments in Syria and surrounding regions. If given the opportunity to vote on this matter, I will oppose the President’s dangerous request. I appreciate having the opportunity to represent you in the U.S. House of Representatives. Please feel free to visit my website (www.house.gov/carter) or contact me with any future concerns.

    Sincerely,
    John Carter
    Member of Congress

    Yes votes to bomb Syria seem mighty hard to come by

    Fig Leaf Syrian Strike Cancelled Thanks To Fig Leaf Deal

    Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

    Who knew stopping a war could be so easy?

    Not the Syrian war itself, of course; that grinds on unabated. But Obama’s ill-advised attempt to directly involve the U.S. in it seems to have been derailed.

    Now, instead of the fig leaf of an unbelievably small attack on Syria to assuage Obama’s wounded ego over Assad waltzing all over his red line with a chemical weapons attack, now he gets to climb down thanks to the fig leaf of what will be a laughable, easily circumvented UN supervision of whatever chemical stockpiles Assad wants to turn over to them. We’ve seen how ridiculously ineffective UN oversight was in Iraq even with US force to back it up; there’s no reason to assume it will be any more effective in Syria.

    But make no mistake: This is a better outcome than an attack that would be various parts ill-advised and laughable, depending on the size. Now Obama gets to accomplish exactly as much as he would before (namely nothing) without the risk of going to war.

    It’s a win-win solution.

    Not Too Syrious Roundup

    Friday, September 6th, 2013

    Obama’s call for attacking Syria is meeting such heavy opposition that he already has a domestic quagmire on his hands getting it approved. Here’s a mini-roundup of Syria news:

  • I can’t really start quoting this Charles Krauthammer takedown of the incoherence of Obama’s Syrian policy, because there’s so much good stuff here that it will be hard to stop. OK, one quote: “There’s no strategy, no purpose here other than helping Obama escape self-inflicted humiliation.”
  • There’s a word for what Obama and Kerry want in Syria: War.
  • Iran wants to attack us if we attack Syria. If this is Obama’s masterful scheme to jujitsu Iran into giving him cover to take out their nuclear program I may have to revise my opinion of him. But how likely is that?
  • Obama’s serial Syrian blunders. “The only nation contemplating joining the United States in military action is France. That’s 38 fewer allies than joined the United States after the supposed unilateralist George W. Bush, with congressional authorization, ordered troops into Iraq.”
  • Obama has changed the military’s strike plans against Syria 50 times. Does he think he’s planning the perfect Zerg Rush in Starcraft?
  • The world set a red line in Syria? Well then, let the world enforce it.
  • Democrats in congress will be dragooned into voting for war to “save the president’s hide.”
  • Was Samantha Powers really dumb enough to think that Iran would abandon Syria over chemical weapons? (Hat tip: Ace.)
  • Obama’s road to Damascus. The goal of the POTUS: “ultimately we have a transition that can bring peace and stability, not only to Syria but to the region.” Peace and stability in the Middle East. Well, nothing too naive or ambitious about that goal, is there?
  • When John Kerry says that the Syrian rebels are “mostly moderates,” he’s using the rhetorical device know as lying.
  • The New York Times has some disturbing intelligence on some of Kerry’s “moderates.”
  • Lindsey Graham continues his downward spiral into irrelevance by declaring that failure to bomb Iraq would mean an Iran-Israel war within 6 months. Honestly, I’m a lot more enthused about that possibility than us bombing involved in Syria, if only on the off-chance an Israel-Iran war might actually accomplish something.
  • As I’m not one who credits the left for, well, much of anything, really, let’s give credit where credit is due and give the anti-war types some points for consistency: Moveon.org opposes a strike against Syria.
  • George Mitchell of The Nation says no thanks as well, citing Obama and Kerry’s many Syrian lies.
  • Even Obama’s own OAF is twiddling its thumbs rather than voicing support or opposition.
  • Syria’s war spills into Lebanon.