Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Trump Derangement Syndrome: Max Boot Edition

Monday, February 19th, 2018

Once again we have a case of Trump Derangement Syndrome that’s beyond parody, this time from “conservative” Max Boot:

If you find yourselves comparing a terrorist attack that killed nearly 3,000 people with thirteen trolls stirring up trouble online, maybe it’s time to step away from the Internet…

U.S. Blows Up Russian Tank in Syria

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Now the question is whether it was a Russian tank or a Russian tank:

An American drone destroyed a Russian-made T-72 battle tank operating in eastern Syria on Saturday, according to the U.S. military’s command unit responsible for forces in the Middle East — which added the strike was in “self defense.”

No U.S or allied troops were hurt in the incident, but three people inside the tank were killed by a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone, a defense official told Fox News on Tuesday.

The strike was the second by the U.S. against “pro-regime” forces since Wednesday, according to the U.S. military’s Central Command.

The U.S. airstrike took place the same day an Iranian drone was shot down over Israel on Saturday, prompting a counter-attack by the Israeli Air Force into Syria against Iranian and regime targets. An Israeli F-16 was shot down during that mission, and it crash landed inside Israeli territory.

The T-72 tank came from the “same hostile forces” which attacked U.S. special operations troops and allied Syrian fighters last Wednesday in eastern Syria, officials said.

“The tank had been maneuvering with coordinated indirect fire on a defensive position occupied by Syrian Democratic Forces and Coalition advisers,” U.S. Central Command said in the statement. “The defensive position was within effective range of the tank’s weapon system. Coalition officials maintained regular contact with Russian counterparts via established de-confliction lines to avoid misperceptions and miscalculations that could endanger each other’s forces.”

The latest U.S. airstrike came less than a week after a massive strike killed 100 “pro-regime” forces, including what defense officials told Fox News were Russian contractors.

That suggests it was a Russian-made tank, rather than a Russian army tank. The T-72 was (and probably still is) used extensively by both the Iraqi and Syrian army, and the Islamic State captured some.

There were reports of Russian ground troops in Syria back in 2015, but I don’t see many reference to Russian regulars (as opposed to special forces) in combat in Syria.

The strike appears to have occurred near Khusham, east of Deir ez-Zor, indicated by the blue circles.

It seems unlikely that Russian army troops attacked American troops and got their asses kicked. But if that did happen, they’ll think twice before trying it again…

Israel Hits Multiple Targets in Syria

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Here’s a story you may have missed (I certainly did) over the weekend.

In summary:

  • Iran sends drone from base in Syria through Jordan and into Israeli airspace.
  • Israeli Apache helicopter shoots down drone.
  • Israel launches surgical strike against drone base of origin near Homs, Syria.
  • Syrians manage to shoot down Israeli F-16 (pilots successfully eject and land in Israel), evidently the first successful enemy downing of an Israeli aircraft since 2006.
  • “Israel carried out a large-scale attack against 12 targets in Syria, including three Syrian SA-5 and SA-17 air defense batteries and four other Iranian military targets.”
  • The New York Times has a piece up discussing the situation that runs the gamut from “commonplace” to “tendentious” to “wrong.” In particular, the assertion that Israel can’t prevent Iran from establishing a conventional force presence in Syria is probably wrong; I suspect Israel can more easily pay for and replace expended material than Iran can, especially with the latter beset by extended domestic unrest. Even more unsupported is the assertion that Russia must “pick a side” in the conflict. I’m pretty sure the Russians have no desire to tangle militarily with another highly-trained nuclear power in a peripheral theater of conflict in a move that would doubtlessly provoke an American response, and Assad has no leverage by which to compel Russia to do any more for him than they’re already doing against the remnants of the Free Syrian Army and the Islamic State. “Shoot down some Israeli planes, or I won’t let you fight for me anymore!”

    Iran is establishing bases in Syria for essentially irrational dick-measuring reasons, i.e. to be able to say it’s doing more to oppose “the Zionist Entity” than any other country in the Muslim ummah, as well as support Hezbollah and Assad’s Syria, two of it’s most important clients/allies in the Shia/Sunni civil war.

    Iran would not be so bold had it’s sugar daddy Obama not lifted sanctions and showered it with cash for a meaningless agreement. The world will be living with the baleful consequences of the Obama administration’s feckless policies for a long time to come.

    Russian Collusion CONFIRMED…With Democrats. And the CIA.

    Saturday, February 10th, 2018

    The New York Times confirms someone was paying off the Russians. Tiny problem: It wasn’t Trump, it was the CIA:

    After months of secret negotiations, a shadowy Russian bilked American spies out of $100,000 last year, promising to deliver stolen National Security Agency cyberweapons in a deal that he insisted would also include compromising material on President Trump, according to American and European intelligence officials.

    The cash, delivered in a suitcase to a Berlin hotel room in September, was intended as the first installment of a $1 million payout, according to American officials, the Russian and communications reviewed by The New York Times. The theft of the secret hacking tools had been devastating to the N.S.A., and the agency was struggling to get a full inventory of what was missing.

    Several American intelligence officials said they made clear that they did not want the Trump material from the Russian, who was suspected of having murky ties to Russian intelligence and to Eastern European cybercriminals.

    Yeah, right. As Ace of Spades notes:

    Note this story is going to claim the CIA paid to get their own stolen cyberweapons/hacking tools back and this Russian just insisted on offering dirt on Trump they didn’t want.

    That’s absurd. How do you buy back your own cybertools? You already have the tools; the problem is that other people have them, and paying someone to send you a copy does nothing at all to stop him from selling other copies forever, to whoever he wants.

    No, this is about the Trump dirt, and the cyberweapon thing is the cover story.

    You know who else went to the Russians for dirt on Trump? Virginia’s senior Democratic senator:

    Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee who has been leading a congressional investigation into President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, had extensive contact last year with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch who was offering Warner access to former British spy and dossier author Christopher Steele, according to text messages obtained exclusively by Fox News.

    “We have so much to discuss u need to be careful but we can help our country,” Warner texted the lobbyist, Adam Waldman, on March 22, 2017.

    “I’m in,” Waldman, whose firm has ties to Hillary Clinton, texted back to Warner.

    Steele famously put together the anti-Trump dossier of unverified information that was used by FBI and Justice Department officials in October 2016 to get a warrant to conduct surveillance of former Trump adviser Carter Page. Despite the efforts, Steele has not agreed to an interview with the committee.

    Secrecy seemed very important to Warner as the conversation with Waldman heated up March 29, when the lobbyist revealed that Steele wanted a bipartisan letter from Warner and the committee’s chairman, North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, inviting him to talk to the Senate intelligence panel.

    Throughout the text exchanges, Warner seemed particularly intent on connecting directly with Steele without anyone else on the Senate Intelligence Committee being in the loop — at least initially. In one text to the lobbyist, Warner wrote that he would “rather not have a paper trail” of his messages.

    Combine this with the fact that we know the Clinton Campaign/DNC-funded Fusion GPS was already in the pay of Russian nationals, and it becomes clear why Democrats thought they would nail Trump for Russian influence: They were projecting their own sins onto others.

    Will the last Democrat not colluding with the Russians please turn out the lights?

    Iran Roundup for January 2, 2018

    Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

    Widespread protests against the corrupt theocratic regime continue across Iran, so here’s a roundup of news. Here’s a liveblog on the protests, courtesy of Austin Bay at Instapundit.

  • This piece makes the case that Iran’s corrupt theocratic government has used up all its remaining legitimacy:

    As with the Soviet Union in its last days, the Islamic Republic can no longer appeal to its ideals; it relies only on its security services for survival. That is deadly for a theocracy, by definition an ideological construct. Ideological authoritarian states need a vision of the future by which their enforcers can condone their own violence. The theocracy’s vast patronage system will not cure this crisis of legitimacy. In many ways, Mr. Rouhani was the ruling clergy’s last gasp, a beguiling mullah who could enchant Westerners while offering Iranians some hope. That hope has vanished.

  • “US gives Israel go-ahead to kill powerful Iranian general.” The would be the same Quds force commander Qassem Soleimani Obama saved three years ago in pursuit of his precious, asinine Iran deal. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • How President Donald Trump saw the Iranian protests coming. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Some pessimism about protestor’s chances:

    In Iran, the obstacles to success are daunting. Whereas most Middle Eastern countries are ruled by secular autocrats focused on repressing primarily Islamist opposition, Iran is an Islamist autocracy focused on repressing secular opposition. This dynamic—unarmed, unorganized, leaderless citizens seeking economic dignity and pluralism, versus a heavily armed, organized, rapacious ruling theocracy that espouses martyrdom—is not a recipe for success.

    And yet, against this inauspicious backdrop, Iran’s mushrooming anti-government protests—although so far much smaller in scale than the country’s 2009 uprising—have been unprecedented in their geographic scope and intensity. They began December 28 in Mashhad, a Shiite pilgrimage city often considered a regime stronghold, with protesters chanting slogans like “leave Syria alone, think about us.” They soon spread to Qom, Iran’s holiest city, where protesters expressed nostalgia for Reza Shah, the 20th-century modernizing autocrat who ruthlessly repressed the clergy. They continued in provincial towns, with thousands chanting, “we don’t want an Islamic Republic” in Najafabad, “death to the revolutionary guards” in Rasht, and “death to the dictator” in Khoramabad. They’ve since spread to Tehran, and hundreds have been arrested, the BBC reported, citing Iranian officials.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Iran Charges Russia With Selling Out its Air Defense Secrets to Israel. The Islamic Republic says Russia sold codes to Israel that neutralize its air defenses.” Attacking your primary arms supplier, and your ally Syria’s effective air force, is a pretty desperate look. If true, it also means that America (and probably Saudi Arabia) have those codes as well… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Obama toadies vs the Iranian people:

    In the US, former members of the Obama administration and the liberal media have determinedly downplayed the importance of the protests. They have insisted that President Donald Trump should stop openly supporting the protesters and so adopt former president Barack Obama’s policy of effectively siding with the Iranian regime against the Iranian people who seek its overthrow.

    These talking points have been pushed out into the media echo chamber by Obama’s former deputy national security adviser and strategic communications chief Ben Rhodes, his former national security adviser Susan Rice and former secretary of state John Kerry.

    Obama’s Middle East coordinator Philip Gordon stated them outright in an op-ed in The New York Times on Saturday. Gordon called on Trump “to keep quiet and do nothing” in response to the protests.

    In Gordon’s view, no matter how big their beef with the regime, the protesters hate the US more. And they really hate Trump.

    Gordon wrote, “Whatever Iranians think of their own government, they are unlikely to want as a voice for their grievances an American president who has relentlessly opposed economic relief for their country and banned them from traveling to the United States.”

    Just as Obama’s surrogates have repeated Gordon’s claims, so the Obama-supporting liberal media have gone out of their way to diminish the importance of the protests in their coverage of them and use Obama’s surrogates as their “expert” analysts to explain what is happening (or rather, distort what is happening) to their audiences.

    Obama administration officials have been so outspoken in their defense of the Iranian regime because they rightly view the prospect that the protesters will succeed in overthrowing the regime as a mortal threat to their legacy.

    Obama’s foreign policy rested on the assumption that the US was a colonialist, aggressive and immoral superpower. By their telling, the Iranians – like the Cubans and the Russians – were right to oppose the US due to its legacy of meddling in the internal affairs of other countries. This anti-American worldview informed the Obama administration’s conviction that it was incumbent on the US to make amends for its previous decades of foreign policy.

    Hence, Obama traveled the globe in 2009 and 2010 apologizing for the policies of his predecessors. Hence, Obama believed that the US had no moral right to stand with the Iranian people against the regime in the 2009 Green Revolution. As he saw it, anyone who stood with the US was no better than an Uncle Tom. Truly authentic foreign regimes were be definition anti-American. Since the Green Revolutionaries were begging for his support, by definition, they didn’t deserve it.

    Since the current wave on anti-regime protests began last Thursday, the liberal media have parroted the Obama alumni’s talking points because they feel that their war against Trump requires them to embrace Obama’s legacy just as they embraced his talking points and policies for eight years.

    After all, if Obama is not entirely infallible, then Trump cannot be entirely fallible. And if Trump may be partially right and Obama partially wrong, then their dispute may be a substantive rather than existential one. And so, the New York Times’ coverage of the most significant story in the world has deliberately distorted and downplayed events on the ground in Iran.

  • A relevant Twitter thread:

  • Dave Barry’s 2017 Roundup

    Sunday, December 31st, 2017

    Dave Barry breaks out the Dave Barry in his 2017 roundup:

    Some samples:

    It was a year so surreal, so densely populated with strange and alarming events, that you have to seriously consider the possibility that somebody — and when we say “somebody,” we mean “Russia” — was putting LSD in our water supply. A bizarre event would occur, and it would be all over the news, but before we could wrap our minds around it, another bizarre event would occur, then another and another, coming at us faster and faster, battering the nation with a Category 5 weirdness hurricane that left us hunkering down, clinging to our sanity, no longer certain what was real.

    Meanwhile the big emerging journalism story is the Russians, who, according to many unnamed sources, messed with the election. Nobody seems to know how, specifically, the Russians affected the election, but everybody is pretty sure they did something, especially CNN, which has not been so excited about a story since those heady months in 2014 when it provided 24/7 video coverage of random objects floating in the Pacific while panels of experts speculated on whether these objects might or might not have anything to do with that missing Malaysian airliner. You can tune into CNN anytime, day or night, and you are virtually guaranteed to hear the word “Russians” within 10 seconds, even if it’s during a Depends commercial.

    The biggest political story comes at the end of the month, when Trump nominates Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, noting that the letters in “Neil Gorsuch” can be rearranged to spell both “Heroic Lungs” and “Lunch Orgies.” Democratic leaders pledge to give Gorsuch a fair and open-minded hearing, then destroy him.

    Amazon, aka the Death Star of Retail, becomes even larger and more powerful when it announces plans to buy Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, or enough money to buy nearly four pounds of top sirloin at current Whole Foods prices.

    Facebook announces that it has reached a total of two billion users, who in 2017 alone have already posted a total of 17 trillion impassioned statements of their political views, which have changed a total of zero minds.

    With emotions running high in the wake of Charlottesville, ESPN executives decide to pull announcer Robert Lee off the broadcast of the University of Virginia football game, out of concern that his name might be disturbing to those viewers who are as stupid as ESPN executives.

    In other protest news, police in Berkeley, California, battle anti-fascist activists, or “antifa,” who fight fascism by violently assaulting anybody who might do or say or think something the “antifa” deem unacceptable.

    Speaking of excitement, Hillary Clinton, responding to the insatiable public appetite for reliving the 2016 election over and over and over, comes out with her new tell-all book titled “You Idiots,” in which she candidly reveals that she was in fact a superb candidate and charming human who totally would have won the presidency had it not been for — among many other unfair obstacles that were unfairly placed in her path — James Comey, the Russians, the so-called “Electoral College,” Bernie Sanders, the Democratic National Committee, Anthony Weiner, sexism, Barack Obama, the media, her incompetent campaign staff and the frankly unacceptable stupidity of the American public. Next stop: 2020!

    Meanwhile a major scandal engulfs the entertainment world when The New York Times reveals that powerful movie producer Harvey Weinstein, despite being a prominent supporter of all the correct causes, basically spent the past several decades lumbering around in an open bathrobe forcing himself on unreceptive women. This news comes as a big shock to members of the Hollywood community, especially coming on the heels of their recent discovery that the pope is Catholic.

    In financial news, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, seeking to prop up his nation’s collapsing economy, announces the creation of a new digital currency called the “Petro,” which will be backed by a combination of oil reserves and a magic feather. The Illinois Legislature quickly follows suit, announcing that from now on the financially troubled state will pay its debts with the “Porko,” a digital currency backed by bratwurst.

    Happy New Year, everyone!

    LinkSwarm for December 15, 2017

    Friday, December 15th, 2017

    Another week, another abbreviated LinkSwarm. I’m running out of year and a variety of tasks (including work) keep crowding more extensive blogging out.

  • Gallup poll shows support for decreasing immigration holding steady. (Hat tip: Mickey Kaus’ Twitter feed.)
  • More on that same poll (also via Kaus):

    An overwhelming majority of Hispanics opposes increasing immigration, but their position is entirely unrepresented in the Democratic party. It seems possible that the Democrats will throw away a winnable Senate seat in Alabama because they have nominated a pro-abortion extremist against a Republican who has been credibly accused of sexual assault and ephebophilia (probably better that you don’t look that up).

    Even ten years ago, Democrats were willing to nominate candidates who were culturally conservative (or at least willing to pretend to be culturally conservative) in order to replace conservative Republicans with somewhat-more-liberal Democrats. What changed?

    The first thing was the alleged coming of the “emerging Democratic majority,” which was supposed to be brought about by demographic change and a larger nonwhite share of the electorate. This Democratic majority has been a little late in arriving, but that isn’t the only important part of the story.

    Many liberal whites wanted to be rid of the culturally conservative, economically liberal, working-class white voters whom Democrats had courted in the previous decade. Upper-middle-class whites were embarrassed by these people. After all these centuries of white privilege, they never managed to get into a good school—or even a state college—and now they were making demands about trade and immigration.

    One of the themes that emerges from Shattered (a chronicle of the Clinton campaign) is that the Clinton operation didn’t want to make a strong play for working-class white voters in swing states. The Clintonites thought these voters were disposable. It was left to Barack Obama to point out that he had done better than Clinton in many heavily working-class white areas, because he had done those voters the courtesy of treating them as though they were as important as any other American.

  • Paul Ryan to retire?
  • Little appreciated is the fact that Ryan is also an expert fundraiser.
  • Former Massachusetts Democratic state senator Brian A. Joyce arrested on 113 counts, including “mail fraud, theft of federal funds, money laundering, scheme to defraud the IRS, 20 counts of extortion, seven counts of money laundering, and conspiracy to impair the functions of the IRS.” How did he do all that? He’s a coffee achiever! (Seriously. Read the story.)
  • The hard-left sorts over at Counterpunch are not at all impressed with the myriad serial flavors of liberal Trump Derangement Syndrome:

    This initial post-election propaganda was understandably somewhat awkward, as the plan had been to be able to celebrate the “Triumph of Love over the Forces of Hate,” and the demise of the latest Hitlerian bogeyman. But this was the risk the ruling classes took when they chose to go ahead and Hitlerize Trump, which they wouldn’t have done if they’d thought for a moment that he had a chance of actually winning the election. That’s the tricky thing about Hitlerizing people. You need to be able to kill them, eventually. If you don’t, when they turn out not to be Hitler, your narrative kind of falls apart, and the people you’ve fear-mongered into a frenzy of frothing, self-righteous fake-Hitler-hatred end up feeling like a bunch of dupes who’ll believe anything the government tells them. This is why, normally, you only Hitlerize foreign despots you can kill with impunity. This is Hitlerization 101 stuff, which the ruling classes ignored in this case, which the left poor liberals terrified that Trump was actually going to start building Trump-branded death camps and rounding up the Jews.

    Fortunately, just in the nick of time, the ruling classes and their media mouthpieces rolled out the Russian Propaganda story. The Washington Post (whose owner’s multimillion dollar deal with the CIA, of course, has absolutely no effect on the quality of its professional journalism) led the charge with this McCarthyite smear job, legitimizing the baseless allegations of some random website and a think tank staffed by charlatans like this “Russia expert,”who appears not to speak a word of Russian or have any other “Russia expert” credentials, but is available both for television and Senate Intelligence Committee appearances. Numerous similar smear piecesfollowed. Liberals breathed a big sigh of relief … that Hitler business had been getting kind of scary. How long can you go, after all, with Hitler stumbling around the White House before somebody has to go in there and shoot him?

    In any event, by January, the media were playing down the Hitler stuff and going balls-out on the “Russiagate” story. According to The Washington Post (which, let’s remember, is a serious newspaper, as opposed to a propaganda organ of the so-called US “Intelligence Community”), not only had the Russians “hacked” the election, but they had hacked the Vermont power grid! Editorialists at The New York Times were declaring that Trump “had been appointed by Putin,” and that the USA was now “at war” with Russia. This was also around the time when liberals first learned of the Trump-Russia Dossier, which detailed how Putin was blackmailing Trump with a video the FSB had shot of Trump and a bunch of Russian hookers peeing on a bed in a Moscow hotel in which Obama had allegedly slept.

    This nonsense was reported completely straight-faced, and thus liberals were forced to take it seriously. Imagine the cognitive dissonance they suffered. It was like that scene in 1984 when the Party abruptly switches enemies, and the war with Eurasia becomes the war with Eastasia. Suddenly, Trump wasn’t Hitler anymore. Now he was a Russian sleeper agent who Putin had been blackmailing into destroying democracy with this incriminating “golden showers” video. Putin had presumably been “running” Trump since Trump’s visit to Russia in 2013 to hobnob with “Russia-linked” Russian businessmen and attend the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. During the ensuing partying, Trump must have gotten loaded on Diet Coke and gotten carried away with those Russian hookers. Now, Putin had him by the short hairs and was forcing him to staff his Manchurian cabinet with corporate CEOs and Goldman Sachs guys, who probably had also been videotaped by the FSB in Moscow hotels paying hookers to pee on furniture, or performing whatever other type of seditious, perverted kink they were into.

    Before the poor liberals had time to process this, the ruling classes launched “the Resistance.” You remember the Pussyhat People, don’t you? And the global corporate PR campaign which accompanied their historic “Womens’ March” on Washington? Do you remember liberals like Michael Moore shrieking for the feds to arrest Donald Trump? Or publications like The New York Times, Salon, and many others, and even State Satirist Stephen Colbertaccusing Trump and anyone who supported him of treason … a crime, let’s recall, that is punishable by death? Do you remember folks like William Kristol and Rob “the Meathead” Reiner demanding that the “deep state” launch a coup against Trump to rescue America from the Russian infiltrators?

    Ironically, the roll-out of this “Russiagate” hysteria was so successful that it peaked too soon, and prematurely backlashed all over itself. By March, when Trump had not been arrested, nor otherwise removed from office, liberals, who by that time the corporate media had teased into an incoherent, throbbing state of anticipation were … well, rather disappointed. By April, they were exhibiting all the hallmark symptoms of clinical psychosis. This mental breakdown was due to the fact that the media pundits and government spooks who had been telling them that Trump was Hitler, and then a Russian sleeper agent, were now telling them that he wasn’t so bad, because he’d pointlessly bombed a Syrian airstrip, and dropped a $314 million Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb on some alleged “terrorist caves” in Afghanistan.

  • Intelligence Leaks Reveal Erdogan Regime Arming Criminal Turkish Gangs in Germany.” He’s just a barer of light and joy all around… (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Where was that explosion on the “Arab Street” all those “experts” warned us about if President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?
  • Sweden has an antisemitism problem, but refuses to admit it’s a result of its Muslim refugee problem.
  • Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001. Is it working? Mostly. But it’s not a cure-all. Interesting piece.
  • How Jennifer Rubin turned into Dana Milbank. (Hat tip: Dr. Milton Wolfe’s Twitter feed.)
  • Police: “This man is a rapist!” Judge: “Were you just going to ignore the 40,000 texts from the alleged victim asking for sex?”
  • Senior Hamas leader arrested. Good.
  • Did a Long island woman launder money to the Islamic State using Bitcoin? (Hat tip: Director Blue.) (And let me apologize for ruining your previously Bitcoin-free LinkSwarm…)
  • More on the Wisconsin John Doe Witch Hunt.
  • Everyone’s favorite Tweeter, Texas Supreme Court justice Don Willett, was confirmed to the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Congrats, Justice Willett!
  • As was former Texas Solicitor General James Ho.
  • With Ho’s appointment, President Donald Trump broke broke the all-time record for first year judicial appointments.
  • This week’s winning pervert in the Sexual Harassment Sweepstakes is… senior Disney music executive Jon Heely. Now I feel even more conflicted about Devo 2.0.
  • Seven woman have now accused 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski of sexual harassment.
  • Speaking of sexual abuse, I really hope these horrific “blind” sexual abuse allegations against unnamed Hollywood celebrities are untrue. If not, life in prison for the perpetrators is too good for them…
  • Russia has a new stealth fighter, the Su-57. Too bad for them its engines won’t be ready until 2027… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • (screamingheadline)RUSSIA TROLLS BOUGHT ADS BEFORE BREXIT!!!! (in small type) All of 97¢ worth. And Slashdot thought this was worth a entire post.
  • “Net Neutrality” scrapped, Slashdot hit hardest:

  • The top-ranked restaurant in London, The Shed at Dulwich, is so exclusive it doesn’t exist. (Hat tip: Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit.)
  • Islamic State All But Destroyed

    Sunday, December 10th, 2017

    After having secured the Syrian border, Iraq has declared the war against the Islamic State over. Syria strongman Bashar Assad’s patrons the Russians have likewise declared Syria liberated from the Islamic State as well. Both of these statements are slightly premature, but not by much.

    Right now isis.livemap shows the Islamic State disjointed into five enclaves, two in sparsely populated desert areas in Syria, one similar area in Iraq, and two small enclaves along the Euphrates in Syria southeast of Deir ez-Zor, both of which are being systematically crushed by the forces of Assad’s Syrian government of the Kurdish-led and U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

    Once those small pockets are crushed, the military war against the Islamic State is effectively won, though expect it to linger on as yet another international jihadist terrorist organization, a tiny shadow of its former self, until the last of it’s many affiliates are either crushed or pledge allegiance to another leader.

    More Islamic State news:

  • Is would-be Islamic State caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi still alive?
  • Deradicalization efforts begin.
  • BBC roundup of all the territory the Islamic State has lost.
  • This Los Angeles Times editorial by Max Abrahms and John Glaser points out that many critics (from John Bolton to John McCain and Lindsey Graham) were wrong when they stated that Assad’s ouster was a precondition for the defeat of the Islamic State.
  • “Meet Mosul Eye, the secret chronicler of Islamic State ‘killing machine.'” Omar Mohammed spent years under Islamic State occupation documenting their brutality. Including this nugget of atrocity: “IS is forcing abortions and tubal ligation surgeries on Yazidi women,” he wrote in unpublished notes from January 2015. A doctor told him there had been between 50 and 60 forced abortions and a dozen Yazidi girls younger than 15 died of injuries from repeated rapes.”
  • “Why Did Islamic State Kill So Many Sufis in Sinai?” “Since declaring itself a caliphate in June 2014, the self-proclaimed ‘State’ has conducted or inspired over 140 terrorist attacks in 29 countries in addition to Iraq and Syria, where its carnage has taken a much deadlier toll. Those attacks have killed and wounded thousands of people.” Also how Sufism was the predominant mode of Islamic thought in Egypt before the rise of Salafism and the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Israel Threatens to Destroy Iranian Positions Near Its Border

    Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

    If you’re tired of all this Arab-on-Arab fighting, Israel is indicating it may have to do some direct clobbering itself:

    Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida revealed on Sunday that an Israeli source disclosed a promise from Jerusalem to destroy all Iranian facilities within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of Israel’s Golan Heights.

    The source, who remains unnamed, said that during Syrian President Bashar Assad’s surprise visit to Russia last week, Assad gave Russian Premier Vladimir Putin a message for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Damascus will agree to a demilitarized zone of up to 40 kilometers from the border in the Golan Heights as part of a comprehensive agreement between the two countries, but only if Israel does not work to remove Assad’s regime from power.

    The report also claims that Putin then called Netanyahu to relay the message, and that the Israeli prime minister said he would be willing to accept the deal, but that Israel’s goal of eradicating Iran and Hezbollah from the country would remain.

    According to the source, Jerusalem sees Assad as the last president of the Alawite community, indicating that a change of regime in Syria – at least towards a government less-linked to Iran – would be favorable for Israel. The Alawites are a minority Shi’ite community in Syria, and have long been supported by Iran, which seeks to extend its influence from the Gulf across the region to the Mediterranean.

    Here’s your regular reminder that Alawites are Shiite in the same sense that Mormons are Jews.

    The source also commented that after the defeat of the Islamic State, the conflict in Syria would become ”more difficult,” likely pointing towards a vacuum that would be left without the group. Russian, Syrian and Iranian-backed forces have been fighting against ISIS, while also seeking to knock out rebel groups that oppose the current regime. Russia’s stated interests have been in line with Iran’s in wanting to keep Assad in power.

    Israel has participated mostly on the periphery of the war in Syria, responding to fire on the northern border and occasionally bombing positions, including a weapons depot and scientific research center that allegedly produces chemical weapons. Damascus and Jerusalem have exchanged heated remarks as well, with Netanyahu threatening to bomb Assad’s palace, and Syrian officials warning of ”dangerous repercussions” to Israeli strikes on Syrian targets.

    Naturally Hezbollah says it’s perfectly willing to fight if its Iranian masters snap their fingers:

    The head of a large Iranian-backed Iraqi militia that has been fighting in Syria said his group was “fully prepared” to fight Israel if Damascus asked it to.

    Sheikh Akram al-Ka’abi, the leader of Iraq’s Hezbollah al-Nujaba, told the Lebanese news network Al Mayadeen Friday night his group would participate in a Damascus-led attack on Israel’s Golan Heights.

    “We are fully prepared to participate in any war with the Syrian Arab Army to liberate the Golan if the Syrian state agrees or requests so,” Ka’abi said.

    He said this would be done through the militia’s newest branch, the Golan Liberation Brigade, which was formed in March of this year.

    Hezbollah al-Nujaba is reportedly controlled by Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) elite foreign operations unit, the Qods Force.

    Ka’abi, who controls a reported 10,000 men in Syria, also said his group was prepared to defend the Lebanese terror group and fellow Iranian proxy Hezbollah from any Israeli attack.

    I doubt either Assad or Russia wants to tangle with Israel right now, especially with the Saudi’s making threats and President Donald Trump being both far more pro-Israel (and unpredictable) than the previous occupant of the White House.

    Meanwhile, Israel’s leadership is openly talking of war with Hezbollah and bumping off its leader, Hassan Nasrallah.

    Interesting times…

    LinkSwarm for November 24. 2017

    Friday, November 24th, 2017

    I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy a short LinkSwarm for a short week!

  • “Unsealed court documents reveal that the firm behind the salacious 34-page Trump-Russia Dossier, Fusion GPS, was paid $523,000 by a Russian businessman convicted of tax fraud and money laundering, whose lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was a key figure in the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower arranged by Fusion GPS associate Rob Goldstone.”
  • Fusion GPS, the DNC and Hillary Clinton sampaign-funded organization behind the fake Trump dossier, has been paying journalists.
  • In this week’s MSM scumbag sexual harasser sweepstakes, both CBS and PBS fire Charlie Rose after sexual harassment accusations from eight different women.
  • And three more accusers just came forward.
  • You know the Arab-Egyptian Peace Treaty signed after the Camp David Accords in 1979? Jimmy Carter did his best to derail it.

    Carter wanted his Geneva talks. He didn’t care that the peace process already begun by Sadat and Begin might lead to peace, Carter wanted his plan or nothing. You see Carter’s vision of a Geneva conference would be run by the U.S. and the USSR, and Israel would be facing the terrorist PLO, and Israel’s neighbors including, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, and Jordan. It would not be a negotiation because when one considers that the Arab countries were Soviet satellites, and the Carter administration’s ideological orientation was anti-Israel it seemed to ensure the conference would be all the participants vs. the Jewish State.

    Thankfully Carter couldn’t stop the approaching peace train. Within days Israeli journalists were allowed into Cairo, breaking a symbolic barrier, and from there the peace process quickly gained momentum.

  • Kevin Williamson examines more of the left’s Manson worship.
  • How congress runs its illegal sexual harassment slush fund out of the public eye.
  • Washington Post reporter Janell Ross helped secret Democratic donor conference “craft liberal economic message without notifying superiors.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Cop killer captured. Update: Authorities have now released the name of the slain officer, which was Damon Allen.
  • “California State Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) announced Tuesday that he will resign next year after six women accused him of making unwanted sexual advances.”
  • Want to download Skype in China? Tough.
  • Brooklyn College doesn’t want police using campus bathrooms.” Because snowflakes must make painfully clear that the people who keep them safe are beneath them…
  • Can a Ketogeneic (low-carb) diet cure diabetes? Evidence suggests a firm maybe.
  • Environmental activist convicted. “A Montana jury found Leonard Higgins of Portland, Oregon, guilty of criminal mischief and trespassing. Higgins could face up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine on the felony criminal mischief charge.” (Hat tip: Steve Malloy’s Twitter feed.)
  • Florida Woman Pro Tip: If you’re going to rob a bank, it’s best to rob one you didn’t formerly work at.
  • Larry Correia spells out exactly what writers “owe” their fans on unfinished series installments: namely “Jack” and “Squat.”
  • As A Male Feminist, I Really Think I’d Absolutely Crush It If I Ever Had To Publicly Apologize For Sexual Misconduct.” Heh: “I’d use the word ‘apologize’ and say ‘I’m sorry.’ I’d check off all the boxes that feminist Twitter looks for in an airtight apology, and I’d continue expressing remorse in the ensuing weeks to wow the world with the magnitude of my self-reproach.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Rama?