Frat-House Statecraft and U.S.-Iran Détente

Commentary Magazine, By Seth Mandel, Oct.29, 2014:

The silliness of President Mom Jeans calling an Israeli special forces veteran “chickens–t” was what first dominated the reactions of the Obama administration’s frat-house taunts directed at Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. But the larger strategic impact of the insult, as passed through what Matthew Continetti has termed the “secretarial” press, this time via Jeffrey Goldberg, soon became apparent. And it has now been confirmed by a major story in theWall Street Journal.

It was easy at first to miss anything but the string of insults directed from Obama to Netanyahu, including the casual accusation of autism. (It’s arguable whether this represented a new low for the president, who has a habit of demonstrating his grade school playground vocabulary.) But once the initial shock at the further degrading of American statecraft under Obama wore off, it was easy to see the real purpose of the story. The Obama administration wanted to brag through its stenographer that the president had protected the Iranian nuclear program from Israel:

I ran this notion by another senior official who deals with the Israel file regularly. This official agreed that Netanyahu is a “chickenshit” on matters related to the comatose peace process, but added that he’s also a “coward” on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat. The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. “It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”

If Iran goes nuclear, those words will be the perfect description of the Obama administration’s fecklessness: “Now it’s too late.” Too late, that is, for our allies like Israel and the Gulf states to protect themselves from the consequences of the Obama administration’s Mideast policies–which principally affect Israel and the Gulf states. But “fecklessness” may not be the right word. The Wall Street Journal reports today that the president has been effective after all:

The Obama administration and Iran, engaged in direct nuclear negotiations and facing a common threat from Islamic State militants, have moved into an effective state of détente over the past year, according to senior U.S. and Arab officials.

The shift could drastically alter the balance of power in the region, and risks alienating key U.S. allies such as Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates who are central to the coalition fighting Islamic State. Sunni Arab leaders view the threat posed by Shiite Iran as equal to or greater than that posed by the Sunni radical group Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Israel contends the U.S. has weakened the terms of its negotiations with Iran and played down Tehran’s destabilizing role in the region.

The Obama administration, then, has been carrying out its preferred policy: aligning with Iran in the Middle East. Now, this isn’t exactly surprising, since the administration has more or less telegraphed its pitches. Obama has also long been a doormat for the world’s tyrants, so adding Iran to the list that already includes states like Russia and Turkey adds a certain cohesiveness to White House policy.

Obama’s infamous and towering ignorance of world affairs, especially in the Middle East, has always made this latest faceplant somewhat predictable. The Looney-Tunes outburst at Netanyahu was not, but it teaches us two important things about Obama.

First, those who wanted to support Obama but had no real case for him in 2008 went with the idea that he had a “presidential temperament.” Those folks now look quite foolish–though that’s nothing new. Obama has a temperament ill suited for any activity not readily found on frat row.

The second lesson is that the president’s foreign policy is not abandonment of allies–that would be an improvement. It is, instead, full of tactics and strategies that, often unintentionally but no less destructively, put a thumb on the scale against them. For example, from the Journal piece:

The Obama administration also has markedly softened its confrontational stance toward Iran’s most important nonstate allies, the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the Lebanese militant and political organization, Hezbollah. American diplomats, including Secretary of State John Kerry, negotiated with Hamas leaders through Turkish and Qatari intermediaries during cease-fire talks in July that were aimed at ending the Palestinian group’s rocket attacks on Israel, according to senior U.S. officials.

The Iranian proxy terrorist groups on Israel’s border will have a freer hand. It helps explain why the administration served up a ceasefire proposal crafted by Hamas’s patrons, which outraged not only Israel but also Egypt. Protecting Hezbollah will further enable that group to make life hell for Israel’s north (and perhaps not onlyIsrael’s north) when they next feel like it.

But strengthening Hezbollah will not only imperil Israel’s security. It will also put Europe in greater danger and U.S. interests as well. It’s a dim-witted policy, in other words, no matter what you think of Israel. And the general détente with Iran is, as theJournal points out, an insult to our Gulf allies as well as damaging to the fight against ISIS. The president’s policies put our allies at the mercy of their enemies. That he’s taunting them too only makes it clear that the policies are being instituted precisely how he envisioned them.

Also see:

Documentary: Obama Admin ‘Warned by Everybody’ about Islamic State but ‘Did Almost Nothing’

BY:
October 29, 2014 

On Tuesday evening, PBS’s Frontline aired the new documentary “The Rise of ISIS”, which detailed its investigation into the “miscalculations and mistakes behind the brutal rise of ISIS”.

The documentary included interviews with key Obama administration officials and experts.

Frontline’s Ken Pollak interviewed the Former American Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey who revealed, “The administration not only was warned by everybody back in January, it actually announced that it was going to intensify its support against ISIS with the Iraqi armed forces. And it did almost nothing.”

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The Rise of ISIS – FRONTLINE – PBS (internationalterrorismstudyproject.com)

An Islamic State (ISIS) black flag flies near the Syrian town of Kobani, as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border. (Kutluhan Cucel / Getty Images)

On October 28th, 2014 PBS aired “The Rise of ISIS” as the latest installment of their award winning FRONTLINE television program.  Martin Smith reporting, walks us through the how and why of the current state of the Middle East under the influence of ISIS.

Vivid and sometimes violent imagery is the backdrop as several reporters, analysts, and American officials are interviewed, giving the viewer an excellent background of ISIS and how they have quickly risen to power.  They point out that unlike many other terrorist organizations, ISIS does not attack and flee.  They attack, seize assets and hold territory as they please.  FRONTLINE acknowledges ISIS is in part, a byproduct of past United States policies. Notably, only Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security advisor speaks in defense of the current US administration.  Many ousted political figures are also interviewed during this hour long program however ex Iraqi PM Maliki is not among them.  Below is the link for the PBS’s webpage for this program.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/rise-of-isis/

WHY ISIS IS WINNING

iraq-al-qaeda-convoy-AP (1)Breitbart, by KATIE GORKA:

In the past 24 hours, reinforcements have been arriving in the besieged Syrian town of Kobane, where Kurdish troops have slowly been losing their months-long battle with the Islamic State (ISIS).

In a significant change of policy, Turkey last night allowed an estimated 50-150 troops from the Free Syrian Army to cross the Turkish border into Syria. And at dawn today, 80 vehicles arrived in Kobane carrying Iraqi Peshmerga fighters, according to the BBC.

This is good news for Kobane and for the broader fight against ISIS, but it is bad news for the current Western strategy in fighting ISIS.  It is a sign that the strategy is not succeeding. At the heart of the battle for Kobane is the United States’ failure to properly assess this enemy. The Obama administration has narrowly defined the enemy as only the most violent jihadists: first Al Qaeda and now ISIS. It has drawn a distinct line between those who use violence and those who do not. The administration sees this as a contest of force with an enemy that is limited in number.  This inaccurate assessment of the enemy has its roots in left-wing theories about social movements, which I examine in detail in the recent white paper, “The Flawed Science Behind America’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy.”

In the 1980s, academics began to apply social movement theory to Islamist activism.  The key concept was that violent jihadists are the product of oppression. Quintan Wiktorowicz, one of the principal proponents of this theory, eventually joined Obama’s National Security Staff as Senior Director for Global Engagement. His influence within the White House in shaping American counter-terrorism strategy had three fatal effects: the focus shifted away from ideology and to the belief that the ideology motivating Islamists is irrelevant; it treated Islamists as victims, saying they are forced by circumstances to resort to violence; and it drew a line between violence and nonviolent Islamists, saying that we only have to fight the former, while the latter– for example, the Muslim Brotherhood– can be our allies.

But terrorists are not victims. The ideology is the heart of what draws young men and women to join a murderous fight, and nonviolent Islamists can no more be our allies than can Al Qaeda or ISIS.  Indeed, ISIS and its ilk are built on a foundation laid by such “nonviolent” Islamists as the Muslim Brotherhood, and they are supported by such “allies” as Qatar and Turkey.

The arrival of additional troops and materiel in Kobane is very good news indeed for the people besieged there, but until the United States straightens out its understanding of the enemy and drafts an appropriate response, the larger battle cannot be won.

Katie Gorka is president of the Council on Global Security.  @katharinegorka.

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“The Flawed Science Behind America’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy” by Katie Gorka has been added to CJR’s list of Key Reports.

Obama – The Military and National Security

Video-Obama’s-Military-Purge-Removes-197-Officers-AND-COUNTING-AS-DHS-TAKES-OVER-STREETSBy Paul Vallely – MG US Army (ret),

Chairman – Stand Up America

October 28, 2014

Throughout the 237 years of United State history, we have seen the military forces experience many transformations in its roles/missions, its structure, its procedures, its reputation, its power, technological advancement, and ultimately its application and operation in combat. Initially the Army, Navy and Marines were organized as an armed force of fighters and patriots against the tyranny of England. They banded together to win a revolution and historically became a force for securing the fledgling nation. Over the many decades and centuries, it expanded, evolved, and eventually became the strongest military force on Earth. These changes all reflected the need and threats of the day and the political will of the government and its elected officials. As my friend and colleague, Admiral Ace Lyons, stated, “With the weakest national security team since World War II, it is no wonder that both our foreign and national security policies lack coherence and direction. The Administration’s faculty-lounge logic that, in the 21st century, ‘diplomacy’ will substitute for military solutions to international crisis, overlooks or chooses to ignore a key factor: recognized military power that provides the essential underpinnings to successful diplomacy. It is called Peace through Strength.”

From inception, it has, and by Constitutional mandate will always be, controlled by a civilian, the Commander-in-Chief, the President of the United States. As each of our Presidents has held office, the military took its marching orders based upon the political policies, threats to America, and the foreign policy he adopted. Many paths were chosen and many wars, great and small were waged upon his decisions. This writing is to analyze the relationship of President Obama and HIS Current and Future Relationship and Control of the Military and National Security.

President Obama and his followers have worked very hard by design to weaken US military superiority, consciously and unconsciously to the advantage our global enemies. In an attempt to seize control over national security and bypass Congress, a step by the Obama administration has already come into play. That the United States and Russia both reduce nuclear weapons without a treaty, as a treaty would require ratification by Congress. This would allow Obama and the Executive Branch to unilaterally cut our military capability and nuclear weaponry and ignore the treaty clause of the Constitution. Russia as we know is not a trustworthy partner in any respect other than lessens the influence and power of the US globally. Obama is wrecking the Defense Department, our forces and the US economy and committing national suicide. Yes, let’s just lay down our arms, weaken our military and give up our sovereignty to the United Nations world super state. Peace at any cost!

Intentions and the Agenda

What were Obama’s intentions after taking office toward the military? What impact has he had on the military to date? What will his impact be over the next few years? At this juncture, all these questions and more can only be answered by fact and actions. This places the future security of America in a very precarious position; a certain clear and present danger. To date, with all that is occurring across the globe and at home, his actions have resulted in a long list of failures and it appears our future will only witness further degradation of our credibility, respect, trust and standing in the community of nations. By design, malfeasance, or stark ineptitude, the past is prologue. It is important to point out what Obama and his administration goals are when it comes to the Armed Forces of the United States.

Discussion points outlined in the pamphlet are: Matters of future debate……..

Diplomacy and the use of the military – The definition of the term and its various interpretations are diverse. We examine President Obama’s vision of our foreign policy and his application of diplomacy and all its ramifications including the use of force.

Obama’s 2008 campaign and ideology – What he told America was wrong with our foreign policies, the Bush Administration’s wars, and his stance on the military and America’s place in the community of nations. This includes the ideology of the left, its past stances on Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and The War on Terror.

Obama’s first and second terms – Ending the war in Iraq, campaign promises broken, the escalation of Afghanistan and the Counter-Insurgency (COIN) Strategy, the Arab Spring, Israel, Libya, Syria and the economic structural impact on our military under his watch.

Obama’s Military Evolution – How Obama is dismantling our status in the world through diminishing our strengths, militarily and economically.

Obama’s Future Leadership – Discussion on the issues that face us from Syria to Iran to Russia to China, our Israel relationship, the Muslim Brotherhood, North Korea, ISIS and more. Why would a US president continue to push to give billions of dollars in aid and to supply arms to regimes that have declared that America and its ally Israel are mortal enemies that should be destroyed?  And why would that same president who wants to arm our enemies want to disarm American citizens?

Obama supports and assist the Caliphate goals of the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS, known militant and radical Islamic groups.  He supported the election of Morsi as Egypt’s new president, even when Morsi talked about establishing a new Muslim Caliphate with him as the ultimate head.

Morsi also publicly began an attack on all non-Muslim religions within his country.  His military and police joined in the persecution of Christians who were beaten, raped, robbed and killed.  Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said nothing and did nothing but continue to support Morsi and his radical government. Destiny and understanding the “realities” of Islamic terror brought General El-Sisi and his patriots to the Egyptian people.

Mideast atrocities could curtail Muslim influence in the U.S.

As Admiral Ace Lyons points out in a recent article: (Washington Times)

“America’s inconsistent response to the current Islamic State atrocities indicates that we are failing to understand, or deliberately ignoring, the facts that drive the terrorist organization’s ideology.

Such misunderstanding has been facilitated by the Obama administration’s embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is now institutionalized in all government agencies, including the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and the White House. This penetration is similar to what the communists were able to accomplish in the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s. As a result, our warfighters and law enforcement agencies have been denied critical information on combating the Islamic jihadists we are fighting today.

How did this happen? In one example, 57 Muslim signatories wrote a letter Oct. 19, 2011, to President Obama’s national security adviser for terrorism, John. O. Brennan, now our CIA director, complaining about “bigoted trainers and material” that was being used to describe the threat of Islamic terrorism and the Islamic ideology that the terrorists use to justify their acts.

As a result, all such material and training manuals were “purged” to remove anything that portrayed Islam as a religion of violence. Furthermore, an advisory board that reportedly included Muslim Brotherhood operators was established to review and sanction all revised training material to be used for our military, FBI and other law enforcement agencies down to the local level. This means is that our entire national security community has now been effectively neutralized on understanding the threat of Islam.

The Muslim Brotherhood penetration goes well beyond training materials. Their influence is most likely reflected in the restricted Rules of Engagement under which our military is forced to fight. This has caused the unnecessary loss of life and debilitating injuries for thousands of our military personnel. The Muslim Brotherhood has been so emboldened that it now has the audacity to demand the “brainwashing” of all our previous trainers. Mao and Stalin would be proud.

According to an article by terrorism expert Clare Lopez, on Aug. 14, another letter with 75 signatories was written to Lisa O. Monaco, homeland security counterterrorism adviser to the National Security Council, urged the Obama administration to “implement a mandatory retrainer program” for all federal, state and local law enforcement officers who have previously been “exposed” to anti-Muslim training. Much like the previous letter sent to Mr. Brennan, the signatories represent many of the leading Muslim organizations in the United States, e.g., the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Muslim Alliance in North America. It should be noted that many of those signatories represent organizations that were designated in federal court as unindicted co-conspirators from the 1998 Holy Land Foundation Hamas terrorism-funding trial in Richardson, Texas.

What prompted this latest letter may have been the fear that America might wake up and connect the current Islamic State atrocities to the ideology of Islam. The silence from the so-called moderate Muslim Brotherhood front organizations on these atrocities should tell you everything you need to know. Likewise, all those hundreds of millions of so-called moderate Muslims remain silent.

Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in 1838, noted by Bruce Thornton on Aug. 18, “Jihad, holy war is an obligation for all believers. The state of war is the natural state with regard to infidels. These doctrines of which the practical outcome is obvious are found on every page and in almost every word of the Koran. The violent tendencies of the Koran are so striking that I cannot understand how any man with good sense could miss them.” We must face facts: Islam never was, nor can it be, a religion of peace, regardless of what we are told by our current and past leaders.

Islamic ideology clearly provides the theological justifications stemming from the time of Muhammad through 1,300 hundred years of its history to justify the current jihadist movement and atrocities. Islam has not been hijacked by radicals. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it best: “Islam is Islam.”

There is no question that the current Islamic State movement must be destroyed. Iran’s alleged offer to help get rid of it in Iraq, provided we lift all sanctions, should be totally rejected (if indeed made as reported). Pressure must be maintained on Iran to prevent it from achieving a nuclear-weapons capability. It must never be forgotten that there are no differences among the Islamic State, al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran when it comes to their objective of destroying the United States and Israel.

The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, could not have happened without Iran’s support for al Qaeda.

The Islamic State is the wealthiest terrorist organization in the world (after the Iranian regime), and must be relentlessly pursued in Iraq and Syria until it is effectively destroyed as a symbol of Islam’s resurgence. This will require a sustained air campaign coordinated with our special forces, and hopefully, our allies. We must assume the Islamic State, al Qaeda and others have established sleeper cells in the United States. Accordingly, our readiness posture must be significantly increased. In that context, our military and law enforcement agencies must be retrained so that they can effectively recognize and defeat the threat.

Congress must take the lead and prevent any further drawdown of our strategic and conventional forces. They must also take the lead in purging all Muslim Brotherhood front organizations from our government agencies. Regrettably, based on past performance, we should be under no illusion that this administration will aggressively implement these urgent actions.”

Taking back America

Leadership that compromises national security violates the Constitution

By James A. Lyons - – Wednesday, October 22, 2014, Washington Times

Never in my lifetime did I believe this great nation would be taken down and withdrawn from its world leadership position by its own leadership. While some try to explain away the Obama administration’s damaging policies by making excuses, they fail to face reality. This is a planned agenda.

When then-Sen. Barack Obama announced in 2008 that he was going to fundamentally transform America, few Americans comprehended what that declaration actually meant. However, with his radical background and his leftist mentors and associates, his agenda became very clear early on in his presidency.

With its many scandals, including the Benghazi tragedy, the perverse “progressive” ideology of the Obama administration, combined with its deceitful and manipulative methods, has corrupted normally nonpartisan government agencies. More importantly, it has infected the civilian and military leadership who lead their agencies.

The core of the corruption is an attitude that flaunts the Constitution and takes the position that the president can do anything he wants with a pen and a phone that promotes an agenda, regardless of its impact on the country’s national security.

We used to have giants in Congress such as John Stennis, Richard Russell, Tip O’Neill, et al., who were Americans first and party members second when it came to matters affecting our national security. Regretfully, other than a few in the minority, that doesn’t exist today.

Clearly, trust in our government institutions has been eroded. Furthermore, the Obama administration’s embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood, with its penetration of essentially all our government agencies, including the Department of Defense, has had an adverse impact on our policies, particularly with regard to the Middle East and the global war on terrorism. As we have seen, the administration switched sides in that war in Libya by financing, training and arming Islamic jihadist militias who were under the political control of the Muslim Brotherhood. It was these same militias that carried out the terrorist attacks on the U.S. compound in Benghazi. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s failure to provide adequate security prior to the attack even though there was advanced warning, according to five CIA security contractors at the Benghazi annex, as well as the administration’s failure to respond militarily, was a dereliction of duty.

The financial crisis of 2007-08 subsequently presented the Obama administration with a “perfect storm” to implement its planned agenda, which was based on the perverse ideology that American power has caused much of the world’s problems. The financial crisis could not have happened without outside forces in play, according to financial analyst Kevin D. Freeman, who wrote a 2009 report for the Defense Department. He stated that domestic economic factors would have caused a “normal downturn,” but not the “near collapse” of the global economic system. Fifty trillion dollars evaporated. According to Mr. Freeman, the most likely outside, hostile nations included China, Russia and Islamic financial powers, e.g., Dubai, which deliberately conducted “financial terrorism” against the U.S. economy. If true, then this is clearly irregular warfare and needs to be further investigated.

Nonetheless, it was the catalyst for the implementation of “sequestration.” It provided the vehicle for the unilateral disarmament of our military forces.

With the United States being challenged throughout the world, our reduced military forces are severely stretched in meeting all their requirements. However, we still retain the capability to mount a massive, around-the-clock air campaign to defeat the Islamic State. The few strikes per day we are conducting in Iraq and Syria, with restricted rules of engagement, do not constitute a serious air campaign.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff know that what we are doing today in Iraq and Syria to defeat the Islamic State is wrong. By their acquiescence to the administration’s half-hearted war policies, they cannot escape being held accountable for the genocide the Islamic State will inflict on the Syrian inhabitants of Kobani, the Kurds and other minorities.

In a similar context, sending 4,000 military personnel to Ebola-infected countries makes no sense. It is symptomatic of an administration that views our military as expendable. This is not a military mission. Clearly, a comprehensive strategy needs to be developed that involves the United Nations, the World Health Organization and nongovernmental organizations throughout the world to contain this deadly virus. Common sense demands that the infected countries must be quarantined. All commercial flights in and out of these countries must be immediately terminated. Chartered and other government aircraft can provide needed supplies, equipment and personnel.

When our military forces return from those infected countries, they will have to be held in quarantine before they can return to their home bases. The Enterovirus D68 that is showing up in schools is the result of letting 75,000 unscreened children with various diseases cross our borders, and then relocating them throughout the country. This is unconscionable. Our southern borders must be closed now.

The real question is, how do you change the disastrous Obama administration policies that affect our national security? Obviously, the ballot box is one way, but the one institution that has the power to send an unmistakable signal that will be heard throughout the country is the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It is time for them to live up to their oath of office — “to defend this country against all enemies foreign and domestic.” The Obama administration has clearly violated the Constitution and must be held accountable. Since we no longer can count on Congress, the Joint Chiefs as a corporate body should voice their objections to administration policies that are threatening America’s security and that of our allies. It’s time to take back America.

Diplomacy and the Use of the military

Before expounding on Obama and the military, it is essential to understand the relationship and debate that has existed over the centuries between diplomacy and the use of military force. Crucial changes in American society, the defense of freedom and victory over her enemies all originate with the military. Using the military wisely implies that the military enters a war with the intent to win the war. Within the diplomatic sphere, war is diplomacy with arms, and in this phase war should be viewed as diplomacy at its worst, after all other options have been explored.

Politicians from various spectrums differ in the way they use diplomacy to achieve political and diplomatic goals. The use of military may be used used at the end of a failed or failing diplomatic process when an enemy threat still exists; called pre-emption. History demonstrates and statesmen have confirmed that war ensues when diplomacy fails. Many conservative leaning thinkers view the military within diplomacy, whereas many leaning toward the left (Statists) have detached the military from the diplomatic process. Under the Obama Administration the military has not been appropriately used to improve diplomatic relations, largely because the military is not viewed as a mechanism to achieve diplomatic success.

The endgame to war is Victory but is hardly in the vocabulary of the current senior leadership in America. Military leaders have been directed not to even use the word Victory in their dialogue with the press and others. But the definition of victory and the path getting there are transformed when political ambitions are revealed. For instance, while the Bush Administration has called the post-9/11 wars the “War on Terror” the Obama Administration changed the name to “Overseas Contingency Operations”. The former created a paradigm shift whereby the United States was fighting an ideology, terror, rather than a nation-state. Retreat is now known as withdrawal or “drawdown” and victory is now known as “nation building” or “transition.”

However, the change in semantics by the Obama Administration creates an interesting modification that has proceeded unnoticed by the public. War inevitably implies boots on the ground, the involvement of ranking officers and geo-strategic decision making from the Department of Defense. The Obama Administration has “mixed” the roles of war within diplomacy with more agencies: the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Defense (White House, 2012). The Obama Administration is making the State Department and the overarching bureaucratic influence more relevant and the U.S. military less relevant in the process of diplomacy.

In Iraq, where increasing violence by ISIS/ISIL and clandestine high-level takeovers and assassinations by Iranian groups have occurred over the past year, the Obama Administration further states that, “In Iraq, these temporary operations and assistance programs are necessary to sustain a civilian-led mission; strengthen the capacity of the Iraqi government through police training, criminal justice programs, and military assistance; and ensure the [State] Department and USAID have the necessary resources to support and secure the diplomatic mission”. President Obama may think that he is cleverly shaping a new form of diplomacy, but what he is really doing is undermining and even breaking the military role that can be leveraged to strengthen diplomatic aims and ensure an American victory.

Conservatives envision the military as a crucial component of diplomacy, an important union. President Obama and other Statists on the other hand, view the military as a hindrance to diplomacy. Changing diplomacy therefore, is being carried out a number of ways by the Obama Administration: diminishing the military role and leadership in diplomacy; manipulating the rules of engagement; and making the U.S. military irrelevant elsewhere.

Admittedly, the use of the military pre-Obama has not been perfect. In fact, numerous miscalculations in strategy committed by the White House can be found from President Kennedy onward. From Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan, Commanders-in-Chief have neglected or abused the diplomatic role of the military. Kennedy started the Vietnam War with Advisors, Johnson deepened the commitment in Vietnam and Nixon ended it and no clear endgame or achieving Victory with near 58,000 American lives lost in battle. Carter failed in properly managing the US economy and was paralyzed when it came to using the military as a powerful diplomatic tool; caving in to Iranian revolutionary Islamic fanatics.

The last major diplomatic victory was the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the “Wall” coming down due to Reagan’s leadership and vision. If one error could be highlighted it would be in 1983 when over 200 US Marines and over 50 French soldiers were unwisely billeted in a building at the Beirut airport (not a good role for Marines) killed in Beirut, Lebanon. The Muslim terrorists were emboldened and America and her allies have paid dearly in the Middle East ever since. The failures have continued, H.W. Bush was about three days from toppling Iraq’s Hussein in 1991 and why didn’t he order the military to proceed anyway? Because, we subjugated our nation to the United Nations.

Clinton, who needed to learn the military salute properly after he became President, began on a foundation of incoherent foreign policy with the Bosnian War, Black Hawk Down, the 1993 bombing of New York’s World Trade Center, and two US embassies in Africa bombed, weaved with scandalous behavior in the Oval Office, and had no clear military success.

Problems existed under George W. Bush as well. Although the Bush Administration cited WMD (weapons of mass destruction) as part of the justification to invade Iraq, Bush and the Pentagon ignored the fact that chemical weapons were transferred from Iraq to Syria in 2003. This has worsened problems in Syria even today. Col. Cowan (Ret.) recalls that, “The way we fought the war in Iraq at the outset was tragic and outrageous because the Pentagon and the military leadership did not understand what they were dealing with. They purposely ignored the lessons of Vietnam”.

Toward the end of the Bush Administration the COIN (counterinsurgency) strategy in Iraq was a fresh idea, and perpetuated by Obama in Afghanistan. However the overall effects of COIN are devastating and have rewarded our enemies. Undoubtedly there has been an accumulation and compounding of the disharmony of the military within diplomacy over the past 52 years, however Obama has accelerated the division by downsizing, degrading and demoralizing the U.S. military.

Obama’s campaign and ideology: Diminishing the U.S. Military

America’s legacy as one of the oldest existing democracies on earth can only be preserved so long as: 1) a majority of U.S. citizens are actively involved in a genuinely representative government; 2) a growing economy persists; and 3) a strong military is maintained to protect the former. This simple triad of democracy becomes predictably fragile when the three are not in balance. The budget deficit and a stagnant economy threaten to destabilize this equilibrium, declining public involvement in governmental affairs has weakened a once strong citizenry, and unpredictable leadership for the U.S. military questions our security.

Part of Obama’s political plan to “change America” as he himself has stated, is to downsize the U.S. military. While one can argue that long-standing trends have eroded our military, very little has been done to stem the decline. Indeed, some argue that Obama has exacerbated problems related to military missions abroad, and our foreign policy positions.

Obama’s first term

Obama’s first year in office did not instill much confidence among military strategists or foreign-policy makers in Washington, DC. Obama revealed his flawed leadership amidst two major events in 2009, the emergence of the Green Revolution in Iran and the abandonment of the missile shield project in Poland and the Czech Republic.

In mid-June of 2009 the test of Obama’s leadership would reveal his feeble responses, and lack of decisiveness on Iran, as Obama said,

“As odious as I consider some of President Ahmadinejad’s statements, as deep as the differences that exist between the United States and Iran on a range of core issues…We will continue to pursue a tough, direct dialogue between our two countries, and we’ll see where it takes us. But even as we do so, I think it would be wrong for me to be silent about what we’ve seen on the television over the last few days.  And what I would say to those people who put so much hope and energy and optimism into the political process, I would say to them that the world is watching and inspired by their participation, regardless of what the ultimate outcome of the election was. And they should know that the world is watching”.

This is a response that would have been appropriate in the Western world, but Obama, throughout the past four years, has neglected to properly assess Iran and other threats in the Middle East because he doesn’t fully comprehend the way America’s enemies think. Since the U.S. officially withdrew in December 2011, “assassinations by Iranians have been quietly conducted, killing Iraqis who worked with or supported the United States. Selective assassinations of individuals [were conducted against those who] wereclose to the U.S. [forces]. Even before the U.S. pulled out, retired and former Iraqis officers and pilots who had participated in the Iran/Iraq war were being assassinated” (Cowan, 2012).

The Obama Administration’s shortsighted decision to remove the missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic on September 17, 2009 fueled uncertainty in U.S. foreign policy and was ill-timed. First, the Obama Administration abandoned the project without discussing the issue with or informing their Polish or Czech Republic counterparts. Secondly, the Obama Administration did not use the decision to leverage other issues with Russia, an obvious sign of weakness in foreign policy. Thirdly and worst of all, the Obama Administration chose the most undesirable date to make the public announcement when ending American support for a missile shield: on the 70th anniversary of the Russian invasion of Poland. Culturally speaking, anniversaries are incredibly symbolic to the Polish people and the brazen announcement by the Obama Administration was not well received by the people of Eastern Europe. “The project is of puny importance militarily, but of enormous significance symbolically…the former captive nations the Shield signifies the US commitment to maintaining their freedom”. The Obama Administration unraveled nearly three decades of trust and hard work that was carefully built between America and Eastern Europe.

Obama’s Cairo speech in 2009 needs to be front and center and is a reflection of the ignorance of his advisors, speech writers and thinking of the Muslim world. Obama gave an inspiring speech to the people in Egypt; however Obama’s speechwriters are incredibly detached from Obama’s actions in the foreign policy sphere. Giving a speech emphasizing acceptance, peace and harmony between America and the Muslim world is one matter, however following through with genuine action is another.

U.S. MILITARY RULES OF ENGAGEMENT AND PRESIDENT OBAMA

The Obama policy makers in the White House and Pentagon have degraded the fighting capabilities of our forces with restrictive Rules of Engagement (ROE). In fairness, Bush initiated very restrictive ROEs.

Instead of being afraid of U.S. firepower, the enemy uses our own Rules of Engagement and restrictions on artillery support against us:

”—U.S. Marine officer quoted in Defense magazine, August, 2012 – Rules of engagement a key issue in U.S. Marine’s court-martial”—L.A. Times, January 2012. “

We called for artillery support and were told we were too close to a village. They ignored us.” A lot of men were dying”— stated Sgt Dakota Meyer, Medal of Honor recipient and veteran of battle of Gangjal.

In today’s world conflicts, the U.S. military operates under guidelines governing their use of deadly force. These guidelines are officially known as Rules of Engagement (ROE). Some countries consider their official ROE as guidelines only, but the U.S. military considers ROE as lawful orders to be strictly obeyed.

Historically, ROE were articulated to limit the damage done by troops of warring nations while accomplishing a military objective. The International Institute of Humanitarian Law publishes what is known as the San Remo Guidelines of ROE. Many countries have used the San Remo document as a basis for their ROE. NATO also publishes ROE to be used by member nations, but has no power to enforce their implementation.

What are the current basics of the ROE our forces operate under? And why do our serving soldiers say they are confusing, ambiguous, and causing unnecessary casualties?

Here is a narrative given by soldiers in an Army platoon discussing ROE with a combat correspondent “In country (Afghanistan) they gave us Use of Force Escalation kits. They are designed to keep people away from us in a non-lethal manner. The kits had “KEEP BACK” signs we could put on the back of our trucks, and small flares we could fire for warnings. Those were taken away and now we are told to drive in a normal manner. If cars back up behind us, we are supposed to pull over and let them pass. This takes our buffer, our zone of safety away. They pull up right beside us and detonate car bombs, or fire on us. It takes away our reaction time.”

It may seem incredible that our ROE have gotten to this point. Perhaps its best expressed by a young soldier in that same platoon: “Joe Biden flew over Kunar province and said it sure looked safe down there. Meanwhile, a hell of a firefight was raging on the ground”.

Maybe our civilian leaders are out of touch with the realities of ground combat. A basic tenet of ROE is that a soldier always has the “first right of defense”, meaning he may fire if fired upon, or, he may engage the enemy first, so long as he perceives a clear and present danger. Well, it used to be that way. Before President Obama took office, U.S. forces could open fire upon enemy combatants who were clearly and definitely observed planting IED’s in roadways. Now, they may have to ask permission through three levels of commanders.

“They are confusing the young soldiers”, complained a veteran NCO, “An IED is incredibly more dangerous in the hands of an enemy than a rifle, yet they have to get permission to engage the fighters”.

Welcome to the new world of infantry combat under Obama.

In World War II, the first thing a U.S. combat unit would do upon entering a town held by the German army was to clear civilians out of churches, and then blow the steeple towers down. Why? Bitter experience taught them that church steeples contained snipers and artillery observers.

Try doing the same today with a mosque. We have devolved in a bad way. There comes a time in infantry combat where a condition sets itself over the scene. It’s called the “fog of war”; a term first used by Clausewitz, a Prussian military general. He wrote that in war everything is simple. You have an army here and an army over there; at some point they will collide and a battle will ensue. But in the confusion of battle, Clausewitz wrote, accomplishing even the simplest tasks becomes incredibly hard. Clausewitz coined this theory around 1830. It’s still valid today. Radios fail, aircraft engines malfunction, units get lost, weapons systems jam. It’s all part of battle. Difficult ROE makes the battle that much harder.

WWII generals such as George Patton and Omar Bradley knew the advantage in seizing ground swiftly and with violence. They ordered their subordinates to overwhelm the enemy with violence of action and maximum force in order to gain ground and shorten the war. The ROE they operated under were clearly defined, and they passed those ROE down to their troops. Patton and Bradley had no intention of placing unnecessary danger or risk on their troops.

WW2 American generals had no intention of allowing the enemy to gain a tactical or strategic advantage and in any event, were not hampered by “Out of Touch” ROE. In every war in history, atrocities have been committed on both sides. A general cannot control the actions of every one of his soldiers on the battlefield. It is a regrettable, but factual, part of war.

In December of 1944, German SS general Jocheim Peiper was rushing to gain ground in the Ardennes forest and overrun American positions. Near the town of Malmedy, Belgium, he took custody of approximately 85 American soldiers who surrendered. According to his account, he didn’t have the means or the time to care for them, so he had them shot.

In retaliation, American soldiers methodically shot captured members of Peiper’s command. An American Colonel issued an order that stated, “No SS troops will be taken prisoner”. Both acts are inexcusable, and both armies attempted to justify their acts under the pressure of combat.

Here is the bottom line: American soldiers should be able to defend themselves in any situation, in any environment, if there is a clear and hostile threat. An American soldier takes an oath to protect and defend the United States and the constitution against all enemies. An American soldier is also bound by the rules of land warfare to provide all the protection he can to non-combatants and children, and to minimize, where possible, collateral damage that may occur. This includes private property and property of no military value.

However, if your enemy is using a mosque to employ snipers against you, or planting IED’s in public buildings, the U.S. military should employ all means necessary to neutralize that threat.

It is regrettable that in Iraq and Afghanistan, our enemies choose a cowardly way of fighting a war; i.e. hiding in a mosque so that they can then kill our soldiers, or deliberately using non-combatants as human shields. As horrible as those circumstances are, however, Americans should always have the right to defend themselves.

There are several stories about wanton killings and atrocities against civilians committed by American troops deployed in combat zones. But the total number of those incidents is outweighed not by the hundreds, but by the thousands, in terms of how U.S. troops have taken casualties, rather than risk collateral damage to non-combatants.

Appeasement

“With a few exceptions on minor issues, Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have preached and practiced appeasement toward Moscow. One example is the signing of the START II treaty of 2011, which put America’s security at a disadvantage by forcing the US to obey by an agreement concluded with a party that no longer exists, the USSR. We are forced to disarm unilaterally. And now the Shield project will be scratched. President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.

President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…

President Obama: (putting his hand on Medvedev’s knee): This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

In a way, then, the unguarded remarks of Obama reflect the administration’s consistency and continuity in its policy of appeasing Russia. What’s unsavory about the whole affair is that a hot microphone accorded America and the world a glimpse at frank, back door deals between the most powerful leader on Earth and the boss of a regional power” ” Chodakiewicz, 2012: pp 1

Objectifying the Military

Obama has objectified the military personnel in ways that divide rather than unite. The overall morale of the military after poorly managed, drawn out wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was already unstable by 2009 when Obama became Commander-in-Chief. Obama has done little to boost the morale in the military and has offered no realistic solutions to strengthen our military. In fact, the evidence discloses that Obama has set our military on a course of unpredictable erosion and decay through acts that have demoralized our military.

A number of misplaced priorities between the White House and the Pentagon have distracted our military from a core mission. “We’ve allowed ourselves to get out of control,” according to the Army’s top enlisted soldier who has surveyed U.S. military bases globally, Sgt. Maj. Raymond F Chandler III. While his aim has been to improve discipline and focus among the armed forces, Sgt. Maj. Chandler’s own leadership has been uncertain. Jaffe emphasizes “As the war in Afghanistan draws to a close, more senior officers worry that the Army has not been able to articulate a clear mission that will enable it to hold on to its shrinking share of the Pentagon budget” (2012: pp. 2). An internal survey conducted in December 2011 indicates that Obama has not had an uplifting influence on the personnel and morale of the military, “only 26 percent of Army leaders believed that the Army was ‘headed in the right direction to prepare for the challenges of the next 10 years,’ down from 38 percent in 2006”.

What could cause such a decline in the confidence of the military officers for its Commander-in-Chief? Firstly, the priorities of the code of conduct have changed. Today’s Generals are occupied with covering up incidents so that it does not affect their career to be concerned the greater need of boldly leading their soldiers. Remember the SEALS who were going to be court-martialed after they brought in a confirmed Taliban prisoner with a bloody nose? That guy fought back and they had to subdue him. How about the death of Pat Tillman? Both were tragedies, but what the Generals should do is SPEAK UP and tells it like it is.

Obama is socializing the Military.

The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has taken precedence over the sexual harassment (and even rape) of men and women in the military. With all the associated problems of being involved in two wars, Obama’s top agenda with the military was to cater to homosexuals. The military should not be coerced into being a place for social experimentation. The irony of serving as a soldier is that he or she necessarily gives up a lot of basic rights for the common good of the mission to protect the rights of U.S. citizens and the nation. There are a whole host of problems inherent in Obama’s repeal such as: Do we allow on-base housing for “married same-sex couples”? Do we allow PDA’s (public displays of affection) between gay military members when it has always been discouraged among heterosexual members if it is detrimental to good order and discipline? Do we allow same-sex dancing in on-base clubs? Do we allow a gay soldier to file a complaint against his/her commanding officer alleging maltreatment because of sexual orientation when in reality it is actually a case of substandard performance by the gay soldier? The military will under Obama, and it will distort the oneness and equality needed for military commanders. Overall the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has had a tremendous negative effect on the military. No special group should be catered to within the military, whether it is based on gender, sexual orientation, or race. “The military to Obama is a big social experiment and he has demonstrated that in his policies”

The increasing numbers of wounded warriors, including PTSD, and suicides under Obama is also disconcerting. 2012 marked the record number of suicides over the past decade among soldiers and family members, most who have never been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, according to the Military Suicide Research Consortium. The feeling of hopelessness, internal pain, inability to cope with life’s challenges can be attributed to the lack of inspiring leadership in the military.

The lack of concern for the soldier’s political vote, sending the ballots early in October to reach the polls before 6 November 2012, even conveniently losing the ballots, was another act of disrespect by the Obama Administration and their policies.

Obama is committed to slashing the military budget and would rather send needed troops home than dismiss an over-bloated bureaucracy to make a leaner Pentagon. According to LTC Bill Cowan (Ret, USMC.),

“The number of reports generated every month by the Pentagon is staggering. There is a growing government affinity for generating regulations and reports, which sends a message that wars don’t grow, but the Pentagon bureaucracy does. If you cut one-quarter of the staff in the Pentagon we will not lose our war fighting capability. In fact, we may even get better!” (2012).

Nation Building

This misconceived war fighting strategy has cost the U.S. valuable human and financial resources (billions of dollars) with no victories for the American people. How can we expect Muslim (Sharia guided) countries of the Middle East to adopt democracy and is certainly not a mission of the Armed Forces. Do not confuse the terms “nation building” with “foreign internal defense” (FID). FID means organizing a resistance movement by training indigenous personnel to combat and overthrow a murderous regime that supports terrorist attacks on the U.S. The terms are quite different. “Nation Building” is more properly the purview of the U.N., private sector initiatives, NGOs, the Red Cross or some interim governing body. Our military objective should be to get in, eliminate the threat posed by belligerents to the U.S. and get out. This is also a basic tenet of the Lilly Pad strategy. We do not need to build huge bases in foreign countries that publicly ask us for help and undermine the US and its mission. Earlier, I mentioned Forward Operating Bases. The best current example I can give is the Australian army in Afghanistan. Their soldiers live in “battle boxes” (conexes) with small generators for light and a/c. Their perimeters are well guarded and enclosed by concertina wire and claymore mines to repel attacks. Their ammo bunkers are battle boxes partially submerged in the ground and protected by sandbagging. An entire base like this can be set up in a day and a half, and removed and placed elsewhere in about the same time.]

The COIN strategy as discussed previously was implemented in Vietnam and Iraq however it was expanded by Obama in Afghanistan.

Col. Douglas MacGregor (US Army Ret), Military Strategist and Author writes:

“When the Surge in Iraq began, no one in Washington was interested in explaining why the world’s most powerful military establishment led by Petraeus was buying off its Sunni Arab opponents with hundreds of millions of dollars, effectively supplanting counterinsurgency with cash-based cooptation.[iv]  When the Surge in Iraq ended, no one in Washington wanted to discuss why Tehran’s Shiite allies in Baghdad restrained their fighters, and waited until the U.S. occupation ended before consolidating their control of Arab Iraq. In 2009, an Iraqi journalist described the outcome in terms no serious observer of the conflict could ignore:

‘Observers not steeped in Iraqi history might be bemused to find that six years after the toppling of a dictator, after the death of several hundred thousand Iraqis, a brutal insurgency, trillions of wasted dollars and more than 4,000 dead US soldiers, the country is being rebuilt along very familiar lines: concentration of power, shadowy intelligence services and corruption’” (2012).

Feedback that I have received from many mid-level officers and non-commissioned officers voice many and varied new doubts about the Army’s battlefield performances and senior leadership in Iraq and Afghanistan. A few years ago, Army officers almost universally celebrated the service’s freshly minted counterinsurgency doctrine and its ability to adapt to a new kind of warfare. Soldiers who were trained to fight tank battles shifted to a style of combat that emphasized politics, cultural awareness and protecting the local population from insurgent attacks.

Today Iraq, which is still wracked by violence and heavily influenced by Iran and ISIS forces has provided no victory for America and we do expect victory when we expend great losses of life and thousands of wounded troops. In Afghanistan, a surge of more than 30,000 U.S. troops has produced a stalemate that leaves soldiers counting down to withdrawal at the end of 2014.

Donovan summarizes his view of the illusions of Obama’s COIN strategy success here:

“In the interests of such political correctness, relevant terms like Islam, Islamist, Muslim, and even terrorist have been stricken from the public vocabulary with JCS help. Witness the recent Benghazi fiasco! The debate is not over mayhem or atrocity committed in God’s name. National politicians and the military brass are arguing whether or not to use the word “terrorist” in their reports dealing with Muslim barbarities.” (2012, p. 1)

And consider the ‘inside baseball’ spat over doctrine to be used against the nameless enemy; the counter-terror versus counter-insurgency (COIN) debate within the military. Petraeus apologists believe that the former ISAF commander reinvented the US Army with new doctrine; and then rode the COIN horse to promotions and prominence.

In truth, COIN played little or no role in Iraq or Afghanistan for two reasons; the force ratios required by Army doctrine, impractical theory, were never achieved. And both conflicts, like most Muslim wars, are civil, not insurgent. These internecine Islamic fights are between Sunni and Shia or between autocrats and theocrats. Neither NATO nor the US Army has the charter or doctrine to resolve these or any other religious or tribal civil wars. Evolution might be the only solution to any Muslim pathology.

COIN had nothing to do with tactical “success” in Iraq or Afghanistan either, but such distractions may contribute to strategic defeat. Theoretical illusions, even those nursed in the halls of ivy, are blinders. Theory, or more honestly, politicized military doctrine does not win wars…

While the U.S. still has the best war fighting force in the world, Generals have become more concerned with political correctness than they are with war fighting capability and future strategies against current and future threats( our borders, for example). This is in contrast to the soldiers focusing on the mission. However there has been an inflation of military Generals as LTC Bill Cowan recalls. During WWII our military had one General for about every 2,000 enlisted men and women, today we have one General for about every 400 enlisted men and women. Do these extra Generals enhance or augment our war fighting capability?

Obama has thus far not improved the U.S. military after President George W. Bush and Obama has no successes to claim. To be fair, as mentioned previously the military has been eroding at various levels over the generations, however the Obama Administration has served as more of a catalyst to the erosion rather than a stabilizer. Reminiscent of the World War I song, “Over There,” by World War II the U.S. military was labeled by the Europeans as being “Over-paid, Over-sexed, and Over Here” Today it could be argued that the U.S. military is over-regulated, over-promoted, and over-stretched.

Benghazi was a blatant failure by Obama and most of the military leadership. For the 2012 election, it is highly suspected that Obama personally requested that the Royal Family in Saudi Arabia increase oil production to ease the complaints about gas prices among voters before the election. If true, this demonstrates that Obama is willing to manipulate the economy solely for his selfish gain. Therefore would it be any surprise that Obama would be willing to negatively influence the US military, if he is willing to maneuver the prices of gasoline at the pump to deceive the voter?

Now obvious that the Muslim Brotherhood has support in the White House.

Obama’s Military Evolution

The continued corruption of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been perpetuated by Obama. Obama Administration has no successes to claim.

Promises to exit Iraq and Afghanistan without a stable and effective plan have left both countries more vulnerable than ever. Obama’s failures to negotiate a proper status of forces agreement (SOFA) in Iraq

Our foreign policy is about other people liking us instead of other people fearing us. For instance, over the past decade, the US has been more concerned about a friendly relationship with Karsai than with leading Afghanistan out of corruption and war. How the US handles Karsai has steered our foreign policy platform and it has killed more troops under Obama.

Obama’s Future Leadership

Obama creates urgency at the last minute. Obama’s strategy is to push the pressure point. Obama’s projected budget cuts for the military are expected to be politically charged, with little effectiveness largely because Obama does not want to understand the tradition of the U.S. military. While recognizing that the U.S. still has the most powerful military in the world, Colonel Bill Cowan (ret.) asks, “if we don’t have a Commander-in-Chief that understands this and is not willing to exercise force at the right time, then why have the most powerful military in the world?” Cowan also confesses, “We have political leadership that is more interested in their next promotion than they are taking care of the military…Don’t ask the generals for their opinion on defense cuts, they have a vested interest and will not address the spending problem properly. It’s best to ask Sergeant Majors on a panel, ‘where cuts should be made?’”

Some might argue that Colin Powell became too politicized. However, one could argue it began with General Washington after the Revolution, General Grant after the Civil War, and General Eisenhower after World War II. However today, in order for a flag or command staff person to get a promotion, it must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. So over the past few generations of high-ranking military, the military has had to please the Democrats. Donovan quoted a veteran who asked regarding General Petraeus, “How does an officer with no personal experience of direct fire combat in Panama or Desert Storm become a division CDR (101st Airborne) in 2003…(and how does) a man who served repeatedly as a sycophantic aide-de-camp, military assistant and executive officer to four stars get so far?” Politics inevitably skews the military leadership; the question is, for better or worse? What is the motive when our Generals take a promotion from General to the State Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the Head of the CIA?

Now that Obama is, for better or worse, our Commander-in-Chief for another four years, it is imperative that our General officers SPEAK UP, for the sake of our troops and the American people. We do NOT advocate a “coup d’état” against the principle that wisely keeps civilian control over our military; but what we SHOULD espouse is that our active General officers use every means and opportunity to address the threats that the U.S. now faces.

Reviewing the details, the disappointing relationship between Obama and the military is very real and apparent. President Barack Obama signed a $633 billion defense bill for 2013 despite serious concerns about the limits Congress imposed on his handling of terror suspects and lawmakers’ unwillingness to back the cost-saving retirement of aging ships and aircraft.

Obama had threatened to veto the measure because of a number of concerns, but relented because he couldn’t pick and choose specific sections. However, in a statement, the president spelled out his concerns about restrictions on his ability to carry out his constitutional duties as commander in chief. Specifically, he complained that the bill limits the military’s authority to transfer third-country nationals being held at a detention facility in Parwan, Afghanistan. He also took issue with restrictions on his authority to transfer terror suspects from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“Decisions regarding the disposition of detainees captured on foreign battlefields have traditionally been based upon the judgment of experienced military commanders and national security professionals without unwarranted interference by members of Congress,” Obama wrote.

He said the section of the bill related to detainees in Afghanistan “threatens to upend that tradition, and could interfere with my ability as commander in chief to make time-sensitive determinations about the appropriate disposition of detainees in an active area of hostilities.”

Obama promised when he took office four years ago to close the prison at Guantanamo, but congressional opposition from Republicans and some Democrats have prevented him from fulfilling that vow. The law limits his authority to transfer terror suspects to foreign countries or move them to the United States. Obama insisted that he still believes that Guantanamo should be shuttered because operating the facility “weakens our national security by wasting resources, damaging our relationships with key allies and strengthening our enemies.”

The president has his administration will interpret the bill’s provisions and if they violate the constitutional separation of power, he will implement them in a way to avoid that conflict.

The law puts off the retirement of some ships and aircraft, and Obama warned that the move could force reductions in the overall size of the military as the Defense Department faces cuts in projected spending. The law includes cuts in defense spending that the president and congressional Republicans agreed to in August 2011, along with the end of the war in Iraq and the drawdown of American forces in Afghanistan. And it would authorize $528 billion for the Defense Department’s base budget, $17 billion for defense and nuclear programs in the Energy Department and $88.5 billion for the war in Afghanistan.

The measure tightens penalties on Iran to thwart its nuclear ambitions and bulk up security at diplomatic missions worldwide after the deadly Sept. 11 raid in Libya.

As suicides among active-duty soldiers have accelerated, the bill also allows a commander officer or health professional to ask if a member of the services owns a firearm if they consider the individual at risk for either suicide or hurting others.

The bill includes a Senate-passed provision sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., that expands health insurance coverage for military women and their dependents who decide to have abortions in cases of rape and incest. Previously, health coverage applied only to abortions in cases where the life of the mother was endangered. The measure includes a 1.7 percent pay raise for military personnel.

Conclusions: Conflict within the executive branch and the military will continue to cause misdirection and confusion on future US National Security and adaptable global conflict strategies. We must have more sense and wisdom about engagement and conflicts in this year 2013 and beyond. We do not seem to look back in history well and have major problems in seeing and forecasting the future. We seem to be a nation that is rudderless. We, the people, are the “Masters of our Fate and Captains of our Soul and Destiny”.

The Nature of change – War and conflict will remain a human endeavor, a conflict between two forces, yet changes in the political landscape, adaptations by the enemy, and advances in technology and techniques will change the character of the battle. Leaders are often late to recognize such changes and adjust to the proper uses of hard and soft power options, and even when they do, inertia tends to limit their ability to adapt quickly. Driven by an inherent desire to bring order to a disorderly, chaotic universe, human beings tend to frame their thoughts about the future in terms of continuities and extrapolations from the present and occasionally the past. But a brief look at the past quarter century, to say nothing of the past four thousand years, suggests the extent of changes that coming decades will bring.

Any updated US strategic doctrine will still have to include preemption across many fronts. Inevitably, there will be new perils that may require “anticipatory self-defense.” Where rationality cannot be assumed, and where the effectiveness of missile defense would be low, the only alternative to capable and lawful forms of American preemption could be surrender and defeat.

All policy makers need to ask and answer to the American people, “What is the US and Western civilization fighting for?” “What is it that we are defending and protecting based on our Constitution?” Well, it’s everything that shariah Islam stands against: Judeo-Christian principles, individual liberty, equality before the law, equality of Muslim and non-Muslim, men and women; it is the freedom to believe as our conscience directs us, even if that means no belief at all, or changing beliefs; it means protections for minorities; pluralism, and tolerance….but all within the ethical framework of human reason as laid down by the Founding Fathers.

We hope President Obama will take heed and strengthen the United States for the future by his relationship with our Military and ensure the future security of the United States.

Paul E Vallely MG, US Army (Ret)
Chairman – Stand Up America
E-Mail: princenemo@reagan.com
“ Celtic Warrior”
Skype: paulvallely
http://www.standupamericaus.org
http://www.soldiersmemorialfund.org

Sources:

Cowan, William. (2012) Interview on December 4, 2012.
Chodakiewicz, Marek. (2012) “Hot Mike Gate.” Institute of World Politics. March 28, 2012http://www.iwp.edu/news_publications/detail/hot-mike-gate
Dilanian, Ken. (2012) “Fact check: Iran’s ‘Green Revolution’ in 2009.” Los Angeles Times October 22, 2012.
Donnelly, John M. “Rise of Military Suicides Driven By More Than War.” Roll Call December 9. 2012https://msrc.fsu.edu/news/rise-military-suicides-driven-more-war
Jaffe, Greg. (2012) “Army at crossroads: Facing budget cuts and uncertainty about future role.” The Washington Post November 22, 2012.
MacGregor, Col. Douglas (2012) “The Petraeus Saga: Epitaph for a Four Star” CounterPunchNovember 14, 2012 http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/11/14/epitaph-for-a-four-star/
Nation, Craig R. (2010) “Chapter 8: Thucydides and Contemporary Strategy.” in: Bartholomees, J. Boone Jr. (ed.) The U.S. Army War College Guide to National Security Issues, Volume I: Theory of War and Strategy (4th Edition). Carlisle, PA: The Strategic Studies Institute.
White House. (2012) “Overseas Contingency Operations.”www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/overseas.pdf

RAND PAUL: IT’S AMERICA’S FAULT

Rand-Paul-GOP-maine-apBreitbart, by DR. SEBASTIAN GORKA:

Clearly, for some, 2016 is just around the corner. For weeks now there is scuttlebutt about presidential candidate repeat-offender Mitt Romney running yet again, and now Rand Paul is drastically watering down his isolationist and conspiracy-laden past in the hopes of becoming a contender. The senator’s attempt to reinvent himself is largely superficial and points to deeper problems.

On Friday in New York, Paul gave his national security stump speech, unveiling as he did so his platform of “conservative realism,” and sounding in places as if he was reversing some of his key beliefs.

Like the “curates egg,” there were some bad parts and some positive elements to the speech. To begin with, when the politician most associated with the new version of libertarianism that favors a United States detached from the world says “America cannot disengage from the world,” that is news, indeed– and something to be welcomed by those who agree that we cannot realistically and safely disengage internationally.

But the omissions of the speech are strange and hard to fathom. No mention of Israel; no mention of the border or immigration; no mention of the NSA trammeling our privacy rights.

However, it is hard to disagree with the Senator that our forces were magnificent in the weeks after 9/11 as a small group of Special Operators with local assistance demolished the Taleban and routed Al Qaeda, and that afterward their success was progressively undermined by ever-increasing mission-creep.

And it is easy to agree with Paul’s utter contempt for the way in which, more recently, the Obama administration used force in Libya without a real strategy, let alone Congressional consent.

But then taken as a whole, the speech is neither an about-turn for the isolationist– sorry Paulites, I mean “non-interventionist”– politician, nor does it add up to a new plan under which the right will finally act coherently on national security issues.

On the contrary, it is confused and disingenuous. Let’s begin with the confusion.

In a week that saw two jihadist attacks in Canada and one in New York, one would expect a trenchant and forthright handling of the threat that has shaped our age. Instead Paul gave us this:

The world does not have an Islam problem, the world has a dignity problem, with millions of men and women across the Middle East being treated as chattel by their own governments.

Sorry? A dignity problem? Who denied Osama bin Laden or Major Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, their dignity? Perhaps the Boston bombers were denied their dignity, but not because they lived in a Middle Eastern nation where the government treated them as property. On the contrary, if their dignity was undermined it was in the form of the Massachusetts state subsidies they received without having to earn them (something the younger Tsarnaev actually boasted about on social media).

So where could this newfound concern for the downtrodden of the world come from for Senator Paul? In truth, the old Rand Paul is lurking just beneath the surface, as this line reveals: “Many of these same governments have been chronic recipients of our aid.” So, Islam is not to blame for jihadi terrorism. America is, because we support unjust regimes.

The fact that Paul uses this argument is not only disturbing in that it negates the responsibility of the jihadists – it’s their governments, and America that keeps them in power – but also because this is the fallacious reasoning behind the Obama’s administration’s counterterrorism strategy.

Senator Paul is not only channeling Chomsky with this speech, he has also reinforced the White House line that ideology is irrelevant in this war and that terrorism is understandably a result of the oppression of Muslims around the word.

Perhaps none of this should be a surprise. We are talking about a man who believes in Alex Jones’ one-world government conspiracy theories about the Bilderberg Group and thatevil masterminds want to create a unitary state out of America, Canada and Latin America. Hardly presidential material.

Sebastian Gorka PhD is the Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory, Marine Corps University, and National Security Affairs Editor for Breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter at: @SebGorka.

Team of Bumblers? Are Susan Rice and Chuck Hagel equal to today’s new national-security challenges?

141026_hirsh_hagel_rice_apBy Michael Hirsh:

When President Obama, after months of equivocation over how to respond to the takeover of parts of Iraq and Syria by radical militants, announced in September that the United States would “lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat,” the White House swung quickly into action, sending proposed legislation to train and equip Syrian rebels to Capitol Hill that same day.

Unfortunately, the White House failed to consult with the Pentagon—which would be doing most of the rolling back—on the timing or details of the announcement.

According to multiple sources, behind the scenes a few things went badly awry in the launch of Obama’s new policy. First, the Pentagon was surprised by the president’s timing, according to a senior defense official. “We didn’t know it was going to be in the speech,” he said, referring to Obama’s Sept. 10 address to the nation. Second, the White House neglected to give Pentagon lawyers a chance to revise and approve the proposed legislative language before it went to the Hill, which is considered standard practice. Staffers working for Rep. Buck McKeon, the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said they were appalled by what they saw: language so sloppy that it failed to mention adequate protections against so-called “green-on-blue” attacks by trainees on American troops, and effectively left the Defense Department liable for funding the mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)—even though the president was telling members of Congress he didn’t need money for this new mission, since the Saudis were putting it up. “What came over would have not have been a mission the DoD could have executed,” says a senior Republican committee staffer.

The Armed Services Committee later went directly to the Pentagon and worked out new language, the White House approved it, and Obama signed the legislation as part of a new Continuing Resolution on Sept. 19. But that was hardly the first instance in recent months when the White House failed to consult with the Pentagon. The office of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was taken by surprise as well last July, when national security adviser Susan Rice sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner requesting a withdrawal of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed in 2002 to enable U.S. military action in Iraq. This letter came after Mosul, a key northern Iraqi city, had already fallen to ISIL and the scale of the threat was becoming clear. The letter was never acted on, and in fact the AUMF that Rice wanted withdrawn is now part of the very authority the administration says it is operating under, along with the 2001 AUMF against al Qaeda. The Pentagon was not given a heads-up about that letter either, according to multiple sources. “We didn’t know it was going over there, and there were significant concerns about it,” said the senior defense official. “We had these authorities to go into Iraq under the 2002 AUMF, which is what she wanted repealed. We believed the authorities were still needed.”
National Security Council spokesman Patrick Ventrell said the Pentagon was informed of the new plan against ISIL before it went to Congress, and that in fact Hagel and Dempsey were with the president the morning of the speech. Although he indicated it was not clear exactly what details of the new strategy were shared with the Pentagon and when, Ventrell said that coordination between the NSC and other agencies is ongoing and extensive, that Rice regularly hosts lunches with Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry. They “have a good, solid working relationship,” Ventrell said.

But it’s clear the finger-pointing between the White House and Pentagon reflects no mere technicality. Both examples cited to me by well-placed sources close to the Defense Department offer new evidence of a criticism that has dogged this administration for most of its six and a half years: that Barack Obama’s White House is so insular and tightly controlled it often avoids “outside” consultation—including with its own cabinet secretaries and agencies. That’s especially true when the issue is one of this president’s least favorite things: opening up new hostilities in foreign lands. To his critics—and I spoke with several for this article inside Obama’s administration as well as recent veterans of it—it’s all a reflection of the slapdash way a president so vested in “ending wars” has embraced his new one.

Indeed, the Syrian-rebel incident recalled a more famous instance of White House surprise tactics a year earlier, when after a stroll on the White House lawn with chief of staff Denis McDonough, Obama embarrassed Kerry by abruptly deciding to ask for congressional approval for bombing the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad—only hours after Kerry had publicly declared that Assad was facing imminent action. (Ironically, after Congress quickly balked at approval, humiliating Obama, it was Kerry who rescued the president by securing an agreement with Russian help to force Assad to dismantle the chemical weapons that had prompted the threatened U.S. strike in the first place.)

In their recent memoirs, former defense secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta also have described the White House-centric foreign policy of the Obama administration—in Panetta’s case, a White House that he said was so “eager to rid itself of Iraq” it rejected Pentagon advice about the need for residual troops in Iraq after 2011, opening the way for ISIL. Gates was even more pointed, writing that “suspicion and distrust of senior military officers by senior White House officials—including the president and vice president—became a big problem for me.”

Read more at Politico

The Poison Tree

Arab protesters wave Islamic flags in front of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel / AP

Arab protesters wave Islamic flags in front of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel / AP

By Matthew Continetti:

Last month, addressing the U.N. General Assembly, Benjamin Netanyahu made a connection between the Islamic State and Hamas. These terrorist entities, Netanyahu said, have a lot in common. Separated by geography, they nonetheless share ideology and tactics and goals: Islamism, terrorism, the destruction of Israel, and the establishment of a global caliphate.

And yet, Netanyahu observed, the very nations now campaigning against the Islamic State treated Hamas like a legitimate combatant during last summer’s Israel-Gaza war. “They evidently don’t understand,” he said, “that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree.”

The State Department dismissed Netanyahu’s metaphor. “Obviously, we’ve designated both as terrorist organizations,” said spokesman Jen Psaki. “But ISIL poses a different threat to Western interests and to the United States.”

Psaki was wrong, of course. She’s always wrong. And, after the events of the last 48 hours, there ought not to be any doubt as to just how wrong she was. As news broke that a convert to Islam had murdered a soldier and stormed the Canadian parliament, one read of another attack in Jerusalem, where a Palestinian terrorist ran his car over passengers disembarking from light rail, injuring seven, and killing 3-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun, who held a U.S. passport.

Islamic State, al Qaeda, Hamas—these awful people are literally baby killers. And yet they produce a remarkable amount of dissension, confusion, willful ignorance, and moral equivalence on the part of the men and women who conduct U.S. foreign policy. “ISIL is not ‘Islamic,’” President Obama said of the terrorist army imposing sharia law across Syria and Iraq. “Obviously, we’re shaken by it,” President Obama said of the attack in Canada. “We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident,” the State Department said of the murder of a Jewish child.

“Not Islamic,” despite the fact that the Caliphate grounds its barbarous activities in Islamic law. “Shaken,” not stirred to action. “All sides,” not the side that targets civilians again and again and again. The evasions continue. They create space for the poison tree to grow.

The persistent denial of the ideological unity of Islamic terrorism—the studied avoidance of politically incorrect facts that has characterized our response to the Ft. Hood shooting, the Benghazi attack, the Boston Marathon bombing, the march of the caliphate across Syria and Iraq, and the crimes of Hamas—is not random. Behind it is a set of ideas with a long history, and with great purchase among the holders of graduate degrees who staff the Department of Justice, the National Security Council, Foggy Bottom, and the diplomatic corps. These ideas are why, in the words of John McCain, the terrorists “are winning, and we’re not.”

A report by Katherine Gorka of the Council on Global Security, “The Bad Science Behind America’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy,” analyzes the soil from which the poison tree draws strength. Since the Iranian revolution of 1979, Gorka writes, U.S. policymakers have faced a dilemma: “how to talk about Islam in a way that is instructive in dealing with Muslims who are enemies but not destructive to those who are friends.” For decades, the preferred solution has been to declare America’s friendship with Islam, and to distinguish between jihadists and everyday Muslims.

One of Gorka’s earliest examples of this policy comes from former Assistant Secretary of State Edward Djerejian, who said in 1992, “The U.S. government does not view Islam as the next ‘ism’ confronting the West or threatening world peace.” Similar assurances were uttered by officials in the Clinton administration, by Clinton himself, and by President George W. Bush. The policy was meant to delegitimize terrorism by denying the terrorists’ claim that they are acting according to religious precepts. “Policymakers believed that by tempering their language with regard to Islam, they might forestall further radicalization of moderate Muslims and indeed even potentially win moderates into the American circle of friendship.”

George W. Bush, Gorka notes, combined his rhetorical appeals to moderate Muslims with denunciations of the immorality of terrorism and illiberalism. And yet, for the government at large, downplaying the religious and ideological component to terrorist activities became an end in itself.

The Global War on Terror was renamed the “global struggle against violent extremism.” In 2008 the Department of Homeland Security published a lexicon of terrorism that said, “Our terminology must be properly calibrated to diminish the recruitment efforts of extremists who argue that the West is at war with Islam.” State Department guidelines issued in 2008 said, “Never use the terms jihadist or mujahedeen to describe a terrorist.”

Then came Obama. As a candidate, he stressed his experiences in Indonesia and Pakistan. He told Nick Kristof of the New York Times that the call of the muezzin is “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” In one of his first major addresses as president, he traveled to Cairo to inaugurate a new beginning with the Muslim world. His counterterrorism adviser, now director of the CIA, called jihad a “legitimate tenet of Islam,” and referred to Jerusalem as “Al Quds.”

The change in the manner in which the government treated Islamism was profound. “Whereas the 9/11 Commission report, published under the presidency of George W. Bush in July 2004 as a bipartisan product, had used the word Islam 322 times, Muslim 145 times, jihad 126 times, and jihadist 32 times,” Gorka writes, “the National Intelligence Strategy of the United States, issued by the Obama administration in August 2009, used the term Islam 0 times, Muslim 0 times, jihad 0 times.” The omission is stunning.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

Obama Terrorism Advisor’s Book Confuses and Distorts

By Raymond Ibrahim:

Reading CDR Youssef Aboul-Enein’s book, Militant Islamist IdeologyUnderstanding the Global Threat, published by the Naval Institute Press (2010), one can see why U.S. leadership is far from “understanding the global threat”; why the Obama administration is supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood; and why so many U.S. politicians rose up in condemnation when one obscure pastor threatened to burn a Koran.

book2According to the jacket cover, Aboul-Enein is “a top adviser at the Joint foIntelligence Task Force for Combating Terrorism” and “has advised at the highest levels of the defense department and intelligence community.”

What advice does he give?

He holds that, whereas “militant Islamists” (e.g., al-Qaeda) are the enemy, “non-militant Islamists” (e.g., the Muslim Brotherhood), are not: “It is the Militant Islamists who are our adversary. They represent an immediate threat to the national security of the United States. They must not be confused with Islamists.”

This theme, sometimes expressed in convoluted language—at one point we are urged to appreciate the “nuanced” differences “between Militant Islamists and between Militant Islamists and Islamists”—permeates the book.

Of course, what all Islamists want is a system inherently hostile to the West, culminating in a Sharia-enforcing Caliphate; the only difference is that the nonmilitant Islamists are prudent enough to understand that incremental infiltration and subtle subversion are more effective than outright violence. Simply put, both groups want the same thing, and differ only in methodology.

Whereas most of the book is meant to portray nonviolent Islamists in a nonthreatening light, sometimes Aboul-Enein contradicts himself, for instance by correctly observing that “the United States must be under no illusions that the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood includes limiting the rights of women” and other anti-Western aspects.

How to explain these discrepancies? Is the Brotherhood a problem for the U.S. or not?

The book’s foreword by Admiral James Stavridis clarifies by stating that the book is a “culmination of Commander Aboul-Enein’s essays, lectures, and myriad answers to questions.” In fact, Militant Islamist Ideology reads like a hodgepodge of ideas cobbled together, and the author’s contradictions are likely products of different approaches to different audiences over time.

His position on appeasing the Muslim world—a fixed feature of the current administration’s policies—is clear. Aboul-Enein recommends that, if ever an American soldier desecrates a Koran, U.S. leadership must relieve the soldier of duty, offer “unconditional apologies,” and emulate the words of Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Hammond: “I come before you [Muslims] seeking your forgiveness, in the most humble manner I look in your eyes today, and say please forgive me and my soldiers,” followed by abjectly kissing a new Koran and “ceremoniously” presenting it to Muslims.

Likewise, after rightfully admonishing readers not to rely on skewed or biased accounts of Islam, he presents Islamic apologist extraordinaire Karen Armstrong—whose whitewashed writings on Islam border on fiction—as the best source on the life of Muhammad.

Then there are Aboul-Enein’s flat out wrong assertions and distortions, examples of which this review closes with:

  • He asserts that “militant Islamists dismiss ijmaa [consensus] and qiyas [analogical reasoning].” In fact, none other than al-Qaeda constantly invokes ijmaa (for instance, the consensus that jihad becomes a personal duty when infidels invade the Islamic world) and justifies suicide attacks precisely through qiyas.
  • He insists that the Arabic word for “terrorist” is nowhere in the Koran—without bothering to point out that Koran 8:60 commands believers “to terrorize the enemy,” also known as non-Muslim “infidels.”
  • He writes, “when Muslims are a persecuted minority Jihad becomes a fard kifaya (an optional obligation), in which the imam authorizes annual expeditions into Dar el Harb (the Abode of War), lands considered not under Muslim dominance.” This is wrong on several levels: a fard kifaya is not an “optional obligation”—an oxymoron if ever there was one—but rather a “communal obligation”; moreover, he is describing Offensive Jihad, which is designed to subjugate non-Muslims and is obligatory to wage whenever Muslims are capable—not “when Muslims are a persecuted minority.”

Obama Throws the Free Syrian Army Under the Bus

Smoke rises following an airstrike by US-led coalition aircraft in Kobani, Syria, during fighting between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, Oct. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) LEFTERIS PITARAKIS — AP

Smoke rises following an airstrike by US-led coalition aircraft in Kobani, Syria, during fighting between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, Oct. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
LEFTERIS PITARAKIS — AP

PJ Media, By Patrick Poole, October 16, 2014

For the past three years, the Obama administration has hailed the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as the saviors of Syria — the “vetted moderate” force that was going to topple the butcher Assad. Because of that, the administration provided training, money and weapons to prop up the FSA (the word is they sent lawyers too).

But according to a report last night by Hannah Allam at McClatchy, Obama is now throwing the FSA under bus:

John Allen, the retired Marine general in charge of coordinating the U.S.-led coalition’s response to the Islamic State, confirmed Wednesday what Syrian rebel commanders have complained about for months – that the United States is ditching the old Free Syrian Army and building its own local ground force to use primarily in the fight against the Islamist extremists.

“At this point, there is not formal coordination with the FSA,” Allen told reporters at the State Department.

That was perhaps the bluntest answer yet to the question of how existing Syrian rebel forces might fit into the U.S. strategy to fight the Islamic State. Allen said the United States’ intent is to start from scratch in creating a home-grown, moderate counterweight to the Islamic State.

For most of the three years of the Syrian conflict, the U.S. ground game hinged on rebel militias that are loosely affiliated under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, or FSA. Their problems were no secret: a lack of cohesion, uneven fighting skills and frequent battlefield coordination with the al Qaida loyalists of the Nusra Front.

Last month I reported here at PJ Media about the coordination of the “vetted moderate” FSA with Jabhat al-Nusra and even ISIS. That coordination was later confirmed by a senior FSA commander.

Those reports came just as Congress was considering a vote to spend another $500 million to train their administration’s “vetted moderate” partners. That funding wasapproved by both the House and the Senate before Congress left town for the election break. With Obama cutting the FSA loose less than a month later, those who voted against the funding are going to look like geniuses.

Now that the FSA is safely under the bus it remains to be seen exactly who Obama is going to enlist to train and fight. Most of those who can fight are already in the fight. What are they going to do now, put out an ad on Craig’s List?

As one observer noted last night, Syria watchers should keep an eye out for the following ad showing up in the help wanted section of Middle East newspapers:

Wanted, Multicultural, non-sectarian, Jeffersonian democrats interested in military careers. English a plus. Drug test required.

Under Obama’s bus must be getting crowded…

The Strong Horse

The statue of Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Maude, KCB, CMG, DSO that stood in Baghdad until the Iraqi revolution in 1958

The statue of Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Maude, KCB, CMG, DSO that stood in Baghdad until the Iraqi revolution in 1958

By Mark Steyn:

On March 11th 1917, General Maude’s British Indian army marched into Baghdad and took as prisoners almost 10,000 Ottoman troops. If you had to locate the birth of the modern, post-caliphate Arab world in a single event, that would be it. Over the next few years, London and Paris drew lines in the sand and invented the western Middle East, and the states we treat with today – Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia. The British certainly understand the significance of March 1917: When they returned to Baghdad to topple Saddam a decade ago, they named their new military headquarters in the Green Zone “Maude House”.

Likewise, if one were to pick a single, decisive event that would mark the end of the modern, western Middle East and the dawn of the post-western pre-modern Middle East, it would be the fall of Baghdad to ISIS or ISIL or, as they prefer to be known, “the Islamic State”.

Is that likely? According to General Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking on ABC News at the weekend, the head hackers were within 15 miles with “a straight shot to the airport“. As I write, they’re apparently within eight miles. The Iraqi Army do not seem minded to put up much of a fight – unlike, say, the Kurds in Kobani. And naturally, heady on its usual cocktail of treachery and delusion, Washington has chosen to stiff the Kurds but prop up the Iraqi Weapons of Mass Desertion.

Can American air support delay the inevitable? Or will the jihad boys soon be poking around not only the abandoned Maude House but also the largest and most expensive US embassy on the planet, laughing it up for the cameras in front of askew portraits of Joe Biden? One assumes the Administration is at least rehearsing some spin for this eventuality, although with the Obama crowd nothing can be taken for granted. Still, no doubt Susan Rice will be sent out on the Sunday talk-shows to declare that Baghdad is of no strategic significance, and the court eunuchs of the American media will helpfully explain how this shows Obama’s commitment to fulfilling his election promise of decisively ending Bush’s Iraq war – or, alternatively, that Obama is too sophisticated to be trapped by outmoded paradigms such as victory and defeat.

Read more at SteynOnline

Total Strategic Incoherence

kerry-300x173UTT, By John Guandolo, Oct. 15, 2014:

Enough Americans have a solid understanding of the threats our nation currently faces that the perspective of history is unnecessary for us to recognize – in the moment – that our leadership is catastrophically unprofessional in their national security duties, and we have now achieved a level of strategic incoherence never before seen in recorded history.

America’s enemies are telling us exactly who they are and want they intend to do.  In many cases, they are putting it right in our faces. Yet our leaders at the federal level continue to ignore the clearly articulated plans of those who wish to destroy us in exchange for unmitigated fantasy that we can convince others to like us, as well as those inside our government who are intentionally sabotaging this nation in an effort to destroy it.  The latter will not be addressed here as it has been detailed in previous UTT articles.

Across continents, Islamic armies are butchering non-Muslims and Muslims who will not comply with the Sharia or whom are guilty of crimes under Sharia. These groups call themselves Boko Haram, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Abu Sayyaf, Al Shabaab, and a variety of others all of whom state their objective is to impose Sharia globally under the Islamic State or Caliphate. This is the same stated objective of the Muslim Brotherhood, Tabligi Jamaat, Jamaat e Islami, and every Muslim nation on earth at the Head of State and King level via the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Ten Year Plan. This also happens to be the same stated objective of every jihadi arrested in Europe, the United States, and everywhere else on the planet. It is also a fact that 100% of all published Sharia (Islamic Law) mandates jihad until the entire world is ruled by Sharia under the Caliphate, and all (100%) published Islamic Law only defines “jihad” as “warfare” against non-Muslims.

The Islamic enemy is completely unified in their stated objectives, yet the entire U.S. Government leadership from the President, to his National Security Advisor, to the heads of the CIA, FBI, DHS, and Military, and the Cabinet Secretaries all march in unison stating none of this has to do with Islam. From this grotesque lack of intellectual and factual honesty comes strategic blunders that leave a person speechless.

The President states ISIS is “not Islamic” yet continues to support the Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas, Al Qaeda forces and others in places like Syria and Libya.  Secretary of State Kerry stated before Congress recently that “(ISIS is) the enemy of Islam. That’s what they are.  There’s nothing in Islam that condones or suggests people should go out and rape women and sell off young girls or give them as gifts to jihadists and, you know, cut people’s heads off.”  Apparently, neither has read Islamic Law which explicitly calls for these things.  As a matter of fact, beheadings and crucifixion are part of the Hadud Laws which are specifically articulated in the Quran.

The President and his Chief of Staff (former Deputy National Security Advisor), FBI Director, Director of Central Intelligence, Secretary of Homeland Security, and others continue to look to Muslim Brotherhood leaders in America to give them their info on Islam and Sharia, as well as allowing these jihadis to write doctrine for domestic counterterrorism strategy and foreign policy – which is why our leaders are clueless. This cluelessness allows our enemies to extract the very outcome they are gunning for – complete strategic incoherence.  When the FBI fails in these duties, state and local law enforcement officials are left out to dry.

The catastrophic strategic results speak for themselves:

* The U.S. Department of State wrote the Constitutions for Iraq and Afghanistan which created Islamic Republics (not democracies) under Sharia law – thus fulfilling Al Qaeda’s objectives for the region.  Despite crushing our enemies on the field of battle, the U.S. lost these wars.  Today, Americans and those who gave their blood and bodies for this cause watch as the gains made are being washed away by a different flavor of the same enemy.

* The U.S. government takes sides with “moderate” Islamic groups without understanding the strategic implications, and our government ends up supporting Al Qaeda and/or Muslim Brotherhood entities with arms and money in Libya, Syria, and Egypt.

* The U.S. Government via the President and Secretary of State negotiate with hostile nations/entities like the Taliban, Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, and others thinking we can cajole them into seeing the issues our way. All the while we are completely ignorant that their guiding principles are enshrined in Sharia, a body of law they believe must be obeyed above all other laws and systems. Therefore, we are always on the losing side of these discussions.

* Those on the front lines of this war go into harms way unclear about the threat, the enemy threat doctrine (Sharia), and how to dialogue with the enemy until they gain practical experience on the ground. Since primary Muslim Brotherhood organizations like ISNA, CAIR, MAS, and others have been given access to military units and our war colleges by the Pentagon and commanding generals, our military is not only being kept from a factual understanding of the enemy, they are the target of information operations by our enemy to specifically keep them from knowing the enemy.

* When senior generals do speak out, it is to silence the factual basis for identifying and understanding the enemy. It is the reason our leaders obliged our military to dangerously absurd rules of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and why senior Pentagon officials ordered the soldiers at Guantanamo Bay guarding the jihadists to carry Qurans for prisoners wearing white gloves and treating the Quran like a“delicate piece of art.” This nonsense has no place in a war, but is the intentional result of our leadership failures to get a clear understanding of what this nation is facing.

* The U.S. military continues to train foreign personnel in Islamic countries yet cannot understand why these same “friends” would kill our troops in acts of jihad (martyrdom).

* There is no understanding of the implications of the US v Holy Land Foundation trial (Dallas, 2008), the largest terrorism financing and Hamas trial in U.S. history – inside our federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Therefore, senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders and organizations continue to support jihadi operations, recruit and “radicalize” jihadis, and influence and conduct counterintelligence operations inside our national security apparatus.  They do this almost completely unimpeded.

*Our counterintelligence programs do not blend well with the counterterrorism programs in either the CIA or FBI and, therefore, we do not see – strategically – the meshing of foreign intelligence services, their political representatives here, and the jihadi operations. Saudi Arabia is an excellent example of this. The Saudi government was complicit in 9/11, as was the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. and members of Saudi intelligence. Saudi Arabia supports terrorism more than any other nation on the planet beside Iran – yet they continue to be given a free pass by the U.S. government.

* U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country partner with Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas entities to train their employees, as well as FBI and DHS employees, despite facts already in evidence (US v HLF).

* Since 2012 when the FBI Director, DHS Secretary, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Dempsey shut down all training inside the government about the Muslim Brotherhood, the HLF trial, Islamic Law (Sharia), the strategic threat from the global Islamic Movement and related topics, the impact on international operations and investigations has been severe. The FBI’s latest threat matrix does not even include Islamic terrorism as a major threat to the United States. This defies rational thought. These days Chairman Dempsey publicly states his concern for ISIS, but fails to recognize it is his own policy of silencing the facts and truth inside the Pentagon that has led to a strategic collapse of fundamental war fighting mantras like “know thy enemy.”  The question he must be asked when he makes statements that Islam does not support what Al Qaeda and ISIS are doing is: “What Islamic Law have you read General?”

* Congressmen Gerry Connolly, Keith Ellison, Andre Carson John Conyers and Senators like Richard Durbin and others have given public support, using their official office, and, in some cases, raised money for MB/Hamas in the U.S. doing business as “CAIR.”  Yet, this behavior, which is against U.S. law, is left unchallenged by the Department of Justice.

There are those who have argued that it is difficult and nearly impossible to speak truth inside the system today, and that is true.  However, the Oath of Office obliges all in positions of authority to give their fidelity to the Constitution, not to their jobs or their promotions.

But this strategic incoherence is certainly not left only the Islamic threat.

The Iranians are forging ahead with their nuclear program openly stating they will destroy Israel when capable.

The Chinese and the Iranians have been conducting joint Naval exercises while the Chinese intelligence service is eating our lunch by penetrating U.S. government systems on a regular basis and conducting economic warfare against us at unprecedented levels.

The Chinese and the Russians have taunted the U.S. on a number occasions with provacative actions including a Russian bomber flying over Guam during the President’s State of the Union Speech last year.  The Chinese popped one of their subs up in the middle of a U.S. Naval exercise recently just to show us they can. Our strategic response – nothing.

In fact, our military and civilian leaders publicly state our greatest threat is “global warming.”

Message to our enemies – we are weak and will not respond to aggressive action.

The historical result of such weakness and appeasement has always been grave violence to the nation demonstrating such weakness.

Our allies do not trust us and our enemies do not fear us. We are extremely vulnerable.

And this is not the worst of it. The utter catastrophic failure by our leaders to have a working knowledge of our enemies and their doctrine has resulted in the deaths of Americans abroad and at home. Equally devastating is the loss of the security of communities across this nation which will – because of the failure of our leaders – have to deal with the jihadis on the streets of America in coming months in ways most people find unimaginable.  This is a threat that can be mitigated now, and needs to be.  Every day we wait is another level of security we are losing.

The way in which the government is dealing with the threat from Ebola – while ISIS calls for it to be used as a strategic weapon against us – gives us a glimpse into the lack of leadership, basic intellectual acumen, and the vacuum of common sense in those men and women charged with defending our nation at the top.

There is no other outcome than the defeat of America when the entire American leadership structure on both sides of the political aisle fails to identify the enemy and make  complete victory our national objective.

Anything less will  leave the world without the lamp on the hill shining the light of liberty.

 

The demise of ‘responsibility to protect’ at the U.N.

10142014_b1maylgun8201_c0-440-1800-1489_s561x327By Clifford D. May:

Remember R2P? Not to be confused with R2-D2 (a robotic character in the “Star Wars” movies), “Responsibility to Protect” was an international “norm” proposed by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan following the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and the mass murders in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica a year later. The idea was for the “international community” to assume an obligation to intervene, militarily if necessary, to prevent or halt mass atrocities.

Why has R2P not been invoked to stop the slaughters being carried out in Syria and Iraq? Why isn’t it mentioned in regard to the Syrian-Kurdish city of Kobani, which, as I write this, may soon be overrun by barbarians fighting for what they call the Islamic State?

Here’s the story: In 2009, Mr. Annan’s successor, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, issued a report on “implementing” R2P. The foreign-policy establishment cheered. For example, Louise Arbour, a former U.N. high commissioner for human tights, called R2P “the most important and imaginative doctrine to emerge on the international scene for decades.” Anne-Marie Slaughter, an academic who served under Hillary Clinton at the State Department, went further, hailing R2P as “the most important shift in our conception of sovereignty since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648.”

In 2011, President Obama cited R2P as his primary justification for using military force to prevent Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi from attacking the opposition stronghold of Benghazi.

If that was the apogee of R2P, the nadir was not far off. The intervention in Libya has led to chaos and bloodshed with no end in sight. Meanwhile, in Syria, four years ago this spring, Bashar Assad brutally cracked down on peaceful protesters.

Mr. Obama made Mr. Assad’s removal American policy but overruled the recommendation of his national security advisers to assist Syrian nationalist opposition groups. Civil war erupted. Self-proclaimed jihadis from around the world flocked to Syria to fight on behalf of the Sunnis. The opposition was soon dominated by the al Nusra Front, an al Qaeda affiliate, and the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL), whose leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, broke with al Qaeda and, audaciously, declared himself caliph, or supreme leader.

As for Mr. Assad, he is supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran, deploying both its elite Quds Force (designated in 2007 by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization) and Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based militia loyal to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Russia also backs Mr. Assad, even supplying on-the-ground military intelligence specialists.

With no U.N.-approved R2P effort to rescue the innocent civilians of the region from these brutal forces, the death toll in Syria and Iraq has topped 200,000, and the number of refugees is in the millions.

Read more at Washington Times

Does Obama Need ‘Time’ to Defeat or Forget ISIS?

isis-2-450x315By aymond Ibrahim:

During U.S. President Obama’s televised speech on his strategies to defeat the Islamic State, the president said, “Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL” (a reference to the Islamic State, or “IS).

Now, why is that?

First, we know by “cancer” he is not referring to Islamic ideology—since he does not acknowledge that Islam has anything to do with violence and even banned knowledge of Islamic ideology from being studied by law enforcement and national security communities.

Were he referring to Islamic ideology, the need for “time” would of course be legitimate, to say the least.

No, the cancer he is referring to is the very real, tangible, and temporal Islamic State, which exists in time and space.

But this prompts the following question: Why did it take the United States military three weeks to overthrow the very real and tangible regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003 whereas “it will take time”—years, according to most military analysts—for the U.S. to defeat the Islamic State?

This question becomes more urgent when one considers that the Iraq conquered by the U.S. in less than a month had an actual government and longstanding military and was better organized and consolidated—certainly in comparison to the Islamic State, often described as a “ragtag team of terrorists” that seems to have appeared out of nowhere.

The reason it will take years is because Obama refuses to strike the Islamic State decisively and effectively, specifically by sending in U.S. ground forces—the very forces that were responsible for keeping the Islamic jihadis at bay; the forces he withdrew leading to the rise of the Islamic State; and the forces that he refuses to utilize again, even though they are necessary to decisively crush the “caliphate.”

Obama’s “it will take time” assertion prompts the following prediction: U.S. airstrikes on Islamic State targets will continue to be just enough to pacify those calling for action against the caliphate (“we’re doing what we can”).  The official narrative will be that the Islamic State is gradually being weakened, that victory is a matter of time (remember, “It will take time”).

Read more at Frontpage

THE REAL FRONT IN THE WAR AGAINST ISIS

ISIL-Militant-TriumphantBreitbart, By Katie Gorka:

As the war with ISIS heats up, so too does the debate over what it will take to win.  Immediately following Obama’s announcement of air strikes against ISIS, the debate centered on whether air power was enough or whether the United States also needed to commit boots on the ground.

However, in recent days the focus has shifted to the war of ideas.  The now infamous verbal brawl between Ben Affleck and Sam Harris on the Bill Maher show is just one sign that more and more people are identifying the ideology of jihad as the main front in this war.

General Jonathan Shaw, former Assistant Chief of the UK Defence Staff, said in a recent interview with The Telegraph that the war against ISIS will not be won militarily.  This battle must be fought ideologically and politically.  He said the heart of the problem is Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s funding of militant Salafism.  Saudi Arabia has long funded radical mosques and Islamic cultural centers across the globe, and Qatar supports Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, considered the spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Al Jazeera, the pro-Muslim Brotherhood news outlet.  But these efforts have now backfired.  According to General Shaw: “This is a time bomb that, under the guise of education, Wahhabi Salafism is igniting under the world really.  And it is funded by Saudi and Qatari money and that must stop.  And the question then is ‘does bombing people over there really tackle that?’ I don’t think so. I’d far rather see a much stronger handle on the ideological battle than the physical battle.”

Even President Obama, who spends much of his energy insisting that Islam is a religion of peace and that ISIS has nothing to do with real Islam, acknowledged that ideology might have some role here. In his September 24 speech to the United Nations General Assembly, he said, “It is time for the world — especially Muslim communities — to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of organizations like al Qaeda and ISIL.”  But as Bill Gertz points out in a recent article, in fact the Obama administration is not engaging in the ideological war. They simply refuse to engage the Islamists on the battlefield of ideas.  Gertz quotes Quintan Wiktorowicz, an architect of U.S. counter-extremism strategy, who blames this failure on Constitutional constraints:

While the government has tried to counter terrorist propaganda, it cannot directly address the warped religious interpretations of groups like ISIL because of the constitutional separation of church and state…U.S. officials are prohibited from engaging in debates about Islam, and as a result will need to rely on partners in the Muslim world for this part of the ideological struggle.

But this is disingenuous.  Wiktorowicz is on record in numerous places asserting the need for the United States to tread softly with Salafists in order to avoid pushing them toward violence, even while he acknowledges that in the long run they do endorse violent jihad.

President Obama himself has repeatedly engaged in discussions about Islam, stating, for example, as he did on September 10th when he announced his plan to fight the Islamic State, “ISIL is not Islamic.”  John Kerry has likewise entered the fray, insisting that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam, an assertion that has formed the basis of U.S. counter-terrorism policy and training under the Obama administration.  So to say that U.S. leaders cannot talk about Islam is simply untrue.  It is how they talk about that it is the problem.  The bottom line is that they do not see the fundamental clash between Islamism and the principles of the American founding, and as a result, they are fighting this as a purely tactical war.

As Robert Reilly, former director of the Voice of America, has written, “In fact, the U.S. side has failed to show up for the war of ideas. Strategic communication or public diplomacy, the purpose of which is to win such wars, is the single weakest area of U.S. government performance since 9/11.”

Refusing to engage in the war of ideas, whatever the reason may be, is a disservice both to Americans and to the world’s Muslims.  It is a disservice to Americans because unless the United States engages in the ideological war against ISIS, the battlefield will simply keep repopulating itself.  For every fallen jihadist, there will be ten ready to take his place, another hundred willing to fund and support them, and another thousand to silently cheer them on.  So it is not Al Qaeda or even ISIS who are the real enemies, but the ideology that inspires them, and it is this ideology that the United States must oppose, among both its violent as well as its non-violent adherents.

Obama and many others have said this is not our debate, the Muslim world must work this out for itself.  But this is not true.  The ideas of the American founding are as relevant for the Muslim world as they are to the West.  America’s forebears learned over centuries that when religion is allowed to drive politics, it leads to tyranny, oppression and endless conflict.  This is no less true for the Muslim world.  As Ahmad Mustafa writes in today’sGulf News, “Whether we like it or not, we all helped in the rise of this terrorism by manipulating religion. And here comes the simple conclusion: Religion in politics leads only to ills.”  He goes on to say, “The fight for Islam will not be won unless the current alliance partners, and the rest of regional and international powers, come to an agreement on freeing politics from religion.”

As the war of ideas heats up, the good news is that Americans are throwing off the strictures against talking about Islam.  People like Ben Affleck and Bill Maher and Sam Harris are engaging in substantive debate about the nature of Islam and what is at stake. The bad news is that our own leaders so far are not exercising – or permitting – the same freedom.  And until they do, the ideas driving our enemies will continue to thrive.

Katie Gorka is president of the Council on Global Security.  Follow her on twitter @katharinegorka.

Washington’s VICE: Supporting Islamists

vice newsCSP, By Kyle Shideler:

VICE News recently produced a revealing documentary highlighting the Islamic Front, a coalition of Islamist Syrian rebels. Embedded with Tawhid Brigade fighters in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the documentary maintains a generally unquestioning and supportive tone, but nonetheless is informative. Within the first five minutes, the narrator affirms the Tawhid Brigade’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and the role of Qatar in supporting and backing the Islamic Front is repeatedly emphasized throughout the hour-long program. In a segment with the Islamic Front Sharia court, the judges vow to implement Islamic law in a manner not much different from the Islamic State (ISIS), although stressing that ISIS should have waited until Syria was fully liberated and Assad beaten. The VICE video does not mention, however, the Islamic Front’s ties to Al Qaeda, through the AQ-linked Ahrar Al-Sham unit of the Front, whose connections have been ably documented by jihadist monitoring website, the Long War Journal.

While perhaps news to the general public watching VICE News, these sorts of facts are well known. They were certainly known even before the push by elements of the foreign policy community in Washington to highlight the Islamic Front as the kind of rebels that should be supported in Syria. One piece for Foreign Affairs in January of 2014 referred to the Front’s Ahrar Al-Sham as “An al Qaeda–Linked Group Worth Befriending.” One of the authors of that piece, William McCants, works for Brookings Institute, a think tank revealed by the New York Times to have received $14 million over four years from the government of Qatar. The Qataris themselves had arranged for Ahrar Al-Sham to meet with Western diplomats in November 2013 just three months prior to the Foreign Affairs piece. Of course, Brookings would have us believe that their support for Qatari-backed rebel groups, and their own backing from Qatar are unrelated. And of course, it is unsurprising that Qatar would back a Muslim Brotherhood-linked rebel group, considering the strong support Qatar has expressed for the Brotherhood in the past.

Not all those who wished to put the U.S. into bed with an Al Qaeda-Muslim Brotherhood alliance in Syria have financial interests as potential motivations. For some, that support is likely ideological- as they have, like the Tawhid brigade, ties to the Muslim Brotherhood themselves.

Consider the repeated calls by the Syrian Emergency Taskforce for U.S. support for the Islamic Front, even after the U.S. was rebuffed by the group. According to the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch, an intelligence digest focusing on the Muslim Brotherhood, four of the seven named board members of the SETF have ties to Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organizations. The executive director of SETF, Mouaz Mustafa, was responsible for arranging Senator John McCain’s meeting with the Northern Storm rebel group. Northern Storm has been accused of playing a role in the abduction of journalist Steven Sotloff. Sotloff’s fixer for the trip, who was also kidnapped by ISIS but released, was affiliated with the Tawhid brigade, which Northern Storm later joined.

Another group, the Syrian American Council (SAC), has also attempted to position the Islamic Front as appropriate U.S. allies. Mohammed Alaa Ghanem, the group’s director of government relations accused the United States of bombing Islamic Front targets in an article entitled, “In Syria, the United States is bombing friend and foe alike.” Ghanem has publicly praised the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief shariah jurist, Yusuf Al Qaradawi, a man who called for jihad in Syria, and called for the 2004 killing of Americans in Iraq. The Syrian American Council has sponsored a speaking tour of the United States featuring a known radical cleric named Sheik Mohammad Rateb al-Nabulsi who supported Palestinian suicide bombings. Another cleric Sheik Osama al-Rifai, who raised funds for the Syrian Sunrise Foundation (which shares board members with the SAC), has publicly supported the Islamic Front. Among the places where Rifai raised funds was the Mosque Foundation of Bridgeview, Ill., whose two founders have Muslim Brotherhood ties according to documents released by federal prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation trial.

All of this background is part of what makes the VICE documentary so revealing. What VICE stated openly is an unassuming factoid that can, in fact, be found on Wikipedia. But its unstated significance explains much regarding elements among those who support the Syrian rebels, and their fixation on involving the U.S. with the Islamic Front. The Front’s sharia judges openly, and without slick editing, stating their case for sharia law, including beheadings for “criminals,” is something that people outside of Washington will see and comprehend, even if those who should know better continue to push for relations with the Islamist group.

It seems for many in Washington, support for Islamists is a vice they are unable to quit.

*******

Ghosts of Aleppo (Full Length)

Published on Sep 30, 2014 by VICE News

 

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