“Mr. President, Who are YOU to say what is Muslim and what isn’t?”

Published on Sep 13, 2014 by RightSightings2

“ISIL IS Islamic” says Judge Jeanine Pirro as she eviscerates Barack Obama’s foreign policy in dealing with ISIS.

Obama Pushes U.S. Deeper Into Middle East to Fight Islamic State

President Obama Addresses the Nation on the ISIL Threat

FULL WH TRANSCRIPTION OF SPEECH HERE

By CAROL E. LEE and JULIAN E. BARNES:

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama authorized the start of U.S. airstrikes in Syria and expanded a monthlong bombing campaign in Iraq to “degrade and ultimately destroy” Islamic militants who recently beheaded two Americans.

The decisions, outlined Wednesday in a prime-time address to the nation on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, considerably deepen U.S. military involvement in the Middle East. They also mark an acknowledgment by Mr. Obama that the intensity of the threat from the militant group Islamic State requires the type of long-term, open-ended conflict he has resisted since taking office—and which he campaigned for the White House saying he would avoid.

In asking Americans to support another military incursion in the Middle East, Mr. Obama said his strategy to combat Islamic State, also called ISIS and ISIL, would be bolstered by a coalition of Arab and European nations. His plan builds on his authorization in August of airstrikes in Iraq to protect American personnel threatened by Islamic State and to provide humanitarian assistance to besieged Iraqis.

Mr. Obama said the U.S. goal now is to help Iraqis reclaim large swaths of territory the group has rapidly overtaken in recent months since spilling over from its stronghold in neighboring Syria. His speech paves the way for the first U.S. strikes at the group’s bases and havens in Syria.

“America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat,” Mr. Obama said in remarks from the White House. “I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

The president gave no timetable for the new, U.S.-led fight against what he described as “a terrorist organization” with members “unique in their brutality.”

In addition to launching airstrikes against the militants in Syria, Mr. Obama pledged a new dose of support for moderate Syrian fighters also battling the extremist group. Taken together, the steps draw the U.S. closer toward the volatile Syrian civil war and open a new front for American efforts in the region.

Saudi Arabia has offered to host a U.S.-run training facility for moderate Syrian rebels, U.S. and Arab officials said. The facility is expected to be able to handle as many as 10,000 fighters, but details are still being worked out, the officials said.

Read more at WSJ

Also see:

 

Honor the 9/11 Dead: Defeat the Enemy & Punish Those Supporting Them

WTC-and-Pentagon-on-9-11By John Guandolo at Understanding the Threat, September 11, 2014:

It is 13 years after September 11, 2001.

How are we honoring those slain on that day? How are we honoring those in uniform who have given the last full measure of devotion for a cause they believed is truly right and just?

In preparation for his speech Wednesday night (9/10/14), America’s President sought council from the King of Saudi Arabia – the largest financial sponsor of the global jihad.

At the leadership level of our federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies, “catastrophically ignorant” is the only appropriate way to describe their status with regards to our enemy.  And yet our leaders shut down meaningful, fact/evidence based training on this enemy in compliance with the requests of their Muslim Brotherhood masters.

Nearly every major Islamic organization in the United States has been identified in U.S. federal terrorism trials as being a part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic Movement with the stated goal of destroying America from within via Civilization Jihad.  Yet, our President, National Security Council, State Department, FBI, DHS, Pentagon, and others, ONLY rely on Islamic advisors who are leaders of known MB organizations or affiliated with the MB Movement.

Around the world the Islamic armies are overthrowing nations, brutally murdering non-Muslims (over 100,000 Christians per year in the last few years) by beheading them, crucifying them, burying them alive, and the like – all of which comports to Sharia (Islamic Law).  Yet our leaders say this war has “nothing to do with Islam.”

Because of cowardly and criminally negligent leadership on both sides of the political aisle in America, in our Universities, in our churches, and across our media, the enemy has been given wide latitude to push their jihadi movement forward with great force and success.

We wouldn’t want to offend them after all.

On Wednesday (9/10/14), demonstrating the light of hope for rational thought is still alive, Vice President Dick Cheney called (19:06) for the Muslim Brotherhood to be designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and noted they are the root of the global jihad.  At the same time this administration materially supports the MB and Al Qaeda in Libya and Syria against the sitting governments.  All of us would be in jail for such actions.

This behavior, in no way honors the 9/11 dead or our troops who have died in battle.  It is time we rectify this.  It is time to engage and defeat the enemy and punish those who support them.

It is time to recognize the fact that the enemy leading the MB Movement in America wearing suits and spending time with our leaders in cities like Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, Denver, Charlotte, Miami, Dallas, Detroit, and others, is the same enemy  cutting off children’s heads and putting them on pikes in Syria and Iraq.  It is the same enemy our troops fought and are fighting in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines, North/Central/East Africa, and elsewhere.  This is the global Islamic Movement with one unified goal – the establishment of a global Islamic state (caliphate) under which Sharia (Islamic Law) is the law of the land.

Our Constitutional Republic stands on the principle that God gave us our liberty and no man nor any government may take that liberty from us.  That is the ideal found in our Declaration.  Our Constitution is the first great attempt to make that ideal a reality.  Since its inception, our nation has been the most prosperous, generous, and virtuous in the history of mankind.  Not perfect, but our system requires the drive towards liberty and away from tyranny.

The Islamic Movement seeks to impose Sharia, which necessarily enslaves people and strips them of their God-given liberty.  Women are property under Islamic Law.  Apostates and homosexuals must be killed if they do not repent and change their ways under Islamic Law.  Non-muslims must convert, be killed, or submit to Sharia and pay the non-muslim poll tax under Islamic Law.  100% of all published Islamic law agree on these matters.

This enemy only understands one thing – strength and power.  We must exert our strength and power and ensure the enemy knows we will not surrender anymore ground, and we will retake the ground lost thus far.

It is time for the think tanks across this nation to stop mincing words about this Islamic enemy by creating fictitious meaningless phrases which do anything but identify the enemy.  We must recognize that at the nation-state level (hint: Organization of Islamic Cooperation), there is a global war being waged by an Islamic enemy, and we appear to be the only ones unaware.

It is time to shut down the thousands of MB front groups and Islamic Centers in America – which the MB itself says are places from which the jihad will be launched.  All of the MB leaders should be treated like the jihadis (“terrorists”) they are.

Saudi Arabia should be handled like the terrorist state it is.  Men like former Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Bandar, who funded two of the 9/11 hijackers through a third party,  should be treated as a “terrorist,” as should other members of the Saudi elite class who the U.S. government knows are currently funding the global jihad.

Men like Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the richest men in the world and a leading funder of the global jihad, and who sits on the board of Time Warner  and News Corp, should be handled like any other terrorist, not like an executive of a media giant.

George Soros has created thousands of organizations which work daily to undermine our Constitutional Republic.  Included in these are many organizations, like the New America Foundation, which directly support and work with the Islamic Movement.  Mr. Soros, his enterprise, and at least one of his sons all work to support our enemies and destroy this nation, and all should spend the rest of their days behind bars for it.

Leaders of DHS, FBI, CIA, State Department, and other branches of the government, as well as elected officials who:  continue to appoint Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas, and Al Qaeda individuals to positions of authority inside our bureaucracy; give quarter to our enemies; apologize for and defend their actions; attend functions to raise money for the jihadis; and aid and abet them in any way, should meet the fate of a traitor because they have and are violating the law – not to mention violating their Oath of Office to “protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies.”

When men like Denis McDonough, the President’s former Deputy National Security Advisor, publicly laud leaders of MB organizations and funders of Hamas like Imam Mohamed Magid of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), allow him to have input on U.S. foreign policy and domestic counterterrorism strategies, and give him a security clearance and access to sensitive U.S. systems, Mr. McDonough should go to jail, not get promoted.

When the FBI Director collaborates with leaders of Hamas (dba “CAIR”), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and other jihadis, and then testifies before Congress that he did not know the place where the Boston Marathon bombers were radicalized was founded by an Al Qaeda operative – and Americans are dead – well…we put doctors and lawyers in jail for criminal negligence like this.

When elected officials and law enforcement leaders raise money for Hamas in America, they should be prosecuted for a variety of charges, including material support for terrorism.  They are breaking the law and should pay the price for directly supporting our enemies.

The President himself has violated his oath of office and federal law, abused his powers of the office he holds, and has exposed America and its people to grave dangers on a number of levels.  At no time in history has such a gross disregard for the Constitution been so evident, yet the American people so silent.

It is time for those who give aid and comfort, propaganda, material support, and financial reward to our enemies to pay a price.  And it should be a harsh price.

If we are to honor the great and heroic sacrifices of all of the men and women who gave their lives on 9/1/01 and since, it is time for America to shed its weak and traitorous leadership and begin to retake our place in the world as the strong, principled leader we are and were meant to be.

If Americans would like to experience on U.S. streets what we are witnessing in Syria, Iraq, Niger, Mali, Pakistan, and elsewhere around the world, then let us continue on the road we are on of capitulation and defeat.

If we want to stand on the wall and defend Western civilization, the actions advocated here are much less severe than we will have to engage in when the enemy makes itself prominently known in our hometowns.

John Guandolo bio

THE GIPPER DECLARES WAR ON ISIS

reagan_flagsBreitbart, by DR. SEBASTIAN GORKA, September 11, 2014:

Today on the thirteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks the media cycle is being driven by President Obama’s speech last night in which he informed the world of his plans for Iraq and Syria. How different would our response as a nation be if the Commander-in-Chief were Ronald Reagan? 

My Fellow Americans,

Today we face a threat the likes of which we have not seen since the darkest days of World War II and the Cold War.

Our enemy is not ISIS, The Islamic State, or even Al Qaeda, it is the ideology that drives all such barbaric groups.

It is the ideology of Global Jihadism.

In the name of God, the adherents of this world view crucify Christians, behead Americans, and massacre or subjugate any and all who stand in their way, man, woman, or child.

These people are not driven in their ferocious violence by actual grievances, by a need to resist tangible oppression. They are not “freedom fighters.”

Theirs is a totalitarian vision of the world just as binary and absolutist as that of the Third Reich or the political masters of the Soviet Union.

For Abu Bakr al Baghdadi,  and his followers in the Islamic State, there will be no negotiated settlement to this war. No ceasefire instrument signed on the deck of an aircraft carrier. For the global Jihadist Movement there is either victory or death. And even in death there is an individual victory with martyrdom in the name of killing the infidel guaranteeing eternal salvation for the jihadist.

Whatever name they go by, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, or The Islamic State, these organizations are cut from the same cloth. There are born of the ideas which founded the Muslim Brotherhood. The conviction that “true Muslims” cannot live under un-Islamic systems; that democracies, those systems in which humans make the laws thus abrogating Allah’s sovereignty, must be destroyed; and that the only choice for the infidel is between conversion or death.

Our Republic was born out of a resistance to tyranny. We all know that America was founded on the principle that each and every human being has unalienable rights.

Why do they have these rights: because they are endowed with them by The Creator. And this is why every soul that walks the earth has innate dignity. A dignity that Global Jihadism wishes to negate and, through its actions, destroy.

Tonight America is declaring war on the ideology of Jihadism and commits herself to destroying not only The Islamic State, but anyone who subscribes to the same beliefs, whatever name they give themselves.

Our nation is often criticized for its unique sense of self, for the idea that we have a special job to do in the World, a Manifest Destiny as some have called it. But let the facts speak for themselves. When a totalitarianism based on racial purity threatened the whole world, and which in the course of six years would result in the deaths of 60 million people, it was America that saved Europe from herself, from the vision of a “thousand-year” Reich.

When a class-based absolutist ideology later threatened not just Europe, but Asia, Latin America, and even Africa with its goal of all humankind yoked underneath the “dictatorship of the proletariat”, again it was America which answered the call, stood firm, supported those who would resist the inhumanity of the Marxist, and ultimately facilitate the collapse of Communism.

The threat is no smaller today. In fact, the religious totalitarianism of the Jihadist Movement has a narrative which in many ways is more powerful that either Mein Kampf or Das Kapital. We never faced members of the SS or the KGB prepared to be suicide bombers. Today we do. From the World Trade Center, to the London Underground, from Amman, Jordan to Bali, we face an enemy who will literally stop at nothing to subjugate or destroy us and our way of life.

But there is good news that I must share also.

Just as we destroyed Hitler’s Third Reich and vanquished Communism, we will destroy the ideology of Global Jihadism.

This will be done not only on the battlefield but in the court of world opinion. We will strike, and strike hard at its forces in Iraq and elsewhere, recognizing as we do so that this type of irregular war cannot be won from 20,000 feet by airpower alone. It will take brave men on the ground to take the fight to the terrorists and insurgents, men who will ideally be from the Muslim allies of the United States. Iraqis, Kurds, Jordanians, even Egyptians. But they will be accompanied by forward deployed members of our Special Forces, those brave Americas who have proven time and again, from battlefields as far apart as Afghanistan and Colombia, that where they can be the back-bone of the local resistance to the enemies of all that is good and fair, the fight is winnable.

Our Muslim and Arab allies must be the frontline in this conflict, but without America’s fighting with them, this war will not be won. Not simply because out forces are so superior, but because if we are not prepared to send our people in harms way to fight the barbarians that wish to destroy our civilization then we send a very simple message to the Enemy and the world: our civilization is not worth saving.

Make no mistake, this will be a long and hard fight, but we have faced off and defeated the enemies of modernity and civilization before and with God’s help we will do so again.

But we must learn the lessons of the past. When fighting totalitarians, it is never enough to defeat them militarily. One must defeat them ideology. We must delegitimize their claims to righteousness and justice. We much demonstrate to the world that our values are the true and universal ones and we are prepared to fight for them.

God Bless our Troops, God Bless America.

Sebastian Gorka is the Matthew C Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at Marine Corps University and National Security Affairs editor with Breitbart.com . Follow him at @SebGorka.

‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Commander Admits Alliance with ISIS, Confirms PJ Media Reporting

As-Iraq-Burns-US-Plans-500-Million-to-Terrorists-in-Syria-610x400

This is what the D.C. foreign policy establishment has reduced itself to when it comes to Syria — cozying up to al-Qaeda (or Iran and Assad) in the name of “countering violent extremism,” namely ISIS, and entertaining each other with cocktail party talk of “moderate wings” of al-Qaeda. As my colleague Stephen Coughlin observes, our bipartisan foreign policy establishment has created a bizarre language about Iraq and Afghanistan to avoid the stark reality that we lost both wars. This is the state American foreign policy finds itself in on the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by al-Qaeda.

PJ Media, By Patrick Poole, September 10, 2014:

As President Obama laid out his “strategy” last night for dealing with ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and as bipartisan leadership in Congress push to approve as much as $4 billion to arm the Syrian “rebels,” it should be noted that the keystone to his anti-Assad policy — the “vetted moderate” Free Syrian Army (FSA) — is now admitting that they, too, are working with the Islamic State.

This confirms our reporting about the FSA’s alliances with Syrian terrorist groups here at PJ Media last week.

On Monday, the Daily Star in Lebanon quoted a FSA brigade commander saying that his forces were working with the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate — both U.S.-designated terrorist organizations — near the Syrian/Lebanon border.

“We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front by attacking the Syrian Army’s gatherings in … Qalamoun,” said Bassel Idriss, the commander of an FSA-aligned rebel brigade.

“We have reached a point where we have to collaborate with anyone against unfairness and injustice,” confirmed Abu Khaled, another FSA commander who lives in Arsal.

“Let’s face it: The Nusra Front is the biggest power present right now in Qalamoun and we as FSA would collaborate on any mission they launch as long as it coincides with our values,” he added.

In my report last week I noted that buried in a New York Times article last month was a Syrian “rebel” commander quoted as saying that his forces were working with ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra in raids along the border with Lebanon, including attacks on Lebanese forces. The Times article quickly tried to dismiss the commander’s statements, but theDaily Star article now confirms this alliance.

Among the other pertinent points from that PJ Media article last week was that this time last year the bipartisan conventional wisdom amongst the foreign policy establishment was that the bulk of the Syrian rebel forces were moderates, a fiction refuted by a Rand Corporation study published last September that found nearly half of the Syrian “rebels” were jihadists or hard-core Islamists.

Another relevant phenomenon I noted was that multiple arms shipments from the U.S. to the “vetted moderate” FSA were suspiciously raided and confiscated by ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, prompting the Obama administration and the UK to suspend weapons shipments to the FSA last December.

In April, the Obama administration again turned on the CIA weapons spigot to the FSA, and Obama began calling for an additional $500 million for the “vetted moderate” rebels, but by July the weapons provided to the FSA were yet again being raided and captured by ISIS and other terrorist groups. Remarkably, one Syrian dissident leader reportedly told Al-Quds al-Arabi that the FSA had lost $500 million worth of arms to rival “rebel” groups, much of which ended up being sold to unknown parties in Turkey and Iraq.

At the same time U.S.-provided FSA weapons caches were being mysteriously raided by ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, one of the senior FSA commanders in Eastern Syria, Saddam al-Jamal, defected to ISIS. In March, Jabhat al-Nusra joined forces with the FSA Liwa al-Ummah brigade to capture a Syrian army outpost in Idlib. Then in early July I reported on FSA brigades that had pledged allegiance to ISIS and surrendered their weapons after their announcement of the reestablishment of the caliphate. More recently, the FSA and Jabhat al-Nusra teamed up last month to capture the UN Golan Heights border crossing in Quneitra on the Syria/Israel border, taking UN peacekeepers hostage.

But the Free Syrian Army is not the only U.S.-armed and trained “rebel” force in Syria that the Obama administration is having serious trouble keeping in the “vetted moderate” column.

Earlier this week I reported on Harakat al-Hazm, which was the first of the “vetted moderates” to receive U.S. anti-tank weaponry earlier this year. Harakat al-Hazm isreportedly a front for the Muslim Brotherhood as well as  Turkey and Qatar, its Islamist state sponsors.

An LA Times article published this past Sunday from the battle lines in Syria where their reporter recounted a discussion with two Harakat al-Hazm fighters who admitted, “But Nusra doesn’t fight us, we actually fight alongside them. We like Nusra.”

Despite a claim by the L.A. Times that Harakat al-Hazm had released a statement of “rejection of all forms of cooperation and coordination” with al-Nusra Front, I published in my article earlier this week an alliance statement signed by both Jabhat al-Nusra and Harkat al-Hazm forging a joint front in Aleppo to prevent pro-Assad forces from retaking the town.

As the Obama administration began to provide heavy weaponry to Harakat al-Hazm, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy published an analysis hailing Harakat Hazm as “rebels worth supporting,” going so far as to say that the group was “a model candidate for greater U.S. and allied support, including lethal military assistance.”

That error was not as egregious as the appeal by three members of the DC foreign policy establishment “smart set” (including one former senior Bush administration National Security Council official) who argued in the pages of the January issue of Foreign Affairs for U.S. engagement with another Syrian “rebel” group, Ahrar al-Sham.

At the time their article appeared, however, Ahrar al-Sham was led by one of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri’s top lieutenants and former Bin Laden courier, Mohamed Bahaiah (aka Abu Khaled al-Suri). This is why the article was originally subtitled “An Al-Qaeda affiliate worth befriending.” Giving too much of the game away for non-Beltway types, that subtitle was quickly changed on the website to “An Al-Qaeda-linked group worth befriending.”

That dream of “befriending al-Qaeda” was dealt a major blow earlier this week when a blast of unknown origin killed most of Ahrar al-Sham’s senior leadership. Bereft of leadership, many analysts have rightly expressed concern that the bulk of Ahrar al-Sham’s forces will now gravitate towards ISIS and other terrorist groups.

While a McClatchy article on the explosion laughably claimed that the dead Ahrar al-Sham’s leaders represented the group’s “moderate wing” who were trying to come under another fictional “vetted moderate” alliance to obtain the next anticipated flood of U.S. weapons, others have observed that tributes to the dead leaders have poured in from al-Qaeda leaders for their “moderate wing” allies.

This is what the D.C. foreign policy establishment has reduced itself to when it comes to Syria — cozying up to al-Qaeda (or Iran and Assad) in the name of “countering violent extremism,” namely ISIS, and entertaining each other with cocktail party talk of “moderate wings” of al-Qaeda. As my colleague Stephen Coughlin observes, our bipartisan foreign policy establishment has created a bizarre language about Iraq and Afghanistan to avoid the stark reality that we lost both wars. This is the state American foreign policy finds itself in on the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by al-Qaeda.

As congressional Republicans and Democrats alike will undoubtedly rush in coming days to throw money at anyone the Obama administration deems “vetted moderates” to give the appearance of doing something in the absence of a sensible, reality-based strategy for understanding the actual dynamics at work in Syria and Iraq, an urgent reexamination of who the “vetted moderates” we’ve been financing, training and arming is long overdue. It is also essential to know to whom the State Department hascontracted the “vetting.” This is especially true as ISIS leaders are openly bragging about widespread defections amongst FSA forces that have been trained and armed by the U.S. to ISIS.

Predictably, the usual suspects (John McCain and Lindsey Graham) who have been led wide-eyed around Syria by the “vetted moderate” merchants and have played the administration’s “yes men” for a fictional narrative that has never had any basis in reality will undoubtedly hector critics for not listening to their calls to back the “vetted moderate” rebels last year when they could have contained ISIS — an inherently false assumption. These usual suspects should be ashamed of their role in helping sell a fiction that has cost 200,000 Syrians their lives and millions more their homes while destabilizing the entire region. Shame, sadly, is a rare commodity in Washington, D.C.

Notwithstanding Obama’s siren call for immediate action, Congress should think long and hard before continuing to play along with the administration and D.C. foreign policy establishment’s “vetted moderate” fairy tale and devote themselves to some serious reflection and discussion on how we’ve arrived at this juncture where we are faced with nothing but horribly bad choices and how to start walking back from the precipice. As we remember the thousands lost on that terrible day thirteen years ago, truly honoring their memory deserves nothing less.

Don’t Forget About Al Qaeda

Al-Qaeda-flag-Tunisia-thumb-560x318-1191By Thomas Joscelyn:

President Obama is set to discuss his plan for confronting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in a primetime speech this evening. According to press reports, the president is ready to authorize the use of military strikes against the group in Syria. Thus far, American military action has been limited to neighboring Iraq. This is a step in the right direction by Obama. As the administration recognizes, the U.S. and its allies cannot take the fight to ISIL without targeting its substantive strongholds in Syria.

Airstrikes are not enough, however, to dislodge ISIL from its safe havens in Iraq or Syria. In Iraq, the president is trying to work with Iraqi forces, which are both weak and overly dependent on Iran. Iranian-backed forces are not going to clear and hold the Sunni lands north of Baghdad currently under ISIL’s control. In fact, Iranian-supported Shiite extremists only serve to further exacerbate the situation as they lash out at Sunnis, turning some would-be partners into ISIL’s allies or even a new generation of radicals.

There is a further complication in Syria — al Qaeda its allies control a sizable force. While everyone’s eyes are fixed on ISIL, other anti-American jihadists are still very much a part of the fight.

And the president needs to outline a strategy not only for fighting ISIL, but one that also addresses the other anti-ISIL jihadists in Syria. It is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, for Obama to do so without using American military force in a more robust way.

During his appearance on NBC’s Meet The Press with Chuck Todd this past weekend, Obama insisted that the U.S. will not put boots on the ground to lead the fight. The president said America needs “to have a more sustainable strategy, which means the boots on the ground have to be Iraqi. And in Syria, the boots on the ground have to be Syrian.”

Todd pressed Obama on Syria, asking whose boots we can rely on. “Well, we have a Free Syrian Army and moderate opposition that we have steadily been working with, that we have vetted,” Obama replied. “They have been on the defensive, not just from ISIL, but also from the Assad regime.”

The president’s explanation raises a number of problems. The U.S. has not been “steadily…working with” a moderate opposition in Syria. America’s efforts were at first nonexistent, then minimal and uneven. Because the West did not forcefully back the first rebels opposed to Assad in 2011, there is no “moderate opposition” in Syria today capable of ejecting ISIL from its substantial territorial holdings.

In between ISIL and Assad sits al Qaeda’s official branch, Jabhat al Nusrah (JN), and allied groups. Not all of the non-ISIL rebels are jihadists, but even those rebels who have been “vetted” by the U.S. cannot resist working with JN because it is still one of the most effective fighting forces on the ground.

JN and ISIL are bitter rivals. And, since earlier this year, ISIL has had the upper hand. But JN is not a viable partner in any way for the U.S. Its leaders are openly loyal to Ayman al Zawahiri. And al Qaeda has dispatched a number of seasoned jihadist veterans to Syria to buttress JN’s ranks.

One of those al Qaeda veterans is known as Sanafi al Nasr, who was designated a terrorist by the Treasury Department in August. Treasury noted at the time that al Nasr “has used social media posts to demonstrate his aspiration to target Americans and U.S. interests.” Indeed, al Nasr maintains a prolific Twitter feed and has openly pined for attacks on the U.S. in his tweets.

Obama believes that there is a “core” of al Qaeda that is confined to South Asia, and that it is this “core” that poses the most serious threat to the U.S. But Obama’s paradigm for understanding al Qaeda has never been based on the evidence. Sanafi al Nasr is a “core” al Qaeda member and he openly threatens the U.S. from Syrian soil.

Read more at Weekly Standard

The Jihadists’ Eternal Plan

pic_giant_091014_SM_ISIS-FightersNational Review, By Michelle Malkin, Sep. 10, 2014:

Here’s the first and last rule of Islamic jihad: If at first you don’t succeed, plot, plot again.

9/11 wasn’t the first. 9/11 won’t be the last. It’s not “fear-mongering” to face reality. These head-chopping, throat-slitting, bloodthirsty hijackers — of planes, freedom, and civilization — have conspired for decades to inflict modern mass murder on the West. Their homicidal mission is spectacular destruction in the name of the Koran.

Never forget: Eternal Muslim hatred of infidels didn’t start with George W. Bush. Or George H. W. Bush. Or Ronald Reagan. Or the creation of Gitmo. Or the birth of Israel. Or the Twin Towers. Or the Khobar Towers. Or Lockerbie. Or the U.S.S. Cole. Or Fort Hood. Or the Beirut Marine-barracks bombings. Or the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa, the bombing of U.S. military headquarters in Riyadh, and the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi.

Allah’s animals can’t stop. They won’t stop. Sura 9:5, the verse of the sword, commands them to “slay the idolators wherever you find them, and take them, and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush.” No “pagan” throat is safe: American soldiers, worldly journalists, innocent schoolgirls, Jewish teenage boys, and Christian missionaries alike are all targets of Sura 47’s call to “smite the necks” of the unbelievers.

Now our impuissant president sees fit, after one and a half laggard terms in office, to unveil a “plan” for “degrading and ultimately destroying” the Muslim terrorists of ISIS.

Pffft.

To call the Obama administration’s trifling gestures a “bump in the road” to Islamic domination would be an overstatement of astronomic proportions. The bloodless words of the White House are rhetorical pebbles.

While Barack Obama singles out ISIS jihad gangsters for a $5 billion kabuki counterterrorism campaign, he continues to subsidize Hamas terrorists.

He has freed countless al-Qaeda recidivists from the very Gitmo detention facility he vowed to shut down to appease international-jihad enablers of the Kumbaya/Coexist coalition.

Obama’s jihad enablers have rolled out the red carpet at the White House for Islamist funders and frontmen, including:

Esam Omeish, former head of the Muslim Brotherhood–sponsored Muslim American Society and patron of jihad cleric Anwar Awlaki, whom he helped install at Virginia’s notorious Dar al-Hijrah mosque. (That’s the same mosque where two 9/11 hijackers, terrorist financier Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi, and Fort Hood Muslim mass murderer Nidal Hasan all worshiped.)

Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, a top lieutenant of Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf Qaradawi, who urges followers to kill every last Jew, sanctioned suicide bombings and the killing of our soldiers, and declared that the “U.S. is an enemy of Islam that has already declared war on Islam under the disguise of war on terrorism and provides Israel with unlimited support.”

Hisham al-Talib, another Qaradawi cheerleader welcomed at the White House by Obama’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Al-Talib is an Iraqi-born Muslim identified by the FBI as a Muslim Brotherhood operative and a major contributor to the left-wing Center for Constitutional Rights, the group of jihadi-sympathizing lawyers who helped spring suspected Benghazi terror plotter Abu Sufian bin Qumu from Gitmo.

While Obama has been hitting the golf courses and Hollywood fundraisers over the past six years, the relentless jihadists have been training, recruiting, practicing, testing, and refining.

They’ve infiltrated our prisons, our military, and our universities.

They’ve penetrated our borders, abused our toothless visa programs, and exploited our indiscriminate refugee system to import and export the next generation of soldiers of Allah around the world.

They’re experimenting with shoe bombs, underwear bombs, ink bombs, dry-ice bombs, and cargo bombs.

Their dry runs on airliners continue unabated as our Federal Air Marshal Service shrinks from insufficient funds and abandonment.

They command their own rogue freighter and aviation fleets.

While Obama finally gets around to reading his teleprompter vow to destroy ISIS this week, Osama bin Laden’s heirs are diligently fulfilling their 20-year plan. According to al-Qaeda documents and intelligence released nearly a decade ago, the Islamic avengers are already in their fifth phase of “declaration of the caliphate or the Islamic state.”

Next comes “total war” and “final victory” by 2020, helped along by demographic domination: “The Islamic state’s capabilities will be great beyond measure when Muslims would number more than 1.5 billion.”

Jihadist hijackers and head-choppers don’t quit. Appeasement and empty threats are no deterrent. They will not stop trying to outdo 9/11 — unless, through our deadly adherence to political correctness, apathy, amnesia, open borders, and sloth, we do ourselves in first.

— Michelle Malkin is the author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies. Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com. © 2014 Creators.com

Also see:

However, in the event of the United State loses its political will and pursues a policy of isolation from the Muslim world, an inevitable showdown with al Qaeda would ensue. Open confrontation with the West, as well as the possibility of a nuclear armed Caliphate, would bring the full military might of the Western World (those who value their freedom). The current operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, Southeast and Central Asia and within the borders of Western nations would be tame in comparison to what would come. The Japanese, Germans and Italians discovered in World War II the price of wakening the American military psyche.

The West would basically have two options: (1) blitzkrieg 21st Century style – the full mobilization of its military and an accompanying sweep of the Islamic crescent, without regards for Politically Correct warfare; (2) nuclear war. Both campaigns would be designed to fully eliminate the Islamist threat, and the Muslim infrastructure, which allowed for the rise of al Qaeda’s ideology.

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2005/08/the_seven_phase.php#ixzz3CvJtXYHf

Obama’s return to Iraq reveals how wrong he has been about the world

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Wall Street Journal, Sep. 9, 2014:

President Obama will lay out his plan to counter the Islamic State on Wednesday night, and we’ll judge the strategy on its merits. But the mere fact that Mr. Obama feels obliged to send Americans to fight again in Iraq acknowledges the failure of his foreign policy. He is tacitly admitting that the liberal critique of the Bush Administration’s approach to Islamic terrorism was wrong.

Recall that Mr. Obama won the Presidency by arguing that the U.S. had alienated the world and Muslims by recklessly using force abroad. We had betrayed our values by interrogating terrorists too harshly and wiretapping too much. Our enemies hated us not because they hated our values or our influence but because we had provoked them with our interventions.

If we withdrew from the Middle East, especially from Iraq; if we avoided new entanglements, such as in Syria; and if we engaged with our adversaries, such as Iran and Russia, the anti-American furies would subside and the world would be safer. We should nation-build at home, not overseas, and slash the defense budget accordingly.

***

Mr. Obama pursued this vision starting with his Inaugural Address and throughout his first term. He tried to “reset” relations with Russia by dismantling a missile-defense deal with Poland and the Czech Republic. He muted support for the democratic uprising in Iran in 2009 lest it upset the mullahs he needed for a nuclear weapons deal.

When the Syrian revolt erupted in 2011, Mr. Obama called for Bashar Assad to go but did nothing to aid the moderate opposition. In the process he overruled Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, CIA director David Petraeus, and his ambassador to Damascus Robert Ford.

The U.S. absence left Syria’s battleground to the Russians and Iranians, who helped Assad hang on, and to the Qataris, who have funded Islamic State and the al Qaeda affiliated al-Nusrah. But Mr. Obama was unrepentant, saying as recently as August that it had “always been a fantasy” to think that arming the moderate Syrians would make a difference.

Above all Mr. Obama sought to end the U.S. presence in Iraq. He made a token effort to strike a status of forces agreement past 2011, offering so few troops that the Iraqis thought it wasn’t worth the domestic political trouble. Mr. Obama then sold his total withdrawal as a political success, claiming Iraq was “stable” and “self-reliant” and making a centerpiece of his 2012 campaign that “the tide of war is receding.” He ridiculed Mitt Romney for warning about Mr. Putin’s designs.

Mr. Obama doubled down on his peace-through-withdrawal strategy in the second term, speeding up the U.S. departure from Afghanistan. On May 23, 2013, he summed up his vision and strategy in a sort of victory speech at National Defense University:

“Today, Osama bin Laden is dead, and so are most of his top lieutenants. There have been no large-scale attacks on the United States, and our homeland is more secure. Fewer of our troops are in harm’s way, and over the next 19 months they will continue to come home. Our alliances are strong, and so is our standing in the world. In sum, we are safer because of our efforts.”

Then in January his friends at the New Yorker quoted him as comparing Islamic State to the “jayvee team,” and this summer he said Mr. Putin is doomed to fail because countries don’t invade others in “the 21st century.”

***

So where are we less than a year later? Iran’s mullahs continue to resist Mr. Obama’s nuclear entreaties, while Mr. Putin carves up Ukraine and threatens NATO. China is breaking the rule of law in Hong Kong, pressing its air-identification zone in the Pacific, and buzzing U.S. aircraft.

Syria is now a terrorist sanctuary from which the Islamic State has conquered a third of Iraq, the first time since 9/11 that jihadists control territory from which they can plan attacks. Al Qaeda’s affiliates have expanded across the Middle East and Africa, attacking a mall in Kenya and kidnapping schoolgirls in Nigeria.

Mr. Obama can blame this rising tide of disorder on George W. Bush, but the polls show the American public doesn’t believe it. They know from experience that it takes time for bad policy to reveal itself in new global turmoil. They saw how the early mistakes in Iraq led to chaos until the 2007 surge saved the day and left Mr. Obama with an opportunity he squandered. And they can see now that Mr. Obama’s strategy has produced terrorist victories and more danger for America.

Mr. Obama’s intellectual and media defenders were complicit in all of this, cheering on his flight from world leadership as prudent management of U.S. decline. Even now some of his most devoted acolytes write that Mr. Obama’s “caution” has Islamic State’s jihadists right where he wants them. It is hard to admit that your worldview has been exposed as out-of-this-world.

We hope tonight’s speech shows a more realistic President determined to defeat Islamic State, but whatever he says will have to overcome the doubts about American resolve that he has spread around the world for nearly six years. One way to start undoing the damage would be to concede that Dick Cheney was right all along.

A President Whose Assurances Have Come Back to Haunt Him

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WASHINGTON — When President Obama addresses the nation on Wednesday to explain his plan to defeat Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria, it is a fair bet he will not call them the “JV team.”

Nor does he seem likely to describe Iraq as “sovereign, stable and self-reliant” with a “representative government.” And presumably he will not assert after more than a decade of conflict that “the tide of war is receding.”

As he seeks to rally Americans behind a new military campaign in the Middle East, Mr. Obama finds his own past statements coming back to haunt him. Time and again, he has expressed assessments of the world that in the harsh glare of hindsight look out of kilter with the changed reality he now confronts.

To Mr. Obama’s critics, the disparity between the president’s previous statements and today’s reality reflects not simply poorly chosen words but a fundamentally misguided view of the world. Rather than clearly see the persistent dangers as the United States approaches the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, they said, Mr. Obama perpetually imagines a world as he wishes it were.

Read more at New York Times

A Mismanage-able Problem

pic_giant_091014_SM_Obama-Manages-ISIS

Obama’s belief that he can “manage” the Islamic State may collide with reality.

National Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, Sep. 10, 2014:

President Obama says he intends to shrink the al-Qaeda-spawned Islamic State into a “manageable problem.” Perhaps we’ll learn more about how when he speaks to the nation on Wednesday evening. Still, the question presses: Is he the manager for the job?

In answering that question, past performance is more a guarantee of future results than is any statement of newfound purpose from a president whose innate dishonesty has turned his signature phrase “Let me be clear” into notorious self-parody.

In late September 2012, Mr. Obama’s administration quietly approved the transfer of 55 jihadist prisoners out of the Guantanamo Bay detention center. As Tom Joscelyn explained at the time, most of the detainees had previously been categorized as “high risk” because they were deemed “likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests, and allies” if released. Almost all of the rest had been assessed “medium risk” — still posing a threat, albeit one less certain than the “high risk” jihadists.

But Obama officials overruled those judgments. Rife with members of the Lawyer Left vanguard who had stampeded to volunteer their services to al-Qaeda detainees during the Bush years, who had smeared Gitmo as a gulag, and who had fought bitterly against the Bush/Cheney paradigm that regarded al-Qaeda’s jihad as a war rather than a crime wave, the administration determined that the anti-American terrorists were fit to be sprung from American custody.

Wait a second . . . two years ago in September . . . what was going on then? Why yes, the Benghazi massacre — whose second anniversary we mark this Thursday.

The Obama administration would like us to forget that bit of old news since “dude, this was like two years ago.” You may nonetheless recall it as an act of war in which al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists attacked a sovereign American government compound. The terrorists murdered our ambassador to Libya, killed three other Americans, and wounded many more in an eight-hour siege during which President Obama declined to take any meaningful responsive action. Indeed, agents of the U.S. security team in Benghazi say they were prevented from trying to save Ambassador Stevens.

Among those carrying out the attack were operatives of Ansar al-Sharia. That’s the al-Qaeda affiliate with cells in Eastern Libya’s jihadist hotbeds, Benghazi and Derna.Ansar is led by Sufian Ben Qumu, a former Gitmo detainee who, inexorably, went right back to the jihad.

News of Obama’s approval of the mass transfer of Gitmo detainees came less than two weeks after the Benghazi massacre. Let that sink in: The Obama administration knew that a former Gitmo detainee was complicit in the most humiliating defeat suffered by the United States since the 9/11 attacks that took the nation to war; yet, the president approved the transfer of dozens more Gitmo terrorists. Just as, only a few months ago, he approved the transfer of five top Taliban commanders even as the Taliban was (and is) continuing to conduct terrorist operations against American troops in Afghanistan.

Shocking, yes, but how surprising from Barack Obama? Mind you, this is the president who, though AWOL (and still unaccountable) while terrorists were killing and wounding American personnel in Benghazi, had the temerity not just to fly off to a Vegas fundraiser the very next day but to pick that setting, and that moment, to declare victory: “A day after 9/11, we are reminded that a new tower rises above the New York skyline, but al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat and bin Laden is dead.”

Yes, bin Laden is dead. But the terrorist hordes chanted, “Obama, we’re all Osama!” as they torched our embassies and raised the black flag of jihad — the flag the Islamic State vows to fly over the White House. And just two days after Obama’s “Mission Accomplished” fundraiser, Ansar al-Sharia’s Tunis cell attacked the American embassy there. That al-Qaeda franchise is led by Seifallah ben Hassine, long-time jihadist confidant of bin Laden and his successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Some path to defeat.

Of course, the Benghazi massacre would never have happened had Obama not switched sides in Libya, dumping the Qaddafi regime — theretofore an American counterterrorism ally — and partnering with Eastern Libyan jihadists. The president’s strategy ensured that enemies of the United States would acquire much of Qaddafi’s arsenal, empowering jihadist cells throughout North Africa and the Middle East, growing al-Qaeda and what would become the Islamic State. And as we have seen in just the last few weeks, Obama’s “lead the jihad from behind” strategy has resulted in the near complete disintegration of Libya, with Ansar al-Sharia and its allies now controlling much of Tripoli.

Nor is that all. Hours before the Benghazi attack began on September 11, 2012, there had been rioting at the American embassy in Cairo. It was stoked by al-Qaeda leaders — including Zawahiri’s brother, Mohammed. The latter had called for attacks against the United States to avenge the recent killing of the network’s leader in Libya. The al-Qaeda leaders had also been threatening to besiege the embassy to extort the release of the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman, imprisoned in the U.S. on terrorism charges. These jihadists had been enabled in their incitements against America by the Muslim Brotherhood–controlled government — a government the Obama administration had pressured Egypt’s military leaders to make way for.

When the Left says it intends to make the challenge of international terrorism “manageable,” that is usually code for saying it wants to return counterterrorism to the law-enforcement paradigm, in which terrorism is a crime addressed by indictments. Crime — petty theft, graft, racketeering, and the like — is a constant that society manages. National-security threats, on the other hand, cannot be indicted into submission. And they are not “managed” by imagining that if we ignore them they will go away.

President Obama probably does believe the Islamic State could become a manageable problem. Unfortunately, he also believes that when his ideology collides with reality, it is reality that must give. Reality does not see it that way.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book, Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment, was released by Encounter Books on June 3.

Fighter With ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Tells L.A. Times They Fight Alongside Al-Qaeda

cid_image004_jpg01cf1b3cBy Patrick Poole:

Last week here at PJ Media, I reported on the ongoing relations between the U.S.-backed “vetted moderate” Free Syrian Army and ISIS. I also noted that, at this time last year, the received wisdom of the Washington, D.C. foreign policy establishment was that the Syrian rebels were largely moderate.

Now, a report in this past Sunday’s L.A. Times from the frontlines in Syria finds that another “vetted moderate” rebel group, Harakat Hazm – which has received anti-tank missiles from the U.S. — has been working with al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra: a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. (HT: Tim Furnish and Tom Joscelyn.)

As Al-Akhbar reported back in May, in addition to having U.S. backing, Harakat Hazm is also backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey, and Qatar.

As the L.A. Times reporter rides with two U.S.-backed and armed Harakat Hazm fighters, the topic of conversation turns to Jabhat al-Nusra:

Harakat Hazm, for example, has struggled with being regarded as a U.S. pawn and labeled as secular in the midst of an opposition movement that has grown increasingly Islamist.

“Inside Syria we became labeled as secularists and feared Nusra Front was going to battle us,” Zeidan said, referring to an Al Qaeda-linked rebel group that has been designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization. Then he smiled and added, “But Nusra doesn’t fight us, we actually fight alongside them. We like Nusra.”

But the L.A. Times reporter then immediately adds:

In July, eight West-backed rebel brigades — all recipients of military aid — released a statement of “rejection of all forms of cooperation and coordination” with Al Nusra Front.

But at the same time Harakat Hazm was supposedly releasing a statement of “rejection of all forms of cooperation and coordination” with Nusra, it signed a statement of alliance with Nusra to prevent the Assad regime from advancing into Aleppo. The alliance statement was published on Twitter:

What the statement and the Aleppo alliance demonstrate is something that I and others have been contending all along: the so-called Syrian rebels given the State Department’s “vetted moderate” imprimatur have been playing a double-game. And the Obama administration, the foreign policy establishment and the establishment media have all gladly played along with our “vetted moderate” Syrian rebel allies.

Read more at PJ Media

***********

Moderate Syrian Rebel Application Form by Andy Borowitz at The New Yorker

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—After announcing, on Thursday, that it would seek $500 million to help “train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the moderate Syrian armed opposition,” the White House today posted the following Moderate Syrian Rebel Application Form:

Welcome to the United States’ Moderate Syrian Rebel Vetting Process. To see if you qualify for $500 million in American weapons, please choose an answer to the following questions:

As a Syrian rebel, I think the word or phrase that best describes me is:

A) Moderate
B) Very moderate
C) Crazy moderate
D) Other

I became a Syrian rebel because I believe in:

A) Truth
B) Justice
C) The American Way
D) Creating an Islamic caliphate

If I were given a highly lethal automatic weapon by the United States, I would:
A) Only kill exactly the people that the United States wanted me to kill
B) Try to kill the right people, with the caveat that I have never used an automatic weapon before
C) Kill people only after submitting them to a rigorous vetting process
D) Immediately let the weapon fall into the wrong hands

I have previously received weapons from:
A) Al Qaeda
B) The Taliban
C) North Korea
D) I did not receive weapons from any of them because after they vetted me I was deemed way too moderate

I consider ISIS:
A) An existential threat to Iraq
B) An existential threat to Syria
C) An existential threat to Iraq and Syria
D) The people who will pick up my American weapon after I drop it and run away

Complete the following sentence. “American weapons are…”
A) Always a good thing to randomly add to any international hot spot
B) Exactly what this raging civil war has been missing for the past three years
C) Best when used moderately
D) Super easy to resell online

Thank you for completing the Moderate Syrian Rebel Application Form. We will process your application in the next one to two business days. Please indicate a current mailing address where you would like your weapons to be sent. If there is no one to sign for them we will leave them outside the front door.

(H/T Andrew Bostom)

Ex-CIA Operative: Obama Administration ‘Missing the Picture’

 

Washington Free Beacon:

Former CIA operative Gary Berntsen said the Obama administration was “missing the picture” in its strategy to combat ISIL.

Berntsen also said President Obama is “not even talking about the partners properly on who we’re going to need to do this job.”

Berntsen told Fox News host Brian Kilmeade that the U.S. strategy should be focused on reaching out to Gulf Cooperation Council states such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to commit money, air power, and ground troops.

Reaching out to Saudi Arabia, he said, would be a diplomatic challenge due to deterioration in the Saudi-U.S. relationship.

“[The Saudis] are suspicious of the United States because we were talking to the Iranians without consulting with them, about their nuclear program,” Berntsen said. “So we’re going to have to repair our relationship with Saudi Arabia.

“There is a lot of heavy lifting diplomatically that’s going to have to be done with the GCC to get them in.”

Although the BBC reported last week that Iranian military leaders were willing to cooperate with the U.S. against ISIL, Berntsen said cooperating with Shia forces would only alienate and antagonize Sunni tribal leaders further.

“You don’t want Iraqi Shia forces going into the Sunni area to fight there,” Berntsen said. “These tribesmen switched sides because they were treated so badly by the Maliki government and they supported ISIS’ entry. This is a significant political and sustained effort that’s going to be required here.”

Also see:

Is Obama’s ISIS Strategy to Make It Someone Else’s Problem?

140907obamaconfusedCenter for Security Policy, by Kyle Shideler:

The New York Times is previewing what they say will be President Obama’s strategy for deal with the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), and its newly established “caliphate” during his speech to the nation Wednesday. According to the report, which cites unnamed senior administration officials, the strategy involves a series of air strikes aimed at degrading ISIS’ capabilities, followed by arming and training the Iraqi military, Kurdish fighters, and possibly Sunni tribal forces, before utilizing those forces to conduct an armed incursion into ISIS’ Syrian stronghold, in a campaign which the New York Times notes will have “no obvious precedent”, and which the administration forecasts to take approximately three years:

The final, toughest and most politically controversial phase of the operation — destroying the terrorist army in its sanctuary inside Syria — might not be completed until the next administration. Indeed, some Pentagon planners envision a military campaign lasting at least 36 months. Mr. Obama will use a speech to the nation on Wednesday to make his case for launching a United States-led offensive against Sunni militants gaining ground in the Middle East, seeking to rally support for a broad military mission while reassuring the public that he is not plunging American forces into another Iraq war.

If the New York Times piece does indeed reflect the Obama Administration view (and there is no reason to suggest that it does not), it suffers from a number of potential problems.

Those waiting for a unified Iraqi central government which is more inclusive and alleviates the concerns of Iraq’s Sunni minority may be waiting forever. The degree of influence exerted over the Iraqi government by Iran, and Iran’s need to rely  on Shia militia fighters to bolster defenses of both Baghdad, and importantly, Damascus will make inclusion difficult. The same Iranian IRGC commander Qassem Sulemani, responsible for propping up Assad, was reported to have also personally overseen the retaking the town of Amerli, Iraq from ISIS. Allowing the U.S. to arm Kurdish and Sunni forces, who, having beaten ISIS may go on to finally finish off Assad is not in Tehran’s best interest. And making an inclusive government a requirement means that Iran is given the ability to play spoiler on the plan. I’ve expressed support in the past for arming and training Kurdish troops, but we shouldn’t wait for the Iraqi central government to meet some “inclusiveness” standard before we do so. That can be done now. The Kurds reportedly offered to serve as ground forces against ISIS even before Mosul fell to the jihadists.

Secondly, the assumption by the administration, that Sunni tribes will prefer an Iraqi government under Iranian tutelage to what the New York Times called the “the harsh Shariah law[ISIS] has imposed” may underestimate both the popularity of shariah law, as well as the antipathy towards the Shia militants used by Baghdad to repress the Sunnis. While ISIS’s declaration of a caliphate has been widely rejected in the Islamic world, the Sunni uprising ISIS has led against Baghdad has not. Consider this statement against ISIS’s caliphate, from Muslim Brotherhood shariah jurist Yusuf Al Qaradawi’s International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS):

The IUMS has followed the statements issued by the organization called the “Islamic State” which sprang forth from Iraq, with other Iraqi forces, defending Iraqi Sunnis, and others who were oppressed in that country. We rejoiced over them and we welcomed their mobilization to reject oppression and tyranny in the Earth.”

It may be the case that Sunni forces choose ISIS over an Iranian puppet regardless.

Finally, given the projected timeline of “years” to defeat ISIS, with a 36-month campaign  in Syria commencing only after the arming and training has taken place, and one wonders if the Obama Administration isn’t aware of these flaws in their logic.

Perhaps the real plan is to delay until ISIS is someone else’s problem?

Also see:

Attack ISIS in Syria Even If It Helps Assad

islamic-state-flag-plane-apCenter for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz:

Three questions are being raised by pundits and politicians about how Iran and Syria’s Assad regime should figure into possible military action by the United States and its allies against ISIS — the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, also known as ISIL and the Islamic State.

  • Is it a mistake to attack ISIS in Syria since ISIS is also an enemy of the Assad regime and such attacks may ensure Assad holds on to power?
  • Should the U.S. team up with the Assad regime to attack ISIS in Syria?
  • Should the U.S. work with Iran to destroy ISIS?

Some are arguing we should not bomb ISIS in Syria because that would strengthen Assad. Others argue since the ISIS threat is so dire, we should work with Assad to destroy it.

A few believe we should work with Iran against ISIS.

These difficult questions reflect how messy the situations in Iraq and Syria have become as a result of numerous policy mistakes by the United States and Europe over the last few years.

Doing anything to prop up the brutal Assad dictatorship is obviously an unpalatable course of action. Some experts have proposed clever ways to prevent the Syrian army from benefiting from U.S. airstrikes against ISIS in Syria by also bombing Syrian airfields and attacking the Syrian army and Iranian-backed militias to buy time to train and arm the moderate Syrian rebels of the Free Syrian Army — FSA.

Such proposals are fantasies. Attacking the Syrian army would get the United States into a war with Syria and put U.S. planes at risk of being shot down by Syrian air defenses. Moreover, the Free Syrian Army is badly outmatched by ISIS and the Syrian army. After withholding arms since 2011 from the FSA, attempting to arm and train these rebels now to make them a force capable of taking on ISIS and the Syrian army would take many months, assuming this is even possible.

The truth is the United States and Europe effectively conceded the Syrian civil war to Assad years ago. If the West had attacked Syrian forces in 2011 when they began their bloody crackdown against anti-government protesters or created humanitarian safe zones in Syria in 2011 or 2012, the Syrian rebels may have defeated the Assad regime before it was shored up by Iran and Russia.

Given the seriousness of the ISIS threat and the likelihood that Assad is not going to be defeated, attacking ISIS in Syria even though this may benefit the Assad government is the right move. However, the U.S. should not do anything to further legitimize Assad by allying with him to defeat ISIS. We should instead warn Damascus that we will retaliate against any Syrian government attacks on Western aircraft. I believe the Assad government probably would go along with this.

There is a temptation to team up with Iran to combat ISIS.

I suspect senior Obama officials are already exploring this idea with Iranian diplomats on the margins of ongoing talks on Iran’s nuclear program. This would be a serious mistake. Iran bears significant responsibility for the outbreak of sectarian tensions in Iraq since 2011 due to its strong support for the Maliki government and by its training of Shiite militias that have massacred Iraqi Sunnis. America’s policy should be reduce Iran’s influence in Iraq and Syria and do nothing to increase its influence.

To defeat the ISIS terrorist army, the United States will need to make some difficult decisions that will have significant downsides. Boosting Assad by attacking ISIS in Syria is a price the U.S. and its allies should be prepared to pay given the situation on the ground in Syria and American and regional security interests.

That is as far as we should go.

The U.S. and its allies should not cooperate with the Syrian or Iranian government to defeat ISIS because of the destabilizing impact of such actions and to avoid legitimizing these regimes.

They Have a Strategy

BY THOMAS JOSCELYN:

During a press conference on August 28, Barack Obama had a rare moment of candor. “We don’t have a strategy yet,” the president said in response to a question about the prospect of using military force against the Islamic State in Syria. Obama’s declaration drew widespread criticism, as the Islamic State (often referred to by its previous name, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL) has made stunning advances this year. Administration officials sought to deflect critics by noting that the president was referring solely to Syria, and not to neighboring Iraq. This does not make the president’s admission any less troubling, however.

WELL.v20-1.2014-09-15.JoscelynThe jihad in Syria is inextricably linked to the fighting in Iraq, and, therefore, Obama cannot have a strategy for combating the jihadists in one country without tackling them in the other. The organization is dedicated to wiping out the boundary between the two nation-states. Its propaganda videos frequently feature footage of bulldozers symbolically demolishing an Iraqi-Syrian border that has defined maps for decades. Today, the Islamic State controls a large swath of contiguous territory across both nations.

Only belatedly this year, in early August, did Obama authorize airstrikes in Iraq. The bombings have halted the Islamic State’s momentum in some areas, but there is no reason to believe the strikes will dislodge the jihadists from the significant ground under their control. Obama has no strategy for winning back the territory lost to the Islamic State and its allies in either Iraq or Syria.

Obama’s lack of strategy is no accident. It is a direct result of the way he has chosen to see the post-9/11 world.

For the president, the only terrorists who have ever really mattered are the ones who planned the September 11, 2001, attacks or plotted similar spectacular strikes against the U.S. homeland. Obama is satisfied as long as America’s vast intelligence bureaucracy stops jihadists from committing mass casualty attacks on American soil. This is the real reason he doesn’t have a strategy for combating jihadists in Iraq, Syria, or elsewhere. Simply put, he doesn’t think such a strategy is necessary.

Obama has thought this way since well before he became president. During the summer of 2008, Obama toured the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq as a presidential candidate. He repeatedly told the press that Afghanistan mattered, whereas Iraq did not. When he arrived in Iraq, he was challenged by General David Petraeus, who was in charge of the American-led war effort at the time. The exchange between the two was recorded in The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama, by New York Times reporter Michael R. Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor.

No matter what one thought of President Bush’s decision to invade the country in 2003, Petraeus explained, al Qaeda’s leaders had made Iraq the “central front” in their war. Obama disagreed. “The Al-Qaeda leadership is not here in Iraq. They are there,” Obama said, pointing to Pakistan on a map. He wasn’t telling Petraeus anything he didn’t know, of course. Obama pressed on, wondering “whether Al Qaeda in Iraq presented a threat to the United States,” according to Gordon and Trainor’s account. “If AQI has morphed into a kind of mafia then they are not going to be blowing up buildings,” Obama said. Petraeus pointed out that an AQI operative was responsible for a failed terrorist attack in Scotland in 2007. Obama was unmoved. Al Qaeda’s fight for Iraq was not, in Obama’s opinion, a major concern.

Obama has not changed his mind in the years since, even as AQI evolved into the Islamic State, eventually gaining power and territory. The president has, if anything, doubled down on his belief that America’s only real priority is to stop the terrorists who pose the most immediate threat to the U.S. homeland.

Read more at Weekly Standard