Obama’s Mideast ‘free fall’

Barack Obama faces a slew of Middle East crises that some call the worst in a generation, as new chaos from Yemen to Iraq — along with deteriorating U.S.-Israeli relations — is confounding the president’s efforts to stabilize the region and strike a nuclear deal with Iran.

The meltdown has Obama officials defending their management of a region that some call impossible to control, even as critics say U.S. policies there are partly to blame for the spreading anarchy.

“If there’s one lesson this administration has learned, from President Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech through the Arab Spring, it’s that when it comes to this region, nothing happens in a linear way — and precious little is actually about us, which is a hard reality to accept,” said a senior State Department official.

Not everyone is so forgiving. “We’re in a goddamn free fall here,” said James Jeffrey, who served as Obama’s ambassador to Iraq and was a top national security aide in the George W. Bush White House.

For years, members of the Obama team have grappled with the chaotic aftermath of the Arab Spring. But of late they have been repeatedly caught off-guard, raising new questions about America’s ability to manage the dangerous region.

Obama officials were surprised earlier this month, for instance, when the Iraqi government joined with Iranian-backed militias to mount a sudden offensive aimed at freeing the city of Tikrit from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. Nor did they foresee the swift rise of the Iranian-backed rebels who toppled Yemen’s U.S.-friendly government and disrupted a crucial U.S. counterterrorism mission against Al Qaeda there.

Both situations took dramatic new turns this week. The U.S. announced its support for a Saudi-led coalition of 10 Sunni Arab nations that began bombing the Houthis, while Egypt threatened to send ground troops — a move that could initiate the worst intra-Arab war in decades.

Meanwhile, the U.S. launched airstrikes against ISIL in Tikrit after originally insisting it would sit out that offensive. U.S. officials had hoped to avoid coordination with Shiite militias under the direct control of Iranian commanders in the country.

Now the U.S. is in the strange position of fighting ISIL alongside Iran at the same time it backs the Sunni campaign against Iran’s allies in Yemen — even as Secretary of State John Kerry hopes to seal a nuclear deal with Iran in Switzerland within days.

On Thursday, Iran’s foreign minister, who has been meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry in Switzerland to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, demanded an immediate halt to the Yemen incursion.

At the same time, civil war rages on in Syria. On Thursday, Robert Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, sent Obama a letter urging him to respond to charges that the regime of Bashar Assad — a close ally of Tehran — has used chlorine gas against civilians. In late 2013, Obama threatened to punish Assad with airstrikes after his forces deployed nerve gas.

Also in chaos is Libya, home to two dueling governments — and another target of cross-border Arab military action when Egypt and the United Arab Emirates conducted airstrikes against alleged Islamic extremists there in August. That action also reportedly surprised U.S. officials.

It all amounts to a far cry from Obama’s optimistic vision when he came to office suggesting that by withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and focusing on Israeli-Palestinian peace he could stabilize, if not completely calm, the long-troubled area.

Instead, Obama looks poised to leave an even more dangerous and unpredictable region than the one he inherited in 2009.

“The mood here is that we really are at a crisis point that is unprecedented in recent memory,” said Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow in the Middle East policy center at the Brookings Institution, who spoke from the Qatari capital of Doha. “This feels more intense and more complicated” than past moments of turmoil, Maloney added.

Read more at Politico

Do read the article Crash Position linked to in the featured graphic…h/t Sundance

Leftist think tank misunderstands reasons for Jihad against Christians

CAP-300x240Religious Freedom Coalition, by Andrew Harrod, Mar 17th, 2015:

Center for American Progress (CAP) Senior Fellow Brian Katulis described at a March 12 CAP panel persecution of Middle East Christians as a topic “near and dear to our hearts” at a CAP that is “strongly supportive of the values of pluralism.”  Yet CAP’s report on this issue presented by the panel revealed that the George Soros-funded CAP still has difficulty jumping over its leftist biases while grappling with Islam’s darker aspects that even CAP can no longer ignore.

“You can’t help but see this issue staring you in the face,” Katulis said of current persecution faced by Middle East Christians before an audience of over 60 filling CAP’s conference hall in Washington, DC.  He described current Middle East Christian tribulations as part of a “longer term trend in the region” of Christian exodus.  The Middle East Institute’s Paul Salem, a Christian from Lebanon, agreed that from the Ottoman Empire’s end until today the “overall trends are worrisome, are negative” for the region’s Christians.  These comments relativized his assessment that the “twentieth century was actually a great leap forward for Christians” after the fall of the Ottoman Empire with its repressive Islamic dhimmi regulations for Christians.  Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy Professor Elizabeth Prodromou described a “century long process…of Christian decline.”

Prodromou explained that regional conditions for Christians “have declined so precipitously” even without actual violence from the Middle East’s Muslim majority.  “Separate and unequal” legal regimes discriminating against Christians in favor of Muslims have afflicted Middle Eastern Christians for over a century.  “Property rights regimes…have been used throughout the twentieth century to disenfranchise Christians.”  Laws required, for example, that religious schools have a minimum number of students, a stipulation increasingly prohibitive for declining Christian populations.

The Plight of Christians in the Middle East, which Katulis had coauthored, reflected panelist comments about pervasive Muslim hostility against Christians throughout Middle Eastern history.  CAP’s report noted the “particularly devastating year” of 1915 and its Ottoman genocides of numerous Christian communities including the Armenians.  CAP referred curiously vaguely to “those events” that “resulted in the death and forced migration of millions of Christians.”

Today “Christians have migrated from the region in increasing numbers,” read the report, as part of a “longer-term exodus related to violence, persecution, and lack of economic opportunities.”  “Islamist groups” such as the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS as well as “institutional discrimination found in the legal codes and official practices of many Middle Eastern countries” plagued together Christians.  Under blasphemy laws, for example, Christians and others “are often threatened with imprisonment for any perceived negative comments against Islam or proselytizing for other religions.”

Yet CAP determined strangely that “understanding these conflicts as primarily rooted in religious or theological disputes is incorrect.”  The report asserted that “most of what is happening to Christians in the Middle East is the result of wider regional trends related to struggles for power and the use of religion as a tool to build influence.”  Katulis in his panel comments spoke of a “misuse of religion.”  This “use of religion for political purposes is common in many countries in the Middle East,” the report stated, as if no actual religious fervor motivated regimes like the Islamic Republic of Iran or groups like ISIS.

References to Islamic ideology nonetheless appeared in CAP’s report, even as it contradictorily denied Muslim motives for Middle Eastern power struggles.  The report mentioned “Shia-Sunni sectarian struggles” and how groups like ISIS “follow an ultra-orthodox” but somehow “skewed interpretation of Islam.”  The report’s solitary reference to Islamic law or sharia noted that “Christians were faced with stark options from ISIS:  pay a jizya tax or religious levy imposed in previous eras of Islamic rule, convert, or die.”

desecrationThe report made the small concession that the “status of Christians living in Israel is generally better than their counterparts in the occupied territories and conflict-ridden places such as Iraq.”  CAP ignored thereby that Israel is the only Middle Eastern country whose Christian population has grown in recent decades and that Israeli Christians outperform the country’s Jewish majority in education.  Nonetheless, in CAP’s relativizing judgment “Christians living in the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, and Israel share the concerns about equal citizenship under the law faced by Christians across the Middle East.”CAP noted that the Israeli-Palestinian “lands where Christianity was born have witnessed a substantial dwindling of the presence of the native Christian community over the past century.”  The report mentioned the “rise of Islamist extremists” under Hamas, but related Palestinian Christian suffering more “to the broader factors that affect all Palestinians” like “restrictions on movement” under “Israeli occupation.”  This analysis does not explain why only the Christian population of the Palestinian territories, and not the Muslim, isdeclining.

CAP contradicts here the Christian human rights organization Open Doors, previously praised by CAP panelist and religious freedom expert Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute.  Its 2015 World Watch List (WWL) names the Palestinian territories and all Middle Eastern countries except for Israel among the 50 most oppressive societies worldwide for Christians.  While Open Doors notes Israeli-Palestinian conflict effects upon Palestinian Christians, “Islamic extremism” is the driving force behind the Palestinian territories number 26 spot on the WWL.

The WWL also qualifies CAP’s positive assessment of Jordan as “one of the few safe havens for Christians fleeing conflict and repression in other parts of the region.”  Like Shea previously, CAP praises that the “Hashemite monarchy in Jordan has sent the message of tolerance and inclusivity” with “numerous conferences…promoting interfaith dialogue.”  “Islamic extremism,” the main source of Christian persecution in 40 of 50 WWL countries, however, brings Jordan into the number 30 spot.

CAP’s one-sided praise for Jordan combined with unwarranted criticism of Israel reflects the report’s inadequacies.  The report and insightful comments from Prodromou showed how Islamic animosity towards Christians appeared throughout various historical periods and political regimes.  CAP, however, largely avoided affiliating hostility against Christians with Islamic doctrine, leaving unexplained this phenomenon’s persistence.  CAP also did not investigate whether Islam presents similar hostilities towards Jews, something that would call into question the report’s invocation of a two-state solution for Palestine.  CAP seemed to shun any politically incorrect taint of “Islamophobia,” the subject of past CAP reports (see here and here).  While it is encouraging that even a leftist think tank like CAP has acknowledged rational concerns about Islam, successfully countering them will demand deeper probing of this faith than CAP has provided.

Legal Experts: Future U.S. President Could Revoke Bad Nuke Deal With Iran

John Kerry / AP

John Kerry / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Daniel Wiser, March, 12, 2015:

Legal experts are refuting a claim by Iran’s foreign minister that revoking a potential deal on the country’s nuclear program would violate international law, amid confusion Wednesday regarding whether or not the deal the State Department is negotiating will be in any way legally binding.

Javad Zarif, Tehran’s chief representative in the ongoing nuclear talks among the United States, Iran, and five other world powers, criticized on Tuesday an open letter sent by 47 Republican senators concerning the negotiations. While the lawmakers said in their missive that a future president or Congress could revoke or substantially alter a nuclear pact, Zarif responded that such changes would be illegal under international statutes.

“I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration revokes any agreement with the stroke of a pen, as they boast, it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law,” he said, according to Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

However, the U.S. State Department asserted on Tuesday that a prospective nuclear agreement with Iran would be “nonbinding.” Secretary of State John Kerry also confirmed in congressional testimony on Wednesday that the Obama administration is “not negotiating a legally binding plan” but one from “executive to executive,” Politico reported. Kerry insisted such a deal would still “have a capacity of enforcement.”

Jeremy Rabkin, a law professor at George Mason University and an expert in international law and Constitutional history, said in an email that “nonbinding” by definition means that the United States “will not violate international law if we don’t adhere to its terms”—contrary to Zarif’s assertion.

“In other words we’re saying it is NOT an international obligation, just a statement of intent,” he said.

The legal nature of a potential nuclear agreement remains a matter of dispute.

The GOP senators wrote about the necessity of congressional oversight for “binding international agreements” in their letter. But on Wednesday, Kerry rejected that  characterization as “absolutely incorrect,” because the plan would not be legally binding.

The potential deal’s executive and nonbinding nature means Congress could not amend it, Kerry said.

Rabkin said the question of whether a U.S. president can institute a binding international agreement without congressional approval is disputed among legal scholars, but the State Department’s declaration that an Iran deal would be nonbinding places it in a different category.

“What Kerry seemed to say was not that his Iran deal would be in the same category but that it would not be legally binding in any sense, just a kind of memorandum of understanding,” Rabkin said. “I wonder whether he understood what he was saying. It was more or less conceding that what Cotton’s letter said was the administration’s own view—that the ‘agreement’ with Iran would not be legally binding, so (presumably) not something that could bind Obama’s successor.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), one of the lead authors of the GOP’s letter to Iran, expressed confusion on Wednesday about the State Department’s classification of a nuclear deal with Tehran.

“Important question: if deal with Iran isn’t legally binding, then what’s to keep Iran from breaking said deal and developing a bomb?” Cotton tweeted.

John Yoo, a law professor at University of California, Berkeley and a former Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration, wrote on Wednesday that Cotton and his fellow senators had it “exactly right” in their letter on matters of Constitutional law.

“The Cotton letter is right, because if President Obama strikes a nuclear deal with Iran using only [an executive agreement], he is only committing to refrain from exercising his executive power—i.e., by not attacking Iran or by lifting sanctions under power delegated by Congress,” Yoo wrote on National Review Online. “Not only could the next president terminate the agreement; Obama himself could terminate the deal.”

Additionally, Yoo said that under the Constitution’s Foreign Commerce Clause, Congress could still apply financial pressure on Iran regardless of an executive agreement.

“Obama’s executive agreement cannot prevent Congress from imposing mandatory, severe sanctions on Iran without the possibility of presidential waiver (my preferred solution for handling the Iranian nuclear crisis right now),” he said. “Obama can agree to allow Iran to keep a nuclear-processing capability; Congress can cut Iran out of the world trading and financial system.”

“As a matter of constitutional law, the Cotton letter should be no more controversial than a letter that simply enclosed a copy of the U.S. Constitution (without President Obama’s editing),” he added.

Also see:

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Published on Mar 12, 2015 by EnGlobal News World

Obama Appoints Special Envoy For Middle East; Robert Malley Worked For Organization With Two Trustees Part Of Global Muslim Brotherhood

icg1By on March 10, 2015:

US media is reporting that President Obama has appointed former International Crisis Group executive as his new special assistant for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region. According to one report:

March 8, 2015 The White House has appointed Robert Malley as a new special assistant to President Barack Obama for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region.

Malley, who now works as Senior Director of National Security Council of the White House (NSC) on Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Gulf countries, will start his work in the new position on April 6, succeeding the retiring Philip Gordon, RIA Novosti reports.

In a statement, Susan Rice said Gordon ‘is leaving the White House to spend more time with his family and to carry out other professional endeavors. A a better replacement for Phil than Rob just cannot be found, he is one of the most respected experts in our country, who from February 2014 played a key role in shaping our policy on Iran, Iraq and the Gulf countries.’

Malley worked for Obama in his first run for president as a foreign policy advisor. He was later fired or meeting with the Palestinian group Hamas, which the U.S. State Department classifies as a terrorist organization. ‘He was one of literally hundreds of informal, outside advisors,’ Obama spokesman Bill Burton told ABC News.

Malley has been a criticized in the past as insufficiently supportive of Israel. In October 1998, he was appointed Special Assistant to President Clinton for Arab-Israeli Affairs, a post he held until the end of the administration in 2001. He participated in the failed 2000 Camp David accords and said that Yasser Arafat was not the only one to blame for those talks breaking down, ABC noted.

In February 2014, the GMBDW reported that President Obama had selected Robert Malley as the senior director at the National Security Council responsible for devising US policy in the Middle East. As that report noted, Mr. Malley was formerly the program director for the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group (ICG). As we also noted at that time and will repeat here, there are additional serious questions about the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas within the ICG, founded in 1995 as “an international non-governmental organization on the initiative of a group of well known transatlantic figures who despaired at the international community’s failure to anticipate and respond effectively to the tragedies in the early 1990s of Somalia, Rwanda and Bosnia. Notable members of the board have included former Carter National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, financier George Soros, former Nato commander Wesley Clark, and former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer. In 2008 we reported that the International Crisis Group (ICG) had issued a report recommending that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood be integrated in Egyptian political life and that Brotherhood posted a statement on its website saying that the group agrees with the recommendations.

The GMBDW has also reported since 2007 on the Muslim Brotherhood and/or Hamas background of two of the ICG Trustees which may help to explain the ICG position on the Brotherhood. Palestinian-born Wadah Khanfar is a current member of the ICG board. In 2003, Khanfar became head of the Al Jazeera Baghdad bureau and shortly thereafter became the station General Manager, serving until his resignation in 2011. A report in the Nation Magazine attributes the support by the Al Jazeera television station for Islamic movements to Khanfar’s influence. According to the Nation report, Al Jazeera coverage changed dramatically to a far more “populist/Islamist approach.” when Khanfar took over in March 2003. This change should not have been surprising given Khanfar’s background in the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. According to a report in a Mideast business publication, Wadah Khanfar was born and educated in Jordan where, consistent with a Muslim Brotherhood background, he was educated as an engineer and where he reportedly was arrested as part of the Brotherhood there. The same report indicates that he also was a student activist, organizing a student union, an activity also consistent with a Muslim Brotherhood background. In a TV interview, Khanfar stated that started his career as a journalist as an analyst on African affairs, mainly on Al Jazeera, while living in South Africa where he was doing graduate study in international politics and African studies at the time. He also described himself in the interview as “a researcher and consultant in Middle Eastern economics and political affairs.”

Read more

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Islamists Demand Australian Senator ‘Introduce Sharia Law’ or Be Beheaded

1417421999234-640x480Breitbart, by DR. PHYLLIS CHESLER, 2 Mar 2015:

Yesterday, terrorists threatened to “behead” Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie if she did not help “introduce sharia law in Australia.”

To her credit, Lambie had recently called for the introduction of the death penalty for terrorists and had been quoted as saying: “If you don’t like our Australian law… then pack your bags and… leave. We will never bow down to sharia law.”

The police do not yet know whether this death threat was sent by Jihadists or by opponents of a planned mosque.

Australia, Down Under? Is there no continent free of lone wolves, wolf packs, citizen-jihadists who turn on their own countrymen or who travel to join ISIS?

Sadly, the answer is no. In fact, yesterday the Australian government barred its citizens from traveling to Mosul to combat “what the government calls growing radicalization among young Australian Muslims, some of whom have fought overseas with militant groups.”

Australia is part of the core group coalition against ISIS, which consists of the United States, Britain, France, Canada, Turkey, Italy, Poland, and Denmark.

Jihad is not new to Australia. According to Mark Durie, writing in Middle East Forum, almost one hundred years ago, in 1915, two Muslim men joined forces to shoot and kill four people and wound several others before being killed by police. They were answering the “call to jihad issued by the Ottoman Caliphate (on 11 November 1914).”

Durie defines three different forms of jihad: “individual jihad,” “jihad by bands,” and “jihad by campaigns,” which is warfare using armies directed by the Caliph. “This is the mode the self-declared caliphate known as the Islamic State is following today.”

These jihadists are not crazy or stupid or impoverished or justifiably angry because they have been persecuted. This is, pure and simple, “a manifestation of Islamic theology.” Westerners, especially our leaders and elites, do not want to believe this. As I have pointed out elsewhere, contrary to Western myth, many Islamic terrorists come from stable homes and have advanced educations; their leaders are often men of enormous wealth.

In December of 2014, “Sheikh” Man Haron Monis took 18 people hostage at the Lindt Chocolate Café in Sydney; he also hung an ISIS flag in the window. Two hostages and the gunman were killed. Like the 1915 Australian jihadists, Monis had experienced difficulties with the law. One of the 1915 jihadists, Mullah Abdullah, had been convicted of slaughtering sheep on an unlicensed premise; in 2014, Monis was facing criminal charges as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife.

When someone is taught that they are “superior” and should dominate others and yet finds himself treated just like everyone else—or treated punitively due to what constitutes criminal behavior in the West but not in the Muslim world—one’s honor has been assaulted and revenge is called for. Such behavior—attacking Western officers or civilians– means that “sudden” or “instant” jihadists have internalized shame and honor codes and believe that Islam should reign supreme over every other religion and legal system.

Westerners have a very hard time believing this as well.

Jihad has been building for years in Australia. In 1998, a Sydney police station was shot atby four Arabs. In 2004, a Lebanese-Australian told a reporter that he “wanted to undertake a terror attack in Sydney in the name of Islam.”

According to Australian terrorism researcher Andrew Zammitt, in 2003, thirteen Melbourne men and nine Sydney men were arrested and charged with forming two different cells to prepare attacks. Eighteen were convicted. These arrests suggested that Australians had become “newly radicalized” post 9/11.

In 2005, hundreds of Australian women at the beach were harassed by angry, offended Muslims. Two hundred such men thereafter smashed hundreds of cars and windows, bashed several people and threatened women with rape.

In the summer of 2014, when Israel was self-defensively trying to eradicate the diabolical terror tunnels in Gaza, a convoy of cars drove through Sydney, brandishing the black flag of ISIS. Some chanted: “Jew and Christian will not stand. You can never stop Islam.”

In the fall of 2014, in Melbourne, Abdul Numan Haider was going to be questioned for “inflammatory” social media postings. He was on the radar. However, when the police came to talk to him—only to talk to him, not to arrest him—Haider stabbed one officer in the abdomen, neck, and head; he stabbed a second officer in the forearm. Haider was shot and killed.

Haider was considered to be a “gentle, loving, quiet” person, a “skinny small boy” who was a devout Muslim.

A worshipper at Haider’s mosque suggested that the 18 year-old was “upset about the recent cancellation of his passport and the police attention on him, [and] frustrated at what was happening in Iraq and Syria.”

Like the jihadists in 1915 and 2014, Haider did not view Australian law as more important than Sharia law and the “call to Jihad,” and when he got in trouble with the law (he was legally stopped from leaving Australia), and when he was merely questioned, he immediately enacted his own, lone Jihad.

I called a friend in Australia who does not want to be named. He is a physician and has many Arab patients. He shared the following anecdotes.

“I have had many Arab patients. I tell them I am German. Many praised me because Hitler was German and did ‘such a great job with the Jews.’ At a clinic, a Muslim reception clerk often greeted me with Heil Hitler, arm extended, and a smile. He thought I was an Aryan German. A young man, whom Australian Jews had helped, confided in me, saying that ‘Islam is going to take over the world as the fastest growing religion. Even in Australia.’ One of my Australian patients complained that he was harassed and bullied on the street by Arabs, shouting, ‘we are going to take over your f**king country.’ Someone who had been a member of Hezbollah, wanted me to write a letter for him to the Prime Minister so he would not be deported. When I declined, he grabbed me by the neck and threatened me.”

ISIS Hammers Christian Towns in Syria for Third Day

REUTERS/UMIT BEKTAS

REUTERS/UMIT BEKTAS

Breitbart, by Katie Gorka, Feb. 25, 2015:

Today marks the third day in ISIS’ latest offensive against a string of Christian towns and villages in northeast Syria. According to Aziz Mirza, with the Syriac Cultural Association, speaking from Qamishli by phone today, ISIS is continuing to push forward in trying to take control of this predominantly Assyrian Christian region.

Mirza said an estimated 350-400 people are missing from 12 different villages, but it has been very difficult to confirm those numbers because all cell phones appear to be confiscated. When relatives have tried calling, members of ISIS answer the phones, Mirza said.

Kurdish and Christian fighters have been working together for the past year and half to protect this area from ISIS. The Christian fighters, who operate as the Syriac Military Council, had forces in 3 villages: Tel Hormizd, at the southern end of the Khabur valley, Tel Shamiram, at the northern end, and Tel Tawil on the northeast flank. The SMC and Kurdish (YPG) forces had been there since Feb 7, but with the pre-dawn attack that was launched on February 23rd, ISIS has now retaken control. So far, the Syriac Military Council has lost four fighters with another 12 deaths suspected but not yet confirmed.

ISIS is currently focusing its efforts on the town of Tel Tamar, which is the regional center. Yesterday, ISIS set off three car bombs just outside the barricades protecting Tel Tamar, near where the Syriac Military Council forces and Kurdish forces are headquartered. There were no casualties. Mirza also said that fighting ebbed somewhat on Tuesday because of heavy rains, but today, February 25, it was back at full force.

In a separate phone call, Sewerios Malke from the Syriac Military Council confirmed that ISIS is still trying to take control of the region and that they are trying to cross the Khabur river. The Kurdish and Syriac forces have been able to hold them back so far but it is uncertain how much longer that can last. He estimates the number of ISIS fighters at several thousand.

According to a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release, U.S. and coalition military forces have carried out airstrikes in the Khabur River region where this fighting is going on. Between 8 a.m. yesterday (Feb 24) and 8 a.m. today (Feb 25), local time, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted nine airstrikes in Syria:

  • Near Hasakah, three airstrikes struck an ISIL vehicle.
  • Near Kobani, six airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units, an ISIL fighting position and destroyed six ISIL fighting positions.
AINA Media

AINA Media

However, both Malke and Mirza asserted that there were no airstrikes in the Khabur region, only further south, 22 kilometers below Qamishli. The stark contrast between the stories of hundreds or even thousands of ISIS fighters attacking villages, taking as many as 400 hostages, and three U.S. airstrikes in the same region that struck only one vehicle, suggests the U.S. may be missing the target.

Some have argued that without troops, or at least advisors, on the ground, there is insufficient intelligence to guide airstrikes. In addition, representatives of the Syriac forces have been making the case in Washington for the past several years that their location in Syria made them particularly vulnerable to attack by ISIS and they could be key players in the fight against ISIS. They were therefore lobbying to be included in the equipping and training of opposition forces in Syria. The State Department has confirmed that the Syriac forces were not included in the first round of training.

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

Also see:

Syrian Doctors: ISIS Jihadists ‘Demanding Viagra,’ Lingerie for Wives and Slaves

Islamic State Videos

Islamic State Videos

Breitbart, by DR. PHYLLIS CHESLER, 17 Feb 2015:

ISIS fighters are “buying their wives kinky underwear,” demanding Viagra to better their performance, and subjecting their wives, concubines, and sex slaves to sadistic sexual practices, according to Syrian doctors forced to treat jihadists in conquered territories.

The Daily Mail reports that doctors have been able to relay their witness testimonies through the advocacy group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. Their eyewitness accounts of being forced to treat Islamic State terrorists echo reports from the Iraqi city of Mosul, where doctors are often forced to treat wounded jihadists returning from the front lines.

These men are living day-to-day in an almost post-Holocaust desert of their own making, and yet—perhaps therefore–they are obsessed with sex, frilly underwear, their own impotence, and an insatiable desire to have as many orgasms as possible.

There are their captive brides, beaten for failing to cover even their eyes, prohibited from attending school, shrouded in black ambulatory body bags, and expected to act the part of prostitutes in order to please their brutal and demanding husbands or masters. The women subjected to such tortures range from the hundreds of known Yazidi girls and women forced to live as sex slaves because of their ethnic and religious identity to Western Muslim converts traveling to Syria and Iraq to fulfill the work of a “jihad bride.”

Jihadists from Bin Laden on have developed a reputation for being known pornography addicts. ISIS fighters may be learning some additionally savage tricks from pornography. The proliferation of both child porn and sadistic adult porn has essentially mainstreamed prostitution, as has the popularity of depicting increasingly young women in revealing clothing outside of pornography.

Now, a devil’s host of angry men, losers, porn addicts, ex-convicts, have an outlet to express their sadism towards women. Fighters may be flocking to join the ranks of ISIS not only to bring about a potential Caliphate or to express their hatred towards infidel ways, but also to achieve Paradise Now. Instead of having to become human homicide bombs in order to merit 72 eternal, heavenly virgins, ISIS fighters can have an endless number of virgins right here on earth.

They can treat the Madonna as the Magadalen as a form of revenge against Christianity. They can treat tender virgin Muslim girls as whores—and no one can stop them. They have paid good money for their Muslim brides. They have no roots in the neighborhood and thus, there is no extended family with whom the bride’s family can negotiate.

Joining ISIS might be the best deal in town for sexually starved, sexually ignorant, sexually repressed, unemployed, unemployable, and impoverished men.

All praise to President Al-Sisi for bombing ISIS on behalf of the 21 be-headed Egyptian Christians. All praise to the Gulf States who are involved in doing “something.” All shame is America’s, whose President is still “leading from behind” and refusing to admit that the Islamic State (ISIS) has anything to do with Islam.

Breitbart’s Dr. Sebastian Gorka On Future Warfare

Royal-Jordanian-Airforce-F16-Wikimedia-640x480Breitbart, by Jordan Schachtel, Feb. 12, 2015:

What does Future Warfare look like? Does it invoke in one’s mind utilizing the latest technology to defeat our enemies, such as advanced drones, Iron Man-like protective suits, stealth submarines and bombers? Or does it instead involve countering groups like the Islamic State, who espouse a toxic ideology, conducts warfare in a style that grossly violates accepted international norms, and beheads innocent people at will?

Dr. Sebastian Gorka, who serves as Breitbart News’ National Security Editor and the Horner Chair of Military Theory at Marine Corps University, posed this question while discussing the nature of the threats to America on a distinguished panel at the National Defense University (NDU) titled, “What a World Without Order Might Look Like.”

Dr. Gorka explained that less than 20% of wars fought in recent times are waged between two sovereign countries, and that irregular warfare should more accurately be described as regular warfare because, according to his research, it proves to be a far more frequent form of conflict.

“War is not solely understood as functional by many of our adversaries,” and we need to change the way we think about military strategy if we are to defeat our adversaries, explained Dr. Gorka. “The ultimate victory will not be brought kinetically,” but instead through defeating our enemies’ core ideology. But “you cannot engage in a war of ideas without understanding the enemy’s ideas,” he added.

Dr. Gorka then turned his attention on perhaps the chief jihadist threat to the United States: The Islamic State terror group.

“ISIS is the richest non-state threat group in modern history,” he said, citing revenue statistics that show the group has the financial capacity to carry out hundreds of 9/11 attacks. The latest estimates, recorded by his Threat Knowledge Group, estimates that ISIS has recruited more than 19,000 foreign fighters. He emphasized that the importance of the Islamic State’s declaration of an Islamic caliphate could not be understated, and that many aspiring jihadists revere ISIS as the next great Islamic empire.

“The number of insurgencies that have been destroyed by air power is a resounding zero,” he said in critiquing the Obama administration’s policies in the ongoing U.S.-led air campaign against the Islamic State. Dr. Gorka recommended that in order to effectively combat our adversaries, ideological warfare must be the “first resort” we turn to.

SEN. TED CRUZ: ‘ISIS IS THE FACE OF EVIL,’ IRAN PRESENTS ‘GRAVEST THREAT’ TO AMERICA

ted-cruz-AP (1)Breitbart, by JORDAN SCHACHTEL, Feb. 11 2015:

Washington, D.C.– A group of internationally-recognized scholars, national security practitioners, and high-ranking government officials convened at the Defeat Jihad Summit to discuss “The Record to date in Defeating the Global Jihad Movement.”

Among the discussants were Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who urged at length that America must defeat the Global Jihad Movement and prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon through a comprehensive strategy in order to preserve the United States’s freedom.

“This is an important gathering,” stressed Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). “This is a comprehensive, serious strategy in addressing the threat of radical Islamism,” the Senator said in complementing the Center For Security’s Secure Freedom Strategy.

“If you’re not aware of what you’re fighting, you’re not going to defeat it,” said Cruz.

What brings together jihadists groups, such as Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram, is the ideology of “radical Islam,” explained Cruz.

Cruz added that if Christians and Jews tortured and killed people in the name of their religion, he and the surrounding panel would be the first to condemn the attacks as a perversion of their faith.

“It is the radical islamist theology and political philosophy of jihad” that our enemies preach, and “It is dangerous not to acknowledge it,” explained the Senator from Texas.

Cruz commended Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s speech in which he called for reformation in Islam. “He knew well that he was risking his life to say that,” he explained.

Cruz said that while he was at the Munich Security Conference, the President of Kurdistan revealed to him that ISIS was using rape as a political tool to instill fear within minority sects. “ISIS is the face of evil. They are beheading children. They are crucifying Christians. They are beheading journalists,” said Cruz.

Cruz concluded, “The solution to ISIS is not eradicating poverty in the Middle East, or expanding medicaid in Iraq. The solution to ISIS is to hunt down and kill the terrorist leaders,”

The Senator recommended that the United States directly arm and equip the Kurdish Peshmerga, instead of sending the weapons through Baghdad. America needs to arm the Kurds so they can “hunt down and kill the ISIS leaders,” he said.

Cruz said that the nation also needs to recognize the threat posed by Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, which is the “gravest threat” facing the United States. “We are repeating the mistakes of the 1990s with regard to North Korea… but here the dangers are qualitatively greater,” he said. What makes Iran more dangerous is that their country, which is led by Ayatollah Khamenei and the mullahs, are not rational actors

“If Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, the odds are unacceptably high that they will use that weapon,” added Cruz. Even If Iran doesn’t use their nuclear weapon, “the inevitable result will be nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East,” he concluded.

Will America Put ‘Boots on the Ground’ to Retake Mosul from ISIS?

AFP PHOTO / ALI AL-SAADI

AFP PHOTO / ALI AL-SAADI

Breitbartby JOHN HAYWARD, Feb. 9 2015:

According to comments from a U.S. Central Command official toCNN, a major ground offensive to dislodge ISIS from Mosul could be coming in April, and American ground forces could be part of it.

This ground force would supposedly be small, assisting the Iraqi army in a primarily advisory role. At present, the Pentagon is evaluating the strength of the Islamic State’s defenses to determine if American troops will need to accompany the Iraqis into battle.

Much depends on whether the ISIS offensive into Iraq has truly stalled out, due to logistical problems, casualties, and a slowdown in the number of foreign fighters imported by the Islamic state as reinforcements. Most encouragingly, the official quoted by CNN claimed ISIS members were “protecting their families by sending them out of Mosul,” suggesting that they know an offensive is coming and doubt their ability to hold the crucial Iraqi city. It was also considered a promising development that ISIS gave up on pouring resources into a battle for the Kurdish city of Kobani, which suffered through months of see-saw battles.

The air campaign around Mosul is focused on cutting off its ISIS occupiers from supplies and reinforcements. Kurdish peshmerga units recently seized three important bridgeheads on the west bank of the Tigris River to the north of the city, which should help isolate the ISIS units inside Mosul when the big Iraqi push to recapture the city begins.

The Islamic State has been characteristically horrible in its treatment of the conquered city. Over the past couple weeks, they have been on a rampage against religious sites they find disagreeable, using construction equipment to level buildings after looting them of relics and books. At least one mosque that did not measure up to ISIS standards was destroyed.

As Fox News explains, one of the things that sets off the ISIS terrorists is the presence of mausoleums on mosque grounds, which they consider “heresy” because the “Faithful” might end up offering prayers to the dead, instead of directing all prayers to Allah. Although, the Islamic State has been certified 100 percent Islam-free by the Obama administration.

ISIS has also set about conscripting the youth of Mosul into its army, ordering families with more than one son to surrender one of their boys for military service to fulfill their “sacred obligation to defend Islam against the infidels,” as one resident told NBC News. NBC also relayed claims from the vice president of Iraq that a network of underground resistance fighters in Mosul has been conducting attacks against ISIS.

It will be necessary to soften up Mosul as much as possible for the invasion because, as the Washington Post observes, Iraqi military units have relatively little experience at brutal house-to-house urban combat, and it would be politically difficult for the Iraqi government to send either Kurdish forces or Iran-backed Shiite militia units into the city. U.S. air support would have to be more precisely targeted in an urban battleground, which is why some number of American boots will almost certainly be on the ground when the battle for Mosul begins.

Revealed: Names of Four American Muslim Leaders at White House ‘Anti-Muslim Bigotry’ Meeting

Obama-fist-afp-640x480Breitbart, by JORDAN SCHACHTEL, Feb. 5, 2015:

The White House has still refused to name the “American Muslim leaders” with whom President Obama met to “discuss a range of domestic and foreign policy issues.”

According to a White House statement on the President’s meeting, the domestic issues discussed were the “Affordable Care Act, anti-Muslim violence and discrimination, the 21st Century Policing Task Force, and the upcoming White House Summit on Countering Violence Extremism.” On the foreign policy front, “the President discussed the need to continue countering ISIL and other groups that commit horrific acts of violence, purportedly in the name of Islam,” while also congratulating Muslims on their “remarkable contributions” to America.

Breitbart News has uncovered the names of four of the American Muslim leaders in attendance.

Comedian and left-wing pundit Dean Obeidallah revealed that he was one of the fifteen Muslim-American “leaders” brought to the White House on Wednesday afternoon.

“The No.1 issue raised: The alarming rise in anti-Muslim bigotry in America,” Obeidallah said of the meeting with the President. Their chief collective concern was not the rise of the Sunni Islamic State, nor the expansion of the Caliphatist Shiite Iranian regime and its messianic drive towards nuclear weapons, but instead, “anti-Muslim bigotry in America.”

Also at the event was Hoda Elshishtawy of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). MPAC was founded by members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. The group has written a position paper rejecting the United States’s designation of Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organizations, and has insisted that the Jewish state of Israel be added as a state sponsor of terrorism. The group’s former president, Salam al-Marayati, has also publicly entertained that Israel should be considered a suspect in the 9/11/01 attacks against America. He has said that Hezbollah’s attacks against Israel should be seen as “legitimate resistance,” according to Ryan Mauro of the Clarion Foundation.

Elshishtawy revealed that Dr. Sherman Jackson, who serves as the King Faisal Chair of Islamic Thought at the University of Southern California, was also at the meeting. One lecture Dr. Jackson gave has been described as a “call to battle” between Muslims and the West.

Obeidallah also revealed that Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, was behind the effort to get Muslim leaders to the White House.

Muslim Advocates reveals on its website that its three main objectives are to “end profiling,” “strengthen [Muslim] charities,” and “counter hate.” Its Press Center section is filled with posts demanding intelligence organizations, such as the New York Police Department and federal agencies, end their “Muslim Suspicionless Spying Program,” while also dictating to the media that it should “Report Accurately on Muslims.” Another post reads, “What You Need to Know About the New Federal Racial Profiling Policy.” Review of Muslim Advocates’ press releases reveals that the only foreign policy issue with which the group has concerned itself over the past year was urging Sec. of State John Kerry to ensureMuslim “Americans are able to safely perform the annual religious Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.”

Obeidallah does point out that Texas state Representative Molly White and others have made concerning remarks regarding the Muslim community. However, Obeidallah conflated anti-Muslim remarks with those criticizing Islam as a whole.

Hate crimes against Muslims remain a very small percentage of those that are religiously motivated. According to the latest FBI statistics, Muslims are victims of only 13.7 percent of religiously motivated hate crimes. American Jews remain almost five times more likelyto be victims of hate crimes than Muslims.

We Still Don’t Know Why Obama Wants Deal with Iran

obama_iran_crossed_fingers_4-20-14-1 (1)PJ Media, By Michael Ledeen On February 3, 2015:

The past few days have produced at least three excellent articles on Obama’s secret agreements, or would-be agreements, with Iran. At the Daily Beast,Michael Weiss and Michael Pregent put it in the framework of the fight against ISIS [1], explaining how our constant catering to Iran’s desires makes it virtually impossible for us to defeat the Islamic State.  Mosaic’s Michael Doran lays out the history [2] of Obama’s Iran dealings (still mostly secret, including the details of the currently-operative interim agreement), which, as Doran puts it, has resulted in the Iranians having “bested the most powerful country on earth on their terms.”  Finally, there’s Jeffrey Goldberg’s musings at the Atlantic, which more or less conclude that, while Obama hopes to strike a deal with Iran that will both end its pursuit of nuclear weapons and moderate its international behavior [3]:

Iran seems as interested as ever in becoming a regional hegemon, on its own terms. And its supreme leader, and his closest confidants, have made it clear, over [4] and over [5] again, that he is not interested in normalizing relations with the United States.

Those who have followed this space over the past several years will not be shocked or even surprised at these revelations, but the fact that four authoritative analysts–and Tony Badran [6] of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies should be added to the list of clear-eyed observers — have all concluded that Obama has been in thrall to Iran for several years now, with frightening consequences for our national interest, is news.  And there are others:  Eli Lake at Bloomberg [7] and Kyle Orton on his own blog [8], for example, are two of the best.

All of these have done outstanding work, and it’s encouraging that they have all come to agree with my essays over the past several years, going back to the earliest days of the Obama administration.  It’s worth dwelling on this point, as Michael Doran of Mosaic, for example, has still not accepted it.  He thinks that the secret American talks with Iran revolve around the 2012 elections, which gave Obama greater freedom in pursuing his Iranian scheme.  But that is wrong.  The secret talks began in 2008, before Obama was even elected, and the back channel, as I was the first to reveal, was retired U.S. Ambassador William Miller, who confirmed the story to me and others.

In other words, Obama entered the White House with the intention of forging an alliance with our most dangerous enemy in the Middle East.  That fact has to be the baseline of any serious analysis of our government’s policies.

Which takes us straightaway to the great unanswered question:  Why does the president want this alliance?

I don’t know the answer.  I suspect there is no single answer, but many components.  No doubt one component is Obama’s well-documented conviction that American misbehavior is responsible for many, if not most, of the world’s problems.  He probably believes the myths about the 1953 events that restored the shah to power in Tehran.  He may well share at least some elements of the Iranian regime’s hatred of past American actions.

But those fairly widespread, basically secular, and quintessentially leftist convictions don’t get us there.  They don’t begin to explain the president’s passion to embrace the Islamic Republic, the world’s biggest killer of Americans, a regime that slaughters and imprisons and tortures its own citizens in record numbers, especially in light of its consistently anti-American behavior throughout the Obama years.

The president is apparently immovable on this matter, regardless of advice from his own people, from our military leaders, and from allies.  Doran elegantly sums up Obama’s Syria policy:

Clearly, the president viewed the anti-Assad movement in Syria just as he had viewed the Green Movement in Iran three years earlier: as an impediment to realizing the strategic priority of guiding Iran to the path of success. Was the Middle East in fact polarized between the Iranian-led alliance and just about everyone else? Yes. Were all traditional allies of the United States calling for him to stand up to Iran? Yes. Did the principal members of his National Security Council recommend as one that the United States heed the call of the allies? Again, yes. But Obama’s eyes were still locked on the main prize: the grand bargain with Tehran.

What is the reason for such relentless pigheadedness?  Most all his people were on the other side, he wasn’t getting any diplomatic cooperation from Zarif and Rouhani, American hostages were suffering in Iranian captivity, yet the president pursued his dream.

Past American sins aren’t nearly good enough.  It seems to me there must be something about Iran itself that draws him into the web of the mullahs.  Perhaps if we knew more about his life it would at least provide a clue.  Did he have a Persian lover?  Did one of his professors glorify Shi’ism?  I haven’t seen a trace of helpful evidence.

I don’t believe the theory that he’s a closet Muslim.  For this “explanation” to work, he’d have to be a closeted Twelver Shi’a, and there’s no good reason to believe that.

Other theories point to Valerie Jarrett, who was born in Iran.  Perhaps the dream comes from her?  She’s the president’s closest adviser, after all, and she’s a central player in the secret talks.  But we know a lot about her, and what we know paints a convincing picture of an American pol, an Obama friend and loyalist, a friend of Michelle, and a practitioner par excellence of Chicago School Politics.  Not a lover of the world’s leading sponsor of terror.

None of his many interviewers has pressed Obama on this central question, nor have our congressional bigwigs seen fit to investigate it.  Maybe that will change, as the media mood evolves toward bafflement and criticism.  It seems to me that we are entitled to know a lot more about the secret talks, and about the White House guidance under which the talks have been conducted.  I am still baffled that Congress has not demanded the text of the current agreement with Iran on the nuclear matter, and I am frustrated that no leading journalist has the slightest interest in the hostage question, which may well be linked to Obama’s dream (maybe he doesn’t want to escalate pressure for hostage releases because he doesn’t want trouble from Khamenei).

I do know that it’s a very big question, and I wish we knew the answer.  It’s urgent.

Has Iran Achieved Strategic Checkmate?

iran 2American Thinker, By James M. Waurishuk, Feb. 4, 2015:

The Iranian government may have already secured its greatest geopolitical leverage, achieving a strategic and economic chokehold on a sizable portion of the Middle East, to include Israel and Saudi Arabia at the same time.

I was thinking about this last week as President Obama’s was paying his respects following the death of King Abdullah and to the new Saudi Arabian king, Salman – it could not have come at a more crucial ime. Developments over the past several weeks have been momentous for Middle Eastern stability, which has been increasingly eroding since Obama’s policies (or lack thereof) have been in play over the past six years.

Recent developments threaten to spread instability to the region, and indeed the world. But the media coverage of the demise of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, Iran’s further inroads and influence in Lebanon, and the concurrent collapse of the Yemeni government are hardly the most compelling stories, important and unsettling as they are. A less obvious and even more threatening development may have already taken place that can further destabilize the situation for years to come.

Western countries, tacitly led by the Obama administration, have been distracted by trying to justify to the Sunni Arab states their rationale for continuing negotiations with Iran with the goal to manage, perhaps even contain, Iran’s nuclear persistent attempts to acquire a nuclear WMD capability.

Long-standing U.S. allies in the Arab world remain skeptical and unwilling to sign on to Obama’s Iranian overtures. Further, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is so intent on challenging current U.S. policy that he is willing to risk a complete severance of his relationship with President Obama, regardless of Obama’s distain for him, by encouraging the U.S. Congress to push for additional and stricter sanctions against Iran.

But it may already be too late. Iran may have already secured its greatest leverage, achieving a strategic and economic chokehold on both Saudi Arabia and Israel at the same time. It may never need a nuclear weapon to threaten its regional enemies and force their acceptance of its growing influence and regional strategies.

Thanks to events over the past weeks, Yemen’s Houthi rebels, aligned with Iran and supplied and trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, have seized the Red Sea port of Hodeida, a mere 18 miles across the strait from Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. For the first time, Iran now has the ability to control the Mandeb Strait connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, and the Suez Canal to the north. Iran now is as close as it has ever been to controlling the strategic link between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. Through it, over three million barrels of oil pass daily.

The straits in the Middle East are more than just geographical features. They are nothing less than critical lifelines for the region’s countries. The blocking of the Straits of Tiran by Egypt triggered the 1967 war between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Iran has in the past threatened to block the Straits of Hormuz if it was attacked by the West. Control of the southern entrance to the Red Sea by Iran’s allies makes the threat of an effective use of sanctions against Iran less likely. Iran is now poised to push back the West regarding nuclear negotiations.

The Obama administration’s strategy of essentially accommodating Iran’s nuclear ambitions through a policy of extensions and appeasement has at the same time ignored Tehran’s overall objective of asserting itself as the regional superpower. Failure to deal with the threat of an Iranian takeover of Yemen has now contributed to vastly increasing the cards that the Iranian regime can play. Further complacency will make it even more difficult to tackle this ever-increasing threat to regional and global stability.

James M. Waurishuk is a retired USAF Colonel served for nearly 30-years career senior intelligence and political-military affairs officer — with expertise in strategic intelligence, international strategic studies and policy, and asymmetric warfare.  He is the former Deputy Director for Intelligence for U.S. Central command, MacDill AFB, a former White House National Security Council staffer, and former Distinguished Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council, Washington, DC. He lives in Tampa Bay, FL.

How to Lose Friends and Empower Radicals: The Peace Prize President’s More Dangerous World

obama-binoculars-AP-640x480

 

Breitbart, by Sebastian Gorka, Jan. 29, 2015:

Since 2008, the world has become a significantly more dangerous place. In every region, new threats have emerged or old ones have reasserted them. The scorecard is clear: the bad guys are winning and America’s interests are being undermined daily.

As a nation, America has yet to recover from the experience of September 11th, 2001. Public opinion on our national response to the attacks against the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Flight 93 is today divided. On one side we have the “Bush lied, People Died!” crowd who portray President George W. Bush’s response in terms of a conspiracy, despite the fact that we now know Saddam Hussein indeed possessed thousands of WMD warheads (and had used them in the past).

On the other, we have conservatives who are themselves split between the unsophisticated isolationists/non-interventionists who believe that an American withdrawal from the world will make us safe, and the quietly resurgent neoconservatives who see in the rise of ISIS/The Islamic State a justification for more foreign engagements.

For a moment, let us put Operations Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), and Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF), to one side. Instead, let us take an unemotional snap-shot of the global geostrategic situation to see whether the administration whose head was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize during his first year in office has indeed make the world a safer and more peaceful place.

Europe: During most of the last century, American security was tied directly to the continent of Europe. Whether it was the generational genocide of World War One, the racial genocide of WWII, or the class-based totalitarianism of the Cold War, Europe was the source of strategic, and at times existential, threats to America.

During the first Obama Administration, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton declared a “Pivot to Asia” which would deemphasize Europe’s importance and see Washington focus more on our Pacific partners than on old Atlantic Allies.

Since that announcement, an emboldened Vladimir Putin has seen fit to break an almost 70-year-old international taboo by using force to redraw national borders with his annexation of Crimea. This includes, incredibly, the shooting down of a civilian jet-liner by forces armed by Moscow.

At the same time, we have seen the European Union become evermore centralizing and undemocratic as untenable economic and fiscal policies are propped up by a Brussels bureaucracy in the name of “broader and deeper union.” This has naturally led to two types of responses: the unprecedented success of a paleo-conservative backlash, best typified by the insurgent victories of UKIP in Great Britain, as well the reverse: Utopian socialist populists such as the victorious Syriza party of Greece.

Then there are Europe’s ties to the Global Jihadist Movement. The recent slaughter in Paris, the beheading of a British serviceman on the streets of the UK, and Spanish and Belgian terror-related arrests all attest to the failure of the current international campaign against Islamist terrorism.

The flawed immigration policies of many EU nations have also facilitated the establishment of literally hundreds of ethnic and religious enclaves across the continent where integration is seen as a bad thing and where radical talentspotters for groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS/IS identify, indoctrinate and recruit murderers such as the Charlie Hebdo killers, as well as thousands of fighters for The Islamic State.

This has led to a grass-roots response from Europeans afraid of the future survival of their countries embodied in the ever-broadening PEGIDA movement that Breitbart London has covered in great detail. The failure of multiculturalist immigration policies has not only encouraged the enclave phenomenon, but is also clearly linked to the disturbing rise of anti-Semitism on the continent which has led to unprecedented numbers of European jews deciding to leave the nations of their birth for good.

If we include Turkey in our European snapshot, the situation is even worse, as we have seen the one viable example of a secular Muslim state slip even deeper into the corruption-ridden maelstrom of Islamic fundamentalism under the Erdogan government which is either incapable or unwilling to prevent Turkey becoming a pre-deployment site for jihadist fighters traveling into Syria and Iraq. All this from a formal NATO ally of the US.

Asia: The much-vaunted Pivot to Asia has clearly not worked. China has, over the last several years, openly challenged the post-Cold War peace in the region with a commitment to its own military build-up coupled with a concerted campaign of intimidation against its smaller and weaker neighbors.

While challenging and intimidating our regional partners, China has continued to grow economically at such a rate that the nation which was once universally ridiculed as the maker of plastic toys for McDonalds Happy Meals has now surpassed the US economy in terms of gross output.  At the same time, China is waging a covert war against America in the cyber domain, stealing not only state secrets for use in developing its new weapons systems, but also billions of dollars worth of intellectual property and commercial secrets from American businesses. See the remarkable report from Mandiant on scale of the threat.

North Korea has also used the internet to assault American interests as the Sony hacking attack attests, while Washington has proven totally ineffective in undermining the world’s last truly fully-fledged Stalinist regime, or its regionally destabilizing nuclear weapons capabilities.

Africa: A giant continent, with threats as bad as they were in 2008, or in several cases much worse. The Global Jihadist Movement continues to consolidate its control in Nigeria through the horrific attacks of Boko Haram, the group made famous for the kidnapping of the girls from Chibok, an attack which is just one part of a vast campaign targeting Christians and anyone who does not want to live under a theocratically run system based upon sharia and 7th century interpretation of the Koran.

In addition to the insurgent-like threat of Boko Haram, we have also witnessed horrific hit and run terrorist tactics used by other African jihadists, as in the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi by Al Shabaab. At the same time, China proceeds to build its vast network of economic interests in the continent in ways that far outstrip American geostrategic investment in Africa.

Australasia: Of course, the Pivot to Asia should have pleased our Antipodean allies. But the concrete consequences of the declarations and speeches by Secretary Clinton and the White House have amounted to little more than the deployment of a handful of US Marines from Camp Pendleton to Australia. Instead of the security situation improving, Australia faced its own Jihadist attack just before Christmas last year as a self-styled imam took hostages and brought the violent jihad so familiar to New York, London, Madrid, and Paris, to the streets of Sydney.

The Americas: Canada likewise became a direct victim of the Global Jihadist Movement after a spate of attacks against its armed forces and even its parliament which was only stopped when a brave sergeant-at-arms applied deadly force in the face of a rampaging jihadi.

Those who like illicit quality cigars may be celebrating the White House’s “normalization” of relations with Communist Cuba, but if statements by the Castro regime are to be credited as expressing Havana’s true intentions, then the deal was good for the dictatorship and bad for America. And despite the US government’s historic decision, conditions inside Cuba have remained the same, or in many case deteriorated, with last year seeing record-breaking numbers of political arrests on the island nation. And Cuba’s anti-democratic influence is a problem for the region, not just its wretched population, with Raul Castro’s secret police providing aid and expertise in the oppression of dissidentsto the government of Venezuela.

The Middle East and North Africa: Leaving the worst for last we have, of course, the Middle East, and North Africa. The highs hopes for the Arab Spring turned very rapidly into a “Christian Winter” and a victory for the fundamentalist and anti-Democratic forces of the Muslim Brotherhood. One after another, one-man authoritarian regimes fell to Islamist MB governments, or collapsed into deadly civil wars which are still being fought in places like Syria and Libya. Throughout the region, proto-democrats and vulnerable minorities, especially ancient Christian communities, have been targeted for death or persecution, or have been forced to flee.

The one ray of hope, the people’s revolt in Egypt against the Brotherhood government of Mohammad Morsi, which led to his being ousted by a secular military, was rejected by the US administration as a coup, despite the fact that General, now President, Sisi, has been fighting his own war against Jihadi fundamentalists since he was the Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces.

And now Yemen, which was lauded just a few months ago by President Obama as the poster-child of his successful counterterrorism strategy, has collapsed under insurgent attacks and the resignation of the government in Sanaa.

Then there is Iran, which, much like Cuba, has squeezed concession after concession out of the administration without either stopping its acquisition of nuclear weapons capability, or curtailing its support of Shiite terrorist fighters in either Iraq or Syria.

I said I would leave Afghanistan and Iraq of our the equation, but nevertheless, it is important to recognize that this is a new jihadist threat that is even more dangerous than Al Qaeda. ISIS, the Islamic State, is today a full-fledged insurgency, one that in four dimensions is much more of a threat that Al Qaeda ever was.

The Islamic State is more than a terrorist group, it now functions as a quasi-state and controls territory equivalent to the size of the UK. It is the richest non-state threat group in human history. It has an incredibly sophisticated understanding of information warfare and how to use social media as a propaganda platform, and lastly – and relatedly – it has recruited ten of thousands of young Muslim men from around the world, including Europe and the US, to fight for the new Caliphate of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. Bin Laden dreamt of being this powerful. The Islamic State has turned his dream into a horrific reality.

There is not one area of the world of import to America in which we have either not lost friends, or failed to help our allies to defend themselves against the common enemies that threaten us all. Whatever your politics, or whomever you favor for the next Commander-in-Chief of the United States, one thing is certain: without resolute American leadership the world can become, and now is, a much more dangerous place.

Sebastian Gorka PhD. is the Major General Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University and Associate Fellow at the Joint Special Operations University, USSOCOM. Follow him at @SebGorka.

The National Security “Not Top 10″ of 2014

obamalibya (1)By Patrick Poole:

With the world descending into chaos driven in no small measure by the incoherent, contradictory and frequently non-existent foreign policy of the Obama administration, it was difficult this year to narrow the field for this year’s biggest national security blunders. The task seemed so formidable, I nearly abandoned the endeavor.

But undaunted, I present to you the National Security “Not Top 10” of 2014, in no particular order.

(For past editions of my “Not Top 10”, see: 2012, 2011, 2010)

1) Befriending “moderate Al-Qaeda” in Syria:

There are some ideas so at war with reason and reality they can only exist in the fetid Potomac fever swamps of DC think tanks and foreign policy community. Such was the case in January when three of the best and brightest from those ranks published an article in Foreign Affairs (the same publication that in 2007 brought us the “Moderate Muslim Brotherhood”) contending that the US needed to “befriend” the Syrian jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham as some kind of counter to more extreme jihadist groups, like ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. The precedent they cited was the US failure to designate the Taliban (!!!) after 9/11.

Mind you, at the time they wrote this, one of Ahrar al-Sham’s top leaders was a lieutenant for Al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri who openly declared himself a member of Al-Qaeda. After most of their leadership was wiped out in a bombing in September, they have gravitated closer to the jihadist groups they were supposed to counter and their positions have been bombed by the US – much to the consternation of other “vetted moderate” rebel groups. So ridiculous was their proposition that the original subtitle of their article “An Al-Qaeda Affiliate Worth Befriending” was changed online to “An Al-Qaeda-Linked Group Worth Befriending” in the hopes of minimizing the absurdity of their case.

2) Obama Administration deploys three hashtag divisions in response to Russian invasion of Ukraine.

As Ukrainians made their bid to free themselves from Russia’s interference, Putin responded by deploying tanks and troops into Ukraine in violation of the1994 Budapest Memorandum. Obama’s rejoinder was to give a speech and to deploy three divisions of State Department employees all armed with a #UnitedForUkraine hashtag. Hilarity ensued as the Russian Foreign Ministry counterattacked by hijacking the hashtag, prompting State Department spox Jen Psaki to decry, “Let’s hope the Kremlin will live by the promise of hashtag,” leaving many asking: Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

3) Obama: ISIS is the “JV team”.

In January President Obama sat down for an interview with the New Yorker, and when asked about ISIS gains in Iraq, he likened them to the JV team, saying ““The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.” Those words came back to haunt him as ISIS surged in both Syria and Iraq, particular when Obama authorized missile strikes against ISIS in August. Even then Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken defended the president’s “JV team” remark, saying they didn’t pose the threat to America as much as Al-Qaeda. A few week later, the Washington Post noted the attempts to spin the president’s statement. By September, Obama laughably claimed in an interview on Meet the Press that he wasn’t talking about ISIS in his New Yorker interview. But even the notoriously biased Politifact rated his walk-back as “false” and two weeks ago the Washington Post’s fact checker Glenn Kessler branded Obama’s “JV team” spin as “the lie of the year”.

4) State Dept Official denies Boko Haram targeting Christians.

Just weeks after the Nigerian terrorist group abducted nearly 300 Christian school girls in Chibok and committed them to sexual slavery, State Department undersecretary Sarah Sewall denied in a congressional hearing that Christians were being targeted. As I noted in an article here at PJ Media earlier this month on disturbing trends in Nigeria, the burning of churches and the abduction and murder of Christians continues to intensify, with more than 1,000 churches burned in just a few weeks earlier this year.

Readers might recall that this is the same State Department that in April 2012 was telling Congress that Boko Haram was not driven by religious ideology the day after the group bombed a church during an Easter service that killed 39 worshippers. Not only did the State Department vehemently defend not designating Boko Haram a terrorist organization, this year we discovered that they intentionally lied to Congress about the threat posed by the group. Having only designated them barely a year ago, 2014 has been Boko Haram’s deadliest year yet, with 9,000 killed, 1.5 million people displaced, and 800 schools destroyed. Nigerian authorities still complain that the Obama administration is reluctant to provide the country what it needs to fight the Boko Haram terror insurgency.

5) Homeland Security adviser’s pro-caliphate tweet used by ISIS recruiters.

Twitter proved to be the downfall of Homeland Security Advisor Council Senior Fellow Mohamed Elibiary, when he was unceremoniously let go by DHS in September following a long string of extremist social media statements. Critics, including myself, had noted Elibiary long history of promoting radical Islamic groups and publicly defending terrorist supporters. Things began to unravel when earlier this year he tweeted that America was “an Islamic country with an Islamically compliant constitution,” but the wheels definitely came off when he tweeted about the inevitability of the return of an Islamic caliphate – a statement that was later used by ISIS in their recruiting efforts. After his dismissal, which even international media took note of, I talked with Michelle Fields here at PJTV about Elibiary’s highly controversial tenure at DHS.

Read more at PJ Media