Escape From the Life of Julia

Attendees say the Pledge of Allegiance before the arrival of President-elect Donald Trump during the first stop of his post-election tour, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Attendees say the Pledge of Allegiance before the arrival of President-elect Donald Trump during the first stop of his post-election tour, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

You might be thinking this topic doesn’t fit on a counter jihad site but the momentous implications of Donald Trump defeating the political establishment include disrupting the advance of statism that the unholy alliance of Islam and leftists depend on to gain power. I love Claudia Rosett and wish she were Trump’s choice for ambassador to the UN.

PJ Media, by Claudia Rosett, December 2, 2016:

There were plenty of flaws in the victory speech with which President-elect Donald Trump just kicked off his “Thank You Tour” of swing states. I hope he’ll stick with his free-market plans to cut taxes and scrap regulations and jettison his state-planning proposal to punish companies for leaving the country (prosperity will come of free markets, not of presidentially directed industrial policy). And Shakespeare he’s not; nor, for that matter, is he a Winston Churchill or Ronald Reagan.

But when Trump stood up in front of that Cincinnati crowd, looked into the cameras of national television, and proclaimed “America will start winning again bigly,” what came over me — not for the first time since Nov. 8th — was a sweeping sense of relief.

Yes, there are yuge problems looming, at home and abroad. President Obama has guaranteed us cliff-hanger crises ahead, with his eight years of central planning, profligate spending, politicized law, apologies for America, betrayal of our allies, pandering to our enemies, and postmodern”narratives” designed to emulsify all common sense (Obama’s erstwhile legacy deal for an “exclusively peaceful” Iranian nuclear program comes to mind).

Trump, even if he pursues the wisest of plans with the best of intentions, will have his hands full. We don’t yet know how he will govern in practice. It’s likely he’s not quite sure either.

But here’s something that really is huge. With last month’s election, as underscored by the crowd celebrating Trump in Cincinnati, this country now has a fighting chance to escape the Life of Julia.

You remember “The Life of Julia”? Julia was the faceless female figure in the interactive slide show — or “online tool”  — rolled out by Obama’s re-election campaign in mid-2012, to advertise the many ways in which Obama’s brand of state-paternalism promised to usher women through life. The original campaign production has since vanished from the internet, but articles about it remain, and one enterprising soul has dug up the original Julia slides and pieced them together on YouTube. It’s a pretty good summary of where Obama has been taking America; a fundamental transformation into a statist gray zone that was the basic issue on the ballot this November.

To recap, Julia at age three prepares for kindergarten in a Head Start program improved by Obama. Her high school is part of the Race to the Top program “implemented by President Obama.” For college, she is one of millions of students receiving a Pell Grant, and her family benefits from “President Obama’s American Opportunity Tax Credit.” During college, she has surgery, which is covered by Obama’s healthcare reform, which lets her stay on her parents’ plan till she is 26.

At 23, Julia starts a career as a web designer, her “equal pay” assured by the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. She can dispense with worries about paying down her student loans, because Obama has “capped income-based student loan payments and kept interest rates low” (yes, this is the same program that now has taxpayers on the hook for $108 billion in losses, and counting). Thanks to Obamacare, her health insurance perforce covers her birth control and preventive care, and when she decides at 31 to have a child — with no visible spouse, partner or other family arrangement in sight —   Obama’s “healthcare reform” covers all maternity costs.

At 42, Julia starts her own web business — with a loan from the Small Business Administration. At 65 she enrolls in Medicare. At 67 she retires on Social Security, and thanks to her government checks (which miraculously pay for everything she needs) she can while away the rest of her time on earth volunteering at a “community garden.”

Poor Julia. Not only does she have no face, but she has virtually no individuality– even in retirement, she tends the community’s garden, not her own. She is basically a ward — and a phantasm — of the state. She spends more than six decades going from one federal program, handout, and subsidy, to the next.

Missing entirely from this vision of state-curated womanhood was any mention of the real cost, or who will cover it. As David Harsanyi asked, in a 2012 article for Human Events, “Who the hell is ‘Julia,’ and why am I paying for her whole life?

Though, as Harsanyi also noted, the financial cost to others of Julia’s state-chaperoned life is just part of the toll. There is also the deadening of the spirit — Julia’s, and ours:

What we are left with is a celebration of how a woman can live her entire life by leaning on government intervention, dependency and other people’s money rather than her own initiative or hard work. It is, I’d say, implicitly un-American, in the sense that it celebrates a mindset we have — outwardly at least — shunned.

I’d add that it’s not just women who have been designated under Obama for a life in which all roads lead to Big Brother; it’s all Americans. It’s Pajama Boy in his zip-up plaid onesie, drinking hot chocolate in his parents’ finished basement while enthusing about state-mandated health insurance. It’s the millions who have dropped out of the labor force, the taxpayers who are dunned to support the dole, the would-be employees and employers who instead of joining forces on their own terms to create wealth in the marketplace are spending their time — unemployed and out of business — trying to navigate the regulatory, redistributive maze that is the real life of Julia.

In a state in which central planners call the shots, we are less and less free to choose. Individual enterprise becomes desperately unrewarding, or even illegal. Freedom fades, and bureaucratic dictates supplant the information and incentives that are part of free markets. Economic growth declines, and people fight over access to the favors of the state elite and their bureaucratic retinue, the overlords who decide who gets what slice of the shrinking vegetarian meatloaf.

That’s the real life of Julia, the direction in which the country has been heading for too many years now, while Obama has scolded Americans that whatever they earn, or achieve, or invent, belongs — cradle-to-grave — to someone else: “You didn’t build that.”

To watch America in recent years spiraling down into the life of Julia has been excruciating. This is a country made great not by conquest, or constraints, or cross-subsidies, but by freedom and free enterprise. Long before the welfare state offered free amenities (courtesy of American taxpayers), it was freedom that drew people to America, and fueled the melting pot — the real form of “inclusivity” — once they arrived. Our true iconic figures — if you plumb the American spirit — are not Julia and Pajama Boy, but sharpshooter Annie Oakley and that out-sized folklore lumberjack of the Western frontier, Paul Bunyan. This is the country that led the way to victory in World War II, and during the Cold War stood — and in some places fought — as a bulwark of freedom.

This is the country that 30 years ago inspired the talented American newsman and humorist P.J. O’Rourke to write a brilliant and politically incorrect retort to a European critic, at the end of an article titled “Among the Euro-Weenies.” O’Rourke’s language is not for children, but below is an excerpt that will give you the gist. He’s in London, at the lit-glitz Groucho Club, listening to a European who has just been saying that Americans know nothing about war because their country has never been invaded. O’Rourke doubles down, replying:

Let me tell you who those bad guys are. They’re us. WE BE BAD… We’re three-quarters grizzly bear and two-thirds car wreck and descended from a stock market crash on our mother’s side. You can take your Germany, France, and Spain, roll them all together and it wouldn’t give us room to park our cars. We’re the big boys, Jack, the original, giant, economy-sized, new and improved butt-kickers of all time.

That is the American energy and spirit — and humor — that seems to be stirring again, after the descent toward the cramped and somnolent life of Julia.

I don’t think this American spirit is racist, or xenophobic, or misogynist, or any of the other -ists and -ics and -isms that have been tossed around during the recent election campaign, and hurled at Trump in particular. I think we are seeing America shaking off the shadow of Julia, and seeking to recover its strength, and its wits.

To recover fully is a tall order. There is by now a vast and many-layered web of entitlements and regulations that will be hard to unspin, and tempting for those now in power to preserve. There are enormous debts coming due, and there is an urgent need to restore America’s lost muscle and credibility abroad.

How far Trump might lead, or in precisely what direction, where he will falter and in what he will succeed — all these things are still unclear. Personally, I prefer the cadence of “liberty and justice for all” to such locutions as “winning again bigly.” But if Trump manages to shrink the Obama state and drain the Washington swamp, especially if he does it bigly, that would be a huge leap in the direction of liberty and justice. At least he is pointing, broadly, in the right direction. Americans have, at least for now, changed the trajectory that was dooming us to the Life of Julia. That alone is a deliverance.

Also see:

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I can’t resist including this video. Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Will Obama Pardon Hillary? Should He?

hillary-please-640x480And does Trump actually want her to be pardoned?

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, November 12, 2016:

White House press secretary Josh Earnest raised some eyebrows on Wednesday when he engaged on the question whether President Obama would pardon Hillary Clinton before leaving office. Earnest did not indicate that the president had made any commitment one way or the other, but the fact that he is clearly thinking about it is intriguing.

The question primarily arises because there is significant evidence of felony law violations. These do not only involve the mishandling of classified information and the conversion/destruction of government files (i.e., the former secretary of state’s government-related e-mails). It has also been credibly reported that the FBI is investigating pay-to-play corruption during Clinton’s State Department tenure, through the mechanism of the Clinton Foundation — the family “charity” by means of which the Clintons have become fabulously wealthy by leveraging their “public service.” Thus far, Mrs. Clinton has been spared prosecution, but we have learned that the e-mails aspect of the investigation was unduly limited (no grand jury was used); and the legal theory on which FBI director James Comey declined to seek charges is highly debatable, even if it has been rubber-stamped by Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

The proximate cause driving the pardon question, however, is President-elect Donald Trump’s commitment that if victorious, he would appoint a special prosecutor to probe his rival’s “situation.”

This is one of what will no doubt be many things that Mr. Trump will find were easier to say in the heat of the moment (a contentious debate between the candidates) than to do in his new political reality. During the campaign, nothing damaged Clinton as badly as the specter of criminal jeopardy. But now Trump has been elected, and he has a governing agenda that will require cooperation from Capitol Hill. A prosecution of Clinton would provoke Democratic outrage, which means media outrage, which, in turn, means Republican panic.

Much of the outrage is ill-considered — although that doesn’t stop some smart people from expressing it. The objection is that the United States is not, for example, Turkey, where the Islamist despot persecutes his political opposition. But the comparison is apples and oranges. Clinton would not be under investigation for opposing Trump; the probe would be based on evidence of non-trivial law-breaking that has nothing to do with Trump. We know this because Clinton’s misconduct has already been the subject of ostensibly serious investigations by the incumbent administration’s law enforcers. If your position is that a politician may be investigated only if her own party is in power, then you are the one politicizing law enforcement — and creating an environment that breeds corruption.

But that, of course, is logic. Politics is not obliged to be logical. Even those of us who believe Mrs. Clinton’s misconduct demands a thorough investigation must acknowledge the real-world circumstances. The Trump administration will need to move on filling Justice Scalia’s Supreme Court seat; repealing Obamacare; debt, tax and regulatory reform; Iran; and who knows what unforeseen crises. A prosecution of Mrs. Clinton, especially if it is perceived as a rush to judgment, could derail the Trump train before it even pulls out of the station.

So what is to be done? Well, let’s put the merits of prosecution versus pardon aside for a moment. Politically speaking, the easiest out for Trump would be an Obama pardon of Clinton. But will the incumbent president do it? I suspect he will. There is no love lost between Obama and Trump, and probably not much between Obama and Clinton. But the president does have himself to think about — lots of love there.

Mrs. Clinton’s misconduct occurred when she was a high-ranking member of Obama’s cabinet. Her improper use of a non-secure private e-mail system was widely known in administration circles, yet it went unpoliced. Moreover, there is good reason to believe the administration was aware of Clinton’s serial flouting of the agreement she made with the White House as a condition of being appointed secretary of state — the one that required her to disclose and seek prior administration approval of Clinton Foundation activities that generated payments and donations from foreign sources. As it is, Obama’s dereliction in failing to make Clinton toe the line reflects poorly on him. Were these matters ever to be fully explored at a public trial, though, his legacy would take a major hit.

More to the point, as we’ve repeatedly noted in these columns, Obama, using an alias, willfully communicated with Clinton via her private e-mail account at least 18 times. This implicates him in her mishandling of classified information. Indeed, the Obama–Clinton e-mails would be admissible evidence in any trial of Mrs. Clinton — as likely would be the fact that the president falsely denied knowledge of Clinton’s private e-mail usage when asked about it in media interviews.

If President Obama had wanted these matters publicly exposed, he would have encouraged an aggressive criminal investigation of Mrs. Clinton, and he would not have invoked a confidentiality privilege to prevent Congress and the public from reading the Obama–Clinton e-mails.

For all the president’s gracious rhetoric this week about helping his successor succeed, the thought of leaving the thorny Clinton dilemma on Trump’s desk must be very tempting to Obama. On the other hand, Obama may calculate that a pardon for Clinton would burnish his legacy, just as historians have smiled on Gerald Ford for granting clemency to Richard Nixon (although, as I’ve argued, Nixon’s situation was very different from Clinton’s.) But all that aside, and regardless of the president’s feelings for Mrs. Clinton (which I suspect are warmer than some have suggested), this is more a matter of Obama’s self-preservation than anything else. That’s why I believe he will pardon her — after all, he seems to be pardoning everybody else. A pardon issued by Obama would make the whole affair go away, leaving Trump a clean slate.

But what if he doesn’t? What should President Trump do once the reins are in his hands?

Some are already arguing that Trump should pardon Clinton. There is some sense to this. Most of Trump’s ardent supporters would forgive him for going back on his word (as they would forgive him, it seems, for most anything). They would rationalize that he has more important fish to fry. There would also be reveling in the five or six minutes the media spent extolling Trump’s magnanimity before reverting to attack mode. As for the many in Republican circles who are tepid, at best, when it comes to Trump, a goodly number of them would cheer a Clinton pardon.

So if that’s the case, why shouldn’t Trump pardon Clinton?

Well for one thing, because a president is supposed to know what he is pardoning before resorting to that conclusive, irrevocable power. That is why the Justice Department has a pardon office, funded annually by Congress. The pardon office oversees an elaborate procedure, a key element of which is input from the prosecutor responsible for the case. The point is to ensure that the president is fully aware of the extent and nature of the criminality involved before deciding whether to grant clemency.

Mrs. Clinton has never been subjected to a full-blown criminal investigation, with FBI agents and prosecutors working jointly (rather than at cross-purposes), using the grand jury to compel the production of testimony and physical evidence. Such an investigation would be important here because Clinton did not act alone. Her use of private e-mail was systematic, with numerous staffers supporting it, covering it up, and moving classified intelligence through it; several underlings carried out the destruction of government files; many subordinates may have made false statements to FBI investigators; and the Clinton Foundation is a vast multi-billion-dollar enterprise — one that will continue its potentially criminal activities if a prosecution does not put it out of business.

Among the salient factors considered in pardon decisions are (a) where the offender under consideration fit in the pecking order of conspiratorial activity and (b) how similar offenders are typically treated. To be sure, Hillary Clinton is a special case: A prosecution against a major party’s most recent presidential candidate (which may also implicate her husband, the former president) would roil the nation and could complicate its governance. Still, we are talking about serious crimes, and Mrs. Clinton is the most culpable participant. Is the plan to pardon everyone involved, or should Mrs. Clinton get a pass while her minions face the anxiety and costs of potential legal jeopardy?

And if Mrs. Clinton is to walk away scot-free after compromising our nation’s most closely guarded intelligence operations, and after she has reaped hundreds of millions of dollars by putting our government’s foreign and security policy on sale, what is a Trump Justice Department going to do in far less consequential cases?

Trump campaigned as the people’s champion, the president who was going to “drain the swamp” and end the sordid Washington system of two sets of rules: a forgiving one for the well-connected and a harsh one for everybody else. Well, what about it, then? If Mrs. Clinton skates, is the run-of-the-mill fraudster also going to get a pass for the more mundane $100,000 scheme? How about the low-ranking naval officer who takes a couple of souvenir photos of a top-secret submarine? The mid-level CIA analyst who brings a few classified memos home rather than staying late to read them in the agency SCIF? Is everybody off the felony hook now, or just the Clintons?

These are not easy questions. If President Trump and his advisers are going to answer them fairly and properly, it ought to be done on a much better-informed basis than what we now have. The new president should direct his attorney general to select a scrupulous, objective, non-partisan special prosecutor, an attorney with solid law-enforcement experience who is respected on both sides of the political aisle (there are more of those than you might imagine). That special prosecutor and a team of FBI agents, operating outside the supervision of Trump’s political appointees at the Justice Department, should conduct a full and fair investigation — under normal law-enforcement protocols, which means no public commentary unless and until a decision is made about whether to file charges.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department’s pardon office should begin preparing a full clemency petition, working, as always, out of the public spotlight. Eventually, input from both Mrs. Clinton’s attorneys and the special prosecutor should be invited.

At the end of that process, with a normal investigation and a full understanding of the facts, the special prosecutor should file an indictment if the facts are so damning that prosecution is warranted. But, before or after that is done, President Trump could issue a pardon if the equities weigh in favor of one, especially if the evidence appears to be ambiguous. Significantly, the special prosecutor and the attorney general could also end up announcing that the investigation is being closed without charges and with no need to address the question of a pardon. That would give Mrs. Clinton the vindication she deserves if there truly is insufficient evidence to prosecute her.

Again, I don’t believe it will come to that. My sense is that President Obama will issue a pardon that covers not only Mrs. Clinton but any crimes committed by any person arising out of both the homebrew e-mail system and the Clinton Foundation — including any false statements and obstruction of the FBI’s investigations. That would make it case closed, sparing Obama embarrassment and Trump a political hot potato. If the current president does not act, though, the new president needs to be ready with a plan.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

When the Trump Team Comes Looking for the Secrets of Obama’s Iran File

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PJ Media, by Claudia Rosett, November 11, 2016:

Thursday’s cordial meeting between President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama was a reassuring ritual of democracy. But Obama was far from convincing when he told Trump “we are now going to do everything we can to help you succeed.” There are some highly disparate ideas here about what constitutes success, both foreign and domestic. There are also big areas in which one might reasonably wonder if Obama and his team are in a quandary over the prospect of a Trump administration inheriting the internal records of the most transparent administration ever.

Take, for instance, the Iran nuclear deal, Obama’s signature foreign policy legacy, the chief accomplishment of his second term. The Obama administration’s Iran file has been a realm of murk, crammed with dangerous concessions and secret side deals for terror-sponsoring Tehran — to a degree that has left some critics wondering if Obama’s real aim was to empower Iran as the hegemon of the Middle East (equipped with ballistic missiles to complement its “exclusively peaceful” nuclear program).

The cherry on top — officially separate from the nuclear deal, but highly coincident — was the Obama administration’s secret conveyance to Iran early this year of cash totaling $1.7 billion for the settlement of an old claim against the United States.

Like Obama’s other legacy achievement, the unaffordable Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, these Iran dealings were so intricate, extensive and opaque that we are still discovering just how duplicitous the official narratives were. Obama never submitted the Iran nuclear deal as a treaty for ratification by the Senate. Instead, he rushed the deal to the United Nations Security Council for approval less than a week after the final text was announced, and left Congress wrestling through the ensuing weeks, during the summer of 2015, to try to extract vital details from the elusive Obama and his team, subject to a legislative bargain so convoluted that the process, and the deal, never came to a vote.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s focus on the $1.7 billion “settlement” paid to Iran, which Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, apparently with no prior notice to Congress, announced this past January.  Obama and Kerry did not mention at the time that the administration was shelling out the funds in cash, to be airlifted into Iran — a form of payment especially handy for Iran’s illicit ventures, such as terrorism and procurement for its ballistic missile program (the usual role of ballistic missiles — which Iran has continued testing — being to carry nuclear weapons, which Obama has assured us Iran under his deal is not developing).

Obama and his team also neglected to mention that $1.3 billion of his administration’s cash bonanza for Tehran had come from the pockets of American taxpayers, via an obscure channel at Treasury called the Judgment Fund. It took months before such specifics came to light, which they did thanks not to the administration, but to the efforts of the press, and a number of persistent questioners in Congress — to whom the administration sent tardy and evasive replies.

Questions continue to swirl around this cash-for-Iran arrangement. Was it a ransom for American prisoners released by Iran on the same day the Obama administration announced the $1.7 billion settlement? (The Obama administration has repeatedly asked the public to swallow the logical fallacy that because it is not U.S. policy to pay ransom, this was not a ransom).

Why did the administration — until outed in August and September in a series of stories by the press — make a secret of the cash, the conduits and the dates of delivery? What were — what are — the full terms of this confidential arrangement? Which, according to a Sept. 29 report in The Wall Street Journal, included, as part of a package of three secret documents signed in Geneva, U.S. backing for the lifting of UN sanctions on two Iranian state banks blacklisted for financing Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Why have the relevant texts of all this wheeling and dealing been kept secret? Why has the administration repeatedly stonewalled questions from Congress? What were the machinations behind Obama’s claim, after The Wall Street Journal on August 3 broke the story of the first tranche of $400 million in cash for Iran, that the U.S. government had no choice but to pay Iran with a mountain of hard-currency banknotes? Based on what internal calculus did the administration refuse to provide public confirmation for another few weeks — until after the news broke in the press — that the additional $1.3 billion in taxpayers funds had also been paid in cash? On the basis of what information, precisely, did Attorney General Loretta Lynch certify that Treasury paying out those tax dollars to Iran was in the interest of the United States?

The government of terror-sponsoring Iran knows the answers to many of these questions. The American public does not. But we can reasonably speculate that as this cash-for-Iran saga unfolded, it left a trail of records within the Obama administration. Classified, quite likely — but surely there are some illuminating documents that someone with the proper clearances might wish to read.

Once upon a time, we would have called this a paper trail; these days it would more likely be digital. But at the very least, there ought to be the secret texts, the related justifications, requisitions and all the to-and-fro that would presumably be involved in the State Department, the Pentagon and Treasury (at the behest of the Justice Department, on behalf of State, with the blessing of President Obama), secretly organizing cash shipments totaling $1.7 billion for Iran — and then, for months, despite persistent questions from Congress and the press, covering it up. Add to that the overlap — or was it, as appears more likely, the coordination? — of all that clandestinely conveyed cash with the return of American hostages. Then amplify this scene dramatically, to include the manufacturing of the mothership Iran nuclear deal itself, and the related handling of sanctions (which, as the 2014-2015 Iran talks stretched out from the initially planned six months to 17, appeared, despite administration protests to the contrary, to be ever more casually enforced).

Which brings us back to America’s presidential election a mere three days ago, in which it sure looks like Obama and his team were blind-sided by Trump’s defeat of Hillary Clinton. Misled by their own narratives, by their echo chamber in the press, by erroneous polls, by the same arrogance that begat the presidential rule of pen-and-phone and Ben-Rhodes-narratives, Obama and his team were expecting a handover to Hillary. She might not agree with them on everything, but as a former insider herself, as a candidate who was running to continue Obama’s trajectory and cement his legacies, she wasn’t someone whose access to the Iran file was likely to cause anyone currently in the White House to lose sleep (provided she’d really ditched her non-secure home-server proclivities).

And then Hillary lost.

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Obama’s self-serving plan to close Gitmo a threat to national security

Photo: WireImage

Photo: WireImage

New York Post, by Paul Sperry, November 11, 2016:

With just 2¹/₂ months remaining in his term, President Obama has arrived at what many intelligence officials believe is an “irreducible minimum” number of Guantanamo Bay prisoners who can’t be transferred because they’re considered too dangerous, or their home countries like Yemen are too unstable to repatriate them.

But that hasn’t stopped the president from trying to whittle down the terrorist population at the prison even further in his quest to permanently shutter it.

During his time in office, Obama has slashed the number of detainees from 241 to just 60. Of those, 20 are queued for release, leaving 40 who are considered the worst of the worst terrorists, including 9/11 co-conspirators.

The recidivism rate of the Muslim men previously released is high. Almost 1 in 3 has returned to violent jihad. Freeing or transferring the remaining prisoners to less secure facilities is exceedingly risky.

Obama himself noted seven years ago that these otherwise “forever detainees” pose a “clear danger to the American people.”

The terrorists in this high-risk category, he explained, “received extensive explosives training at al Qaeda training camps, or commanded Taliban troops in battle, or expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden, or otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans.”

So how will the president fulfill his campaign vow to close the prison without further jeopardizing national security? One way is lowering the standards his parole board uses to assess the continuing threat prisoners pose to America.

Take Moath Hamza Ahmed al-Alwi, an al Qaeda fighter from Yemen who served as a bodyguard for bin Laden in Afghanistan before 9/11. His case is up for review before the board now, along with three other Yemeni nationals. His intelligence file warns he “has made several statements since early 2016 that suggest he maintains an extremist mindset.” It also notes a Alwi has committed a number of disciplinary infractions at Gitmo, including threats against guards.

However, under a new policy, his infractions were “pardoned at the start of Ramadan as part of an incentive for detainees to improve their conduct,” according to a recently declassified document. So suddenly, al-Alwi appears before the parole board with a record of good, not bad, behavior.

Normally, detainees who, as Obama said, make it “clear they want to kill Americans” have no chance at parole. But that didn’t stop the parole board he set up — the so-called Periodic Review Board — from clearing al Qaeda commander Muhammad al-Rahman al-Shumrani for release earlier this year.

Despite proclaiming, “When I get out of here, I will go to Iraq and Afghanistan and kill as many Americans as I can,” al-Shumrani was transferred to his native Saudi Arabia.

The board has become increasingly lenient as White House pressure to empty Gitmo mounts.

In 2014, for example, it decided after hearing the case of detainee Fayez al-Kandari that the al Qaeda recruiter and bin Laden aide was too dangerous to transfer. But suddenly in 2015, the board made an about-face, claiming that Kandari had “demonstrated a willingness to examine his religious beliefs and engaged more openly with the board.” He was deemed no longer a threat and transferred to Kuwait.

As The Post has reported over the past year, hard-core al Qaeda terrorists, including bin Laden bodyguards, have been kicked from custody on the flimsiest of excuses. Sympathetic parole board members have been impressed with their sob stories of wanting to return home to the Mideast to care for their sick mothers. Or their sudden ambition to give up the jihad and work on “milk and honey farms,” or plant flowers and arrange them for weddings.

Obama knows it’s a dumb bet to trust these killers. His own intelligence czar reported in September that 213 of the 693 detainees released from Gitmo have joined anti-US terror groups. That means 31 percent have gone back to fighting against us, some with deadly results. The recidivism rate is much higher if you include those known to have communicated with terrorists or made anti-US propaganda statements after release.

Even Democrats have expressed security fears over closing Gitmo, and have joined Republicans in blocking Obama’s efforts. The president now faces the option of acting unilaterally and forcing the prison’s closure through executive action — and moving the prisoners to US soil despite widespread opposition.

In his remaining days in office, we will see if Obama puts securing his political legacy among antiwar leftists ahead of the security of securing the nation.

Paul Sperry is the author of “Infiltration.”

Obama’s Secret Muslim List

unnamed-57Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, November 2, 2016

Like a warped Islamic version of Santa Claus, Obama had a secret Muslim list. And his people checked it at least twice. The list was of Muslims who were prospects for important jobs and appointments.

It included a Muslim who had described Israel as an “Apartheid State,” Iran’s “go-to guy in New York financial circles” and a number of figures linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

It was the ultimate religious test from an administration that had vocally rejected them.

Obama had claimed that having religious tests for migration was “shameful” and “not American.”

“When I hear folks say that, well maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims,” he huffed from Turkey. His Muslim host country was run by a bigoted sponsor of Islamic terror.

“We don’t have religious tests,” he insisted.

Except we did and we do. Obama also had religious tests. His religious tests excluded Christians and favored Muslims. That is why his Syrian refugees were between 98% and 99% Muslim with only 68 Christians and 24 Yazidis, even though both groups are real victims of the Muslim religious war.

Syria is 10% Christian and hundreds of thousands have been displaced. Yet only 68 have made it past Obama’s iron curtain. That’s either an Islamic religious test or the world’s greatest coincidence.

But would the man who piously lectured us on the evils of religious tests really have a religious test?

Of course he would.

The hacked emails include a list of “Muslim American candidates for top Administration jobs, sub-cabinet jobs, and outside boards/agencies/policy committees.”

The list was sent to John Podesta who headed the Obama-Biden Transition Project. It had been put together by a woman who had sat on the Commission on International Religious Freedom, but boasted that she had, “Excluded those with some Arab American background but who are not Muslim (e.g., George Mitchell). Many Lebanese Americans, for example, are Christian.”

How “shameful.” How “not American” of Barack Hussein Obama.

“Most who are listed appear to be Muslim-American, except that a handful (where noted) may be Arab American but of uncertain religion (esp. Christian),” she assured Podesta.

Religious tests are only out of line when they exclude Muslims. Not when they exclude Christians.

That’s the pattern which emerged from the Obama-Biden Transition Project and Obama’s refugee policy. There has been a clear pattern of administration bias against Christians and Jews. And in favor of Muslims. That bias has been obvious in a foreign policy which backed Islamic supremacist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood over more moderate governments at the expense of non-Muslim populations.

This policy led to the displacement and death of countless Christians, and the persecution of entire communities, by an administration which then denied safe harbor to the victims of its own policies.

Administration bias replicated that same bigoted policy at home when it favored Islamic candidates.

Obama appointed Farooq Kathwari, the first name on the “Muslim list” sent to Podesta, to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The “Muslim list” email had warned that, “Kathwari’s then 19-year-old American-educated son Irfan (aka Imran), was killed in 1992 fighting Jihad against the Russians in Afghanistan.” The actions of his son, who may have been with the Mujahedeen but was also apparently outraged over India’s defense of Kashmir, is of less relevance than Kathwari’s appearance at an ISNA conference and another conference co-sponsored by the Muslim Students Association. Both groups are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

He co-chaired the American Muslim Task Force whose members included Salam Al-Marayati, Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, which has defended Hamas and Hezbollah, Yahya Basha, president of the American Muslim Council and a former board member of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and assorted other Islamists.  Its report complained that Muslims were inhibited from donating to “charities” run by Islamic terrorist groups such as Hezbollah. Yahya Basha also appeared on Obama’s Muslim list.

Also listed was MPAC’s Aslam Abdullah who had claimed that “Zionists,” Christians and Hindus were behind the War on Terror. He had described Israel as an “apartheid state” and a “racist state.”

The second Muslim on the list, Cyrus Amir-Mokri, was named assistant treasury secretary. He became the first Iranian to be named to such a high position and defended the Iran nuclear sellout. Mokri attended a meeting with members of the Iran Lobby at the White House. He also reportedly advised Obama on Iranian sanctions.

Obama had famously told NASA boss Bolden that one of his three tasks at the space agency was Muslim self-esteem. But Bolden almost didn’t make it in. The Muslim list included two alternative candidates for NASA administrator. One of them, Dr. Charles Elachi of JPL was dismissed as “possibly Christian.” Indeed Elachi, who grew up admiring John Wayne and believes that American success is possible because it isn’t “held back by the long-standing, ingrained systems and beliefs found in the Middle East” would have been a rather poor fit. But it is deeply shameful and un-American that his potential NASA appointment questioned his religion. That is an inappropriate religious test that Obama must apologize for.

The other name on the list however is Firouz Naderi, an Iranian board member of the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans which advocated in support of the Iran nuke sellout.

Eboo Patel, whose name would frequently appear on lists of Islamists in the Obama administration, first made an appearance on the Muslim List. Despite his Islamist ties, he got the posting at the Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships. Also listed were Keith Ellison, Andre Carson and Larry Shaw. Shaw sits on the board of CAIR.

Dilawar Syed, the first name to appear on the list of possible appointments, was named to Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Syed is a co-founder and chair of the Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Victory Fund which has come out for Hillary Clinton. The secret Muslim list describes him as “animated by policy issues relating to the Muslim world.” A similar description is appended to the bio for Kashif Zafar who served as a Co-Chair of the South Asian American Leadership Council at the DNC.

Also on the list was Hamid Biglari. Bloomberg described Biglari as “Iran’s Man in New York” and as the Iranian president’s “go-to guy in New York financial circles.” Biglari was a key Iran Lobby figure.

The recently revealed secret Muslim list is deeply troubling. There should be no religious test for political appointments. Yet Obama had one. And his people sought to screen out Christians and favor Muslims.

This represents behavior that is in Obama’s own words, “shameful” and “not American.” One can’t help but conclude that, based on his own principles, Obama is shameful and not American.

John Podesta To Hillary Aide: ‘We Are Going To Have To Dump All Those Emails’

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Daily Wire, by Hank Berrien, November 1, 2016:

Wow.

A new release from  the Wikileaks trove of emails involving Hillary Clinton and her cohorts shows  Clinton campaign Chair John Podesta emailing Clinton aide Cheryl Mills, “On another matter….and not to sound like Lanny, but we are going to have to dump all those emails.”

The exchange came on March 2, 2015, only days before The New York Times revealed Clinton’s private email server. Mills answered Podesta,  “Think you just got your new nick name.” The “Lanny” Podesta referred to could be former DOJ staffer Lanny Breuer, who left the DOJ in January 2013, or Lanny Davis, who was special counsel to President Bill Clinton, and spokesman for the President and the White House regarding campaign-finance investigations and other legal issues.

The text of the email leaves it unclear which emails Podesta refers to, though he adds, “better to do so sooner than later.”

What is critical is whether the email hints that Clinton’s claim that she only deleted “personal” emails was false, and that in fact she intended to block the State Department and FBI from pursuing the matter.

Tyler Durden of ZeroHedge points out, “And in a separate email sent out just days laterby Clinton campaign communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, we get yet another confirmation that the president actively mislead the public when he said he didn’t know Hillary was using a private email address”:

Suggest Philippe talk to Josh or Eric. They know POTUS and HRC emailed. Josh has been asked about that. Standard practice is not to confirm anything about his email, so his answer to press was that he would not comment/confirm. I recollect that Josh was also asked if POTUS ever noticed her personal email account and he said something like POTUS likely had better things to do than focus on his Cabinet’s email addresses.

Obama-Clinton’s Anti-Mideast Christian Apartheid

20161027_hillaryclintonobama_statedeptpubdomainFamily Security Matters, by Tom Harb and Hossein KhorramOctober 27, 2016:

They wanted only Muslim Arabs to fill top positions – excluded Christians.

In a Wiki-leaked email dated Sep 29, 2008, New York attorney Preeta D. Bansal (who had served in the Bill Clinton Administration in the 1990s) sent in a list of Muslim Americans to be considered for top federal jobs to John Podesta who was acting as part of the Obama transition team at the time. She had apparently been instructed to exclude Christian Arabs and she explains how she has done so. Ms. Bansal also sent the list to Michael Froman who was a school chum of Obama’s at Harvard and who had worked for the previous Clinton administration. He was a major negotiator of the TPP trade deal and has gone through the revolving door between being a lobbyist and a government official numerous times. Ms. Bansal cc’d Matthew Onek a younger Wall Street up-and-comer in the Democratic Party in her email to Froman.

Here is the email itself.

Here are the compiled lists of Asian American and Muslim American candidates for top Administration jobs, sub-cabinet jobs, and outside boards/agencies/policy committees. A couple things to note about the list of Muslim American candidates: In the candidates for top jobs, I excluded those with some Arab  American background but who are not Muslim (e.g., George Mitchell). Many Lebanese Americans, for example, are Christian. In the last list (of outside boards/commissions), most who are listed appear to be Muslim American, except that a handful (where noted) may be Arab American but of uncertain religion (esp. Christian).

So they were actively excluding Christians in favor of Muslims. This is a pattern we have seen before. Arab Christians have been routinely excluded from acting as translators for even the most sensitive classified information. It is an open secret that Muslims have been favored for many years, going back to the Clinton Administration. Bansal continues:

I listed the elected Muslim American democratic officials at the end of the second category, but for various reasons, I didn’t think any of them would necessarily be suitable for an Administration appointment. Nevertheless, I wanted to flag them for you in case you wanted to evaluate them further.

Reaction from the American Middle East community was swift. John Hajjar, co-chair of the Middle East Christian Committee (MECHRIC) explained that rampant discrimination had been going throughout the Obama years. “We always felt the cold shoulder of the Democratic Party establishment in the past eight years. Their bigotry has now been laid bare.” He continued, “This discriminatory email is un-American, libelous and should cause the author and those who conspired against Arab Christians to be held accountable.”

“American citizens of Middle East Christian descent fled their ancestral Homelands after decades of intolerance and apartheid like policies of dictatorial and theocratic regimes with the hope that they and their children will have a better life here in the USA, only to face similar discrimination at the hands of the Democratic Party establishment,” said David Lazar of the American Mesopotamian Organization and the Restore Nineveh Now Foundation. “It’s truly a sad day in American politics to see bigots and racists like Podesta and his clique leading the Presidential campaign of the Democratic Party and at the same time have the audacity to accuse Mr. Trump of the same.”

This news is especially hard for Christian Arab Americans to bear as they are enduring slow-motion genocide in the region, the very birthplace of Christianity, without so much as acknowledgment of their plight from the Obama Administration. As Gabriel Sawma, Professor of Middle East Studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University, points out, “Christians of the Middle East contributed to the advancement of that region Christian universities and schools continue to educate Muslims and other communities. They contributed to the creation of Arabic music, art, and literature.”

Yet it is Muslims from the Middle East who are given asylum in the US, not Christians. Out of the 7551 Syrian refugees brought to the US in 2016, only 35 were Christian. It is the Christians who are persecuted and are being exterminated by the various warring Muslim factions.

If Hillary Clinton is elected, it is a certainty that the light of Christianity will snuffed out in the Holy Land. And it is certain Mrs. Clinton will not lift a finger to stop it.

The Florida based President of the World Maronite Union, Sami Khoury said “this treatment of Middle East Christians is discriminatory. A Clinton Administration would be catastrophic to millions in our communities across the United States. We never heard of such civil rights discrimination since decades.”

Imam Mohamed el Haj Hasan from Detroit said “we are in solidarity with our brothers and sisters from Arab and Mideast Christian communities who have been sidelined from obtaining federal jobs in the Obama Administration. As Muslims we stand for justice and refuse to see our Government discriminate against any sect.”

On his part Dr. Ashley Ansara from Orlando said “we are horrified that the Obama Clinton Administration practiced discrimination against our brothers and sisters from the Arab Christian communities. As Arab Muslims in America we consider this breach against civil rights as a type of Apartheid that has no place in America.”

Sam Yono, a Chaldean American leader in Detroit lamented the reports and said, “Many of our People came to the United States fleeing genocide and persecution and seeking freedom to find ourselves discriminated against because we are Christians and by the highest power in the Land. What a shame!”

It should be noted that the Obama Clinton discrimination has not only targeted Middle East Christians but also Muslim Americans who do not subscribe to the Muslim Brotherhood or Iran regime political agenda. One example is Dr Zuhdi Jasser, a Syrian American leader and a Muslim reformer who was systematically rejected by the Obama and Clinton powers for eight years while CAIR leaders had an open door to the Administration. The list of Muslim moderates and reformers who have been refused access and jobs under the Obama Clinton Administration is long as well.

Tom Harb is the Co-Chair for Middle East Americans for Democracy

Hossein Khorram is an Iranian-American community leader      

The refugee and asylum crisis: “Vetted” Iraqi refugee pleads guilty to supporting ISIS

Alessandro Rota | AP Photo

Alessandro Rota | AP Photo

Conservative Review, by Daniel Horowitz, October 21, 2016:

Last month, Francis Taylor, the DHS Under Secretary of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, told the House Committee on Homeland Security that “refugees are subject to the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States.” Well, earlier this week, an Iraqi refugee plead guilty in federal court on charges of attempting to give material support to the Islamic State. If one man can evade the “highest level of security checks,” time will only tell how many others pose a security risk.

In January, Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, 24, who was brought here as a refugee in 2009, was arrested in Houston on charges of attempting to provide material support to ISIS. According to the plea agreement in court this week, Al Hardan wanted to blow up two malls in the Houston area. “I want to blow myself up. I want to travel with the Mujahidin. I want to travel to be with those who are against America. I am against America,” said Al Hardan, according to the local CBS affiliate. According to the FBI special agent involved in the case, Al Hardan was working with another Iraqi refugee, Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, 23, who was brought in as a refugee in October 2012 and just 13 months later allegedly flew to Syria to fight for terror groups in the warn-torn country. Al-Jayab is in jail in Chicago awaiting trial.

That is some vetting system we have in place. Al-Jayab allegedly wrote to a friend last year that “America will not isolate me from my Islamic duty.” But rest easy, we are promised that the over 150,000 Muslim immigrants we will bring in this year alone will easily assimilate into American culture.

According to the State Department’s refugee database, America has admitted roughly 135,000 Iraqi refugees since FY 2008 — with no sign of the pace abating. Ever since Congress gave Obama a blank check for his refugee increase last month, Obama has already accelerated the pace of Syrian refugees on top of the existing flow of Iraqi refugees. The reality is that even if the administration had a solid vetting system in place — which they don’t — there is no way to vet a mentality within Sharia law. How many more of these individuals subscribe to the mindset of “America will not isolate me from my Islamic duty?” And this is not even a belief the administration cares to weed out through social media.

What is evidenced from this case in Houston is that it doesn’t take many bad apples to wreak havoc on our homeland. Al Hardan taught himself how to make bombs and use automatic weapons, all for the purpose of large-scale attacks .

In addition to the gaping security hole in our refugee program, Obama’s other legacy has been the destruction of the even more perilous asylum process. While refugees are processed overseas, asylum seekers are able to show up on our shores and declare a credible fear of persecution even when their claim is specious. A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies shows that applications for asylum seekers have increased ten-fold since 2009! According to Jessica Vaughn, 90 percent of these applications have been approved, even though many of them have traditionally been rejected due to fraud. Yet, thanks to Obama’s illegal executive action granting asylum-seekers parole pending the outcome of their application (which is usually approved), instead of keeping them in custody as the law dictates, our country has become a magnate for asylum seekers. Although most of the asylum seekers are from Central America, there are concerns about Middle Easterners travelling to Central American countries via Greece and applying for asylum there.  The U.S. Southern Command admitted to at least 30,000 “from countries of terrorist concern” crossing over our southern border in 2016.

vaughan-border-asylum-claims

Center for Immigration Studies

Between the influx of refugees and asylum seekers, the growing surge on our southern border, the massive and influx of Cubans who are automatically eligible for welfare, who is looking out for the security of Americans? We are entreated to sob stories and highbrow rhetoric about our obligations to the world, but what about the one authentic obligation of the federal government to secure the sovereignty of the people and the states?

Sadly, these are the issues that have gotten overshadowed in the reality TV show of this election. If Hillary wins, it will clearly not be a result of popular support for her immigration policies. Assuming Republicans keep Congress, they can easily block the extension of Obama’s refugee and asylum policies. Unfortunately, as we warned earlier this week, absent a new opposition party, that will never happen, even in the face of a large-scale terror attack on our homeland.

Sen. Rubio: Iran Deal an “Unfolding Disaster”

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The Senator blasts ‘outrageous, illegal’ actions by the Obama administration.

CounterJihad, October 19, 2016:

It is not every day that you see a sitting Senator accuse the President of the United States of having broken the law.  Senator Marco Rubio of Florida did so in a recent piece published by CNN.  Oddly enough, the accusations of lawlessness take a back seat to the charge that the President’s lawless policy on Iran is failing to achieve its aims.

Here are the claims of lawbreaking, with which he opens:

Outrageous, potentially illegal, actions by this administration have become so commonplace that many Americans have become numb to the recent news regarding this President’s policy toward Iran.  We now know the President authorized a$1.7 billion cash ransom payment to Iran, then his administrationlied about it to Congress….  This endangers every American overseas by incentivizing kidnappers and encouraging hostage-takers, and since Iran’s release of five US hostages in January, multiple American citizens have been thrown into Iranian jail cells. Providing cash to Iran has also allowed the mullahs to circumvent the international financial system as they shuttle much-needed resources to their terrorist proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.

We recently learned President Obama dismantled a key part of the ballistic missile sanctions against Iran eight years early…. Once again, the White House lied to the American people about its concessions to the Iranian regime.

Senator Rubio in fact understates the case.  This is in keeping with his efforts to position himself as a responsible Republican, one acceptable to the press.  Rubio has recently rebuked Presidential candidate Donald Trump for claiming that the US election is rigged, and has likewise claimed that it is irresponsible to talk about the leaks provided by Wikileaks because they might be a Russian information warfare effort.  Both of these are very popular positions among the media, and are in fact the positions of the Clinton campaign as well as the Democratic leadership.  Asserting them allows Rubio to appear to be a bipartisan, centrist figure.

This makes all the more surprising his charge that the President is breaking the law, though it does help to explain why he has presented the case far more gently than he might have done.  Take the so-called “side deals” with Iran.  The administration classified those deals, which prevented public discussion of them.  Yet they were not classified from Iran, which of course knew what the deals contained because they were a party to them.  US law does not permit classification of information to avoid political embarrassment.  It appears that the administration violated the law even in negotiating the deal, then, in order to prevent a public debate on the wisdom of its side deals.

The administration also violated the law in not providing those deals to Congress.  The law governing the negotiations required a mandatory handover of all information, including side agreements, so that Congress could consider the deal and vote on whether to approve it.  (In the event, Congress never did vote to approve the deal:  the vote was filibustered by the President’s partisans in Congress).

As for lying to Congress, the administration certainly did that, as the French confirmed.

Rubio is also right about the “giant pallets of cash,” which certainly did land in the hands of America’s worst enemies in Iran:  the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Iran’s terror-supporting shadow army.  It certainly was a hostage payment, just as the Senator suggests.  And it has indeed provoked a wave of new arrests of Americans and those with American ties, a kind of hostage taking under color of law.  All of these charges are perfectly true.

Yet Rubio’s real criticism is that all of this lawbreaking and all of these lies by the administration have failed to achieve any of the goods that the deal was supposed to achieve.

Iran has continued to develop ballistic missiles….  Earlier this year, Iran launched two missiles, one inscribed with “Israel must be wiped out” in Hebrew…. Iran has also maintained its support of Hezbollah, a terrorist organization that has destabilized the government in Lebanon and is working with Russia and Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.
A senior Iranian official has also stated that Tehran has been providing intelligence to Russia for military targeting, helping Moscow support Assad and his slaughter of innocent Syrians….
In Yemen, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels continue to prolong a conflict that has no end in sight…. In recent days, the Houthis fired missiles at US Navy ships on multiple occasions. However, even as American sailors are attacked by an Iranian proxy, potentially using Iranian-provided weapons, the administration pretends none of this is happening, and is reluctant to condemn Iran publicly.

There, too, he is correct.  It should be shocking that Iran was allowed to buy advanced S-300 missiles from Russia as a consequence of this deal.  These missiles can defeat almost all American, and all Israeli, aircraft that might be used against Iran’s nuclear sites.  How much more shocking, then, that Iran installed those S-300s around one of the very sites the deal was supposed to render harmless.  Could there be a clearer sign of their intent to continue to use that site for weapons development?

Iran’s Supreme Leader has told his people that only a traitor or a fool thinks Iran’s future lies in diplomacy instead of in missiles.  How much of that vast cash ransom went to supply those who are even now firing Iranian-made cruise missiles at US warships at sea?

The administration has indeed been lawless, and it has been foolish.  It is good to see a Senator pointing it out.  But what will the Senate do to hold the administration accountable?  What will it do to reverse this foolish course?

Obama rolls dice on foreign policy in secretive presidential directive

obama3IPT, by Pete Hoekstra
Washington Examiner
October 3, 2016

The once-fledgling Islamic State would never evolve from its “junior varsity” status to the Islamic terrorist hegemon that it is today without the wisdom, guidance, and support of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, a highly secretive classified document reveals.

The Islamic State currently features 43 affiliates in 20 countries and continues to control Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. When Obama assumed office, ISIS attracted roughly 1,000 fighters and was referred to as al Qaida in Iraq, or the Islamic State of Iraq, as it was contained to one country.

Obama and Clinton in 2010 then outlined their new and untested approach to Middle East policy in the document titled Presidential Study Directive-11. In an op-ed dated March 6, 2011, David Ignatius with The Washington Post helpfully delves into PSD-11. He writes, “This is the president as global community organizer — a man who believes that change is inevitable and desirable, and that the United States must align itself with the new forces shaping the world.”

Obama then announced America’s new policy during a global apology tour that U.S. protocol in the Middle East and with the Muslim world would change dramatically.

The United Arab Emirates-based publication, Middle East Briefing, in an analysis of Freedom of Information Act documents and other sources, found that under PSD-11 the State Department would lead an effort to build “civil society” — particularly nongovernmental — organizations to alter the internal politics of targeted countries.

Under PSD-11, the Obama administration deliberately pivoted from a strategy that focused on maintaining stability in the Middle East to a strategy emphasizing U.S. support for regime change — regardless of the impact it might have on the region’s stability. That is why we have gone from a general state of stability in the region in 2009 to the Middle East chaos we have now. Officials did not concern themselves with questions over whether new regimes would be allies or foes of the U.S. – or U.S. intelligence agency warnings about the jihadist chaos such regime change might unleash. They chose to believe the few rosy sunglass analyses.

Ignatius referred to intelligence analysts who said at the time, “…Islamic extremists don’t seem to be hijacking the process of change.” He quotes one intelligence analyst who discounted the threat from the Muslim Brotherhood. The West had previously ostracized the movement over its violent tendencies.

Individuals who reviewed documents released under FOIA concluded that State believed “that the Muslim Brotherhood was a viable movement for the U.S. to support throughout North Africa and the Middle East.” As a result, “American diplomats intensified contacts with top Muslim Brotherhood leaders and gave active U.S. support to the organization’s drive for power in key nations like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria…” It represented a major shift in decades long U.S. policy.

In the ensuing months, the Obama-Clinton administration then abandoned Iraq and prioritized promoting regime change in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Syria above stability in the Middle East. It engaged with the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaidaelements and other syndicates that it naively considered harmless and erroneously believed would foster democratic reforms.

Today the countries that America deserted or knocked over — Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Syria — are failed states. Tunisia remains a work in progress, and Egypt is slowly recovering from its disastrous experiment with Muslim Brotherhood leadership.

PSD-11 and the resulting decisions based upon it reshaped the Middle East substantially. Its flawed and naive analysis and the policies that sprang from it created conditions that fostered the rapid expansion of Islamist terror, specifically ISIS, and have sent the Middle East into barbaric turmoil.

The first principle enshrined in PSD-11 included Obama’s belief that this is “your revolution” which led America to abandon Iraq. Standing on the right side of history by switching sides and partnering with the Muslim Brotherhood underpinned his second major guiding principle.

The reported enshrinement of these two theoretical propositions in PSD-11 as a new national security strategy were dramatic reversals of longstanding bipartisan agreement among lawmakers.

The answer as to why ISIS gained power and influence, and why stability in the Middle East has disastrously deteriorated, does not require extensive analysis. As an official in the Obama White House indicated at the time, “It’s a roll of the dice, but it’s also a response to reality.” The Obama-Clinton administration gambled with America’s national security by embracing radical jihadists, and the world lost.

The approach as outlined by PSD-11 resulted in perhaps the greatest foreign policy catastrophe in the last 40 years. At least in Iraq the U.S. removed one of the world’s worst dictators in history, a man responsible for heinously murdering hundreds of thousands of his own people. There would be no such benefit derived from Obama and Clinton’s new strategy.

With PSD-11 the administration engaged with radical Islamists who predictably, rather than pursuing democratic reforms, took advantage of the opportunity to fundamentally transform the region and its threat environment back to the Middle Ages.

America flipped sides and the world is paying a huge price for a devastatingly naive miscalculation based upon little more than a “roll of the dice.”

It’s time to declassify and release PSD-11.

Glick: From Yemen to Turtle Bay

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Iran’s game is clear enough. It wishes to replace the US as the regional hegemon, at the US’s expense.

Truth Revolt, by Caroline Glick, October 14, 2016:

Off the coast of Yemen and at the UN Security Council we are seeing the strategic endgame of Barack Obama’s administration. And it isn’t pretty.

Since Sunday, Iran’s Houthi proxies in Yemen have attacked US naval craft three times in the Bab al-Mandab, the narrow straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. The Bab al-Mandab controls maritime traffic in the Red Sea, and ultimately controls the Suez Canal.

Whether the Iranians directed these assaults or simply green-lighted them is really beside the point. The point is that these are Iranian strikes on the US. The Houthis would never have exposed themselves to US military retaliation if they hadn’t been ordered to do so by their Iranian overlords.

The question is why has Iran chosen to open up an assault on the US? The simple answer is that Iran has challenged US power at the mouth of the Red Sea because it believes that doing so advances its strategic aims in the region.

Iran’s game is clear enough. It wishes to replace the US as the regional hegemon, at the US’s expense.

Since Obama entered office nearly eight years ago, Iran’s record in advancing its aims has been one of uninterrupted success.

Iran used the US withdrawal from Iraq as a means to exert its full control over the Iraqi government. It has used Obama’s strategic vertigo in Syria as a means to exert full control over the Assad regime and undertake the demographic transformation of Syria from a Sunni majority state to a Shi’ite plurality state.

In both cases, rather than oppose Iran’s power grabs, the Obama administration has welcomed them. As far as Obama is concerned, Iran is a partner, not an adversary.

Since like the US, Iran opposes al-Qaida and ISIS, Obama argues that the US has nothing to fear from the fact that Iranian-controlled Shiite militias are running the US-trained Iraqi military.

So, too, he has made clear that the US is content to stand by as the mullahs become the face of Syria.

In Yemen, the US position has been more ambivalent. In late 2014, Houthi rebel forces took over the capital city of Sanaa. In March 2015, the Saudis led a Sunni campaign to overthrow the Houthi government. In a bid to secure Saudi support for the nuclear agreement it was negotiating with the Iranians, the Obama administration agreed to support the Saudi campaign. To this end, the US military has provided intelligence, command and control guidance, and armaments to the Saudis.

Iran’s decision to openly assault US targets then amounts to a gamble on Tehran’s part that in the twilight of the Obama administration, the time is ripe to move in for the kill in Yemen. The Iranians are betting that at this point, with just three months to go in the White House, Obama will abandon the Saudis, and so transfer control over Arab oil to Iran.

For with the Strait of Hormuz on the one hand, and the Bab al-Mandab on the other, Iran will exercise effective control over all maritime oil flows from the Arab world.

It’s not a bad bet for the Iranians, given Obama’s consistent strategy in the Middle East.

Obama has never discussed that strategy.

Indeed, he has deliberately concealed it. But to understand the game he has been playing all along, the only thing you need to do listen to his foreign policy soul mate.

According to a New York Times profile published in May, Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes is the president’s alter ego. The two men’s minds have “melded.”

Rhodes’s first foreign policy position came in the course of his work for former congressman Lee Hamilton.

In 2006, then-president George W. Bush appointed former secretary of state James Baker and Hamilton to lead the Iraq Study Group. Bush tasked the group with offering a new strategy for winning the war in Iraq. The group released its report in late 2006.

The Iraq Study Group’s report contained two basic recommendations. First, it called for the administration to abandon Iraq to the Iranians.

The group argued that due to Iran’s opposition to al-Qaida, the Iranians would fight al-Qaida for the US.

The report’s second recommendation related to Israel. Baker, Hamilton and their colleagues argued that after turning Iraq over to Iran, the US would have to appease its Sunni allies.

The US, the Iraq Study Group report argued, should simultaneously placate the Sunnis and convince the Iranians of its sincerity by sticking it to Israel. To this end, the US should pressure Israel to give the Golan Heights to Syria and give Judea and Samaria to the PLO.

Bush rejected the Iraq Study Group report. Instead he opted to win the war in Iraq by adopting the surge counterinsurgency strategy.

But once Bush was gone, and Rhodes’s intellectual twin replaced him, the Iraq Study Group recommendations became the unstated US strategy in the Middle East.

After taking office, Obama insisted that the US’s only enemy was al-Qaida. In 2014, Obama grudgingly expanded the list to include ISIS.

Obama has consistently justified empowering Iran in Iraq and Syria on the basis of this narrow definition of US enemies. Since Iran is also opposed to ISIS and al-Qaida, the US can leave the job of defeating them both to the Iranians, he has argued.

Obviously, Iran won’t do the US’s dirty work for free. So Obama has paid the mullahs off by giving them an open road to nuclear weapons through his nuclear deal, by abandoning sanctions against them, and by turning his back on their ballistic missile development.

Obama has also said nothing about the atrocities that Iranian-controlled militia have carried out against Sunnis in Iraq and has stopped operations against Hezbollah.

As for Israel, since his first days in office, Obama has been advancing the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations. His consistent, and ever escalating condemnations of Israel, his repeated moves to pick fights with Jerusalem are all of a piece with the group’s recommended course of action. And there is every reason to believe that Obama intends to make good on his threats to cause an open rupture in the US alliance with Israel in his final days in office.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s phone call with Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday night made this clear enough. In the course of their conversation, Netanyahu reportedly asked Kerry if Obama intended to enable an anti-Israel resolution to pass in the UN Security Council after the presidential election next month. By refusing to rule out the possibility, Kerry all but admitted that this is in fact Obama’s intention.

And this brings us back to Iran’s assaults on US ships along the coast of Yemen.

Early on Sunday morning, the US responded to the Houthi/Iranian missile assaults by attacking three radar stations in Houthi-controlled territory. The nature of the US moves gives credence to the fear that the US will surrender Yemen to Iran.

This is so for three reasons. First, the administration did not allow the USS Mason destroyer to respond to the sources of the missile attack against it immediately. Instead, the response was delayed until Obama himself could determine how best to “send a message.”

That is, he denied US forces the right to defend themselves.

Second, it is far from clear that destroying the radar stations will inhibit the Houthis/Iranians.

It is not apparent that radar stations are necessary for them to continue to assault US naval craft operating in the area.

Finally, the State Department responded to the attack by reaching out to the Houthis. In other words, the administration is continuing to view the Iranian proxy is a legitimate actor rather than an enemy despite its unprovoked missile assaults on the US Navy.

Then there is the New York Times’ position on Yemen.

The Times has repeatedly allowed the administration to use it as an advocate of policies the administration itself wishes to adopt. Last week for instance, the Times called for the US to turn on Israel at the Security Council.

On Tuesday, the Times published an editorial calling for the administration to end its military support for the Saudi campaign against the Houthis/Iran in Yemen.

Whereas the Iranian strategy makes sense, Obama’s strategy is nothing less than disastrous.

Although the Iraq Study Group, like Obama, is right that Iran also opposes ISIS, and to a degree, al-Qaida, they both ignored the hard reality that Iran also views the US as its enemy. Indeed, the regime’s entire identity is tied up in its hatred for the US and its strategic aim of destroying America.

Obama is not the only US president who has sought to convince the Iranians to abandon their hatred for America. Every president since 1979 has tried to convince the mullahs to abandon their hostility. And just like all of his predecessors, Obama has failed to convince them.

What distinguishes Obama from his predecessors is that he has based US policy on a deliberate denial of the basic reality of Iranian hostility. Not surprisingly, the Iranians have returned his favor by escalating their aggression against America.

The worst part about Obama’s strategy is that it is far from clear that his successor will be able to improve the situation.

If Hillary Clinton succeeds him, his successor is unlikely to even try. Not only has Clinton embraced Obama’s policies toward Iran.

Her senior advisers are almost all Obama administration alumni. Wendy Sherman, the leading candidate to serve as her secretary of state, was Obama’s chief negotiator with the Iranians.

If Donald Trump triumphs next month, assuming he wishes to reassert US power in the region, he won’t have an easy time undoing the damage that Obama has caused.

Time has not stood still as the US has engaged in strategic dementia. Not only has Iran been massively empowered, Russia has entered the Middle East as a strategic spoiler.

Moreover, since 2001, the US has spent more than a trillion dollars on its failed wars in the Middle East. That investment came in lieu of spending on weapons development. Today Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missiles in Syria reportedly neutralize the US’s air force.

US naval craft in the Bab al-Mandab have little means to defend themselves against missile strikes.

The US’s trillion-dollar investment in the F-35 fighter jet has tethered its air wings to a plane that has yet to prove its capabilities, and may never live up to expectations.

Israel is justifiably worried about the implications of Obama’s intention to harm it at the UN.

But the harm Israel will absorb at the UN is nothing in comparison to the long-term damage that Obama’s embrace of the Iraq Study Group’s disastrous strategic framework has and will continue to cause Israel, the US and the entire Middle East.

 

Clinton’s Allies Polled Voters on Obama’s Islamic Ties

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008 / AP

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008 / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Cameron Cawthorne, October 14, 2016:

New emails released by Wikileaks show that allies of Hillary Clinton received polling information about Barack Obama’s ties to Islam during the 2008 Democratic primary.

The poll was discovered in the hacked emails of John Podesta, Clinton’s confidant and her current presidential campaign chairman. The January 2008 email chain—titled “McCain Survey”—included a poll question about Obama’s Muslim father and time spent in Indonesia, the New York Post reported. Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) was the eventual Republican presidential nominee in 2008. Obama was Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic primary.

“Obama (owe-BAHM-uh)’s father was a Muslim and Obama grew up among Muslims in the world’s most populous Islamic country,” the polling script states.

Podesta did not reply to the email thread, but he was included on the email with other Clinton allies, including Paul Begala and Democratic pollsters with the Washington, D.C.-based firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

Begala, a Clinton surrogate and former adviser to President Bill Clinton, denied that the poll was commissioned by the Clinton campaign, despite being prepared in January 2008 when Clinton was still running against Obama. He said that it was commissioned by a Democratic super PAC to test weaknesses of both Democratic candidates.

“That was a draft poll questionnaire that tested potential right-wing attacks on Obama, to help prepare to defend him,” Begala, who helped Bill Clinton be elected in 1992 and is working toward getting Hillary Clinton elected now, said in an email to The Post.

“I was part of a Super PAC called Progressive Media, which brought together Clinton and Obama supporters to prepare for the general election and support whoever won the nomination. I had no role in the 2008 Clinton campaign,” he added.

At least one of the email’s recipients, Tom Matzzie, was an Obama supporter during the 2008 primary.

The polling group also tested Obama’s cocaine use and support for gay adoption.

“Obama (owe-BAHM-uh) described his former use of cocaine as using ‘a little blow,’” read one statement.

“Obama (owe-BAHM-uh) is ranked as one of the ten most liberal members of the Senate because of his support of issues like gay adoption,” read another statement.

Clinton ended up losing to Obama in the Democratic primary, but later served in his administration as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

After Obama won the Democratic nomination, Begala said the unity super PAC disbanded.

“We came together to plan for the general election out of concern that the long, difficult primary would damage the eventual nominee. After Sen. Obama won the nomination, his campaign issued a public statement calling on us and other independent groups to disband, so we did,” he said.

Obama’s ties to Islam and Islamic countries has been an issue during the 2016 presidential campaign because the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump started calling for Obama to release his birth certificate in 2011. The media and politicians from both sides of the aisle have criticized Trump for it, but he has made it an issue by accusing Clinton’s campaign of starting the rumor back in 2008 when Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal spread around pictures of Obama in Arab garb.

A Republican Party spokesman told the Post that the email showed the Clinton campaign was willing to play dirty against its political opponents.

“Hillary Clinton may mimic the Obamas ‘when they go low, we go high’ line, but it turns out it was her campaign that first questioned President Obama’s childhood, faith and family in the ugliest of ways, and years before others,” said Raj Shah, Republican National Committee deputy communications director.

“This is just the latest in her pattern of hypocritical attacks and dishonesty,” Shah added.

Hillary says she can’t recall details of private server 21 times – Plus Wikileaks reveals Obama link to Server

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

New York Post, by Associated Press, October 14, 2016:

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton said under oath in a court filing Thursday that she can’t recall key details about her use of a private email server or she refused to answer questions about it posed by a conservative legal group.

Clinton lawyer David Kendall provided the Democratic presidential nominee’s sworn responses to 25 written questions submitted by Judicial Watch. The group has filed multiple lawsuits seeking copies of government documents from Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

Clinton’s answers provided no new information beyond what she told FBI agents during the recently closed investigation into whether she and her staff mishandled classified information.

In her responses, Clinton used some variation of “does not recall” at least 21 times.

For example, Clinton was asked when she decided to use her private email account to conduct government business and whom she consulted in making that decision.

Clinton said she recalled making the decision in early 2009, but she “does not recall any specific consultations regarding the decision.”

Asked whether she was warned that using a private email account conflicted with federal record-keeping rules, Clinton responded that “she does not recall being advised, cautioned, or warned, she does not recall that it was ever suggested to her, and she does not recall participating in any communication, conversation, or meeting in which it was discussed.”

Judicial Watch had sought to depose Clinton in person about the creation of the private server located in the basement of her New York home. In August, US District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan instead ordered the Democratic presidential nominee to respond to the group’s questions in writing.

In addition to her inability to recall the requested information, Clinton entered various legal objections to the formation or wording of 18 of the 25 questions. She also filed eight separate general objections to the process under which the questions were being asked.

Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said the group’s lawyers will closely review Clinton’s responses.

“Mrs. Clinton’s refusal to answer many of the questions in a clear and straightforward manner further reflects disdain for the rule of law,” Fitton said.

Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman protested the process in a statement Thursday night. He said Sullivan’s denial of Freedom Watch’s requests for an oral deposition “cleverly allowed Hillary Clinton … to stonewall giving responsive and meaningful answers.”

Klayman continued, “Now, even if motions to compel complete and responsive answers are filed, they will not be decided for some time, and Judge Sullivan will have run out the clock — paving the way for Hillary Clinton … to easily win the presidency.”

Campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said Clinton has answered these same questions in multiple settings for over a year, and her answers Thursday “are entirely consistent with what she has said many times before.”

“Judicial Watch is a right-wing organization that has been attacking the Clintons since the 1990s, and this frivolous lawsuit is just its latest failed attempt to hurt her campaign for the presidency,” Fallon said.

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Ed Henry Reports on Podesta Email Involving President Obama Day After Subpoena

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Clinton Speech Wikileaks: Libya’s Institutions ‘Destroyed’, Benghazi ‘My Biggest Regret’

AFP/Getty

AFP/Getty


Breitbart, by John Hayward, October 11, 2016:

The WikiLeaks dump of those very expensive speeches Hillary Clinton fought to keep secret from the public for so long include some remarkable comments on Libya and Benghazi.

These comments offer a damning indictment of Clinton’s leadership, because it is clear that she and Barack Obama were completely wrong about what would happen to Libya after they toppled dictator Moammar Qaddafi.

For example, she told the Boston Consulting Group in 2013:

So what happened? Well, Khadafy is gone. They start to organize. They had one of the best elections that any of these new countries had. They did not elect extremists. They had a very good outcome of people representing the various factions, but they didn’t – they don’t have a military. They can’t provide security as we found much to, you know, our terrible experience in Benghazi, but we see it all over the country. So the jury is out but it is not for lack of trying by the people who have inherited the positions of responsibility.

The jury wasn’t “out” then, and it is not out today. Clinton and Obama caused a horrific global crisis with their Libyan adventure, and they were completely unprepared for what happened in Benghazi. It’s clear from Clinton’s remarks that she completely misunderstood the security situation.

In the same speech, she explained that now she understands how thoroughly Libya’s “institutions” were “destroyed” by Qaddafi’s rule, and violent overthrow, but sadly for Ambassador Chris Stevens and those who died with him, Clinton did not listen to anyone who tried to warn her about the danger prior to 9/11/2012:

You have a country that had been under the thumb of Khadafy and his henchmen for 42 years. All institutions were destroyed. There was not even a military because he didn’t trust anybody since he had been a Colonel who had done a coup, so he had mercenaries, there were African mercenaries and some European mercenaries that were in his direct pay. They had really just conducted themselves as if the entire Libyan oil fortune was personally theirs.

In a Cisco speech in August 2014, she called the Benghazi attack her “biggest regret,” and repeated her observations about how inadequate the security situation was, as if someone else had been Secretary of State at the time:

Of course it was just devastating that there was this attack on our post and on our CIA annex, which I can talk about now, because it’s all been made public. And that the kind of reliability that governments have to count on from the governments in which they operate, like we’re responsible for the security ultimately of every embassy in Washington.

Well, the Libyan government has no capacity to deliver and the people that we had contracted with were incapable or unwilling to do it.  So that was a deep regret.

And you learn from these events, just as we have over the last 30-plus years, where embassies have been attacked or taken over, or the terrible events in Beirut in 1983-84.  You learn from them, but it always comes down to this very hard choice, should American civilians be in dangerous places?

What’s especially galling about Clinton’s 20/20 hindsight is that Democrats have long made the same argument about Iraq, and Clinton claims to have accepted those arguments after mistakenly voting to authorize the invasion.

In the later years of the Bush presidency, Democrats claimed it was patently obvious, in retrospect, that Iraq wasn’t ready to deal with the savage post-Saddam era, because decades of brutal personality-cult dictatorship had destroyed the institutions upon which democracy depends. Supposedly everyone outside of the Bush Administration could plainly see that nation-building was a doomed enterprise.

But here’s Clinton asking us to pardon her while she learns the same horrible lesson from her own nation-building project. Why should anyone give President Obama and his Secretary of State a total pass for not understanding what would happen after Qaddafi was gone, when so many people outside the Administration were yelling those warnings from the rooftops? Who was responsible for understanding that security situation and taking appropriate precautions, if not the Secretary of State?

Clinton boasted about the wonderful Libyan elections in several of her speeches – “one of the best elections in the whole region after the fall of Qaddafi,” as she put it to Hamilton College in October 2013 – but such arguments cut no ice with Democrats after the liberation of Iraq. It wasn’t long before they were waving off those “purple finger” photos of Iraqi voters as irrelevant.

“You try to help, you try to create relationships, and, you know, the hard guys with the guns have a different idea. So if you don’t have overwhelming force, it’s difficult,” Clinton observed to General Electric’s Global Leadership Meeting in 2014.

How can anyone be surprised that “the hard guys with guns” have undue influence in the Middle East? How can anyone with even a cursory understanding of the Middle East in general, and Libya in particular, reinforced by the grim lessons of Iraq, have imagined anything less than “overwhelming force” would be required?

Clinton told the Global Business Travelers Association in 2013 that it was “just a terrible crime” Ambassador Stevens was killed “doing what was really in the best interests of both the United States and Libya.”

On that, we can all agree, but that’s not how Clinton talked during the crucial days after the Benghazi attack revealed she and Obama had no idea what they had done to Libya, and no contingency plan for coping with a terrorist strike on the anniversary of 9/11.

During those vital days of Obama’s re-election campaign, Clinton and Obama pretended Benghazi was a bolt from the blue, a stunning “video protest.” She blamed the man who created the video, not these militia groups and terrorist gangs she now claims to be a keen student of. There’s no way to honestly square what Clinton said in these speeches with the Obama Administration’s conduct in September and October 2012.

Clinton’s speeches in 2013 and 2014 are further evidence, if any were needed, that she and President Obama lied to the American people, and to the Benghazi families, about the attack. They were disastrously wrong about Libya, from the minute Clinton talked Obama into toppling Qaddafi.

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Obama’s Syria Catastrophe

201113jobs

How a cascading series of blunders by the Obama administration helped lead to the present humanitarian crisis.

Front Page Magazine, by Joseph Kleinn, October 10, 2016:

The humanitarian situation in Syria worsens day by day. The Assad regime and Russia are carrying out intense lethal bombings over the rebel-held eastern Aleppo, where about 250,000 people are effectively trapped under siege by Syrian military forces. They claim they are targeting terrorists, not civilians. The United States and its allies retort that the savage aerial bombing campaign against civilian targets such as hospitals and shelters has nothing to do with counter-terrorism. The United Nations Security Council has met numerous times to address the tragedy, to no avail. This past weekend’s emergency session of the Security Council was no exception.

On October 8th, France and Spain, with the strong backing of the Obama administration, introduced a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council demanding a full cessation of all hostilities, including an end to all aerial bombardments over Aleppo, as well as the provision of immediate, safe and unhindered humanitarian access. Russia introduced its own competing draft.  While there was a fair amount of overlap between the two drafts, the Russian draft omitted any reference to the cessation of aerial bombings and revived the idea of modest weekly 48 hour humanitarian pauses in fighting. It also insisted on the need to verifiably separate “moderate opposition forces from ‘Jabhut Al-Nusra’ as a key priority,” which Russia has accused the United States of failing to accomplish.

Russia vetoed the French-Spanish draft resolution. The Russian draft failed to get the necessary majority of Security Council members to go along with it. Acrimony filled the air with charges and counter-charges assigning blame for the Syrian tragedy and the failure once again of the Security Council to take any decisive action. Meanwhile, civilians continue to die in Aleppo.

Russia’s military intervention on the side of the Syrian regime has surely tipped the balance in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s favor at a horrendous price suffered by thousands of innocent victims, including little children. However, it was President Obama who allowed the situation in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa to spiral out of control in the first place, without even a trace of self-reflection on what he might have done wrong.

The disaster in Syria will likely top Barack Obama’s foreign policy legacy, even though Obama so badly wants the Paris Agreement on climate change to be his most long-lasting foreign policy legacy achievement. Indeed, Obama is so hung up on climate change as his number one foreign policy initiative that he actually blames climate change, which he is resolved to begin reversing, as having “contributed to the unrest and the Syrian civil war.” This is an example, according to former U.S. Army Gen. Robert Scales, of “politically-correct imaginings” and “politically-correct theories inserted into a battle plan” that “might well extend war needlessly and get soldiers killed.”

Obama’s solution to the refugee crisis resulting from the Syrian catastrophe is also a politically-correct plan with a potentially dangerous outcome. Obama is allowing thousands of Syrian refugees into the country without proper vetting to determine first who they are and what they believe. And he is not doing so to help save persecuted religious minorities such as Christians and Yazidis from genocide. Out of a total of 12,587 Syrian refugees the Obama administration admitted to the United States during the just-ended fiscal year for resettlement in communities throughout the country, 98.2 percent (12,363) are Sunni Muslims. Only 0.5 percent (68) are Christians and 0.19 percent (24) are Yazidis. Considering that ISIS and al Qaeda members are Sunni Muslims themselves, such an exceedingly high proportion of Sunni Muslim refugees admitted into the country, versus the truly persecuted religious minorities, almost guarantees that some Islamist terrorists will slip through the cracks.

Obama’s fundamental error all along has been to empower the Islamists he believes the United States could work with. He paved the way for enriching Syria’s principal ally in the region, Iran. Very shortly after his apology speech in Cairo to the Muslim world on June 4, 2009, Obama backed the mullahs in Iran, ignoring the pleas for American moral support from millions of dissidents marching peacefully in the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities. They were being beaten and worse as they protested the rigged “election” of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Obama then proceeded to acquiesce to virtually every demand the Islamic theocracy made to secure his nuclear deal with Iran. Thousands of Iranian-backed fighters, likely paid for in part by funds made available to Iran’s government as a result of Obama’s appeasement nuclear pact, have been converging on Aleppo to help the Syrian regime in its all-out assault on rebel-controlled portions of the city.

Obama also supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East. To try and topple secular dictators, he helped arm so-called “moderate” rebels in Libya and Syria without careful vetting. Many of them either willingly, or were forced, to join the jihadist terrorist groups ISIS and al Nusra. ISIS gained strength in Syria and Iraq after Obama’s precipitous withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops from Iraq in 2011. Obama’s disastrous decision that same year to intervene militarily in Libya to overthrow Muammar al-Qaddafi, without any concrete plan for the day after, resulted in a failed state and Islamist strongholds from which the Libyan-based Islamists sent jihadists and arms to their jihadist brethren in Syria.

While Obama’s series of disastrous mistakes helped strengthen the Islamists in Syria on both sides of the conflict, he allowed Russian President Vladimir Putin to get the upper hand in Syria, which is playing out today in Aleppo and elsewhere.

It was not always this way. When Putin returned to the presidency in 2012, he did not display an intent to deploy Russian troops or warplanes in or around Syria immediately to help Assad against the rebel forces trying to overthrow him. Obama had decided against any major military intervention in Syria to help the rebels, who, indeed, were almost impossible to vet properly and were saturated with jihadist elements, but allowed the provision of some covert aid to the so-called “moderate” rebels without any apparent interference by Russia. More significantly, in his infamous declaration of a “red line” against the use of chemical weapons in 2012, the Obama risked the credibility of the U.S. if he did not follow through. And that is exactly what happened: Obama had warned the Syrian regime that the U.S. would take direct military action if it used chemical weapons against the Syrian people. Yet, when it appeared a year later that Assad had crossed Obama’s red line with the Syrian military force’s use of sarin gas that took the lives of nearly 1500 people, Obama drew back from his threat. Obama allowed Putin to bail him out of enforcing the red line with a face-saving agreement stipulating the removal and destruction of the Assad regime’s designated stockpiles of chemical weapons. The Obama administration opted to use the UN Security Council to unanimously endorse the agreement worked out, with Assad’s consent, between the United States and Russia. The agreement was to be implemented on an accelerated timetable, with monitoring by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Removal and destruction of the Assad regime’s designated stockpiles of chemical weapons were used as cover for the Assad regime to step up its attacks on civilians with conventional weapons, and jihadist terrorists gained control over swathes of territory. Moreover, Assad still has some chemical weapons, which he has allegedly used against civilians since the passage of the UN Security Council chemical weapons resolution.

Putin in the meantime used a variety of tactics, including bait and switch negotiations and the cynical use of the UN, to buy time in order to build up Russia’s own military forces in the region. President Obama, in turn, played right into Putin’s hands. Obama gave up the military leverage he had in 2013 to target specifically and destroy Assad’s warplanes and airfields when Assad crossed Obama’s red line.  Russia was not then in a position to run interference for Assad militarily. Russia’s strong military build-up since that time has changed the military equation – and, by extension, the balance of diplomatic leverage — to Assad’s and Russia’s advantage. Russia bought the time necessary to become the Syrian regime’s full partner in relentless air attacks leading up to the horrors now unfolding daily in eastern Aleppo.

Sadly, any real viable diplomatic solution to the five-year-plus Syrian conflict, which has taken hundreds of thousands of lives, displaced millions of people, and precipitated a refugee crisis of historic proportions, is further away than ever. In short, President Obama’s legacy in the Middle East consists of a revitalized Iran, a Russian presence at a level not seen for over four decades and an unstable environment in which jihadist terrorists have thrived. Obama has risked importing the ensuing chaos into this country by admitting thousands of unvetted refugees.

Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.

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Kredo: Obama Administration All Words, No Action in Syria

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