Posts filed under ‘Middle East’
OMG, if this is the level of information swirling around inside the White House we’re in big trouble:
Excerpt from a September 10, 2014 “Background Conference Call on the President’s Address to the Nation:”
ISIL has been I think a galvanizing threat around the Sunni partners in the region. They view it as an existential threat to them. Saudi Arabia has an extensive border with Syria. The Jordanians are experiencing a destabilizing impact of over a million refugees from the Syrian conflict, and are profoundly concerned that ISIL, who has stated that their ambitions are not confined to Iraq and Syria, but rather to expand to the broader region.
Um, ah, actually no, it doesn’t:
You probably heard that House Republicans brought Dick Cheney in for a meeting yesterday so he — yes, he, most recently of blundered Iraq war fame — could strategize with them on the next go round in that miserable disaster. They were more than happy to listen, according to Rep. Peter King (R-NY), “because most of us think we did the right thing in Iraq.” Really? Does that mean “most” of them still believe al Qaeda was there (it wasn’t) and Saddam Hussein had WMD (he didn’t)?
Holy cow. Is this really happening?
Today Cheney gave a speech at the ultra-conservative American Enterprise Institute and railed at Obama to do whatever it takes “to win,” even though he and Bush weren’t able to do that themselves. What gall.
Anyway, what in the world are Republicans thinking bringing back this monster as an adviser? The guy left office with a 13% approval rating and my sense is he’s still widely despised. All I can think of is this is what happens when a bunch of people — as in House Republicans — live in Faux News/Limbaugh land.
Here’s my Tweet of the Day
Stopping ISIS? Way harder than it sounds, i.e., what the hell are we getting ourselves into:
Even limited success for this new effort, analysts say, hinges on an unenviable to-do list for the Obama administration: foster cozier relations with Iran, gamble on the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels, strong-arm Iraq’s Shiite Muslim leaders into power-sharing with the Sunni Muslim minority, and persuade Sunni-ruled nations in the Persian Gulf region not to undermine the whole effort by striking out on their own.
Piece of cake, right? Gawd.
And how about answers to at least some of these questions:
What do you [Obama] expect the response of ISIS to be, given especially that these killings that have gotten so much attention have been couched by the group as revenge for military action we’ve already taken? Why shouldn’t we expect more of the same if we do more of the same?
Have we considered whether part of the group’s purpose is to provoke more U.S. intervention, and therefore show themselves as the group standing up to the U.S.? Would we not indeed be playing into their hands by doing so?
Given that Matthew Olsen, the outgoing director of the NCTC [National Counterterrorism Center] made a statement the other day that we do not face the prospect of attacks by this group against the homeland, why are we focusing as much attention as we are against this one group? They’ve done certain dramatic things that have gotten our attention, and the press’s attention, but what exactly are the U.S.’s interests at stake?
Given that this group’s advances in Syria and Iraq have had a great deal to do with the larger sectarian conflict in those countries… how do we intervene without effectively taking sides in a sectarian conflict in which the United States has no interest? Why should we favor Shiites or Sunnis? Because that’s exactly how it will be seen. Have you considered the downside of being seen as taking sides in a sectarian conflict, in terms of the enemies that you make?
With particular regard to the question of intervening in Syria: What exactly would be our broader political objective? Do we still believe that [Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad] must go? And if we do, how do we square this with an intervention against ISIS, given that the regime and ISIS are the two most powerful interests in the Syrian civil war?
How effective would air strikes be against a group most of whose strength is closely intermingled with civilian populations? It does not consist of large military formations out in the desert. How do you do something effective militarily without causing casualties among innocent civilians?
Say it ain’t so already. Please. Is the U.S. really going down this road? Apparently so:
Like many teenage boys who grew up in the Midwest in the 1990s, Douglas McAuthur McCain was a fan of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and loved to play basketball.
But as he grew older, he lost interest in basketball as he shuttled between two suburban Minneapolis high schools. He never graduated, and in his late teens, he began to have run-ins with the law. In the decade that followed, he was arrested or cited nine times on charges including theft, marijuana possession and driving without a license.
Mr. McCain moved back and forth from Minneapolis to San Diego and then abroad. Officials now know he ended up in Syria, where three days ago, Mr. McCain became the first American to die while fighting for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He was 33.
The rebels who killed him were fighting for the Free Syrian Army, a rival group backed by the United States, and they went on to behead six ISIS fighters — but not Mr. McCain — and then posted the photographs on Facebook.
Something tells me the U.S. media won’t even hint at this having happened in London today:
I suspected the world, and more specifically the Israelis, were being terrorized by their own government as to the power of Hamas’ “rockets” and I was right:
Gaza’s Bottle Rockets
Why Hamas’ Arsenal Wasn’t Worth a WarHamas’ rocket fire into Israel has occasionally been described by the international press in dire terms — as a “non-stop onslaught,” an “unbearable” and “incessant” assault that is “paralyzing the country” and making life “intolerable” for ordinary Israelis. One CNN report even claimed that Israeli soldiers were collapsing from the psychological trauma of the explosions. It has made for a nasty portrait of Hamas and its military strategy, one that could even be read as a tacit endorsement of Israel’s stated goal of disarming the group with military force.
But a closer examination of Hamas’ military capabilities and goals reveals a very different picture. Most of Hamas’ arsenal is comprised of homemade rockets that are decidedly incapable of inflicting mass civilian casualties, flattening apartment blocks, or causing conflagrations that consume entire cities. “Hamas’ rockets can kill people and they have,” a counter-intelligence veteran of the U.S. CIA who spent his career monitoring Israeli and Palestinian military capabilities told me recently, “but compared to what the Israelis are using, the Palestinians are firing bottle rockets.”
That’s what I thought.