Category Archives: Terrorism

Coughing up catchphrase strategic hairballs

In light of President Trump’s decision to order airstrikes in Syria against Assad forces this past week, I’ve been awaiting some hint of a comprehensive regional strategy for, not only defeating ISIS, but for the gigantic strategic elephant in the room (power vacuums across the region), that assure continuing fertile ground for Islamist nutjobs to reseed and grow for decades to come.

ISIS was Al Qaeda in Iraq.  The belief that driving them out of Raqqa holds some sort of magical strategic power eludes me.  The belief that ousting Assad opens some magical door to peace in Syria and a grand opportunity for the people of Syria, also eludes me.

The regime change cadre, like General Keane, John McCain, and  Lindsey Graham are ecstatic, but these are the same people who place a lot of trust in Elizabeth O’Bagy and the Institute for the Study of War’s analysis with their “Syrian moderates” magic carpet ride.

I was going to await General McMaster’s appearances on the Sunday shows, before commenting, but here’s how I see the pros and cons from Trump’s actions.  The pros:

  1. Pushing back against Putin and Iranian power plays in Syria bolsters U.S. credibility as a world player, not afraid to act.  Count that as very positive.
  2. Grounding Assad’s air assets is also very positive with more U.S. troops on the ground in Syria
  3.  On purely symbolic PR grounds, Trump’s actions showed strength and resolve.

Now the cons:

  1. Escalating military action without clear, well-defined ends leads to mission creep and can very quickly turn into a complicated strategic Gordian knot (like the one we’ve been choking on for over a decade). We are still coughing up catchphrase strategic hairballs.
  2. There doesn’t seem to be a comprehensive regional strategy.
  3. Building a strategy on false beliefs leads to very poor strategic outcomes.

That #3 is where we screw-up most often, by believing things that are not true.  Since 2012, there has been a vocal chorus among some US pundits and strategists for regime change in Syria.  There has been a belief that a large part of the insurgents in Syria’s civil war are “moderates”.   They are all varying shades of Islamists – that is a FACT.  And that FACT should cause everyone some pause.  Islamist insurgents assure that if they succeed in seizing power in Syria there will be another state run by Islamists.  Why the US should be gung-ho for establishing Sharia compliant states, I don’t know.  If past is prologue, nothing is simple in that region of the world.

Without all the “Rah, Rah, Go USA” cheerleading… I want to know what the comprehensive strategic ends are and how this dramatic miliary escalation fits into that strategy.

Just an added thought about articulating a strategy… the clearest American message isn’t coming from the White House, the State Department, or the Pentagon.  It’s coming from the United States ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley.  The rest of the Trump administration should follow her lead on how to craft a clear, principled, unified ” strong American voice” on Russia, Syria and Iran.

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Filed under Foreign Policy, General Interest, Military, Politics, Terrorism

Information Wars Blaze On

America survived week #1 of the Trump Reality TV Presidency Show.

Keeping in repetitive propaganda from the Left tradition(SPIN Cycle politics to control the 24/7 news cycle), America was bombarded with another Saturday media blitz by the Dems and Left.  This was weekend #2 of “Crowd Size” Saturday Theater for the Dems, as Dems orchestrated protests at airports across the country and Dems, the media, and politicians rushed to get these images broadcast around the world.

Trump’s PR was AWOL yesterday, so now they are stuck playing “Alternative Facts” Sunday again, to try to counter the liberal media spin and hysteria, from the optics and bs the Dems/Left spewed since Friday, when Trump signed the EO. CNN reported on the confusion in the Trump White House with the EO implementation:

“The policy team at the White House developed the executive order on refugees and visas, and largely avoided the traditional interagency process that would have allowed the Justice Department and homeland security agencies to provide operational guidance, according to numerous officials who spoke to CNN on Saturday.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Department of Homeland Security leadership saw the final details shortly before the order was finalized, government officials said.

Friday night, DHS arrived at the legal interpretation that the executive order restrictions applying to seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen — did not apply to people with lawful permanent residence, generally referred to as green card holders.

The White House overruled that guidance overnight, according to officials familiar with the rollout. That order came from the President’s inner circle, led by Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon. Their decision held that, on a case by case basis, DHS could allow green card holders to enter the US.”

http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/28/politics/donald-trump-travel-ban/index.html

It’s hard to erase the negative PR impact of the Dems rushing to airports with the liberal media to get images of detained Muslim refugee families broadcast. This not only damaged Trump and his immigration EO, it damaged the image of the US around the world, as these images sped around the globe. This starts week #2 of this information war (scorched earth) continuing from over a year of the 2016 campaign.

There’s a lot more going on here than just Dems vs. Repubs, because while the partisans remain entrenched in death match politics, these images of American democracy in disarray are damaging America’s image as a stable democracy. Trump is waging an information war against the mainstream media. Dems/Left are waging an information war against Trump using the media.

An unbiased, professional news media geared toward objectively reporting ” who, what, when, where, why and how” is best defense against both.  However, our mainstream media is greatly compromised and serves as de facto Democratic Party political operatives and FOX News works as the Trump channel, agitating on the right. This information vacuum is a disservice to the American people who are basically manipulated constantly by little more than agitation propaganda spewed by partisan hacks. We’re also entering the territory where the deluge of constant propaganda and fact-deficient reporting leaves more and more Americans distrusting both the political leadership in Washington and the media.

Lots more to write about the immigration EO and the Trump White House total fail at handling everything from the preparation, implementation, and PR in regards to rolling out the EO, but also the disturbing news that President Trump has elevated Steve Bannon to sit on the NSC Principals Committee, while downgrading the DNI and Chairman of JCS to just being present when invited.  Steve Bannon now playing a central, larger  role in national security matters than the DNI and Chairman of the JCS should alarm every American.  The Obama administration politicized national security too and Trump expanding the politicization dashes hope on Trump actually “draining the swamp”.

The downward spiral in American politics continues where the corrupt Clinton machine was defeated by an even more corrupt Obama machine and now the corrupt Trump “train”, and his, as yet to be revealed machine, defeated the united corrupt Clinton and Obama machines working together to get Hillary elected.

Here are a few links worth reading:

An interactive on the 93 Islamist terrorist plots in America since 9/11

Andrew McCarthy at National Review explains: Trump’s Exclusion of Aliens from Specific Countries Is Legal

Dan McLaughlin at National Review: Refugee Madness: Trump Is Wrong, But His Liberal Critics Are Crazy

Old ABC report on Obama’s temporary ban on refugees in 2011: Exclusive: US May Have Let ‘Dozens’ of Terrorists Into Country As Refugees

A Politico report on temporary halt of refugee program in 2014: U.S. restarts refugee program for Iraqis

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Filed under Corrupt Media Collusion, Foreign Policy, General Interest, Politics, Public Corruption, Terrorism, The Media

The Russian Big Picture (Part 1)

Much of this post is a rehash of old stuff, but I wanted to add a bit to this emerging propaganda picture, not to prove anything, but to encourage others to start looking big picture/little picture to find the Russian active measures to interfere in our electoral process.  It’s not just the Democrat bigwig email leaks or Wikileaks that concerns me.  It’s the escalating hostile military actions being employed against US Armed Forces by Russia, Iran and China combined with this Russian intelligence overt influence in our election, that makes  figuring out the full scope of the Russian big picture imperative.  And, the pieces emerging in this Russian strategic big picture make me very uneasy.  Putting them together correctly is crucial to America’s national security.

The Syrian “Moderate” Rebel Mirage

A fantasy pervaded the entire argument for earlier intervention in the Syrian civil war. It’s the lie propagated by the Obama administration, Syrian rebel lobbyists, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), John McCain and pundits like Charles Krauthammer and Bill Kristol.

The argument centered on this belief in arming the mythical “moderate” Syrian rebels. It’s also a lie, that I hope ends up fully exposed, because the US military ended up maligned and badly used in this shady Obama “narrative”. The Obama administration began arming so-called Syrian “moderates” in this civil war, early in the conflict. The stories permeate about Libyan weapons being shipped from Libya via Turkey, into Syria.

The “arm Syrian moderates” crowd never talks about who would take charge of Syria, if this plan had been implemented – hint, there are no real “moderates” amongst the rebels, they radicalized early as US vetted intelligence knew early on in the Syrian conflict. Here’s a McClatchyDC link from 2015 on that issue:

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/new…:

“Extensive interviews with Syria policymakers from the Obama administration, some of whom spoke on the record and others who requested anonymity so as to freely describe the administration’s behind-the-scenes debates, reveal that the Obama administration was warned early on that al Qaida-linked fighters were gaining prominence within the anti-Assad struggle.

Senior officials chose to look the other way, however, and flog a misleading narrative of a viable moderate force. Today, the same extremists have seized wide swaths of Syria and Iraq, uprooting millions of people, threatening the stability of U.S. regional allies, and sucking the United States into another open-ended conflict in the Middle East.

The Syrian rebellion began in March 2011 as part of a wave of mostly peaceful Arab protests against autocratic regimes that had quickly toppled regimes in Tunisia and Egypt. Within months, however, it was clear that State Department pleas for Syrian opposition activists to remain nonviolent weren’t working in the face of the regime’s increasingly brutal crackdown on demonstrators.

It didn’t take long for militant Islamists to join the fight, justifying their participation with literalist interpretations of religious scripture about fighting oppressors. That noble-sounding rally for jihad had a magnet-like draw for disaffected young men and women from across the Muslim world.

By that November, just eight months into the rebellion and only two months after President Barack Obama had called for Assad to step aside, a memo from senior policymakers to then-National Security Adviser Tom Donilon warned “that this thing was becoming jihadized,” as one former top official summarized it. The response?

“There was never any indication that the memo was read,” the former official said.

Two aides to Donilon, who is now with the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, said he was unavailable for comment.

The rebel power shift was even sharper the next year. Extremist forces were increasingly active, and the outline of what would become the Islamic State was taking shape.”(my highlight)

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article31018362.html#storylink=cpy

I suspect the biggest purveyor of this Syrian “moderate” myth is the ISW and FOX News rolls out General Keane to keep selling that.

Going back

Here’s a timeline with some links that explain the Obama administration’s arming and training of Syrian rebels (interfering in fueling a civil war in Syria – arming NOT “freedom-fighters, but Islamists of varying degrees of radicalization):

December 9, 2012:

“The Obama administration has decided to launch a covert operation to send heavy weapons to Syrian rebels, Christina Lamb of The Sunday Times of London reports.

Diplomatic sources told the Sunday Times that the U.S. “bought weapons from the stockpiles of Libya’s former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.”

The heavy arms include mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles and the controversial anti-aircraft heat-seeking SA-7 missiles, which are integral to countering Bashar Al-Assad’s bombing campaign.

Many have suspected that the US was already involved in sending heavy arms.

The administration has said that the previously hidden CIA operation in Benghazi involved finding, repurchasing and destroying heavy weaponry looted from Libyan government arsenals, but in October we reported evidence indicating that U.S. agents — particularly murdered ambassador Chris Stevens — were at least aware of heavy weapons moving from Libya to jihadist Syrian rebels. 

There have been several possible SA-7 spottings in Syria dating as far back as early summer 2012, and there are indications that at least some of Gaddafi’s 20,000 portable heat-seeking missiles were shipped before now.” (my highlight)

http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-admin-admits-to-covertly-sending-heavy-weapons-to-syrian-rebels-2012-12

June 21, 2012 – New York Times:

“WASHINGTON — A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.

The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said.

The C.I.A. officers have been in southern Turkey for several weeks, in part to help keep weapons out of the hands of fighters allied with Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, one senior American official said. The Obama administration has said it is not providing arms to the rebels, but it has also acknowledged that Syria’s neighbors would do so.

The clandestine intelligence-gathering effort is the most detailed known instance of the limited American support for the military campaign against the Syrian government. It is also part of Washington’s attempt to increase the pressure on President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, who has recently escalated his government’s deadly crackdown on civilians and the militias battling his rule. With Russia blocking more aggressive steps against the Assad government, the United States and its allies have instead turned to diplomacy and aiding allied efforts to arm the rebels to force Mr. Assad from power.” (my highlight)

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/world/middleeast/cia-said-to-aid-in-steering-arms-to-syrian-rebels.html

September 11, 2012:  We all know about Benghazi

September 2012:  Elizabeth OBagy published a report at the Institute for the Study of War – Jihad in Syria

May, 2013:  John McCain went on his secret fact-finding trip to Syria with the SETF and Elizabeth O’Bagy as his guides.:

“Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) met with rebel leaders in Syria on Monday, The Daily Beast reported, making the senator the highest ranking U.S. official to visit the country since conflict broke out over two years ago.

CNN and Politico confirmed the visit with McCain’s office.

While in the country, McCain met with the Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Council leader Gen. Salem Idris.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/27/john-mccain-syria_n_3342897.html

O’Bagy was also moonlighting as the political director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, a Syrian Free Army lobbying group. She and that SETF escorted McCain on a “secret” fact-finding trip, where later photos of McCain emerged, which were claimed to be McCain with Syrian “moderates”, but whom other experts have identified as Islamist terrorists. The president of that SETF was reported to be connected to Palestinian terrorists.

September 2013:  The drumbeat for more US intervention in Syria escalates, but then O’Bagy is exposed as a liar, more questions emerge about exactly who we are arming in Syria and Obama waffles.  John McCain hires O’Bagy, right after the ISW fired her for lying about her doctorate.

September 11, 2013:  The ISW canned O’Bagy for lying on her resumé, but that was after everyone from Secretary of State, John, Kerry, Senator McCain, everyone in the freakin’ media, to include the Wall Street Journal, accepted Elizabeth O’Bagy without any vetting of her credentials:

“The Syria researcher whose Wall Street Journal op-ed piece was cited by Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain during congressional hearings about the use of force has been fired from the Institute for the Study of War for lying about having a Ph.D., the group announced on Wednesday.
“The Institute for the Study of War has learned and confirmed that, contrary to her representations, Ms. Elizabeth O’Bagy does not in fact have a Ph.D. degree from Georgetown University,” the institute said in a statement. “ISW has accordingly terminated Ms. O’Bagy’s employment, effective immediately.”
Story Continued Below

O’Bagy told POLITICO in an interview Monday that she had submitted and defended her dissertation and was waiting for Georgetown University to confer her degree. O’Bagy said she was in a dual master’s and doctorate program at Georgetown.
Kimberly Kagan, who founded the ISW in 2007, said in an interview that while she was “deeply saddened” by the situation, she stands by O’Bagy’s work on Syria.
( POLITICO reports – Obama’s Syria address: special coverage)

”Everything I’ve looked at is rock solid,” Kagan told POLITICO. “Every thread that we have pulled upon has been verified through multiple sources.”

Paul Gigot, editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, told POLITICO in a statement that “we were not aware of Elizabeth O’Bagy’s academic claims or credentials when we published her Aug. 31 op-ed, and the op-ed made no reference to them.”

“We also were not aware of her affiliation with the Syrian Emergency Task Force, and we published a clarification when we learned of it,” Gigot said. “We are investigating the contents of her op-ed to the best of our ability, but to date we have seen no evidence to suggest any information in the piece was false.” (my highlight)

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/wall-street-journal-elizabeth-obagy-fired-096637

September 19, 2013:  President Obama signed a bill to “arm and train Syrian” rebels, but said little  publicly

“President Obama on Friday signed legislation that gives the U.S. approval to arm and train Syrian rebels in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (also known as ISIS, or ISIL).

The approval was part of a larger bill that funds the government through Dec. 11. It was approved with bipartisan support in the Senate on Thursday and in the House on Tuesday.

While Mr. Obama did not comment on the legislation when he signed it Friday afternoon, he did mention the fight against ISIS earlier in the day, at the Democratic National Committee’s annual Women’s Leadership Forum.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-signs-bill-to-arm-and-train-syrian-rebels/

So, everyone just went along with O’Bagy, citing her, without any fact-checking or vetting.  From the White House on down, she influenced American foreign policy, when US vetted intelligence said exactly the opposite about the radicalization of so-called Syrian “moderate” rebels.

September 27, 2013:  McCain immediately hired Elizabeth O’Bagy and she still is on his staff.  I’ve wondered if she ever underwent a security background check or if strings were pulled and that was waived for her:

“Sen. John McCain has hired Elizabeth O’Bagy, the Syria analyst in Washington who was fired for padding her credentials, The Cable has learned. She begins work Monday as a legislative assistant in McCain’s office.

O’Bagy was a young but well-respected advisor at the Institute for the Study of War and had emerged quickly as an important voice among those arguing in favor of intervention in Syria. McCain and others had cited her work publicly before her nascent reputation collapsed when it was discovered that her claims to having a combined master’s/Ph.D. were false and that in fact she had not yet defended her thesis.”

http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/09/27/exclusive-mccain-hires-controversial-syria-analyst-elizabeth-obagy/#.UkXg2aoOHY0.twitter

January 9, 2014: The Obama administration was considering resumption of arming Syrian rebels, after ISIS had reportedly raided  Free SyrianArmy warehouses that contained US -provided weapons:

“WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is considering the resumption of nonlethal military aid to Syria’s moderate opposition, senior administration officials said on Thursday, even if some of it ends up going to the Islamist groups that are allied with the moderates.

The United States suspended the shipments last month after warehouses of equipment were seized by the Islamic Front, a coalition of Islamist fighters that broke with the American-backed Free Syrian Army and has become an increasingly vital force in the nearly three-year-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

But as a result of the rapidly shifting alliances within Syria’s fractured opposition, some of the Islamists fought alongside the Free Syrian Army in a battle against a major rebel group affiliated with Al Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

That has eased American qualms about resuming the aid, the officials said.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/10/world/middleeast/syria-aid-may-resume-despite-fears-over-where-it-will-go.html

The ISW and McCain, plus Obama’s friends from the Muslim Brotherhood/Palestinian terror network, kept pushing for the US to aid the Syrian “moderate” rebels.

March 2014:  Foreign policy types were still touting arming Syrian “moderates”, despite all the reports that the Syrian rebel forces were controlled by Islamist terrorist groups.  Foreign Policy was hyping:   “Meet Jamal Maarouf, the West’s best fighting chance against Syria’s Islamist armies”After receiving US training and weapons, to include TOW anti-tank missiles, Maaroof struck a peace deal with ISIS.  Maarouf’s and his rebel group were trained and armed by the US  AND given TOW missiles…

April 23, 2014 report:

“The U.S. is providing more arms and training to the moderate rebels in Syria, under a growing secret program run by the CIA in Jordan. Sources tell NPR that secret program could be supplemented by a more public effort in the coming months involving American military trainers.

The change in strategy comes as the White House sees Syrian leader Bashar Assad growing in strength, and continuing to strike rebel strongholds.

Another factor: Russian leaders appear unwilling to help end the three-year-old civil war and are continuing to provide weapons to Assad. Finally, al-Qaida fighters and their allies are expanding in Syria, a development that some believe could threaten the U.S. homeland.”

http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2014/04/23/306233248/cia-is-quietly-ramping-up-aid-to-syrian-rebels-sources-say

September 2014:  President Obama expanded from CIA arming and training Syrian “moderates” to dragging the US military into this fiasco of arming Islamist nutjobs.  Here’s how the vetting Syrian “moderates” went –  from Patrick Poole at PJ Media:

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

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

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

“We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front by attacking the Syrian Army’s gatherings in … Qalamoun,” said Bassel Idriss, the commander of an FSA-aligned rebel brigade.“We have reached a point where we have to collaborate with anyone against unfairness and injustice,” confirmed Abu Khaled, another FSA commander who lives in Arsal.

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

Poole continues:

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

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

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

https://pjmedia.com/blog/vetted-moderate-free-syrian-army-commander-admits-alliance-with-isis-confirms-pj-media-reporting

The Obama Syrian debacle continued through 2015 and in the news, you could follow reports of various ME leaders going to Moscow to talk to Putin, as Putin planned his own Syrian intervention, while Obama kept floundering arming Islamist terrorists (yes, I believe he was arming Islamic radicals in Syria FROM the beginning).

September 2015:  Congress dragged the US Army general, Lloyd Austin, commander of US Central Command, before Congress to berate  Austin about the failure to vet and train more Syrian moderates.  Austin reported only a handful of “moderates” were vetted and trained.  Instead of getting a clue, that there aren’t any “moderates” left in this brutal civil war in Syria, where both sides have used chemical weapons, John McCain used the opportunity to grandstand and insult the general and the US military.  McCain said”

“Highly critical of Austin and Wormuth’s presentation, Committee chairman Sen. John McCain(R-Arizona) said that in his thirty years onn the committee “I have never heard testimony like this. … Never.”

“I have never seen a hearing that is as divorced from the reality of every outside expert and what you are saying,” McCain told Austin.”

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/general-austin-us-trained-syrian-rebels-fighting-isis/story?id=33802596

October 2015:  When the Russians started bombing in Syria last year, I noted 3 ISW maps, 2 used on FOX broadcasts and one on CNN’s website, which identified the area with the largest Russian strike group north of Hama, identified in the map legend as Syrian rebel-controlled, ISIS-controlled, and Jubhat al Nusra-controlled. Three maps at the same time, one area in Syria, and the Obama narrative was the Russians aren’t attacking ISIL, they are targeting CIA-backed rebels:

“When Russia acted in Syria the ISW provided maps to FOX news and CNN – where the maps differed, the WH narrative and military analysis by the FOX military analysts Gen Jack Keane (also in the board of ISW) and LTC Shaffer did not match the details on the map:

Embedded image permalink

Image from Megyn Kelly’s Twitter-https://twitter.com/megynkelly/status/651207283574083584

generalkeanemap

Image from http://politibrew.com/politics/3298-general-jack-keane-how-russian-airstrikes-will-impact-region

AND

“Syrian official says ‘wide-scale offensive’ launched”
Russian airstrikes in Syria from September 30 to October 5

Gen.Keane pushed for arming the illusive “Syrian moderates” and yet the “narrative” at the time the Russians moved in Syria, the neocon big voices  were screaming about the Russians and claiming they were targeting US-backed “moderate” Syrian rebels. The heaviest shot group of attacks on these maps was north of Hama, which these ISW map legends indicate was controlled by Jubhat al Nusra, Syrian rebels or ISIS – 3 maps from the ISW – three different takes on the strikes the Obama narrative and the ISW were ranting were the Russians targeting “CIA trained US Syrian “moderate” rebels. The media and punditry “experts” all went with the “narrative”.”

From two LB blog posts:

Propaganda at work?

Another ISW map

When I thought about these maps, something is wrong that everyone from the White House on down relies on the Kagan crowd, the Institute for the Study of War and listens to John McCain bloviate about Syria.  McCain had access to US vetted intelligence, but he relied on O’Bagy and the ISW, run by Kimberly Kagan, Dick Cheney and his daughter, and General Jack Keane. No one dares question their “expertise”.  These maps, all from the ISW, indicate THREE separate ISW takes on who was controlling the area in Syria where the heaviest air strikes occurred in October 2015.  The Obama White House and McCain railed about the Russians attacking CIA-backed rebels.  So, according to these ISW maps, just who were the CIA-backed rebels??? Why does the media trust the ISW maps? Does the US government have maps that are reliable?

Even today, McCain, General Keane and mouthpieces all over the media keep talking about how the US should have intervened earlier arming Syrian “moderate” rebels, but that is a TOTAL lie – there never were “moderates”, they were Islamist-backed and armed rebels all along, with the Palestinian terror network playing a central role.  The president of the Syrian Emergency Task Force had Palestinian terror connections, the Muslim Brotherhood has always been a funder of Palestinian terror, and the Obama administration, the ISW and John McCain have lied to the American people since 2011, when out of the Libyan debacle, the US started funneling arms from Libya to Syria.

This post has run longer than I intended, so in my next post, I’m going to go through the Trump-Russian connections, more McCain questions, and how it all ties in with this Syria mess too.  It’s important,because Putin saw his chance to expand his sphere of influence in the Mid-East and he has masterfully set-up one propaganda embarrassment after another for the US, with the crucial aid of Iran.  Putin, through Iran has led Obama and Kerry around like hapless dupes, every step of the way in this Iran deal.

President Obama and John Kerry began paying Iran to release hostages.

The most embarrassing incident, again, one where the US military took the blow, made to look like weak, ineffectual idiots occurred in January 2016:
America on its knees (LB blog post January 13, 2016):

President Obama delivered a rambling, disjointed final State of the Union address last night.  He warbled on about American values, bridging partisan divides, and more hopey changey blather, but he did not mention an international incident with Iran taking custody of 2 US Navy ships and detaining 10 US sailors.

Today, Secretary of State, John Kerry, bragged about kowtowing to Iranian officials and unbelievably he bragged about his smart diplomacy, where he lauds his handling this situation peacefully.  He actually thanked Iran for releasing our sailors.

If there are any people left in the Pentagon who aren’t political hacks, they assuredly must be furious about this administration bowing to Iran.  What really happened was not brilliant diplomacy, but a complete submission of the US to Iranian muscle-flexing.  The Obama administration has failed to respond to escalating provocations, emboldening Iran to engage in this latest stunt, knowing full well that the Obama administration would not respond forcefully.  Thanks to these clueless, wimpy, leftist nitwits in this administration, video of these American sailors, on their knees in submission, will now be broadcast all over the Mid-East.  So, the message Secretary Kerry is not brilliant diplomacy, it’s America’s military on its knees.

In the real world, far away from the neutered Obama administration, weakness is a potent provocation.   Safe to state – neither smart nor powerful!

Next post will be the Russian connection in our 2016 election

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Filed under Foreign Policy, General Interest, Military, Politics, Terrorism, The Media

Another “nothing to see here” timeline

Timelines fascinate me.  The Obama administration’s kowtowing to despots has encouraged Russia, China and Iran to escalate aggressive actions in international territories, against US ships and planes.  The most damaging image of American weakness, even worse than the images of Somalia during the Clinton years, was the Iranian seizure of US sailors back in January.  This incident serves as a prime example of the liberal media collusion to sell the Obama administration “narrative” and to aid and abet the administration to quickly bury this story.

President Obama and John Kerry were busily working out the ransom payments and pay-offs to Iran, the likes of which these recent plane loads of cash stories delivered to Iran are now raising eyebrows.

January 12, 2016Iran captures 10 US sailors and their two boats.

January 13, 2016Iran publishes embarrassing photos of US sailors on their knees.  The White House downplays the incident and Josh Earnest hypes John Kerry’s great diplomatic skills:

“White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Wednesday afternoon that Iran’s release of the soldiers “underscores the importance of the diplomatic lines of communication between” Kerry and his Iranian counterpart. Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Earnest added, “We’re still trying to learn more about how exactly that all happened.””

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/01/iran-navy-sailors-images-217709#ixzz4KF7Noa8V

Here’s another example:

WASHINGTON, Jan 13 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry thanked Iranian authorities on Wednesday for their cooperation in the release of 10 American sailors who were taken into custody in the Gulf and credited diplomacy with resolving the situation.

“I think we can all imagine how a similar situation might have played out three or four years ago, and fact that today this kind of issue can be resolved peacefully and efficiently is a testament to the critical role diplomacy plays in keeping our country safe, secure, and strong,” Kerry said in a speech at the National Defense University.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/john-kerry-iran-sailors_us_56967b53e4b0b4eb759cb3ec

Then we get to the US captain apologizing to Iran:

“The unidentified sailor apologized for mistakenly travelling into Iranian waters – contradicting claims the U.S. were forced to say sorry.

‘It was a mistake. That was our fault. And we apologize for our mistake,’ the sailor said, in a brief state TV clip posted on Twitter by a journalist with Iran’s Tasnim News Agency.

His comment was in response to a man holding a microphone, who asked in English, ‘How was the Iranian behavior with you?’

The sailor was also asked if they had a ‘special problem.’ The sailor responded, ‘We had no problem, sir.’

Reports from Iran suggest the Pentagon was forced to make a grovelling apology in a bid to get the sailors released, admitting they had traveled into sovereign waters by mistake – just days before the controversial nuclear agreement is set to go into force.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3397254/Pictured-Ten-U-S-sailors-captured-Iran-Revolutionary-Guard-RELEASES-snooping-row-naval-incursion.html

January 14, 2016 – CNN reports:

“In a few tense hours on Tuesday, the crisis had threatened to prove a major political embarrassment for Obama, particularly since the sailors were being held while he delivered his final State of the Union address. He didn’t mention the captives while he was speaking, instead highlighting the Iran nuclear deal as a top legacy achievement.
Pressed into crisis mode, Secretary of State John Kerry led U.S. diplomacy to free the sailors. He spoke five times by telephone to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, with whom he bonded during tortuous negotiations last year over the nuclear deal.
Kerry told Zarif that “if we are able to do this in the right way, we can make this into what will be a good story for both of us,” a senior State Department official told reporter.
With the crisis resolved, Kerry thanked Iran on Wednesday and chalked up a victory for the administration.”
January 16, 2016 – Politico reported:
“As part of a prisoner swap with Iran, President Barack Obama granted clemency to seven men of Iranian origin either facing criminal charges in U.S. courts or already serving time in U.S. prison, an American official confirmed Saturday.”
Further in the story:
“While an official confirmed Obama issued seven grants of clemency in the deal with the Iranians, spokespeople at the Justice Department and the White House did not immediately release the names of those spared in the U.S. legal system.

However, Iran’s Fars news agency released seven names, which correspond with U.S. court records on pending or recent cases.”

And then this:

“A U.S. official confirmed charges were dropped in cases involving 14 individuals. The moves will allow those individuals to travel more freely outside Iran.

“The United States also removed any Interpol red notices and dismissed any charges against 14 Iranians for whom it was assessed that extradition requests were unlikely to be successful,” the official said.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2016/01/iran-deal-obama-grants-clemency-to-seven-217879

The liberal media ignores the facts, whenever the facts don’t promote their political agenda.

And beyond the Obama/Kerry selling out the US military on their great Persian carpet ride.  Where was the press asking probing questions about these Iranians release, just days after the release of our US sailors?  Here’s another one, where the timeline smells to high heaven.

As John Kerry’s great deals with Iran keep leaking out, I’m still waiting to see where, “we can make this into what will be a good story for both of us.”

If anything, Iran got piles of cash to fund weaponry and terror, Iran made out great on the hostage exchange, Iran waged a masterful propaganda campaign to make the US military look weak. And all John Kerry does is preen about his “grand diplomacy” and personal bonds with despots….

The truth is that Kerry’s bonding with the terrorist regime in Tehran has put US soldiers and sailors AT GRAVE RISK – he is encouraging aggression against our military by hostile actors.  You don’t back down from BULLIES!  You face them down, each and every time.


Update:

September 13, 2016 – “State Dept Has No Idea How Many Americans Imprisoned in Iran”

Yep,“if we are able to do this in the right way, we can make this into what will be a good story for both of us”… you can quote John Kerry, diplomat extraordinaire…

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French beach police…. BUT no secure borders….

Recently, France’s “burkini” ban has become a subject of hot debate, both in France and abroad.   Lest the term “burkini” be construed as a burka, covering a woman’s face, it’s not that.  It is modest swimwear, that was originally designed  by an Australian designer and many of her customers are women, who just want to protect their skin, and Orthodox Jewish women.

Police harassing Muslim women on the beach and making them publicly remove the “burkini” struck me as flat out WRONG and pointless in fighting Islamic terrorism.  It seems an effort that will feed the Islamic radical propaganda machine and incite cultural tensions.  In an online debate on this issue, I kept asking a person adamantly supporting this effort, how this ban fits in with a comprehensive strategy to defeat Islamic terrorists. Grasping at meaningless overblown rhetoric and “symbolic” efforts don’t just take hold among the political left, they permeate the “just be tough and use more force” or “nuke them all” political right too.

Veronique De Rugy penned an excellent piece, “Institutions Matter: First Amendment vs. the French Laïcité” at National Review explaining why ideas like the “burkini” ban appeal to the French, while in America, we cringe at the thought of imposing on someone’s religious expression. De Rugy explains the French view:

“Now, contrast this with the French laïcité. According to The Economist, laïcité is “a strict form of secularism enshrined by law in 1905 after a struggle against authoritarian Catholicism.” It’s the opposite of the First Amendment in that, rather than tolerating everyone’s religion and keeping the government at bay, it allows the state to ban any sign of religion in public spaces. It claims to be about tolerance but it is, in fact, the opposite of it. And I find that it imposes more government intervention into religious activities of the people of France since it allows the state to tell you what not to wear.”

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/439482/first-amendment-france-laicite-religion-burkini-ban

The above video explains the various viewpoints within France on this controversial ban too.  I kept trying to look at it from a national security perspective and wondering how it fits into an actual comprehensive strategy to defeat Islamic terrorists.

In the online debate,  the person I was debating had called me an idiot and proclaimed that I am a “fellow-traveler”, then we moved on to what we know about Islamic terrorism and he/she (I assumed it was a man, but who knows) told me I know nothing and it devolved from there.   We were seeing this situation from different universes, I realized afterwards. I kept asking how this ban fit into a comprehensive national security strategy, while this person was arguing for symbolic efforts to reclaim French culture:

susanholly Friday, August 26, 2016 11:45 AM

“b) when did I make a claim to be an expert?”

When you told me how I don’t understand anything and you have the grand solution to solve the problem. I am a homemaker – not an expert.

Strategies consist of ends, ways and means always.

The END goal may be simple – defeat radical Islam, for example.

The ways and means to actually achieve that END have proven to be very difficult. How banning burkinis actually works toward that strategic END is the question that should be asked. That is the question I have asked you several times, only to be attacked that I am stupid.

——————————————————————————–

metrocab Friday, August 26, 2016 12:00 PM

Now you’re reduced to blabbering.

RE: grand solutions and all that blah blah in your post above, all I can say is, by your own admission you now have a psychic interface to my mind.

Never said I had a ‘grand solution’. That’s your psychic interface malfunctioning. In fact, it was you who said that … get this…you wanted me to produce a ‘grand strategy’. Sorry. Silly idea of yours.

But since you are sincere I will play along a little longer. You ask for the good result of banning burkinis ( I am dispensing with all your ways, means strategies and ends talk for now, as it’s ill defined and unnecessary).

I best answered that question by saying: that (watch!) The Frenchpreserve their culture through thousands of small acts of preservation, some legal, some cultural, but all with confidence in your own culture. In no uncertain terms, you let the Islamic Supremicists know that this is not the place for them.

Thousands of small acts of courage Susan. Thousands.

And you especially do not care what the Islamists think about it. You maintain a studied indifference. You do not solve the problem through 1,000 slide powerpoints on ‘Grand Strategy”.

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susanholly Friday, August 26, 2016 12:10 PM

“( I am dispensing with all your ways, means strategies and ends talk for now, as it’s ill defined and unnecessary)”

You can’t win a war without a strategy, whether a simple one or a grand one. Your blithe dismissal of that FACT on warfare, makes it pointless to continue this debate. My defining strategy as ends (define the mission) and then ways and means to achieve that mission(tactics) has withstood the test of time for armies for millenia – dismiss that and all you have are shots in the dark brainstorms.

——————————————————————————–

metrocab Friday, August 26, 2016 12:12 PM

You don’t understand what I just posted.

——————————————————————————–

susanholly • 4 days ago

Look, the French refuse to control their borders or immigration.

They allowed a radicalized Islamic population to grow, stake out territory inside France, where they basically don’t have to follow the laws of the country

Even after several devastating terrorist attacks, they are allowing tens of thousands more radical Islamists to pour in and still refuse to secure their borders.

And you think this burkini ban is a worthwhile strategic tactic? I have asked you several times how this ban helps the war to defeat Islamic terrorism and you gave this:

“Thousands of small acts of courage Susan. Thousands.”

I know the French are bad at defensive strategy, just look at the Maginot Line, but really, diverting police to patrolling the beaches to monitor burkini-wearing Muslim women, when they haven’t even secured their borders – shows they are clueless. Especially when that effort feeds the enemies’ propaganda warfare – making it both pointless for national defense and pointless for the larger global effort to defeat Islamic terror.

After this debate, I wondered if there’s a great deal of fear and bigotry at play, to paint an entire group of people with a very broad brush, underlying this burkini ban.  It’s like Pamela Geller’s efforts, where I understand she is raising the alarm about Sharia law, but the manner in which she does so creates so much backlash, that it seems counterproductive to finding a solution to the problems. Sure, she has the right to free speech, but what she does is agitation propaganda.   She sets out to provoke reactions from radical Islamists.   She seems to revel in making herself the center of attention.  At first I thought she was bravely speaking out, but seeing how she just stirs the pot, with no desire to lessen tensions, she reminds me of Ann Coulter – making a buck off of stirring up anger and reaction.

The force we use to fight Islamic terrorists abroad is a different than the measures we use inside, against America’s radical Islamists.   American law requires that distinction.  And beyond the actual radicals, there are thousands of other Muslims in America,  who aren’t terrorists and we must engage them in the discussions and finding the solutions.  You can’t resolve conflicts peacefully in your own country by ratcheting up the anger and rhetoric.   The question to consider with various approaches is: In the long run, does it get us any closer to resolving the problem and how does it fit into a comprehensive strategy.  If we can’t offer a clear, simple answer to that, then perhaps the effort is symbolic and pointless, likely even counterproductive to our long-range goals.

Instead of symbolic gestures, we would be much better off engaging in open, honest conversations with leaders in the Muslim world and explaining that we will use force to annihilate Islamic terrorists and we will not coddle those in the Muslim world who play both sides of the fence on the issue.  With a larger outreach among Muslims, especially in America, we need to start talking to them, but we also need to be willing to listen to them too.  It starts by trying to find some common ground.

Ataturk pushed for secular dress in Turkey too and he is hailed in the West, but reviled in the Islamic world.  Trying to force Muslim women to go without any hair-covering sends a terrible message when trying to “liberate” women.  Efforts like this have unforeseen consequences on the very women, whom supposedly the “liberators” are trying to free.  Many will live virtually trapped inside their homes.  Rose Wilder Lane wrote about this happening in Turkey, when Ataturk modernized and pushed reform on women’s rights.  Many younger Muslim women might embrace more freedom, to include throwing off their head-coverings, many might want to keep the head-covering and seek careers, driving, etc., some might want to cling to their traditional role.  The real “freedom” we should be seeking is to free their minds to new ideas, not imposing bans on their clothing.

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Filed under General Interest, Islam, Politics, Terrorism

The “alt-right” around every corner….

The alt-right is the new broad brush the Clinton meme-makers want to hype to paint Trump as a “fascist”. That Trump hesitated to disavow white nationalists early on and made very incendiary comments falls on Trump’s own shoulders, but I think it’s important to be careful not to buy into the idea that every person who voted for Trump in the Republican primary is a rabid, closet alt-right racist.

Certainly, white nationalists have merged to vocally support Trump, in fact, I witnessed alt-right attacks a few times on Disqus comments at National Review, where a group of alt-right commenters showed up and were posting anti-Semitic and racist stuff non-stop for hours, completely shutting down any conversation by other commenters. The moderators after one attack said they had deleted thousands of posts during that attack. And the attacks at National Review that I witnessed were in the comment section for Jonah Goldberg’s column, with many of the anti-Semitic comments aimed directly at Goldberg.

So, while I think it’s important to denounce white nationalists and any other hate-mongering groups, like Black Lives Matter, it’s also important not to buy into the Clinton SPIN machine’s GROSS exaggerations.

Here’s my cautionary note about Hillary and her alt-right fear-mongering. The Clintons (and Democrats) love to paint conservatives, Evangelical Christians, people who own guns, former soldiers, people who talk about The Constitution too much (more than they prefer) and anyone who refuses to embrace their Lefist agenda as part of some nebulous army of “vast, far-right extremists”.

During the 1990s the Clinton administration hyped the
“right-wing militia” threat way out of proportion, while dangerously downplaying Islamic terrorist threats, even after Islamic terrorist attacks against American interests and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. There was Oklahoma City, so yes, there were some dangerous militia groups, although if my memory is correct, it was only a few people who were behind the OKC bombing, I think, not some vast army.

I believe the Clinton administration grossly exaggerated the “right-wing militia” threat for their partisan political purposes.

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Has Obama consulted BLM yet?

So, another lethal assault on law enforcement today.  I was busy steam-cleaning my carpets, did I miss another big White House meeting where President Obama and Loretta Lynch can seek the expertise of Al Sharpton and more BLM anarchists???

Attacking law enforcement is anarchy.  From the White House on down, this line of vile race-baiters,  are encouraging this BLM anarchy.  BLM should already be on a terrorist watch list.  Some stupid BLM woman was on a group discussion on Megyn Kelly’s show last week and she said we need to abolish the police.  Well, wake-up America, that’s ANARCHY!  BLM, Sharpton, President Obama and Loretta Lynch callously and cynically exploit police shootings against black men for their partisan propaganda purposes.  The goal is to advance President Obama’s plans to federalize policing in America and to enact stricter gun control.

I’ve been thinking about Jade Helm 15 a lot in recent days.  What was that really all about???

Whenever you ask questions of the Obama administration, they paint you as a tinfoil hat conspiracy nut, to marginalize you and SILENCE you.  This too is an old communist tactic.

 

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