This story strikes us as painfully funny.
With the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) advancing rapidly through Iraq and posting images of their brutal mass executions, plans have begun to evacuate America’s embassy in Baghdad. In Washington, however, Secretary of State John Kerry hosted a conference on the world’s real “vital security issue”: climate change.
We quote from Breitbart:
Kerry, who has remarked intermittently in interviews on the current crisis in Iraq, spent the morning hosting the State Department’s “Our Ocean” conference– a summit of 80 countries and academic experts designed to engage global leaders in a discussion on how to save the world’s oceans from the effects of climate change. There, Secretary Kerry announced that the world had a “shared responsibility” to keep the seas clean, and encouraged global leaders to see climate change and the protection of the seas as a national security issue, not an environmental one. …
[He] opened the conference with warnings that climate change poses an immediate threat to the world, one that requires addressing before he works to remedy the situation in Iraq.
Currently, ISIS jihadists are believed to be within 300 miles of Baghdad, and American military have been sent to protest the embassy in the capital. Partial evacuations have begun, and Kerry has said in an interview previously that the United States will not discount the possibility of working with Iran on the issue. …
It’s not enough for Obama and Kerry to lift sanctions on Iran and allow that rogue regime to continue acquiring a nuclear arsenal; they are considering strengthening it still further by making it an American ally.
So when Iran fires its nuclear bombs at Israel, would Obama’s America still be partnering it? We confidently reply to our own question: quite possibly!
Iran has already … sent in 2,000 troops to reinforce the Iraqi military, which, while grossly outnumbering ISIS fighters, have been unable to quell their invasion of towns and imposition of Sharia law.
And the US has sent in the clown, John Kerry.
Deutsche Welle reports:
Washington’s top diplomat, John Kerry, flew in to Baghdad on Monday for a face-to-face meetingwith Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki. …
[Kerry] told journalists afterward that Iraq’s leaders faced a “moment of decision”.
“Iraq faces an existential threat and Iraq’s leaders have to meet that threat,” Kerry said …
That must have come as a surprise to Iraq’s leaders. If Kerry had not drawn their attention to it, would they have even noticed the threat, let alone prepared to meet it?
While Kerry was in Baghdad, the ISIS militants and those aligned to them tightened their grip on the north and west of Iraq.
Neighboring Jordan has boosted security along its frontier after Sunni tribes took the Turaibil desert border crossing between the two countries from Iraqi government forces.
The tribal leaders were reportedly in negotiations to hand the crossing over to ISIS, which already controls several main crossings with Syria. With ethnic Kurdish forces in control of a third border area with Syria to the north, it leaves an 800-kilometer (500 miles) stretch of Iraq’s western frontier outside the control of government troops.
Chances are, the Iraqi government was aware of all that.
But maybe Kerry meant that Iraq’s leaders “have to meet the threat” of “climate change”?
Breitbart concludes its report with this information:
While the situation continued to worsen over the weekend, President Obama too delivered a speech on climate change at the University of California, promoting an extreme weather fund to help states allegedly hurt by the advancement of climate change. After the speech, President Obama traveled to Palm Springs for Father’s Day, where he spent the day playing golf.
Obama can claim an historical precedent. Nero fiddled while Rome burned.
Yes. It would be greatly good if the savage fight now underway between two Muslim armies in Iraq, Sunni and Shia, could end in the destruction of both.
We quote from an article at American Thinker, by Mike Konrad, who argues the desirability of leaving the two sides to fight it out:
I know, I know, the recent ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) gains have everyone scared. No doubt, the Islamophilic administration will want to step in, and save Islam from itself once again. Let me advocate a course of action that will make sense to all sides in America; the left and right; from militarists to pacifists: Let the Muslims kill each other. …
ISIS is presently a large group of thugs with guns. They have no navy, no air force, except for a few captured helicopters, which they will soon break. The only ones they can threaten are their fellow Muslims. If they take over Iraq, who cares? They will soon reduce the Levant to the seventh century.
And this is a problem to us? OK, oil prices may spike for a while, but they are going to need to sell their oil because they’ve got nothing else to produce for export and can’t produce any of the fruits of modern industry. Meanwhile, the high prices will encourage domestic drilling and production of our nearly boundless reserves held in shale deposits, to the point where we will become a major oil exporter ourselves.
These mujahadeen are incapable of maintaining the weapons they already have. Weapons need upkeep. Weapons have to be oiled, cleaned, and upgraded. Upkeep interferes with raping, pillaging, and chopping off heads. Within two years, they will be slaughtering each other with scimitars and rusty AK-47s.
Iraq’s president, Maliki has asked for US assistance. Oh really?
Iraq insisted on setting up its country with an Islamic constitution; against our advice, and now he wants American help. For what? So Iraq’s Shia can continue to run arms to Syria and Hezb’allah in Lebanon?
We’d rather President Maliki wasn’t helped at all, but we like the idea of putting these conditions on any help he gets from the US:
If our State Department had men and women with intelligence instead of a love of the Qur’an, they would tell Maliki that our help would be predicated on four conditions:
1) Get rid of the Islamic constitution, and set up a secular state
2) Recognize Israel
3) Naturalize the Palestinians in your state
4) Break off ties with Iran
If Maliki says no, we say “Fine, have your Islamic state. We are not going to decide which flavor.”
Whether Maliki agrees or not, he loses:
He has no choice. No matter what he decides, the West wins. Should ISIS take over, Iran will be cut off from land routes to Syria’s Assad, and Lebanon’s Hezb’allah. How does this hurt the West?
Sure! Iraq may go down. The Sunni officers in the Iraqi army will not fight for a Shia majority Iraqi state. In fact, many Sunni officers are already joining ISIS. The Shia, who are mere foot soldiers, are not prepared to fight the better trained Sunni. So what?
When thieves fall out, honest men prosper. When Muslims fall out, civilization prospers. …
Now, Iran is scared. …
Iran sent two battalions of Iranian Revolutionary Guards to help the Iraqi government in its battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is hugely important, if not totally surprising given Iran’s intervention in Syria. Iran has the power to crush ISIS in open combat. But Iranian intervention could also make the conflict inside Iraq much worse …
Iran is hurting. Iran may have to decide between arming Hezb’allah or the Shia in Iraq. And this hurts the West how?
Other sources are reporting that Iran has called for international assistance to crush ISIS. Iran needs our help! The nation which has thumbed its nose at the West for 35 years, now wants our help?
Iran officials call for international response to ISIS violence …
Let them ask for Russian help, or Chinese assistance. I am sure the Russians and Chinese will be more than happy to make their nations targets for Islamic revenge. Nothing makes Muslim group A angrier than knowing that you have helped Muslim group B. And if the Russians or Chinese do intervene, good for them. Maybe international terrorism will re-direct their wrath eastward. Tell them it will be like the Chechnyans on steroids.
If Iran is really desperate to save its supply lines across Shia Iraq to save Assad, we could strike a deal.
You want our help. We want the Israelis to inspect your nuclear power plants; or you can go fight your fellow Muslims yourselves. Tell them, “Remember the first Iraq-Iran war.” Make the offer public. No help until the first Israeli technician comes out of the Isfahan plant and says, “All clean.”
Tell them up front they have to stop aiding Hezb’allah. Tell them that we are enjoying this.
At the same time, we should encourage all Euro-Muslim males to join the fight, and when they are gone, revoke their right of return to the West. Tell them, Allah Wants You; and send them off with halal meat and enough weapons to keep the Mideast in turmoil for another hundred years.
Why is this a problem? Even if ISIS wins the Caliphate, it will revert to seventh century technology soon enough.
Jordan is scared, now. She might be overrun. Supposedly, she is a Western-oriented state, which has the rudimentary forms of a democracy. Of course, honor killing and wife beating are still not prohibited; and Jordan refuses to take in more Palestinians.
If they want our help:
1) Saudis and Jordanians have to start naturalizing Palestinians
2) Set up truly secular states
3) protect their women
Be upfront about it. Of course, they won’t agree. So let them shoot it out. When the Mideast is a flaming wreck, the administration should encourage Putin or China to intervene. Nothing sinks empires faster than trying to tame the Muslims. We will get out, and avoid our own collapse.
If our administration intervenes in any way, it would be foolish. Over the past two years our administration has made blunder after blunder in the Mideast, regarding Libya, Morsi, Sisi, Arab Spring, etc.
This time it is so easy.
All the administration has to do is … NOTHING!
It is that simple. … If it does intervene, it will be clearly seen as an attempt to prop up Islam, once again.
Let the Shia and Sunni kill each other. In the words of the late Mayor Ed Koch, “root for whoever is losing.”
We like Mike Konrad’s suggestions. (And we understand that he is not being wholly serious.) But more needs to be considered.
There is the strong possibility, astonishing though it may seem at first, that fanatically Shia Iran has been giving aid to the Sunni insurrectionists - as well as the Shia government – in Iraq. Why ? In order to bring about upheaval and chaos, so the mullahs will be called upon to restore order.
Another surprise: it is the Obama administration itself which has made this information – that Iran has assisted the Sunni insurrectionists:
Paul Mirengoff writes at PowerLine:
A mere six weeks ago, the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Terrorism concluded that Iran is actively working to undermine Iraqi stability through terror groups. Significantly, for present purposes, the report assessed that Iran was facilitating both Shiite and Sunni terror activities.
With respect to Sunni terrorism, the State Department said this:
Iran allowed al Qaeda (AQ) facilitators Muhsin al-Fadhli and Adel Radi Saqr al-Wahabi al-Harbi to operate a core facilitation pipeline through Iran, enabling AQ to move funds and fighters to South Asia and also to Syria. Al-Fadhli is a veteran AQ operative who has been active for years. Al-Fadhli began working with the Iran-based AQ facilitation network in 2009 and was later arrested by Iranian authorities. He was released in 2011 and assumed leadership of the Iran-based AQ facilitation network.
In addition, of course, Iran has “trained, funded, and provided guidance to Iraqi Shia militant groups” both inside and outside of Iraq. The training has included instruction in “the construction and use of sophisticated improvised explosive device technology and other advanced weaponry.”
The terrorist activities of the Iran-supported Shia militants have undermined stability in Iraq and undermined support for the government among Sunnis. But, again, Iran is destabilizing Iraq from both ends by also facilitating Sunni terrorism.
If anything, Obama should be punishing the Iranians by continuing, and indeed escalating, a sanctions regime. Instead, he seems determined to cozy up to the mullahs. In all likelihood, this means granting them additional concessions when it comes to negotiations over Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Why else would Iran help the U.S?
The mullahs have always understood that an unstable Iraq not only can’t threaten or complete with Iran, but may well be forced to become a virtual client, as might now happen. But the mullahs could only have dreamed that an unstable Iraq would cause an American president to come before them as a supplicant.
Yet this too may now be about to happen.
And still another surprise. Amazingly, for once we find points to agree with in an opinion from the Left:
Among many assertions in the same column which we do not agree with, Richard Cohen, columnist for the Washington Post, writes some that we find ourselves nodding at:
Whose fault is the current debacle in Iraq?
It could be Nouri al-Maliki’s since he is the country’s strongman and has alienated the minority Sunnis.
It could be George W. Bush’s because he started the whole thing off …
The one person who is not at fault, we are told over and over again, is the current president of the United States. …
But with that he does not agree. He takes Obama to task for his failure to do anything effective against the gassing of Syrians by Bashar Assad:
Foreign policy [is] the area where a president’s power is substantially unchecked. … Other than avoiding war, it’s hard to know what Obama wants. I know what he says, but actions always speak louder than words.
For instance, he wanted Bashar Assad to cease using chemical weapons. His language was strong, nearly warlike.
“Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people, including hundreds of children. The images from this massacre are sickening: Men, women, children lying in rows, killed by poison gas. Others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath. A father clutching his dead children, imploring them to get up and walk.”
What happened next? Virtually nothing.
All those poisoned kids were soon forgotten and so, too, were all those people killed in the war, perhaps as many as 200,000. Those of us who advocated more forceful action were denigrated as war lovers who wanted to send in the infantry. (Better boots on the ground than head in the clouds — but I prefer neither.)
He disagrees with Mike Konrad’s idea that nothing at all should be done about the war in Iraq:
Airstrikes and such might not have worked, but doing nothing never does.
This is a serious, depressing discussion. Countless lives have been lost. A civil war that might have been stopped in its tracks was allowed to fester. The Syrian dictatorship survived and the war has spilled into Iraq. It has the potential to engage the whole Middle East — Jordan, for sure, and then that tiny nation west of the Jordan River: Israel. The madmen of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria don’t only kill Muslims; they would gladly drop a bomb on Tel Aviv.
Right. But he doesn’t say that the bomb could be nuclear. And that two, or twenty, could be dropped on Israel.
Or that there could be targets in Europe, or even in America, since the mullahs have long-range missiles.
He rightly finds the idea of the US and Iran being in alliance “preposterous”:
The U.S. may now find itself on the side of Iran — a majority Shiite nation much like Iraq. What could be more preposterous? What could be more ironic?
Worse, we could find ourselves engaged in a religious war — Sunni vs. Shiite. …
He fears non-intervention more than involvement:
Or maybe we should just wash our hands of the whole thing and turn over a hunk of the Middle East with its oil to a terrorist organization — one that boasts of committing massacres. …
You thought you can’t get more evil than al-Qaida? Look at who’s pillaging Iraq, a terrorist group that even al-Qaida can’t stomach. …
The one thing we do know is that things can get worse. They did in the Middle East, where Obama settled for a victory jog around the political infield after getting Assad to give up most of his chemical weapons. He now must deal with a region that is so much worse than anyone imagined.
Where does the fault lie? Where it always has — where the buck stops.
By which presumably he means Obama. He means that the fault lies with Obama!
How many members of Obama’s enormous media fan club, or of the Democratic Party, find him at fault over the carnage in Syria and Iraq, we wonder.
And will their disapproval induce Obama to act?
If so, how? Richard Cohen expresses his disgust, or frustration, or irritation – but he doesn’t say what Obama should do.
We say Iran should be stopped by all possible means, late though it is to take action, from becoming a nuclear power. And that is obviously not what Obama intends or wishes to do.
Because it expresses our own fearful anticipations, we quote from an editorial at Investor’s Business Daily:
From Syria to Iraq to Afghanistan to Pakistan, the jihadist dream of a caliphate stretching from the Atlantic to the Himalayas is taking shape. It’s aided by a feckless foreign policy not seen since Neville Chamberlain.
As President Obama learns about it in the newspapers, the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is dismembering Iraq, adding Saddam Hussein’s birthplace of Tikrit to the list of cities once liberated by the U.S. that are now flying jihadist flags. The war on terrorism is over all right, and Obama lost it. …
An American official [says] that the U.S. Embassy, United Nations and other foreign organizations with a presence in Iraq are “preparing contingency plans to evacuate employees”. We might soon see helicopters on the roof of our embassy in Baghdad in a scene reminiscent of the last days of Saigon as Iraq becomes Obama’s Vietnam.
Unlike Vietnam, ISIS is not interested in liberating the homeland from colonial oppressors. ISIS and other radical Islamists have long proclaimed a goal of restoring a pan-Islamic state, a caliphate that extends from the Mediterranean coast to the Iranian border. One such Islamic empire, in the seventh century, spanned the Middle East, spread to Southwest Asia, North Africa and Spain, ending with the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258.
The largest and most powerful rebel force in Syria is Jabhat al-Nusra, with 7,000 fighters. It’s a branch of al-Qaida in Iraq, from which it has received regular payments.
“It’s now time to declare in front of the people of the Levant and (the) world that the al-Nusra Front is but an extension of the Islamic State in Iraq and part of it,” Iraqi al-Qaida leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is quoted as saying recently …
“This (ISIS’s rise in Iraq) is of great significance”, according to an assessment released Wednesday by the Soufan Group, a private security company. A restored caliphate will attract “many more disaffected young people … from all over the Muslim world, especially the Middle East, lured by nostalgia for al-Khulafa al-Islamiya (the Islamic caliphate), which remains a potent motivator for Sunni extremists”.
Restoring the caliphate was the stated goal of Osama bin Laden in creating al-Qaida, but the terrorist group was never designed to take and hold territory as is ISIS, now flush with captured cash and weaponry.
“It’s ISIS that will build the caliphate, not al-Qaida,” says Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, who monitors jihadist activity for the Middle East Forum.
The president’s endless apologies to the Muslim world, starting with his Cairo speech in 2009; his abandonment of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi while blaming the terrorist attack on a video; his precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan as Iraq implodes; and his trading of Taliban commanders for an alleged deserter have sent powerful signals of weakness. Obama’s actions are reminiscent of how President Clinton’s withdrawal from Somalia inspired bin Laden.
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld warned in a speech in 2005 that, without U.S intervention, “Iraq would serve as the base of a new Islamic caliphate to extend throughout the Middle East, and which would threaten legitimate governments in Europe, Africa and Asia.”
The White House’s failure — or was it a refusal? — to sign a status-of-forces agreement to retain a presence in Iraq — a deal which Obama now claims is necessary in Afghanistan — created a vacuum that ISIS is quite willing to fill.
As the Taliban bides its time in Afghanistan, its leadership replenished by Obama, it has the strength to attack the airport in Karachi, Pakistan, in a country that has nuclear weapons. Obama has made possible the specter of not only an Islamic caliphate, but also a nuclear one.
At present, the battle raging in Syria and Iraq is another outbreak of the centuries-old war between Sunni Islam and Shiite Islam. There is one Sunni nuclear power: Pakistan. And there is about to be one Shiite nuclear power (aided by Barack Obama, president of the United States!): Iran. It will not be long before they will fight each other with nukes.
And when nuclear war breaks out, how long could the West – which, despite Obama’s transformative efforts, still includes the US – stay out of it?
Doing nothing at all; propitiating Muslim colonizers by conceding their every demand; bowing to Muslim potentates; holding talks in Geneva; praying to Nobodaddy in the Sky – none of these cunning stratagems will keep the West safe.
Obama’s pacifism has brought the world closer to intercontinental nuclear war than ever it was in the last century.
Continuing from our post below, Civil war in Iraq …
As so often of late, the fullest reporting of events in the Middle East is to be found in the Daily Mail. (Its report is also lavishly illustrated with dramatic pictures.)
The battle for Baghdad is nigh: Thousands of men answer Iraqi government’s call to arms as ISIS jihadists bear down on capital
- Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have taken over Iraq’s second biggest city Mosul and town of Tikrit
- Government forces have stalled the militants’ advance near Samarra, a city just 110km (68 miles) north of Baghdad
- ISIS’s goal is to create a Islamic caliphate (state) - it already controls territory in eastern Syria and western/central Iraq
- Iraq’s parliament were to hold an emergency session today but it was postponed due to an opposition boycott
- Kurdish forces are in full control of Iraq’s oil city of Kirkuk after the federal army abandoned their posts
- Iran has sent special forces and a unit of elite troops to Iraq to assist the Iraqi government halt the advance
- Turkey is negotiating for the release of 80 nationals held by Islamist militants in Mosul
- Iraqi air force is bombing insurgent positions in and around Mosul – 1.3 million citizens still remain in the city
(Much detail follows.)
Now that Iranian special forces are coming to the aid of their Shiite brethren in Baghdad, the outcome of the battle for the city is less likely to be another victory for the Sunni forces of ISIS.
From the same source:
Iraqi Kurds seized control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk today as the central government’s army abandoned its posts in a rapid collapse that has lost it control of the north.
Peshmerga fighters, the security forces of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish north, swept into Kirkuk after the army abandoned its posts there …
Kurds have long dreamed of taking Kirkuk, a city with huge oil reserves just outside their autonomous region, which they regard as their historical capital.
The swift move by their highly organized security forces demonstrates how this week’s sudden advance by fighters of the Al Qaeda offshoot Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has redrawn Iraq’s map.
We reckon the map of Iraq, and of the whole region, will need to be drawn many times in the coming months – and maybe years. Iran is not likely to tolerate an ISIS – ie Sunni – conquest of Iraq. And if it has it’s armies there, it is in a strong position to attack Israel.
If ISIS were to take Baghdad, it plans to move on to attempt seizing control of Jordan, Gaza, Sinai, and Lebanon. It’s ultimate target in the region is also, of course, Israel.
What will Hamas do? More importantly, what will Egypt do?
Britain is offering humanitarian aid to Iraq’s Prime Minister Maliki.
The US will … ?
President Bush’s victory in Iraq, such as it was, has been thrown away by President Obama.
The pro-Iranian Shiite government cannot hold the country together. The Sunni terrorist organization, ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), an al-Qaeda offshoot grown into an effective army, has taken Fallujah, Mosul, and Tikrit, and is marching on Baghdad.
This is from DebkFile:
Under its commander, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, Al Qaeda’s Islamic State in Iraq and Levant – ISIS – formed up Wednesday night, June 6, to march on Baghdad in two columns – one from Tikrit, which fell a few hours earlier, to Taji, just 20 km from the capital; the second from Tuz Khormato, 55 km south of the northern oil center of Kirkuk.
The Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered the last two divisions and six mechanized brigades, totaling 50,000, still operational out of his million-strong army, to build a defensive line to save Baghdad and the seat of Iraqi government from the enemy.
But it remains to be seen how these units perform, given the way the 3rd and 4th divisions supposed to have defended Mosul and the central Salahuddin province melted away under Al Qaeda onslaughts Tuesday and Wednesday, June 10-11.
Al-Baghdadi has assigned the second column heading for Baghdad the additional task of wrapping up Islamist control of the eastern province of Diyala on the Iranian border.
The first column will approach the capital from the north; the second from the east. Suicide bombers have meanwhile fanned ahead of the columns to smash the roadblocks and military posts set up in their path to check their advance.
This week, Muslim extremists worldwide acclaimed the ISIS chief their hero. …
Al Qaeda’s march of conquest at incredible speed, while causing havoc and misery across Iraq, is also beginning to mutate from a terrorist assault into an insurgency. It is gathering up a growing following of disaffected Sunnis ready for revolt against the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. Sunni Muslims account for around one-third of the Iraqi population of 35 million and their numbers are therefore in the region of 12 to 14 million.
Wednesday alone, in a lightening push, ISIS fighters captured the Iraqi oil refinery and electricity power center of Biji (Baiji), 200 km southeast of Mosul, torched the court and police buildings and warned local police and soldiers not to challenge them. They next moved south to seize Hawajah and Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s birthplace, 140 km northwest of Baghdad.
With the Mosul refinery, the Islamists now control Iraq’s northern oil refining facilities as well as the Biji power center which supplies Baghdad and Kirkuk with electricity. …
Various Sunni militias, who had never before followed al Qaeda – not during the American occupation, or even last year when ISIS began moving fighting strength from Syria to Iraq – [are] flocking to the ISIS campaign against Nuri al-Maliki.
Among them are not only demoralized army commanders, but adherents of the dictator Saddam Hussein’s secular Baath Party, who have come out of retirement to join the jihad against Shiite rule.
Wednesday night, the panic-stricken Al-Maliki accused Sunni politicians and army chiefs of “betraying the Iraqi motherland”. He refused to believe that Al Qaeda had been able unaided to conquer northern and central Iraq in a two-day blitz, unless it was the fruit of a long conspiracy carried out between the Islamists and Sunni leaders behind his back. The Iraqi prime minister alleged that the Sunni plotters against the government had provided Al-Baghdadi with intelligence, funds and arms caches ready for his fighters to use.
ISIS is well funded for the moment. This is what happened when it took Mosul, as we summarized this report for our Facebook page:
ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) has become the richest terror group ever after looting 500 billion Iraqi dinars – the equivalent of $429m – from Mosul’s central bank. A large quantity of gold bullion was also stolen. Following the siege of the country’s second city, the financial assets collected by the group are likely to worsen the Iraqi government’s struggle to defeat the insurgency, which is aimed at creating an Islamic state across the Syrian-Iraqi border. They are in control of Mosul airport and local television stations. They also seized US-supplied military hardware. Photos show Isis parading captured Humvees in neighbouring Syria, where they are waging war against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Within hours of taking Mosul, ISIS also seized Tikrit. (Again, this is our summary. Read more here.)
Over 500,000 refugees from Mosul fled to Tikrit after Mosel was taken over on Tuesday by the Al Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Now ISIS has attacked Tikrit (only 95 miles north of Baghdad). They have freed some 300 inmates of a city prison. Local authorities have reported mass beheadings throughout the city. Who’s to blame? Politicians point fingers at security forces and Maliki. The governor of Iraq’s Nineveh Province, Ethyl Najafi, held Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki personally responsible for Mosul’s takeover by the ISIS, insisting that it is the result of a systemically weak government. He accused Iraqi military leaders of pulling out of the northern city and giving al-Maliki false reports just hours before the Islamists seized the city. He demanded that military leaders be put on trial for the failure. “Military commanders and the Iraqi army in Mosul vanished,” he said. “What happened in Nineveh is a collapse of the Maliki government. The absence of security and military forces in Mosul made it easier for ISIS and all groups that reject al-Maliki’s policy to take the city.” Najafi cited reports that ISIS has been cooperating with other Sunni militias, as well as cooperating with the Syrian regime. He said civilians in Mosul would form popular committees – or leave – and not look to the Iraqi government for protection.
Muammar Qaddafi was a tyrant. Little good can be said of him. He was probably one of the worst Arab heads of state – a class that lends itself to only very small degrees of comparison.
But two things were in his favor.
One was that he wanted friendly relations with America. Or at least he did not want to give America reason to invade his country. President Bush launched an invasion of Iraq in March 2003 largely because (it was generally believed) Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Colonel Qaddafi had an arsenal of such weapons; but in December of that year, a few days after the defeated Saddam Hussein was captured, the dictator of Libya declared that he would abandon his WMDs. (In fact he kept quantities of chemical weapons right up to the day of his death in October 2011, but the 2003 declaration was nevertheless a white flag.)
The second thing – Qaddafi was the enemy of al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood, both of which were active dangers to the West.
It would seem, therefore, that the interests of the US and Europe would best be served by his staying in power.
Why then did President Obama go to war against him?
Diana West writes at Townhall:
More than Benghazi skeletons should haunt Hillary Clinton’s expected 2016 presidential bid. It now seems that the entire war in Libya – where thousands died in a civil war in which no U.S. interest was at stake – might well have been averted on her watch and, of course, that of President Obama’s. How? In March 2011, immediately after NATO’s punishing bombing campaign began, Muammar Qaddafi was “ready to step aside,” says retired Rear Admiral Charles R. Kubic, U.S. Navy. “He was willing to go into exile and was willing to end the hostilities.”
What happened? According to Kubic, the Obama administration chose to continue the war without permitting a peace parley to go forward.
Kubic made these extremely incendiary charges against the Obama administration while outlining his role as the leading, if informal, facilitator of peace feelers from the Libyan military to the U.S. military. He was speaking this week at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., where the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi was presenting its interim report. Kubic maintains that to understand Benghazi, the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks in which four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed, “you have to understand what happened at the beginning of the Libyan revolt, and how that civil war that created the chaos in Libya could have been prevented.” …
A short chronology sets the stage:
On March 19, 2011, Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, made a dramatic announcement from Paris on behalf of the “international community.” Eyes steady, voice freighted with dignity and moment, Clinton demanded that Qaddafi – a post-9/11 ally of the U.S. against jihadist terror-armies such as al-Qaida – heed a ceasefire under a newly adopted United Nations resolution, or else.
“Yesterday, President Obama said very clearly that if Qaddafi failed to comply with these terms, there would be consequences,” Clinton said. “Since the president spoke, there has been some talk from Tripoli of a cease-fire, but the reality on the ground tells a very different story. Colonel Qaddafi continues to defy the world. His attacks on civilians go on.”
That same day, NATO air and sea forces went to war to defeat the anti-al-Qaida Qaddafi and bring victory to Libya’s al-Qaida-linked rebels. Uncle Sam … joined the jihad.
Through Libyan intermediaries whom he knew in his post-naval career as an engineer and businessman, Kubic was hearing that Qaddafi wanted to discuss his own possible abdication with the U.S. “Let’s keep the diplomats out of it,” Kubic says he told them. “Let’s keep the politicians out of it, let’s just have a battlefield discussion under a flag of truce between opposing military commanders pursuant to the laws of war, and see if we can, in short period of time, come up with the terms for a cease-fire and a transition of government.”
The following day, March 20, 2011, Kubic says he relayed to the U.S. AFRICOM headquarters Qaddafi’s interest in truce talks as conveyed by a top Libyan commander, Gen. Abdulqader Yusef Dubri, head of Qaddafi’s personal security team. Kubic says that his AFRICOM contact, Lt. Col. Brian Linvill, a former U.S. Army attache in Tripoli then serving as point man for communications with the Libyan military, passed this information up his chain of command to Gen. Carter Ham, then AFRICOM commander. AFRICOM quickly responded with interest in setting up direct military-to-military communications with the Libyans.
On March 21, 2011, Kubic continued, with the NATO war heating up, a senior aide to Qaddafi, Gen. Ahmed Mamud, directly submitted a set of terms for a 72-hour-truce to Linvill at AFRICOM. The Benghazi commission made the basic text of these terms available to press.
During a follow-up telephone interview I had with Kubic, he underscored the show of good faith on both sides that created hopefulness that these flag-of-truce negotiations would come to pass. On the night of March 21, Gen. Ham issued a public statement on Libya in which he noted the U.S. was not targeting Qaddafi.
By March 22, Qadaffi had verifiably begun pulling back troops from the rebel-held cities of Benghazi and Misrata. The cease-fire Hillary Clinton said the “international community” was seeking only days earlier seemed to be within reach, with the endgame of Qaddafi’s abdication and exile potentially on the table.
Then, shockingly, Kubic got what amounted to a “stand down” order from AFRICOM – an order that came down from “well above Gen. Ham,” Kubic says he was told – in fact, as Kubic said in our interview, he was told it came from outside the Pentagon.
The question becomes, who in the Obama administration scuttled these truce talks that might have resulted in Qaddafi handing over powers without the bloodshed and destruction that left Libya a failed state and led to Benghazi?
Had talks gone forward, there is no guarantee, of course, that they would have been successful. Qaddafi surely would have tried to extract conditions. One of them, Kubic believes, would have been to ensure that Libya continue its war on al-Qaida. Would this have been a sticking point? In throwing support to Islamic jihadists, including al-Qaida-linked “rebels” and Muslim Brotherhood forces, the U.S. was changing sides during that “Arab Spring.” Was the war on Qaddafi part of a larger strategic realignment that nothing, not even the prospect of saving thousands of lives, could deter? Or was the chance of going to war for “humanitarian” reasons too dazzling to lose to the prospect of peace breaking out? Or was it something else?
Kubic, the military man, wonders why the civilian leadership couldn’t at least explore a possibly peaceful resolution. “It is beyond me that we couldn’t give it 72 hours — particularly when we had a leader who had won a Nobel Peace Prize, and who was unable basically to ‘give peace a chance’ for 72 hours.”
Obama favored the Muslim Brotherhood’s coming to power in Egypt. He welcomed some of its members into advisory positions in his administration. Did the possible “larger strategic realignment” involve the Muslim Brotherhood? Did the Obama administration want it in power in Libya as well as in Egypt? What advice was Obama and Hillary Clinton getting on Libya and Egypt during the violent upheavals of the so-called “Arab Spring”, and from whom? Is there a clue in the fact that Hillary Clinton’s closest adviser was Huma Abedin, whose family has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood? Isn’t there at the very least grounds for suspicion in the light of all this? (See our posts, Extreme obscenity, July 27, 2013, and Hillary of Benghazi, August 27, 2013.)
We think there is. But why Obama and Hillary Clinton should want the Muslim Brotherhood in power in North Africa is another question – one to which there cannot be a reassuring answer.
You may find it hard to believe this, but Secretary of State John Kerry’s “peace talks” for Syria have failed.
This is from the (Kerry-sympathetic) New York Times:
The first round of the Syria peace talks ended on Friday without achieving even its most modest goal: easing the Syrian government’s blockade on the delivery of food and medicine to besieged communities.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov of Russia raised expectations in January at a joint news conference in Paris that a way would be found to open humanitarian aid corridors and possibly establish local cease-fires in Aleppo and other cities and towns.
But to the dismay of the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations, even those basic steps proved elusive.
What a surprise!
Now what? Can anything at all be done for non-combatant victims of the Syrian civil war?
There is this:
Physicians for Human Rights urges Israel to allow wounded Syrian refugees to stay for continued care.
Wounded Syrians are treated at this Israeli field hospital on the Golan Heights. Photo: REUTERS
Humanitarian help pleaded for from the “Nazi-like”, “apartheid state” of Israel?
This is from the Jerusalem Post:
With the collapse of peace talks on Friday between President Bashar Assad’s regime and the opposition, the prospect of more wounded Syrians seeking treatment and refuge in Israel will continue to rise.
UN special representative Lakhdar Brahimi delivered a harsh verdict for Syrian civilians confronted with spectacular levels of violence: “We’ve had just eight days of negotiations in Geneva…. I’m sorry to report there was no progress.”
The Jerusalem Post obtained Israel Health Ministry correspondence showing the tensions and dilemmas among medical professionals and advocates for the refugees.
In one letter from the ministry, the agency defended its care of Syrians, but added that “the medical establishment does not have the tools to ensure continuity of care after discharge, nor to protect patient from risk to his life.”
The NGO Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)-Israel has urged Israeli governmental agencies to ensure “availability of continuity of care” following the discharge of hospitalized Syrians.
Israeli medical centers, including a military field hospital in the North, have provided healthcare services to roughly 700 refugees since 2013. The Post reported last week the first known case of a Syrian – a 17-year-old female – requesting asylum. The High Court of Justice rejected her petition and sent her back to Syria in late January. All of this helps to explain the growing involvement of Israel’s legal and medical personnel on the edges of the Syrian civil war.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 136,227 people have been killed since protests broke out against Assad in 2011. More than 2.4 million Syrians are defined as refugees.
Yossi Melman, a leading national security analyst who has written extensively about Syria, told the Post, “Zionism would not collapse if we accept 200 refugees. Why not?’”
Only 200? And then stop? The population of Syria is about 22 million.
Hadas Ziv, public outreach director for PHR-Israel, told the Post last week that Israel should press the UN to set up a safe haven in Syria, near the Israeli border, to create a humanitarian escape corridor.
Gerald Steinberg, a professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, told the Post that the Syrian refugee crisis is “another example of the bankruptcy of the international humanitarian system.” There is “no UN mechanism” to address the problem, he stressed. The UN is “entirely politicized and has nothing to offer.”
Steinberg, who has an expertise in the inner workings of NGOs in the Middle East, said the Syrian refugee situation “leaves Israel completely on its own without the capacity to deal with the issues in a coherent manner. Israel would not get international assistance [even] if it would increase aid.”
Israel is in a “very complex position,” because it is technically in a state of war with Syria and the potent presence of al-Qaida there has added another threat, he said.
Well, maybe John Kerry will come up with a solution.
The war 5
Among the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls there is one titled The War of the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness.
It is a perpetual war: Good against Evil.
It is fought in most of the world’s mythologies, and in almost all of them Good will win in the end. (The exception is that of the Norsemen. They foresaw the triumph of Evil.)
Dennis Prager, writing at Townhall, describes how the two sides of the conflict appear to him now:
In both personal and public life, you can know a great deal about a person or a group if you know what most bothers them – and what doesn’t bother them.
A news item this past week made this point with glaring clarity. It reported a meeting that the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights had on Friday. Before revealing the subject of that meeting, let’s review for a moment what is happening in the world …
North Korea continues to be an affront to the human species. That North Korea, whether or not it had nuclear weapons, is not a central concern is an indictment of humanity.
That the West, with the noble exception of Canada under Stephen Harper, is appeasing the dictators of Iran, is an indictment of the West.
Add to this list the U.N.’s and the world’s ignoring of the Chinese government’s continuing suppression of all dissent and its decades-long violent eradication of Tibet’s unique and ancient culture.
Then add the slaughter of millions in Congo over the last decade, the 100,000-plus killed in Syria just last year, most of them civilians killed by their own government, and the blowing up, burning alive, and throat-cutting of untold numbers of innocent people by violent Islamists on a daily basis.
In other words, if what bothers you most is evil – the deliberate infliction of cruelty on people by people – North Korea, Congo, China, Syria and radical Islam will bother you more than anything else on the world scene.
So, then, what was the subject of the meeting convened Friday by the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights?
The alleged racism of the name of the National Football League’s Washington team, the Redskins.
That’s right. All these horrific evils are happening as you read this, and … the United Nations had a meeting about the name Washington Redskins.
The U.N. is not alone in paying undue attention to the Redskins’ name. The left in the United States is nearly obsessed with it. President Barack Obama has spoken out against it. The Washington Post editorial board has demanded that the team drop the name. In the herd-like way that governs media, innumerable columnists and sports writers have written passionate columns against the name, and increasing numbers of sports writers have vowed to never again write or speak the name.
This left-wing obsession with a non-evil exemplifies the left’s moral universe. That universe is preoccupied with lesser evils while nearly always ignoring the greatest evils.
Preoccupation with real evil is the greatest difference between right and left. The right was preoccupied with fighting Communism while the left … was preoccupied with fighting anti-Communists.
The right today is preoccupied with fighting Islamism; the left is preoccupied with fighting “Islamophobia.”
One way of putting it is that the right is preoccupied with fighting evil and the left is preoccupied with fighting those who fight evil.
The right is preoccupied with defending Israel against those who wish to annihilate it. The left is preoccupied with Israeli apartments on the West Bank.
This difference was made manifest last week in the address given by the one world leader to exemplify the right’s preoccupation with evil, Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper. Talking about all the condemnations of Israel, Harper said:
“Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: a state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history, that is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism. It is nothing short of sickening.”
Yes, but the writer does not go nearly far enough. The Left is not merely preoccupied with fighting those who fight evil, it is occupied with doing evil. The Left is in alliance with Islam. Its (bewilderingly unintelligent) intelligentsia invent a fake need to “save the planet” from “climate change” as an excuse to advance their own tyrannical rule, reduce population, and impoverish and destroy civilization.
And where are our warriors of the Right to stop them? Let’s see: there’s Stephen Harper and … Well, a few more names may spring to mind. And we do have the immense power of Reason on our side.
Which side is winning, would you say?
Free Syrian Army battalions, funded by Obama with US tax-payers’ money, merge with Jabhat al-Nusra – al-Qaeda in Syria.
This text and video come from Creeping Sharia:
This footage from May and June 2013 shows battalions from the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) declaring their unification with al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front) in the eastern Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta and in Aleppo, both strongholds of the anti-government militants. Although some instances have occurred where clashes between the two groups have taken place, for the most part, the FSA and al-Qaeda unite under the banner of Islamic monotheism.
What Muslims are doing to Christians is atrocious. The Muslims must tell themselves to stop it.
The hole in the political theory of libertarians is foreign policy. One of them is trying to fill it in. Senator Rand Paul has been speaking up for the Christians persecuted in Muslim lands, especially those in Syria. He’s still for non-intervention. But he’s showing that he’s not unconcerned about what’s going on out there in the dim and irrelevant Rest Of The World. He rightly analyses that what’s going on is – nasty. And he has advice for how that Muslim-on-Christian persecution problem should be fixed.
Cliff May reports and comments at Townhall:
Last month, at the Values Voter Summit, a gathering of conservative activists from around the country, Senator Rand Paul gave a speech [you can hear it all on this YouTube video] on what he called “a worldwide war on Christians by a fanatical element of Islam”.
The senator was careful [as almost all Western politicians always are] not to paint all Muslims with the brush of fanaticism. He stressed that only a minority of Muslims read Islamic scripture as mandating an armed struggle against Christians and other “unbelievers.”
How does he know that? If it were the case, it would mean that only a minority of Muslims read the Koran. Or that the majority of those that read it don’t take in what it says.
But because the global Muslim population is so large — more than 1.5 billion — even a relatively small percentage translates into tens of millions of jihad supporters.
Paul cited a few of the atrocities not making the evening news: a priest shot in the head in Zanzibar; churches bombed in Kenya; the beheading of three girls on their way to a Christian school in Indonesia; converts to Christianity murdered in Cameroon; churches burned and worshipers killed in Egypt; a pastor in Iran tortured and ordered to renounce his faith. …
All true. And he did not mention Nigeria, where thousands of Christians have been killed by a Muslim terrorist group calling itself Boko Haram (“book-learning is forbidden”), and where the random slaughter is on-going.* It is one of the few places where the Obama administration had something to say about the Muslim-on-Christian violence: it warned the Nigerian government, when it attempted to take military action against the Boko Haram terrorists, that it must not “violate their human rights”.
Syrian Christians, more properly called Syriacs, are widely believed to be pro-Assad. But that’s not quite accurate. A recent newsletter of the European Syriac Union states proudly that they were among those asking Assad for “their rights.” As a consequence, they have been seen as “the enemies” of the regime that continues to “attack, arrest, torture and imprison Syriac people.”
Syrian Christians have appealed to the U.S. government for assistance and … have been turned down. Paul argues: “We must work to ensure our country, our policies, our tax dollars, are on the side of ending this violence rather than encouraging those who perpetrate it.” But he never gets around to saying who or what he has in mind.
What he says instead: “How someone could believe that killing innocent people would further one’s cause is beyond me.” Is that really so hard to fathom? Both the Nazis and the Communists killed innocent people by the millions to further their causes. By now we should understand that totalitarianism is totalitarianism — whether [the ideology] is based on race, class, or religion.
It’s not entirely true that he didn’t say what might be done to discourage violence against Christians: he sensibly said that “not one dollar of US money” should go to any place where they burn the US flag, and no money should go to Pakistan where Christians are being held in jail – at least one of them on death row – for the offense of being Christian.
He also, interestingly enough considering the general pacifism of the libertarian movement, declared that “there are times when it is right to use military action”, for instance “after 9/11″. But he thinks (and we do too) that it would be wrong for the US to intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war.
“Radical Islam will end only when Islam begins to police Islam,” Paul adds. Can you imagine Churchill saying Nazism will end only when Germans begin to police themselves? Can you imagine Reagan saying Communism will end only when Russians begin policing themselves?
Paul insists that “Islam needs to remember and recreate the good in their history.” But those waging jihad believe the best in their history was when there was an Islamic empire as extensive as Rome at its zenith, dominating, and often destroying, communities of Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, and other “infidels”.
The presumption of radical Islam, wrote Bernard Lewis (the world’s leading scholar of the Middle East before that field of study became extensively politicized and compromised), is that “the duty of jihad will continue, interrupted only by truces, until all the world either adopts the Muslim faith or submits to Muslim rule”.
Western politicians have been reluctant to acknowledge this reality and act on it by developing a strategy aimed at defeating revolutionary Islam in both its Sunni and its Shiite variants. The best President Bush could do was to declare a global War on Terrorism — as if we objected only to the jihadis’ weapon [method, tactic] of choice. President Obama insists we’re fighting “violent extremism,” a term so nebulous as to be meaningless.
Yes, but it enables him to dissolve events like the Boston marathon bombing in the general problem of violent extremism soon to be practiced his administration alleges – by the Tea Party and US army veterans. But while those potential terrorists are named and pre-shamed in DHS reports and military training guides, Islam goes unmentioned. If you were to accuse him of never saying anything against Islamic terrorism, he’ll get members of the press to point out that he has emphatically condemned “violent extremism”.
Senator Paul has yet to improve on these flawed conceptual frameworks. “The ultimate answer must come from Islam itself,” he told his audience. “They will never accept us through force of arms. …
We don’t want them to accept us. We want to be rid of them.
“Somehow, though, they must come to understand that they must police themselves, that they must root out and destroy the sadists and killers who distort and contort religion to justify killing civilians and children.”
So Rand Paul found out nothing about Islam before making this foreign-policy speech! It is no distortion or contortion of Islam, the killing of civilians and children. It’s what Islam does. It’s what the Koran – a military manual for ruthless conquerors and enslavers – requires Muslims to do. It’s what Islam is all about. He seems to think of “religion” as one big bundle with the golden rule and cheek-turning instructions tucked up inside it.
“Somehow, though, they must come to understand” is neither a policy nor a strategy. Senator Paul is to be commended for speaking out about the plight of Christians in Muslim-dominated lands at a time when so many other voices are silent. But if he would step back from the trees he’d see a deep and dark forest: attacks on Christians are battles in a “War against the West” being waged by the 21st century’s most lethal imperialists. If Paul seriously aspires to be a world leader, he would be well-advised to begin developing a response not based on retreat, passivity, and drift.
Another thing Rand Paul said was, ‘Make no mistake – this is about religion.” He’s right of course. Ever more human suffering because of religion. (But that was not what he meant.)
The part of his speech with which we thoroughly disagree, and strongly object to, is an extended eulogy (as routine for politicians, when they make any criticism of Islam, as proclaiming that most Muslims are peaceful persons full of goodwill towards the infidel) on a purely mythical Medieval Islam, a beacon of cultural light; caliphates bristling with scientists and mathematicians, steeped in Greek and Latin learning, irreproachably tolerant.** Either he was only repeating this nonsense because he felt the politician’s need to do so, or he has really swallowed all that deceitful Muslim propaganda. He makes the case that as such an Islam existed once, it could exist again. Which would be a persuasive argument, if it were not untrue that it had ever existed at all.
* We have posted a number of articles on the murder of Christians by Boko Haram, the Muslim terrorist group in Nigeria. See for instance: More acts of religion in Nigeria, January 19, 2012; More Christians burnt to death by Muslims, July 11,2012; Another murderous act of religion in Nigeria, May 10, 2013; More Christians slaughtered by Muslims in Nigeria, September 30, 2013.
**There is a large body of literature refuting the Muslim claim to an enlightened Islamic Civilization in the Middle Ages. Some of the best articles are: The Real Islamic ‘Golden Age’ by John O’Neill, who also wrote a book on the subject titled Holy Warriors: Islam and the Demise of Classical Culture; Who Is Really Being Dishonest About Islam? By Robert Spencer; ‘Islamic Civilization’ – The Biggest Lie Known to Man by Ali Hassan. On the intolerance of Islam throughout its rule over Christians and Jews the leading authority is Bat Ye’or. Among her magisterial books on the subject are: The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam, 1980; Islam and Dhimmitude, 1984; The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude, 1996. This great historian was chiefly responsible for making the word “dhimmi” known to the West.