The leftist pro-Islam group at present through some weird chance governing the United States of America, cannot stop the advancing jihads of either the savage Islamic Sunnis in Syria and Iraq, nor of the would-be mass-murdering Shiites preparing nuclear war in Iran, because they do not want to.
They do, however, have to seem to be defeating an abstract enemy called “terror”. Even if it is more intelligibly called “terrorism”, it is still an abstraction that cannot be bombed or tried in a court of law.
They insist that this enemy has “nothing to do with Islam”. Yet to seem to be defeating it, they find themselves having to kill and bomb people who just happen, every time, incredibly and annoyingly, to be Muslim.
We are to understand that they are small clumps of oddballs, self-alienating from the real peaceful live-and-let-live Islam. And Obama is on to them. He’ll find them and destroy them wherever they are. If they haven’t given themselves a distinguishing name, his group will supply one.
Andrew McCarthy writes at the National Review Online:
We’re being had. Again.
For six years, President Obama has endeavored to will the country into accepting two pillars of his alternative national-security reality. First, he claims to have dealt decisively with the terrorist threat, rendering it a disparate series of ragtag jayvees [jayvee = junior varsity team]. Second, he asserts that the threat is unrelated to Islam, which is innately peaceful, moderate, and opposed to the wanton “violent extremists” who purport to act in its name.
Now, the president has been compelled to act against a jihad that has neither ended nor been “decimated”. The jihad, in fact, has inevitably intensified under his counterfactual worldview, which holds that empowering Islamic supremacists is the path to security and stability. Yet even as war intensifies in Iraq and Syria — even as jihadists continue advancing, continue killing and capturing hapless opposition forces on the ground despite Obama’s futile air raids — the president won’t let go of the charade.
Hence, Obama gives us the Khorosan Group.
There is a reason that no one had heard of such a group until a nanosecond ago, when the “Khorosan Group” suddenly went from anonymity to the “imminent threat” that became the rationale for an emergency air war there was supposedly no time to ask Congress to authorize.
You haven’t heard of the Khorosan Group because there isn’t one.
It is a name the administration came up with, calculating that Khorosan — the Iranian-Afghan border region — had sufficient connection to jihadist lore that no one would call the president on it.
The “Khorosan Group” is al-Qaeda. It is simply a faction within the global terror network’s Syrian franchise, “Jabhat al-Nusra”. Its leader, Mushin al-Fadhli (believed to have been killed in this week’s US-led air strikes), was an intimate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the emir of al-Qaeda who dispatched him to the jihad in Syria. Except that if you listen to administration officials long enough, you come away thinking that Zawahiri is not really al-Qaeda, either. Instead, he’s something the administration is at pains to call “core al-Qaeda”.
“Core al-Qaeda”, you are to understand, is different from “Jabhat al-Nusra”, which in turn is distinct from “al-Qaeda in Iraq” (formerly “al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia”, now the “Islamic State” al-Qaeda spin-off that is, itself, formerly “al-Qaeda in Iraq and al-Sham” or “al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant”). That al-Qaeda, don’t you know, is a different outfit from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula . . . which, of course, should never be mistaken for “al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb”, “Boko Haram”, “Ansar al-Sharia” or the latest entry, “al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent”. …
You see, there is a purpose behind this dizzying proliferation of names assigned to what, in reality, is a global network with multiple tentacles and occasional internecine rivalries.
As these columns have long contended, Obama has not quelled our enemies; he has miniaturized them. The jihad and the sharia supremacism that fuels it form the glue that unites the parts into a whole — a worldwide, ideologically connected movement rooted in Islamic scripture that can project power on the scale of a nation-state and that seeks to conquer the West. The president does not want us to see the threat this way.
For a product of the radical Left like Obama, terrorism is a regrettable but understandable consequence of American arrogance. That it happens to involve Muslims is just the coincidental fallout of Western imperialism in the Middle East, not the doctrinal command of a belief system that perceives itself as engaged in an inter-civilizational conflict. For the Left, America has to be the culprit. Despite its inbred pathologies, which we had no role in cultivating, Islam must be the victim, not the cause. As you’ll hear from Obama’s Islamist allies, who often double as Democrat activists, the problem is “Islamophobia,” not Muslim terrorism.
This is a gross distortion of reality, so the Left has to do some very heavy lifting to pull it off. Since the Islamic-supremacist ideology that unites the jihadists won’t disappear, it has to be denied and purged. The “real” jihad becomes the “internal struggle to become a better person.” The scriptural and scholarly underpinnings of Islamic supremacism must be bleached out of the materials used to train our national-security agents, and the instructors who resist going along with the program must be ostracized. The global terror network must be atomized into discrete, disconnected cells moved to violence by parochial political or territorial disputes, with no overarching unity or hegemonic ambition. That way, they can be limned as a manageable law-enforcement problem fit for the courts to address, not a national-security challenge requiring the armed forces.
The president has been telling us for years that he handled al-Qaeda by killing bin Laden. He has been telling us for weeks that the Islamic State — an al-Qaeda renegade that will soon reconcile with the mother ship for the greater good of unity in the anti-American jihad — is a regional nuisance that posed no threat to the United States. In recent days, however, reality intruded on this fiction. Suddenly, tens of thousands of terrorists, armed to the teeth, were demolishing American-trained armies, beheading American journalists, and threatening American targets.
At PowerLine, Paul Mirengoff says:
Tom Joscelyn informed me that the name ["Khorosan"] doesn’t come from Washington. He says: “Although they haven’t used Khorasan publicly to describe themselves, that name is actually taken from the Khorasan shura with al-Qaeda, which is a specific advisory council.”
The Post’s sources emphasized that the name isn’t familiar in Syria. But, according to Tom, that’s because this is an internal AQ body, and not something marketed to the public.
We cannot see what difference it makes whether “Washington” took the name from a geographical area or an internal al-Qaeda advisory body. The Obama administration had some people bombed whom they choose to call “the Khorosan group”. It could not surely have been the actual “specific advisory council” on a group outing.
Andrew McCarthy’s account of how we’re being had remains true.
Secretary of State Kerry says 40 countries will be in coalition with the US in its war with IS/ISIS/ISIL.
Which states would those be?
According to CNN:
On Sunday, Kerry said countries in the Middle East are willing to help with strikes against ISIS, but … “it’s not appropriate to start announcing which nations will participate and what each will do.”
Because you see, fact is, apart from the US, nobody’s doin’ nothin’ nohow – except make a few promises with their fingers crossed.
Australia says it will send up to eight combat aircraft, one airborne early warning and control aircraft, and one multirole tanker and transport aircraft. In case somebody over there knows how to use them. No troops.
Great Britain says it would seriously consider helping to arm Kurdish forces if Kurdish forces were to fight ISIS beyond their own borders.
Canada says it already sent sent some ammunition to somebody and will maybe send some advisers to somewhere in Iraq.
France declares that it has contributed 18,000 rounds of .50-caliber ammunition. And, what is more, it has performed one or two humanitarian aid drops to refugees somewhere in the region. And more still – it promises to do some bombing perhaps at some time. Somewhere.
The Netherlands says it will definitely try to stop would-be fighters leaving to go and help ISIS.
Turkey says, word of honor, it will cut the flow of money to ISIS and… and … has already begun to think about how to stop foreigners crossing its territory to join ISIS.
Jordan says it will provide intelligence.
Saudi Arabia says it will train fighters against ISIS if any present themselves for such training. Also, along with Qatar and Egypt, it will spread anti-ISIS messages and encourage imams to say really nasty things against the group.
Iran has said it will do absolutely nothing to help the US which, it says, is only fighting ISIS because it wants to dominate the region. (At present Iran is dominating much of the region.)
Iraqi Kurdistan is willing to send their Peshmerga forces to fight beyond their borders if and when there’s a comprehensive international strategy put in place – which there is not.
The remaining 30 – unnamed – participating countries are keeping information about their contributions each to itself. They’re not even telling Kerry. Why be so nosy? They deserve a little privacy, don’t they? It’s every state’s right.
Is Putin testing Obama’s “flexibility“?
In Obamaspeak, “flexible” doesn’t mean compromising a little, bending to some extent; it means being willing to act in an unprincipled way, even perhaps to the extent of acting against one’s country’s interests.
Fox News reports:
An F-22 fighter jet
Two U.S. F-22 fighter jets intercepted six Russian military airplanes that were flying near Alaska, military officials said Friday.
Lt. Col. Michael Jazdyk, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, said the jets intercepted the planes about 55 nautical miles from the Alaskan coast at about 7 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday.
Tensions are high between the United States and Russia as the two countries are increasingly at odds over Ukraine, where Russian-backed insurgents have been fighting for control of parts of the country.
The Russian planes were identified as two IL-78 refueling tankers, two Mig-31 fighter jets and two Bear long-range bombers. They looped south and returned to their base in Russia after the U.S. jets were scrambled.
At about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, two Canadian CF-18 fighter jets intercepted two of the long-range Russian Bear bombers about 40 nautical miles off the Canadian coastline in the Beaufort Sea.
In both cases, the Russian planes entered the Air Defense Identification Zone, which extends about 200 miles from the coastline. They did not enter sovereign airspace of the United States or Canada.
Jazdyk said the fighter jets were scrambled “basically to let those aircraft know that we see them, and in case of a threat, to let them know we are there to protect our sovereign airspace.”
In the past five years, jets under NORAD’s command have intercepted more than 50 Russian bombers approaching North American airspace.
NORAD is a binational American and Canadian command responsible for air defense in North America.
What is Putin’s intention? Why does he think he can do this?
We found answers to those question in this article by J. E. Dyer at Liberty Unyielding. Commander Jennifer Dyer is a retired US Naval intelligence officer who served for 21 years. Her articles deal with important military issues and are invariably well-informed and interesting.
Russian bombers proliferate today in the air space off North America and Europe, operating at an activity level not seen since the very height of the Cold War. This isn’t something to shrug off.
Although it’s certainly attributable to Vladimir Putin’s current, proximate geopolitical intentions – to defy NATO, press his aggression against Ukraine, and intimidate the Baltic Republics – it’s also an expression of strategic posture harking back to the conventions of the Cold War.
Bringing out the Bears is a strategic signal. In Europe, the Russians could use Tu-160 Blackjacks and Tu-22M Backfire bombers to fly aggressive routes around the northern perimeter. The Blackjacks (sometimes called the “B-1-ski”) are understood to have a strategic role; the shorter-range Backfires, as dedicated bombers rather than multi-role aircraft, send a similarly aggressive signal.
But the Tu-95 Bear H bombers have for decades been the backbone of the airborne leg of Russia’s strategic “triad”: ICBMs, ballistic-missile submarines, and nuclear-armed bombers. When Russia deploys Bear Hs, the strategic signal is unmistakable.
Americans watching the drama unfold have a visceral sense of this, in part because the media routinely refer to the Bear Hs as “nuclear bombers.” The Bear Hs are more properly called long-range bombers or strategic bombers; they may or may not be carrying missiles with nuclear warheads. The aircraft are capable of carrying AS-15 “Kent” long-range cruise missiles, which were designed to be fitted with nuclear warheads, but they won’t necessarily have them mounted on a given flight. …
The post-Cold War status quo involved three fundamental features: a mutual (U.S. and Russia) stand-down of constantly-ready nuclear forces, which occurred in the early 1990s… ; verifiable adherence by both sides to the basic elements of our arms control agreements; and continuity in the strategic postures of both parties.
The last feature was the first one to be decisively breached … Through a series of actions from 2009 to 2013, the Obama administration overturned the premise on which, for the preceding 25 years, the U.S. had negotiated for arms control and proposed to guarantee global stability.
In 1983, Reagan established missile defense, and not mutual assured destruction, as the basis for U.S. security and global stability. … Although Obama has not publicly repudiated the U.S. missile defense posture, he has dismantled it with a series of policy actions. All but a few thousand Americans, at most, are unaware of this arcane reality – but Russian decision-makers perceive it quite clearly. …
The Russians for their own reasons have long disputed America’s missile defense-based policy. Obama’s unilateral decision to give it up has cut the whole strategic stability situation adrift, and the Russians in 2014 are happy to take advantage of that.
Regarding the other two features of the post-Cold War status quo, Russia has been engaging in violations of both START and the INF treaty for some time now; the Bush and Clinton administrations made an issue of that, but the Obama administration has not given it importance, and violations by Moscow have become more egregious.
The US and Russia signed a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in 1910. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was signed by the US and the Soviet Union way back in 1987.
The weak performance of this one feature would be more tolerable if the other two were in line. But in addition to the slow, bureaucratic collapse of the U.S. posture under Obama, Russia has since 2010 opened the door to breaching the third feature: the stand-down of ready nuclear forces. In 2010, Russia modified her national security strategy to permit preemptive use of nuclear weapons – a change to a policy that had stood since before the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.
Then, about three weeks ago, Russia publicly floated a threat through the common method of quoting a retired general in the state-run media. This general, Yuri Yakubov (formerly the commander of Russia’s Far Eastern military district and a senior staffer in the ministry of defense), had an ominous message. Interfax quotes Retired Army General Yuri Yakubov as saying:
[The national military strategy] for the country should in the first place clearly identify the potential enemy of Russia, which is not in the military doctrine of 2010. In my view, our main enemy is the United States and the North Atlantic bloc [NATO].
In particular, in my opinion, you need to carefully consider the forms and methods of the operation of Aerospace Defence, in close cooperation with strategic nuclear deterrence forces, the Strategic Missile Forces, strategic aviation and the Navy. Thus it is necessary to study the conditions under which Russia could use the Russian strategic nuclear forces (SNF) pre-emptively.
The preemptive use of nuclear weapons implies readiness to employ them quickly, against preselected targets. …
Russia would feel much more constrained about nuclear tough talk if the United States were setting and enforcing boundaries. But we’re not. It’s essential to understand this.
Putin has his current, proximate reasons for wanting to convey threats to the U.S. and NATO – reasons having to do with perceived Russian interests in South Asia, the Far East, and the Eastern Mediterranean as much as with Eastern Europe. But Russia wouldn’t be going high order with the overt strategic signals – the aggressive Bear flights – if Putin thought he was going to get real pushback from Washington …
Putin is pulling a really big weapon, with the accelerating implications that he feels free to break away from the post-Cold War strategic status quo. This pattern, if nothing else, should be a clue to his seriousness.
But there are other gathering clues, such as the reports in just the last couple of weeks about frankly threatening comments he has made to European leaders. …
Putin made [the following] statement during a conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko, who in turn, relayed his words to European Commission (EC) President Jose Manuel Barroso, during the latter’s visit to Kyiv last Friday (12 September), in which Poroshenko briefed the EU chief on threats.
If I want, Russian troops in two days could not only be in Kyiv, but also Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw and Bucharest.
Putin is burning bridges by doing this. He is clearly not trying to hold out hope of a restored status quo.
And that in turn means that the “push” has started: the push from a former stakeholder that will cause the status quo to fully collapse.
An F-22 from the 302d Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, AK intercepts a Russian Tu-95MS Bear H. (USAF image)
President Obama does not want to take action agains the Islamic State. But opinion polls have forced him to utter some platitudes about keeping America safe and the Islamic State being a bad thing (though “not Islamic”, he says), and to make a military gesture or two by sending a few American personnel to Iraq and having the US Air Force bomb a few IS sites. But you mustn’t call it aggressive war, what he’s doing. If it must be called “war” at all, then it must be something the whole world wants to do so the US has no choice but to go along with the wish of so overwhelming a community.
He has sent that great negotiator John Kerry. who has a record of success in his diplomatic ventures (being sarcastic here), to form a coalition.
And it looks as if Kerry will be as successful as ever he was. He has not managed to form a coalition. Not with Arab states. Not with Islamic states. Not with European states.
Iraq might say it will join, but it has only a diminished and intimidated army.
Egypt and Jordan have refused to join.
Turkey has not only refused, but has denied airbases on its territory for US or any other airstrikes against IS.
Britain and Germany will send arms to the Kurdish peshmerga forces to fight IS, but will not take part directly in the fighting.
France … Ah, France! President Francois Hollande is as eager to lead the chimerical coalition as President Obama is reluctant to do it. Last Friday he personally accompanied a vast amount of materiel to Baghdad. He plans to host the occasion in Paris on Monday when – if – a coalition will be formed. And he has invited Iran to participate.
Our information comes largely from DebkaFile, from which we quote the following:
Friday, Obama appointed Gen. John R. Allen, former commander in Afghanistan and western Iraq, to lead the coalition forces in the war on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levan.
It is hard to see what combat forces he will lead, in view of the mixed international responses so far to Washington’s appeals for a global coalition to combat terror.
In the years 2006-2008, Gen. Allen commanded the US II Marine Expeditionary Force, which successfully fought Al Qaeda under Musab Zarqawi’s leadership in western Iraq’s Anbar province. He led what was then dubbed the “Awakening” project, which rallied the region’s Sunni tribes to the fight.
President Obama appears to be hinging his campaign against the new Islamist scourge on Gen. Allen repeating that success. …
The prospects of this happening in 2014 are fairly slim, because the circumstances are so different:
1. To support the Sunni Awakening venture, President George W. Bush authorized the famous “surge” which placed an additional 70,000 US troops on the Iraqi battlefield. However, Obama has vowed not to send US combat troops back to Iraq in significant numbers, and has approved no more than a few hundred American military personnel.
2. In 2006, Iraqi Sunnis trusted American pledges. They agreed to turn around and fight fellow Sunni Al Qaeda after being assured by Washington that they would not lose their status and rights in Baghdad, and that the US would give them weapons and salaries. In 2009, they realized that the Obama administration would not stand by the Bush administration’s assurances. Their disillusion with America and the rise of a Shiite-dominated regime in Baghdad pushed them into the arms of ISIS.
3. Since then Iraq’s Sunni leaders have learned not to trust anyone. Today, they are hedging their bets, their tribal leaders split into two opposing camps between Saudi Arabia, on the one hand, and the Islamic State, on the other. For the first time since the US invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein 11 years ago, Iraq’s Sunni leaders feel they are in the saddle and in a position to set a high price for their support.
All this leaves President Obama and Gen. Allen on the threshold of a war on Islamist terrorists, which everyone agrees needs to be fought without delay, but without enough political leverage for going forward or much chance of mustering the right troops to lead – even into the first battle.
A US security team in Benghazi was held back from immediately responding to the attack on the American diplomatic mission on orders of the top CIA officer there, three of those involved told Fox News Bret Baier.
The three men – Kris (“Tanto”) Paronto, Mark (“Oz”) Geist, and John (“Tig”) Tiegen – were ready to go but told more than once not to go. The Obama administration, endlessly trying to excuse its moral turpitude, insists that no order to “stand down” was ever given. Maybe, but “do not go” is an order to stand down.
They finally ignored orders and went – but got there too late to save Ambassador Chris Stevens and Sean Smith.
We quote from Scared Monkeys:
Their account gives a dramatic new turn to what the Obama administration and its allies would like to dismiss as an “old story” – the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
Speaking out publicly for the first time, the three were security operators at the secret CIA annex in Benghazi – in effect, the first-responders to any attack on the diplomatic compound.
Based on the new book 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff with the Annex Security Team, the special sets aside the political spin that has freighted the Benghazi issue for the last two years, presenting a vivid, compelling narrative of events from the perspective of the men who wore the “boots on the ground”.
Now, looking back, the security team said they believed that if they had not been delayed for nearly half an hour, or if the air support had come, things might have turned out differently.
“Ambassador Stevens and Sean [Smith], yeah, they would still be alive, my gut is yes,” Paronto said.
Tiegen concurred: “I strongly believe if we’d left immediately, they’d still be alive today.”
See the video of the interview here.
President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, must be held responsible for those deaths.
We’re delighted by every sign that the Obama henchmen – and henchwomen – are scared of what Fox News is discovering and broadcasting about Benghazi, where the regime allowed the US ambassador and three other Americans to be killed by Libyan terrorists. Fox News has found more and more evidence that the administration refused to send help, and that they’ve been trying to cover up their guilt ever since. Now Greta van Susteren reveals yet another effort to stop the truth emerging.
Here is our Facebook condensation of a report by DebkaFile of events that are unlikely to be so much as mentioned by the US media.
They reveal an astonishing degree of co-operation between the Iranian, Syrian and US governments. (But it’s possible Obama doesn’t know; he’ll only find out about it by “watching the news”.)
At least 18 foreign ISIS fighters including Americans and Europeans were killed Thursday, Sept. 4, in a Syrian air raid of the Al Qaeda-ISIS northern Syrian headquarters in the Gharbiya district of Raqqa. The raid caught a number of high Al Qaeda commanders and a large group of foreign adherents assembled at the facility.
A second group of high ISIS officers were killed or injured in another Syrian air raid over their base in Abu Kamal near the Iraqi border. Top men of the Islamist terrorist group were holding meetings at both places Thursday to coordinate IS strike plans in Syria and Iraq.
For Syria, these plans center on the Deir a-Zor and Al Qaim areas, while in Iraq, they focus on targets in the east and center of the country.
They must be credited to top-quality US aerial surveillance over Syria and Iraq, but were undoubtedly made possible by the Obama administration’s deepening military and intelligence ties with Iran.
Many of the allies present at the two-day NATO Summit outside the Welsh town of Newport will not welcome these tidings - Britain, Germany and Australia, in particular. They deeply resent being displaced as America’s senior strategic partners by the Revolutionary Republic of Iran, after their long partnership with the US in fighting terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. But they will find it hard to argue with success.
On Aug. 31 US and Iranian special forces fighting together, broke the 100-day IS siege of the eastern Iraqi town of Amerli, 100 km from the Iranian border, to score a major victory in their first joint military ground action. Then, Wednesday, Sept. 3, US jets struck an IS base in the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar, killing its commander, Abu Hajar Al-Sufi, and two lieutenants of the IS chief Abu Baker Al-Baghdadi.
While President Obama has denied having a strategy for fighting ISIS, a working mechanism appears to have been put in place to support a trilateral military offensive against al Qaeda’s Islamist State. The successful attacks in the last 24 hours were apparently made possible by this mechanism: Iranian intelligence collected US surveillance data from the Americans and passed it on to Syria for action.
The world order is changing continually like patterns in a rapidly-turned kaleidoscope.
More chaos than order.
The Islamic State (IS), al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and Hamas are regiments of the Army of Islam, now waging open war on the non-Muslim world. This is a war of religion.
The strongest military power on the planet, the US, is engaging battle to as small an extent as it can. President Obama, highly sympathetic to Islam, but under pressure (called “advice”) from the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey, has reluctantly agreed to let a few bombs be dropped by the US Air Force on IS positions. And some military equipment – not too much and not too big and not too effective – is being supplied to the Kurds who are trying to repel the advance of the IS.
The majority of the Kurds are also Muslims. As the big religious war rages on in the Middle East, North Africa, and wherever else the Army of Islam strikes – Hamas against Israel, Boko Haram against the Christians of Nigeria and adjacent territories, al-Qaeda wherever it can - internecine Muslim battles are being savagely waged; and the Western governments’ and media’s “good guys” of the moment are the Kurds of Iraq, defending themselves against the advancing Islamic State.
The Washington Post reports:
On the newest front line of the expanding war being waged by Sunni militants for control of the Middle East, the juggernaut of the Islamic State’s advance appeared Saturday to have slowed, at least for now.
Buoyed by U.S. airstrikes the previous day, Kurdish pesh merga fighters said they pushed back an attempt by the extremists to overrun one of their artillery positions on the northern edge of the dust-blown town of Makhmour, south of Irbil. Makhmour was seized by Islamic State fighters Thursday.
At the same time, however, commanders said Islamic State fighters had begun to return to positions that US airstrikes had forced them to flee — a reminder that the so-far limited intervention may represent only the beginning of what President Obama warned Saturday could be a long campaign.
Though not – we suspect – if he can withdraw from it.
Hours later, the US military announced it had carried out four more airstrikes, in the Sinjar area farther west.
The Islamic State boasted in a video of its newest conquests, including Iraq’s biggest hydroelectric dam, outside Mosul. If breached, the dam would inundate towns and villages along the Tigris river and unleash flooding as far south as Baghdad.
The Washington Post sees the IS as an off-shoot of al-Qaeda:
The renegade al-Qaeda force is also reported to have made advances elsewhere across the vast stretch of territory it controls, in the Iraqi province of Anbar, in Kirkuk and in the eastern Syrian province of Hasakah.
Their spirits bolstered by the US intervention, Kurdish forces began to regroup after their rout in the past week, in which they retreated from a string of towns and villages. Tens of thousands of civilians, including Christians and Yazidis, were displaced.
As the sound of outgoing artillery and heavy machine-gun fire rang out across the undulating fields outside Makhmour, trucks bearing fresh supplies of ammunition and SUVs carrying uniformed officers hurtled to reinforce the front lines.
Hundreds of volunteers drawn from all over the Kurdistan region also streamed toward the battle, clutching ancient rifles and wearing the ballooning pants and waistcoats traditional to Kurdish culture.
The first of the three US airstrikes had taken out an Islamic State artillery position nearby, and pesh merga commanders said they sensed the militants had been chastened by the attack.
“This power they had before, this momentum — we don’t see it now,” said Col. Mohsin Avdal, who sat poring over maps on an ammunition box beside a pile of several dozen newly arrived 107mm rockets. They were delivered, he said, from stocks the pesh merga already owned.
But there was little indication the airstrikes had done much more than slow the militant blitz through Iraq and Syria, where Islamic State forces now govern a vast swath of territory in the name of their self-proclaimed caliphate.
Pesh merga commanders said they had no immediate plans to attempt to push back the militants but rather were under orders to consolidate the positions they now hold.
“We are not moving forward. We are staying put. We are ready and we are strong,” said Mohammed Mohsin, a brigadier general who has come out of retirement to oversee the reinforcement of another front-line checkpoint outside the town of Kalak, east of Irbil.
“But they are really strong,” he added, referring to Islamic State forces. “Everything the Americans sold to the Iraqi army, they have it now.”
The two other American strikes hit an Islamic State mortar position and a convoy a little more than a mile beyond the checkpoint, deterring an attempt by the militants to advance on the position, Mohsin said. Kurdish fighters who visited the site shortly after the strike found the remains of four US-made Humvees that had been captured from the Iraqi army and the bodies of 13 Islamic State fighters. It was all that remained of a convoy that had attempted to advance on the Kurdish position.
But the Kurdish fighters lacked the resources to hold the location and were ordered back to their base at Kalak, Mohsin said.
Later in the day, Islamic State fighters were seen returning to the area, according to Brig. Gen. Azad Hawezi, who commands forces in the area.
“They are bringing new people and more of those weapons they captured from the Iraqi army,” he said.
“They have American weapons, and they have American vehicles,” he added. “Obviously, they are strong.”
Unless the pesh merga are able to make advances, “it would seem likely that further [Islamic State] progress or escalated US airstrikes are the only eventualities,” said Charles Lister of the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar.
(Interruption: Did you know there was a Brookings Center in Qatar? Why would that be?)
“Airstrikes by themselves can only ever represent a potential temporary fix against a force like the Islamic State.”
The United States has promised to send arms and ammunition, but the pesh merga say they would need a massive influx to be able to make real gains against the militants. Their forces are stretched thin along a 650-mile front line, and although Kurdish civilians swarmed to offer their services as reinforcements, their utility was in question.
“We have guns, but we need heavy weapons,” said Abdul Aziz Ibrahim, 52, a farmer who fled the advance of the Islamic State on Makhmour overnight Thursday and has returned to join the fight as a volunteer, armed with an aged AK-47 borrowed from a relative.
“The pesh merga ran out of ammunition. There were too many of them,” he said, describing how the entire town fled within minutes of the first shell fired by Islamic State fighters. “Only the American Air Force can save us.”
Other Kurdish civilians had bought guns, flak jackets and helmets on the open market, making their way to the front lines from as far afield as the Iranian border.
Though enthusiastic, the volunteers seemed only to be getting in the way. They milled around checkpoints, taking turns to peer through binoculars at the front line about a mile away whenever an explosion thundered through the air, and they clogged roads the real fighters were using to ferry supplies and men to the front.
Lt. Col. Abdul Aziz Ali Mustafa, who was directing the deployment of fighters on the outskirts of Makhmour, predicted a long fight.
“All we can do is defend our territory and prepare to die, until someone finds a solution,” he said. “This is a big problem, involving all the Arab world. It is not something we can solve.”
War is now the only answer. War against Islam waged by all possible means with the intention of winning. If it is not, Islam will win.
Under Obama, America has switched sides.
Caroline Glick, one of the most astute reporters and commentators on Middle East affairs, draws that conclusion, and explains why:
When US President Barack Obama phoned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday night … he ended any remaining doubt regarding his policy toward Israel and Hamas.
Obama told Netanyahu that Israel must lose. He wants an unconditional “humanitarian” cease-fire that will lead to a permanent one.
And he wants it now.
And … the eventual terms of that cease-fire must include opening Hamas-controlled Gaza’s borders with Egypt and Israel and ending Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza coast.
That is, the cease-fire must allow Hamas to rebuild its arsenal of death and destruction quickly, with US political and financial support. …
Obama is siding with Hamas, and its Muslim Brotherhood patrons in Qatar and Turkey, against Israel, and its Sunni Arab supporters – Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
It is Obama who demands that Hamas have open borders so it can resupply, and receive billions of dollars – starting with an immediate cash injection of $47 million from US taxpayers – so it can pay North Korea for more missiles and import building materials to reconstruct its tunnels. …
[Obama's] White House will never acknowledge that Israel is in the right, or that it is fighting a moral war against a barbaric foe. And since the administration will never be satisfied, Israel can expect to be condemned by various UN bodies, including the Security Council, because no matter what it does to try to earn the support of the administration, it will never receive such support. …
The [Israeli] Left understands that the administration’s behavior has destroyed it. Leftists can no longer say that Israeli territorial withdrawals will win it international support. They can no longer say that Israel will receive US support if it places the security of Palestinian civilians above the security of its own civilians and military forces. They can no longer say that the PLO is the answer.
The Israeli Left has been Obama’s ace in the hole since he first ran for office, fresh from the pews in Jeremiah Wright’s anti-Semitic church. … They were the ones who could be counted on to tell the US media and the American Jews that Netanyahu is to blame for Obama’s hostility. …
Through his actions, Obama demonstrated that his “love affairs with the Muslim Brotherhood in the region,” are so central to his foreign policy calculations that he is willing to destroy the Israeli Left in order to strengthen the Brotherhood.
And this leads us to the larger point about Obama’s foreign policy, which his Sunday night telephone call to Netanyahu revealed. As rattled as Israelis are over Obama’s decision to support Hamas against Israel, Netanyahu made clear in his remarks Monday night that Israel has no choice but to keep fighting until we defeat this barbaric enemy.
Netanyahu didn’t mention Obama, but it was obvious that he was respectfully refusing to hand Israel’s head on a platter to Hamas’s friend in the White House.
And while it is hard for Israel to ignore Obama, it is impossible for Americans to ignore him. He runs their foreign policy.
Americans are the ones who need to be most alarmed by what Obama’s actions on behalf of Hamas reveal about the general direction of American Middle East policy under his leadership.
Obama’s choice of a vicious Islamic terrorist organization over a democratic US ally should not come as a surprise to anyone. He has signaled his bias so clearly that it could not be missed by anyone paying attention. There was his pro-Islam speech in Cairo early in his presidency; there were his bows and apologies for his country to the Saudis (though now he has turned to more radical Muslim powers than they); there are his repeated claims (purely fictitious) that Muslims made an important contribution to building the United States; there is his continuing aid to Iran, with friendly talks that give the mullahs time to develop their nuclear arms program; and plainest of all there is his open support of the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of Hamas. Not only has he tried to keep that self-announced enemy of America (and of the whole non-Muslim world) in power in Egypt, he has placed Muslim Brothers in departments of his own government as advisers. They would hardly be advising him to let Israel win against their own sub-organization Hamas, would they now?
Caroline Glick knows this, of course:
The problem is that in every war, in every conflict and in every contest of wills that has occurred in the Middle East since Obama took office, he has sided with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, against America’s allies.
It is good if a part of the Left (the Israeli part at least) has woken up to Obama’s real agenda – the destruction of Israel and the triumph of Islam – and is shocked by it. But most of the Left everywhere else is unlikely to care very much, or they’ll positively like it.
While we are nauseated by the thought of the upstart commie-kid Obama telling the Prime Minister of Israel to lose his country’s war of survival and start making arrangements for its total extinction, we enjoy thinking of Netanyahu (of whom we have been highly critical in the past) saying – however politely – NO.
Today is the centennial anniversary of the start of the First World War. On 28 July, 1914, the Austro-Hungarian army fired the first shots, to crush rebellious Serbia. What happened then, and why, is traced in this video.
Blame is laid on the growth of nationalism, and even more on imperialism – the acquisition of colonies by the powers of Europe on other continents, in fierce competition with each other, Britain being far and away the winner. The fact that at least some empires, chiefly the British, brought incalculable benefits to the lands they conquered, colonized and ruled, is touched on briefly; in our view, too briefly.
We think it is an overview worth watching, though there are points where we would place a different emphasis.
We agree with the presenters that the day World War One broke out was the day Europe began its terminal decline.