Russia has brought fighter planes, air-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft batteries to Syria. He has put military “boots on the ground” there too. The aerial bombing and ground fighting have started. Command centers have been established. Russia is there to stay.
An editorial in Investor’s Business Daily deplores the fact that Russia is now the dominant great power in the Middle East.
And it is a fact. Obama has handed the region to Putin as on a golden platter.
And what’s worse, with Russia comes China and Iran. We can’t see Putin sharing power with any other country for very long. But right now, the Vast Nasty Country Conspiracy is in full operation. (See here, here, and here.)
Moscow won’t just be destroying IS; it will be replacing us as dominant power in the Mideast, where the oil the free world needs is. And Putin won’t be alone.
According to Russian Sen. Igor Morozov, who sits on Russia’s international affairs committee, Chinese forces are joining Russia against IS. “China has joined our military operation in Syria,” Morozov said in Pravda. “A Chinese cruiser has already entered the Mediterranean, and an aircraft carrier follows it.”
With Iranian Quds force commander Qassem Soleimani believed to have met with Russian officials this month, the “genuinely broad” coalition against terrorism in which “Muslim countries are to play a key role” may end up as Russia, China and Iran.
Meanwhile, London’s Daily Express reports on German reporter and author Jurgen Todenhofer’s book, “Inside IS — Ten Days in the Islamic State.”
In it, he warns that the free world “is drastically underestimating the power of ISIS’, which “intends to get its hands on nuclear weapons”, then undertake “the largest religious cleansing in history”. Years ago, all these would have seemed laughable predictions. But Obama’s new world of American decline is full of such terrifying surprises.
Charles Krauthammer thinks, as we do, that Putin has little interest in defeating the Islamic State.
He writes, also at IBD:
If it had the wit, the Obama administration would be not angered, but appropriately humiliated. President Obama has, once again, been totally outmaneuvered by Vladimir Putin.
Two days earlier at the United Nations, Obama had welcomed the return, in force, of the Russian military to the Middle East — for the first time in decades — in order to help fight the Islamic State.
The ruse was transparent from the beginning. Russia is not in Syria to fight the Islamic State. The Kremlin was sending fighter planes, air-to-air missiles and SA-22 anti-aircraft batteries. Against an Islamic State that has no air force, no planes, no helicopters?
Russia then sent reconnaissance drones over Western Idlib and Hama, where there are no Islamic State fighters. Followed by bombing attacks on Homs and other opposition strongholds that had nothing to do with the Islamic State.
Indeed, some of these bombed fighters were U.S. trained and equipped.
Asked if we didn’t have an obligation to support our allies on the ground, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter bumbled that Russia’s actions exposed its policy as self-contradictory.
Carter made it sound as if the Russian offense was to have perpetrated an oxymoron, rather than a provocation — and a direct challenge to what’s left of the U.S. policy of supporting a moderate opposition.
The whole point of Russian intervention is to maintain Assad in power. Putin has no interest in fighting the Islamic State.
Indeed, the second round of Russian air attacks was on rival insurgents opposed to the Islamic State. The Islamic State is nothing but a pretense for Russian intervention. …
Just three weeks ago, Obama chided Russia for its military buildup, wagging his finger that it was “doomed to failure”. Yet by Monday he was publicly welcoming Russia to join the fight against the Islamic State.
He not only acquiesced to the Russian buildup, he held an ostentatious meeting with Putin on the subject, thereby marking the ignominious collapse of Obama’s vaunted campaign to isolate Putin diplomatically over Crimea.
Putin then showed his utter contempt for Obama by launching his air campaign against our erstwhile anti-Assad allies not 48 hours after meeting Obama.
Which the U.S. found out about when a Russian general knocked on the door of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and delivered a brusque demarche announcing that the attack would begin within an hour and warning the U.S. to get out of the way.
In his subsequent news conference, Secretary Carter averred that he found such Russian behavior “unprofessional.”
Good grief. Russia, with its inferior military and hemorrhaging economy, had just eaten Carter’s lunch, seizing the initiative and exposing American powerlessness — and the secretary of defense deplores what? Russia’s lack of professional etiquette.
Makes you want to weep.
Consider: When Obama became president, the surge in Iraq had succeeded and the U.S. had emerged as the dominant regional actor, able to project power throughout the region.
Last Sunday, Iraq announced the establishment of a joint intelligence-gathering center with Iran, Syria and Russia, symbolizing the new “Shiite-crescent” alliance from Iran across the northern Middle East to the Mediterranean, under the umbrella of Russia, the rising regional hegemon.
Russian planes roam free over Syria attacking Assad’s opposition as we stand by helpless. Meanwhile, the U.S. secretary of state beseeches the Russians to negotiate “de-conflict” arrangements — so that we and they can each bomb our own targets safely. It has come to this.
Why is Putin moving so quickly and so brazenly? Because he’s got only 16 more months to push on the open door that is Obama.
He knows he’ll never again see an American president such as this — one who once told the General Assembly that “no one nation can or should try to dominate another nation” and told it again last Monday of “believing in my core that we, the nations of the world, cannot return to the old ways of conflict and coercion.”
They cannot? Has he looked at the world around him — from Homs to Kunduz, from Sanaa to Donetsk — ablaze with conflict and coercion?
Wouldn’t you take advantage of these last 16 months if you were Putin, facing a man living in a faculty-lounge fantasy world?
Where was Obama when Putin began bombing Syria? Leading a U.N. meeting on countering violent extremism.
Go on, weep.
That’s what we’re doing, figuratively at least.
Insanity? Stupidity? Or just craven submission to Obama, the Dear Leader?
Democrats say what’s wrong with the Iran deal, then say they support it:
This video is titled “Migrant Crisis: The Footage the Media Refuse to Broadcast”. (Some of the scenes have in fact been shown on American news channels, but it is all too likely that they are not shown in Europe or by the BBC.)
The indignation of the woman whose charity is rejected – her donation of food that was “good for three years” thrown away contemptuously – is wonderful to see and hear.
For decades the Left has worked to destroy the “evil” First World in support of the great cause of the “wretched of the earth”, the inhabitants of the Third World “victimized” by Western “imperialism” and “colonialism”. Now that the hellish Third World is pouring into Europe, at least some on the Left are beginning to change their minds, faced with a horror that they themselves have called up, never thinking that such a thing could actually happen to them.
We savor the irony of their discovering their error so late, even as we deplore the event that is bringing them to their senses.
A video addressed to the Senate Democrats who support Obama’s deal with Iran:
Here’s a moderately good satirical video making a very important point about Obama’s “deal” with Iran:
If Khamenei calls Obama now, he’ll get two deals for the price of one.
(And the price to Iran is zero anyway.)
More than 50 intelligence analysts complain that the facts they find and analyse are being distorted to fit Obama’s lying narrative about the war with ISIS (or ISIL, as Obama’s lackeys prefer to call it so as to leave Syria out of the name).
This is from the Daily Beast:
More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military’s Central Command have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials …
The complaints spurred the Pentagon’s Inspector General to open an investigation into the alleged manipulation of intelligence. The fact that so many people complained suggests there are deep-rooted, systemic problems in how the U.S. military command charged with the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State assesses intelligence.
“The cancer was within the senior level of the intelligence command,” one defense official said.
Two senior analysts at CENTCOM signed a written complaint sent to the Defense Department inspector general in July alleging that the reports, some of which were briefed to President Obama, portrayed the terror groups as weaker than the analysts believe they are. The reports were changed by CENTCOM higher-ups to adhere to the administration’s public line that the U.S. is winning the battle against ISIS and al Nusra, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, the analysts claim.
That complaint was supported by 50 other analysts, some of whom have complained about politicizing of intelligence reports for months. …
The accusations suggest that a large number of people tracking the inner workings of the terror groups think that their reports are being manipulated to fit a public narrative.
The allegations echoed charges that political appointees and senior officials cherry-picked intelligence about Iraq’s supposed weapons program in 2002 and 2003.
The two signatories to the complaint were described as the ones formally lodging it, and the additional analysts are willing and able to back up the substance of the allegations with concrete examples.
Some of those CENTCOM analysts described the sizeable cadre of protesting analysts as a “revolt” by intelligence professionals who are paid to give their honest assessment, based on facts, and not to be influenced by national-level policy. The analysts have accused senior-level leaders, including the director of intelligence and his deputy in CENTCOM, of changing their analyses to be more in line with the Obama administration’s public contention that the fight against ISIS and al Qaeda is making progress. The analysts take a more pessimistic view about how military efforts to destroy the groups are going.
The large number of analysts who complained to the Pentagon inspector general hasn’t been previously reported. Some of them are assigned to work at CENTCOM, the U.S. military’s command for the Middle East and Central Asia, but are officially employed by the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The complaints allege that in some cases key elements of intelligence reports were removed, resulting in a document that didn’t accurately capture the analysts’ conclusions, sources familiar with the protest said. But the complaint also goes beyond alleged altering of reports and accuses some senior leaders at CENTCOM of creating an unprofessional work environment. One person who knows the contents of the written complaint sent to the inspector general said it used the word “Stalinist” to describe the tone set by officials overseeing CENTCOM’s analysis.
Many described a climate in which analysts felt they could not give a candid assessment of the situation in Iraq and Syria. Some felt it was a product of commanders protecting their career advancement by putting the best spin on the war.
Some reports crafted by the analysts that were too negative in their assessment of the war were sent back down the chain of the command or not shared up the chain, several analysts said. Still others, feeling the climate around them, self-censored so their reports affirmed already-held beliefs.
“While we cannot comment on the specific investigation cited in the article, we can speak to the process. The Intelligence Community routinely provides a wide range of subjective assessments related to the current security environment. These products and the analysis that they present are absolutely vital to our efforts, particularly given the incredibly complex nature of the multi-front fights that are ongoing now in Iraq and Syria,” said Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder, U.S. CENTCOM spokesman. “Senior civilian and military leadership consider these assessments during planning and decision-making, along with information gained from various other sources, to include the insights provided by commanders on the ground and other key advisors, intelligence collection assets, and previous experience.”
Analysts began airing their complaints in October in an effort to address the issue internally and only went to the Inspector General when that effort failed.
The reaction of the administration? –
Some of those who complained were urged to retire …
And sadly –
Some agreed to leave.
Meanwhile, the administration continues to lie:
In recent months, members of the Obama administration have sought to paint the fight against ISIS in rosy hues — despite the terror army’s seizure of major cities like Mosul and Fallujah.
“ISIS is losing,” John Allen, the retired Marine general charged with coordinating the ISIS campaign, said in July.
“I am confident that over time, we will beat, we will, indeed, degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in March, using the government’s preferred acronym for the group.
“No, I don’t think we’re losing,” President Obama said in May.
Obama habitually tries to create an alternative “reality” with words. It doesn’t work of course. Actual events continue to accrue their consequences.
It looks as if the world may have reason to be grateful to the cruel musty old men who rule Iran (!) – for sparing it from the terrible “deal” Barack Obama thinks he has concluded with them.
The Ayatollahs will not comply with the agreement unless and until all sanctions against Iran are lifted.
But the Obama administration is telling America that Iran must first agree to comply before sanctions are lifted.
Dare we hope that this impasse will continue indefinitely? That the “deal” will fade away?
The crowing [by the Democrats] this week over Barack Obama’s success in gaining congressional support for his Iranian nuclear deal against Binyamin Netanyahu’s defeat was premature. The July 14 Vienna deal between Iran and six world powers was just the first round of the game. Decisive rounds are still to come, before either of the two can be said to have won or lost.
The biggest outstanding hurdle in the path of the accord is Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his silence on where he stands on the deal whether by a yea or a nay. Without his nod, nothing goes forward in the revolutionary republic. So the nuclear accord is not yet home and dry either in Tehran or even in Washington.
While Obama gathered congressional support in Washington for the accord to pass, Khamenei made three quiet yet deadly remarks:
1. “Sanctions against Tehran must be lifted completely rather than suspended. If the framework of sanctions is to be maintained, then why did we negotiate?”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest answered him: “Iran will only see sanctions relief if it complies with the nuclear deal.”
There lies the rub. For the Obama administration, it is clear that Iran must first comply with the accord before sanctions are eased, whereas Tehran deems the accord moot until sanctions are lifted – regardless of its approval by the US Congress.
Here is the first stalemate, and not the last. … Long exhausting rounds lie ahead that could drag on longer even than the protracted negotiations, which Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif brought to a close in Vienna.
2. Khamenei next took the step of referring the accord to the Majlis (parliament) for approval, pretending that to be legally in force, the accord requires [its] majority vote … He put it this way, “I believe… that it is not in the interest of the majlis to be sidelined.”
This step was in fact designed to sideline President Hassan Rouhani, on whom Obama and Kerry counted to get the nuclear deal through, and snatch from him the authority for signing it – or even determining which body had this competence.
It had been the intention of Rouhani and Zarif to put the accord before the 12-member Council of Guardians for their formal endorsement. But Khamenei pulled this rug out from under their feet and kept the decision out of the hands of the accord’s proponents.
3. His next step was to declare with a straight face: “I have no recommendation for the majlis on how to examine it. It is up to the representatives of the nation to decide whether to reject or ratify it.”
This step in the nuclear chess game was meant to show American democracy up in a poor light compared to that of the Revolutionary Republic (sic). While Obama worked hard to bring his influence to bear on Congress, he, Khamenei, refrained from leaning on the lawmakers, who were freed to vote fair and square on the deal’s merits.
This of course is a charade. … The ayatollah exercises dictatorial control over the majlis through his minion, Speaker Ali Larijani. He has absolute trust in the lawmakers never reaching any decision on the nuclear deal, or anything else, without his say-so.
Congressional approval in Washington of the nuclear accord may give President Obama a fine boost but will be an empty gesture for winning endorsement in Tehran. It might even be counter-productive if American lawmakers carry out their intention of hedging the nuclear deal round with stipulations binding Iran to full compliance with the commitments it undertook in Vienna, or also continue to live with existing sanctions or even face new ones.
Still some room for hope then?
Hmm. What’s the betting Obama will cave to Ayatollah Khamenei?
Here is the text of the “side agreement” between IAEA and Iran:
Separate Arrangement II agreed by the Islamic State of Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency on 11 July 2015, regarding the Road-map, Paragraph 5
Iran and the Agency agreed on the following sequential arrangement with regard to the Parchin issue:
- Iran will provide to the Agency photos of the locations, including those identified in paragraph 3 below, which would be mutually agreed between Iran and the Agency, taking into account military concerns.
- Iran will provide to the Agency videos of the locations, including those identified in paragraph 3 below, which would be mutually agreed between Iran and the Agency, taking into account military concerns.
- Iran will provide to the Agency 7 environmental samples taken from points inside one building already identified by the Agency and agreed by Iran, and 2 points outside of the Parchin complex which would be agreed between Iran and the Agency.
- The Agency will ensure the technical authenticity of the activities referred to in paragraphs 1-3 above. Activities will be carried out using Iran’s authenticated equipment, consistent with technical specifications provided by the Agency, and the Agency’s containers and seals.
- The above mentioned measures would be followed, as a courtesy by Iran, by a public visit of the Director General, as a dignitary guest of the Government of Iran, accompanied by his deputy for safeguards.
- Iran and the Agency will organize a one-day technical roundtable on issues relevant to Parchin.
For the International Atomic Energy Agency: Tero Varjoranta, Deputy Director General for Safeguards
For the Islamic Republic of Iran: Ali Hoseini Tash, Deputy Secretary of Supreme National Security Council for Strategic Affairs
And here’s interpretation and comment from The Big Story, by George Jahn:
An AP report has revealed that the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency has agreed with Iran that Iranian experts and equipment will be used to inspect Iran’s Parchin military site, located in not far from Tehran, where Iran is suspected of conducting covert nuclear weapons activity more than a decade ago.
Here are some questions and answers about the document, and what it means for the larger deal between Iran, the United States and five other world powers to limit Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for easing sanctions against Iran.
WHAT HAVE IRAN AND THE IAEA AGREED?
According to a draft document viewed by AP, Iran has agreed to cooperate with the U.N. in answering longstanding allegations about possible past work to develop nuclear weapons at its Parchin plant — but only with the Iranians conducting the inspections themselves.
Iran would collect its own environmental samples on the site and carry out other work usually done by IAEA experts. The IAEA will be able to review the Iranians’ work after the fact. The deal on Parchin was between the IAEA and Iran. The Obama Administration was not a direct party to the agreement, but apparently was aware of it.
WHAT DO OPPONENTS OF THE DEAL SAY?
Opponents of the broader deal are seizing an opportunity to say the entire exercise of negotiating with Iran is flawed, that it relies too much on trust of the Iranian government.
WHAT DOES THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SAY?
The Obama administration and other supporters say the wider agreement is focused on the future, with ample inspections, and that the side accord between Iran and the IAEA is focused on Iran’s activities in the past and therefore is not central to the overall deal.
HOW UNUSUAL IS THE AGREEMENT ON PARCHIN?
Any IAEA inspection of a country suspected of nuclear irregularities is usually carried out by agency experts. They may take swipes of residue on equipment, sample the air or take soil samples in attempts to look for signs of clandestine work on atomic arms or other potentially dangerous unreported activity.
The document on Parchin, however, will let the Iranians themselves look for signs of the very activity they deny — past work on nuclear weapons.
It says “Iran will provide” the agency with environmental samples. It restricts the number of samples at the suspect site to seven and to an unspecified number “outside of the Parchin complex” at a site that still needs to be decided.
The U.N. agency will take possession of the samples for testing, as usual. Iran will also provide photos and video of locations to be inspected. But the document suggests that areas of sensitive military activity remain out of bounds.
The draft says the IAEA will “ensure the technical authenticity of the activities” carried out by the Iranians — but it does not say how. …
WHY IS THE PARCHIN AGREEMENT IMPORTANT?
Any indication that the IAEA is diverging from established inspection rules could weaken the agency, the world’s nuclear watchdog with 164 members, and feed suspicions that it is ready to overly compromise in hopes of winding up a probe that has essentially been stalemated for more than a decade.
Politically, the arrangement has been grist for American opponents of the broader separate agreement to limit Iran’s future nuclear programs, signed by the Obama administration, Iran and five world powers in July. Critics have complained that the wider deal is built on trust of the Iranians, while the administration has insisted it depends on reliable inspections.
The separate agreement on past nuclear activities does not affect the broader deal signed in July. And it doesn’t appear yet that the revelation will change any votes in Congress for or against a resolution of disapproval, which President Barack Obama is expected to veto if it passes.
HOW DID THIS AGREEMENT HAPPEN?
It could be a matter of priorities.
The Obama administration’s main focus in the broader Iran deal — signed by the U.S., Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — is crimping Iran’s present nuclear activities so they cannot be used in the future toward making a bomb. Faced with more than a decade of Iranian resistance to IAEA attempts to probe the allegations of past weapons work at Parchin, there may be a willingness to settle for an agency report that is less than definitive — and methods that deviate from usual practices.
The IAEA also appears to have recognized that Iran will continue to insist the allegations are lies, based on false U.S., Israeli and other intelligence. After a decade of stalemate it wants to close the books on the issue and allow the U.N. Security Council to do so as well.
The alternative might well have been no inspection at Parchin of any kind. [As if this “inspection” is not exactly equivalent to no inspection – ed.]
WHAT DOES THE IAEA SAY?
Director General Yukiya Amano says, “The arrangements are technically sound and consistent with our long-established practices. They do not compromise our … standards in any way.” He says agreements with Iran on clearing up the nuclear arms allegations “are confidential and I have a legal obligation not to make them public – the same obligation I have for hundreds of such arrangements made with other IAEA member states“.
WHAT DO OTHERS SAY?
Ned Price, spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House: “We are confident in the agency’s technical plans for investigating the possible military dimensions of Iran’s former program, issues that in some cases date back more than a decade. Just as importantly, the IAEA is comfortable with the arrangements, which are unique to the agency’s investigation of Iran’s historical activities.”
Olli Heinonen, in charge of the Iran investigation as IAEA deputy director general from 2005 through 2010, says he can think of no similar arrangement — a country essentially allowed to carry out much of the probe of suspicions against it.
The agreement is sinister and ludicrous.
(And now we know there is a “Separate Arrangement I” that we know nothing of.)
Commander J. E. Dyer writes at Liberty Unyielding:
Kerry offered to give the Senators a classified briefing on the side agreement – even though he also stressed that the U.S. has not been given access to it.
The reaction of JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] supporters to the AP report has been to emphasize that this agreement is about resolving IAEA’s questions regarding Iran’s past activities. The side agreement on Parchin isn’t about monitoring current or future activities, which are a separate issue.
The implication is that self-sampling and selfies are good enough for resolving the lingering questions about the past. Going forward, suggest Team Obama and its allies, is where we’ll see the tough, unprecedentedly rigorous verification regime for Iran’s military-related nuclear work.
The big problem with that logic – even more important than the point that verifying Iran’s past activities is crucial – is that there is nothing written down about the nature of the verification regime for military-related activities going forward. The JCPOA is silent as to methods and measures. It does not describe a rigorous verification regime. It doesn’t describe a verification regime at all.
All it says is that Iran and IAEA will develop agreements for inspecting the military-related sites IAEA requests access to. If IAEA isn’t satisfied, it can appeal to the JCPOA’s Joint Commission – on which Iran is one of the eight voting members.
So the only model we have to go by, in judging how this verification process is going to work, is the text of the side agreement on Parchin. And that text says we’re going to take Iran’s word for it. …
That approach isn’t good enough for the nuclear program of a radical regime that is still the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism.
Senator Robert Menendez explains why he will not support Obama’s appalling deal with Iran.
He boasts that he has supported President Obama “98% of the time in 2013 and 2014″, but cannot and will not support his deal allowing Iran to become a nuclear power.
His analysis of what is wrong with the agreement is detailed and excellent.
He denies that the only alternative is war, and offers ideas for a better deal (some strong and some weak, in our view).
It is an important speech, well worth hearing.
Dennis Prager talks plain good sense about the US-Iran nuclear “deal” in this video, published on August 3, 2015.
He speaks of evil being not dark, but bright. Which recalls the title of the book, Brighter than a Thousand Suns, by Robert Jungk, about the scientists who invented the atom bomb in the Manhattan Project. The title is a line from a verse in the Bhagavad Gita which one of the scientists, J. Robert Oppenheimer, quoted when the bomb was tested. As a desccription of an atomic explosion it is exaggerated of course, but frightening; and we all need to be frightened of the nuclear war that Obama has now made not just possible, but all too probable.
Prager’s best point, in our opinion, is that we are already at war with Iran. We have been for a long time.
We still think the best way to deal with Iran would be to bunker-bomb its nuclear facilities. And to keep doing so every time it rebuilds them.