The US certainly is not … but definitely is … co-operating militarily with Iran.
An article in the Washington Post shows the Obama administration is half-confessing to co-operation with Iran. (See our post immediately below).
The urgent fight to keep Islamic State forces from taking over more of Iraq has led the Obama administration to tolerate, and in some cases even approve, things it once would have loudly protested.
When Iraqi Shiite militias, backed by Iran and long branded illegal by the administration, retook the town of Amerli from the Sunni Muslim militants last week, U.S. officials breathed a sigh of relief.
Did they do no more than “breathe a sigh of relief”? Did they not have a hand in the retaking of Amerli? It seems that Iran did. (We will return to this.)
Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force and usually described as an archenemy of the United States, reportedly was present during the battle and was seen days later in an Internet-posted photo shaking hands with a militia fighter.
Just “present” at the battle. Like Obama in the Senate. Happened to be there. Took no actual part.
The Washington Post would rather you stopped looking at Amerli and the illegal militias and that head of the Iranian Quds Force – look at what the Kurds are doing … good guys, even if their forces are operating outside of recognized borders. You wouldn’t want to make a fuss about that, would you? Not quibble over legal niceties … ?
Your attention is redirected:
Farther north, Kurdish fighters have occupied the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, a prize the Kurds have long claimed but which lies outside the borders — recognized by both Baghdad and Washington — of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. Far from insisting the fighters withdraw, the administration is glad that someone is defending the city from the Islamic State.
Such legal and policy niceties have become a luxury in the battle to push back the militants whom President Obama on Friday called “a savage organization” that “poses a significant threat” to the United States and its allies.
It is not, as one administration official said with significant understatement, an ideal situation, and there is widespread recognition that facts are being created on the ground that are likely to cause problems in the future.
But for now, the existential battle being waged in Iraq is one that has made at least indirect confederates of forces that are neither allies nor partners, nor often even on speaking terms.
But what about Iran? Sorry, but we want to know about Iran. Are the US and Iran “indirect confederates” in Iraq at this time?
Here’s what the White house has to say about it:
While the administration has acknowledged discussing the Iraqi crisis with Iranian officials on the margins of separate talks about Iran’s nuclear program, “we do not coordinate military action or share intelligence with Iran and have no plans to do so,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said Friday.
“At the same time, we have been clear that ISIL,” one of several acronyms for the Islamic State, “represents a threat not only to the United States, but also — and most immediately — to the entire region. We believe that all countries, regardless of their differences, should work toward the goal of degrading and ultimately defeating ISIL,” Meehan said.
Asked whether there was a role for Iran in the international coalition the administration is forming to fight the militants in Iraq and ultimately in Syria, a senior administration official this week said, “I don’t know.” But, the official acknowledged [read prevaricated] , “they already . . . have a role on the ground.”
How much of a “role”?
Iranian contributions have extended beyond weapons and advisers to the Shiite militias. Despite Tehran’s concerns about separatism within its own Kurdish community, it “was the first country to provide us with weapons and ammunition” to fight the militants, Kurdish President Massoud Barzani said late last month during a visit of Iran’s foreign minister.
Iran is also believed to have conducted airstrikes against the Islamic State, U.S. officials said.
Airstrikes? Like the US Air Force is doing? With no direct co-ordination among the strikers?
The Washington Post hastens to make it seem that, far from there being actual co-operation, there is continuing rivalry between the US and Iran in the region. At least, there is a history of such rivalry. That, the paper implies, is what should be concentrated on, not what might be happening right now:
The United States has vied with Iran for influence in Iraq ever since the majority Shiite government was installed after the 2003 U.S. invasion that overthrew Sunni leader Saddam Hussein.
And what is more, the rivalry has been violent and much to America’s cost.
Iran was accused of supplying the improvised explosive devices, called IEDs, to the militias that used them to blow up hundreds of American soldiers during the previous decade.
In recent years, the militias have laid low as an organized force. But when the Iraqi army fled northern cities in advance of the Islamic State blitz through the country this summer, they quickly reemerged and entered the fight. U.S. protests were largely pro forma.
When former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki stepped down under U.S. pressure last month, Iran signaled its approval by congratulating his successor and calling for an inclusive government.
The strong administration preference is for Shiite militia members — as well as Sunni tribesmen in western Iraq — to join the Iraqi security forces and fight the militants under the government’s banner. But U.S. officials, who were not authorized to discuss the administration’s strategy on the record, said they would take what they could get until the militants are driven back.
The United States is not the only actor on the ground that finds the situation uncomfortable.
Uncomfortable? The situation? Could the discomfort be because “the situation” is US-Iranian military co-operation?
Well, okay, but – the Washington Post would have us know – it’s not the only “actor” doing it – and feeling uncomfortable about it.
While the administration credited U.S. airstrikes with helping drive the Islamic State out of Amerli, …
What? US airstrikes helped the illegal Shiite militias – and the Iranians – re-take the town of Amerli? Now it emerges!
…. militiamen on the ground restated their enmity toward the Americans and said the [air-]strikes were inconsequential in the victory they had won.
So even if the US did help to take back Amerli with airstrikes, they were not decisive. Both unwanted and not needed. The Shiite militias despises them. So do the Iranians. No help at all. Phooey!
Iran’s Fars News Agency said Friday that the idea that U.S. action had been decisive in Amerli was a figment of the American imagination. “The West has launched media hype to show the U.S. as the savior of Iraq,” the agency said, quoting an Iranian military source.
In any case, Iran is hotly denying that it has co-operated with the US. And we can believe the Iranian’s, can’t we?
When the BBC reported Friday morning that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had approved cooperation with the U.S. military against the Islamic State, senior government officials quickly denied it. “It’s impossible,” Esmail Kowsari, deputy chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told Bloomberg News.
It’s impossible so it never happened?
It’s not only possible, it happened.
The US and Iran are directly co-ordinating their battle against the Islamic State. For the present, the US and Iran are in alliance, and both are ashamed of it.
This is a hugely significant development, and should be headline news. But apart from this low-key report full of evasions and excuses in the Washington Post, there is been nothing about it in the media that we could discover.
Post Script: Even the Israeli press is not telling the truth about US-Iranian “confederacy”, preferring to trust the slithery lies that emanate from the US State Department. This is from Jerusalem Online:
US refused to cooperate with Iran: “We won’t share intel with them”
Tonight, the US rejected the offer of the spiritual leader of the Islamic republic, Ali Khamenei, to cooperate in action against the Jihad group in northern Iraq. “The US doesn’t share intelligence information nor acts in military cooperation with Iran”, said the State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, in a press conference. “We are open to engaging them, as we have in the past, but we are not interested in military cooperation with the Iranian leadership.”
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 has invited Muslims from everywhere in the world to come and live in it.
This presents a golden opportunity for Palestinians to be assimilated at last by their own people. Arabs among Arabs. They can be citizens of the new Caliphate.
Israel should encourage the transfer of willing West Bank Arabs and Gazans to the new Islamic State.
Of course it is likely that most Israeli Arabs citizens will prefer to stay in Israel. They are not on the whole a problem to themselves or anyone else. Israel has never aimed at becoming an Arab-free country (though it has been accused of wanting to be just that by its enemies, especially Leftist Israeli historians), and it would be the poorer if it were.
But the Gazans who voted for Hamas to govern them – it will be just like home for them to be under the rule of ISIS/ISIL. And the stone-throwing youth of the West Bank – they’ll be given real weapons by the Islamic State.
Who will not have what they want? Only those Arab states that want to use the Palestinians as a perpetual reproach to Israel and the Western powers who allowed Israel to come into existence.
The loss of that use of them might irritate Obama too, but he could console himself that ISIS is Islam Victorious.
The Islamic State has released a video purporting to show a masked militant beheading a second captured American journalist, and threatening to kill a British hostage the group names as David Haines.
The footage shows Steven Sotloff, a 31-year-old freelancer who disappeared in Syria last year, dressed in orange and on his knees in a desert landscape.
[The] executioner – who speaks with a British accent – condemns the ongoing US strikes against IS … [He says]: “I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State.”
In the video, Sotloff describes himself as “paying the price” for the US intervention with his life.
We await reaction from the White House, fairly certain that we know what it will be. There will be the ritual message to the family of the victim (hearts going out to … prayers for… etc.), and we dupes and dopes, the general public, will be cautioned not to make any assumptions that this manifestation of savagery by a member of the ISLAMIC STATE has anything at all to do with Islam, which is a wonderfully peaceful religion.
It’s way past time that the blind and silly politicians of the Western world stopped trying to pretend that the horrors being done in the name of Islam “have nothing to do with Islam”.
That is also the opinion of the famous scholar of Islam, Robert Spencer. He writes at PJ Media (before the news of the most recent beheading):
They call themselves the Islamic State. They claim to be the restorers of the caliphate, the ones who have finally fulfilled the most cherished aspiration of jihadists and Islamic supremacists the world over. They declare their intention to govern their domains solely and wholly by Islamic law, acting swiftly and ruthlessly to end any practice that does not conform to that law. They repeatedly proclaim their piety, ascribing all their victories to Allah and submitting themselves in all things to his will.
Yet despite all this, Western leaders, the mainstream media, and much of the public are certain of one thing: the Islamic State has nothing, nothing whatsoever, to do with Islam.
He names five people who intone this nonsense, four of them politicians.
The first in the countdown from five is the mother of Stevem Sotloff. A video of his beheading appeared today.
5. Shirley Sotloff
Shirley Sotloff is the mother of Steven J. Sotloff, an American who is [was] being held hostage by the Islamic State [IS]. On Wednesday, she released a video appeal to the Islamic State’s “caliph Ibrahim,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Her message to him was extremely respectful. Sotloff began: “I am sending this message to you, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Quraishi al-Hussaini, the caliph of the Islamic State. I am Shirley Sotloff. My son Steven is in your hands.”
Sotloff went on to tell the caliph that Steven had “no control over the actions of the U.S. government. He is an innocent journalist.” In fact, she said he had gone to the Middle East to chronicle the sufferings of Muslims.
Yes, and it is for that he should be held to blame.
This was tantamount to signaling to him that Steven Sotloff could be more useful to him alive than dead. She assumes throughout that the U.S. has indeed done wrong to the Islamic State, but argues that her son should not be punished for it.
She proceeds to tell IS what Islam teaches. (Spencer points out: “Oh, and by the way, the caliph Ibrahim, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi” – the leader of the Islamic State – “has a PhD in Islamic Studies”.)
“Since Steven’s capture,” she added, “I have learned a lot about Islam. I’ve learned that Islam teaches that no individual should be held responsible for the sins of others. As a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over.”
It’s odd that Shirley Sotloff, after addressing the caliph so respectfully, would presume to lecture him about Islam, and it’s frankly embarrassing that she does so based on her whitewashed Karen Armstrong/John Esposito understanding of the religion. Only from such peddlers of the Islam-is-a-Religion-of-Peace myth could she have gotten the idea that the caliph’s heart would be melted by an appeal to Islam from a Western non-Muslim woman with head uncovered.
Her anguished plea must have added to the sadistic glee of the killers who love their work.
But is she right? Has the caliph somehow overlooked (or intentionally ignored) this Islamic tenet? Or have Armstrong, Esposito, Aslan and the rest of the whitewash crew neglected to tell Mrs. Sotloff that Islamic law allows for the taking of captives (cf. Qur’an 47:4), including non-combatants such as women who are then pressed into sex slavery (cf. Qur’an 4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50), and thus the kidnapping [and killing] of a male journalist is certainly within the parameters of Islamic law?
Mrs. Sotloff continues: “As a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over. I ask you to use your authority to spare his life, and to follow the example set by the Prophet Mohammad, who protected People of the Book.”
Mrs. Sotloff may here be referring to the spurious but increasingly popular Achtiname, Muhammad’s pact with the monks of St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai, in which Muhammad grants all sorts of rights and privileges to Christians that do not accord with the provisions of Islamic law, which mandates that Christians and other non-Muslims be subjugated, in accord with the Qur’an: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” — Qur’an 9:29. This subjugation is not a guarantee that one’s life will be spared, however; if one is considered to be a kaffir harbi, one’s life is forfeit.
The people who have misled Mrs. Sotloff about Islam have done her a grave disservice, and given her false hope.
4. Yvette Cooper
Yvette Cooper is a member of the British Parliament for the Labour Party, and serves as the shadow home secretary. She has said that Islamic State “extremists are beheading people and parading their heads on spikes, subjugating women and girls, killing Muslims, Christians and anyone who gets in their way. This is no liberation movement — only a perverted, oppressive ideology that bears no relation to Islam.”
Unfortunately, for every Islamic State atrocity she enumerated, there is Qur’anic sanction:
Beheading people: “When you meet the unbelievers, strike the necks….” (Qur’an 47:4)
Subjugating women and girls: “Men have authority over women because Allah has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because Allah has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them.” (Qur’an 4:34)
Killing Muslims: “They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another). So take not Auliya’ (protectors or friends) from them, till they emigrate in the Way of Allah (to Muhammad SAW). But if they turn back (from Islam), take (hold) of them and kill them wherever you find them, and take neither Auliya’ (protectors or friends) nor helpers from them.” (Qur’an 4:89)
Killing Christians: “Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (Qur’an 9:29)
Even if the Islamic State is misinterpreting or misunderstanding these verses, it is doing so in a way that accords with their obvious literal meaning. That should, at the very least, lead to a public discussion about the possibility of Islamic reform, what is being taught in mosques in the West, and related issues. But such a discussion is not forthcoming; it would be “Islamophobic”.
3. Philip Hammond
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond declared: “Isil’s so-called caliphate has no moral legitimacy; it is a regime of torture, arbitrary punishment and murder that goes against the most basic beliefs of Islam.”
Which ones? Hammond didn’t say.
Everyone knows already, don’t they? Everyone knows that what the Islamic State is doing has nothing whatsoever to do with the true, peaceful teachings of Islam. No one can quite manage to explain how, but what do we care about details!
2. David Cameron
Hammond’s boss, British Prime Minister David Cameron, explained: “What we are witnessing is actually a battle between Islam on the one hand and extremists who want to abuse Islam on the other. These extremists, often funded by fanatics living far away from the battlefields, pervert the Islamic faith as a way of justifying their warped and barbaric ideology – and they do so not just in Iraq and Syria but right across the world, from Boko Haram and al-Shabaab to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.”
Where is “Islam” actually battling these “extremists who want to abuse Islam”? Cameron didn’t say.
1. Barack Obama
Barack Obama has, like Cameron, made it perfectly clear: “ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents.”
State Department spokesperson Marie Harf emphasized that Obama meant what he said: “ISIL does not operate in the name of any religion. The president has been very clear about that, and the more we can underscore that, the better.”
Obama is always “clear” about the things he is extremely unclear about.
Obama, of course, has throughout his presidency excused and apologized for Islam every time a jihadist atrocity affects the U.S. in some way.
Most would wave away his denial as a political necessity, and ask why it matters anyway — why does it make any difference whether or not what the Islamic State is doing is in accord with Islamic texts and teachings?
It matters for many reasons. Aside from all the vague condemnations of the Islamic State that American Muslim groups have issued, how closely the Islamic State actually hews to the letter of Islamic law will help determine how much support it will ultimately get from Muslims worldwide. … Only by examining the Islamic State’s actions in light of an honest assessment of Islamic teachings will we be able to estimate to what extent we can expect to see its actions replicated by other Muslims elsewhere.
These dismissals of the Islamic State’s Islam … are designed to assure us that we need not have any concerns about massive rates of Muslim immigration and the Muslims already living among them. …
Barack Obama and David Cameron would do far better to confront the Islamic State’s Islamic justifications for its actions and call on Muslims in the US, the UK, and elsewhere to teach against these understandings of Islam that they ostensibly reject. But they never do that, and apparently have no interest in doing it. Instead, they foster complacency among the people of the US and Britain. For doing so, they may never pay a price, but their people will almost certainly have to pay, and pay dearly.
The people have paid. They are paying. They will pay.
The presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America had a simple comparison for the similarities between Muslims and Lutherans when she spoke at the opening session of the Islamic Society of North America’s convention Friday.
I realized, looking at some of the lectures that you have scheduled, that if we were just to exchange “church” for “mosque” I would see I was in the same place with typical Lutherans.
… About 300 people attended the opening meeting at the Cobo Center. … More than 10,000 are expected before the 51st annual convention concludes Monday.
… The convention’s keynote speech by former President Jimmy Carter is today [Monday, September 1, 2014].
What Jimmy Carter said to the convention is summed up in a few words at the end of this provoking video clip:
But what is this organization with which Lutheran Bishop Elizabeth Eaton finds she has much in common, and ex-President Jimmy Carter is happy to be associated with?
We quote from Discover the Networks’ entry on ISNA:
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) was established in July 1981 by U.S-based members of the Muslim Brotherhood …
Today ISNA is the largest Muslim organization on the continent. Its annual conferences routinely draw 30,000 to 40,000 attendees, and its website receives some 2.6 million hits per month. …
ISNA leaders view Islam as being superior to all other faiths and destined to replace them. …
Based on a mid-1980s investigation, the FBI concluded that the Muslim Brotherhood members who founded U.S.-based groups had risen to “leadership roles within NAIT [North American Islamic Trust] and its related organizations”, including ISNA, “which means they are in a position to direct the activities and support of Muslims in the U.S. for the Islamic Revolution”.
Expanding on this, a late-’80s FBI memo said:
Within the organizational structure of NAIT, there have been numerous groups and individuals identified as being a part of a covert network of revolutionaries who have clearly indicated there (sic) support for the Islamic Revolution as advocated by the Ayatollah Khomeini and his government as well as other fanatical Islamic Shiite fundamentalist leaders in the Middle East. This faction of Muslims have declared war on the United States, Israel and any other country they deem as an enemy of Islam. The common bond between these various organizations is both religious and political with the underlying common goal being to further the holy war (Islamic Jihad).
Declassified FBI memos indicate that ISNA was identified as a Muslim Brotherhood front as early as 1987. “The entire organization is structured, controlled and funded by followers and supporters of the Islamic Revolution as advocated by the founders” of the Brotherhood in Egypt, said one source. … And a 1988 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood document bluntly identified ISNA as part of the “apparatus of the Brotherhood”. …
In the summer of 2007, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), which was based within ISNA’s headquarters in Plainfield, Indiana, was tried on charges that it had engaged in fundraising on behalf of Hamas. During the court proceedings, the U.S. government released a list of approximately 300 of HLF’s “unindicted co-conspirators” and “joint venturers”. Among them were … ISNA [and] the Council on American-Islamic Relations [CAIR] …
In a June 2008 brief filed on their behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union, ISNA and its related financial arm, the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), petitioned U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis to order that their names be removed from the list of co-conspirators in the HLF trial. The prosecutors, in turn, cited nearly two dozen exhibits establishing “both ISNA’s and NAIT’s intimate relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestine Committee, and the defendants in this case”.
In July 2008, ISNA’s lawyers conceded that their organization, through its affiliate NAIT, had given financial support to Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook. …
On July 1, 2009, Judge Solis upheld ISNA’s designation as an unindicted co-conspirator, ruling that the government had “produced ample evidence” linking the group to Hamas and thereby justifying the designation. …
The International Assessment and Strategy Center arrives at this conclusion:
From Al-Arian, to KindHearts, to terrorism itself, ISNA has publicly distanced itself from extremists only when there was no other choice. As one of the largest Muslim American organizations in the United States, its failure to strongly oppose terrorism is inexcusable, but not particularly surprising when one considers the organization in greater depth. ISNA’s history and past and present leadership are characterized by a long-standing relationship and connection with extremist groups and fundamentalist ideology. It has taken no decisive actions toward reform, such as purging its leadership of those members who have been most clearly linked with extremist views. Ultimately, the weight of evidence pointing toward ISNA’s extremist nature is too great to be explained away by coincidence, circumstance, or ignorance. It must be held accountable for its harmful influence, and certainly does not merit its status as a “moderate” partner of the State Department on the increasingly crucial area of relations with the Muslim community.
And yet –
In September 2013, President Barack Obama praised ISNA for having long “upheld the proud legacy of American Muslims’ contributions to our national fabric” …
The contributions ISNA made to Hamas, on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood – which is dedicated to the destruction of the United States – the president did not mention.
Let’s interpret what Obama said yesterday about dealing with the Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL), now waging war in Iraq and Syria and threatening to bring terror and destruction to the United States. Dig out what he really meant. It’s not difficult. We’ll also comment on what his spokesman said in a hopeless effort at damage control.
We take the text for our comments from the report of the speech at Time online, which – interestingly for a left-leaning organ – takes a dim view of it:
President Barack Obama seemed to commit the worst of Washington gaffes Thursday when he updated the American people about the ongoing threat from Islamist militants wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria. “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse: we don’t have a strategy yet,” Obama said of the effort to combat the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) in its safe haven in Syria. “I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggest that folks are getting a little further ahead of what we’re at than what we currently are.”
Meaning: “I have no idea what to do. I’d rather not do anything. Don’t urge me to do something. I’m not ready to do anything. I really don’t want to make a decision. I really don’t want to act. Don’t bully me.”
Obama’s comment that “we don’t have a strategy,” delivered to reporters at the White House before the Labor Day holiday weekend, prompted immediate mockery from Republicans — not to mention quick damage control from the White House. “In his remarks today, [Obama] was explicit — as he has been in the past — about the comprehensive strategy we’ll use to confront [ISIS] threat,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a series of Twitter posts. “He was referring to military options for striking [ISIS] in Syria,” Earnest added in a hastily scheduled CNN appearance.
Obama was not explicit. That is the whole point of all the criticism. The minions of the Left typically mis-describe their statements and actions as the opposite of what they actually are. “I/he made it clear” is the regular cover for being muddled and foggy and evasive.
Obama was set to meet with the National Security Council on Thursday evening, and he said his Administration is working hard to develop a plan for stemming ISIS’s spread from Iraq to Syria.
He is not working at all to develop a plan for anything. He has no wish to stem ISIS’s spread.
“We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans, that we’re developing them,” he said.
Big giveaway there. He needs to make sure he’s got plans. Clear plans, mark you, comrade. Or he needs to make sure that he’s developing them. Will he actually make plans, or develop them, so that he can make sure that that’s what he’s doing? What has he, Lord of the Planet Earth, done already?
Obama said he’s ordered Secretary of State John Kerry to begin …
“Ordered John Kerry.” John Kerry the Chief Bungler. So we know that whatever it is that must be begun will be a failure.
… assembling a coalition to strike back at ISIS …
Meaning: Won’t do it on my own. Like Bush did (even though he didn’t). I’m not going to be held responsible for going to war. If lots of other countries do it then maybe okay. And no, I’m not resigning leadership. As always, I’ll be leading from behind, while they follow in front. So be still, My Base, I’m doing the least I can.
… while he has tasked Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to present him with military options.
Lots of options. So many that it will be impossible to choose one. Unless there’s one that is “unbelievably small”, to use John Kerry’s terrifyingly belligerent expression.
“We’re gonna cobble together …
“Cobble together”. Stitch up a ramshackle kinda co-operational thing. Nothing so decisive and leader-like as “organize a coalition”. And incidentally, wasn’t NATO created for the common defense of the West? Well maybe, but it was frightfully anti-Russian. And – I mean – it’s armed and everything, and it might really do damage, you know.
… the kind of coalition that we need for a long-term strategy as soon as we are able to fit together the military, political and economic components of that strategy,” Obama said. “There will be a military aspect to that.”
It’s sooo complicated. Like a jigsaw puzzle. There’s the political aspect. We haven’t even begun to think about that. And there’s the economic aspect. I mean, how much is it going to cost ISIS if we – our cobbled-together coalition – were to go to war against ISIS? Think of the reparations we’ll have to pay afterwards! And then okay there’s also – did I say “military”? Well, yes. There would be a military aspect to that. Not something to be undertaken lightly, a military aspect.
Yes, in a way, you could say that military strikes, from the air, have already been made. You absolutely have to understand that those were only done to protect Americans in Erbil. I mean, it was urgent and essential. I acted decisively, you see. Urgently. Americans were under immediate threat. The only way to protect them was by bombing some munition sites in the territory held by the Islamic State. It was so urgent, I was being so decisive, I didn’t want to waste time asking Congress to authorize the attacks. (The Constitution says? What Constitution? ) Besides, you know, that wasn’t making war. Not really. You see, folks, I was protecting our folks.
The President defended his decision not to seek authorization from Congress before beginning strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq three weeks ago, saying the urgency of the threat to the U.S. consulate in Erbil required immediate action. “I can’t afford to wait in order to make sure that those folks are protected,” Obama said.
Since Aug. 8, the military has conducted 106 air strikes in Iraq, according to U.S. Central Command.
It will all be different, you see, when plans have been developed, and when he’s made sure that plans have been developed. Doing anything before that would be putting the cart before the horse. When the time comes that the horse can be put before the cart, then I may go to Congress – for the funds. It’s a suggestion I may consider. Because Congress must not be totally ignored. After all, those are the representatives of the American people, so I intend to allow them some buy-in in this enterprise, whatever it may turn out to be.
Obama suggested that once he has a strategy for tackling ISIS, he would seek authorization from Congress, particularly since it may require additional funding. “It is my intention that Congress has to have some buy-in as representatives of the American people,” he said.
First the plans and the cobbled-together coalition, then the strategy, then going to Congress for the money … With any luck ISIS will have won the war by then, conquered the whole of the Middle East, and John Kerry can be despatched to start talks with President Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on exchanging American land for peace.
Next comes the supremely important task of separating ISIS from Islam.
“This should be a wake-up call to Sunni, to [Shi‘ite], to everybody, that a group like ISIS is beyond the pale; that they have no vision or ideology beyond violence and chaos and the slaughter of innocent people,” Obama said. “And as a consequence, we’ve got to all join together — even if we have differences on a range of political issues — to make sure that they’re rooted out.”
If I can get enough Muslim forces into the cobbled-together coalition, and let them do the fighting, I can make it seem as if the Islamic State is not Islamic at all.
Oh why am I burdened with all this! I’d much rather talk about a Big Question, like the meaning of life. My own view is that Muhammad found the right answer. I only hope there are splendid golf courses in paradise.
From Answering Muslims:
Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL] Uses Dolls to Train Children How to Behead Infidels
Watch deeply religious Muslims of the Islamic State (formerly ISIS or ISIL) commit mass murder. They proudly recorded themselves doing this service for Allah.
There are a few, a very few, public voices in Britain that dare to say that Islam is the enemy of the West.
Even fewer who will say a good word for the small beleaguered state of Israel.
One of the few is Leo McKinstry. This is from a column of his in the Express:
Across the western world the Jewish state has been increasingly portrayed as brutal aggressor bent on the wholesale slaughter of innocent Palestinian civilians.
The soaring death toll from the recent conflict, which [by the end of July] stood at more than 1,700 since the start of July [according to Hamas - ed], is widely seen as the responsibility of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.
Even mainstream British politicians have joined in this condemnation.
Always keen to jump on any passing bandwagon, Labour leader Ed Miliband called Israel’s incursion into Gaza “wrong and unjustifiable”.
Miliband is Jewish by descent but a Leftist, and Leftism trumps everything for the true believer.
Just as forthright was the former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown. Calling for peace talks, he described Israel’s approach as “very foolish” and “disproportionate”.But all this populist anti-Israeli posturing is dangerous. It shows not the slightest grasp of the reality of Islamist aggression in the Middle East and the depth of the challenge that Israel faces.
In practice denouncing the Jewish state means siding with the malevolent, murderous forces of jihadism, a stance that not only represents a complete inversion of morality but a suicidal disdain for the interests of western civilisation.
With their habitual self- righteousness Miliband and Ashdown claim that Israel is losing the propaganda war.
“Israel has lost the support and sympathy of the world,” said Ashdown yesterday, speaking in his self-appointed role as spokesman for the planet’s citizenry.
However, Israel is fighting a real war, not a propaganda war.
It is up against a fanatical enemy – the Hamas terror network, dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state.
The idea, sedulously cultivated by western appeasers of radical Islam, that the Palestinian movement is innocent is absurd.
The present conflict was started by Hamas firing rockets at Israeli civilians and since the beginning of July more than 2,800 of these missiles have been launched.
Britain would not tolerate an aerial assault without striking back so why should Israel?
The fact that Hamas’s rockets have inflicted only a few casualties is a reflection of their poor technology, not of their users’ lethal intent.
Moreover Hamas has constructed a series of tunnels into Israel with the aim of inflicting more deadly attacks. Israel, like any other nation, has a duty to defend itself by destroying this terrorist infrastructure.
In this context the parrot cry for negotiations is fatuous.
Negotiating with terrorists legitimizes them. The Israelis shouldn’t be doing it. No state should ever do it.
Hamas, an offshoot of the infamous Muslim Brotherhood, is not interested in a peace settlement, only in the annihilation of Israel and the Jewish people. Its founding charter, drawn up in 1988, proclaims that “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.”
Last week an imam in a Palestinian mosque declared: “Our doctrine in fighting you, the Jews, is that we will totally exterminate you. We will not leave a single one of you alive.”
So on what aspect of anti-Semitic genocide is Israel supposed to negotiate with Hamas?
(This was written before the negotiations in Cairo started. Fortunately they have now stalled.)
Instead of traducing Israel, western politicians and the media should face up to the terrifying global threat of fundamentalist Islam, of which Hamas is a key part.
We see that threat all over the world from the turmoil in Libya to the kidnapping of girls in Nigeria, from the stoning of women in Afghanistan to the savage persecution of Christians in Iraq.
If Israel’s defences crack, it will be another milestone in the slide from a liberal civilisation into a new dark, totalitarian age dominated by bigotry, misogyny and intolerance.
The baleful force of anti-Semitism is central to this aggressive Islamist ideology.
That is why, among militant Muslims and their western cheerleaders, there is such a neurotic obsession with Gaza. It is the ideal vehicle for trying to demonise Israel and delegitimise the Jewish state’s very existence.
The tragic irony is that Israel is one of the most open, prosperous countries yet now, thanks to the vicious anti-Jewish racism dressed up as concern for the Palestinians, it is treated in fashionable progressive circles as a pariah.
In trumpeting their compassion for Palestine and opposition to Israel progressive activists could hardly be more misguided.
There is nothing compassionate about Hamas’s creed of Islam, which seeks complete Sharia law and the subjugation of the infidel.
Similarly when western progressives bleat about ending “the cycle of violence” they are in denial about the violent nature of jihadism. Hamas’s 1988 charter explicitly states, “initiatives and so-called peaceful solutions are in contradiction of the principles of the Islamic resistance movement”.
British liberals often point to the success of the Northern Irish peace process but in the early 1990s the Republicans gave up because they were beaten by the British Army and the loyalist paramilitaries.
That is what needs to happen in Gaza. Israel has to break Hamas’s ability to wage war. Only by defeating terrorists can peace be achieved.
Rather than carping from the sidelines western politicians should support that goal.
Israel is a bulwark of civilisation against Islamism.
Ultimately we will pay a terrible price if we betray this heroic nation.
… and 9/11 approaches.
US facilities and stores of military equipment in the Negev and Jordan have been attacked by the savage army of the newly declared Islamic State. Some of the military equipment is now being airlifted to the Kurds in Iraq who are directly engaged with IS forces.
Hundreds of US Muslim citizens are fighting with IS. They can return to America, fully trained and experienced in battle, to pursue the war – against America.
The approaching 13th anniversary of the 9/11 Al Qaeda attacks on America is causing concern in US intelligence and counter-terrorist quarters about possible surprises ahead.
We quote from DebkaFile:
The Kurdish Peshmerga fight against encroaching Islamic State troops gained a broad new dimension Monday, Aug. 11, when the US began airlifting large quantities of military equipment, including ordnance, from Jordan and Israel to the semi-autonomous [Kurdish] capital, Irbil.
The US maintains 10,000 special operations and marine forces at the King Hussein Air Base in northern Jordan, with large stocks of ammunition that were originally destined for the rebels fighting Bashar Assad in Syria. They are now being redirected to the Kurdish effort to stop the rapid Islamist march on their republic, along with supplies from the US emergency stores maintained in the Israeli Negev. …
For some weeks, those stores and other US facilities in southern Israel have been in the sights of IS elements, which arrived in Sinai six months ago to reinforce Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, the local offshoot of Al Qaeda.
The US, Israel and Egypt have taken care to keep this development under their hats. But in the last month, while Israel was engaged in Operation Defensive Edge against the Palestinian Hamas, IS and Al-Maqdis shot rockets from Sinai at US and Israeli military facilities in the Negev, in support of Hamas. Their attacks were … as intense on some days as the Palestinian rocket barrage against the Israeli population.
The speed with which the American military effort in northern Iraq has spiraled in four days – from limited air strikes on IS targets Friday, Aug. 8, to direct arms supplies Monday – will soon confront President Barack Obama with the need for a speedy decision on whether to send American troops back to Iraq.
He may start dithering about it just as soon as he returns from his vacation.
US air strikes are clearly limited by the lack of an organized list of targets. All they can do now is bomb chance targets as they are picked up by reconnaissance planes or satellites. To be effective, the US Air Force needs to be guided in to target by special operations forces on the ground, who can supply precise data on the movements of IS fighters and mark them for air attack with laser designators.
Another shortcoming is the small number of US fighter-bombers available for Iraq. The aircraft which conducted four attacks on IS forces came from the USS George HW Bush aircraft carrier in the Gulf, which has 70 warplanes on board. This is not enough aerial firepower to stop the Islamists’ advance.
They are also disadvantaged by being prevented from striking IS forces in Syria, a limitation which further curtails their effectiveness …
What prevents them – other than Obama?
Obama will not overcome any of these military issues by his determined focus on sorting out the political situation in Baghdad. Replacing Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki by having his rival, Deputy Speaker Haider al-Abadi, nominated to replace him Monday – even with the backing of Sunni and Kurdish factions who detest Maliki – won’t affect the warfront. This change may generate inter-factional violence in the capital. And it will not quickly stiffen the Iraqi Army or enhance the Kurdish Peshmerga’s ability to curb the Islamists’ rapid advance. …
The change of Prime Minister has now happened. It’s not likely to make much difference to anything.
The article then touches on another (related) topic:
Last week it was discovered that, among the Islamist fighters who died in US air strikes Friday and Saturday, was a large group, estimated by intelligence sources as up to 200, of American citizens fighting in the ranks of Al Qaeda’s IS in Kurdistan and western Iraq. …
Sunday, Aug. 10, a spate of threats imbued with a sense of revenge started appearing on social media, such as: “This is a message for every American citizen. You are the target of every Muslim in the world wherever you are.” Another was more brutal: “ISIS is ready to cut off your heads, dear Americans, O sons of bitches. Come quickly.”
Now, that’s the spirit in which to fight a war. If the US could feel equally inspired to insult and destroy its enemy, it might succeed.