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.
At least one Western leader, the British Prime Minister David Cameron, seems at last to have become fully aware that Islam is an existential threat to the West – though even now he does not speak its name. (He deplores ISIL [ISIS, IS], not “Islam”.) And while he calls on Britons to defend their “values and way of life”, he does not seem to notice that the enemy has breached the defenses, is well entrenched in the land, and working its destruction in the very heart of Britain, the City of London, where Islam is successfully pursuing its economic jihad.
Diane Weber Bederman writes at Canada Free Press:
Malaysian Prime Minister Mohamed Mahathir told a banking conference in Kuala Lumpur in November 2002: “A universal Islamic banking system is a jihad worth pursuing.”
August 16, 2014, David Cameron, Prime Minister of Britain, wrote: “We are in the middle of a generational struggle against a poisonous and extremist ideology which I believe we will be fighting for the rest of my political lifetime … But it is not an invincible one, as long as we are now ready and able to summon up the political will to defend our own values and way of life with the same determination, courage and tenacity as we have faced danger before in our history. That is how much is at stake here: we have no choice but to rise to the challenge.”
He doesn’t seem to realize there are many types of jihad. All with one aim. To wipe out … Western culture. …
The Sharia Compliant economy is already well-embedded in the West. …
Britain is well into a Sharia parallel economy, leading the West in providing Islamic financial and related professional services. She is the top provider of Sharia-compliant finance, with reported assets of $19 billion …
David Cameron says British Treasury will issue £200 million ($320 million) worth of sukuk (bonds) this year. The objective is to enable the government to borrow from Muslim investors. Money does not come without strings. The Treasury also said some sukuk bond issues may require the British government to restrict its dealings with Israeli-owned companies in order to attract Muslim money. … I wonder what groups will be next….
Apparently, it wasn’t enough that the West, in our naïve desire to show how tolerant we are,allowed a culture that is anathema to everything we believe to make a home for itself amongst us. … Once Sharia Compliant Funds become entwined in Western economy it will be impossible to disentangle.
Let me give you some numbers. It is projected that Muslim world will be doing 50% of their banking needs with Islamic institutions by 2020. Imagine how that will impact the free world economy. Sharia Compliant Investment or Funds had an estimated $1.6 trillion under management as of the end of 2012, and has a forecasted $6.5 trillion under management by the end of 2020, according to a report by the Kuwait Finance House entitled Overview of the Islamic Financial Landscape. …
According to the Global Islamic Finance Report, in 2011 Britain was the main centre for Islamic finance outside the Muslim world.In 2013 Britain’s Sharia Compliant finance was reported to have assets of $19 billion.
Standard & Poor’s released a report on Feb. 5, 2014 predicting that sukuk (Islamic bond) issuances worldwide will top $100 billion in 2014 thanks to higher demand from the Middle East and growth in Malaysia — the world’s largest market.
Sharia Compliant Investing is so strong in the USA that a conference was held in Chicago to publicize the products. The Chicago Islamic Finance & Economic Conference 2014 provided “the platform for the Islamic Finance sector and the Halal industries to engage in meaningful discussions, market and consumer challenges, and chart the path for the Islamic Economy in the United States and Globally”.
According to their brochure: “Islamic Finances estimated to grow 15-20% from its current value of $1.35 trillion in assets covering commercial banking, funds, Sukuks, Takaful and other segments. The Islamic Economy with over $3.0 trillion encompassing Halal food, finance, clothing, tourism, media & recreation, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics is estimated to grow in double digits in the next five years.”
Bloomberg Islamic Finance Platform (ISLM) provides tools and services for investors who want to be compliant with Shariah law. Then September 19, 2012, Bloomberg launched a new Corporate Sukuk (bond) Index for Islamic Finance.
According to Walied Soliman a lawyer at Ogilvy Renault LLP, Canada,“The market has already matured in the U.K., Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. In fact, Canada is ripe for Islamic finance.” But Mohammad Fadel, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in Islamic law said “the real gold mine could be Canada’s natural resources and what that might attract in terms of institutional money from Islamic countries”.
On top of the money made from these products there is a huge bureaucracy involved in this business. Special advisors make decisions … [and] the same advisors tend to be on all boards. And some of these Shariah law authorities are now being paid handsomely by Barclays, Dow Jones, Standard & Poors, HSBC, Citibank, Merrill Lynch, Deutschebank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS, and Credit Suisse.
The author gives the names and connections of four of these advisors. One of them is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Financing terrorism is inevitably part of their agenda:
Serious problems come into play when one takes into consideration zakat - charitable contributions. These same Sharia advisors are often responsible for determining the distribution of zakat, which is 2.5% of income that observant Muslims are obliged to make each year.
She quotes the Qu’ran (9:60) and Reliance of the Traveler (The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law):
Recipients of zakat include the poor, the needy, those who serve the needy, and to free the slaves, but recipients also include ‘those who fight in the way of Allah’ and ‘people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army, or volunteers for jihad without remuneration’.
The largest single source of funds for Islamic terrorism is zakat which typically goes through the Islamic banking system. Using the system of zakat, al-Qaeda was able to receive between $300m and $500m over a decade from wealthy businessmen and bankers representing 20% of Saudi GNP, through a web of charities and companies acting as fronts, with the notable use of Islamic banking institutions. …
If there’s no Sharia investing available [Muslims] invest as others.They remain in the mainstream economy of the country in which they have chosen to live. But once Sharia is introduced, the choices narrow.
Before Baroness Warsi was relieved of duty [as a British cabinet minister] she promoted Sharia Compliant investing in Britain. She said it’s about “increasing options, maximizing the products and services we have to offer” and “making Britain the preferred choice for the Muslim world”. … Sharia Compliant Funds … actually reduce free choice for Muslim citizens because they become obligated to purchase these funds and separate themselves economically from the rest of the country. …
Finally, she quotes Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a rare brave Muslim voice often speaking up publicly for Western values:
Sharia-compliant finance only empowers Muslim Sharia Law leaders whose real long term vision is to impose Sharia Law on the world and recreate an Islamic Empire. These leaders want to overpower capital free markets and create their version of an Islamic economy. Bankers and business leaders are being duped.
So will Prime Minister Cameron resolve the contradiction between his determination to resist the advance of Islam in the West and his wanting Britain to lead the world in sharia-compliant banking?
According to the Telegraph, reporting in October 2013, Cameron was very keen on the City of London becoming a world center for sharia-compliant finance:
Britain is set to become the first non-Muslim country to sell a bond that can be bought by Islamic investors in a bid to encourage massive new investment into the City.
David Cameron will say in a speech on Tuesday at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London that the Treasury is drawing up plans to issue a £200m Sukuk, a form of debt that complies with Islamic financial law.
The new sharia-compliant gilt will enable Britain to become the first non-Muslim country to tap the growing pool of Islamic investments that is forecast to top £1.3 trillion by next year.
The Prime Minister will say that it would be a “mistake” to miss the opportunity to encourage more Islamic investment in the UK and that the City of London should rival Dubai as a centre for sharia-compliant finance.
“When Islamic finance is growing 50pc faster than traditional banking and when global Islamic investments are set to grow to £1.3 trillion by 2014, we want to make sure a big proportion of that new investment is made here in Britain,” Mr Cameron will tell an audience of senior officials from Islamic countries.
How much wealth is Britain, and the West in general, prepared to sacrifice in order to “struggle against a poisonous and extremist ideology“?
We wait to see.
James Wright Foley (October 18, 1973 – c. August 19, 2014) was an American photojournalist who was abducted in northwestern Syria on November 22, 2012, while working for the US-based online news outlet GlobalPost. He was beheaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL, or ISIS, or IS for the Islamic State] at an unknown desert location in August 2014 … ISIS posted a video to YouTube depicting Foley reading a prepared statement urging Americans to stop their support for the U.S. government for its bombing campaign against ISIS targets. US intelligence confirmed the authenticity of the video. His family has confirmed that he is dead.
His mother, Diane Foley, said he “gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people”.
So a hero and martyr? A deeply moral man who would willingly give his life for a humane cause?
For a different understanding of James Foley and his activities, we quote from a Front Page article by Daniel Greenfield:
James Foley was one of a new breed of activists calling themselves journalists. He didn’t travel to report on a story, but to promote an agenda.
What was Foley’s agenda?
He cheered on the Sunni Muslim terrorists fighting to ethnically cleanse the Christians of Aleppo.
In the conflict between Israel and Hamas, his tweets and retweets were chock full of pro-terrorist propaganda. … Foley was fanatically anti-Israel …
When Austin Tice, an actual freelance journalist was kidnapped by Jihadists, Foley ridiculed the idea that Jihadists had kidnapped him. Surely Syrian Jihadists wouldn’t do that sort of thing.
Except they did.
When Newsweek’s Muslim Rage cover story came out, Foley mocked it too. Raging Muslims. How silly and Islamophobic.
James Foley, from Rochester, New Hampshire, was one of those romantics who step out from a world of safety to flirt with violence, the more extreme the better; imagining that his opinions against his own country and condescendingly sympathetic to its ideological and terrorist enemies, would make him a gift to them, protected and invulnerable.
In the event, the savage Muslim jihadis didn’t give a damn for his opinions. They killed him because he was an American.
A would-be traitor to his country, he was forced to die for it.
Which is an exquisite irony. A collector’s prize piece.
It is widely assumed that Foley’s words as he knelt awaiting his beheading were coerced. But it is quite possible that they were sincerely meant.
Is the religious war in the Middle East likely to stay in the region or spread over the globe?
Secretary of State John Kerry, who now definitely proves himself to be even stupider than Vice President Joe Biden, has somehow pondered his way to the conclusion that what the Islamic State (IS) is doing in Iraq - waging war, cutting off heads and displaying them on poles, slicing children in half, raping and enslaving women and children or burying them alive, imposing all the cruelties of sharia law on the territory it controls across Iraq and Syria – is “unacceptable”. Like a proposition that doesn’t suit one’s plans.
But only to a degree. Though maybe a degree too far. He has announced … to whom? The American people? The world? His barber? … that whoever it is who hears him must “come to grips” with this degree. The degree, that is, to which an immense upsurge of savagery threatening to spread further through the Middle East and into the West including America, is “unacceptable”.
What he said exactly was this:
This is serious business. I think the world is beginning to come to grips with the degree to which this is unacceptable.
The Obama administration, however, will accept it. It will let the Muslim savages carry on with what they’re doing. They’ve conquered territory? Let them keep it.
The Washington Post reports:
Ongoing U.S. airstrikes are equally notable for what they have not tried to do. U.S. military officials have emphasized that the strikes are not designed to reverse the gains Sunni extremist fighters have made. …
The limited nature of the airstrikes has drawn criticism from more hawkish Republicans and some former U.S. military officials who have said that the Obama administration is squandering an opportunity to deliver a crippling blow against the insurgents.
“Time is of the essence,” said Adm. James Stavridis, a former supreme allied commander of NATO … “The longer the airstrikes drag on, the more time Islamic State fighters will have to learn how to survive them. Without a fast and serious response, including Special Operations forces on the ground, the chances of reversing IS gains or even breaking their evident momentum is very low,” he said. …
The administration is apparently confident that -
U.S. spy agencies will be in position to detect when the organization crosses the threshold from regional problem to transnational terrorism threat. …
So it is actually taking that development into account. Not that it’s planning to do anything when it happens.
Most terrorism experts said the threat posed by the Islamic State is likely to increase as fighters with Western passports return home.
And one at least predicts that the US will have to eventually come to grips, not with “a degree of unacceptability”, but with IS itself.
“Bottom line: We are likely to have a confrontation with IS in the future … The threat will almost certainly grow.”
Yezidis are being enslaved and killed by faithful followers of Muhammad. Those who can, flee.
Imagine seeking refuge in the battlefield which is Syria! These people did, having nowhere else to go. Then they had to flee from Syria, and again having no choice, are returning to Iraq. Many die on the way.
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.
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.