A report from Syria 83

Our British associate, Chauncey Tinker, proprietor of The Participator, has drawn our attention to this video.

OAN is a conservative news channel.

The reporter, Pearson Sharp, makes a strong case that the gas attack on Douma was staged for propaganda purposes. We had believed and said that there was a gas attack, so we post the video as self-correction. (Of course, we still cannot be sure whether or not there was a gas attack, and if there was, who launched it. Sharp’s interpreter may have deceived him, for instance; or the witnesses could have been lying.)

In any case, we are glad that the sites in Syria connected with the production of chemical and biological weapons have been bombed to rubble.

Since the Russians have acquired a firm foothold in Syria, and Iran too has a dangerous presence there, was the bombing politically and strategically justified?

Bruce Thornton writes, in part, at Front Page:

Given that our economy is inseparable from the global economy, we have no choice but to be concerned about the critical straits and canals through which global commerce travels, and the airports throughout the world through which people can reach our shores in less than a day. We also can’t ignore the numerous illiberal and autocratic regimes whose beliefs and values conflict with those of the West. The global market … needs a global sheriff so that this astonishing increase in technological innovation and wealth and their global distribution is free to continue. We may not have chosen this role, we may not like or want the job, but history so far has left the U.S. as the only great power with the military capacity for keeping order, and the political beliefs and principles that ensure we will not abuse that power to oppress others.

Yet that truth does not justify the one-world idealism that believes everybody on the planet wants to live like Westerners, or to embrace Western principles and goods like political freedom, tolerance of minorities, free speech, sex equality, secularist government, an open society, and the preference for discussion, negotiation, and treaties as the way to solve conflict rather than brute force. The great diversity of ways of life and beliefs means that transnational institutions, agreements, covenants, and U.N. Security Council resolutions will always in the end be instruments of diverse and conflicting national interests. They are honored as long as they serve those interests, but abused or subverted when they don’t, especially by the more powerful nations. …

The West’s military dominance in the 20th century ensured that other nations would bandwagon with the West and sign such international agreements, with the tacit proviso that they would violate them whenever necessary, even as they paid them lip-service. The history of the last century, which is littered with violated treaties and covenants, proves this obvious truth. …

Indeed, Syria offers a perfect example … of a superficial adherence to international covenants that facilitates violations of them. After Barack Obama issued his empty “red line” threat about Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Secretary of State John Kerry negotiated an empty “solution” to the problem by making Russia the authority overseeing the elimination of Assad’s stockpiles, even though it was and still is not in Russia’s geostrategic interests to disarm Assad. So we got a theatrical compliance that left Assad his weapons, and even worse, gave Russia a sanctioned entrée into the Syrian civil war. The pretense of adhering to international law gave cover to Russia’s strategic aims in the region, one of which was the continuation of Assad’s murderous regime. …

What could justify the raids against Syria? Deterrence is frequently invoked, but it obviously didn’t work last year after the President destroyed some of Assad’s jets. Over the past year, Assad has continued to use chemical weapons on civilians. Indeed, within hours of our latest attack Assad was using high explosives and barrel-bombs to slaughter people who are just as dead or mangled as the victims of his chemical attack. Further consequences may follow. Russia and Iran for now may be blustering to save face, but there still may be some retaliation that we will then have to answer. For once a nation goes down the road of deterring a bad actor by force, it has to continue indefinitely in order to maintain its prestige. It can’t announce publicly that it is a “one-off”.

Americans traditionally do not like constant war or military interventions, particularly “humanitarian” ones. We prefer to intervene when necessary, kill the bad guys, then come back home … Unfortunately, in today’s interconnected world, such conflicts are not as rare as we’d like. But we must make it clear that we will not intervene when necessary just to rush home as though the work is done, nor will we engage in conflicts and occupation of the defeated enemy in order to create liberal democracy.

Rather, we need a foreign policy similar to the “butcher and bolt” policy of the British Empire, or what Israel calls “mowing the grass”. This means when an adversary or enemy challenges our power and interests, or those of our close allies, we should use force to send a message, usually by destroying some of its military assets. We should not rationalize this action by appealing to international law, the U.N., or some fantastical common vales or principles of the mythic “international community.” We should make it clear that there is no time-certain for when we stop, rather that we will return whenever we judge it necessary. And we should do it on the principle that a sovereign nation has a right to defend itself as it sees fit, and owes accountability only to its citizens.

In the near future, bombing Syria will likely still be necessary, not just to deter Assad or change the regime into a liberal democracy, but to let all the players in the region know that the greatest military power in history is watching events in a region we deem vital to our interests, and that we will use force to remind them of our unprecedented ability to project devastating power across the globe. Such a policy will strengthen our prestige, and concentrate wonderfully the minds of our adversaries.

The only remaining question is, Will we the people of the United States be willing to pay the costs and accept the risks of such a policy?

Posted under Iran, Russia, Syria, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, April 17, 2018

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Missile strikes on Syria: punishment, prevention, and warning 4

“What did the missile strikes on Syria’s chemical weapons sites do for America?”

“Why should Americans expend blood and treasure for Syrians victimized by their own government?”

“America is not the world’s policeman.”

Such are the questions and protests that are coming from angry commentators, including many conservatives.

So was President Trump’s decision to act as he did right or wrong?

Claudia Rosett, for long a trusty reporter on the horror show called the United Nations, writes at PJ Media:

With air strikes on Syria’s chemical weapons facilities, carried out jointly with Britain and France, America has done the right thing.

Leading from in front, President Trump is finally redrawing the red line that President Obama erased in 2013. Whatever the threats and criticisms that will surely follow, the world will be safer for it. The vital message is that America is no longer the hamstrung giant of the Obama era. Tyrants such as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, and his patrons in Moscow and Tehran, have been served notice that it would be unwise to continue to assume that America will waffle, appease or simply retreat while they take upon themselves the shaping – to monstrous effect – of the 21st-century world order. This message is also likely to resonate in Beijing (which has reportedly been planning live-fire naval exercises next week in the Taiwan Strait) and Pyongyang (with its nuclear missile projects).

The immediate aim of the US-led air strikes was to end the chemical weapons attacks that Syria’s Assad regime has continued to inflict on its own people – despite Assad’s promises in 2013 to surrender his chemical weapons, and Russia’s promise to ensure Assad did so. On Friday, speaking at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Ambassador Nikki Haley charged that by U.S. estimates, “Assad has used chemical weapons in the Syrian war at least 50 times” – some of these attacks within the past year, including the gas attack that killed dozens … in the Syrian city of Douma.

There’s room for debate about whether it is America’s responsibility, on humanitarian grounds, to stop such atrocities. But whatever your views on protecting children in a far-off land from the hideous effects of chemical weapons, there is a larger, strategic reason for trying to stop Assad. Syria, with its liberal use of chemical weapons, has been setting a horrific precedent – repeatedly violating the Chemical Weapons Convention to which Damascus acceded in 2013, and eroding the longstanding international taboo against chemical warfare. This is dangerous way beyond Syria. As Haley told the UN Security Council: “All nations and all people will be harmed if we allow Assad to normalize the use of chemical weapons.”

In theory, the United Nations was supposed to prevent this, ensuring in tandem with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that Assad would give up all his chemical weapons – with the specific oversight and guarantees of Russia, under a deal cut in 2013 by Obama and Putin. As I explained in an article earlier this week for The Hill, the UN has failed utterly, thanks to Putin’s cynical exploitation of the entire setup. Russia used the chemical weapons disarmament deal as a portal for its own military entry into Syria in support of Assad, and has since been using its veto on the UN Security Council, along with a torrent of Kremlin propaganda, to run diplomatic cover for Assad.

As many conservative commentators pointed out at the time, it was stupid (if not collusional) of Obama and his secretary of state John Kerry to hand over the responsibility for overseeing Syria’s WMD abandonment to Russia.

The upshot has been that if the US does not stop Assad’s use of chemical weapons, then nobody will.

Neither Britain nor France would have done it without the US.

The US could have done it on its own. British and French participation in the missile attack was useful for President Trump, though not necessary for the success of the operation. The huge majority of the missiles were American – 88 of the 105. Nine were French and 8 were British.

Prime Minister May allowed British forces to strike Syria along with US forces because she “owed” President Trump for his supporting her, when she hit back at Russia for the poisoning of two Russian expats in Britain by expelling Putin’s diplomats and closing a consulate. She asked President Trump to do the same, and he did. She was able to give the order for the strike on Syria by the RAF without consulting parliament because the MPs were still absent on their Easter break. She seized the moment, and now there’s an outcry in the Commons – as well as the country – about it.

As for President Macron, he seems to be fascinated by President Trump, wanting to follow him and yet also to direct him. Macron claimed that he had “convinced” Trump that he should keep the US military engaged in Syria – and then he retracted the claim.

Last April, after Assad used sarin gas in an attack that killed almost 100 people, Trump ordered a strike of 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airbase. Evidently, that was not enough to stop Assad’s chemical weapons spree.

At a Pentagon press briefing Friday evening held shortly after Trump’s public announcement of the strikes on Syria, Gen. Joseph Dunford listed three targets “struck and destroyed,” which he said were “specifically associated with the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program.” The last two on his list were chemical weapons storage facilities, one of which included “an important command post”. On these, I don’t know anything beyond the generic descriptions Dunford gave at the briefing.

But the first target on Dunford’s list had a very familiar ring. He described it as “a scientific research center located in the greater Damascus area”. He added: “This military facility was a Syrian center for the research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological warfare technology.”

That sure sounds like the notorious Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, also known as the SSRC. In which case there can be no doubt that these air strikes were aimed at an incredibly high-value target, an outfit central to some of the worst depravities of Assad’s weapons programs, and – as it happens – a longtime client of North Korea and Iran. On the 99 percent probability that this was the research center to which Dunford referred, here’s some background:

For starters, I’d credit Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis with telling it exactly as it is, when he said at the same Pentagon press briefing Friday night, “We were very precise and proportionate. But at the same time, it was a heavy strike.”

The SSRC has been on the U.S. sanctions list for 13 years, first designated under the Bush administration in 2005, with periodic, horrifying updates under the Obama and Trump administrations, targeting its various fronts, procurement arms, officials and connections.

This is not just any old research center. According to the U.S. Treasury, it is “the Syrian government agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the missiles to deliver them”. …

On April 24, 2017, following Assad’s sarin gas attack on the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, the Trump administration blacklisted 271 employees of the SSRC, stating that these individuals “have expertise in chemistry and related disciplines and/or have worked in support of SSRC’s chemical weapons since at least 2012”.  In other words, during the same time frame in which Russia (and former secretary of State John Kerry) were assuring us that 100 percent of the chemical weapons were gone from Syria, the Syrian regime’s SSRC was prolifically busy plowing ahead with Assad’s chemical weapons program.

We also have it on good authority that during roughly that same interval, the SSRC was ordering up shipments from North Korea. According to the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea sanctions, in a report dated March 5, 2018, their investigations into weapons and dual-use shipments to Syria from North Korea turned up more than 40 shipments between 2012 and 2017 “by entities designated by Member States as front companies for the Scientific Studies Research Centre of the Syrian Arab Republic.” Among these shipments were items “with utility in ballistic missile and chemical weapons programs”.

If the SSRC was indeed struck and destroyed, the likely benefits are enormous. That would deprive Assad of one of the most diabolical laboratories of his evil regime, quite likely providing a big setback to his chemical weapons program, with the two-fer that it might also have zapped his bioweapons program.

It would also send a useful message to everyone from the SSRC’s suppliers, such as Iran and North Korea, to such predatory dictators as Russia’s Putin and China’s Xi Jinping. Destroying the SSRC with air strikes ought to drive home, in a way that no amount of UN debate and no quantity of sanctions designations ever could, that these days the U.S. and its allies are serious about their red lines. 

The SSRC was struck. According to the caption to this picture in The Independent, this rubble is what’s left of “part” of it.

Gas 5

Did the dictator of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, attack a town with lethal gas (in April 2018)?

President Trump says he did, so it has to be expected that the “Resistance” will deny it. Reuters and the New York Times, however, have both reported it as if, on the whole, they believe it. (See here and here.)

As  for foreign news channels, you cannot get more anti-Trump than the BBC, and they also say it happened – while casting doubt on the trustworthiness of the White Helmets organization which is one of the sources of the report.

At least 70 people have died in a suspected chemical attack in Douma, the last rebel-held town in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, rescuers and medics say.

Volunteer rescue force the White Helmets tweeted graphic images showing several bodies in basements. It said the deaths were likely to rise.

There has been no independent verification of the reports.

Syria has called the allegations of a chemical attack a “fabrication” – as has its main ally, Russia.

The US state department said Russia – with its “unwavering support” for Syria’s government – “ultimately bears responsibility” for the alleged attacks.

What do we know about the attack?

Several medical, monitoring and activist groups reported details of a chemical attack.

“Seventy people suffocated to death and hundreds are still suffocating,” said Raed al-Saleh, head of the White Helmets. An earlier, now deleted tweet, put the number dead at more than 150.

The pro-opposition Ghouta Media Center tweeted that more than 75 people had “suffocated”, while a further 1,000 people had suffered the effects of the alleged attack.

It blamed a barrel bomb allegedly dropped by a helicopter which it said contained Sarin, a toxic nerve agent.

The Union of Medical Relief Organizations, a US-based charity that works with Syrian hospitals, told the BBC the Damascus Rural Specialty Hospital had confirmed 70 deaths.

A spokeswoman said there were reports of people being treated for symptoms including convulsions and foaming of the mouth, consistent with nerve or mixed nerve and chlorine gas exposure.

Continued shelling overnight and on Sunday was making it impossible to reach victims.

As the allegations emerged, Syria’s state news agency Sana said the reports were invented by the Jaish al-Islam rebels who remain in control in Douma.

“Jaish al-Islam terrorists are in a state of collapse and their media outlets are [making] chemical attack fabrications in an exposed and failed attempt to obstruct advances by the Syrian Arab army,” Sana said.

So Russia and Sana deny there was any such attack. That is not surprising.

But what we find surprising is the resistance to believing the reports to be true by some of our own regular Facebook commenters. There seems to be an unwillingness among a number of our otherwise like-thinkers to believe that Assad would do such a thing. We find that strange. Some say that whether the reports are true or not, America should take no part in the Syrian civil war no matter what Assad does. 

And Tucker Carlson on Fox is deploring the possibility of the US using force against Assad as this is being written. He asks how the US would become safer if there were regime change in Syria.

But Russia and Iran are deeply involved in it, and they both threaten US interests.

President Trump asks:

If they’re innocent, why aren’t they allowing people to go in and prove it? Because as you know, they’re claiming they didn’t make the attack.

Since he believes it happened, the big question now is: What will he do about it?

What do our readers think about all this?

Posted under Arab States, Civil war, Iran, Russia, Syria by Jillian Becker on Monday, April 9, 2018

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Obama’s great idea: have a Communist Muslim run the CIA 6

The chief US intelligence agencies appear to consider themselves a fourth branch of government. They now deem themselves not answerable to Congress, nor to this president.

This is because their recent, now departed, leaders put them on the side of the enemies of the US.

In the long sad years (2009 – 2017) when America was led by anti-America Barack Obama, who had been a member of the far-left New Party, was a follower of the Communist Saul Alinsky, and manifestly loved (supremacist totalitarian) Islam – particularly as it was represented by the Muslim Brotherhood – the heads of the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA all helped him  implement his anti-America policies. (For Obama’s warm relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, see, for instance, our posts here and here.)

Obama felt it was perfectly okay to choose Muslim Brotherhood personnel to be his advisers in the White House. So James Clapper, head of the NSA, lied to the public about the Muslim Brotherhood, declaring it to be  “largely secular”, peacefully pursuing “social ends, a betterment of the political order in Egypt”, with “no overarching agenda, particularly in pursuit of violence”.

James Comey headed the FBI and apparently considered it his chief duty to shield Obama’s secretary of state, and presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton from the justice she deserves for her numerous crimes, including selling the favor of her office as Obamas’ secretary of state for her personal enrichment.

Bad as Clapper and Comey were for the nation, the  worst of the three was the head of the CIA, John Brennan.

They all hoped and expected that the corrupt candidate Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 presidential election. Since she lost it, they have sprung with fury on the winner, President Trump. John Brennan recently described the president as “unstable, inept, inexperienced, and unethical”.

Joseph Klein writes at Front Page:

The words “unstable, inept, inexperienced, and unethical” more accurately describe Brennan himself.  

Brennan claims to be worried about the Russian threat to U.S. national security, which he accuses President Trump of irresponsibly ignoring. However, Russia is a shadow of the Communist Soviet empire it once was while Brennan was coming of age. What does it say about Brennan’s judgment when, by his own admission, he once “voted for the Communist Party with Gus Hall,” even though Hall by then had been a long-time enthusiastic supporter of  the Communist Soviet Union’s hardline expansionist policies? Brennan got through his first polygraph test to enter the CIA in 1980 by saying simply “I’m not a member of the Communist Party”. But he had no problem with voting for its ardent pro-Soviet Communist cheerleader, a fact he may have obscured during his CIA application process.

Fast forward to 2014, while Brennan was serving as CIA director under former President Barack Obama. Brennan referred then to Russia simply as “a major power,” not as an enemy of the United States or as a significant geopolitical threat. In 2016, as the U.S. presidential election year was getting into high gear, Brennan reminisced that what stood out in his 35-year career in U.S. intelligence was when he [said:

I welcomed the head of the Russian FSB [Russia’s Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB], Alexander Bortnikov, to the CIA last year. And I walked with him across the lobby, across our infamous CIA seal there. It was rather surreal, that the head of the FSB and the head of the CIA were walking together.

Gus Hall would have been so proud of the man who once voted for him.

He only turned against Russia when he could claim to be outraged by the alleged “collusion” of President Trump with that country. Suddenly Brennan was implying that Russia was an enemy state after all.

As for Russia’s meddling in the U.S. presidential election during 2016, Brennan claims to have told the head of the Russian FSB, with whom he had such a cozy get-to-together at CIA headquarters the year before, that if Russia pursued its efforts to interfere, “it would destroy any near-term prospect for improvement in relations” between the two countries. Brennan’s rhetorical slap, with no immediate follow-up actions to impose severe consequences on Russia for its behavior, was inept at best.

All Brennan really did while in office on the subject of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election was to politicize the issue by pressing for an FBI investigation of alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

Now, in a typical case of psychological projection, Brennan blames President Trump for not dealing effectively with Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election process, when that is precisely what Brennan failed to do himself when he had the chance. And in trying to distance himself from the infamous Steele dossier, which played such a critical role in moving the collusion investigation forward, Brennan may have committed perjury in his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in May 2017. Brennan claimed that he did not know who commissioned the Steele dossier and had “no awareness” whether the FBI ever relied on the Steele dossier as part of any court filing. He also denied that the CIA had relied on the dossier.

According to a report by Paul Sperry, published by RealClear Investigations on February 11, 2018:

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes next plans to investigate the role former CIA Director John Brennan and other Obama intelligence officials played in promoting the salacious and unverified Steele dossier on Donald Trump – including whether Brennan perjured himself in public testimony about it. … Several Capitol Hill sources say Brennan, a fiercely loyal Obama appointee, talked up the dossier to Democratic leaders, as well as the press, during the campaign. They say he also fed allegations about Trump-Russia contacts directly to the FBI, while pressuring the bureau to conduct an investigation of several Trump campaign figures starting in the summer of 2016.

If this turns out to be true, Brennan unethically abused his office as CIA director for partisan purposes to smear candidate Donald Trump and then lied about it to Congress.

As bad as all this is, Brennan was at his worst when it came to the global Islamist threat.

On May 26, 2010, for example, while serving as Obama’s deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, Brennan delivered a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in which he claimed that Islamists or jihadists were not our enemies. He said that “jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community”. Throughout his tenure as both Obama’s deputy national security adviser and CIA director, Brennan fundamentally misunderstood the ideological underpinnings of ISIS that had its roots in traditional Islam, as embodied in the Koran and in the words and actions of Prophet Muhammad. Islam began in the first place the same way that ISIS developed in carrying out and spreading its literalist dogma during Obama’s presidency – as a religion built on jihadist conquests to kill or subjugate disbelievers and make Islam supreme in the world.

Brennan misunderstood the Islamic nature of ISIS? If that was the case, it would mean that the man was both ignorant and stupid. As he is neither (he is said to have converted to Islam while he was posted in Saudi Arabia, and is obviously too cunning to be plain stupid) the only conclusion to be drawn from the fact of his defense of both Islam and ISIS is that he is on their side.

During a February 13, 2010 address at a meeting at the Islamic Center at New York University, facilitated by the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Brennan, whom some have claimed became a convert to Islam himself, said that Islam “helped to shape my own world view”.  He said Islam was “a faith of peace and tolerance and great diversity”.  He added, “We’re trying to be very careful and precise in our use of language, because I think the language we use and the images we project really do have resonance. It’s the reason why I don’t use the term jihadist to refer to terrorists. It gives them the religious legitimacy they so desperately seek, but I ain’t gonna give it to them.”

Brennan referred in his speech to Jerusalem by its Arabic name, Al-Quds. He blamed overzealous enforcement by the U.S. government for “creating an unhealthy atmosphere around many Muslim charities that made Muslims hesitant to fulfill their sacred obligation of zakat.

Zakat – one of the five obligations of a Muslim, called the “five pillars” of  Islam – is charity that goes to Muslims only, to promote Islam, which is to say the jihad, now being actively fought by the savage method of terrorism.

Apparently, Brennan was blind to the fact that many of these charities were used as fronts to fund terrorism, including the notorious Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. During the same 2010 Islamic Center speech, Brennan expressed satisfaction with the 20 percent recidivism rate among Guantanamo detainees, some of whom he acknowledged had participated in new terrorist attacks. “Twenty percent isn’t that bad,” he exclaimed.

In 2011, Brennan called for the FBI to eliminate its “offensive” curriculum and training materials, which made reference to “jihad” and “radical Islam”. 

Which plainly enough shows that he was, de facto, the Muslim Brotherhood’s man – heading the CIA!  

Both before and after Brennan served in the Obama administration, he has also consistently understated the threat posed by the radical fundamentalist Iranian regime and its terrorist proxy, Hezbollah. In a paper he published in July 2008, Brennan called on U.S. officials to “cease public Iran-bashing”.

As Obama’s deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, Brennan advocated reaching out to the so-called “moderate” elements of Hezbollah.  As CIA director, Brennan praised the Iranian regime for what he said were the “concessions” its leaders supposedly made to reach agreement on Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal. He claimed the deal was “as solid as you can get”. 

In fact, Obama made all of the concessions, agreeing to a deal full of loopholes exploited by Iran, which in the end allows Iran a pathway to developing nuclear weapons and the missiles capable of delivering them.

On January 2, 2018, Brennan tweeted his displeasure with the Trump administration’s condemnation of both the Iranian regime and the nuclear deal:

With wholesale condemnation of Iran and nuclear deal over past year, Trump Admin squandered opportunity to bolster reformists in Tehran and prospects for peaceful political reform in Iran.

There were no “reformists in Tehran”, and no “prospects for peaceful political reform in Iran”.

In fact, the appeasement policies followed by Obama and Brennan bolstered the Iranian regime and filled its coffers with cash to fund its state sponsorship of terrorism and support for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s brutal war on his own people. Obama and Brennan also turned a blind eye to the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses at home.

John Brennan, who entered the CIA despite his past support for the head of the U.S. Communist Party, rose to the top of the intelligence agency to become perhaps its worst director ever. He is the last person to give anyone advice on national security, let alone to President Trump, who has had to clean up the mess left behind by Obama and Brennan.

Win! 1

President Trump is rapidly making America great again.

Yet we have to search for conservative commentators who see it.

Kurt Schlichter sees it. What is more, he has a gift for writing witty abuse. We enjoy it because it is directed at the Left. We occasionally quote him.  (He is religious, but if god stuff pops up – which it doesn’t in the article we quote here – we just cut it out.)

We quote most of this article of his, from Townhall, because we agree with it and enjoy it:

After eight years of Barack Obama’s pathetic fecklessness, America has got its feck back.

And the whiny progressives who prefer our woman-enslaving, gay-tossing, toddler-crucifying enemies to the guy who beat their designated heir to the Crown (Royal) are in a tizzy.

Oh no, America is refusing to continue down the path of submission, humiliation, and utter failure blazed by President Faily McWorsethancarter!

Heavens, we can’t have our enemies respecting us, much less fearing us!

Gosh, we can’t have America re-assuming its rightful place in the world – after all, weren’t we taught that the United States is the root of all evil by our pony-tailed TAs at Fussboy U?

In fact, Donald Trump is in the process of doing what Barack Obama never did and what he and his coterie of pompous twits and political hacks masquerading as a foreign policy brain trust could never do. Trump is establishing a successful foreign policy doctrine. It’s not precisely old school Republican doctrine. It’s also not the activist Bush Doctrine, which is often labeled “neo-con” by people who think “cuck” is a sick burn.

Trump’s policy is “America First.” Obama’s policy was “Blame America First.” Obama employed force only after extensive agonizing and never in the amount required to actually win. The Obama Doctrine was about staving off defeat just long enough so the next sucker would get stuck dealing with the resulting mess while The Lightbringer chills doing who knows what sans spouse in the South Pacific as Bill Ayers types up his memoirs for him.

Obama treated our allies like dirt, and he didn’t just embolden our enemies. He paid them – literally – with pallet loads of cash. Of course our enemies stopped fearing us. To the extent Putin diddled with our election [if he did – ed] by exposing the depths of Democrat corruption, it’s because he wasn’t afraid of that posing, prancing puffboy in the White House.

Putin’s rethinking his play now, as are those Seventh Century cultists in Tehran and that bloated bratwurst in Pyongyang. They all saw Obama for what he was – a preachy wuss without the stones for a fight, adhering to the motto “Make love, not war.”

Trump though? “We don’t understand what they’re going to do in Syria, and not only there,” pouted some Putin puppet. Good. When you’re acting like the most dangerous guy in the room, everyone else thinks twice about making any sudden moves. Be careful, because Trump might just kick your Harry Reid.

There’s been a lot of talk about how Trump is “changing his policies” and “flip-flopping”. The mainstream media is desperate for a “Trump Fails!” narrative that might stick, and “Trump Betrays His Supporters By Fighting America’s Enemies!” is as good as any.

Baloney. These prissy pundits don’t get the essential nature of either Donald Trump or the American people. They confuse Trump’s critique of establishment foreign policy – one that resonated with the Americans our fey elite asks to carry the burden of their interventionist shenanigans – with pure isolationism and even pacifism. It is nothing of the sort. Americans are sick of their lives and treasure being squandered by dithering milquetoasts who tie our troops’ hands and won’t do what’s necessary because they can’t get it through their pointy heads that if it’s important enough to fight a war, then we damn well ought to win it.

Putting America’s interests first does not mean putting our heads in the sand. Americans know these savages need killing, and they’re happy to oblige. Army General George S. Patton understood this essential truth: “Americans love to fight…. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. The very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.”

Congratulations Washington, you managed to disprove Patton on one point. We haven’t won a ground war since Desert Storm in 1991, and we won that because we found the enemy, we fixed them in position, and we killed those bastards until they begged for mercy. Then we came home. That’s the lesson, and Trump seems to get it. What Americans are tired of is having their sons and daughters coming home in bags because D.C. hand-wringers were butch enough to start a fight, but not men enough to finish it.

Notably, the new National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster is a Desert Storm legend, a cavalryman from the mighty VII Corps. See the pieces come together?

Trump gets that we can’t fix Syria, and he has zero intention of dropping in tens of thousands of America’s sons and daughters to teach its inhabitants to play nice. But spraying sarin on little kids crossed the line, morally and strategically. Assad didn’t have to use it; he chose to, and he chose to because he thought he could rub Trump’s nose in America’s impotence the way he had done to Sissy O’Redline.

Trump came under fire from platoons of Eames chair generals and hipster blogtroopers sharing the strategic savvy they earned fetching a thousand lattes. Most of them have never thrown or taken a punch, and they didn’t understand that the only way to stop a bully is with a haymaker to the jaw. Trump’s message was loud and clear, and not just to that little creep cowering in Damascus. Everyone saw what happens when you get in Trump’s face, and how fast the fists flew. And just wait until they see our 350-ship Navy.

Trump’s Tomahawk strike was a tactical and strategic success. Tactically, it bashed a decent chunk of Bashar’s air force. Strategically, it gave dictators and thugs pause – and the limited nature of the response kept us from being sucked into another quagmire in which our magnificent warriors’ sacrifice and success would be squandered by subsequent Democrats a la Vietnam and Iraq. Plus it demonstrated that the key processes for executing American foreign policy are in place and operating again. The Trump Team understands that firmness and focus saves lives by deterring our enemies.

The MOAB strike was vintage Trump. Typical Obama – we had a weapon system that American forces needed, but the military probably didn’t even bother asking to use it. With Trump, they don’t have to ask. Here’s Trump’s order: “Win.”

Trump meets with the Chinese leader and a week later the Chi-Coms are leaning on the Norks. Yet the clueless media is whining that suddenly Trump’s altered some of his positions on trade issues, missing the connection entirely. But in the media’s defense, it has been eight years since Americans walked out of a negotiation having kept their pants.

The mouth-breathing media tells us Trump has done a 180 degree turn on NATO. Nonsense. Trump, like most Americans, rejects the “You hate NATO, you NATO-hating knuckle draggers!” shrieks from the establishment every time some patriot wonders why the Europeans were, for the most part, not pulling their weight in their own defense. Trump simply told them that we are done shrugging and covering the cash shortfalls while they take money that they promised would be going to guns and give it to rape-focused refugees. That’s not at all unreasonable and, as someone who supports NATO and who wears a NATO medal, some real talk was long overdue and necessary to sustain this critical alliance. NATO’s “friends”, by using cheap invective to shield it from legitimate criticism, imperiled its support among the American people. To save NATO, we must fix NATO. That will happen. …

In response, the desperate Democrats are trying to play tough, and it’s adorable. They hate it when a Republican stands up for America’s interests over those of foreigners abroad almost as much as when one stands up for normal Americans here at home (If Hillary had won, we may well have seen the same peace and love here as they created in Libya). That’s why the Russian nonsense was so hysterical. …

Trump is playing tough with our actual enemies. The only enemies that Obama’s national security hacks like Susan “The Video Did It!” Rice and failed young adult romance novelist Ben Rhodes were ever interested in defeating were Obama’s political enemies. …

It’s again clear that if you are thinking about getting uppity with the U.S. of A, you are rolling the dice. Of course, the liberals whine, which is good because the volume of their yelps is a terrific metric for success. The more they cry about it, the better an idea it is. May they weep long and hard, because America has got its feck back.

Repeat: Children’s story 2

We first posted this on October 7, 2012.

We repeat it because at last an American leader has been moved by the plight of children in Syria to attack that hellhole with cruise missiles.

President Trump is coming in for much criticism for the action he took after seeing pictures of people, including children and babies, dying from being sprayed with poison gas. His attack on the airfield from which the gas was flown was to deter the Syrian dictator from ever again gassing the people he oppresses.

Many doubt that it was Assad who was responsible for the gassing. Some of our commenters on our Facebook page are depicting Assad as a heroic fighter against ISIS.

This will serve as a reminder to us all that there is no good side fighting in Syria – except, at least this once, President Trump.

*

Both [all] sides of the civil war in Syria torture children to death.

This is from Front Page, by Frank Crimi:

One of the more loathsome horrors of Syria’s civil war has been the deliberate targeting of Syrian children by both pro-government and rebel forces, barbarity which includes imprisonment, rape, torture, sexual abuse, murder, and use as human shields.

That gruesome reality has been chillingly documented in recently released reports by the United Nations [see that pig flying? – JB] and two British-based humanitarian groups working with Syrian refugees, War Child and Save the Children.

While children in war zones are normally caught in the crossfire between opposing forces, the purposeful targeting of young children, according to the July 2012 War Child report, make the Syrian conflict “disturbingly unique”.

Well, the War Child report is just plain wrong there. Palestinian terrorists have been purposely targeting Israeli children for decades – and killing their own (see our post The sacrifice of children to Allah, August 19, 2011). The Lord’s Army in Africa forces children to cook and eat their parents (see our post The Lord’s Army of child slave cannibals, June 14, 2011). We could make a long list. But the point is not whether what the Syrians are doing is unique, but that they are doing it.

They are –

… abducting children and imprisoning them in former schools which have been converted into specially designed torture centers.

There the children are –

… beaten, blindfolded, and subjected to stress positions, whipped with heavy electrical cables, and scarred by cigarette burns.

One of these victims was a 15-year-old boy named Khalid, tortured in his old school where his father had once been the principal, who said, “They hung me up from the ceiling by my wrists, with my feet off the ground. Then I was beaten. I was terrified.”

In some instances, captors would bind the children’s hands together so tightly that, according to one victim, “the veins in their wrists would start to bleed. I witnessed so many children dying from this torture”.

For some, the maltreatment inflicted was a form of “sexual torture,” sexual violence levied on both boys and girls, some as young as 12, which included “rape, penetration with objects, sexual groping, prolonged forced nudity, and electroshock and beatings to genitalia”. …

The type of sadistic punishment meted out to the children followed no formal protocol, but rather, according to a child sufferer who was subjected to electric shocks, “depended on what mood these men were in … They showed no sympathy, no mercy”.

This abject cruelty was pointedly expressed in the torture and death of a 6-year-old boy named Alaa, who was slated for torture because his father was an anti-government activist wanted by the Syrian regime. … Over the course of three days, the little boy was tortured, beaten and starved by his captors, with one 16-year-old witness to Alaa’s suffering saying, “I watched him die… He was terrified all the time. …” 

They speak of the terror, but not of the pain. How can one not think of the pain? Of six year old children in pain. Think how they must have cried.

These children are housed like animals as well, inhumanely incarcerated in small, overcrowded rooms, often shared with decomposing bodies. Then, as they await their assigned date with their torturer, they are starved for days on end, with their only drinkable water available from the cell’s toilet. …

Children outside [these]  deadly confines face equally lethal dangers, such as being used for target practice. …

One Syrian woman  … witnessed two armed militia men betting on which of them could shoot an 8-year-old boy playing alone in a street. … The men shot the boy, but their shots didn’t kill him right away. As he lay bleeding, the boy’s mother tried to reach him but was kept back by the men, leaving the boy to die hours later alone in the street outside his home. …

While the Syrian government may treat a child’s life as worthless, it has discovered they possess some practical value … serving as human shields … placing them on the front of government tanks and armored personnel carriers as they advance into an opposition held area.

Pretty pointless really, as the opposition cares no more for children than the government does. Using children as shields can only work against people with moral principles and a conscience.

One Syrian man named Nabil witnessed such a barbarous and cowardly act when he [saw]  two tanks entering his village with “children attached to them, tied up by their hands and feet, and by their torsos”, a sight which made Nabil feel so helpless that all he could do was cry.

Tanks “protected” by the bodies of living children – who will not deter the other side from shooting at the tank or blowing it up.

They must be very religious, the people who do such a thing. 

Of course, none of this … comes as a complete shock given that pro-government forces had signaled their contempt for children early on in the Syrian uprising, disregard expressed in the form of regime snipers deliberately shooting children who were part of street protests.

In fact, so distasteful was the sight of child protesters to the Syrian regime that it would take its vengeance by attacking schools. In one village, pro-regime militia went to a grade school, picked 50 children at random, many of whom were as young as 6-years-old, and proceeded to tear out their fingernails….

While most of the acts of violent child assault and murder have been committed by Syrian security forces and pro-regime militias, such as the dreaded Shabiha militias, the hands of opposition forces are far from clean. … The Free Syrian Army (FSA) forcibly [recruited] children, some as young as 8-years-old, into their ranks. …

Syrian Christian children have been targeted, along with their families, by elements of the FSA and an assortment of armed Islamist and al-Qaeda-linked terror groups as part of a systematic cleansing of Syrian Christians.

Cleansing: derived from the iniquitous phrase “ethnic cleansing”, the word has become a euphemism for mass murder.

That cleansing includes the killing of whole families, the sacking of churches, and the forcible evacuation of Christians from towns and cities, such as the forced Christian exodus of nearly 50,000 people from Homs in which armed Islamists murdered more than 200 Christians, including entire families with young children. …

As Rob Williams, CEO of War Child, has said, “The Syrian conflict must now rank as one of the worst for the depth and scale of abuses against children,” adding that it “will scar Syria for generations”.

If Rob Williams means that a nation with too few children is “scarred”, he may be right. If he means that the parents of the murdered children will be “scarred” he must surely be right. But if he means that Syria’s reputation, as a people, will be scarred, we must say that we very much doubt it. Who will hold the torturing to death of children against the torturing killers? Christians? They forgive. Western opinion generally? There is no precedent to suggest it. So who will remember those children, and refuse to forgive?

Make war not love 3

Last week Bashar al-Assad attacked his own people and killed many of them with poison gas. President Trump ordered that two US ships patrolling the eastern Mediterranean fire cruise missiles to destroy the Syrian airfield from where the gas was carried and the aircraft that carried it.

We were delighted that he did. We cheered. The mass-murdering  tyrant Assad and his allies and supporters, Russia and Iran, were being shown that the United States was no longer going to stand by while they committed such atrocities. We also applauded Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s announcement that Assad must go.

We invited our readers, both here on The Atheist Conservative website and on our Facebook page, to tell us what they thought about President Trump’s action.

Few agreed with us. Most said that Assad should be left in place because who knew what would follow his deposition. We argue that whatever followed, Syria could hardly experience worse than it has under Assad’s rule.

They argued that there was no firm evidence that Assad was responsible for the gassing. Some wanted him to be blamed and punished fairly, justly, as in an American court of law; not taking his past record into account; looking only at this particular atrocity and whether the evidence was strong enough for him to be found guilty of it.

Some declared that they had until now been Trump supporters, but his stroke against Assad had changed their view of him.

How many, we wonder, of those who voted Donald Trump into power now think he has done something so wrong that they regret their choice?

We cannot know. We do not trust the polls, and there is not going to be another presidential election in the near future to give the answer.

We can only point out that if we lose Trump, we lose the war. He is all we’ve got between us and the end of our civilization.

What war? How will it be the end of our civilization if we lose it?

Let’s look round the world and see what’s happening.

This is from an article at Gatestone by Guy Millière, titled Geert Wilders and the Suicide of Europe:

For years, the Dutch mainstream media have spread hatred and defamation against [Geert] Wilders for trying to warn the Dutch people – and Europe – about what their future will be if they continue their current immigration policies; in exchange, last December, a panel of three judges found him guilty of “inciting discrimination”. Newspapers and politicians all over Europe unceasingly describe him as a dangerous man and a rightist firebrand. Sometimes they call him a “fascist”.

What did Geert Wilders ever do to deserve that? None of his remarks ever incriminated any person or group because of their race or ethnicity. To charge him, the Dutch justice system had excessively and abusively to interpret words he used during a rally in which he asked if the Dutch wanted “fewer Moroccans”. None of Wilders’s speeches incites violence against anyone; the violence that surrounds him is directed only at him. He defends human rights and democratic principles and he is a resolute enemy of all forms of anti-Semitism.

His only “crime” is to denounce the danger represented by the Islamization of the Netherlands and the rest of Europe and to claim that Islam represents a mortal threat to freedom.  …

What is happening in the Netherlands is similar to what is happening in most European countries. In the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden, the number of no-go zones is rapidly growing. Islamic riots occur more and more often. Ethnic gangs are growing more violent. Ethnic cleansing is transforming neighborhoods. Jews are leaving for Israel or North America.The Muslim population is sharply increasing. Radical mosques are proliferating. Islamic organizations are everywhere.

Politicians who dare to speak the way Geert Wilders does are treated the way Geert Wilders is treated : scorned, marginalized, put on trial.

The vision of the world in Western Europe is now “hegemonic”. It is based on the idea that the Western world is guilty; that all cultures are equal, and that Islamic culture is “more equal” than Western culture because Islam was supposedly so long oppressed by the West. What adherents of this view, that the West is guilty, “forget” is that Islam long oppressed the West: Muslim armies conquered Persia, the Christian Byzantine Empire, North Africa and the Middle East, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Serbia and the Balkans, and virtually all of Eastern Europe. The Muslim armies were a constant threat until the marauding Ottoman troops were finally turned away at the Gates of Vienna in 1683.

This European vision also includes the idea that all conflicts can be peacefully settled, that appeasement is almost always a solution, and that Europe has no enemies.

It also stands on the idea that an enlightened elite must have the power, because if Adolf Hitler came to power through democratic means eighty years ago, letting people freely decide their fate might lead to ill.

The dream seems to be of a utopian future where poverty will be overcome by welfare systems, and violence will be defeated by openness and love.

Repeat: Islamic terrorism “will be defeated by openness and love”.

It is this vision of the world that may have prompted Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel to open the doors to more than a million unvetted Muslim migrants, despite a migrant crime wave and an increasing number of rapes and sexual assaults. The only candidate likely to beat Angela Merkel in this year’s German elections is a socialist, Martin Schulz, a former European Parliament president.

In France, Marine Le Pen, the only candidate who speaks of Islam and immigration, will almost certainly be defeated by Emmanuel Macron, a former minister in the government of François Hollande — a man who see no evil anywhere.

It is this vision of the world that also seems to have led British Prime Minister Theresa May to say that the Islamic attack on March 22 in Westminster was “not an act of Islamic terrorism”.

This romanticized, utopian vision of the world also explains why in Europe, people such as Geert Wilders are seen as the incarnation of evil, but radical Islam is considered a marginal nuisance bearing no relation to the “religion of peace”. Meanwhile, Wilders is condemned to live under protection as if he were in jail, while those who want to slaughter him — and who threaten millions of people in Europe — walk around free.

Of all the countries in Europe where the indigenous Europeans have capitulated to Islam, the one most eager to submit to that supremacist totalitarian conqueror is Sweden. Recently a jihadi drove a truck into a crowd of Swedes, killing four.

What will the Swedes – what remains of them – do to save themselves from Islamic terrorism?

They will ban the use of vehicles in Swedish cities:

Virginia Hale reports at Breitbart:

Cars and other vehicles “have turned into deadly weapons”, and should be banished from cities to stop attacks like the one in Stockholm from happening in future, according to Aftonbladet editorialist Eva Franchell.

Crackdowns on immigration or extremist ideology are not the way forward when it comes to terror prevention, according to the veteran journalist, writing after Friday’s terror attack in Stockholm left four people dead.

Instead, it is cars — which she calls “effective murder machines” — that Franchell says “[which] must simply be removed from city centres and places where people gather, if people are to be protected in future”.

Vehicles are “easy to steal, and so nothing has been able to stop their advance”, writes Ms. Franchell.

It just isn’t reasonable that a big truck can be driven right into one of Stockholm’s busiest streets on a Friday afternoon right before Easter.”

Noting how it is a popular destination for tourists, Franchell says the city centre must be a “safe environment” for visitors to enjoy. She described it as “remarkable” that it is possible to drive around the Swedish capital’s medieval old town.

Outlining her vision for a car-free Stockholm, she argues: “Most problems with regards to mobility and public transport can be solved, and deliveries to shops and restaurants could take place at times when people aren’t out on the streets.”

“Vehicles have been allowed to dominate our cities for decades and it’s the people who need space. It’s vital now that cars be regulated,” the piece concludes.

The idea of reducing the number of cars in Swedish cities was backed last month by Sweden’s environment minister, who argued that driving is a gender equality issue as well as a matter of shrinking the nation’s carbon emissions.

“Cars are driven largely by men so by giving a lot of space to cars; we’re giving a lot of space to men — at the expense of women,” Karolina Skog explained.

Cars are evil, and the need to get rid of them is a feminist issue. Two big important fights to be engaged there, with cars and sex inequality.

So are we and President Trump in a very small minority of Westerners who think that we should use all our strength to defeat Islam and its helpers and allies?

We don’t know. But there are voices raised on our side.

This is from the Investigative Project on Terrorism, by Yaakov Lappin:

The conflict in Syria has long ceased being a civil war, becoming instead a clash between coalitions and blocs that divide the entire Middle East.

The Iranian-led axis is the most dangerous and highly armed bloc fighting in Syria. Bashar al-Assad’s regime is not an independent actor, but rather, a component of this wider axis. In many respects, Assad is a junior member of the Iranian coalition set up to fight for him.

Russia joined the Iranian axis in 2015, acting for its own reasons as the pro-Assad coalition’s air force, helping to preserve the Syrian regime.

This coalition enabled the Assad regime to conduct mass murder and ethnic cleansing of Sunnis from Syria, while also using unconventional weapons against civilians in an effort to terrorize rebel organizations into submission.

Feeling confident by its growing control of Syria, Iran also uses its regional coalition to arm, finance, and deploy Shi’ite jihadist agents all over the Middle East, and to attack those who stand in the way of Iranian domination.

The Iranian-led axis has been able to spread violence, terrorism, and Islamic militancy without facing repercussions.

Until recently, the United States focused its attention exclusively on Sunni jihadist threats – ISIS and al-Qaida-affiliated groups. While these terrorists certainly need to be attacked, turning a blind eye to the activities of the more powerful radical Shi’ite coalition did nothing to stop the region’s destabilization. In this context, Assad’s numerous crimes against humanity went unanswered.

This helped embolden Assad to use chemical weapons. It also gave the Iranians confidence to magnify their meddling in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, and to target many other states. The end result is Iran’s enhanced ability to export its Khomeiniest Islamic fundamentalist doctrine.

That sent a troubling message to America’s regional allies, who, in the face of these threats, formed a de facto coalition of pragmatic Sunni states – a coalition that includes Israel.

On April 6, the U.S. sent a signal that something may have changed. A cruise missile attack on an Assad regime air base, in response to a savage chemical weapons massacre in Idlib, Syria, was, first and foremost, a moral response to an intolerable act of evil.

But the strike also carries a wider prospective message about Washington’s new willingness to enforce red lines against Assad and his Shi’ite allies.

Potentially, it is an indication that the U.S. is willing to use its military prowess beyond the objective of targeting ISIS, and that it recognizes that Sunni jihadists are not the only global security threat that warrants the use of military force.

Statements by senior Trump administration officials indicate that a shift has occurred. “What you have in Syria is a very destructive cycle of violence perpetuated by ISIS, obviously, but also by this regime and their Iranian and Russian sponsors,” National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster told Fox News Sunday.

Russia must choose between its alignment with Assad, Iran, and Hizballah, and working with the United States, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday. The firm comment was made hours before he touched down in Moscow for talks.

According to U.S. officials, the April 6 missile attack destroyed 20 percent of Assad’s fighter jets. It represents the first time that Washington has taken military action against a member of the Iranian-led coalition.

The strike could evolve into a “dialogue of deterrence” that the U.S. initiates against dangerous actors. These radical actors all have “return addresses”, and are likely to prove responsive to cost-benefit considerations, despite their extreme ideology. They may think twice before considering further development and usage of unconventional weapons.

Washington is now able to exercise muscular diplomacy – the only kind that is effective in the Middle East – and inform all members of the Iran’s pro-Assad coalition that the deployment of unconventional weapons will not be tolerated. It can also begin to rally and strengthen the pro-American coalition of states in the Middle East, who seek to keep a lid on both ISIS and Iran.

With American officials indicating that they are “ready to do more” in Syria if necessary, signs suggest that the strike represents the start of a policy of deterrence, and leaving open future options for drawing additional red lines.

In theory, should Washington decide that Iran’s transfer of weapons and extremist Shi’ite military forces to other lands has reached unacceptable levels, or that Iran’s missile development program has gone far enough, it could call on Tehran to cease these activities. This call would carry substantially more weight following last week’s missile attack on the Syrian airbase.

The U.S. is in a better position to inform Assad and his allies that there is a limit to how far they can go in pursuing their murderous ambitions.

While the objective of creating a renewed American deterrent posture is vital, it should not be confused with plans for wider military intervention in the seemingly endless Syrian conflict.

There is little reason to believe that conventional weapons use against Syrian civilians is going to stop any time soon, or that the enormous tragedy suffered by the Syrian people is about to end.

And there is certainly no indication that the U.S. is planning to initiate large-scale military involvement in this failed state.

Hence, the missile strike should be seen for what it is: an attempt to boost American deterrence, which can then be leveraged to restrain radical actors that have, until now, been operating completely unchecked.

That is a message that will likely be heard loud and clear not only in Damascus, but also in Tehran, which has not given up its long-term ambition of building nuclear weapons.

North Korea, which helped build Syria’s plutonium nuclear plant (destroyed in 2007 in a reported Israeli air strike), and which maintains close links with Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, can be expected to take note as well.

If a policy of strategic deterrence follows the strike, it could have an impact on a coalition that is not just keeping Assad’s regime alive, but spreading its radical influence in many other areas.

In Syria, the Iranian Republican Guards Corps (IRGC) oversees ground operations across many battlefields to prop up Bashar al-Assad. Iran has gathered and armed tens of thousands of Shi’ite militia members from across the region into Syria, and manages a local force composed of 100,000 members. They fight alongside the Syrian Arab Army against Sunni rebel organizations, thereby increasing and entrenching Iranian influence.

The IRGC and its elite Quds Force are also helping to fill Hizballah’s weapons depots in Lebanon, with a vast array of surface-to-surface projectiles that are all pointed at Israel, often using Syria as an arms trafficking transit zone. Syria acts as a bridge that grants Iran access to Lebanon, and allows it to threaten both Israel and Jordan.

Jordan, an important U.S. ally, is deeply concerned by Iran’s actions in Syria, as evidenced by recent comments made by King Abdullah, who told the Washington Post that “there is an attempt to forge a geographic link between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah/Lebanon.” IRGC forces are stationed within a mere 45 miles from Jordan’s border, he warned, adding that any hostile forces approaching the Hashemite Kingdom “are not going to be tolerated”.

Hizballah, a Lebanese-based Iranian Shi’ite proxy, evolved into a powerful army by sending 7,000 to 9,000 of its own highly trained members into Syria’s ground war. It helped rescue the Assad regime from collapse, and took part in battles stretching from Aleppo to the Qalamoun Mountains northeast of Damascus.

Last year, the Arab League and the Sunni countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council all declared Hizballah to be a terrorist entity.

Just as Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias have poured into Syria, the same has happened in Iraq, where 100,000 fighters supported by Tehran fight alongside the Iraqi government forces against ISIS. The IRGC’s network extends to Yemen’s Houthi Ansar Allah forces, who receive Iranian assistance. Ansar Allah, a heavily armed Shi’ite military force, fires ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia on a regular basis.

The IRGC and Hizballah have been linked to a recent large-scale terrorist plot in Bahrain.

If the message addressed in the cruise missile strike is followed up with a strategy of deterrence, addressed to Ayatollah Khamenei as much as it was addressed to Assad, the U.S. could begin projecting to the world that it recognizes the threat posed by Shi’ite jihadists as much as it takes seriously the threat from their fundamentalist Sunni equivalents.

Washington’s campaign to pressure Russia to distance itself from its Middle Eastern allies could play an important part of this message.

It will take more than pressure. It will take war. If we want to save ourselves, we need all the cruise missiles we can make, and probably all the nukes too.

But if the West has no stomach for war, then it will perish in a state of “openness and love”, congratulating itself on its virtue: its fairness, its peacefulness, its generosity, its tolerance, its refusal to be racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, or sexist. A great moral victory. And then – no more fairness, peacefulness, generosity, tolerance. No women driving cars. Just Islam.

Why Bashar al-Assad must go 2

“It is not our business what happens in Syria,” some of our commenters have written on these pages and on our Facebook page. “We are not the policeman of the world.” “Let them kill each other.”

Many of our regular readers are libertarians. The big fault in the thinking of American libertarians is their preference for isolationism. As if what happens in the rest of the world has no effect on America.

But not all the commenters who want President Trump to do nothing about the gassing of civilians in Syria are libertarians. A few are conservatives who are well aware of the danger in isolationism, but who do not see Assad himself as a significant threat to any but his own people.

While Barack Obama stood back from interfering in Syria, refused to be the policeman of the world, and let Assad kill half a million of his own people, Russia crept up to become the dominant power in the Middle East. And not only by adopting Assad as its pet dictator on the Mediterranean, but far more dangerously by becoming Iran’s best friend – a position Barack Obama coveted. He begged for it, he groveled for it, he paid for it, but while the reigning mullahs accepted everything he gave them, they continued to treat him with the contempt he all too well deserved.

Under Russia’s protection, Iran has projected its destructive power into Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon – from where it is mounting a growing threat to Israel.

The anti-America axis formed by Russia, Iran, and Iran’s nuclear partner North Korea, needs to be broken up. Sending the Russians home from Syria would be a good start.

We quote from an article at the National Interest by Matthew RJ Brodsky:

Last week the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said that when it comes to Syria, “Our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out.” That expression of U.S. policy came the same day that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson intimated that Assad’s future would “be decided by the Syrian people”.

The Syrian people have tried to do precisely that since March 2011, but they were met by the regime’s snipers, tanks, aircraft, barrel bombs, chemical weapons, torture, mass graves and war crimes. Leaving Assad’s fate to the people matches the language espoused by Damascus, Tehran and Moscow, meaning Assad isn’t going anywhere. …

Secretary Tillerson had said, “Russia and Iran will bear moral responsibility,” but later added that he knew Assad was behind the attack. However, in the words of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, “There is not a fundamental option of regime change.”

Unfortunately, the lesson is that this is what happens when the U.S. telegraphs that vicious dictators who use chemical weapons against their own people can remain in power. It sends a message to North Korea and Iran, one that will not be lost on Hezbollah in any upcoming conflict with Israel.

Despite the wishes of some in the West, Bashar al-Assad is not a solution for Syria, nor should he be a solution for the United States. The overwhelmingly compelling moral reasons for such a decision are manifest at this point. Going beyond humanitarian considerations, the fabric of Syrian society is irreparably torn. [A] social compact provided the modicum of legitimacy necessary for the thirty-year reign of Bashar’s father until his death in 2000. Without it, Bashar lacks the legitimacy to rule anything beyond his own family or the Kalbiyya tribe from which he hails. Indeed, having turned on the Sunni population who represent 75 percent of the country, Bashar now stands as a great magnet to which jihadists of all stripes are attracted, and that pull will continue as long as he is in power.

There’s also the problem of strength — a necessary trait in Middle East leaders. Bashar doesn’t have the military capability to regain, hold and consolidate control over Syria even if such an outcome were desirable. …

Assad, who is currently conscripting old men and underage women to serve in his military, is wholly reliant on outside powers with interests directly opposed to those of the United States. In early 2013, the first critical moment came when Assad risked losing what was left of his power but Iran and Hezbollah intervened, bolstering the regime. The respite they provided proved to be temporary and their resources inadequate to the ultimate resolution of the conflict. Assad was once again on the ropes by September 2015, but was revived by Russia’s entry into the conflict. Even their considerable military assistance wasn’t enough to win decisively.

The fact that Assad and his backers have resorted to the repeated use of chemical weapons and the continuous targeting of hospitals and schools demonstrates the weakness of their combined conventional military strength.

Simply put, to advocate for Bashar to remain in power is to acquiesce in Russian president Vladimir Putin’s role as Syria’s kingmaker. [Putin’s] purpose in Syria is to keep Assad in power, provide security for [Russia’s] Iranian client and increase the Russian threat to NATO’s southern flank by upgrading and expanding its Mediterranean base in Tartus, making its presence a permanent feature in the Middle East.

Working to boost Assad also means strengthening Iran in their long pursued and nearly completed task of creating a Shia land corridor from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea, running through Iraq and Syria. … [This] will greatly add to [Iran’s] corrosive power before the key provisions of the nuclear deal fall away, greatly enhancing [its] position in the coming years. …

Sending Bashar al-Assad a military message that there are certain levels of barbarity that the world will not tolerate is a beginning. But ultimately, [Assad] needs to pay the price for his actions in a manner that will resonate loudest among the rogue regimes of the world that would consider the use of weapons of mass destruction. That will mean ensuring that the ruling Assad dynasty comes to an end in Syria.

Or America can run down its defenses, spend more on social security, open its borders, abolish its police forces, hide its flag, concentrate on learning new pronouns to cover as many sexual preferences as can be thought up in the safe play-rooms of the universities and the smelly streets of San Francisco and endlessly debate what bathrooms each pronoun can use, cover the land with bird-mincing windmills to provide a little energy now and then, fund the growing movement to humiliate white men, turn the public schools into madrassas, elect some corrupt narcissistic commie, preferably female, to lead the country, appoint judges who will rule according to their feelings, and die.

Iran’s secret helper: President Obama 1

Paying ransom for captured citizens is one of the worst things a government can do.

It obviously launches a lucrative industry, signaling that it will be profitable to go on capturing them wherever they may be found.

Obama paid a $400 million cash ransom for the release of American hostages held in Iran. It’s against the law, but such a triviality never bothered Obama. He tried to hide the transaction by sending Swiss francs and Euros packed in wooden crates in an unmarked cargo plane to Tehran. The American hostages were released.

Now more have been taken, of course.

When rumbled, the crooked administration came up with a cock-and-bull story about the money being a debt owed to Iran since the days of the Shah.

From the WSJ by Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee:

The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran, according to U.S. and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the operation afterward.

Wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies were flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane, according to these officials. The U.S. procured the money from the central banks of the Netherlands and Switzerland, they said.

As usual, the administration lies to the American people, insisting that there is no connection between the money and the hostage release. Instead:

The money represented the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to resolve a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 fall of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

The settlement, which resolved claims before an international tribunal in The Hague, also coincided with the formal implementation that same weekend of the landmark nuclear agreement reached between Tehran, the U.S. and other global powers the summer before.

“With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well,” President Barack Obama said at the White House on Jan. 17 — without disclosing the $400 million cash payment.

Senior U.S. officials denied any link between the payment and the prisoner exchange. They say the way the various strands came together simultaneously was coincidental, not the result of any quid pro quo.

“As we’ve made clear, the negotiations over the settlement of an outstanding claim… were completely separate from the discussions about returning our American citizens home,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said. …

Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas and a fierce foe of the Iran nuclear deal, accused President Barack Obama of paying “a $1.7 billion ransom to the ayatollahs for U.S. hostages.”

This break with longstanding U.S. policy put a price on the head of Americans, and has led Iran to continue its illegal seizures” of Americans, he said.

Since the cash shipment, the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard has arrested two more Iranian-Americans. …

At the time of the prisoner release, Secretary of State John Kerry and the White House portrayed it as a diplomatic breakthrough. Mr. Kerry cited the importance of “the relationships forged and the diplomatic channels unlocked over the course of the nuclear talks”.

Iranian press reports have quoted senior Iranian defense officials describing the cash as a ransom payment. …

The $400 million was paid in foreign currency because any transaction with Iran in U.S. dollars is illegal under U.S. law. Sanctions also complicate Tehran’s access to global banks.

According to the New York Post, there is proof that the administration is lying about there being “no link between the payment and the prisoner exchange”:

One of the American hostages who was released the day the United States sent $400 million to Iran said his plane to freedom was not allowed to take off until “another plane” arrived in Tehran, according to a report.

Pastor Saeed Abedini, who was among four Americans released this past Jan. 17, told Fox Business he wound up waiting for an extended time for the second plane to reach the Iranian capital and was never told why the arriving aircraft was so important.

“I just remember the night at the airport sitting for hours and hours there, and I asked police, ‘Why are you not letting us go?’ ” Abedini said. “He said, ‘We are waiting for another plane so if that plane doesn’t come, we never let you go.’ ”

The WSJ report concludes:

Revolutionary Guard commanders boasted at the time that the Americans had succumbed to Iranian pressure. “Taking this much money back was in return for the release of the American spies,” said Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi, commander of the Guard’s Basij militia, on state media.

Among the Americans currently being held are an energy executive named Siamak Namazi and his 80-year old father, Baqer, according to U.S. and Iranian officials. Iran’s judiciary spokesman last month confirmed Tehran had arrested the third American, believed to be a San Diego resident named Reza “Robin” Shahini.

Friends and family of the Namazis believe the Iranians are seeking to increase their leverage to force another prisoner exchange or cash payment in the final six months of the Obama administration. Mr. Kerry and other U.S. officials have been raising their case with Iranian diplomats, U.S. officials say.

Iranian officials have demanded in recent weeks the U.S. return $2 billion in Iranian funds that were frozen in New York in 2009. The Supreme Court recently ruled that the money should be given to victims of Iranian-sponsored terror attacks.

Members of Congress are seeking to pass legislation preventing the Obama administration from making any further cash payments to Iran. One of the bills requires for the White House to make public the details of its $1.7 billion transfer to Iran.

“President Obama’s … payment to Iran in January, which we now know will fund Iran’s military expansion, is an appalling example of executive branch governance,” said Sen. James Lankford (R., Okla.), who co-wrote the bill. “Subsidizing Iran’s military is perhaps the worst use of taxpayer dollars ever by an American president.”

The only surprise is that Obama did something – though very much the wrong thing – to get American captives freed. Why? That’s the deeper mystery, the answer to which we may never know.

(Is one of the released hostages related, or closely connected, to one of Obama’s henchmen? To John Kerry, for instance? A good investigative journalist is needed to find out.)

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The US-Iran deal: a diplomatic pasodoble 1

US Secretary of State John Kerry negotiated FOR Iran to get the “deal” most favorable to Iranian interests and least favorable to the interests of America and Europe.

The talks took so long not because there was disagreement on key issues. Once the US had agreed to let Iran keep its nuclear capacity, the other issues were easy to deal with. The talks took so long because Kerry and Zarif, often working together, were trying to find language that could hide the real issues and highlight peripheral ones. Kerry wanted to hoodwink the US Congress; Zarif wanted to take the Islamic Majlis in Tehran for a ride.

We quote from an important article by Amir Taheri at Asharq Al-Awsat (self-declared to be “the world’s leading pan-Arab daily newspaper”), published in London:

In a fascinating interview last week, Iran’s former Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi revealed that during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency, through Omani mediation, Tehran put five preconditions for the start of secret talks with the US. “We were surprised when Obama accepted all of them,” Salehi recalls.

And that was before John Kerry, who had a long history of contacts with Tehran including meetings with former President Muhammad Khatami at Davos, had become Secretary of State.

Salehi recalls that when he briefed newly elected President Rouhani on the secret talks, the latter was “astonished” at Obama’s readiness to bend backwards to appease Tehran. For Tehran, Obama and Kerry made an ideal team.

During lengthy negotiations in Geneva, Lausanne and finally Vienna, the Iranian and US teams were often on the same side, fighting to persuade other members of the P5+1 to soften their positions vis-a-vis Iran.

In an off-the-record briefing in Tehran which was nevertheless partly leaked, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi cited a number of occasions when Kerry fought hard to win others to Iran’s position.

One occasion was when the French and the British insisted that Iran formally undertake not to finance and arm the Lebanese branch of Hezbollah. “Naturally, we refused,” Araqchi said. “And it was [John] Kerry who persuaded others to drop the issue.”

On another occasion, Russia was pressing for the ban on sale of arms to Iran to be lifted immediately. Iran did not want this, presumably because it felt it would face pressure to buy Russian arms.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov later expressed surprise when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Kerry joined forces to keep the ban in place, albeit with minor modifications.

On another occasion, recalled by Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Political Director General Hamid Baeedi-Nezhad who was part of the negotiating team, Kerry sided with Iran to defeat the British and the French who insisted that the ban on sale of aircraft to Tehran remain in force for five more years.

“The whole thing was settled when Kerry gave his word on our behalf,” Baeedi-Nezhad said.

On another occasion, according to Araqchi, Kerry sided with Iran in rejecting a demand by the European Union foreign policy “tsarina” Federica Mogherini to commit Iran not to help Bashar Al-Assad kill more Syrians. Kerry remained “steadfast” that talks should only focus on the nuclear issue.

Kerry also backed Iran’s demand that the travel ban on several civilian and military officials, and some Arab terrorists linked to Iran be lifted. The French, British and Germans were opposed, partly because among the names mentioned were convicted terrorists who had served time in their prisons.

Kerry showed his keenness to please Iran more specifically when he fought to lift the ban on Anis Naccache, a Lebanese “militant” who had been close to Imad Mugniyah, once Hezbollah’s security chief, and allegedly involved in plotting the suicide attack that killed 241 US Marines in Beirut in1983.

Faced with European protests, Kerry came out with his famous: “We are looking to the future, not to the past.”  …

Then comes the paragraph that (yet further) exposes the deep villainy of Kerry and his master, Obama. We quoted it at the top of this post. It bears repeating.

The talks took so long not because there was disagreement on key issues. Once the US had agreed to let Iran keep its nuclear capacity, the other issues were easy to deal with. The talks took so long because Kerry and Zarif, often working together, were trying to find language that could hide the real issues and highlight peripheral ones. Kerry wanted to hoodwink the US Congress; Zarif wanted to take the Islamic Majlis in Tehran for a ride.

By rejecting the proposed “deal” the US Congress would tell the world that the arrangement is one between Obama and an Iranian faction. As a power, the US is not committed to a deal running into decades.

In his keenness to get a “deal”, any deal, Obama reversed the constitutional provision under which a treaty needs a two-third majority in the Congress to become effective. He invented a new method under which the Congress could undo something that is, and at the same time is not, a treaty, after the president has approved it.

The “deal” suffers from a crisis of constitutional identity. A negative Congressional vote could delay its implementation until the president has exercised his veto.

On the Iranian side the Rafsanjani faction has done even better. It has not provided an official Persian version of the “deal” and seems determined to ignore Article 72 of the Islamic Republic’s Constitution and simply pretend that the “deal” is approved without publicly saying so.

At the time of this writing Tehran has not even accepted the new UN resolution and is thus one step behind Obama in their pasodoble.

Was this not treason? 

The United States’ definition of treason is:

“Treason against the United States, shall consist in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”

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