See it coming: nuclear war 2

Because it expresses our own fearful anticipations, we quote from an editorial at Investor’s Business Daily:

From Syria to Iraq to Afghanistan to Pakistan, the jihadist dream of a caliphate stretching from the Atlantic to the Himalayas is taking shape. It’s aided by a feckless foreign policy not seen since Neville Chamberlain.

As President Obama learns about it in the newspapers, the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is dismembering Iraq, adding Saddam Hussein’s birthplace of Tikrit to the list of cities once liberated by the U.S. that are now flying jihadist flags. The war on terrorism is over all right, and Obama lost it.

An American official [says] that the U.S. Embassy, United Nations and other foreign organizations with a presence in Iraq are “preparing contingency plans to evacuate employees”.  We might soon see helicopters on the roof of our embassy in Baghdad in a scene reminiscent of the last days of Saigon as Iraq becomes Obama’s Vietnam.

Unlike Vietnam, ISIS is not interested in liberating the homeland from colonial oppressors. ISIS and other radical Islamists have long proclaimed a goal of restoring a pan-Islamic state, a caliphate that extends from the Mediterranean coast to the Iranian border. One such Islamic empire, in the seventh century, spanned the Middle East, spread to Southwest Asia, North Africa and Spain, ending with the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258.

The largest and most powerful rebel force in Syria is Jabhat al-Nusra, with 7,000 fighters. It’s a branch of al-Qaida in Iraq, from which it has received regular payments.

“It’s now time to declare in front of the people of the Levant and (the) world that the al-Nusra Front is but an extension of the Islamic State in Iraq and part of it,” Iraqi al-Qaida leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is quoted as saying recently …

“This (ISIS’s rise in Iraq) is of great significance”, according to an assessment released Wednesday by the Soufan Group, a private security company. A restored caliphate will attract “many more disaffected young people … from all over the Muslim world, especially the Middle East, lured by nostalgia for al-Khulafa al-Islamiya (the Islamic caliphate), which remains a potent motivator for Sunni extremists”. 

Restoring the caliphate was the stated goal of Osama bin Laden in creating al-Qaida, but the terrorist group was never designed to take and hold territory as is ISIS, now flush with captured cash and weaponry.

“It’s ISIS that will build the caliphate, not al-Qaida,” says Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, who monitors jihadist activity for the Middle East Forum.

The president’s endless apologies to the Muslim world, starting with his Cairo speech in 2009; his abandonment of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi while blaming the terrorist attack on a video; his precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan as Iraq implodes; and his trading of Taliban commanders for an alleged deserter have sent powerful signals of weakness. Obama’s actions are reminiscent of how President Clinton’s withdrawal from Somalia inspired bin Laden.

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld warned in a speech in 2005 that, without U.S intervention, “Iraq would serve as the base of a new Islamic caliphate to extend throughout the Middle East, and which would threaten legitimate governments in Europe, Africa and Asia.”

The White House’s failure — or was it a refusal? — to sign a status-of-forces agreement to retain a presence in Iraq — a deal which Obama now claims is necessary in Afghanistan — created a vacuum that ISIS is quite willing to fill.

As the Taliban bides its time in Afghanistan, its leadership replenished by Obama, it has the strength to attack the airport in Karachi, Pakistan, in a country that has nuclear weapons. Obama has made possible the specter of not only an Islamic caliphate, but also a nuclear one.

At present, the battle raging in Syria and Iraq is another outbreak of the centuries-old war between Sunni Islam and Shiite Islam. There is one Sunni nuclear power: Pakistan. And there is about to be one Shiite nuclear power (aided by Barack Obama, president of the United States!): Iran. It will not be long before they will fight each other with nukes.

And when nuclear war breaks out, how long could the West – which, despite Obama’s transformative efforts, still includes the US – stay out of it?

Doing nothing at all; propitiating Muslim colonizers by conceding their every demand; bowing to Muslim potentates; holding talks in Geneva; praying to Nobodaddy in the Sky – none of these cunning stratagems will keep the West safe.

Obama’s pacifism has brought the world closer to intercontinental nuclear war than ever it was in the last century.

Head count 1

From Tundra Tabloids:

Abdurahman … can be seen on You Tube with a bloody knife behind five cut-off heads. [Though it seems that he counts them as one -ed.] He is originally from Iraq, and has lived more than ten years in The Netherlands. He lived there from social security as he was found unfit to work and used drugs against claustrophobia and schizophrenia.

In 2012 an AFP picture emerged on which Abdurahman could be seen next to a dead body, while he was reading the Koran. Initially he joined the Jabhat-al Nusra movement in Syria, which is linked to Al Qaida. It seems that he has now moved to the even more barbarian ISIS jihadis. It is claimed that the heads were cut off from Al Nusra fighters.

ISIS stands for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The group is also “linked to Al Qaida”.

Posted under Europe, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Netherlands by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, March 19, 2014

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The rising possibility of war between major powers 6

So it’s coming – war? The big one?

As the Syrian war rages on – now a religious battle between Sunnis and Shiites as much as an armed rebellion against Bashar Assad’s tyranny – the Russians have offered troops to replace the withdrawing Austrian contingent of the UN’s “peace keeping” force on the Golan border between Syria and Israel. It looks likely that Fijian troops will be preferred by the UN, but Putin is nevertheless going ahead and preparing a Golan brigade. He is committed to helping the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad by supplying advanced weaponry, and he has warships near the Syrian coast.

At this juncture, Obama has decided that the US must send military aid to the rebels, composed of al-Qaeda affiliated and Muslim Brotherhood Sunnis. Assad himself is an Alawite, but his main support comes from Shia Iran and Iran’s Shia proxy, Hezbollah.

We quote from the (British) Mail Online .

The chilling headlines:

Could Syria ignite World War 3? That’s the terrifying question as the hatred between two Muslim ideologies sucks in the worlds superpowers.

  • Syrian conflict could engulf region in struggle between Sunni and Shia
  • Already claimed 93,000 lives and made 1.6million people refugees
  • UK, France and U.S. taken different side to China and Russia

The article proceeds:

The crisis in Syria may appear to be no more or less than a civil war in a country many people would struggle to place on a map.

But it’s much more than that: it is rapidly becoming a sectarian struggle for power that is bleeding across the Middle East, with the potential to engulf the entire region in a deadly power struggle between two bitterly opposed Muslim ideologies, Sunni and Shia.

Already, the war inside Syria has resulted in 93,000 dead and 1.6 million refugees, with millions more displaced internally. And those figures are escalating rapidly amid reports of appalling atrocities on both sides.

Fearing that Syria faced the kind of protests that had toppled the rulers of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya during the “Arab Spring”, Bashar al-Assad’s security forces used tanks and gunfire to crush the demonstrations. But it only stoked the fires.

The opposition developed into an armed insurgency, and now Syria has been engulfed in a civil war which has degenerated into a vicious sectarian conflict.

On one side are those who follow President Assad, who belongs to the Alawites — a splinter sect from Shia Islam.

On the other are a loose affiliation of insurgents drawn from the majority Sunni population, some of whom have close links to the Sunni jihadists of Al Qaeda.

The level of savagery is appalling. This week, up to 60 Shia Muslims were reported to have been slaughtered in an attack by opposition fighters in the eastern Syrian city of Hatla. …

Syria might fragment into three or four pieces on sectarian lines, with anyone marooned in the wrong enclave liable to face vicious ethnic cleansing.

And because the conflict is driven by religion, it could easily leap Syria’s frontiers to draw in regional powers.

So who is aligned with whom? Broadly speaking, Assad is supported by Iran (the main Shia power in the Middle East) and its militant Lebanese ally, the terrorist group Hezbollah.

The latter is Iran’s main weapon in any fight with Israel.

As a result, Assad is advised (and protected) by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, and there are also between 5,000 and 8,000 seasoned Hezbollah fighters inside Syria. …

The forces against Assad are joined by thousands of fighters flooding the country every week from across the region.

The rebels have also benefited from the ferocious will-to-die of an Islamist group called Jabhat al-Nusra, which is allied with Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Many more rebels are Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood persuasion.

They are supported with guns and money from Sunni states such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Such are the complex connections between modern nations, and the globalised nature of international politics, that repercussions could be felt around the world.

What happens in Syria affects Israel, with which it shares a militarised border on the Golan Heights. …

Although President Obama wants to downgrade America’s involvement in the Middle East now the U.S. can rely on reserves of cheap shale oil and gas at home, his own somewhat ostentatious concern for human rights keeps sucking him back in to side with the rebels.

We would correct that to (newly appointed Ambassador to the UN) Samantha Power’s and (newly appointed National Security Adviser) Susan Rice’s concern to be concerned gives Obama the excuse he needs to side with the rebels.

Why do we say “excuse”? In his role as pacifist and demilitarizer he is reluctant to have the US actively involved in another war so soon after the Iraq war ended and the Afghanistan war started winding down. But he is (we are convinced) on the side of the Arabs in their endless hostility to Israel, and he is a consistent supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood (sending, for instance, lavish aid to the MB government in Egypt). We guess he would not be sorry to see a Sunni victory – or an Israeli defeat. Regardless of his own prejudices, however, the US has commitments to NATO.

That [“concern for human rights”] is also broadly the position of Britain and France, whose leaders seem swayed by lurid and unverified social media footage of atrocities.

But while leading NATO nations line up in sympathy with the rebels, on the other side President Assad is being backed by Russia — a long-time friend of Syria — and by China.

Russia and China feel they were tricked by the West over the way the Libyan regime was overthrown with Western aid two years ago, and are determined Assad won’t be ousted and murdered like Gaddafi.

The war in Syria therefore has had a destabilising effect on the entire region, and could exert a terrifying domino effect as states disintegrate.

Whether such a nightmare scenario can be avoided — and global superpowers can be persuaded to keep their powder dry — we must wait to see with baited breath.

Obama, having said that if Assad used chemical weapons he would be crossing a “red line”, and having now acknowledged that sarin gas has been used, announced that the US will provide military aid to the Syrian rebels.

While there’s nothing new about the US aiding the Muslim Brotherhood (lavish aid to Egypt’s MB government is a case in point), it will be a strange development for the US to be allied with al-Qaeda. (How, we wonder will the survivors and bereft families of 9/11 feel about it?)

The most fearsome fact is that the powers are lined up now as the Mail reports: China and Russia on the side of the Shias,  Britain and France and the US – which is to say NATO – on the side of the Sunnis. And the West cannot allow Russia and China to become dominant powers on the edge of the Mediterranean.

On a Sunni day in Syria 3

 

(Video from LiveLeak)

This religious act was carried out by Jabhat al-Nusra.

From Wikipedia:  Jabhat an-Nusrah li-Ahl al-Sham … “The Support Front for the People of Syria”, is an Islamic group of militant rebels operating in Syria. The group announced its creation on 23 January 2012 during the Syrian Civil War. It is described as “the most aggressive and successful arm of the rebel force“. … The group is generally described as being made up of Sunni Islamists and Jihadists. Its goal is to overthrow the Assad government and to create a Pan-Islamic state under sharia law and aims to reinstate the Islamic Caliphate. It has been claimed that al-Nusra Front is affiliated with al-Qaeda in Iraq.  

Our question: Would they be an improvement on Bashar Assad as rulers of Syria, d’you think?

Posted under Islam, Muslims, Syria, Videos by Jillian Becker on Thursday, March 21, 2013

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Arms and the Arabs 2

Bashar Assad, Dictator of Syria, is a cruel man. Most dictators are. He’s a cool mass murderer, as his father was before him. Holding on to power seems to be his only aim, however small the Syrian nation may be that eventually remains for him to exercize power over.

A part of the oppressed nation is now rebelling against him in diverse fighting factions, not a co-ordinated force under a single command. For some reason we cannot figure out, the Western powers want this rabble of rebels to succeed in overthrowing Assad. They must imagine that whichever faction leader supplants Assad will be a better dictator. They surely cannot expect him not to be a dictator at all. As with the rebel rabbles in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya they spoke of the insurgent masses as aspiring democrats, thirsting for liberty. They helped rebels to topple sitting dictators. They applauded when, the old dictators gone, temporary authorities smiling like crocodiles presided over Western-style elections. It was a grand show, a political charade. The result has been new oppressors  coming to power in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya.

Why do we of little faith suppose that the same result will come about in Syria? Might there not be a faction among the rebels there which has a humane, tolerant  sort of leader, one who respects human life,  abominates torture, wants more nursery schools, cleaner hospitals, a better transport system, and  genuine friendship with the West?

What is known about the rebel groups? Anything at all? We’ve heard that there are al-Qaeda affiliates among them. How big? Growing or shrinking? How armed and by whom?

We found some answers in an article by Jackson Diehl, deputy editor of the editorial page of the Washington Post. (Surprisingly, it is critical of President Obama.)

For more than a year, the Obama administration has been assuring the world that the downfall of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is “a matter of time.” Yes, its own Middle East experts warned, but how much time matters. The longer the fighting goes on, they said, the more likely it is that what began as a peaceful mass opposition movement would be hijacked by extremists, including allies of al-Qaeda.

President Obama ignored that advice, ruling out measures that could have quickly brought down the regime — such as a no-fly zone — in favor of a year of feckless diplomacy. But it turned out the experts were right. So now the consequence of Obama’s passivity has a name, one that will surely haunt the occupant of the White House in 2013: Jabhat al-Nusra.

Actually, the full name of the Middle East’s latest jihadist terror movement, announced on an al-Qaeda-linked Web site last January, is Jabhat al-Nusra li-Ahl al-Sham Min Mujaheddin al Sham fi Sahat al Jihad, which means “Support Front for the People of Syria from the Mujaheddin of Syria in the places of Jihad.”

It was dismissed at first as a hoax, or maybe as a concoction of Assad’s intelligence service. Now its black flag is recognized, and often cheered, across Syria, and its bearded, baggy-pantalooned fighters are at the forefront of the critical battle for the city of Aleppo.

In the spring Jabhat al-Nusra had maybe 50 adherents, most of them in hiding, and had claimed credit for only a handful of attacks. Now it may have close to 1,000 core followers, and fighting units around Syria have begun openly claiming to belong to it. On YouTube, videos show the residents of areas taken over by the rebels waving its flag and chanting its name.

“They have been able to take an extremist identity and really give it a popular following in a context of bloody civil war,” says Elizabeth O’Bagy, the author of a sobering study of Syria’s jihadists for the Institute for the Study of War. “They have become the most significant threat to long-term stability in Syria.”

“Stability in Syria.” There was stability of a kind under Assad dictatorship. One of the abiding mysteries is why persons in the West want stability at any cost in regions of wretchedness such as the Arab Middle East. Whether stable or in the throes of revolution, wretchedness is the norm and survival is precarious. But we value Elizabeth O’Bagy’s information that this al-Qaeda affiliated faction has become most significant.

Was it to them the murdered US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and the large CIA operation set up in Benghazi, were organizing the shipment of arms through Turkey? (See our post Obama the arms broker to al-Qaeda, October 26, 2012.) To what extent has aid and encouragement from the Obama administration helped  Jabhat al-Nusra to grow?

Jackson Diehl anticipates our question and replies:

No, Barack Obama’s policies alone did not create this monster. [Our emphasis.] It is, first of all, a creature of Assad’s own regime, blowback from his years of sponsoring terrorist networks in Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories. For more than a decade, Syrian intelligence allowed al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups to establish bases and logistical networks to support attacks on American troops in Iraq, anti-Syrian politicians in Lebanon, and Israel. Now many of those rat lines have been reversed, and the extremists are targeting Assad.

He sponsored their training and arming. Now the beast he has fattened is turning on him. It’s a perfect vignette of Middle Eastern chaos.

They do so because they were never his natural allies — Assad’s Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, is considered heretical by the Sunni jihadists — and because they see an opening to rebuild a movement that was shattered in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One of the first contingents to bolster Jabhat al-Nusra, O’Bagy found, came from Fatah al Islam, a former Syrian intelligence client that launched a battle in 2007 to take over a Palestinian refu­gee camp near Tripoli, Lebanon. “These individuals,” O’Bagy writes, “received training in weapons and insurgency tactics from the Syrian government and gained experience using them in Iraq and Lebanon. They also have knowledge of and connections to the Syrian intelligence and security apparatus.”

In fact, the group has specialized in attacks on intelligence facilities. On Oct. 9, it staged a sophisticated, three-stage assault on an air force intelligence compound outside Damascus. Earlier in the month, it claimed credit for a string of bombings in Aleppo that targeted an officer’s club and other government-held facilities, reportedly killing dozens.

The rebel groups are not even willingly co-operating with each other. Only for the moment they fight together because they have the common aim of toppling the tyrant Assad.

Leaders of the Free Syrian Army, the mainstream rebel force that emerged from the original protest movement, don’t support the jihadists or their tactics. But as the war in cities like Aleppo becomes more desperate, Jabhat al-Nusra has provided precious reinforcements. Thanks to generous support from sources in Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states, its units are often better-armed than secular forces

We note in passing that this al-Qaeda linked faction is generously supported by the Saudis. But we stop to consider what O’Bagy says next –

which have been starved by Obama’s ban on U.S. weapon supplies.

“Obama’s ban on U.S. weapon supplies.” So to whichever factions Ambassador Stevens and the CIA were getting or trying to get arms, whether to the “secular” forces or the al-Qaeda affiliates or both, Obama was subverting his own policy? If that is so, it can be no wonder that he is trying to cover up the disaster in Libya.  

The result, says O’Bagy, is that the character of Syria’s opposition has changed. “It’s no longer a pro-democracy force trying to bring down a dictatorship. It no longer holds the moral high ground. They have muddied the waters.”

“No longer a pro-democracy force”. Was it ever?

The Washington Post article ends on a note of dire warning:

If the war drags on, Jabhat al-Nusra will surely grow stronger. …  It could try to get hold of Syria’s abundant stocks of chemical weapons. And it could start looking beyond Syria for targets. You might say it’s a matter of time.

Does Obama have the faintest idea of what he has got America into? Does Defense Secretary Panetta? Or CIA chief General Petraeus? Or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?

We very much doubt it.