Sunday, September 01, 2013

Obama always seems to take the side of the radicals on the Islamic spectrum

From PJ Media, 28 Aug 2013, by J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS:

The Obama administration is on the verge of reducing their whole reason for existence — this time in Syria.
In 2008, Obama ran for president promising an America where race was in the rear-view mirror.  These days, racial issues are crashing through the windshield, in no small measure because of Obama’s rhetoric.
In 2008, Obama capped years of harping about the UN, congressional authorizations of force, and American military hubris with an election win. Swarms of his supporters, particularly the young, bought into the rhetoric of the gentle and restrained America. The absurd “Coexist” bumper sticker had become policy.
In Libya, Obama first revealed himself as an international hypocrite. Congressional authorization for force wasn’t so important now that he was ordering it.
...The oddest thing about this president is that he always seems to take the side of the radicals on the Islamic spectrum — both at home and abroad.
At home, he shoves a radicalized version of civil rights down Americans’ throats, forcing schools to give teachers weeks off for the Haj. 
Abroad, Obama has sided with regimes and factions that are slaughtering Christians and threatening the security of Israel. Some Americans, particularly journalists, avert their eyes to the ominous parallels. Rather than oppose evil, this president seems to lurk in its fringe. Rather than vocally condemning the murder of Catholic priests and the destruction of churches in Syria, this president is about to take the side of the murderers.
Never before has America had a leader like this. He is not the man to be leading the nation in this present darkness.

Go after the dog’s master, not the dog.

From PJ Media, 28 Aug 2013, by DAVID P. GOLDMAN:

... the road to Damascus starts in Tehran.  As Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu explained on Aug. 25, “Assad’s regime isn’t acting alone. Iran, and Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, are there on the ground playing an active role assisting Syria. In fact, Assad’s regime has become a full Iranian client and Syria has become Iran’s testing ground. … Iran is watching and it wants to see what will be the reaction to the use of chemical weapons.”
We are at war with Iran...we have been at war with Iran for decades. [Bogie Yaalon has suggested that we have been at war with Iran since 1979 - SL]
The only distinction is that Iran knows this and the Obama administration pretends it’s not happening. Because the American public is disgusted with the miserable return on our investment of 5,000 lives, 50,000 casualties, and $1 trillion in Iraq and Afghanistan, Republicans are too timid to push for decisive military action to stop Iran’s nuclear program — although air strikes rather than ground troops would be required.
I made a similar case on March 29:
It’s pointless to take potshots at Obama for failing to act on Syria. What we should say is this: “Iran is the main source of instability in the Middle East. Iran’s intervention in Syria has turned the country into a slaughterhouse. By showing weakness to Iran, the Obama administration encourages its murderous activities elsewhere in the region.”
I also recommend Ed “Give War a Chance” Luttwak’s Aug. 25 op-ed in the New York Times, “In Syria, America Loses if Either Side Wins.” Victory for Assad would be victory for Iran. “And if the rebels win, “ Luttwak wrote, “moderate Sunnis would be politically marginalized under fundamentalist rulers.” The whole region is paralyzed and ripe for destabilization. Saudi subsidies are keeping Egypt from starving, literally. “Turkey has large and restless minority populations that don’t trust their own government, which itself does not trust its own army. The result has been paralysis instead of power, leaving Mr. Erdogan an impotent spectator of the civil war on his doorstep.” I would add that Turkey also is at economic free-fall with its stock market down by 40% in dollar terms since April.
Luttwak argues that the U.S. should favor “an indefinite draw.” Here I disagree: the chemical attack shows how easily Iran can manipulate events in Syria to suit its strategic objectives.
The best solution is Yugoslav-style partition: an Alawite redoubt in the Northwest including Latakia (where Russia has its naval station), and a Sunni protectorate in the rest of the country, except for an autonomous zone for Syria’s Kurds. Everyone wins except the Turks, who understandably abhor the idea of an independent Kurdish entity. Someone has to lose, though. What has Turkey done for us lately?
Obama probably will choose the worst of all possible alternatives. Daniel Pipes warns that this course of action “will also entail real dangers. Bashar al-Assad’s notorious incompetence means his response cannot be anticipated. Western strikes could, among other possibilities, inadvertently lead to increased regime attacks on civilians, violence against Israel, an activation of sleeper cells in Western countries, or heightened dependence on Tehran. Surviving the strikes also permits Assad to boast that he defeated the United States. In other words, the imminent attack entails few potential benefits but many potential drawbacks. As such, it neatly encapsulates the Obama administration’s failed foreign policy.”
If the problems of the Middle East look intractable now, consider what they will look like if Iran can promote mass murder from under a nuclear umbrella. The hour is late...

Obama appears weak, indecisive ...Assad is not the only enemy who is watching.

From PJ Media, 31 Aug 2013, by Bryan Preston:

President Obama delivered an astonishing speech on Syria in the Rose Garden this afternoon. The Syrian government apparently crossed the “red line,” using chemical weapons against civilians on August 21. Ten days later, Obama stepped forward to articulate his plan…to delay any American response until at least September 9. That’s when Congress returns to Washington, at which time, the president said today, in his hectoring tone,  he will take military strikes on Syria up for debate and a vote.
... the groundwork for congressional approval should have begun August 22nd, not August 31st. Actually, it should have begun in 2012.
Now we’re left with a strange timetable. Secretary of State John Kerry made a strong case Friday that Syria’s actions represent a significant enough threat to America’s national security that we must act. ... Kerry was delivering the Obama administration’s urgent position on Syria. But later Friday and especially today, President Obama poured cold water on the idea that there could be very much urgency to the threat...
Obama has just given Assad another fortnight to move his SCUDs and other potential targets, and line up his responses should the U.S. attack.
Additionally, Kerry’s statements this week did not appear to move the needle with Congress or the public. Odds are that another week plus of no action will not raise the appetite for military action.
President Obama has handled Syria with an utter lack of seriousness throughout. He labeled the use of chemical weapons a “red line” a year ago in an offhand comment, then spent the following year doing nothing to prepare the Congress or the public or the United Nations for the possibility that that red line would be crossed and then America would have to act.
Now the red line has been crossed, but probably by both sides in the Syrian civil war at different times. Only Assad’s crossing it merits Obama’s attention, for some reason.
...There may be Jeffersonian federalists extant somewhere in Damascus or the rebel-held territories, but they do not hold sway. One side is a brutal Baathist dictatorship aligned with Iran that supports Shiite terrorists; the other side is dominated by al Qaeda’s predominantly Sunni terrorists. Syria is a sectarian and tribal civil war.
Obama appears weak, indecisive and unable to back up his own words. Assad is not the only enemy who is watching.

Obama intends to get Congressional approval for (possible) Syria action in a couple of weeks

From PJ Media, 1/9/13, by Bridget Johnson:

With Vice President Joe Biden at his side, President Obama promised in a Rose Garden address that he would seek authorization from Congress to strike at Syria.
Obama said inaction against the regime of Bashar al-Assad “risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons.”
“It endangers our friends and our partners along Syria’s borders, including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq.  It could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons, or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm. In a world with many dangers, this menace must be confronted.”
“After careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets,” said Obama...
“… I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress.” There’s no indication that Congress will return earlier than Sept. 9, though, to begin considering such an authorization...
After the address, Obama went golfing with Biden at Fort Belvoir.
Obama’s remarks...were carried live on Syrian state television..
“Under the Constitution, the responsibility to declare war lies with Congress,” House GOP leaders Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said in a joint statement. “We are glad the president is seeking authorization for any military action in Syria in response to serious, substantive questions being raised.  In consultation with the president, we expect the House to consider a measure the week of September 9th.  This provides the president time to make his case to Congress and the American people.”
“I appreciate the president’s decision to seek congressional authorization for military action,” said House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.).
“I agree those who use chemical weapons against their own people should be held accountable. Authorization for the use of force in this case should be contingent on the president setting clear military objectives that can meet articulated policy goals, including degrading any party’s ability to use these weapons again. The coming days will determine if such a military operation can be identified. I look forward to the debate.”...

Israel cannot afford half measures by the Obama administration.

From PJ Media, 30 Aug 2013, by Joseph Puder, founder and executive director of the Interfaith Taskforce for America and Israel (ITAI):

Soon after the UN inspectors leave Syria and are able to present their report to the UN Security Council, it appears that President Obama’s national security team will recommend an immediate but limited strike against the Assad war machine but will not seek to affect a regime change.
Obama has already provided the U.S. Congress with evidence of Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his civilian population. A U.S. attack would be, by all accounts, an effort to deter and degrade Assad’s air force, strike the missile stockpile capable of launching chemical weapons, and  eliminate communications and control centers.
The question at this point is not if the Obama administration will launch an attack, but rather when, and to what extent the Obama administration is willing to go in order to defeat Bashar Assad.
The Obama administration has announced that it will not abide by a UN timetable. It has already consulted with NATO allies, Arab League member states, and other Middle Eastern countries.  Similar to George Bush Sr., Obama has been trying to assemble a coalition of states willing to engage in the attack on the Assad regime, including some NATO countries, as well as Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Friends of the Assad regime, including Russia, China, and Iran, have protested against the planned attack. And the Tehran regime already warned that if Assad’s Syria is attacked, Israel will suffer the consequences.
Obama, having committed himself to a red line, must act if he and the U.S. are to maintain any credibility.  There is ample evidence already about the Assad regime’s complicity and engagement in the use of chemical weapons against civilians. 
The question is what effect a U.S. attack on the Assad regime would have on Israel.
An attack on Syria would be different from the U.S. attack on Iraq in 1991 to dislodge Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces from Kuwait. For one thing, the geography is different. Syria  borders Israel in the northeast.  Iraq has no border with Israel and is over 1,000 miles away. In 1991, the Bush administration ordered the Israeli government of  Yitzhak Shamir not to retaliate against Saddam Hussein’s Scud missile attacks on Israeli cities in order to preserve the wide coalition, which included Arab and Islamic states. In today’s scenario, an Israeli retaliatory attack on Assad would be acceptable if not welcomed by most Sunni-Muslim Arab states.
Despite the Netanyahu government’s pronouncements that chances of a chemical attack on Israel by the Assad regime are slim at best, Israelis are not taking chances and are preparing for the worst possible outcome. Thousands of Israelis have crowded the gas-mask distribution centers. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, in a press conference, assured Israelis that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is ready and capable of dealing with all eventualities. The IDF has moved additional batteries of the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system and Patriot missiles to the Golan and Galilee. The long-range Arrow missiles have also been moved to the north.
An American attack on Assad’s military infrastructure that degrades his capabilities would certainly be welcomed in Jerusalem.  In spite of viewing the civil war from the sidelines, Israel has obvious strategic interests.  While the Sunni and Islamist rebels in Syria are not a welcome sight for Israelis, they do not, however, pose a strategic threat to Israel.  The Assad arsenal does. And should Assad be defeated, the “evil axis” of Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah would be broken smack in the middle. The Islamic Republic of Iran knows it, and it has invested much of its capital in maintaining Assad in power.
But even if the Assad regime would refrain from attacking Israel, there is still a chance that Hezbollah from Lebanon and Hamas from Gaza would attack the Jewish state. The chance of this happening  is also rather slim.  Hezbollah is heavily involved in Syria and, as a result, has lost much of its legitimacy in Lebanon. Attacking Israel would mean further eroding its standing in Lebanon, and a devastating retaliation on Lebanon by Israel would be blamed on Hezbollah.
Hamas has lost its Egyptian backer, deposed President Mohammad Morsi. It is now faced with a hostile Egyptian government, largely controlled by an unsympathetic Egyptian military. The need for a new patron, however, may lead Hamas into Tehran’s arms.  Still, it is unlikely that Hamas would provoke a fight with Israel. It is more likely that the Islamic Jihad terrorist groups would attack Israel from Gaza. Such an attack would result in painful retaliation that would garner little support for Hamas or Islamic Jihad in the Arab world.
Should Assad’s Syria, against all logic, attack Israel (and one has to assume that his logic is not the same as that of the Israelis and Americans) it would provide Jerusalem with a legitimate excuse to bring down the Assad regime. It is reasonable to presume that if Bashar Assad interprets the American attack as one that is meant to topple him, he might attack Israel savagely. After killing more than 100,000 of his own people, killing thousands of Israelis would bring him pleasure.
The demise of the Assad regime would be a major disaster for Assad’s Iranian patrons.
Russia and China are unlikely to intervene. China does not have the global capabilities that the U.S. has, and Russia, while defending its Mediterranean port in Tartus, Syria, is committed to combating the dissemination of weapons of mass destruction along with the U.S. It will not risk a confrontation with the U.S. or send ground forces to Syria to defend Assad from Israel.
The reasonable assumption is that, at least officially, Damascus would not directly attack Israel, and neither would Hezbollah. The Iranian paymasters, nevertheless, might push Syria or Hezbollah to engage Israel. Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, knows that he may lose a great deal by attacking Israel, so he might sub-contract an attack on Israel to smaller, lesser-known groups. Additionally, Hezbollah might transfer weapons from Syria into Lebanon. In both cases, the IDF is committed to acting decisively. The transfer of lethal weapons to Lebanon is a red line for Israel.
Attacking Assad’s Syria is not a passionate humanitarian or principled move by President Obama.  He would rather stay away from another Middle Eastern involvement.  But, in this case, his credibility is on the line. The attack, if it comes, would be weak and limited in scope, and it would not seek to topple Assad. A U.S. attack on Syria would serve as a symbolic gesture towards Iran by demonstrating the reach of our military.  Iran’s commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, is concerned about it. He stated on August 29 that a U.S. attack on Syria would mean the “imminent destruction” of Israel. He warned that “Syria will turn into a more dangerous and deadly battlefield than the Vietnam War.”
Israel has to face an implacable enemy, not only in Syria’s Assad, but in Iran’s nuclear and conventional power. Israel cannot, therefore, afford half measures by the Obama administration or Washington’s  miscalculations in Syria.