As Iraq Crumbles, Obama Responds

Featured image As I wrote last night, the situation in Iraq has grown dire. The heretofore unthinkable possibility that an al Qaeda branch could gain control of the majority of OPEC’s second-largest oil producer is suddenly on the table. What does the Obama administration have to say about the crisis in Iraq? Bloomberg News reports: The U.S. has yet to respond to a request from Iraq made last month to mount air »

Obama successes in the Middle East? The Washington Post can’t find them

Featured image I have been searching, so far in vain, for Obama foreign policy success stories in the Middle East. The Washington Post’s editors fare no better in their search: In Syria, where for three years Mr. Obama has assiduously avoided meaningful engagement, civil war has given rise to “the most catastrophic humanitarian crisis any of us have seen in a generation,” Mr. Obama’s United Nations ambassador Samantha Power said in February. »

From Bad to Worse In Iraq

Featured image The news from Iraq is grim. Yesterday, jihadists who call themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant captured Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. Today they took Saddam Hussein’s home town of Tikrit. Both cities have been the scene of mass beheadings. Iraqi soldiers–reportedly, as many as 30,000 of them–have abandoned their weapons and fled. A half million refugees are trying to make their way to the de facto »

Shinseki at the VA — wrong man, wrong reason

Featured image Gen. Eric Shinseki, whose reign as Secretary of Veterans Affairs has been such a disaster, became a hero to the left for having advocated that more troops be sent into Iraq at the time of the invasion. There’s irony — or rather cynicism — here. Leftists didn’t really want more troops pouring into Iraq, they just wanted a hammer to beat President Bush with. Shinseki became that hammer. The left »

Abrams analyzes

Featured image In “Kristol connects” I wrote about Bill Kristol’s presentation to the Minnesota chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition this past Monday. I noted that Bill connected Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem the day before with columns by former IDF chief of intelligence Amos Yadlin and former Netanyahu national security adviser Yaacov Amidror. Bill had had the benefit of an advance look at the then »

The Feel Good Headline of the Day

Featured image From the New York Times and other outlets: Suicide Bomb Trainer in Iraq Accidentally Blows Up His Class BAGHDAD — If there were such a thing, it would probably be rule No. 1 in the teaching manual for instructors of aspiring suicide bombers: Don’t give lessons with live explosives. In what represented a cautionary tale for terrorist teachers, and a cause of dark humor for ordinary Iraqis, a commander at »

Don’t shoot the messenger

Featured image Walter Pincus, the Washington Post’s long-time voice of conventional liberal thinking on national defense issues, is unhappy with Robert Gates’ new book. He complains that, although Gates devotes nearly half of the book to his two years at the Pentagon under President Bush, he provides “no embarrassing anecdotes or acidic comments.” No doubt, there were embarrassing moments at the Pentagon while Gates was serving Bush there. But Gates’ high-profile revelations »

As Iraq Slides Downhill, What Happened to Obama’s “Plan”?

Featured image Al Qaeda is rapidly asserting control over large swaths of Iraq, and the Obama administration is doing nothing, because President Obama doesn’t care. But didn’t Obama once have a plan to deal with the possibility that our withdrawal from Iraq could create an opportunity for al Qaeda? Indeed he did. Here is Obama in 2007, telling us that “My plan would maintain forces in the region to target all al »

Terrorists Take Fallujah; Obama Doesn’t Care

Featured image The Obama administration has been disgraceful in so many ways that it is hard to keep track of them all, but surely one of the worst is its treatment of Iraq. Following his inauguration, President Obama withdrew troops from Iraq on the timetable that had been agreed to by the Bush administration. But as the draw-down continued, and it became apparent that security would worsen dangerously in the absence of »

Kerry to Congress: Don’t believe those lying Israelis

Featured image John Kerry appeared before the Senate Banking Committee yesterday to argue against further sanctions on Iran. The session was closed, but Republican members weren’t bashful about publicly expressing their dismay over Kerry’s performance. BuzzFeed has the details. Sen. Bob Corker said he was “very disappointed.” Kerry, he said, made “an emotional appeal,” devoid of specificity. Sen. Mark Kirk described Kerry’s pitch as “very unconvincing” and “fairly anti-Israel.” According to Kirk, »

Bipartisan U.S. policy leaves Iraq on the brink

Featured image I wrote here and here about the unraveling of Iraq that has followed the withdrawal of American troops and the failure of the Obama administration to negotiate a status of forces agreement with the Maliki government. I also noted that Maliki would be in Washington this week seeking help from President Obama. The U.S. has a clear interest in helping the Maliki government stem the tide of violence and terrorism »

The wages of Obama’s foreign policy indifference

Featured image Last month, relying mainly on the work of Jessica Lewis of the Institute for the Study of War, I wrote about the resurgence of al Qaeda in Iraq. Today, the Washington Post, in a front page story that quotes Lewis extensively, describes the same phenomenon: Nearly two years after the U.S. troop withdrawal, Iraq is in the midst of a deepening security crisis as an al-Qaeda affiliate wages a relentless »

Break the logjam on visas for foreign interpreters who served our military during war

Featured image During an appearance before the Washington chapter of the Federalist Society earlier this year, someone asked Rep. Tom Cotton about immigration reform. As part of his answer, Tom noted that the Afghan who served as his interpreter while he participated in the Afghanistan war was still waiting for a U.S. visa. Why grant status to millions of illegal aliens while a man who risked his life supporting America’s war effort »

Al Qaeda in Iraq is resurgent

Featured image Jessica Lewis of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) was a decorated intelligence officer for the U.S. Army. She performed that role in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Lewis is the author of a new ISW report called “Al Qaeda in Iraq is Resurgent.” It’s always nice when a report gets to the point in the title, even if the point isn’t nice. Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) reached its »

Secular Syria?

Featured image I had to smile during yesterday’s hearing on Syria when John Kerry talked about Syria’s secular tradition. Kerry did so in arguing that, if Assad falls, a takeover by Islamist extremists is unlikely. I smiled because advocates of the invasion of Iraq made the same kind of argument in the run-up to that war. I didn’t check the Power Line archives, but wouldn’t be surprised if I talked about Iraq’s »

Democracy in action

Featured image Throughout the Middle East, nations and factions are picking sides in the Syrian civil war. But, as the Washington Post reports, Iraq is maintaining its neutrality. Iraq does so even though its president, Nouri al-Maliki, is a Shiite with close past ties to Iran — a major player in Syria. Moreover, as conflicts between Sunni and Shiite increasingly define the region as a whole, not just Syria, Maliki is making »

The peril of arming Syrian rebels

Featured image Michael Rubin has a string of worthwhile posts up at Commentary, including reports from Iraq where he is visiting. I want to call particular attention, though, to Rubin’s post about Syria, which draws heavily from what he has learned in Iraq. Rubin argues that “arming Syrian rebels is strategic suicide.” He explains: This trip. . .has been a wake-up call: Not only Iraqi Shi’ites, but also Iraqi Christians, Iraqi Kurds, »