Iraq

Jen Psaki explains

Featured image The president and his flacks are talking as fast as they can to explain that the visible deterioration of our interests around the world has nothing to do do with the actions of the administration itself. This past Sunday on 60 Minutes Obama passed the buck to his intelligence functionaries for failing to foresee the swift rise of ISIS over the past two year. Now his flacks have had to »

Scenes from a sideshow

Featured image Watching the Pentagon press conference displaying the results of the initial strikes on ISIS targets in Syria yesterday, I was struck by the apparent paucity of military targets and the limited nature of the strikes. Looking at the before/after images of a few of the strikes it was difficult to see the difference (not to say it didn’t exist). The Daily Mail rounds up a series of images from the »

Is Obama’s bombing campaign a sideshow?

Featured image President Obama should be commended for yesterday’s air attacks against ISIS. In addition, his decision to bomb the jidhadist Khorasan group, which is believed to be plotting attacks against the West, is praiseworthy. As to this affiliate of al Qaeda, Obama seems, for once, to be acting rather than reacting. Even so, I tend to agree with Max Boot who argues that the most consequential news from the Levant yesterday »

Obama’s “organizing” fantasy

Featured image President Obama has improved upon his statement of the American objective regarding ISIS. He now says that he intends to “degrade and destroy” this barbaric outfit, not merely to convert it into a “manageable problem.” However, Obama has not retracted, or even “walked back,” his statement about how to deal with ISIS. He has consistently taken the position that “what we’ve got to do is make sure that we are »

Surviving an ISIS massacre

Featured image The New York Times produced the video below with credits to Mike Shum, Greg Campbell, Adam B. Ellick and Mona El-Naggar earlier this week. They report: “ISIS massacred hundreds of Iraqi military recruits in June. Ali Hussein Kadhim survived. This is his improbable story.” They add the warning: “Includes graphic images.” The related Times story on the events depicted is Tim Arango’s “Escaping death in northern Iraq.” I thought readers »

A Hawkish Rick Perry addresses the Heritage Foundation

Featured image Gov. Rick Perry stopped off in Washington today, on his way to New Hampshire, to give a speech at the Heritage Foundation. His address came at the conclusion of a panel discussion (which Perry did not participate in) called “The Border Crisis and the New Politics of Immigration.” Perry talked for a while about immigration but, exercising potential presidential candidate’s prerogative, his speech focused primarily on a different topic — »

Inside the Islamic State

Featured image In a recent column Jonah Goldberg mentioned VICE TV’s reports from Islamic State-controlled parts of Syria. Jonah encouraged readers to view the reports and commented that “you will quickly see how the word ‘criminal’ is morally, logically and strategically inadequate. They indoctrinate children to become jihadists and suicide bombers. They vow to fly their black flag over the White House.” VICE News has posted the full video of of its »

Will ISIS be defeated in Iraq and will it attack the U.S.?

Featured image Yesterday, I attended a conference at the Heritage Foundation. The topic was Iraq and Obama’s approach to dealing with the current crisis. The panel consisted of Steven Hadley (formerly, President Bush’s National Security Adviser), Mary Habeck (of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies), and Steven Bucci (of Heritage and a retired Special Forces Colonel). The panel quickly agreed on two things. First, President Obama will not commit a »

The limits of air strikes in Iraq

Featured image Robert Scales, a retired Army major general and former commandant of the U.S. Army War College, argues that an air campaign against ISIS is destined to fail. At first, it will probably set ISIS back, but before long the fighters will adapt. They will make targets more difficult to locate from the air and hide them (and themselves) in populated areas. Scales concludes: As the enemy grows more skilled, we »

With Maliki out, what changes?

Featured image Nouri al-Maliki seems to be out as prime minister of Iraq, though he’s not going quietly. Haider al-Abadi’s has been asked to form a new Iraqi government. Maliki’s downfall became inevitable, says the Washington Post, when the massively influential Ayatollah Sistani wrote a letter to Dawa leaders saying that, due to the “critical circumstances” Iraq faces, a “new vision” is necessary. Dawa is the powerful Shiite political party which Maliki »

Hagel sends 130 advisers to deal with “the most brutal, barbaric forces we’ve ever seen”

Featured image In his address to Marines in San Diego, Chuck Hagel described the threat posed by ISIS this way: The Iraqi people, the government of Iraq, country of Iraq is now under threat from some of the most brutal, barbaric forces we’ve ever seen in the world today, and a force, [ISIS], and others that is an ideology that’s connected to an army and it’s a force and a dimension that »

Obama brings his brand of “identity politics” to the Middle East

Featured image After months of ignoring the rise of ISIS in Iraq, and years of ignoring it in Syria, President Obama was finally moved to take limited action against the Islamist barbarians when they trapped the Yazidis on a mountain in Northern Iraq. I applaud the decision and feel pride in America for having saved (it appears) many members of this sect. But what was magic about the Yazidis? As Seth Mandel »

‘Twas a famous ending

Featured image Those of us of a certain age recall that Jimmy Carter began his term in office as president declaring that we had overcome our inordinate fear of Communism. As William Buckley probably pointed out at the time, Carter never did explain what the “ordinate” fear of Commmunism was or would have been. Rather, he was, as a certain critical biography of Carter points out, declaring an end to the Cold »

The Fate of Democracy In Iraq

Featured image Reuters has the latest from Baghdad, where Prime Minister Maliki is trying to hang on to power in the wake of the appointment of a new Prime Minister by President Fouad Masoum. I am not an expert on the Iraqi constitution, but I take it that Maliki–whose term in office has been increasingly disastrous for Iraq, as he has been seen as a sectarian and to a large extent a »

Obama’s pathetic excuse for not acting in Iraq

Featured image Why did President Obama stand by while ISIS conquered much of Iraq? The reason seems straightforward: he doesn’t believe in using force unless it’s part of an international effort. Obama has offered a different explanation, though. He says he’s been unwilling to intervene because “there’s no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.” “The only lasting solution,” he adds, “is reconciliation among Iraqi communities and stronger Iraqi security »

Arm the Kurds!

Featured image ISIS has routed Kurdish forces in their early engagements, mostly because they are better armed. The Associated Press notes: In a bitter irony, the extremists used American armored vehicles and weapons they had seized from the hapless Iraqi military to defeat Kurdish fighters who were blocked from acquiring just such equipment…. Yes, it’s true. The Obama administration has for years been denying the Kurds’ requests to BUY American munitions: For »

ISIS Rampant, America In Decline [with comment by Paul]

Featured image ISIS poses a threat to today’s liberal world-view analogous to the threat posed by national socialism in the 1930s. But ISIS makes the Nazis look like pikers. ISIS, flying the black flag of Islam, murders, rapes and pillages with breathtaking speed and efficiency. In a few short months, ISIS has taken over much of Iraq, as this map from the Daily Mail illustrates: ISIS succeeds mostly because it is incredibly »