Obama whispers “bang-bang” to terrorists

Featured image According to the Washington Post, weapons and ammunition are in such short supply at the centers where Iraqi army units receive training to fight ISIS that the trainees are yelling “bang-bang” instead of shooting. Last August, when President Obama announced that the U.S. would undertake a mostly proxy war against ISIS, I would have said that yelling “bang-bang” is the perfect metaphor for his anti-terrorism campaign. Today, whispering “bang-bang” is »

Ambassador who sided with Muslim Brotherhood spearheads State Department’s anti-ISIS effort

Featured image John Kerry has assembled a three-person team to lead the State Department’s efforts against ISIS. Two of the members — Gen. John Allen and Brett McGurk — seem unobjectionable. The third, Anne Patterson, is another matter. In announcing her central role, Kerry praised Patterson as “one of our nation’s top diplomats deeply respected in the region.” But Patterson is not respected in Egypt, where she served as ambassador during the »

The situation “remains very fluid”

Featured image FOX News is touting the video below this morning as “jihadis gone wild.” They assert that it depicts Libyan jihadis disporting themselves at what is described as the CIA annex to our embassy in Tripoli. If this is the CIA annex, this must be the double secret pool outside it. CNN reports on the video in “Libyan militia uses vacated U.S. embassy in Libya as swim club.” In the CNN »

No longer even “leading from behind,” Obama is out of the loop in Libya

Featured image Egypt and the United Arab Emirates carried out airstrikes in Tripoli this weekend against the Islamist militants who were in the process of taking control of that city and its airport. The airstrikes appear to have failed to prevent that takeover. The government of Libya is, in the words of its ambassador to Egypt, “unable to protect its institutions, its airports, and natural resources, especially the oil fields.” Moreover, the »

Hillary Clinton and the decision to intervene in Libya

Featured image Hillary Clinton has been working full-time to control the story of her time as Secretary of State. That was the point of her clunky, largely unread book, and the point of her awkward, gaffe-laden book tour. Clinton argues (plausibly) that she wanted a more activist approach to Syria than that served up by her boss. She argues (implausibly) that she wasn’t really sold on the “reset” with Russia. As to »

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. »

Obama foreign policy successes? Not Libya

Featured image Abe Greenwald has written an important article for Commentary called “He’s Made It Worse: Obama’s Middle East.” We’ve already seen how Obama made it worse in Egypt. Today, we focus on Greenwald’s discussion of Libya. The Arab upheaval, unanticipated by Obama, hit Libya in the form of an armed insurrection against the Qaddifi regime. When Qaddifi quickly grabbed the upper-hand, the rebels appealed to the West for help to avoid »

Libya: The sorry aftermath

Featured image I forget precisely why Barack Obama volunteered the United States to lead (“from behind”) the effort to depose Muammar Gaddafi back in 2011. I believe our involvement had something to do with the hypothetical harm Gaddafi might do to various tribes of Libya, but it didn’t seem to involve any interest of the United States. I do know we lost four good men in Libya in the sorry aftermath of »

Why won’t Obama target Benghazi ringleader?

Featured image My initial reaction to the New York Times’ revisionist account of Benghazi was that if there’s anything to the story, Congress should hold hearings to test, in light of the new information, the competing versions of who and what were behind the attacks. This remark was intended to point out that Benghazi revisionism might be a dangerous game for Hillary Clinton and her supporters to play. I made the same »

The New York Times — off the rails for an ulterior motive

Featured image One shouldn’t question the good faith of a news report merely because one disagrees with the report’s conclusions. But David Kirkpatrick’s revisionist Benghazi account in the New York Times invites doubt about his commitment to unbiased reporting about that tragic affair. My doubts stem both from the reporting itself and from what a person whom Kirkpatrick interviewed told me. Let’s begin with the reporting. Kirkpatrick centers his account on one »

How the New York Times tried to airbrush al Qaeda out of Benghazi

Featured image Yesterday, in discussing the New York Times’ claim that, as far as it can tell, neither al Qaeda nor any other international terrorist group had a role in the Benghazi attack, I wrote: The Times chooses to focus on a militia leader named Ahmed Abu Khattala, whom it characterizes as “an erratic extremist” and very much his own man. But I believe that other leaders connected to the attack have »

The New York Times’ revisionist account of Benghazi

Featured image The New York Times is out with a revisionist account of the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi. The Times says that in months of investigating, it “turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault.” The Times also claims that the attack “was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.” I »

Obama’s Middle East abdication

Featured image David Ignatius shows how Obama administration policy towards Libya fits a familiar pattern of unwillingness to support anti-jihadist forces and governments in the Middle East: For a case study of why America’s influence has receded in the Middle East, consider the example of Libya. Some simple steps over the past two years might have limited the country’s descent toward anarchy. . . . When Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan visited »

Obama keeps hands off Benghazi terrorists while lawyers build criminal case

Featured image We’ve always viewed the Benghazi scandal in terms of (1) the Obama administration’s failure to provide requested security before the attack, (2) its conduct, or lack thereof, during the attack, and (3) its cover-up after the attack (along with, as we recently learned, its retaliation against those who didn’t feel comfortable about the cover-up). But there’s always been a fourth element — the administration’s failure to bring the attackers to »

100 Christians Arrested, Reportedly Tortured In Libya

Featured image The Arab Spring is looking more like Springtime For Hitler all the time. The latest outrage comes from Libya, where 100 Christians from Egypt were arrested, allegedly for proselytizing. Representatives of the local Christian church say the men were working in Libya, but not proselytizing. Be that as it may, telling others about their religion is something they had a right to do. The creepy video below shows the men, »

Arab Spring, Libya Edition

Featured image In Benghazi, four alleged Christian missionaries–from the U.S., Egypt, South Korea and South Africa–have been arrested for distributing extracts from the Bible, and may face the death penalty: Four foreigners have been arrested in Libya on suspicion of being missionaries and distributing Christian literature, a charge that could carry the death penalty. The four – a Swedish-American, Egyptian, South African and South Korean – were arrested in Benghazi by Preventive »

Reconsidering Michele Bachmann

Featured image The Washington Post reports today that al Qaeda’s successful attack on the Algerian natural gas plant has greatly boosted al Qaeda’s prestige in Africa. Along the way, the Post notes rather casually: The assailants were well-trained and armed with what appear to have been weapons from the late Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s arsenal. The overthrow of Moammar Gaddafi has turned out to be a terrible blunder. It has empowered radical »