Syria

Refugee Debate May Blow Immigration Issue Sky-High

Featured image The Obama administration wants to admit 100,000 Syrian refugees by 2017. News that one of the Paris terrorists was a Syrian refugee who entered Europe through Greece has led at least 23 governors, mostly Republicans, to move to keep Syrian refugees out of their states. GOP presidential candidates have also weighed in, opposing Obama’s plan. The president got on his high horse today, denouncing as “shameful” and “not American” the »

Putin: Obama Has “Mush For Brains”

Featured image Vladimir Putin once again showed his deep respect for Barack Obama, as he complained about the incompetence of U.S. policy in Syria: “Now, we often hear that our pilots are striking the wrong targets, not IS,” Putin said at an investment forum in Moscow explaining that Russia had asked Washington to provide a list of targets. But Washington declined. “‘No, we are not ready for this’ was the answer,” Putin »

Russia and Iran running neck-and-neck in Obama-humiliating sweepstakes

Featured image Iran and Russia are competing to see which nation can humiliate President Obama more. Russia got off to a flying start with its intervention in Ukraine and its “assistance” to Obama in the non-enforcement of the president’s red line against the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria. Iran, its economy crippled by the U.S. led sanctions regime, was falling way behind. But the mullahs trumped Putin »

It ain’t me, babe

Featured image Last night 60 Minutes aired an interview with President Obama conducted by Steve Kroft. The interview ran over two segments. Videos and transcript are posted here. In the first half of the interview Kroft asked about foreign policy. The questions were critical and the atmosphere was tense. Obama was not pleased. Obama yammered in his accustomed style. Kroft interrupted to note that he felt like he was being filibustered. Again, »

“Early signs of Russian intent”

Featured image That’s the front page headline of today’s Washington Post (paper edition). The story is about signs in August that Putin was mobilizing for a military offensive in Syria. Despite these signs, the Obama administration was “caught flat-footed” when the Russian offensive materialized two months later. In a larger sense, “Russian intent” has long been clear. Putin has said he consider the fall of Soviet power a geopolitical catastrophe. He wants »

Inspector Clouseau could not be reached for comment

Featured image Reading the page-one story (accessible here via Google) by Adam Entous in today’s Wall Street Journal, I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. The Obama administration appears to be shocked, shocked that Vladimir Putin has not been entirely straightforward with them about Russian intentions in Syria. Entous reports: Russia has targeted Syrian rebel groups backed by the Central Intelligence Agency in a string of airstrikes running for days, leading »

Donald Trump’s fallacious analysis of Middle East instability

Featured image Donald Trump said on Meet the Press yesterday that the Middle East would be a more stable place if Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi were still in power. For once, Trump answered a question about the Middle East more or less correctly. The Middle East would be more stable if Saddam and Qaddafi held true power in Iraq and Libya. But the question is whether, absent foreign intervention, Saddam and »

Syria may become a “no-fly zone” yet, for the U.S.

Featured image For years, many have advocated that the U.S. enforce a no-fly zone in Syria. Doing so would have prevented the slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians by Bashar al-Assad’s air force. Would a no-fly zone have led to Assad’s ouster? It’s not clear. Would Assad’s ouster have been, on balance, a positive development for America? That’s not clear either. The answers may depend on when, during this long and sickening »

Clearing my spindle, Syria edition

Featured image The withdrawal of the United States from Iraq and points elsewhere around the Middle East has created a vacuum that has been filled by forces hostile to the United States. Syria is representative. ISIS has moved into Syria from Iraq. Iran and Hezbollah have both moved into Syria to defend the Assad regime from ISIS. The Obama administration has taken a sort of Stalinist tack. Obama has concentrated on building »

Report: Obama ignored Russian offer to have Assad step down

Featured image More than three years ago, Russia proposed that Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, step down as part of a peace deal, according to Martti Ahtisaari, a senior negotiator involved in back-channel discussions at the time. Ahtisaari is the former president of Finland and a Nobel peace prize laureate. He says the Russian offer, which sounds more like a framework, came in 2012 from Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the U.N. It »

What To Do About Middle Eastern Refugees?

Featured image Millions of people are streaming out of Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Many are fleeing (or have fled, making an intermediate stop in Turkey) from ISIS, others from Assad. This refugee crisis has already roiled European politics, and some are advocating that the United States take in even more Middle Eastern refugees than we already are. What is missing from this picture? Michael Ramirez weighs in with his usual insight; click »

Doomed to failure

Featured image As part of his observance of the 9/11 anniversary yesterday President Obama held “a live, worldwide televised Troop Talk Talk town hall at Fort Meade.” That’s how the White House described it in the preview posted here. If you remember Elvis’s Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite extravaganza of 1973, the preview might have seemed an allusion. By contrast with Elvis’s worldwide audience, however, we (and I believe many in Obama’s »

Russia ignores Kerry

Featured image This past Saturday Secretary Kerry called Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to express ever so politely “U.S. concerns about reports suggesting an imminent enhanced Russian military build-up there.” Kerry went so far as to “ma[k]e clear that if such reports were accurate, these actions could further escalate the conflict, lead to greater loss of innocent life, increase refugee flows and risk confrontation with the anti-ISIL Coalition operating in Syria.” Strong stuff. »

The Syrian crisis and Obama’s post-American presidency

Featured image Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post delivers a devastating critique of President Obama’s Middle East policy. The op-ed is called “Obama’s Syria achievement.” That achievement consists not just in Obama “presid[ing] over a humanitarian and cultural disaster of epochal proportions,” but also in “sooth[ing] the American people into feeling no responsibility for the tragedy.” I recommend the entire article, but this passage really caught my eye: [Obama] has implied that »

The refugee crisis Europe helped bring on itself [With Comment By John]

Featured image Europe is paying the second installment on the debt for its indifference to the slow-motion disaster in Syria. The first installment was (and will continue to be) an increase in the threat of domestic terrorism. The second installment is the mass migration of Syrians and other Middle Easterners into Europe. According to Johannes Hahn, the EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiation (we’ll know the U.S. has hit »

If we’re not going to put boots on the ground, how about a serious air campaign?

Featured image The conventional wisdom among hawkish conservatives is that ISIS cannot be defeated by U.S. air power unless we also put “boots on the ground.” This may well be true. But it’s also true that the U.S. air campaign against ISIS has not been serious. David Deptula, a retired air force general, provides the evidence: In the campaign against the Islamic State, we are averaging 12 strike sorties per day. During »

Is ISIS crazy?

Featured image ISIS’s capture of Palmyra has aroused fears that the terrorists will smash the archaeological treasures of this ancient Semitic city. The fears are justified, given ISIS’s conduct in places like Nimrud, Khorsabad, and Mosul. But according to Nicolas Pelham, writing in the New York Review of Books, even as ISIS forces made a great show of destroying some antiquities on display in the museum in Mosul, the leadership was planning »