Syria

U.S. launches air strikes in Syria

Featured image The United States has expanded its war against ISIS into Syria by launching air attacks against an array of ISIS targets in that country. President Obama should be commended for ordering these attacks. The attacks don’t rise to the level of “shock and awe” but as described, they sound like a good start. Apparently, they involve a mix of fighter jets and bombers plus Tomahawk missiles delivered from ships. The »

ISIS advances as Obama dithers

Featured image The Wall Street Journal reports: Since Thursday, Islamic State rebels, backed by tanks and other heavy armor, have seized control of more than 60 villages near the regional capital of Ayn al-Arab, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group. The extremist insurgents, also known as ISIS or ISIL have also forced the evacuation of about 100 other villages, Kurdish field commanders and Turkish officials said. . »

The politics of the vote on arming and training syrian rebels

Featured image This week, the Senate voted 78-22 in favor of arming and training Syrian rebels to fight ISIS. Noah Rothman points out that four possible 2016 presidential contenders were among the “no” votes. They are Democrats Elizabeth Warren and Kristen Gillibrand and Republicans Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. A fifth potential contender, Marco Rubio voted “yes.” Rothman suggests that the contenders who voted against arming and training the rebels “calculat[e] that »

Obama weaves a Syrian fantasy

Featured image The New York Times homes in on a concern I expressed with President Obama’s plan to use “moderate” Syrian rebels as his foot soldiers in the campaign against ISIS in Syria — namely, that these rebels are at war with the Assad regime, not ISIS. Since pushing ISIS from parts of northern Syria early this year, Syria’s rebels have few military advances to point to and in many areas have »

Arab states not eager to follow feckless Obama

Featured image So now President Obama wants to organize a coalition to take on ISIS, the group whose rise he ignored on the theory that it was the terrorist “jayvee.” Arab states — notably Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan — and Turkey are to be key members of the coalition. Obama assigns these states primary responsibility for mobilizing Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria against ISIS. Presumably, Obama »

About the claim that Syrian “moderates” sold Sotloff to ISIS

Featured image A spokesman for the family of Steven Sotloff, the journalist beheaded by ISIS last week, claims that Sotloff was sold to ISIS by “so-called moderate rebels that people want our administration to support.” He based this claim on information from “sources on the ground” that the Sotloff family deems credible. The spokesman did not identify the rebel group the family believes was responsible for selling Sotloff to ISIS. I don’t »

The Syria Coalition’s frustration with Obama boils over

Featured image The Syria Coalition — the non-jihadist Syrian rebels whose requests for help President Obama has largely blown off for years — has issued a statement ascribing “much of the responsibility” for James Foley’s execution to the United States for “not react[ing] to the Assad regime’s repeated crossing of the red lines it had drawn and warned against crossing.” You can read the reasoning here. How fair is the Syria Coalition’s »

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 »

Obama fails the Norman Mailer test [UPDATED]

Featured image After reviewing a transcript of President Nixon’s secret tapes, Norman Mailer commented in The New Yorker, “He lacks the simple New York smart to keep the obscenities in. . . We still do not know if he even swears well.” As for President Obama, we now know that he doesn’t: Just before the Congressional recess, President Obama invited over a dozen Senate and House leaders from both parties to the »

The ISIS-Assad alliance

Featured image My last post about ISIS contained this passage from a report by John Rogin: “ISIS and the regime are working together [Der al Zour], and ISIS controls the suburbs without any fear of attacks from the Syrian Arab Army.” The reported collaboration cuts against the conventional narrative in Syria. ISIS has been considered the sworn enemy of Assad — indeed, his most radical opponent. But ISIS and the regime have »

Obama continues to give ISIS a free pass

Featured image The success of ISIS in Iraq has finally received the attention of the Obama administration. But ISIS is also making major inroads in Syria, where Team Obama continues to ignore warnings of its progress. Josh Rogin reports: Three weeks ago, a group of leaders from the opposition Free Syrian Army warned U.S. officials that a strategic city along the Iraqi border was about to fall to ISIS. It was the »

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. »

Let’s make a deal — Hezbollah edition

Featured image The Obama administration is mighty impressed with itself for having proved it can make a deal with the Taliban. Now, it would like to make one with Hezbollah. John Kerry said last week that the Lebanon-based terrorist outfit could have a role to play, alongside Russia and Iran, in bringing about a “legitimate” political solution in Syria. The sky is the limit in these heady days of diplomacy, Obama style. »

Obama foreign policy successes? Not Syria

Featured image We continue our look at Obama’s foreign policy in the Middle East (see here for Egypt and here for Libya) with a discussion of Syria. Actually, it requires no discussion to conclude that Syria is no Obama foreign policy success story. The results say it all. Victory for not just Assad but his backers, Iran and Hezbollah. The rise of al Qaeda and other jihadist outfits in portions of the »

In Syria, Tehran declares victory

Featured image Researching and writing about the interim nuclear agreement with Iran, I have found Iranian authorities to be a more reliable guide than the Obama administration. I may be overstating the phenomenon, but if so, not by much. The same applies to events in Syria, as reported by Simon Tisdall in Britain’s Guardian: Iran and its close ally President Bashar al-Assad have won the war in Syria, and the US-orchestrated campaign »

The Enemy of My Enemy. . .

Featured image When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, the life-long bitter foe of Communism Winston Churchill got on the phone right away to Joseph Stalin, and, while never forgetting what Stalin was, offered Britain’s help in staving off Germany.  A few days later Churchill said that he “would unsay none of his criticisms” of Communism, but that if Hitler invaded Hell, he would at least make a favorable reference »