Syria

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 »

How did the German stock market do under Hitler?

Featured image Who knows? Who cares? I doubt that Hitler did, at least not to the point that stock prices affected his foreign and military policy. And if ordinary Germans cared, it didn’t matter. The Obama administration touts a recent drop in the Russian stock market (which, by the way, began before the U.S. imposed sanctions). For example, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken notes that Russia’s financial markets are »

Soft, boring Power

Featured image This article about Samantha Power by Manuel Roig-Franzia of the Washington Post is mainly an attempt to explain away the fact that the famous anti-genocide crusader faithfully serves an administration that has done essentially nothing in response to mass murder in Syria. Along the way we learn that, for Power, “boring” has never been “ok.” This tidbit may explain a lot. Perhaps Power never really hated Israel; those anti-Israeli statements »

Photo of the Day: The Catastrophe in Syria

Featured image The Obama administration’s Syria policy has been a fiasco. I don’t think anyone seriously tries to defend it. That said, the humanitarian tragedy that is unfolding in that country is not the responsibility of the U.S. government. It is the fault of Bashar Assad and his minions, and al Qaeda and other radical Muslims who have forcibly taken over the opposition to Assad. The human catastrophe in Syria is almost »

Garry Kasparov, Prophet

Featured image Garry Kasparov, formerly the world chess champion, is now a full-time campaigner for democracy and liberalization in Russia. He has been one of Vladimir Putin’s principal political opponents. Twitchy has a remarkable series of tweets by Kasparov about Syria and Ukraine, beginning in 2013 and continuing to the present. Kasparov emerges as something of a prophet. Here are some of his tweets: Good point! When has Obama ever tried to »

Syrian talks end in failure; Obama has no Plan B

Featured image The farcical Syrian peace talks have apparently come to an end. The talks were never going to produce peace unless Russia pressured Assad into giving up or sharing power. And Russia was never going to pressure Assad into giving up or sharing power because he is Russia’s ally and is winning the civil war. Indeed, Russia recently blocked a U.N. resolution to bring aid to desperate Syrian civilians. The Obama »

Obama’s dishonest Syria self-justification

Featured image In his New Yorker interview, President Obama tried to justify his lack of action in Syria this way: It is very difficult to imagine a scenario in which our involvement in Syria would have led to a better outcome, short of us being willing to undertake an effort in size and scope similar to what we did in Iraq. And when I hear people suggesting that somehow if we had »

Syria, the New Afghanistan

Featured image Once upon a time it was Afghanistan where would-be jihadis went to receive training in terror tactics, so that they could return to their home countries and wreak havoc. Now, the Telegraph says, the jihadi destination of choice is Syria: “Al-Qaeda training British and European ‘jihadists’ in Syria to set up terror cells at home.” British people fighting in Syria are being trained as “jihadists” and then encouraged to return »

Syria: The foreign policy story of 2013

Featured image I caught a little bit of the end-of-the-year navel gazing — the exercise in which pundits list the “big stories” of the past year. Syria, easily one of the top three stories of 2013, along with Obamacare and Obamacapitulation (to Iran), is missing from the lists I’ve encountered. In 2013 the Assad regime, the demise of which was once considered a given, made huge gains in the Syrian civil war »

Obama is prepared to back Syrian islamists

Featured image Earlier today, I commented on the seizure by Syrian Islamist rebels of warehouses containing non-lethal equipment provided by the U.S. government to the Supreme Military Council. The SMC is the military arm of the Syrian Opposition Coalition, the non-jihadist rebel group we have been backing. The Obama administration responded by suspending shipments through Turkey of non-lethal aid to the SMC. Its theory, sensible enough, is that that we don’t want »

The collapse of Obama’s Syria policy made manifest

Featured image President Obama’s Syria policy, to the extent that such a thing ever existed, collapsed some time ago. That collapse was made manifest yesterday by reports that the U.S. has suspended non-lethal aid to the rebel groups we have previously (albeit fitfully) supported. The decision to suspend even non-lethal aid stemmed from the capture by Islamist rebel forces of warehouses belonging to the Supreme Military Council, the group we have been »

Obama’s Iran bail out promotes Sunni-Shiite violence

Featured image The Washington Post notices that President Obama’s deal with Iran has been followed by an “uptick” in violence between Sunni and Shiite in the Middle East. The uptick is not a coincidence. It almost surely is the product of the shift in U.S. policy towards Iran, including but not limited to the “bail out” features of the deal, that Obama has wrought: As Sunni Arabs push back against a reordering »

Obama takes his Syria sell-out to the next level

Featured image Susan Glasser wonders whether “Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran comes at the cost of Syrian lives?” To me, her article suggests that the true cost of the deal to Syria will be Iranian victory. According to Glasser, who cites a very plausible account from the New York Times, our pre-deal policy was shaped by the view of White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough that the status quo in Syria »