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 »

Meanwhile, in Syria

Featured image Why did Russia broker a deal calling for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, thereby bailing President Obama out of the mess he created by his “red line” rhetoric, his request for congressional authorization to strike Syria, and his failure to obtain such authorization? Vladimir Putin wanted, of course, to play the international big-shot and to do an end-zone dance at Obama’s expense. But these desires would not have trumped »

Congress to kick John Kerry around some more

Featured image John Kerry will be back before Congress to try to sell the latest twist in the Obama administration’s Middle East policy. Fresh off of his failure to persuade legislators to authorize military action against Syria in response to its use of chemical weapons, Kerry will now try to persuade them not to pass additional sanctions against Iran in response to its nuclear weapons program. And since Israel retains considerable support »

Bipartisan U.S. policy leaves Iraq on the brink

Featured image I wrote here and here about the unraveling of Iraq that has followed the withdrawal of American troops and the failure of the Obama administration to negotiate a status of forces agreement with the Maliki government. I also noted that Maliki would be in Washington this week seeking help from President Obama. The U.S. has a clear interest in helping the Maliki government stem the tide of violence and terrorism »

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 »

The short ride from “Soft Power” to No Power

Featured image It requires little discussion to show that the U.N. approved resolution on chemical weapons in Syria is a joke. As Brett Schaefer and Baker Spring point out, the resolution is toothless because it fails to establish a direct enforcement mechanism for assuring the complete application of Chemical Weapons Convention requirements in Syria. The resolution provides that in the event of non-compliance with its terms, the Security Council will impose undefined »

The bitter fruit of Obama’s Syrian fecklessness

Featured image The only thing unraveling faster than Syria is President Obama’s Syria policy. There is, of course, a relationship between the two downward spirals. This morning comes word that eleven of the biggest armed factions among the Syrian rebels have repudiated the Western-backed opposition to the Assad regime and formed an alliance dedicated to establishing an Islamic state. Jabhat al-Nusra, an al Qaeda affiliate, is the lead signatory to this new »

Power Line debates Syria, a recap

Featured image It’s all over but the non-shooting when it comes to a U.S. attack on Syria in response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons. At this point, the Power Line crew is unanimous in believing (1) that the resolution of the matter, via the intervention of Vladimir Putin, is phony and (2) that President Obama badly mishandled the matter. But prior to Putin’s gambit, Power Line was not unanimous »