Syria

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 »

Assad comes to FNC

Featured image The mass murdering Hafaz al-Assad handed over the Syrian regime to Bashar al-Assad like a Mafia don passing on the family business to his son. Assad père had come to power through a military coup. The son maintains power through the same charms that brought his father to power and maintained him there. The set-up is lacking in any shred of legitimacy or decency, for that matter, yet Assad has »

The stakes in Syria

Featured image Should our “war weary” nation be concerned if the Assad regime — now the puppet of Iran and Russia — survives the Syrian civil war? The estimable David Pryce-Jones, writing for NRO, thinks so: Syria is not intrinsically a valuable asset, but Iran would have it as a territorial base from which to control Iraq and Lebanon, and to menace Israel. Russia would have a permanent naval and military facility »

For Israel, Assad is the worst option

Featured image One of the strongest-sounding arguments against U.S. action that might lead to the overthrow of the Assad regime is the claim that such an overthrow would produce a victory for al Qaeda. I discussed this argument here. Israel has a border with Syria. Iran and al Qaeda are both sworn enemies of Israel. Does Israel want Assad to remain in power? No it does not. Michael Oren, the outgoing Israeli »

A head-spinning reversal

Featured image Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal featured a several-thousand word, intensely reported article on President Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval of a military strike against Syria. Throwing ten reporters on the case, the Journal came up with “Inside White House, a head-spinning reversal on chemical weapons” (I am afraid it’s behind the Journal’s jealously guarded if occasionally permeable subscription paywall). The Journal reports: When President Barack Obama decided he wanted congressional »

Hard to Argue with the Truth

Featured image So pravda means “truth” in Russian, and it’s certainly hard to argue with the truth that appears in the Soviet Russian official news organ Pravda about John Kerry: Firstly let us take a look at the “evidence” Obama and Kerry were peddling. For a start, John Kerry makes his mark under Peter’s Principle as a failed Presidential candidate. As a diplomat and statesman, as US Secretary of State, he is »

Al Qaeda in Iraq is resurgent

Featured image Jessica Lewis of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) was a decorated intelligence officer for the U.S. Army. She performed that role in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Lewis is the author of a new ISW report called “Al Qaeda in Iraq is Resurgent.” It’s always nice when a report gets to the point in the title, even if the point isn’t nice. Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) reached its »