Syria

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 »

Obama is a symptom, not the cause, of America’s loss of credibility

Featured image Those of us who favored military action against the Assad regime are naturally disappointed by the apparent resolution of the matter of Assad’s use of chemical weapons. Assad will not be punished for using these weapons to kill more than 1,000 Syrians. And his stock of chemical weapons is unlikely to be diminished significantly, if at all. Furthermore, the momentum of the Syrian civil war, currently running in favor of »

‘Twas a famous victory

Featured image I believe that Vladimir Putin has deposited part of Barack Obama’s manhood in that long-lost Social Security lockbox that Al Gore used to blather about. Informed consent for the procedure was required and obtained, yet to outward appearances Obama hasn’t been clued in. According to Obama, ’twas a famous victory. There is something chilling about Obama’s performance in the interview below with George Stephanopoulos. »

What Syrian Rebels Think of Obama

Featured image AFP went to Aleppo to get the views of Syrian rebels on the Obama-Putin deal. Not surprisingly, the rebels are angry: Rebel fighters have expressed disdain for US President Barack Obama after he backed away from striking over alleged chemical weapons attacks, saying the world does not care about Syria. Leaders of two rebel brigades … also accused Russia and the regime of Bashar al-Assad of conspiring to buy time »

A Syrian Minister Explains

Featured image President Obama’s minions are trying to spin the Syrian debacle into some kind of foreign policy success. As usual, their efforts are intended to convince those who haven’t been paying close attention. But in the Syrian government, there is no ambiguity about what happened. A Syrian minister explains: Syria’s Minister for National Reconciliation said on Sunday that the chemical weapons agreement between Russia and the United States was a “victory” »

Putin’s message

Featured image I learn through Peggy Noonan’s Wall Street Journal column (behind the Journal’s jealously guarded subscription paywall) that Vladimir Putin’s brilliant New York Times op-ed column stomping on President Obama was written by a public relations firm. (I think Noonan was relying on this post by Times public editor Margaret Sullivan.) In the op-ed Putin goes out of his way to mock Obama in terms calculated perfectly to offend him. For »

U.S., Russia Agree to Do Nothing About Syria

Featured image The Obama administration has reached an agreement with Russia that provides, in essence, that the U.S. will not interfere in Syria’s civil war. To be sure, the agreement pretends to be about chemical weapons: Assad’s regime has one week to disclose its stocks of such weapons, and they are to be inventoried by an international group and destroyed by the middle of 2014. In the meantime, the practical effect is »

Why Assad is no bulwark against al Qaeda

Featured image One of the strongest-sounding arguments against intervening in Syria is the fear that, by “degrading” Assad’s power, we will increase the odds that jihadist, al Qaeda affiliated rebels will come to power. It was this fear that caused me to suggest last year that a stalemate between Assad and the rebels might be the best outcome. Only after the tide of the civil war seemed to turn in favor of »

Annals of liberal cluelessness

Featured image I commented here on Vladimir Putin’s patently contemptuous op-ed column in the New York times yesterday. A senior White House official who wisely insisted that his name not be linked to his comment on the column purported to translate it as Putin taking responsibility for Syria’s chemical weapons compliance. Jake Tapper quotes the official: “He put this proposal forward and he’s now invested in it. That’s good. That’s the best »

President Obama, Syria, and the limits of BS

Featured image President Obama’s speech regarding Syria on Tuesday is best viewed as an attempt at political damage control. Obama hoped to stem the growing (and correct) public perception that he blundered badly at one or more stages of this crisis. His target audience was the only cohort to which he might provide reassurance — those who haven’t been paying close attention. I thought that Obama had pulled off this limited feat, »

Ein Klein Barackmusik

Featured image Sorry; couldn’t help the headline, which works on so many levels.  It’s one thing to lose Maureen Dowd.  But Time magazine’s Joe Klein, the perfect avatar for conventional media opinion, is even more savage in his beatdown of Obama’s incompetence: [H]e has damaged his presidency and weakened the nation’s standing in the world. It has been one of the more stunning and inexplicable displays of presidential incompetence that I’ve ever »