Syria

The Khorasan Group — it’s legit

Featured image Last night I wrote about the “Khorasan Group” — the name used to describe operatives sent by al Qaeda to Syria for the purpose of plotting attacks against the West. In discussing the unusual name attached to these operatives, I quoted two experts on terrorism who speculated in the Washington Post that the name was supplied by Washington. Based on this reporting, I concluded: Perhaps further investigation will reveal that »

What’s in the Khorasan name?

Featured image “The Khorasan Group.” It sounds like a consulting firm, or maybe an orgiastic cult. Actually, though, it’s the name applied to a terrorist outfit the Obama administration targeted for bombing in Syria earlier this week in attacks separate from those aimed at ISIS. But what kind of terrorist organization is the Khorasan Group and where does the name come from? According to the reports I’ve read, the Khorasan Group is »

Was Hillary Clinton against arming Syrian rebels before she was for it?

Featured image The official line from Hillary Clinton, as well as Leon Panetta, is that she was in favor of arming Syrian rebels, but that President Obama rejected her advice. This was one of the big “reveals” of her book and a theme during her book tour. But Bryan Preston shows that during a February 2012 interview with CBS, Clinton had no use for the idea of arming Syrian rebels. Her objections »

Scenes from a sideshow

Featured image Watching the Pentagon press conference displaying the results of the initial strikes on ISIS targets in Syria yesterday, I was struck by the apparent paucity of military targets and the limited nature of the strikes. Looking at the before/after images of a few of the strikes it was difficult to see the difference (not to say it didn’t exist). The Daily Mail rounds up a series of images from the »

Is Obama’s bombing campaign a sideshow?

Featured image President Obama should be commended for yesterday’s air attacks against ISIS. In addition, his decision to bomb the jidhadist Khorasan group, which is believed to be plotting attacks against the West, is praiseworthy. As to this affiliate of al Qaeda, Obama seems, for once, to be acting rather than reacting. Even so, I tend to agree with Max Boot who argues that the most consequential news from the Levant yesterday »

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 »