03/2/15

America—You be the Judge

By: Retired Adm. James A. Lyons
Accuracy in Media

President Obama’s adamant refusal to link the barbaric atrocities committed by the Islamic State and affiliated al-Qaeda militias to Islam is an insult to the intelligence of all thinking Americans.  His insistence that these atrocities are the result of “violent extremism,” not associated with Islam, lessens his already diminished credibility. The Quran and Islamic Law (Shariah) prove him wrong since there are 109 verses in the Quran that can be considered to sanction violence. Furthermore, chapter 2, verse 106 (on abrogation) makes it clear that the later violent verses take precedence over the earlier, less violent ones.

In February, President Obama hosted a White House Summit on countering “violent extremism.”  As it turned out, it was essentially a public relations media event that had nothing substantive to offer in terms of countering the Islamic State’s barbaric acts of terrorism. Instead, it was more of a leftist, progressive agenda sympathetic to “Islamic sensibilities and grievances.” It cited lack of education and job opportunities as part of the root cause that enables IS to attract young Muslims. Mind boggling, particularly when Christians, women, and children are having their heads chopped off and are being buried alive.

If it were to have been a serious summit, you would have expected the Director of the FBI and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to be full participants. However, they were not invited. Instead, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and its front organizations were full participants, including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), both unindicted co-conspirators for funding terrorism from the 2008 Dallas, Texas Holy Land Foundation Trial. Another MB front organization, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), was also represented.

The question must be asked: how can the Obama administration continue to embrace the Muslim Brotherhood when its declared creed, verified by the FBI, is to destroy the United States from within by our own “miserable hands,” and replace our Constitution with Islamic “Seventh Century” Shariah Law?

The MB today, with its deep penetration of all our national security and intelligence agencies, has now been institutionalized. With its carte blanche entry into the White House, it has, in effect, become a defacto cabinet member. All Americans should understand that there is no difference between the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Their objectives are all the same, it’s only the methods they use to achieve it that may be different. It is a totalitarian ideology bent on world domination (same as Communism), with Islam the dominant religion and Shariah the law.

The policies of the Obama administration in countering the Islamic jihadists of IS are clearly confusing to our allies. To understand President Obama’s strategy, everything this administration does must be viewed through the prism of his stated objective:  to “fundamentally transform America.” This strategy is clear. It is anti-US and anti-Western—but pro-Islam, pro-Iran and pro-Muslim Brotherhood. With his Marxist background, it can be assumed that Obama does not view American power and influence as a force for good in the world. Otherwise, why would he want to fundamentally transform America? Therefore, anything that undercuts US military power and influence is viewed as being “objectively progressive.” President Obama’s refusal to provide legitimate defensive weapons to Ukraine falls under this category. The net result is the emasculation of NATO.

The “leading from behind” strategy announced at the start of the Libyan war, and the unilateral disarmament of our military forces, also fall under this category. A defining moment in the Libyan war was when the Obama administration switched sides in the global war on terror and provided weapons and material support to al-Qaeda and MB-controlled militias. Furthermore, as we now know, the Libyan war was unnecessary since Muammar Gadhafi was prepared to abdicate.

The Middle East today is a disaster area with failed states in Libya, Iraq, Syria, and now Yemen. What’s astonishing is that we are now a de facto partner with the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, Iran. By so doing, we are enhancing the expansion of Iran’s hegemony throughout the Middle East at the expense of our long term allies—Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The Obama administration’s precipitous withdrawal from Iraq gave Iran a clear signal that we would not contest their influence over Iraq. It was a foolish, or worse, attempt to obtain a nuclear weapons agreement with the evil Ayatollah Khamenei regime. Today, Iran is already a nuclear threshold state that has sufficient enriched uranium to make 8 to 12 nuclear weapons within a few months. Furthermore, a reliable source has informed me that Iran secretly bought four nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Muslim Republic of Kazakhstan in 1992. They were said to have been transferred to Iran and stored in the Lavizan military site near Tehran.

More recently, it was reported by Jerome Corsi of WorldNetDaily, on 26 February, 2015, that Iran is operating another secret advanced, uranium underground enrichment site northeast of Tehran that was previously unknown to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

With thousands of American lives lost due to Iran’s more than 35 years of aggression against the United States, it is inconceivable that any American administration would agree to enter into such a critical agreement, like the one currently being negotiated with such an evil regime.

When you consider all of the above, as well as the Obama administration’s abuse of power and the many scandals including Benghazi, the IRS, Operation Fast and Furious, Obamacare, and the immigration fiasco, any other administration would be brought up on charges of threatening the security of the United States. America, it’s up to you to influence your representatives to hold President Obama accountable.

02/22/15

Raging Rudy Giuliani Destroys Obama’s Policies on Islamism and Iran

02/20/15

No “Major Scandal” in Obama Administration?

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

David Axelrod’s book tour is off to a rollicking start, with perceived attacks on Hillary Clinton’s upcoming presidential run, and an absurd comment about the ethics and integrity of the administration he served so loyally, and continues to do so.

Axelrod, former senior advisor to President Obama, recently asserted something so patently untrue that it demands a response. “And I’m proud of the fact that, basically, you’ve had an administration that’s been in place for six years in which there hasn’t been a major scandal,” he pronounced at a University of Chicago event.

The Washington Post leapt in to defend Axelrod’s claim by pointing to how President Obama’s approval ratings did not shift in the wake of the potential scandals he has faced since taking office. “It could be that scandals don’t have a lot to do with how Americans rate the president,” writes Hunter Schwarz for the Post.

It could also be that the liberal media, along with academia, determine what is classified as a “scandal”—and then refuse to report on scandals which don’t meet their own predetermined criteria. In this case, any lies, corruption, abuses of power, financial payoffs, or associations with unsavory characters or organizations that involve President Obama or anyone in his administration are never to be treated as a scandal.

The ongoing incestuous relationship between the Obama administration and the media often tilts in favor of the administration, leaving many scandals uninvestigated, minimized, or outright ignored. For example, both CBS News president David Rhodes and former ABC News president Ben Sherwood have siblings working for the administration. CNN’s deputy Washington bureau chief, Virginia Moseley, is married to Tom Nides, a former Obama staffer under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And David Plouffe, Obama’s former campaign manager, joined Bloomberg News, while MSNBC hired Axelrod.

President Obama even joked in 2013 that “… David Axelrod now works for MSNBC, which is a nice change of pace since MSNBC used to work for David Axelrod.”

With so many members of the elite media in bed with the administration, Dartmouth College professor Brendan Nyhan’s 2011 observation that “the current administration has not yet suffered a major scandal, which I define as a widespread elite perception of wrongdoing” becomes essentially meaningless. Nyhan said that a scandal becomes a scandal “once the S-word is used in a reporter’s own voice in a story that runs on the front page of the [Washington] Post.”

If Axelrod is using the same criteria, then, of course, President Obama probably can be considered scandal-free. But a real scandal involves actual administration wrongdoing or lies, regardless of the “perceptions” dished out by the media.

Axelrod’s comments ignore the presence of a number of real scandals which the mainstream media, including The Washington Post, continue to report on as phony—including but not limited to:

Benghazi:

The deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya in 2012 were greeted with a concerted public relations campaign by the Obama administration blaming the attacks on a protest inspired by a YouTube video, as revealed in the smoking gun Ben Rhodes email. (Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor to President Obama, is CBS’ President David Rhodes’ brother.) The media, including David Kirkpatrick of The New York Times, continue to dispute key facts of the case such as al Qaeda’s involvement, have championed erroneous Congressional reports, ignore evidence of a cover-up, and have generally covered for the administration by promoting the idea that this is one of many “phony scandals.” The interim report of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi details the various failings and scandals related to Benghazi.

IRS scandal:

The IRS targeted conservative groups applying for non-profit status from 2010 to 2012. In what some see as an attempt to influence elections, the IRS began requesting inappropriate information disproportionately from conservative groups and then delaying their approval, generally chilling free speech throughout the country. Lois Lerner, at the heart of the scandal, has refused to testify before Congress, pleading the Fifth Amendment. The media continue to argue that President Obama is not connected to this scandal, but it can be tied directly to the White House. The President has tried to assert that there isn’t a “smidgeon” of corruption at the IRS.

Fast and Furious

The Obama Justice Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) encouraged gunwalking across the Mexican border of thousands of weapons, resulting, ultimately in the murder of border agent Brian Terry. An ATF whistleblower, John Dodson, spoke out in 2011 about the problems with the ATF’s decision to let guns go to Mexico. As I wrote about in 2011, Fast and Furious was a scandal that no longer could be denied, but the media continued to do so. Sharyl Attkisson recounts in Stonewalled, “But as outrageous and remarkable as the allegations are, most of the media don’t pick up on the story. They’re steering clear.” As I wrote, the scandal “involves some 1,500 guns, about 1,000 of which ended up in Mexico, and a Border agent…who was murdered with weapons found near the scene of the crime in Arizona. The weapons were among 57 linked to Fast and Furious which have been tied to at least 11 violent crimes in the U.S., including the Terry murder.” Like Benghazi, Fast and Furious resulted in real deaths—but the media continue to ignore or downplay this scandal.

Veterans Administration

Following revelations in 2014 that there was widespread Veterans Administration falsification of health care wait times, and that certain locations had created secret waiting lists for veterans, the media finally declared this a scandal. But it’s not Obama’s scandal, it’s a Veterans Affairs scandal. Hunter Schwarz writes for the Post that “It was a very significant scandal, to be sure, but perhaps not one that people laid directly at Obama’s doorstep.” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker Glenn Kessler recently referred to this one as a scandal, noting that only eight people have lost their jobs so far as a result of this veterans care debacle, not 60 as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald said last week on Meet the Press. But as I have argued, there were really two scandals at the Veterans Administration at the time: health care wait times and the disability benefits backlog.

Solyndra

Solar panel business Solyndra received more than half a billion dollars as part of the administration’s green energy program, before going bankrupt. Its executives took substantial bonuses before the layoffs began. And, a Solyndra investor was also a major bundler for Obama, demonstrating a conflict of interest when the administration refused to turn over more documents as part of a Congressional investigation. And yes, the Post reported on its front page that the Obama administration had asked the company to “delay announcing it would lay off workers until after the hotly contested November 2010 midterm elections that imperiled Democratic control of Congress.” But NPR ran an article last year victoriously announcing that “Now that the loan program is turning a profit, those critics are silent”—as if that had anything to do with the crony capitalism of the Solyndra scandal.

Obamacare

Obamacare is an ongoing debacle of premium increases and high deductibles coupled with crippling regulations. It leads to less, not more, health care access. While the focus has been on errors made within the “Obamacare rollout,” the media continue to champion exaggerated statistics regarding the alleged 10 million who have received health insurance under President Obama’s signature legislation. In reality, this program marks a rapid increase in Medicaid, and many enrollees are part of a “substitution effect” by which people who previously had insurance have switched to Obamacare. The subsidies, which the media casts as essential to the law, are under dispute in the courts, and increase the burden on the American taxpayer. Even Politifact called President Obama’s false assertion that Americans could keep their health plan if they liked it the 2013 “Lie of the Year.” Meanwhile, the complicit media finds every chance it can to champion this legislation’s “successes.”

This list just scratches the surface. Executive overreach has become standard fare, whether on immigration or environmental regulations. The Obama administration’s penchant for controlling leaks, a lack of transparency, and a war on journalists has been noted by the likes of former Washington Post executive editor Len Downie Jr. who said “The [Obama] administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration leaks,” and New York Times reporter David Sanger who said, “This is the most closed, control-freak administration I’ve ever covered.” James Risen of the Times added that the Obama administration has been “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.”

The administration’s Middle East policies have been a disaster, if not scandalous. Just look at the growing threat from the Islamic State (ISIS) and other radical jihadist Muslim groups. More than 200,000 have been killed in Syria, Libya has become a jihadist playground, described by former CIA officer Bob Baer as “Mad Max,” and Yemen, as recently as September held up as example of where Obama’s foreign policy is working, has seen a coup by Iranian backed jihadists. And looming over all of this is the unfolding, outright appeasement of an Iran with nuclear aspirations.

What unifies all of these scandals and lies is how our news media have looked past all the administration’s corruption, treating, these occurrences as discrete, minor grievances, gaffes—or even conservative or Republican political maneuvering. This means that the constant lies by the administration, and President Obama himself, can be made with impunity. The media simply will not hold President Obama, or any of his associates who might tarnish his reputation, accountable.

02/15/15

ISIS Parades 17 Kurdish Fighters in Cages to be Burned Alive Like Jordanian Pilot

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

I warned everyone that despite the posturing by the Jordanians and Obama, that ISIS is not on the defensive… they aren’t on the run either. They are advancing and they are ratcheting up their barbarity. In a scene reminiscent of Stephen King’s The Stand, ISIS just paraded 17 Kurdish fighters in cages on the back of trucks through the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. They will meet the same fate as the Jordanian pilot in retaliation for the Kurds killing ISIS fighters and dragging them through the streets of Kirkuk earlier this month. These are the tactics of Genghis Khan – they are both lethally barbaric and effective. As ISIS approaches each new city, people flee in panic… those that can anyway.


Onlookers jeered and taunted the prisoners as their captors played to the crowds during the procession.


A total of 17 Peshmerga were led through the streets of what is apparently Kirkuk in northwestern Iraq.

From the Daily Mail:

Heads bowed in terror the orange-clad Kurdish fighters are paraded through streets filled with jeering militants in the latest horrifying video release from Islamic State.

In a grim echo of the terrible fate which befell Jordanian pilot Lieutenant Muath al-Kaseasbeh the captives, reportedly Peshmerga fighters, are dressed in orange jumpsuits and shackled in cages.

Just as Lt. al-Kaseasbeh was burned alive on camera, IS are planning to do the same with their latest prisoners, according to posts on social media.

The grim procession apparently took place through Kirkuk in northwest Iraq, an oil rich Kurdish stronghold where ISIS now has a presence after mounting repeated attacks in recent weeks.

The parade, reportedly through the Hawija district in the southwest of Kirkuk, could be seen as revenge for horrific reports of Kurdish forces dragging the bodies of ISIS fighters through the streets of the city in the Kurdistan region of Iraq earlier this month.

In the nearly four minute long video 17 of the Iraqi Kurdistan military forces are driven one by one on the backs of white pick-up trucks with ISIS flag-waving militants toting AK-47s accompanying each prisoner.

At the end of the clip the long line of cages can be seen retreating into the sunset over the heads of massed crowds of militants.

Lt. al-Kaseasbeh was filmed being burned to death by Islamic State extremists in a nightmarish 22-minute film which was expertly edited before being posted online.

Titled ‘Healing the Believers’ Chests’, it showed the captured airman locked in a cage before a trail of petrol leading up to its bars is set alight.

It is thought he was immolated while heavily sedated before debris, including broken masonry, is poured over the cage, which is then flattened by a bulldozer.

Officials believe Kasasbeh had been killed almost one month earlier, despite ISIS attempting to carry out a prisoner exchange in return for the captured pilot.

After the footage was released, Jordanian officials executed two Iraqi militants connected with ISIS.

They included Sajida al-Rishawi, the female would-be suicide bomber whose freedom ISIS had originally demanded in exchange for releasing Kasasbeh.

Thousands of Jordanian troops have been deployed to the country’s border with Iraq to stop Islamic State militants from infilatrating the country, it has been reported.

The country has already carried out airstrikes on ISIS targets in revenge for the murder of their pilot.

The latest procession of captives scene played out against the backdrop of ISIS taking the town of Al-Baghdadi in western Iraq.

The fall of the town, which the Pentagon played down as a minor setback, came as IS extremists launched an unsuccessful assault involving suicide bombers on the nearby Al-Asad air base.


Posts on social media suggested the Islamic State militants plan to set fire to the Kurdistan warriors.

Obama is looking for war powers for three years… enough to hobble our military throughout the remainder of his term and into the next presidency. These powers don’t call for ground troops and they limit attacks from the air as well. What he says he seeks is the opposite of what he means and it proclaims what our military intends to do, which is just plain suicidal. It hobbles us militarily from attacking the enemy to defeat them. The Pentagon is also spewing propaganda. It’s all smoke and mirrors. They are playing up the strength of the Iraqis, who I believe are infiltrated with ISIS fighters. The latest procession of captives is played out against the backdrop of ISIS taking the town of al-Baghdadi in western Iraq. The fall of al-Baghdadi may indeed not be all of Anbar or Iraq, but it is a foreshadowing of such and that fall may come within hours. The Pentagon played down the event as a minor setback and it came as ISIS extremists launched an unsuccessful assault involving suicide bombers on the nearby al-Asad air base.

Iraqi soldiers repelled the ISIS assault on the base Friday which involved several suicide bombers. A group of 20-25 ISIS fighters, most of them wearing Iraqi army uniforms, carried out the failed attack, which appeared designed to have been an initial wave of suicide bombings followed by gunmen storming in. All of the terrorists were killed or died when detonating suicide bombs. An Iraqi army colonel and a defense ministry official said the botched attack involved at least seven would-be suicide bombers using a military vehicle.

What we should do is send in troops and munitions to support those 300 Marines that are now surrounded at the al-Asad air base. ISIS is within five miles of that base now. As I see it, Obama will do one of two things here. The first and most likely is that he will have the Marines evacuate as he did in Yemen. He wants the world to see our warriors running away with their tails between their legs again. He wants them humiliated and debased even more than in Yemen. Second, and I believe this is the one Obama would prefer, is to have them slaughtered by ISIS. He doesn’t care about repercussions… what that would do in his eyes is make the US look weak and vulnerable, while making ISIS and the Caliphate look strong and unbeatable. It would gift them radical Islamic street cred.


Al-Baghdadi is only nine miles away from the air base, where Iraqi officials had to call for reinforcements.

I share Allen West’s notice of the symbology of the 300 Marines in the line of fire currently. There were 300 Spartan warriors that were led by King Leonidas. These brave warriors faced off a numerically superior force from Persia – the Army of Xerxes. They fought and killed ferociously… that is until they were betrayed. Obama, anyone? Did you know that the Iraqi army has lost contact with its people inside the base?

This video was released by ISIS showing al-Baghdadi burning:

Reuters is reporting that al-Baghdadi is under complete ISIS control. So, once again I repeat, the Pentagon and Obama are spinning propaganda trying to make it look less severe than it is and keep it out of the headlines. But 300 Marines will fight to the death if need be. They’ll either win or they will take a whole bunch of dirt bags with them. Right now, ISIS fighters number between 20,000 to 31,500 in Syria and Iraq. And that’s a conservative estimate.

ISIS is expanding beyond its base in Syria and Iraq to establish militant affiliates in Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt and Libya, American intelligence officials assert, raising the prospect of a new global war on terror. There are less formal pledges of support from “probably at least a couple hundred extremists” in countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Yemen, according to an American counterterrorism official. I fear that with the help of Obama, all of Iraq is gone and next on the menu is Jordan and Israel.

So, while all this goes on, 17 Kurdish fighters will almost assuredly be burned to death and videotaped for the world to see in living and dying color. ISIS will keep stepping up their horrific displays of strength. Let’s pray that that does not include the deaths of Marines. Because if that piece of propaganda is given to ISIS, Obama may try and shrug it off, but America will be so outraged that he saw it coming and did nothing to prevent it, that his time in office may indeed be cut short. We will not quietly stand by and betray our 300 as Obama would certainly love to do.

02/15/15

Judge Jeanine Pirro Opening Statement – 320 US Marine In Al Asad Air Base Being Surrounded By ISIS

Hat Tip: BB

*** The gunman has now been killed in Copenhagen.

02/13/15

CNN: Iran-Backed Rebels Seized U.S. Military Equipment As Embassy in Yemen Was Abandoned

Hat Tip: BB

Marines Surrender Weapons Before Yemen Evacuation

Houthi rebels seize US vehicles after Yemen embassy closes and evacuates

UPDATE: Marine Corps Says Crew Served Weapons Destroyed at Embassy

02/11/15

Obama’s Dangerous Iran Nuke Deal

By: Alan Caruba
Warning Signs

Iran NukesThe Feb 10 Wall Street Journal editorial asked

“Has the U.S. already conceded a new era of nuclear proliferation?” and concluded that “Mr. Obama is so bent on an Iran deal that he will make any concession to get one.”

As we should know by now, President Obama has no negotiating skills and even less understanding of the world the U.S. used to lead by virtue of its military power and democratic values.

If he succeeds in getting a deal, absent Congress doing anything about it, the Wall Street Journal says it will result in “a very different world than the one we have been living in since the dawn of the nuclear age. A world with multiple nuclear states, including some with revolutionary religious impulses or hegemonic ambitions, is a very dangerous place.”

Yes, but. We already live in such a world and the real question is whether, absent their “revolutionary” rhetoric, shouting “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” do those at the top levels of the Iranian ruling structure want to risk having their nation destroyed if they were ever to use nuclear weapons?

No nation on Earth has done so since the U.S. ended the war with the Japanese Empire with two atom bombs rather than put at risk the lives of our troops in an invasion. Why do we think Iran would use their nukes if they acquired them?

The short answer is that the United Nations has passed six resolutions to deny Iran the capability of developing a military nuclear program and the current negotiations, the P5+1, while led by the U.S., are joined by Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

irannukes1Nations in the Middle East and around the world are inclined to think the Iranian leadership would use such weapons. Obama is intent on ignoring their judgment.

If you want to know why Iran continues to be involved in negotiations to restrict its nuclear weapons agenda, you need to know that the U.S. will release $11.9 billion to Iran by the time the talks are concluded in June. That’s the figure cited by our own State Department.

On January 21, the U.S. released $490 million, the third such payment since December 10. For sitting at the negotiations table, Iran will secure $4.9 billion in unfrozen cash assets via ten separate payments by the U.S. It had received $4.2 billion in similar payments under the 2013 interim agreement with the U.S. and was given another $2.9 billion by the Obama administration last year in an absurd effort to get them to agree to end their effort to become a nuclear power.

In a sense there are several Iran’s. There is the Iran of the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guard, both committed to the Islamic revolution that brought the present day Iran into being in 1979. They value having a nuclear weapons capability no less than the U.S. or other nations do.

Then there are the Iranian realists who would far prefer a detente between the U.S. and Iran because they believe it would be in both our interests. These are the voters who elected Hassan Rouhani in 2013 to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has served in office from 2005. They represent some 70% of its citizens would want peace, trade and normal relations with the U.S. Their leaders, however, have thoughts of hegemonic power in the Middle East to advance Shiite Islam.

The problem is that many of the Iranian leadership do not speak in terms other than an utter contempt for the U.S. and with an outspoken enmity for any nation that opposes the expansion of Islam. In late January, one of its newspapers, Kayhan, reported that “Professors, students and employees at the Imam Sadeq University, condemning the insults against the prophet of Islam by Charlie Hebdo…demand closure of the French embassy in Tehran.”

The demonstrators carried placards read, “I am not Charlie, I am the innocent child of Gaza”, “Death to America”, “Death to Israel”, “Death to Britain”, “Death to France”, ‘Death to Wahabism” and comparable signs all indicative of Iran’s hostility to any response to the terrorism it has sponsored for decades since the Islamic Revolution was initiated there in 1979.

On January 23, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad-Javad Zarif, addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying “I do not believe that ten years of confrontation will have had any benefits for anyone. Ten years of sanctions has yielded 19,800 centrifuges, exactly that which the sanctions wanted to halt.”

There is no question that sanctions and the long negotiations have reduced Iran’s capacity to create nuclear weapons agenda. The current negotiations, however, are signaling an abandonment of that policy.

At Friday prayers in late January, Hojjat al-Eslam Zazem Sediqi told those in attendance “Our statesmen should know the enemy, should know with whom they are dealing and negotiating with…You are speaking with wild beasts which do not show mercy to (anyone) young or old, and who insult the Prophet, the most sacred of sacred.”

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDC) maintains a constant monitoring of Iranian news media and government outlets. The reported news out of Iran paints a picture of fire-breathing zealots against a moderate political class and population. The question is whether the zealots will have the final word.

On January 28, Ali Alfoneh, a FDC senior fellow, authored a policy brief that concluded that “Even in the unlikely event that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his negotiating team reach a nuclear agreement with international negotiators, its implementation may well fall to the Islamic Revolutionary Corps…The IRGC’s vociferous opposition to nuclear concessions and improving ties with the West raises serious questions over whether future Iranian governments will uphold any nuclear deal that the current one signs.”

There are two major power centers in Iran, the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and the IRGC. Rouhani is routinely referred to as “a moderate.” As Alfoneh noted, “Meanwhile, Rouhani’s cabinet is torn between public demands for jobs and human rights, the creeping infiltration of the IRGC, and the Supreme Leader’s dogged attempts to maintain the status quo at all costs.”

In late January, the Democrats on Capitol Hill, led by Robert Menendez (D-NJ) gave Obama another two months to reach a deal before they vote for new sanctions. In the House, progressives are urging their colleagues to hold off moving any legislation that would tighten economic penalties on Iran. At this point, the only thing that has worked has been sanctions and the return of frozen funds, a form of bribery.

Meanwhile, Iran has taken credit for the training and arming of Shiite rebels who overthrew the leadership in Yemen. Iran also supports the Hezbollah in Lebanon that is threatening Israel from the area of the Golan. In reprisal for a recent attack, Israel responded with an air strike that killed an Iranian general. None of this helps position Iran as a potential peaceful partner.

This is why John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, has invited Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to address a joint session of Congress. He did so without consulting the White House, but we should keep in mind that Obama released five Taliban generals from Gitmo without consulting Congress.

Netanyahu will spell out what he has said in the past. A nuclear Iran is an existential and a potentially catastrophic threat to Israel. He will likely point out that it is a threat to Saudi Arabia and all the other nations in the Middle East and worldwide.

The question is whether we are dealing with rational people leading Iran or not. In the end, we are asked to assume that even the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guards want to live, want their children and grandchildren to live, and want their nation to continue. That is what Obama is betting on. The problem with that is that Islam puts a high value on martyrdom.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

02/9/15

The Arab Armies

By: Alan Caruba
Warning Signs

Arab Armies

The ongoing Syrian conflict, the fall of the Yemeni government, the burning of the Jordanian pilot, and other events make one wonder why even those Arab nations with significant military capabilities tend not to use them against a common enemy.

The attacks on ISIS by the Jordanian air force have been a dramatic example of what could be done to eliminate this threat to the entire region if the other military forces would join in a united effort.

This raises the question of why the armies of various Middle Eastern nations do not seem to be engaged in destroying the Islamic State (ISIS). The answer may be found in a casual look at recent history; these armies have not been successful on the field of battle. Most recently what passed for the Iraqi army fled when ISIS took over much of northern Iraq.

Since 1948 the Arab nations that attacked Israel were repeatedly defeated. The Iraq-Iran war conducted by Saddam Hussein finally stalemated after eight years. Later it took the leadership of the U.S. to drive Saddam’s Iraq out of Kuwait.

Israeli fighter jets

Israeli fighter jets

In October 2014, the Business Insider published a useful ranking of Middle Eastern militaries put together by Armin Rosen, Jeremy Bender, and Amanda Macias. Ranked number one should surprise no one. It was Israel which has a $15 billion defense budget, 176,000 active frontline personnel, 680 aircraft, and 3,870 tanks.

Unlike previous administrations dating back to Truman, while the U.S. is technically still an ally of Israel, in reality the Obama administration has demonstrated animosity toward the only democratic nation in the region. Indeed, the U.S. has been engaged in lengthy negotiations with Iran that would ultimately permit it to become a nuclear power. There isn’t a single Middle Eastern nation that wants this to occur and it has greatly harmed U.S. relations with them.

Ranked second militarily is the Turkish Armed Forces with an $18.1 billion defense budget, 410,000 active frontline personnel, 3,675 tanks and 989 aircraft. This nation has shifted heavily toward being an Islamist state as opposed to the secular one it had been since the end of the Ottoman Empire in the last century. Its military hasn’t been involved in a conflict since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. It is a NATO-allied military but that doesn’t mean it will support NATO in a future conflict. It was used against the Kurdish separatist movement in the 1980s, but these days the Kurdish Peshmerga, between 80,000 and 100,000 strong is now ranked as “one of the most formidable fighting forces in the Middle East” and it is likely the Kurds will carve their own nation out of an Iraq which barely exists these days.

Number three among the Middle East militaries is Saudi Arabia with a $56.7 billion defense budget, 233,500 active frontline personnel, 1,095 tanks, and 652 aircraft. It has been closely allied with the U.S. for decades, but the Obama Iranian nuclear negotiations have negatively affected that relationship. One can assume the same from its other allies, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabia has also provided “substantial assistance” to post-coup Egypt.

The rankings put the United Arab Emirates a #4, Iran at #5, Egypt at #6, Syria at #7, Jordan at #8, Oman at #9, Kuwait at #10, Qatar at #11, Bahrain at #12, Iraq at #13, Lebanon at #14, and Yemen at #15.  The Business Insider article noted that “The balance of power in the Middle East is in disarray” and that’s putting it mildly.

Debka File, an Israeli news agency, reported on February 5 that “The group of nations U.S. President Barack Obama assembled last September for an air offence against ISIS inroads in Iraq and Syria is fraying.”

It deemed the participation of the UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Bahrain as “more symbolic than active” noting that Iraq has no air force to speak of and an army in name only while the Saudis “allotted a trifling number of planes to the effort” and Bahrain has no air force at all. The UAE has the biggest and most modern air force and it has reportedly joined with Jordan to attack ISIS strongholds.

Debka reported that the coalition is “adamantly opposed to Obama’s policy…and loath to lend their air strength for its support” and that is very good news for ISIS, but not for the rest of the Middle East.

In October, Commentary magazine published an analysis by Ofir Haivry, vice president of the Herzl Institute in Jerusalem, about the “Shifting Alliances in the Middle East.”  It began with the observation that “The old Middle Eastern order has collapsed” as “the ongoing Arab uprisings that begin in late 2010 have unseated or threaten to unseat every Muslim government in the region.”

Postulating ‘five broad, cross-regional, and loosely ideological confederations”, Haivry concluded that “Perhaps our biggest challenge is not a new Middle East, but a new United States in paralysis. Under the Obama administration, America’s historic aspiration to shape events in the region has given way to confusion and drift.”

It should not come as that much of a surprise that Israel has been developing intelligence and security relations with several Arab nations, including what the Middle East Monitor described as “growing secret cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia.”  That sounds like very bad news for Iran and very good news for the rest of us.

© Alan Caruba, 2015