Foreign Policy Round-Up–Dec2017

I realize that it is that time of year where people like to think of peace and good will toward men….well that is not happening…..while we are wishing people the best of the season the rest of the world is going to crap…..so you feelings of goodwill mean nothing in the larger scheme of things.

Let me give you the rundown of what is happening during your lapse into a joyous season……..

1–ISIS-AQ Conflict……

After a more than four-year absence, Jund al-Islam (JAI) has returned to the forefront in Sinai, marking a new chapter in the fierce conflict between al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (Daesh, ISIL, ISIS). The group published an audio recording in which it took credit for an attack targeting ISIS affiliates in Sinai known as Wilayat Sinai (WS). Jund al-Islam deemed them Kharitjites or those that defected from the group, and demanded that WS leaders turn themselves in. This attack raises many questions related to the sudden timing of Jund al-Islam’s emergence, its relationship with al-Qaeda, and the likely impact of the renewal of old hostilities between Wilayat Sinai and Jund al-Islam.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/11/30/a_new_chapter_in_the_conflict_between_al-qaeda_and_isis_112700.html

Libya has not made the news lately….let me catch you up……….

When the Obama administration led a 2011 NATO military intervention on behalf of rebels seeking to overthrow Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi, there was considerable optimism that the move would produce a much better country. Although U.S. officials and their media cheerleaders acknowledged that significant challenges remained for a post-Qaddafi Libya, they argued that the outcome could scarcely be worse than the oppressive status quo. Events over the past six years have proven their assumptions spectacularly wrong. Libya is now a cauldron of turmoil and Islamic radicalism.

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-skeptics/libya-failed-state-its-americas-fault-23325

Syria has some dealings with the peace process and as usual the US is not there…..

Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Sochi on Tuesday to discuss efforts to end the Syrian civil war. The presidents of Iran and Turkey are scheduled to meet Putin on Wednesday as Russia promises to scale back its military presence in Syria and push for a diplomatic solution.
https://www.usip.org/publications/2017/11/will-russian-peace-efforts-pay-syria

But wait there is more……

As 2017 comes to a close, the warring parties in Syria are moving towards reconciliation—but the U.S. is not among them.

The Islamic State is all but defeated, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies are now closing in on the few remaining pockets occupied by other extremists, and Iranians, Russians, and Turks are mapping out the peace to come.

Then there’s America. Donald Trump may have hinted at changes up his sleeve, but he’s treading the same tired path as his predecessor on Syria.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/in-syria-mideast-peacemaking-is-no-longer-made-in-america/

The aftershocks of the combat deaths of four U.S. special operations soldiers in Niger on Oct. 4 are still shaking the Pentagon two months later.

The deaths prompted a familiar refrain from the American public: “Why are we there?” This expected, if fair, question reminds us of the precisely opposite question asked about Afghanistan after the shock of 9/11: “Why aren’t we there?”

To be there or not to be there? Either way you answer, you’ll find risk.

The devastating ambush in west Niger occurred on the 24th anniversary of another bloody day in modern military history. The Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia occurred on the third and fourth day of October 1993, leaving 18 American soldiers dead and 73 wounded. This ambush also triggered surprise, then outrage, then investigation — the “why are we there?” inquiry. As the grim tactical details of this mission-gone-bad come to light, a broader strategic question looms: Where exactly does the United States need to project power abroad to prevent strategic surprise?

https://warontherocks.com/2017/12/playing-zone-defense-niger-risk-vs-reward-remote-operations/

Now to Afghanistan……

President Ashraf Ghani looks set to mobilize a new 20,000-strong militia to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. The story of militias loyal to his former running mate and current vice-president, Abdul Rashid Dostum, should give him pause. Many of Dostum’s former commanders, who were armed to fight the Taliban, are now joining both the Islamic State and the Taliban.

Such defections are hardly the exception. Militias, once mobilized, are hard to disarm. When resources dwindle, they often seek new patrons and switch sides. By mobilizing a new force Ghani risks reinforcing, over time, the ranks of the very enemy he hopes to defeat. Today’s allies risk becoming tomorrow’s insurgents.

https://warontherocks.com/2017/12/afghanistan-todays-pro-government-militias-tomorrows-insurgents/

There is so much more….there is always more……to be continued in another post…..chuq

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Requiem For Middle East Peace

Last week the US did what it has been doing for decades only this time they came out of the closet and proved that it had NO intention of settling the problems in the Middle East….problems that it helped create……problems that it feed for 70 years.

For years the US has been the harbinger of ill will towards the Palestinian people…..for years it has said that the only answer to the problems was that of a two state solution……and the if one knee jerk decision Fearless Fosdick has ended any hope of a peaceful solution.

Defying dire, worldwide warnings, President Trump on Wednesday broke with decades of US and international policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Trump declared that he was ending an approach that for decades has failed to advance the prospects for peace, per the AP. “I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” he said in a White House address, calling it “overdue” and in the best interests of the US. He said recognition acknowledged the “obvious”—that Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s government despite the disputed status that is one of the key elements in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “This is nothing more or less than the recognition of reality,” Trump said.

There are many questions that normal Americans will probably ask…..and there is some great answers to these questions….

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/trump-jerusalem-move-key-questions-answered-171206074533021.html

In policy terms, a central question is what President Trump recognised as Israel’s capital. Was it West Jerusalem, thereby leaving open the possibility that East Jerusalem would be the capital of a future state of Palestine? Was it present-day municipal Jerusalem within its unilaterally expanded borders, thereby essentially pre-empting the final status of the city? Or was it some third variant? His statement was not clear.

On the one hand, Trump specifically cited the Jerusalem Embassy Act as the basis of his decision, which refers to the “undivided” Jerusalem that Israel considers to be under its sovereignty. In justifying his decision, he mentioned locations not just within West Jerusalem (the parliament, Supreme Court, and prime minister’s residence) but also within the occupied Old City, including Al-Aqsa Mosque, without stating that he was or was not recognising Israeli sovereignty in the East.

https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/eastern-mediterranean/israelpalestine/counting-costs-us-recognition-jerusalem-israels-capital

The big question now is how this stupid decision will effect the Palestinian struggle?

https://972mag.com/is-jerusalem-forcing-a-new-direction-for-the-palestinian-struggle/131340/

The world has now got to take sup the slack….the US has left a gaping hole in the fabric of the planet……

https://shareblue.com/world-leaders-forced-to-hold-emergency-meeting-because-of-trump/#.WiwW87qQdpY.twitter

The plight of the Palestinian people is up to the world…..maybe now it will step up and do the right thing…..it has for too long bowed to the US….now te world needs to PUT UP OR SHUT UP!

 

What Price Jerusalem?

Yesterday I asked the question….will the Palestine issue be solved?

I guess I got my answer.

Just when no one thought that Fearless Fosdick could get any stupider….he does what NO other president would do knowing the repercussions that it could cause throughout the Arab/Muslim world…..

Defying dire, worldwide warnings, President Trump on Wednesday broke with decades of US and international policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Despite urgent appeals from Arab and European leaders and the risk of anti-American protests and violence, Trump declared that he was ending an approach that for decades has failed to advance the prospects for peace, per the AP. He also for the first time personally endorsed the concept of a “two-state solution” for Israel and the Palestinians, provided both sides agree to it. “I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” he said in a White House address, calling it “overdue” and in the best interests of the United States.

He said recognition acknowledged the “obvious”—that Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s government despite the disputed status that is one of the key elements in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “This is nothing more or less than the recognition of reality,” he said. Trump also directed the State Department to begin the process of moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as required by US law. Officials said, however, that the move will take years to complete. Trump maintained that his decision would not compromise the city’s geographic and political borders, which will still be determined by Israel and the Palestinians.

Only a stupid slow witted moron would do this (BTW his followers that like this are even slower and more dim witted than their idol)……

What would possess an American president to do such a controversial thing?

In a politically motivated move the repercussions of which will incite anger throughout the world, Donald Trump the elected President of the United States has made a dangerous decision, so stupidly inept as to be unbelievable, that could ignite the entire Middle East, including Turkey, Africa and Europe.

In a quid pro quo for favours rendered, this amateur president has made a decision that marks him out as the weakest incumbent of the White House in American history. Some would describe him as moronic. Whatever the correct description, he has laid the fire for a conflagration that could impact millions.

The only ones to benefit, apart from the campaign donor, being the hard-Right Likud Party of Binyamin Netanyahu who is presently under investigation for corruption regarding, inter alia, alleged kickbacks on multimillion dollar purchases of submarines from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

To have the world’s most powerful state under the control of an apparent misogynistic, moronic madman is the most frightening prospect for everyone in the international community from Europe through the Middle East to Africa, Asia and the Americas.

Any American president who is willing to betray both Christianity and Islam by selling Jerusalem, the Holy City, for ‘thirty pieces of silver’ in  order to swing an election, should not be trusted further in high office. He is too dangerous and should be removed by democratic process, in the interests not just of America but the world. 

This person deserves neither respect or support…he has set the world on fire to repay a campaign debt…..even Christians in Palestine think he is a murderous thug like his handlers to Israelis.

This will not bode well for American interests in the region.

But it should do what he wanted it to do…….divert the media from all the investigation stuff……how pathetic……screw an entire people because of your petty problems.

IST’s Middle East Round-Up–Dec 2017

One of my major in college was Middle East East and I have been all consumed with the stupidity around the Korean Peninsula to write much about the situations in Syria and Iraq…..and the greater Middle East.

I hope to rectify my oversight here and now……

Saudi Arabia has been making nice with the shia militias in Iraq….think about that for a moment….Saudis are an extremist brand of Islam that does not approve for the shia’s beliefs…..what is this all about?

Saudi Arabia is attempting to mend its historically antagonistic relations with Iraq’s Shia, at Iran’s expense.

In early November, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched a domestic shake-up, as well regionally, ratcheting up tensions with Iran, and sabre-rattling against the Houthis in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

However, as Riyadh seemed to stoke tensions with the region’s Shia, there had been a quieter Saudi campaign unfolding to co-opt Iraq’s Shia.

While Riyadh has maintained relations with Iraq’s Arab Sunni politicians and tribes in the past, beginning in the summer of 2017 it has forged connections with Iraq’s Arab Shia political elite as well. In hindsight, this Saudi strategy has sought to undermine the relationship between Shia Iran and its co-religionists in Iraq.

http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/what-saudi-arabias-end-game-iraq-1098161469

Something about that situation smells.

Here’s why I ask that question…..

The Arab League is embroiled in a new cold war among its own members, largely over Iran’s role in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have so much influence in the Arab League that they got through a resolution of the foreign ministers committee condemning Iran and casting Lebanon’s Hizbullah as a terrorist organization committing terrorism in Arab countries. (This attitude is not new. In 2016, as well, the Arab League called Hizbullah terrorists).

This resolution was rejected by Lebanon, Syria and Iraq as well as by the Palestinian party-militia Gaza. At least in the past, Algeria has also refused to buy into such rhetoric. The Houthi government of Sanaa Yemen demurred, as well. I can’t imagine Oman going along with this wording, since it brokers deals with Iran.

https://www.juancole.com/2017/11/arab-league-cold.html

It appears that some think that Iran is reshaping the Middle East…….

Iran has always seen itself as being in competition with the Arab states for domination of the Persian Gulf. Its ambitions were put on hold in the late 1980s, at the end of an eight-year war with Iraq that cost Iran more than a million casualties. The war ended in a military draw, but strategically it blocked Iran’s hopes for expanding its power westward. The war against the Islamic State, particularly in Iraq, has opened that door again

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/iran-reshapes-middle-east/

Most neocon analysts see the Middle East as a region being destabilized mostly by Iran but is there more to it than that?

One of America’s favorite talking points on Iran is its “destabilizing” role in the Middle East. There’s no question that Iran does things that contribute to regional instability. In particular, it frequently supports armed non-state actors that serve as alternate sources of power inside their countries—Yemen’s rebels, militias in Syria and Iraq, and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

But Iran is not the only or even the biggest contributor to Middle Eastern instability. In this area its contribution is at least matched, if not exceeded, by rival Saudi Arabia. Or, to be more specific, by one particular rival in Riyadh: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS). Since his father King Salman appointed him defense minister in January 2015, no single individual has done more to destabilize the Middle East or put more civilian lives in jeopardy than the future Saudi ruler. Saudi rhetoric about Iran’s “aggression” aside, it’s been Saudi aggression that has most afflicted the region on MbS’s watch.

http://lobelog.com/on-the-destabilization-of-the-middle-east/

So why all this going on in the Middle East is there a way forward?

The ongoing aggressive and violent quest for power and dominance in the Middle East between two regional rivals i.e. Saudi Arabia and Iran has rendered peace and stability into a utopian idea that evades the region. In addition, the continued meddling of foreign powers ostensibly to fight terrorism and extremism further aggravates the situation and has seemingly spawned more intractable problems than solutions to the existing humanitarian crisis. The Yemen crisis, described by UN as “the largest humanitarian crisis,” has the potential to affect the entire region. The troubling fact is that the flawed approach and myopia of policy makers and the disgusting apathy and inaction of human rights organizations remain the same.

http://www.eurasiareview.com/26112017-middle-east-in-perpetual-crisis-the-way-forward-oped/

Personally, I use to believe that the Middle East would sort out its problems and a more peaceful region was possible…….but the US elected Fearless Fosdick and now I am not so sure….I see many more years of conflict before this is resolved…..

In closing let me leave my reader with one thought……for years that idiot BiBi and a wealth of US paid agents of Israel that serve in our Congress have been predicting the dangers to the homeland by Iran……it is bullsh*t!

Iran is NO threat to the US!

In a speech Tuesday at the Wilson Center in Washington, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the Trump administration is “committed to addressing the totality of the Iranian threat,” asking America’s allies “to join us in standing up to all of Iran’s malign behavior,” including its “support for terrorist organizations” and “active ballistic missile development program.”

He echoed President Trump’s rationale last month for decertifying the Iran nuclear deal, an Obama-era agreement that put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program by imposing a set of restrictions and a comprehensive inspections regime. Like Tillerson, Trump cited two issues that lie outside the deal itself: Iran’s support for proxy groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and Houthi rebels in Yemen; and Iran’s development of ballistic missiles.

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/irans-behavior-isnt-threatening-americans-dont-use-pretense-scrap-nuclear

And with the clowns running the US foreign policy they are approaching Iran from the wrong direction…..

In remarks on Oct. 13 when decertifying Iranian compliance with the July 2015 nuclear deal, US President Donald Trump called on Congress to address the “near total silence on Iran’s missile program” and prevent it from “developing an intercontinental ballistic missile.” Congress has since floated bills that would not only impose further sanctions on Iran for its missiles, but would also condition America’s commitment to the nuclear deal on Iran’s missile policies.

While the European Union and the United States differ on the nuclear deal, they have taken a common position on Iran’s missile capability, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying on Nov. 9 that Iran’s missile program should be restricted, either via negotiations or sanctions.

The Middle East is truly a tinderbox and the US policies are not making things better.
I know it is a lot to take in but your knowledge has increased 100 fold thanx to this round-up.

ISIS leader al-Baghdadi makes headlines yet again…….

Guess what……He’s alive yet again?

I have written about this mystical person, the spiritual leader of ISIS, al-Baghdadi….it seem this guy has more lives than an alley cat……one of my recent posts explains this situation…..

https://lobotero.com/2017/11/30/hes-not-dead-hes-our-leader/

And then when the last word was that he was dead came out another report surfaced about this person…according to this report he is alive yet again but serious injured….

The leader of the Islamic State group (ISIS), now in retreat across the Mideast, remains alive, albeit wounded, and hiding near the Iraq-Syria border, according to intelligence gathered by Iraq’s Ministry of Defense (MOD).

“We have a lot of information. He is alive, moving between the Iraq and Syria border in desert areas,” Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, the spokesperson for the MOD and for Joint Operations Command, in partnership with the U.S.-led coalition, told Fox News in Baghdad on Tuesday. “There are still ISIS sleeper cells scattered in these desert areas.”

More specifically, MOD intelligence indicates the self-styled caliph lurks between the border city of Al-Qaim in the Anbar governorate in Iraq and Abu Kamal in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor governorate, on the bank of the Euphrates River.

Do read on…….

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/11/28/isis-leader-baghdadi-hiding-near-iraq-syria-border-alive-but-injured-iraqi-military-says.html

Like I said….more lives than an alley cat.

Believe the hype when we see his body or him tap dancing across the desert sand.

This is getting boring.

Closing Thought–01Dec17

One For The Road!

When I was a young man I worked in Iraq 1979-1980 and while liquor was available it was frowned upon by the more devout Muslims.  But it was allowed under the regime of Saddam.

I am sure that most people will know just what a mess Iraq has been since we invaded in 2003….but now that ISIS is on the run it would seem that liquor is once again available in Iraq….

This from a newspaper that I read from Iraq……

These days as you head into Karmah, one of the smaller cities in the central Anbar province, you may notice a small store on the way into town. It’s not a big shop but its doors are wide open and it is selling alcohol. It is an unusual sight in this province, where conservative traditions and religious customs prevent the open sale and consumption of alcohol. But things have changed since the extremist group known as the Islamic State was in charge here.

“While we were displaced we lived in both Baghdad and in northern Iraq,” says Ahmad Abu Ali, a 44-year-old local; Karmah was part of the territory controlled by the extremist Islamic State, or IS, group and Abu Ali and his family fled their hometown. “And we used to see a lot of these shops there, close to where we lived. To us, it was an indication that these cities were safe and secure.”

“Although the drinking of alcohol is against our religion, the shop is a good sign. It is proof that the militants who once had such a big role in this city, and those who supported the militants, no longer play a part here,” Abu Ali explains. “Each person can practice their own religion. And when we saw this [the alcohol store] it gave us hope.”

http://www.niqash.org/en/articles/society/5782

Does this count as a return to normalcy?

That is it fore my friends….see you guys tomorrow with lots more stuff….chuq

Lies And War

For twenty five years or more the US has been listening to the damnable lies told by Israel about Iran and its capabilities to attack Israel.  Most of these lies were wild accusations that he cowards in Congress ate up along with the cash that Israel was offering….

But since a minority of Americans went to the polls and voted the sleazy of Wall street into the presidency those lies have been getting louder and more outrageous…

It is bad enough that Fearless Leader is thumping his chest over North Korea he also is lying his ass off about Iran….

A decade and a half ago, in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush’s administration conjured up not only terrifying images of nuclear mushroom clouds but also of Saddam Hussein plotting with Osama bin Laden to attack the United States.

Mr. Bush himself declared that Mr. Hussein “aids and protects terrorists, including members of Al Qaeda” while Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called links between Iraq and Al Qaeda “accurate and not debatable.”

It wasn’t true, of course. But it helped make the case for war.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/29/opinion/is-trump-going-to-lie-our-way-into-war-with-iran.html

For many years, major U.S. institutions ranging from the Pentagon to the 9/11 Commission have been pushing the line that Iran secretly cooperated with Al Qaeda both before and after the 9/11 terror attacks. But the evidence for those claims remained either secret or sketchy, and always highly questionable.

In early November, however, the mainstream media claimed to have its “smoking gun” — a CIA document written by an unidentified Al Qaeda official and released in conjunction with 47,000 never-before-seen documents seized from Osama bin Laden’s house in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The Associated Press reported that the Al Qaeda document “appears to bolster U.S. claims that Iran supported the extremist network leading up to the September 11 terror attacks.” The Wall Street Journalsaid the document “provides new insights into Al Qaeda’s relationship with Iran, suggesting a pragmatic alliance that emerged out of shared hatred of the United States and Saudi Arabia.”

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/11/23/how-us-ties-to-link-iran-to-al-qaeda/

After all that effort….the debunking began……

For many years, major U.S. institutions ranging from the Pentagon to the 9/11 Commission have been pushing the line that Iran secretly cooperated with Al Qaeda both before and after the 9/11 terror attacks. But the evidence for those claims remained either secret or sketchy, and always highly questionable.

In early November, however, the mainstream media claimed to have its “smoking gun”—a CIA document written by an unidentified Al Qaeda official and released in conjunction with 47,000 never-before-seen documents seized from Osama bin Laden’s house in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/translated-doc-debunks-narrative-of-al-qaeda-iran-alliance/

But o amount of debunking will shut up the lying of pea-brains like Sen. Cotton of Arkansas or the lip service of a weak minded president….

Israel has considered Iran to be Israel’s major enemy since the end of the Gulf War of 1991. But why, it might be asked, did the neocons promote war with Iraq, rather than Iran, in 2003? The neocons were in accord with Israeli thinking but planned to begin with Saddam’s Iraq, the elimination of which, they believed, would pave the way for regime change elsewhere in the Middle East. This especially included Iran, which bordered Iraq. Despite all-out efforts by the neocons to have the U.S. attack Iran after occupying Iraq, this failed to materialize, and later President Obama moved in the opposite direction, overriding strong opposition from Israel and its American supporters, and made a deal with Iran that precluded its development of a nuclear weapon, which had been the professed main concern of Israel.

Now with the Islamic State’s significant loss of territory, which the U.S. helped to bring about, Israel and its American supporters are expressing deep concern that the void left by its defeat is being filled by Iran, which supposedly threatens to attain regional hegemony. President Trump, who takes a very negative view of the nuclear deal and describes Iran as a terrorist state, is promoting a tougher line toward Iran. However, Israel and its American myrmidons see Trump’s hard-line position as insufficient, contending that much more must be done to effectively counter the Iranian threat.

http://www.unz.com/article/trumps-anti-iranian-foreign-policy-not-enough-for-neocons-and-other-israelophiles/