Does Any Of Them Have Half a Brain?

This time I am talking about those mental midgets we elect for our Congress.

This time they have out stupid themselves.

Does anyone remember when the report came out that ISIS was using American weapons in their struggle?  NO?  Then listen up!

Weapons made in at least 25 nations, including the United States, made their way into the hands of extremists through decades of industry initiatives that saturated the region with destructive power. The weapons range from small firearms to heavy artillery and anti-aircraft missiles.

“Irresponsible transfers of arms and failure to control the resulting stockpiles are a major cause of untold human suffering in Iraq,” said the 45-page report titled “The Arming of the Islamic State.”

The findings were based largely on expert review of thousands of Islamic State and other videos showing militants wielding the weapons, which were identified in the report.

Ring a bell?

I bring up old news with good reason…..

The House voted for the first time today to explicitly authorize the incoming Donald Trump administration to arm vetted Syrian rebels with anti-aircraft missiles.

While the language in the annual defense bill also creates restrictions on the provision of the controversial weapons, it represents a win for Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., a fervent advocate of helping the rebels resist President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies. The Senate is expected to pass the bill next week.

Until now, the transfer of man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADs, had been implicitly authorized in the absence of an outright ban. Critics, however, view the new provision as tantamount to a policy recommendation for the president-elect.

Does anyone else see a problem forming?
Keep in mind that we, the US, are still involved with airstrikes in Syria….how long will it be before one of our AA missiles brings down a US plane?
I ask again….what are these mental midgets thinking?
When will the American people pull their heads out and see what ignorance all this is?

Iraq/Syria Update–07Dec16

How soon our minds wander……

As an analyst of the Middle East I am ashamed of myself for allowing the silliness around the election and the after math to consume my thoughts…..I will try to make things right….today I will start a regular update on the situations in Iraq and Syria…and the region.

Iraq

As Iraqi security forces wage a grinding house-to-house battle to push the Islamic State out of Mosul, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is rushing to prepare for a potential mass exodus of up to 700,000 mainly Sunni civilians. But winter is closing in, funds are short, and the head of the UNHCR mission is worried that the international community and the Iraqi government could be overwhelmed by events, possibly setting the stage for renewed sectarian tension. – Foreign Policy’s The Cable

Iraqi army said on Wednesday that Islamic State militants launched an overnight attack against security forces in the southeastern part of Mosul, a day after the troops advanced deeper into the city. – Associated Press

Syria

Syrian government forces pushed deeper into Aleppo on Wednesday, seizing areas around the medieval citadel whose narrow streets had long given rebels cover, pro-government websites and conflict monitors reported. – New York Times

The United States is discussing with Syrian rebels their surrender and evacuation from Aleppo, as Russia on Tuesday threatened the imminent “elimination” of anyone who refuses to leave the city. – Washington Post

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he and his Russian counterpart will speak this week as a fierce bombing campaign backed by Moscow continues in Aleppo, fueling diplomatic arguments and straining prospects for talks. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

The House passed a defense bill last week that included language giving the incoming Trump administration the authority to send shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles to rebel groups fighting in Syria. While the bill provides certain restrictions for transferring the controversial weapons, known as MANPADS or Man Portable Air Defense Systems, it represents a significant shift from prior iterations of the legislation. – Washington Post

Vladimir Putin is seizing on President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to reverse U.S. policy on Syria to press for a military victory that could mark Russia’s return as a great-power rival in the wider Middle East. – Bloomberg

Secretary of State John Kerry has resumed bilateral negotiations with Russia over the Syrian civil war, despite Russia’s refusal to make the policy changes that Kerry demanded when he canceled talks in October – Washington Examiner

Israel’s military attacked an airport in Damascus near Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s palace early on Wednesday morning, Arab media reported, in what appeared to be the second air strike by Israel inside Syrian territory in less than a week. – Financial Times

Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan write: Deterrence, by way of fait accompli, has worked so far. Explicit deterrence will work still better. At the end of the day, the choice is not whether the U.S. stays in Syria or leave, it is whether it stays or, eventually, is forced to come back. – The Daily Beast

I shall try to keep my readers updated as often as possible…..it is important because we have troops fighting and dying in these regions….but I am assuming that Americans actually give a crap……

Closing Thought–05Dec16

Palestine………

I have been a supporter of the state of Palestine ever since I worked in the region in the late 70’s-early 80’s…..I have written many posts about the need to the world to finally recognize Palestine as a real country….

Of course this will be difficult when Israel has a death hold on our Congress and Prez…..even the American people see that there is TOO much influence by Israel…..

The survey found a clear majority of Americans (76%) said Israel was “a strategic asset” to the US, its authors said. At the same time, they said, “a majority of Democrats, 55%, say that Israel is also a burden”; among Republicans, 24% consider Israel a burden. Fifty-two percent of Independents do not consider Israel a burden and 41% think it is.

The surveys also showed 55% of Democrats believe Israel has too much influence on American politics and policies, while 54% of Republicans think Israel has the “right level” of influence.

The surveys also found that the percentage of Americans supporting sanctions against Israel over its settlement policy grew by 9 percent over the past year and now stands at 46%.

America’s greatest chance of a peaceful settlement of this situation was when Jimmy Carter brokered a deal with Israel and Egypt…..I realize the Right does not like Carter much but he is the closest thing we have had as a statesman in many many years….

He has written much on the Palestinian question and now he has come out once again in favor of Palestine……

Time is running out before the Oval Office changes hands, and in Jimmy Carter’s mind, that leaves a limited window for one major thing on America’s to-do list: helping Palestine receive UN membership by granting diplomatic recognition before President Obama leaves the White House. In his opinion piece for the New York Times, the 39th president lays out his argument, starting with the Camp David Accords signed during his own administration in the late ’70s, meant to jump-start a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt and, therefore, the entire Middle East. Carter notes how Obama has tried to keep to that code, as well as to the UN Security Council resolution it was based on after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, by standing firm on 1967-dictated borders and against illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory.

Now, however, “the commitment to peace is in danger of abrogation,” Carter laments, pointing out even more settlements are being built and that Israeli settlers are able to enjoy citizenship and legal benefits their Palestinian counterparts don’t—”hastening a one-state reality that could destroy Israeli democracy and will result in intensifying international condemnation of Israel.” And so he’s calling for a Security Council resolution to guarantee peace for both sides, which, combined with UN membership and US recognition, would “bolster moderate Palestinian leadership” while simultaneously assuring Israel the world is looking out for its security, too—a two-state solution he says has been a long time coming. “I fear for the spirit of Camp David. We must not squander this chance,” he notes. Carter’s whole argument is here.

It is time for the Western world to put this issue to bed.

That’s my day…..I’m out…will be back tomorrow….go have a day my friends.

Trump, Putin, and the New Middle East

The 2016 election has diverted my attention from the Middle East and conflicts to more mundane stuff like….POLITICS (yuk)…….

I have been keeping track of the situations in the region….but have not written too much for I am watching the development of the Trump cabinet……

His election will change things a bit in the Middle East and with the changes will come a storming Putin……

By Maged Mandour | ( OpenDemocracy.net ) | – – The election of Trump will give second wind to autocrats …

Even though Trump remains a wild card, his campaign as well as his cabinet choices to date offer a glimpse on the direction of the policies he intends to follow in the Middle East.

The Trump campaign revolved around the notion that America had become international laughing stock because it had been taken advantage of by its allies. Trump struck more of an isolationist tone arguing for the need for American allies to do more. He has also oscillated to more extreme and militaristic positions, which reflect a more aggressive stance; he stated, for example, that he would use torture, even if proven ineffective, resort to massive bombing campaigns against IS as well as expand Guantanamo bay prison.

Source: Trump, Putin, and the new Middle East

The Middle East will remain a focus of American foreign policy….but will it be for good or will it embrace a worse scenario?

Why Saddam And Gaddafi Failed To Get The Bomb

Earlier this year while I was lecturing a student asked me this very same question…..she said that since Libya and Iraq had massive oil money they could afford the trip….

I told her that Iraq had tried to build a nuke facility and the Israelis destroyed it….

Then she asked …so then is Israel the force to worry about?

Yes and no…..no they are not a power in the region….only in their own minds….and yes they are a force because the West is deathly afraid if being criticized for not supporting Israel…..you would be surprised the weight that a call of antisemitism can be…..

The more I thought about it I decided that it is an excellent question that needs an answer……

I recall reading an article recently that asked this question and gave an excellent explanation…..

Imagine if Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi had nuclear weapons in 2003. The invasion of Iraq may not have been possible, and states would have been much more reluctant to bomb Libya in 2011. The Middle East would be a very different place today. As it happens, both leaders had sought nuclear weapons for decades, but neither got the bomb. Why?

In fact, Iraq came close to the nuclear weapons threshold. If Saddam hadn’t invaded Kuwait in the summer of 1990, Iraq would most likely have acquired nuclear weapons during the mid-1990s. In contrast, Libya’s program failed, over and over again, for three decades before the Gaddafi regime ultimately abandoned the program in late 2003.

Source: Why Saddam and Gaddafi Failed to get the Bomb

Closing Thought–29Nov16

The Adviser……….

All of his bluster during the campaigns lead many to think that Trump as president would lessen our footprint in the Middle East….but watching the people that is naming for the foreign policy slots that will be open leads me to believe something different…..

He has named people like Flynn, a big mouth that is a war monger from the get go….and now his announcement of his Terrorism adviser is another big mouth warmonger….

In naming KT McFarland his deputy national security adviser Friday, Donald Trump is adding another person with “hard-line views on the fight against terrorism” to his team, the New York Times reports. According to Bloomberg, McFarland served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affair under Ronald Reagan. She also worked for the Nixon and Ford administrations, spent time as a national security analyst and adviser to Henry Kissinger, and is a frequent guest on Fox News. She also unsuccessfully ran for Hillary Clinton’s senate seat in 2006. In her new position, McFarland will work with Trump’s new national security adviser, former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

McFarland has been a frequent critic of President Obama’s approach to terrorism and says the threat of global Islamism needs to be addressed. “She has tremendous experience and innate talent that will complement the fantastic team we are assembling, which is crucial because nothing is more important than keeping our people safe,” CNN quotes Trump as saying in a statement. In a statement of her own, McFarland says: “Nobody has called foreign policy right more than President-elect Trump, and he gets no credit for it.” Flynn added in a tweet that McFarland “will help us #MAGA.” Her appointment doesn’t require senate confirmation.

Many have overlooked this person’s lies in the past….when she was running for office…..she lied about being a speech writer, a Pentagon big wig and other stuff…..once a liar…always a liar.

These appointments do not bode well for the US foreign policy……more conflicts are at hand….

Abu Omar Khorasani, an Isis leader in Afghanistan, is quoted as saying that “our leaders were closely following the US election, but it was unexpected that the Americans would dig their own graves.” He added that what he termed Trump’s “hatred” towards Muslims would enable Isis to recruit thousands of fighters.

The Isis calculation is that, as happened after 9/11, the demonisation and collective punishment of Muslims will propel a proportion of the Islamic community into its ranks. Given that there are 1.6 billion Muslims – about 23 per cent of the world’s population – Isis and al-Qaeda-type organisations need to win the loyalty of only a small proportion of the Islamic community to remain a powerful force.

Source: Trump’s Team Will Start New Wars in the Middle East | Alternet

As an international analyst….I do not see much change in foreign policy direction at this time….but I will admit it is early and things could change…I will watch and rant.

Sad News On T’Giving Day

While we were enjoying our day with family and food it is easy to forget that our troops do not have the luxury that we are experiencing….

Once again sad news must be given to a family…..

The first American combat death in Syria happened on Thanksgiving. US officials say the service member was fatally injured in a blast from an improvised explosive device, the AP reports. The New York Times reports that officials say the American died in Ayn Issa in northern Syria, where Americans are assisting Arab and Kurdish fighters seeking to drive ISIS out of Raqqa, the capital of their “caliphate.” “The entire counter-ISIL Coalition sends our condolences to this hero’s family, friends, and teammates,” Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force—Operation Inherent Resolve, said in a statement. “On this Thanksgiving, please be thankful that there are service members willing to take up the fight to protect our homeland from ISIL’s hateful and brutal ideology.”

“I am deeply saddened by the news on this Thanksgiving Day that one of our brave service members has been killed in Syria while protecting us from the evil of ISIL,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement. “It is a painful reminder of the dangers our men and women in uniform face around the world to keep us safe.”

A shitty message to be delivered on a day of joy and family.

It is time for America to remove ourselves from this situation and let our country set about making it “Great Again”…(if you care to believe the hype)