Tag: Iraq

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Different Focus: Briefing with Two Teams

 

“It would be a mistake, a mistake with terrible consequences, for any adversary to attempt to do us harm during this health crisis, or ever for that matter.” — National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien

“This is the United States military. You will not penetrate this country. You will not get past Jump Street. You’re not going to come in here and kill additional Americans. And we will marshal whatever assets are required to prevent your entry into this country to kill Americans.” — General Milley

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

I had not got the whole picture when I first saw and heard President Trump’s speech following the symbolic Iranian missile strike, after the back to back killings of the Kuds Force terrorist group and unconventional war campaigns general Qasem Soleimani (Qassem Suleimani, Qassim Soleimani), and a senior Hezbollah commander (an Iraqi proxy). This picture […]

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Join us for a busy news day on the Three Martini Lunch. Today, Jim and Greg discuss Iran’s missile strike injuring no one in Iraq, leading President Trump to announce new sanctions but no new military action. They also discuss whether the Ukrainian airliner crash in Iran was a coincidence or something more sinister. In addition, they’re glad to see Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann receiving a settlement from CNN after the network attacked over his encounter with an American Indian near the Lincoln Memorial last year – all because Sandmann was wearing a MAGA hat. And they try not to lose their breakfast as MSNBC not only carries the Soleimani funeral live but fawns all over the legacy of a man known for killing hundreds of American service members and slaughtering innocents at home and abroad.

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Join us for three Iran-related martinis for you today. First, Jim and Greg are glad to see the likes of Russia and China offering nothing but word salad as no nation commits arms or manpower to Iran in the wake of the Soleimani strike. They also cringe as the Pentagon has to walk back a letter stating the U.S. Army would leave Iraq, only to have Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley explain the letter was just a poorly worded draft that doesn’t accurately express our policy and was never intended to go public. And they unload on California Rep. Ro Khanna for suggesting that Pres. Trump retaliating against Iran could warrant another article of impeachment, with Jim wondering if the Democrats are starting an impeachment of the month club.

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Faisal Saeed Al Mutar’s first experience with Americans was during the second Iraq war when a US tank rolled up in front of his house. He shares his incredible story of growing up under Saddam Hussein’s regime, the vaccuum in his neighborhood that was filled by members of Al-Qaeda, blogging against extremism and receiving death threats as a teenager, escaping Iraq, and the ten year journey to becoming an America citizen. He discusses being taken in by a family in Virginia, why he thinks Americans are amazing people, his appreciation of the values America was founded upon – free speech, civil liberties, and freedom of religion – and the importance of the separation of powers. His is the founder of Ideas Beyond Borders, a non-profit that seeks to prevent extremism before it takes root by translating and creating content related to the values that make people less likely to be recruited by extremist organizations. And he shares stories of the heroes he works with across the Middle East who are risking their freedom and lives to help translate content covering controversial or banned ideas, from civil rights, to women’s rights, to evolution, and critical thinking.

Full transcript available here: WiW57-FaisalSaeedAlMutar-Transcript

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Fake News

 

Remarkable, isn’t it, that Donald Trump has made decrying “fake news” his calling card? Is the press hostile to him? Sure. Do they lie about him? For the most part, no. Then again, the truth is not everyone’s friend. As William Randolph Hearst once quipped: “If Mr. Hughes will stop telling lies about me, I’ll stop telling the truth about him.” Or, even better, William F. Buckley said of Gore Vidal: “Anyone who lies about him is doing him a favor.”

On his visit to Iraq, the president lied to the troops. How can you claim to honor people you are lying to? Lying signals contempt. “We are always going to protect you. And you just saw that, ’cause you just got one of the biggest pay raises you’ve ever received. … You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years. More than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one.”

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I invested nearly two decades of experience in the region into this show and we look at what forces are there, how we got involved, regional context, possible paths, consequences, ISIS, Congress and POTUS rolls, and much more. Curious on your takes? Please take the time to really listen to this episode, the media coverage […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Former CIA Operative Unloads on Brennan and Politicized IC

 

For this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast, I had former CIA operative and leader of CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center’s WMD unit, author of the must-read and highly relevant 2009 book Beyond Repair: The Decline and Fall of the CIA and outspoken critic of the politicized leadership in America’s intelligence and national security apparatus, Charles Sam Faddis on to discuss among other things:

  • Why Faddis supports revoking John Brennan’s security clearance — and the bureaucratization and politicization of the leadership of the intelligence community versus the rank-and-file analysts and operatives in the field
  • Whether politics dominates over merit in the ranks of intelligence and the national security apparatus more broadly
  • What members of the national security establishment really mean when they talk about “protecting the institutions
  • Why President Trump has been deemed a threat to the power of the political leaders within the national security establishment in a qualitatively different way than any of his predecessors — and that’s a positive thing
  • What Faddis would do to reform intelligence
  • The poor state of America’s counterintelligence capabilities
  • The lessons of Iraq regarding U.S. intervention and the national interest
  • Whether America has the capability to use intelligence to engage in ideological warfare and bring down Iran’s Khomeinist regime
  • How China’s liquidation of our spy network reflects the problems plaguing America’s intelligence apparatus
  • The long-term dire ramifications of China’s OPM hack
  • The implications of China’s attempt to infiltrate Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office
  • The threat to the U.S. homeland of a collapsing Venezuela and Mexico, combined with drug cartels, organized crime groups and Hezbollah in our hemisphere
  • Faddis’ optimistic assessment of the Trump administration’s North Korea policy
  • Why China poses the greatest long-term threat to America of all, and our willful blindness towards it

You can find the episode on iTunes, everywhere else podcasts are found, and download the episode directly here.

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In light of the latest bout of protests in Iran, perhaps it is worth looking back at the “Arab Spring” generally. How does the Middle East look these days? What is the Arab Spring’s greatest success story? What is its worst failure?  More

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Can the Saudis Lead the Middle East into the Future?

 

Slowly but surely, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is trying to bring the Saudis into the 21st century. It is happening in fits and starts, and there are still many signs that the country has a long way to go, but I am cautiously optimistic.

Just last Tuesday, the Crown Prince talked about moderating Saudi Arabia’s practice of radical Sunni Islam at an economic forum in Riyadh:

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This week on Banter, Michael Rubin joined the show to discuss the recent Kurdish referendum on independence from Iraq, the Kirkuk crisis, and the implications of an independent Kurdistan for the Middle East as well as the US. Rubin is an AEI Resident Scholar and former Pentagon official whose research focuses on the Middle East, Turkey, Iran, and diplomacy. He has written extensively on the Kurds, including the recently published monograph, Kurdistan Rising.

Learn More:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Raqqa Falls, ISIS Reels

 

Osama bin Laden famously said, “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, they will naturally want to side with the strong horse.” These days, ISIS is looking more like a dead horse.

US-led forces have liberated Raqqa, the so-called capital of the terror group. Mop-up operations continue, but the city is swarmed with coalition fighters.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America react to Bowe Bergdahl pleading guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, glad that justice is being done and not being swept under the rug in the case of the soldier who left his unit in Afghanistan and was returned by the Obama administration in exchange for five top level Taliban detainees. They also groan as Iraqi forces are now fighting with the Kurds over territory in northern Iraq when they’re supposed to be finishing off ISIS. And they unload on Newsweek for its reckless reporting, including such gems as interviewing pedophile and former House Speaker Dennis Hastert about politics and declaring the Family Research Council a hate group.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Fear and Loathing in Kirkuk

 

There’s trouble in the works in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. However, before we can explain what happened there over the weekend, we need to provide some background.

Kirkuk is roughly a four-hour drive north of Baghdad, and closer than that to the Iranian border. It is a complex mix of ethnic groups, with the largest being Kurds, Turkmen, and Arabs. Plus Assyrians, Armenians, and a smattering of Jews.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America celebrate the liberation of Mosul from ISIS control and the tightening of the noose around ISIS in Syria as well. They also discuss reports that former FBI Director James Comey’s memos on conversations with President Trump contain classified information. And they lightheartedly critique Donald Trump Jr.’s account of a fruitless meeting between top Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton but really wanted to talk about adoption policy.

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Victor Davis Hanson looks at how American warfare has changed since Vietnam and explains the implications for today’s policymakers.

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Next on Thinking It Through with Jerome Danner:  I invited a writer and thinker who is influencing me more and more after I heard him on the Eric Metaxas Show. Dr. John Zmirak is a writer for The Stream and he was a great guest to talk to about President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office. https://jeromedanner.net/2017/04/15/episode-32-jzmirak-of-streamdotorg-on-trumps-first-100-days-john-zmirak-of-the-stream/ More

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Member Post

 

It is common in my conversations with fellow Millienials to see sneer quotes applied whenever the term “American Dream” is brought up. Far from being limited to those on the Left, I have noticed this trend among disaffected conservatives as well, particularly during the Obama era. It was something noteworthy about the not so diametrically […]

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Member Post

 

I have been regrettably absent from Ricochet for much of the past year, save for a post or two. While I still stay abreast of the happenings back home, it’s been a nice sabbatical having removed myself from the current political discussions. Since Spring of 2016, I have been living and working in northern Iraq; initially […]

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