Tag: Syria

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These are questions for people who believe or may be inclined to believe that the sarin nerve gas attack which prompted President Trump to order yesterdays retaliatory strike on Syrian airfield was not conducted by the Syrian government. 1. Who do you think actually conducted the sarin gas attack? Preview Open

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America react to President Trump ordering missile strikes against a Syrian airfield in retaliation for Syria’s use of chemical weapons.  They also discuss another terrorist attack involving a truck, this time in Stockholm.  They’re stunned to see reports that Trump may be considering replacing his top two advisers.  And they welcome Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

White House Talking Tough on Syria

 

This week’s chemical attack on civilians has changed President Trump’s attitude toward the intractable civil war in Syria. At a Rose Garden press conference with King Abdullah of Jordan, Trump condemned the attack and the brutality of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

“It’s very, very possible, and I will tell you it has already happened, that my attitude toward Syria and Assad, has changed very much,” Mr. Trump said. “I think the Obama administration had a great opportunity to solve this crisis. When he didn’t cross that line, after making the threat, I think that set us back a long ways. It was a blank threat.”

When a reporter asked if Assad’s apparent use of WMDs crossed a “red line,” Trump said it did. “When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, little babies, with a chemical gas that is so lethal — people were shocked to hear what gas it was — that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line, many, many lines,” he said.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are encouraged by President Trump’s vow to enforce existing immigration laws.  They also rip Rep. Tulsi Gabbard for her Syria trip and going easy on Assad in her analysis.  They unload on disingenuous Democrats upset about Trump looking to end sanctuary cities, and they note the rise of Canada’s Trump – and it’s someone you may well be aware of.

In the final podcast of the Obama presidency, Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer Donald Trump’s goal of aggressively reducing the size of government but acknowledge it will not be easy.  They also react to Bernie Sanders saying America is not compassionate because our government does not do as much for people as more liberal governments do.  And they scratch their heads as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard embarks on a mysterious trip to Syria.

Syria Is at a Tipping Point, and So Is American Foreign Policy

 

aleppo_bombed_hospitalThe cataclysm in Syria — the atrocities, humanitarian crisis and escalating hostilities — could hardly get worse. But it could. US Syria policy — the moral and strategic errors, deferral to Russia and Iran, and enabling of Assad — could hardly get worse. But it could. Fallout in the region — the opportunities for Iran, Russia, ISIS and other jihadists that the war provides — could hardly get worse. But it could.

The ideas that Russia can be a “partner” in fighting ISIS, that Russia and Iran can play a “constructive role” in the region, and that Syrians can “coexist” with a regime that causes such horrors and devastation are fantasies, already proven wrong. Perpetuating policies based on such delusions would be to knowingly steer American foreign policy even further off course.

From the beginning, the Obama administration indulged dictators, offering to “normalize” relations with the worst of them. Thus, even though Syria was a state sponsor of terror that had backed a brutal puppet government in Lebanon, and caused severe setbacks for American troops by arming and training Iraqi insurgents, the Obama administration reached out. They went so far as to suggest brutal Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad was a “reformer” and to recommend him as “intermediary” in the Middle East peace process.

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The title to this post is part of the first sentence of an opinion piece at the Washington Post by Leon Wieseltier. I must say that this is not something I have spent much time contemplating. I did the obligatory post way back when on asking for prayers for the people of Syria and an end to […]

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Richard Epstein responds to the controversy over Russia’s meddling in the presidential election, Donald Trump’s national security team, and the president-elect’s skepticism of the One China policy.

The History of Mosul

 

I’ve never been to Mosul and so don’t have a good sense of what the city is really like. I thought, though, that the accounts I was reading of the battle to retake the city weren’t especially informative about the city’s history and significance. So I’ll try to offer some background, even though I’m not personally familiar with the city. I’m not an expert, and I may be mistaken about the details — so I’d welcome a bit of help from those of you who know the city’s history better.

mosulMosul, as you can see on the map to the right, is about 250 miles north of Baghdad. The old city was on the west bank of the Tigris, opposite the ancient city of Nineveh — the capital of the Assyrian empire, first mentioned in Genesis 10:11: “Ashur left that land, and built Nineveh.” Nineveh is part of modern-day Mosul.

Russian “Reset” Going as Well as Predicted

 

1421912307508In 2012, Mitt Romney said of Russia, “This is without question our number one geopolitical foe. They fight for every cause for the world’s worst actors. The idea that [Obama] has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed.” Later, at a presidential debate, President Obama famously responded, “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

The press giggled at zinger just as they had mocked Romney’s concern about Putin’s growing belligerence. Let’s check the status of the US/Russia relationship today:

Secretary of State John Kerry has suspended diplomatic talks with Russia over Syria, citing President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing military intervention on behalf of incumbent dictator Bashar Assad.

Syria, Russia, and Trump

 

I’m not sure how much news about Aleppo is filtering through the non-stop election coverage. Although my sense was that Gary Johnson did, indeed, know what Aleppo was (and just flubbed the question through some kind of inattention), that kind of inattention is only possible if the subject just isn’t something you think about all that much.

I don’t know whether he’s typical of American voters. It’s not something the next president will be able to ignore, though, that’s for sure. Aleppo’s now a hellscape reminiscent of the Battle of Stalingrad. Even by the horrifying standards of the Syrian war, the past week’s events Aleppo represent a new level of depravity. Russian and Syrian government airstrikes killed more than 300 people, most of them civilians and many of them children; more than 250,000 civilians are trapped. They’re under attack by the Syrian military and by thousands of foreign militiamen commanded by Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hezbollah fighters, and Russian ground troops; and they’re under bombardment by heavy Russian and Syrian air power — the most sustained and intense bombardment since the beginning of the war. A genuine Axis of Evil, if anything ever was, has emerged from this. Most of the civilians are, according to the Violations Documentation Center in Syria, being killed by Russians. I don’t know how reliable they are, so take this with the usual caveats:

Peace in Our Time?

 

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On Friday in Geneva, John Kerry announced a ceasefire in Syria to take effect today at sundown. Wait, haven’t they done this before? Yeah, they tried in back in February, and it fell to pieces in a couple of weeks. A major part of this agreement stops the Syrian government from using its air force, which Kerry described as the “main driver of civilian casualties.”

Syria Can’t Wait Until 2017

 

Charles Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute and the author of “The Syrian Jihad,” has written an article in the Daily Beast warning that the growth of al Qaeda in Syria is a problem that can’t wait for the next administration. “The principal benefactor of Assad’s survival is not Assad, nor Russia, Iran, Hezbollah or even ISIS,” he writes. “[I]t is Al Qaeda.” Lister has been warning for some time now that Jabhat al-Nusra, which is an affiliate of al-Qaida, will be more difficult to uproot than ISIS. Even if Americans aren’t paying much attention, the United States and its allies are now in an urgent battle for influence with Nusra, which is the most effective and successful al Qaeda affiliate to date.

On Wednesday, Putin and Obama agreed to a proposal for coordinated action against al Qaeda in Syria, involving enhanced intelligence sharing about its positions. Lister believes this is exactly the wrong approach — the polar opposite of the right approach. “Jabhat al-Nusra’s entire modus operandi has been designed to insure itself and ultimately benefit from just such a scenario,” he writes.

Syria and the “Dissent Channel”

 

The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are both reporting today that they have obtained or seen a draft copy of a State Department internal memo, signed by more than 50 diplomats, “urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad to stop its persistent violations of a cease-fire in the country’s five-year-old civil war.”

Neither have published the whole memo, which is frustrating: It’s impossible to evaluate an argument you can’t read. But the Times says it calls for “a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process.” The memo was apparently filed in the so-called “dissent channel,” established during the Vietnam War so that State Department employees could protest policies made by high-level officials without fear of reprisal. According to the Times,