Iran is winning in Syria and we are screwing it up

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If you haven’t noticed, Hezbollah has changed the tide of the Syrian civil war. Their troops with the Government forces took back Qusair, a key junction for supplying the rebel forces. More than 50 people were killed, including many civilians as artillery shells dropped on the town at a rate of over 50 per minute.

Qusair is 6 miles from the Lebanese border, where fighting has been going on in Tripoli for at least 3 weeks. On the other side of Syria, central Iraq and especially Anbar province have become a Wild West. The country had its highest kill rate since 2008 in May with over 1,00 killed in car bombings, political assassinations, and minor massacres. Factions are jockeying for position and the Sunni/Shiite struggle is raising its head again. Prime Minister Maliki is seen as weak and a tool of the Iranians. Iraq has, despite several warnings from the United States, been allowing unfettered transit both by land and air of arms shipments from Iran to Bashar al Assad’s forces and to Hezbollah.

The Russians have now raised the stakes even higher for the West by shipping advanced anti-aircraft missile systems to Syria. Those systems will directed specifically at NATO and Israel’s first line air forces.

Hezbollah has gone all in with Assad, their closest ally, now. Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, broadcast a television message to his supporters and the world that the alliance of Hezbollah, Syria and Iran was the new paradigm in the Middle East. “According to the Iranian Kayhan newspaper, the Lebanese branch of Hezbollah entered he Syrian civil war “in response to the injunctions” of Supreme Guide Ali Khamenei.”

The spillover into Tripoli and Hezbollah’s involvement have effectively dragged Lebanon into the war. A war most Lebanese have no taste for.

On the southern border of Syria the Israelis bombed a convoy carrying heavy armaments destined for Hezbollah with massive corollary explosions on the outskirts of Damascus as Assad threatened to retaliate against Israel. News of Syrian rebels begging for  Israeli assistance in providing surgical support of wounded rebels is being touted in the Syrian press as evidence of Israeli involvement rather than as humanitarian aid.

At Turtle Bay, the Russian government has been obstructing and obfuscating the case against the Assad regime for over 2 years now.

And in the background the Gulf Arab states and Iran have been supporting the Sunni and Shia factions respectively with hundreds of millions of dollars in arms.

With the entry of Hezbollah and Russian support, Assad is on a roll. Our Secretary of State, John Kerry and Senators such as John McCain are like deer caught in the headlights with no clue what to do as our president dithers. The same is true in Europe. Leadership is clueless.

And in the meantime, Iran is ready to install Saeed Jalili as their next strong man upon the orders of the Supreme Council. Mr. Jalili has been the fox in the henhouse on Iran’s nuclear negotiations for the last several years. He has lied every step of the way, and with news of Iran’s desire to develop up to 30 nuclear warheads per year according to an Israeli MP, the Iranian government is clearly reaching for the matches to light the gasoline.

Israel has been on edge for the last 5 years. In the Fall of 2008 as the election went down to the wire, President Bush was rumored to have reined in Israel’s plan to strike at Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Our country revised its MOP (Massive Ordnance Penetrator) program to deliver bombs that could go deeper and more destructively in order to stave off what would be a necessary Israeli nuclear strike on secret Iranian weapons facilities.

The STUXNET virus which was revealed through a White House leak was directed at this program. And now Mr. Jalili wants to build 30 warheads per year.

So what are our next steps? The risk of an Iranian nuclear option has all of the Gulf States and Israel on edge. The risk of a pan Iranian empire from  the Afghan border, where they are interfering,  to the shores of the Mediterranean is real and present.

Our government and our people are tired of war. Only this morning did I receive the news of another Green on Blue attack which killed an American Colonel and of another VBIED attack  which killed a young LT and and an SPC.

And yet we are looking at the Megiddo spoken of in the Bible. Sunni vs Shiite. Damascus, one of the oldest cities in history, is partially destroyed and now the specter of nuclear weapons has risen.

There is a weird confluence of interests. The West, Israel and the Gulf States desire to rein in Iranian interests. Turkey and Lebanon must stabilize their borders.

if Iran wins in this conflict, the world is fundamentally changed, doubtfully for the better. The nexus of crazy wins.

So what is next? Do we have the thinkers and doers to find a solution?

 

 

 

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Islamist Terrorists Bomb Boston

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10 days ago,, the Associated Press removed the term “Islamist” from its style book as a perjorative term for Muslim extremists. This morning we woke up to find that Islamist terrorists bombed the Boston Marathon on Monday.

The two terrorists, for they admitted that they did commit the act; in fact they bragged about it, were from Chechnya, one of the most violent places on earth 15 – 20 years ago. Chechnya experienced one of the most devastating civil wars of the past 100 years between the Russian state and Muslim separatists. As the war which began in 1994 expanded, brutality begat brutality. The First Chechen War ended in 1996, while the Second Chechen War ended in only 2009 after a 10 year insurgency.

The Moscow theater hostage crisis in 2002 where 170 died and the Beslan School massacre, where 380 people lost their lives in 2004 were perpetrated by Islamist terrorists. Grozny, the capital of Chechnya looked like Stalingrad 1943 after the first Chechen War. This is the reality of being Chechen.

Chechen fighters today are considered the shock troops of Islamist armed struggle from Bosnia to Afghanistan to Syria. mention Chechens to a jihadi and it is like mentioning the Navy SEAL’s or the pro’s from Dover to an American.

The Tsarnaev brothers were escaping that part of the world, it is clear. They were brought to this country and given refugee status. The elder brother, Tamerlan, came here when he was approximately 16. The younger brother was probably 9 when he arrived. At those ages, young men are very impressionable. And instead of dreaming of becoming firemen or cops or other American dreams they were isolated and insulated.

Somewhere along the way they became radicalized. One does not simply think to assemble and place improvised explosive devices one day. It is a process.

The press tells us that jihadi web sites such as Al Q’aeda’s have the manuals and instructions for the pressure cooker bombs used at the Boston Marathon posted.

Djohar Tsarnaev had Jihadi and Islamic devotional videos on his VK profile and linked it to a Chechen web site.

When confronted by a MIT campus policeman, Sean Collier, they shot and killed him. They then robbed a 7-11 and carjacked a man who stated that they had admitted to the Marathon bombing. Tamerlan died in a hail of bullets and may have detonated a suicide vest.

The cops are calling it terrorism, but not Islamist terrorism. At least not yet. Our government is deathly afraid of labeling it for what it is, just as at Ft. Hood.

But when it walks like an Islamist and quacks like an Islamist and smells like an Islamist, I think AP might want to reconsider the changes in its style guide and our president and his government their disconnect from reality.

There is a faction of Islam at war with us. On 9/11. In London. In Madrid. In Yemen. On a Christmas Day flight to Detroit from Amsterdam. At Fort Hood, and now in Boston.

Al Q’aeda was never an organization with clear lines and uniforms and unit patches. And Al Q’aeda is just one part of Salafism. You can go out and say you’re an AQ without having a membership card or you can go out and blow up innocent civilians and not affiliate yourself. But the motives and results are the same. Death to infidels. That’s why the term Islamist was used in the first place.

All Muslims are not Islamists, but all Islamists are Muslim. The president “vanished” the Global War on Terror. It disappeared from the lexicon. But it never disappeared. Not in Benghazi nor in Boston.

The Tsarnaev brothers are simply the latest link in a chain of Islamist terrorism that will continue until the Muslims themselves extinguish this fanaticism.

Walk on By

 A meditation on narcotics in Orange County

There is world here in Southern California that exists under the radar of most people. In a land of wealth and privilege and hope there is a dark underside that we choose to ignore.

It starts in grade schools that fail to meet the needs of their students. Sometimes it is the school’s failing, or the student’s or their families. It can be the latch-key kid or the rich kid with too much time on their hands or the one with troubles fitting in or even some darker, more evil demons. For these demons are very real.

A weak moment. A desire to make the hurt go away. A desire to just get high and not deal with it.

Back when I was running the streets of New York, it was, as Grandmaster Flash said, “fun, baby”. But we learned damned fast that that wasn’t true. If you climb onto the dragon’s back, the dragon always wins. That was thirty years ago and kids are still making the same mistakes and nothing has changed.

When you talk to some of these kids, the story slowly comes out. The reasons for using come out. And what they are using today is far more dangerous than even a generation ago. The drugs are purer and more addictive and more damaging than ever. It seems that every week a kid in Orange County ends up in the morgue from an overdose.

In a time when alcohol is readily available and pot is virtually legal and incredibly powerful, the slide down into madness and death is easy with just a little bit of grease. This is not figurative. It is real as a heart attack.

The price of heroin is at an all-time low and it is easy to find. Just ask any of these kids if you need a hookup. Afghanistan, which supplies 95%+ of the world’s heroin, sees production grow every year. The poppy fields stop at the edges of our firebases. There are rumors that some of the heroin arrives at Camp Pendleton or transits Pendleton because there is less scrutiny. Sort of like the bad old days of the Vietnam War. 100 miles south of here the cartels are bringing it over in truck and boatloads. A Coast Guardsman died last week in a drug bust off of Santa Cruz Island, 100 miles north of here. The War on Drugs has spent hundreds of millions of dollars and is an utter failure.

The shrapnel from the drug trade is all over Orange County and no one pays attention. From the grave of the millionaire kid who “had a car accident” and whose family could have the records altered to a family at Holy Sepulcher grieving a 20 year old kid who OD’d “popping” something way too powerful for them to the kid with the melted synapses at the sheriff’s Theo Lacey facility, it pervades our culture.

Orange County has the highest density of sober living homes in the country. These are the ones who are trying to kick it. With AA meetings and NA meetings and help from their friends they’re doing the best they can. But the temptation can be right there sometimes. A quick hit that no one may notice that may or may not be the hot shot that kills them.

And they fall down and try to get back up again.

And most of us walk on by.

Enabling does no one any favors. Legalizing pot simply indulges stoners for the most part. One of the few growth industries in California in the past several years has been pot clinics. The drug companies legally produce enough oxycontin pills annually to overdose every man, woman, and child in China or more. “Pill Mills” and doctors writing sometimes hundreds of prescriptions for drug dealers and abusers are page 3 or page 4 news.

The fact is that our leaders don’t care or are profiting from our collective addiction. The entire trend of our society has been away from “right conduct”. And yet the people who are trying the hardest to help these souls are faced with indifferent families and indifferent leaders and a moral compass that has been purposely ripped from its moorings.

Funding is nonexistent and rehabilitation has at times been a for-profit industry.

Evil exists, and nowhere more so than in the world of narcotics. In our nonjudgmental world today some might say it is a matter of personal choices. But once that monkey is on their backs, it is no longer a choice. It is a cold hand slowly strangling the life out of them.

And most of us will walk on by.

On Benghazi – Of Course Obama Knew

This morning, former CIA Director David Petraeus testified to something that has been an open secret for months. The CIA knew within minutes that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was a terrorist act planned in advance. Mr. Petraeus also stated that the CIA report was later altered by another Federal agency.

The Democratic Party’s left-wing held a photo-op yesterday decrying the attacks on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for her espousal of the Administration line that the Benghazi attacks were the result of an obscure video on YouTube in the immediate aftermath of the event.

There is just a small problem with this line of defense. It is completely false. The Administration has been doing its best to obfuscate and obscure a truthful response on the Benghazi attack. For two weeks afterwards the Secretary of State, the President, and Ms. Rice knowingly lied to the American people. After these lies were exposed, the White House has been playing keepaway with the facts and the witnesses.

How do we know this? First, the New York Times offered a remarkably accurate report of the attack on September 12. A report that surely came from inside sources.

In addition, we have the President and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton implying on September 12 that it was the video and not a terrorist attack. The State Department could not move fast enough to produce and air advertisements on Pakistani Television apologizing for the video.

On September 14, the Libyan government had four men in custody according to Al Jazeera. On the 19th, the president of Libya laid out the details to that same network.

On September 24, the President appeared on “The View” and said the investigation was continuing, and did the same on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart. The commemorative photo, run by the Washington Post, is especially offensive in light of the lies.

In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on the 25th, the President stated “If we are serious about these ideals, we must speak honestly about the deeper causes of the crisis” while ignoring the crisis of trust at home as he ignored the real cause for the violence.

The Daily Beast had the administration dead to rights on September 26.

The election came and went and the Administration has continued to do its best to cover up the cover up. But on October 26th, Director Petraeus dropped a curiously worded statement saying that  “No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. ”  This called into question whether a rescue force was prevented from rushing to Benghazi and absolved the CIA of decision-making authority. This after the Administration did its best to pin blame on the CIA and intelligence community.

Director Petraeus statement this morning is at complete odds with the Administration’s narrative. The CIA did its job on September 11 and reported the facts as they saw them.

Someone else was responsible for editing the report. But Ambassador Rice has a very difficult position. When she was trooped out to mouth the party line to the talk shows a few days after the assault, there was only one person who was authorized to approve her talking points; the President himself.

State reports to the President. The U.N. Ambassador reports to the President. The Director of National Intelligence reports to the President. The Director of the CIA reports to the President. The buck stops there.

The President has been caught in a web of his own lies. It is now up to us to hold him accountable.

The elephant in the living room in Benghazi

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton fell on her sword according to the national media, but without actually taking responsibility for the lies regarding who and why and how the Benghazi assassinations occurred. She took blame for the security failure, but not for the mischaracterization of the attack as from a spontaneous reaction to an obscure movie rather than its true source, Al Qaeda.

From the outset, Ms. Clinton, the President, and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice hewed to the party line that it was the rioters and not the radicals; at the U.N.; on “The View”, and on the talk shows a lie was propagated.

In the meantime, after the president spiking the ball on Osama Bin Laden and after hundreds of Hellfire strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, Al Qaeda was supposed to have rolled over and died. Instead, not only were Ambassador Stevens and his team killed, but also a senior security officer at our embassy in Yemen a few days later. They know who we are and where we live. Al Qaeda is alive and well.

And this is the President’s problem.  The facts don’t fit the narrative.

The Administration has a problem with the truth. But they have an even bigger problem.

11 years after 9/11, Al Qaeda and our enemies still have the ability to penetrate our intelligence and security and carry out complex attacks based upon that information.

Just like they did on December 30, 2009 when a Jordanian double agent went through 5 layers of security and penetrated a top security CIA facility at Camp Chapman in Afghanistan and detonated himself, killing 7 top analysts trailing Al Qaeda.

Just as the Taliban did in penetrating Camp Bastion in a complex attack on September 14.

There is a message being sent with these attacks that the Administration is desperate to cover up. The enemy have penetrated our security and can strike when they feel the time is right.

Our government and those of our allies have erected an Orwellian security apparatus costing hundreds of billions of dollars. This apparatus violates our civil liberties as it taps pretty much anything it pleases; traces financial transactions all over the globe, and stares at us through the cameras on the street or drones 60,000′ in the air.

And now we find that there are basic security leaks. The watchers have been penetrated. The all-powerful Oz, in this case our President, is a man behind a curtain peddling lies. And we are less safe than we were 11 years ago.

 

Indicting Obama on Intelligence

Today’s London Dail Mail has an article written by Toby Harnden, their America watcher, in which he notes that former Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff and former CIA Director Michael Hayden have damned Vice President Joe Biden and his boss for blaming CIA employees for the confusion caused by the Administration’s insistence on blaming an obscure video for the terrible attack in Benghazi.

This is the second time in recent months that former intelligence officials have blasted the Administration for its cavalier way with the facts. The last time was a chortling insider account of a secret mission in Yemen where high level White House insiders described in detail the capture of another underwear bomber. But it was actually an allied secret agent.

The UK was forced to exfiltrate a deep cover agent within Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) because he was compromised. This was virtually the first human intelligence asset we had been able to place within this incredibly paranoid organization. The Administration came in for widespread criticism both here and abroad once more.

In June, Senator Feinstein called for an investigation to leaks from high places revealing details of the Stuxnet computer virus attack on Iran. These leaks were once again attributed to the White House.”In recent weeks, we have become increasingly concerned at the continued leaks regarding sensitive intelligence programs and activities, including specific details of sources and methods,” said Chambliss; Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-California; Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan; and Ranking Member C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, D-Maryland, in the statement.

We were informed in incredible detail by the New York Times in June of a secret “kill list” as well. Senator John McCain called for an investigation.The FBI was ordered in June to investigate these leaks. Since then there has been a complete blackout. I might remind you, dear reader, who the FBI reports to.

Last year our government abandoned Dr. Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped locate Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad. Dr Afridi is now serving a 33 year term for treason. In an interview with the UK Independent he said that Pakistan’s ISI considers the United States its prime enemy, even before India. Dr. Afridi was outed by news leaks made to American newspapers by Administration officials. The White House was the source of a number of leaks in the immediate aftermath of the Bin Laden raid and again there were calls for an investigation.

If you recall, early in the Administration seven former CIA Directors dating back to the Reagan Administration issued a joint condemnation of the Administrations reckless conduct in pursuing a politically motivated vendetta against CIA interrogators.

The history of the politicization of intelligence matters in the Administration dates to its opening months.

The problem is that everyone knows where these leaks and distortions have come from. The information released is of such a highly secret nature that there can only be a few people on the list, and believe me, there is a list and those who knew had the highest of security clearances with corresponding penalties up to and including life imprisonment without parole.

The black farce that the Benghazi blame game has become; the leaks; the vendettas all point to the very top. The buck clearly stops on the President’s desk on this  3 1/2 year fiasco.

Anyone else would have had their security clearance revoked and be facing criminal charges. That’s the way the system works.

It is time to take away the President’s secret decoder ring. It is time to change the codes. To change the locks. To change the policy. It is time to do a kiss ass tour of every major intel agency we have pissed off around the world with our cavalier and smirking conduct.

He is the president, but he is also a danger to himself and the country.

 

 

Resurgent Jihad

Today’s Congressional hearings on the 9/11 Benghazi attack shed new light on the circumstances surrounding the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in a raid now attributed to Al Quaeda. For one month, the Administration portrayed this raid as a response to an offensive videotape by local residents when the truth was that a heavily armed band of Islamic radicals intent upon one specific mission; the assassination of Ambassador Stevens.

The military and State Department security officials testifying to the Congressional committee were unanimous in recognizing the highly fluid and dangerous state on the ground in Libya and repeatedly requested additional assistance and to extend the mission of a security team already on the ground. These requests were denied by Foggy Bottom.

There were specific and credible warnings of an impending attack. These were ignored. The president of Libya just a few days after the attack spoke the truth which the Administration is only now admitting regarding the source of the attack.

In Afghanistan, the suicide mission at Camp Bastion was the most successful act of jihad in the war to date. Green on Blue violence is now an integral part of Taliban tactical planning and has taken over 55 ISAF lives this year. This does not include an accelerated rate of civilian massacres.

The Taliban is sending a clear message that they are back and that they are ruthless.

In a controversial speech in Chicago last week, CBS senior foreign correspondent Lara Logan ripped the narrative that we are winning the war against terrorism apart.

Having covered the Afghanistan War since 2001, her perspective is unique as she has seen the war the war has changed over the past 11 years. Her most recent project was to investigate the resurgence of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

She interviewed many of the key players including several of the commanding generals, Ambassador Ryan Crocker, Taliban emissaries, and Afghan government officials. The Taliban and their Al Qaeda and Pakistani allies do not see themselves as insurgents. They were the legal government of Afghanistan and are completely committed to retaking power once the international forces leave next year. Both the Taliban and Al Quaeda have set up training camps in the remote provinces of Nuristan and Kunar. That has not made the morning news.

Our own leadership has been minimizing this threat in the interest of internal American politics. Ms. Logan pointed out that unlike the Vietcong and North Vietnamese in that war, the Salafists see the struggle as a clash of cultures and faith. The caliphate is a real and attainable goal. But like the Vietcong and North Vietnamese, they have remained unchanged in their ideology. There is no kinder, gentler Taliban. It is a fiction being sold to us.

Salafism has now spread to Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Mauritania, Somalia, Mali, and Nigeria and has become much more virulent.While many of the governments and even the people wish for peace, the Salafists are infiltrating much as they have done in Pakistan. It is never the mass of the populace but rather small cliques who have asymetrically been able to commit terror whether the Bolsheviks, the Nazis, or the Salafists.

Most of these countries without strong, pro-Western dictators would be considered failed states. The primary missions of AFRICOM now are to combat Islamic terrorism and help prevent the failure of existing national governments. We may not agree with the political systems in some of these countries, but we must help prevent chaos as best we can with limited resources and involvement.

The Obama administrations support for the Arab Spring would be sorely tested in the political arena regardless of the Salafists. Nascent governments are almost impossible to predict. But the the role of the Salafists and the resurgence of Al Quaeda should be a strobe light for the next administration.

The Afghan people were never completely with us. Night letters, assassinations, and attacks have always created a barrier to international aid and the modernization of the country.There is a fatalistic expectation that they will once again be deserted and must make their accommodations with the Taliban.

On the other side of the border, Pakistan has multiple personality disorder coupled with extreme paranoia. It has a toxic political environment pitting sect and ethnicity against each other while the ISI and Army use the  both Taliban and Haqqani Network to both fund the insurgency through the narcotics trade and and counter Western and Indian influence in Afghanistan. The Pakistani government has gone from a shaky ally to a frenemy to an undeclared enemy. That Pakistani agents have been behind some of the worst terrorists incidents in Afghanistan is another data point in both the destabilization of Afghanistan and the growing sophistication of asymmetrical warfare.

Despite the narrative, the world is a much more dangerous place than it was in 1998, or 2001, or 2006, or even last year. We are perceived as weak and weak-willed. The retreat from Afghanistan will be the cause for rejoicing throughout the Islamic world. Not by all, but by the powerful minority willing to proclaim jihad.

There will be many unintended consequences caused by our fickle policies. A nuclear Iran is only one of our worries. As Ms. Logan concluded in her remarks,

” When I look at what is happening in Libya, it’s a big song and dance about whether this was a terrorist attack or a protest. And you just want to scream “For God’s sake, are you kidding me?”. The last time we were attacked like this was the U.S.S. Cole, which was a prelude to the 1998 embassy bombings, which were the prelude to 9/11. And you are sending in FBI agents. I hope to God that you are sending in your best clandestine warriors who are going to exact revenge and let the world know that the United States will not be attacked on its own soil. That its ambassadors will not be murdered. And the United States will not stand by and do nothing about it.”

General John Allen was suddenly promoted out of his job as commander of ISAF last week because he spoke the truth. This is the third commander who has been relieved in theater in the Afghan War.

Instead of the truth that needs to be told and heard there is a narrative at large that must be countered, or we shall pay a much higher price sooner rather than later.