June 29, 2014
The headlines splashed across most major publications this week centered on the growing destabilization of Iraq. After a decade of war, peace and prosperity remain elusive and the “hearts and minds” COIN policy is officially dead. For the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, peace was nothing more than an American dream.
Watch Kimberly’s OANN TV segment here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoXf6Z49p5g
The U.S. “war on terror” doctrine, under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, perfectly illustrates America’s schizophrenic foreign policy. Increasingly, military battlefields once confined to traditional nations now take root in tribal regions sympathetic to Islamic terror ideals without conventional borders.
A perfect example is the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi, a former Iraq al-Qaeda leader who once told his capturers (US military in Iraq) “he would see them in New York City.” How al-Bagdadi was going to attack NYC remains unreported. Nevertheless, the obscure terrorist group rose to power by swiftly and decisively toppling a U.S.-trained Iraqi military.
Enter Syria. Not only has recently reelected President Bashar al-Assad had to fight a brutal civil war, but his once-secular country is a magnet for thousands of foreign terrorists vying for a caliphate. In the midst of civil war, the Assad regime repeatedly targeted ISIS and this week successfully launched air strikes against ISIS near the Iraq/Syria border town of al-Qaim.
The Iraqi government was grateful.
“There was no coordination involved, but we welcome this action. We welcome any Syrian strike against ISIS because this group targets both Iraq and Syria … But we didn’t make any request from Syria. They carry out their strikes and we carry out ours. The final winners are our two countries,” President Maliki told the BBC. It must also be noted that both governments are within the political sphere-of-influence of Iran.
Joshua Earnest, White House spokesman confirmed the Syrian action and said the White House had “no reason to dispute” the successful airstrike.
That being said, President Obama announced this week his administration has asked Congress to fund an effort to empower the “moderate” Syrian opposition seeking to topple al-Assad who is fiercely fighting ISIS. Crazy, right? At the very least it’s schizophrenic.
The latest foreign policy oxymoron isn’t new in fact this reporter highlighted the foolishness of arming and training terrorists and expecting them to act like our friends. But this is exactly what the Obama administration is asking the American taxpayer to accept. Just a year ago American citizens melted phone lines in DC when the president announced plans to pound Syria with airstrikes.
This time the White House request asks Congress to amend its 2015 budget to include $500 million in aid to assist the Syrian Free Rebels. The letter (link here) explained the additional money would be used to expand the current CIA covert training program, including money for the Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) in the amount of $65.8 billion.
The funding request marks the first time the White House has openly indicated its intent to train and arm the Syrian rebels, even though some are known al-Qaeda affiliates (link to Syria article).
According to U.S. officials, the rebels would be trained at existing secret camps in Jordan and Turkey. Also included in this request is $5 billion for the Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund (CTPF). At a West Point address, President Obama told cadets the CTPF builds on our “existing tools and authorities to respond to a range of terrorist threats and crisis response scenarios, and is designed to help build the counterterrorism capacity of partner states.”
It starts with Sunday show talking points
Further complicating the Iraq situation is the strategic gamesmanship of ISIS.
Former CIA Acting-Director Mike Morell confirmed, the ISIS’s blitzkrieg toward Baghdad has slowed and the group has begun to consolidate its gains and turned west toward Syria. “It’s very worrisome,” he said on Sunday.
Like many social media savvy terror groups, ISIS’s latest propaganda handbook highlights 9,540 attacks, 1,083 assassinations and 4,500 roadside bombs in Iraq alone.
“One of the big questions right now is whether ISIL (ISIS) can turn its tactical victories in Iraq into strategic gains. The group appears to be benefitting from a regional strategy that looks at Syria and Iraq as one interchangeable battlefield, allowing it to shift resources and manpower in pursuit of military objectives. And, it’s also clear that ISIL, with only a few thousand fighters, couldn’t have moved as rapidly as it has without the support of some nationalist Sunni groups and sympathetic tribes, some of which are merely drafting off of ISIL’s advances and may not cooperate over the long haul,” a U.S. counterterrorism official told this reporter.
“As long as the support of these Sunni elements holds, ISIL looks well positioned right now to keep the territory it has captured, absent a major counteroffensive,” he said. “However, there are still plenty of things that could go wrong for a group that typically has done well on its home Sunni turf but, if Syria is any guide, is hardly invincible when confronted in unfriendly territory by capable and motivated fighters. And historically, Jihadist groups have had difficulty holding territory for long periods of time. The situation on the ground right now is playing to ISIL’s strengths, but the group faces the real prospect of overstretch if it tries to press deep into Baghdad and beyond.”
However, with deteriorating ground conditions in Iraq, four more northern cities fell to the ISIS terrorists, including a strategic border crossing with Syria. This development will open up previously guarded borders to terrorists seeking to move weapons, money and fighters freely.
“ISIL’s aggressive push to control Iraq’s border crossings with Syria and Jordan is concerning. Along with other gains, control of these outposts would considerably strengthen the group’s position in northern Iraq and in Anbar,” another U.S. counterterrorism official pointed out.
With that in mind soon to be retired House Intel committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) said, “This (ISIS) issue IS in our national security interests.”
Is Jordan next?
Also this week the White House announced the State Department finalized it plans to assist a weakening Jordan. The “Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan closed on its offering of a $1 billion sovereign bond issuance guaranteed by the United States Government. This second loan guarantee reinforces the firm U.S. commitment to the people of Jordan by strengthening the Government of Jordan’s ability to maintain access to international financing, while enabling it to achieve its economic development and reform goals.”
The move came as ISIS set its sights on the “at risk” nation. The latest terror offensive continues to flood Jordan with refugees from Palestine, Syria and now Iraq warzones.
The State Department indicated that the “United States’ guarantee will allow Jordan to access affordable financing from international capital markets, ensuring that Jordan can continue to provide critical services to its citizens as it enacts transformative economic reforms and hosts more than 600,000 refugees who have fled the violence inside Syria.”
The $1 billion, five-year Jordanian sovereign bond was supported by a 100 percent guarantee of the repayment of principal and interest by the United States Government.
Fundraising for terror
Other areas of concern for the U.S. is the “frienemy” relationship with Arab nation partners like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Arab Emirates and Egypt. All these countries continue to raise billions of dollars for al-Qaeda terrorists groups like ISIS.
In a display of unmitigated gall, the Gulf countries that fundraise for these terror groups warned the U.S. against involvement in the forthcoming civil war in Iraq. Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said the growing turmoil in Iraq “carries warning signs of a civil war with unpredictable consequences for the region.” In other words, America stay out!
In recent days there has been a growing narrative that Gulf countries, America’s so-called allies, blame U.S.-installed Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s “sectarian policies of exclusion” of Sunni minorities for the violence plaguing Iraq. Maliki’s government strongly disagreed and released a scathing statement. “We hold (Saudi Arabia) responsible for what these groups are receiving in terms of financial and moral support and siding with terrorism.”
Like any terror or thug-operated group, ISIL/ISIS relies on wealthy donors and fundraising capabilities.
“ISIL is among the wealthiest terrorist groups on the planet but it also has significant expenses. ISIL gets some money from outside donors, but that pales in comparison to their self-funding. The overwhelming majority of ISIL’s money comes from criminal activities like extortion, kidnapping, robberies, and smuggling. In areas under their influence they are merciless in shaking down local businesses for cash and routinely force drivers to pay a road tax. In Mosul, ISIL has probably been hauling in several million dollars monthly just from its extortion racket. In overrunning the town the group is better off financially, but probably to the tune of millions—not hundreds of millions—of dollars,” a U.S. counterterrorism official explained.
While the current situation may have caught the White House flat-footed, senior U.S. intelligence officials complain they have been warning Congress and the administration for some time.
“Intelligence analysts for years have closely tracked ISIL and its predecessor organizations. During the past year, they routinely provided strategic warning of ISIL’s growing strength in Iraq and increasing threat to Iraq’s stability. They also warned about the increasing difficulties Iraq’s security forces (ISF) faced in combatting ISIL, and the political strains that were contributing to Iraq’s declining stability. Analysts reported on how ISIL has exploited Sunni political discord, uneven Iraqi CT pressure, and the Syrian conflict to strengthen its operational capacity and intensify the threat to the Iraqi Government. Further, they reported on ISIL’s efforts to spark uprisings in areas with substantial Sunni populations and how the ISF’s failure to counter ISIL gains in Ninawa Province and, specifically, Mosul allowed the group to deepen its influence there, as well as ISIL’s keen interest in targeting Baghdad,” the senior U.S. intelligence official concluded.
The eight-year insurgency in Iraq has cost nearly 4,500 American lives and wounded more than 32,000 service members. While the number of Iraqis killed or maimed remains difficult to pinpoint, conservative estimates suggest approximately 133,000 Iraqi citizens were killed from 2003-2011. And finally America’s longest war displaced at least 3.5 million people from their homes.
“As unpleasant as life was for the average Iraqi citizen before our invasion, it cannot compare to the misery under which they’ve suffered since,” says Army LTC Daniel Davis. “At some point we must be willing to recognize the stark truth that this excessive use of lethal military power has worsened our national security.”
Read part one “Obama trained insurgents launch killing spree against Iraq then turn to Syria” http://www.examiner.com/article/obama-trained-insurgents-launch-killing-spree-against-iraq-then-turn-to-syria
Obama’s Regime change train stops in Ukraine: http://www.examiner.com/article/obama-s-regime-change-train-stops-ukraine