Archive for Syria

Uh-Oh

When the American Left finds out ISIS did this, there’ll be hell to pay:

Militants fighting for the Islamic State in Syria are making millions of pounds selling ancient statues and mosaics to wealthy Westerners using a complex system of smugglers and middle men.

Looted from ancient buildings in ISIS strongholds, such as the group’s de facto capital city Raqqa, the antiquities are up to 10,000-years-old and can exchange hands for more than $1 million each.

The most expensive items are covertly smuggled overseas – usually on the orders of wealthy Europeans – but there is also a lucrative trade in less historically important objects, which often find their way into tourist shops and markets in neighbouring Lebanon and Turkey.

Char Christians if you like; decapitate Druze with abandon; but if you touch one Mesopotamian antiquity, loony leftists will be on your ass like a pimple. That’s the lesson we learned in Iraq.

Liberals also tell us that our voracious appetite for drugs makes us guilty guilty of all the cartel criminal activity in Mexico. The leftist worldview, therefore, would teach us that looting antiquities is the greatest war crime, and Europeans are ultimately responsible. Tempting as that may be to believe—Europe is authoring its own decline in many other ways—this is why we rejected liberalism years ago.

As Muslims conquer, they raze and loot. That’s not a charge, it’s history—see the Bamayan Buddhas for one egregious example. ISIS is just following a long, if ignoble, tradition.

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The Secret’s Out

We’ve had mixed feelings about sharing the news of Israeli medics and doctors treating the wounded from Syria’s civil war. Of course we were eager to educate an ignorant (often willfully so) public about the humanity shown between supposed enemies. But as the Syrians who were treated needed to keep it hush-hush else they pay for their Israeli-restored health with their Syrian-taken lives, we didn’t want to ruin a good thing.

Guess that cat’s out of the bag:

Two years have passed since the State of Israel opened its gates to permit victims of Syria’s conflict to enter the country and receive medical treatment. While the media occasionally publishes articles that include interviews with the wounded or the civilian doctors who provide them treatment, issues such as the stressful and traumatic circumstances IDF paramedics experience in their work are rarely brought to the public’s attention.

The harrowing events experienced by soldiers during their long hours of work has been taking a toll the IDF can no longer ignore. Testimonies collected by Ynet from IDF medics and paramedics who served in the area for the past two years paint an alarming picture, detailing the extent to which IDF medical teams are influenced by the difficult scenes they encounter on almost a daily basis.

Ido (not his real name), who served in the past year as a medic in the sector, describes scenes of what he terms as “institutionalized madness.”

“It’s insane,” he says. “They wake you up at 5 am and tell you that at 8:30, you will have to carry out authorization checks (procedures in which you make sure the wounded are not terrorists) on dozens of severely wounded people who will be waiting for you at the security fence. That’s how you start your day. You brush your teeth, eat breakfast, knowing that in two more hours you’ll be treating an open head wound…It’s crazy.”

“As a medical team, we have a commitment to provide aid to every human being, even if he’s an enemy,” an IDF paramedic regularly stationed at the area said. “An unbelievable amount of wounded people from enemy countries pass through here,” she said, explaining that “you don’t know their names due to secrecy issues.”

Some, she said, are “children who you know were not involved in the any kind of fighting and arrive with a nearly-detached leg, or an elderly man who wasn’t treated for a week, whose hand is infected to the extent that you know that severing it is the only thing that will save his life.”

While the IDF refrains from specifying the exact number of Syrians Israel has taken in so far, estimates place the number at several thousand. According to data from hospitals in the north, as many as 1,000 wounded passed through their doors. Many others were released directly from the military field hospital set up at the border.

You can see how that might take a toll. But leave it to the Israelis to make chicken soup out of chicken poop:

“The advantage of the work is the operational experience we received in treating the wounded, us during Operation Protective Edge. It improved the quality of our medical care more than any training exercise, and helped us not suffer from shock when we were inside Gaza, treating wounded soldiers.”

So, there’s that.

Again, we feel proud even just to share this news. But don’t let it get around. Israel’s got a reputation to protect.

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#screamaboutourgirls

AAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

That work for you?

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC: Joining me now, Jen Psaki, State Dept. spokesperson. I know you read the intelligence and know what is going on there. Richard has now brought this home to us just in the powerful stories of these children who are being raped and traded as chattel by ISIS.

JEN PSAKI, US STATE DEPT: Andrea first I really want to thank you and thank Richard for bringing light to these types of stories. It is something we don’t talk about enough: the horrific atrocities that women and children are becoming victims of at the hands of ISIL. This is an untold story about what’s happening in Syria, what’s happening in Iraq and something that we really all need to be talking about. It’s something we’re very focused on here at the State Department. We have a whole office on international women and girls. They talk about this frequently but we should all be screaming about how terrible this is.

ANDREA MITHCELL: I know you point out that the State Dept. has a whole office that we don’t pay enough attention to here in the media, thank you.

So, is the State Department saying it has binders full of women?

But I’ve got the modern solution for any problem, large or small.

With Ukraine settled, the raping and chattel-trading will cease shortly.

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ISIS Update

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear—when Obama said he was going to kick ISIS’s ass.

Although ISIL calls itself the “Islamic State,” the President emphasized that the terrorist group is neither Islamic nor a state.

“ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’ No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim,” President Obama said. “And ISIL is certainly not a state. … It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates.”

Isn’t one of the most important rules of warfare to know your enemy? He sounds ignorant, willfully so, and even gets the name wrong. Oh well, maybe he makes up for it later.

“Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”

So how’s that working out for you (us? them?)?

Exclusive: ISIS Gaining Ground in Syria, Despite U.S. Strikes

American jets are pounding Syria. But ISIS is taking key terrain—and putting more and more people under its black banners.

ISIS continues to gain substantial ground in Syria, despite nearly 800 airstrikes in the American-led campaign to break its grip there.

At least one-third of the country’s territory is now under ISIS influence, with recent gains in rural areas that can serve as a conduit to major cities that the so-called Islamic State hopes to eventually claim as part of its caliphate. Meanwhile, the Islamic extremist group does not appear to have suffered any major ground losses since the strikes began. The result is a net ground gain for ISIS, according to information compiled by two groups with on-the-ground sources.

And then, in a classic example of military-sepak:

“Yes, they have gained some ground. But we have stopped their momentum,” one Pentagon official told The Daily Beast.

That’s a neat trick. How do you stop momentum as they gain ground?

ISIS’s gain is a loss for gays, Christians, women, children, pigeon-breeders, and anyone else I might have left out.

During a Jan. 6 press briefing, for example, when a reporter asked “where ISIS’s relative strength is right now,” Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby replied by talking exclusively about the U.S. effort in Iraq, naming cities were the military believed ISIS’s momentum has been “halted.”

When the reporter pressed for an answer on what was happening in Syria, Kirby struggled, saying, “I couldn’t give you a—a specific point at which, you know, we believe, well geez, we’ve halted their momentum. It—it’s come slowly, in various stages. But I think it’s safe to say that over the last three to four weeks, we—we’ve been confident that that momentum has largely been blunted.”

On Friday, Kirby proclaimed that ISIS had lost 700 square kilometers since the campaign began—over half the size of New York City or about four times the size of the District of Columbia. But the Pentagon spokesman could not say what percentage that area marked of total ISIS-controlled land. Nor could he say if that loss was in Iraq, Syria, or combined in both nations. As Kirby asserted: “I’m frankly not sure how relevant that is.”

But Obama said:

“I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

Sorry, Syrians, but if you thought you could keep your country if you liked it, you’re as big a bunch of saps as we are.

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Israel Reportedly Strikes Iranian Assets In Syria

Gearing up for a holiday war?

Syrian state television said on Sunday that Israeli jets had bombed targets near Damascus International Airport and in the town of Dimas, near the border with Lebanon.

A Lebanese TV correspondent reported that Israel struck 10 crucial intelligence-linked locations in Syria that belong to Iran. The outlet reported that explosions were heard near the Israeli-Lebanese border, allegedly the result of IDF maneuvers.

The IAF has struck Syria several times since the start of the three-year conflict, mostly destroying weaponry such as missiles that Israeli officials said were destined for their longtime foe Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon.

Last week, the Lebanese Daily Star reported the army said it had fired anti-aircraft guns at an IDF drone flying low over the eastern part of the country.

“The Israeli enemy committed aggression against Syria by targeting two safe areas in Damascus province, in all of Dimas and near the Damascus International Airport,” state television said, adding that there were no casualties.

An IDF spokesman said he would not comment on “foreign reports.”

Huh. Is this why Obama has heartburn?

– Aggie

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Thots’n’Prayrs

As the Curies were the first to learn, atomic work is dangerous work:

Unknown assailants killed five nuclear engineers on Sunday while they were on a bus just north of Damascus near the research center where they worked, AFP reported on Sunday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of sources on the ground for its reports, later told AFP four of the engineers were Syrian, while one was Iranian.

“Unidentified attackers murdered five nuclear energy engineers who worked in the scientific research centre near the neighborhood of Barzeh, northern Damascus,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman, according to the report.

He later said, “Four of the engineers were Syrian, and one was Iranian. Their bus was ambushed while they were on their way to the research centre. Their assailants shot them dead.”

Ouch. We condemn such violence.

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I Hope the War Against Ebola is Going Better Than the War Against ISIS

It couldn’t be going worse:

BEIRUT — The Obama administration’s Syria strategy suffered a major setback Sunday after fighters linked to al-Qaeda routed U.S.-backed rebels from their main northern strongholds, capturing significant quantities of weaponry, triggering widespread defections and ending hopes that Washington will readily find Syrian partners in its war against the Islamic State.

Moderate rebels who had been armed and trained by the United States either surrendered or defected to the extremists as the Jabhat al-Nusra group, affiliated with al-Qaeda, swept through the towns and villages the moderates controlled in the northern province of Idlib, in what appeared to be a concerted push to vanquish the moderate Free Syrian Army, according to rebel commanders, activists and analysts.

Other moderate fighters were on the run, headed for the Turkish border as the extremists closed in, heralding a significant defeat for the rebel forces Washington had been counting on as a bulwark against the Islamic State.

A Jabhat al-Nusra base was one of the first targets hit when the United States launched its air war in Syria in September, and activists said the tensions fueled by that attack had contributed to the success of the group’s push against the moderate rebels.

“When American airstrikes targeted al-Nusra, people felt solidarity with them because Nusra are fighting the regime, and the strikes are helping the regime,” said Raed al-Fares, an activist leader in Kafr Nabel, in Idlib.

“Now people think that whoever in the Free Syrian Army gets support from the U.S.A. is an agent of the regime,” he said.

Doing to the Syrian opposition what he did to health care.

Obama does so many stupid things—I mean really numb-skulled, moronic, imbecilic things—I’m beginning to wonder if he’s as smart as they’ve been telling us. I’m thinking not.

PS: Didn’t Harry Reid declare Bush’s war in Iraq “lost”, when it was shortly after won? Where is he now (but on his way out, on his ass)?

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As We Were Saying

Well, we were.

The rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air—all for show:

US-led airstrikes against the Islamic State terrorist group (IS or ISIS) in Syria continue Saturday night, but are failing to slow the jihadis’ advance on the Kurdish border town of Kobane.

Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), backed by fighters from the Turkish Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), have been engaged in a fierce battle with ISIS, as the Islamists seek to seize control of the key town on the border with Turkey.

But though US airstrikes – which President Barack Obama pledged would “degrade and destroy” ISIS – have extended from Iraq to Syria to aid the defense of Kobane, local sources say the strikes have been largely ineffective.

“They struck empty buildings,” YPG’s chief of defense for Kobane, Ismat Sheikh Hassan, told The Independent. “ISIS fighters used to be there but they left, so they haven’t helped us. If anything, they are now fighting harder to push forward before there are more strikes.”

Maybe if Obama put the latte down when he saluted the men who serve at his command, he’d see how badass they are, and how a few of them might actually scare ISIS. Fireworks don’t seem to be doing the trick.

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Blowing [Bleep] Up [UPDATED]

You know me, I love blowing [bleep] up. Well, you don’t know me, not really, and I don’t blow [bleep] up myself (not even on the 4th of July), but I like it when my government does. When it comes to munitions, I say nothing succeeds like excess.

But give me a break:

Col. Peters is decrying the bombing of buildings at nighttime, when they would be empty, instead of mid-morning, when they would be full of bustling adjutants and corpsmen (pronounced core-man, Barack).

But they already were empty:

Reuters reported Wednesday that ISIS has gone underground in its Syrian stronghold since Obama authorized U.S. airstrikes on the group in Syria, disappearing from the streets, redeploying weapons and fighters, and cutting down its media exposure.

In the city of Raqqa, 450 kilometres northeast of Damascus, residents say Islamic State has been moving equipment every day since Obama signalled on Sept. 11 that air attacks on its forces could be expanded from Iraq to Syria.

As the United States tries to assemble a coalition to fight ISIS, the jihadist group appears to be trying to leave as much uncertainty as possible about its strategy.

Facing U.S. air strikes in Iraq, ISIS fighters abandoned heavy weaponry that made them easy targets and tried to blend into civilian areas. In anticipation of similar raids in Syria, the group may already be doing the same.

In Raqqa, the group has evacuated buildings it was using as offices, redeployed its heavy weaponry, and moved fighters’ families out of the city.

“They are trying to keep on the move,” said one Raqqa resident, communicating via the Internet and speaking on condition of anonymity because of safety fears. “They have sleeper cells everywhere,” he added.

“They only meet in very limited gatherings.”

That report was from a week ago. So all those cool shots of building being blown to smithereens? For show. All that shock (“without awe”, they assure us, to differentiate from Bushitler)? Window dressing. All that b-roll of cruise missiles being launched from American warships? A dog and pony show.

Without the pony:

A documentary filmmaker who spent time with the Free Syrian Army said that moderate rebels are “laughing” at President Obama’s plan to arm them against the Islamic State, claiming they simply “don’t take this seriously.”

VanDyke warned that removing the Islamic State from vast swathes of Syrian territory will create a “vacuum” that Assad-regime forces will rush to fill, leaving moderate rebels powerless to stop them. “When the administration announces that they intend to train 5,000 soldiers in Jordan, of the Free Syrian Army, to go and claim these territories, that figure doesn’t make any sense,” he said.

“It’s actually quite ridiculous,” the filmmaker continued. “I’m not sure how the administration even expects people to believe it.”

So, if we don’t put “boots on the ground”, and if Syrian boots on the ground aren’t going to get it done, whose boots will?

Hello…? Hello…?

I reiterate: you can’t blow up enough [bleep] to please me. I don’t even need a reason. But does it seem to you that ISIS needs an office building? Does it strike you that they operate from cubicles with desktops—Dilbert with Kalashnikovs?

And will the media flunkies cheerleading the president’s hawkishness still be waving the pom-poms when the next two hostages get their heads hacksawed off on HD video? Becuase if you put on a show, ISIS will top it.

PS: Could it not be said we engaged in “disproportionate” force? Israel put boots on the ground in Gaza; indeed, many thought (including me) that they should have marched those boots all the way to the Mediterranean and annexed the benighted Strip (or at least toppled Hamass). We’re just bombing [bleep] from the air without any thought for what’s happening on the ground.

UPDATE
As I was saying: And will the media flunkies cheerleading the president’s hawkishness still be waving the pom-poms when the next two hostages get their heads hacksawed off on HD video? Because if you put on a show, ISIS will top it.

French hostage Herve Gourdel was abducted and beheaded, a killing shown on video, French President Francois Hollande told the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

Gourdel was kidnapped over the weekend in Algeria’s Tizi Ouzou region east of Algiers, the French Foreign Ministry said. The video was posted online Wednesday. It shows armed men who claim to belong to Islamist militant group Jund al-Khilafa — or Soldiers of the Caliphate — in Algeria. They pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The U.N. Security Council issued a statement condemning the “heinous and cowardly murder.”

Oh, shut up.

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My Strategy

If Obama’s “Strategy” against the ISLAMIC State is to be not-Bush, maybe I can articulate mine as being not-insane.

Like telling ISIS “Don’t worry about boots on the grounds, jihadis. Ain’t gonna happen.” I’d keep that to myself.

This fellow has his own objections:

The problem is that the strategy — to provide logistical support for Iraqi forces, limited air strikes, and a strong Free Syrian Army — is a foolish strategy that is unlikely to succeed.

The president’s strategy calls for U.S. air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria in support of Iraqi army forces and the Free Syrian Army rebels who are fighting the Islamic State on the ground. Obama made it clear that the U.S. military commitment will be limited to air strikes, as he will not order U.S. ground forces into either Iraq or Syria.

Instead of ground forces, however, the president said that the United States will increase training and logistical support for those armies on the ground, but herein lies a critical flaw: The Iraqis have not proven to be a reliable partner in the war on terrorism. And this, despite ten years of U.S. military training and equipment provided by the United States.

In Iraq, the Islamic State has swept Iraqi forces in a number of recent engagements, with many Iraqi units simply abandoning their posts and refusing to fight. This problem is not one that can be solved through additional training. Even with the added power and confidence-boost of air strikes, a root issue is sectarianism. On a number of occasions, the Iraqi army failed to fight the Islamic State not simply because of bad officers and cowardice: Sunni units simply did not want to fight fellow Sunnis, even if they were extremists.

Okay, so after Obama abandoned Iraq, their military resolve suffered a tad. But in Syria, they don’t care whom they fight as long as they fight. Surely, they can be counted on.

Don’t call me Shirley:

In Syria, our other alleged ally, the Free Syrian Army, is fighting not only the Islamic State, but the Syrian army. And here’s a problem with arming them: It is strictly against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s interest to allow the Free Syrian Army to become strong enough even to challenge the Islamic State, because that would also increase the risk to his regime.

Given the ruthlessness of his previous moves, it is likely that Assad will continue to order military attacks against the Free Syrian Army rebels at the same time that the United States is trying to build up the capacity of the Free Syrian Army to serve as the ground force component of the Syrian campaign of Obama’s new strategy. And under those conditions, it will be very difficult for the Free Syrian Army to succeed. This obstacle could require the United States to further expand its mission to include attacking the Syrian army in order to allow the Free Syrian Army to combat the Islamic State.

Well, that sounds like a cluster.

But let’s not be unnecessarily critical. Go ahead and blast ISIS from the sky, Mr. President. Light ‘em up. We’ll just hold you to what you said (unlike the press).

PS: The “no boots on the ground” promise was not meant to assure ISIS, but the Democrat moonbat base. If one can tell the difference.

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Michelle Says: PleaseStopBeheadingOurBoys#

Feeing safer now?

Don’t you remember all those get-togethers, circa 2008,2009,2010 when your friends droned on about how much safer they felt now that Obama is President and how much respect we have regained, worldwide? Where are all those guys? Discussing their gluten-free diets? Investing in a brew pub? In any case, they seem to have changed the subject.

ISIS has released a video that it claims shows the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff and says the murder is retaliation for the Obama administration’s continued airstrikes in Iraq.

Sotloff is the second American journalist to be killed by ISIS, and his death comes two weeks after James Foley was executed in a similar video.

In the video entitled ‘A Second Message to America,’ Sotloff appears in a similar jumpsuit before he is beheaded by an Islamic State fighter.

The executioner appears to be the same man who killed Foley – known as ‘Jihadi John’ and tells the camera: ‘I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State.”

Sotloff calmly read a statement moments before his murder: ‘I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing.

He tells the camera: ‘Obama, your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for preservation of American lives and interests, so why is it that I am paying the price of your interference with my life?’

While he speaks, a militant calmly holds a knife at his side and stands next to Sotloff.
The man believed to be Jihadi John also says: ‘As your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike necks of your people.’
Prime Minister David Cameron said the Islamic State video showing an apparent beheading was an ‘absolutely disgusting, despicable act’, and he would be making a statement later.

Foley’s family released a statement after Sotloff’s execution, calling it ‘just horrific,’ according to WHDH-TV.
On Thursday, Sotloff’s mother Shirley Sotloff went on television to make a direct appeal for her son’s life. She addressed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-claimed caliph of ISIS.

At the link, you can watch a very sad video that his mother made last week, begging for his life, if you’re so inclined.

– Aggie

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Who You Gonna Crawl To?

Like an aphorism, a haiku, or a parable, there’s so much wisdom to discover in this miniature:

The Al-Jazeera network reported Saturday that members of the UN Disengagement Observer Force stationed in Daraa in southern Syria are abandoning their posts and fleeing to the Israeli side of the Golan Heights.

If you haven’t been following, UN (ahem) “peacekeepers” in Syria got routed by some of the myriad rebel groups. Some Philippine and Fijian forces were captured. Now, those that are left are running scared to safety in Israel. Oh well.

What are we to learn? The uselessness of the UN, for starters, but if we don’t know that already, as Bob Dylan wrote in “Idiot Wind”, it’s a wonder that we still know how to breathe. Expecting someone from Fiji to face down the coldest-blooded killers stalking the planet today—there’s a bright idea.


Ready, aim, watch.

Let us not forget the daily lesson (like spelling or long division) of the hostility of the part of the world Israel inhabits. Hamass runs Gaza, Hezbollocks runs Lebanon, Assad runs Syria (if we’re lucky—if we’re unlucky, ISIS does, along with Iraq), messianic mullahs run Iran, leaving the fraternal order of Jordan and Saudi Arabia as Israel’s bosom buddies in the region. (You read right.) It’s never clear whether Israel’s neighbors want to kill each other or the Jews more.

We also learn that what is true of the individual is also true of the institution. Israel is vilified by every element of the United Nations, from the diplomats to the committees to the General Assembly to the Security Council. Add the various UN spinoffs like UNRWA, UNESCO, and UNICEF that also demonize Israel every chance they get, and you have an entire world body riven by faction but united by a loathing of the Zionist state.


Abandoned UN post (Photo: AFP)

Until the shooting starts.

As long as hating Israel is safe, and anything but submission to Islam is punishable by death, I see market conditions continuing in this manner: a surfeit of Jew hating, and precious little of anything but submission to Islam.

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