by Susannah George • Military.com
BAGHDAD — As Iraq emerges from three years of war with the Islamic State group, the U.S. is looking to roll back the influence of neighboring Iran and help the central government resolve its dispute with the Kurdish region, the American envoy to the country told The Associated Press.
U.S. Ambassador Douglas Silliman took up his post in Baghdad in September 2016, just weeks before the start of the operation to retake the northern city of Mosul. With ISIS now driven out of all the territory it once held and Iraq’s declaration that the war against the extremists is over, he says Washington is focused on keeping the peace and rebuilding, and sees Iran’s influence as a problem.
“Iran simply does not respect the sovereignty of its neighbors,” Silliman said. “The Iranians have — to some extent — assisted the government of Iraq in defeating ISIS,” he said. “But frankly I have not seen the Iranians donating money for humanitarian assistance, I have not seen them contributing to the U.N. stabilization program.”
By Patrick Goodenough • CNSNews.com
Since the Paris terror attacks on November 13, the State Department has admitted 132 Syrian refugees into the United States, and all 132 are Sunni Muslims.
No Christian, Druze, Shi’ite, Alawite, or member of any other religious minority in Syria has been admitted over that period, according to data from the State Department Refugee Processing Center.
The majority of the 132 Syrian refugees permitted to resettle in the U.S. since November 13 (72) are male, the minority female (60). Of the 132 total, 39 (29.5 percent) have been men between the ages of 14 and 50. Continue reading
by Mac Thornberry • RealClearPolitics
The ISIS attack on Paris has been a wake-up call for the world. A network of terrorists exploited weaknesses in Western intelligence networks, border controls, and law enforcement to savagely attack soft targets and inflict devastating casualties. To protect America, Congress has rightly acted on one of these weaknesses and strengthened the screening of Syrian refugees. Paris has more lessons to teach. Increased vetting of refugees is a good first step, but to stop an attack in the United States there are other lessons we must learn, and learn quickly.
First, there are many avenues by which ISIS operatives can come from their training grounds across the globe, including Iraq and Syria, to carry out attacks against the West. Approximately, 30,000 individuals have traveled from other countries to join ISIS, with as many as 5,000 of them from Europe and the United States. Those from Europe do not need a visa to enter the United States, and our northern and southern borders may be a route fighters use to enter the United States. Continue reading
by Peter Huessy
In 2012, Robert Kaplan wrote in the “The Revenge of Geography” that countries of the “Heartland” and “Rimland”, stretching from North Korea southward through South Asia and into the Middle East were locked into a “deathly geographical embrace of overlapping missile ranges” as they seek to bolster their military capability by building long range rockets capable of coercing, terrorizing or blackmailing their neighbors. [ (1) “Kaplan Elevates the Place” by Alan Cate, in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, on September 18, 2012.]
In the past year, we have seen Hamas, an agent of Iran, try a new kind of diplomacy, if you will, while launching over 4500 rockets at Israel. [ (2) “The hidden intelligence agendas behind Hamas’ 1,000-rocket barrage”, July 14, 2014 DEBKAfile, Exclusive Report.] Continue reading
by Marc A. Thiessen • Washington Post
So why is it wrong for Rolling Stone to do this, but okay for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)?
Feinstein and Senate intelligence committee Democrats just spent six years and $40 million investigating the CIA’s rendition and interrogation program. Surely they took the time to sit down with the CIA officials who ran the program, present the committee’s findings and ask officials to explain their version of events, right?
Wrong. Continue reading
by Charles Krauthammer • Washington Post
The report by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding CIA interrogation essentially accuses the agency under George W. Bush of war criminality. Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein appears to offer some extenuation when she reminds us in the report’s preamble of the shock and “pervasive fear” felt after 9/11.
It’s a common theme (often echoed by President Obama): Amid panic and disorientation, we lost our moral compass and made awful judgments. The results are documented in the committee report. They must never happen again. Continue reading
by John Yoo • Daily News
The release of a Senate report on Bush-era interrogation policies could have prompted an informed, responsible debate over intelligence and the war on terror. But not the report that saw the light of day Tuesday.
Because of fundamental mistakes made at its very birth, Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s accounting offers a dispiriting, partisan attack on American intelligence agencies at a time when we need them more than ever.
Bizarrely, Feinstein and her staffers refused even to interview the very CIA officials who ordered and carried out the program in question. Because Republicans saw where the train was headed, they refused to participate in the review.
The slanted approach to the investigation sadly colored its conclusions — which are questionable, to put it charitably. Continue reading
by Peter Huessy (An address to the Precision Strike Association and the National Defense Industrial Association, at the Johns Hopkins University, October 21, 2014)
A year ago, in trying to make the case for a much diminished role in foreign affairs for the United States, a well known conservative institute in Washington argued our current policies were still linked to our perception of the then Soviet Cold War threat, not the new realities of today.
They even argued: “Soviet war plans for Europe that are now public were primarily defensive; they assumed Soviet forces would be responding to a NATO attack.”
Their claim was two-fold: Not only were they claiming our policy today was based on a threat that no longer existed, but the threat we thought existed during the Cold War was in their view equally bogus. Continue reading
ISIS-led anti-government Sunni Islam coalition troops have virtually surrounded Baghdad. Iraq’s largest province, al-Anbar, is almost totally occupied by anti-regime forces. Only a portion of Fallujah remains outside of occupation by the ISIS-led resistance. Following enemy takeover of Hit, regular Iraqi units fell back into a defensive posture at al-Asad, the largest military facility in Anbar. Several key population centers to the north and northeast have also fallen. Enemy gains last month north of Baghdad prompted U.S. aircraft bombing sorties previously unnecessary to the north. Since June, the central government also has lost ground east of the capital, with Diyala Province barely remaining under Shia control. After the collapse of government forces in Hillah, south of the capital and the enemy’s mid-June seizures of Iskandariyah and Mahmoudiyah, barely six miles south of the Baghdad, routes to Iraq’s Shia heartland now also have been jeopardized. Continue reading
by Dr. Laurie Ann Mylroie
President Obama’s handling of the Gaza conflict marks a sharp break with his attitude toward other Middle East conflicts, as well as the policies of previous U.S. presidents. In contrast to Obama’s lethargic and indifferent response toward such calamities as the Syrian regime’s serial massacres of its own population or threats like the Islamic State’s consolidation of control over large swathes of Iraq and Syria, Obama is exercised about the conflict in Gaza, and he has shocked Israelis across the political spectrum with his demand—made Sunday in a phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu—for an “immediate, unconditional, humanitarian” cease-fire. However, a cease-fire for whatever purpose has a determining impact on the military situation, and the cease-fire Obama demanded would have stopped the Israelis from achieving a key objective—the destruction of Hamas’ “terror tunnels.” Continue reading
According to the Obama administration and some members of Congress, the National Security Administration’s (NSA) data mining operations have been critical to the disruption of numerous terror plots. The publicly revealed evidence, though, suggests otherwise.
Najibullah Zazi, an al-Qaida-trained terrorist in Colorado, planned to bomb the subway in New York City in 2009. The administration says PRISM data mining led to Zazi’s arrest. But officials with knowledge of the case told The Guardian newspaper that the email came from British intelligence, not PRISM. Continue reading