Archive for the ‘Isis’ Tag

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Jon Stewart “So, we’re fighting with Iran against ISIS, and then with Saudi Arabia against Iran,  Holy bleep!  We did it.  It took decades of destabilizing conflict but we finally figured out how to fight a proxy war against ourselves.”

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/1xg427/wait–whose-side-are-we-on-again-

 

 

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During a tense exchange with (Secretary of State John) Kerry at a Senate Foreign Relations committee on Wednesday, (Florida Republican Senator Marco) Rubio confronted the former Massachusetts senator. “I believe that much of our strategy with regards to ISIS is being driven by a desire not to upset Iran so they don’t walk away from the negotiating table on the deal that you’re working on,” the potential GOP presidential candidate declared. “Tell me why I’m wrong.”

“They would welcome our bombing of ISIS, actually, they want us to destroy ISIS, ISIS is a threat to them, it’s a threat to the region and I think you’re misreading it if you think there is a mutual interest with respect to Daesh [the Arabic name for ISIS] from every country in the region,” Kerry responded.

Watch the exchange here.

http://thinkprogress.org/world/2015/03/11/3632393/john-kerry-obliterates-marco-rubios-conspiracy-theory-iran/

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FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: But first here’s my take. Once again an ISIS murder leads to fears that it is winning and calls to do more. FOX News’ Bret Baier captured the mood like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Horrific and barbaric, as well as calculating and skilled at high-tech propaganda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: The general feeling is that ISIS is gaining ground with its diabolical methods. But is it really? The video of the pilot’s killing was slickly produced, but it might have been a fancy cover to mask an operation that had gone awry. Remember, it began as a moneymaking scheme to get a ransom for Japanese hostages, then turned into a hostage swap for a forgotten failed suicide bomber, and finally ended with the emulation of the Jordanian pilot.

Certainly ISIS could not have imagined the response its actions have triggered in the Middle East. With Jordanians united against it, clerics across the region loudly and unequivocally condemning the emulation and with Japan ready to provide more aid and support against it. Meanwhile news on the battlefield has not been good for ISIS. Brookings Institution scholar Kenneth Pollock describes this stunning reversal it has faced in Iraq.

“The Washington Post” has reported on the growing discontent within its territories. All this might help explain the brutality of the latest murder video. The group well understands that the primary purpose of terrorism is to induce fear and overreaction. When modern Middle Eastern terrorism first appeared on the scene in the 1960s and ’70s, the historian David Fromkin wrote an essay in “Foreign Affairs” that is perhaps the best guide to understanding this phenomenon.

Fromkin provided two examples of terror tactics that worked and have important lessons. He recounted a meeting in 1945 with the leader of the Irgun, a group of about 1,500 Jewish militants in Palestine, which was then part of the British empire. The Irgun knew that they could not defeat the mighty British Army so they decided to blow up buildings and create the appearance of chaos.

This, the Irgun leader told Fromkin, would lead the British to overreact by garrisoning the country, join forces from across the empire, and that would strain British coffers and eventually London would have to leave Palestine. Fromkin noted that the Irguns, seeing that it was too small to defeat Great Britain, decided as an alternative approach that Britain was big enough to defeat itself.

ISIS’ strategy is surely some version of this. The targeting of America and its allies. The videos, the barbarism are all designed to draw Washington into a ground battle in Syria, in the hope that this complicated, bloody and protracted war would sap the super power’s strength.

Fromkin offered another example, the National Liberation Front, the group of nationalists trying to break Algeria free from France in the 1950s and ’60s. The Paris government argued that Algeria was not a colony but part of France, with all of its citizens treated as French men and women. So the FLN began a campaign of terror in order to provoke an overreaction from the French government, getting them to regard all Muslim and Algerians as suspects.

Quote, “The French thought that when the FLN planted a bomb in a public bus, it was in order to blow up the bus,” Fromkin noted. But the FLN’s true aim was to lure authorities into reacting by arresting all the non-Europeans in the area as suspects.

The many recent acts of terror committed in Europe can’t be said to have a strategy but they could make European governments and people treat all Muslims in Europe as suspicious and dangerous, and then the terrorists will have achieved an important goal.

Now these things do not have to happen. Fromkin concluded his essay by noting that, though terrorism cannot always be prevented, it can always be defeated.

You can always refuse to do what they want you to do.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1502/08/fzgps.01.html

 

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Arkansas Rep.—and Senate hopeful—Tom Cotton is a smart man. He has two degrees from Harvard University, a sharp mind, and the clear admiration of conservative intellectuals…Earlier this week, the GOP Senate candidate held a town hall meeting with voters, where those present asked why the government allowed children crossing the border to stay temporarily…

“The problem is with Mark Pryor and Barack Obama refusing to enforce our immigration laws, and refusing to secure our border, And I would add, it’s not just an immigration problem. We now know that it’s a security problem. Groups like the Islamic State collaborate with drug cartels in Mexico who have clearly shown they’re willing to expand outside the drug trade into human trafficking and potentially even terrorism. They could infiltrate our defenseless border and attack us right here in places like Arkansas.”

Republicans in Tight Senate Races Are Hoping ISIS Will Help Get Them Elected

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http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/f7fvxu/chatty-chatty-bomb-bomb

Jon Stewart “But House Speaker Boehner, you believe the President is going about this all wrong.”
Speaker of the House Rep John Boehner (R-OH) “If the goal is to destroy ISIS, as the President says it is, I don’t believe the strategy that he outlined will accomplish that.”
Reporter speaking to Boehner “You would recommend putting American boots on the ground?”
Boehner “We have no choice…These are barbarians.  They intend to kill us.  If we don’t destroy them first, we’re going to pay the price.”
Stewart “The President has the wrong strategy to destroy the barbarians who will kill us all.  The barbarians at our gate, not necessarily our gate, but a few gates away, then there’s, obviously, the ocean.  But the point is barbarians.  So, I get it Boehner, let’s have the debate and we need to do it now.”
Reporter “John Boehner, Speaker of the House, said today ‘I think the House and the Congress itself should speak, (but) doing this with a whole group of members who are on their way out the door, I don’t think that is the right way to handle this’.”
Stewart “You said the barbarians were trying to kill us.  Setting aside that thanks to incumbency favoring electoral practices roughly 90% of the members who are on their way out the door in these mid terms, will be coming right back in through the door.  And, if your point is that these are ruthless barbarians who threaten our very existence and must be killed immediately, by the new Congress which takes over in January, I mean is there someone who can perhaps lay out the cynical underpinnings for this position by our brave Congress?”
Reporter “Jack Kingston, a Republican Congressman from Georgia had a very interesting quote in the NY Times Yesterday. ‘A lot of people would like to stay on the sideline and say just bomb the place and tell us about it later.  It’s an election year.  A lot of Democrats don’t know how it would play in their party and Republicans don’t want to change anything.  We like the path we’re on now.  We can denounce it if it goes bad and praise it if it goes well and ask what took him so long;”
Stewart “Holy bleep.  In a time of war, our Congressional inaction is pure political calculation.  Our legislators refuse to debate publicly one of the most crucial issues of our time, for fear that we will hear them.  Finally, Jack Kingston has the guts to say out loud what these cowards are up to.  I wonder why he decided to say these things.”
Reporter “Last night, businessman David Perdue defeated defeated Congressman Jack Kingston in the Republican Senate primary runoff.”
Stewart “Oh, he spoke honestly because he’s leaving Congress.  You know what, the rest of you bleeps, get back to Washington and debate and vote on this thing, or maybe it’s time to tell Mom (shows picture of Queen Elizabeth II) we’re moving home.”

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Bill Maher “New rule, when it comes to being baited into going to war, America has to try a little harder to not be so bleeping easy!  Just a few months ago, polls showed Americans were sick of war.  They’d had enough.  They were anxious to stay out of the Middle-East.  Then they saw two beheadings and overnight they were like, oh war, we can’t stay mad at you.  You know, conservatives love to vilify anyone who doesn’t want to immediately throw down as appeasers, but when you’re dealing with terrorists who’s aim is to bait us into overreaction, and you oblige them, aren’t you the appeaser?”

 

 

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Jon Stewart “13 years ago, when Al Qaeda was our top terrorist enemy, we knew Al Qaeda wanted to attack America.  They’d already bombed the world trade center in 1993, and two, we got a memo that said they wanted to do that.  Kind of a giveaway.  Is ISIS the same kind of threat to America?”

Reporter September 9, 2014 “We’ve heard repeatedly, of course, that intelligence officials don’t believe that ISIS, right now, poses a threat to the US home land.”

Stewart “Or, to put that in a different way.”

Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) September 14, 2014 “This is not Somalia.  This is not Yemen.  This is a turning point in the war on terror.  Our strategy will fail yet again.  This President needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.”

Stewart “Here’s my impression of everyone who crawled out of bed hung over Sunday morning and turned on the TV to see Lindsey Graham.  Really?  All of us?”

 

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FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: But first here’s my take. Watching the gruesome ISIS execution videos I felt some of the same emotions I did after 9/11. Barbarism after all is designed to provoke anger, and it’s succeeded. But in September 2001 it also made me ask a question, why do they hate us?

I tried to answer it in an almost 7,000-word essay for “Newsweek” that struck a chord with the readers. I reread the essay this week to see how it might need updating in the 13 years since I wrote it. I began the piece by noting that Islamic terror is not the isolated behavior of a handful of nihilists. There is a broader culture that has been complicit in it or at least unwilling to combat it.

Now things have changed on this front but not nearly enough. I also pointed out that we face not an Islam problem but an Arab problem. For example, in 2001 and 2002 Indonesia was on the top of people’s worries because of a series of terror attacks there soon after 9/11, but over the last decade jihad and even Islamic fundamentalism has not done well in Indonesia, which is the largest Muslim country in the world, larger than Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Libya and all the Gulf states put together.

Well, look at India which is right next door to Ayman Zawahiri’s headquarters and yet very few of India’s more than 150 million Muslims are known members of al Qaeda. Zawahiri has announced a bold effort to recruit Indian Muslims, but I suspect it will not do too well. The central point of the essay was that the reason the Arab world produces fanaticism and jihad is that it is a place of complete political stagnation. By 2001 when I was writing almost every part of the world had seen significant political progress. Eastern Europe was freed, Asia, Latin America and even Africa had held many free and fair elections but the Arab world remained a desert. In 2001 most Arabs had fewer freedoms, political, economic, social than they did in 1951.

The one aspect of life that Arab dictators could not ban, however, was religion. So Islam had become the language of political opposition to these secular regimes. The Arab world was then left with secular dictatorships on the one hand and deeply illiberal religious groups on the other. Hosni Mubarak and al Qaeda. The more extreme the regime the more violent was the opposition.

This cancer was deeper and more destructive than I realized. Despite the removal of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and despite the Arab spring, the dynamic between dictators and jihadists has not broken. Look at Syria where until recently Bashar al-Assad was actually helping ISIS. How? By buying oil and gas from it and by shelling its opponents, the Free Syrian Army, when the two were in battle against each other.

You see, Assad was playing the old Arab dictator’s game, giving his people a stark choice. It’s either me or ISIS, he was saying, and many Syrians, the Christian minority, for example, have chosen him.

The greatest setback has been in Egypt where a nonviolent Islamist movement took power and then squandered its chance by overreaching. But not content to let the Muslim Brotherhood fare the polls, the military then displaced it by force, has moved back into power and Egypt is now a more brutal police state than it was under Hosni Mubarak. The Muslim Brotherhood has been banned, its members killed and jailed, the rest driven underground.

Let’s just hope that 10 years from now we do not find ourselves discussing the causes of the rise of an ISIS in Egypt.

 

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1409/07/fzgps.01.html

 

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FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: What are the strengths of the Islamic State? I posed this question to two deeply knowledgeable observers, a European diplomat and a foreign official, and the picture they painted is worrying, although not hopeless. Defeating the group would require a large and sustained strategic effort from the Obama administration but it could be done without significant numbers of U.S. ground troops.

The European diplomats stationed in the Middle East travels in and out of Syria and has access to regime and opposition sources. Both sources agreed to speak only if their identities were not revealed. This European official agrees with the consensus that the Islamic State has gained considerable economic and military strength in recent months. He estimates that it is making $1 million a day in Syria and Iraq each by selling oil and gas, although U.S. experts believe the number is too high in Iraq.

The Islamic State’s military strategy is brutal but also smart. The group’s annual reports — yes, it has issued annual reports since 2012 — detail its military methods and successes to try to impress its backers and funders. The videos posted online of executions are barbaric but strategic. They are designed to sow terror in the minds of opponents who when facing Islamic State fighters on the battlefield now reportedly flee rather than fight.

But the most dangerous aspect of the Islamic State this diplomat believes is its ideological appeal. It has recruited marginalized disaffected Sunni youth in Syria and Iraq who believe that they have been ruled by apostate regimes.

How to handle this challenge? The American, a former senior administration figure, counsels against pessimism. The Islamic State could be defeated, he says, but it would take a comprehensive and sustained strategy much like the one that under girded the surge in Iraq. The first task is political, he said. Supporting the Obama administration’s efforts to press the Iraqi government to become more inclusive.

“We have more leverage now than at any time in recent years and the administration is using it,” he said.

If this continues, the next step would be to create the most powerful and effective ground force that could take on the Islamic State, which would not be American troops, would not be the Free Syrian Army, but, rather, a reconstituted Iraqi army. Remember, that force was built, trained, and equipped by the United States.

The former American official says it’s actually got some very effective units. The Iraqi special forces were trained in Jordan and are extremely impressive,” unquote. Pointing out that it was those forces that recaptured the Mosul dam recently. It’s underperformed recently because then Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had transformed it over the past two years into a sectarian and loyalist force.

The two observers agreed on one central danger, the temptation to gain immediate military victories over the Islamic State could mean that the United States would end up tacitly partnering with Bashar al- Assad’s regime in Syria. This would produce a short-term military gain against the Islamic State but it would be a long-term political disaster. It would feed the idea that the Sunnis in Iraq and Syria are embattled, that a crusader Christian Shiite alliance is persecuting them and that all Sunnis must resist this alien invasion the European diplomat said.

The key is that Sunnis must be in the lead against IS. They must be in front of the battlefield, he said.

So the strategy that could work against the Islamic State is nothing less than a second Sunni awakening like the one during the Iraqi surge. It’s a huge challenge but it appears to be the only option with a plausible chance of success.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1408/31/fzgps.01.html

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Jon Stewart “Remember that time we invaded Iraq to remove the threat of the world’s most dangerous people using the world’s most dangerous weapons and it turned out that the threat wasn’t there.  Well, good news, the threat’s there now, in some measure due to the destabilizing effect of our intervention.  And, you’ll never guess what the people who hyped the original plan, would like to do now.”

Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) June 17, 2014 “We must grapple with how best to help Iraq meet this threat.”

Rep Pete King (R-NY) June 22, 2014 “It is absolutely essential that we stop Isis from gaining this foothold in Iraq.”

Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) June 15, 2014 “We need air power immediately to stop the advance.”

Sen John McCain (R-AZ) June 18, 2014 “We have to act.  We must act.”

Stewart “We must, act.  Well, if we do, I think you’re going to need acting lessons, but I do look forward to you and your friends starring in a new play called ‘A Streetcar Named We’re Always Wrong.”

 

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/y54hug/priority-fail