The punditry struggled to find something enlightening to say about president Obama’s strategy to degrade … defeat … inconvenience … manage ISIS — whatever you want to call it — because there was almost nothing to hold on to. It remains a kind of mystery object, like the 2001 monolith, a presence sitting in the room. CNN says it’s not war.  “Kerry: U.S. not at war with ISIS”.
“What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counterterrorism operation,” Kerry told CNN’s Elise Labott in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. “It’s going to go on for some period of time. If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL, they can do so, but the fact is it’s a major counterterrorism operation that will have many different moving parts.”
David Corn at Mother Jones  says it’s “nuanced war”. Corn writes, “but whatever he calls it, the president is attempting a difficult feat: waging a nuanced war.”
It is described as having four parts : airstrikes, increased support to allied forces on the ground, counterterrorism and humanitarian assistance — proxy war in other words, as I anticipated . The proxies haven’t signed up yet. Turkey has not yet agreed to provide bases:
Agence France Presse ANKARA: Turkey will refuse to allow a US-led coalition to attack jihadists in neighbouring Iraq and Syria from its air bases, nor will it take part in combat operations against militants, a government official told AFP Thursday.
“Turkey will not be involved in any armed operation but will entirely concentrate on humanitarian operations,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Germany  will provide support to the Kurds (strategy item number 2) but no air strikes. “Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday Germany will not take part in US-led air strikes against Islamic extremists Isis in Syria, following US President Barack Obama’s announcement that the air campaign will be extended.” The Brits are not providing airpower either.
“We are neither being asked to do that, nor will we do it,” Steinmeier told journalists in Berlin on Thursday after meeting with his British counterpart Philip Hammond.
Military action had to be embedded in a “political strategy” to counter Isis, Steinmeier said.
Germany’s pledge to deliver weapons to Kurdish forces in northern Iraq was “not small,” he added. “That’s the right amount of responsibility for us to bear.”
Hammond also ruled out British strikes on Isis positions inside Syria.
The heavy lifting will be done by Saudi Arabia. The Jerusalem Post  reported yesterday: “WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia will host a train-and-equip program for moderate Syrian fighters to combat Islamic State, Riyadh has promised in consultations with the White House. The Saudi kingdom will also fund the training, and will consider contributing military aid to the broad, US-led coalition against the Islamist group.”
And so it proved. The New York Times  covered John Kerry’s arrival in Saudi Arabia to drum up Arab support. “Arab Nations Vow Help to Fight ISIS ‘as Appropriate’”.
None of the Arab participants said precisely what they would do, and it remained unclear whether any would join the United States in mounting the airstrikes.
Turkey also took part in the meetings here, but it did not sign the communiqué. A senior State Department official sought to minimize the significance of that development, saying the United States would continue to consult with Turkish officials on how to respond to the threat posed by ISIS, which has captured 49 Turkish diplomats in Iraq and held them hostage.
“We understand the challenging situation Turkey is in given their detained diplomats, and they will make the decision on what role they can play moving forward,” the official said, requesting not to be identified in accordance with the department’s rules for briefing reporters.
Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister and the only Arab official who spoke to reporters after the talks on Thursday, was the most forward-leaning.
“There is no limit to what the kingdom can provide,” Prince Saud said.
He played down Saudi Arabia’s earlier criticism of Mr. Obama’s decision to refrain from conducting airstrikes in Syria last year, after forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons.
That Arab reluctance was the discussed in the Washington Post . “Obama seeks Arab allies against Islamic State but must overcome mistrust of U.S.” If the pundits are out in force scratching their heads, the coalition partners are damning the whole undertaking with faint praise — praise almost indistinguishable from savage recrimination.
But already there is a disinclination to believe his promises, said Mustafa Alani of the Gulf Research Center in Dubai.
“We have reached a low point of trust in this administration,” he said. “We think in a time of crisis Mr. Obama will walk away from everyone if it means saving his own skin.”
Different countries are suspicious of the United States for different reasons, but all feel betrayed in some way by recent U.S. policies, said Salman Shaikh of the Brookings Doha Institute in Qatar.
The Los Angeles Times  describes president Obama’s lonely search for friends. “Is Iraq’s new government the ally Obama is looking for?”
It is a Cabinet “flush with warmed-over ministers from Maliki’s government,” said Wayne White, a former Iraq analyst for the State Department now with the Middle East Institute in Washington. “It’s hardly a signal that a major change in outlook is in the offing.”
Working with Baghdad means Obama will be caught between Saudi Arabia on the one hand and Iran — as fronted by Baghdad — on the other over the fate of a disputed state. That is like enlisting a tiger to fight a lion over a carcass being ravaged by a pack of hyenas. It means you’ve got to watch it, or you’ll get bit. More importantly the hyenas, lions and tigers will have the only people on the ground.
The Turk’s gov’t hates the Kurds with a passion.
Anything that might help the Kurds, the Turks are against it.
The Saudis have an immigrant population who does all their work (over 30% of their population) while the citizens live lives of ease.
They claim,“There is no limit to what the kingdom can provide,” Prince Saud said.
But the truth is, the Saudis cannot help with the fighting because they, themselves rely on mercenaries to even clean their clothes!
And Jordan, America’s closest Arab ally, announced flatly it would not join the US-led coalition!
I notice the absence of Israel in Obama’s calculus.
But it is either Israel or Iran.
ISIS is only 12 miles from the Israeli border now in Golan.
Will Israel have to be a silent, unsung partner while the Saudis and Iranians get the glory?
You know Israel is already busy on this thing.
And Obama is already STABBING Israel in the back!
What is more important to Obama?
Beating ISIS or breaking up the Saudi-Egyptian-UAR alliance which backed Israel in the Gaza war?
Of course this administration cannot utter the word WAR even if that is what it really IS.
Obama ended “The War” remember??? That was another super shining spectacular day for OBAMA!
He did what he Promised to do.
BUT, Instead of listening to experts in the field, those who are in the know…who didn’t think it was a ‘good idea’… in the manner it was done – Obama decided to end the war and pull out anyway –
better for his ratings …his ‘image’ nothing else matters.
Now it has come back to bite him!
Get with the program!
It is all about OBAMA. It is all about OBAMA saving FACE. It is that simple.
We are not at War dam it!
Bush had way over 48 countries backing him in September 2001.
Bush had the World backing him to do whatever it would take – even from BIG Democrats in Congress. We should have been more aggressive from the get go…this would have been solved by now.
Obama has decimated every relationship with every ally we have, he cannot even muster up 4 countries to back him. Obama is a bad ass joke.
Are the people finally starting to realize who’s side obama is on?
How much of a joke is this???
Putin worried about the UN OK’ing cross-border military action?
Seriously… can Obama possibly disrespect the military any stronger? Instead of utilizing the Joint Chiefs and the normal military chain of command to prosecute the war on ISIS, he brings a Marine 4 Star out of retirement to run the Not A War we getting involved in, probably in direct conflict with the Constitution. Winning is not on option, hell, it’s not even a goal to this administration, and shame, truly, shame on General Allen for accepting a position that violates the very oath he took from the day he entered the Marine Corps. Any honor he might have had has dissipated with his acceptance of this political position. And like some generals before him, he too will be forced under the bus when his usefulness to Obama is done.
@Scott in Oklahoma: And like some generals before him, he [General Allen] too will be forced under the bus when his usefulness to Obama is done.
He had ALREADY been thrown under the bus once, Scott.
Obama was getting rid of all the Admirals and Generals who knew how to fight and win when he put up a false case against Gen. Allen regarding his emails to a female diplomat.
Gen. Allen resigned but the complaint against him continued to be pressed.
Obama’s side LOST, Gen. Allen was completely cleared!
My question is, why Gen. Allen would help Obama even one iota now.
It boggles the mind.
” PRESIDENT OBAMA’s declaration of war against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria marks a decisive break in the American constitutional tradition. Nothing attempted by his predecessor, George W. Bush, remotely compares in imperial hubris.
Mr. Bush gained explicit congressional consent for his invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. In contrast, the Obama administration has not even published a legal opinion attempting to justify the president’s assertion of unilateral war-making authority. This is because no serious opinion can be written.
This became clear when White House officials briefed reporters before Mr. Obama’s speech to the nation on Wednesday evening. They said a war against ISIS was justified by Congress’s authorization of force against Al Qaeda after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and that no new approval was needed.
But the 2001 authorization for the use of military force does not apply here. That resolution — scaled back from what Mr. Bush initially wanted — extended only to nations and organizations that “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the 9/11 attacks.”
When you have lost the New York Times, one of the most consistently stalwart supporters of the Obama administration, you have lost the debate. The actions of this Administration would have sent the Democrats into apoplexy had Bush acted the same way. Instead, as Obama continually thwarts the U.S. Constitution, in spite of his claim of being a Constitutional scholar, the Democrats are mute.
Consequently, as days progress, even solidly far-left publications are speaking out against the actions of Obama. Is the worm turning? I don’t know, but I can only hope.
‘A message to the allies of America’.
That was what ISIS wrote on the video as a caption as they beheaded British Aid Worker, David Haines today.
There has been no declaration of war nor will there be. ISIL is not a nation state. ISIL is an extranational terrorist organization. ISIL has publicly slaughtered two captive, non-combatant U.S. citizens and has now slaughtered a non-combatant citizen of the U.K. in exactly the same fashion. They will likely repeat this behavior as opportunities arise.
A Commander in Chief doesn’t require authorization from Congress to initiate a military response to such a threat, any more than he would require an act of Congress to order a military response to direct attacks on U.S. citizens outside our national borders by extranational pirates. I’d fault him for sitting on his hands waiting for Congress to act. I’m guessing that you would too, if the president in question didn’t happen to be Barack Obama.
Did Ronald Reagan seek Congressional authority before ordering an invasion of Granada? How many U.S. citizens had been publicly butchered or threatened with execution in Granada before he acted? (Hint to Question #2: The answer is a number smaller than one. If you don’t remember the answer to question #1, look it up.)
It would seem that ISIS did not get the memo since is has obviously declared war on the U.S., as well as the entire West. But you seem to think that if only one side declares war, then there is NO war. When Germany declared war on the U.S., although we had not yet declared war on them, were we not at war, Greggie?
Ah, I see you are still clinging to the antiquated concept of war. Had you been running WWII, it seems you would have had our troops lining up in Napoleonic formation. And you seem to want to stick with the concept of nation-states, as designed in 1918 with the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Again, ISIS has not gotten the memo.
Instead, ISIS has reverted back to the concept that created the Ottoman Empire and is giving us simply another example of the war that is a thousand years old as Islamic hoards march across the globe (Islam not being a nation-state) in the name of religion, not a nation.
It is backward thinking like yours, and a failure to understand that rules are not cast in stone, that has already brought great harm to the United States. I fault George W. Bush for two things; declaring Islam a religion of peace and not acknowledging that we are now in a religious war, where our enemy has a religious goal no different than when the Islamic hoards marched across Turkey and into Spain all the way to the gates of Vienna, conquering every Christian nation in its path.
A moot point which has nothing to do with the fact that, like it or not, Greggie, we are, and have been for 13 years, involved in a war against a religious faction that seeks to conquer in the name of their religion. The beheadings are nothing but theater to be used as a recruitment tool, which ISIS seems to be doing with great success.
You seem to have changed topics somewhere between post #8 and post #11. I thought you were claiming that the President of the United States has no authority to order a military response against ISIL which has brutally murdered American captives, and which will likely do so again at the earliest opportunity, without first obtaining Congressional approval. My response was that under such circumstances a president has not only the authority, but a responsibility to do so. If ISIL were a nation state, a declaration of war would be appropriate. ISIL is not.
I then pointed out that Ronald Reagan had launched a military invasion of Granada without seeking Congressional authority, having far less provocation. No U.S citizens on Granada had been killed, nor had any U.S. citizens on Granada been taken hostage or directly threatened. I don’t recall any angry assertions that President Reagan had exceeded his constitutional executive authority.
I don’t find the fact that ISIL has publicly murdered two U.S. captives and has the will and intention to engage in similar acts in the future to be “a moot point.” To my mind, it’s a central point. It’s the very reason why the responses Obama has ordered are justified.
Perhaps you should re-read my post #8. I was simply showing what was in the NY Times, not making a point of opinion on the War Powers Act. Perhaps you should up your meds.
There were approximately 1,000 medical students in Granada at the time, many, many of them Americans who were in absolute harm’s way due to the coup and who were evacuated by our troops. Your memory seems to be failing you.
To me, ISIS are simply ”land pirates.”
They loot, they rape, they rampage and yes, they kidnap and either kill or collect ransoms.
Pirates have a long and storied history in Islam.
Islam is a failure as a government mainly because it requires expansionism.
Muslims need slaves to do most of their work.
They are all too busy praying.
Although the Saudis and oil Emirites are currently paying most foreigners who do all their work, they would force people to slave for them, and, in some cases, they do so now.
The Barbary Pirates arose out of Islam, although they allowed other people to be pirates along side them.
Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, Hezb’allah, ISIS and all the other jihadi groups are simply land pirates.
They all need to be destroyed.
But Muslims, in Islamic lands will continue to create such land pirates as long as ”Islamic lands” exist.
It’s a natural side effect of Islamic rule….Sharia.
As natural as can be.
Baked in the pie of Islam trying to be a political system.
That’s the real problem.
If Islam were merely a religion INSIDE countries with secular rule (like Turkey had until only a few years ago) it would be nearly completely peaceful.
We just need to get there somehow.
And there’s no will.
You seem to be basing your comments about Granada on a highly fictionalized account that appeared in a movie rather than on actual events. There was no indication that the approximately 800 medical students attending St. George’s University Medical School were in any immediate danger following the military coup—a coup which Fidel Castro condemned, by the way; he threatened the new government with a cessation of all Cuban economic assistance in response. That safety situation might well have changed for the worse when we sent in troops and started shooting, killing Granadian and Cuban military personnel alike. The reason that U.S. citizens on the island who wanted to leave following the coup had not done so is because the U.S. had pressured the governments of surrounding islands to shut down all scheduled air flights and sea links in and out of Granada, effectively trapping them there. Had we not done that, those who wanted to “evacuated” could have done so by simply buying a air or boat ticket.
So yeah, I remember things differently. But it isn’t because of any problem with my own memory.
Only because you subscribe to a bastardized history.
The day we invaded Granada, I was supposed to make a port stop there as I was aboard Carnard’s Princess. We were ordered further back out to sea the day before.
You mean one that includes information that has been left out of right-wing revisionist accounts? You’re not even clear on the established facts of current events.
“Finally, in 1974, Grenada was granted independence from Britain. The new government, led by Sir Eric Gairy, slowly moved toward a totalitarian state, which triggered a revolt.
When Gairy was in New York, speaking at the United Nations in March 1979, Maurice Bishop, a well-liked and educated leftist, led a bloodless coup to usurp control of the Grenadan government.
Bishop espoused a government based on the New JEWEL Movement (New Joint Endeaver for Welfare, Education, and Liberation), a rural activist association. JEWEL had merged with the intelligensia of the Movement for Assemblies of the People (MAP), whose political roots were grounded in the Black Power movement. Bishop’s Marxist leanings led to ties with Cuba, Russia, and other left-wing countries.
That latest attempt to install a Marxist-Leninist government within the U.S. sphere of influence so alarmed members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, that they appealed to the U.S., Barbados, and Jamaica to intervene. At stake was not only a struggle of ideologies, but also a threat to about 1,000 medical students living on the island, many of whom were Americans.”
What you know about actual history, Greggie, could be put into the eye of a gnat.
And exactly what threat would that have been? But hey, you read it on the internet, so it must be true.
This paragraph is also interesting:
That middle paragraph strikes me as a bit . . . odd. Striking Granada was somehow revenge for the Beirut attack? There’s a sort of “enemies all around us” attitude being adopted.
This isn’t a straightforward, unbiased history lesson, I’m thinking.
Ummm, let me see; how many construction workers in the U.S. are openly carrying handguns? And advisors, as you like to call, what is in reality, ground troops especially when they are U.S. Marines, from Russia, North Korea and Libya?
We went in, we kicked their asses, and had life been truly fair, we would have dropped those “construction workers” and advisors off the coast of Granada to be shark food.
You probably see nothing wrong with such a statement. It’s symptomatic.
The point, though, is that you see nothing at all wrong with Reagan launching a military invasion of Granada entirely on his own authority when no Americans had been injured or directly threatened, while you figure Obama ordering retaliatory air strikes after two U.S. citizens were publicly slaughtered by a terrorist organization likely intent on repeating the outrage somehow demonstrates blatant disregard for the Constitution.
The problem with Obama’s plan for the use of military force is his unwillingness to.recognize this is a war, compounded by his arrogant ignorance of combat. Trying to win a battle insisting on prohibition of use of ground troops and relying solely on air power means you have no way to actually hold and control the battlefield. Great….you kill some muslim jihadist savages with some airstrikes, but when the planes and drones RTB the savages still hold the battleground if there are no ground troops to mop up those who survive the airstrikes. So unless the airstrikes drop.enough nukes to turn the area into uninhabitable radioactive glass, airstrikes result in no long term victory.
The hypocrisy of the left grows increasingly mindboggling on the use of force. All Obama has to do to remove any hint of illegitimacy is have congress vote to authorize the US to embark on the mission to utterly destroy ISIS. I cannot imagine congress refusing to do so, and for once, we might have some national unity. The fact that Obama insists on trying to be emperor instead of president, combined with what can only be considered an insanely stupid, half-hearted, ill-conceived misuse of American military resources clearly shows he isn’t interested in doing the right and necessary thing, but is only focused on the political optics on his position.
The community organizer in chief is in way over his grossly incompetent head.
Perhaps you would like to prove the part of your statement I highlighted? Where did I even remotely say anything you insinuate? Or are you hearing voices in your head again?
I quoted a NY Times article, which I did not write, yet you want to attribute the words to me. But that’s how you lefties roll, isn’t it? Honesty in not your forte.
Obama’s foreign policy has been one clusterf–k after another.
What if obama doesn’t want OUR side to win? What would he do and not do? Compare these to what he is doing and what he isn’t doing now.
obama doesn’t make ANY decisions. His marionettes pull the strings. We are giving him much more credit than he deserves.