Archive for the ‘terrorism’ Category

The Turkish Coup Attempt

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

The attempted coup d’etat in Turkey has failed and the repercussions will follow.

Edward Luttwak has an important column on why it happened and why it failed.

The failure was so sudden and the coup was so poorly organized that some have questioned whether it was a false flag operation.

A US-based Turkish cleric accused of plotting a coup to overthrow the Ankara government has claimed President Recep Erdogan staged the rebellion himself to justify a major clampdown on opposition forces.
Fethullah Gulen, who was a former key ally of Erdogan has been blamed by the politician of using his contacts to develop a ‘parallel structure’ to overthrow the state.
Erdogan has called on US President Barack Obama to extradite Gulen, who is based in Pennsylvania.

Erdogan has requested the US turn over the imam who has been living in Pennsylvania. Why ?

Luttwak has a pretty good explanation.

The country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was left free to call out his followers to resist the attempted military coup, first by iPhone and then in something resembling a televised press conference at Istanbul’s airport. It was richly ironic that he was speaking under the official portrait of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of Turkey’s modern secular state, because Erdogan’s overriding aim since entering politics has been to replace it with an Islamic republic by measures across the board: from closing secular high schools so as to drive pupils into Islamic schools to creeping alcohol prohibitions to a frenzied program of mosque-building everywhere — including major ex-church museums and university campuses, where, until recently, headscarves were prohibited.

When we were in Istanbul ten years ago, Hagia Sophia, the original Christian church that has been converted to a mosque after Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453, was being converted to a museum.

INSIDEHAGIASOPHIA2

The huge panels of calligraphy were being removed and, beneath the panels, the workmen were finding that the previous workmen in 1453 had carefully preserved the mosaics being covered, possibly anticipating the city would be retaken by the Byzantines.

Mosaic at entrance

Few of the mosaics survived but a few could be seen. That one is above a door into the church.

Will the restoration continue under Erdogan ? I wonder. I also wonder how many tourists there will be to see it if it continues.

More from Luttwak.

Erdogan has been doing everything possible to dismantle Turkey’s fragile democracy: from ordering the arrest of journalists who criticized him, including the outright seizure and closure of the country’s largest newspaper, Zaman, to the very exercise of presidential power, since Turkey is not a presidential republic like the United States or France, but rather a parliamentary republic like Germany or Italy, with a mostly ceremonial president and the real power left to the prime minister. Unable to change the constitution because his Justice and Development Party (AKP) does not have enough votes in parliament, Erdogan instead installed the slavishly obedient (and mustachioed) Binali Yildirim as prime minister — his predecessor, Ahmet Davutoglu, had been very loyal, but not quite a slave — and further subverted the constitutional order by convening cabinet meetings under his own chairmanship in his new 1,000-room palace: a multibillion-dollar, 3.2 million-square-foot monstrosity (the White House is approximately 55,000 square feet), which was built without authorized funding or legal permits in a nature reserve.

I think Turkey is lost to the West and modern civilization. I saw those angry young men when we were entering mosques, like the Blue Mosque, where they kept angry and careful watch to see that we took off shoes and women wore head scarves. Now, they are running the country,

Nice and terror.

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Nice, a city on the French Riviera, has been attacked on Bastille Day, almost certainly by a Muslim terrorist.

An Australian tourist in Nice has told the Australian Associated Press she could hear gunshots as the truck ploughed through crowds.
Katie Baronie Shaw, 21, said she and a friend had walked from a foreshore fireworks display to a nearby bar when the music stopped and gunfire rang out.
“We had no idea what was going on. Then all we could hear was gunshots. My friend just grabbed me and we all went out the back stairs and had to sprint out staying low with guys ushering us away from the foreshore.”
Shaw sheltered inside the bar as staff pushed everyone to the back and pulled down roller doors.
“We just sprinted, heads down, I’ve never been so terrified in my life.”

There wer thousands of tourists and celebrants. We were in Nice a few years ago and loved it. My daughter, Annie, was so enthralled by the area that I found her checking real estate listings. She majored in French in college because she loves France so much.

And now this.

Beach club Nice

Here is the Beach Club where the girls sunbathed. It is right on the Promenade des Anglais, a tourist site since World War I.

Nice map

Here is a map showing the Promenade des Anglais

The “credit” for the attack has not yet been claimed.

Government is Failing. At Everything.

Friday, July 1st, 2016

surprise

Today, Daniel Henninger has a pretty good column on Brexit.

The Wall Street Journal is not exactly on board with the “Leave” vote or certainly with Trump but this is pretty good.

The vote by the people of the United Kingdom to separate from the European Union was actually Brexit the Sequel. The first Brexit vote took place 35 years ago in the United States, with the election of Ronald Reagan, who carried 44 states.

Reagan, in his first inaugural address in 1981, could not have been more explicit about what his election stood for: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

Brexit is shorthand for “government is the problem.”

Liberal intellectuals have mocked Reagan for reducing his theory of government to a bumper sticker. But he elaborated on the idea with words that would have fit in the Founders’ debates:

“We have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?”

Reagan is being misrepresented by a lot of Republicans these days. They don’t remember what a radical he was in GOP eyes back in 1976. I do.

Why even George Will thought he was too radical in 1976.

In a November 12, 1974 column appearing in the Washington Post on a potential 1976 challenge by Reagan to incumbent Establishment GOP President Gerald Ford, (titled “Ronald Reagan, the GOP and ’76”), Will wrote of Reagan: “But Reagan is 63 and looks it. His hair is still remarkably free of gray. But around the mouth and neck he looks like an old man. He’s never demonstrated substantial national appeal, his hard core support today consists primarily of the kamikaze conservatives who thought the 1964 Goldwater campaign was jolly fun. And there’s a reason to doubt that Reagan is well suited to appeal to the electorate that just produced a Democratic landslide. If a Reagan third party would just lead the ‘Nixon was lynched’ crowd away from the Republican Party and into outer darkness where there is a wailing and gnashing of teeth, it might be at worst a mixed course for the Republican Party. It would cost the party some support, but it would make the party seem cleansed.”

Will certainly has a way with words. The Administrative State has come to the end of its usefulness, if it ever had any.

Richard Fernandez, as usual, has something useful to say.

Basically, the Benghazi consulate was overrun because the administration had established an embassy beyond the wire and outside the artillery fan. They had deceived themselves into thinking it was tenable. They entrusted its defense to unreliable militias. When it was attacked, they had no forces within practical range of relief. To explain the resulting disaster, they peddled a fairy tale which even they did not believe. It was all wishful thinking from beginning to end and beyond. We are now in that beyond.

The Administrative State may be incompetent but it has good PR.

Benghazi was a foreseeable disaster they failed to prevent. And in the aftermath it was a catastrophe whose lessons they were determined to ignore. In summary, the report depicts an administration that was not so much malignant as completely incompetent. The Obama never saw what hit them in Benghazi, had no comeback when it did, and denied they were sucker punched even as they picked themselves up from the floor.

The true story of Benghazi is in many ways more disturbing than the wildest conspiracy theories can be.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh, a Muslim state, is exploding.

Armed attackers are holding as many as 20 hostages at a cafe in a diplomatic zone of Bangladesh’s capital. A gunbattle with police left at least two senior police officers dead and 40 people were injured.

ISIS claimed responsibility, according to Amaq News Agency, an ISIS media branch.
As police exchanged fire with the gunmen, the attackers threw explosives at officers, a source at the scene said.
Here’s the latest:
• Gunmen are holding the hostages at Holey Artisan Bakery, a cafe popular with expats, cafe owner Sumon Reza told CNN. Reza said he managed to escape as six to eight gunmen entered the cafe. About 20 people, some of them foreigners, were in the restaurant, he said.
• A police officer in charge of a nearby station was shot dead, Maruf Hasan of Dhaka Metropolitan Police said. A second officer later died from gunshot wounds, Detective Police Deputy Commissioner Sheikh Nazmul Alam tells CNN.

The attack is in an area frequented by foreigners. Bangladesh has had a rising tide of violence for over a year. The rising tide is directed agaunst foreigners and locals who are secular.

Over the past year, Bangladesh – an overwhelmingly Muslim country of 150 million people – has seen growing violence against both foreigners and locals deemed to be enemies of extremist Islam: secular bloggers, outspoken critics of fundamentalism, members of religious minorities such as Hindus and Christians, police officers and others.

Until now, the violence has taken the form of largely low-tech attacks involving small groups of militants or even individuals armed with knives or small arms.

Friday’s attack, however, was an operation of a much greater magnitude. Early reports suggest at least five gunmen, armed with sufficient automatic weapons and grenades to repel at least one assault by local police.

Western intelligence have been nervous about a major operation for at least 18 months. Indications of a complex plan to attack a diplomatic ball last year prompted much alarm – and pressure from western capitals on Dhaka to move effectively against the militant networks existing in the unstable south Asian nation.

Such attacks are likely here if the ISIS recruiters can get enough US residents to organize. In the meantime, Obama moves to imitate Brussels.

The Obama presidency has been an American version of the European Commission from which the Brits fled. Except that U.S. courts still review, rather than rubber-stamp, the Obama Commission’s executive orders ranging across labor, the environment, the internet, financial institutions and universities.

Had U.S. courts not pushed back against many of the Obama government’s rules and “guidance” directives, the famous “pen-and-phone” authority, this presidency would have come close to putting the states in the same relation to Washington as that between the once-sovereign states of Europe and Brussels.

The US military, our only real bulwark against militant Islam, is being pressed to allow open transgender personnel.

The Pentagon’s decades-old policy considers transgender people to be sexual deviants, allowing the military to discharge them. The services — and later, Carter — decided last year to move that discharge authority to higher levels in the military, making it more difficult to force out transgender people. The lack of a new policy, however, continues to create complicated situations for transgender service members and their commanders.

In one case, Army Sgt. Shane Ortega, a transgender man, was required last summer to go to a uniform shop where he was stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii with a senior enlisted soldier to obtain a female dress uniform in order to meet Army officials at the Pentagon to discuss transgender policy concerns, according to Ortega and Army officials.

Ortega said the incident showed “a real lack of leadership and a lack of human compassion” and demonstrated the level of discrimination and ignorance in the military about transgender people is huge.

The article alleges there are 12,500 transgender people in the military, an astonishing claim as transgender is about 0.0001% of the US population.

And the clock is running on when the next Muslim attack on US soil will occur.

The preference cascade is building.

Friday, June 24th, 2016

brexit

The Brexit vote in Britain has rocked the country with elites and immigrants most affected.

The vote to “Remain” was a majority in Scotland, Northern Ireland and in London and several other large cities with large “immigrant” populations.

Protesters are planning to march to London’s Shard building to demonstrate against the ‘racist’ and anti-migrant rhetoric of the EU Referendum campaign.

The march, announced in a Facebook post by the Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century, was due travel from a park in Whitechapel to the headquarters of New Corporation next to the Shard at 6pm.

All is proceeding as expected.

The decision has prompted a large market selloff, which will probably persist until the effects are better understood. Those campaigning to “Remain” have used various threats and predictions of doom, so the immediate result is not unexpected. Of course, the political left is hysterical at the isea that voters don;t want to be governed by remote elites.

On Thursday British voters willfully walked off a cliff when they decided to leave the European Union. The “Brexit” victory is a defeat for Britain, Europe and the global economy.

Tens of millions of Britons voted for isolation — to go it alone — rather than for cooperation. The European Union just lost a sixth of its economy, roughly akin to Florida and California seceding from the United States. The impact on the British economy could be catastrophic. Europe’s unified stance against a reemerging and aggressive Russia will be splintered.

Who could imagine that people would not want a thousand bureaucrats in Brussels, or for that matter Washington DC, micromanaging their lives ? Well, I know someone.

Donald Trump is a happy guy today, and his timing seems to be excellent. Last week, when the “Remain side” was expected to win, he was told it was a serious mistake to go there.

Trump, on his first trip overseas since he embarked on his White House bid, faced criticism in the US for making what was essentially a business trip at a time when his campaign has been faltering, falling behind Clinton in the polls and in fundraising.

Yes, who can imagine a politician actually conducting business and creating real jobs ?

Some in Britain were pleased, and did not put scare quotes over ‘great victory’ as the Guardian did.

There were two referendums on Thursday. The first was on membership of the EU. The second was on the British establishment. Leave won both, and the world will never be the same again.

It’s impossible to overstate how remarkable this victory is. Twenty years ago, Euroscepticism was a backbench Tory rebellion and a political cult. It was a dispute located firmly on the Right with little appeal to Labour voters. It took Ukip to drag it into the centre of political life – given momentum by the issue of immigration – and slowly it has emerged as a lightning rod for anti-establishment activism.

The British Establishment seems to be doing no better then its American cousin.

But this time the establishment consensus coincided with a historic loss of faith in the experts. These were the people who failed to predict the Credit Crunch, who missed the greatest economic disaster to hit us since the Great Depression. And we were supposed to believe them? Slowly the consensus came to resemble not just a conspiracy but, worse, a confederacy of dunces.

The British voters may be joining the preference cascade that began with the Trump Phenomenon. I don’t want to claim clairvoyance but I did say:

Their panic was best articulated last week in The Daily Beast by GOP consultant Rick Wilson, who wrote that Trump supporters “put the entire conservative movement at risk of being hijacked and destroyed by a bellowing billionaire with poor impulse control and a profoundly superficial understanding of the world .?.?. walking, talking comments sections of the fever swamp sites.”

Some might take that as a backhanded compliment. Can the GOP really be so out of touch with the legions of out-of-work Americans — many of whom don’t show up in the “official” unemployment rate because they’ve given up looking for work in the Obama economy? With the returning military vets frustrated with lawyer-driven, politically correct rules of engagement that have tied their hands in a fight against a mortal enemy? With those who, in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino massacres by Muslims, reasonably fear an influx of culturally alien “refugees” and “migrants” from the Middle East?

The Daily Beast is not exactly the Republican voter and the “GOP Consultant” seems to be ignoring the possibility that his job prospects might be harmed by his contempt for the voters he is supposed to understand and convince.

And now we have had Orlando. And Brexit.

What I saw at the Revolution.

Monday, March 21st, 2016

Zulu Dawn

News from the front today. First, Glenn Reynolds explains where Trump came from.

The thing is, we had that movement. It was the Tea Party movement. Unlike Brooks, I actually ventured out to “intermingle” with Tea Partiers at various events that I covered for PJTV.com, contributing commentary to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Examiner. As I reported from one event in Nashville, “Pundits claim the tea partiers are angry — and they are — but the most striking thing about the atmosphere in Nashville was how cheerful everyone seemed to be. I spoke with dozens of people, and the responses were surprisingly similar. Hardly any had ever been involved in politics before. Having gotten started, they were finding it to be not just worthwhile, but actually fun. Laughter rang out frequently, and when new-media mogul Andrew Breitbart held forth on a TV interview, a crowd gathered and broke into spontaneous applause. A year ago (2009), many told me, they were depressed about the future of America. Watching television pundits talk about President Obama’s transformative plans for big government, they felt alone, isolated and helpless.

Bingo !

Now, we have Act Two. Will Hillary’s “Thin Blue Line of rust belt states hold ?

Lt William Vereker, on a routine patrol from the British camp at Isandlwana looked down into the Ngwebeni valley to find it boiling with the hitherto unseen main Zulu Army of 20,000 men.

As in 1879 the political scouts are rushing back to inform the camp of the unanticipated development. Shocked but still undaunted, the pundits remain confident that the threat can be stopped by the Democrat “Blue Wall” in the industrial and upper Midwest. There, media artillery and the technologically superior liberal ground game are expected to hold the line against the angry white voter.

Read the rest, as Glenn says.

Now, we have the horrified GOPe. To Peter Wehner, Trump is the scary black face in the forest.

It is stunning to contemplate, particularly for those of us who are lifelong Republicans, but we now live in a time when the organizing principle that runs through the campaign of the Republican Party’s likely nominee isn’t adherence to a political philosophy — Mr. Trump has no discernible political philosophy — but an encouragement to political violence.

Mr. Trump’s supporters will dismiss this as hyperbole, but it is the only reasonable conclusion that his vivid, undisguised words allow for. As the examples pile up, we should not become inured to them. “I’d like to punch him in the face,” Mr. Trump said about a protester in Nevada. (“In the old days,” Mr. Trump fondly recalled, protesters would be “carried out in a stretcher.”)

OMG! What happened to “hit back twice as hard!” or “Bring a gun to a knife fight?” Rudeness will not be tolerated in the GOPe.

(more…)

We were pretty close.

Friday, March 18th, 2016

When we were in Brussels last September, we stayed at a nice hotel near the Grand Place called The Bedford Hotel and Congress Centre.

belgium-brussels-grand-place

I showed some of our photos here.

The Grand Place is about four blocks from our hotel which is quite central. Also fairly central is Molenbeek where the leader of the Paris terrorist attack was captured today.

brussels

To the left is the canal and across it, the Molenbeek neighborhood where the terrorists were holed up. We walked by it during our stay which was a few weeks before the attack. Our hotel was locked down for a week after the Paris attack as they searched for the perpetrators.
We were very close.

The next war.

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

Richard Fernandez, as usual, has a good thought on where we are likely to be at the end of Obama’s presidency.

Even as America’s rivals are probing its defenses all across the globe, the Pentagon seems decidedly leery over taking on any new missions in the Middle East. “The Obama administration and the Iraqi government are eager to retake Iraq’s second-largest city from the Islamic State, which would allow President Barack Obama to claim a major victory over the terror group before he leaves office. But the top U.S. military brass says not so fast.”

The debate over the timetable for taking Mosul … highlights the competing pressures of an administration seeking to craft its legacy and military professionals worried about rushing into a bloody urban war.
It may also suggest an implicit consensus that it would be best to avoid risky undertakings for the remainder of the Obama administration and prepare instead for the serious threats that the administration’s mistakes have unleashed.

I just finished Robert Gates Memoir of his time as Sec Def for both Bush and Obama.

My own review of his book is here and I consider it excellent. He liked and respected Obama although some of that may be diplomacy. He disliked and did not respect Obama’s staff, who probably reflected his disinterested attitude toward governing. Obama told Gates that he liked making decisions but Gates believed he showed little interest in making them work.

Foreign Policy writes, it’s “crunch time for Washington and Beijing in the South China Sea” as satellite photos showed China fortifying its new island bastions with missiles.

“Is there anything Washington can do to slow China’s land grab?” it rhetorically asks? The answer is: probably not with the current leadership of the free world. Nobody really wants to follow president Obama into a crisis.

There is about the current international situation the atmosphere of fiasco. The Russia/Iran buildup continues, fueled as the Free Beacon notes by cash the Obama administration gave Tehran itself. Russia is now increasingly in command of the Syrian Army fighting beside an Iranian “foreign legion”, eliciting nothing more than a squeak from the president. There are warnings it is now time to start preparing for the collapse of Saudi Arabia without the expectation of being able to prevent it.

No solutions appear possible for the present. Plans appear to focus on the world after Obama.

This is exceedingly dangerous. The collapse of Saudi Arabia is one crisis that faces us.

For half a century, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been the linchpin of U.S. Mideast policy. A guaranteed supply of oil has bought a guaranteed supply of security. Ignoring autocratic practices and the export of Wahhabi extremism, Washington stubbornly dubs its ally “moderate.” So tight is the trust that U.S. special operators dip into Saudi petrodollars as a counterterrorism slush fund without a second thought. In a sea of chaos, goes the refrain, the kingdom is one state that’s stable.

But is it?

In fact, Saudi Arabia is no state at all. There are two ways to describe it: as a political enterprise with a clever but ultimately unsustainable business model, or so corrupt as to resemble in its functioning a vertically and horizontally integrated criminal organization. Either way, it can’t last. It’s past time U.S. decision-makers began planning for the collapse of the Saudi kingdom.

Fortunately, and contrary to the policies of Obama, the US is now self-sufficient in energy. The Obama aid to Iran has further destabilized the Saudis.

Everyone is making shift for themselves because that is all that is possible. But the most significant actions have been undertaken by the Pentagon itself. It has proposed the largest budget in years for the express purpose of rebuilding the deterrent force against Russia. The New York Times reported plans to “fortify” Eastern Europe. Real Clear Defense reports a crash program called the Third Offset Strategy to boost up the combat power of the US military in the short term. The current Defense Budget is a tacit mea admission of a need to make up for ground squandered in the last 7 years.

Gates has high praise for Ash Carter so Defense is probably in as good hands as is possible now.

It seems clear there is widespread consensus there will be a major period of instability or conflict after Obama leaves office, perhaps even before he departs. Conflicts in Eastern Europe, Turkey, the Middle East, North Africa, China, etc. are not only possible, they have actually started and each is escalating.

What is still unclear is how bad it will get. That depends on two things: the extent to which Western defenses can be rebuilt and the judiciousness with which foreign and security policy leadership is exercised. Political events in 2016 are crucial not only in America, but all over the world because they will determine, more or less, who is in charge when the balloon goes up. If the West can prepare in time and uses its assets properly, the worst of the crisis can still be avoided and a general peace might still be preserved. If nothing intelligent replaces the last seven years of foolishness then the embers now smoldering may burst into open flame, merge and threaten everybody with the major conflict Dmitry Medvedev warned against.

There will still be some calls in the next few months for president Obama to “do something” but there will be fewer than you would expect. The word is out, even among allies. He’s a busted flush. For the moment, the consensus appears to sit tight, get ready, take no chances and wait out Obama’s term.

That seems to be all we can do.

The Muslim war on immunization.

Saturday, January 16th, 2016

If anyone wonders about the level of civilization in Muslim countries and especially those in “radical” or “takfiri” subsets, the war on polio immunization should be a clue.

Recently, a suicide bomber attacked a polio immunization center in Pakistan.

The World Health Organization’s anti-polio vaccination program inside Pakistan has been a prime target of the Taliban. Mullah Fazlullah, the emir of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, was one of the first leaders to have opposed polio vaccinations. On his radio program, Falzullah, who is also known as Mullah Radio, denounced polio vaccinations as Western attempts to sterilize Muslim boys.

Other Taliban commanders, including Mullah Bahadar and Mullah Nazir, who was killed in a US drone strike, as well as Pakistani clerics and leaders in the tribal areas, suspended polio vaccinations in areas under their control until the US ceased drone strikes against Taliban, al Qaeda, and other jihadist commanders.

Taliban commanders have also accused vaccination programs as serving as cover for CIA and western operations to target jihadist leaders inside Pakistan.

The largely Muslim state of Uttar Pradesh in India has been the last outpost of remaining polio cases in the world.

India was declared free of the wild polio virus in January 2011 however cases of flaccid paralysis continue to be reported in thousands from across the country. “In spite of the WHO declaring India polio-free, there has been an increase in the cases of non-polio paralysis. It is a huge cause of concern,” said Dr SD Gupta, president, IIHMR University.
In 2004, 12,000 cases of non-polio paralysis were reported which increased to 53,563 cases by 2012. According to the data published by the union health ministry in July, 2015, the total number of non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP) cases across the country were 18,141, of which 5918 were reported from UP, 668 from Rajasthan, 102 from Telangana, 385 from Karnataka and 865 from Maharashtra, among others.

What is going on ? It seems that new enteroviruses may be involved. India has been largely successful in eliminating wild Polio virus.

India’s success in eliminating wild polioviruses (WPVs) has been acclaimed globally. Since the last case on January 13, 2011 success has been sustained for two years. By early 2014 India could be certified free of WPV transmission, if no indigenous transmission occurs, the chances of which is considered zero.

Great efforts were made.

The VE against types 1 and 3 was the lowest in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where the force of transmission of WPVs was maximum on account of the highest infant-population density. Transmission was finally interrupted with sustained and extraordinary efforts. During the years since 2004 annual pulse polio vaccination campaigns were conducted 10 times each year,

Muslims are determined to stop this effort. More evidence that they are not ready for civilization.

The Western Spring.

Sunday, January 10th, 2016

migrants

Belmont Club and Richard Fernandez have come up with a good term to describe what is happening now.

It’s on, the long awaited fight against PC orthodoxy is finally on. Trump is unlikely to apologize, CAIR even more unlikely to back down. With 3 million Middle Eastern and African refugees due to arrive in Europe this year the clashes between German protesters are only likely to intensify.

The commotion you hear is not going to stop, it will only get worse. The Western Spring is finally here, and before it’s done it threatens to change everything.

The “Arab Spring” has proved a disaster for the Middle East. Much of that disaster was midwifed by Obama and Hillary. Obama hleped The Muslim Brotherhood overthrow our ally, Mubarak. The Washington Post was very optimistic.

CAIRO – It was sparked on social-networking sites, and inspired by a revolution in Tunisia. In 18 days, it grew into something astounding – a leaderless people’s movement that at every turn outsmarted a government with an almost unblemished 30-year record of suppressing dissent.

Of course, it didn’t turn out the way they expected.

Despite the government’s efforts to sow violence that could be pinned on the demonstrators, the vast majority did not take the bait.

In the first days of the protests, they were attacked with high-pressure water hoses, tear gas, birdshot, rubber bullets and live ammunition. Protesters responded with rocks, but also with pamphlets instructing demonstrators to appeal to the police as fellow Egyptians.

When police withdrew from the streets and prisoners were released from their cells, Egyptians formed security committees to protect their neighborhoods. And when pro-Mubarak forces – many of them thought to be paid thugs and undercover police – attacked anti-government demonstrators, the protesters fought back but did not escalate the violence.

More than 300 people were killed over the past 18 days, with each death giving the movement more momentum. In Tahrir Square, posters of the dead grace every corner. A curly haired girl named Sally, a man named Hassan, a boy named Mohammed.

The leftist innocence drips from the article. Mubarak believed that the US conspired to bring him down. Knowing Obama, he was probably correct. Of course, we should follow Napoleon’s rule, “Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence.”

(more…)

The Sunni war on America.

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Angelo Codevilla, who has some of the most interesting things to say about America has a new column out in Asia Times.

For more than a quarter century, as Americans have suffered trouble from the Muslim world’s Sunni and Shia components and as the perennial quarrel between them has intensified, the US government has taken the side of the Sunni. This has not worked out well for us. It is past time for our government to sort out our own business, and to mind it aggressively.

To understand why hopes for help from the Sunni side are forlorn, we must be clear that jihadism in general and Daesh in particular are logical outgrowths of Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia’s (and the Gulf monarchies’) official religion, about how they fit in the broader conflict between Sunni and Shia, as well as about how the US occupation of Iraq exposed America to the vagaries of intra-Muslim conflicts.

I have believed this for some time and am happy to see him agree with me. I spent an evening listening to him talk about our foreign policy and how the War on Terror became a war on Americans.

The U.S. government does not understand how to combat international terrorism or respond to its threats. In an exclusive interview with Ginni Thomas of The Daily Caller, Codevilla highlighted the failure of both administrations to understand the enemy, explaining that it makes national security decisions based on a flawed paradigm.

“After 9/11, the U.S. government instituted a system of homeland security based on the proposition that any American is as likely as anyone in the world to commit terrorist acts — and that therefore, all Americans must be screened and presumed to be terrorists until the screening clears them,” Codevilla said.

Certainly, the government has been engaged in a faux security system with the TSA that pretends it will stop an airline hijacking or bomb threat, while allowing 90% of false bombs and guns to escape surveillance.

“These people who attacked us had reasons, which are widely supported — in fact, vigorously promoted by the regimes from which they came,” Codevilla said. “The Saudi regime, which we count as an ally, does in fact harbor the most virulent strain of Islam, the Wahhabism. This movement inspired most of the hijackers in 9/11. The others, some of the leaders, were inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, which the Obama administration has been courting and favoring.”

Rather than confronting the movement of Islamic radicalization, Codevilla says that both Barack Obama and George W. Bush blamed acts of terrorism on the perpetrators themselves, instead of viewing them as the incarnations of a murderously ideological movement.

I am a little less conspiracy minded but I agree that we face a militant ideology that is as yet unacknowledged.

US foreign policy in the Middle East had moved to the Sunni side in 1979 after the Shia Islamic Republic’s overthrow of Iran’s secular Shah. For the previous quarter century, the Shah’s Iran had taken care of US interests in the region while muting its Persian Shia people’s perennial tensions with the Sunni Arab world.

But Iran’s Islamic Republic has been as aggressively Shia and Persian as it has been anti-American. Fatefully, rather than answering in kind the Islamic Republic’s warfare on America, all presidents since Jimmy Carter have searched the Sunni Arab world for counterweights to Iran, as well as for the kind of support that the Shah had given us.

This attempt to outsource America’s security concerns by entering into the Sunni-Shia conflict on the Sunni side has been counterproductive because the Sunni, 85% of the Muslim world, are also the nursery of its most contagious plagues — the Wahhabi sect and the Muslim Brotherhood. Above all, it has been disastrous because it has led the US government to lose sight of our own interests by confusing them with those of Sunni states and potentates.

Here, I agree completely. I think Bush’s attempt to see if an Arab country could rule itself was a reasonable thing to try. The disaster was turning the policy over to Arabist Paul Bremer who decided to become a viceroy and alienated the Sunnis of Iraq. Saddam began the crisis by invading Kuwait.

The main Sunni monarchies’ congenital worse-than-uselessness is why, in the decade after Iranian Islamic Republic’s establishment, US policymakers vigorously courted Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, who ruled mostly-Shia Iraq with a bloody hand through its Sunni minority. The US policymakers who helped Saddam prevail in his war against Iran believed that, by so doing, they could strike a blow at Iran while weaning Saddam away from his reliance on the Soviet Union.

Too clever. No sooner had Saddam established his power over the head of the Gulf than he used it to conquer Kuwait, after which the Gulf’s monarchs were helpless before his disciplined army and frightened by their own peoples’ support for Saddam. They asked the United States’ help.

I am a bit skeptical here but he might well be correct. What we have now is a president who has elected to join the Shia and Iranian side in this Muslim civil war.

But instead of choosing any version of America’s own interest, US statesmen confused that interest with the self-contradictory demands of the Saudis, etc. — the Sunni world’s weak reeds: Please, make war on Saddam, but not so hard as to break his Iraqi Sunni empire. This way we can all win without dealing with the consequences of victory. We can have our cake while eating it too.

Our bipartisan ruling class, from the Bush and Clinton families to the Dick Cheneys and Colin Powells to Washington’s think tanks considered this counsel to be sophistication, and themselves to be sophisticates for accepting it. Far too clever.

The ensuing bellum interruptus was meant to tweak the balance among the Mid-East’s Sunni forces. But the result was that Saddam, who’d not been an enemy of the United States, subsequently led the Muslim world to new heights of enmity to America. Few remember that the longest and most impassioned part of Osama bin Laden’s 1996 fatwa which preceded the wave of anti-American terrorism that crested on 9/11 was a denunciation of America’s actions against Saddam’s Iraq.

Here I tend to agree with Codevilla. Clinton was not immune to this misapprehension of our interests. “Foreign Affairs,” a journal that I used to subscribe to, ran a cover story during Bill Clinton’s feckless presidency on “Foreign Policy as Social Work.”

the Sunni states — which had opposed the invasion strenuously — convinced Bush 43 to occupy Iraq indefinitely. That involved taking care of their business. He agreed to confuse others’ business with America’s despite having been elected in part by promising never to engage in “nation building.”

Bush promised to build “a united, democratic Iraq.” That was always an absurdity because, since Iraq’s constituent groups loathed and feared each other, Iraq’s unity could result only from one group’s despotism over the others, whereas “democracy” — i.e. the will of the people — meant that Iraqis would go their separate ways.

The occupation’s day-to-day practical objective however, was to hold the 83% of Iraqis who were not Sunni into a state structure in which the Sunni would salvage at least some of the privileges they had held under Saddam. That is what the Sunni states wanted, and that is what they had convinced the US government was in America’s interest as well. It was also impossible. Immediately, the occupation started a Sunni war on America that is yet to end.

This is an interesting point of view and could explain why Bush chose Bremer over the far more capable Jay Garner.

He has another installment coming this week. I will read it with interest.

Here is a section I agree with.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, chose to make his country the Islamic State’s indispensable logistical partner out of a welter of reasons and through a calculation of risks that make sense only to him. Erdogan, a Sunni Islamist and member of the Muslim Brotherhood, sees support for Daesh/ISIS as serving his personal and sectarian opposition to Syria’s Bashar al Assad. This, along with his desire to reduce Kurdish enclaves on both sides of the Syria/Turkey border.

The kurds are our only friends, if any, in the middle east except Israel.