Archive for the ‘NATO’ category

Trump and NATO

July 27, 2016

Trump and NATO, Front Page MagazineBruce Thornton, July 27, 2016

trump nato

The Never Trump crowd has found another example of The Donald’s disqualifying ignorance: comments he made about NATO. He has said that our contributions to NATO are “unfair,” that they are “costing us a fortune,” that we are “getting ripped off,” and that they are “getting a free ride.” By the way, Obama in his Atlantic interview also called the Europeans “free riders,” but I don’t recall a lot of sneering at the president for his “alarming” and “dangerous” remarks, as one critic put it.

Trump also implied that he would put the European NATO members’ feet to the fire about meeting the 2006 requirement that they spend 2% of GDP on their militaries, and suggested he would negotiate a new contribution schedule. Few NATO members have met that requirement, which is a violation of Article 3 that requires member states to “maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.” According to NATO’s own report, only five countries are estimated to meet the 2% requirement in 2016. France, Germany, Italy, and Spain­­––the first, third, fourth, and fifth largest economies in the EU––are not among them. The richest, Germany, is expected to remain at 1.19%. In contrast, the US will spend 3.9%. As Lord Robertson, NATO Secretary General from 1999-2004, put it, European nations are “military pygmies.”

Critics of Trump are technically correct to say that he exaggerates when he claims that the US pays the “lion’s share” of NATO funding. In fact, the US pays under a fifth (22%). But the complaints about European NATO members, which predate Trump by decades, take into account more salient deficiencies. “Common funding,” of which the US covers a fifth, is “used to finance NATO’s principal budgets: the civil budget (NATO HQ running costs), the military budget (costs of the integrated Command Structure) and the NATO Security Investment Programme (military capabilities),” according to NATO. In other words, mostly institutional bureaucratic infrastructure.

“Indirect spending” covers what each nation voluntarily contributes to an operation. NATO acknowledges the greater share the US spends on indirect spending: “there is an over-reliance by the Alliance as a whole on the United States for the provision of essential capabilities, including for instance, in regard to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; air-to-air refuelling; ballistic missile defence; and airborne electronic warfare.” We could also mention transport aircraft, cruise missiles, and other matériel that the European countries simply don’t have much of. For example, in the 2011 NATO bombing of Libya, there were 246 cruise missiles launched. The US fired 228 of them. At $1.5 million apiece, that adds up to $342 million taxpayer dollars spent to destabilize a country and get four of our citizens killed.

This discrepancy in indirect spending and military capability was already obvious in the 1990’s when NATO intervened in Bosnia and Kosovo to stop a vicious war. During the 1999 crisis in Kosovo, the Europeans had to make “heroic efforts” just to deploy 2% of their two million troops, according to the British foreign secretary. Historian William Shawcross writes of the bombing campaign, “The United States flew the overwhelming majority of the missions, and dropped almost all the precision-guided U.S.-made munitions, and most of the targets were generated by U.S. intelligence.”

So Trump’s complaints, as blustering and exaggerated as they may be, are legitimate. Operations conducted by NATO are overwhelmingly American funded and directed, and NATO is a diplomatic fig-leaf for American power.

No more convincing are the reasons critics give for supporting NATO. The alliance has not prevented “major state conflict since World War II,” as a writer at NRO claims. Given that some 40 million people have died in conflicts since WWII, I’m not sure what “peace” we’re talking about. During the Cold War, the peace between the US and the Soviet Union was kept by nuclear “mutually assured destruction” and millions of American troops, not NATO. Nor was Europe in any condition to fight among themselves. The Europeans were, and still are in many ways, burned out after 30 years of warring, and had neither the will, the morale, nor the belief in anything worth dying for to engage in another war. With their security underwritten by the US, they could spend their money on lavish social welfare programs and la dolce vita. Thinking NATO kept the peace is as preposterous as claiming the EU did.

Then there’s Article 5, the pledge that NATO members will fight for any member state that’s been attacked. Much is made of the only time Article 5 has been invoked, after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Yet all that solidarity and allied good will didn’t stop France and Germany from trying to undermine the US when it tried to get the UN to sanction the war in 2003 on Saddam Hussein, who had violated 16 UN resolutions and the formal terms ending the 1991 Iraq War. Despite the consensus of American and European intelligence agencies that Hussein had WMD stockpiles, France and Germany took the lead in lobbying the Security Council to oppose the authorization to use force against Iraq.  Germany’s ambassador to the UN Council pressured members like Mexico and Chile to vote against the US. Worse yet, France and Germany, along with Belgium, formally objected to a proposal for NATO to send defensive equipment to Turkey, which wanted assurances that it would be supported by its fellow NATO members if attacked for supporting the war against Hussein.

This behavior of NATO allies did not reflect principle, but national interests and politics. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was running for re-election, and found reflexive German anti-Americanism and pacifism a convenient distraction from his terrible economic record. France had grubbier reasons in addition to its own ressentiment towards the US––renewing the arm sales to Iraq and oil development contracts it had enjoyed for years before the war, and could resume once the sanctions on Hussein were lifted, something France was actively pursuing. As Shawcross summarized, “The long friendship with Saddam, commercial considerations, the response to le défi Américain, and concern over the reactions of France’s Muslims––all these played a part in [President Jacques] Chirac’s calculations in the summer of 2002.”

The importance put on Article 5 forgets that, as George Washington said, “It is a maxim founded on the universal experience of mankind, that no nation can be trusted farther than it is bound by its interests.” NATO members have made and in the future will make decisions based on each nation’s estimation of its interests. So there’s no guarantee that invoking Article 5 would lead to meaningful NATO member support. And given the weakness of their militaries, just how much actual rather than rhetorical support could the Europeans provide in the event of an attack? How many battle carrier groups does NATO possess? The Europeans can’t even afford cruise missiles.

Finally, the arguments for NATO are predicated on an either-or fallacy. If we don’t have the NATO alliance and the benefits it supposedly brings for collective security, then we’ll have nothing. But of course, if NATO disappeared tomorrow, the US would quickly sign bilateral and multilateral defense agreements with individual countries or groups of countries, including some current NATO members. The argument that without NATO our security would be endangered is as fallacious as the argument of the Remain faction in England that leaving the EU would put the UK in danger. A country as rich and powerful as the US will find no dearth of countries eager to bandwagon with it.

Trump’s critics continue to search for dubious reasons to justify sitting out the election or even voting for Hillary. There may be many reasons not to vote for Trump, but criticizing NATO isn’t one of them.

Turkey – Roger Out

July 22, 2016

Turkey – Roger Out, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, July 22, 2016

turkey roger out

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

On Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg insisted that the purge of thousands in the Turkish military – including a third of the serving generals – did not weaken the military.

Stoltenberg told Reuters, “Turkey has a large armed force, professional armed forces and… I am certain they will continue as a committed and strong NATO ally.”

It would be interesting to know whether the 1,500 US soldiers who have been locked down at Incirlik Air Base along with several hundred soldiers from other NATO countries since the failed coup Friday night would agree with him.

Following the failed coup, the Erdogan regime cut off the base’s external electricity supply and temporarily suspended all flights from the base.

The base commander Gen. Bekir Ercan Van and 11 other service members from the base and a police officer were placed under arrest.

Incirlik is the center of NATO air operations against Islamic State in Syria. It also reportedly houses 50 nuclear warheads. The atomic bombs belong to the US. They deployed to Turkey – under US control – as a relic of the Cold War.

It took US President Barack Obama two years of pleading to convince Turkish President Recep Erdogan to allow NATO forces to use the base at Incirlik. It was only after the Kurdish political party secured unprecedented gains in Turkey’s parliamentary elections last year, and Tayyip Erdogan decided to expand his operations against the Kurds of Iraq and Syria to dampen domestic support for the Kurds, that he agreed to allow NATO forces to use the base.

His condition was that the US support his war against the Kurds – the most effective ground force in the war against Islamic State.

Stoltenberg’s statement of support for Turkey is particularly troubling because Erdogan’s post-coup behavior makes it impossible to continue to sweep his hostility under the rug.

For nearly 14 years, since his AK Party first won the national elections in late 2002, Erdogan and his followers have made clear that they are ideologically – and therefore permanently – hostile to the West. And for nearly 14 years, Western leaders have pretended this reality under the rug.

Just weeks after AKP’s first electoral triumph, the Turkish parliament shocked Washington when it voted to reject the US’s request to deploy Iraq invasion forces along the Turkish border with Iraq. Turkey’s refusal to permit US operations from its territory are a big reason the Sunni insurgency in Iraq was able to organize.

It took the US some two months to take over northern Iraq. By that time, the Ba’athists had organized the paramilitary militias that later morphed into al-Qaida in Iraq and then, following the US withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, Islamic State.

Ever since then, Erdogan has paid lip service, and even assisted NATO and the EU from time to time, when it served his momentary interests to do so. But the consistent trend of his behavior has been negative.

Since taking power, Erdogan has galvanized the organs of state propaganda – from the media to the entertainment industry to the book world – to indoctrinate the citizens of Turkey to hate Jews and Americans and to view terrorists supportively.

This induced hatred has been expressed as well in his foreign policy. Erdogan was the first major leader to embrace Hamas after its electoral victory in the 2006 Palestinian Authority elections. He treated Hamas terror chief Ismail Haniyeh like a visiting monarch when he hosted him shortly after those elections.

During Hezbollah’s 2006 war against Israel, Turkey was caught red-handed as it allowed Iran to move weapons systems to Hezbollah through Turkish territory.

Erdogan has turned a blind eye to al-Qaida. And he has permitted ISIS to use Turkey as its logistical base, economic headquarters and recruitment center. Earlier this year the State Department claimed that all of the 25,000 foreign recruits to ISIS have entered Syria through Turkey.

As for Iran, until Obama engineered the lifting of UN sanctions against Iran through his nuclear deal with the ayatollahs, Turkey was Iran’s conduit to the international market. Turkey was Iran’s partner in evading sanctions and so ensuring the economic viability of the regime. According to a series of investigative reports by Turkish and foreign reporters, Erdogan’s family was directly involved in this illicit trade.

Then there is Europe. For ISIS, Turkey has been a two-way street. Fighters have entered Syria through Turkey, and returned to Europe through Turkey. Turkey is behind the massive inflow of Syrian refugees to Europe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel tried to cut a deal with Erdogan that would stem the flow. Erdogan pocketed her economic concessions and did nothing to stop the hemorrhage of refugees to Europe.

As for the US, the years of anti-American incitement and indoctrination of Turkish society are now coming into full flower in the aftermath of the coup. Even before the dust had settled, Erdogan was pointing an accusatory finger at Washington.

Insisting that the failed coup was the brainchild of exiled Islamic cleric – and erstwhile ally of Erdogan – Fetullah Gulen, who took up residence in Pennsylvania’s Poconos Mountains 16 years ago – Erdogan demanded that the US immediately put Gulen on an airplane with a one-stop ticket to Turkey.

In the days that followed, the Erdogan regime’s accusations against the US became more and more unhinged. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that failure to comply with Erdogan’s extradition demand would be viewed as a hostile act by the US.

And Turkish Labor Minister Suleyman Soylu flat out said that “America is behind the coup,” in a media interview.

In other words, after arresting the base commander and other forces at Incirlik, and while effectively holding US-led NATO forces and 50 nuclear warheads prisoner for the past six days, Turkey is accusing the US of engineering the coup attempt.

But apparently, NATO has decided to try to again sweep reality under the rug, once more. Hence, Stoltenberg’s soothing insistence that there is no cause for worry. Turkey remains a trusted member of the alliance.

This isn’t merely irresponsible. It is dangerous, for several reasons.

First of all, Stoltenberg’s claim that the Turkish military is as strong as ever is simply ridiculous.

A third of the serving generals are behind bars along with thousands of commanders and soldiers, educators, police officers, jurists and judges.

Who exactly can be willing to take the initiative in this climate? Amid at best mixed messages from the regime regarding the war against ISIS, and with the generals who coordinated the campaign with NATO now behind bars, who will maintain the alliance with NATO ? No one will.

The implications of this passivity will be felt on the ground in Turkey as well as in Syria and Iraq.

Thanks to Erdogan’s passive support, ISIS has operatives seeded throughout Turkey. Who can guarantee that they will leave the nuclear weapons at Incirlik alone? Is the US really planning to leave those bombs in Turkey when its own forces are effective prisoners of the regime? And what are the implications of removing them? How can such a necessary move be made at the same time that NATO pretends that all is well with Turkey? Then there is the problem of chemical weapons.

In recent months, ISIS has used chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq. In February, James Clapper, the director of US national intelligence, warned that ISIS is developing a chemical arsenal and intends to use chemical weapons against the US and Europe.

In May it was reported that ISIS is conducting experiments with chemical weapons on dogs and prisoners in labs located in residential neighborhoods in Mosul.

Turkey is a NATO member with open borders to Europe, and the only thing that has prevented ISIS terrorists from bringing chemical weapons to Europe has been the Turkish military and police force. They are now being purged.

Moreover, as Soner Cagaptay reported in The Wall Street Journal this week, Erdogan used out and out jihadists to put down the coup on Friday night and Saturday. He has continued to embrace them in the days that have passed since then.

In so doing, Erdogan signaled that he may well use the post-coup state of emergency to dismantle what is left of Turkey’s secular state apparatus and transform the NATO member into an Islamist state, along the lines of the short-lived Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt, which Erdogan enthusiastically supported.

In this climate, it is difficult, if not as a practical matter impossible, to imagine that the military and police will work particularly hard to prevent ISIS terrorists from transporting weapons of mass destruction from Syria to Europe through Turkey.

The Obama administration is partly responsible for the current crisis. Secretary of State John Kerry just agreed to subordinate the US-led anti-ISIS campaign to Russia. In so doing, he made clear that the US will not protect Turkey from Russia. This gives Erdogan little choice other than to strike out a new, far more radical course.

To Erdogan’s own Islamist convictions and US incompetence must be added a third reason to assume the situation in Turkey will only get worse.

As David Goldman has reported in the Asia Times, Turkey is on the brink of economic collapse. Its currency has been devalued by 7 percent just since the failed coup. “With about $300 billion in foreign currency liabilities, Turkish corporations’ debt service costs rise as the currency falls. Stocks have lost more than half their value in dollar terms since 2013,” Goldman warned.

In the current climate, it is hard to imagine Erdogan instituting austerity measures to pay down the debt. So he needs a scapegoat for his failure. The chosen scapegoat is clearly the US.

To make a long story short then, the Turkish military is no longer capable of cooperating in any meaningful way with the US or NATO . Erdogan, never a reliable ally, is now openly hostile.

He is in the midst of committing aggression against NATO forces at Incirlik. And he is embracing Turkish jihadists who are ideologically indistinguishable from ISIS.

The US surrender to Russia means that America cannot protect Turkey from Russia. And Erdogan has chosen to blame American for Turkey’s fast approaching economic doomsday.

Under the circumstances, if NATO takes its job of protecting the free world seriously, it has no choice but to quit with the business as usual routine and kick Turkey out of the alliance, withdraw its personnel and either remove or disable the nuclear weapons it fields in the country.

As for anti-ISIS operations, the US will have to move its bases to Iraqi Kurdistan and embrace the Kurds as the strategic allies they have clearly become.

In the aftermath of the failed coup, Turkey is a time bomb. It cannot be defused. It will go off. The only way to protect the free world from the aftershocks is by closing the border and battening down the hatches.

Forget NATO. Trump Should Defund the UN

May 18, 2016

Forget NATO. Trump Should Defund the UN, PJ Media, Roger L. Simon, May 17, 2016

(Please see also, Where UNESCO and ISIS Converge. — DM)

Trump fire UN

The courage to go after sacred cows is one of Donald Trump’s more appealing, if controversial, traits.   He raised the issue of NATO, contending the USA pays far too much of the freight in the mutual defense pact.

Such proposals, the candidate has made clear, are not so much policies as “suggestions” or what one might call, from his business perspective, negotiating positions.

Regarding the NATO suggestion, frankly, I am of two minds.  While it’s clearly arguable the American contribution is excessive, the investment might be necessary for the preservation of the alliance (weak as it is) and to maintain the necessary U.S. leadership position.  “Leading from behind” has been one of the obvious fiascoes of the 21st century.

But I have another, somewhat similar, suggestion for Donald about which I have no ambivalence.  It’s time for the U.S. seriously to curtail, if not end, its mammoth annual contribution to the United Nations that dwarfs those made by all the other 192 member-states.

Here’s how CNS News reported the situation in 2012:

In one of its last actions of the year, the United Nations General Assembly on Christmas Eve agreed to extend for another three years the formula that has U.S. taxpayers contributing more than one-fifth of the world body’s regular budget.No member-state called for a recorded vote, and the resolution confirming the contributions that each country will make for the 2013-2015 period was summarily adopted. The assembly also approved a two-year U.N. budget of $5.4 billion.

The U.S. has accounted for 22 percent of the total regular budget every year since 2000, and will now continue to do so for the next three years.

That’s 22 percent for virtually nothing.

While the UN many have been formed in an outburst of post-World War II idealism, it has descended into an international society for Third World kleptocrats of mind-boggling proportions—the Iraq War  oil-for-food scandal being only one nauseating example--who engage in non-stop Israel-bashing to distract their populaces from their own thievery. What in the Sam Hill do we get out of that?

Everybody knows this, of course. When critical negotiations take place (i.e., the Iran nuclear talks, speaking of fiascoes, and the Syrian peace talks, not that they have much chance of success), they are removed from the UN and conducted between the serious players. No one is curious about what Zimbabwe’s Mugabe has to say, at least one hopes not.

Now it’s certain this suggestion—defunding the UN—would be treated with (feigned) uncomprehending derision by Hillary and even more contempt by Bernie, who would most probably like to cede US hegemony to the United Nations anyway, assuming some good socialist, like Venezuela’s Maduro or Brazil’s Rousseff (well, maybe not her), was secretary-general.

But the American voter, I would imagine, when informed of even a smattering of the facts, would support Trump in defunding or, more likely, greatly curtailing America’s financial support of the United Nations.  It’s a negotiation, after all.

Maybe the UN can be reduced to a few divisions of more practical use like the World Health Organization. UNESCO has, sadly, already gone the way of political insanity. Whatever the case, a smaller UN footprint in NYC would be a big step in the right direction. Think what a positive it would be for the traffic and parking situation on the East side of Manhattan.

 

Frank Gaffney: Erdogan Transformed Turkey into an ‘Islamist Police State’ That Is No Longer a ‘Reliable NATO Ally’

April 15, 2016

Frank Gaffney: Erdogan Transformed Turkey into an ‘Islamist Police State’ That Is No Longer a ‘Reliable NATO Ally,’ Breitbart, John Hayward, April 15, 2016

Erdogan Breitbart

Center for Security Policy founder and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) foreign-policy adviser Frank Gaffney joined host Stephen K. Bannon on Breitbart News Daily Friday morning to talk about the recent proclamation of “Islamic unity” from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country will now assume the chairmanship of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for two years.

Gaffney argued that Erdogan’s statement was actually an example of taqqiya, the Muslim practice of lying for the greater good of the faith, and Erdogan’s true agenda was Islamic supremacism.

“I think what he’s trying to tell us is different from what he’s trying to tell his own people,” Gaffney said of Erdogan’s proclamation. “He’s telling us that he’s all about solidarity, and tolerance, and ecumenicalism, and we all need to pull together, and so on.”

“But the main message he’s been sending to his own people, for something like 13 years now, is Islamic supremacism,” Gaffney continued. “It has nothing to do with [singing] ‘Kumbaya’ with infidels. It is about forcing them to submit, in the classic tradition of sharia.”

He described Erdogan as “Muslim Brotherhood old Islamist who believes, at the end of the day, that he is going to be the new Caliph.”

“He is going to create a neo-Ottoman Empire. And anything that is communicated to the West – in various international fora, or through proclamations, or through other means – is what is known, in the traditions of sharia, as taqqiya – that is, essentially, lying for the Faith. And I think this should be discounted as such,” said Gaffney.

Gaffney explained that it’s not just permitted, but “obligatory,” for followers of the Islamic supremacist doctrine to “dissemble, to deceive the unbeliever, and to use deception as Mohammed did – the perfect Muslim – to triumph over the infidel, and to successfully create conditions under which they will be effectively enslaved, or reduced to a dhimmi status.”

He thought the Turkish president’s carefully crafted message would play well to Western media and government, which are suffused with the endless hope that “there’s a degree of moderation on the part of people like Erdogan, or others in the Muslim Brotherhood movement – the global jihad movement, for that matter.”

“It just ain’t so,” Gaffney argued. “This is a guy who has transformed his country, let’s be clear, from a secular democratic nation – a Muslim one to be sure, but definitely in the secular tradition of Ataturk – into what is now an Islamist police state.”

“Particularly people in the press, who are trying to portray this in the most rose-colored glass mode, should understand what he’s doing to the press in Turkey,” Gaffney stressed. “He’s crushing it, unless it bends to his will.”

He noted that Erdogan is famous for having said “Democracy is like a bus – you take it to your destination, and then you get off.”

“He’s long since gotten off, internally,” Gaffney warned. “We should be under no illusion: he is not aligned with us. He is aligned with the Islamists around the world – with Iran, with China, with Hamas of course. This is a guy who is no longer, in his country, a reliable NATO ally. And that’s the unvarnished and unhappy truth.”

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00AM to 9:00AM EST.

 

 

Cruz Hits Trump on NATO ‘Surrender’ in Wake of Brussels Attacks

March 22, 2016

Cruz Hits Trump on NATO ‘Surrender’ in Wake of Brussels Attacks, Newsmax, Sandy Fitzgerald, March 22, 2016

(At least he didn’t blame the Trump rallies for the violence in Brussels. — DM)

Cruz vs Trump(AP)

GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz said Tuesday that Donald Trump was engaging in a “pre-emptive surrender” to Islamic terror by calling for a “withdrawal” from NATO on the eve of the Brussels terror attacks.

On Monday, Trump told CNN that the U.S. should greatly reduce its support of NATO.

“It’s too much and frankly it’s a different world than it was when we originally conceived of the idea,” Trump said of the US-European security alliance.

Cruz said he found it “striking” that the terror attacks occurred on the day after his rival candidate Donald Trump called for reducing the U.S. role NATO.

“We see Brussels where NATO is headquartered as the subject of a radical Islamic terrorist attack,” Cruz said in a press conference from Washington D.C.

“Donald Trump is wrong that America should withdraw from the world and abandon our allies. Donald Trump is wrong that America should retreat from Europe, retreat from NATO, hand Vladimir Putin a major victory, and while’s he’s at it, hand ISIS a major victory.”

Instead, said the Texas senator, NATO would be crucial in any United States effort in “utterly destroying ISIS.”

“And I would note that NATO  is ready to act in a way our president is not,” said Cruz.

“Donald Trump’s proposal to withdraw from the world, to withdraw from NATO and Europe is sadly consistent with his statement that he intends to be neutral between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Cruz also said Trump’s approach was similar to Obama’s.

“We have seen for 7 years a president that cannot distinguish between our friends and enemies. A president that cannot distinguish between the nation of Israel and Islamic terrorists who seek to murder us, and it would be a mistake to elect another president who buys into the same left-wing moral relativism that equates the terrorist blowing himself you have and murdering innocent civilians to the brave soldiers and law enforcement officers risking everything to keep us safe.”

Cruz was not alone for criticizing Trump on his stand on NATO.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, appearing on Fox News Tuesday morning, said Trump’s plan for downsizing the U.S. role in NATO was dangerous as we confront the grave threat of Islamic terrorism.

Libya disaster: Have Western leaders learned anything?

February 20, 2016

Libya disaster: Have Western leaders learned anything? Investigative Project on Terrorism via Fox News, Pete Hoekstra, February 19, 2016

(Please see also, Exclusive: Obama Refuses to Hit ISIS’s Libyan Capital. — DM)

That the U.S. has launched airstrikes against ISIS in Libya should demonstrate once and for all the total disaster of the NATO-led adventure to overthrow Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011.

Libya devolved into a failed state when NATO assisted Qaddafi’s radical jihadist opponents in killing him and then promptly abandoned the country. Left in the wake were two rival governments competing for power, which created space for Islamists to turn Libya into a cesspool of extremism.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to call the debacle American “smart power at its best.” Other presidential candidates still argue that it was the right thing to do.

How will the West ever learn anything if it can’t identify its most obvious failures?

Libya has no central functioning government that can provide security for its citizens. ISIS fights to expand its caliphate along the Mediterranean to points as close as 200 miles from Europe’s vulnerable southern border. It controls Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte. It has imposed Shariah law in the areas under its control. It exploits Libya as a base to export weapons, jihadists and ideology to Europe, other African countries and the Middle East.

Benghazi and Derna, which have long been hotbeds of radicalism, provided more fighters per capita to Afghanistan and Iraq than nearly any other area in the world. The difference between then and now is that Qaddafi kept the lid on the garbage can long before 2002-2003, when he became a reliable U.S. ally against radical Islam. He changed his behavior, gave up his nuclear weapons program, paid reparations to the victims of his atrocities and provided invaluable intelligence that disrupted numerous Islamist terror plots.

It represented a massive foreign policy success, and the U.S. thanked him by facilitating his murder.

Similarly, the West embraced former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in his struggles against Islamist forces, and then it threw him under the bus. Both Qaddafi and Mubarak did everything asked of them, but they ended up dead or in jail.

Any leader would really need to ask why he should trust NATO or the West. Is there any question why Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad does not negotiate an end to his country’s civil war and clings to Iran and Russia to keep him in power?

Iran cheated on its nuclear program for years. As a result, the U.S. gifted it with more than $100 billion – including $1.7 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars – and it hasn’t changed its behavior in the slightest. In addition to its military ambitions, Iran will most assuredly spend the money on supporting Assad and its terrorist proxies throughout the Middle East, Africa and, yes, Europe.

I’m amazed by some of the statements now coming from the coalition. The French defense minister is concerned about ISIS fighters blending in with refugees crossing the Mediterranean. Talk about restating the obvious. The British want troops to identify friendly militias in order to avoid targeting them in future airstrikes. Has something changed where we have improved the vetting of “moderate” militia groups?

NATO failed miserably in Libya and in Syria the first time around. What’s different now?

The only official who seems to make any sense is U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, who said recently, “The Libyans don’t welcome outsiders intruding on their territory.” He was referring to ISIS, but he might as well have been talking about the West. Libyans have not forgotten that NATO all but vanished once Qaddafi was killed.

Western foreign policy is in disarray. The scariest part is that supposed leaders don’t even know it, and therefore they can’t admit to previous mistakes. Allies that brought stability to the region are gone. Former and current antagonists benefited from Western incompetence.

Who would have predicted six years ago that those rulers battling Islamist terror would be deposed and that those committing it would become the West’s new friends?

NATO snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Libya. Refugees flood Europe. Terrorist attacks continue to spread geographically and in lethality. The Syrian civil war rages on. Iran lavishes its newfound wealth on its nuclear program and campaign of global terror.

Is it any wonder that citizens in Western countries are frustrated and angry with those in positions of authority?

Russian-Turkish clash building up over Syria

February 14, 2016

Russian-Turkish clash building up over Syria, DEBKAfile, February 14, 2016

Turkish-self-propelled_howitzers_13.2.16

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan clearly took a calculated risk when he ordered a two-our cross-border artillery bombardment Saturday, Feb. 13 of Syrian army forces positioned around the northern Syrian town of Azaz and the Kurdish YPG militia units which two days earlier took control of the former Syrian military air base of Minagh some six kilometers from the Turkish border.

Kurdish troops backed by the Russian air force seized that base last week from rebel militias as part of the operation for cutting the rebel groups under siege in Aleppo from their supply routes. The Turkish bombardment was therefore an indirect attack on the Russian forces backing pro-Assad forces against the rebels in the Syria war.

Erdogan knows that Moscow hasn’t finished settling accounts with Turkey for the shooting down of a Russian Su-24 on Nov. 24 and is spoiling for more punishment. After that incident, the Russians deployed top-of-line S-400 ground-to-air missile batteries and advanced Sukhoi Su-35 warplanes to their base in Latakia near the Turkish border. Ankara therefore limited its strike to a two-hour artillery bombardment from Turkish soil, reasoning that a Turkish warplane anywhere near the Syrian border would be shot down instantly.

Emboldened by the delay in the Russian response, the Turks took another step: Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu threatened the Kurdish YPG militia with more attacks if they failed to withdraw from the Menagh air base.

Although the Turkish prime minister had called on “allies and supporters” to back the operation against the Russian-backed  Syrian Kurds, Washington took the opposite line by urging Turkey, a fellow member of NATO, to desist from any further attacks.

Washington’s concern is obvious. An outright clash between Turkey and Russia would entitle Ankara to invoke the NATO charter and demand allied protection for a member state under attack.

The Obama administration would have had to spurn this appeal for three reasons:

1. To avoid getting mixed up in a military clash between two countries, just as the US kept its powder dry in the Russian-Ukraine confrontation after Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in February 2014.

2. To avoid upsetting the secret Obama-Putin deal on the allocation of spheres of influence in Syria: the Americans have taken the regions east of the Euphrates River, and the Russians, the west.

The Kurdish YPG militia forces near Aleppo and the city itself come under the Russian area of influence.

3. Regional tensions were tightened another notch Saturday by Russian comments: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that his country and the West have “slid into a new Cold War period,” and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a third World War is actually underway -“I call this struggle a third World War by other means.,” he said.

Washington will avoid any action that risks further stoking this high state of international tension, but will act instead to de-escalate the cross-border Turkish-Russian confrontation over Syria.

All eyes are now on Moscow, Much depends on Russia’s response to the artillery bombardment of its Syrian and Kurdish allies. It is up to Putin to decide when and how to strike back – if at all.

A Strategy to Defeat Islamic Theo-fascism

January 7, 2016

A Strategy to Defeat Islamic Theo-fascism, American ThinkerG. Murphy Donovan, January 7, 2016

Surely, whatever passed for American foreign or military policy in the past three decades is not working. Just as clearly, in case anyone keeps score these days, the dark side of Islam is ascendant at home and abroad. What follows here is a catalogue of policy initiatives that might halt the spread of Islamic fascism and encourage religious reform in the Ummah.

Some observers believe that the Muslim problem is a matter of life and death. Be assured that the need for Islamic reform is much more important than either. The choices for Islam are the same as they are for Palestine Arabs; behave or be humbled. Europe may still have a Quisling North and a Vichy South; but Russia, China, and even America, at heart, are still grounded by national survival instincts – and Samuel Colt.

Call a spade a spade

The threat is Islam, both kinetic and passive aggressive factions. If “moderate” Islam is real, then that community needs to step up and assume responsibility for barbaric terror lunatics and immigrants/refugees alike. Neither America nor Europe has solutions to the Islamic dystopia; civic incompetence, strategic illiteracy, migrants, poverty, religious schisms, or galloping irredentism. The UN and NATO have no remedies either. Islamism is an Ummah, Arab League, OIC problem to solve. Absent moral or civic conscience, unreformed Islam deserves no better consideration than any other criminal cult.

Western Intelligence agencies must stop cooking the books too. The West is at war and the enemy is clearly the adherents of a pernicious ideology. A global war against imperial Islam might be declared, just as angry Islam has declared war on civilization.  A modus vivendi might be negotiated only after the Ummah erects a universal barrier between church and state globally. Islam, as we know it, is incompatible with democracy, civility, peace, stability, and adult beverages.

Oxymoronic “Islamic” states need to be relegated to the dustbin of history. If the Muslim world cannot or will not mend itself, Islamism, like the secular fascism of the 20th Century, must be defeated, humbled in detail. Sooner is better.

Answer the Ayatollahs

Recent allied concessions to Tehran may prove to be a bridge too far. If the Persian priests do not abide by their nuclear commitments, two red lines might be drawn around Israel. Firstly, the ayatollahs should be put on notice, publicly, that any attack against Israel would be considered an attack against America — and met with massive Yankee retaliation. Secondly, any future cooperation with NATO or America should be predicated on an immediate cessation of clerical hate speech and so-called fatwas, those arbitrary death sentences.

Clerical threats to “wipe Israel off the face of the earth” and “death to America” injunctions are designed to stimulate jihad and terror globally. The only difference between a Shia ayatollah and a Sunni imam in this regard these days seems to be the torque in their head threads.

Ostracize the Puppeteers

Strategic peril does not emanate from Sunni tacticians like Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar, or Abu Bakr al-Baghadadi. Nor does the real threat begin with or end with al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezb’allah, Hamas, or the Islamic State. Lethal threat comes, instead, on four winds: toxic culture, religious politics, fanatic fighters, and furtive finance, all of which originate with Muslim state sponsors. The most prominent of these are Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan.

Put aside for a moment the Saudi team that brought down the Twin Towers in New York. Consider instead, the House of Saud as the most egregious exporter of Salifism (aka Wahabbism) doctrine, clerics, imams, and mosques from which ultra-irredentist ideologies are spread. The Saudis are at once the custodians of Islam’s sacredshrines and at the same time the world’s most decadent, corrupt, and duplicitous hypocrites. Imam Baghdadi is correct about two things: the venality of elites in Washington and Riyadh. The House of Saud, an absolutist tribal monarchy, does not have the moral standing to administer “holy” sites of any description — Mecca, Medina, or Disneyland.

The cozy relationship between Europe, the European Union, and Arabia can be summarized with a few words; oil, money, arms sales, and base rights. This near-sighted blend of Mideast obscenities has reached its sell-by date. The “white man’s burden” should have expired when Edward Said vacated New York for paradise.

Jettison Turkey and Pakistan

What Saudi Arabia is to toxic ideology in North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan are to perfidy in the Levant and South Asia. Turkey and Pakistan are Islam’s most obvious and persistent grifters. Turkey supports the Islamic State and other Sunni terror groups with a black market oil racket. Pakistan supports the Taliban, al Qaeda, and ISIS with sanctuary and tolerance of the world’s largest opium garden. Oil and drug monies from Arabia, Turkey, and South Asia are financing the global jihad. Turkey also facilitates the migration of Muslims west to Europe while sending Islamist fighters and weapons south to Syria and Iraq.

With the advent of Erdogan and his Islamist AKP, Turkey has morphed into NATO’s Achilles Heel, potentially a fatal flaw.  Turkey needs to be drummed out of NATO until secular comity returns to Ankara. Pakistan needs to be restrained, too, with sanctions until it ceases to provide refuge for terrorists. Pakistani troops harassing India could be more prudently redeployed to exterminate jihadists.

Sanctions against Russia and Israel are a study in moral and political fatuity whilst Arabs and Muslims are appeased midst a cultural sewer of geo-political crime and human rights abuses. If NATO’s eastern flank needs to be anchored in trust and dependability, Russia, Kurdistan, or both, would make better allies than Turkey. Ignoring Turkish perfidy to protect ephemeral base rights confuses tactical necessity with strategic sufficiency.

Recognize Kurdistan

Aside from Israel, Kurdistan might be the most enlightened culture in the Mideast. The Kurds are also the largest ethnic group in the world not recognized as a state. While largely Muslim, the Kurds, unlike most of the Ummah, appreciate the virtues of religious diversity and women’s rights. Indeed, Kurdish women fight alongside their men against Turkish chauvinism and Sunni misogyny with equal aplomb. For too long, the Kurds have been patronized by Brussels and Washington.

While Kurdish fighters engage ISIS and attempt to control the Turkish oil black market, Ankara uses American manufactured NATO F-16s to bomb Kurds in Turkey and Syria. Turkish ground forces now occupy parts of Iraq too. In eastern Turkey, Ergdogan’s NATO legions use ISIS as an excuse for bookend genocide, a cleansing of Kurds that might rival the Armenian Christian genocide (1915-1917).

195876_5_Kurdish angel of death

All the while, American strategic amateurs argue for a “no-fly” zone in contested areas south of Turkey. Creating a no-fly zone is the kind of operational vacuity we have come to expect from American politicians and generals. Such a stratagem would foil Kurdish efforts to flank ISIS and allow the Erdogan jihad, arms, and oil rackets to flourish. A no-fly zone is a dangerous ploy designed to provoke Russia, not protect Muslim “moderates.”

Putin, Lavrov, and the Russians have it right this time; Turkish and Erdogan family subterfuges are lethal liabilities, not assets.

Washington and European allies have been redrawing the map in Eastern Europe, North Africa, South Asia, and the Mideast since the end of WWII. The time has come to put Kurdistan on the map too. Kurdistan is a unique and exemplary case of reformed or enlightened Islam; indeed, a nation that could serve as a model for the Muslim world.  If base rights are a consideration, Kurdistan would be an infinitely more dependable ally than Turkey or any corrupt tribal autocracy in Arabia. America has a little in common with desert dictators — and fewer genuine friends there either. Indeed, at the moment America is allied with the worst of Islam.

Create New Alliances

NATO, like the European Union, has become a parody of itself. Absent a threat like the Soviet Union or the Warsaw Pact, Brussels has taken to justifying itself by meddling in East Europe and resuscitating a Cold War with the Kremlin. Indeed, having divided Yugoslavia, NATO now expands to the new Russian border with reckless abandon; in fact, fanning anti-Russian flames now with neo-Nazi cohorts in former Yugoslavia, Georgia, and Ukraine.

NATO support for the Muslims of one-time Yugoslavia is of a piece with support for Islamic troublemakers in Chechnya and China too. Throughout, we are led to believe that jihad Uighurs and caliphate Chechens are freedom fighters. Beslan, Boston, Paris, and now San Bernardino put the lie to any notion that Islamists are “victims” (or heroes). Indeed, the Boston Marathon bombing might have been prevented had Washington a better relationship with Moscow.

Truth is, America has more in common with Russia and China these days than we do with any number of traditional European Quislings. Indeed, it seems that Europe and America can’t take yes for an answer.

The Cold War ideological or philosophical argument has been won. Moscow and Beijing have succumbed to market capitalism. Islamism, in stark contrast, is now a menace to Russian, Chinese, and American secular polities alike. The logic of a cooperative or unified approach to a common enemy seems self-evident. America, China, and Russia, at least on issues like toxic Islam, is a match made in Mecca.

The late great contest with Marxist Russia and China was indeed a revolution without guns. Now the parties to that epic Cold War struggle may have to join forces to suppress a theo-fascist movement that, like its Nazi predecessor, will not be defeated without guns. The West is at war again, albeit in slow motion. Withal, questions of war are not rhetorical. Saying that you are not at war does not make it so. Once declared, by one party or the other, the only relevant question about war is who wins and who loses. Losers do not make the future.

If America and Europe were as committed to Judeo/Christian secular values as Islamists are committed to a sick religious culture, then the war against pernicious Islam would have been won decades ago. Or as Jack Kennedy once put it: “Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.

Trump Footnote

Donald Trump made several policy suggestions on the Islamism issue, one on immigration, the other on Mideast oil. On the former, he suggests a hiatus on Muslim immigration until America develops a plan or reliable programs to vet migrants. On Arab oil, he suggests, given the lives and treasure spent liberating Kuwait and Iraqi oil fields, America should have held those resources in trust and use oil revenues to finance the war against jihad, however long that takes. The problem with both Trump ideas is that they come perilously close to common sense, an American instinct in short supply these days.

 

Europe cuts refugee deal

November 29, 2015

Europe cuts refugee deal, Washington ExaminerPaige Winfield Cunningham, November 29, 2015

(Please see also, Does ISIS Owe Its Success to Turkey? — DM)

730x420-4dd28666e754459c14faa8917f5c133cThe agreement is expected to significantly stem the tide of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan seeking asylum in other countries who are hesitant to let them in their borders. (AP Photo)

Turkey will contain more Middle Eastern refugees within its owns borders so fewer of them flee to other European countries, under a deal it reached Sunday with the European Union.

In return for tightening its border control, Turkey will get several billion dollars from the EU and assistance in its efforts to join the coalition of 28 countries. The agreement is expected to significantly stem the tide of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan seeking asylum in other countries who are hesitant to let them in their borders.

The U.S. has admitted fewer than 2,000 Syrian refugees since 2012, yet the flood of migrants in Europe has incited a fierce political debate over whether they are sufficiently screened before entering the country.

President Obama wants to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees next year, saying that a robust vetting process will be in place. Refugees currently have to wait an average of 18-24 months before entering the U.S., as they’re screened by several different government agencies.

But many Republicans running for president have said they should be blocked until stricter screening measures are put in place and some GOP governors have tried to prohibit them from entering their own states. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has suggested only refugees who prove they are Christian should be admitted to the U.S., reiterated that position on Sunday, saying on CNN’s “State of the Union” that refugees should be screened for their religion.

And Ben Carson, who is currently polling second in the GOP primary battle, said Middle Eastern countries that are closer geographically to refugees’ home countries should get more financial assistance to help them. Carson spoke with CNN from Jordan, where he has visited Syrian refugee camps.

Carson said instead of focusing on how to let more refugees into the U.S., which is much more difficult for them to travel to, policymakers should figure out how to allow more to settle in countries at closer proximity where they wouldn’t have to experience as big a change in culture. Jordan, for example, should get more money to admit more refugees, Carson said.

“It seems like everybody in the international community is spending more time saying how can we bring refugees here rather than support a facility that is already in place that the refugees are finding perfectly fine — when it’s fully funded,” Carson said.

Russian S-400 missiles turn most of Syria into no-fly zone, halt US air strikes

November 28, 2015

Russian S-400 missiles turn most of Syria into no-fly zone, halt US air strikes, DEBKAfile, November 28, 2015

2746772 11/26/2015 An S-400 air defence missile system is deployed for a combat duty at the Hmeymim airbase to provide security of the Russian air group's flights in Syria. Dmitriy Vinogradov/Sputnik

2746772 11/26/2015 An S-400 air defence missile system is deployed for a combat duty at the Hmeymim airbase to provide security of the Russian air group’s flights in Syria. Dmitriy Vinogradov/Sputnik

S-400_range_map_25.11.15

The deployment of the highly advanced Russian S-400 anti-air missiles at the Khmeimin base, Russia’s military enclave in Syria near Latakia, combined with Russia electronic jamming and other electronic warfare equipment, has effectively transformed most of Syria into a no-fly zone under Russian control.

Moscow deployed the missiles last Wednesday, Nov. 25, the day after Turkish warplanes downed a Russian Su-24. Since then, the US and Turkey have suspended their air strikes over Syria, including bombardments of Islamic State targets. The attacks on ISIS in Iraq continue without interruption. Turkey is now extra-careful to avoid flights anywhere near the Syrian border.

Both the US and Turkey are obviously wary of risking their planes being shot down by the S-400, so long as Russian-Turkish tensions run high over the Su-24 incident.

Friday, a US-led coalition spokesperson denied that the absence of anti-IS coalition air strikes had anything to do with the S-400 deployment in Syria. He said “The fluctuation or absence of strikes in Syria reflects the ebb and flow of battle.”

However, DEBKAfile’s military sources confirm that neither the US, Turkey or Israel have any real experience in contending with the Russian S-400, which uses multiple missile variants to shoot down stealth aircraft, UAVs, cruise missiles and sub-strategic ballistic missiles. Its operational range for aerodynamic targets is about 250 km and for ballistic targets 60 km. The S-400 can engage up to 36 targets simultaneously.

Thei range covers at least three-quarters of Syrian territory, a huge part of Turkey, all of Lebanon, Cyprus and half of Israel.

Since the downing of their warplane, the Russians have put in place additionally new electronic warfare multifunctional systems both airborne and on the ground to disrupt Turkish flights and forces, Lt. Gen. Evgeny Buzhinksy revealed Friday. Turkey has countered by installing the KORAL electronic jamming system along its southern border with Syria.

An electronic battlefield has spread over northern Syria and southern Turkey, with the Russian and Turks endeavoring to jam each other’s radar and disrupt their missiles. In this, the Russians have the advantage.

With the Americans, Russians and Turks locked in a contest over Syria, and the Israeli Air Force’s freedom of action restricted by objective conditions, some comments made at week’s end by Israeli military and security officials sounded beside the point.

Thursday, Nov. 26, a senior Air Force officer remarked that Israel is being careful to avoid friction with Russia, despite that country’s expanding military presence in Syria. “Russia is now a central player and can’t be ignored. But we each go our own way, according to our own interests,” the officer noted.

“Our policy is not to attack or down any Russian plane. Russia is not our enemy.”

The officer said that Israeli and Russian officers maintain telephone contact. “We don’t notify or ask for anything; we just do our jobs,” he said.

According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, this is not a true picture. Israel does get in touch with the Russians when their planes get too close to Israeli aircraft. There was no need to state that Israeli won’t shoot down Russian planes, as though this was self-evident, because in the current volatile situation, circumstances may change in a trice. Is it in Israel’s interest to fly into air space loaded with electronic warfare waves? But what if Russian warplanes come over the Golan as part of a blitz to destroy Syrian rebels in southern Syria, some of which are backed by Israel?