Posted tagged ‘Kerry’

Another lesson from Manchester

May 24, 2017

Another lesson from Manchester, Washington TimesTammy Bruce, May 24, 2017

People cry after a vigil in Albert Square, Manchester, England, Tuesday May 23, 2017, the day after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 people dead as it ended on Monday night. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The president’s remarks in Saudi Arabia and Israel, and no doubt through the rest of his tour, make it clear the United States and our allies must view ISIS, al Qaeda and other terror-mongers as something to be destroyed. The president’s approach is one that can bring both Islamic nations and Europe out of a self-imposed coma and back into a world that has dispatched mass-murdering fascists and their ideology before. 

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After the horrific carnage unleashed by the terrorist attack in Manchester, England, some of the reactions were inexplicable. We’re used to jihadis celebrating the horror of mass murder, but it’s still perplexing to hear Western leaders and media reissue their bizarre insistence that we need to get used to the sick and depraved.

For some, perhaps it’s a reflection of a sense of hopelessness in the face of a savage enemy that has been allowed to flourish; considering the passive and useless attitude of the previous American president and rhetoric of his admirers, it’s not surprising the left remains stuck in dangerous cynicism.

Consider BBC anchor and frequent U.S. news show guest Katty Kay. On Tuesday morning after the attack, the Daily Caller reported, “Kay told MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ … that Europeans have no choice but to get used to terrorists murdering their families because ‘we are never going to be able to totally wipe this out. … Europe is getting used to attacks like this, Mika. They have to, because we are never going to be able to totally wipe this out,’ Kay said.”

Ms. Kay continued, “As ISIS gets squeezed in Syria and Iraq, we’re going to see more of these kinds of attacks taking place in Europe, and Europe is starting to get used to that.”

Ms. Kay’s defeated sentiment isn’t new. While not her intention, she articulated not the reality of our situation, but the policy preference of failed western leadership.

In 2004, Sen. John Kerry, then the Democratic presidential nominee, was interviewed by The New York Times. When asked “What it would take for Americans to feel safe again,” Mr. Kerry answered, “We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance.”

Even with the Sept. 11 attacks just a few years earlier, making the nature of the Islamist terror threat clear, Mr. Kerry exposed the left’s surrender to carnage and chaos. The suggestion that terrorism should be viewed as a nuisance indicates an acceptance of it as a regular part of our lives.

All normal human beings reject the grotesque suggestion we simply adapt, but his comment wasn’t a lark. It ended up being one of the first articulations of liberal Western leadership’s strategy of management of the scourge, abandoning the idea of destroying it.

Fast forward to August 2016. Sensing that terrorism was an actual problem, Mr. Kerry had another idea. Speaking in Bangladesh he noted, “If you decide one day you’re going to be a terrorist and you’re willing to kill yourself, you can go out and kill some people. You can make some noise. … Perhaps the media would do us all a service if they didn’t cover it quite as much. People wouldn’t know what’s going on.”

Genius. Let’s just not mention it, and everything will be OK.

A month later, the viral nature of this menacing naivete was affirmed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, a Muslim and son of Pakistani immigrants. Touring New York when the Chelsea terrorist bomb exploded, Mr. Khan blithely noted to a reporter, terrorism is “part and parcel of living in a big city.” Like riding the subway, going to a baseball game, enjoying the ballet? Sure, let’s add getting blown up by the occasional bomb pressure cooker.

Just a few months later, London suffered the horrific Westminster terrorist attack in which an Islamist used a car and a knife to murder people.

And now, Manchester. A terrorist attack at an event appealing to young people, as of this writing, killing 22 and wounding over 50. In every city where terrorists strike, local citizens transform into super heroes, as was the case in Manchester.

People coming together in the midst of horror to help one another is magnificent, and worthy of celebrating, but it’s safe to say everyone in the world who had to deal with terrorism wished they hadn’t had to face it at all. We still prefer our “part and parcel” normal to be safe and sound, void of mass murdering maniacs.

Breitbart reported, “Europe, the United Kingdom, and Russia have witnessed terror attacks or attempted attacks every nine days in 2017 on average, analysis of security incidents has revealed.”

“Attacks and attempted attacks have taken place in Austria, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Norway, and Germany. Security services in Britain — population 65 million — are known to be tracking 3,500 potential terror suspects or persons posing a threat. Meanwhile Belgium, with its population of just 12 million, is tracking around 18,000 potential jihadists,” revealed Breitbart.

The importance of President Trump’s Middle Eastern and European trip is now even more clear. In 2015, then-President Barack Obama eliminated the word “destroy” when referring to actions against the Islamic State terror group, or ISIS. All that was left was the intention to “degrade” the terrorist scourge, as though our only hope was to try to keep in check a cancer that was metastasizing around the world.

Mr. Trump’s remarks in Riyadh made it clear that is not good enough. Accepting terrorism as a “nuisance” or simply a part of big city living is obscene and is rejected.

The president’s remarks in Saudi Arabia and Israel, and no doubt through the rest of his tour, make it clear the United States and our allies must view ISIS, al Qaeda and other terror-mongers as something to be destroyed. The president’s approach is one that can bring both Islamic nations and Europe out of a self-imposed coma and back into a world that has dispatched mass-murdering fascists and their ideology before. And we will do it again.

Egypt scuttles UN vote on Israeli settlement after Trump warning

December 23, 2016

Egypt scuttles UN vote on Israeli settlement after Trump warning, Washington Examiner, Joel Gehrke. December 22, 2016

Trump’s statement might have had the greatest influence on the Egyptian decision, beyond Netanyahu’s lobbying or other American statements. “Diplomats in Tel Aviv speculating that Sisi didn’t cave because of Israel, but rather because he didn’t want to piss off incoming president,” Economist correspondent Gregg Carlstrom tweeted.

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Egyptian officials scrapped a plan to proceed with a United Nations Security Council vote condemning the construction of Israeli settlements, following pushback from Israeli officials and President-elect Trump.

“Egypt requested the vote’s delay to permit them to conduct an additional meeting of the Arab League’s foreign ministers to work on the resolution’s wording,” Haaretz reported, citing Western diplomats. But the vote might be postponed “indefinitely,” according to the report.

Israeli settlement construction drew condemnation from the State Department earlier this year, in addition to the rebukes of more customary critics, raising fears in Israel and among congressional Republicans that President Obama might not veto a resolution on the matter in the waning days of his presidency. President-elect Trump stated his opposition to the resolution, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was lobbying Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to drop the resolution.

“The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed,” Trump said in a statement. “As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., also called on the Obama administration to veto it.

Trump’s statement might have had the greatest influence on the Egyptian decision, beyond Netanyahu’s lobbying or other American statements. “Diplomats in Tel Aviv speculating that Sisi didn’t cave because of Israel, but rather because he didn’t want to piss off incoming president,” Economist correspondent Gregg Carlstrom tweeted.

Egypt is a temporary member of the UN Security Council, which is dominated by five permanent members — the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, and France — which have the authority to veto council resolutions. Obama used that authority to block a similar resolution condemning Israeli settlements in 2011, but his administration’s increasingly public frustration with the failure of talks between Israel and the Palestinians raised the possibility that he wouldn’t veto it this time around.

Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged the appeal of a change in policy when asked about a potential resolution to be authored by French diplomats. “If it’s a biased and unfair and a resolution calculated to delegitimize Israel, we’ll oppose it,” he said at the Haim Saban Forum on December 4. “But it’s getting more complicated now because there is a building sense of what I’ve been saying to you today, which some people can shake their heads, say, well, it’s unfair.”

Kerry emphasized that the Israeli settlements in disputed territory are not the cause of violence, but he argued that were nonetheless a “barrier” to an ultimate peace that was being tolerated by the Israeli government. “I’ll tell you why I know that: because the left in Israel is telling everybody they are a barrier to peace, and the right that supports it openly supports it because they don’t want peace,” Kerry said.

Kerry: People can’t tell ‘what’s real and what isn’t’

December 3, 2016

Kerry: People can’t tell ‘what’s real and what isn’t’, Washington ExaminerJoel Gehrke, December 2, 1016

(Alas, soon John Kerry will not have an official podium from which to tell us, the stupid little people, what’s true and what’s false. — DM)

kerryandlittlepeopleKerry lamented Friday that technology has allowed the quick spread of false information. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“There are divisions and places where they divide, but there’s a fundamental oneness, sameness, body of basis,” he said. “And I would respectfully submit to all of you that every single major philosophy, every single major religion, all have a basis in some pretty fundamental things like the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Love other people. You can run the list of the verses or — I think we all refer to them as verses, actually — that are of a common foundation.”

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Secretary of State John Kerry lamented Friday that technology has allowed the quick spread of false information to the point that people are struggling to “know what’s real and what isn’t.”

“This is one of our chief challenges today, is to manage information and to do it in a way that average folks at home can know what’s real and what isn’t, what’s true, what’s false, and try to build consensus around a common set of understandings,” Kerry said during the Mediterranean Dialogues Conference in Rome. “Technology has brought the world closer, yes; but it’s also enabled bigots and demagogues to spread messages of divisiveness and hate with the click of a button, with the push of a finger.”

That focus on misinformation was apparent whether he was talking about the risk of jihadist recruiters propagandizing young Muslims or pushing back against the trade skepticism now regnant in the United States. “Now, none of us should have any illusion about the challenges that we face. They are real, and frankly, they require our collective courage,” Kerry continued. “And, I might add, they require all of those things based on truth.”

He offered counterarguments to such ideas throughout his talk, beginning with the problem of terrorist propaganda. Kerry argued, contrary to jihadists, that all the great religions of the Mediterranean world share a common set of ethics.

“There are divisions and places where they divide, but there’s a fundamental oneness, sameness, body of basis,” he said. “And I would respectfully submit to all of you that every single major philosophy, every single major religion, all have a basis in some pretty fundamental things like the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Love other people. You can run the list of the verses or — I think we all refer to them as verses, actually — that are of a common foundation.”

More broadly, Kerry faulted media outlets for contributing to an unnecessary degree of fear among their audiences and lamented the skepticism of trade agreements and climate change science that undermined some of the Obama administration’s top second-term priorities. “Despite what some pundits write in the daily headlines that cause people a lot of fear, the world today is not falling apart,” Kerry said. “On the contrary, I think it is in many respects coming together. But it’s coming together with this clash of modernity and culture and religion and the fear of the dislocation that comes with it.”

Environmental policy and trade policy were two areas where Kerry suggested misinformation had taken hold in the west. “There are some truths, folks. Hard sometimes for people to discern, but it is true that the Earth is warming even as we have climate deniers in the world today,” he said.

He seemed particularly annoyed at “politicians running today damning the concept of trade,” following an election year that saw both Hillary Clinton and President-elect Trump campaign against the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that he helped negotiate.

“Ladies and gentlemen, 85 percent of the job loss in the United States of America comes from technology, not trade,” Kerry said. “But if you think we’ve seen dislocation to date, just wait ’til artificial intelligence comes down the road. We have challenges that we need to get ahead of, and we have an extraordinary breach, if you will, between those who want to sort of take the simplistic road of pretending they have answers for these things but shooting at the wrong target versus those who are willing to think about facts and deal with science and build on experience and talk reality to the people of whatever country it is that they’re talking in.”

Kerry: To Avoid ‘Islamic’ or ‘State,’ Call ISIS ‘World’s Most Evil Terrorist Group’

October 12, 2016

Kerry: To Avoid ‘Islamic’ or ‘State,’ Call ISIS ‘World’s Most Evil Terrorist Group, PJ Media, Bridget Johnson, October 11, 2016

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“But it’s just — you kind of resort to the use of those letters because it refers to a state — it’s the Islamic State — and it’s not a state. There’s nothing legitimate about it. There’s nothing Islamic about it. It’s a complete misnomer. It’s their title and we shouldn’t use it and I feel that very strongly,”

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Secretary of State John Kerry suggested referring to ISIS as “the world’s most evil terrorist group” so as to not use the acronym references to “Islamic” or “State.”

Kerry noted at the Virtuous Circle Conference on Monday in Silicon Valley that he “rarely” uses the terms “ISIS” or “ISIL” at all.

“I’ve been on a lot of campaigns to get everybody to say “Daesh” because it’s a pejorative in Arabic — the initials — and I haven’t won that campaign at all,” he added.

“But it’s just — you kind of resort to the use of those letters because it refers to a state — it’s the Islamic State — and it’s not a state. There’s nothing legitimate about it. There’s nothing Islamic about it. It’s a complete misnomer. It’s their title and we shouldn’t use it and I feel that very strongly,” Kerry continued. “But it has gained — it’s the recognized term and if you want people to know what you’re talking about, unfortunately, sometimes you are forced to.”

He stressed that “it would be great if we could get away from that, and the key is the media to begin really to call it something else.”

“The terrorist group Daesh — that would be the best moniker, I think,” he said. “Or the most evil — the world’s most evil terrorist group.”

Daesh also incorporates Islamic State, just in Arabic. It stands for al-Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham. It’s one letter away from the word “daes,” which means to crush or trample. ISIS hates the Daesh term and has threatened violence against people who use it.

“Anyway, it’s hard,” Kerry added. “Today’s media is so — it’s so labelized and it reduces everything into these simplistic things. It’s very, very hard to break out once something has stuck.”

Kerry also talked at the technology confab about the State Department’s Global Engagement Center “mostly focused on countering violent extremism.”

“And we have 131 employees authorized, I think we’re currently at about 68. Why are we not at full force? Because it’s pretty competitive out here and tough to get people… it’s hard to find the talent and fill the slots, number one. It’s just been a slower growth process than we would have liked,” he said of the department meant to counter terrorist propaganda online.

“We’re messaging and changing the narrative of ISIL, of Daesh. And countering that narrative very forcefully. We use a lot of defectors, a lot of survivors of Daesh’s brutality. And they are the people who are messaging. They are the communicators. They’re the people who are debunking the extraordinary lies of a fairly sophisticated Daesh operation, I might add. It’s quite amazing how effective they’ve been for a while in proselytizing propaganda and so forth,” Kerry said.

“Their narrative is caliphate, we’ve taken territory, we’re the future of true Islam, and on you go. And you have to find a way to counter that that’s effective and I think we’ve gotten pretty good at it. We know we have reduced recruits. We know we have cut financing. And I am absolutely convinced, not any exaggeration, that we are going to destroy ISIL as we know it now, in the sense that there’s still a few al-Qaeda folks around, but there’s not the day-to-day threat that existed. We’re moving on Mosul, we’re moving on Raqqa, we’re shrinking their space significantly. They haven’t taken one piece of territory and held it since May of last year and their leadership is being decimated person by person.”

Al-Qaeda has been growing in the past few years, from the opening of its al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent chapter to numerous attacks by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. The Treasury Department recently sanctioned “part of a new generation of al-Qaeda operatives” being sheltered by Iran.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told CBS on Sept. 11 that al-Qaeda “continues to metastasize” and “is very, very good at seeding people in and waiting. They’re very patient… they’re spreading globally very, very slowly.”

Kerry added that “the problem is there have been thousands of fighters over the course of five years, some of whom have gone back to other countries, where through the Internet they’ve been able to build subgroups of the group, or create affiliations with Boko Haram, with al-Shabaab in Somalia.”

“And so we’re going after them too, and that’s why Somali is one of the languages we’re working in now, and French for Boko Haram,” he said. “And we’re getting pretty good at this.”

John Kerry’s Amazing Alternative Universe

October 1, 2016

John Kerry’s Amazing Alternative Universe, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, October 1, 2016

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Qatar, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey want a secular Syria? Kerry truly is living in an alternate universe.

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And now, breaking news from our nation’s greatest living diplomat slash coatrack.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has accused his Russian opposite number, Sergey Lavrov, of “living in a parallel universe” as the two exchanged heated remarks over the breakdown of the ceasefire in Syria at a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York.

It’s not a parallel universe. Russia pulls out the football at the last second. Kerry can’t seem to grasp why that keeps happening.

I listened to my colleague from Russia, and I sort of felt a little bit like they’re sort of in a parallel universe here. He said that nobody should have any preconditions to come to the table. Well, we met in Vienna twice. We met here in New York and embraced a United Nations Security Council resolution. We met again in Munich. And in each place, the International Syria Support Group, and here in the Security Council, the Security Council embraced a ceasefire applicable to all parties. That’s not a precondition. That’s an international agreement, four times arrived at.

And four times worthless. Any idiot would have figured this out by now. But John is still grappling with the obvious.

 Supposedly we all want the same goal. I’ve heard that again and again. Russia, Iran, the United States, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, everybody sits there and says we want a united Syria – secular, respecting the rights of all people, in which the people of Syria can choose their leadership. But we are proving woefully inadequate in our ability to be able to get to the table and have that conversation and make it happen.

Qatar, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey want a secular Syria? Kerry truly is living in an alternate universe.

What John Kerry Probably Told the Saudi Crown Prince

September 21, 2016

What John Kerry Probably Told the Saudi Crown Prince, Clarion Project, Elliot Friedland, September 20, 2016

kerry-gulf-states-cooperation-ip_2John Kerry. (Photo: © Reuters)

US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef at the UN to discuss bilateral ties. Here’s what they might have said to each other.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry: Pleasure to see you your royal highness. I have some very important matters to discuss with you and don’t have much time, so I hope you don’t mind if we launch straight into it.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef: No problem at all.

Kerry: Wonderful. The first thing I’d like to ask is about is your human rights violations in Yemen. You guys sure have been killing an awful lot of civilians over there. According to the U.N. humanitarian coordinator your soldiers have killed or wounded at least 10,000 civilians since beginning the campaign in 2015. Do you think you could, you know, dial it back a little bit? Or maybe just be more careful when you’re getting your bomb on?

Nayef: Listen, we’ve bought $110 billion worth of weapons from y’all since Obama took office. That’s a lot of money. If you don’t like the way we do things we’d be happy to take our business elsewhere. China never asks us these sorts of insulting questions about alleged “civilian casualties.” How can you prove they’re not terrorists anyway? Once someone is just mangled chunks mixed with rubble, terrorists and civilians start to get a lot harder to differentiate

Kerry: The U.N. Human Rights Commissioner says you’ve killed two-thirds of the civilians who’ve died in the war. You’ve dropped cluster bombs on civilian areas! You’re using white phosphorus!

Nayef: Cluster bombs and white phosphorus that you sold to us. As I said we’re happy to take our business elsewhere. Do you want us to kill Iranian-backed terrorists or not? You know what they’re like, always hiding in civilian areas like that school for the blind.  We’ll try, but it’s an impossible situation.

Kerry: Ok, ok, I don’t want to upset you. What about Syria. Since 2013, you’ve been the largest foreign backer of rebel militias.

Nayef: I thought you supported the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people to oust the tyrant Assad?

Kerry: Well in theory, but you were instrumental in founding and funding Jaish al-Islam, the largest rebel group in Syria with 20,000-25,000 soldiers. The thing is that this militia group and many others openly want to establish an Islamist state with sharia governance. We were rather hoping this thing could finish up with a nice Western-style liberal democracy. You’ve spent billions funding rebel groups, but what’s the endgame here? Another repressive Islamist regime? Maybe Assad wouldn’t be so bad after all, you know?

Nayef: Listen up Johnny boy. After all your smack-talk about red-lines and chemical weapons and the thousands of his own people he has killed, 86,000 civilians dead since the start of the war, of which he’s thought to have killed 75%, you want us to swallow keeping that viper as president of Syria? Besides, you have no idea what you’re doing there. CIA-backed militias have reportedly engaged in combat with Pentagon-backed militias!

Unlike you, we’re in it to win, and we’re not going to stop backing the rebels just because they take religion seriously, unlike your godless citizenry.

Kerry: OK, ok. But what about women’s rights in your kingdom? Human Rights Watch has launched the campaign to end your patriarchal male guardianship laws, which keep women trapped in a system of gender apartheid. Will you be acting to repeal those laws and bring Saudi Arabia into the 2st Century?

Nayef: Why? So our women can walk around half naked like they do in America, whoring themselves out to every guy they see, not even caring if they get raped? Clearly you do not understand Islamic values of honor and chastity. I suggest you take a cultural sensitivity course instead of imposing your colonial paradigms of women’s liberation onto our ancient and noble culture.

Kerry: One more thing, could you release imprisoned human-rights activist Raif Badawi? Ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes for writing a blog seems a bit much.

Nayef: No.

Kerry: Ok, well I guess that’s about it then.

Nayef: Thank you for your time, Mr Secretary. I do so enjoy our little chats.

Rockets on Golan, Pentagon flouts Obama, no truce

September 18, 2016

Rockets on Golan, Pentagon flouts Obama, no truce, DEBKAfile, September 17, 2016

 

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The Pentagon and US army are not following the orders of their Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama in the execution of the military cooperation accord in Syria concluded by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Sept. 12.

Five days after the truce they agreed would go into effect Monday, fighting was still raging Saturday, Sept. 17.

DEBKAfile was the only Western publication to foresee this eventuality in an article published on July 18.

It was already evident then that any military cooperation agreement between the two powers would be contingent on America exposing its intelligence-gathering methods to Russia – not just in Syria but worldwide.

As our military sources predicted, this new intelligence sharing arrangement would necessarily extend to the Syrian Air Force as a third partner.

In advance of the deal, Moscow deployed its aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kutzenov, post haste to Syrian waters, to make sure that the Joint Implementation Center set up by the Kerry-Lavrov deal for intelligence-sharing would also apply to the warplanes and cruise missiles on the carrier’s decks and its escort of missile cruisers.

This deal was perceived in Moscow as an opportunity to study the combat methods and tactics practiced by the US Navy and Air force in real battlefield conditions.

But this eventuality was far from the intentions of US security and intelligence chiefs at a time of deepening adversity between Washington and Moscow.

The remarks of State Department spokesman Mark Toner on Thursday, Sept. 5 hinted at these conflicting perceptions: “I don’t think anyone in the US government is necessarily taking at face value Russia’s – or certainly not the Syrian regime’s – commitment to this arrangement.” He went on to say: “What really matters here is that the president of the United States supports this agreement, and our system of government works in such a way that everyone follows what the president says.”

Is that really so?

The fact that Kerry’s spokesman found it necessary to emphasize that “everyone follows what the president says,” strongly indicated that not everyone in Washington was in fact obeying the president.

Such disobedience is almost unheard of and would never be admitted publicly. In this case, it is being kept carefully under wraps.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford will never on any account admit that, in the execution of military collaboration with Russia in the Syrian conflict, they are not exactly carrying out the president’s precise instructions.

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But Washington sources report that Defense Secretary Carter maintains that he can’t act against a law enacted by Congress. He was referring to the law that prohibits all military-to-military relations with Russia as a result of Moscow’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.

According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, they are simply dragging their feet in ground operations. This is driving Vladimir Putin and his generals into fits of rage.

Friday, Sept 16, Lavrov accused the US of “stalling on its promise to separate moderate rebel groups in Syria from terrorists,” adding, “US progress in delivering on the promise is slow.”

Saturday, Putin himself burst out that the rebels were “regrouping under the ceasefire.” He put the blame on those “rebels” for the failure of the agreed truce to take effect after five days.

Our military and intelligence sources see a connection between Putin’s angry outburst and the rising tensions on the Syrian-Israeli border in the past week, culminating in the two Syrian rockets that were shot down Saturday over the Golan by Israel’s Iron Dome batteries.

For some time, the Russians and Syrians have made no bones about their objection to Israel’s policy of supporting a motley assortment of Syrian rebel groups in southern Syria close to its border. Among these groups is Al Qaeda’s Syrian arm Jabhat Al-Nusra (the Nusra Front) that has renamed itself Jahat Fath Al-Sham.

Whatever Assad, Iran or Hizballah may accept or reject, President Putin utterly refuses to tolerate Israel allowing the Nusra Front to control parts of this border sector.

Therefore, the rockets and missiles apparently “straying” across the border onto the Golan may well multiply in the coming days.

Yet another complication raised its head over the weekend when the US-backed rebel militia, the Free Syrian Army, vented its fury over the Kerry-Lavrov truce deal by driving away American Special Operations troops helping them in the battle for Al-Rai and abusing them as “infidels.”

The US blames the Russian leader for failing to force Bashar Assad to hold his fire and to let emergency supplies reach the beleaguered population in Aleppo, thereby undermining their ceasefire accord.

But it is becoming evident that the brutal standoff in Syria will be sustained until Putin is satisfied that the US is cooperating with Russian forces in Syria and the Mediterranean region in all spheres.

Before he decides to lean hard on Assad to cease hostilities, he will want to see the White House twisting the arms of the Pentagon and US forces to play ball in the most sensitive spheres.