“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

More from the Republican Likudniks

What 47 Republican senators may not understand about Iran

US Congress

Members of Congress rise to applaud during a GOP-sponsored address by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Republican senators, like Netanyahu, hope to scuttle a pending nuclear deal with Iran.
Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call / Getty Images
There’s a charming naiveté to the open letter [PDF] by 47 Republican senators that condescendingly seeks to explain features of the U.S. constitutional system to Iran’s leaders that they otherwise “may not fully understand.”
The missive warns that, with respect to “your nuclear negotiations with our government ... any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress” could be revoked by the next president “with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”
Beyond the amusing inaccuracies about U.S. parliamentary order, it seems there are some features of the nuclear negotiations that the signatory senators don’t fully understand — not only on the terms of the deal, but also on who would be party to an agreement.
There are no negotiations on Iran’s “nuclear-weapons program” because the world’s intelligence agencies (including those of the U.S. and Israel) do not believe Iran is currently building nuclear weapons, nor has it made a strategic decision to use its civilian nuclear infrastructure to produce a bomb. An active Iranian nuclear-weapons program would render moot the current negotiations, because Iran would be in fundamental violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
As things stand, Tehran remains within the terms of the NPT, which allows nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, but monitors member states to prevent weaponization. Tehran and the IAEA remain in dispute over full compliance with all transparency requirements of the NPT, particularly over alleged previous research into weapons design. But Iran’s nuclear facilities remain under constant monitoring by international inspectors who certify that no nuclear material is being diverted.
The current negotiations are focused on strengthening verifiable safeguards against weaponization over-and-above those required by the NPT, yet the Republican-led Congress, egged on by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is warning that those goals are insufficient, and the terms and time-frame of the deal are unacceptable.
The key element missing from the GOP Senators’ letter, however, is that the deal is not being negotiated between Iran and the United States; it is being negotiated between Iran and the P5+1 group, in which the U.S. is joined by Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. Even if the U.S. is the key player in that group, the deal being pursued reflects an international consensus — the same consensus that has made sanctions against Iran so effective.
This was likely in the mind of Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, who dismissed the letter as “of no legal value” and a “propaganda ploy.” Zarif noted that the deal would indeed be an international agreement adopted by the U.N. Security Council, which a new administration would be obliged to uphold — and that any attempt by the White House or Congress to abrogate, unilaterally modify or impede such an agreement would be a breach of U.S. obligations. 

At odds with consensus

The U.S. has barely traded with Iran since the revolution of 1979; its capacity to sanction Iran relies on its ability to persuade or force other countries to do the same. Many of Iran’s major trading partners, such as Russia, China, India and Turkey, are not taking their lead from the U.S., even if they’re partially abiding by sanctions imposed by Washington and the European Union. Moscow and Beijing, in particular, have expanded trade and investment deals in recent months, and more ominously signaled a willingness to cooperate with Iran on defense issues to an extent that will make Tehran’s adversaries uncomfortable.
China late last year conducted joint Naval exercises with Iran, while Russia has raised the prospect of selling Iran its most sophisticated surface-to-air missile system.
The scenario sketched by the GOP Senators would have an incoming U.S. president tear up or seek to unilaterally modify an international agreement painstakingly negotiated over seven years, even if that agreement were being observed by Iran. Such a move would put Washington sharply at odds with the international consensus, leaving it more isolated than Iran on the question of sanctions or other pressure tactics.
And that would likely suit Iran’s clerical leaders just fine. After all, what the clerics want is an end to sanctions, not invitations to address Congress or host political fundraisers. And the hardliners running against the current government in the 2017 elections are, for their own political ends, also seeking to undermine the current negotiations.
Moreover, the Senators’ letter’s scenario also disregards Iran’s own leverage in the talks. As Columbia University professor and former National Security Council Iran analyst Gary Sick noted, periods of heightened pressure on Tehran over the past decade-plus have actually seen it increase and accelerate its nuclear work, shortening the distance it would have to travel should it decide to build nuclear weapons. While sanctions played a role in bringing Iran to the table, Iran’s leaders also know that enrichment of uranium to 20 percent helped bring Western powers to the table seeking compromise. Sick warns that should the current deal be broken in search of one more to the liking of a new U.S. administration, Iran could be expected to escalate its nuclear work to the same end.
So, while the GOP senators believe Iran’s leaders may not understand the workings of the U.S. Constitution, the decision-makers in Tehran may see a bigger picture than those Republican legislators. 


  1. Tony Karon is a South African-born journalist and former anti-Apartheid activist. He is currently Al Jazeera America's senior online executive producer. He was formerly the Senior Editor at

    He is originally from Cape Town, South Africa, and has been living in New York City since 1993.

    He studied at the University of Cape Town, and in the 1980s, he was a prominent anti-apartheid activist in student movement NUSAS.

    1. What's he doing in the United States?

      He can work for Al Jazeera as well from there as here.

  2. A Likud activist said Monday that US President Barack Obama was an anti-Semite and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s famous Bar-Ilan speech in 2009, in which he called for the creation of a demilitarized Palestinian states, was a “genius way of leading Obama on. There is no word yet if the Likud activist is a Republican.


  3. How Obama Will Bypass Congress On His Iranian Nuclear Arms Deal
    Conn Carroll | Mar 03, 2015
    Conn Carroll

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave up trying to change President Obama's mind about a nuclear deal with Iran long ago. He knows Obama is determined cut a deal with Iran on nuclear weapons, at any price, on the belief that Tehran will then become a reliable ally in the region.

    That is why Netanyahu chose to speak to Congress personally Tuesday. He know Congress is the only institution in America that has a chance of stopping Obama's Iranian plans. But, as The New York Times' David Sanger first reported in October, Obama has already decided to bypass Congress on his Iranian arms deal entirely.

    But doesn't Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution read, "The President ... shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur."

    How can Obama sign a nuclear arms deal with Iran without submitting that agreement to the Senate?

    The same way that Obama has rewritten federal immigration and education law without Congress: by expanding executive power.

    Obama will claim that his deal with Iran is not a treaty but a "sole executive agreement" that requires no approval from Congress. Sole executive agreements have been used by presidents since the early 1800s, but the exact scope of this power has long been in question. The Supreme Court has allowed many such agreements to stand (e.g. Dames & Moore v. Regan or American Insurance Ass'n v. Garamendi), but the Court has always required at least some evidence that Congress at least acquiesced to those policies.

    The sole executive agreement power has also been used to end formal arms treaties, most recently by President Bush in 2001 when he unilaterally exited the Anti-Balistic Missile Treaty with Russia. However, new arms deals have almost always been submitted to the Senate for approval, including Bush's 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty with Russia.

    Obama's nuclear arms deal with Iran would be an unprecedented expansion of this sole executive agreement power........

    America's Mayor had it right. Obama is not a 'real American' like all of us here.

    He doesn't believe in the Constitution, like all of us here.

    He believes in his cell phone, and his pen.

    This will likely end up before the Supreme Court and I certainly hope O'bozo loses, as he should. He is fucking around with our Constitution.

    The Likud activist is right. Obama is quite the anti-Semite.

    His religion dictates such a stance.

    Republicans, and most other real Americans, find that outlook abhorrent.

    1. >>> the Court has always required at least some evidence that Congress at least acquiesced to those policies<<<

      Obama's just a punky little would be dictator.

      I don't think the Court will allow him to get away with it.

      Congress, controlled by the Israelis, will not acquiesce.

    2. (I AM joking about Congress being controlled by the Israelis)

    3. It is tragic, but not at all comedic, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.

  4. Anyone that is seriously opposed to an ever expanding 'Imperial Presidency' should certainly oppose Obama and his tactics here, and support the rights of the Senate as given to them in the Constitution.

    If you don't like the Constitution, you amend it, you do not disregard it, as Obama most recently did on the immigration issue.


    1. Another lie, in a long list of lies, told by Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.

  5. It might be likely that in 2016 we will elect a Republican President, the Democrats take back the Senate, and the Republicans keep the House.

    If the precedent is set that the Senate does not deserve a vote on these important foreign policy questions, you might end up with a
    war mongering President, and a war mongering House, and a Senate that is helpless.

    Be careful what you wish for, mom always said.


    1. Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson has not 'called' a national election accurately in the entire history of the Elephant Bar.
      Doubt if his prognostications for 2016 will be any better.

  6. You stupid motherfugs from Philly, Detroit, LA, San Francico -

    March 9, 2015
    Agents kill Lolo wolves to boost elk survival
    From staff reports

    Nineteen wolves were killed in Idaho’s Lolo region last month in an ongoing effort to improve elk survival in the rugged area on the Idaho-Montana border.

    Federal Wildlife Service agents shot the wolves from an aircraft at the request of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. State officials say that both habitat changes and predation are responsible for the Lolo’s declining elk herds.

    The Lolo elk population has dropped from 16,000 elk in 1989 to roughly 2,100 elk in 2010, and possibly fewer than 1,000 this year. State studies indicate that wolves have become the primary predator affecting calf and cow elk survival in the Lolo.

    In addition to the 19 wolves killed by government agents, another 11 wolves were taken by hunters and trappers in the Lolo zone during the 2014-2015 harvest season.

    Helicopter crews also captured and placed radio collars on both elk and wolves this winter to monitor to whether the Lolo’s elk herds are increasing in response to wolf harvest and government control actions.

    The state doesn’t have a cost estimate yet for last month’s wolf control action in the Lolo elk zone. State officials said the cost will be paid using Wolf Depredation Control Board money funded through purchases of hunting licenses.

    >>>The Lolo elk population has dropped from 16,000 elk in 1989 to roughly 2,100 elk in 2010, and possibly fewer than 1,000 this year.<<<<


    And it's nothing to do with the habitat. We've had plenty of fires to create brush.

    You morons are dumber than Democrats.


    I've got more than 1/10th of the remaining Lolo Herd on my place......cause 120 were counted by my farmer.......they've come down from the high country, seeking refuge.

    Which my son and I intend to give them........wolf hunting time......

    16,000 elk down to 1,000 elk in the entire Lolo.


    You ought to all be jailed, or worse....

  7. I can’t wait to support any sane Democratic candidate for President who votes American interests.

    1. You will be waiting a long time.

      Figure sometime in your next life......

    2. Neither Democrats nor Republicans are acting in the best interests of the majority of US citizens.

      They represent the interests of the 1%, the monied elite.


  8. Two-Faced Bibi

    Benjamin Netanyahu only sounds like America’s ally when he is in America. At home, he’s a nationalist, xenophobic strongman.

  9. BAGHDAD – Iraqi security forces on Tuesday retook a town next to the militant-held city of Tikrit as they pressed their offensive against Islamic State militants, two military officials said.

    The Iraqi forces entered Alam early in the morning and hours later gained full control of the town adjacent to Tikrit, the two officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.

    The battle for Saddam Hussein's hometown is a key test for the Iraqi forces as they struggle to win back some of the Islamic State group's biggest strongholds in Iraq.

    Ahmed al-Karim, the Salahuddin provincial council chief, told The Associated Press that progress had been slow due to roadside bombs and sniper attacks.

    Tikrit, Salahuddin's provincial capital that lies about 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad, fell to the Islamic State group last summer, along with Iraq's second largest city, Mosul, and other areas in the country's Sunni heartland.

    The offensive to wrest Tikrit from IS has received significant assistance from Iranian military advisers who are guiding Iraq's Shiite militias on the battlefield.
    U.S.-led coalition forces have said they are not providing aerial support for this particular mission because the Iraqis have not requested it.

    1. Monday, Kurdish peshmerga forces launched an offensive south and west of the oil city of Kirkuk, increasing the pressure on the last ISIS strongholds east of the Tigris River.

      Kurdish security official Westa Rasul said the operation was backed by coalition air support.

      Police Brig. Gen. Sarhad Qader said security forces were proceeding cautiously to avoid explosives planted by ISIS.

      - See more at:

    2. ISIS has sought to exploit the grievances of alienated Sunnis in Iraq, and Dempsey has urged Baghdad to tackle what he calls the “underlying” sectarian issue.

      The general, who served several tours of Iraq during the 2003-2011 U.S. occupation, said it was unclear whether Iraq’s links to Iran were only about battling the ISIS or part of a broader agenda.

      “What I’m trying to sort out is the degree to which the near-term embrace of the assistance they’re receiving from Iran is a reaction to the existential threat [from ISIS] or whether it’s something longer-term,” he said.

      “And by the way, it could be longer-term and not necessarily negative,” he added.

      - See more at:


  10. Colin Powell Still Sees 'Dark Vein' of Intolerance in GOP

    Speaking on the day following the 50-year anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, Alabama, the first African-American Secretary of State Colin Powell said he still sees a "dark vein" of intolerance in the Republican Party, echoing comments that he made in 2013.

    "I still see it. I still see it in the Republican Party and I still see it in other parts of our country. You don't have to be a Republican to be touched by this dark vein,"
    Powell told ABC's George Stephanopoulos Sunday on "This Week."

    "We've come a long way, but there's a long way to go. And we have to change the hearts and minds of Americans. And I see progress, especially in the younger generation," Powell added.


  11. We can get in the "Go Back" machine and see what our in-house bigot, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson says about Colin Powell

    bobal Sun Oct 19, 04:02:00 PM EDT
    Colin Powell served as a kitchen nigger, just like Belafonte said, and sent youth, black and white, to their deaths, and served the Republican 'machine' all those years.

    And, now jumps ship.

    Colin Powell is a black piece of crap.

    He sent youth to their deaths.

    bobal Sun Oct 19, 04:07:00 PM EDT
    Colin Powell went to the U.N., carrying water for Bush.

    And now he is for the black that was against the whole thing.

    Colin Powell is a black piece of shit.

    The Elephant Bars' rip off artist, the social responsibility avoidance specialist, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson, has made his position clear.

  12. .

    Deuce, have you been changing the format here at the bar or are the changes unique to the old Quirkster?

    For me,

    1. Some time ago the site's search function disappeared.

    2. Recently, the archives list (by year and month) disappeared.

    No big thing, however,

    3. Last night the 'Delete' function disappeared.

    Are you trying to tell me something?



    1. .

      Whoops, sorry.

      As soon as I put up the post above, the 'Delete' function popped up again.

      Never mind.


    2. No, I took a couple of things off line on a temporary basis. They will be back up in a day or two.

    3. I must say searching the archives without the archives linked was a challenge.

  13. Replies

    1. Ancient battle divides Israel as Masada 'myth' unravels

      The story of the last redoubt, of Jews fighting to the end against the Roman legions, had instant appeal in Israel and abroad. Soldiers of the Israeli armoured corps used to trek to Masada to hold their annual swearing- in ceremony.

      But Masada is no longer a symbol of unity. And, within the past week, exactly what happened on the mountain top 2,000 years ago has provoked charge and counter-charge. Were its defenders the heroic hard core of the great Jewish revolt against Rome, or a gang of killers who became victims of a last Roman mopping-up operation? Was Elazar Ben-Yair, the commander, right to persuade his 960 followers to kill each other - if, indeed, the suicide occurred at all?

      As a result of the controversy, Aryeh Barnea, head of a Jerusalem school, last week called off a trip by pupils to Masada. "I decided to cancel the ceremony in which it is customary to present Elazar Ben Yair as a hero," he said, "since he apparently murdered hundreds of innocent persons before the siege."
      Most Israeli archaeologists now accept that what really happened at Masada was very different from the picture painted by Professor Yigael Yadin, the archaeologist and former chief of staff of the Israeli army, who carried out the highly publicised excavations in 1963-65. At a cost of about pounds 920,000 in current values, mostly provided by British donors including the Observer newspaper, Professor Yadin claimed to have found evidence for the heroic version of what happened at the fortress.

      The project was always more bizarre than the hundreds of Israeli and foreign volunteers who worked on the site might have realised. The only literary source is Josephus Flavius, the Jewish historian who had himself taken part in the revolt before joining the Roman side.

      His account says that the defenders of Masada took no part in the war against Rome during the siege of Jerusalem, but instead plundered local villages including En Gedi on the Dead Sea, where "women and children, more than 700 in number, were butchered".


  14. .

    You want to live forever? See SSA.

    SSA IG says records indicate 6.5 million SS recipients are over 112 years old. Tens of billions wasted in obvious fraud and SSA has no plans to address it. Claiming lack of resources, SSA says it intends to concentrate on 'correctly' paying funds to legitimate recipients.

    From the WaPo:

    Auditors proposed that the Social Security Administration take action to correct its death records, but the agency disagreed, saying it doesn’t want to divert resources away from efforts to improve payment accuracy with benefits.

    “The recommendations would create a significant manual and labor-intensive workload and provide no benefit to the administration of our programs,” Social Security management said in a response to the review.


    1. Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for 2015, ... the average retirement benefit will go up to $1,328 in 2015 ...

      1,328 x 6,500,000 = 8,632,000,000

      8,632,000,000 x 12 = 103,584,000,000

      100 billion dollars, and considered to not be worth the effort to chase the fraudsters down ...


    2. The priorities seem to be a tad skewed, over there at the Social Security Administration.

  15. Iraqi forces
    storming Tikrit
    Pro-government troops have begun operations against ISIS inside their Tikrit stronghold.
    A member of the Popular Mobilization force celebrates the capture of Albu Ajil east of Tikrit. (AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)

    BEIRUT – Iraqi government forces bolstered by Shiite militias began Tuesday to storm Tikrit, a week after beginning a major operation to take the ISIS-stronghold north of Baghdad.

    Over 20,000 pro-government troops—including fighters from the Shiite Popular Mobilization militias and Sunni tribesmen—have taken part in Baghdad’s largest ever anti-ISIS campaign, which has been coordinated in part by Iranian Revolutionary Guards Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani.

    The offensive was initially stalled by stiff resistance from ISIS, which had heavily mined approaches into the Sunni-populated city as well as leaving explosive booby-traps meant to slow the government’s advance.

    However, the pro-government fighters notched a major success Monday, seizing the Al-Alam area due north of Tikrit after days of fighting, allowing the Iraqi forces to encircle nearly the entire city.

    On Tuesday, the Popular Mobilization militias—which have played a lead role in the Tikrit offensive—announced that the storming of Tikrit had commenced.

    “The liberation of Tikrit started this morning from four axes, Al-Alam, the village of Albu Ajil [east of Tikrit], the Qadisiyah [area of northern Tikrit] as well as the Awenat region [west of the city center],” the military spokesperson of the Shiite militia group said.

    A member of the Provincial Council of Salaheddine also trumpeted the official start of Iraq’s advance into Saddam Hussein’s hometown.

    “Iraqi security forces supported by Popular Mobilization fighters, armed volunteers from the Salaheddine province, and the Iraqi air force launched a wide ranging attack Tuesday morning on ISIS bases in Tikrit,” Rashid al-Bayati told Rudaw news agency.

    “The ISIS militants’ response to the Iraqi forces’ advance was very weak,” Bayati also said.

    He added that “deployment of snipers and the IEDs planted by [ISIS] militants in public places and along roads” had “delayed the advance of security forces.”

    The provincial official stressed that fighter jets from the US-led coalition targeting ISIS “did not participate in the military operation,” echoing earlier statements from Baghdad and Washington that the coalition was not joining the Tikrit offensive.

    Meanwhile, Iraq’s state television reported midday Tuesday that pro-government forces had entered the city’s northern outskirts of Qadisiyah.

    “Security forces and Popular Mobilization [troops] have entered the streets of Tikrit after advancing in the city’s Qadisiyah neighborhood,” Iraqiya TV cited well-informed sources as saying.

    This latest reported advance comes after fierce battles raged for days around the city, with pro-government forces finally managing to sieze the Al-Alam area on Monday.

    The mayor of Al-Alam confirmed to Reuters that government troops had seized the town, telling the news agency, “We rejoice in this victory and we want al-Alam to be the launchpad for the liberation of Tikrit and Mosul.”

    Iraq launched its offensive on March 2, advancing on the town of Dawr, a little over 20 kilometers south of the city, and attacking Al-Alam as another push was expected from the east.

    The urban center of Tikrit has been controlled by ISIS since the militants swept into the city in June, while the Iraqi army continued to maintain a presence in Camp Speicher west of the city, Tikrit Airport to the south and the East Tikrit Airfield.

    1. No US troops required.

      No US air support, either.

      The Iraqi just needed a little help from their friends ...
      Iranians and Russians.

      Killing the Daesh, while there were those here, at the Elephant Bar, that said it couldn't be done ...
      ... without US boots on the ground.

      How wrong those voices were.

    2. It's not the ratdumbass doctrine that may take Tikrit.

      It's Iranian ground troops.

      As to Syria:

      see below

    3. Ground troops, American or Iranian, but ground troops.

      Another epic ratdumbass doctrine fail, which calls for the locals to do it, with air support.

      How wrong ratdumbass's voice was all along.


    4. The Shia militias are local forces, local Iraqi forces.
      If Robert "Draft dodger" Peterson does not recognize that reality, well ...
      He is delusional

    5. The SU-25s the Iraqi air force is flying, built in Russia, delivered from Russian stocks, as well as those flown to Iran during the US invasion in 2003, that the Iranians sent back.

      Mi-24s, also from Russia are in the Iraqi inventory, they may be in the CAS mix.
      Though there have not been any specific reports, that I have seen.

      The Iranians filling the role of the Iraqi Security Forces in Kobane.
      Providing a depth of experience, that the local militiamen are lacking.

  16. Hey Quirk, I bought wolf tags today.

    There's one out there with your name on him.

    He's my first target.

    Bag limit is five.

    I intend to fill my card.

    1. I intend to shoot him in the guts, let the intestines drain out, the way they do the elk with their teeth.

    2. .

      I'll put my money on the wolves.

      Now, you puking your guts...well...a different matter altogether. I hope your cell phone has a GPS feature so they can find the remains.


    3. The 'real' hunters need helicopters, to even get a shot.
      Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson is taking his Nissan Sentra out to the trail head.

      Gonna fill five tags.....

      Delusional fantasies

  17. March 10, 2015
    Our Syria policy is failing
    By Rick Moran

    A very good, insightful article in Foreign Affairs today by Robert Ford, a former ambassador to Syria, detailing the utter failure of the administration's Syria policy and what might be done to salvage the situation.

    Much of what the administration proposed to be done has been made inoperative by events.

    U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration should undertake a major diplomatic and assistance effort, or it should walk away from Syria. Merely continuing to inject small amounts of aid and men in the fight won’t sustainably contain the jihadis or be sufficient to reach the political negotiation the administration keeps hoping for.

    The quiet end to the Syrian armed opposition’s Hazm Movement, with which the Americans had worked in northern Syria, was the latest signpost of the current failed policy. With aid coming too little and too late, the movement was easily knocked aside by al Qaeda-linked extremists who gained new territory and border crossings. It is far from the only moderate rebel group to suffer large setbacks in recent months: Others are simultaneously under attack from Assad regime forces (which are strongly reinforced by Iranian and Hezbollah troops), jihadis from the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, and the Islamic State.

    Meanwhile, the Americans didn’t ramp up aid to the secular moderates when they needed it most. Instead, assistance to moderate Syrian fighters has been small and erratic, and the rebel fighters have been badly divided by foreign states parceling out desperately needed aid among multiple groups. This has created a vicious cycle, forcing the moderate rebels to compete against each other and to sometimes cooperate with al-Nusra Front. That in turn has aggravated foreign states and scared off any regime elements that might want to negotiate a deal, thus extending the war of attrition to the benefit of the Islamic State.

    Rather than boosting the capacity of existing moderate fighting groups, the U.S. administration has decided to build an entirely new force. As currently envisioned, this plan will be too little, too late. The fighting units will be much smaller than Islamic State forces operating in Syria. In addition, the plan will further split the moderate armed opposition and will do nothing to counter the Islamic State’s biggest recruitment tool — the Assad regime’s brutality.

    As for solutions, Ford holds out little hope for the administration ramping up aid to the rebels while simultaneously sitting down with regional players and opposition groups to develop a coherent strategy:

    The larger package deal is vital. Simply increasing material aid to the moderate fighters in northern and southern Syria, even by huge amounts, won’t be enough.

    1. Simply increasing material aid to the moderate fighters in northern and southern Syria, even by huge amounts, won’t be enough. The key is settling on a revised strategy that establishes a unified command structure for the non-jihadi opposition.

      This unified structure must be the sole conduit for external funding, arming, and training. It must include the main non-jihadi rebel groups and must be led by a Syrian who enjoys wide support from Syrians fighting on the ground and from foreign states. Those who refuse to follow orders from the unified command must be cut off from any assistance. This is the only way to end the fragmentation that has long plagued the moderate armed opposition and to ensure it will support any eventual negotiation.

      Syrian fighters, especially Sunni Arabs, are best placed to confront Sunni Arab extremists in their country and limit the spread of the extremists’ appeal. This means that Islamist opposition groups that are conservative, but do not insist on imposing an Islamic state by force, likely will be part of the solution.

      Bombing IS targets in Syria is doing very little to degrade their ability to fight while making it harder for the few moderate oppposition groups left to gain traction. Most of them are reluctantly joining the AQ-sponsored group al-Nusra, while some are even teaming up with the Islamic State because of the terrorists' relative success on the battlefield.

      What the administration has proposed has been too little, too late and not pursued with the kind of determination that is needed. When Obama alters the policy again – the third such revision – he will be forced either to expand the U.S. role in the conflict or to walk away.

      Halfway measures simply are not cutting it.

      And here we had all placed our best hopes and full faith in the ratass and Rufus doctrines........

    2. Am I the only person around here who often gets the feeling O'bozo is deliberately sabotaging things ?

    3. ISrael prefers al-Qeada

      Why would you, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson not expect Lester Crowns' political lackey to perform to his specifications?

  18. Crazy ass rat is back. He was down working on his super secret project off the shores of Panama for a few hours, and now he is back.

  19. Video: Mysterious voice leads to rescue of baby trapped for 14 hours
    posted at 7:21 pm on March 10, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

    Share on Facebook

    Did Utah rescuers experience a miracle over the weekend? Three police officers called to the scene of a vehicle upside down in a river all say they heard an adult woman calling for help, prompting them to rush to get the car open. The only person alive, though, was 18-month old Lily Groesbeck, whose mother had died in the crash of the car. All three officers insist that they heard the voice calling out to them, but none of them can explain it (via The Blaze):

    A mystery arose from the rescue: The three police officers who entered the water all say they heard a voice calling for help.

    The mother was dead, but the officers told CNN affiliate KSL that they heard an adult’s voice calling to them.

    “It felt like I could hear someone telling me, ‘I need help,’” DeWitt told KSL. “It was very surreal, something that I felt like I could hear.”

    Warner said he heard the same.

    “(It) wasn’t just in our heads,” he told KSL. “To me, it was plain as day. I remember hearing a voice that didn’t sound like a child, just saying ‘help me.’”

    Tyler Beddoes, the third officer at the scene, said the same.

    “Someone said ‘help me’ inside that car,” he said.

    There may actually be two miracles in play. The car could not be seen from the road; it was instead discovered accidentally by a fisherman who happened across it, wheels up in the river. The car also landed in a shallow part of the river, which allowed Lily to survive. The police arrived after the fisherman called for an emergency response, KUTV reports, one that may never have come otherwise. After 14 hours in the elements, Lily may not have survived for very much longer.

    Beddoes calls it a miracle:

    Two days later, the toddler was recovering at a hospital, though authorities still don’t know exactly how she survived hanging upside-down for nearly 14 hours in frigid temperatures with no food or water.

    “It’s heartbreaking. Was she crying most the night?” Beddoes said. “It’s a miracle. … She was needed for sure elsewhere.” …

    The overturned car was perched on the bank and rocks. As the girl dangled inside, icy water rushed just below her head through broken car windows. The temperatures were near freezing throughout the night and through the morning.

    “She must have been just out of the water enough to be getting oxygen,” Beddoes said.

    For some, this may look like just a series of coincidences. To those three police officers who heard the voice urging them into action and who saw how precariously Lily had survived, it’s much more than that. Many of us would agree.

    As for the baby, she’s improving, and her family has set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for her care. It’s up to $46,000 as of this morning, and her family sent out their thanks. An aunt reports that Lily is “singing Wheels on the Bus with Grandpa.” Our prayers should go out to their family for the loss of Lily’s mother Jenny, and in thanks for the rescue of Lily and for her three rescuers. With all of the issues we see about police, this reminds us that most of the men and women who serve as police officers serve their communities with care and distinction.

    Example of an ADC - After Death Communication.

    Very hard to explain, though there are some theories, but also surprisingly, not as unusual as one might think.

    1. Very unusual here though in that three individuals testify to hearing the same voice.

  20. Maybe she spoke before she died?

  21. A newly released ISIS video shows a child shooting a man the group claims is an Israeli spy.


    Ahmad Musallam said he'd seen the video of his brother and was devastated by his death.


    This isn't the first time ISIS has used children to drive home its message.

  22. 7 to 10 days to finish off "Tikrit," and then . . . . . .

    All the caterwauling of the Iraqis, noted, I believe the Mosul Operation will kick off sometime within the April/May timeframe - possibly as early as May 1st. If so, it will be wrapped up by the first of June.

    After that, it's just Fallujah, and a bit of mopping up.

    My oddball July 4 prediction might have been a 'tad bit' optimistic :) But, it also might be pretty close. :)

    1. One thing IS sure, the dead men walking are Dead Men Walking.

      The only uncertainty, now, is the "date" on the calendar.

    2. Oh, another 40 or so laid down their burden, today, and gave up 'the walk.'

      I guess all that leaves is "Syria" for the pubbies to whine about.

      And, with us helping the Kurds kick the headcutters out of Northern Syria, even that is starting to look like it might get a bit thin.

      Well, there's always Hillary's emails.

  23. Lina Khatib, director of the Carnegie Middle East Centre in Beirut, told the news agency DNA that the “key challenge” being faced by ISIS was more “internal than external.”


    Khatib said this had led to the group being “less effective in governing and less effective in military operations.”

    There have also been a number of instances of former ISIS fighters who did manage to flee, who had become horrified by the poor living conditions, the aggressive behavior of other fighters and the beheadings carried out by ISIS executioners.