“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."

Friday, March 25, 2016

Of Course “US Ally” Turkey Has Been Helping ISIS - Now What Will We Do About It?

Turkey has ‘serious questions’ to answer: Reactions to RT report on post-ISIS town in Syria

Trucks with oil products cross the Syrian-Turkish border. © Ministry of defence of the Russian Federation
The stream of accusations is growing against Ankara over illegal oil trade and support of Islamic State, with politicians and experts calling for Turkey to be held accountable for its actions after a new batch of evidence gathered by RT. 
Former UK ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, has described as “very convincing” a report aired by RT which features piles of oil accounting papers left behind by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) fighters.

“There was plenty of evidence even before these latest – very damning – revelations that Turkey was up to its neck in support for collaboration with Islamic State,” he said.

According to Ford, the “obsession” of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with removing from power his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, and preventing the strengthening of the Kurds in Syria saw Turkey become eager “to stop at nothing, including collaboration with Islamic State terrorists,” Ford stressed.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that if Turkey had sincerely tried to put an end to the activities of Islamic State it could well have gone slow and we wouldn’t perhaps even be having this latest atrocity in Brussels,” the former ambassador stressed.

On Tuesday, 31 people died in the Belgian capital in suicide bomb attacks at the airport and subway. The attacks were later claimed by IS.

Lord Peter Truscott, a life peer in the UK’s House of Lords, stressed that Ankara has “serious questions” to answer following the revelations by RT.

“RT's report highlights some alarming evidence that Turkey is buying oil from Daesh [Arabic pejorative term for IS], and is either supporting or turning a blind eye to terrorists crossing its border into Syria. If this is the case, Turkey needs to stop aiding Daesh in its murderous activities,” Lord Truscott stressed.
Matthew Gordon-Banks, a former Senior Research Fellow at the UK Defense Academy and former British MP, told RT in an emailed response that “there is no doubt that Turkey has helped ISIS gain huge revenues in the recent past from illegally selling oil.”

Gordon-Banks also praised Russia’s recent military operation in Syria, saying that it had largely cut IS supply lines, hitting them both economically as well as militarily.Bernard Monot, a French member of the European Parliament, has slammed Ankara for the double game it’s playing with Europe.

“On the one had they play along with us in order to get financial assistance from the European Union, but on the other – there is a feeling that they are in talks with IS… there is a feeling that this ‘caliphate’ is working closely with the Turkish president,” Monot told RT.

The joint ventures of Erdogan and Islamic State may include “illicit trade in oil and, of course, training camps, which may be on the Turkish territory,” the National Front Party member said.

As for plans to include Turkey into the European Union, Monot stressed that the Turkish state “currently has nothing to do in the EU.”

Turkey has been actively engaged in the Syrian war since the outset, and has repeatedly denied that it is aiding IS. The claims have come from the Russian military, the Syrian authorities, the Kurds and other sources.

An RT Documentary crew has visited towns in northern Syria recently liberated from IS militants. There, the journalists obtained invoices detailing the large-scale illegal oil trade carried out by the terrorists, as well Islamist propaganda brochures printed in Turkey.

They interviewed an IS fighter, detained by the Kurds, who said that the group is selling oil to Turkey.

The RT crew also filmed passports of the deceased or escaped jihadists, many of which contained stamps issued at Turkish border checkpoints.


  1. The terrorist attacks in Paris and now Brussels continue to undermine the life of pluralistic societies in Europe and encourage ever more repressive policies toward Muslim immigrants who have fled the violence in Syria for the safety and economic opportunities in Europe.

    Turkey’s agreement with the European Union to accept more Syrian immigrants comes with the promise of $3 billion of additional aid, but it may be a Trojan horse, given the growing authoritarian rule by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Turkey has had a porous border with Syria and serves as a recruitment base for ISIS.

    The primary organized group in Turkey representing a pluralistic understanding of Islam is the Hizmet (Service) Movement. The struggle for the soul of Turkey has involved the fate of Hizmet, which has been an international leader in education, interfaith dialogue and the promotion of human rights through an independent news media.

    1. {...}

      The founder of Hizmet, Fethullah Gulen, is a Muslim religious scholar who now resides in Pennsylvania. He has a large following throughout Turkey and the Turkish diaspora.

      In California, Hizmet has founded Turkish community centers throughout the state known as Pacifica Institute, including a local center in Sunnyvale. Hizmet has fostered a spirit of collaboration among religious leaders throughout the United States and has played a leading role in countering Islamophobia.

      Given the present climate of paranoia about Islam found among some contenders for the 2016 presidential nomination, we need as many examples as possible of civic involvement by Muslim individuals and organizations to show that they are part of the fabric of American democracy and contributors to the civic health of the nation.

      The seizure of Today’s Zaman, the largest English daily newspaper in Turkey, has been criticized by representatives of the European Union, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists and the U.S. State Department. Until recently, Turkey was one of the few Muslim majority states in the Middle East with a vibrant democracy and a free press.


    2. {...}\\The U.S. and Turkey are part of NATO and presumed partners in the fight against ISIS and al-Qaida-affiliated groups. The violation of human rights by ISIS and al-Qaida is a large part of the reason that the U.S. has taken up the fight against these groups and sought the support of other nations in this struggle.

      The U.S. must not fail to speak up against any violation of human rights, even among those aligned with us by the NATO treaty.

      The growth of ISIS can be partly tied to the prevalence of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East that lack an appreciation of diverse forms of religious and political identities. One of the major partners in the fight against ISIS has been the Kurdish forces (YPG) in Syria aligned with the U.S. President Erdogan has attempted to demonize most Kurdish political and military groups as terrorists and more dangerous than ISIS. Kurds comprise as much as 20 percent of the Turkish population.

      The European Court for Human Rights has highlighted the violation of Kurdish human rights in Turkey for decades. The U.S. cannot turn its back on the imprisonment of journalists and the attacks against our Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS.

      Turkey needs to show the millions of Syrian immigrants coming under its protection and surveillance a model of an inclusive and free society. This stands in stark contrast to the brutality and oppression found within ISIS.

      Gerald Grudzen teaches in the Philosophy Department of San Jose City College. He wrote this for this newspaper.

    3. We knew that ISIS would turn against the Ankara regime at some point and said so multiple times on this blog. The US went along wit this charade and now the Turks, the EU and the US are paying the price for participating, arming and training this monster.

  2. Major ISIS training camps were in Turkey and as evidenced in this news report, travelled freely and officially across border check points.

    Turkey needs to be suspended from decision making in Nato and suspended from having a call on Nato forces. Ultimately, Turkey under Erdogan has to be turfed out of Nato.

  3. Janes of London found that ISIS lost 22% of its territory in 2015. The pushback came in Paris and Brussels at soft targets.

  4. Fools like Trump cannot see the obvious that to go after the US Muslim community is playing into the hand of ISIS.

    Ted Cruz has found and demonstrated how easy it is to get into the head of Trump. Trump can be played without breaking a sweat.

    Not a man that belongs in the Oval Office.

  5. There were 3.3 million Muslims of all ages living in the United States in 2015, or about 1 percent of the total U.S. population

    Coming soon: More immigrants from Muslim nations than population of D.C. — 680,000

    Deuce ☂Fri Mar 25, 07:30:00 AM EDT
    Fools like Trump cannot see the obvious that to go after the US Muslim community is playing into the hand of ISIS.

    Here is a thought.

    There are 51 islamic nations of the OIC. They comprise almost 40% of the globe.

    Maybe Moslems should find safe decent accommodations within the borders of those 51 nations that actually share their culture?

    ISIS was created as a response to the Iranians and their take over of Iraq, and the hundreds of thousands of deaths of Sunnis there.

    Now of course, the Ex-Baathists aka Saddam's folks are no angels, in fact are pretty sleazy but there are hundreds of thousands of empty hotel rooms in Moslem nations (from Arabia to indonesia) ready, why should they come to America?

    no reason.

    Why should they go to Europe?

    no reason.

    1. Really, you as a Jew, are recommending that certain people of a certain religion should be herded into some countries and excluded from others?

    2. As a Jew I am recommending that the certain historic peoples who are enemies of the United States be helped 1st and foremost by the very group that they infact helped create.

      The OIC.

      These folks, who are herding themselves to escape the iranians, hezbollah, assad and his troops, ISIS have dozens of choices.

      Nice usage of the term "herding"

      The USA do not need to grant 605 thousand green cards to them, nor does europe need to allow millions to destabilize them.

      The fleeing arab, north africans who are 97% moslem, do not need to flee to secular and christian nations for reprieve.

      Hence the creation of the OIC.

      Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

      As a Jew I find it interesting that Moslems across the globe have ethnically cleansed almost every last Jew from the lands that they have lived it for thousands of years only to now have there fellow moslems drop barrel bombs on them...

      The refugee crisis is directly caused by Obama's creating a vacuum in Iraq, giving Iran the ability to fund and support the Shites of Iraq to slaughter of the Sunnis, of course this has now grown to include yemen, syria (and more)

      Again the refugees?

      Have numerous moslem options. Fleeing to nations that are historic enemies? Not the prime one.

      Should have America, during ww2, opened it's borders to the German refugees?

      One other interesting point.

      As a Jew I have witnessed America refuse entry of Jews, time and time again. Because they were Jews.

      The place that American policy dictates for fleeing jews?


      And I agree.


    U.S. Says Syria Is Buying Oil From Islamic State
    U.S. Treasury Department blacklists Syrian businessman for facilitating transactions

    WASHINGTON—The Obama administration accused Syria’s government of purchasing oil from Islamic State and blacklisted a Syrian-Russian businessman suspected of facilitating those transactions.

    The U.S. Treasury Department also penalized Russian and Cypriot businessmen and companies suspected of helping the Syrian central bank evade international sanctions through a web of companies based in Russia, Cyprus and Belize.

    Among those blacklisted is Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a former president of the autonomous Russian Republic of Kalmykia. Mr. Ilyumzhinov is a long-serving president of the World Chess Federation, according to the Treasury Department.

    The Treasury’s actions bar U.S. nationals from doing business with the designated entities and freeze any assets they hold in the U.S. financial system.

    U.S. officials have long voiced concerns that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was strengthening Islamic State’s finances by purchasing oil produced by the militant group on territory that used to be controlled by Damascus. However, Wednesday’s charges are the most explicit and direct accusations by the U.S., and the first time sanctions have been imposed over the regime’s oil trade.

  7. Jews make up 2.2% of US population. Which other areas in our society should we restrict access to based on the overall percentage of population? How about media?

    1. Do you even think before you post the crap that comes into your head?

    2. History is cruel deuce, america has restricted Jews from college, property and position based on the demographic footprint it held.

      Of course the Jews started their own businesses, hospitals and such in response.

      Do you even think before you post the crap that comes into your head?

      I have not advocated that position, but your thoughts spew like shit out a pig's ass....

      The point I was making is that Islamic refugees are being brought into this nation at record numbers, legally by the current (and former) administrations.

      I question why?

      Why are 605 thousand moslems from enemy nations like syria being brought here?

      Syria is not an ally. And it's people have supported terrorism for decades.

      Why bring them here?

      It's time for common sense immigration reform.

      There are 1.2 BILLION moslems on the planet, there are 51 Islamic nations, they have formed a group called the OIC, THEY should be tasked with helping their community FIRST, before others are asked

    3. You are conflating Israeli interests with US interests. They are not the same. Syria is no enemy of the US.

    4. Syrian Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act[edit]
      In May 2004, a comprehensive set of economic sanctions were enacted under the Bush administration. The Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act, imposed sanctions on Syria banned the majority of exports to Syria except food and medicine, specifically prohibiting the export of most goods containing more than 10% U.S.-manufactured component parts to Syria.[13] In May 2010 President Barack Obama renewed this set of sanctions against Syria.[14]

      Apparently you have a selective memory....

      Assad is no friend of America. Nor are the Syrian people.

      OF course you use slight of hand to change the discussion.

      You bring up "interests"...

      Of course there are "interests"

      But Syria and it's people have been historic ENEMIES of the USA.

      Time to take off your "I HATE ISRAEL" blinders and wake up and see the truth...

      Assad and his daddy have done nothing for peace in the region, other than strangle Lebanon, murder it's leaders, scuttle peace treaties between regional nations and mass murder those who stand against it...

      With "friends" like Syria? Who needs enemies...

      But what really makes me scratch my head?

      How you can support Assad, Iran, Hezbollah and syria (and their people) after the torment, rape and murder of the palestinans living there...

      The oppression, the savage treatment..

      Oh that's right israel is your obsession...

    5. Stop Moslem Immigration To USA Now !!

      There is ZERO reason to allow people so antithetical to our way of life into the USA.

      Humanitarian reasons ?

      Nah, let the Moslem world care for them. They can easily to so.

  8. Damn ! Look at this !!


    Jimmah Carter claimed to have seen a UFO.

    Quirk tried to penetrate Area 51 but got shot out of the air in his Qultra-Lite.

    I want to know what the hell is going on.....

    The Donald best counter this initiative by Clinton.....lots of people are suspicious about Area Americans we have a right to know.....and can handle the truth....

  9. EXCLUSIVE – Bolton: FBI Will ‘Explode’ If Hillary Not Indicted Over Email Scandal Due to Politics

    AP Photo

    by Breitbart News20 Mar 20165,917

    Speaking in a radio interview on Sunday, John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, stated he believes the FBI will “explode” if Hillary Clinton ultimately is not indicted for her email infractions due to what he described as politics triumphing over the legal system.

    Bolton was being interviewed for “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” broadcast on New York’s AM 970 The Answer and Philadelphia’s NewsTalk 990 AM.

    Klein, who doubles as Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter, asked Bolton whether he thinks Clinton will ultimately be indicted for allegedly sending classified information over her private email server.

    “I think that the pressure is definitely building,” Bolton responded. “And just take the politics out of this for a second. What Hillary Clinton and her top aides did is not just make a few small violations of laws to protect classified information. They made wholesale violations and they did it for a sustained, indeed for a four-year period.”

    He continued:

    "So this is a far more serious than what happened to General Petraeus. And it’s one reason why I think that both the FBI and I believe the people in the Justice Department, the prosecutors who would oversee the handling of the case, are moving more and more to the conclusion that serious indictments are warranted here.

    Now it’s possible that in this administration that politics can triumph over the legalities. But I think if that does happen, there’s a real risk for Obama and for the Attorney General that the FBI will explode. And a lot of things that we don’t know about, that are not on the public record at the moment, will come on the public record.

    It may not be the same thing as firing Archibald Cox (the discharged Special Proecutor) in the Watergate investigation, but if this potential prosecution is tanked for political reasons, it will be a very loud explosion. And it will stain Obama’s legacy forever. It will damage Loretta Lynch’s professional reputation and I think it will have a profound impact on the presidential election, as well."


  10. Of Course “US Ally” Turkey Has Been Helping ISIS - Now What Will We Do About It?

    Kick them out of NATO, for starters.

  11. Cruz is cruising into a tie, or even a little ahead of The Donald, in Wisconsin now.

  12. :):)

    Would YOU believe someone named David Pecker ??

    Ted Cruz: “This National Enquirer story is garbage. It is complete and utter lies.”

    posted at 3:21 pm on March 25, 2016 by Allahpundit

    One thing I’ve learned from writing about politics for 10 years is that you’ll never talk someone out of believing something they really want to believe. (At least you won’t if you’re a mediocre writer. Maybe great writers are different.) Another thing I’ve learned is that there’s no way to cover ratf*cking without participating in it. An accusation is made, it reaches a critical mass of public awareness, then you’re forced to choose between ignoring a matter of public interest and spreading the accusation by addressing it. It’s a testament to how far this has spread already that Cruz himself felt obliged to say something.

    Here’s the National Enquirer story alleging that Cruz has had affairs with at least five women. Wait, let me rephrase: Here’s the National Enquirer story alleging that there are “claims” that “private detectives” are investigating affairs with at least five women that Cruz has “supposedly” had. Two possibilities here:

    1. It’s all true. Better men than Cruz have exploited their stature in Washington for sexual conquests. And the Enquirer’s been right before about political sex scandals that no one else would touch. As every Trump fan on Twitter will eagerly tell you today, they got the John Edwards story right. Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for further details on the 12 mistresses Barack Obama supposedly has. Or how it could be that Hillary Clinton had six months to live six months ago. Or why no major mainstream newspaper has yet exposed the fact that Antonin Scalia was assassinated by a hooker hired by the CIA. Personally, I’m more interested in that one than this Cruz business.

    2. It’s a smear. As it turns out, the Enquirer is emphatically pro-Trump. They endorsed him a few weeks ago. He’s been friends with the paper’s CEO, David Pecker, for years. And this wouldn’t be the first time they’ve done him a solid by publishing a spoonfed attack on one of his opponents, according to Gabriel Sherman. Supposedly it was Team Trump that handed the Enquirer a story last year about Ben Carson leaving a medical sponge inside a patient. It’s also noteworthy, as Cruz himself mentions in the clip, that Trump advisor turned Trump cheerleader Roger Stone is the only quoted source in the Enquirer piece. Stone’s reputation for bareknuckle politics is so infamous, the profile of him that the New Yorker published a few years ago was titled “The Dirty Trickster.” (Cruz’s odd reference in the video to copulating with a rat is, of course, an allusion to ratf*cking, at which Stone is said to be a practiced master.) Trump himself has been known in the past to feed stories to the media which he knew were false, simply because it benefited him to do so. Here’s an innocuous example from someone who used to work for him:

    “Donald was such a promoter,” Res says. “There’s nobody like him. Nobody.”

    She would sometimes hear him posing as a nonexistent John Barron while giving phone tips to reporters, once falsely saying that Princess Diana was seeking an apartment in Trump Tower.

    “Page Six calls the palace, which of course has no comment,” Res says. “He was brilliant at stuff like that.”

    Whether or not the target denies the claim is unimportant. The point is to plant the possibility that it’s true in the audience’s minds, knowing that some will believe it. So here we have with the Cruz accusation a publication that’s in the tank for Trump, that’s allegedly willing to fling sh*t for him, and that’s in contact with people renowned for their own willingness and ability to supply sh*t to the media. Could it be that the accusation is sh*t itself?

    In a weird twist, Trump’s own spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson — a former spokeswoman for Cruz — is identified in the Enquirer piece as one of the alleged mistresses via a partially distorted photo that’s nonetheless clear enough. Pierson denies any relationship with Cruz....

    1. Story continues here:

      Ah shit, ha ha hah, this is the most entertaining politics of my lifetime....

      And, it's just beginning....

    2. The politics and folk like you, Bob, have become emblematic of the USA.

    3. You got no sense of political humor, potato butt, and don't recognize a great show when it smacks you in the face.

      Your loss, is all anyone can say.

    4. A great show with many important issues at stake.

  13. Strikes in Syria

    Attack aircraft conducted two strikes in Syria:

    -- Near Hawl, a strike destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Mar’a, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    Strikes in Iraq

    Attack and fighter aircraft conducted 11 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL tunnel entrances.

    -- Near Haditha, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL staging areas.

    -- Near Hit, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL rocket rail.

    -- Near Mosul, a strike destroyed two ISIL assembly areas.

    -- Near Qayyarah, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL mortar positions, an ISIL supply cache, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL fighting position, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL mortar position and two ISIL assembly areas and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Tal Afar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Waleed, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    1. WASHINGTON, March 25, 2016 — To accelerate operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, it may be necessary to send more U.S. service members to Iraq, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.

      Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford told the Pentagon press corps that in the coming weeks DoD will present to President Barack Obama a series of recommendations to further enable support to the counter-ISIL forces.

      Dunford, who briefed the press alongside Defense Secretary Ash Carter, said they both “believe that there will be an increase to the U.S. forces in Iraq in the coming weeks, but that decision hasn’t been made.”

      President’s Decision

      Any decisions the president makes will be done in the broader context of what needs to happen to maintain momentum against ISIL, “and what specifically do we need to do to enable operations in Mosul,” the chairman said.

      A Marine Corps artillery unit based in Makhmur, Iraq, is part of the support to Iraqi forces. The Marines are providing fire support to Iraqi forces isolating ISIL forces in Mosul, Dunford said. “From my perspective, this is no different than aviation fires we’ve been delivering,” he said. “This happens to be surface fires, or artillery, but certainly no different conceptually than the fire support we’ve been providing to the Iraqis all along.”

      Mosul Battle

      The battle for Mosul will be tough, the chairman said, but he stressed that Iraqi forces will be the ones fighting that battle.

      “We will be in a position to provide advise, assist and enabling capabilities to make them successful,” he said.

    2. The counter-ISIL campaign is more than the effort in Iraq and Syria. The attacks in Brussels, Paris, San Bernadino, California, Ankara, Turkey and elsewhere highlight the need for more and better intelligence sharing, the chairman said. “From a military-to-military perspective, we’ve significantly increased our information- [and] intelligence-sharing over the last few months, and we have specific locations where we bring together a number of our coalition partners to do just that,” Dunford said.

      Foreign Fighters

      U.S. officials believe that there are citizens of more than 100 countries who have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join the terrorist group. The chairman said it is hard to know, but estimates exceed 35,000 foreign fighters in the region.

      “In my judgment, unless all the countries that are affected by the foreign fighters are cooperating at the law enforcement, the intelligence community level and the military level, we won't have the site picture … necessary to take effective action against these individuals prior to attacks, like the one we saw in Brussels this week,” he said.

      Dunford stands by his statement that counter-ISIL forces have the momentum. Whether measured in terms of the ground ISIL holds or the resources it can call upon, counter-ISIL forces are making progress in both Iraq and Syria, the chairman said.

      “We’ve made a dent in the resources. We’ve started to affect their command and control in a negative way. I think we've begun to undermine the narrative,” Dunford said.

    3. But ISIL is still able to launch terrorist attacks abroad and conduct guerilla operations in the region, he said.

      “I think the momentum is in our favor,” the chairman said. “I think there are a lot of reasons … for us to be optimistic about the next several months. But by no means would I say that we’re about to break the back of ISIL or … that the fight is over.”

      Mo Troops

  14. If Obama hadn't taken all the troops they wouldn't be talking about putting them back in now.

    That is the sad truth of the situation.

    And if Hillary hadn't monkeyed around in Libya there wouldn't be ISIS taking hold there.

  15. Replies
    1. Huffpost Pollster

      Hillary Clinton 50.0%

      Donald Trump 40.3%


    2. Chances of Hillary indictment -

      Moderately high, and rising.

  16. Pentagon: Senior ISIS Leaders Likely Killed In U.S. Operation

    Ash Carter said on Friday that the group’s top finance officer and several other top figures were likely killed.

    WASHINGTON, March 25 (Reuters) - Islamic State’s second in command and other senior leaders were likely killed this week in a major offensive targeting financial operations, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Friday, the latest in a series of setbacks for the militant group.

    Carter told a Pentagon press briefing the United States believes it killed Haji Iman, a senior leader in charge of finances for the self-declared caliphate, and Abu Sarah, who Carter said was charged with paying fighters in northern Iraq.

    U.S. Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the briefing the deaths reflected “indisputable” new momentum in the fight against Islamic State.

    U.S. special forces carried out the strike against Haji Iman, officials told Reuters. One of the officials said that plan was to capture, not kill, him but a decision was made to fire from the air.

    Coalition soldiers rarely operate in Islamic State-held parts of Iraq, where there are no friendly forces to help if a mission runs into trouble.

    Dunford said he expected to increase the level of U.S. forces in Iraq from the current 3,800 and bolster the capabilities of Iraqi forces preparing for a major offensive against Islamic State in Mosul, but that those decisions had not been finalized.

    “We are systematically eliminating ISIL’s cabinet,” Carter said, using another acronym for the group.

    The strike comes amid growing pressure on Islamic State, which is steadily losing territory in Iraq and Syria to U.S.-backed forces.

    While the operational significance of removing Haji Iman from the battlefield is not yet clear, it is the latest in a series of strikes against the group’s top leaders, including Abu Omar al-Shishani, described by the Pentagon as the group’s “minister of war,” and a senior Islamic State chemical weapons operative captured by Iraq-based U.S. commandos and turned over to the Iraqi government.

    Carter said the killing of Haji Iman, who also went by Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli and other aliases and who was imprisoned in the region until 2012, would hamper the group’s ability to operate inside and outside of Iraq and Syria. But he conceded that alone was not sufficient to cripple it.

    1. “These leaders have been around for a long time. They are senior, they’re experienced, and so eliminating them is an important objective and it achieves an important result,” he said. “But they will be replaced and we’ll continue to go after their leadership and other aspects of their capability.”

      U.S. officials said they were helping Iraqis prepare for a major operation in Mosul to take back territory from Islamic State, which aims to establish a caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

      U.S. Marines were providing artillery fire at the request of Iraq to help support Iraqi forces moving into new positions, they said. They stressed Iraqi forces were carrying out the assault and said the U.S. military was not digging in for a larger ground combat role.

      Carter said Haji Iman had been involved in external affairs for Islamic State and played a role in recruiting foreign fighters but could not confirm that he had anything to do with this week’s deadly attacks in Brussels, which killed 31 people.

      “It’s a big blow to IS,” said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and Middle East expert at the Brookings Institution think tank. “He has been an important figure going back to a decade ago during Abu Musaib Zarqawi’s era in creating what became ISIS,” he said, using another acronym for the group.

      Carter did not explain how the United States has been able to successfully target Islamic State leaders like Haji Iman and al-Shishani.

      But the military’s recent successes suggest that bounties on the group’s leaders are yielding tips from members of Islamic State’s top command, said Hisham al-Hashimi, an advisor to the Iraqi government on Islamic State.

      The United States offered a reward of up to $7 million for information about Haji Iman, according to the State Department website.

      Dunford said the U.S. military had significantly increased sharing intelligence with European militaries in recent months as authorities sought to stem the tide of foreign fighters streaming into Iraq and Syria.

      He said fighters from more than 100 countries were now in Syria and Iraq and there were estimates the total exceeded 30,000. Greater cooperation was needed by all those countries to avert attacks like the ones in Brussels, he said.


  17. The truth (and lies) behind why Hillary is unfit to be president

    By Lisa Boothe (@LisaMarieBoothe) • 3/23/16 12:01 AM

    With the mainstream media focused on Donald Trump's political antics, they have mostly ignored the question of whether Hillary Clinton is ethically fit to be president.

    Not only is Clinton a documented liar, but she could make history as the first major party candidate to face a federal criminal prosecution. Even without a prosecution, the damage that has been done to her public image may be beyond repair.

    Whitewater. Travelgate. Chinagate. Monica Lewinsky. Gennifer Flowers. The Clinton Foundation. Benghazi. These are just a few of the scandals that have made the Clinton name synonymous with deceit and duplicity. But it is her use of a private email server and email account that have permanently branded Hillary Clinton as a liar.

    The scandal is simple to understand. It raises questions about her motives behind setting up a private server and judgment as secretary of state. Since she held her first press conference almost a year ago to address the matter, the scandal has dogged the Clinton campaign. From lying about why she created a homebrew server to the classified information that was found on it, Clinton has lied to the American people and played them for fools.

    But unlike her husband, whose charisma and likability have helped him dodge past scandals, Clinton's off putting personality has allowed this scandal to stick. Authenticity has long been a problem for Clinton. During a 2008 ABC debate her likability was called into question by a moderator. Then-senator Barack Obama's responded by quipping that Clinton was "likeable enough." Focus groups this election cycle have proven that that label has stuck. A Bloomberg focus group of voters found her to be "off putting" and "bitchy."

    Hillary and her defenders are doing their best to dismiss the scandal. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz recently said, "This election is not about Hillary Clinton's emails." But that argument falls flat when 1 in 5 voters believe you are either dishonest or a liar.

    The gut reaction of many Americans is not to trust Clinton, and that was made clear in exit polling from New Hampshire. Among the 34 percent of New Hampshire Democratic voters who listed honesty as the most important trait in a candidate, 92 percent voted for Sanders, and just 6 percent for Clinton.

    Voters distrust Clinton with good reason. She has repeatedly looked them in the eye and told bald-faced lies. But it is the callousness and ease with which she lies that should be more troubling. Despite the murders of four Americans at the hands of terrorists while serving as secretary of state, Clinton claimed we "didn't lose a single person" in Libya under her watch. She has even had the gall to call one of the victim's mothers a liar, even though we know it was Hillary who lied about the cause of the Benghazi terrorist attack.

    The damage from the email scandal will follow her until Election Day. News like the Justice Department's recent granting of immunity to her former State Department staffer and reports that FBI Director James Comey is increasingly convinced that Clinton broke the law will continue to haunt her like the memory of our four dead Americans in Libya.

    At a time of increased national security threats, Americans should not have to worry about the honesty and integrity of their president. When voters head to the polls this November, they should take pause and consider not just the candidates' policy platforms and experience but also whether they are ethically fit to be president of the United States.

    Lisa Boothe is a contributing columnist for the Washington Examiner and president of High Noon Strategies


    2. I usta think Nikki Haley was cute and smart.
      Now I think she's a dumb cunt.

      Mia Love for POTUS!

    3. I agree with that but I think she's not eligible to be President.

      If that means anything any more. It certainly does seem to.


      Mia Love for President !

      She's wonderful

    4. It certainly doesn't seem to.

  18. In India they drive on the left side of the road -

    Left side of the road driving nations:

    Channel Islands
    Hong Kong
    Isle of Man
    Malta Malaysia
    New Zealand
    South Africa
    United Kingdom

    All other countries drive on the right.

    Though in Mumbai, India it is often said they drive on whichever side of the road is easiest.

  19. If

    This Chart

    is meaningful, the GDP Numbers are mostly crap.

    I know where I come down.

    1. Another Chart

      that bears no resemblance to the "gdp" myth.

    2. .

      Is there a point? Where do you come down? And on what? And what is the "gdp" myth?


    3. He comes down wherever he happens to be when the pills wear off.

  20. I drive down the middle of the road, I'm an Independent.

    18 stories high and still burning, fire at landfill exposes India's growing trash crisis

    An image captured by a NASA satellite shows a blaze at a landfill on the outskirts of Mumbai, India, in January 2016. (NASA)

  21. BC Alexis
    Given Belgium's unusual ethnic and linguistic divisions – Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia have different school systems, parliaments and even health regulations – Ouassari joked that he and others with immigrant origins are better Belgians than those whose families have lived on this territory for centuries.

    “Belgium is very fragmented. You have people who are Walloon, Flemish,” he said. “We don't have this problem in our minds – we're Belgian.”

    So Muslims in Belgium are now saying that they feel more Belgian than ever. If they had said this twenty years ago, it might have made a difference, but it's late now. Very late. It won't be very much fun to be a Belgian when there is no Belgium to call home. Muslims may very well become the last Belgians alive when Wallonia and Flanders go their separate ways. It is far wiser to feel loyalty to a state that exists than to only start feeling loyalty to it once it is mortally wounded.

  22. Gallup is an Outlier.

    The RCP Average for Obama approval is -2.8

    1. He's not down as much as he was because people can see the end of him and are giving him a little break.

    2. NO, it's Not.
      RCP Average is +2.5

      48.9 Approve

      46.4 Disapprove


    3. This one

      Says - 2.8

      Where's your link?

    4. They go from plus 5 to minus 11!

      Don't think I'd bet on any one.

    5. Are you blind?

      it says "RCP"

    6. Yours goes all the way back to Jan. 21st.

    7. You're right.
      Indicating a thoroughly brainwashed citizenry.
      Obama: 'There's Little Difference Between Communism and Capitalism'

    8. According to Obama then, there is little difference between slavery and freedom.

      Thomas Sowell has wondered whether Obama is a socialist or fascist.

      There isn't much difference there, either.

    9. We do know what Hillary is - she is an opportunistic liar from birth and a corruptocrat.

    10. She also endangered national security with her e-mails, has lied about that, and owns Libya.

      Plus she harassed BillyGoat's bimbo erupters, among many other things.

      BillyGoat's days of sexual harassment and rape may finally be over.

      From the look of him, as confused as he is, chewing his cud, eyes vacant, I doubt he could find his zipper.

      I call her America's very own 'Livia Drusilla'.