• Obama has No ISIS Strategy

    September 16, 2014

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Military, Syria

    Obama said a week ago he did not have a strategy to combat ISIS, and that now he does. He was right the first time.

    Oh, History

    The United States ignored ISIS for months. Then out of nowhere a complex situation morphed into a struggle to save the Yazidis from so-called genocide, requiring special forces and air strikes. The Yazidis disappeared from view, perhaps saved, certainly no longer needed as an emotional excuse to re-enter a war we had been told ended for America in 2011.

    ISIS beheaded journalist James Foley’s and another tail wagged its dog as surveillance flights commenced over Syria. It was a year ago that Obama asked Congress to approve air strikes there. They didn’t, largely in reply to a war-weary public. With the the subsequent beheading of another American journalist, an attack is back on deck.

    So finally action to dethrone Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, himself once accused of near-genocide by the United States? No. Now as we fight ISIS together, Assad has been rebranded. The issue of how action against ISIS will only strengthen Assad is set aside. Assad is supported by the Russians, whose interests in Syria are thus tacitly upheld by Washington even as a mini-Cold War rises in the Ukraine from the ashes of the last great struggle the United States claimed to have won.

    In Libya, site of a much-trumpeted Obama-Clinton lite-war success once upon a time, Islamic militants took over the abandoned American embassy and published photos of themselves swimming in the mission’s pool.

    And Iraq

    The United States issued Maliki’s replacement the same to-do list the United States issued Maliki since 2006– unite Iraq, and make it snappy, even as more troops are sent in. The blind man in the dark search for moderate Sunnis in Iraq to create a political solution will likely work out as well as it has in Syria. Iran, who won the 2003-2011 Iraq War with the installation of a pro-Tehran Shia government in Baghdad, is holding on to its victory, now with United States air power on its side.

    Only a few weeks ago the United States feared the Kurds might take advantage of the chaos in Iraq and declare themselves an independent nation. One strategy to forestall this was to choke off “illegal” Kurdish oil exports (on paper, Iraq’s oil profits are shared among Sunnis, Shias and Kurds, though the Shia government in Baghdad has not fairly divided the money.) In July, a court decision in Texas led to United States Marshals seizing $100 million worth of Kurdish crude. The Kurds are presently in such need of United States military help that they have shut up (for now) about independence. So, on August 25, the Texas court threw out the seizure order so as to allow the oil to be delivered. The Kurds also appear to have resumed direct oil sales to Israel. Independent sales weaken the central Baghdad government the United States claims to support, strengthen de facto Kurdish independence the United States does not want, and create a model for a someday autonomous Sunni state that learns to manipulate its own limited oil reserves.

    Ahead is a United States-brokered linking of Iraqi Kurd fighters with Syrian Kurd fighters, aimed at ISIS. This is of great concern to NATO-ally Turkey, who fears a pan-national Kurdish state.

    More Weapons

    Lastly, there are all those weapons the United States continues to scatter into the conflict. The fact that many of the current air strikes into Iraq are aimed at our own military equipment previously given to the Iraqi Army might in itself give pause to sending over more stuff. The shoulder-fired anti-air missiles ISIS captured inside Syria to use against American warplanes may have been slipped into “moderate” Syrian hands by the CIA, or were just picked up on the open market as weapons flooded out in the post-Qaddafi chaos the United States midwifed in Libya.

    Digging It Deeper

    Grasping at expediency is not a policy. Shifting to the greater-evil-of-the-day is a downward spiral. Not being able to articulate an end-game is a poor start. Obama did not create all these problems, but he certainly has done his part to make them worse.

    A canon of diplomacy is that nations act in their own self-interest. America is once again exceptional, as the Obama Doctrine for foreign policy reveals itself: There is no hole that can’t be dug deeper.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...


      All hail the new Axis of Evil: Syria-Iran-USA

      09/16/14 12:18 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      I believe that Obama did indeed create the Libyan mess of today. It was typical empire hubris of doing something because it can. Gaddafi was considered low hanging fruit and a few hearty shakes would be all it took (days, not weeks). The USA forgot about all the fruit that then lays on the ground attracting industrious wasps,

      09/16/14 12:25 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      “Stratego” requires some intelligence. Obama’s ISIS strategy requires willful ignorance.

      09/16/14 1:29 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      John Poole said… “It was typical empire hubris of doing something because it can. Gaddafi was considered low hanging fruit..”

      “We came..we saw..we picked..” H.Clinton 2013 ..fruit picker extraordinaire.

      Peter said..
      “America is once again exceptional, as the Obama Doctrine for foreign policy reveals itself: There is no hole that can’t be dug deeper.”

      Yeah, but I have a sneaking suspicion, someone, at some point is going to start filling it in over us, piss on it, and stake a sign saying..


      09/16/14 2:26 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      All empires die the same way. We’re just waiting for Caligula’s horse to arrive (was it named Hillariumus?)

      09/16/14 2:29 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Hillary is waiting for Catherine the Great’s horse.

      09/16/14 4:32 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      “Obama has No ISIS Strategy”… but the Pentagon apparently has a Fuck US strategy, as reported by the New York Times aka the War Party Propaganda Buruea:

      “Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress on Tuesday that he would recommend deploying United States combat forces against Islamic extremists in specific operations if the current strategy of airstrikes was not successful, raising the possibility of the kind of escalation that President Obama has flatly ruled out.”

      09/16/14 5:01 PM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...


      BS (Bush Shadow)!
      ISIS : US !!
      Damn DemWar Barack and his Coalition of the Wahabbi!!!

      09/16/14 8:33 PM | Comment Link

    • avedis said...


      At least some elected rep.s are coming to their senses. For example, Sen. Manchin (D-W.VA) says he will fight against arming Syrian rebels and against sending US troops into harms way against IS. Says he will go so far as to work to shut down the gov’t if the idiocy persists.

      Shutting down the federal gov’t seems to me to be the best remedy for most of what ails us (and yes, I can hear the cries of the infantile dependent urban neo-socialists, “but…..but FDA! and Hiways!”). I’m unsympathetic. Let the states take care of that. They don’t have war making power and they don’t devise retarded foreign adventures. The best thing that could happen to the US is that the federal gov’t shrivels into a mere husk of its current hulking monstrosity.

      OH, BTW, Obama is now sending troops and $100 million in aid (just for starters, I’m sure) to Africa to do something or another with ebola.

      Don’t we have problems at home that need attention? Is that the proper use of the military?

      WTF is happening in DC?

      09/16/14 8:44 PM | Comment Link

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