Saturday, April 8, 2017


President Trump has vowed to destroy ISIS. The coalition offensive to retake Mosul and Raqqa is on the way. But removing the Sunni vanguard creates a power vacuum that will give the Iranian opponents free reign for more terror. With President Trump, the reinvigorated coalition is tasked with shaping a new paradigm for peace in the larger Middle East. 

UPDATE: A few random observations. It is unclear who used the chemical weapons, but this much is certain: the Assad forces bombed the hospital where the victims were being treated, probably in an effort to cover up the attack. While the West likes to believe the war in Syria is about democracy versus tyranny (which it is not!), the larger conflict is about Shia versus Sunni Islam, or on the level of states, between Iran and the Sunni Arabs. Morality is not going to help us make sense of this conflict. It is also true that in foreign policy, states do not have friends. They have interests and allies. Aside from the morality concerning the use of chemical weapons, there is still the issue of the violation of (internal) agreements and treaties. While it is debatable if there is such a thing as international law, contracts are still legally binding documents. Russia and Syria are signatories to the Geneva convention. Russia is in serial violation of weapon treaties. This is not happening in a vacuum. There is a context.

Since the chemical weapons were used by one party or another, it has become clear that Obama, John Kerry and Susan Rice were lying when they said that they got the CW out of Syria. The larger concern is the nuclear agreement that Western countries signed with Iran. (Live Blog) Imagine how bad the Iran nuclear deal really is after the whopper they told about removing all hundred percent of CW in Syria! Taking for granted "the declared" WMD is criminally naive, especially in the case of Iran and nuclear weapons.

Oct 31, 2014 Secretary of State John Kerry on CHARLIE ROSE.

April 7, 2017


Let's start by stripping last night's tomahawk missile strikes on Assad's airbases from emotions and war porn. As moved as President Trump may have been earlier this week by the chemical attack on Idlib's little babies; the Geneva Convention niceties and doubts about the actual source -- the Assad regime or staged deception by the "White Helmets" -- the attack was a geopolitical master stroke by President Trump. He told the world that the Obama era is over and Pax Americana is back. With one fell swoop he not just incapacitated ten percent of Assad's airforce, but also staked out his position on a number of geostrategic questions:

  • Russia and its client state run by Assad have been put on notice on international treaties (on chemical weapons). 
  • The strikes on Syria came after dinner coffee with the Chicom President Xi Jingpin and were an accomplished fact well before breakfast. Now that's a way to take the initiative in difficult, far reaching negotiations with regard to trade as well as China's military build up in the South China Sea. Trump staked out a strong bargaining position. 
  • China and its client rogue state North Korea have been put on notice.
  • The situation in the Middle East is changing rapidly. With the war on ISIS shortly done, its Shia opponents who are just as evil, will have free reign in the power vacuum. Therefore the balance of power must be restored. Iran has 100,000 troops in Syria. The Russia/Iran/Syria axis and the Sunni allies have been told that the US means business and will follow through. The US will not accept the Iranian expansionism as Obama did. 
  • Trump prepared the ground for his vision of a new paradigm for peace in the Middle East as discussed this week in the White House with the Egyptian President Al Sissi and Jordan's King Abdullah. 
On the domestic front the Democrats can't be swayed from their carefully built up "Russian collusion" narrative that was designed to delegitimize President Trump. They have already found a solution to salvage it from last night attack on Putin ally, Assad: well, he did give the Russians notice, didn't he? There, fixed it!

As for the Trumpers of the Libertarian persuasion, they are reverting to the pacifist fallacy in a kneejerk reaction. They don't look at the bigger picture and see only an isolated act of war. They will probably never get the conceptual nuances of force. Their moral makeup won't allow it: force is aggression and morality is subjective. You can't help them with this mindset. But what did they think "peace through strength" meant?

Those engaged in the gentle art of reading White House "Kremlinology" fail to understand the man, Donald J. Trump. They don't credit him with free will. Everything he does is ascribed to the influence of one adviser or another: Bannon versus Ivanka, KellyAnne versus Priebus, etc. Folks, that's not who Trump is. He may take a broad spectrum of advice, but it is Trump and only Trump who will take a final decision, taking the ultimate responsibility for it.

March 11, 2017

Candidate Donald Trump has vowed to destroy ISIS. The Pentagon is sending 500 US Special Forces to Syria with likely more on a temporary basis. There are also thousands more deployed to Kuwait to support the fight against ISIS. In Afghanistan, there are currently about 8,400 U.S. troops. The coalition offensive to retake Raqqa is expected to begin in coming weeks. 


UPDATE: More U.S. troops could deploy overseas in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the ongoing war in Afghanistan, the top commander in the region said Thursday. The Pentagon has authorized about 500 U.S. special operations forces to be deployed in Syria, but Army Gen. Joseph Votel said there might be the need for additional conventional U.S. forces to help stabilize Raqqa after local Syrian forces push ISIS out of its de facto capital there. “I think as we move towards the latter part of these operations into more of the stability and others aspects of the operations, we will see more conventional forces requirements, perhaps,” said Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command.

(...)  The coalition offensive to retake Raqqa is expected to begin in coming weeks. The U.S. has been providing airpower for the Syrian Democratic Forces – an Arab-Kurdish coalition of local militias – as they isolate the city in advance of the offensive. A Pentagon proposal sent to the White House last week reportedly includes U.S. forces providing attack helicopter and artillery support. A U.S. Marine contingent with artillery has recently deployed into northern Syria, to help with the offensive, according to the Washington Post. (...)

The deployment of more U.S. troops in the fights against ISIS and the Taliban would be the continuing reversal of troop drawdowns began by former President Obama. (...) When Obama left, there were about 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, with several thousands more deployed on a “temporary” basis, and about 500 authorized for Syria, with likely more on a temporary basis. There were also thousands more deployed to Kuwait to support the fight against ISIS. In Afghanistan, there are currently about 8,400 U.S. troops. (Source)

Jan. 30, 2017


Egyptian President Fattah Abdel Al Sisi has already established a productive relationship with President Trump, both before and after the election. Al Sisi has brokered negotiations with King Salman of Saudi Arabia to find a solution to the Syrian crisis, which is in effect a war of the Saudis and the Qataris against Russo-Iranian gas interests. While liberals were having hystrionics about Trump's extreme vetting Executive Order, the President was on the phone with King Salman who agreed to a primary expressed policy position of President Trump. Saudi Arabia will support and finance safe zones within Syria. This is a big, big deal. Russia is known to disagree with the safe zones solution. To be continued.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, in a phone call on Sunday with U.S. President Donald Trump, agreed to support safe zones in Syria and Yemen, a White House statement said. Trump, during his presidential campaign last year, had called for Gulf states to pay for establishing safe zones to protect Syrian refugees. A statement after the phone call said the two leaders agreed on the importance of strengthening joint efforts to fight the spread of Islamic State militants. 
“The president requested and the King agreed to support safe zones in Syria and Yemen, as well as supporting other ideas to help the many refugees who are displaced by the ongoing conflicts,” the statement said. […] 
A senior Saudi source told Reuters the two leaders spoke for over an hour by telephone and agreed to step up counter-terrorism and military cooperation and enhance economic cooperation. (...)
The source said Saudi Arabia would enhance its participation in the U.S.-led coalition fighting to oust Islamic State from its strongholds in Iraq and Syria. 
The White House statement said the two leaders also agreed on the need to address "Iran’s destabilizing regional activities."  SPA also mentioned Trump and the King had similar visions on “confronting whomever seeks to destabilise security and stability in the region and interfere in the affairs of other countries,” an apparent reference to Riyadh’s arch-foe Iran. 
Both countries share views about Iranian policies in the region, the Saudi source said, suggesting Trump agreed with Riyadh’s suspicion of what it sees as Tehran’s growing influence in the Arab world. Iran denies it meddles in Arab countries. (read more)
In addition to Al Sisi there are modern entities within the Gulf States, specifically the UAE, who will understand and support a more strategic White House relationship. Predictably, Qatar, the worst of the bunch, will be excluded if they don’t fall in line. The Gulf States have grown more open in their admonishment of the actions under the table of those holding extremist views.

When Qatar expelled the five leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, this was an early indication that Sisi’s moderate ideological influence was empowering push back. The Gulf States rallied around Sisi’s call for expulsion. A move by King Salman (Saudi Arabia) to support the safe zones in Syria and Yemen is evidence of Sisi’s growing alliance holding more influence. King Abdullah (Jordan) is already on team Sisi. This is good news for everyone who wants to see Islamic extremist elements confronted and removed. (Source)