President Barak Obama, A Russian light infantry could restore order in the north of Syria, and an American force, of at least equal strength, should be tasked with restoring order in the south of Syria. The introduction of both Russian and American forces in the region accomplishes several vital needs at this juncture. Not the least of which is to stop the cross border incursions from the north, west and the east into Syria.
It sends a signal that will heard loudly and clearly throughout the jihadist world, and that is that both the United States and Russia, jointly and severally, will no longer allow the spread of yet another fascist ideology to gain momentum, least the lessons of history will have been for naught, and yet another generation of Americans and Russians will have to pay the horrible price of restoring freedom.
Eric LaMont Gregory
America has two allies in the fight against the latest group bent on world domination, China and Russia
Eric LaMont Gregory
To weaken Russia at this juncture makes no sense whatsoever. Russia has been at the forefront of the struggle to contain radical Islamic jihadism.
On the fourth of January 2015, on one of the early Sunday morning national TV talk/news programs, the moderator asked the following question: Is ISIS moving into Afghanistan?
This author listened to the ensuing conversation on that program, in utter disbelief. And, it is difficult to know where to begin to unravel the nonsense that that statement, or rather question, represents.
An equivalent question would be, is al Qaeda moving into Afghanistan. ISIS and al Qaeda are one and the same, Sunni jihadist.
When Bush decided to invade Iraq in 2003, al Qaeda/ISIS moved into Iraq, and joined forces with the 35,000 strong Revolutionary Guard, who took off their uniforms, melted into the general Iraqi population and have been waging war on Americans and the Shi'ite population of Iraq (and now Syria) ever since.
I hope that I am not the only one who noticed this, but one of the individuals involved in the attack on the Paris-based satirical news journal claimed that the newspaper had also insulted the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
In September (2014) Vice President Biden announced that al-Baghdadi had been killed. There was also a similar announcement of the demise of al-Baghdadi in 2010.
In a rather upbeat April 2010 news conference, the first announced demise of al-Baghdadi, Vice President Joe Biden called the killing of the al Qaeda leaders al-Baghdadi and al-Masri in Iraq a - potentially devastating - blow to the al Qaeda network and said the operation signaled a significant improvement in Iraq's security and intelligence gathering.
A little knowledge of the actual words the attacker used, and an understanding of the organisation of al Qaeda/ISIS leads to the inevitable conclusion that the leader of ISIS will always bear the name al-Baghdadi.
A parallel might be stated this way. In November 1963, in Dallas, Texas, an American President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, was assassinated. A President was killed, but not the Presidency. The Presidency, the office, survived.
For reasons that are deeply rooted in the al Qaeda/ISIS Sunni jihadist world view, several individual leaders of ISIS who called themselves al-Baghdadi, may or may not have been killed, but the institution of someone continuing to adopt the name al-Baghdadi when assuming the leadership of ISIS is still very much alive.
There are two additional articles on this site that are must reading (if one wants a working knowledge on the current state of the Islamic World), The Islamic World - a primer for policy makers and, Rethinking the War on Terror.
*Links to those articles are located at the bottom of this page.
Biden was obviously soldiering and carrying the current administration's line on Iraq. But the vice president's erroneous assessment of that situation pails into insignificance when one considers the anti-Putin rhetoric of Secretary of State Kerry.
There is little mention, if any, that the economic sanctions' package against Russia also includes the names of several Ukrainian far-right extremist groups and individuals. Some Ukrainians on the sanctions lists burst into the offices of the Ukrainian Broadcasting Service and forced the head of that service to resign because he broadcast news stories of the brown shirt tactics being imposed by the far-right leaders of the Ukrainian uprising. Speaker of the House Boehner praised this same far-right group in a passionate speech from the podium of the US Congress, a speech in which the Speaker compared these individuals to the likes of American Revolutionary War leaders.
Kerry, in a speech before a thoughtful group of wealthy east coast Americans, suggested that Putin was trying to revive the Soviet Union. Well ... so much for the wisdom of Secretary Kerry.
In reality, America has two allies in the fight against the latest group bent on world domination, China and Russia.
Often, when I have made this statement in speeches, someone inevitably asks, what about Europe?
My response is that in the rather limited understanding of the current administration and most (most) of those seeking to occupy the residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue after the 2016 presidential plebiscite, our allies in this war include Europe and some vague notion of moderate Arab states.
However, considering NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, it simply does not make us stronger by counting the same forces twice, nor does the inclusion of Arab states teetering in their ability to hold on to power themselves.
To weaken Russia at this juncture makes no sense whatsoever. Russia has, in fact, been at the forefront of the struggle to contain radical Islamic jihadism, even while the Saudis were manipulating an American President into a fruitless fight against a mortally wounded Soviet Union.
To join forces with China and Russia in the fight against those whose goal is Islamic world domination, does not mean that we do not and cannot have disagreements, after all we are allies in a specific campaign and not co-joined at the hip, as it were.
A thoughtful and dispassionate look back at the Iran/Contra affair, and our blundering into Afghanistan, leads to the inescapable conclusion that the individual credited in American mythology with defeating Communism and bringing about an end to Cold War I, was blind to the growing Islamic jihadist extremism threat and actually helped to foster its entry on to the world stage, by demonstrating how easy it was to manipulate American foreign and military policy.
We are already fighting a worldwide war against Islamic extremism and largely alone. Whatever human rights issues the American administration and Congress have with China and Russia, they are amenable to discussion.
Our problem, the problem for open societies lie not in China or Russia, but in those societies where the very idea of majority rule and constitutionally protected minority rights are deemed incompatible with their world view.
To date, no western leader has been willing to state unequivocally that Muslims, who harbor the belief that Islam is superior to other religions, cultures, and governmental systems, and that Islamic superiority entitles Muslims to dominate, control, and rule non-Muslims, harbor a fascist ideology.
The question becomes, why are our democratic leaders, the champions of open society, not speaking out against fascism?
The original article, Rethinking Syria, written two years ago is reprinted below:
none dare call it fascism
Eric LaMont Gregory
Not too long ago, if one relied on the American press alone, the war in Syria was all but won by the rebels.
Assad would soon become but a memory, like Libya's Gaddafi and Mubarak in Egypt. There would be chaos, but with the non-specific aid the former American Secretary of State Clinton boasted about, the war was going steadily in favor of the near victorious rebels.
With American arm twisting, the Muslim Brotherhood shipped arms across the Turkish border into Syria, again according to the American press, those arms were going to the right rebels, or was it the good rebels.
American press reports that the Muslim Brotherhood was aiding the rebels were more apparent than real. In reality, the Muslim Brotherhood was arming its own kindred fighters, The Islamic State, whose numbers were steadily growing in Syria. And, when the press was not actually reporting from the area of the conflict, reprinting White House press releases did help fill their papers with international news.
While the Muslim Brotherhood with White House backing was shipping arms into Syria, they also shipped hundreds of missiles into Gaza through the Sinai. And, Americans think the Mexican border is open.
Turkey has its own problems and not merely with its Kurdish population. Although it was able to keep news of its collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood out of its local press, with such large overseas Turkish communities, that did not last for long. And, Turkey still wants to become a member of the European Community. Turkey, now fully aware that their forceful incursion into northern Iraq in the late 1990s, set their entry into Europe back at least a decade. And now, European leaders watch as Turkey gets sucked deeper and deeper into the Middle East abyss and Turkey’s prospects of entry into the European Community is being set back yet another decade.
Fully aware of the mounting crisis, the Turkish leader uses that wonderful electronic device that allows people to talk over long distances and calls President Obama and, the conversation goes something like this:
Mr. President, I know that backing the underdog in a fight is sort of an American heritage, but at the same time, since the only reason the Muslim Brotherhood wants a foothold in Syrian politics is to open up a second front from which to attack Israel. I therefore, fail to see how asking Turkey to help you in this affair is in the best interest of Turkey, American foreign policy, or peace in the Middle East.
Obama realizes that without Turkey’s active participation, the Muslim Brotherhood equation in Syria is at an end, and gets the Turkish and Israeli leader on the phone and they kill off Muslim Brotherhood involvement altogether. Israel then undertakes some very specific airstrikes targeting those places in Syria where the Muslim Brotherhood has substantial forces and weaponry, and to prevent the transfer of Syrian and Iranian advanced weapons to Hezbollah.
A lot of people had to die unnecessarily to get to this point, but we have arrived nonetheless. Obama had an opportunity to put pressure on the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt to shut off arms shipments into Gaza. And, make it reasonably clear to the Egyptian government that they cannot solve their enormous internal problems by shipping all their young who would otherwise be agitating for change at home, off to fight for the glory of Islam in some other country.
Naturally, when President Obama informed the Muslim Brotherhood that he had to rethink US aid to them, he had to make a deal with the Egyptian military. The deal was that America would turn a blind eye to a military takeover of a democratically-elected government and the roundup of Muslim Brotherhood leaders, which brings the cycle of Egyptian politics firmly back to the 1950s. And, Nasser's relentless fight with the Muslim Brotherhood, it's an old story - those who waited decades to take control get it and have no idea what to do with real power and power quickly eludes them.
While members of the US Senate openly suggest that an attack on Iran is imminent, one wonders what these Senators do not understand about the shifting tactics of the global jihadist revolutionary movement. The US Senate exists in an information vacuum of their own making; they do not trust (or cannot be seen to trust) the information they get from the Obama administration and the military is not talking to them.
Perhaps, the Strategic Studies Institute might be a source of information for them, since the director of that august body still believes that the US Senate has a small but important role to play in the foreign and military affairs of the United States.
In Syria, despite the cheer leading exercise McCain involved himself in, the rebels can no longer win. And, where are our staunch Congressional supporters of Israel? No matter what happens, they will be on the soapbox criticizing whatever this administration does, but where are their plans? Where is a Galbraith when we need one?
Is war so inevitable that all diplomatic initiatives have been silenced? The rebels are now trapped between the Syrian Army and Hezbollah fighters, and a growing Sunni front in association with Sunni jihadist Islamic State in Iraq. And, if current circumstances on the battlefield are allowed to run their course, the rebels will be slaughtered mercilessly. That is not, however, the only alternative.
What was the goal of the fighting in the first place?
The answer to that question very much depends on who you are and where you live. But, looking at the internal political situation in Syria, it was for reform of its administrative and political institutions, and to allow multiparty participation in decision making. If, that was the goal, that is why there is no longer a reason to continue to prosecute the war - Assad is forced to institute all those things, and there is no question about that fact. It was always an inevitable outcome.
We need an immediate cease fire, and to stop the slippery slope into an all-out war later this summer, during which time all foreign fighters will be permitted to leave Syria. And, it must be realized that those arrangements with the closing of the Turkish border become more problematic by the day - they would have to be evacuated by sea. There is no safe and dependable land alternative still available, other than into Iraq.
In the next few days, Obama needs to meet with Putin.
A Russian light infantry could restore order in the north of Syria, and an American force of at least equal strength should be tasked with restoring order in the south of Syria. The introduction of both Russian and American forces in the region accomplishes several vital needs at this juncture. Not the least of which is to stop the cross border incursions from the north, west and the east into Syria. It sends a signal that will heard loudly and clearly throughout the jihadist world, and that is that both the United States and Russia, jointly and severally, will no longer allow the spread of yet another fascist ideology to gain momentum, least the lessons of history will have been for naught, and yet another generation of Americans and Russians will have to pay the horrible price of restoring freedom.
Obama should be spending his time, making sure the rebels understand the game-changing nature of what is being put into place. And, one agency will be organized to undertake the humanitarian assistance that is sorely needed in an orderly and dignified manner. The circus of agencies that usually respond to these crises will simply not be allowed in Syria or any of its neighboring states.
All arms shipments into Syria will be stopped on the high seas and no country will be permitted to allow its airspace to be used for the shipment of arms to that conflict zone.
The foregoing is a consensus of opinion among many Americans, Europeans, moderate Arab states and Israel.
And, an immediate Bosnian-War-like multi-lateral cease fire for the delivery of humanitarian assistance would prove most helpful in this situation.
The missing ingredient is that at some point, a superpower has to behave like a superpower.