By James Lewis
President Obama has now sabotaged four decades of stability in the Middle East. First he pulled down the biggest pillar of peace, the Mubarak regime in Egypt; then he bombed Libya into the Dark Ages; and now he has paraded "My Army" and "My Navy" against the Assad regime in Syria, which is just as evil as the rebels.
The one thing Obama has never faced honestly is what everybody knows to be the real threat -- namely mullahs with nukes.
In the strangest twist of history, it is Obama the radical leftist who is now acting as the destabilizing warmonger in the Middle East, while Vladimir Putin may be emerging as a stabilizing peacemaker.
Nobody can figure out whether Obama is the most hapless bumbler in history, or whether there is some sinister purpose behind it all.
It could be both.
But just as big a surprise is Putin's emerging role as a peacemaker.
Last week, we saw the first step in that process, when Putin and Assad agreed to allow supervised surrender of Syria's chemical weapons. We can assume that Putin also assured Assad of his continuing support against American-supported al-Qaeda rebels, which makes the rebellion unwinnable.
Meanwhile, Egypt's new military ruler, General Al Sisi, is reaching out to Putin to help stabilize his position against the Muslim Brotherhood, the war fanatics whom Obama has been aiding.
The Saudis, seeing Iranian mullahs with nukes emerging 50 miles from their shores, are also looking to make a deal with Putin. They have a lot of oil and money, and they cannot trust their American ally anymore.
If America bugs out, Russia is the obvious nuclear protector for the Saudis. In international affairs, survival comes first.
Last year, Vladimir Putin paid a friendly visit to Israel, meeting with the Israeli cabinet in Jerusalem.
In the Syrian confrontation, Putin sent five warships to the Eastern Med, just as we did. Those naval ships are not up to U.S. standards, but nobody wants to see a clash of the titans. It's a no-win situation.
Finally, Russia may be the only nation that can scare the bejesus out of the mullahs. The reason for that is very simple: Putin does not make idle threats. Every single day for more than thirty years the mullahs have been chanting, "Death to Israel! Death to America!"
But they never chant "Death to Russia!" because under Tsar Vladimir Putin, they are afraid to do so. Putin can a very nasty enemy, with far more power than the mullahs have.
Putin can therefore wield more real power in the Middle East than Obama.
Look at his chips: he can threaten Iran, which nobody else dares to do with real credibility. He can offer protection to Saudi Arabia, scared to death of Iran, only 50 miles away from Mecca and Medina. He can supply Assad with all the weapons he needs to stay in power, just as long as the United States is willing to support the al-Qaeda rebels against Assad. And he has no particular beef with Israel. Putin is therefore a source of stability, not random overthrow of stable regimes.
America's decline as a serious international power goes directly to our failure to find a serious answer to mullahs with nukes. That lack of seriousness started with Jimmy Carter, and it got much worse with Obama. The Bushes kept respect for America alive in the Middle East, which respects only hard power. But Obama, Carter, and Clinton sabotaged us and even surrendered to militant Islamists.
Russia is now the strong horse, and we are the weak horse.
Our weakness is not in our military, which is still the best in the world.
Our weakness is in our lack of political will under Democratic presidents. We are unreliable in a harsh world that can't afford to risk flabby American presidents every four years.
Putin knows all about pushover liberals. He rose in the Soviet KGB to become the head of the East German arm of Soviet intelligence. The Soviets studied Western politics and penetrated West Germany at the highest levels of government. Our Democrats are useful idiots in Lenin's meaning of that term, and they are not mysterious to Putin. They can be rolled. To hardnosed KGB thugs they are ridiculously easy to manipulate.
That makes Vladimir Putin potentially the most powerful player in the Middle East. If the Saudis come to an arrangement with him, he can protect them against Iran. One possibility is for the Saudis to coordinate oil prices with Russia, to their mutual benefit.
Putin is a Russian nationalist, like the tsars. Russian rulers have long been nationalistic tyrants. The tsars were also the heads of the Russian Orthodox Church, in exactly the way Queen Elizabeth is still the titular head of the Church of England. The Tsars were religious tyrants.
If you google "Putin + Patriarch of Moscow," you'll get 360,000 hits, including fabulous news photos of Vladimir Putin kissing the ring of the patriarch, surrounded by those golden baubles they inherited from the Byzantine Empire. Look at those pictures, and you see Putin the tsar.
In Russian legend, even Ivan the Terrible ended up confessing his sins to the Orthodox Church. Putin is playing a role going back five centuries and more.
Russia needs a unifying ideology, and if it's not Communism, it has to be its ancient form of orthodox Christianity. The Soviets tried to extirpate the Orthodox Church for seventy years and failed.
To understand Putin the Peacemaker, consider two more facts.
1. Historically, all the Orthodox Christian churches were shaped by more than a thousand years of warfare against Muslim aggressors. Putin does not have to learn about Muslim aggression -- unlike Obama, who can't seem to get what everybody else understands. When Muslim terrorists attacked a full theater in Moscow and an elementary school in Beslan, Putin took a terrible revenge in Chechnya. The liberal media never covered that war, but you can look it up. Muslims fear Putin. He takes no prisoners.
2. Like the English royals, the Russian tsars styled themselves as the protectors of Christians in their own country and abroad. When Putin therefore expresses official Russian concern about vicious Muslim persecution of Christians in the Middle East, this is not just a shrewd political move. It is also a signal that everybody understands. The Orthodox Churches have ancient ties to Jerusalem, Damascus, and Istanbul, to name just three famous capital cities.
Putin is therefore adopting a traditional Russian approach to the world. He is a realist who plays big-power politics.
Putin cannot tolerate a Muslim fascist regime with a nuclear martyrdom complex. Putin knows about suicide bombers. Chechen suiciders were involved in two great terrorist disasters at the beginning of his rule, the Beslan elementary school massacre and the Moscow theater massacre. Putin can't doubt the danger of Muslim suiciders, unlike American leftists who keep trying to pretend that reality isn't what it is.
Vladimir Putin therefore knows in his very bones what Obama doesn't know: that suiciders with nukes are not acceptable.
Obama's pro-Muslim policies have to be driving the Kremlin batty these days. What is with this American president? The Russians can understand American leaders acting in our national interest. They can't figure out why this president seems to be empowering our sworn fanatical enemies: radical Sunnis in Arabia and radical Shi'ites in Iran.
Twelve years after 9/11/01, how dumb can these Americans be?
Iran is the only Muslim nation that has come unharmed out of the last five years of Obama. That fabulous Arab Spring never spread to Iran, which needs a spring cleaning much more than Syria, Libya, and Egypt. None of those Arab nations threatened the peace of the world. Iran does so every single day.
History is full of amazing twists and turns. The fall of the Soviet Union came as a surprise. The takeover of America by the radical left was a surprise. The miraculous coincidence of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II came as a surprise. The Islamist-radical left alliance is still a big surprise, even after five years of Obama.
Nobody expected the rise of Putin's Russia in its old historical role.
In politics, surprise is the rule.
Obama’s Foreign Policy: Theatre of the Absurd
By Ari Lieberman
“President” Bashar Assad of Syria has responded to President Obama’s demand for WMD disarmament with some demands of his own. First, he demands that the US drop its threats of use of force. Second, he demands that the US cease “arms deliveries to terrorists,” a euphemism for anyone wishing to overthrow Syria’s murderous warlord. Assad noted that once those demands are satisfied, he would be willing to provide “information” on his chemical weapons arsenal but only one month after becoming a signatory to an anti-chemical weapons convention.
Any analyst with the most basic rudimentary knowledge of Syria and Bashar Assad could have anticipated that Assad would not comply with any request for disarmament. Entertaining that notion demonstrates with utmost clarity how far removed from reality this administration has become. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the administration’s failed policies have drawn support from none other than former president Jimmy Carter, the man who introduced us to hyperinflation, who allowed 52 Americans to languish in a foreign prison for 444 days and whose answer to the energy crisis was to wear a sweater.
The President’s Middle Eastern follies commenced with his 2009 apology tour when he visited those democracy stalwarts of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iraq while ignoring America’s one and only true ally in the region, Israel. Then he coddled up to the Mid-East’s petty autocrats (who can forget the image of our president kneeling before King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia?) and assorted Islamists in a misguided effort to forge relationships with nations lacking in basic morality and who have as much in common with us as Adolph Hitler had with Winston Churchill.
The President’s mishandling of the so-called Arab Spring has had devastating regional consequences and has sewn mistrust among allies. Israel watches as America and the EU vacillate between threats of “measured” strikes and diplomatic malaise. Israelis see an administration paralyzed with fear and indecision, a characteristic that has been the hallmark of this administration since taking office five years ago.
There is now no doubt among Israel’s decision makers that it is alone when it comes to the Islamic Republic of Iran, much the same way as it was alone when Egypt blockaded the Straits of Tiran in 1967. No one can doubt that Israel’s formidable military is up to the task. The Israelis bought the world a few years of peace when they destroyed Iraqi and Syrian atom bomb facilities, and Israel’s resolve was further underscored by a series of devastating military strikes against Syria this year.
After years of pursuing a failed foreign policy, one characterized by appeasement to autocrats, the administration has belatedly come to realize that other than Israel, it has no reliable ally in the region. Egypt has been wracked by a surge of violence, Iraq and Afghanistan are unraveling, Jordan’s little king is impotent and is due to be next in line in the Arab Spring’s domino effect and Turkey’s Islamist leaders are mired in conspiracy theories involving Jews and the “interest rate lobby.” Despite this, the Palestinian-obsessed administration still appears to be hell-bent on pressuring Israel to negotiate with Palestinian Holocaust deniers and those who propagate ancient Passover blood libels.
The President’s amateurish foreign policies have become a source of derision and amusement in domestic as well as foreign circles. The Russians have out-maneuvered us. The Chinese are ignoring us. Our enemies are mocking us and our traditional allies have grown to become suspicious of us.
The President’s continued waffling on critical issues involving national security as well as his penchant for alienating bedrock allies will have devastating international repercussions and will only serve to embolden our enemies.
The End of U.S. Foreign Policy?
By Herbert London
President Obama's speech to the nation laid out his plan for a limited attack against Syrian President Assad and his use of sarin gas. He made his case with passion. But in conclusion, he asked Congress to postpone its vote on military action because of an apparent Russian proposal to dispose of Syria's poison gas in return for the prohibition of U.S. force.
The diplomatic minuet with Russia is not only odd, it is dangerous. For the first time in memory U.S. foreign policy is hostage to a presumptive enemy. If the U.S. agrees to the Russian proposal, Putin will have more influence over the future of Syria than he does at the moment. In fact, the U.S. will be emasculated in the Middle East.
Russian influence will increase with the sale of weapons to Assad and its diplomatic power to assure Assad's survival. It will be clear to Lebanon, Hezbollah, Iran and various radicals that Russia is the "strong horse" in the region.
President Obama has been outfoxed. He makes the case for limited military action and then says "not so fast. Let's see what the Russians can do for us." Either there is a case for military force or there isn't. Does President Obama believe the Russians are sincere? If so, is he willing to foreswear the use of force in Syria?
The choices now available to President Obama are damaging. If he acts, but doesn't undermine Assad, he will be seen as ineffectual. If he doesn't act, the U.S. will be perceived as a toothless tiger sending a signal to Iran that its pursuit of nuclear weapons will not be forestalled. Either there is a "redline" that cannot be crossed or there isn't.
Is the military strike President Obama referred to limited or not? The president argues our military force doesn't engage in pinpricks, but what does a limited strike mean? This confusion also yields to Russian interests since Putin will argue that the presence of Russian ships off the Syrian coast limits U.S. military options.
President Obama speaks as if he is the first American president that has advocated peaceful solutions in the Middle East. His reliance on Congressional support as a Constitutional obligation is hypocritical since he avoided seeking this form of approval when the U.S. bombed Libya. It is far more likely that he turned to Congress because he wants justification for not acting or at least placing the burden of a decision on others.
At one point, President Obama said "Assad has to go." However, if the Russian proposal is accepted, Assad is likely to stay. It is Putin's play to keep Assad in power and simultaneously ensconce his influence in the region and diminish the role of the United States. Moreover, it appears as if we will be beholden to Russia for taking Obama off the hook. It may well be that Assad might willingly give up his chemical weapons since their effect has already been realized. His Russian allies could compensate for the loss of this deadly weapon through a stockpile of conventional weapons.
The leverage Russia has obtained comes at the expense of a flaccid, ineffective American foreign policy. Syria's war will be remembered by historians a decade from now as the event that undermined U.S. foreign policy. The inability of the U.S. to define its interests; the contradictory message of the president; the indecisiveness of the administration are conditions inscribed on the policy blackboards of our enemies. Weakness is easily detected. From Tehran to Beijing, from Hezbollah to Moscow, the scoundrels are on the ascendency. U.S. foreign policy has disappeared in the sands of the Middle East. Now the globe is in flux and the relative equilibrium we enjoyed since World War II is shattered.
What will the next generation think or will they be able to think about foreign policy at all?
Obama Flees In Terror Over Putin Armageddon Threat
By Sorcha Faal
A very frightening report prepared by the Office of the President (OoP) on the machinations behind the United States rapid retreat from using military action against Syriastates that President Obama was “strongly dissuaded” from attacking this Middle Eastern nation after President Putin threatened that should America strike, “Armageddon would be unleashed.”
According to this report, Putin and Obama met last week in a private meeting during the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg wherein the Russian leader warned his American counterpart that Syrian leader Assad was “fully prepared” to destroy the Tagba Dam holding back Lake Assad on the Euphrates River which would cause the largest man-made catastrophe ever to occur in the Middle East.
Putin further offered to Obama, this report says, a “last chance” to avert a total meltdown of the Middle East, should the US attack Syria, Russian technical assistance to secure all of Syria’s chemical weapons under United Nations control in exchange for America not attacking.
Obama “quickly rebuffed” Putin’s offer and warning, this report continues, whereupon Russian diplomats notified the Assad regime who, “within hours,” then launched a series of air strikes against the Tagba Dam using Russian made KAB-500L-K-E – cluster warhead bombs, but “holding in reserve” the highly feared bunker buster KAB-1500L-Pr that is able to penetrate 10-20 meters of earth or 2 meters of reinforced concrete and would destroy the Tagba Dam completely.
Immediately after the Assad regimes attack on Tagba Dam, this report says, Obama’s main allies in this Syrian civil war, the National Coalition Of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and the Free Syrian Army (FSA), issued a joint statement stating that this attack paved the way for an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe after the Syrian Air Force poured cluster bombs all over the surroundings of the dam and warning that eastern Syria was among the regions at stake of a new catastrophe.
Important to note, this report says, are that the areas close to the Tagba Dam are within the borders of Raqqa in northern Syria and have been under the control since mid-March by various factions of the FSA supported by the Obama regime.
The Tagba Dam is 60 meters high and 4.5 kilometers long and is the largest dam in Syria. Its construction enabled the creation of Lake Assad, Syria’s largest water reservoir, and should the Assad regime carry through on its threat to destroy it, this report continues, not only will Syria suffer catastrophe, but also Iraq.
Speaking to the Anadolu News Agency, Iraqi Rava district council member Musnah Ismail claimed that Rava, Ane and Al-Qaem districts will be flooded in case of a collapse, putting at least 300 thousand lives at risk along the Syrian-Iraqi border.
Another Iraqi water resources official said they have taken necessary precautions against possible flooding of agricultural areas and houses as well as oil basins.
Iraqi officials also alert that a collapse of the Tagba Dam will jeopardize around 430 historical sites and artifacts including the Ane Castle dating back to the Abbasid reign and a number of caves from the Hellenistic period.
Critical to note, this report says, is that the water crisis in Syria cannot be viewed in any other terms than one of the main causes of this civil war, as faced with critical water shortages, Syrians crowding these farm towns since 2009 at the stare of this nations historic drought had started drilling deeper for fresh water in the aquifer beneath them.
Experts estimated that 60 percent of the aquifer has been lost due to illegal drilling, and a total of 177 million-acre feet of water disappeared, the second-largest aquifer loss in the world.
So dire has the situation become in the eastern parts of Syria, Jay Famiglietti, a hydrologist and leader of a study of seven years of NASA satellite data that show the Tigris-Euphrates region second only to India in the speed of its groundwater loss warned earlier this past month, “I actually don’t think the aquifer will recover.”
Internationally respected Israeli Professor Arnon Sofer, the head of the Chaikin geo-strategy group and a longtime lecturer at the IDF’s top defense college, where today he heads the National Defense College Research Center, further warned of this regions unprecedented population explosion aggravating its extreme water shortage by stating: “There is no example of this anywhere else on earth,” he said of the population increase. “Couple that with Syria’s water scarcity,” he said, “and as a geographer it was clear to me that a conflict would erupt.”
Important to note are that the events happening today in drought-hit Syria have happened before: In 1973, when Iraq rushed troops to Syria’s eastern border as upstream, Syria began filling its Tagba Dam with Euphrates water to create Lake Assad, and in 1967 when Israel launched its 6 Days War that began due to Israel’s policy of diverting water fromthe Jordan River down to the Negev Desert.
This angered Arabs, who threatened to stem the flow of water into Lake Galilee and Syria had begun earthworks to divert water away from Israel but these were bombed by Israel in 1965 and 1966, and which, in 1967, caused Israel to launch a full-scale war to protect its water rights.
Upon the US learning of Syria’s attack on the Tagba Dam, this report says, Obama ordered a halt to any military action and “quickly fled” to Putin’s side in seeking a peaceful resolution to this war, while at the same time, and as always, still failing to tell the American people the truth about what is really happening.
As Syrian forces have now retaken the ancient Christian village of Maaloula where this past weekend Obama regime backed rebels forced conversions to Islam under threat of death, this report concludes, it should not be ruled out that the Assad regime will eventually destroy the Tagba Dam anyway, which if done would effectively leave the rebel held areas of Syria a desolate wasteland and the Obama regime, along with its Western allies, bearing the monumental costs of supporting them.