Another US journalist beheaded by ISIS

**Posted by Phineas

Murdered by ISIS

Murdered by ISIS

(Photo source)

The savages of the “Islamic State” have sent another message to the United States:

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit against the backdrop of an arid Syrian landscape, [Steven] Sotloff was threatened in that video with death unless the U.S. stopped airstrikes on the group in Iraq.

In the video distributed Tuesday and entitled “A Second Message to America,” Sotloff appears in a similar jumpsuit before he is beheaded by an Islamic State fighter.

As Bryan Preston of PJ Media points out, our leaders have once again been caught unaware. Maybe they’re still trying to figure out a strategy for dealing with medieval lunatics who are butchering Americans. If Obama and his team are having trouble doing that, let me offer a suggestion:

Hunt these swine down and kill every last one of them.

UPDATE: At the end of the video of Sotloff’s beheading, ISIS shows another captive, Briton David Cawthorne Haines. The implication is clear: unless the US stops its airstrikes, Mr. Haines will be slaughtered like James Foley and Mr. Sotloff.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Let’s remember how #JamesFoley lived, but also how he was brutally murdered

James Foley

Photojournalist James Foley

For those of you who were under the radar and missed this horrifying news from earlier this week:

In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded American journalist James Foley – and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. Even so, the U.S. military pressed ahead, conducting nearly a dozen airstrikes in Iraq since Tuesday.

[…]

Foley, 40, from Rochester, New Hampshire, went missing in northern Syria in November 2012 while freelancing for Agence France-Presse and the Boston-based media company GlobalPost. The car he was riding in was stopped by four militants in a contested battle zone that both Sunni rebel fighters and government forces were trying to control. He had not been heard from since.

The beheading marks the first time the Islamic State has killed an American citizen since the Syrian conflict broke out in March 2011, upping the stakes in an increasingly chaotic and multilayered war. The killing is likely to complicate U.S. involvement in Iraq and the Obama administration’s efforts to contain the group as it expands in both Iraq and Syria.

The group is the heir apparent of the militancy known as al-Qaida in Iraq, which beheaded many of its victims, including American businessman Nicholas Berg in 2004.

The video released on websites Tuesday appears to show the increasing sophistication of the Islamic State group’s media unit and begins with scenes of Obama explaining his decision to order airstrikes.

It then cuts to a balding man in an orange jumpsuit kneeling in the desert, next to a black-clad militant with a knife to his throat. Foley’s name appears in both English and Arabic graphics on screen. After the captive speaks, the masked man is shown apparently beginning to cut at his neck; the video fades to black before the beheading is completed. The next shot appears to show the captive lying dead. The video appears to have been shot in an arid area; there is no vegetation to be seen and the horizon is in the distance where the sand meets the gray-blue sky.

At the end of the video, a militant shows a second man, who was identified as another American journalist, Steven Sotloff, and warns that he could be the next captive killed. Sotloff was kidnapped near the Syrian-Turkish border in August 2013; he had freelanced for Time, the National Interest and MediaLine.

I was on Twitter when news of Foley’s murder broke.  The expressions of outrage towards his killers, the condolences posted to his family – all were understandable. For a brief moment, I joined in with the calls for people to always remember how he lived, and to put out of mind how he died.  It seemed fitting at the time. But as the week went on, and the more I thought about it, the more I concluded that – while it is indeed important to remember Foley’s work as a photojournalist, something he felt called to do in war-torn countries like Syria, Libya and Iraq, it was also vitally important to keep his murder fresh in people’s minds as a reminder of just how radicalized the “religion of peace” has become, and how we simply cannot continue the policy of appeasement towards Islamofascists that has taken place under the Obama administration.

Like many, I have not been impressed AT ALL with the “official response” communicated by the Obama administration to Foley’s brutal murder, because there is a continued insistence by them and other dangerous liberal moral relativists that terrorists like ISIS simply “pervert” the Islamic faith.  There’s the implication that if we stop and try and “understand” these inhumane swine who behead innocents in the name of “Allah” and bury alive rape victims as punishment in countries like Iran then maybe we could all just “get along”, sing “Kumbaya” and all that.

No.  I wrote this in 2010, and I still believe it to this day:

For a brief time long ago, I used to subscribe to the belief that there was a “moderate” element to Islam. I don’t anymore. Yes, there are Muslim Islamists out there who are not hateful, who are respectful of the religious beliefs and faiths of others, etc, but my opinion is that these Muslims are not full-fledged Islamists – and that’s a good thing. There is hope for that minority of Islamists that they can turn away from the evil “religion” we know as Islam.

That is, if they’re not murdered first.

No, Mr. President – I will not be “tolerant” of this religion, not in any way, shape, form, or fashion. Doesn’t mean I’ll get violent, but it DOES mean that I will speak out strongly against it, loudly and often. Islam, which is the law of the land in many Muslim countries via the use of the Koran as their “standard,” stands for everything we’re supposed to be against. Secularists and non-secularists alike can see this. It’s a crying, outrageous shame that you and so many of your fellow “enlightened” liberals do not.

If Foley’s sickening, torturous death does not wake people up as to the horrors of radical Islam, perhaps the ongoing persecution of non-believers by ISIS will:

Reports coming in from Sinjar, a small town that was once home to Iraqi minority community, Yazidis, suggest that the Islamic State militants are carrying out a “genocide” in the town.

For the Sunni militants, the Yazidis are a race of “devil worshipers” and killing them would only amount to a “holy act.”

The 4,000-year-old religious group has faced persecution for centuries for its unique belief and practices.

Earlier on Sunday, the Islamic State captured the town after driving away the Kurdish forces in the region. Witnesses claim that the militants are executing dozens of Yazidis for refusing to convert to Islam.

The Gulf News report claimed that 67 young men were shot dead by the militants. Besides executing the Yazidis, the Al Qaeda offshoot, is also reportedly taking Yazidi women for “jihad” marriage.

Mohammed al-Khuzai, an official with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society told NYTimes that ISIS took more than 100 Yazidi families to the airport at the nearby town of Tal Afar, where it executed the men.

“ISIS killed all the men,” Khuzai said, “and are planning to keep the women for jihad marriage.”

Reports have also come in claiming that the Islamic State militants have forcefully taken away a large number of children from the Yazidi town. A resident told McClatchy DC that militants were taking away young children from their families. 

Several Sinjar local government and municipal workers also have been executed by the ISIS. 

And then there are the Iraqi Christians. And the Syrian Christians.  I could go on and on, but you get the disturbing picture.

It’s time for world leaders to stop being silent, time to stop sitting back hoping the problem will just “go away.” Time for “leaders” here at home to stop largely ignoring the issue or downplaying because it’s “not happening here.”  Time for dangerous left wing moral relativists like the President, Reps. Keith Ellison, and Sheila Jackson Lee to stop playing the religious equivalency games.  Condemn it, call it out, STOP making excuses for it, stop rationalizing it. Stop putting it “in its proper context.”  9/11 wasn’t the first time radical Islam used its might to kill innocents in its quest to punish “infidels”, and James Foley’s beheading won’t be their last radical act of cold, sickening brutality, either. Pretending otherwise on all counts will only ensure that more will die.  

ISIS proclaims Caliphate; H. Beam Piper nods

**Posted by Phineas

Seal of the new Caliphate

Seal of the new Caliphate

Bringing the medieval into the modern world, the psychotic jihadis of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have declared their leader “Caliph,” the ruler of all Muslims:

An offshoot of Al-Qaida which has captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself an Islamic “Caliphate” and called on factions worldwide to pledge their allegiance, a statement posted on jihadist websites said on Sunday.

The move is an expansion of the group’s ambitions to wage a holy war and posed a direct challenge to the central leadership of Al-Qaida, which has already disowned it.

The group, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) also known as ISIS, has renamed itself “Islamic State” and proclaimed its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghadi as “Caliph” – the head of the state, the statement said.

“He is the imam and khalifah (Caliph) for the Muslims everywhere,” the group’s spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani said in the statement, which was translated into several languages and an Arabic audio speech.

The move is significant, since many Islamists believe the Muslim world has lost its way since the end of the Caliphate in 1924. And the new pretender’s name has meaning, too: Abu Bakr was the first Caliph, ruling the Muslims after Muhammad’s death. Thus, taking his name is both an announcement of Islamic renewal and a harkening back to a supposed time of purity, which is a goal of Salafis.

The birth of the new Islamic State and the proclamation of a new Caliphate is an existential challenge to the states and their boundaries established on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, rooted in the Sykes-Picot agreement between Britain and France. Bear in mind that, under Islamic law, only the Caliph can declare on offensive jihad (1). If IS takes Baghdad, then Saudi Arabia and Jordan should watch out.

Will the new caliphate be a direct threat to us? Almost certainly, if it lasts long enough to stabilize and hold territory. Al Qaeda used Sudan and Afghanistan to launch its attacks against the West. These clowns will almost certainly see jihad against us as a religious duty — once they’ve taken care of the “hypocrites” in their area.

But, it’s a legitimate question as to whether this is a genuine restoration, or if it’s another pipe dream. Analyst Tom Rogan thinks ISIS/IS is too dysfunctional to survive.

We’ll see.

PS: Oh, and the reference to H. Beam Piper? He’s one of my favorite science fiction authors, writing in the 50s and early 60s. His future history postulates an atomic war that devastates much of the northern hemisphere in the late 20th century. That war begins when the caliphate is restored and then the Caliph assassinated… in Iraq. Hmmm…

Footnote:
(1) In case you’re wondering just what the heck has been waged against us in recent years, al Qaeda and other jihadist groups consider that “defensive jihad.” See Raymond Ibrahim’s “Al Qaeda Reader” for an explanation.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Iraq and Syria: al Qaeda on the march

**Posted by Phineas

The flag of al Qaeda

The flag of al Qaeda

Boy, it’s a good thing President Obama destroyed al Qaeda, isn’t it? Otherwise they’d have conquered the world, by now.

As it is, we can be grateful they only control more territory than they ever have:

From around Aleppo in western Syria to small areas of Falluja in central Iraq, al Qaeda now controls territory that stretches more than 400 miles across the heart of the Middle East, according to English and Arab language news accounts as well as accounts on jihadist websites.

Indeed, al Qaeda appears to control more territory in the Arab world than it has done at any time in its history.

The focus of al Qaeda’s leaders has always been regime change in the Arab world in order to install Taliban-style regimes. Al Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri acknowledged as much in his 2001 autobiography, “Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet,” when he explained that the most important strategic goal of al Qaeda was to seize control of a state, or part of a state, somewhere in the Muslim world, explaining that, “without achieving this goal our actions will mean nothing.”

Now al-Zawahiri is closer to his goal than he has ever been.

(…)

In September a CNN reporting team concluded, “Al Qaeda has swept to power with the aim of imposing a strict Islamist ideology on Syrians across large swathes of Syria’s rebel-held north.”

In sum, al Qaeda affiliates now control much of northern and northwestern Syria as well as some parts of eastern Syria, as well as much of Anbar province, which is around a third of Iraqi territory.

Thank goodness Obama and his Smart Power team came into office to fix George W. Bush’s mistakes, no?

Like I said before, this would likely not have happened had the Obama administration not bollixed the SOF negotiations with Maliki’s government. In both political and military matters, our proven ability to act as a trusted mediator between Iraqi factions probably would have prevented the political difficulties that gave al Qaeda this opening in Anbar, and provided the Iraqi Army with the support they need to deal rapidly and effectively with the threat. This was demonstrated time and again during the Surge operations.

But, under President Obama’s wise leadership, we left Iraq. We also dithered on Syria until jihadists became the dominant opposition force.

And now the black banner of jihad flies from Aleppo to Fallujah.

via Jim Geraghty, who writes:

Remember, “Bin Laden is dead and Detroit is alive”? Detroit is bankrupt and al-Qaeda now controls more territory than ever.

Heckuva job, Barry.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Shocker: Syria to miss deadline on Obama WMD deal

**Posted by Phineas

"This thing hates me."

Wishes he’d never heard of Syria

Hey, didn’t the Assad regime get the message that Obama really meant it when he said he was really, really serious about getting Syria to give up its chemical weapons? Keep this up, and he’ll go tell Putin on them:

Syria’s failure to move part of its chemical weapons arsenal to a Mediterranean port has prompted warnings that the disarmament deal struck with the country is falling seriously behind schedule.

A Norwegian navy frigate sent to escort a convoy carrying Syria’s mustard gas and sarin stockpile has said it has been advised to expect a substantial delay.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the body in charge of the UN-backed plan to destroy 1,300 tonnes of Syria’s chemical weapons, said it had put in place all the necessary “logistical and security” arrangements.

However, it added that tomorrow’s deadline for the shipment of the weapons-grade munitions cannot be met and could only proceed if President Bashar al-Assad’s government “intensified efforts” to move the material.

I’m sure they’ll get right on that.

Of course, everyone knew this would happen: Obama leapt at the deal brokered by Russia because he had stupidly opened his mouth and laid down an ultimatum he wasn’t prepared to back up. In the meantime, Assad has gained more time to defeat the rebels, his Iranian paymasters keep Syria as a client state and bridge to their proxies in Lebanon, and American influence in the region sinks lower as Obama can’t even enforce the minimum terms of a fig-leaf agreement he and Secretary Kerry touted as a major breakthrough.

That “smart power” sure has paid off, no?

via Jim Geraghty

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

US, Russia, reach sham deal over Syrian chemical weapons

**Posted by Phineas

"I won"

“I won”

With John Kerry as our lead negotiator, so you know it’s good:

The United States and Russia agreed Saturday on an outline for the identification and seizure of Syrian chemical weapons and said Syria must turn over an accounting of its arsenal within a week.

The agreement will be backed by a U.N. Security Council resolution that could allow for sanctions or other consequences if Syria fails to comply, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said.

Kerry said that the first international inspection of Syrian chemical weapons will take place by November, with destruction to begin next year.

Senior administration officials had said Friday the Obama administration would not press for U.N. authorization to use force against Syria if it reneges on any agreement to give up its chemical weapons.

The Russians had made clear in talks here between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Kerry that the negotiations could not proceed under the threat of a U.N. resolution authorizing a military strike. Russia also wanted assurances that a resolution would not refer Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the International Criminal Court for possible war-crimes prosecution.

President Obama has said that the unilateral U.S. use of force against Syria for a chemical attack last month remains on the table. But consideration of that action, already under challenge by a skeptical Congress, has been put on hold pending the outcome of the Geneva talks.

The rest of the article contains the usual blather about how inspections must be thorough, that there will be consequences for non-compliance, the international community has spoken, etc., etc. Note that the French are already circulating a resolution for “further measures” if Syria doesn’t live up to the deal. Naturally, those “further measures” are left undefined. It’s the 90’s inspection shell-game in Iraq all over again, just updated with new faces.

A Syrian government minister is much more honest:

“This agreement, an achievement of Russian diplomats and the Russian leadership, is a victory for Syria won thanks to our Russian friends,” Ali Haidar told Russian news agency RIA.

“We welcome this agreement. From one point of view, it will help Syrians exit the crisis, from another, it has prevented a war against Syria, having taken away the pretext for one from those who wanted to unleash (it),” he said.

(h/t Power Line)

Assad himself wasn’t available for comment; he was too busy laughing his head off.

This wasn’t only a victory for Syria, where the regime survives, they get to keep their chemical weapons (1), and an American attack is off the table for the rest of Obama’s term; this is a big win for Moscow, too. First, and regardless of how Team Smart Power spins it, the whole world a Nobel Peace Prize winner nearly bumble into war and then practically fall all over himself to grasp the life-preserver thrown to him by the ex-KGB tyrant. So much for American leadership and credibility.

Putin also showed he can deliver, where Obama can’t: his client is protected from the wrath of the Americans, he keeps his nice naval base at Tartus, and any future negotiations over Syria and its fate go through the Kremlin, not the White House. Oh, and while he’s at it, he’s letting the Iranians know that he has their back, too.

Mark Steyn called it: “American exceptionalism” has, under Obama, become American Ineffectualism:

Putin has pulled off something incredible: He’s gotten Washington to anoint him as the international community’s official peacemaker, even as he assists Iran in going nuclear and keeping their blood-soaked Syrian client in his presidential palace. Already, under the “peace process,” Putin and Assad are running rings around the dull-witted Kerry, whose Botoxicated visage embodies all too well the expensively embalmed state of the superpower.

There’s no way around it: this is an utter humiliation and we look absolutely foolish. A declining regional power has totally outplayed the world’s sole remaining superpower to reestablish itself in a region from which it was shut out 40 years ago. As Iowahawk put it, Putin is just doing donuts in Obama’s front yard. No wonder American allies in the area are looking to cut a deal with the new boss.

It’s going to be a long three years until the next election, isn’t it?

Footnote:
(1) Come on. You don’t seriously think Assad will really have to give those up, do you?

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Obama, Chamberlain, Putin, and Alinsky all walk into a bar…

**Posted by Phineas

It’s a busy Friday today (whine… whimper), but here are a few items worthy of your consideration, all tied to the Syria mess and what it’s revealed of Barack Obama’s incompetence:

First, Bill Whittle in the lastest Afterburner remembers another time of weakness at the top and the monumental fatuousness of relying on personal charm as a basis for policy in a world of power politics — The Umbrella Men:

I’ve been saying for years that this feels like the 1930s, all over again.

Next, James Taranto makes the case that Vladimir Putin is a better student of Alinsky than our Alinsky-ite president, Barack Obama. First he analyses Putin’s NYT op-ed article and notes how the Russian leader leverages our own ideology and ideals against us:

This is right out of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals“: “The fourth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more live up to their own rules than the Christian Church can live up to Christianity.” (Putin also appeals to the pope’s authority.)

Then he discerns the way in which Putin is a natural Alinskyite, while Obama is a mere academic pretender:

“Putin is bluffing that Russia has emerged as a major world power,” argues Stratfor.org’s George Friedman:

“In reality, Russia is merely a regional power, but mainly because its periphery is in shambles. He has tried to project a strength that he doesn’t have, and he has done it well.”

Because America is so much mightier than Russia, the American presidency is a much stronger position than the Russian presidency. But a strong man in a position of weakness, if he is ruthless about taking advantage of his adversary’s vulnerabilities, can get the better of weak man in a position of strength. Saul Alinsky understood that, and so does Vladimir Putin.

At its heart, Alinskyism is about the will to take and keep power. In that contest, the Judo-master Russian has it all over the bike-riding American.

I, for one, welcome our new neo-Stalinist overlords.

RELATED: At PJ Media, Ed Driscoll talks about the “Clown-car Presidency” and how the Democratic response to winning (yes, winning) in Vietnam compares to their reaction to winning (yes, winning) in Iraq. Bridget Johnson discusses the possibility that Bashar Assad is allied with al Qaeda. You can’t tell the double-crossers apart without a program. Richard Fernandez on the collapse of Obama’s presidency and the danger that means for all of us: Olympus Has Fallen.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

If Obama-Putin were a boxing match, it would have been stopped on a TKO

**Posted by Phineas

"Even the monkey is embarrassed"

“Even the monkey is embarrassed”

Or if it were T-Ball, the 10-run rule would have been invoked to save Obama’s pride.

Remember how I mentioned that Obama had leaped at an offer from Putin to settle the Syrian chemical weapons crisis? Well, just as Charlie Obama was ready to kick that football through the goalposts in his speech tonight, Lucy Putin pulled it away:

Russia is not keen at this stage for a binding U.N. Security Council resolution that would provide a framework to control Syria’s chemical weapons’ stocks, France’s foreign minister said after talks with his Russian counterpart on Tuesday.

“As I understood, the Russians at this stage were not necessarily enthusiastic, and I’m using euphemism, to put all that into the framework of a U.N. binding resolution,” Laurent Fabius told French lawmakers after a telephone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

This is like a bully in junior-high school grabbing a wimpy kid’s wrist and hitting him with his own hand, while shouting “Stop hitting yourself! Why are you hitting yourself?”

It was a total sucker play; there was no deal, ever. The Russians and the Syrians just set Obama up, knowing he’d take the bait and try to make himself look like a tough guy in the process. Instead, Putin’s just made him look like a chump.

Again.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Spinning so fast I’m dizzy: Obamabots claim Obama’s strength forced Putin and Assad to negotiate

**Posted by Phineas

Wow. This, I think, wins the award for brass, even for this administration. From “Baghdad” Jay Carney:

“…And let’s be clear. What we’re seeing with the Russian proposal and the Syrian reaction has only come about because of the threat of — the credible threat of U.S. military action. Before this morning, the Syrian government had never even acknowledged they possessed chemical weapons. Now they have.”

Yeah, I’d buy that. Bashar Assad, who we believe used poison gas on his own people and who definitely imported Iranian snipers to shoot demonstrators, and Vladimir Putin, who flattened Grozny in a way that hadn’t been done since Berlin in 1945, were so intimidated by our threat of an “unbelievably small” strike that wouldn’t do any real damage that they immediately rushed to offer a deal (that originated in a Kerry gaffe).

They know better than to mess with this guy:

Obama-Bike4

I’d laugh, but I’m too busy picking my jaw up off the floor.

UPDATE: Deep in your heart, you just know Putin is loving every minute of this.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#Syria (Video) Why we went to war in Iraq

**Posted by Phineas

While the world waits to see if Obama will get his war …no…  warning shot across the bow …er… targeted, limited attack …umm… Wait! I got it!… “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort,” or if Vladimir Putin (!!) will save him from being mocked, comparisons inevitably come up to our invasion and liberation of Iraq from another bloodthirsty Baathist dictator, Saddam Hussein. “If we were willing to go to war over WMDs then (1),” proponents of striking Syria might ask, “why not now?”

Because the two don’t compare at all, as you’ll see in this Praeger University video hosted by historian Andrew Roberts:

There were a lot of reasons, strategic and moral, justifying war against Saddam Hussein. And while there are some good arguments for intervening militarily in Syria (2), there are many more convincing ones for finding another way.

via Jared Sichel

Footnotes:
(1) And before someone thrusts a fist in the air and starts shouting “Bush lied! People died!” over Iraqi WMDs, please do us all a favor and read the final report of the Iraq Survey Group.
(2) None of them involving President Obama’s self-esteem and credibility, or sending messages to Tehran. The Iranians have already received that message, loud and clear.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)