Diary

Decoding Obama’s Contrarian ISIS Strategy

 

 ISIS

 

By Bob Bennett

 

The black flag of ISIS cast its shadow across France on Friday, November 13th. Terrorists killed some 130 Parisians and injured over 300 others, in France’s worst homeland attack since the Second World War; ISIS took credit for it.

 

After the appalling attack, and a chilling post on a terrorist website, there’s little doubt an attack on America is coming: “The best blood is American blood; we will taste it soon.” Suddenly, it leapt into sharp focus—for Republicans, Democrats and the media—that Obama’s ISIS policy, dubbed “degrade and destroy,” was grossly misnamed.

 

His statement, the day before the attack, that ISIS is “contained” and his press conference in Turkey, marked by patronizing, sometimes absurd responses to skeptical reporters, have raised questions about his ISIS strategy, his perception of the threat, and even his sanity: “It is just beyond delusional.”—Ralph Peters, on Fox News

 

CNN’s Jim Acosta pointed out, “You said that you have not underestimated ISIS’s abilities. This is an organization that you once described as a JV team that evolved into a force that has now occupied territory in Iraq and Syria and is now able to use that safe haven to launch attacks in other parts of the world. How is that not underestimating their capabilities? And how is that contained, quite frankly? … Why can’t we take out these bastards?”

 

Obama replied, “We can retake territory. And as long as we leave our troops there, we can hold it, but that does not solve the underlying problem of eliminating the dynamics … producing these kinds of violent extremist groups.… The strategy that we are pursuing is the right one.”

 

Considering we have 37,000 troops in Germany, for no apparent reason, leaving troops in Syria and Iraq doesn’t seem an extreme solution.

 

NBC’s Ron Allen asked, “Given the strategy that you’re pursuing … ISIS’s capabilities seem to be expanding…. Do you think you really understand this enemy well enough to defeat them and to protect the homeland?”

Obama replied, peevishly: “All right, so this is another variation on the same question.… Let me try it one last time. We have been fully aware of the potential capabilities of them carrying out a terrorist attack. That’s precisely why we have been mounting a very aggressive strategy to go after them.… Our ability to shrink the space in which they can operate, combined with a resolution to the Syria situation … is going to be what’s going to make a difference.”

 

Except his strategy has been anything but aggressive, and nothing he’s doing could conceivably shrink that space.

Analysts are puzzled. However, his mystifying reactions to an overt threat, and his “strategy” can be easily decoded—if we view the president as having ideology, alliances and goals profoundly different from what he says they are.

 

Obama’s war on ISIS is essentially a sham

Obama speciously asserted: “In fact, they control less territory than they did last year.” But, the NY Times writes that, outside Syria and Iraq, ISIS declares provinces in eight countries, and is “likely responsible for nearly 1,000 deaths” after 59 major attacks in 16 countries, from Australia to Canada, since October 2014.

 

Obama says ISIS is not a state; it’s “just a network of killers,” asserting that:

“We play into the ISIL narrative when we use routine military tactics that are designed to fight a state….”

 

Rejecting use of our military might is a recurrent theme: Back in February, Marie Harf issued this baffling statement, on Chris Matthews’s Hardball: “We cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war.” She went on to cite “lack of opportunity for jobs.”

 

On November 19th, White House communications director Jen Psaki told Alisyn Camerota, on CNN’s New Day, “Military might will not end the war against ISIS.”

 

Not the way Obama’s been using it: A Dept. of Defense report from November 16th shows the number of air attacks made on ISIS that day was ten in Syria and thirteen in Iraq; other dates are similar. During Desert Storm, we flew 1200 daily sorties.

 

In Addition, the Washington Free Beacon reported on November 20th:

“U.S. military pilots who have returned from the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq are confirming that they were blocked from dropping 75 percent of their ordnance on terror targets because they could not get clearance to launch a strike.”

 

Thus does the world’s mightiest power fight ISIS, the entity that beheads Christians, enslaves and sells women, immolates and drowns prisoners; and has made a brutal attack on our oldest ally.

 

Obama’s unholy alliances

Moreover, it seems the White House actually welcomed the coming of ISIS. Judicial Watch obtained recently declassified documents under a court order, including a Defense Intelligence Agency document revealing that the rise of ISIS was anticipated—and desirable—to help pressure Assad to step down.

 

Obama has said his unseating should lead to an “inclusive” government, a word the WH also used in the last days of the Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt, and used upon the death of Libyan dictator Qaddafi. Read that as “inclusive of the Muslim Brotherhood,” which stands to play a dominant role in a new government, as it did in Egypt and Libya. All three dictators had banned the Brotherhood.

 

The August 12, 2012 DIA report states: “THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY SUPPORT THE [SYRIAN] OPPOSITION… THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME…” [Para. 8C]

 

The report also reveals the “moderate” Syrian rebels we’ve supported were primarily terror groups:

“THE SALAFIST, THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD AND AQI [Al-Qaeda In Iraq] ARE THE MAJOR FORCES DRIVING THE INSURGENCY IN SYRIA TODAY” [Para. B.] View document here.

 

Lieutenant General Michael Flynn headed the DIA at the time this document came through. In an August, 2015 interview with Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan, Flynn and Hasan had this exchange:

 

HASAN: You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn’t listening?

 

FLYNN: I think the administration.

 

HASAN: So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?

 

FLYNN: I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.

 

HASAN: A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?

 

FLYNN: It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing. View video here.

 

On Monday, Fox News’s Chief Intelligence Correspondent Catherine Herridge reported an investigation into: “pressure on Centcom analysts from their supervisors, included at least two e-mails suggesting the analysts should dial back on the negative intelligence reporting. A former pentagon official said there was apparently an attempt to destroy these communications.”

 

“Those familiar with the intelligence leading up to the ISIS land grab in 2014 say there were multiple intelligence reports from the CIA and military intelligence [DIA] warning about the rapid rise of ISIS in Iraq, North Africa, as well as Egypt.… Despite the warnings, the official who was part of the White House discussion said, “The administration kept kicking the can down the road,” adding “the president didn’t want to hear it.”

 

Similarly, investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson told Steve Malzberg, in a recent interview:

“I have talked to people who have worked in the Obama administration who firmly believe he has made up his mind, I would say closed his mind … to the intelligence they try to bring him about various groups he does not consider terrorists even if they’re on the U.S. list of designated terrorists.”

 

It’s evident that the fabled “moderate Syrian rebels” we are allied with have fought alongside known terrorist groups like Jabhat al Nusra, the arm of Al Qaeda in Syria. The Investigative Project reported, in May, 2014: “Cooperation between the Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) and al-Qaida’s Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, continues even as the FSA tries to obtain more American arms.” The FSA, Nusra and other Syrian rebel groups reportedly fought Assad with ISIS, until January when they went to war with ISIS after a series of murders of their members that ISIS committed.

 

The U.S. supplies no less than 42 rebel groups with TOW anti-tank missiles through Saudi Arabia, but the CIA approves the final recipient. Several of them are Islamist, in particular, the hardline Jabhat Ansar al-Islam. Descriptions of the groups are here.

 

Some of these groups, notably the U.S.-supported Free Syrian Army (FSA), fought with the Army of Conquest (Jaish al-Fatah) to take Assad regime territory in Idlib and Hama Province, reported the NY Times on October 12th. The Army of Conquest “consists of a number of mostly Islamist factions including al-Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate and Ahrar al-Sham” —another al-Qaeda linked group], said the Times, in an October 1st article. Many of these groups seek to replace the present, secular government with an Islamic one.

 

Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich told Fox News Wednesday that “You have to remember that ISIS grew as the insurgency poured into Syria. And all these [groups] have jihadist ambitions and are totally antithetical to a secular society which once supported Shia, Sunnis, Christians and Jews.”

 

Eaworldview.com published a report, with corroborating videos, showing that the FSA and ISIS fought side by side to take the regime’s Menagh Airbase in early August 2013:

“Not only are there links between ISIS and FSA fighters on the ground, but … there was a high level of coordination and collaboration in the operation to besiege and take the airbase.”

 

This scenario of working with violent and terrorist groups is a clear replay of Obama’s Libya adventure, which resulted in the murder of Qaddafi. He was, at the time, an ally in the war on terror, suppressing al-Qaeda, as reported by the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi:

“The U.S. was fully aware of and facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qa’eda-dominated rebel militias throughout the 2011 rebellion. The jihadist agenda of AQIM, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), and other Islamic terror groups represented among the rebel forces was well known to U.S. officials responsible for Libya policy.”

The result in Libya has been utter chaos, as in Syria: “The country has remained fragmented, poorly governed, and overrun with violent militias, the majority of which are jihadist Al Qa’eda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) affiliates.”

Clearly, working with jihadist groups—even ISIS—has been an acceptable strategy for the White House. We should not be surprised that chaos has spread to Europe, and will soon be on our doorstep.