Disaster: Obama Ignored Signs Iraq Was Unraveling

By WILLIAM MAYER

June 16, 2014 – San Francisco, CA – PipeLineNews.org – With the terror army known as the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham [ISIS, al-Qaeda unmasked] having streamed unopposed across the Syrian border, linked up with its Sunni mujahideen brothers already in Iraq and now heading towards the capital, the President of the United States, in a brief appearance Friday afternoon - before jetting off to Palm Springs - finally acknowledged that this was a crisis. He also revealed that he was once again “surprised” by developments involving national security issues.

Apparently it was the jihadist’s capturing the Iraqi cities of Tikrit and Mosul which finally penetrated the circle of idiots which form Obama’s Praetorian Guard. Where does one start here, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, CIA Director, John Brennan, DOD Chief Chuck Hagel?

In most administrations these individuals wouldn't even make the "B" team.

As has become the custom with the legacy media during these impromptu “media availabilities,” the few questions directed at the CIC bordered on embarrassing. Among what are supposed to be some of the best journos in the nation, not a single member of the press asked the most basic and obvious question, “Mr. President why didn’t your administration see this coming?” Very much the same question can be asked about the Benghazi tragedy. How do these things always seem to slip between Obama's fingers as if they were the foreign policy equivalent of Jello?

Though Team Obama has made something of an art form of being caught flat-footed, that’s not really the bad news here. What’s shocking about the matter [dismissing for the moment that it was allowed to happen] is that the administration had no ready contingency plan to put into action. This is not to suggest that DOD hadn't allowed for the possibility of Iraq imploding and in anticipation prepared a response strategem which it then could have been pulled off the shelf. Actually it would be surprising if some planning towards that end hadn't already occurred in light of Iraq’s increasing instability which has been apparent for years.

However, if that is the case it certainly wasn’t in evidence during the WH’s display of confusion on Friday.

For the sake of developing the point, let's stipulate that the military had indeed prepared for this eventuality. If so, perhaps the reason it wasn’t immediately put into action is that it would have almost certainly included air strikes on the unprotected convoys of jeeps which are ferrying ISiS insurgents from place-to-place.

Such unilateral and decisive action is alien to this administration.

Obama’s feeble statement makes it clear that he's unsure of what measures to take. He did note that whatever he finally chooses to do will be of a limited nature. Thus the President in his nonchalance, violated most of the major precepts of managing a foreign policy crisis.

The most glaring of these was failing to anticipate that this might become a crisis in the first place. Threats such as this are best best avoided through the appropriate use of intelligence assets to understand the dynamic and then responding pro-actively in order to minimize the danger being posed, which in this case is significant - the morphing of Iraq into an extremely well capitalized and ultra-aggressive Sunni jihadist state.

If prevention fails for whatever reason then it's vitally important to get out front of the matter early, fashioning a media response which makes it clear that the issue is of grave concern and that unless it is remedied the consequences will be severe. Instead Obama dawdled until he was forced by events to deal with a larger and far more threatening situation. He then made things worse by minimizing the danger in his first public statement, “it could pose a threat eventually to American interests as well.”

And then again...it might not, we’re not sure and will have to get back to you.

This is a self-defeating approach which has proven through long experience to be red meat for jihadists who correctly view weakness as being provocative.

Faced with such a challenge, the president's press statement should have reflected that no potential action was off the table including the use of overwhelming military force, which ultimately as the saying goes, includes the option of placing "boots on the ground," maybe lots of them.

Counter to that approach, the President expressly ruled out a maximum response, “We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq.” If there’s anything jihads fear its standing toe-to-toe with our armed forces, having had recent and painful experience in that area.

In these situtations a leader must project a resolute demeanor and a strong sense of command, not one of vacillation or a sense of being irresolute.

But the President did exactly the opposite, giving the impression that he had no idea what he was going to do; he seemed frozen into inaction:

“People should not anticipate that this is something that is going to happen overnight…We want to make sure that we have good eyes on the situation there. We want to make sure that we’ve gathered all the intelligence that’s necessary so that if in fact I do direct and order any actions there, that they’re targeted, they’re precise and they’re going to have an effect.”

What kind of message does this send to an enemy which is leaving a trail of severed heads and mutilated bodies in its wake? The President seems to have no appreciation that ISIS/al-Qaeda [only fools accept al-Qaeda central's "rejection" of the group] is a carbon copy of a 10th century army of Muslim fanatics, albeit with modern heavy weapons, composed of people who are willing to die to advance a cause which they believe is divinely inspired.

Without an appreciation of the ideology/philosophy/theology which drives these people, fashioning an effective response is impossible. This is the main reason why the threat of Islamic jihad has only increased since 9/11/01.

The Obama administration will never go there and the enemy knows it.

We'll leave it for the reader to ponder why this is the case though some aspects are obvious; Obama isn't overly fond of the U.S. military to beging with, he knows nothing about strategic doctrine or military history and isn't comfortable with the concept of projecting force. None of his inner circle are capable of filling this huge void of knowledge. Complicating matters further, Mr. Obama’s core philosophy alienates him from the American archetype. He is in that sense an anti-American president, fundamentally out of step with the culture. Understandably this makes it supremely difficult for him to fully appreciate and factor into his calculus the 4,500 American servicemen who were sacrificed to prevent the very thing which now is happening in Iraq.

This partly explains why this administration would minimize the import of ISIS.

ISIS’ off-the-chart brutality isn’t the just the product of savagery, though there is plenty of that; no, there is military purpose here. These fighters want their opponents to fully comprehend the ferocious nature of their devotion to the cause which ISIS' leadership has defined in grand scale - the establishment of a caliphate ecompassing Syria and Iraq and eventually incorporating North Africa. One might imagine that their rules of engagement are modeled after those employed by the Ottomans, who waged war in such an overwhelmingly cruel manner that opponents often simply gave up or ran away at the prospect of having to face Suleiman's regular army, let alone his mad-dog Janissaries.

Most crisis management strategies stress the importance of trying to find opportunities within the challenge. In the case of a leader’s first response he might take the opportunity to define in as general or specific a manner as deemed required, a threat doctrine which would explain the nature of the challenge in such a way as to suggest and/or legitimize a response.

On this the President long ago painted himself into a corner making the establishment of a rationale for action impossible because Obama refuses to accept the direct linkage between what the administration now terms “man caused disasters” and Islamic ideology.

As students of this matter are aware, the administration has over the last 5+ years censored training manuals, purged "controversial" instructors and stripped the descriptors most appropriate for defining the enemy from all official discourse. This was done not only because it represents the President’s thinking on the matter, but because constituency groups representing the Muslim Brotherhood and HAMAS have been recruited by this administration to provide “counsel” on such matters.

Given the President’s adamance on the issue, namely that he denies the geopolitical reality that there is a religious civilizational war being conducted against the West by violent Islamists, he will always be found wanting when trying to cope with the phenomenon of jihadism.

Addendum

The Clinton years, ignoring the threat

In failing to deal with the bombings of the American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and the USS Cole, harbored in Aden, Yemen in October, 2000, the Clinton administration demonstrated to al-Qaeda that it could attack American interests with impunity. It was not coincidental that New York and Washington DC were attacked using hijacked airliners only a year later by the same group. The lesson to be learned here is that despotic movements [which certainly include Islamic jihadists] consider inaction and lack-of-response an invitation to continue, or as was the case on 9/11, significantly increase the level of aggression.

Obama, disconnected and apparently uninterested

Regarding Iraq's rapidly deteriorating security posture, the president was either unaware of the dynamic which rapidly took place after his withdrawal of all U.S. forces or ignored what his daily intel briefers were telling him. Perhaps the key element - the single factor which set Iraq's disintegration in motion was the administrations refusal to negotiate a Status of Forces agreement. In practice this meant that the United States gave up a whole panoply of options by failing to maintain a residual force on the ground. The message was clear to everyone in the country, Iraq was simply abandoned by this adminstration. The long-term negative political effect of this is now being played out.

Synopsis. Unrest in Iraq - Since the departure of American forces, violence, as deminstrated by a time line of the Incidence of major bombings in Iraq, post American pullout, 2011-2014, violence has increased at an alarming rate. [source, Widipedia, data array, citation below]

  • 2011 - 3
  • 2012 - 22
  • 2013 – 37
  • 2014 through mid June - 67

Synopsis: Unrest in Iraq - This establishes a baseline whereby to evaluate the incidence of suicide bombings from the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom 2003 through 2010. As the statistics show, violence increased every year from 2003 through 2007 [the first year of the surge] where it reached a peak of 442 and thereafter rapidly decreased during what might be called the pacification stage, from 2008 through 2010.

  • 2003: 25
  • 2004: 140
  • 2005: 478
  • 2006: 297
  • 2007: 442
  • 2008: 257
  • 2009: 76
  • 2010: 44

[source, Wiki data array]

President Obama’s record of receiving daily presidential briefings:

Doing a search of the official White House Schedule, randomly selecting February, 2 through June 14 of this year, out of approximately 60 possible briefings, the President received this vital intelligence information than 1/3 of the time. During these four months he never exceeding being given the report 3 times in a single week, during 6 weeks he only took it once and during 2 weeks he abstained from the briefing entirely. [source, White House Schedule]

  • Week: F-2-8: 3
  • Week: M-18-24: 1
  • Week: M-9-15: 3
  • Week: M-16-22: 0
  • Week: M-23-29: 0
  • Week: A-20-26: 1
  • Week: A-27-M-3: 2
  • Week: M-4-10: 3
  • Week: M-18-24: 1
  • Week: M-25-31: 1
  • Week: J-1-7: 1
  • Week: J-8-14: 3

The rise of ISIS infiltration and a resurgent al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Synopsis:

First pathway: ISIS starting in January 2013, moves from staging points, some in Turkey, across the border into the area of the city of Jarabulus in North Central Syria, then South along the Euphrates river valey towards Abu Kamal in far South Central Syria border region shared with Iraq. The “rebel” territories in Syria are contested by numerous Sunni jihadist groups and there is substantial in-fighting in addition to maintaining momentum against the Assad regime’s army. From Syria, still following the Euphrates, ISIS moved towards and then captured Fallujah, taken twice by U.S. forces in some of the bloodiest battles in the war with Sunni/al-Qaeda irregulars during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Second pathway: ISIS enters Iraqi territory using the Tigris river valley moving South and capturing Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city with a population of 1.5M. Once inside Mosul they succeeded in seizing the assets of the city's central bank which netted them over 400M Iraqi dinars. Pumped by this huge treasure ISIS is advancing further South towards its ultimate goal, Baghdad. As of this writing the ISIS army is less than a hundred miles from the Iraqi capital. [for further information regarding the looting of Mosul’ central bank, please refer to Jack Moore, Mosul Seized, Jihadists Loot 429M From City’s Central Bank To Make ISIS World’s Richest Terror Force , International Business Times]

It appears to be common knowledge that Turkey is being used as an entry point for jihadists which stream in from Europe, the Caucuses and Chechnya [source, Al-Qaeda Militants Travel To Syria Via Turkey, AlMonitor]

“Control of territory in Iraq remains one of AQI’s goals in 2013, but AQI also seeks to govern in Syria as well. AQI declared itself the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham [ISIS] in April 2013, an expansion of its historical political identity now to include Syria. At a teaching tent in Aleppo, Syria during its Ramadan fair, ISIS displayed a map of its emirate with no border between Iraq and Syria as part of a wider al-Qaeda caliphate stretching from North Africa to the eastern frontier adjoining Iran.” [source, Jessica D. Lewis, Middle East Security Report 14, Resurgence of Al-Qaeda, Institute for the Study of War, p. 9]

"The resurgence of al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria also presents a direct threat to U.S. interests in Iraq and the region. AQI has not expressed the intent to target U.S. interests, but it has demonstrated the capability and will to target government installations which contain U.S. citizens as well as critical infrastructure tethered to U.S. corporate interests. Furthermore, as an al-Qaeda affiliate, AQI fundamentally supports the broader al- Qaeda network with potential sanctuary which may very well serve to support attacks against the West. It is vital to U.S. national security that AQI it is vital to U.S. national security tht AQI be prevented from its goal to establish a caliphate in Iraq and Syria." [source, p. 34]

In conclusion, we have no idea who has been minding the store during the last 5 and-a-half years, but it certainly hasn't been President Obama. When one digests all of the above material it becomes clear that the President is generally uninterested in foreign policy. His inattention and negligence in this area should be a source of great anxiety for all Americans.

When Obama does choose to involve himself in these matters his lack of facility immediately becomes apparent. There is no better example of this than in the Middle East which he has single-handedly destabilized. Egypt, Libya and the rest of Northern half of the Africa Continent aside, his decision to totally and prematurely withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq has proven disastrous.

Iraq seems headed towards anarchy given the way in which its army, upon which the U.S. spent untold billions in weaponizing and training, is disintegrating before the onslaught of ISIS, a non-professional fighting force. However, what ISIS lacks in the attributes of a modern army it makes up for in a level of committment and ferocity which when combined with its sheer size makes it a jihadist threat unprecedented perhaps since the glory days of the Ottoman Turks.

We place the blame squarely upon this administration, Barack Obma has caused this to happen.

The crisis in Syria and Iraq looms by far as the most serious national security crisis this administration has yet faced, albeit reluctantly. Aside from the internal dynamics of the civil wars in these neighboring countries, the burgeoning chaos is ready mady for exploitation by Iran, whose regional ambitions should be apparent to all.

Because Team O ignored the storm clouds forming over Iraq for years, he's essentially lost freedom of choice in this matter. if he gets sucked into Iraq his working partner will necessarily be the same one which might be less than a year away from deploying nuclear weapons. Therefore Team O is no longer negotiating with the Ayatollahs on anything; his incredibly bad choices have relegated him to the role of observer, possessing neither cards nor chips.

The President is a self-centered, vainglorious amateur whose lack of expertise in foreign affairs has rendered him a puppet; unfortunately this marionette happens to be our Commander in Chief.

This is a waking nightmare and those who didn't see it coming a long time ago had better hang up their spurs.

 

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