Islamic extremists

ISIS must be destroyed: The murder of James Foley should spur the golfer-in-chief into action


Most Americans, libertarians especially, and the writers on this site in particular, were skeptical about going back into Iraq with military force to defend the Iraqis and Kurds from the Islamic State (ISIS) extremist group’s conquest.

It’s really not our fight anymore. We were there for eight years fighting the Hussein regime, then insurgent forces, and training the Iraqi military to defend itself and maintain the peage. Still, polls showed support for limited airstrikes against ISIS targets to protect especially vulnerable civilian populations

That all changed on Tuesday when a video surfaced (but will not be linked here) of an American, AP photographer James Foley, being horrifically decapitated by an ISIS representative (and apparently British citizen) as a warning over our limited involvement in the situation. This was exactly the wrong tactic if ISIS wanted to keep us away.

However deep your pacifism, isolationism, or non-interventionism runs, the brutal public execution of an American citizen is a red line that must not be crossed without consequence. We can debate Congressional authorization, tactical targets, strategic objectives, operational scopes, or international assistance, but we must respond swiftly and unflinchingly.

Half of Syrian rebels are Islamic radicals, brutality documented

Syrian rebels

Even as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) arms rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, an upcoming report from IHS Jane’s, a defense and intelligence consulting firm, will estimate that nearly half of the rebel fighters in the Middle Eastern country are Islamic extremists:

The new study by IHS Jane’s, a defence consultancy, estimates there are around 10,000 jihadists - who would include foreign fighters - fighting for powerful factions linked to al-Qaeda..

Another 30,000 to 35,000 are hardline Islamists who share much of the outlook of the jihadists, but are focused purely on the Syrian war rather than a wider international struggle.

There are also at least a further 30,000 moderates belonging to groups that have an Islamic character, meaning only a small minority of the rebels are linked to secular or purely nationalist groups.
Charles Lister, author of the analysis, said: “The insurgency is now dominated by groups which have at least an Islamist viewpoint on the conflict. The idea that it is mostly secular groups leading the opposition is just not borne out.”

This, of course, files in the face of what Secretary of State John Kerry told members of Congress while recently trying to make the case for military intervention against Assad’s regime for its use of chemical weapons.

Report: CIA sending weapons to Syrian rebels

Syrian  war

Despite concerns expressed by many members of Congress that the best organized groups fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are Islamic extremist, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is sending arms to rebels who hope to depose the regime:

The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria, ending months of delay in lethal aid that had been promised by the Obama administration, according to U.S. officials and Syrian figures. The shipments began streaming into the country over the past two weeks, along with separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear — a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war.

The arms shipments, which are limited to light weapons and other munitions that can be tracked, began arriving in Syria at a moment of heightened tensions over threats by President Obama to order missile strikes to punish the regime of Bashar al-Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons in a deadly attack near Damascus last month.
U.S. officials hope that, taken together, the weapons and gear will boost the profile and prowess of rebel fighters in a conflict that started about 2 1/2 years ago.

Senators introduce legislation to block arms, funding for Syrian rebels

President Barack Obama’s plan to send taxpayer funding and arms to Syrian rebels engaged in a civil war against Bashar Assad’s regime is getting some bipartisan legislation pushback.

Last week, the White House announced that it would the send money and arms to the rebels the rebels based on allegation that Assad had used chemical weapons against them. But there have been concerns expressed by both conservatives and progressives because one of the rebel groups, the al-Nusra Front, has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States government due to its ties to al-Qaeda.

CNN reported last week that the al-Nusra Front is the “now the best-equipped arm of the terror group in existence today” and cited concern from analysts that the United States is “underestimating the Sunni-backed al Qaeda movement in the country.”

Some members of Congress believe that furthering the United States involvement in the Syrian civil war is long overdue. But a bipartisan group of Senators — Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Tom Udall (D-NM) — are seeking to prevent Syrian rebels from received access to any arms or taxpayer funding from the United States.

In a joint statement released yesterday, the Senators explained that their legislation doesn’t prohibit humanitarian aid, but it would block the White House from giving any military aid, direct or indirect, and military/paramilitary operations from being conducted inside the country.

Marco Rubio endorses arming al-Qaeda in Syria

News broke last week that the Obama Administration decided further its involvement in the Syrian civil war by arming rebels fighting against Bashar Assad’s regime. The development was well-received by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ), two of Washington’s most hawkish politicians. But increasing our intervention in Syria remains a hot topic among conservatives, especially among two who may seek the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2016.

This past weekend at the Faith Freedom Coalition’s conference in Washington, DC, two very distinict foreign policy agendas were put before conservatives. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) took a skeptical approach to Syria, explaining that intervention there doesn’t serve America’s interests. And it would seem that Americans overwhelmingly agree with that sentiment.

Rand Paul: Maybe Intervention in Syria isn’t such a Good Idea

As you may have heard, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) spent his Memorial Day palling around with his new al-Qaeda buddies in Syria. He wants Congress to appropriate funds to help these terrorists rebels, one of whom was responsible for kidnapping Lebanese pilgrims, as they fight Bashar al-Assad for control of the country.

But Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) warned Americans of the dangers of intervening, in an op-ed at CNN, noting that our history of arming so-called “rebels” and hasn’t exactly worked well for the United States.

Paul recaps the history of our involvement in Iraq in the 1980s and 1990s, both in support of and opposition to Saddam Hussein, has had the effect of empowering Iran in the region. He goes to recap our more recent problems in Libya, where our support of rebels included helping elements of al-Qaeda:

In 2009, members of the U.S. Senate — Republicans Lindsey Graham and John McCain and an independent, Joe Lieberman — would travel to Libya to meet with Gadhafi to offer further aid. Sen. McCain said: “We discussed the possibility of moving ahead with the provision of nonlethal defense equipment to the government of Libya.” President Obama would eventually meet with Gadhafi to reconfirm the same relationship established during the Bush administration.

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