2014-06-25

Light Posting Until Next Week

I'm traveling, and I have spotty internet service.

2014-06-18

"The firewall was very one-sided ..."

Woodbury, Connecticut high school student Andrew Lampart noticed something odd about the behavior of his school's internet firewall:
To start with, the senior at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, Connecticut, said he couldn’t access the National Rifle Association’s website.

“So, I went over to the other side,” the 18-year-old told WTIC-TV in Hartford. “And I went over on sites such as Moms Demand Action or Newtown Action Alliance and I could get on these websites but not the others.”
He went on to compare results from other searches:
“I immediately found out that the State Democrat web site was unblocked but the State GOP web site was blocked.”

Lampart even looked at Web sites focusing on abortion issues and religion. He found that “right-to-life” groups were blocked by the public school firewall but that Planned Parenthood and Pro-Choice America were not. He also tried to get on web sites such as Christianity.com and the Vatican’s web site but both were blocked. Islam-guide.com he found, was not.

“They’re trying to, in my opinion, shelter us from what’s actually going on around the country and around the world by blocking these web sites. It should be the other way around. The web sites should be unblocked so that students can get different viewpoints from different sides of each argument,” Lampart said.
Notice that he was careful not to just jump to a conclusion based on one or two data points. He took his time and investigated systematically.

Chloe Simone Valdary: Native Son

Native Son | Chloe Simone Valdary
I am the native son of warrior poets and mighty men of valor. My brothers are so fresh and so cool, they kill lions and slay giants for fun, and they still find time to compose a song or two. My sisters are so fly, when they have something to say, they will speak their minds regardless of who you think you are. You could even be a Persian king who doesnt allow that sort of thing but my sisters are so beautiful, it doesn’t matter; he too will be charmed by their breathtaking magnificence.

These numbers you see tatooed on my arm are not the only story my life tells. I have known more hardship than that. My veins speak of my 400 year toil in Egypt and on my back, you can see the lashes I acquired from the Pharoahs who enslaved me. Babylon kidnapped me and made me genuflect before her self-absorbed kings. But three of my nephews defied her and walked through fire and came out alive.

Assyria raped and pillaged my villages and Greece put her pagan sculptures in my temple; yet I defied her too and my people fought with so much strength, they decided to name us after instruments that were made to beat nails into walls. Rome also trampled me underfoot; with her legions of war she tried to annihilate me.

But I am here and they are not, and now I stretch out my limbs and bend my back and, baby, I am free.  ...

2014-06-15

Iraq

Charles Moore at the Telegraph:
People blame the new horrors in Iraq on the American-led invasion in 2003. But the exact reason why the country is in civil war today is because the Americans are not there. If US troops were still present, the fanatical ISIS, the “Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham”, would not have swept through the north of the country and now be threatening Baghdad. ...

Max Boot: Obama's Iraq.
It is hard to exaggerate how much of a disaster this is, not only for Syria and Iraq and their neighbors, but for the United States. Rising oil prices (crude oil rose to over $112 a barrel last week), which could torpedo a weak economic recovery, are just the start of it. Senior intelligence officials have testified recently that they fear Syria could become a launching ground for attacks against the United States. Similar concerns now must extend to Iraq. Certainly, the track record of Islamist militants suggests that whenever they control a piece of terrain—whether Afghanistan before 2001 or Mali in 2013—they immediately set up training camps for foreign jihadists, some of whom then filter back to their home countries to commit atrocities. At the least, neighboring states such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia will be destabilized by the growing strength of ISIS; at the worst, the American homeland and Americans overseas will be threatened.

Fouad Ajami: How Obama and Maliki doomed Iraq.
Two men bear direct responsibility for the mayhem engulfing Iraq: Barack Obama and Nouri al-Maliki. The U.S. president and Iraqi prime minister stood shoulder to shoulder in a White House ceremony in December 2011 proclaiming victory. Mr. Obama was fulfilling a campaign pledge to end the Iraq war. There was a utopian tone to his pronouncement, suggesting that the conflicts that had been endemic to that region would be brought to an end. As for Mr. Maliki, there was the heady satisfaction, in his estimation, that Iraq would be sovereign and intact under his dominion.

In truth, Iraq's new Shiite prime minister was trading American tutelage for Iranian hegemony. Thus the claim that Iraq was a fully sovereign country was an idle boast. Around the Maliki regime swirled mightier, more sinister players. In addition to Iran's penetration of Iraqi strategic and political life, there was Baghdad's unholy alliance with the brutal Assad regime in Syria, whose members belong to an Alawite Shiite sect and were taking on a largely Sunni rebellion. If Bashar Assad were to fall, Mr. Maliki feared, the Sunnis of Iraq would rise up next. ...

Iraq vet J. R. Salzman has a few things to say.

IJR: Atrocities Americans worked hard to prevent. Graphic. Proceed at your own discretion.


2014-06-13

Iraq

Long War Journal: ISIS advance halted.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham's rapid advance southward to Baghdad after taking control of Mosul just three days ago appears to have been halted outside of the gates of Samarra, home to one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam.

Iraqi security forces in Samarra blunted the ISIS' assault from the north late yesterday, stopping an armed convoy from entering the city. The military is said to have deployed aircraft while battling the ISIS vanguard.

The Iraqi military's stand in Samarra stands in contrast to its performance in Mosul, Tikrit, Bayji, and other cities and towns taken over by the ISIS. Iraqi forces often surrendered or melted away in these cities, leaving behind weapons, ammunition, and police and military vehicles. Thousands of prisoners have been freed during the ISIS onslaught. ...
Go to the link for the full post, and a map. Article also states that 'As Iraqi forces make their stand in Samarra, the ISIS was able to take control of the towns of Dhuluiyah, Saadiyah, and Jalula to the southwest. ISIS fighters are said to have overran an airbase in Dhuluiyah and captured hundreds of prisoners.' (See below.)


Debka: ISIS moves in on two more Iraqi towns.
Al-Qaed-Iraq fighters moved in on two more Iraqi towns early Friday – Jlawla and Saadiyeh, both in eastern Iraqi Diyala region near the Iranian border. Iraqi troops melted away as the jihadis moved in. Iran Thursday sent Al Qods commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani to Baghdad to prop up Nuri al-Maliki’s government and pull the demoralized and scattered Iraqi army together to push back against Al Qaeda advances. ISIS forces have meanwhile stopped their advance on Baghdad and halted at Samarra 70 km short of the capital. ...

2014-06-12

The Map that Ruined the Middle East | The Tower

The Sykes-Picot legacy.

The Map that Ruined the Middle East | The Tower

Until now, the post-Ottoman order, fashioned by wartime exigency, imperialist ambitions, and ignorance of local identities, has survived a century of independence, revolution, and war. A political map of the region from 1930 looks nearly identical to one from 2013. Middle Eastern borders have become an inviolable and sacrosanct principle of Western international relations. Americans and Europeans have even shed blood to ensure that these borders remain unchanged: in Lebanon in the 1950s and again in the 1980s, Iraq in 1991 and 2003, and Mali in 2013. Western intervention in Syria would likely have the same goal. Even as the ongoing Arab revolt tears at the modern Middle Eastern order, Washington, Paris, London, and Moscow remain committed to defending the status quo.

Iraq

Washingto Post: "This is not what my friends fought and died for."
I returned to a Pentagon that was in denial, but I found a few who believed that a new strategy of building Iraqi forces to take over the fight could eventually succeed. We struggled to provide trainers and equipment and to find ways to partner with our Iraqi comrades but managed to succeed in the nick of time, pulling Iraq into a possible win. That was the surge.

Then, by declining to provide a long-term security assistance force to an Iraq not yet able to handle the fight itself, we pulled defeat from the jaws of victory and increased the peril our Iraqi friends would face. By not training and equipping Syrian freedom fighters in the summer of 2012, we provided an opportunity for al-Qaeda to rebuild strength in the region. The renewed Sunni insurgency in Iraq joined with the worst of the anti-Assad forces in Syria present a threat greater than the fragile Iraqi government can handle on its own. ...

Amir Taheri in the New York Post: How ths Islamists bounced back.
Seven years after US forces under Gen. David Petraeus drove them out of Iraq’s Anbar province, a coalition of desperados led by Sunni Muslim jihadists have scored their biggest victory by seizing Mosul, Iraq’s third most populous city.

On Wednesday, they underlined their appetite for conquest by making a dash for another big city, oil-rich Kirkuk.

Who are these people and what do they want? More important: Could they win? ...

2014-06-11

Mohammad Zoabi, Arab Zionist

Iraq

Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, has fallen to the islamist ISIS forces, and at this point it appears inevitable that Baghdad will soon follow. Here is a roundup of recent news items and articles.

New York Times has a map of where things stand now. It doesn't look good for Baghdad.

Debka: Al-Qaeda set to march on Baghdad.
Under its commander, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, Al Qaeda’s Islamic State in Iraq and Levant – ISIS - formed up Wednesday night, June 6, to march on Baghdad in two columns – one from Tikrit, which fell a few hours earlier, to Taji, just 20 km from the capital; the second from Tuz Khormato, 55 km south of the northern oil center of Kirkuk.
The Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered the last two divisions and six mechanized brigades, totaling 50,000, still operational out of his million-strong army, to build a defensive line to save Baghdad and the seat of Iraqi government from the enemy.

But it remains to be seen how these units perform, given the way the 3rd and 4th divisions supposed to have defended Mosul and the central Salahuddin province melted away under Al Qaeda onslaughts Tuesday and Wednesday, June 10-11.

Al-Baghdadi has assigned the second column heading for Baghdad the additional task of wrapping up Islamist control of the eastern province of Diyala on the Iranian border.

The first column will approach the capital from the north; the second from the east. Suicide bombers have meanwhile fanned ahead of the columns to smash the roadblocks and military posts set up in their path to check their advance
This week, Muslim extremists worldwide acclaimed the ISIS chief their hero. ...

Al-Arabiya: ISIS forces seize Turkish consulate in Mosul.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed: Will ISIS also seize Baghdad?

Long War Journal: ISIS takes Bayji, Tikrit.

Belmont Club: The day of reckoning.
The Tweets are tell of a monumental collapse. ”Jesus. “30,000 men – simply turned and ran in the face of the assault by an insurgent force of just 800 fighters … Surreal scenes in #Mosul, #Iraq as US trained troops leave behind their uniforms and flee from #ISIS to #Kurdistan. ”

Michael Yon Tweets: “Mosul: Iraq Crumbling before our eyes”. The Internet is rife with pictures of al-Qaeda triumphantly inspecting millions, perhaps billions of dollars worth of captured, American made military equipment. It’s like Vietnam all over again, except this time the NVA are coming to New York.

Unless the rot is stopped, ISIS will soon be at Baghdad’s gates and al-Qaeda’s affiliates will soon possess one, perhaps two major Middle Eastern countries and trillions of dollars in oil resources. Libya, Iraq, perhaps Syria. They will be on the border of Saudi Arabia, able to credibly menace the energy lifeline of the Western world, a fact that can only play to Putin’s advantage.

The dangers of abandoning such a vital region were always obvious. Those who have not read my 2010 post, The Ten Ships, might take the time to do so now. It’s good for a laugh. It explains how Obama’s political petulance made him ignore fundamental military strategy by ignoring the obvious center of Islamic militant gravity in favor of redeploying the farm to a talking-points fantasy campaign in Afghanistan. It’s good for a laugh because it seems impossible, in retrospect, why it was not so blindingly obvious to the White House.

There’s nothing in place available to stop al-Qaeda. ...

2014-06-06

D-Day Plus 70

Today marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day. It followed the Allies' fateful decision to attack at Normandy, and the first recorded use of the words "Leave Brittany ALONE!"

Jim "Pee Wee" Martin makes another jump ... at 93.

Meanwhile, 89-year-old Bernard Jordan went AWOL from an old age home to go to a reunion.

And for his part, Barack Obama observed the event in his own inimitable fashion.