Syria Obama

As Iraq and Syria are being run over by Islamic radical nut jobs, the “blame Bush” crowd has been rather quiet. Perhaps that’s because it was only a few years ago that Vice President Joe Biden and the Obama administration were casting the relative stability in Iraq as a the next big “great achievement” … for them.

Let us Flash back to Joe Biden in 2010:

“I am very optimistic about — about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration. You’re going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You’re going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government,” said Biden.

“I spent — I’ve been there 17 times now. I go about every two months — three months. I know every one of the major players in all of the segments of that society. It’s impressed me. I’ve been impressed how they have been deciding to use the political process rather than guns to settle their differences.”

Now, it’s a complete different story. Business Insider reported Thursday:

Extremists from the al-Qaeda offshoot ISIS have blurred the border to Syria, captured Iraq’s second largest city, and advanced toward the capital. Kurds have taken Kirkuk, an oil-rich city in the northeast that borders Iraqi Kurdistan. Iran is deploying Revolutionary Guard forces to fight ISIS.

And, according to current and former U.S. officials, the administration of President Barack Obama indirectly facilitated the mayhem.

“Top State Department officials long argued that the civil war in Syria was the root cause of ISIS’s rise because it gave them a haven in which to operate and recruit,” Adam Entous and Julian Barnes of The Wall Street Journal report.

For the last two years, the main criticism on Obama’s policy toward Syria has been that the “United States, rather than read the signals early on and arm the Syrian opposition when it was making substantial gains, allowed a vacuum to form and then fretted when that vacuum was filled by jihadists.” …

Obama then left Syria to fester, which eventually led to ISIS consolidating territory across Syria and Iraq while the militants gained experience, lured new recruits, captured weaponry, made territorial advances, indoctrinated Syrian children, and piled up cash.

Where does one start with all of this? This is what happens when the U.S. “leads from behind.” This is what happens when you have a president whose instincts tell him it would be a good idea to speak to graduating West Point cadets less about being leaders and more about Climate Change.

When an American president desperately needs the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to help save the day, you know that he has failed — miserably.

Obama Hashtag diplomacy

America now finds itself in a no-win situation. Essentially, we need a bunch of state-sponsored terrorists to kill a bunch of Sunni terrorists and then hope that the end result somehow results in a safer world for Americans. What are the chances of that happening? At the moment: Slim to none.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday:

Some military officials now believe ISIS is the single greatest terrorist threat the U.S. and its allies face—stronger than the al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen or Africa and far more powerful than al Qaeda’s central leadership in Pakistan. Other senior U.S. officials say ISIS has yet to carry out any attacks directly targeting the U.S.

“It makes you want to kill yourself,” a senior U.S. official said of the intelligence on ISIS, which was presented by U.S. and Gulf allies during the May [security] meeting in Jeddah.

It. Makes. You. Want. To. Kill. Yourself.

Why would an official say such a thing? Answer: Because he or she saw the enormity of the task before us and knew that a.) it was either too late to stop the blow back from reaching American shores, or b.) that the Obama administration was not capable of doing what needs to be done to reverse the jihadist tide.

This is going to get much worse before it gets better, in large part because the president is a political creature. The Middle East only presents a U.S. president with a multitude of difficult choices, and up until this point Mr. Obama has done his best to simply wash his hands of the matter. Only, that isn’t an option any longer. The world’s attention is on him and its waiting for an answer.

As Business Insider points out, his choice to simply look away since 2008 allowed problems to “fester.” The problem — Islamic terrorism — a term the White House didn’t even allow the State Department to use, never went away. In fact, it thrived in the chaos created by Syria’s civil war. And now it can not be denied any longer.

ISIS seeks to create an Islamic caliphate, and regardless of the upcoming battles it faces with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Iraqis or coalition partners, it is now a force to be reckoned with. If you believe in the power of prayer, I suggest saying a few for Mr. Obama; he’s going to need as many as he can get in the months ahead.

Related: Remember Obama’s failure to secure a status of forces agreement with Iraq as it burns

Refugees fleeing from Mosul head to the self-ruled northern Kurdish region in Irbil, Iraq, north of Baghdad, June 12, 2014. (Associated Press)
Refugees fleeing from Mosul head to the self-ruled northern Kurdish region in Irbil, Iraq, north of Baghdad, June 12, 2014. (Associated Press)
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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

7 comments

  1. So Obama chides Romney that the 80s called and need their foreign policy back, maybe someone should tell the president that 2014 called and we need a foreign policy period.

    …..and the Biden comments show again what a clown he is, at least he’s consistent.

    1. I wanted to make sure the Biden comment is in there so every time someone tries to blame Bush they’ll look silly. If things were so fabulous that the Obama administration was trying to take credit for conditions on the ground, then it can’t go back and blame Bush for what happened since then. It makes no sense.

  2. The quickly deteriorating situation in Iraq is so similar to what is happening in Syria where a strongman leader in Maliki, who has chosen to govern solely from a Shiite power base closely aligned to Iran, has actively alienated large Sunni and Kurdish populations in Iraq which is sparking this uprising. And just as in Syria, terror groups such as Al-Qaeda have sought to take advantage of the situation by jumping in.

    Iran’s decision to send in troops from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is nothing more than a pre-emptive attempt to keep another regime upright that is falling to popular discontent and preserve the string of friendly governments it is seeking to boost in the region. Iran’s mullahs recognize correctly that their precarious hold on regional power under strict Shiite control is in danger of slipping and as such have to go all in to preserve it. It’s an old recipe for them they have already practiced in Syria for two years. The irony here is the perception that the West and Iran might both be on the same side of supporting Maliki which is a dangerous assumption to make.

    Just as backing other strongmen in the region has turned out poorly for the US, sticking by Maliki would also be a mistake. It should set off warning bells anytime the US and Iran find themselves on the same side of any issue.

    1. Just as backing other strongmen in the region has turned out poorly for the US, sticking by Maliki would also be a mistake. It should set off warning bells anytime the US and Iran find themselves on the same side of any issue.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Ajax. I really appreciate it. I agree with you about the warning bells, but sadly I don’t think the right people are going to hear them. They’ve had their fingers in their ears for a long, long time.

  3. Just spotted Joe Biden in the crowd for the United States V Ghana. Good job there’s nothing important happening in the world…..

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