As the United States of Obama belatedly mumbles about getting slightly re-involved in the Iraq mess and Iran gets massively involved, the Benghazi clusterdunk remains relevant and should provide useful guidance for those interested in foreign policy and its consequences.
This video by Bill Whittle explains why Benghazi still matters. Please pay close attention to the timeline presented beginning at 00:02:13.
In the next video, the commander of the Air Force plane sent to retrieve the bodies of Ambassador Stevens, the other dead and thirty still alive Americans from Libya explains why and how Ambassador Stevens and others killed in Benghazi could have been retrieved while still alive — had it been authorized on a timely basis. As Bill Whittle’s timeline explains, there were ample time and solid intelligence during the days immediately preceding September 11th to get them out.
We had pretty good intelligence about the Benghazi mess before, during and after its evolution. For political reasons, the Obama Administration ignored it in favor of nonsense about a “spontaneous demonstration” by Muslims rightfully outraged by a YouTube video. Has the Administration behaved in a similar fashion with respect to the Iraq mess?
Here’s the Obama Administration position on Iraq back in 2011:
(Tip of the hat to Power Line.) It would be tough for President Obama to admit that he was wrong. Despite ample opportunities, he doesn’t.
LTC Allen West (U.S. Army, retired) wrote on June 13th,
Obama declared the war in Iraq over but what he failed to realize is that there is a greater war against Islamism and Iraq was just a singular theater of operations — and of course, the enemy always has a vote.
A lack of strategic vision created a vacuum and it is now being filled. Our options are truly non-existent. When Obama states, there will be no “boots on the ground,” then there cannot be any effective air strikes coordinated as part of a ground assault. The enemy can only move forward on a couple of road networks, so it would be easy to halt their advance. But Obama says he is considering a counter-terrorism fund instead. [Emphasis added.]
I have to ask, why are we denying military support to the current government of Iraq, a nation-state which we helped to form, yet we gave Islamist forces military support in Libya — and in violation of the War Powers Act?
Could it be that in “pivoting away from the Middle East” Obama intentionally sought to enable Islamist forces in the region? He sent military and materiel support to Islamists in Libya along with supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt while turning his back on combating the resurgent Islamists in Iraq — talk about confusing. [Emphasis added.]
Regardless, history will detail how America turned victory into defeat on the modern battlefield against Islamic terrorism. Iran already has its al-Quds force leader in Baghdad — signs of things to come. Iraq has become a satellite state of Iran and I don’t think they’re willing to see it fall. It’s part of their regional hegemony and would give them an extension from Iran to Iraq to Syria to Lebanon. And when we flee Afghanistan, Iran will seek to extend its regional dominance to the east — of course the Iranians will have to contend with Pakistan — who already has nukes. [Emphasis added.]
Due in large part of President Obama’s premature withdrawal from Iraq, we probably did not have adequate intelligence during the period leading up to the ISIS invasion. If we didn’t then we most likely still don’t. This June 12th interview with General Jack Keane, former Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, provides useful insights into the new Islamic Caliphate and the current Iraq clusterdunk. We have no comprehensive regional strategy to share intelligence or otherwise.
It should be noted that the principal ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was released in 2009 from the US-run Camp Bucca detention facility in southern Iraq.
The $10 million price [now] on his head, meanwhile, suggests that whoever released him from US custody four years ago may now be regretting it. [Insert added.]
. . . .
Well-organised and utterly ruthless, the ex-preacher is the driving force behind al-Qaeda’s resurgence throughout Syria and Iraq, putting it at the forefront of the war to topple President Bashar al-Assad and starting a fresh campaign of mayhem against the Western-backed government in Baghdad.
This week, his forces have achieved their biggest coup in Iraq to date, seizing control of government buildings in Mosul, the country’s third biggest city, and marching further south to come within striking distance of the capital, Baghdad. Coming on top of similar operations in January that planted the black jihadi flag in the towns of Fallujah and Ramadi, it gives al-Qaeda control of large swathes of the north and west of the country, and poses the biggest security crisis since the US pull-out two years ago.
. . . .
[W]hen bin Laden himself was killed in May 2011, Baghdadi’s pledge to revenge his death with 100 terrorist attacks across Iraq looked like little more than bluster.
Today, he is already well past that target, thanks to a devastating campaign of car bombings and Mumbai-style killing sprees that has pushed Iraq’s death toll back up to around 1,000 per month.
“Baghdadi is actually more capable than the man he took over from,” said Dr Knights. “It’s one of those unfortunate situations where taking out the previous leadership has made things worse, not better.” [Emphasis added.]
According to this report (thus far unconfirmed elsewhere), evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has already begun. It has also been reported that Iranian forces are now in Iraq, fighting against the ISIS to help the Iraq government.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has been appealing to the White House for months for Apache helicopters and Hellfire air-ground rockets to fight terrorists. These Obama may now release, as well as considering token US drone attacks on ISIS targets in Iraq, for which he is most reluctant..
Thursday afternoon, Iran’s most powerful gun, the Al Qods Brigades chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, arrived in Baghdad to take over the push against ISIS, in the same way as he has managed Bashar Assad’s war in Syria, and pull together the demoralized and scattered Iraqi army.
Those steps by Washington and Tehran pave the way for the US and Iran to cooperate for the first time in a joint military endeavor.
Since ISIS forces, albeit boosted by tens of thousands of armed Sunnis flocking to the black flag, are not capable of capturing Baghdad and have halted outside the city, President Obama and Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have won a small space for deciding how to proceed.
Khamenei must determine whether Gen. Soleimani with the help of American weaponry can stop al Qaeda, save Maliki from collapse and prevent the fall of Baghdad, and whether it is worth sending an Iranian army division over to Iraq, our intelligence sources reported earlier Thursday. They have since entered Iraq and are fighting ISIS forces.
These moves by Tehran will determined how Washington acts in the coming hours.
President Obama is apparently going to the rescue. Sure He is:
The developments in Iraq are a stark contrast to Mr. Obama’s frequent pronouncements that al Qaeda is “on the run” and that its leadership has been decimated. In a speech at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point three weeks ago, the president backed a policy of restraint abroad and called for an end to U.S. “military adventures.”
Mr. Obama said Thursday that the crisis in Iraq underscores his approach outlined in the West Point speech — that the U.S. should rely more on partners to fight extremism in the Middle East and in Africa.
“We’re not going to be able to be everywhere all the time,” Mr. Obama said. “But what we can do is to make sure that we are consistently helping to finance, train, advise military forces with partner countries, including Iraq, that have the capacity to maintain their own security.”
He said his proposed $5 billion “counterterrorism partnership fund” would allow the U.S. “to extend our reach without sending U.S. troops to play Whac-A-Mole wherever there ends up being a problem in a particular country.”
“That’s going to be more effective,” Mr. Obama said.
. . . .
“Certainly, we need to help stabilize the country,” Rep. Jackie Speier, California Democrat, said on MSNBC. “The extent to which we can help with airstrikes and drones with no boots on the ground, I think is a good decision. Restoring stability there is in our country’s best interests.”
Iran probably thinks that the less done by the United States of Obama the better.
Iran would most likely be happy to see America leave Iraq flailing in the wind. This neatly conforms to the Islamic Republic’s pre-existing narratives of American reliability. Moreover, it gives the likes of Brigadier General Qassem Suleimani, the Commander of the IRGC Quds-Force (IRGC-QF), the chance to strut his stuff. Depending on prospective levels of Iranian support to Iraq in this crisis, the maxim of Suleimani’s that was popularized in The New Yorker— “‘We’re not like the Americans. We don’t abandon our friends'” — may once again be proven correct. After all, a photo recently emerged on Farhang News showing him holding hands with Iraqi Parliamentarian Qassem al-Araji in Iraq.
As ISIS forces get closer to Baghdad, which may well not be invincible, the Obama Administration appears to have got in step with Iran’s desires, telling Iraq to solve its own problems.
The Obama administration delivered a message Friday to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, as Al Qaeda-inspired militants took control of more cities on their march toward Baghdad, reportedly leaving a trail of decapitated government forces in their wake: “Come together.” [Emphasis added.]
Republican lawmakers and military analysts are urging the administration to get more involved — President Obama appeared to open the door Thursday to the possibility of air strikes, but no decision has been made. The president plans to make brief remarks on the situation in Iraq shortly before noon on the South Lawn.
Kerry said Friday the U.S. has “discussed a range of options including military action to provide support for the Iraqi government.” He predicted “timely decisions” from the president.
The Obama Administration’s position on the Israeli – Palestinian “peace process” has been similar, except that it became massively involved and sided against Israel. Perhaps Secretary Kerry will travel to Iraq and try to make his peace process –which failed in Israel and “Palestine” — more effective there by siding with the ISIS and its friends. Unlikely, at least as long as the fighting rages.
The same incompetent “leader” who, for political purpose, refused to authorize a timely attempt to rescue Ambassador Stevens et al from Benghazi is now stumbling around trying — someday — to decide what, if anything, to do about the mess in Iraq. In all likelihood, if He ever decides what to do it will be too late. Will Iran completely displace the United States as Iraq’s principal ally? It seems that she already is. The future for the entire Middle East does not look rosy as the already waning U.S. influence there approaches zero.
An opinion writer at The Times of Israel, in a piece titled Iran, alleged face of reason, likely to gain in long term from fall of Mosul, argues
[T]he most significant blowback from this unthinkable jihadist victory will come not in the form of growing Sunni Islamist control over large swaths of Syria and Iraq – which may happen in the short term – but rather the opposite: Iran and Hezbollah emerging as the “answer,” the adult in the region capable of restoring some stability.
He may well have a point. If so, the perception of Iran as “the adult in the region” might help to produce an even better P 5 +1 nukes “deal” for moderate Iran than expected; not necessarily a bad result for President Obama.
This was posted at World Net Daily:
NEW YORK – A U.S. contractor in Iraq told WND the Iraqi Air Force has begun evacuations from Balad Air Force Base, where 200 American contractors were trapped by the al-Qaida-inspired jihadists who have seized control of two cities and are now threatening Baghdad. [Emphasis added.]
A contractor with Sallyport Global who asked not to be named told WND through a Skype instant message that he was transported from Balad to Baghdad and was communicating from a C-130 preparing to take off to Dubai.
He said 300 in total have been evacuated from Balad, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, and another 100 are still awaiting airlift. He said the Iraqi Air Force is trying to evacuate everyone by midnight local time. [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
The U.S. contractors were at Balad to help the Pentagon prepare the facilities for the delivery of the F-16 aircraft the Obama administration has agreed to provide the Iraqi government.
The surrounded Americans said they were under ISIS fire from small arms, AK47s, and rocket propelled grenades, or RPGs.
The contractors had been able to hold the base, but those on the scene reported it was only a matter of time before the ISIS terrorists succeeded in breaking through the perimeter. The sources confirmed the contractors were still under siege, despite an Associated Press report Thursday, citing U.S. officials, that three planeloads of Americans were being evacuated from Balad.
WND learned from sources that the jihadists closed down escape routes, and the U.S. Air Force was in a stand-down position. U.S. forces were not assisting even with air cover so a private extradition flight could land for a rescue, the sources said. [Emphasis added.]
Privately scheduled exit flights had fallen through, sources said, as several private pilots originally scheduled to make the flights quit.
The sources contended the U.S. military could provide the necessary air cover to protect C-130s or other air transport craft sufficient to make the evacuation, but far officials had refused to get involved. [Emphasis added.]
True or false?