Friday, September 04, 2015

The U.S. War On Terror

"[President Obama remains committed to counter-terrorism operations transparency through] turning to the U.S. military to take the lead and to provide information to the public."
"[However, the effort would be] carried out in a manner that does not degrade our ability to leverage the full range of counterterrorism capabilities."
Peter Boogaard, spokesman, White House National Security Council
In this undated handout file photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, a MQ-9 Reaper, armed with GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided munitions and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, is piloted by Col. Lex Turner during a combat mission over southern Afghanistan. The Air Force is taking several steps to fill a significant shortfall in drone pilots, laying out plans to increase incentive pay, bring more National Guard and Reserve pilots onto active duty, and seek volunteers to fill needed slots, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Thursday.
AP Photo/Lt. Col.. Leslie Pratt, US Air Force, FileIn this undated handout file photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, a MQ-9 Reaper, armed with GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided munitions and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, is piloted by Col. Lex Turner during a combat mission over southern Afghanistan. The Air Force is taking several steps to fill a significant shortfall in drone pilots, laying out plans to increase incentive pay, bring more National Guard and Reserve pilots onto active duty, and seek volunteers to fill needed slots, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Thursday.

The United States has a hands-off policy toward the government of Syria. President Bashar al-Assad remains free to torment Syrian Sunnis as a counter-civil-war measure by the minority Shiite Alawite Baathist government in response to the Syrian rebel militias that have been aided by the presence of foreign jihadists. Fighting the Syrian rebels has become the full-time occupation of the Syrian regime. Aided and abetted by the terrorist group Hezbollah, by Iranian-sponsored Shiite militias and by the al-Quds division of the Iranian Republican National Guard.

A full-blown, vicious, no-holds-barred payback to Syrian Sunnis for daring to presume that they had a right to demand equal civil treatment with the minority Shiite Syrian population which has held the more populous Sunnis in contempt and in thrall first to Hafez al-Assad, and then his son and heir, who has more than adequately proven that whatever grotesque barbarity the father was capable of, bombing and bull-dozing an entire Syrian Sunni town and destroying thousands of lives in the process, the son could readily exceed.

Roughly one-quarter of a million Syrians dead, and millions injured, at the hands of their tyrant over the past four years. And the Obama administration warned that should Assad flirt with the idea of using some of his chemical weapons stockpile, that would signal a red line that the United States would not tolerate. Those chemical weapons have been removed; the U.S. held back from its intent by Russian diplomacy, and Bashar al-Assad continues to use chemical weapons, as well as barrel-bombs to destroy Syrian infrastructure and Syrian lives.
A group of refugees continues its journey through Hungary after crossing the Serbian border.
CNN -- A group of refugees continues its journey through Hungary after crossing the Serbian border

Europe is in a moral, financial and political quandary on how to respond to the resulting migration of Syrians, along with Afghans, Libyans and Africans to European border nations. The flood of migrants and refugees has swamped the capacity of European nations to absorb them and offer the most basic amenities to desperate people. The solution to the crisis is the cessation of the Syrian civil war, but in the interim between chastising Assad for his disproportionate response to Syrian dissatisfaction, and the outbreak of violent hostilities, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was born.

And it is ISIL, the incarnation of Islamist malevolent viciousness at its apex of tribal, sectarian raging hatred that the United States is now fixated on. Syrians' problems with their murdering tyrant is a problem the U.S. is unwilling to address, despite the urgency to do so, since the Arab League will not, nor will the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, nor the United Nations. But the Obama administration also will not, because of a tacit agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran, for fear of unsettling the nuclear agreement meant to form a signal part of the Obama legacy.

So here is the CIA and U.S. special operations forces with their secret campaign to hunt down terrorist suspects within Syria. As part of a concerted effort to strike senior ISIL operatives, the clandestine program signals a broad escalation of the CIA's place in the ongoing war in Syria, but not against the Syrian regime. And as such, the ongoing refugee crisis caused by Syrian Sunnis fleeing death by Syrian Shiite regime sources can continue without fear of interference.

The U.S. Joint Special Operations Command is busy with its armed drones, aimed at "high value targets", notably elite jihadis of the Islamic State militias. The highest-value target whose removal would solve the world's most desperate refugee crisis in 70 years continues to be given a free pass. U.S. counterterrorism authorities are hugely concerned with ISIL and the failure to date of conventional strikes doing little to degrade the strength of Islamic State.

So the armed drones appear to have been given the green light to advance American interests on the counter-terrorism front. The CIA, once dispatched to trouble-spots of the world to track the work of terrorists through intelligence-gathering, now have absorbed some of the duties more commonly ascribed to the Pentagon. The intelligence agency trumping military intelligence and action. And while "finding and fixing" terrorism targets has become the new mantra, the world continues to reel from the symptoms of a power-hungry tyrant for whom no number of destroyed lives to ensure his longevity, is enough.

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