Oops!

So the weapons we dropped to try to help the Syrian Kurds in Kobani ended up in the hands of ISIS instead.

I’m sure they’ll recognize the mistake and give the weapons back.  I bet UPS is on their way right now…

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Air Strikes in Syria?

When asked about the possibility of air strikes against ISIS in Syria, national security adviser Ben Rhodes didn’t say no:

“We don’t rule anything out when it comes to the protection of Americans and the disruption of terrorist plotting against the United States. So we would not restrict ourselves by geographic boundaries when it comes to the core mission of U.S. foreign policy, which is the protection of our people.”

I believe that if we don’t go after ISIS aggressively now, in both Syria and Iraq, we’ll just have to pay the piper down the road, and the price will be much, much higher.

Finally!

So we’re finally arming the Kurds.  At this point, it appears that the weapons are coming from the CIA, but plans are in the works for the Pentagon to supply them directly, rather than sending weapons to Baghdad that never ever get to the Kurds.

The Kurdish Peshmerga are as tough and determined as they come, but toughness and determination without weapons and ammo won’t win against ISIS and their captured state-of-the-art American weapons.

I’m tired of seeing this ISIS sweep falsely spun as an Iraqi civil war.  This is a multi-state terror movement that must be destroyed.  We need to go after ISIS full bore, not just to protect the Yazidis and Kurds and Baghdad, but on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border (such as it now is) and in Lebanon and Jordan.

The combination of intelligence failures about ISIS’ strength and a president who didn’t want to hear the news anyway have made the task much harder than it would have been if we’d nipped them in the bud.  Now it’s time to mow them down before they flower further.

It’s not up to the Iraqi Shiites to get their act together because they can’t and won’t.  It’s up to us to keep an enormous swath of the Middle East from falling to barbarians.

Blame the British and French

As Iraq disintegrates, Dems are blaming Bush and Republicans are blaming Obama.  And the same arguments will take place when we finally leave Afghanistan and that God-forsaken place falls apart.

But as we apportion blame, let’s not forget the British and the French.

One of the huge problems we’ve had fighting in Afghanistan is that when we pursue the Taliban, they cross the border into Pakistan, where our ability to follow them is severely restricted.  The Afghans have a save haven there because the people are Pashtun on both sides of the border.  Rather than think of themselves as Afghans or Pakistanis, they think of themselves primarily as Pashtuns.  A sensible border would have all the Pashtuns living in the same country, but noooooo.  Back in 1893, a British colonial official created the Durand Line to separate British India from Afghanistan.  When that part of India became Pakistan in 1947, the absurd border remained, irrationally dividing the Pashtuns.

As for Iraq, the British and French arbitrarily drew the Sykes-Picot line in 1916 (and implemented it after WWI), which falsely divided Ottoman Empire territory into Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, separating Sunni tribes with a purely artificial border.  The Iraq side was for the British, and the Syrian-Lebanese side was for the French, with no regard for the Sunnis who should have been assigned to the same country.  If ISIS weren’t welcomed and joined by Maliki-hating Sunnis as they come from Syria into Iraq, they wouldn’t have been able to make the swift conquest they have.

And don’t get me started on the Kurds, who have really gotten the short end of the stick.  They are a distinct people, Muslim, but not Arab.  They should have an independent Kurdistan (and maybe will when this mess get resolved) that unites the Kurds now divided among Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria.

Air Strikes Are Coming

From my reading on Iraq, it seems that the President isn’t thinking about air strikes, but has decided to do them, and is waiting for up-to-date intelligence and a better sense of the lay of the land.

It also seems pretty clear that those air strikes won’t just be in Iraq, but will be in Syria too.

We seem to be proceeding on two tracks — a military track using air power and a political track to get Maliki ousted.