Sadly there are times when action comes too late, and such is the case with the fight against ISIS. However, at least someone is taking action, definitive action. But the issue for me is that it’s not the United States and Barack Obama. Folks can blather on all they want, but the Islamic terror group known as Al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) HAD been defeated. Based on the campaign promise and political/ideological agenda of President Obama, all American combat troops were withdrawn from Iraq — that action enabled the resurgence and reconstitution of AQI as ISIS. But help has come from an usual source…
As reported by Fox News, “The recapture of the ancient city of Palmyra by Syrian government forces scores an important victory over Islamic State fighters who waged a 10-month reign of terror there and marks the first major defeat for the extremist group since an international agreement to battle terrorism in the fractured nation took effect last year.
The city known to Syrians as the “Bride of the Desert” is famous for its 2,000-year-old ruins that once drew tens of thousands of visitors each year before the Islamic State group destroyed many of the monuments.
The extent of the destruction remained unclear after government troops took the town in central Syria on [last] Sunday. Initial footage on Syrian state TV showed widespread rubble and shattered statues. But Palmyra’s grand colonnades appeared to be in relatively good condition.
The government forces were supported by Lebanese Hezbollah militiamen and Russian air power. The Islamic State now faces pressure on several fronts as Kurdish ground forces advance on its territory in Syria’s north and government forces, from Palmyra, have a new path to its de facto capital, Raqqa, and the contested eastern city of Deir el-sour.
International airstrikes have pounded IS territory, killing two top leaders in recent weeks, according to the Pentagon. Those strikes have also inflicted dozens of civilian casualties. In neighboring Iraq, meanwhile, government forces backed by the U.S. and Iran are preparing a ground offensive to retake the country’s second largest city, Mosul, from IS fighters.”
We shared with y’all here that the Kurdish Regional Government representatives actually have visited with Russia regarding weapons support they’re not receiving from the United States. Yes, I want the defeat of ISIS, but the thing I don’t want to see occur is Russian and Iranian hegemony in the Middle East — but that’s what our lack of foreign policy has advanced. The fact that we have Iran’s proxy military, Hezbollah, a designated Islamic terror group, assisting with operations in the Syria-Iraq area of operations should be disconcerting. This indicates we’ve moved into a new era, one where Islamic terror groups are openly engaging in combat operations beside nation-state uniformed military organizations and formations.
It appears Vladimir Putin has achieved his operational objectives. He’s propped up Bashar Assad and guaranteed Assad won’t be stepping down – despite Obama stating on several occasions that “Assad must go” — just like the disappearing red line. Now that Russia has assured the balance of power shifts back towards Assad, Putin has turned the focus on eradicating ISIS from Syrian territory.
So Putin comes across as the singular leader who has stepped up and visibly deployed troops to turn back the advance of ISIS. Putin is responding to the ISIS-claimed attack that killed some 230 Russian citizens in the Egyptian Sinai desert aboard a commercial aircraft. However, his first objective was to support Assad — so now, Obama (and anyone challenging Assad being in power) looks completely weak and useless as Assad can claim his forces are indeed defeating ISIS. And based on what we shared with y’all on Saturday, the Obama strategy in Syria to fight ISIS has devolved into an exercise of stupidity as rival groups, both backed by the U.S., fight each other.
If the Syrian Army is successful in the next two months in dislodging ISIS from Raqqa, with Russian support, it’s a huge win for Vladimir Putin. You know, that Putin, the guy Obama says is operating from a position of weakness.
What has happened in the Middle East is that Russia has conducted a very well planned and executed strategy in Syria — without being bogged down in extensive nation-building endeavors. Russia learned the lesson of Afghanistan and has built a viable coalition. Bashar Assad and Syria have new life. Iran, thanks to Obama, has become flush with new money and has deployed its forces — across the land bridge of Iraq — such as the Quds Force, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, and Hezbollah to further bolster its ally. And of course, there’s no love lost between maniacal Sunni ISIS, who slaughters Shiites just as brutally as others. At this current rate, Vladimir Putin will find himself sitting on the high ground, morally and strategically. We’re now scrambling to deploy American combat power to Eastern Europe to stem the advances of Russia along several critical borders.
We are losing the confidence of allies. We are emboldening adversaries. We are sending a very bad message that we have a president who somehow sees weakness as strength — one who sees ludicrous foreign policy and national security decisions as “smart power.” We still have nearly nine months of this remaining — and I haven’t even discussed China and its mad dog, Kim Jung Un and North Korea.
Yes, it’s a good thing ISIS is getting pummeled and losing territory. Sadly they are uncovering massive numbers of landmines and also mass graves of beheaded and tortured bodies of men, women, and children. And we know ISIS is now preventing Christians from departing Raqqa, knowing what lies ahead – they’re certain to be used as human shields. Perhaps the day is coming soon when Egypt will seek out Russia’s support in order to dislodge ISIS affiliates from the Sinai Peninsula and Libya.
The truth? None of this had to happen if we had a president who understood his responsibilities as commander in chief and not used his position to decimate our military capability. Remember the last presidential debate of the 2012 election cycle? Gov. Mitt Romney responded that the greatest geopolitical threat to the United States was Russia. Obama took a dismissive tone and responded that “the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.” President Barack Obama has been a catastrophic failure.