‘The New Agent Orange” – Military and Civilians Becoming Gravely Ill from Burn Pits Left Unattended in Afghanistan

Contractors Sickened By Military Burn Pits Left To Fend For Themselves (Photo: Public Domain)

Contractors Sickened By Military Burn Pits Left To Fend For Themselves (Photo: Public Domain)

October 19, 2016

By Lorra B.

In Iraq and Afghanistan burn pits are a way to dispose of military waste.

According to a July 13 memo by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, exposure to burn pits do not pose any long-term health issues. However, military and civilian contractors have a very different view of the pits and refer to them as ‘the new Agent Orange,’ as thousands fall severely ill or die after exposure to the pits.

Since 2001 hundreds of these huge pits have been used to burn solid waste products. This, however, left those working the pits and those living nearby completely exposed to the toxic smoke.

With the growing concern and health issues, in 2009 The Department of Defense decided to limit when the pits could be used.

“DOD regulations require an incinerator to be used at any base where there are more than 100 personnel and base commanders to come up with contingency plans for the disposal of solid waste, noting burn pits should be a short-term solution only,” reports Stars and Stripes.

Though the spokesman for Operation Resolute Support, Col. Michael Lawhorn, stated at that time that “there are no burn pits operated at any U.S. base in Afghanistan,” we know that was not exactly true because DOD officials clearly stated that there were pits still being used in a limited capacity in Iraq and Afghanistan.

By 2015 the burn pits were back in full action. So what does this noxious smoke cause and what is being done to help the victims?

The burn pits cause symptoms that include respiratory problems, cancer and blood disorders and the victims of this toxic exposure say they are being completely disregarded.

Unlike the military who can go to the VA, no matter how inefficient some might be, the civilian has nowhere to turn.

A veteran who served in the 1980’s, 52-year-old Bobby Elesky, turned private contractor during the war in Afghanistan, wants to know, “Who’s responsible for us? Who’s going to start taking care of us?”

“We were all rounded up as vets from the [Department of Defense] because we were the best soldiers,” he said. “They asked us if we wanted to go, and shipped us to Afghanistan,” reports Fox News.

“There were times when the air quality was so bad that you would just drop to your knees and throw up,” he said. “We made jokes at the time because we had no idea how serious it was.’

“I’m a vet, but I’m not, according to them,” he said. “Because I was there as a contractor, I wasn’t allowed to sign up for the registry, which is b.s. to me. They already have all the data they need.”

There are almost 64,000 names on the ‘Burn Pit Registry.’ According to author Joseph Hickman, who wrote “The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers,” in 2016, it could take up to 30 years for the victims to get the help they need. A little too late don’t you think?

A letter was sent to President Obama, via the advocacy group Burn Pits 360, from 700 veterans imploring the administration to address the very real health issues and anguish caused by exposure to the burn pits.

In Veteran Affair fashion, they stated that there is simply not enough proof to support the health claims that the burn pits permanently affect those who are exposed.

Meanwhile, veterans and civilians alike are becoming gravely ill. The New Agent Orange claims more victims every day and every day more and more veterans and civilians are exposed to the burn pits.

The VA’s body count continues to rise.

By Lorra B

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Wounded Iraq Veteran Speaks Out Asking Senators To Reject Iran Deal

Robert Bartlett, a retired Army staff sergeant

Robert Bartlett, a retired Army staff sergeant

August 12, 2015

By Lorra B.

The deal, according to wounded Iraq war veteran Robert Bartlett, will free up billions of dollars that will be used by Iran for brutality and terrorism.

Watch as Bartlett implores Senators to reject the deal:

More Gays Thrown Off Buildings In Iraq

dJuly 1, 2015

The Muslim Issue:

Thrown to their deaths by ISIS barbarians for ‘being gay’

  •  The four blindfolded victim had their hands bound behind their backs 
  •  Militants are shown being thrown off the top building to their deaths
  •  The atrocities was carried out in the Iraqi province of Fallujah

Known for their barbaric punishments and repressive control over the locals, ISIS have released photographs of militants hurling four men, accused of homosexuality, off the top of a building in Iraq.

The jihadi group has previously carried out the sickening punishment in their de-facto capital, Raqqa, in Syria. Now the inhumane death sentence has been used in the Iraqi province of Fallujah.

ISIS’s latest propaganda images come after a family of 12 British nationals, including two grandparents are feared to have traveled to Syria.

Several ISIS photographers were used to capture the horrendous propaganda images, reinforcing the group's horrific reputation for violence

With their arms bound tightly behind their backs and their eyes fully covered with a makeshift blindfold, each victim is shown being led to the edge of the tall building.

At the command of a senior ISIS officer, the two militants appear to grab their victim around his wait and hoist him to the edge of the rooftop.

All four victims are then dropped from the lofty height to their deaths. Several photographers appear to have been used by ISIS’s media team in order to capture the victims on the roof and on the ground.

The gruesome propaganda photos appear to be an attempt by the depraved militant group to reinforce its rule of fear.

Two ISIS militants wait for an order to throw the men over the edge of the building

All four victims had their hands and feet bound together, preventing them from escaping their death

All four victims were found guilty of homosexuality at a Islamic court, according to ISIS's radical interpretation of Sharia'h law

The final photo, too graphic for publication, showed the impact of the head injuries suffered by each of the victims.

Unusually for an ISIS public execution, no local civilians or ISIS militants appear to have come out and watched the men’s death.

ISIS’s propaganda photos are normally filled with people watching the punishment.

The extremist group have become known for their tough punishments, with theft punished by the amputation of a hand and the consummation of wine punished by a flogging.

Earlier this week, Syrian activists claimed that two women were executed for ‘witchcraft and sorcery’.

More at The Muslim Issue:

Disclaimer: This article was not written by Lorra B.

Obama Takes Credit For Victory Over ISIS, Kurds BLAST Him In Brutal Reponse

dJune 19, 2015

Mad World News: by Dom the Conservative

As President Obama recently admitted, he has “no complete strategy” for training Iraqis or offering any other vital plan in combating ISIS. However, his failure to come up with a course of action after nearly a year of major attacks didn’t stop the Commander-in-Chief from taking credit for a strike with which he had absolutely nothing to do.

The Washington Times reports that the White House claimed the glory Tuesday for a victory over the Islamic State in northern Syria after Kurdish Peshmerga forces defeated militants in the area.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the triumph by Syrian Kurds in the town of Tal Abyad “is actually a direct consequence of an earlier military operation that President Obama ordered” to break the siege of the Syrian city of Kobani last fall.

“Because of the president’s decision to order the air drop of significant resources and equipments and reinforcements, and because we were able to work with Turkey to allow for additional forces to enter that city, we saw that coalition … backed by coalition airstrikes, of course … drive [the Islamic State] out of Khobani,” he said. “And over the last several months, those forces have steadily driven east across northern Syria.”

The claim was evidently so laughable and shamelessly pathetic that the audacious comment got around to the Peshmerga, which prompted them to make a statement of their own, Fox News reports.

“What America has given to Iraq in the past, what Iraq borrowed from Russia and U.S., ISIS has,” said Peshmerga commander Kemal Kerkuki. “They are using many, many, mines, C4, TNT, snipers, mortars; they have Humvees, they have tanks, they have different kinds of weapons.”

“The weapons of [ISIS] are 10 times that of the Peshmerga,” said Maj. Gen. Sirwan Barzani, another Kurdish commander whose forces are based southwest of Erbil.

Of course, Earnest refused to answer if Obama would actually directly send the Kurds weapons, and Obama has already openly admitted that he has no immediate plans to do so.

Peshmerga forces are barely able to effectively fight ISIS, using leftover weapons of worn, old munitions from the Iran-Iraq war over 30 years ago.

Barzani added that they’ve continuously pleaded with the Obama administration, as well as other Western nations and NATO, to send them weapons to fight ISIS. Their pleas fall on deaf ears as Obama ignores the threat in favor of pushing his own agenda in the U.S., including gun control, racial inequality, and transgenderism.

Obama is nothing more than a charlatan, attempting to pad his already pitiful resume as most powerful man in the world by scalping the victory from third-world militias — and he would’ve gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddling Kurds.

This is the last straw in an extensive line of reprehensible acts by our American president. It’s time to support a candidate who not only loves his country, but one that will take our enemies head-on instead of striving to appease them.

More at Mad World News

H/T [Conservative Tribune]

Disclaimer: This article was not written by Lorra B.

Islamic State Offers Millions To Those Who Pledge Allegiance

Fighters of al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant carry their weapons during a parade at the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, near the border with Turkey January 2, 2014. Picture taken January 2, 2014. REUTERS/Yaser Al-Khodor

Fighters of al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant carry their weapons during a parade at the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, near the border with Turkey January 2, 2014. Picture taken January 2, 2014. REUTERS/Yaser Al-Khodor

June 12, 2015

The Counter Jihad ReportCSP, by Alessandra Gennarelli

The success of the Islamic State hinges on the group’s ability to expand the amount of territory it controls as well as in the number of adherents who swear allegiance to it, which is currently estimated to be from 20,000 to 200,000 in Iraq and Syria alone. There are thought to be at least 35 official terrorist groups that have pledged allegiance or support IS including Boko Haram of Nigeria, al-Murabitoun of Mali, and Ansar Bait al-Maqdi of Egypt.

Hisham al-Hashimi told al- Monitor, “IS distributed up to $6 million a month to groups like Boko Haram and Ansar al- Sharia.”

Abu Hajjar who oversaw Islamic State finances prior to his 2014 arrest reportedly told Iraqi officials that IS exported, “$2 billion in international investments to Libya, Indonesia, Nigeria, South Africa and Yemen, money that is now being spread among external allied IS branches.”

The Islamic State is able to “move millions” through online transfer systems such as Hawala, which was the “primary method used by al Qaeda to send and receive cash.”Business Insider also reports that many branches of international banks are controlled by the Islamic State, giving the group the ability to send and receive money though EFTs. However, as a former U.S. counter- terrorism official told the L.A. Times, “You can literally drive a car with $10,000, $20,000 or a million dollars from XYZ country to Syria. Not a whole lot we can do.”

Such funding is vital to groups such as Boko Haram because the Islamic State‘s “financial support … can help guarantee their survival.” Along with money, groups that pledge allegiance to IS are reportedly given “training” and “strategic support,” further enhancing the appeal.

This strategy of expansion deepens IS roots throughout the Muslim world, making the task of defeating IS harder. Senior researcher Martin Ewi from the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa comments on the issue, “If the groups are committed, when the leadership of the current IS organization is removed, these groups can easily reorganize themselves.”

The Islamic State sees value in investing “in people, not infrastructure” because infrastructure “can be an easy target for attacks.” This further explains the action of sending money to groups in exchange for support.

How is Islamic State able to fund such large sums of money to different affiliates?

As The New York Times reports, IS funds come from four main sources: extortion and taxation in Iraq, stolen money from state owned Iraqi banks, oil, and kidnapping ransoms. Just in 2014, ISIS gained $600 million in extortion and taxes, $500 million in stolen funds from state banks, $100 million in oil, and $20 million in ransoms. And an estimated $875 million was the total amount of assets attained by IS when the group captured the city of Mosul in June of last year.

In 2014, the Islamic State seized hundreds of oil fields, and now holds 60% of all of Syria’s refineries. These refineries have been a large target for “United States- led airstrikes” since September 2014. However, as the numbers above show, oil is but a fraction of the group’s income. The Islamic State uses much of the oil in production “for its own fuel,” and was apparently already selling oil at a discounted price “among local markets” before prices fell to “about $2 million per week.” Most of IS oil is sold in the black market, and buyers may not know its origin. The issue of fallen oil prices and stolen refineries, which has cost the Syrian government $3.8 billion dollars, has Syria worried and Iraq uncertain of their abilities to fight against the Islamic State.

IS also receives donations from “sympathetic private individuals” including from areas like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.

The terrorist regime “keeps costs low” by stealing military equipment and infrastructure when it can, and pays low salaries, according to The New York Times.

Funding affiliated groups for their allegiance is a strategic and successful route for the terror group to take. However, it is important to remember that the offer of money from IS is not the only reason many terror groups join in this larger alliance of terrorist groups. Each group shares the same ideology and seek the same “legal, religious, and political ends.”

Islamic State’s ability to raise funds is a major challenge for those fighting against IS, and a deep analysis of IS’s finances followed by an in depth strategy on how to cut off IS funding would be a critical step towards defeating “the world’s wealthiest terrorist group.”

More at The Counter Jihad Report

Permission was given by The Counter Jihad Report to Lorra B. to post their articles in their entirety.

Disclaimer: this article was not written by Lorra B.


dJune 10, 2015

BRANDON TURBEVILLE Hat Tip, Blacklisted News:

On May 25, I wrote an article entitled “DOD Admits Supporting ISIS, Buffer Zones In Syria,” where I detailed the importance of documents obtained by Judicial Watch via a lawsuit filed by the watchdog organization against the Defense Intelligence Agency revealing that the US government was not only well aware of the fact that al-Qaeda/AQI/ISIS made up the bulk of the so-called “opposition” in Syria but that the US supported these terrorist organizations in their drive to create an “Islamic State” in Syria and Iraq.

These documents were stunning in their open admission that the US government was knowingly supporting al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria and even more so in the admission that the US gov’t was supporting the creation of the Islamic State. But they were only stunning in the fact that they were released without the relevant portions being redacted. They were much less than surprising when one considers the fact that any informed observer was able to deduce the US policy long before the documents were ever released.

After all, every action the US took in terms of its policy toward AQI/ISIS resulted in strengthening the organization. Even more so, when one comes to understand the fact that the ISIS/AQI was entirely created by the United States and NATO to begin with, the story of what is happening in the Middle East becomes that much clearer. In other words, it was the open admission of support for ISIS – in un-redacted official form – was surprising. The actual support for ISIS, unfortunately, was not.

With growing reports in the alternative (but notable silence amongst the mainstream) press, it was almost inevitable that the corporate media or the intelligence apparatus would have to address what they surely deem publicly to be a “conspiracy theory.”

That response finally came on May 26, when Brad Hoff of the Levant Report, one of the reporters who helped break the story of the DIA documents in the alternative and independent media, was contacted by the DIA in order to provide a statement regarding the documents. This was long after Hoff had published his article on the DIA release.

Interestingly enough, the statement from the DIA can be summed up in one word – “Nothing.” This is because the answer to every single question asked by Hoff was essentially met with “no comment.”

In other words, when asked whether or not the United States has actively supported al-Qaeda, ISIS, and/or other terrorist organizations, the DIA answered that it could not confirm that the United States has NOT funded al-Qaeda and ISIS. Obviously, this is because the United States has indeed funded these organizations. It created them.

Still, the very fact that the DIA could not answer such a question with a resounding “NO!” is telling enough. But that it would refuse to answer the question even with a shaky and questionable “no” must lead the reader to believe that the documents and the reports by Hoff, myself, and others clearly contain validity. It also hints that there may be much more blatant and incriminating evidence lying about in regards to the US funding and support of ISIS.

You can read Brad Hoff’s interview entitled “The DIA Gives An Official Response To LevantReport.com Article Alleging The West Backed ‘Islamic State,’” (reposted with permission from the source) and judge for yourself whether or not the DIA’s official explanation for the contents of the documents is sufficient.

The report is as follows:

ON FRIDAY, MAY 22, I contacted the DIA Public Affairs office seeking official response to my May 19 article entitled, 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency document: West will facilitate rise of Islamic State “in order to isolate the Syrian regime”. DIA Public Affairs did not respond at that time.

YESTERDAY (5/26), THE DIA CONTACTED ME via email and requested that I submit my questions. Today, May 27, DIA Public Affairs spokesman James M. Kudla contacted me via telephone at 1:37pm (Eastern Standard Time) and agreed to give an official DIA comment to my questions concerning the declassified 2012 DIA intelligence report released through Freedom of Information Act request to Judicial Watch (14-L-0552/DIA/287-293).

THE BELOW IS A FULL TRANSCRIPT of the phone interview. Permission is given by Levant Report to freely copy and circulate.*

James Kudla [JK]: In response to the questions you submitted through email… As noted in the document itself, it’s an informational report and is not finally evaluated intelligence, and the redacted sections in the document released under FOIA means it is not a complete document.

Brad Hoff [BH]: Does this document forecast in 2012 that the external powers supporting the Syrian opposition would allow an Islamic State in Eastern Syria in order to isolate or put military pressure on the Syrian regime?

JK: I have no comment on the contents of the document, nor on your interpretation of the document in your article. To reiterate, the document is raw information and has not been interpreted or analyzed, so it is not a final intelligence product.

BH: Does this document affirm that the DoD knew that what the document refers to as the West was supporting an opposition insurgency in Syria that had elements of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, or AQI, within in?

JK: I do not speak for the Department of Defense, only for the DIA. For the DoD you would have to call the Pentagon’s Public Affairs desk. I have no comment on the contents of the document.

BH: Can you confirm that this particular document FOIA released, marked 14-L-0552/DIA/287-293, was circulated among the Joint Staff, USCENTCOM, CIA, DHS, Dept. of State, SecDef office, and those agencies listed under the header?

JK: I can’t confirm how it was circulated or who read it, but we can confirm that copies were sent to its addressees listed in the header information.

BH: Are you able to dispel some current headlines that say the West aligned itself with ISIS during 2012 or at any point during the conflict in Syria?

JK: There are a lot of headlines circulating, I cannot evaluate each one. I cannot comment on that.

BH: Would you like to take this opportunity to dispel any accusations currently circulating?

JK: I have no comment on that.

BH: Are you able to at least deny that the DIA’s analysis revealed that the West backed ISIS at some point during the conflict in Syria?

JK: No comment. I have no additional comments for you.


The above is official comment given to Brad Hoff from:


Obama says He Has Restored Respect To The United States: Only In His Own Mind

dJune 3, 2015

John A. Pappas:

by johnapappas

There was another time in recent American history when the United States went through the same level of non respect and that was during the presidency of Jimmy Carter and you remember what happened then when Iran held captive American hostages for 444 days. They were finally released during President Reagan’s inauguration as a final insult to Carter whom Iran had no respect for whatsoever. Iran sure does not respect Obama as even as they are trying to put together a nuclear bomb deal with the United States they continue too say “death to America,” they are laughing at Obama.

Reagan turned America around with leadership of the likes of not having been seen in our life times. He had America inspired back to the tune of love of country even among the young. This is what Reagan said early in his presidency, “We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression.” I guess Obama didn’t read that part of Reagan’s presidency.

Obama has made bad decisions of major consequences that our enemies have picked up on and are now acting accordingly. No matter what one might have thought of President Bush going into Iraq the point in being is that when Obama took over the presidency Iraq was stabilized and holding their own with only a U.S. contingency force there needed to safeguard the victory. What does Obama do with no consideration for the saving of Iraq, the sacrifices from our military and the will of the American people he pulls out all remaining American troops that enabled the radical terrorist group called (ISIS) to take over, that even Al Qaeda wants nothing to do with them. So! “is the world watching?” If this is what Obama calls gaining respect throughout the world with other nations he is more delusional than one might think.

Obama not only has left Iraq on their own but he is about to do the same in Afghanistan. If you recall Obama use to call Afghanistan the good war during his first presidential campaign as though there is such a thing as a good war. This is unheard of in American history that an American president is actually in retreat without protecting the countries that we were victorious with to protect them from attack until they are able to get on their feet. I am confident to say that if Obama was president during World War II we would be speaking German today. So! “is the world watching?” Yes they are and behind the scenes they are wishing once again for American leadership that Obama because of his philosophy of Global Equilibrium feels our leadership in the world is not warranted and to say it even better, Obama does not want the United States to have a leadership role in the world. This, future historians will judge as a big mistake and has caused lack of respect for the United States of America of which it’s consequences still need to be played out. So when Obama says “he has restored respect to the United States,” it’s only in his own delusional mind.

Find more at John A. Pappas

This article was not written by Lorra B.

Counter-Attack Against ISIS In Anbar Province Iraq Announces

Militant Al-Qaeda Splinter Group ISIS Capture Three Towns in Iraq's Western Province Anbar

Militant Al-Qaeda Splinter Group ISIS Capture Three Towns in Iraq’s Western Province Anbar

May 26, 2015

By Lorra B. For Silent Soldier

A military operation by Iraq to push the Islamic State out of the Anbar province was announced on Tuesday.

The western Anbar province is the location where extremists this month captured Ramadi, the provincial capital.

Fear of possible sectarian violence has been ignited by the possibility of an enormous counteroffensive “long the scene of protests and criticism against the Shiite-led government in Baghdad,” reports Fox News.

Iraq’s forces have surrounded Ramadi from all sides. A spokesperson for the Iraqi Shia armed forces stated that the operation “will not last for a long time.”

In “what will surprise the enemy,” according to parliament member Ahmed al-Assadi, are the new weapons being used in this war.

“Still, senior U.S. defense officials at the Pentagon push back on the reports Tuesday morning that the counterattack had begun,” according to Fox News. “Two sources described the actions as ‘shaping operations’ — or battlefield preparations — at this stage.”

In an effort to calm anxieties over statements made by Defense Secretary Ash Carter after he blamed Iraqi forces of having seemingly “no will to fight” in Ramadi, Vice President Joe Biden talked with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. A few hours later the announcement of the attack came.

The Associated Press was told by a spokesman for Abadi that Carter was given “incorrect information…We should not judge the whole army based on one incident.”

Recognizing “the enormous sacrifice and bravery” being exhibited by Iraqi soldiers over the last 18 months, the White House commented on Monday that they were open to “an Iraqi decision to mobilize additional troops and prepare for counter-attack operations.”

A frustrated Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani stated to an Iranian newspaper that the United States [didn’t do] “a damn thing” to stop the advance on Ramadi by ISIS.

“Today, there is nobody in confrontation with [ISIS] except the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as nations who are next to Iran or supported by Iran,” stated Soleimani.

The United States, Soleimani went on to say, was ‘complicit’ in the development of ISIS.

“The Islamic State Is, Or Is On The Verge Of Becoming, What It Claims To Be: A STATE”

(Screenshot credit, Jihad Watch)

(Screenshot credit, Jihad Watch)

May 22, 2015

President Obama would not lie about the Islamic State being on the brink of actually becoming a state, would he? Perhaps Reuters report may have you thinking otherwise, or at least have you wondering if it could actually come to fruition…

Almost a year after Islamic State’s shock capture of Mosul, Iraq’s second city, the black flags of the jihadis have been raised over Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province to the west of Baghdad, seat of Iraq’s increasingly theoretical central government.

Nobody talks of Mosul or recapturing it from Islamic State. It is a forgotten city. Now it is all about the fall of Ramadi, the neighboring ancient Syrian city of Palmyra in central Syria and beyond – the Libyan city of Sirte, hometown of former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

To the eyes of many in the region, the real strategic loss behind the IS seizure of two Sunni cities in Iraq and Syria in a week is the evaporation of any Sunni alternative to the jihadis.

Although many leaders dismissed IS as vainglorious when it declared its cross-border caliphate in eastern Syria and western Iraq last summer, in its cohesion and purpose it is now seen by some – particularly Iraq’s minority Sunnis – as more of a state than the Iraqi government it is fighting.

“Simply put, the Islamic State is, or is on the verge of becoming, what it claims to be: a state,” wrote David Kilcullen who was a key player in the US 2007-08 Iraq troop ‘surge’ and a close observer of the rise of Islamic State.

He argues that unless Washington and its allies urgently change their counter-terrorism strategy the threat will only get worse. A coalition including the United States has been engaged in air strikes against Islamic State last summer, yet the group’s advance has continued.

“ISIS fights like a state… It fields more than 25,000 fighters, including a hard core of ex-Baathist professionals and Qaeda veterans. It has a hierarchical unit organization and rank structure, populated by former regular officers of Saddam Hussein’s military,” added Kilcullen in the Australian Quarterly Essay.

The Islamic State already has the foundations of a state.

It controls territory that includes major cities and covers a third each of Iraq and Syria; it has its own military and security force, a self-proclaimed administration that runs daily life – schools, government offices, utilities, hospitals, taxation and a judiciary system that follows sharia law.

Its resources are vast, including oilfields, refineries and agricultural land. It operates more like a regular army with a recruiting network, training camps and a propaganda machine.

In videos released by IS, its fighters and leader Abu Baqr al-Baghdadi confidently predict “the liberation of Anbar is the start of the liberation of Baghdad and Kerbala from the rawafed” – a derogatory term Sunni jihadis use to describe Shi’ites they condemn as infidels and idolaters.

The jihadis, who intersperse these propaganda films with shots of their training, along with religious slogans, look young, fit, well-armed and clad in crisp new military uniforms – not the picture offered by their opponents.


The Iraqi army crumbled in Ramadi in much the same way as it evaporated last summer when IS seized Mosul and overran swathes of north and central Iraq.

Iraq’s security forces were not “driven from” Ramadi, Gen Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff said acidly in Brussels, they “drove out of Ramadi”.

Just as important, the fall of this strategic city comes only weeks after IS itself was pushed out of Tikrit further north, exciting premature speculation that the jihadis might be on the run. The group’s capture of Ramadi happened in tandem with its seizure of Palmyra, with its two millennia-old Roman columns and priceless antiquities.

IS needed no more than a few hundred fighters to take Palmyra, highlighting the acute manpower shortage faced by Bashar al-Assad’s government, now into its fifth year of a civil war that has claimed more than 220,000 lives and displaced around half of Syria’s population.

by Samia Nakhoul

More at Reuters  HatTip Jihad Watch

Disclaimer: This article was not written by Lorra B.

Decoding the Obama Doctrine

(Screenshot Credit, The Counter Jihad Report)

(Screenshot Credit, The Counter Jihad Report)

April 7, 2015

by Daniel Pipes

Washington Times (H/T The Counter Jihad Report)

April 6, 2015

James Jeffrey, Barack Obama’s former ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Iraq, has this to say about the administration’s current record in the Middle East: “We’re in a goddamn free fall.”

Count the mistakes: Helping overthrow Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, leading to anarchy and civil war. Pressuring Husni Mubarak of Egypt to resign, then backing the Muslim Brotherhood, leading now-president Sisi to turn toward Moscow. Alienating Washington’s most stalwart ally in the region, the Government of Israel. Dismissing ISIS as “junior varsity” just before it seized major cities. Hailing Yemen as a counterterrorism success just before its government was overthrown. Alarming the Saudi authorities to the point that they put together a military alliance against Iran. Coddling Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey, encouraging his dictatorial tendencies. Leaving Iraq and Afghanistan prematurely, dooming the vast American investment in those two countries.

And, most of all: Making dangerously flawed deals with the nuclear-ambitious mullahs of Iran.

Qaddafi of Libya, an Obama success story?

Is this a random series of errors by an incompetent leadership or does some grand, if misconceived, idea stand behind the pattern? To an extent, it’s ineptitude, as when Obama bowed to the Saudi king, threatened Syria’s government over chemical weapons before changing his mind, and now sends the U.S. military to aid Tehran in Iraq and fight it in Yemen.

But there also is a grand idea and it calls for explanation. As a man of the left, Obama sees the United States historically having exerted a malign influence on the outside world. Greedy corporations, an overly-powerful military-industrial complex, a yahoo nationalism, engrained racism, and cultural imperialism combined to render America, on balance, a force for evil.

Being a student of community organizer Saul Alinsky, Obama did not overtly proclaim this view but passed himself off as a patriot, though he (and his charming wife) did offer occasional hints of their radical views about “fundamentally transforming the United States.” On ascending to the presidency, Obama moved slowly, uneager to spread alarm and wanting to be reelected. By now, however, after six full years and only his legacy to worry about, the full-blown Obama is emerging.

Saul Alinsky, the community organizer par excellence. (And whom the author of this article met in about 1965.)

The Obama Doctrine is simple and universal: Warm relations with adversaries and cool them with friends.

Several assumptions underlie this approach: The U.S. government morally must compensate for its prior errors. Smiling at hostile states will inspire them to reciprocate. Using force creates more problems than it solves. Historic U.S. allies, partners, and helpers are morally inferior accessories. In the Middle East, this means reaching out to revisionists (Erdoğan, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Republic of Iran) and pushing away cooperative governments (Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia).

Of these actors, two stand out: Iran and Israel. Establishing good relations with Tehran appears to be Obama’s great preoccupation. As Michael Doran of the Hudson Institute has shown,Obama during his entire presidency has worked toward rendering Iran what he calls “a very successful regional power … abiding by international norms and international rules.” Contrarily, his pre-presidential friendships with truculent anti-Zionists such as Ali Abunimah, Rashid Khalidi, and Edward Said point to the depth of his hostility toward the Jewish state.

The Obama Doctrine demystifies what is otherwise inscrutable. For example, it explains why the U.S. government blithely ignored the Iranian supreme leader‘s outrageous “Death to America” yelp in March, dismissing it as mere domestic pandering, even as Obama glommed onto the Israeli prime minister‘s near simultaneous electoral campaign comment rejecting a two-state solution with the Palestinians during his term of office (“we take him at his word”).

Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamene’i can say most anything and Obama won’t mind.

The doctrine also offers guidelines to predict possible developments during Obama’s remaining tenure, such as: Wretched P5+1 deals with Iran compel Israel’s government to attack Iranian nuclear facilities. Gentle policies toward Damascus clear the way for the Assad regime to re-extend its power. Ankara chooses to provoke a crisis in the eastern Mediterranean over Cypriot gas and oil reserves.

The great question ahead is how, in their wisdom, the American people will judge the Obama Doctrine when they next vote for president in 19 months. Will they repudiate his policy of shuffling and contrition, as they comparably did in 1980 when they elected Ronald Reagan over Jimmy Carter? Or will they choose four more years of it, thereby turning the Obama Doctrine into the new norm and Americans into European-style remorseful masochists?

Their verdict in 2016 has potentially world-historical implications.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2015 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved

Disclaimer: This article was not written by Lorra B.