Trump did keep himself at the center of the very early Republican nomination discussion. I don’t think it possible that he will wear well with voters whose support he doesn’t now have, and must get.
The Iran and Greek deals. Taking stock. If the Iran deal kept the conventional arms embargo, it should be a Win,
Win deal. Tsipras and Syrza having some intra-party opposition. May require a National Coalition Government.
Last week we introduced the thesis that “peace candidate” Obama embraced Bush era policies in Iraq that have badly backfired. Now we are flailing about in search of a viable strategy to deal with Syria as well. Essentially, ever since we mistakenly failed to keep elements intact from Hussein’s Republican Guard we had become the law and order stabilizer of Iraq. At enormous cost of treasure and lives both among our forces and Iraqis themselves. The hostile sectarian nature of Iraq, primarily between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam, dominates the thinking and fighting on the ground. About six million Kurdish peoples with their own agenda of an independent Kurdistan live in Iraq, mostly in the northwest. Saddam Hussein was an ethnic Sunni as were the Republican Guard soldiers. The Shia, who trace their roots across the eastern border with Iran, number about half of Iraq’s population. They live mostly in an area of eastern Iraq, from Baghdad south. Iraq is the site of the Shiite holy... Read More
President Barack Obama was elected on a platform that emphasized getting out soldiers out of Iraq. Through much controversy he managed to get most of our combat forces back home, but the serious question remains whether by doing so he contributed to the ISIS growth in Iraq. Similar concerns have been voiced over his caution in supporting the hodge-podge of anti-Assad groups in Syria. Some of these are friendly to the United States, some very much problematic, some downright hostile and potentially dangerous to both our interests in the region and to peace in the area in general. Not that those who are hostile to the U.S. are at all shy about asking us for weapons and air support. Whatever moves we make in Iraq or Syria seem to be fraught with traps and incredibly costly tabs. We have spent so much in this war to date that for those monies we could have provided free college tuition and medical care for years to come. Each “grand strategy” that... Read More
We keep hearing that we are not in the business of “nation-building.” Yet our insistence that all military aid must go through the national government in order to provide a unified, integrated Iraq, clearly is nation-building. And like many such efforts, this one seems elusive to the edge of calling it impossible. We’ve had how many years now, from Bush to Obama, where the Shia dominated government has failed to take the suggested steps towards integrating the Kurds and Sunnis into a national unified Iraq? Simply put, the Shia national forces have no will to fight. And the Shia don’t trust the Sunni Militia after years of Saddam Hussein. Hussein was a Sunni, though he eschewed any religious power in his Baath Party rule of Iraq. Embarrassed by their troops’ helter-skelter retreats in Mosul, and more recently in Ramadi where they left valuable weapons behind in their rush to run from the battles—even when they significantly out numbered their ISIS opponents–Shia governmental leaders have yielded the battlefield to... Read More
With June upon us, diplomatic efforts soon will be focused on the so-called June 30 deadline for reaching a nuclear inspection deal with Iran. Compounding the difficulties from our side are Secretary Kerry’s broken femur and Congress’ attempt to place deal-breaker requirements into the review process, such as the requirement that Iran recognize Israel. From the Iranian side, Ayatollah Khamenei has, on the one hand, hardened his stance on the negotiations by opposing access to Iran’s nuclear scientists and demanding the lifting of sanctions from day one of an agreement. On the other hand, Khamenei said: “I neither support nor oppose the deal. Everything is in the details.” Vague though that statement is, it is important to recognize the positives, namely that he wasn’t rejecting the negotiations. His other demands might well be just a negotiating ploy. Remember he is under pressure from his more hawkish wing. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the hard-line former President, recently urged Russia not to go along with the Western positions. Although I wouldn’t bet a... Read More