Monday, October 20, 2014

On CNN: Why, Despite US Bombing and Supplies, Kobani May Yet Fall to ISIS



From Contras to Al Qaeda to Syrian anti-ISIS Forces: My Take on Covert Action, Obama and Savage Wars of Peace


President Obama has weighed the options and concluded America does more harm than good when it sets out to topple regimes. OK. But don’t pretend that’s the CIA’s fault.

PARIS, France—What could be more cynical than a covert operation? Sure, there’s always a lot of talk about fighting for freedom, defeating tyranny. What was it Ronald Reagan called the Contras and the Afghan mujahedin? “They are the moral equivalent of the Founding Fathers.”

Actually some of the Contras whom I knew were the moral equivalent of pathological killers. They were so out of control that the CIA, which had armed them and trained them, finally had two of their commanders hunted down and executed. [NOTE: The men in question, known as Krill and Comandante Suicida, are the two standing in the middle in the photo above.]

As I say, covert ops: cynical business.

But recent reporting on the subject has been profoundly and, indeed, dangerously misleading about both the truth and the consequences surrounding such operations. ... READ ON

Sunday, October 05, 2014

ISIS and the Turkish Problem: 3 Great Stories by Jamie Dettmer





  1. Turkey Stalls, ISIS Triumphs

     
    Kobani has become the Kurds’ Alamo as they fight ISIS in Syria. Nobody’s coming to help them, and if and when they fall, the repercussions will be felt for years to come.
  2. Why Does the Free Syrian Army Hate Us?

     
    On the Turkish-Syrian border it quickly becomes clear why the FSA—the “moderate” rebels the Obama administration wants to train—have learned to loathe him.
  3. Turkey’s Sympathy for the Devil

     
    President Erdogan may have promised President Obama support, and moved tanks to the Syrian border, but Turkey is pretending to support a war it doesn’t believe in.

Biden Apologizes for Telling the Truth: "Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria"



Vice President Joe Biden is apologizing again for speaking the truth.

After 1 hour and 32 minutes speaking to Harvard's John F. Kennedy Forum on October 2, a junior at the college asked Biden, "In retrospect do you believe the United States should have acted earlier in Syria, and if not why is now the right moment?"

This was Biden's reply:


The answer is ‘no’ for two reasons. One, the idea of identifying a moderate middle has been a chase America has been engaged in for a long time. We Americans think in every country in transition there is a Thomas Jefferson hiding beside some rock – or a James Madison beyond one sand dune. The fact of the matter is the ability to identify a moderate middle in Syria was – there was no moderate middle because the moderate middle are made up of shopkeepers, not soldiers – they are made up of people who in fact have ordinary elements of the middle class of that country.

And what happened was – and history will record this because I’m finding that former administration officials, as soon as they leave write books which I think is inappropriate, but anyway, (laughs) no I’m serious – I do think it’s inappropriate at least, you know, give the guy a chance to get out of office. And what my constant cry was that our biggest problem is our allies – our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends – and I have the greatest relationship with Erdogan, which I just spent a lot of time with – the Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad except that the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.

Now you think I’m exaggerating – take a look. Where did all of this go? So now what’s happening? All of a sudden everybody’s awakened because this outfit called ISIL which was Al Qaeda in Iraq, which when they were essentially thrown out of Iraq, found open space in territory in eastern Syria, work with Al Nusra who we declared a terrorist group early on and we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them. So what happened? Now all of a sudden – I don’t want to be too facetious – but they had seen the Lord. Now we have – the President’s been able to put together a coalition of our Sunni neighbors, because America can’t once again go into a Muslim nation and be seen as the aggressor – it has to be led by Sunnis to go and attack a Sunni organization. So what do we have for the first time? [end of recording]


All this can be heard, at least for the moment, on the White House YouTube channel (audio only, go to 1:32:00):



Needless to say the allies had a fit, especially the Turks. And yesterday Biden called his buddy Erdogan to apologize, according to the U.S. embassy in Ankara:

Readout of the Vice President’s call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (October 4, 2014)

Vice President Joe Biden spoke today with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to clarify recent comments made at Harvard University. The Vice President apologized for any implication that Turkey or other Allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of ISIL or other violent extremists in Syria. The Vice President made clear that the United States greatly values the commitments and sacrifices made by our Allies and partners from around the world to combat the scourge of ISIL, including Turkey. The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of Turkey and the United States working closely together to confront ISIL.

All I can say is that I hope there was more to the conversation than that.

Monday, September 22, 2014

@AlexWitt interview @CSDickey at @thedailybeast for #OfficePolitics on @msnbc: Putin, Palestine, ISIS, NYPD and Dad




Part I: Debunking the ISIS Mentality

Part II: The Challenges Facing Mideast Peace; the NYPD version of Counter-Terror

Part III: Demystifying Putin; Getting a Little Misty-Eyed about Dad

On Books and Writing: From the Sublime (James Dickey) to the Ridiculous (Benghazi Porn)

  1. James Dickey on the set of "Deliverance"


  2. Stephen King on My Father’s Poetry

     
    The great teller of supernatural horror stories says he admires my father’s poetry. My father, for his part, believed the poet had something like supernatural powers.

  1. GOP Needs This Sexy Benghazi Thriller

     
    Congress is spending millions on an investigation into the attack, but there’s no mystery here. Even the purveyors of cheap porn have a better insight into what happened.

The New York TimesA Long Road to RecoveryRobert Timberg’s ‘Blue-Eyed Boy’

Friday, September 12, 2014

Why ISIS Keeps Running Circles Around the U.S., and, on CNN a look at the numbers



Why ISIS Keeps Running Circles Around Us
by Christopher Dickey September 11, 2014 05:55 AM EDT
If the United States and its allies want to "degrade and destroy" the Islamic State effectively, they will have to learn to get inside the terrorists' minds.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/11/isis-al-qaeda-and-our-perpetual-failure-of-imagination.html

CNN Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer: CIA More Than Doubles Its Estimates of ISIS Fighters
http://edition.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2014/09/11/tsr-cia-estimates-higher-numbers-of-isis-fighters-panel.cnn.html



Twitter and Instagram @csdickey

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

ISIS Files: The Shape of Terror to Come, the Turkish Problem, and a Contretemps with Chairman Royce


French Jihadi Mehdi Nemmouche Is the Shape of Terror to Come
The French holy-warrior wannabe who tortured Western prisoners in Syria and attacked a Jewish museum in Brussels is a poster boy for the threat now facing the West. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/09/the-face-of-isis-terror-to-come.html

Was There Enough Popular Support Six Months Ago For Intervention Against ISIS?
Christopher Dickey joins Brooke Baldwin and House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce to discuss whether military action in Syria to combat ISIS had sufficient popular support six months ago, and what the strategy should be now.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/videos/2014/09/08/was-there-enough-popular-support-six-months-ago-for-intervention-against-isis.html

Turkey's Crucial Role in Stopping ISIS
Christopher Dickey joins CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin to discuss Turkey's pivotal role in stemming the growth of ISIS.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/videos/2014/09/08/turkey-s-crucial-role-in-stopping-isis.html