Syrian and Iranian officials criticized the Obama administration on Thursday for excluding them from an international coalition coming together in the battle against the Islamic State group.
President Barack Obama is having a hard time recovering from his bungling of Middle East foreign policy. His speeches and addresses are a little painful on the ears these days, and have people asking today, “What coalition?”
Here’s what sticks in the back of the minds of most people.
President Barack Obama opened the speech with a public relations preamble about withdrawing 140,000 troops from Iraq, which is considered to be exactly the cause of the vacuum that has allowed ISIS to expand into Iraq.
But what? We’re going back to Iraq for a third time? Yes, this is how it always starts … first advisors, then boots on the ground. Aren’t boots already on the ground?
President Barack Obama dismissed ISIS as a JV team. Then White House tried to bend reality and tell us we didn’t hear what we thought we heard.
Obama described it as bad optics when video showed him on the golf course six minutes after addressing the nation about an ISIS beheading.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs GEN Martin Dempsey discuss ISIL’s threat to the U.S.
In a single weekend, following an ISIS beheading, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs GEN Martin Dempsey addressed ISIL’s threat to the US and then the statements were downplayed when President returned from vacation.
They’re beyond just a terrorist group; they (ISIS) marry ideology and sophistication of strategic military prowess; they’re tremendously well-funded. Oh this is beyond anything that we’ve seen. We must prepare for everything.
— Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel
ISIS is driving around in our tanks and using them against innocent people in an attempt to build an Islamic State by telling residents to conform to their version of Islam or die by the sword.
Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al-Qaida’s affiliate in Iraq and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government nor by the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way (for limited practical purposes ISIS is ISIL).
— President Barack Obama September 10, 2014
Two journalists were beheaded, but President Barack Obama just wanted to contain the ISIS offenders — as opposed to destroying and eliminating them. Now with polls showing anxiety about national security, the president talks a little tougher about ISIL, and says in his speech, “We will degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.”
In the speech, Obama added, “America will be joined by a broad coalition of partners. Already, allies are flying planes with us over Iraq, sending arms and assistance to Iraqi security forces and the Syrian opposition, sharing intelligence and providing billions of dollars in humanitarian aid.” No details or confirmation about the broad coalition of partners. Strange, but two allies you would assume would be involved — are not …
At a news conference following Barack Obama’s address last night, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke about joining the coalition and said: “To be quite clear, we have not been asked to do so and neither will we do so.”
Britain’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond on participation in the coalition: “Let me be clear: Britain will not be taking part in any air strikes in Syria. We have already had that discussion in our parliament last year and we won’t be revisiting that position.”
Didn’t Barack Obama say something about a red line — that a red line would be crossed about if Syria used chemical weapons against citizens? Now are we going to be allies with Syria? It’s very confusing. Maybe that’s why Great Britain and Germany would rather stay away from the obscure plans and mumblings of President Barack Obama.
“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.
— President Barack Obama August 20, 2012
One year after the August 21, 2013 Ghouta chemical attacks, President Obama clarified (bended reality): “I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world’s population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use even when countries are engaged in war.” Just say Chemical Weapons Convention, don’t be a smart aleck.
Just remember the reality bend: “We’re not at war.”
Nearly 40 nations have agreed to contribute to President Barack Obama’s coalition to beat back Islamic State militants. But as CSIS defense expert Samuel Brannen explains, it remains unclear exactly what role many of those nations will play.
Speaker of the House John Boehner questioned whether President Obama’s strategy to combat Islamic State militants was “enough,” but said Congress “ought to give the president what he’s asking for.”
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