Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922

Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922
Jordan is 77% of former Palestine - Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza comprise 23%.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Obama's Islamic State Policy Threatens Clinton Election Victory

[Published 27 October 2016]

President Obama’s decision to agree to Iraqi and Peshmerga forces attacking Mosul to degrade and destroy the Islamic State just three weeks before the US elections sounds alarm bells for the prospects of Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump on 8 November.

Secretary of Defence Ash Carter confirmed Obama’s decision on 17 October.

The timing of the attack is very concerning.

Obama’s decision accords with his policy enunciated as far back as 10 September 2014:
“But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region.”
Obama had then further elaborated:
”...we will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground…

... As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission — we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq. But they are needed to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment.”

The same day as Carter issued his statement - General Stephen Townsend, Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve - reportedly acknowledged the presence of
“forward air controllers” amongst the US “advisory” contributions to the battle.

Those American “advisory” contributions now appear to have included an explosive ordnance disposal technician - Jason Finan - working with a Navy SEAL team near Mosul who was killed by an Islamic State bomb on October 20.

Both Carter and Townsend were meeting together in Irbil on 23 October when Townsend stated:
“Our investigation is still underway, but as I understand the event right now, they had moved to a position on the battlefield behind the Iraqi front lines with a headquarters element….

...These guys said you know what, we probably need to move back a terrain and gain a little bit more stand-off. And they were in the process of that when they struck an IED.”

Such direct involvement of American troops on the ground - leading to the death of an American soldier - seems a distinct departure from Obama’s 2014 policy.

Entrusting Iraqi and Peshmerga troops to defeat the Islamic State - declared a threat to world peace and security by the United Nations Security Council - was always a high risk Obama policy.

Now that attack has started - Hillary Clinton has been effectively lumbered with Obama’s policy if she becomes America’s next President.

Any suggestion of abandoning Obama’s policy now would send a bad signal to American voters.

Clinton’s situation has been further complicated by Carter indicating at the same press conference:
”... we want to see isolation operations begin, oriented at Raqqa as soon as possible. We’re working with our partners there to do that. And so there will be some simultaneity to these two operations. We’ve long anticipated that.”

This contradicts what Clinton said in the third Presidential debate:
“The goal here is to take back Mosul. It’s going to be a hard fight. I’ve got no illusions about that. And then continue to press into Syria to begin to take back and move on Raqqa, which is the ISIS headquarters.”

The IBD/TIPP poll finds widespread dissatisfaction with America’s direction - 62% of the public saying it’s headed in the wrong direction.

Obama’s decision could not have come at a worse time for Clinton.

Joseph Chamberlain said in 1886:
“‘In politics, there is no use in looking beyond the next fortnight.'”

Pollsters beware.

Pictures of body bags returning dead American soldiers, never-ending TV reports of murdered and injured civilians and people fleeing Mosul could certainly cause a huge voter backlash.

Clinton And Trump Clash On Defeating Islamic State In Syria

[Published 23 October 2016]

The Presidential debates have signalled fundamental policy differences between Clinton and Trump on defeating Islamic State in Syria [ISIS]

Clinton will be pursuing policies that prolong Islamic State’s existence in Syria - until Mosul has been conquered in Iraq. Trump wants to defeat Islamic State in Syria as an immediate priority.

Clinton laid out her policies during the third debate:
“The goal here is to take back Mosul. It’s going to be a hard fight. I’ve got no illusions about that. And then continue to press into Syria to begin to take back and move on Raqqa, which is the ISIS headquarters.”

Conquering Mosul is going to take months to achieve – not to mention what Turkey might do if Mosul looks like falling in the current fighting.

Pressing into Syria to conquer Raqqa after Mosul’s fall would have to be undertaken without Syrian or United Nations Security Council approval - political insanity of the highest order that would certainly embroil the invading forces in conflict with Russia and Syria.
“So I have said, look, we need to keep our eye on ISIS. That’s why I want to have an intelligence surge that protects us here at home, why we have to go after them from the air, on the ground, online, why we have to make sure here at home we don’t let terrorists buy weapons. If you’re too dangerous to fly, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun."

Great policies - if implemented in co-operation with Russia – but could result in a dangerous escalation in Syria with both Russia and Iran if undertaken unilaterally.
“And I’m going to continue to push for a no-fly zone and safe havens within Syria not only to help protect the Syrians and prevent the constant outflow of refugees, but to, frankly, gain some leverage on both the Syrian government and the Russians so that perhaps we can have the kind of serious negotiation necessary to bring the conflict to an end and go forward on a political track.”

Clinton is whistling in the wind if she believes these policies can place any leverage on Syria and the Russians whilst she is unilaterally trying to conquer Raqqa.

She herself acknowledged in the third debate that the establishment of a no fly-zone:
… “would not be done just on the first day. This would take a lot of negotiation. And it would also take making it clear to the Russians and the Syrians that our purpose here was to provide safe zones on the ground.”

Presumably Syria would continue to burn whilst President Clinton negotiated with President Putin.

Trump has taken an entirely different tack:

1. He recognised the current problem:

“… our country is so outplayed by Putin and Assad, and by the way — and by Iran. Nobody can believe how stupid our leadership is.”

2. He identified America’s present precarious position as a result:

“he [Assad] has aligned with Russia and with Iran. They don’t want ISIS, but they have other things, because we’re backing — we’re backing rebels. We don’t know who the rebels are. We’re giving them lots of money, lots of everything. We don’t know who the rebels are”

3. He enunciated his policy in the second Presidential debate:

“ I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved.“

4. He had previously made clear the way forward:

“Wouldn’t it be nice if we got together with Russia and knocked the hell out of ISIS?”

Voters have a stark choice come election day.

Obama, Clinton And Trump Must Affirm America's Crucial Commitments To Israel

[Published 19 October 2016]

President Obama is causing consternation and uncertainty in Israel because of his continuing refusal to make clear that America will veto any Security Council resolution attempting to impose a settlement of the Jewish-Arab conflict in former Palestine other than under the Roadmap of his predecessor George W. Bush.

The Roadmap - first envisioned on 24 June 2002 - was finally documented on 30 April 2003.

Bush made the following written commitment to Israel in his letter to Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on 14 April 2004 — which was overwhelmingly endorsed by the American Congress by 502 votes to 12 in June 2004:
“First the United States remains committed to my vision and to its implementation as described in the roadmap. The United States will do its utmost to prevent any attempt by anyone to impose any other plan. Under the roadmap, Palestinians must undertake an immediate cessation of armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere, and all official Palestinian institutions must end incitement against Israel. The Palestinian leadership must act decisively against terror, including sustained, targeted, and effective operations to stop terrorism and dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. Palestinians must undertake a comprehensive and fundamental political reform that includes a strong parliamentary democracy and an empowered prime minister.”

Bush’s reasons for giving this American commitment were stated in his letter:
“The United States remains hopeful and determined to find a way forward toward a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. I remain committed to my June 24, 2002 vision of two states living side by side in peace and security as the key to peace, and to the roadmap as the route to get there.

We welcome the disengagement plan you have prepared, under which Israel would withdraw certain military installations and all settlements from Gaza, and withdraw certain military installations and settlements in the West Bank. These steps described in the plan will mark real progress toward realizing my June 24, 2002 vision, and make a real contribution towards peace….

... The United States appreciates the risks such an undertaking represents.”

Israel honoured its disengagement plan and withdrew from Gaza and part of the West Bank in August 2005.

The risks in doing so have been translated into reality with the indiscriminate firing of tens of thousands of rockets from Gaza into civilian population centres in Israel and ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza since 2005.

That Obama would seek to resile from this Bush Congress-endorsed American commitment to Israel is unthinkable and should be disavowed by him immediately.

Amazingly two Presidential debates have been held so far between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton where the word “Israel” has not been mentioned once.

Both Trump and Clinton have remained silent up till now on stating whether they would uphold this American commitment to Israel.

Clinton was among those Senators overwhelmingly endorsing America’s commitment by 95 votes to 3.

Clinton needs to publicly state that she will honour this commitment to Israel if elected President

Trump has so far failed to say whether he will do likewise — although his rival Marco Rubio pledged at the Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum:
“I will revive the common-sense understandings reached in the 2004 Bush-Sharon letter and build on them to help ensure Israel has defensible borders”

Trump needs to follow suit.

The third Presidential debate also gives Trump the perfect opportunity to state his position if he is elected President.

Hopefully the moderator Chris Wallace will ask them both this crucial question — or they volunteer an answer themselves.

America’s reputation and trustworthiness for keeping its promises are on the line.