Friday, September 12, 2014

Iraq / Syria situation ( September 12 - 13 , 2014 ) -- Vetted ‘Moderate’ Syria Rebels Commander: We’re Allied With ISIS 'Very Large Number' of FSA Rebels Have Joined ISIS ....... Despite Speech, Obama Has Yet to Order Syria Strikes So Far, Centcom Authority Limited to Strikes Inside Iraq ....... Israel ‘Concerned’ US War on ISIS Will Temper Hostility Toward Iran Steinitz: Iran Must Remain Top Priority ........ Air Force Commander: Syria Strike Needs Boots on the Ground Kerry Admits: No Ally to Send Ground Troops ........ Tweets of the morning !

Obama’s ISIS War Is Not Only Illegal, It Makes George W. Bush Look Like A Constitutional Scholar

Tyler Durden's picture

Rudderless and without a compass, the American ship of state continues to drift, guns blazing.

- Andrew J. Bacevich, the Boston University political science professor and former Army colonel who lost his son in the Iraq war in 2007, in a recent Reuters article.
I have spent the past several days outlining my deep concerns about the “ISIS crisis” and Obama’s willingness to employ extreme propaganda in order to once again embark on another poorly thought out military campaign here and here. What I have also come to realize is that his latest war plan is brazenly illegal and unconstitutional.

While critics have been questioning the legality of U.S. military campaigns consistently since the end of World War II, one trend has become increasingly clear. With each new President and each new war, we have witnessed those who hold the office act more and more like dictators, and less and less like constitutional executives.
One very important, and up until recently, overlooked point about Obama’s latest “war on ISIS” is that this is not at all just more of the same. This crosses yet another very important line of shadiness, and if we as as American public allow him to do so, we will suffer grave long-term consequences to our economic future as well as our liberties. This is very serious stuff.
No one has outlined this point better than Bruce Ackerman, a professor of law and political science at Yale, in yesterday’s New York Times op-ed: Obama’s Betrayal of the Constitution. He writes:
BERLIN — PRESIDENT OBAMA’s declaration of war against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria marks a decisive break in the American constitutional tradition. Nothing attempted by his predecessor, George W. Bush, remotely compares in imperial hubris.

Mr. Bush gained explicit congressional consent for his invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. In contrast, the Obama administration has not even published a legal opinion attempting to justify the president’s assertion of unilateral war-making authority. This is because no serious opinion can be written.

This became clear when White House officials briefed reporters before Mr. Obama’s speech to the nation on Wednesday evening. They said a war against ISIS was justified by Congress’s authorization of force against Al Qaeda after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and that no new approval was needed.

But the 2001 authorization for the use of military force does not apply here. That resolution — scaled back from what Mr. Bush initially wanted — extended only to nations and organizations that “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the 9/11 attacks.

Not only was ISIS created long after 2001, but Al Qaeda publicly disavowed it earlier this year. It is Al Qaeda’s competitor, not its affiliate.

Mr. Obama may rightly be frustrated by gridlock in Washington, but his assault on the rule of law is a devastating setback for our constitutional order. His refusal even to ask the Justice Department to provide a formal legal pretext for the war on ISIS is astonishing.

Senators and representatives aren’t eager to step up to the plate in October when, however they decide, their votes will alienate some constituents in November’s midterm elections. They would prefer to let the president plunge ahead and blame him later if things go wrong. But this is precisely why the War Powers Resolution sets up its 60-day deadline: It rightly insists that unless Congress is willing to stand up and be counted, the war is not worth fighting in the name of the American people.

But for now the president seems grimly determined to practice what Mr. Bush’s lawyers only preached. He is acting on the proposition that the president, in his capacity as commander in chief, has unilateral authority to declare war.

In taking this step, Mr. Obama is not only betraying the electoral majorities who twice voted him into office on his promise to end Bush-era abuses of executive authority. He is also betraying the Constitution he swore to uphold.
Think about this for a second. Barack Obama is using the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which allowed for military action against “nations and organizations that planned, authorized, committed or aided the 9/11 attacks.” ISIS wasn’t even a twinkle in Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s eye back in September 2001. Even more stunning, ISIS and al-Qaeda more closely resemble enemies than allies. Yet this doesn’t seem to affect Nobel Peace Prize winning Barry Obama’s war planning. You can’t get much more insane and Orwellian than that.
Who cares right? This won’t ever affect you. So what if some bombs fall on innocent Arab civilians? Wrong.
One of the most terrifying aspects of this whole war push if Obama is able to pull it off, is that the reasoning (or lack thereof) could ultimately be applied to the detention of U.S. citizens indefinitely without a trial.
Yes, what I am referring to is the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens without a trial. I covered this frequently several years ago when Chris Hedges and others were suing the Obama Administration regarding the constitutionality of this law. In fact, one of my most popular posts ever was, NDAA: The Most Important Lawsuit in American History that No One is Talking About.
One of the ways in which the U.S. government has defended the NDAA is by saying it can only be used against “a person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.” Glenn Greenwald noted in Salon in his, Three Myths About the Detention Bill, that:
Section 1021 of the NDAA governs, as its title says, “Authority of the Armed Forces to Detain Covered Persons Pursuant to the AUMF.”  The first provision — section (a) — explicitly “affirms that the authority of the President” under the AUMF  ”includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons.” The next section, (b), defines “covered persons” — i.e., those who can be detained by the U.S. military — as “a person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.” 
Notice that the above says “pursuant to the AUMF,” which is the exact law the Obama Administration is using to justify his latest war. If he is able to start a war with ISIS based on the AUMF, despite the fact that ISIS and al-Qaeda are not allies at all, he or a future President could similarly use the AUMF and the NDAA to imprison anyone, anywhere for an indefinite amount of time based on the same absurd non-claim.
Let this all sink in for a second. Do you still support these ISIS strikes?

September 12, 2014

Some Links On That "War On ISIS"

Just some snippets and headlines on that non-war on ISIS.
On training, arming the "moderate rebels" there is pessimism all around:
“We need to do everything we can to figure out who the non-ISIS opposition is,” said Ryan C. Crocker, a former United States ambassador to Iraq and Syria. “Frankly, we don’t have a clue.”
 That's right. No clue at all. From a White House Briefing by a "Senior Administration Official":
"ISIL has been I think a galvanizing threat around the Sunni partners in the region. They view it as an existential threat to them. Saudi Arabia has an extensive border with Syria."
These clueless folks can't even read a map. But we saw that before with those neocons who didn't know that there were Shia in Iraq before they invaded it. There is anyway not much difference between those and the "liberal interventionist" in Obama's administration. As Melkulangara Bhadrakumar notes:
Obama’s presidency has come full circle by reinventing the neocon dogmas it once professed to reject. On the pretext of fighting the IS, which the US and its allies created in the first instance, what is unfolding is a massive neocon project to remold the Muslim Middle East to suit the US’ geopolitical objectives. Call it by whatever name, it is an imperial war – albeit with a Nobel as commander-in-chief.
But the other side has its own ideas. Food for thoughts in three tweets by Peter Lee aka Chinahand:
Westerners mock pretensions of IS Caliphate but it seems 2 strike chord among quite a few Muslims: effort to reestablish theocratic rule in 1/3
heartland of Umayyad/Abbasid caliphates, turn page on disaster century of colonial/postcolonial rule, replace fragmented/corrupt states 2/3
w/ united Islamic power. West passivity validates the caliphate & its transnational strategy. May be PRC/Rus that try 2 draw the line. 3/3

Is ISIS an anti-Imperial movement?

As Turkey Refuses To Join "Anti-ISIS" Coalition, John Kerry Comes Begging

Tyler Durden's picture

It appears the 'broad coalition' that President Obama so confidently described just two days ago is crumbling faster than the Iraqi army. First UK and Germany deny support for airstrikes in Syria and nowTurkey refuses to allow a U.S.-led coalition to attack jihadists in neighboring Iraq and Syria from its air bases, nor will it take part in combat operations against militants, a government official. US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Ankara this morning to 'build the coalition' but, as AFP reports, Turkish officials have already made their position clear, "Turkey will not be involved in any armed operation but will entirely concentrate on humanitarian operations." Their 'excuse': "our hands and arms are tied because of the hostages," but follows PM Erdogan's recent shunning of Obama.

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Ankara Friday for talks aimed at building a coalition against Islamic State jihadists, a visit that comes after Turkey said it would not allow its air bases to be used for strikes on the extremists.

The top US diplomat, touring the Middle East to establish a coalition of more than 40 countries, is to meet with Turkey's leaders including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks on measures to defeat the militants in Iraq and Syria.

Turkey, a NATO member and Washington's key ally in the region, is reluctant to take part in combat operations against Islamic State militants, or allow a US-led coalition to attack jihadists from its territory.

On the eve of the visit, a Turkish official told AFP: "Our hands and arms are tied because of the hostages."

The official added that Turkey will "not be involved in any armed operation but will entirely concentrate on humanitarian operations."

IS militants hold 49 Turks hostage, including diplomats and children, abducted from the Turkish consulate in Mosul in Iraq in June.
Turkey is the only Muslim country in a coalition of 10 countries who agreed to fight ISIS at the NATO summit in Newport.
Turkey can open Incirlik Air Base in the south for logistical and humanitarian operations in any U.S.-led operation, according to the official who stressed that the base would not be used for lethal air strikes.

“Turkey will not take part in any combat mission, nor supply weapons,” he said.
*  *  *
This is not an entire surprise given Erdogan's shunning of Obamaand the decision echoes the country’s refusal to allow the U.S. to station 60,000 troops in Turkey in 2003 to invade Iraq from the north, which triggered a crisis between the two allies.

Anti War......

Vetted ‘Moderate’ Syria Rebels Commander: We’re Allied With ISIS

'Very Large Number' of FSA Rebels Have Joined ISIS

by Jason Ditz, September 11, 2014
While the Obama Administration presents its ultimate goal in Syria as propping up “vetted, moderate rebels” as an alternative to ISIS, those self-same rebels are increasingly allying themselves outright with ISIS.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA), the most endorsed faction from the US perspective, is eagerly attaching itself to ISIS, with FSA commander Bassel Idriss admitting he regularly collaborates with ISIS in attacking Assad government forces along the Syria-Lebanon border.
Fighting at the border crossing in Qalamoun is a joint FSA-ISIS operation, and Abu Fidaa, the head of the local Revolutionary Council, says that a “very large number” of FSA fighters have joined ISIS outright.
The US has been funding and arming the FSA for many months now, and recently, reports are that a lot of those arms are ending up in ISIS hands. It wasn’t clear how that was the case, but overt alliances between the two makes it more obvious.
But the administration wants to pump even more arms toward the FSA, a move thateven politicians nominally allied with the FSA aren’t sure is a good idea. The aid seems destined to give ISIS even more US weapons than it already has.
The various rebels are nominally in conflict with ISIS, a fact that gets hyped whenever US arms are up for grabs, but their interrelations are far more complicated than that, and the only constant among them is that they are all hoping for power in post-Assad Syria.

Despite Speech, Obama Has Yet to Order Syria Strikes

So Far, Centcom Authority Limited to Strikes Inside Iraq

by Jason Ditz, September 11, 2014
Though President Obama made clear in last night’s high profile speech that he intends to expand the new war on ISIS into neighboring Syria, Pentagon officials say he hasn’t actually issued any orders to that effect.
Officials quoted anonymously in the media said that the authority given to Centcom commander Gen. Lloyd Austin with respect to the ISIS war includes authority to expand “offensive operations,” but only inside of Iraq, and not into neighboring Syria.
The White House told reporters at briefings today that strikes into Syria are a “certainty,” though the Pentagon believes any such attacks, which would be in the face of formal opposition from Syria, are weeks away.
Looming over starting those strikes is the comment from a top Air Force commander that the airstrikes are going to require boots on the ground inside Syria to coordinate. Though the US has been building up its presence in Iraq, they have continued to deny that a ground war is forthcoming.

Israel ‘Concerned’ US War on ISIS Will Temper Hostility Toward Iran

Steinitz: Iran Must Remain Top Priority

by Jason Ditz, September 11, 2014
The Israeli cabinet position of “strategy affairs minister” is primarily meant to focus around planning for a war with Iran. It’s a full time job, and it mostly involves pushing the US to threaten Iran more often.
The current minister, Yuval Steinitz, is at the forefront of Israeli officials expressing “concern” tonight at the new US war on ISIS, which they see as potentially getting in the way of long-term US hostility toward Iran.
Steinitz shrugged off ISIS as a “five-year problem,” while declaring Iran a “50-year problem with far greater impact,” and that more moves to stop Iran’s nuclear program ought to come before the new war.
The White House has sought to assure Israel that the new war won’t make them any less unreasonable in their negotiations with Iran, which Israel didn’t want to take place to begin with, but they can take some solace in the fact that the US seems unwilling to make a final deal with Iran.
Other Israeli officials expressed further concern that the US and Iran are on the same side in the ISIS war, with Iran already deploying troops to help Iraq before the US arrived. The “concern” seems to center on the belief that Iran would benefit from ISIS’ defeat, the same reason Israel has long looked the other way on ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria.

Air Force Commander: Syria Strike Needs Boots on the Ground

Kerry Admits: No Ally to Send Ground Troops

by Jason Ditz, September 11, 2014
A top Air Force commander has been quoted in USA Today tonight saying that any expansion of the ISIS air war into Syria is going to require US special operations forces on the ground, inside Syria.
“It’s absolutely crucial that pilots are talking to an American on the ground” to verify what’s being targeted, the commander insisted. President Obama has repeatedly rejected the idea of boots on the ground, despite sending more and more troops to Iraq.
In last night’s speech, President Obama gave the impression that the “coalition” being assembled was going to be doing the heavy lifting on the ground. That’s not actually the case, however.
Secretary of State John Kerry, while trying to hype the “critical role” of the coalition members, today admitted that not a single member of this broad coalition was even talking about sending ground troops for the war.
Indeed, many of the nations appear to be little more than a cheering section for the US war, with even Turkey, touted as one of the most indispensable allies, won’t even let the US operate out of their airbases.
This means Obama’s new war is very much on America’s shoulders at this point, with Army commanders believing that the US is in a state of “perpetual conflict,” and that the ISIS war is going to be expanding more in the weeks and months to come.

Tweets of the morning......

The U.S. is pushing for global rules to curb the flow of recruits to ISIS

Question to : Where the fuck is your ?! Not a single statement by him yet on what is going on in the region?!

Turkish PM says U.S. action in Iraq not enough to bring stability

US opposed to Iran's presence at Iraq conference: Kerry

A VBIED attack in the SRF stronghold of Dayr Sunbul in Rif Idlib targeting top SRF cmdrs has reportedly injured SRF leader Jamal Ma'aruf.

BREAKING: foreign minister: launching from to commit crimes in

Will the New Minister in Break the Deadlock with ?...

The Israeli security establishment is not reassured by Obama's latest speech on -

Obama's speech on the receives a mixed response from countries and factions across the region -

would prefer carry out airstrikes against on its territory rather than the US -

An important read, from : What is the Islamic State (IS)? What was IS’ relationship with AQ? What now?

Musings On Iraq Attacks Remain Low In Iraq 1st Week of September But Massacres Keep Casualties High