As the Syrian civil war slouches toward its brutal end, it’s time to take stock of one of the most significant diplomatic and military failures in my lifetime.

More than 200,000 civilians have died, including more than 25,000 children, and many more have been critically injured.

Six million refugees have created havoc in Europe and the Middle East.

For the first time in more than two decades, Russia has a significant stronghold in the Middle East.

Shias have cut a swath of religious intolerance through Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Much of the blame can be placed at the foot of the Obama administration, which ignored the potential impact of the war that began during the Arab uprising of 2011.

In 2014, President Obama invited over a dozen  leaders from both parties to the White House to talk about foreign policy. Obama became visibly agitated when confronted by bipartisan criticism of the White House’s policy of delaying Syrian rebels’ repeated requests for arms to fight the Assad regime.

The president defended his administration’s actions on Syria, saying that the notion that many have put forth regarding arming the rebels earlier would have led to better outcomes in Syria was “horse shit.”

During the civil war, the self-proclaimed Islamic State gained a significant foothold in Syria. Obama once referred to ISIS as the “junior varsity.” It’s a comment he probably would prefer to take back, but he did little to root out ISIS, too.

Note: ISIS, which is Sunni, also fought the Assad regime, which is related to the Shia sect, for its own vicious reasons, including the importance of a piece of real estate to train terrorists.

It took President Trump to defeat ISIS in Syria because Obama couldn’t figure out what to do about Assad and/or ISIS.

As a reporter for ABC News and Newsweek, I spent a lot of time in Syria. Although a brutal dictatorship ruled the country, I traveled to many historic spots, such as Palmyra, which ISIS tried to destroy. The market in Damascus, Al-Hamidiyah Suq, was one of my favorite haunts as were the road where St. Paul found God and the Umayyad Mosque, which then-Pope John Paul II visited during a Middle Eastern trip.

I remember a visit to Lebanon in 2011, where I spoke on a panel with prominent reporters from The Washington Post and NPR.

I argued that the United States faced an important decision in Syria. I said that the U.S. needed to provide significant aid, including American boots on the ground. The other reporters, voicing the conventional wisdom of the swamp, said my position was over the top, although the mainly Lebanese audience agreed with me.

At a time when the media seem preoccupied with myriad issues, Syria, unfortunately, has dropped off their radar when we should look critically at what went wrong and what lies ahead.

By John Ruberry

Since Donald J. Trump’s upset win in 2016 over Hillary Clinton–who after the election the left-wing media belatedly informed us was a flawed candidate–we’ve been bombarded with story after story that the president is either colluding with Russia or is weak in dealing with it.

But the Democrats have a decades-long history of failure involving Russia and the Soviet Union, which is something Mark Levin reminded me last week, as the media spewed venom after Trump’s summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin last week.

Here are some of those fiascos.

At the Yalta Conference in 1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt, historically the most popular president among Democrats, signed over most of the eastern Europe to the Soviet Union, including Poland. It was the invasion of that nation by the Nazis that led France and Great Britain to declare war on Germany.

Graffiti in Latvia

While campaigning for a full presidential term in 1948 Truman said, “I got very well acquainted with Joe Stalin, and I like old Joe! He is a decent fellow. But Joe is a prisoner of the Politburo.”

Many Democrats still celebrate the memories of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who gave away atomic bomb secrets to the USSR. They were executed for treason in 1953. Alger Hiss, a State Department official, was convicted of perjury three years earlier. Many Dems revere his memory too. After opening up Soviet archives in the 1990s, it was discovered that indeed all three were Soviet agents, and yes, traitors.

“He savaged me.” is what John F. Kennedy said of Nikita Khrushchev after a two-day summit in 1961. The Soviet leader judged JFK as weak, two months later the communists began building the Berlin Wall. The following year the Soviets commenced building a missile base in Cuba, which led to the Cuban Missile Crisis, which nearly started a nuclear war.

Amazingly, the Democrats’ “Lion of the Senate,” JFK’s brother Ted Kennedy, hadn’t learned his lesson after being thumped in the Democratic primaries at the hands of incumbent president Jimmy Carter in 1980. The peanut farmer was trounced in a landslide in the general election later that year. Yet Kennedy was considering challenging Reagan in 1984. His plan was to–wait for it–collude! Teddy would aid Soviet leader Yuri Andropov in confronting Reagan–and the leader of the Evil Empire would assist Kennedy in facing off against the Gipper.

Barack Obama’s feckless response to the Syrian Civil War allowed Russia to gain a foothold in that troubled nation. After Syria’s dictator Bashar al-Assad crossed Obama’s “red line” on the use of chemical weapons, Obama did nothing.

Shortly after becoming secretary of state, Hillary Clinton presented a “reset” button to Russian counterpart, signifying a new start to relations between our countries.

Bonus round:

The Democrats’ favorite newspaper is the New York Times. Its Moscow correspondent in the 1920s and 1930s, Walter Duranty, received a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Stalin’s USSR. But not only did Duranty fail to report on the famine in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s, he claimed such stories about it were untrue. But Duranty knew that as many as 10 million people starved to death during the famine, which as a direct result of Stalin’s barbaric policies. The proliferation of fake news is not a recent development.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit. His wife was born in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic.

My advice post for the GOP is on hold for a day or two because of events in Syria.  Here are 10 thoughts under my fedora on the subject.

I’m really thinking that Putin are falling for MSM propaganda on the president’s weakness.  I think the Russians and/or Syrians and/or Iranians wrongly perceived that Trump’s public desire to be out of Syria meant open season to use gas, big mistake (and please don’t insult my intelligence by suggesting that the Syrians might use this gas without the consent of the Russians.


Watching the coverage on CNN was interesting.  Because there was no warning that this was coming there was no coordination with Democrats on how to react and since they can’t hit Trump for punishing Syria for gassing innocent people  they had to play it straight to a large degree.  They really didn’t like that.


Another interesting problem for the MSM was the contrast between Trump doing what he said he would do on Syria and the Obama administrations making threats and red lines that meant nothing.  The only bright side for them was contrasting Trump’s previous statements before he was in the White House.


I was wondering how long it would take MSNBC to call this a “wag the dog” scenario.  Unfortunately for them there has been a week of talk about Syria and gas which makes that entire argument weak, there is also the help from England and France which is not something you can coordinate in a day or two which really hurts the credibility of the argument, but that won’t stop most “never trumpers” from playing that card.


it’s also worth noting Trump got a lot of credit for getting a coalition together for this attack, even Joe Scarborough who certainly can’t be accused of carrying Trump’s water complemented him on this.  I was surprised he was able to get the French, the British were less of a surprise.  It’s amazing how nations are more willing to hit your allies when you go around poisoning people on their soil.


A few days ago at work a friend from Haiti was very worried about Putin’s threat to shoot down anything attacking in Syria.  I told him not to worry because it was a bluff.  Today has confirmed that to be true although that’s not how it will be played in Russia.  Every time they play that game Russian and Iranian prestige in the area drops like a rock.


This has got to be a huge worry for Iran, North Korea and China.  After all if Trump is willing to go toe to toe with Putin he’s certainly not going to show any restraint on Iran and you had better believe little Kim has noticed this.


Don’t think for one minute the contrasting messages between Trump and his generals to the press is an accident.  This president is a big believer in keeping the other side guessing.  The conflicting messages are to cause the maximum confusion to the enemy as they decide what to do next.


I’m figuring that by Sunday the MSM and Democrats will have decided on a unified theme to go with here.  All of it will depending on the polling they see.  If the polling is mixed they’ll go all in with the “wag the dog” business suggesting that all of this was to distract from Comey and Cohen citing a lack of public evidence of Syrian actions while at the same time not demanding any such evidence the administration has be made public so as not to allow Trump to justify his actions.  Secondly they will contrast his previous remarks to his current actions to back up the whole “wag the dog” meme.  If the polling proves this to be popular they might just decide to get behind it to head off the GOP taking credit.


In terms of politics this is the worst possible thing to happen to the left.  Trump leading an international force to confront a country using chemical weapons is very presidential and it comes as his polling is some of the best we’ve seen for him in a while.  A foreign policy success combined with a strong economy might just give the GOP enough courage to fight back against the left’s TET offensive, particularly if it’s combined with an effective slogan, but that’s the post I’ve put off till tomorrow.

by baldilocks

Gaddafi and Hussein are dead.

It’s said that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un doesn’t want to give up his nukes because of what happened to Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.

After the US invaded Iraq, which resulted in the deposition and execution of Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi gave up his country’s nukes, only to be abandoned by the succeeding US administration – which resulted in Gaddafi’s deposition and execution. If the reports about Kim’s reasoning are true, it’s cogent piece of reasoning.

I’m Old Enough To Remember WhenTM Gaddafi publicly gave up his clandestine nuclear program and Syria’s Bashar Assad promised to pull his troops out of Lebanon, both saying, in effect: “I am not Saddam Hussein.”

As we know, the premise for the invasion of Iraq was that Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), refused to give them up, and refused to allow UN inspection of those weapons. Following the invasion, however, no WMD materials were found in Iraq and the “Bush Lied” meme was born.

(Aside: for years that was the cudgel that Democrats – some of whom had access to the same domestic and foreign intelligence reports that George W. Bush’s intel advisers did and many of whom voted for intervention in Iraq — used to criticize Bush. These Democrat critics included former Senators Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, along with current Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, all of whom voted “yea” for the Iraq Resolution.)

Bashar Assad

In the intervening years, various sources in-the-know have reported that Hussein sent his WMD materials to Syria. If this is true, then it was little skin off Assad’s nose to promise to pull back his troops; he had other many other plans brewing, thanks to Hussein, and at least one other source.

Then, in 2007, the Israelis bombed Syria, targeting what they said was a nuclear reactor under construction.

A video taken inside a secret Syrian facility last summer convinced the Israeli government and the Bush administration that North Korea was helping to construct a reactor similar to one that produces plutonium for North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, according to senior U.S. officials who said it would be shared with lawmakers today.

The officials said the video of the remote site, code-named Al Kibar by the Syrians, shows North Koreans inside. It played a pivotal role in Israel’s decision to bomb the facility late at night last Sept. 6, a move that was publicly denounced by Damascus but not by Washington.

Sources familiar with the video say it also shows that the Syrian reactor core’s design is the same as that of the North Korean reactor at Yongbyon, including a virtually identical configuration and number of holes for fuel rods. It shows “remarkable resemblances inside and out to Yongbyon,” a U.S. intelligence official said. A nuclear weapons specialist called the video “very, very damning.”

Emphasis mine.

The Syrian government expressed outrage about getting bombed by the “Zionist Entity,” of course, and even used the “Bush Lied” rhetoric, but did little else about it. In 2011, the IAEA concurred with Israel’s claim about the facility.

It turns out that the nuclear connections between Syria and North Korea go back to about 1997. If you’re going read at least one of the links, read this one.

So maybe it’s true that Kim doesn’t want to end up like Gaddafi or Hussein — or even Assad — and is using the only leverage he has to stay in power.

This business will get out of control and we will be lucky to live through it.

There is also an Iran connection – naturally – and the Syrian Civil war, and the Russian involvement … but this post is long enough. I just wanted to point to the items, incidents, and connections that nearly every public commentator seems to have forgotten and/or discounted.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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