Understanding Trump’s America First foreign policy.

It’s really not that complicated.

But President Trump’s Syria strikes have reopened the debate over what defines his foreign policy. Is he an interventionist or an isolationist? Foreign policy experts claim that he’s making it up as he goes along.

But they’re not paying attention.

President Trump’s foreign policy has two consistent elements. From threatening Kim Jong-Un on Twitter to moving the embassy to Jerusalem to bombing Syria, he applies pressure and then he disengages.

Here’s how that works.

First, Trump pressures the most intransigent and hostile side in the conflict. Second, he divests the United States from the conflict leaving the relevant parties to find a way to work it out.

North Korea had spent decades using its nuclear program to bully its neighbors and the United States. Previous administrations had given the Communist dictatorship $1.3 billion in aid to keep it from developing its nuclear program. These bribes failed because they incentivized the nuclear program.

Nukes are the only thing keeping North Korea from being just another failed Communist dictatorship.

Instead, Trump called North Korea’s bluff. He ignored all the diplomatic advice and ridiculed its regime. He made it clear that the United States was not afraid of North Korean nukes. The experts shrieked. They warned that Kim Jong-Un wouldn’t take this Twitter abuse and we would be in for a nuclear war.

But the Norks folded.

The Communist regime held high level talks with the United States and South Korea. It’s reportedly planning to announce an official end to the war. That probably won’t amount to much in the long term, but it shifts more of the responsibility for the conflict away from the United States and to the Koreas.

Trump accomplished more with a few tweets than previous administrations had with billions of dollars.

An instinctive negotiator, Trump’s realpolitik genius lay not in ideology, but in grasping the core negotiating strategy of the enemy and then negating it by taking away its reason not to make a deal.

When Trump called North Korea’s bluff, its nuclear weapons program was transformed from an asset that it used to blackmail aid from its potential targets into a liability that could end with its destruction.

Trump did the same thing with Jerusalem.

The PLO had refused to make a deal with Israel because its constant refusals to negotiate allowed it to keep escalating its demands. The more it sabotaged negotiations, the better the offers became.

The PLO’s Palestinian Authority didn’t have nukes, but its weapon of choice was terrorism. And it had played the same game as North Korea for decades. It would begin negotiations, demand payoffs, then sabotage negotiations, threaten violence, and demand an even higher payoff for ending the violence.

The PLO/PA knew that it could get the best possible deal by not making a deal.

Just like North Korea, Trump cut the PLO down to size by negating its negotiating strategy. Instead of the deal getting better and better, Trump showed that it would get worse by taking Jerusalem off the table.

Previous administrations had rewarded the PLO/PA for its refusal to make a deal by sweetening the pot. Instead Trump threatened to take away Jerusalem, the biggest prize in the pot. And then he warned that the PLO would lose even more of its demands if the terrorist group continued to refuse to make a deal.

Unlike Clinton, Bush and Obama, Trump did not overcompensate for the US-Israel relationship by pressuring the Jewish State to make a deal with the PLO so as to seem like an “honest broker”. Instead he leveraged that relationship to move the United States away from the conflict.

Moving the embassy to Jerusalem sends the signal that the US-Israel relationship doesn’t depend on a deal with the PLO. That’s the opposite of the messages that Clinton, Bush and Obama had sent.

Their old failed diplomacy that made the US-Israel relationship dependent on a deal with the PLO had given the terrorists control over our foreign policy. The US and Israel were perversely forced into appeasing the terrorists of the PLO just to be able to maintain a relationship with each other.

Trump kicked the PLO out of the driver’s seat. And the terrorist group is becoming isolated.

Saudi Arabia and its allies are much more focused on Iran than the old proxy war against Israel. And, for the moment, that leaves the PLO with few allies. If it doesn’t make a deal, then the United States will rebuild its relationship with Israel around regional security issues. And the Saudis have signaled that they are willing to do the same thing. Then everyone else exits the conflict except Israel and the PLO.

Trump left it to the South Koreans to decide the conflict with North Korea. Ditto for Israel.

The United States will put forward proposals, but the long game is to get America out these conflicts. And Trump does that by turning the United States from an eager mediator to a bully with a big stick.

He made it clear to Kim Jong-Un that he would have a much easier time negotiating with South Korea than with America. And he’s made it equally clear to the PLO that it’s better off turning to Israel than to its allies in the State Department. The message is, “You don’t want to get the United States involved.”

Previous administrations believed that the United States had an integral role in resolving every conflict. President Trump’s America First policy seeks to limit our involvement in foreign conflicts without robbing us of our influence by making those interventions as decisive and abrasive as possible.

It breaks every rule of contemporary diplomacy. But it has plenty of historical precedents. And it works.

President Trump wants to get out of Syria. But he doesn’t want to hand Iran another win. And he doesn’t want to get the United States bogged down in another disastrous regional conflict.

So, just like in North Korea and Israel, he sent a decisive message of strength.

The strikes were a reminder that unlike his predecessor, he was not afraid of using force. But just as in North Korea and Israel, the show of strength was only a lever for disengaging from the conflict.

Instead, Trump wants to bring in an “Arab force” to stabilize parts of Syria. That would checkmate Iran, split Syria between the Shiites and Sunnis, and ‘Arabize’ the conflict while getting America out of it.

The threat of more strikes would give an Arab force credibility without an actual American commitment.

And the threat of a Sunni Arab force is meant to pressure Assad into making a deal that would limit Iran’s influence over Syria. If Assad wants to restore complete control over Syria, he’ll have to make a deal with the Sunnis inside or outside his country. And that will limit Iran’s influence and power in Syria.

The debates over chemical attacks were never the real issue. Keeping weapons like that out of the hands of terror-linked states like Syria is good policy. But there was a much bigger picture.

Iran took advantage of the Obama era to expand its power and influence. Trump wants to roll back Iranian expansionism while limiting American exposure to the conflict. Once again he’s using a show of strength to mobilize the local players into addressing the problem while keeping his future plans vague.

Assad’s biggest reason for refusing to make a deal was that Iran’s backing made his victory inevitable. Iran and Hezbollah had paid a high price for winning in Syria. But they were unquestionably winning. The only thing that could change that is direct American intervention. And Trump wants Assad to fear it.

Trump is offering Assad the rule of his country. But to get it, he has to dump his biggest partner.

When Trump came into office, the two bad options were arming the Sunni Jihadis or letting Iran’s Shiite Jihadis win. Instead Trump has come up with a third option. Either keep the war going or force a deal.

Either the conflict will drag on, but with minimal American involvement. Or Assad will sell out Iran.

None of these are ideal options. But there are no good options. Not in North Korea, Israel or Syria. The Norks and the PLO aren’t likely to reform. Syria, like Iraq, will stay divided between feuding Islamic sects. None of these problems will go away at the negotiating table. And Trump understands that.

Trump is too much of a dealmaker to believe in the unlimited promise of diplomatic agreements.  He knows that it takes leverage not just to make a deal, but to keep it in place. And he doesn’t believe that the United States can make a deal work when a key player really doesn’t want the deal to happen.

Trump’s Art of the International Deal identifies the roadblocks to previous agreements, breaks them down, puts the local players in the driver’s seat and then makes fixing the problem into their problem.

Obama’s people dubbed his failed diplomacy, “Smart Power”. Call Trump’s diplomacy, “Deal Power.”

Originally Published in FrontPageMag

Caroline Glick: 5 Key Points About the U.S.-Led Syria Strike

The United States, United Kingdom, and France joined in a combined operation on April 14 that used “precision” strikes against Syria’s chemical weapons infrastructure. The following are key points about the raid.

1. Operationally, the strike showed the U.S. has the capacity to conduct airstrikes with allies, against significant targets, with minimal lead time.

It took less than a week for the U.S. and its allies to organize and position the air and naval platforms they used to carry out the missile assault. Indeed, according to the Wall Street Journal, Secretary of Defense James Mattis delayed the strikes twice, despite operational readiness.

This demonstration of operational speed and competence tells us two things. First, President Donald Trump is respected by U.S. allies. French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May trusted Trump’s seriousness of purpose enough to join him in launching the missile strikes with little to no diplomatic jockeying.

In 2013, when then-president Barack Obama geared up to attack Syrian regime targets after Syrian President Bashar Assad killed 1,400 people in a sarin gas attack on East Ghouta, the British parliament refused to authorize British forces to participate in the planned strike.

The French, for their part, were left in a lurch by Obama. French bomber pilots were in their cockpits waiting to take off when they were informed that Obama had called off the airstrikes at the last minute.

In addition, Saturday’s strike showed that the U.S. has the capacity to degrade and destroy high value targets through indirect fire. U.S. pilots did not have to fly over their targets to bomb them. By the same token, if it chooses to do so, the U.S. can destroy the vast majority of Iran’s nuclear installations from a safe distance with Tomahawk and other precision guided weapons.

2. The operational success of the missile strike does not infer either tactical or strategic gains.

Tactically, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley is correct that by bombing chemical weapons targets, the U.S. and its allies “set [the Syrians’] chemical weapons program back years.”

At the same time, the advance warning the U.S. provided the Syrians regarding the impending strike gave the Syrians the opportunity to remove significant assets and manpower from bases and installations before they were attacked.

As a consequence, high value materials and personnel were probably not at the installations when they were attacked on Saturday morning.

Haley said on CBS News’ Face the Nation that the U.S. was not interested in “killing anyone” in the attack. That is fine in and of itself. But by providing advance warning of the impending strike, the U.S. diminished the tactical losses that Syria incurred. This is doubly true given that according to Mattis and Marine General James Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the installations attacked were engaged in developing sarin gas. To date, the U.S. and its allies have said that they lack conclusive evidence that the April 7 chemical attack involved sarin. According to Mattis, they have only been able to determine conclusively that the Assad regime used chlorine gas in the attack. In other words, Syria’s ability to carry out further chlorine attacks was apparently not diminished on Saturday morning.

3. From a strategic perspective, it is difficult to know whether the strike was meaningful, largely because the Trump administration has given contradictory statements about its actual goals in Syria.

Officially, the Trump administration’s goal in Syria is the same goal that the Obama administration articulated: defeating the “Islamic State,” or ISIS. Mattis has been assiduous in opposing the expansion of that strategic goal. His insistence on preserving Obama’s strategy in place in Syria has confounded observers, who note that the purpose of Obama’s campaign against Islamic State was to protect the Assad regime to placate Iran in the hopes of developing a strategic alliance with Teheran. Obama’s keenness to align U.S. policy with Iranian interests made him blind to the threat that Teheran’s expansionism and nuclear proliferation constituted to the U.S. and its allies.

On Saturday, Mattis told reporters the missile strike was a “one-time shot.” Last Thursday, Mattis told  Congress, “Our role in Syria is the defeat of ISIS. We are not going to engage in the civil war itself.”

Following Saturday’s strike, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said, “This operation does not represent a change in U.S. policy nor was it an attempt to depose the Syria regime.”

But then, it isn’t clear the degree to which Mattis speaks for President Trump.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump pushed Mattis and his generals to expand the range of the attack to punish Iran and Russia for enabling the regime’s use of chemical weapons. Trump was reportedly “unhappy with the more limited options they… presented to him.” The same report indicated that Mattis said that “anything other than a ‘show strike’ risked broader escalation with the Russians in particular.”

With former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gone, the Journal report claimed that Mattis was the lone voice calling for the U.S. to take no strategically significant action. Haley, along with new National Security Advisor John Bolton and Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan, all supported a more expansive effort.

In her interview on Face the Nation, Haley contradicted Mattis’s position that Obama’s strategy in Syria must be preserved. Haley indicated that the U.S. goals in Syria extend beyond defeating ISIS. Haley said the US has three goals it needs to achieve before it can withdraw its military forces from the country. First, she said, the US needs to ensure that there can be no “chemical weapons usage anywhere.” Second, she said that ISIS needs to be fully defeated. Third, Haley said, “We want to make sure that the influence of Iran doesn’t take over the area. They continue to cause problems throughout the region and we want to make sure that there is a hold.”

Haley added, “The president has asked the allies to step up and do more when it comes to Syria.” Apparently, they are.

On Saturday night, the Syrian media reported loud explosions at an Iranian base south of Aleppo. According to reports – which were contradictory – unidentified aircraft executed the strike. Some reports alleged that the aircraft were Israeli. If Israel did strike the Iranian base, it would be the second Iranian position Israel has been accused of bombing in the past week.

Speaking to his cabinet Sunday morning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “The element that is undermining the Middle East more than any other is Iran, and … President Assad must understand that when he allows Iran and its proxies to establish its military presence in Syria, he is endangering Syria and the stability of the entire region.”

4. The U.S.-led attack signaled that at least for now, the U.S. has made its peace with Russian power in Syria and the wider Mediterranean basin.

Mattis succeeded in blocking any action against Russian interests in Syria. As Dunford noted, the Pentagon was in close contact with the Russians to ensure that there was no conflict between U.S. and Russian forces in Syria. Mattis’s explicitly stated concern with avoiding conflict with Russia indicated that at least as far as the Pentagon is concerned, the U.S. must not challenge Russia’s entrenchment in Syria.

Regardless of the actual policy adopted regarding Russia, objectively, Russia’s presence in Syria is a problem for the U.S. for three main reasons. First, Russia views its deployment in Syria first and foremost as a means to restore Russia’s superpower status by challenging U.S. power. In other words, Russia’s main goal in Syria is to weaken the U.S.

Second, U.S. allies Israel and Saudi Arabia are no match for Russia. So long as Russia remains in Syria, it facilitates and protects Iran’s entrenchment in the country. Since neither Israel nor Saudi Arabia can contend with Russia, they cannot prevent Iran from effectively taking over the country both directly and through its Syrian and Hezbollah proxies. In other words, dealing with Russia is a job the U.S. cannot subcontract to its regional allies and they cannot achieve their regional goals so long as Russia remains unchallenged.

Finally, the Russian presence in Syria is a problem for the U.S. because it expands Russia’s influence over Turkey at America’s expense. It is true that Turkey has not been a credible U.S. ally for several years. But it is also true that the more Putin pushes Turkey away from the U.S., the more damage the U.S. will suffer to its strategic interests in the region.

The U.S. may very well lack good options for challenging Russia. Obama’s acquiescence to Russia’s entrenchment in Syria destroyed U.S. dominance in the Middle East in one fell swoop. Haley claimed Sunday that the U.S. intends to punish Russia for its facilitation of Assad’s war crimes by implementing new sanctions against Russian “companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use.”

It remains to be seen how those sanctions will impact Putin’s cost-benefit analysis. But it is hard to see that sanctions, however harsh, will outweigh what Putin perceives as the benefits of maintaining Russia’s presence in Syria.

5. Saturday’s strike showed that the U.S. is again a force to be reckoned with in Syria.

Despite the limited if not altogether nonexistent immediate tactical and strategic significance of the strike, by undertaking it, Trump took another important step towards restoring U.S. credibility and power in the region. This is a necessary precursor to any tactically and strategically significant operation in the future. Since the administration is clearly revisiting its strategic posture and goals in Syria, this is an altogether positive achievement.

Obama wrecked U.S. credibility in the Middle East, and arguably worldwide, in 2013, when at the last moment he failed to enforce the red line he drew regarding chemical weapons attacks. It is not clear that his red line, according to which the U.S. would respond to chemical weapons attacks, was a reasonable one. By saying the U.S. would respond to chemical attacks, Obama signaled that conventional killing methods were fine by him. Assad, who used conventional munitions to kill nearly half a million people, understood the message and continued killing.

But whether or not Obama’s red line was rational is beside the point. Once Obama drew a line in the sand, and then failed to maintain it when it was challenged, he weakened America in a fundamental way.

As a consequence, Trump has to defend Obama’s red line to restore American power and credibility. By retaliating against Assad’s April 7 chemical attack in Douma — and doing so with Britain and France – Trump communicated clearly that the U.S. demands respect. This message was a necessary precondition for successfully implementing whatever strategic goal the president and his team adopt regarding Syria and its Iranian and Russia sponsors.

Originally Published in Breitbart.

Israel Must Brace for Impact

The “smart” missiles have now been fired into Syria and according to the Pentagon they were successful.  For all of Trump’s bellicose rhetoric, the operation to degrade Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities took a few short hours on Saturday.  On the surface of it, Trump accomplished his goal of destroying Assad’s ability to harm civilians using chemical weapons while not getting involved enough to draw Russia into a direct confrontation.

Of course, on the ground things are far different.  Within a few hours of the missile barrage, unidentified aircraft struck an Iranian base in Aleppo, Syria.  Most sources suggest this was an Israeli attack. Iran and Russia have already pledged to respond to the US attack, which will most likely take the form of attacking an American proxy rather than the US itself.  Stability was never an adjective to describe Syria, but whatever semblance of order there was it had not completely vanished until now.

Despite Bibi Netanyahu’s public support for the US attack on Syria, Israel has little need or desire for an American attack which will end up causing the Jewish state serous damage. Russia’s response will be calculating and not come right away. Putin has held Iran and Hezbollah back from attacking Israel. This has seemingly changed after Trump’s attack on Syria.

Although Israel has the free reign to do what is necessary, Russian involvement may neutralize some of its capabilities when dealing with an Iranian/Hezbollah advance into the Golan or the Galilee. While Russia is no America and Iran’s traditional military has taken a backseat to its ballistic missile program, both would be a formidable force for the Israeli military to defend against.

Trump’s attack on Syria, while forceful was merely a quick carrying out of a hit and run strategy that may have unknown consequences on geopolitical structures in the Middle East and the broader region.

Trump’s day of reckoning for Syria has come and gone, but Israel’s standing in relation to Russia has now deteriorated placing its populace in direct danger.

Israel must now brace for full impact as it is the number one target for Russia and Iran’s retaliation against America.


Syria-Reaping the storm Obama sowed

If surrendering US primacy in the region to Russia was the result of US passivity and inaction, the intrusion of Iran into Syria can very definitely be attributed to ill-conceived, active American policy.


So rather than offer false promises…we have to take a long view of the terrorist threat, and we have to pursue a smart strategy that can be sustained…we have to draw upon the strength of our diplomacy…Just think about what we’ve done these last eight years without firing a shot…We’ve eliminated Syria’s declared chemical weapons program. – Barack Obama, Address on Counterterrorism, December 6, 2016.


With respect to Syria, we struck a deal where we got 100% of the chemical weapons out… – John Kerry, Obama’s Secretary of State, Meet the Press, July 20, 2014.

“We were able to find a solution that didn’t necessitate the use of force that actually removed the chemical weapons that were known from Syria, in a way that the use of force would never have accomplished. Our aim…was…to deal with the threat of chemical weapons by virtue of the diplomacy …We were able to get the Syrian government to voluntarily and verifiably give up its chemical weapons stockpile.”Susan Rice, Obama’s National Security Advisor, NPR , January 16, 2017.

The past years have been ones of great trauma and tragedy in Syria.

Sadly, ongoing trends may well herald trauma and tragedy on even a greater scale – not only for Syria itself, but for the entire region, and well beyond.

On the cusp of catastrophic conflict

Indeed, barely five years ago, few analysts—if any—would have predicted that the world would be poised on the brink of a militarized confrontation between the US and Israel on the one hand, and Russia, Iran, Syria and possibly Turkey (perversely and paradoxically a NATO member), on the other.

Yet these are precisely the emerging contours of the conflict on whose cusp we are now perched.

Much of the blame for the unfolding drama of human misery must be laid squarely and unequivocally on Barack Obama—and his disastrous policy decisions.

The source of virtually every vector of bestial brutality that has converged on Syria in the last half-decade—and which now threaten to diverge from it and engulf others, both near and far—can be traced back to the previous administration’s foreign policy preferences.

Indeed, a straight line can be drawn from the flaccidity of the Obama positions on US military presence in Iraq and his disdainful dismissal of the threat posed by ISIS; his disregard for his own “red lines” in Syria over Assad’s use of chemical weapons, coupled with his surrender of US influence to Russia; and of course, his capitulation to the tyrannical theocrats in Tehran on Iran’s nuclear program.

After all, the substantive content of these policies were so patently divergent from their declared purpose, it is difficult to reconcile their adoption with genuine good faith—unless one assumes almost child-like naiveté or staggering ignorance, neither of which are reassuring qualities for a leader of the world’s most powerful nation.

Obama: The most Islamophilic president ever

Significantly, the consequences of Obama’s “legacy’ have been so unambiguously calamitous that even the once sycophantic Obama-phile, Jeffrey Goldberg, penned an article (The Atlantic, April 7, 2017), disapprovingly headlined: The Obama Doctrine, R.I.P. With uncharacteristic acerbity for someone once so unreservedly supportive of the former president, Goldberg admits: “The 2013 Obama-Putin deal to disarm Assad of his chemical weapons was a failure… The argument that Obama achieved comprehensive WMD disarmament without going to war is no longer, as they say in Washington, operative.”

However, I hesitate to deem these decisions “errors of judgement”, for the really disturbing thing about Obama’s foreign policy is that it is difficult to know whether the appalling outcomes they produced were the result of well-intentioned, but unintended, blunders—or of malevolent and deliberate intent.

For whatever one might believe regarding Barack Obama’s genuine religious affiliation, one thing is beyond any honest dispute: He is without doubt the most Islamophilic president to ever to hold office, unabashedly unmoored to the bollards of the Judeo-Christian legacy that has underpinned—indeed, shaped—the character of the United States since its inception. This undoubtedly colored his view of America’s national interests and the appropriate manner in which they ought to be pursued, in hues very different from any other White House incumbent.

“…Muslims built our tallest building”

Thus, in his seminal outreach address in Cairo (June 2009) to the Muslim world, which in many ways laid the corner-stone for the subsequent orientation of his administration’s foreign policy, Obama, with scant historical corroboration to back himself up, declared: “I…know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story”—adding somewhat incongruously “…Muslims have enriched the United States …They have [among other things] built our tallest building”…just a few years after Muslims knocked down two of America’s tallest buildings. No kidding!

He then proceeded to draw a highly questionable equivalence between the ethos of the US and that of Islam: “America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles — principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”

Just how ludicrous his alleged parallel is, is something I have dealt with elsewhere –see Will the West Withstand the Obama Presidency?, and will thus forego any further elaboration here. However, it would be imprudent to ignore how this clearly articulated perspective impacted his policy-making.

Few have expressed what effect this overtly professed proclivity in Obama’s political credo (conveyed in his 2009 Cairo address) had on his administration’s ensuing foreign policy more succinctly than former Israeli ambassador to the US, Michael Oren.

From Cairo 2009 to Syria 2018

In a 2015 “Foreign Policy” essay, Oren excoriates Obama’s “naiveté as peacemaker, blinders to terrorism, and alienation of allies.”

Referring to Obama’s Cairo speech and other similar remarks made at the start of his incumbency, Oren observes: “These pronouncements presaged what was, in fact, a profound recasting of U.S. policy.”

He recounts that whenever leaders “ were perplexed by the administration’s decision to restore diplomatic ties with Syria — severed by Bush after the assassination of Lebanese president Rafik Hariri — or its early outreach to Libya and Iran, I would always refer them to that text. When policymakers back home failed to understand why Obama stood by Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who imprisoned journalists and backed Islamic radicals, or Mohamed Morsi, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and briefly its president, I would invariably say: ‘Go back to the speech.’ ”

In the essay, written barely a month before the July 2015 deal struck with Iran, Oren berates Obama’s “unique approach to Islam”, and his “assumption that a nuclear deal with Iran will render it ‘a very successful regional power’ capable of healing, rather than inflaming, historic schisms”, adding dryly: “That assumption was scarcely shared by Sunni Muslims, many of whom watched with deep concern at what they perceived as an emerging U.S.-Iranian alliance.”

“The Terrible Cost of Obama’s Failure in Syria”

The utter failure of the Obama doctrine can no longer be papered over. Its calamitous consequences are now beginning to be openly acknowledged in the mainstream media.

Thus, earlier this month, a withering review of what Obama has helped wreak in Syria appeared in “The Atlantic”—where the once obsequious Goldberg is Editor-in-Chief—under the caustic title “The Terrible Cost of Obama’s Failure in Syria”, detailing the atrocities inflicted on the civilian population since the administration’s glowing predictions that “we struck a deal where we got 100% of the chemical weapons out”.

But as tragic as the wholesale slaughter of civilians by Assad—once considered a “reformer”—are, there are many other grave, more strategic ramifications of the now widely discredited Obama doctrine.

The failure to assess the true nature of the threat ISIS posed in Iraq allowed the civil war there to spill over into Syria, compounding the carnage there. The uncontrolled escalation of fighting—and the absence of any US initiative to reign in Assad’s brutality—led to massive flows of refugees fleeing into Turkey and from there, into Europe—precipitating massive socio-cultural tensions across the continent, and threatening to undermine much of the domestic societal fabric.

Moreover, much like nature, politics abhors a vacuum. So when US reticence created a power vacuum in Syria, it was Putin and the Ayatollahs who were only too eager to fill it.

Freeing the Iranian tyranny from its bonds

But if surrendering US primacy in the region to Russia was the result of US passivity and inaction, the intrusion of Iran into Syria and the establishment of an ominous military presence there, together with the threat of a Shi’ite land bridge, linking Iran to the Mediterranean Coast, can very definitely be attributed to ill-conceived, active American policy.

After all, the current Iranian brazenness in Syria (and other portions of the region) would be inconceivable without the 2015 nuclear deal, ushered in by the Obama administration. Indeed, it is difficult to envisage the Iranian regime, prior to the deal, crippled by sanctions and deprived of assets, being able to orchestrate its current provocative mischief. The Obama orchestrated deal freed it from these inhibiting constraints and allowed it to pursue its global agenda of terror and aggression.

For in reality, there were only two ways to effectively restrain Tehran, force it to dismantle and discard its nuclear program, and to curtail its promotion of international terror.

In the short run, this involved maintaining—even tightening—the sanctions, which brought it to the negotiating table in the first place, backed up by a credible threat of military action against Iranian infrastructure—its dams, bridges, power plants and its tele-communication installations—in the case of continued defiance.

In the longer run, Iranian compliance with acceptable international norms can only be assured by regime-change—and replacement of the current tyrannical theocracy by rulers not driven the will to impose its fanatical brand of Islam across the globe.

Tyranny empowered, enriched & entrenched

Sadly, Obama obviated both these possibilities.

By unequivocally taking the military option off the table and relinquishing his pledge that “no deal is better than a bad deal”, he left Tehran secure in the knowledge that if the West backed away from the use of force against a weak, impoverished, non-nuclear Iran, there was little chance of it being adopted later, against a stronger, richer nuclear Iran.

Secondly, by abolishing the sanctions and freeing billions of Iranian assets, Obama empowered the current regime militarily, enriched it economically, and entrenched it politically. Thus, he inevitably made any chance of regime-change commensurately more remote.

Accordingly, without any real threat to its grip on power, the ruling tyranny was left unencumbered to pursue its malevolent designs in Syria; and together with the Russians, prop up their puppet, Assad, while developing a military presence to threaten Israel, and enhance its hegemonic aspirations across the Mid-East and beyond.

This is clearly a situation which Israel cannot tolerate, bringing the potential for large-scale militarized confrontation perilously close.

The bitter fruits of appeasement

The last great global conflict was the result of appeasement—and the attempt to assuage tyranny by concessions. In the aftermath of the Obama era, we are left to hope that yet another ill-advised attempt to appease tyranny will not precipitate yet another human catastrophe.

PACKER’S CORNER: Full Blown Chaos

Full-blown chaos!!! Last week we called it drama, but this is a whole different level!
Let’s do this chronologically, as things are happening quite rapidly.
Last Friday on the Gaza Border:
Last Friday, with the strong encouragement of Hamas, arabs rioted near the border between Israel and Gaza. As part of the riot, the arabs lit thousands of tires on fire creating a huge amount of black smoke. Btw, this ain’t great for the environment. Still waiting for the protests on that one. The point was to block the view of the Israeli soldiers so that terrorists could infiltrate Israeli territory and wreak murderous havoc. In short, didn’t work. However, as was discovered today when it harmlessly exploded, terrorists did succeed in planting an explosive on the fence without being detected. There is nothing remotely not violent about these protests and nobody is stupid enough to think that. If they suggest there is any level of non-violence, its just a pathetic attempt to weaken Israel/the Jewish People. These protests are supposed to continue for another month. Will likely result in about a hundred dead arabs, international criticism of Israel and that’s it – basically sums up the entire Israel/Arab conflict.
Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack:
On Sunday it was reported that there had a been a chemical weapons attack in Syria, killing upwards of 150 civilians. President Assad’s forces were blamed for the attack that targeted a rebel area outside of Damascus. Since then, President Trump has been going ballistic. More on that soon.
Israel Attacks Iran in Syria:
Subsequently, Israel (reportedly) attacked an Iranian air force base in Syria and killed a good number of Iranians, including a colonel. Iran is furious and promises to retaliate against Israel.
Trump will attack Syria because of chemical weapons usage: 
But Trump just keeps revving up the trash talking. Now he is promising to bomb the hell out of Syria and basically forcing other countries to join in as well. Russia is returning some rhetoric online, but in reality, they have evacuated their naval forces and other forces are all laying low. Syria has evacuated many military facilities as well. Its basically a run for the hills moment in Syria. This might be the least surprise attack ever! I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump got pics of him firing some missiles himself!
To sum all of this up: Trump (and likely others)  will attack Syria. Iran will attack Israel. Israel will wreck them and their evil friends.
Meanwhile, despite all this, in Israel:
-Tourism is booming!
-Relations with arab countries (like saudi arabia and egypt) have never been better
-Government coalition is stable
-Very little terror activity
Israelis are commemorating Yom HaShoah tonight, Yom HaZikaron/Ha’atzmaut next week, and then Yom Yerushalayim a few weeks later. Then the US, and Guatemala, will be moving their embassies to Jerusalem. After that, depending on or maybe not  on what happens in Syria, expect some bold moves by the Israeli Government in Jerusalem and elsewhere.

Three Potential Responses Putin May Take to a USA Attack on Syria

It is safe to assume that the current war of words between President Trump and Putin will escalate to a US attack on Syria.  At this point there is little doubt that Trump will follow through on his threats to attack Assad.  “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!'” Trump Tweeted yesterday.

The real unknown is the Russian response to a NATO backed US attack on Syria.

Putin will likely decide to create as much chaos as possible in responding to the USA.  Three things to expect after the attack (assuming the attack is limited to infrastructure) are the following:

Iranian Attack on Israel: Iran and Hezbollah will be given a green light to attack Israel in both the Galilee and the Golan.  This will draw Israel into a direct war, which has the potential to decimate Israeli population centers and more importantly for Russia to remove Israel from a position of help to the USA.

Overthrow elected governments in Lithuania and Latvia: These two Baltic States have been a  target for Putin’s desire to rebuild the former Russian empire.  Not only can he pull off coups in both places, he can easily move his forces into both countries using Russian separatists in the same way he has in Ukraine’s Donbass. This will be a major blow to both EU and NATO expansion and send the continent into a frantic tailspin.

Support Transnistria: Putin has long thrown soft support behind the Moldovian province of Transnistria, which would give him an anchor on the west of the Black Sea.  This may not be as threatening as overturning Lithuania or Latvia, but the message would be clear.  Russia is on the move and a real threat to European stability.

World War Three?

The above responses assume that Trump’s attack will be limited, but if Trump and his NATO allies or Israel actually take out Assad, then Russia and perhaps China will use that as a reason to threaten the USA and the West in a far more global manner.


The Radical-in-Chief didn’t just support one monster. He backed two.

Obama owns the disaster in Syria in a way that no one else does. Three of his policies intersected to cause the bloodshed, devastation and horrors there.

  1. The Iraq Withdrawal
  2. The Arab Spring
  3. The Iran Deal

Obama’s Iraq withdrawal turned the country over to Iran and ISIS. The tensions between the Shiite puppet regime in Baghdad (which Obama insisted on backing) and the Sunni population created a cycle of violence that reduced the country to a bloody civil war between Shiite militias and Al Qaeda in Iraq.

The collapse of the multicultural Iraqi army allowed Al Qaeda in Iraq to seize huge swathes of territory. And ISIS and Iran began carving up Iraq into their own ethnically cleansed dominions.

Then his Arab Spring empowered the Muslim Brotherhood’s Sunni forces to seize power in countries around the region. Unlike Egypt and Tunisia, whose governments fell under White House pressure, and Libya, which Obama bombed and invaded, the Iranians and Russians didn’t cut their Syrian allies loose.

Iraq’s civil war spread to Syria. Initially Obama backed the Sunni Brotherhood militias. These groups represented themselves as free, secular and democratic. They were actually nothing of the kind. But as Libya and Yemen turned into disasters, and the Syrian militias clamored for direct military intervention, Obama instead turned to Iran. The Sunni Islamists hadn’t worked out so he cut a deal with the Shiites.

Obama’s new deal with Iran was sealed with a fortune in illegal foreign currency shipments flown in on unmarked cargo planes, a virtual blank check for Iran’s nuclear program, the collapse of sanctions and the withdrawal of support for the Sunni militias in Syria. And that gave Iran a free hand in Syria.

If you want to understand why Syria is a disaster area, these are the three reasons.

Obama empowered ISIS and Iran next door to Syria. Then he empowered Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda militias in Syria. And then he finally empowered Iran, Assad and Russia in Syria.

If he had set out to cause as much death and devastation as possible in Syria, he couldn’t have done any more damage without dropping nuclear bombs or his campaign propaganda on its major cities.

Every major terror player in Syria was empowered by Obama’s terrible decisions.

ISIS and Iranian expansionism grew in the vacuum his policies had created. He backed the Brotherhood and Al Qaeda militias with training, political support and weapons shipments. And then he decided to create another vacuum that would allow Iran to overrun the region to do the work he didn’t want to do.

Syria is just the culmination of a series of bad decisions guided by a single disastrous philosophy.

Obama’s foreign policy was a leftist response to 9/11 and the Iraq War. Its central premise was that Islamic terrorism was our fault. Islamic terrorists had attacked us because of our support for the governments in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. This idea was implicitly expressed in his Iraq War speech.

“Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells,” he had declared.

The solution was withdrawing from Iraq. And withdrawing political support from our allies.

The Islamic terrorists would run for office, win elections and then stop being terrorists. Or at least they would limit their terrorism to domestic and regional violence. There would be no more justification for our “imperialist” military interventions in the region. That was Obama’s “smart power” foreign policy.

Instead it all went badly wrong.

The alliance between the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar and the Obama regime toppled friendly governments and replaced them with terror states across the Middle East. But popular uprisings against Islamist rule in Tunisia and Egypt forced out Obama allies: Mohammed Morsi and Rashid Ghannouchi. Obama’s illegal invasion of Libya led to everything from the return of slave markets to ISIS cities. Libya’s Brotherhood allied with Al Qaeda influenced terror militias leading to the Benghazi attack.

Obama’s other worst Arab Spring disasters happened in Syria and Yemen. Iran used the Brotherhood bids for power as an opening. The fighting between Shiite and Sunni Jihadists devastated both countries. Obama wanted the Muslim Brotherhood to win, but he didn’t want to keep invading countries to do it.

The Muslim Brotherhood couldn’t take power or hold on to it without military support. Hillary Clinton had talked Obama into invading Libya. But he didn’t want any more wars. Especially after Libya.

When some of his advisers urged him to intervene more strongly in Syria, he wavered.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who vacationed all over the world, couldn’t actually find anyone except the French to actually support action in Syria. And he was too used to leading from behind to take the lead. The red line had been broken. He slowly crawled all the way up to action. And then ran away while pathetically blaming the British for his own cowardice, double-dealing and broken promises.

The former UK PM would reportedly describe Obama as, one of the “most narcissistic, self-absorbed people”.

Obama avoided the war by humiliating his own Secretary of State and colluding with the Russians. He dodged having to deliver on his red line by agreeing to pretend that Syria had destroyed its WMDs.

Triumphant press releases and media accounts claimed that all the chemical weapons were gone.

This fake deal would serve as a precedent for another fake deal to stop Iran’s own WMD program. Both deals were equally worthless and were backed by the experts and reporters who are now demanding action all over again against the Syrian WMDs that, if you listened to them, weren’t supposed to exist.

“The credible threat of force brought about an opening for diplomacy, to come in, which then led to something that no one thought was possible,” Derek Chollet, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, said.

There was no credible threat of force. And there was a reason no one thought that it was possible.

It wasn’t.

The Russians and Iranians had played Obama. And they would go on playing him. But Obama wanted to be played. He wanted to save face by handing over his disaster to the Russians and Iran.

He wanted to implement regime change in the Middle East. But he didn’t want to get his hands dirty.

It all began with his backing for Sunni Islamist takeovers. Then he switched to backing Shiite Islamists.

As Hillary once said, “What difference does it make?” Except to the dying and the dead.

We support monsters.

That is the familiar leftist critique of American foreign policy during the Cold War. The same radicals who supported the racist Sandinistas, who chanted, “Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh, the NLF is gonna win” at their anti-war rallies, and wore red Che t-shirts, claimed that we wrongly supported anti-Communist dictators.

But the left is always twice as guilty of its own accusations.

In Syria, Obama didn’t just support one monster. He backed two. The bloodshed in Syria is entirely a product of the decisions that he made. But he wasn’t satisfied with supporting just one bunch of genocidal Islamic fanatics in a holy war. In one of the most extraordinary crimes, he backed both.

And he closed his eyes and allowed a third, ISIS, to rise.

Obama wanted to overthrow the dictators who were our allies. And he turned to the Brotherhood to do the job. When the Brotherhood couldn’t stand up to Iran or ISIS, he turned to Iran. He violated the law numerous times, providing weapons to Sunni Jihadists and cash to Shiite Jihadists, launching one illegal war and threatening to launch another, and it all ended in a miserable disaster that he ran away from.

The blood of 500,000 people is on his hands.

Originally Published in FrontPageMag.

Why America Shouldn’t Leave Syria, and the Kurds, Behind

President Donald Trump may about to throw the Kurds under the bus – and with them, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and American interests in the Middle East.

If concerns for securing the Pentagon budget are what convinced Trump to sign the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill last month, Pentagon concerns about keeping Islamist Turkey in NATO seem to be informing Trump’s thinking about abandoning the Kurds.

To the dismay of America’s allies and the delight of its enemies, President Trump declared last Thursday, in a speech in Ohio focused on infrastructure renewal, that he will soon recall U.S. forces now deployed to Syria to fight the Islamic State (or ISIS).

In his words: “We’re knocking the hell out of ISIS. We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it now.”

On its face, Trump’s statement seems reasonable. In 2014, then-President Barack Obama received congressional authorization to deploy U.S. forces to Syria to defeat ISIS, which had seized large swathes of territory in eastern Syria and western Iraq, and had set up its so-called capital in Raqqa, Syria. But Obama’s war against ISIS was lackadaisical and inconclusive.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump pledged to obliterate ISIS. Upon taking office, he loosened the rules of engagement for U.S. forces, and devolved authority for making attacking decisions from Washington to the forces on the ground.

The results paid off. In December 2017, Iraqi President Haider al-Abadi announced that ISIS had been defeated in Iraq.

In October 2017, U.S. forces working with the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces defeated ISIS forces in Raqqa.

If fighting ISIS were the only reason for US forces to be in to Syria, then a reasonable argument could be made for leaving and letting “the other people take care of it [Syria] now.”

But that’s the thing, ISIS was arguably the group in Syria that constituted the smallest strategic threat to the US and its allies. Indeed, while supporting Obama’s decision, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior Israeli defense and military officials saidrepeatedly that Iran’s entrenchment in Syria constituted a far greater threat to the region and to global security than ISIS ever did.

Which brings us to the issue of “the other people” in Syria that Trump expects to take care of things after he removes U.S. forces.

Those “other people,” are not American allies. To the contrary.

The forces in position to take over the areas where U.S. forces are now deployed are Turkish, Iranian, and Russian. Unlike the Israelis and Saudis, the Iranians, Turks, and Russians share none of America’s interests in Syria.

Which brings us to the Kurds, who will be the immediate casualty of an American withdrawal from Syria.

The US victory against ISIS in Syria and Iraq would never have happened without the Kurdish YPG and the YPG-dominated SDF militia in Syria, nor without the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq. The Kurds were the ground forces that won the war.

Through their successful operations in Iraq and Syria, the Kurds earned U.S. support for their political aspirations for an independent Kurdistan in Iraq, and an independent Kurdish region in post-war Syria. Such independent Kurdish zones serve the larger American strategic interest of blocking Iran’s imperial aspirations. An independent Kurdistan in Iraq would block Iran from controlling the Iran-Iraq border. An independent Kurdish province in a post-war Syria would prevent Iran from controlling the Iraqi-Syrian border and thereby from gaining the capacity to extend its hegemonic reach from Tehran to Lebanon.

For the past several months, at a minimum, the Pentagon has been Turkish president Recep Erdogan’s most powerful ally in his political and military campaign against the Syrian Kurds in Washington.  The Pentagon’s consistent preference for Turkey over the Kurdish forces that brought the U.S. victory against ISIS springs from its desire to keep Turkey in NATO. The U.S. directs its operations in Syria through NATO’s Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. The U.S. also stores nuclear warheads at the base.

After the failed military coup against Erdogan in July 2016, the regime cut off the power to Incirlik and effectively held the NATO personnel stationed there, including 2,700 U.S. military personnel, prisoner for several days. Rather than take the hint and make plans to remove U.S. nuclear weapons from the base and diminish American reliance on the base for NATO operations in the Middle East, the Pentagon worked to salvage U.S. relations with Turkey and Erdogan.

The argument has always been that no one wants to “lose” Turkey. But in the time that has elapsed since the failed coup, Erdogan has made clear that Turkey is already gone. In December, for example, he concluded a deal in to purchase Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missile defense system. The U.S. has repeatedly said that the deal is unacceptable given Turkey’s NATO membership.

Turkey has also been threatening U.S. forces in Manbij, Syria, for months, claiming the YPG forces there are terrorists aligned with the Turkish Kurdish PKK force, which the U.S. has designated a terror group.

US and Kurdish forces seized Manbij from Islamic State in 2016. Until then, the Manbij was the hub of ISIS’s supply chain from Turkey. Indeed, Manbij’s fall exposed Turkey’s key role in facilitating ISIS operations in Syria.

Turkey launched an assault against the Kurdish-controlled Afrin province along the Turkish border in western Syria in January. In the three-month operation, the U.S. provided no support for the Kurdish YPG fighters while the Russians permitted the Turks to bomb the population from the sky at will.

In mid-March, the Kurdish defenders were routed and a massive stream of refugees, including Yazidis and Christians as well as Kurds, abandoned the area to the Turks. Speaking to Reuters and other media outlets, a Kurdish spokesman said that the Turks’ aim was demographic displacement and ethnic cleansing, as fleeing Kurds, Christians, and others were replaced by Sunni Arabs and Turkmen.

Fresh on the heels of his victory in Afrin, this week Erdogan aannounced his intention to attack Kurdish PKK forces in Sinjar, Iraq. Kurdish forces in Sinjar have protected the Yazidis, who returned to the area after it was overrun by ISIS in 2014.

On March 28, Defense Secretary Mattis indicated that the U.S. supports the Turkish intention to remove the PKK forces from Sinjar.

But rather than demonstrating appreciation for the administration’s support, Erdogan is escalating his strategic embrace of Russia and Iran  – at America’s expense.

On Tuesday, Erdogan will host Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Mediterranean coastal town of Akkuyu for a ceremony marking the opening of a Russian-built nuclear power plant at the site. From there, the two leaders will travel to Ankara for a trilateral summit on the future of Syria with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday.

If the U.S. removes its forces from Syria, Iran and Turkey can be expected to annihilate the Kurds. And, as they did in Afrin, the Russians will stand on the sidelines.

A rout of the Kurds in Syria will be an unmitigated strategic disaster for the U.S. and its allies on two levels.

First in relation to Syria itself, without the Kurds, the U.S. will have no allies on the ground. The Turks, Iranians and Russians will divide the country between them. Iran will have accomplished its goal of controlling a contiguous band of territory stretching from Iran to Lebanon. With its gains in Syria consolidated, the prospect of war between Iran and Israel on the one hand, and Iran and Saudi Arabia on the other, will rise to near-certainty.

In the event of such a war, the damage will not be limited to America’s chief strategic allies in the Middle East, which will absorb devastating losses through joint attacks by Iran and its Hezbollah, Hamas, and Iraqi proxies.

As global financial analyst and strategic commentator David Goldman notes, the prospect of a global financial shock will rise to near certainty. “When you throw a lit match into a barrel of gas, you will get a big fire,” Goldman explains.

If Iran and Saudi Arabia go to war, they will target one another’s oil installations, he explains. “The price of a barrel of oil will rise to $200. Even though the U.S. is energy independent, the global price will still rise due to supply loss, and the global economy will be shut down.” Goldman continues.

“This will be the Trump Depression,” he concludes.

In other words, the 2,000 American troops in Syria are what stand between the U.S. and a meltdown of the global economy. They prevent war in the Middle East by denying Iran the ability to consolidate its victories in Syria and to launch wars directly, or through its proxies, against Israel and Saudi Arabia.

This brings us to the second problem with Trump’s appeasement of Turkey and his intent to withdraw from Syria.

If the U.S. betrays the Kurds in Syria, it will scupper any prospect of a popular rebellion inside of Iran that can destabilize and ultimately overthrow the regime. The Iranian Kurds, like the Syrian, Turkish and Iraqi Kurds, suffer from state-sponsored discrimination and oppression. They are geographically and culturally distinct from the rest of Iran. If inspired to do so, they would play a key role in a popular uprising against the regime. Without the Kurds, it is difficult to see how such a revolution could succeed or even begin.

If the U.S. abandons the Kurds of Syria, any chance that the Iranian Kurds would rise up is gone.

In the next five weeks, Trump will decide whether to remain in Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran or to abandon it. If the U.S. remains in Syria, then a U.S. abandonment of the nuclear deal coupled with a reinstatement of significant economic sanctions against Tehran would diminish Iran’s regional standing and economic prospects. But if Trump abandons the deal and abandons Syria, the moves would likely cancel one another out.

Iran will be so empowered by a U.S. abandonment of Syria that it will likely be in a position to abandon the nuclear deal in response to a U.S. move, reinstate its high-level uranium enrichment activities, and suffer few consequences. No longer concerned about U.S. responses, many nations will make their peace with a nuclear-armed Iran and defy American sanctions.

Trump is right to wish to bring the troops home from Syria. But the price American will pay – militarily, strategically and economically — for removing U.S. forces from Syria and abandoning the Kurds will far outpace the advantages of walking away from the mess.

Indeed, the price America will pay for “losing” the already-lost Turkey will be far lower than the price the US will pay for abandoning its Kurdish allies.

Originally Published in Breitbart.

Israel Must Stand With the Kurds Against Turkey

There are times that we cannot afford to remain silent.  We who witnessed our own people nearly wiped out just over 70 years ago know that feeling of an impending genocide.  Perhaps this is due to our collective PTSD or something engrained in us since our forced expulsion from the Land of Israel by the Romans nearly 2000 years ago.

President Erdogan of Turkey fashions himself as a sort of neo-Sultan ready to lead Turkey to a new golden age. Part of this golden age is a drive to wipe out those who Erdogan finds in his way.  For Erdogan, no other group exposes Turkey as an autocratic, racist power as the Kurds do and this is exactly why Erdogan and the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) are hell-bent at wiping them out where ever they are.

Last week’s successful invasion and defacto occupation by the TAF and their FSA allies under orders from Ankara represent our generation’s Sudetenland.  Sudetenland was Hitler’s first stop in conquering much of Europe and the world powers in 1938 did nothing actionable to stop him.  Erdogan’s wife has already stated that her husband intends to settle 500,000 Syrians and other Arabs in the once Kurdish majority city of Afrin.  This is not only a clear case of ethnic cleansing and indiscriminate killing of men, women, and children, it is a violation of the Geneva Convention.

Erdogan will not settle for just Afrin.  Due to the United States’ unwillingness to stop the “mad-man” in Ankara they have grown his appetite for more.

Not only has Erdogan promised to enter Manbij, which is a majority Kurdish populated city in Syria to the east of Afrin, he is even threatening to enter Sinjar in Iraq as he claims the terrorist group PKK is there.

“We told the central government to resolve the problem. Or we may will enter Sinjar and wipe the PKK terrorists out overnight. They told us that they would give us information, but we have not received any information so far. If this process lasts long, a new Olive Branch operation can be launched,” he stressed.

Erdogan has also indicated that he will push further south in Syria.

“We made our decision and entered the field. In short time, we will control Tal Rifaat and end the operation [Olive Branch],” Erdogan said in Trabzon, according to the Turkish news outlet, Ahval.

The TAF, who are known for their brutality towards non-Turks cannot be trusted to simply pinpoint their attacks on would-be terrorists.  In fact many of the so-called terrorists Erdogan killed in Afrin were women and children as evidenced by the countless videos and pictures streaming from Afrin city.

It is obvious that the USA lacks the will to intervene on the Kurds behalf.  Russia and Syria seem not to want to be bothered by Turkey’s drive to create a new Ottoman Empire.  Iran clearly is thankful it is Turkey that is will to finally put down the Kurds.  There seems to be one that cares enough to stop the growing Turkish genocidal menace.

This is where Israel must rise up and take the leadership mantle it is meant to have.  On all other matters in the Middle East Israel is respected as a leader.  We as Jews know what it means to be hunted down and murdered.  It is time to demand that the government in Jerusalem break ties with Turkey as a first action and warning to Erdogan that more will come unless he ceases his attacks on the Kurds.

The IDF should try to find a way to supply intelligence, humanitarian supplies, and even military equipment to the both the Syrian Kurds and the Kurds in northern Iraq.  Israeli leadership has been used to undertaking these missions covertly. It may be time to show the world what it means to stand against evil.  The Kurds have always stood with Israel and they appear to be the only other group of people in the Middle East that are genuinely forward thinking and capable of building a successful society.

Now is the time for Israel to lead.

PACKER’S CORNER: Trump Will Negate Obama’s Iran Deal

The President of the “Palestinian Authority” Abu Mazen called the American Ambassador to Israel a “son of a bitch”. That doesn’t happen everyday. But in fairness to Abu Mazen, America has never had such a proud Jew as an ambassador before. The last few have been quite the sellouts. Abu Mazen probably loved them! David Friedman, not so much.

However, this just wasn’t enough excitement, so… Israel officially revealed that they bombed a nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007. Now that is exciting! Most folks were already pretty aware of this, but now we had details. This, predictably, started a whole war of words (luckily not a real war with Syria) between different Israeli political and security figures. They argued like bickering children over who should get the credit, how the strike happened, how war was avoided and whether or not this information should have been released now. Somehow Netanyahu will get the credit (despite not being in power at the time), he’s just that good at this.

Many think this is a message to Iran not to mess. With the new and improved Trump Administration potentially poised to negate Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran in the next few months, Iran needs to know its place. Showcasing Israel’s ability to blow up nuclear facilities would be a nice warning. Additionally, as the Syrian government creeps closer to winning the civil war in their country, they also need to know that messing with Israel is never a good idea. I like to think of the whole thing as an early Happy Ramadan message to the entire muslim world, and don’t mess.

Very unfortunately, there have been victims of terror attacks in the past week in Israel. Two soldiers were killed (and two injured) in the northern Shomron and an Israeli civilian was killed in the Old City of Jerusalem. These attacks appear to have been carried out by individuals and not so premeditated. One attacker was captured and one killed. The terrorist who killed Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal was also captured this week in Shechem. They never get away. They know this, but they do it anyway. Something to ponder.

Remains to be seen how/if Israel will respond to these attacks. Will keep everyone posted.

In some good news, it looks like former residents of the destroyed community of Amona will move into houses this week, before Passover, in the new community of Amichai – near Shiloh. Rarely does Israel meet deadlines, but Passover is Passover. Hopefully the large families will experience a sense of “freedom” from the small dormitory rooms they’ve been confined to for the past year. Looking forward to those pictures.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled to be questioned about something next week. At this point, even the left seems bored with this. Makes more sense for them to go through the Haggadah to be ready for the Seder(s)!