Posts Tagged ‘ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND SYRIA’
Russian President Vladimir Putin is no admirer of President John F. Kennedy.
Yet he would no doubt agree with the spirit of the poem that Robert Frost intended to read at Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural.
Entitled “Dedication,” the poem went unread because the sunlight reflecting off snow blinded the elderly poet. So Frost relied on memory to recite an earlier creation: “The Gift Outright.”
“Dedication,” however, was far more in keeping with the upcoming aggressive hubris of the Kennedy years:
It makes the prophet in us all presage
The glory of a next Augustan age
Of a power leading from its strength and pride,
Of young ambition eager to be tried,
Firm in our free beliefs without dismay
In any game the nations want to play.
On September 30, Putin embarked on a game of big-power politics. He started launching airstrikes against Syria.
The objective: To bolster the dictatorship of Russia’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is now caught up in civil war.
This began on March 15, 2011, triggered by protests demanding political reforms and the ouster of al-Assad. More than 310,000 people have been killed in the fighting.
The Obama administration is worried about Russian intentions. And Republicans are furious, demanding that American military forces directly confront those of Russia.
Yet despite Right-wing fears about Russia, there is no reason for alarm–by Americans.
Putin’s intervention in Syria’s civil war offers three possible outcomes for the United States. And they’re all positive.
First, the Russians will kill thousands of America’s sworn enemies.
Russians are well-known for their disregard for human life. During their invasion of Germany in 1945, Russian soldiers literally nailed civilians to barn doors, squashed them under their tanks, and raped countless women of all ages.
In Syria, they will slaughter everyone who gets in their way. Thus, they will kill far more of America’s Islamic enemies than even our own military–hamstrung by do-gooder “rules of engagement”–could possibly eliminate.
Second, Russia will replace the United States as “The Great Satan” in the eyes of most Islamics.
The Soviet Union waged a ruthless war against Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. Out of that war grew Al-Qaeda. Millions of Islamics still hate Russians for their brutalities.
From 1999 to 2009, Russia fought a brutal war against Islamics in Chechnya. Chechens responded with terrorism across Russia.
Russia’s intervention in Syria will only harden its image as an enemy of Islam–even if it’s supporting one group of Islamics (the Assad regime) against others.
If Islamic terrorism starts raging throughout Russia, Putin may be forced to back down from his military moves against Syria and Ukraine.
Third, if Russian planes get shot down or Russian soldiers killed, Russia will suffer the casualties–not the United States.
The Soviet Union never fully recovered from its losses in Afghanistan–13,310 soldiers killed, 35,478 wounded.
If Russia starts taking heavy losses in Syria or at home through terrorism, this could lead to widespread unrest. Even Vladimir Putin could find himself in danger of being replaced.
And for Russia, the chicken Kiev has already come home to roost.
On October 31, Airbus A321, a Russian airliner, broke up in mid-air, then crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board.
The plane was carrying holidaymakers from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg when it crashed into a mountainous area of central Sinai.
In Egypt, a militant group affiliated to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed that it had brought down the plane “in response to Russian airstrikes that killed hundreds of Muslims on Syrian land.”
On November 19, ISIS published an online photo of a soft drink can and two components–a detonator and a switch–that it claimed brought down the plane.
The crash has proved emotionally wrenching for Russians.
Flags across Russia flew at half-staff and Russian Orthodox priests conducted services to pray for the victims.
President Putin declared a nationwide day of mourning. In St. Petersburg, home to most of the victims, authorities ordered the mourning to last for three days.
Flag of ISIS
And, on November 24, another such loss occurred: A Russian fighter was shot down on the Turkish-Syrian border by two Turkish F-16s.
Turkish officials claimed that it had violated Turkish airspace 10 times within a five-minute period.
This marked the first time in a half-century that a member of NATO–in this case, Turkey–has downed a Russian plane.
Vladimir Putin quickly called the shootdown a “stab in the back committed by accomplices of terrorists.”
And he warned: “The tragic event will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations.”
With the armed forces of so many Great Powers–France, Russia, Britain and America–now crowding into Syria, such an outcome was probably inevitable.
It was exactly that scenario–Great Powers going to war over conflicts involving their small-state allies/clients–that triggered World War I.
A conflict between Russia and Turkey–a member of NATO–could easily trigger World War III.
During World War II, British singer Vera Lynn comforted her war-weary fellow citizens with a poignant rendition of “The White Cliffs of Dover.”
The appeal of the song lay in its promise that, once Nazi Germany was defeated, peace and normality would return.
And despite being threatened with invasion in 1940 and devastated by massive bombing raids in 1940-41, citizens of Great Britain could take heart in the following:
- Nazi Germany had a capitol–Berlin–and a single, all-powerful leader–Adolf Hitler. Once Berlin was occupied and Hitler dead or captured, the war would be over.
- And, for all their ferocity, German soldiers were easy to recognize: They wore gray uniforms, spoke German and waved flags emblazoned with swastikas or imperial eagles.
Wehrmacht soldiers marching through conquered France
Today, Western nations under attack by Islamic “holy warriors” face none of those advantages. Islam has no single capitol city–or leader.
The American occupation of Baghdad in 2003 triggered a nationwide insurgency. And deposing Saddam Hussein unleashed a religious war between Shia and Sunnis throughout Iraq.
Nor do Islam’s jihadist legions wear uniforms. Many of them don’t speak Arabic or wear clothing associated with Arabs, such as flowing robes and headdresses.
More ominously, millions of Islam’s potential “warriors” live within the very Western nations they despise. They can get all the instruction and inspiration they need to wreck havoc simply by going to the Internet.
Or, if they have the money, by traveling overseas to such terrorist-recruiting centers as in Syria or Afghanistan.
And yet, faced with an unprecedented threat to their security, many Western leaders refuse to publicly acknowledge this fundamental truth:
Even if the West isn’t at war with Islam, Islam is at war with the West.
Leaders like President Barack Obama, who insisted, at a White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism in February, 2015: “We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”
And leaders like British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said on August 29, 2014: “Islam is a religion observed peacefully by over a billion people. Islamist extremism is a poisonous ideology observed by a minority.”
It was at this same press conference that Cameron announced that United Kingdom authorities would soon begin revoking the passports of British citizens traveling to Syria.
Arthur M. Cummings, the FBI’s executive assistant director for national security, has no use for such Politically Correct terms as “man-caused disasters” to refer to terrorism. Nor does he shy away from terms such as “jihadists” or “Islamists.”
“Of course Islamists dominate the terrorism of today,” he says bluntly.
In May, 2014, Steven Emerson, a nationally recognized expert on terrorism, posted an ad in The New York Times, warning about the dangers of PC-imposed censorship:
“Our nation’s security and its cherished value of free speech has been endangered by the bullying campaigns of radical Islamic groups, masquerading as ‘civil rights’ organizations, to remove any reference to the Islamist motivation behind Islamic terrorist attacks.
“These groups have pressured or otherwise colluded with Hollywood, the news media, museums, book publishers, law enforcement and the Obama Administration in censoring the words ‘Islamist’, ‘Islamic terrorism’, ‘radical Islam’ and ‘jihad’ in discussing or referencing the threat and danger of Islamic terrorism.
“This is the new form of the jihadist threat we face. It’s an attack on one of our most sacred freedoms—free speech—and it endangers our very national security. How can we win the war against radical Islam if we can’t even name the enemy?”
He has a point–and a highly legitimate one.
Imagine the United States fighting World War II–and President Franklin Roosevelt banning the use of “fascist” in referring to Nazi Germany or “imperialist” in describing Imperial Japan.
Imagine CNN-like coverage of the Nazi extermination camps, with their piles of rotting corpses and smoking gas ovens, while a commentator reminds us that “Nazism is an ideology of peace.”
Then consider these Islamic terrorist outrages of our own time:
- The 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., which snuffed out the lives of 3,000 Americans.
- The 2004 bombing of Madrid’s commuter train system.
- The attack on the London subway in 2005.
- The killing of 13 U.S. Army personnel at Fort Hood, Texas, by a Muslim army major in 2009.
- The bombing of the Boston Marathon in 2013.
- The kidnapping of 300 Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram in 2014.
- The slaughter of 12 people at a Paris satirical magazine that had published cartoons about the Prophet Mohammed in 2015.
In every one of these attacks, the perpetrators openly announced that their actions had been motivated by their Islamic beliefs.
In his groundbreaking book, The Clash of Civilizations (1996) Samuel Huntington, the late political scientist at Harvard University, noted:
“The fundamental problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilisation whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power.”
All-in-all, the future looks better for would-be Islamic conquerors than for those in the West awaiting the next Islamic atrocity.