ISIS Mass Executions Accompany Every Ground Victory

By Sal Bommarito

ISIS is slaughtering Iraqis that oppose them according to a New York Times story. Iraq’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi has been courting Sunni tribal leaders and encouraging them to fight ISIS. This is a radical turn of events, as the previous administration disenfranchised Sunnis. Yet, the enthusiasm of the tribesmen has more to do with protecting themselves against murderous ISIS forces than supporting the government.

One Sunni tribe, Albu Nimr fought for months against the jihadists. They were finally outgunned, and ISIS took umbrage on those who defied them. There are reports of mass graves from 200 executions. ISIS generally seeks out all the townsfolk and tribesmen who resist and summarily murders them.

Albu Nimr received no support from the government, could not obtain supplies and were overwhelmed by ISIS’ heavy weapons captured from Iraqi armories.

“Anyone who was in the state, in the government or in the security force, is their enemy,” said a tribal leader.

Across the border in Syria, ISIS fighters “bragged of executing hundreds of members of the Shueitat tribe . . .”

Human Rights Watch said “that the Islamic State had systematically executed about 600 captives after taking over a prison near Mosul . . .” Shiite prisoners were segregated and shot as they knelt alongside a ravine.

The United Nations estimates that “roughly” 15,000 fighters from about 80 countries, including the U.S. and the European Union had joined ISIS.

American generals and the Iraqi government say it is critical to recruit Sunnis to join in the fight for Iraq. But, they are not being supported, and ISIS is applying brutal means to defeat the tribes that oppose them. Mass executions are now commonplace.

The significance of these horrific reports is clear. The U.S. is not going to be able to stem the ISIS tide using current tactics. The latter is becoming stronger every day, and the resistance against them is virtually non-existent. There is no way that Iraqis alone can repel the terrorists. Therefore, ground forces are absolutely necessary before the situation grows completely out of control.

If the U.S. continues to resist calls for foot soldiers, other Arab nations will need to provide them. If they do not, ISIS will destabilize the entire region. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are not safe.

How Could ISIS Harm The U.S. If It Wins The War?

By Sal Bommarito

Are Americans unduly concerned about the ISIS war? Many would say yes, including mainstream media. The proof is their coverage of ISIS, which has dropped off considerably in the past few weeks. Others of us believe the current imbroglio is only the beginning of a long drawn out odyssey.

Like Vietnam, Americans are becoming inured to problems in far off places, especially when they never come face to face with the enemy. In the 60s and 70s, most adults lived their lives and ignored the fighting and casualties. Fortunately, students and other young people recognized that the U.S. was fighting an unjust war.

So it is with ISIS. In fact, our president has vetoed any use of ground forces, although there are a few thousand G.I. advisers on site. This edict effectively mitigates the possibility of significant U.S. casualties. It is unlikely our service people will be killed or wounded if they are dropping bombs from thousands of feet overhead.

All this is fine if you are indifferent about the U.S. playing the key role in a war that may continue in perpetuity. The U.S. is not going to win the war with ISIS unless somebody provides foot soldiers. So, the end of this conflict for the U.S. will occur when our government becomes tired and frustrated with bombing.

But, you already know this. The U.S. is going to avoid collateral damage at all costs. So, all the enemy has to do is hide in populated areas and wait for our leaders to give up the cause.

But, so what? ISIS cannot hurt America or Americans, right? Maybe yes, maybe no. Let’s assume ISIS wins, which presumably would result in the formation of a new ultra-radical theocracy in the general area of Syria an Iraq. The new government would likely be ruled by the military; it’s doubtful there are trained politicians and diplomats in the ISIS community. So violent religious extremists, who are driven by a desire to kill Shiites, Christians and non-Arabs, will dominate the country.

Still, how could the fledgling nation be a risk to the U.S.? Just think back a few years. Who would have thought that Afghanistan would indirectly inflict great damage on America? The Afghan government enabled Al Qaeda to train its terrorists and 9/11 happened. Religious fanatics will not sit quietly and allow sworn enemies to live in peace.

What could ISIS do to harm the U.S. or its allies? For one thing, it could train individuals to attack western interests, including our cities, airplanes, tourists, ships, oil fields, embassies, etc. ISIS could attempt a major terrorist attack after the current fighting ends. It might work with other Sunni fanatics to disenfranchise ethnic and religious groups in the region. It could make the Middle East an uninhabitable place by continuing to threaten all who reside there.

And then there is the oil. True, the U.S. is becoming energy independent. But, independence does not mean that serious disruptions in the flow of oil out of the Middle East will not affect our economy and our trading partners around the world.

The aforementioned is a bridge to the final item that needs to be considered. Will ISIS continue to attack others in the region? Is Iran at risk? Keep in mind that ISIS is comprised of radical Sunnis, and Iran radical Shiites. The potential for a much greater confrontation is brewing at this time. And, will the U.S. allow ISIS to destabilize Saudi Arabia? Probably not. At some point, the U.S. is going to be fighting an old fashioned war in the Middle East with soldiers on the ground. The alternative will result in a radically redrawn Middle East map.

Suicide Bombers and Lone Wolves

By Sal Bommarito

What motivates individuals to commit unseemly acts of terror that often result in their untimely demise? You don’t have to be a psychologist to deduce that suicide bombers and lone wolves are troubled individuals. But, there are some interesting differences between the groups.

Suicide bombers pay the ultimate price to commit their despicable deeds. Individuals strap on or carry explosives into a populated area and detonate them. It should come as no surprise that suicide bombings, almost exclusively, occur outside the U.S. Suicide bombers are generally brainwashed, destitute young people (men and women) who have little to live for. Most immigrants to the U.S. find reasons to live and so suicide bombings are rare.

The cowards who recruit suicide bombers do not have the courage to make the ultimate sacrifice themselves. They seek out children and convince them that God will reward them for killing innocent people. It is doubtful God considers these acts righteous. Yet, recruits are plentiful; they believe those who deceive them; and they agree to terrorize others.

A loan wolf could be any unhappy person, young or old who is mentally ill or recently experienced a traumatic event. However, most loan wolves expect to live after committing a crime against humanity, although police kill many, and some take their own lives.

Loan wolves may be insane or upset, or recruited by terrorist groups like ISIS. Disgruntled and terminated employees occasionally return to the workplace and murder fellow employees. Children who were bullied or recently broke up with a loved one come to school armed and wreak havoc.

Other lone wolves come from other nations on a mission to terrorize Americans. Generally, religion and/or jihad are the motivation. But, it is probable these individuals are also uneducated, dirt poor and have little reason to live and be happy.

If these situations were not so horribly tragic, it would be amusing listening to talking heads and politicians debate whether a crime is a terrorist act, a workplace crime, insanity or whatever. What difference does it make how murder is classified? The important thing is to root out those that inspire such horrible anti-social behavior, and to treat those that are ill.

Isolate Ebola Health Care Personnel In Spa-like Facilities

By Sal Bommarito

In this day and age, it’s difficult to obtain a consensus on any important controversy- even how to protect Americans from the scourge known as Ebola. Yet, I’m confused why the majority of Americans would hesitate to implement a conservative strategy to deal with those who risk their lives fighting the disease in Africa. I’m dumbfounded that any doctor or nurse would object to extra precautions. I’m totally stunned that our leaders would hesitate to ensure our safety, even at the risk of being politically incorrect.

Here are a number of facts that all Americans can appreciate:

• Health care personnel who go to Africa to fight Ebola are heroes of the highest order. They are brave first responders who risk their lives to save the world from a deadly disease.
• Health care personnel returning from a tour of duty should be treated with the greatest respect and least amount of inconvenience.
• Ebola is a huge potential threat to humanity that has the potential to kill millions if it is not dealt with carefully.
• The characteristics of Ebola are generally understood, but the protocols employed to this point have not been perfect. Some health care people infected with the disease have returned to the U.S. and mingled with the general population.
• Health care officials are confident in their assessment of the disease’s contagion. The science tells us that Ebola does not spread easily.
• A number of our leaders are taking a very conservative approach about the return of those assisting Ebola patients and have encountered backlash. Because of this, some are rethinking their positions.

The U.S. should be conservative regarding Ebola. A wrong decision could have the gravest consequences. We should treat courageous health care personnel with deference and comfort when they return home. Nevertheless, if some feelings are hurt by sensible precautions, so be it.

At this point, health care experts are confident that Ebola has a 21-day incubation period, and it is not contagious until the time a fever develops. Then the patient becomes more and more of a threat to others. The corpse of a person who passes from Ebola is a bio hazard. In fact, the way that some Africans inter those who die from Ebola results in many additional cases.

One logical solution is to require every single person who treats Ebola patients in Africa to be subjected to a 21-days of isolation in the U.S., no exceptions. If these people are not treated with the greatest care and comfort, such a policy may discourage others from volunteering to go to Africa to fight the disease. This would be a tragic outcome of any protocols.

So, I recommend that the isolation facilities used to isolate Ebola health care personnel be extraordinarily comfortable, a spa if you will. All volunteers should know in advance that their tour of duty in Ebola-infested areas necessitates an additional three weeks in isolation. But, the experience will be in a high service and pleasant environment that Americans would be happy to subsidize.

Without Effective Ground Support From Arabs, ISIS Wins

By Sal Bommarito

The situation in Kobani, a city on Syria’s northern border with Turkey, is symptomatic of the persistent problems being encountered in the fight with ISIS. The New York Times acknowledged the problem in an insightful editorial on October 24.

The basic problem is that Turkey unilaterally rated ISIS a lower priority than both dethroning of Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, and Turkey’s decades long fight with the Kurds, who are seeking their independence.

The result of this prioritization is that the Turks have not have assisted Syrian Kurds fighting with ISIS in Kobani. In fact, they have hurt the cause of the U.S.-led coalition by preventing Turkish Kurds from coming to the aid of their Syrian counterparts.

The Turks have demanded the U.S. establish a no-fly zone in the territory near their border to prevent Syrian airstrikes against Turkey should it engage ISIS on the border. This is another strange twist, as the Turks expect possible retribution from Syria even as Turkey fights ISIS, which is dead set on bringing down Assad. It really is a confusing in this part of the world.

When it is all said and done, ISIS will prevail in Kobani because the U.S. bombs are not potent enough to prevent ISIS from overrunning Kobani without ground support. To this point, Turkey has refused to enter the fray. Ironically, the fall of Kobani could be the prelude to an ISIS invasion of Turkey.

The Times article points out that Turkey is a NATO ally, so any ISIS encroachments will automatically engage all fellow NATO members, presumably. This eventuality could be the event that turns the ISIS war around.

To quote the Times, “There were many unknowns when President Obama began a premature and ill-advised mission into Syria. The failure to secure the full cooperation of an important ally [Turkey] leaves the success of the fight against the Islamic State increasingly open to question.”

Exacerbating the Turkish reticence are numerous other issues that should have been considered before the U.S. invaded, such as the real truth about the importance of ground troops, the extent to which coalition members would participate in the imbroglio, the Iranian tactic of tying its assistance to the nuclear negotiations with the U.S., etc.

The ISIS mission is looking progressively worse every day. The American people were sold a bill of goods by the Obama administration about the effect of just bombing the terrorists. This subterfuge is reminiscent of Bush’s bad intel before the invasion of Iraq. Hopefully, it will not lead to another ten year, trillion-dollar odyssey.

Iraq And Iran May Be The Keys To Stopping ISIS

By Sal Bommarito

Iraq and Iran may the keys to stopping ISIS. Both countries, along with Syria, are at the greatest risk from logistical and religious perspectives, but they both possess military capabilities that could stem the tide of the terrorists. The big question is whether they will do what is necessary to assist the U.S.-led coalition.

Iraq’s participation in the ISIS war is going to be hampered by its fluid and contentious religious issues. Before Iraq was invaded and occupied by the U.S., Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, oppressed the Shiite majority. Since his downfall, democratic elections enabled the Shiite majority to take control of the government and exclude Sunnis from key political positions. Iraqi Sunnis and Sunni insurgents have been conducting terrorist activity in protest and opposition to the sitting government ever since the fall of Saddam.

ISIS has temporarily diverted Iraqis from their civil war. The situation is interesting because the government has asked Sunnis throughout the country to resist the interlopers. But, Iraqi Sunnis have not been enthusiastic about assisting the Shiite-controlled government.

Exacerbating the problem is the competence and loyalty of Iraqi forces needed to fight against ISIS. In earlier battles, many Iraqi soldiers laid down their arms and deserted. Was this because of fear or Sunni/Iraqi soldier solidarity with the ISIS Sunnis? No one can be sure. But, the ability of Iraqis to provide ground support for U.S. airstrikes seems dubious at best.

If ISIS is successful, the Shiite government of Iraq will fall and be replaced with a Sunni-dominated group, possibly consisting of some Iraqi Sunnis. This will result in a new chapter of the civil war. If ISIS is defeated, Iraqi Sunnis together with insurgent supporters will enflame sectarian violence that could eventually destabilize the government.

Iran is dominated by Shiites, and it is generally supportive of all Shiites in the region, supporting governments and terrorist groups.

Iran must be concerned with the advances of ISIS as the terrorists are but a stone’s throw away from the Iranian border. Yet, Iran has not shown any inclination to enter the fray, probably because the U.S. is leading the effort against ISIS. Iran’s attitude is also greatly influenced by its desire to secure Bashar al-Assad’s position, the president of Syria. The U.S. wants Assad to step down potentially causing another rift with Iran.

It is inconceivable that Iran will not link any support of the coalition with a decrease in economic sanctions. And, Iran will also be seeking “flexibility” relating to its nuclear program. Many people around the world, including Israelis and Sunnis in the region, are concerned about the existential threat of an Iranian nuclear capability. And so, they hope President Obama does not rescind sanctions or make it easier for Iran to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for Iran’s support in fighting ISIS.

Iraq and Iran are probably going to be critical in the war against ISIS. Individually or together, they could provide ground troops needed to fight the terrorists, although Iraq’s contributions are not expected to be great for the foreseeable future. Iran, on the other hand, could provide significant resistance to ISIS advancements immediately.

The questions are if and when will Iran decide to move against ISIS. An invasion of Iran would certainly inspire a military response, but ISIS leadership knows this. So, although Iran is surely on their hit list, ISIS must be careful not to move too soon.

In the meantime, the U.S. is dropping bombs and making little progress. The president’s mission is not proceeding well.

The New York Times Comes To Obama’s Rescue

By Sal Bommarito

The New York Times wing of the Obama administration was in full tilt today. The leading editorial criticized Democrats running for office who eschew the president and his “greatest” achievements.

Readers should be offended that the NY Times played the race card not once but twice in the editorial: “Mr. Obama remains highly unpopular among white voters, particularly in Southern states . . .” and “[Democrat candidates running for office] run the risk, though, of alienating important constituents who prefer a party with a spine, especially black voters, who remain supportive of Mr. Obama.”

Here’s a news flash, Candidate Obama won the last two presidential elections with support from every racial group. His problem is not racial; it may be that the president has not kept promises made during his campaigns, and he’s a sub par leader domestically and internationally.

Let’s consider the actions of several Democratic senatorial candidates. Alison Lindergan Grimes, has refused to say whether she voted for Obama. Only one candidate, Gary Peters, “has been willing to appear with the president on the stump . . .” Other candidates, Mark Begich and Kay Hagan, have spoken against Obamacare and want to “fix it.” Maybe there are some serious problems with the law if members of the president’s party are unhappy with it.

Ms. Hagan and Mark Pryor have even suggested that the Obama policy on Ebola ought be changed, and a travel ban should be installed for all residents of Africa. And finally, candidate Mary Landrieu “has fought loudly against the president’s energy policies . . . [and] she even opposes legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.”

By the way, all of the comments made above were extracted from the NY Times article.

The bottom line is that President Obama is unpopular and Americans are very unhappy with his performance. In this group, are a number of Democrats. And, the NY Times continues to abet Obama’s lost causes.

Is The U.S. Effectively Leading The Coalition To Victory Against ISIS?

By Sal Bommarito

To this point, the Obama administration has not received accolades for its leadership in the war against ISIS. The most obvious observation is that ISIS is winning the battle opposing the U.S., Iraq, Syria and the coalition.

Obama said he would degrade and defeat ISIS. This stated objective is impossible without ground support of U.S. airstrikes. Everyone around the world knows this to be the case. Yet, the Obama administration has vetoed the use of U.S. ground forces and, in spite of overwhelming skepticism, still contends that Iraqis will be able to defend their country and “moderate” rebels in Syria can overcome ISIS. Ironically, American generals are chiming in and indicating that neither of the aforementioned groups will be able to do the job. If this is true, how will the coalition bring down ISIS?

The coalition force is a sham; the U.S. is conducting most of the airstrikes and is spending the most money trying to defend Arab nations. Why is it the responsibility of the U.S. to come to the rescue of the Middle East without assurances that Arab nations will participate to the full extent of their capabilities, militarily and financially?

The U.S. went to war without an achievable mission. Most Americans believed that the U.S. would never become enmeshed in another war that has no reasonable short-term endgame. No longer would America put its soldiers in harm’s way and commit hundreds of billions of dollars unless our national security was at risk. Supposedly, we learned an important lesson from Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq that extended decade-long wars, which drain our resources, should be avoided. Obama’s decision to move forward was no different than the false pretenses for invading Iraq over a decade ago; that action has not been fully remedied to this day. The president should tell us how the war with ISIS is going to end. Are we going to continue bombing forever?

Obama is not a wartime president. He is too ambivalent and reluctant, and does not accept the fact that radical Islam is the enemy of all non-Arab nations. Moreover, it is clear that he frequently does not implement plans proposed by his military experts. Our leader is living in a dream world in which America is expected to solve all problems and protect downtrodden people around the world. The ISIS crisis is not a civil rights controversy that can be rectified with passive resistance. It is a long-term, bloody civil war that is going to spread throughout the Middle East.

Exasperating this pathetic moment in American history is the loss of American credibility and leadership. Historically, the U.S. was able to reason with other nations in time of duress. We were able to convince our allies that we had no hidden agenda and that we wanted peace. Today, the U.S. is reviled at the United Nations, and we no longer have effective working relationships with other major powers with the exception of Great Britain. Our former allies in Europe and Asia doubt American resolve and competence.

But even more important, as we face down ISIS, the Arab nations relish our military ineffectiveness even as they demand that we protect them. It is infuriating to many Americans that unqualified cooperation is not forthcoming from Arab allies even as we bomb ISIS. If the U.S. is all in in the fight against ISIS, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and all the other Arab nations better be prepared to fight and provide ground support and financial assistance. Anything less than their full cooperation will enable ISIS to commandeer more land and oil.

Iran Nuclear Discussions Will Impact The ISIS Crisis

By Sal Bommarito

Buried in the New York Times today is a story about the current negotiations with Iran relating to its nuclear program. The importance of these discussions cannot be overstated.

The Obama administration, the article suggests, is attempting to exclude Congress from the deliberations, possibly creating yet another constitutional crisis if the administration agrees to eliminate economic sanctions. The president cannot sign a treaty without Senate approval, but he can, in the short term, decrease or eliminate economic sanctions against Iran. This could be his tactic even though the Senate voted 99-0 to install the current sanctions. Neither political party would be happy about being excluded from such an important diplomatic event.

Development of a nuclear weapon by the Iranian regime would destabilize the Middle East, and represent an existential threat to Israel, all Sunni states and even ISIS, should it eventually create its own country. Allowing Iran to build a nuclear weapon now or any time in the foreseeable future would be a dangerous mistake.

The global community is for the most part not in favor of another rogue nation developing a nuclear capacity. Iran has proven time and again that its political and religious aspirations are not benign by any measure. A nuclear weapon would severely tilt the tenuous balance in the region.

A U.S. decision to terminate sanctions against Iran if it agrees only to “defer” the enrichment of material needed to make a weapon could impact diplomatic conversations relating to ISIS. Despite Iran’s proximity to ISIS forces and the likelihood it will become an active target of the terrorists, Iran has not been overtly involved in the hostilities. It is inconceivable that Iran will not somehow attempt to link its engagement with ISIS to a relaxation or elimination of sanctions and increased latitude to pursue its nuclear vision.

Many believe economic sanctions are having a profound impact on Iran’s economy. And, the continuing implementation of sanctions lessens the possibility that someday the U.S will need to bomb Iran to prevent it from building a nuclear weapon. So, decreasing the leverage afforded by the sanctions at any time is unwise.

All this speaks to the utter disdain Obama has towards Congress and his questionable judgment relating to the diplomatic and military tactics being used in the ISIS conflict.