The Weiner Component Vol.#2 – President Trump, the Mighty Warrior

On Friday, April 8, 2017, President Trump ordered the bombing of a Syrian military airport from where he believed planes, on April 4th  originated, that dropped poison sarin gas upon onto a Damascus suburb killing up to 1,423 people, mostly civilian adults and a large number of children.

 

Trump commented at a news conference about watching television and seeing the results of the raid upon young children.  “I will tell you that attack on children yesterday had a big impact.  That was a horrible, horrible thing.  And I’ve been watching it, and seeing it, and it doesn’t get any worse than that.”  He spoke about the “beautiful little babies” that had been killed with poison gas.  “It crossed a lot of lines for me.  When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, little babies with a chemical gas that is so lethal.  That crosses many, many lines.  Beyond a red line, many, many lines.”

 

On Friday when he met with the Chinese President at his resort in Florida he had ordered as Commander and Chief of the U.S. Military fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles to be sent to the Shayrat Air Base, where the Syrian planes carrying the poison gas had presumably originated.  In doing this Trump changed his “America First” policy.

******************************

To understand both Syria and the Middle East it is necessary to look at this region historically.  The Ottoman or Turkish Empire began toward the end of the 13th Century, when it conquered most of what is today the Middle East.  After 1354 it crossed into Europe conquering the Balkans.  During the 16th and 17th Centuries it became a multinational, multilingual Empire, consisting of Southeast Europe, parts of Central Europe, Western Asia, the Caucasus, North Africa and the Horn of Africa.  For various reasons the Ottomans suffered severe military defeats in the late 18th and 19th Centuries.  In the early 20th Century they allied with the Central Powers during World War I.  Its defeat in that war led to the occupation of parts of its territories by some of the Allied Powers.  This resulted in the loss of itsremaining empire.  The Middle East territories were divided between England and France.  A successful revolt against the occupying allies led to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey, which is today modern Turkey.

 

The Middle East was split-up by the two Allied Nations in such a way as to accommodate their new possessions as colonies and protectorates.  The indigenous needs, religions, and otherwise of the people were ignored.  The divisions were decided totally upon requirements or whims of the victorious European nations that took them over as possessions that would be used for essentially economic purposes.

 

After World War II these colonies began revolting in order to gain their independence.  When it was realized that it would be cheaper to grant them independence and trade with them rather than continue to hold them in line militarily the Middle East nations gained their freedom and the Age of Imperialism ended.

 

The boundary lines that were set at the end of the First World War are the same boundary lines that exist today.  The Middle East nations are essentially conglomerates of different groups of peoples.  In a few cases there is a majority but in most instances the countries are made up of many minorities, usually with one of them ruling the country.  Such is the case in Syria.

 

In 2011 the Arab Spring occurred.  It was a movement of a number of Middle East nations attempted to move in the direction of democracy.  In most cases these countries ended up with a new minority ruling and the rest of the population being more or less repressed as they were before 2011.

 

In Syria the Arab Spring generated a conflict between Bashar al-Assad’s regime that represents a minority of its citizens and a majority of different groups that wanted it gone.  Assad is supported by about one third of the population and the army.  Over the last six years the situation has spiraled into an immensely complicated international war.  On the one side there is the government of the country headed by President al-Assad, who is supported by Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia and on the other side innumerable groups, supported by Saudi Arabia and to some extent by the U.S., fighting Assad’s government and each other at times.  Some of the groups are extremely reactionary or radical and some are more moderate but the political positions the groups adhere to changes at times, putting the U.S. in an impossible position as to whom to support militarily.

 

In addition ISIS or ISIL has set up what it calls a Worldwide Caliphate (world state) which it claims has religious, political, and military authority over all Muslims worldwide.  ISIS has controlled a large section in western Iraq and eastern Syria containing an estimated 2.8 to 8 million people.  In addition to warfare they have conducted televised mass beheadings of prisoners and civilians, which have included two American newsmen.

 

In the constant six years of civil war over 4 ½ million people in Syria have been displaced.  This has led to a constant stream of refugees leaving or trying to leave the country.  The mass of refugees have caused strains in other Middle East countries, in Europe, and even in the United States, where   President Donald Trump has unsuccessfully attempted to keep, among others, all Syrian refugees from entering the country, calling them potential terrorists.

 

While earlier the United States under President Barack Obama wanted Assad gone they had largely participated in arming the Kurds, a group situated in a region in both Iraq and Syria, whose agenda is mainly to set up their own Kurd state.  The U.S. is mainly bombing ISIS in both countries while the Kurds are fighting them on the ground.  Largely but not completely the United States had, has avoided specifically supporting anyone in the Syrian Civil War.  But they are continuing to fight ISIS, mainly from the air.

***************************

In 2013, after a chemical poison gas attack by President Bashar al-Assad’s government, Russia had supposedly removed all poison gas chemicals from Syria after it they were initially used by them.  President Obama, at that time had drawn a red line, the United States would not allow the use of chemical warfare.  Presumably he was stopped from taking any actions by the Republican Congress.  But Assad did agree to give up all his chemical weapons, which were removed by Russia and presumably destroyed.  But it would seem that Assad held back some of the poison gas and this was used in the early April 2017 bombing in the rebel held area of Khan Sheikhoun.

 

The raiders dropped barrel bombs, which in this case were canisters of sarin poison gas. In addition to be breathed in the gas can enter the body through the pores in the skin.  There were some very dramatic television pictures of people trying to wash the poison off the bodies and clothing of young children by hosing them with water.  There were also pictures of children and adults undergoing great torment painfully trying to breathe.  This apparently is what caused Trump’s reaction.

 

Assad claims that he is not responsible, that he gave up his supply of poison gas in 2013.  Putin and Russia support his claim.  The United States and President Trump blame the Assad regime.  Not too long ago Chlorine gas was used against one of the rebelling groups in Syria by Assad.  Apparently chlorine, which is used to etch glass, in not a poison gas!  The situation in Syria is complicated, particularly with issuing blame.

*************************************

My last point concerns President Donald J. Trump.  How sincere is he?  He has stated that he doesn’t like to read, that he gets his information by watching television.  His reaction to the chemical poison gas attack in Syria has been shock, watching young children suffering from poison gas.  His reaction to the sight was to punish the perpetrators of the bombing.

 

There was no investigation of who had dropped the gas bombs.  It was broadly assumed that only al-Assad was capable of doing it.  Assad, backed by Russia, claimed that he did not order it or even that he had any poison gas.  He claimed that his government had turned over their supply of poison gas to Russia in 2013, who had destroyed the supply.

 

Would Assad order the dropping of the poison gas?  I suspect the answer is, yes, if he had a reason to do so.

 

Trump seems to change his attitudes as quickly as a chameleon changes its color.  He has claimed that he wasn’t interested in what was happening overseas, that his basic policy is America first.  Yet, after watching some television newsreel about children suffering and dying from being gassed in Syria he ordered the bombing of the Syrian airfield where the planes are supposed to have come from.  He was emotionally moved and reacted to the sight of the atrocity.

*******************************

It should also be noted that President Trump likes to change the topic at times that the media is using when it is negative.  This is particularly true in terms of him and his staff being associated with Russia during the Presidential Campaign and earlier.

 

In doing this he’s come up with real nonsense, such as President Obama illegally bugging his facilities during the Presidential campaign.  There is no proof of this and it has been emphatically disclaimed by all the government agencies like the FBI, but still Trump persists in this bit of alternate reality.  I get the impression that Trump’s version of a fact is whether, if he were in the other President’s position then it is something he would do.  Apparently, to him, everyone else has the same low code of honor Trump has!

 

One of Trump’s former aids is registering retrogressively as a foreign agent.  Another was fired after lying to the Vice President.  Numerous others have associations with foreign countries.  Trump has stated in different speeches that he both personally knows and that he has never met Vladimir Putin, the Russian premier.

 

It has been suggested that the American bombing of the Syrian air force base was arranged by Trump with Putin’s support and that Assad’s government knew about it in advance.  From what I understand only six Syrians died from the exploding 59 million dollars’ worth of Tomahawk missiles, that is 59 separate tomahawk missiles each costing one million dollars.  Is this true?  I have no idea.  Could it be true?  There were no Russians anywhere in or near the airbase.

 

Will Trump do it again?  President Putin has stated that there will be serious consequences if he does.

 

Looking at what’s happening in Syria from President Trump’s prospective, it’s alright to kill people and children as long as poison gas is not used.  There seems to be something wrong with that attitude.

 

If this is the only effort made against Assad and his government then what was the real point of the 59 million dollars’ worth of Tomahawk missiles dropped on the Syrian air base?  Or was this a message being sent to North Korea, telling them to back down on their atomic bombs and missile development tests?

 

Somehow a lot of what has happen here makes no sense unless it is an outpouring of Trump’s ever-changing emotional states.

The Weiner Component Vol.2 #13 – President Trump, the Mighty Warrior

 

On Friday, April 8, 2017, President Trump ordered the bombing of a Syrian military airport from where he believed planes, on April 4th  originated, that dropped poison sarin gas upon onto a Damascus suburb killing up to 1,423 people, mostly civilian adults and a large number of children.

 

Trump commented at a news conference about watching television and seeing the results of the raid upon young children.  “I will tell you that attack on children yesterday had a big impact.  That was a horrible, horrible thing.  And I’ve been watching it, and seeing it, and it doesn’t get any worse than that.”  He spoke about the “beautiful little babies” that had been killed with poison gas.  “It crossed a lot of lines for me.  When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, little babies with a chemical gas that is so lethal.  That crosses many, many lines.  Beyond a red line, many, many lines.”

 

On Friday when he met with the Chinese President at his resort in Florida he had ordered as Commander and Chief of the U.S. Military fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles to be sent to the Shayrat Air Base, where the Syrian planes carrying the poison gas had presumably originated.  In doing this Trump changed his “America First” policy.

******************************

To understand both Syria and the Middle East it is necessary to look at this region historically.  The Ottoman or Turkish Empire began toward the end of the 13th Century, when it conquered most of what is today the Middle East.  After 1354 it crossed into Europe conquering the Balkans.  During the 16th and 17th Centuries it became a multinational, multilingual Empire, consisting of Southeast Europe, parts of Central Europe, Western Asia, the Caucasus, North Africa and the Horn of Africa.  For various reasons the Ottomans suffered severe military defeats in the late 18th and 19th Centuries.  In the early 20th Century they allied with the Central Powers during World War I.  Its defeat in that war led to the occupation of parts of its territories by some of the Allied Powers.  This resulted in the loss of itsremaining empire.  The Middle East territories were divided between England and France.  A successful revolt against the occupying allies led to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey, which is today modern Turkey.

 

The Middle East was split-up by the two Allied Nations in such a way as to accommodate their new possessions as colonies and protectorates.  The indigenous needs, religions, and otherwise of the people were ignored.  The divisions were decided totally upon requirements or whims of the victorious European nations that took them over as possessions that would be used for essentially economic purposes.

 

After World War II these colonies began revolting in order to gain their independence.  When it was realized that it would be cheaper to grant them independence and trade with them rather than continue to hold them in line militarily the Middle East nations gained their freedom and the Age of Imperialism ended.

 

The boundary lines that were set at the end of the First World War are the same boundary lines that exist today.  The Middle East nations are essentially conglomerates of different groups of peoples.  In a few cases there is a majority but in most instances the countries are made up of many minorities, usually with one of them ruling the country.  Such is the case in Syria.

 

In 2011 the Arab Spring occurred.  It was a movement of a number of Middle East nations attempted to move in the direction of democracy.  In most cases these countries ended up with a new minority ruling and the rest of the population being more or less repressed as they were before 2011.

 

In Syria the Arab Spring generated a conflict between Bashar al-Assad’s regime that represents a minority of its citizens and a majority of different groups that wanted it gone.  Assad is supported by about one third of the population and the army.  Over the last six years the situation has spiraled into an immensely complicated international war.  On the one side there is the government of the country headed by President al-Assad, who is supported by Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia and on the other side innumerable groups, supported by Saudi Arabia and to some extent by the U.S., fighting Assad’s government and each other at times.  Some of the groups are extremely reactionary or radical and some are more moderate but the political positions the groups adhere to changes at times, putting the U.S. in an impossible position as to whom to support militarily.

 

In addition ISIS or ISIL has set up what it calls a Worldwide Caliphate (world state) which it claims has religious, political, and military authority over all Muslims worldwide.  ISIS has controlled a large section in western Iraq and eastern Syria containing an estimated 2.8 to 8 million people.  In addition to warfare they have conducted televised mass beheadings of prisoners and civilians, which have included two American newsmen.

 

In the constant six years of civil war over 4 ½ million people in Syria have been displaced.  This has led to a constant stream of refugees leaving or trying to leave the country.  The mass of refugees have caused strains in other Middle East countries, in Europe, and even in the United States, where   President Donald Trump has unsuccessfully attempted to keep, among others, all Syrian refugees from entering the country, calling them potential terrorists.

 

While earlier the United States under President Barack Obama wanted Assad gone they had largely participated in arming the Kurds, a group situated in a region in both Iraq and Syria, whose agenda is mainly to set up their own Kurd state.  The U.S. is mainly bombing ISIS in both countries while the Kurds are fighting them on the ground.  Largely but not completely the United States had, has avoided specifically supporting anyone in the Syrian Civil War.  But they are continuing to fight ISIS, mainly from the air.

***************************

In 2013, after a chemical poison gas attack by President Bashar al-Assad’s government, Russia had supposedly removed all poison gas chemicals from Syria after it they were initially used by them.  President Obama, at that time had drawn a red line, the United States would not allow the use of chemical warfare.  Presumably he was stopped from taking any actions by the Republican Congress.  But Assad did agree to give up all his chemical weapons, which were removed by Russia and presumably destroyed.  But it would seem that Assad held back some of the poison gas and this was used in the early April 2017 bombing in the rebel held area of Khan Sheikhoun.

 

The raiders dropped barrel bombs, which in this case were canisters of sarin poison gas. In addition to be breathed in the gas can enter the body through the pores in the skin.  There were some very dramatic television pictures of people trying to wash the poison off the bodies and clothing of young children by hosing them with water.  There were also pictures of children and adults undergoing great torment painfully trying to breathe.  This apparently is what caused Trump’s reaction.

 

Assad claims that he is not responsible, that he gave up his supply of poison gas in 2013.  Putin and Russia support his claim.  The United States and President Trump blame the Assad regime.  Not too long ago Chlorine gas was used against one of the rebelling groups in Syria by Assad.  Apparently chlorine, which is used to etch glass, in not a poison gas!  The situation in Syria is complicated, particularly with issuing blame.

*************************************

My last point concerns President Donald J. Trump.  How sincere is he?  He has stated that he doesn’t like to read, that he gets his information by watching television.  His reaction to the chemical poison gas attack in Syria has been shock, watching young children suffering from poison gas.  His reaction to the sight was to punish the perpetrators of the bombing.

 

There was no investigation of who had dropped the gas bombs.  It was broadly assumed that only al-Assad was capable of doing it.  Assad, backed by Russia, claimed that he did not order it or even that he had any poison gas.  He claimed that his government had turned over their supply of poison gas to Russia in 2013, who had destroyed the supply.

 

Would Assad order the dropping of the poison gas?  I suspect the answer is, yes, if he had a reason to do so.

 

Trump seems to change his attitudes as quickly as a chameleon changes its color.  He has claimed that he wasn’t interested in what was happening overseas, that his basic policy is America first.  Yet, after watching some television newsreel about children suffering and dying from being gassed in Syria he ordered the bombing of the Syrian airfield where the planes are supposed to have come from.  He was emotionally moved and reacted to the sight of the atrocity.

*******************************

It should also be noted that President Trump likes to change the topic at times that the media is using when it is negative.  This is particularly true in terms of him and his staff being associated with Russia during the Presidential Campaign and earlier.

 

In doing this he’s come up with real nonsense, such as President Obama illegally bugging his facilities during the Presidential campaign.  There is no proof of this and it has been emphatically disclaimed by all the government agencies like the FBI, but still Trump persists in this bit of alternate reality.  I get the impression that Trump’s version of a fact is whether, if he were in the other President’s position then it is something he would do.  Apparently, to him, everyone else has the same low code of honor Trump has!

 

One of Trump’s former aids is registering retrogressively as a foreign agent.  Another was fired after lying to the Vice President.  Numerous others have associations with foreign countries.  Trump has stated in different speeches that he both personally knows and that he has never met Vladimir Putin, the Russian premier.

 

It has been suggested that the American bombing of the Syrian air force base was arranged by Trump with Putin’s support and that Assad’s government knew about it in advance.  From what I understand only six Syrians died from the exploding 59 million dollars’ worth of Tomahawk missiles, that is 59 separate tomahawk missiles each costing one million dollars.  Is this true?  I have no idea.  Could it be true?  There were no Russians anywhere in or near the airbase.

 

Will Trump do it again?  President Putin has stated that there will be serious consequences if he does.

 

Looking at what’s happening in Syria from President Trump’s prospective, it’s alright to kill people and children as long as poison gas is not used.  There seems to be something wrong with that attitude.

 

If this is the only effort made against Assad and his government then what was the real point of the 59 million dollars’ worth of Tomahawk missiles dropped on the Syrian air base?  Or was this a message being sent to North Korea, telling them to back down on their atomic bombs and missile development tests?

 

Somehow a lot of what has happen here makes no sense unless it is an outpouring of Trump’s ever-changing emotional states.

The Weiner Component #123 – Part III: Iran Today

On June 14, 2013 Iran held its Presidential Election and choose a new president, Hassan Rouhani. He was one out of six candidates receiving 50.88 percent of the popular vote, 18,692,500 people cast a ballot for him. The second of the candidates received 16.46 percent of the vote, 6,077,292 chose him, while the other four had lower percentages and numbers. The prior president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was not able to run as he was limited to two terms as president by the Iranian Constitution.

The six candidates who ran for this office all had to be approved by the Guardian Council.  Eight candidates were initially approved for placemen on the ballot.  Two withdrew before the election.  Other candidates applied but were rejected.  Women also applied for some of the offices but were immediately rejected.

Each of the candidates had an impressive political background.  Hassan Rouhani had been a member of the Assembly of Experts since 1999 and head of the Center for Strategic Research since 1992.  He had also served on the Supreme National Security Council since 1989 and he was secretary of the council and Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator from 1989 to 2005.  Rouhani was a member of Iran’s Parliament from 1980 to 2000, serving as Deputy Speaker of the Parliament from 1992 to 2000.

There are innumerable political parties in Iran.  Rouhani was supported in the election by the Modernist and Reformist parties such as the Moderation & Development Party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front and the Iranian Reform Movement.  His motto for the election was “Moderation.”  Rouhani is described as a moderate politician by some western sources.

After the election the United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, publically stated that he hoped that this election by the people of Iran would lead to positive talks regarding the country’s nuclear program.  The White House congratulated the people of Iran for their “courage” in electing moderate candidate, Hassan Rouhani.  President Obama stated that the election is a sign of change in Iran.

Dr. Hassan Rouhani is a bit of an enigma. During the time of the Shah he, as a young cleric, was sent to jail by SAVAK innumerable times for making speeches against the government and was banned from delivering public speeches.  He was a follower of the Ayatollah Khomeini and joined him in France.  By 1979, shortly after the Iranian Revolution, Rouhani had been engaged in the struggle for about twenty years.  In 1980 he was elected to the Parliament of Iran.

Rouhani was born in November of 1948. Today in 2015 he is 67 years old.  He has a doctorate of law and has been an important instrument in the development of the Iranian state being actively involved with it since its inception.  Dr. Rouhani promised if he were elected he would “prepare a civil rights charter,” restore the economy, and improve essentially non-existing relations with Western nations.  He has also expressed official support for upholding the rights of ethnic and religious minorities.  Although Rouhani is a cleric he is viewed as a political moderate.

Dr. Hassan Rouhani took office on August 4, 2013.  He replaced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hard liner, as president.  Iran is currently involved in delicate negotiations with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) over the issue of developing or not developing atomic weapons. The United States recently sent an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf off of Yemen to presumably prevent Iranian ships from unloading arms to the Shia rebel forces there. The Iranian ships never landed or were inspected; they turned back.  Were they carrying arms to further the Civil War in Yemen? A good question which will never be answered.

Is Iran negotiating in good faith? Can they be trusted to carry- on this process? The former leaders of Iran have sworn to work toward the destruction of Israel. They have systematically supported Shiite rebellion in Sunni countries within the Middle East. Rouhani presumably can be overridden by Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, at any time.

Iran currently is a poor country bound, on all sides, by economic restrictions imposed by the Western nations, generally in the name of the United Nations.  From the few sparse views we’ve had of the people of Iran they seem to strongly support the current negotiation, wanting them to succeed, and the sanctions to end.  How much of a force are they on the will of the religious leadership?  Can the President easily be over ridden if the religious leadership decides he is too liberal?  What currently is the position of the religious leadership?  How important is atomic development as opposed to getting rid of the economic restrictions?  Several interesting questions.

The economic policy of Dr. Hassan Rouhani deals with both short and long term changes in Iran.  He wants to increase the purchasing power of the public, enhance economic growth, significantly increase the national cash flow, and improve the business environment.  Actually raise the standard of living for the entire population of the country. Improving economic conditions would be accomplished by boosting the purchasing power of the people and by reducing the wealth gap.  An equitable distribution of national wealth and economic growth will bring this condition about.  He plans to increase direct and indirect assistance to low income groups.  He plans to have the government control high inflation, increasing people’s purchasing power, if necessary through subsidies, and on cutting down high unemployment.

Rouhani is a supporter of women’s rights.  In a speech he stated: “There must be equal opportunities for women.  There is no difference between man and woman in their creation, in their humanity, in their pursuit of knowledge, in their understanding, in their intelligence, in their religious piety, in serving God and in serving people.”  He has appointed the first woman spokesperson to the foreign ministry.

The enigma dealing with Iran’s current President is two-fold: to what extent is he telling the truth, and to what extent can he exercise his power with the existence of veto power by the religious right?  Can the Five Permanent members of the U.N. plus Germany (P5+1) honestly negotiate with that country?

Dr. Rouhani has communicated with each of the Five Permanent Nations on the U.N. Security Council plus with Germany.  He has stated to President Obama that Iran is ready to hold talks with the U.S. after 32 years.

Publically he has stated that “the ultimate responsibility to resolve the Syrian civil war should be in the hands of the Syrian people.”  But it is believed that Iran supports al Assad, Syria’s president in the civil war and that Iran is “strengthening the Shia crescent” that runs from southern Lebanon through Syria, Iraq, and into Iran.

In terms of Israel Rouhani, unlike his predecessor, believes in and deplores the Nazi Holocaust, but describes the Jewish state as “an occupier and usurper government” which “has brought instability to the region with its warmongering policies.”

Generally he is considered to be a moderate and pragmatic politician who will work to improve conditions for his people.

English: Iran فارسی: ایران

English: Iran فارسی: ایران (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Weiner Component #96 – Obama’s Dilemma or the Dilemma of the Middle East

Official photographic portrait of US President...

English: Major ethno-religious groups in Iraq ...

English: Major ethno-religious groups in Iraq Shiite Arabs Sunni Arabs Kurds Assyrians Yazidis Turkmen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Islamic Caliphate State or ISIS or ISIL, which seized large sections of Syria and Iraq, is currently advertising on the internet for female recruits. They need people to cook and have babies, apparently to supply future generations of militants.

ISIS is a group that was expelled from al-Qaida, an organization that makes full use of suicide bombers, for being too extreme. They have publically beheaded captured reporters from the United States and England, as well as a large number of captured Shiite Muslims. ISIS, the Sunnite group, functions by terror and mayhem in the regions they have conquered. Their goal seems to be turning the entire Middle East into a Sunnite Caliphate.

The major question that emerges at this time is whose problem are they? Is it a Free World issue, requiring the Free World under the leadership of the United States, to come in and get rid of them? Of course there is also the question of oil in this fuel rich area. Are they a threat to the Shiite nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran? What about the more liberal Sunni countries in the Middle East? Is it also their problem?

ISIS is an ultra-conservative Sunni group that believes in their way or no way. The people in the areas they conquer have to follow their interpretation of the Sunni Muslim religion or die as non-believers. Arabia in the time of Mohamed was not as extreme as they currently are.

The current situation in the Middle East is a no win situation for the President of the United States. With the beheading of two U.S. reporters it would seem that the country feels a need to get even. Apparently President Barak Obama and a good percentage of the American people have taken the beheadings of the two American reporters as a personal challenge. But what is the reality of this situation?

Beheading seems to be a standard method of execution in the Middle East. The fact that it was advertised on the internet was a direct challenge to the United States. It was the equivalent of holding up a symbolic middle finger to the U.S.

Currently the U.S. is bombing ISIS military positions in Iran and, as of Monday, September 22 has, with a coalition of Arab and European states, begun to bomb similar positions in Syria. France has also begun dropping bombs on ISIS in Iran and Great Britain will be following shortly. The comment has been made by most people interviewed on TV that bombing itself will not wipe the group out, that this will require boots on the ground, a physical invasion by one or all of these nations. This is what President Obama has sworn countless times not to do. Under no conditions, he has stated, will we send troops into Iraq or Syria. What we will do is to train and arm moderate Muslim forces to successfully take over.   We will prepare Syrian and Iraqi forces to successfully fight ISIS in their country.

The problem here is that the United States is so far removed from the Middle East, that our thinking in no way parallels theirs. We would like to set up democratic nations similar to ours in both Iraq and Syria. This was tried three years ago in Iraq and Prime Minister Maliki, a Shiite, took control of the country. Iraq is mostly a Shiite country with a fair percentage of Sunni Muslims in some of its sections. There is also a Kurd population in one area of the country. All were initially represented in the new government but gradually the Sunnis and the Kurds found themselves out of the government with many in jail.

Under U.S. urging Prime Minister Maliki reluctantly gave up his position and a new Prime Minister was elected who is in the process of setting up, once again, a more democratic government. This was the United States requirement in order to help. Will it continue in the same fashion or will it, once foreign help is no longer needed, return to where it was in early 2014. I find this question fascinating, particularly since the United States, one of the world’s great democracies, still has all sorts of problems with its minorities, particularly its Black minority. Legally slavery ended 150 years ago in 1865; but Blacks constitute the greatest majority in U.S. prisons and police seemingly can arbitrarily shoot Blacks as in Ferguson, Missouri. If the U.S. cannot maintain ethnic fairness in its own country how can it ask other nations to do so in their nations? An interesting question!

Will Iraq eventually become more democratic that the United States or will the same issues that made it vulnerable to ISIS come back eventually again?

—————————————–

In terms of Syria, what can happen there? Syria is currently and has been for the last three years engaged in a civil war. There is the old government headed by President Assad and the protagonists fighting his dictatorship. His protagonists in this war are not just one or two groups; they are innumerable rebelling individual groups that are generally fighting Assad and numerous other rebelling groups. ISIS has evolved from this morass and is probably one of the strongest groups of rebels. From Assad and other rebel groups they have gained control of a large section of southern Syria. They have also moved into Iraq and gained control of a large area of land there. These they have claimed as their Sunni Islamic state; and are attempting to enlarge their holdings in both countries as a Sunni Muslim Caliphate claiming that they will ultimately unify the entire Middle East.

While bombing ISIS in Syria presumably weakens them it also makes the land they are holding vulnerable to attack. Since the bombing is not being followed up by military attacks it leaves those area vulnerable to being taken over by President Assad’s military, the original ruler of the area against whom the civil war is being fought.

When the Civil War began three years ago President Obama publically issued a declaration asking Assad to step down and allow the people of Syria to choose new leaders and a new government. This request was ignored and a multi-civil war continues there.

There are obvious advantages and disadvantages in bombing ISIS in Syria, but it would seem to be a no-win situation for the U.S. and the Western powers. We have very successfully and expensively begun the bombing but to what is this leading? There is no eventual exit plan for the U.S. and the Western Powers. Presumably the bombing will continue until ISIS is destroyed but then what? Presumably, then the Syrians, who are mostly Sunnis, will, with encouragement from their Arab neighbors, form a modern democratic state under the auspices of the United Nations?

In fact, if the Middle Eastern nations do not get involved in destroying ISIS on the ground are we going to send our troops in to do the job? At this point there seems to have been no real planning outside of the bombing and building the coalition against ISIS. In what direction are we going in the Middle East? How long do we intend to stay there? At present we have more questions than possible answers.

 

The Weiner Component #93 – The U.S. & the World

English: U.S. President Barack Obama meets wit...

President Barak Obama has had absolutely no support for anything he does or tries to do by the Republicans in Congress who constitute the filibustering minority party in the Senate and the majority party in the House of Representatives. Their fervent goal has been and is to denounce any action he takes or tries to take.

House Speaker John Boehner has been recently making statements that it is not Congresses job to make policy decisions. But Speaker Boehner is presumably suing the President for taking actions without the consent of Congress.

The country is currently facing a number of international emergencies that defy simple solutions. In fact, each seems to be a no win situation. In the Middle East

Members of both major political parties in Congress have argued for immediate action without specifically stating what the action should be. A number of Democrats want the president to be more resolute while members of the Republican Party seem to want immediate action, the sending of troops to Iraq and Syria. Others want action without suggesting what that action should be. In the Ukraine there seems to be a war going on between the Separatists and Russia. Congress has not passed any resolution supporting any position. And no one in Congress seems to be ready to vote for any kind of war, or for that matter, any kind of action. At least this was their position before they went on vacation for the month of August. They will return to work on the second week of August.

In Syria and Iraq ISIS or ISIL has set up a separate Islamic State in areas they have been able to conquer and control. Here they are freely beheading and otherwise freely killing people. They have attempted genocide of a group within Iraq, forcing these people without food or water, to flee up an arid mountain. They have beheaded an American reporter because the U.S. has refused to pay a ransom of several million dollars and because they objected to the U.S. rescuing the group on the mountain and because of other military participation against them in Iraq. ISIS has also beheaded another kidnaped reporter, presumably because the U.S. did not stop its air strikes against them in Iraq. The effect of this has been the reverse of what they want.

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ISIS or ISIL is reminiscent of the old Nazi Party in Germany. They have essentially been able to organize an army of people who psychologically are losers, not able to successfully function in a normal society. As members of the group they are now the strong, the successful, the leaders, and they have absolute power within the areas they dominate. They can arbitrarily put anyone to death. They are now the feared winners within the regions they rule. Recently, I understand, they have also been providing social services for many of the poor within their state. They follow an old primitive form of the Sunni Islamic faith.

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The U.S. invaded Iraq, under the Bush Administration, in the year 2003 after the al-Qaida suicide attack and destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City and after the invasion of the al Qaida stronghold in Afghanistan. Its stated goal was to search out and remove weapons of mass destruction such as atomic bombs making material and poison gas. Its real purpose, which it failed to achieve, was to gain control of Iraqi Oil.

The United States completed its withdrawal from Iraq in December of 2011, during its ninth year there after helping to set up an elected government. The agreement to leave had been drawn up by the Bush Administration after the Iraqi Government refused to continue a policy toward Americans of immunity from Iraqi law. Actually both the Americans and the Iraqis wanted the U.S. forces out of the country.

Unfortunately Iraq ended with a Shia prime minister, Maliki, and a Shia dominated government which gradually discriminated against the Sunni minority within the country, arresting their leaders and other in the group. The result being that a percentage of the population did not and does not trust the government. ISIS, as we’ve seen, is a Sunni terrorist group that has cut out for itself a state that consists partly of Syrian and partly of Iraqi territory. It has voiced claims to other parts of the Middle East.

The population of Iraq tends to be mixed and confused at this point; the government is largely ineffective. If the United States were to become involved in a full military capacity now it would be in Iraq not only fighting ISIS but also supporting the Shia government against the Sunnis living in the country.

President Obama has called for and continues to call for a democratic reorganization of the Iraqi Government, with both sides fairly represented, before the U.S. takes any large scale decisive action. Under these circumstances he apparently feels Iraq will be able to mount an effective military force against the Sunni terrorist group, ISIS.

Currently the U.S. is effectively supporting the Kurds, another ethnic group within Iraq, with air support.

On Monday, September 1, 2014, President Obama formally notified the U.S. Congress that he had authorized air strikes and humanitarian airdrops over the Iraqi city of Amerli, the preceding weekend where ISIS militants had trapped the civilian population.

Iraqi security forces backed by Shiite militias and Kurds on Sunday broke the two month siege of Amerli and entered the city after U.S. military carried out air strikes on the attacking forces.

In this case, with American help, the Kurds, a non-Islamic ethnic group, were able to save their city and defeat ISIS. Will the Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis be able this time to form a democratic government which is fair to all groups living in Iraq; and will this allow them to form an effective military that can successfully fight ISIS? And how long will this take? Can the United States be marginally involved until this occurs? An interesting question.

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What should the U.S. do in terms of Syria which has been involved in a civil war for the last few years? There is the original absolutistic government led by Assad who is fighting over a dozen different revolutionary groups of which ISIS is the most extreme and probably the most successful since it now rules a section of the country. By attacking ISIS there we strengthen Assad’s government, which is in the middle of a civil war, and weaken the Arab Spring in their attempt to reform Syria.

We are, in a manner of speaking, caught on the horns of a dilemma. Any move we make in Syria is a no-win move. We do have drones, pilotless planes, flying over Syria and presumably mapping out everything. This is even though Assad has officially stated that he will allow no planes to occupy Syria’s air space unless that government were cooperating with the Syrian government. What should President Obama do in Syria? Should we aid the more moderate groups with shipments of arms? Eventually we may have to bomb ISIS bases there.

President Barak Obama’s strategy seems to be to gather as many allies as he can, form cooperating coalitions, both in the Middle East and Europe, who are opposed to ISIS as a terrorist state that is both anti-Arab and anti-Occidental. He seems to want to build a coalition that is anti-terrorist. He has also stated in a letter to Congressional leaders on September 1, 2014, of his decision under the War Powers Act that he chooses to broaden the U.S. military role in Iraq. He will deliberate carefully before making final decisions on whether to expand U.S. air strikes into Syria. He has avoided military intervention to date during the three years of civil war.

There is also the situation in the Ukraine with Russia. Under Putin’s leadership Russia is trying to forcibly take over Ukraine. This presents another problem. How does the United States and its European allies (NATO) stop them short of war? The Russian premier, Vladimir Putin, has threatened atomic war. This is something that was never done during the Cold War. During the Cuban Missile Crisis the two countries were on the point of war but both backed off. Chairman Khrushchev agreed to remove the missiles from Cuba and the U.S. secretly agreed to remove our missiles from Turkey six months later. If Khrushchev had not backed down then President Kennedy was ready to openly remove the missiles in Turkey in exchange for the missiles in Cuba. Neither man would consider an atomic war.

As a footnote: Joseph Stalin’s daughter married an American and settled in the United States. Khrushchev’s granddaughter currently teaches at a university in the United States

If Congress wanted to defuse the situation between the two countries it would end its vacation prematurely, return to Washington, D.C., and authorize the President to take whatever action(s) necessary in dealing with Russia, including war. This would give Putin second thoughts and he would be forced to act as an adult in the situation. It would also give President Obama a full range of possible actions in dealing with Russia. It would mean the U.S. is standing together, which it is not doing, with the Republicans jockeying for political advantage against the President and the Democrats.

During the last week of August 2014 President Obama stated that his administration did not yet have a strategy to combat ISIS, at least in the areas it controls in Syria. By the end of the following week in Wales at the summing up of the results of the NATO meeting between its 27 members the President had a fully worked out strategy. Obama spent the week at the Conference building coalitions against the radical Islamic group and also spelling out a response to Putin’s war threat. He specifically stated publically more than once that an attack upon any NATO member would be treated as an attack against all of them. It seems that even though Ukraine does not belong to the group they will be allowed to join.

Toward ISIS the United States and its allies aim to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the militant group. The process will include NATO and the majority of Islamic states including those that are Sunni. ISIS, he believes, is a threat to all the nations.

Even though the Ukraine and Russia are not technically at war on Saturday, September 6, they agreed to a cease fire agreement and an exchange of prisoners. On Sunday, September 7, the truce is holding in Ukraine with a few violations on both side. Will it break down or end up in some sort of peace settlement?

Congress returns on Monday, September 8, the second week of September from its monthly vacation. What will be their response to President Obama’s requests under the War Powers Act and will they support or ignore the President’s actions. It should be interesting to see what happens. Particularly with an interim election coming up early in November.

Official photographic portrait of US President...

The Weiner Component #83 – The Middle East & Ieaq

Nouri al-Maliki meets with George W. Bush.

 

Just before mid-June 2014 the Iraqi Shite Government had almost reached the point of total collapse.  Many of the soldiers holding the major city of Mosul threw down their weapons and their uniforms and deserted or fled.  The Sunni rebel forces were 70 miles north of Bagdad.  The Malaki Government seemed to be falling apart.

President Obama is examining the situation and has stated that all options are on the table but that he will not send troops back into the country. Senator John McCain is demanding that we send troops, which were withdrawn 2 1/2 year ago, and he does not want them to leave this time until we have won the war. Among other things he seems to have forgotten that it was President George W. Bush who signed a treaty with Iraq arranging for the withdrawal and he has not mentioned who we have to defeat in order to win the war.

(As a footnote: it seems the Republicans are willing to spend billions of dollars refighting Bush’s Iraq War but not one nickel on creating jobs in the United States or in rebuilding the U.S. infrastructure.)

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has essentially set up a Shite government, basically refusing to share power with the Sunnis. His “so called” democratic government, which was inadvertently set up under U.S. supervision, is a variation of the old Sunni dictatorship that Saddam Hussein ruled under. Maliki has and continues to rejected all U.S. attempts to reform his government and make it a real democracy.

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Prior to World War I the entire Middle East was part of the Ottoman Empire, which eventually became Turkey. They were a decaying medieval monarchy on the losing side. Shortly after the end of World War I (1918) the kingdom was divided up by the European allies as mandates, an anachronism for the colonies these states would rule. The boundaries were set arbitrarily for their convenience by the European victors with no real consideration being given to the people within these colonial nations. Neither ethnicity nor religious differences were considerations.

Shortly after World War II, most of these colonial countries, gained their independence either peaceably or through revolts and became sovereign nations. Generally they were now ruled either by absolute kings or military dictators. The boundaries were still those that the Europeans had imposed some thirty years earlier and they continue to exist today.

Iraq became a British mandate (possession). It includes most of Mesopotamia, bounded on the north by Turkey, on the east by Iran, on the south by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and on the west by Jordan and Syria. It has extensive oil deposits.

The kingdom of Iraq was established in 1923, becoming independent in October 1932 under King Faisal I. Actually it became a semi-independent state in alliance with Great Britain and, interestingly, was admitted into the League of Nations. Between 1950 and 1952 Iraq signed oil agreements with foreign oil companies and received 50% of the oil profits.   In 1953 Faisal II became the playboy king of the country.  In 1958 Iraq became a republic and the monarch was killed. In 1979 Saddam Hussein became Iraq’s president, succeeding and earlier dictator. On August 2, 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait, an oil rich principality.

Prior to the Kuwait invasion President George H.W. Bush sent a plenipotentiary, a roving ambassador, to Iraq to meet with its president. Bush and his advisors had very little knowledge of Iraq and its culture or were overly arrogant. Bush sent a woman (presumably striking a blow for equal rights) and gave her general instructions but no real authority.

To Saddam Hussein the fact that a woman had been sent was both an insult and an indication that the mission was of little consequence to the United States. Apparently, obliquely he asked her what the U.S. response would be to an invasion of Kuwait. She equivocated giving Saddam the impression that there would be no real U.S. reaction. After she left the country Iraq invaded Kuwait. The U.N., under the leadership of the United States, engaged in operation Desert Storm. Bush was wise enough not to invade Iraq after the Iraqis had been pushed out of Kuwait.

Unfortunately his son did not inherit that same wisdom. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld must have wanted a positive victory for the American People after 9/11. They felt the United States should have a great moral and political triumph. With virtually no knowledge of the Middle East, its people, culture and values they decided that an invasion of Iraq would be a win, win situation; that if we served as an international sheriff and invaded Iraq and got rid of its evil dictator, Saddam Hussein, both the Iraqis and the Americans would cheer the greatness of the U.S. Government, their administration.   Unfortunately they were wrong, it ended up being a lose, lose situation.

On March 20, 2003 the U.S. and Great Britain invaded Iraq. The Iraqis were never too pleased with having the United States occupy their country and wanted us to leave, eventually passing numerous resolutions in their Parliament to that effect and finally refusing to allow American forces to be exempt from their law and only under American law. On 2008 a “Status of Forces Agreement” was signed by Bush and Maliki. U.S. combat forces would withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009 and all U.S. forces would be completely out of Iraq by December 31, 2011. Also any soldiers committing felonies or other heinous crimes would be subject to Iraqi law.

Bush left it to President Obama to enforce this agreement, which he obviously did to all sort of derogatory comments from Senator John McCain and other Republicans blaming him for the withdrawal.

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The Kurdish people, who make up about 32 to 37% of the population are located in the northeast along the Turkish border. The other half of their population is in Turkey north of Iraq. The W.W.I Europeans had split them into two roughly equal parts. On March 18, 1988 Iraq is believed to have used chemical weapons, poison gas, on the Kurds in a dispute with them. The Kurds have consistently wanted to form their own nation

Of the remaining population in Iraq there are two major Muslim groups. The Shi’a that makes up 60 to 65% of that population and the Sunni which consists of 32 to 37%. Both these groups came into existence in 632 A.D. when the religious founder, Mohamed, died. They spit over the question of political and religious succession. By and large the Shia live in the south of the country and the Sunni are in the north. Saddam Hussein was a Sunni Muslim while Nouri al-Maliki is a Shite.

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ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has emerged as one of the major groups fighting the Assad regime in Syria. They want to set up a Sunni caliphate in both Syria and Iraq.

The group is one of the most violent if not the most violent of all the jihadists. It is considered one of the world’s most deadly and active terrorist organizations which frequently and indiscriminately attacks large public gatherings for maximum casualties. They are credited with kidnappings, disappearances, and torture of opponents. Their soldiers keep their faces covered at all times. Al Qaeda has expelled ISIS for being too violent.

To Western nations there is the fear that Syria could become the next Afghanistan, serving as a training ground for jihadists to operate all over the world.

The group has also cultivated support among ordinary Syrians by providing aid to needy people in the form of free medical services, bags of food for the needy and below market fuel. Their gifts are always branded with the group’s black flag.

On April 27, 2014 Iraq military helicopters attacked and destroyed an ISIS convoy of eight vehicles inside Syria. June 5, 2014 ISIS militants stormed the city of Samarra in Iraq before being ousted by Iraqi airstrikes. On June 6 ISIS carried out multiple attacks upon the mostly Sunni city of Mosul in Northern Iraq. June 9 Mosul fell to ISIS control giving them, among other things, the central bank that contained about $429 million. Shortly afterward the ISIS leadership declared that they would pay each man in their army $200 a month.

On June 11, 2014 ISIS seized the essentially Sunni city of Tikit. The victors began seeking out and killing police, soldiers, and civilians who they perceived as being associated with the Shite government. June 15 they captured the city of Tal Afar. ISIS claimed that 1,700 Iraqi soldiers who had surrendered had been executed. They released many images of mass executions on the internet.

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What should the United States position toward Iraq be? It looks like a lose, lose situation. The Republican Hawks are demanding that President Obama act, do something. John McCain wants to send troops in to help the legitimate Iraqi government. Lindsey Graham wants to get rid of Nouri al-Maliki. Others are demanding immediate action.  Shite Iran has offered to cooperate with the United States in a joint operation.

Shortly before and after the U.S. occupation of Iraq its Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki arrested important Sunni political leaders. A return of the U.S. troops, whose exit President George W. Bush negotiated, would place the U.S. in a subordinate position in deciding policy and place us in the middle of a civil war. What should be the policy of the United States? It’s an interesting and scary question.

Meanwhile ISIS has been successful in taking mostly Sunni dominated areas in Iraq. Will it be as successful in conquering mostly Shite held areas?

President Obama has sent in an additional military group to guard the American Embassy in Iraq. He has also sent in 300 elite forces to act as advisors to the Maliki Government. What does the future hold?

As of Wednesday, June 25, 2014 Maliki, denounced anyone who wants him to step down as going against their constitution. He has categorically refused to step down and allow an interim government to be set up regardless of the level of ISIS’ military successes. This even though an election is coming up and a new government will be formed in July of 2014.

President Obama has stated that Maliki’s retirement is necessary if the Shite Government is to become truly democratic and be able to stop and possibly defeat ISIS. Maliki, on the other hand, has stated that the losses to Iraq are the fault of the United States because they did not deliver all the airplanes that Iraq purchased from the U.S.

Former Sunni soldiers, from generals down who fought against Al Qaeda, when the United States was in Iraq have been decommissioned or expelled from Iraq’s military. I suspect, if they were called, that they would not fight in a Shite dominated state where they are second class citizens. Also if ISIS becomes a benevolent ruler they may split Iraq into two countries, particularly in regions where they are Sunni majorities. We are, after all looking at a civil war. It is important to remember that the Shite Government under Saddam Hussein was not friendly to the United States and that an ISIS run state will hold the same attitude.

What should President Obama do? What would you do if you were in his position?

 

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The Weiner Component #44 – Obama & Three Demensional Chess

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Chess is an interesting game.  In it one not only moves one of his pieces, which are all moved in different ways, but he also has to anticipate his opponents countermoves and by his move he can sometimes affect those countermoves.  He has to have one or more objectives that can be obtained in one to one hundred moves. 

I remember over a half century ago watching a chess game between two men who both played the game blind.  They had their backs turned to the chessboard and neither ever turned to face it.  The game took a long time before it was finished.  I don’t remember who won but watching I saw that neither one of the two men ever lost sight of the board in his mind.  The concentration level was virtually unbelievable; the game was dramatic.

In life there are people who play chess in normal or abnormal situations.  They have one or a series of objectives and every move they make against any other person is a step toward, at least, one of their objectives.  To me this is playing Three Dimensional Chess in real life situations.  It takes a really superior person to be able to do this.

President Obama is playing a series of these games, all at the same time, and generally, all important to the welfare of this nation.    Each of these is similar to the two men who played their blind chess game.

One such game is going on in Syria.  Here President Barak Obama has a series of objectives.  He would like to stop the use of chemical weapons, especially against unarmed civilians, that includes helpless and unarmed women and children.  He would like to end the Civil War and bring peace to the region without direct American military intervention or bombing, or for that matter, any additional military intervention by the U.N. or any other nation, and quite possibly help end the civil war and bring peace to the area.  He would also like to normalize conditions with Iran and bring her back into the family of nations.  And he would like to do all this without resorting to any further violence.

Is it possible or probable that all or any of this can be done?

Initially President Barak Obama drew a line across the fighting in the Syrian Civil War: in accordance with international treaties no chemical or biological weapons were to be used in the fighting.  This had been part of an international agreement made much earlier with the majority of the nations on the planet.  They were used, presumably by the Syrian army against civilians in pro-rebel areas, killing and maiming over fifteen hundred unarmed non-combatants, many of whom were women and children.

The people in the United States were and are tired of police actions (wars); they have lived through Iraq and are still living through Afghanistan.  They do not want another war, particularly one that would again be interminable.

President Obama could get no help from the United Nations.  Both Russia and China were allies of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.  They are on the Security Council and would veto any motion against Assad and Syria.  The British Parliament went against its Prime Minister and opposed any direct military action against Syria.  At the G4 Conference Obama could not work up any support for his position even though 180 some nations had signed a treaty against the use of Chemical and Biological Weapons.  The indication was that in any action against Assad the United States would have to go it alone.

President Obama then threw the issue up before Congress, asking them to issue a Declaration of War against Syria.  He promised that no American soldiers would be landed there, that the response for crossing the line by Assad would be a bombing raid against his forces or the forbidden weapons. 

Even though members of Congress largely seemed to be opposed to this action they did not have time to vote on this issue because Secretary of State John Kerry at a press conference in answer to a question stated that the Assad led forces could avoid the bomb strike by surrendering their weapons of mass destruction.  Was this a natural occurrence or had it been set up?

Shortly thereafter the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, offered to broker a deal whereby the Syrian government would give up its weapons of mass destruction to the United Nations, which, in turn, would destroy them.  A short time later the U.N. passed a resolution to this effect.  Even before the resolution this process was beginning.  Seemingly it will be gradually carried out with all the chemical and biological weapons being destroyed well before the end of 2014.

For the United States, Russia, Syria, and the United Nations this is a win, win, win situation.  Russia enters the world arena as an international peace-making nation; Syria avoids a confrontation with the United States; and the United Nations emerges as the international force that limits warfare.  In addition President Obama solves his problem without any military action. 

Of course, the civil war in Syria continues with regular weapons, still killing countless numbers of people.  But conditions have now changed.  The United Nations, all its members, and Syria’s two former allies, Russia and China, are now involved in Syria’s Civil War.  They want to end it.

In addition Syria’s other major ally in the Middle East, Iran, has also undergone a major change.  She has elected a new moderate president who wished Israel a Happy New Year (Rosh Hashanah) on the internet and in assorted TV broadcasts in China, the United States and elsewhere has stated, among a number of other things, that the war in Syria must stop.

Will Assad be able to freely continue his Civil War after the weapons of mass destruction controversy is resolved or will the United Nations be able to broker some sort of settlement?  The probability is that an election will be arranged with the people of Syria voting on the leadership they want for their country.  It is even possible that Iran could broker this deal, which would bring an end of civil war to that country.  It would also allow Iran international respect and bring her quickly into the family of nations with all the current sanctions against her removed.

Assad could even win the election and then he could become the leader of a democratic country or, for that matter, it could be someone else.  In any event the conditions within the country will have changed and the U.N. could bring about some sort of resolution allowing Syria to once again become a functioning successful nation.

Will any of this happen?  Would any of it have been possible without the initial act of drawing a line by President Obama or any of the other adroit moves made by the President?  Some of it has already happened.  It seems to me that he has played a game of chess both horizontally and vertically.  What will he have accomplished?  The world could find an end to the Syrian conflagration, a rise in Russian prestige as a peacemaker even to the point of getting a Nobel Peace Award for its president, Vladimir Putin, and a healthy strengthening of the anti weapons of mass destruction treaty.  The United States also having friendly relations with Iran once again, something that ended in 1979 with the American hostage crisis.  And the process can even allow Iran once again to function on an equal basis with all other nations.  This is indeed a very positive use of three-dimensional chess in real life.  Not one life having been lost or maimed during this entire process!

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