Why the Russians are backing Assad

Azaz,_SyriaSecretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is in Moscow for negotiations, has said that Russia needs to choose between Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad and the United States.
One would think that Vladimir Putin would rather have good relations with the United States than Syria.  And what’s in it for Russia to help with the bombing of hospitals and other atrocities?John Hopkins International Affairs expert Vali Nasr explains Russia’s ties to Syria and to Assad, after the jump. [Read more…]

Russia attacks ISIS

Russia is doing what many people hoped the United States would do.  It has gone into Syria and is bombing ISIS, reportedly wiping out its command center.  True, Vladimir Putin is supporting the Syrian government, which we don’t approve of, against its various factions of rebels.  He is also presenting Russia as the defender of humane values against the evils of terrorism.  But this is surely good news for the United States.  Let Russia get entangled in another mideast war.  And if Russia stops ISIS, that would be good news for everyone. [Read more…]

American airstrikes aren’t stopping ISIL

A British newspaper reports that American efforts to stop ISIL are failing, as ISIL continues to win victory after victory against the Iraqi army and Kurdish rivals in Syria.  The airstrikes are just not working.  Even with American air support, the Iraqi army keeps running away.  Meanwhile, ISIL is gaining more and more territory and is getting stronger and stronger. [Read more…]

We’re bombing Syria

The United States has been bombing ISIL positions in Iraq, but yesterday we took the fight to Syria.  Arab allies joined in the bombing.  ISIL began as a Sunnni rebel group trying to overthrow the Shi’ite dictator in Syria, Bashar al-Assad.  American planes also attacked another terrorist organization there, the Khorasan Group, which was reportedly planning an attack on the United States and other Western countries. [Read more…]

Rand Paul’s foreign policy

The one “dove” among the current presidential contenders has been the libertarian, tea-party favorite Republican Senator Rand Paul.  A few weeks ago, he published  an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that criticized both the Democrats and his fellow Republicans for their “interventionist” foreign policies.  He said that those who wanted to intervene  against the Assad regime in Syria would have been helping ISIS, which was originally one of the rebel factions that they wanted to help.  He says that President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the “hawkish members of my own party” lack both foresight and hindsight.  And yet, Senator Paul is now saying that America must respond to the atrocities of ISIS by using force against them.  After the jump, read from both his op-ed piece on Syria and his latest pronouncements against ISIS.

You Randians, libertarians, and non-interventionists, does this change your view of him?  Or do you agree?

[Read more…]

Iraq and the war between Sunnis and Shi’ites

It looks like we are approaching the helicopter-on-the-roof phase in Iraq, as Americans are being evacuated as the rebel army moves closer and closer to Baghdad.  (To add insult to injury, the rebels are apparently making use of American equipment that was left behind.)

But the situation there is not just about us.  The rebel organization is called ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. They are Sunni Muslims, which was Saddam Hussein’s denomination, seeking to overthrow the Shi’ite Muslims, who make up 60% of the population and who assumed power in the American-imposed democracy.  The Sunnis are also opposed to Iran and to the Shi’ite dictatorship in Syria.  Iran might actually support the existing government, as ISIS–which includes Syrian rebels ostensibly supported by the United States–seeks to create a pan-Sunni state in the region.  Both factions have their jihadist terrorists and consider the USA their enemy, but they also hate each other.  So this is not only a war against the West, but also an intr-Islamic religious war.    [Read more…]