The Path to Defeat in Afghanistan

The Path to Defeat in Afghanistan

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Who is “on the run”? Radical Islam—or America?

After the terrorist attack in 2001, the United States quickly disposed of radical regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq and severely restricted the spread of Iranian influence across the Middle East. But as we wrote in November 2003, this would be a long and difficult war—and one the United States would eventually lose.

Today, after 11 years of war against radical Islam, American losses are now piling high.

Earlier this month, the New York Times featured a detailed story that essentially summarized Iran’s decade-long conquest of Iraq. Back in 2003, the Times wrote, Iran saw the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein as a “golden opportunity” to become the dominant force in the region. It enabled the Quds Force, led by General Qassim Suleimani, to wage its own war in Iraq—a shadowy conflict aimed at bogging down American forces and ultimately pressuring them to leave. While this was happening, Suleimani was simultaneously working to build political alliances with Iraq’s top politicians.

That brings us to where we are today, now that Saddam Hussein and U.S. forces are long gone. We are where we said we would be as far back as 1994: Iran is now king in Iraq.

America is following a similar path in Afghanistan.

Its invasion of that country was also a lopsided conflict at the start. It only took a few weeks for the U.S.-led offensive to smash the Taliban infrastructure and send its leaders running for cover in Pakistan. But by 2006, with America preoccupied in Iraq, the Taliban had re-emerged from the hills and surprised U.S. forces with a major counterattack.

By 2007, U.S. commanders in Afghanistan were pleading for Washington to send reinforcements. But then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen told them there was “nothing on the shelf for Afghanistan.” American forces had been spread too thin. The focus of attention was on the “surge” in Iraq.

In 2009, following through on promises made during the presidential campaign, President Obama shifted attention away from Iraq and sent an additional 33,000 troops to Afghanistan. Since the so-called Obama surge in Afghanistan, however, there has been a dramatic rise in U.S. casualties. Of the 2,141 U.S. service members that have been killed in Afghanistan, about 70 percent of them have died on Mr. Obama’s watch.

Of greater concern than this upsurge in violence is the alarming increase of “green on blue” attacks. This year there have been more than 30 attacks on coalition forces by their Afghan “partners.” It’s gotten so bad that U.S. forces now carry weapons at all times—even while on base—to protect themselves from people who are supposed to be on their side.

Despite these many setbacks, however, the Obama administration has been actively peddling the “mission accomplished” theme when it comes to Afghanistan. During the vice presidential debate two weeks ago, for example, Joe Biden said America’s primary objective in Afghanistan is “almost completed.”

President Obama takes it much further than that. America has “blunted the Taliban’s momentum” and al Qaeda is on the “path to defeat,” he repeatedly says on the campaign trail.

But according to cbs reporter Lara Logan, the administration is misleading the American people with this “major lie” in order to justify the U.S. exit strategy. During a 60 Minutes episode on September 30, Logan interviewed Gen. John Allen, the commanding officer of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a Taliban commander who had been trained by al Qaeda. All of them said al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are now returning to Afghanistan. Al Qaeda is definitely “on the run,” as President Obama has repeatedly stated. But they’re not running from American forces—they are instead rushing to fill the power void left by a superpower that has spent its strength in vain.

Back in 2002, not long after U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan, President Bush assured the American people that the war against terrorism would not end “until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”

But that was at the very beginning of what has since turned into the longest war in U.S. history.

“We’ve been in this war for over a decade,” Vice President Biden said during the debate, just before he stated that America was very near to the point of completing its objective.

“After a decade of war,” White House press secretary Jay Carney adds, “it is time to wind down that war and to gradually transfer security responsibility to Afghanistan” (emphasis added throughout).

In other words, it’s been a long and difficult struggle—and most Americans have grown tired of fighting an unwinnable war. So America’s leaders have responded by declaring victory so they can finalize an exit strategy.

Even President Obama’s political opponent on the right is actively promoting the “mission accomplished” propaganda. At the presidential debate on Monday night, Governor Romney said, “We’ve seen progress over the past several years. The surge has been successful, and the training program is proceeding at pace. There are now a large number of Afghan security forces—350,000—that are ready to step in to provide security and we’re going to be able to make that transition by the end of 2014.”

Prior to that debate, the Romney camp had often blasted the Obama administration for telegraphing its timeline to the Taliban by announcing a withdrawal date publicly. But on Monday, Mr. Romney emphatically told America’s enemies that if he becomes president, he’s definitely sticking to the 2014 timetable.

Just like his friends on the left, he’s been lulled into believing that the greatest dangers facing America are now in the past. As Lara Logan said during a speech in Chicago the week after her 60 Minutes report aired, American leaders are not listening to what their enemies are saying about this war.

In their arrogance, U.S. leaders think they write the script—and they have now decided that America won. In fact, Logan says, “After 11 years of war in Afghanistan, where we are surrendering—rushing for the exits as fast as we can—not only do we not dictate the terms, but we have less power to dictate anything on the world stage.”

In other words, it is the United States of America—not al Qaeda or any other terrorist group—that is on the path to defeat.

#Anti-Semitism on French Twitter

#Anti-Semitism on French Twitter

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Anti-Semitism shows its modern face.

Anti-Semitic “jokes” became one of the most talked-about subjects on French twitter last week, forcing the company to delete the anti-Semitic material.

“#unbonjuif” (#AGoodJew) became the third most talked-about keyword on the French site on October 10, and remained popular until Twitter removed the posts. Twitter users use the “#” symbol to denote keywords or phrases. Other users can search on these phrases, making it easy to find all posts on a certain subject.

In this case, the hashtag “#unbonjuif” was used on posts with anti-Semitic jokes or pictures of Holocaust victims.

“There is a deep-rooted anti-Semitism in France, and there is a very small step between racist words and racist acts,” warned Guillaume Ayne, the director of sos Racisme.

“Twitter didn’t understand the deepness of racism and anti-Semitism in France,” said Jonathan Hayoun, president of the Union of French Jewish Students (uejf).

That so many Twitter users are anti-Semitic is disturbing. A tech-savvy Twitter user isn’t the stereotypical image of an anti-Semite.

Twitter agreed to remove the posts on October 19, after the uejf threatened legal action.

Some who helped get the topic started claimed that they were protesting for free speech. Some wrote posts with the hashtag #UnBonMusulman (#a good Muslim) and #UnBonRaciste (a good racist), but these were far lest popular.

The Jewish security watchdog reported recently that the number of anti-Semitic acts had increased 45 percent over the first eight months of 2012. They concluded that Mohamed Merah’s attacks on French Jews had inspired others to copy him.

Belgium’s local election spurred what has been described as “an unprecedented wave of manifestations of anti-Semitism” at around the same time. The president of the Committee of the Belgian Jewish Organizations said that the elections, held on October 14, “were characterized by a flood of anti-Semitic events the likes of which we have never before seen.”

In Schaarbeek, near Brussels, there was a “hate campaign under the pretext of anti-Zionism.” One pamphlet described a Jewish politician as “an active Zionist and an enemy of Islam.” Voting for his party would be “stabbing Palestinians in the back,” an e-mail about him read.

Anti-Semitism is a real and growing problem in Europe. It should be a grave warning to Israel that Europe should not be trusted as an ally.

Benghazi Terrorist Attack Fulfills Prophecy

UK Prime Minister Stands Up to Europe

UK Prime Minister Stands Up to Europe

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Britain refuses to budge on the EU budget or the European Court of Human Rights.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he will veto any increase in the next six-year EU budget after talks with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy. EU leaders want the budget to rise above inflation, but Mr. Cameron insists that while European nations are having to cut their spending, the EU’s budget shouldn’t rise above inflation.

“His most senior officials are delivering a similarly uncompromising message behind the scenes, much to the dismay of other EU diplomats,” reported the Financial Times on October 21.

Despite the fact that Germany also opposes a budget increase, it is reportedly annoyed at Mr. Cameron’s refusal to compromise. The Financial Times reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would cancel November’s EU budget meeting, because if Mr. Cameron refused to compromise, there was little point in holding it. The German government has denied the reports.

Mr. Cameron also stood up to the European Court of Human Rights (echr). The court has ruled that prisoners in Britain must get the vote, and Parliament has until the end of November to comply. But Mr. Cameron rejected their demands, saying, “Prisoners are not getting the vote under this government.”

The echr was set up to apply the European Convention on Human Rights. The convention says nothing on the right of prisoners to vote. However the “judges”—who require no prior judicial experience to hold their posts—have decided that their job must go further than interpreting the convention. In doing so, they have triggered a showdown with British Parliament, which voted 234 to 22 to retain the ban on prisoners voting.

The case has become a question of who makes laws in Britain: the elected representatives of the British people, or a foreign court. Now that the debate has been couched in those terms, it would be very difficult for Mr. Cameron to back down.

The echr is not a part of the EU, but is strongly associated with European interference in the affairs of Britain by much of the public. Mr. Cameron’s open defiance of Europe on these matters is a strong reflection of the thoughts of the British people. This strength of popular feeling means that Britain and Europe will soon go their separate ways.

Germany Demands More Control Over Greece

Germany Demands More Control Over Greece

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Germany will allow Greece the extra time it wants to pay off its debt, in exchange for more control over Greece spending, according to a paper leaked to the Financial Times.

Greece’s creditors are agreeing to give the nation an extra two years to pay off its debts, according to several media reports. The extension will cost €16 to €18 billion. But the German proposal would subjugate Greece to tough conditions in return.

Germany wants to beef up the Task Force for Greece, a group of experts led by Horst Reichenbach tasked with overhauling Greece’s government to make it run more efficiently. The proposal calls for “more intense, compulsory employment of external technical assistance.” The “compulsory” assistance would help improve tax collection, reduce corruption and improve the collection of statics, among other things.

The proposal also demands that if Greece deviates from the bailout plan, the government must implement automatic spending cuts. This part of what the Financial Times calls the “much tighter controls over Greece’s own tax and spending policies.”

Also, under Germany’s plan, the bailout money would go straight into a trust account managed by an international body such as the European Central Bank. This essentially strips Greece of budgetary control over its own funding, according to the FT.

Once Greece’s government is making money again (before interest payments), Germany wants some of that money to go into that trust account.

Greece resents this interference in its sovereignty. “We are not a protectorate,” said former Greece finance minister and head of the pasok party Evangelos Venizelos, as he rejected other demands from Greece’s creditors. These included demands for Greece to enforce a six-day week, essentially enforcing Sunday worship on the population.

But if Greece wants relief from the tough bailout terms, it may have to submit to these conditions. If it does, will that prove that it is, in fact, a protectorate of the EU, and Germany?

Germany’s Mali Mission

Germany’s Mali Mission

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Germany’s readiness to confront radical Islam in Mali is a whiff of things to come.

In early 2011, when America, Britain and France mustered a coalition to provide military assistance to rebels in Libya fighting to overthrow Muammar Qadhafi, Europe’s largest and most powerful country refused to participate. Germany sat idly by as its Western partners trotted off to war.

What a contrast Germany’s approach to Libya was compared to its current approach to Mali.

If you haven’t read it, Richard Palmer’s recent article “Europe’s African War” explains the scene unfolding in this North African country. Basically, Mali has descended into chaos in the wake of a March coup d’état by rebel forces. Islamist groups, which have long been strong in the region—including al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (aqim)—have effectively taken over the north of the country. As the situation quickly deteriorates, the West, especially Europe, is growing alarmed and is gearing up to intervene.

This time, Germany is ready to rumble.

Berlin is already preparing to play a key role in what many say will be an inevitable conflict. On Tuesday, following a meeting with the UN special envoy to the region Romano Prodi, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle explained the need for Germany to pay attention. He warned that “if northern Mali falls, then terrorist schools will be created there … and then not only Mali and the region, the North African nations, will be threatened, but also us in Europe.

Westerwelle assured his people that there are currently no plans to dispatch German soldiers to Mali to participate in combat missions, but revealed that Germany is “discussing possible logistical, technical and financial aid” for Mali.

Germany’s chancellor has also recently set the spotlight on Mali and made the case for German intercession. “Free and democratic states cannot accept that international terrorism is finding a safe haven in the north of the country,” stated Angela Merkel on Monday at a conference of Germany’s armed forces. “We know Mali’s armed forces are too weak to act—they need external support and a European training mission is therefore thinkable, as is material and logistical support.”

Even Germany’s media, which has staunchly opposed German involvement in foreign theaters, especially since its participation in Afghanistan, is doing its part to sell a possible Mali intervention. Süddeutsche Zeitung, a popular, left-leaning daily paper, wrote that the German “government and parliament will not be able to ignore the EU’s call. In principle, no democratic society can have any interest in the further spread of fundamentalism and terrorism.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung recently told its readers that the “argument … that a ‘second Afghanistan’ cannot be allowed to take shape only 1,200 kilometers (746 miles) from the European continent, can’t simply be dismissed. If northern Mali were to become a safe-haven and an easily reachable training camp for young jihadists from Europe, then the security interests of every EU country would be threatened.” Handelsblatt, which usually focuses on business news, complained this week that “German foreign policy experts haven’t even made an issue of the fact that something akin to a new ‘safe harbor’ for al Qaeda and its ilk and a Stone Age Islamist regime is establishing itself there, right at Europe’s backdoor.”

German leaders discussing involvement in a military conflict is never insignificant.

Moreover, there is an unmistakable theme running through these editorials and the remarks from Merkel and Westervelle: Germany is concerned by the rise of radical Islam in North Africa and is ready to confront it!

It will be interesting to monitor the extent of Berlin’s involvement in Mali over the next few weeks and months. The way its leaders and its media are talking, Germany appears to be positioning itself to play a significant role in the imminent intervention. It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if Berlin took control of whatever European force is dispatched. No doubt the U.S. and other European states will encourage this.

As we watch Germany’s involvement in Mali, it’s also important that we consider the full context of this story. The Mali crisis is no anomaly: Germany is vexed by the rise of radical Islam throughout North Africa and the Middle East.

The Mali mission is a whiff of things to come!

Let’s get back to Libya for a moment. When Germany refused to support the effort to oust Qadhafi, it seemed that Berlin had little interest in getting involved in North Africa. It was easy to conclude that Germany had a passive foreign policy and little desire to play any sort of leadership role in the international community. Truth is, such conclusions were wrong. Looking back on events in Libya over the past 18 months—particularly at the emergence of radical Islam as a formidable force in the nation—you have to wonder if perhaps Germany took the wisest route.

The Qadhafi regime was ugly. But isn’t the radical Islamist element gaining power there even uglier, and as four Americans recently discovered, one hundred times more dangerous?

Stay tuned to events in Libya, Mali and North Africa in general. The rise of radical Islam in the Mediterranean—the region Winston Churchill termed Europe’s soft underbelly—will serve as a powerful impetus for Europe, under Germany’s direction, to unite and ultimately confront this enemy. Be assured, events in Egypt and Libya and Mali are showing Europe that if it wants to survive as a unified power—if it wants continued access to energy and resources from Africa and the Middle East—if it wants to stop radical Islam’s war on Christians—if it wants to purge Islamic extremists from the Continent—then it must summon the political and military will and might to confront Iran and its radical Islamic proxies.

We need to pay attention to Europe, especially Germany, now more than ever. Europe’s window of opportunity to tackle radical Islam is closing quickly.

Germany’s Mali mission is just the beginning.