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How Terror in Paris Calls for Revising US Syria Policy

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In the wake of the ISIS terrorist attack on Paris, President Barack Obama declared that his administration has the right strategy on ISIS and will “see it through”. But the administration is already shifting its policy to cooperate more closely with the Russians on Syria, and an influential former senior intelligence official has suggested that the administration needs to give more weight to the Assad government and army as the main barrier to ISIS and other jihadist forces in Syria. 

Obama’s Europeans allies as well as US national security officials have urged the United States to downgrade the official US aim of achieving the departure of Bashar al-Assad from Syria in the international negotiations begun last month and continued last weekend. Such a shift in policy, however, would make the contradictions between the US interests and those of the Saudis, who continue to support jihadist forces fighting with al-Qaeda’s Syria branch, al-Nusra Front, increasingly clear.
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Hillary Clinton’s Road to War

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Hillary Clinton promised us a speech on what she’d do to destroy ISIS, but what she gave us was a speech detailing how she would destroy Syria – and drag the US down the road to another unwinnable war. What she essentially proposes is that we fight a three-sided battle – against ISIS, on the one hand, and against Bashar al-Assad, Russia, and Iran on the other.

She elaborated on her “no-fly zone” scheme, saying she wanted to set it up only in the north. This means not only that the US air force will be protecting the “moderate” Syrian rebels – a coalition of US-supported head-choppers and al-Nusra, the Syrian affiliate of al-Qaeda – but also preventing Russian warplanes from flying over the huge swath of territory in the north controlled by the Islamic State – including Raqqa, their capital. So how does she intend to keep Putin out of the skies over Raqqa – by shooting down Russian planes, Chris Christie-style?

Signaling that her main focus is still overthrowing Assad, rather than fighting ISIS, Clinton averred that Putin is “making things somewhat worse.” Yet the Russians have been pulverizing ISIS, pushing them back on every front – and there is evidence that the terrorists’ increasing desperation in the face of this merciless onslaught provoked the Paris attacks. The snake lashes out one more time before it is decapitated. Francois Hollande seems to understand the importance of enlisting Russia in the anti-ISIS coalition, but Hillary is intransigent on the subject of Assad, thus ruling out any real cooperation with Moscow.
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Ron Paul: Foreign Intervention Will Motivate 'A Lot More' Blowback Like in Paris

Interviewed Thursday on Fox Business, Ron Paul predicted that there will be “a lot more” blowback along the lines of the killings in Paris last week if the US, France, and other nations do not cease their interventionist, militaristic foreign policies. In particular, Paul criticizes the United States government’s “foreign policy of constant occupation, bombing, and killing people, and eliciting this hatred toward us.” Terminating such a foreign policy, Paul explains, is the key to preventing violent retaliation.
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US Special Forces in Combat: Nothing New for Iraq and Syria

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The United States recently unveiled a new approach in Iraq and Syria it insists is not new at all: Special Forces will be sent into direct combat. “The fact is that our strategy… hasn’t changed,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said. “This is an intensification of a strategy that the president announced more than a year ago.”

The press secretary is right if you take him at his exact words: the deployment of Special Forces does not change America’s grand strategy, it only changes the on-the-ground tactics.

Something tactically new, something strategically old

Tactically, downplaying these moves as intensification, or as somehow not boots on the ground (one imagines American Special Forces hopping from foot to foot to protect Washington’s rhetoric) is silly. America has entered a new stage, active ground combat, and anyone who thinks a handful of Special Forces is the end of this is probably among the same group who believed air power alone would resolve matters a year ago.
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The Most Important Question About ISIS That Nobody Is Asking

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The question of how the Islamic State funds its sprawling caliphate has been discussed in the past: we first broke down the primary driver of ISIS revenue well over a year ago, in September 2014, when we explained that "ISIS uses oil wealth to help finance its terror operations."

Daily Signal's Kelsey Harkness explained the breakdown as follows:
According to the Iraq Energy Institute, an independent, nonprofit policy organization focused on Iraq’s energy sector, the army of radical Islamists controls production of 30,000 barrels of oil a day in Iraq and 50,000 barrels in Syria. By selling the oil on the black market at a discounted price of $40 per barrel (compared to about $93 per barrel in the free market), ISIS takes in $3.2 million a day.
The oil revenue, which amounts to nearly $100 million each month, allows ISIS to fund its military and terrorist attacks — and to attract more recruits from around the world, including America.

Most importantly, we added that to be successful in counterterrorism efforts, "the US and its allies must “push the Islamic State out of the oil fields it has captured and disrupt its ability to smuggle the oil to foreign markets."
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Does ISIS Exist? Some Say No

Many observers believe that ISIS is simply a creation of the US government as a radical and violent force to further US policy goals in the Middle East. It seems farfetched, but of course the US did back bin Laden and the Mujahideen to take down the Soviets in Afghanistan. Also, back in 1988 it was thought to be a benefit for Israel and the US to create and back Hamas. So there is a precedent. Does the US foreign policy establishment back an enemy to do its bidding with the intent of destroying that enemy once it has served its purpose? Possible, but horribly wrongheaded and cynical. More on ISIS today in the Liberty Report...

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Stopping ISIS: Follow the Money

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Wars are expensive. The recruitment and sustainment of fighters in the field, the ongoing purchases of weapons and munitions, as well as the myriad other costs of struggle, add up.


So why isn’t the United States going after Islamic State’s funding sources as a way of lessening or eliminating their strength at making war? Follow the money back, cut it off, and you strike a blow much more devastating than an airstrike. But that has not happened. Why?

Donations

Many have long held that Sunni terror groups, ISIS now and al Qaeda before them, are funded via Gulf States, such as Saudi Arabia, who are also long-time American allies. Direct links are difficult to prove, particularly if the United States chooses not to prove them. The issue is exacerbated by suggestions that the money comes from “donors,” not directly from national treasuries, and may be routed through legitimate charitable organizations or front companies.
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Saudi Arabia: Friend Or Foe?

Saudi Arabia's desire to be a regional leader in the Middle East has led it to act as a primary conveyor belt of jihadists into Syria, where the Saudis seek the overthrow of the secular Assad government. When Saudi-backed al-Qaeda rebels get hurt in southern Syria, they are patched up in Israeli hospitals. But the head-chopping Saudis are facing slow-motion suicide. Assad did not melt away, and the Saudis' brutal war on Yemen continues to empty the Saudi coffers. The oil glut has shut off the welfare tap to keep its citizens at bay. Still the US continues to coddle the Saudi tyrants, this week announcing that it would sell them $1.3 billion more bombs to drop on the suffering Yemenis. More on the US/Saudi dysfunctional relationship on today's Liberty Report...
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Someone Wants War with Russia

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Something very odd is going on in Washington. I recently attended and spoke at a conference in Washington on “realism and restraint” as a broad formula to reform US foreign policy. Most presentations reflected that agenda more-or-less but oddly one of the speakers said that it was necessary for the United States to mark its place in the world while “carrying a big stick” while another panelist asserted that it was a core mission of the American people to “help other countries striving to be free.” Both were referring to how the US should comport itself vis-à-vis Russia and one had to suspect that they had wandered into the auditorium by mistake, intending instead to visit the nearby American Enterprise Institute.

That such views should be forthcoming at a conference featuring “restraint” might not in fact be regarded as particularly surprising if one bothers to listen to either the Republican or Democratic so-called debates. Nationalism and American “exceptionalism” are easy products to sell at any time, but recently there has been a strain of bellicosity that is quite astonishing to behold, particularly as only one candidate has ever served in the military, and he was a lawyer. One might call it “Chickenhawks on Parade.”

It is useful to consider in their own words what the GOP candidates said last Tuesday night. Carly Fiorina led the baying pack with “One of the reasons I’ve said I wouldn’t be talking to Vladimir Putin right now is because we are speaking to him from a position of weakness brought on by this administration, so, I wouldn’t talk to him for a while, but, I would do this. I would start rebuilding the Sixth Fleet right under his nose, rebuilding the military — the missile defense program in Poland right under his nose. I would conduct very aggressive military exercises in the Baltic States so that he understood we would protect our NATO allies…and I might also put in a few more thousand troops into Germany, not to start a war, but to make sure that Putin understand that the United States of America will stand with our allies… We must have a no fly zone in Syria because Russia cannot tell the United States of America where and when to fly our planes. We also have a set of allies in the Arab Middle East that know that ISIS is their fight…but they must see leadership support a
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