Category Archives: Syria
President Trump doesn’t look like much of a Russian collaborator lately. Last week he bombed Putin’s Syrian Ally al Assad for using chemical weapons. Weapons the Russians promised to eliminate.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson got a chilly reception from his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and President Putin in Moscow yesterday. And he didn’t bring a reset button with him.
Reset of a Reset
When asked on the Journal Report what he makes of the U.S. Russian relationship, Dan Henninger answered, “I guess you could call it a reset of a reset. Because whatever Donald Trump’s relationship may or may not have been with Vladimir Putin, it’s not the same as of this strike against Syria.” CNN says, “Donald Trumps Russia’s reset already needs a reset.”
The Trump/Russian conspiracy theory is dragging. For one thing, no real evidence is being presented. And for another Trump bombed Syria, the ally of his alleged co-conspirator Vladimir Putin.
Meanwhile, there is evidence Team Obama spied on Team Trump. Bloomberg‘s Eli Lake and others broke the story last week. Obama national security adviser Susan Rice purused raw intelligence data on Russians’ conversations with Trump associates. Spying on foreigners is legal but spying on Americans isn’t. When American citizens get caught up in foreign surveillance their names are supposed to be masked in the intelligence report.
But Susan Rice had American names unmasked. Adam Housley at Fox News reported that she then circulated raw reports with the unmasked names.
The unmasked names, of people associated with Donald Trump, were then sent to all those at the National Security Council, some at the Defense Department, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-CIA Director John Brennan – essentially, the officials at the top, including former Rice deputy Ben Rhodes.
Somewhere along the line somebody leaked Michael Flynn’s name and he was forced to resign as Trump’s national security adviser. Kimberley Strassel in the Wall Street Journal suggests that FBI Director Comey has a conflict of interest in all this. And that it’s even possible “his staff was among the leakers.”
Andrew McCarthy wrote a column in National Review titled Susan Rice’s Unmasking: a Watergate style scandal.
A Hawaiian judge helped President Trump find the true meaning of his travel ban. Trump thought he was was using his legal authority as president to keep out perceived threats to the United States.
The president’s authority to declare such suspensions can been found in section 212(f) of the INA, the pertinent part of which reads as follows:
“(f) Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
In this case he said he needed time to vet refugees from jihad torn countries to make sure they aren’t jihadists.
U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson – a Harvard classmate appointed by President Obama – says otherwise. The judge ruled Trump’s real intent was to keep out Muslims. The judge knows this because Trump said so in campaign speeches.
Finally, a Democrat who doesn’t think Trump lies.
In 2012 President Obama said, “We have been very clear to the Assad regime — but also to other players on the ground — that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”
Here’s an Arms Control Association timeline of chemical weapons “moving around or being utilized” in Syria.
The agreement seems to remove the prospect of any strike against Syria following the chemical attacks in Damascus on 21 August which killed up to 1,300 people.
Putin later entered the war with airstrikes in support of Bashar al Assad. That turned the tide in his favor and unleashed a greater flood of refugees and dead.
With the destruction of Aleppo in December Charles Krauthammer wrote that the Obama administration could offer only bitter speechmaking at the UN:
In the end, the world’s greatest power was reduced to bitter speeches at the U.N. “Are you truly incapable of shame?” thundered U.S. ambassador Samantha Power at the butchers of Aleppo. As if we don’t know the answer.
Red Line Threat
Last week the administration drew a new red line through the West Bank and West Jerusalem for building settlements.