Tag Archives: IPad

#UK: Mohammed: #3 with a bullet

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Islamization of Britain Update from Oxfordshire (thanks to Clive). But after all, what’s in a name? What could possibly go wrong?

Non-Chemical Warfare Violence Continues in Syria

 

Over the past past 2 1/2 years, the widespread use of conventional, non-chemical weapons by both Syrian government forces and rebel groups has resulted in the loss of more than 100,000 lives. While the U.S., Russia, and Syria work out a possible timetable to remove chemical weapons from Syria’s arsenal, little progress is being made to halt the warfare that has become the violent daily existence for so many. The following images of the ongoing civil war are from just the past few weeks. [41 photos]

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A member of the ‘Ansar Dimachk’ Brigade, part of the Asood Allah Brigade which operates under the Free Syrian Army, uses an iPad during preparations to fire a homemade mortar at one of the battlefronts in Joubar, a suburb of Damascus, Syria, on September 15, 2013. (Reuters/Mohamed Abdullah)

An archway on a road leading to Syria’s ancient Christian town of Maalula, as fighting continues between government forces and rebel fighters, on September 18, 2013. The town lies around 55 kilometers (34 miles) north-east of Damascus and is strategically important for the rebels, who are trying to tighten their grip on the capital. (Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images) #

Smoke rises as a result of shelling from forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, according to activists, in Ariha countryside, on September 7, 2013. Ariha, which was previously controlled by the Free Syrian Army, is witnessing ongoing clashes after it was wrested control by forces loyal to Assad due to its importance as part of a supply route from the coastal area of Latakia to Aleppo, activists said. (Reuters/Houssam Abo Dabak) #

A Syrian soldier is captured by Free Syrian Army fighters during what the FSA say is an offensive against forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad, in Qobtan village in Aleppo, on August 22, 2013. (Reuters/Saad AboBrahim) #

A Free Syrian Army fighter takes up a shooting position in Ogiwl, Aleppo, on September 8, 2013. (Reuters/Hamid Khatib) #

This citizen journalism image provided by The Syrian Revolution against Bashar Assad which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a Syrian military tank on fire during clashes with Free Syrian army fighters in Joubar, a suburb of Damascus, on September 18, 2013. (AP Photo/The Syrian Revolution Against Bashar Assad) #

A fire truck left amid heavily damaged buildings in the Syrian town of Deir Ezzor, on September 10, 2013. (Ahmad Aboud/AFP/Getty Images) #

An image grab taken from a video shows an opposition fighter firing a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) on August 26, 2013 during clashes with regime forces over the strategic area of Khanasser, situated on the only road linking Aleppo to central Syria. Rebels had in recent days captured several villages in Aleppo province, much of which is already in the hands of anti-regime fighters, before taking Khanasser, situated on the highway to Hama in central Syria, thus cutting the army’s only supply route to the northern province. (Salah Al-Ashkar/AFP/Getty Images) #

A tank is reflected in the sunglasses of a rebel fighter during a ceremony to mark an agreement to unite the of forces Liwaa al-Tawid and Liwad al- Fatah brigades on September 13, 2013 at a former military academy north of Aleppo. (JM Lopez/AFP/Getty Images) #

A rebel fighter and a child cross a damaged bridge in Syria’s eastern town of Deir Ezzor, on September 2, 2013. (Abo Shuja/AFP/Getty Images) #

Issa, 10 years old, carries a mortar shell in a weapons factory of the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo, on September 7, 2013. Issa works with his father in the factory for ten hours every day except on Fridays. (Reuters/Hamid Khatib) #

A Kurdish Free Syrian Army fighter holds out a doll while his fellow fighter takes position in Ashrafieh, Aleppo, on September 18, 2013. (Reuters/Muzaffar Salman) #

In this September 11, 2013 photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, a journalist records a Syrian government solider as he aims his weapon, during clashes with Free Syrian Army fighters in Maaloula village, northeast of the capital Damascus. Heavy fighting between Syrian government troops and rebels flared again in the ancient, predominantly Christian village of Maaloula. Troops are trying to flush out rebel units, including two that are linked to al-Qaida, from the hilltop enclave which they broke into last week. (AP Photo/SANA) #

Syrian soldiers flashes the V-sign for victory as he poses in a Russian-made Syrian army armored personnel carrier stationed along a street leading into Maalula, Syria, scene of fighting between pro-government troops and rebel forces on September 18, 2013. The town lies around 55 kilometers (34 miles) from Damascus and is strategically important for rebels, who are trying to tighten their grip on Damascus. Maalula is one of the most renowned Christians towns in Syria, where many of its inhabitants speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus. (Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images) #

Heavily damaged buildings in the Salah al-Din area of Aleppo, on September 8, 2013. The sheets and bus provide limited cover from sniper fire for those wishing to cross the street. (Abo Mhio/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Syrian opposition fighter smokes a cigarette as he sits at the top of a mountain in the vicinity of a rebel camp in Idlib province on September 18, 2013. (AP Photo) #

A Syrian military solider fires a heavy machine gun during clashes with rebels in Maaloula village, northeast of Damascus, on September 7, 2013. (AP Photo/SANA) #

Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters carry weapons as they take up positions during an offensive against forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo’s town of Khanasir, on August 26, 2013. The smoke is pouring out of the cultural center of the town after the Free Syrian Army set it on fire. (Reuters/Ammar Abdullah) #

FSA fighters drag a body, which according to the FSA, was one of soldiers loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, during an offensive to seize Khanasir, on August 26, 2013. Rebel forces took control of the strategic town in northern Syria, that sits on the government supply route connecting the northern province to the central city of Hama, killing more than 50 pro-government fighters and cutting off government forces’ only supply route out of the city of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. (Reuters/Ammar Abdullah) #

Free Syrian Army fighters sit atop a tank captured from forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad, cheering after seizing Aleppo’s town of Khanasir, on August 26, 2013. (Reuters/Ammar Abdullah) #

A girl helps her brother make his way through the rubble of a damaged house in the eastern Hama countryside, on September 13, 2013. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat) #

A dead body lies on the ground, covered with a blanket, after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, on September 18, 2013. (Reuters/Hamid Khatib) #

Teenage FSA fighters take positions in a house in Salah al-Din neighbourhood in central Aleppo, August 22, 2013. (Reuters/Muzaffar Salman) #

The war-damaged neighborhood of Al-Zibdeh, viewed through a broken window in Aleppo, on September 18, 2013. (Reuters/Aref Hretani) #

A member of the Liwaa Ahrar Suriya brigade, operating under the Free Syrian Army, takes up position in a public park that separates them from forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in the Sakhour area of Aleppo, on August 24, 2013. (Reuters/Muzaffar Salman) #

FSA fighters launch a rocket from a basketball court, towards Syrian government forces in Deir al-Zor, on August 29, 2013. (Reuters/Khalil Ashawi) #

A photo taken on September 2, 2013 reportedly shows the bodies of rebel fighters lying on the ground following an army ambush in Adra, 36 kilometers northeast of Damascus. “At least 20 rebels, including non-Syrians, were killed in an army ambush” The Syrian Observatory for Human rights said, which relies on a network of activists, doctors and lawyers on the ground. (Sam Skaine/AFP/Getty Images) #

An FSA fighter fires his weapon in the Suleiman Al-Halabi neighborhood of Aleppo, on September 14, 2013. (Reuters/Hamid Khatib) #

A Syrian girl walks on the roof of a house, as opposition fighters prepare themselves for combat in the village of Kafr Nabuda, Idlib province, on September 19, 2013. (AP Photo) #

A handout image released by the Syrian opposition’s Shaam News Network on September 19, 2013 shows Syrian rebels mourning fallen comrades in the central Syrian province of Hama. (Abdullah Al-Hamoui/AFP/Getty Images) #

The bodies of two soldiers loyal to President Bashar Assad, displayed on a back of a truck after they were removed from the battlefield, in the village of Kafr Nabuda, Idlib province, on September 19, 2013. (AP Photo) #

An FSA fighter watches surveillance camera footage inside a house near the Grand Umayyad mosque in Aleppo, on September 3, 2013. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat) #

A Syrian opposition fighter rests in a rebel camp in the Idlib Province countryside, on September 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Narciso Contreras) #

Young Syrian-Kurdish women take part in a training session organized by the Kurdish Women’s Defense Units (YPJ) on August 28, 2013, in the northern Syrian border village of al Qamishli, to prepare them to defend their villages if they come under attack. (Benjamin Hiller/AFP/Getty Images) #

A resident digs tunnels and caves to be used as bomb shelters in Deir al-Zor, on September 14, 2013. (Reuters/Mohamad Alderi) #

A fighter of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command (PFLP-GC) aims his rifle as he squats on the windowsill of a destroyed building in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, on September 12, 2013, following fighting against rebel forces who control 75 percent of the camp. The PFLP-GC has been allied to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government whose troops have been fighting rebel forces for the past two years. (Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images) #

Mustafa Abu Bekir, 23, an FSA fighter who said he lost his legs during a bombing by the Syrian Air Force, is welcomed by a relative as he is carried by a family member just after they entered Turkey from the Turkish Cilvegozu border gate, located opposite the Syrian commercial crossing point of Bab al-Hawa, in Hatay province, on September 9, 2013. (Reuters/Umit Bektas) #

A boy dives into a crater filled with water in Deir al-Zor, on September 4, 2013. The crater was caused by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to the Syrian government. (Reuters/Khalil Ashawi) #

An FSA fighter fires a weapon as he takes a defensive position in Deir al-Zor, on September 5, 2013. (Reuters/Khalil Ashawi) #

Rebel fighters inspect a stairwell during fighting against Syrian government forces, on September 19, 2013 in the Saif al-Dawla district of Aleppo. (JM Lopez/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Free Syrian Army fighter, reflected in a mirror, points his weapon through a hole, inside an abandoned house in the old city of Aleppo, on September 4, 2013. (Reuters/Muzaffar Salman) #

http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2013/09/non-chemical-warfare-violence-continues-in-syria/100595/

The Big Fat Red Line

By

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Someone chalked a long red line along the street outside my building. The line is sloppy, it turns, wavers and meanders. Car tires have already rubbed it pink in places and dogs have done to it what large four-legged animals do naturally when taken out of the confines of narrow apartments. The line turns a corner and dives inside a pothole near an exposed sewer grate. And then it is gone.

Obama’s red line is more famous than my red line. It appears in the Washington Post and the New York Times. There are reams of speculation over what the nature of the red line is, whether the red line has been crossed, what Obama should do about the crossing of the red line and how many devils can dance on the edge of a red line while juggling Sarin canisters.

Despite being much more famous, Obama’s red line matters about as much as the one in front of my building. It’s there one day and gone the next and no one really cares.

The red line, the famous one in D.C. is a meaningless. It exists because politicians and reporters expect it to exist. It’s a necessary optical illusion that convinces them that Eisenhower or JFK are still in the White House and that the United States of America is a rational world power with standards that on truly important matters such as human rights and the percentage of cow flatulence that is to be allowed to ascend into the atmosphere.

Obama’s red line never existed. It was the sort of thing that Obama occasionally said because people expected him to say it. Chemical weapons are bad, okay? If you use them, we’ll get really upset. And the White House press corps pawed its iPads, hardly able to type for the thrills shooting through their nervous systems at being in the presence of a leader they could truly respect for his compassion and wisdom.

But Obama and his teleprompter are far too elegant wordsmiths to get bogged down in red lines. “That would change my calculus. That would change my equation,” Obama declared at one point, channeling his inner Stephen Hawking, but sounding more like a punchline from Big Bang Theory. Whatever changes have happened to Obama’s calculus equations from the possible use or non-use of chemical weapons, the equation is still up there on the blackboard and it has no solution.

The idea that Obama has a red line governed by the number of people who are killed is slightly sillier than the plot of every big budget summer movie rolled together. As far back as his campaign, Obama made it clear that genocide in Sudan or the Congo was not a criteria for military intervention. But when Gaddafi took the initiative, Obama went to war in defense of a lovely peaceful city named Benghazi that the Nobel Peace Prize winner declared was on the verge of being exterminated.

What set one African country apart from another? Cynics might point to oil and race, but those are just elements of the larger calculus equation that makes Obama do things. It’s his real red line that doesn’t show up at press conferences because it doesn’t sound good. The real red line has nothing to do with how many people die in Syria. It has to do with how those deaths slot into the larger agenda for the region.

That might be okay if the agenda were remotely coherent. It isn’t. It might be okay if he didn’t have a habit of saying stupid things and then flailing around afterward.

Obama allowed the thin red line myth to go forth and now he’s stuck with it. The old liners at the Washington Post who still think that we’re living in 1958 keep calling on Obama to show leadership. But how is he supposed to do that? He’s not a leader. And even if he were, he certainly would not be their kind of leader. Or at least he is the kind of leader they deserve.

The left has a long history of marrying incompetence and malice. It excels at taking power and fails at trying to use it. It is good at convincing people of things, so long as those people are out in the streets shouting about jobs and food. It is quite capable of looting a country, but incapable of building it up except through the crudest brute force forms of industrialization that fail before too long.

Behind the big fat red line of the Soviet Union was a monstrous regime that got its ass handed to it by its Nazi allies in a hot war and then got its ass handed it to it again in a cold war by the United States. The United States saved the Soviet Union twice, once from famine and once from war and nearly saved it a third time economically. The Soviet Union had thoroughly infiltrated Western elites and even received nuclear weapons technology from them that it could use to destroy the world. And it still failed miserably.

Obama’s red line leadership marries incompetence and malice. The left’s big idea of dismantling American power leaves it with few ways of using American power. Like the idiot who campaigns against hammers only to realize he has no way of nailing up his anti-hammer posters, he is stuck between making empty threats that no one believes in and then having to either back down or nerve up and carry them through because the threats alone have no credibility.

The foreign policy establishment threw itself into the idea that the Arab Spring represented a historical movement that could not and would not be denied. (Except in Bahrain where the protesters were Shiites going up against the House of Saud which happens to own the White House mortgage.) The dictators, the ones without oil, were told that standing in the way of a historical movement of price protests hijacked by left-wing and Islamist mobs was futile. Either they would step down or the people would throw them down.

Gaddafi chose to test the force of history and won. And once it was clear that he was winning, the jets that no one thought of sending out to stop genocide anywhere in Africa were dispatched to protect that jewel of democracy, Benghazi, the heartland of the Libyan revolution. Now Assad is testing the farce of history. And while he isn’t winning, he hasn’t lost either.

Obama’s real red line has nothing to do with how many Syrian civilians die. No one in Washington cares about dead Syrians. They care about who is going to win in Syria. Their credibility has been staked on a rebel victory. Their red line is a rebel defeat like the one that forced Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron to jump into the Libyan War on the pretext that they were protecting the civilians that they couldn’t give a fig about anywhere else in Africa.

Dead civilians are worth a stringer’s photo with the contrast enhanced to show the magnificent desolation of war. It’s the sort of thing that Bush might have naively cared about, but we all know he was a moron who just wanted to start crusades, kill Iraqis and paint dogs. His far more moral successor only starts smart wars in defense of grand historical movements that globalist flat earthers like Thomas Friedman insist will usher in a new age in the old Middle East.

If Syria actually did use chemical weapons, then all it did was embarrass the emperor of peace by exposing the nakedness of his pretensions. The State Department hemmed and hawed and the occasion was seen as sufficiently drastic that the New York Times for the first time ever told the truth and admitted that there are no secular forces fighting in Syria. It’s Assad or the Islamists.

It’s nice of the Times to tell the truth on a Sunday to explain to its readers why the grand crusade for human rights that they were expecting hasn’t begun yet. The pity of it is that by Tuesday, the Times will be back to talking about why we should be aiding the Syrian secular forces that it already admitted have the same level of material existence as the Easter Bunny, the moderate Muslim and the shovel-ready job.

But Times readers should be used to it by now. Clinton shrugged his shoulders at Rwanda and Sudan, but spent a good deal of time bombing Yugoslavia over false claims of genocide. It did not take very long for his ideological successor to do the very same thing in Libya. It doesn’t matter how often George Clooney goes a week without shaving, shoots his cuffs and has his assistant chain him to the fence of the Sudanese mission, the right to protect is never going to show up over Sudan.

None of this is about human rights. It’s not even about humans. It’s about big pictures and even the devoted readers of books about the Post-American world order still have their big pictures.composed of grand historical movements and massive chess games in which leaders can be raised and toppled, in which power can check power until a perfect stabilizing point is reached and the rest of the world decides to start killing its own babies, dismantling its own industry and dedicating all its efforts to turning out graduates with three degrees to teach small children about transgender identity.

That obviously isn’t going to happen. The plan to turn over the region to the moderate Islamists worked out about as well as the plan to use the Ayayollah Khomeini as a stabilizing force in Iran. Fortunately believers in grand historical movements don’t back off because they have been proven wrong. They don’t stop when the bodies begin piling up. Instead they move forward certain that they are doing the right thing, even if the dimmest man alive would have figured it out by now.

The red line in Syria isn’t chemical weapons or blood. It’s ideology. It’s the red-green alliance exacting its deadly toll while the Great Teleprompter squats behind his curtain making shadow puppets on the wall and telling self-deprecating jokes to the press corps that waits for leadership and worries that the dictator, the other dictator, has called his bluff and one of these days he is going to have no choice but to ante up or fold.