I think I'm ISIS'd out for a while, at least until they announce the name of the mysterious black-clad executioner. I'm also going to follow the Oscar Pistorius verdict. For other topics, here's a new open thread.
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Update: I think this was a mostly emotional speech. I also think it was risky to be so insulting to ISIS, when they are still holding so many Western hostages, including a female American aid worker.
I disagree with Obama that our years of efforts have been successful in Yemen and Somalia. We took out a few leaders, so what? They just appoint new ones. (It's no different than our ineffective approach to the drug cartels.) AQAP and al-Shabbab have not been diminished. The state of affairs in Yemen and Somalia ranges from unstable to chaotic. Al Qaida central just opened a new branch in the Indian sub-continent.
Obama's strategy has no timeline, he gave no indication of what would be considered a "success" so we would have an end point. I don't even think he referenced the Peshmerga or Turkey as a coalition partner. He said we would work to shut off the point of entry for recruits, but how, if Turkey isn't part of the effort? [More...]
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The West Australian reports:
The US wants Australia to commit special forces soldiers to an international mission to destroy Islamic State militants rampaging through northern Iraq.
Australia has already indicated it would offer jet fighters to a US-led coalition but The West Australian understands that Washington believes Australia's most valuable contribution to the mission would be Special Air Service Regiment troops and Commandos.
The request is said to have been made yesterday, after Australia arrested someone for providing money to a different insurgent group, Jabat-al-Nusra, which has been fighting ISIS: [More...]
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Here is a quote from Obama's speech tonight on ISIS:
“So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat. Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.
But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.”
According to John Kerry today, no other country has agreed to put boots on the ground in Iraq or Syria. [More...]
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It's ISIS against the world as the countdown begins to Obama's speech on how the U.S. will fight ISIS. Enough details have leaked to already know the basics:
- We will arm and train Syrian rebels like the Free Syrian Army. Training is likely to be in Saudi Arabia, Jordan (and may already be underway.) Saudi Arabia confirmed its support today in a phone call with Obama. Harry Reid has asked Congress to vote on authorizing money for it. Republicans are giving him a hard time. [More...]
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Judge Thokozile Masipa will deliver her verdict tomorrow on Oscar Pistorius. Time Magazine has this rundown of how the verdict will be delivered and the possible outcomes.
The Guardian has this summary of the charges and each sides' arguments.
[I]f there are any convictions on the four charges Pistorius faces — murder and three unrelated firearm charges — sentences will only be decided later at a separate hearing.
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Barak Barfi, the spokesman for Steven Sotloff's family, is angry at the White House and speaking out about how Soltoff was kidnapped. Here's the gist of his interview yesterday with Anderson Cooper of CNN (video available at link, it's worth watching):
"For the first time, we can say Steven was sold at the border. Steven's name was on a list that he had been responsible for the bombing of a hospital," Barak Barfi said on "Anderson Cooper 360." "This was false, activists spread his name around."
"We believe that these so-called moderate rebels that people want our administration to support, one of them sold him probably for something between $25,000 and $50,000 to ISIS, and that was the reason he was captured," Barfi told Cooper.
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I've got a busy day at work and our old open thread is full. Here's a new one, all topics open.
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NYC Police Commissioner William Bratton today appeared before the City Council and outlined changes for the city's police force:
On Monday, Mr. Bratton, surrounded by much of his top leadership, delved into the details of his plan. Every officer would go through a three-day retraining course, on how to talk to an “uncooperative person” in a way that does not escalate into a physical conflict; how to subdue a suspect if the encounter does escalate or if a suspect resists arrest; and how to be sensitive to cultural differences. It would also include a leadership workshop called Blue Courage.
Mr. Bratton said that officers would be expected to retrain regularly in these techniques, as they do with the use of firearms, and that the course would most likely evolve over time.
Bratton also acknowledged the problems with excessive force: [More...]
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According to the British press, authorities are very close to publicly revealing the identification of the masked executioner in the James Foley and Steven Sotloff videos. Listening to CNN on the car radio earlier today, I heard Senator Chambliss say the same thing, and that they may or may not be the same person.
The British killer behind the murders of James Foley and Steven Sotloff was known to MI5 as a low-level collector for genuine Arab charities based in London. It is believed he moved on to gathering funds for Islamic State warlords before deciding to fight for the twisted cause.
So who is it? [More...]
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I'm still following the ISIS news. For those of you who aren't, here's an open thread, all topics welcome.
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President Obama will outline the U.S. response to ISIS in a speech on Wednesday. Today on Meet the Press:
“What I want people to understand is that over the course of months, we are going to be able to not just blunt the momentum” of the militants, he said. “We are going to systematically degrade their capabilities. We’re going to shrink the territory that they control. And ultimately, we’re going to defeat them.”
Although Obama said there would be a “military element” to the strategy, he added that “this is not going to be an announcement about U.S. ground troops."
He also said he regrets golfing after the James Foley beheading as it had the "wrong optics." You can watch his interview on the Meet the Press website.
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"Stand Up to Cancer" is airing on all major networks tonight. The cable networks began at 6pm MT, our local stations are airing it at 7 pm MT.
Are any of you watching? Here's a place to comment, either about the show or cancer.
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Your turn. This is an open thread, all topics welcome.
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John Kerry addressed the ISIS crisis at the NATO summit conference today, saying:
“They’re an ambitious, avowed, genocidal, territorial-grabbing, caliphate-desiring quasi-state with an irregular army, and leaving them in some capacity intact anywhere would leave a cancer in place that will ultimately come back to haunt us.”
But he and other officials made clear that at the moment, any ground combat troops would come from either Iraqi security forces and Kurdish fighters in Iraq, or moderate Syrian rebels opposed to the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. “Obviously I think that’s a red line for everybody here: no boots on the ground,” Mr. Kerry said.
So it's not just the U.S. ruling out ground forces, it's all of the western countries. His full statement is here.
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