DEFEATED: Kerry begs Russians for ‘de-confliction talks’

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Put a fork in him, he’s done and his has taken the US, our allies and freedom loving peoples with him.  Upstaged, upended and usurped, Obama’s only option now is to grovel.

Russia is bombing our allies,  Assad’s enemies, in Syria not ISIS. , “It’s one thing for us to be humiliated, but another for it to be shown to the world,” said Charles Krauthammer.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to ramp up Moscow’s military presence in Syria to support President Bashar Assad caught the Obama administration flat-footed and complicates its stated goal of simultaneously ousting Assad’s regime while degrading and destroying ISIS.

Faced with reports of Russian warplanes in Syria attacking non-ISIS positions near Homs, Kerry is begging for “de-confliction talks” with Russia from the United Nations Security Council in New York.

“We would have grave concerns should Russia strike areas where ISIL and al-Qaida-affiliated targets … are not operating,” Kerry said, Fox News reported.

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In a previous post, I quoted Charles Krauthammer who explained it fully:

The real story this week is what happened at the U.N., where Putin essentially stepped in and took over Syria,” Krauthammer continued. “He’s now the leader.” “And we concede essentially that Assad will say under the protection of the Russians,” Krauthammer said. “And the irony is that the Russians aren’t in there to fight ISIS. The Russians are in there to support Assad, establish their dominance in the region to bring in Iran and to establish military facilities. They have no interest in fighting Assad.” “The Russians launched a half a dozen drones earlier this week over Western Hamid and over Latakia,” he said. “In not one of those areas is there a single ISIS fighter. This isn’t about the Russians taking on ISIS. This is about the Russians taking over Syria and keeping Assad as a client in place. That’s what happened even as the administration sputters because it has no idea what to do.

But it gets worse:

Putin’s offer is clear: Stop fighting Assad, accept Russia as a major player and acquiesce to a Russia-Iran-Hezbollah regional hegemony — and we will lead the drive against the Islamic State from in front.

And there is a bonus. The cleverest part of the Putin gambit is its unstated cure for Europe’s refugee crisis.

Wracked by guilt and fear, the Europeans have no idea what to do. Putin offers a way out: No war, no refugees. Stop the Syrian civil war and not only do they stop flooding into Europe, those already there go back home to Syria.

Putin says, settle the war with my client in place — the Assad regime joined by a few “healthy” opposition forces — and I solve your refugee nightmare.

You almost have to admire the cynicism. After all, what’s driving the refugees is the war and what’s driving the war is Iran and Russia. They provide the materiel, the funds and now, increasingly, the troops that fuel the fighting. The arsonist plays fireman.

After all, most of the refugees are not fleeing the Islamic State. Its depravity is more ostentatious, but it is mostly visited upon minorities, Christian and Yazidi — and they have already been largely ethnically cleansed from Islamic State territory. The European detention camps are overflowing with Syrians fleeing Assad’s barbarism, especially his attacks on civilians, using artillery, chlorine gas and nail-filled barrel bombs.

Putin to the rescue. As with the chemical weapons debacle, he steps in to save the day. If we acquiesce, Russia becomes an indispensable partner. It begins military and diplomatic coordination with us. (We’ve just agreed to negotiations over Russia’s Syrian buildup.) Its post-Ukraine isolation is lifted and, with Iran, it becomes the regional arbiter.

Weak: Kerry begs Russians for ‘de-confliction talks,’ WND, September 30, 2015
‘This is a very, very, very sad day for America and the world’

Secretary of State John Kerry did the diplomatic equivalent of groveling on his hands and knees before his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, on Wednesday.

Faced with reports of Russian warplanes in Syria attacking non-ISIS positions near Homs, Kerry called for “de-confliction talks” with Russia from the United Nations Security Council in New York.

“We would have grave concerns should Russia strike areas where ISIL and al-Qaida-affiliated targets … are not operating,” Kerry said, Fox News reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to ramp up Moscow’s military presence in Syria to support President Bashar Assad caught the Obama administration flat-footed and complicates its stated goal of simultaneously ousting Assad’s regime while degrading and destroying ISIS.

“Russia has played a horrible hand brilliantly. We folded what could have been a pretty good hand,” retired U.S. diplomat Ryan Crocker and Middle East expert told the Washington Post on Tuesday. “The Russians were able to turn a defensive position into an offensive one because we were so completely absent.”

Republican Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, echoed Crocker’s sentiment while appearing on MSNBC Wednesday with Andrea Mitchell.

“What we should be doing and saying to the Russias is that we’re going to fly anywhere, anytime, anyhow we want to in order to stem the flow of ISIS. … Instead, we’re talking about trying to have some accommodation with Russian aircraft. Again, an incredible sign of weakness. … Isn’t it clear yet that Putin is going to do what he wants to do because he believes he can do it with impunity?” said the Arizona senator.

McCain also took time to explicitly blast Kerry.

“John Kerry and his spokesperson said it is not clear what Russia’s intentions are. It was perfectly clear what Russia’s intentions are!”

The senator said Putin is asserting Russian military might in a way not seen since 1973 in order to protect his military base in Tartus and prop up Assad.

The free WND special report “ISIS Rising,” by Middle East expert and former Department of Defense analyst Michael Maloof, will answer your questions about the jihadist army threatening the West.

Kerry’s speech Wednesday also asserted U.S. warplanes would continue to operate in Syrian airspace despite Russian requests to cease all flights.

“The United States and the coalition will continue our ongoing air operations as we have from the very beginning,” Kerry said.

“It did not have to be this way,” McCain said earlier in the day from the U.S. Senate floor. “This is the inevitable consequence of hollow words, red lines crossed … and a total lack of American leadership. … This is a very, very, very sad day for America and the world,” Fox News reported.


– See more at:

Russian strikes again expose US disarray

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New York (AFP) – Russia’s dramatic entry Wednesday into the Syrian war put the United States on the back foot once again and left Washington struggling to regain the military and diplomatic initiative.

As US Secretary of State John Kerry was in New York trying to coordinate with his Kremlin opposite number Sergei Lavrov, a Russian officer contacted the US embassy in Baghdad.

His message was simple: Russian jets are about to launch air strikes in Syria, please stay out of their way.

Kerry quickly protested to Lavrov that this was not in the spirit of Moscow’s promise to agree a “de-confliction” mechanism to ensure Russian flights do not interfere with US-led operations.

But the strikes were already underway, potentially altering the balance of power in Syria back in favor of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and Washington was looking at a fait accompli.

Lavrov’s next move was to promise to bring a motion before the UN Security Council to coordinate “all forces standing up against Islamic State and other terrorist structures.”

This would be a plain victory for Assad, who invited the Russians to join his battle to cling on to power, and a defeat for the United States, which has demanded he step down.

The attacks came despite President Barack Obama sitting down with Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Monday at the United Nations for 90 minutes of what both camps called “business-like” talks.

One week ago, Kerry — despite being in frequent contact with Lavrov — told reporters that Russia’s deployment of war planes was consistent with their only defending their own base.

And just hours before the strikes began he appeared on CNN to say that Russia’s involvement could be an “opportunity” to persuade them to apply pressure on Assad to moderate his behavior.

After the strikes Kerry addressed the UN Security Council, but even here his message was mixed.

He said the United States would welcome the Russian action if it reflected a “genuine commitment” towards destroying the IS group and not the moderate opposition rebels threatening Assad.

Even as he spoke, a US defense official in Washington briefed journalists that: “We have not seen any strikes against ISIL, what we have seen is strikes against Syrian opposition.”

Defense Secretary Ash Carter was cautious, saying: “It does appear they were in areas where there were probably not ISIL forces.”

– Perils of inaction –

The US administration’s domestic critics, such as hawkish Senator John McCain, leapt on the apparent confusion.

“This administration has confused our friends, encouraged our enemies, mistaken an excess of caution for prudence and replaced the risks of action with the perils of inaction,” he said.

“Into the wreckage, into the wreckage of this administration’s Middle East policy has now stepped Vladimir Putin.”

Frustration is also mounting among Washington’s allies in the Middle East, who support moves to defeat the Islamic State group, but also want to see Assad kicked out of office.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeiri, speaking to journalists in New York on Tuesday, was cautious not to criticize the United States alone, bemoaning a “lack of robust action by all of us.”

But he was clear on why the Russians had found an opening to insert themselves into the conflict.

“We’ve called for direct military intervention from day one. We’ve called for a no-fly zone. We’ve called for a no-drive zone. We’ve called for robust arming of the Syrian opposition,” he said.

“That’s what I mean by ‘not enough happened.’ That’s why four years later we’re in the situation we’re in,” he said.

Speaking privately, diplomats from US-led coalition countries say the Russian “escalation” effectively precludes stronger overt military pressure on Assad, for fear of a clash.

Meanwhile, the Arab allies dismiss Moscow’s argument that working with Assad is the best way to defeat the Islamic State.

“They’re calling for a coalition to fight Daesh, with Iran and Russia and Bashar al-Assad? Without him there would be no Daesh. He created Daesh,” Jubeir scoffed, using the Arabic acronym for IS.


15,000 More Refugees To Be Resettled In U.S. Next Year

The additional refugees, up from 70,000 in the current fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, will come from countries around the world


The United States will increase its cap on the number of refugees it admits and resettles to 85,000 in the coming fiscal year and to 100,000 in 2017, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Sunday.

The additional refugees, up from 70,000 in the current fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, will come from countries around the world. But the increase largely reflects the 10,000 Syrian refugees that the White House earlier this month promised to admit. Kerry said the administration is exploring ways to admit even more, but Congress must approve enough money to cover the extra cost of resettlement.

“This step is in keeping with America’s best tradition as a land of second chances and a beacon of hope,” Kerry said in announcing the increase during a visit to Berlin to discuss the Syrian refugee crisis with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Even before Syrian refugees began streaming into Europe in recent weeks, the State Department had been considering a modest increase of about 5,000 refugees, including more from Congo, where human rights abuses are rampant. At the end of each fiscal year, the State Department announces the new target number for refugees.

Although the administration can unilaterally set a numerical goal for the refugees it wants to accept, it is up to Congress to agree to fund the resettlement. In the current fiscal year, it cost $1.1 billion to bring 70,000 refugees to the United States, put them through an orientation program run by refugee charities and have them dispersed throughout the country. It was not immediately clear how much more it will cost to bring in more Syrians.

One of the reasons it is so expensive is that every refugee must undergo extensive background checks under security measures enacted after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Those checks have been taking 18 to 24 months for Syrians, according to State Department figures. A senior State Department official said “many, many more” refugees could be admitted if officials can find ways to streamline the system without jeopardizing security.

Refugees admitted for resettlement are selected from lists provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. So far, about 1,600 of more than 18,000 Syrians referred by the U.N. refu­gee agency since the conflict began have arrived in the United States — about 1,500 in this fiscal year alone. More than 10,000 are well along in being vetted, and they are expected to arrive in much greater numbers in the coming months.

The goals announced by Kerry are still far short of the 100,000 or more Syrian refugees that some members of Congress and humanitarian agencies have urged the administration to admit, on top of the 70,000 refugees admitted from other countries this year.

“We want to take more,” Kerry said. “We understand the responsibility. We’d like to. But taking folks out of Syria, post 9/11, requires a very specific vetting process. We can target it. But we don’t have the money allocated by Congress to hire people necessary to do the job. We’re doing what we know we can manage immediately.”

The United States has spent $4.1 billion over the past four years providing humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees. But humanitarian agencies assisting them have had difficulty raising money to fund their work. The United Nations, for example, has received only 40 percent of what it needs to provide humanitarian aid to the Syrian people. The shrinking resources to help growing numbers of people has helped propel the large flow of refugees into an overwhelmed eastern and central Europe.

Kerry and Steinmeier met privately for almost an hour with about a dozen Syrian refugees. Most were in the educated middle class — university instructors, journalists, publishers and statisticians among them.

“I came here in search of a future,” said one woman in her 30s, who said she arrived in Germany with one daughter and who left two more daughters in Syria with their grandparents until she can establish herself.

Several of them beseeched the United States to do more to find a political solution and to oust Islamic State militants. When one man was asked what prompted him to leave Syria after he had endured almost five years of war, he replied with a challenge: “I’d ask another way,” he said. “Are five years not enough for the West to intervene, and especially the USA?”

The refugee crisis engulfing Europe has caused Kerry to renew his calls for negotiations that would ease Syrian President Bashar al-Assad out of office and would establish a transitional government. On Friday, Kerry said the United States was prepared to resume negotiations and had implored Russia to persuade Assad to join transition talks.

“It would be delusional to believe that President Assad can ever unite or govern a peaceful Syria,” Kerry said Sunday.

Assad has the support of Russia and Iran, and Kerry on Sunday warned that their backing is prolonging the conflict. He said that he and Steinmeier had agreed that “continued military support for the regime by Russia — or by any other country — risks exacerbating the conflict and only hinders future cooperation toward a successful transition.”

Sec. of State Kerry: U.S. to accept 85,000 refugees in 2016

John Kerry

Scrambling to address a growing Syrian refugee crisis, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced Sunday that the United States would significantly increase the number of worldwide migrants it takes in over the next two years, though not by nearly the amount many activists and former officials have urged.

The U.S. will accept 85,000 refugees from around the world next year, up from 70,000, and that total would rise to 100,000 in 2017, Kerry said at news conference with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier after they discussed the mass migration of Syrians fleeing their civil war.

Many, though not all, of the additional refugees would be Syrian, American officials have said. Others would come from strife-torn areas of Africa. The White House had previously announced it intended to take in 10,000 additional Syrian refugees over the next year.

Asked why the U.S. couldn’t take more, Kerry cited post-Sept. 11 screening requirements and a lack of money made available by Congress.

“We’re doing what we know we can manage immediately,” he said, adding that the U.S. cannot take shortcuts on security checks.

U.S. lawmakers immediately expressed concerns about the potential influx.

The Islamic State group and other terrorist organizations “have made it abundantly clear that they will use the refugee crisis to try to enter the United States. Now the Obama administration wants to bring in an additional 10,000 Syrians without a concrete and foolproof plan to ensure that terrorists won’t be able to enter the country,” said U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.

“The administration has essentially given the American people a ‘trust me.’ That isn’t good enough,” according to a statement from the lawmakers, who head the congressional judiciary committees.

Conditions in Syria have been growing increasingly dire as the civil war grinds on. As many as 9 million people have been displaced, including more than 4 million who have fled the country, according to the United Nations.

A letter made public last week and signed by several former Obama administration officials urged the U.S. government to accept 100,000 Syrian migrants, and to put in place special rules to speed the resettlement process. Germany says it will accept as many as a million Syrians this year.

“Current (American) efforts are not adequate,” according to the letter, signed by Michelle Flournoy, a former senior U.S. defense official who once was Obama’s choice for Pentagon chief, and Harold Koh, the former State Department legal adviser. “Humanitarian aid has fallen short in the face of unspeakable suffering.”

Syrian migrants to the U.S. would be referred by the U.N. refugee agency, screened by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and resettled around the country.

“This step is in keeping with America’s best tradition as a land of second chances and a beacon of hope,” Kerry said. Earlier, he and Steinmeier met with a group of refugees around a conference table on the wooded, lakeside resort-style campus of the foreign ministry’s education center outside Berlin.

The Syrians, who Kerry asked reporters not to name for security concerns, said the uptick in migration five years into the civil war was being driven by a collapse of hope that the situation ever will improve.

“I personally came here in search of a future,” said a mother of three daughters who made it to Germany with her five-year-old but left two others behind in Syria with her parents. She hopes they all can come, too.

Congressional approval is not required for the Obama administration to expand resettlement slots, though Congress would have to appropriate money to pay for the additional effort, Kerry pointed out. Intelligence officials and Republican lawmakers have expressed concerns that Islamic State militants could seek to slip into Europe or the U.S. posing as migrants.

In 2011, two Kentucky residents who had been resettled as Iraqi refugees were accused of being al-Qaida members. They were convicted of terrorism charges after their fingerprints were linked to roadside bombs in Iraq. That led to new steps to screen refugees, a process that has been criticized as slow and bureaucratic.

“Some of the 65,000 that came from Iraq actually were trying to buy stinger missiles in my hometown in Kentucky,” said U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Republican presidential candidate, in a broadcast interview. “So we do have to be weary of some of the threat that comes from mass migration.”

Even if the U.S. took in 30,000 Syrians over the next two years — an unlikely outcome, given that only 1,500 have been admitted since the start of the war — that number would pale in comparison to the hundreds of thousands that Germany is expected to accept, or the 800,000 Vietnamese that the U.S. resettled in the years after the Vietnam war.

In Washington, Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a television interview that the U.S. “has to do more and I would like to see us move from what is a good start with 10,000 to 65,000 and begin immediately to put into place the mechanisms for vetting the people we would take in, looking to really emphasis some of those who are most vulnerable.”

Logistical and resource hurdles remain. For example, there is no suitable facility in Lebanon where Syrian refugees can be taken for interviews, so no interviews are occurring, according to the State Department.

Kerry said the migrant crisis must ultimately be solved by ending Syria’s civil war and replacing President Bashar Assad.

On that score, Kerry made clear Saturday the U.S. was willing to negotiate the terms of Assad’s exit with Russia, which is backing his government with a recent military buildup. The Russians brought in fighter jets and surface to air missiles that could threaten American plans, much to the dismay of American officials.

Critics have accused the Obama administration of passivity in the face of Russian aggression.

After holding out hope Saturday that Russia could help the U.S. fight the Islamic State, Kerry took a somewhat tougher line on Sunday, saying that he and the German foreign minister agreed that “support for the (Syrian) regime by Russia, or by any other country, risks exacerbating the conflict … and only hinders future cooperation toward a successful transition.”