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15 July 2015

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Fred

Patrick,

So should we fire the FBI director for saying these isis related attacks he stopped (see the link below) were not really ISIS or should we not confirm the apparently clueless Air force general? Of course given the budget whacking the army just took (40,000+ troop reduction) this wouldn't be a play to save the bloated air force procurement budget for 21st century stealth planes that aren't much use blowing up ISIS trucks in the desert now is it?

http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/09/politics/july-4-terror-plot-law-enforcement/

Babak Makkinejad

PB:

The sentiment is shared among some in France:

http://www.causeur.fr/la-france-iran-ennemis-de-trente-ans-24960.html

Allen Thomson


It would be nice to have definitions of what "threat to the homeland" does and doesn't mean, together with some explained examples of each.

Of course, the same has been true of "national security" for decades. At the least, there are vast gray areas where different people and groups say quite different things.

Tom Welsh

"...Selva may have forgotten that the US and Iran were de facto allies in the fight against ISIS..."

The USA has no allies, and no friends. It does often encourage nations to believe they are allies of the USA, but when it comes time for the USA to reciprocate - that doesn't happen. The traffic is all one way, so if Iran happens to have helped against ISIS that's all very well, but the USA will act in its own interests only, now and in future.

Stan Henning

With comments like this General Selva may be inviting an ISIS attack like our 9/11experience - we probably need to say less and do more.

mbrenner

The two most significant inferences to be drawn from this seem to be:

1. The Obama administration's evident swing toward a Saudi/Jerusalem view of the Middle East is confirmed as pronounced and durable. The GWOT is now judged as "so retro!"

2. We are not talking about "confusion;" we are talking about institutionalized stupidity that borders on the criminal in the White House - spreading throughout his administration. Moreover, these useful idiots are being manipulated by people, groups and governments whose designs are antithetical to the interests of the United States

different clue

If General Selva is speaking "for" the Administration, then perhaps this is a plausibly-deniable "feeler" being put out for ISIS to read in hopes that ISIS will decide to work with the Administration in conquering and defeating the Syrian Arab Republic in order to turn the remains into a Jihadi Nusra-ISIS state.

And Russia and Iran are therefor deadly threats to the homeland because they may yet prevent the destruction of the Syrian Arab Republic which is apparently still a key goal of the Obamafolk. How they square that with the Iran nuclear settlement ( in itself a good Obamachievement) remains to be seen.

William R. Cumming

IMO ISIS a threat to the HOMELAND as long as its radicalization of young Americans continues to be effective. As to open attacks IMO a MUMBAI style event will occur in near future.

 Ishmael Zechariah

Mr. Bahzad, SST;

Perhaps the good general bases his assessment on classified info. BTW, a US person (spook?) ran over and killed a 67 year old woman in Gaziantep a few weeks ago. He claimed diplomatic immunity, refused to go to the local police station and was immediately spirited out of the country by the US Embassy. There were just a few reports of this in the Turkish Press ( http://qoshe.com/odatv/muyesser-yildiz/o-abdli-diplomat-kimdi-ve-gaziantepte-ne-yapiyordu/327278 ; in Turkish) and nothing in the US MSM. The ISIS Gambit appears to be a complex one.

Ishmael Zechariah

kodlu

Here's the webpage of ODC, US Ankara Embassy, where the person you refer to was presumably based

http://turkey.usembassy.gov/odc_turkey.html

It is indeed interesting since another country's Embassy personnel who was involved in physical assaults on a Turkish Armed Forces officer was not declared persona non grata. That country was Qatar [I believe, if my memory is incorrect, I apologise, definitely a Gulf state] which Erdogan had very close links to... This led to widespread indignation in a section of the Turkish press, in contrast to the hush-hush attitude to the incident here.

MRW

Amen.

Patrick Bahzad

Fred,

I think Comey made a quite accurate description of what is happening with regard to ISIS in Iraq and Syria trying to push individuals or small groups in the US and other countries to perpetrate attacks on their own, in the name of the Caliphate.
This MO is definitely different from AQ tactics. It's a kind of "terrorism crowdsourcing" that ISIS has become quite efficient at.

What I find most striking in Selva's statement is the lack of perspective (or lack of "lessons learnt" ?) and the inability to even consider that, sooner or later, the Caliphate - if allowed to prosper - is going to come after America. They (the Jihadis) always have and always will. The only thing they might allow for is a truce (the Prophet himself made such a deal with Jewish tribes for a period of 11 years, after which he came back at them).

In an ideological war based on the territorial expansion of their faith, the supporters of the Caliphate may favour the build-up of a state-like structure in the ME for now, but make no mistake, they're on collision course with America, at least the wing of the organisation that is all for expanding the Caliphate worldwide.

Selva may consider these are lunatics and dreamers, but the same could be argued about lots of small(ish) groups that caused a lot of trouble through history.

On the other hand, and unless the Pentagon is wargaming nuclear war Russia again, I don't really see Moscow being a threat to the homeland ... It all seems like a very blurry, ill thought and poorly expressed statement.

Patrick Bahzad

It basically means whatever the person making a statement wants it to mean ... Same for concept of "national security issue"

Patrick Bahzad

Really ? The US has no friends and allies ? No reciprocity and all one-way traffic ? This is just so ridiculous as statement, I'll let it pass as your "opinion". There's nothing to comment on in what you say.

Patrick Bahzad

I don't think he's inviting them, he just said something during a public hearing that makes him look a bit stupid, IMO.

Patrick Bahzad

MB,

You might be right if there wasn't the nuclear deal with Iran. It's been negotiated and signed by the administration, hasn't it ?

Where you're right I think is about the deep rift within the administration and Washington politicos regarding US policy in the ME. Military leadership is more and more under influence as well, Selva certainly is ! And he's got a nomination to fight for ...

confusedponderer

"Military leadership is more and more under influence as well, Selva certainly is ! "

Confirmation hearings are the venue of choice for litmus testing them at the hands of a hostile ass like John McCain. The Dempsey hearings were a perfect example.

http://thehill.com/video/policy-areas/312033-mccain-threatens-hold-on-gen-dempsey-confirmation

confusedponderer

"The USA has no allies, and no friends. It does often encourage nations to believe they are allies of the USA, but when it comes time for the USA to reciprocate - that doesn't happen"

Considering the extent to which US allies depend on the US for intel, SIGINT and satellite data especially, that doesn't stand up. The US do give, a lot.

I am grateful for the help, but see a problem in this dependency to the extent to which this reliance gives the US perhaps undue leverage (the US threatened to pull intel co-op if allies would grant Snowden asylum, a sharp sword) and, worse, gives them ability to deceive.

If one can't verify what the US say, one needs to trust. At times, like under Bush 43, there is little reason to trust in the veracity of official US utterances.

Even nowadays, with people like Nuland and Breedlove making free floating claims about ten feet tall Russians being behind every second tree in Ukraine, the political motive is so obvious that deception can be expected.

If BS as voiced by Breedlove and Nuland is being accepted unckecked we may end up with an accidental war.

As a result I am doubly grateful that Germany and France nowadays do have means of verification that at least allow for plausibility checks. Sharing Helios and SARLupe data is a great start, and I feel we need to do more.

William R. Cumming

IMO the USA has allowed itself to slip into less than formal TREATY arrangements since Reagan Administration and thus is entangled by many many strange agreements, protocols and understandings. Even a list of outstanding formal treaties is not readily attainable. Even by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

William R. Cumming

Patrick! Question? Does a friend or allies of a nation-state depend on support when push comes to shove? And what are push come to shove policies and issues for the USA?

Would you regard e.g. the WAR on DRUGS as equivalent to other national security issues?

Border Security?

Cyber Security?

WMD security?

William R. Cumming

Agree but a complicated environment.

William R. Cumming

Which he is IMO!

William R. Cumming

YUP!

Patrick Bahzad

a simple answer would be to refer already to article 4 and 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which cover pretty much any eventuality and appropriate reaction/help from friends and allies.

Regarding your other questions, it's not up to me to define what are US "national security issues", I'm just saying it's wide enough as a concept to encompass almost anything.

Regardless, national security issues are national first and foremost, anythign expected or discussed with allies would be subject to treaty/protocol/convention/agreement, unless there's some unforeseen clusterfuck.

Patrick Bahzad

WRC,

your words, not mine ;-)

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