Archive for September 11th, 2014

The Pronk Pops Show 327, September 11, 2014, Story 1: Presidential Prevaricating Political Propaganda Pushes Popularity Polls — Obama Will Degrade and Ultimately Destroy The Democratic Party — Videos

Posted on September 11, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Constitutional Law, Culture, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, History, Illegal Immigration, Law, Media, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Obama, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Radio, Religion, Scandals, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 320: August 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 319: August 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 318: August 27, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 317: August 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 316: August 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 315: August 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 314: August 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 313: August 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 312: August 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 311: August 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 310: August 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 309: August 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 308: August 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 307: August 1, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 306: July 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 305: July 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 304: July 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 303: July 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 302: July 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 301: July 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 300: July 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 299: July 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 298: July 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 297: July 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 296: July 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 295: July 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 294: July 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 293: July 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 292: July 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 291: July 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 290: July 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 289: July 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 288: June 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 287: June 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 286: June 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 285 June 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 284: June 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 283: June 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 282: June 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 281: June 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 280: June 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 279: June 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 278: June 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 277: June 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 276: June 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 275: June 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 274: June 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 273: June 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 272: June 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 271: June 2, 2014

Story 1: Presidential Prevaricating Political Propaganda Pushes Popularity Polls — Obama Will Degrade and Ultimately Destroy The Democratic Party — Videos

Islamic State Flag



syria iraq map_updated_05




Why America Failed To Anticipate the Rise of the Islamic State

Patrick Cockburn: U.S. Turns Blind Eye As Saudis Fund Jihadists in Syrian Conflict (2 of 2)

Patrick Cockburn on ISIS: DC Doesn’t Realize the Disaster It Is Facing

Patrick Cockburn on the rise of the Islamic State

ISIS ‘bigger threat than al-Qaeda’, says Patrick Cockburn – Newsnight

Iraq Has Already Disintegrated

The Rise of ISIS: US Invasion of Iraq, Foreign Backing of Syrian Rebels Helped Fuel Jihadis’ Advance

What Does The ISIS Flag Mean? Black Flags Of Jihad Explained

Watch President Obama address the nation on the Islamic State Group

Read full text of Obama’s speech on ISIS

The Islamic State (Full Length)

The Alex Jones Show (September 11, 2014) Hour 1 (HD Video)

Expert David Kilcullen: ISIS trying to build own nation cause chaos throughout Iraq and Syria

CIA AGENT Claims ISIS ISIL Has Crossed Into U.S. From MEXICO BORDER. Possible ATTACK on 9/11 2014 ?

MidPoint | Robert Spencer discusses ISIS threat capability against the United States

MidPoint | Robert Spencer: Jihad Watch to discuss the notion of an Islamic supremacist agenda.

Anthony Furey & Robert Spencer – Obama takes action against ISIS in Iraq

Sen. Ted Cruz Reacts to President Obama’s ISIS Speech on the Kelly File

Rand Paul: ISIS Has ‘Without Question’ Declared War Against U.S.

Scarborough Dismisses Obama’s Low Poll Numbers: Polls about War ‘Are Like Vapor

true meaning of jihad


John Hayward

I’d say my preview of President Obama’s ISIS speech held up quite well, right down to his abundant first-person references to himself. As anticipated, he continues to view the Islamic State as primarily a domestic political problem. His primary objective is to move the narrative away from his hideous behavior over the summer, from his endless parties and golf outings to his disastrous “I have no strategy” gaffe. On Wednesday night, President Obama declared war on his bad poll numbers.

If there’s one thing I didn’t anticipate, it was Obama’s delusional stroll into his “recovery” fantasies near the end of the speech.  That’s perfectly consistent with Operation Get My Poll Numbers Out Of the Basement, but I didn’t think he’d be quite so blatant about it.  He’s basically trying to argue people out of scoring his domestic policies so poorly when pollsters call them.  Meanwhile, back here in the real world, the workforce continues to collapse, the last unemployment report was an “unexpected” disaster, and within 12 hours of Obama’s speech, jobless claims had soared far beyond expectations for the week.  The “unmatched universities” Obama boasted of are crushing students with skyrocketing tuition debt burdens, and churning out people with expensive degrees who can’t find a job.  “Energy independence is closer than it’s been in decades” despite Barack Obama’s best efforts.

And then you hit the really outer-space “what the hell is he talking about?” passages, which went beyond spin into the kind of outright delusion that makes you wonder about Barack Obama’s mental health.  For a warm-up act, he touted Yemen and Somalia as examples of highly successful drone-strike terrorist containment, marking the first time anyone on Earth has advanced Yemen and Somalia as examples of political stable tranquility.  “We’re going to turn northern Iraq into Somalia!” isn’t exactly an inspiring battle cry.

That’s nothing compared to Obama’s take on Russian adventurism, Syrian chemical weapons, and ebola:

Abroad, American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world. It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists. It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny. It is America — our scientists, our doctors, our know-how — that can help contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola. It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons so they cannot pose a threat to the Syrian people — or the world — again. And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, tolerance, and a more hopeful future.

I don’t know what to say about any of that, except that the alternate universe he’s describing sounds better than the one in which Russia still has over a thousand troops in Ukraine, ebola is “spreading like wildfire and devouring everything in its path” (as the Liberian defense minister told the UN Security Council yesterday), and Bashar Assad is still dumping chlorine gas on Syrian villages.  Certainly Americans are playing a pivotal role in the effort to contain the ebola outbreak, but what the heck does that have to do with ISIS?  His other examples of how everything is going swell are actually things he shouldn’t have mentioned, especially if Syria and its Russian patron are going to end up as “partners” in fighting the Islamic State.

I notice Obama stubbornly insists on calling the enemy “ISIL,” which is even starting to get on the New York Times’ nerves.  If there was anyone you’d expect to bow to Barack Obama and adopt his preferred nomenclature without complaint, it’s the NYT, but here’s part of their write-up of Obama’s speech:

In a speech to the nation from the State Floor of the White House, Mr. Obama said the United States was recruiting a global coalition to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the militants, known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He warned that “eradicating a cancer” like ISIS was a long-term challenge that would put some American troops at risk.

“We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are,” Mr. Obama declared in a 14-minute address. “That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq,” he added, using an alternative name for ISIS. “This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

Besides the clumsy sound of “ISIL,” the problem with that nomenclature is that it stands for “the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.”  The “Levant” is a far larger area than what ISIS has already conquered – it’s basically the entire eastern coast of the Mediterranean, stretching from Turkey all the way down to Egypt.  Here, take a look at this map and tell me if one of the names appearing roughly in the middle of the Levant jumps out at you.  Hint: it’s a nation Barack Obama is famously cool towards, having once stated that he thinks it should be considerably smaller than it is now.


Using the name “ISIL” implicitly acknowledges this al-Qaeda group’s territorial ambitions, where as “ISIS” is a more technically accurate and limited description of where they are right now.  I look forward to renaming them The Islamic State of Nowhere, but even Obama’s ostensibly tough speech last night conceded that’s a few years off at best.  It’s funny that Obama incessantly argues, as he did again last night, that ISIS isn’t really “Islamic,” but he’s comfortable with rhetorically conceding their claim to “the Levant.”

As for the meager policy component of Obama’s speech, it’s just more of what he’s already doing.  We’ll drop more bombs, and give more weapons to the “moderate” Syrian rebels (hopefully not the ones who sell captured American journalists to ISIS death squads for cash!)  Obama spent much effort reassuring his base that ground troops will never, ever be deployed in combat roles.  He repeated his new poll-tested “degrade and ultimately destroy” slogan with comical intensity, a bit of rhetorical mouthwash designed to rinse out the taste of his earlier “manageable problem” gaffe.  He gave himself another pat on the back for killing Osama bin Laden, but then tried to portray his policies in Iraq and Afghanistan as successes, rather than the disasters they are.  His Iraq pullout is what paved the way for the rise of the Islamic State, and the only question in Afghanistan is whether the Taliban are back in power before Obama leaves office.

Where does Obama get the authority for this years-long campaign?  Not from Congress, that’s for sure.  In the age of the Imperial Presidency, the rubber-stamp legislature is not to be consulted on such matters.  Instead, Obama will invoke the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force given to President George Bush – you know, the same one President Obama said he wanted to repeal last year, back when he was still dismissing ISIS as the “junior varsity” of al-Qaeda.  Barack Obama 2014 just told Barack Obama 2013 to get bent.  It should be noted that some congressional representatives from both parties are quite happy to be left out of the new war against ISIS… but there are also representatives from both parties who are very angry at Obama for circumventing them,

There was, unsurprisingly, no admission of error in Obama’s speech.  He admits no mistakes, therefore her learns nothing.  A lifetime of such arrogance made him the man he is today, and his country has suffered greatly for it, both in our domestic economy and our standing abroad.

Update: Man, it looks like Obama’s tough speech and commanding leadership really wowed the Turks.  They’ve already announced that they will not allow attacks on ISIS to be launched from their air bases, and will not participate in any combat operations against the Islamic State.  So George Bush, who put together a massive international coalition and properly sought the very same congressional authorization Obama is still leaning on today, was a unilateralist cowboy, while the pitiful man who has squandered American prestige around the world is the great internationalist who was going to make the whole planet love and respect us.

Update: There has been considerable merriment about a flash poll of the MSNBC audience – the people who screamed themselves hoarse for years on end damning Bush as a unilateral cowboy and unitary executive – saying by a margin of 88-12 that Obama does not need congressional authorization to  take military action against ISIS.  I know that sounds funny if you take the “anti-war” movement at all seriously, but you shouldn’t.  There was never much of an anti-war movement.  There was an anti-Bush movement, period.  The Senator who made a big deal about voting against authority for Bush to take action is now using the very same authority he voted against to take action as President, and his very pliable followers are perfectly happy with that.  It’s not so much hypocrisy now as dishonesty then.

Update: As for those “moderate” Syrian rebels Obama’s strategy relies on arming more heavily, a commander in the heavily “vetted” Free Syrian Army has admitted his group has been collaborating with ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria.  Back to the old strategic drawing board!

Update: Russia has warned that American air strikes against ISIS in Syria would violate international law, as reported by the BBC:

“The US president has spoken directly about the possibility of strikes by the US armed forces against Isil (IS) positions in Syria without the consent of the legitimate government,” ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich was quoted as saying.

“This step, in the absence of a UN Security Council decision, would be an act of aggression, a gross violation of international law.”

Syria also repeated its warning that the US had to co-ordinate with the Syrian government before launching air strikes on its territory.

“Any action of any kind without the consent of the Syrian government would be an attack on Syria,” National Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar said on Thursday.

Last month Syria offered to help the US fight Islamic State, however the US ruled that out.

Our debonair internationalist “America is nothing special” Nobel Peace Prize-winning Citizen of the World President didn’t bother checking with anyone beyond his team of White House toadies before making that speech last night, did he?

Republicans Expand Edge as Better Party Against Terrorism

GOP also holds advantage as party better able to keep country prosperous

by Frank Newport

PRINCETON, NJ — The Republican Party has expanded its historical edge over the Democratic Party in Americans’ minds as being better able to protect the U.S. from international terrorism and military threats. At this point, 55% of Americans choose the GOP on this dimension, while 32% choose the Democratic Party. This is the widest Republican advantage in Gallup’s history of asking this question since 2002.

Party Better Able to Protect U.S. From Terrorism

The latest update on this 12-year trend comes from Gallup’s Sept. 4-7 Governance poll, finished just days before President Barack Obama’s speech to the nation Wednesday night, in which he outlined his plans for addressing the challenges presented by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other international threats.

Republicans have held a perceptual edge on this question in all but two of the 12 years that it has been asked — 2007 and 2012. The GOP’s edge has been significant in many of the other years, although the 19-percentage-point gap measured in 2002, which was previously the largest, is eclipsed by this year’s 23-point Republican edge.

The strong Republican advantage this year is most likely related to the increasing news coverage of ISIS and its beheadings of two American journalists. Although the Obama administration has initiated air attacks against terrorist positions in Iraq, the president’s widely quoted comments that he had “no strategy” for dealing with the issue may help explain why Americans have become less likely to say the Democrats could better protect the U.S. from terrorism and military threats.

Republicans Have Edge as Party Better Able to Keep Country Prosperous

In addition to the GOP advantage on matters of security, Americans also give the Republican Party an edge as the party better able to keep the country prosperous, with 49% choosing the Republicans and 40% the Democrats.


This is one of Gallup’s oldest measures of relative party strength, and, as might be expected, it has produced widely differing results over the years, mirroring changes in the relative strength of the two parties more broadly.

  • Democrats held sway as the party better able to keep the country prosperous through most of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s — a time when Democrats were the strong majority party in Congress.
  • Republicans gained the upper hand on the measure during the Reagan years, but the two parties moved closer together, with ups and downs, during the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations.
  • Democrats moved ahead during the George W. Bush years, in particular during his second term.
  • The pattern has been sharply mixed during the Obama years, with the Democrats holding an edge in 2009 and 2012, but the Republicans having at least a slight edge in the other years.

The current nine-point GOP edge on this measure is up from 2013, but similar to where it was in 2010 and 2011.

Implications for Midterm Elections

While these measures are by no means perfect predictors of how well a party will do in a midterm election year, the Republican Party’s strength this year does not bode well for Democratic chances to outperform already low expectations.

Gallup has a long trend on the “prosperous” question, and the chart shows the two parties’ standings on this dimension in September before each of last five midterm elections, along with the outcome of the House vote in the corresponding year.

Relationship Between Party Seen as Better Able to Keep Country Prosperous and Midterm Congressional Outcome

There is a clear relationship between these perceptions and the outcome of midterm elections, with the president’s party losing substantial seats when it has a deficit as the better party for economic prosperity, even though each election has its own unique dimensions. These results are thus best seen as providing an estimate of the direction of an election, rather than any precise outcome.

The president’s actions internationally and domestically in the coming weeks, and the actions or lack thereof on the part of Congress during the short time it will be in session before the elections, could both affect the election’s dynamics. But the historical pattern suggests that the GOP’s current edge as the party better able to keep the country prosperous and safe from terrorism would translate into gains in the midterm elections — if Americans’ perceptions of the two parties stay pretty much as they are now over the next two months.

Survey Methods Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Sept. 4-7, 2014, with a random sample of 1,017 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, and cellphone mostly). Demographic weighting targets are based on the most recent Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the most recent National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the most recent U.S. census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

View survey methodology, complete question responses, and trends.

For more details on Gallup’s polling methodology, visit

Obama lays out plan to ‘eradicate cancer’ of Islamic State fighters

President Obama vowed to “destroy” Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terrorists in a prime-time address Wednesday that sought to restore eroding public confidence in his leadership and ability to safeguard national security.

The president announced a “systematic campaign of airstrikes” against fighters with ISIS “wherever they exist,” signaling U.S. targets will expand from Iraq to Syria. [READ FULL TEXT OF OBAMA’S SPEECH.]

“I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country wherever they are,” Obama said during the 15-minute address from the White House. “That means I will not hesitate to take action against [ISIS] in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”
Obama said he will send 475 additional U.S. armed services personnel to Iraq to reinforce that country’s military and ask Congress to approve a program allowing the Pentagon to train and equip moderate rebels inside Syria battling both ISIS and Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.

“America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat,” Obama declared. “Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, [ISIS] through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.”

The orders are a significant escalation in the fight against ISIS, which over the past month has executed two American journalists its members had kidnapped. The group released grisly videos of the journalists being beheaded by an ISIS member with a British accent, a move intended to win the group new members and scare the American public.

Obama acknowledged the ISIS terrorists were “unique in their brutality” and said the killing of the U.S. journalists was representative of their “acts of barbarism.” He also said the intelligence community believed thousands of foreign fighters have taken up arms alongside ISIS and could return to their home countries.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found 94 percent of voters surveyed were aware of the executions, and six in 10 support a U.S. military campaign against the group.

The president acknowledged that “many Americans are concerned about these threats” and said that, left unchecked, ISIS could pose a threat not just to the region but to the United States.

But Obama pledged the United States would meet the threats “with strength and resolve.”

The speech marked a dramatic shift for a president largely elected on the promise to end the Iraq War. Obama has sought to use his second term to end American engagement in Afghanistan, the longest-running war in U.S. history.

Speaking on the eve of the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that ushered in those conflicts, Obama took pains to say he would not commit U.S. ground troops to the new fight. He compared the new engagement against ISIS to fights in Yemen and Somalia, where the U.S. has used drones and government partners to attack suspected terrorists.

“I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Obama said. “It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.”

He said the campaign “will be waged through a steady, relentless effort” that relies on air power and partner forces on the ground, not U.S. soldiers.

He also urged patience, saying it would take time to “eradicate the cancer” of ISIS.

According to a senior administration official, the White House is still reviewing plans for the strikes within Syria, although Obama has decided definitively he will launch them.

“We will take action on the Syrian side of the border to degrade [ISIS],” the official said. “But we’re not going to telegraph our punches.”

Wednesday’s speech was seen as pivotal for Obama, and he addressed the nation just nine weeks before midterm elections in which Republicans are favored to take over control of the Senate.

Democrats have blamed Obama for their political troubles, pointing to polls showing wavering confidence in his leadership. The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed that 47 percent of respondents feel the U.S. is now less safe than it was before 9/11, the highest number since the terror attack.

The administration sought before the speech to win support from Congress for authority to arm Syrian rebel groups, a move aimed in part at ensuring shared responsibility for the conflict and presenting a united U.S. front abroad.

Obama stressed his administration was working hard to bring in international support for the mission and said allies within Iraq and Syria would ultimately be responsible for their own security.

On Wednesday, France said it would participate in airstrikes against ISIS, if needed, and Germany announced it was sending lethal aid to Kurdish fighters. Saudi Arabia has offered to host a U.S. training facility to assist the moderate Syrian opposition.

Obama called on Congress in his address to grant the Pentagon additional authority to run that training site, saying the U.S. “must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like [ISIS].”

But the administration’s request has already divided Capitol Hill, and efforts to include it as part of a stopgap spending bill led Republican leaders to punt a vote on measure to next week.

The president argued he had the legal authority to pursue his military strategy without additional congressional action, though he also encouraged any bid by Congress to explicitly authorize or fund the mission.

“I believe we are strongest as a nation when the president and Congress work together,” Obama said. “So I welcome congressional support for this effort in order to show the world that Americans are united in confronting this danger.”

Congressional leadership has balked at that opportunity so far, wary of a controversial vote weeks before the midterm elections. Memories of last year’s botched attempt to secure authorization for strikes against Assad also loom large.

The authority to launch the expanded military campaign, the White House says, comes partially from 2001 legislation authorizing the use of military force against those responsible for or assisting those responsible for the 9/11 attacks. In a speech just over a year ago, Obama pledged to “refine, and ultimately repeal” that authorization.
“We believe that he can rely on the 2001 [authorization] as statutory authority for the military airstrike operations he’s directing against [ISIS] for instance,” the official said. “And we believe again that he has the authority to continue these operations beyond 30 days consistent with the war powers resolution because the operations are authorized by statute.”

Obama, in Speech on ISIS, Promises Sustained Effort to Rout Militants

Other U.S. Airstrike Campaigns

President Obama said that military strategy against ISIS will resemble U.S. efforts in Somalia and Yemen, where airstrikes and other operations have been reported since 2002. The scale of U.S. airstrike operations in Pakistan was much larger, though it has tapered in recent years.

For all of Mr. Obama’s efforts to reassure the public, his remarks were a stark acknowledgment of the threat posed by the militants, whose lightning advance through Iraq and Syria and videotaped beheading of two American journalists have reignited fears of radical Islamic terrorism.

The president’s remarks, on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, will thrust the United States into a civil war in Syria that he had long sought to avoid, and will return a significant American military presence to Iraq, not quite three years after the last American troops withdrew.


President Obama telephoned King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to request Saudi support in training and equipping Syrian rebels opposed to ISIS.CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times

Unlike Mr. Bush in the Iraq war, Mr. Obama has sought to surround the United States with partners. Earlier on Wednesday, he called King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to enlist his support for the plan to step up training of the Syrian rebels.

Mr. Obama is acting as polls show rapidly shifting public opinion, with a large majority of Americans now favoring military action against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, even as they express deep misgivings about the president’s leadership,

Mr. Obama is also facing difficult crosscurrents on Capitol Hill, where Republican lawmakers, initially reluctant to demand congressional authorization of military action, have begun agitating for a vote, even as some Democrats warn of a stampede to war.

On Wednesday, Senate Democratic leaders prepared legislation on the narrow issue of authorizing the American military to train the Syrian rebels. House Republicans appeared ready to follow their lead.

The surge of activity means Congress is likely to weigh in on the military action before the midterm elections in eight weeks. Former Vice President Dick Cheney further roiled the political atmosphere on Capitol Hill when he gave a speech on Wednesday blaming Mr. Obama’s “arbitrary and hasty” withdrawal of troops in 2011 for the chaos in Iraq.

Senator Richard J. Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and a political ally of Mr. Obama, rejected Mr. Cheney’s critique, saying, “We want to be careful that we don’t engage ourselves for a long period of time in a long-term war involving the vulnerability of our troops.”

Mr. Obama’s speech amounted to a strategy for a problem he has long said would defy an American remedy: sectarian strife between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in countries with deeply disaffected minorities and no history of democratic government.

Among the questions that Mr. Obama did not answer: How will the United States and its allies reinvigorate a moderate Syrian opposition that has been marginalized by more extremist forces? And how can the United States act against ISIS in Syria without benefiting President Bashar al-Assad?

While Mr. Obama said that Mr. Assad had lost his legitimacy to govern Syria, he did not call again for his ouster. Instead, he spoke of strengthening the moderate rebels to give them a seat at the table in a political settlement with the Assad government.

Administration officials indicated that airstrikes in Syria could still be weeks away, while American surveillance planes continue to gather intelligence on the location of ISIS targets.

They also tried to manage expectations about whether the United States could truly destroy ISIS. Wiping out a group whose roots go back to the start of the Iraq war is a formidable challenge, a senior official said in a briefing for reporters, speaking on the condition of anonymity under White House ground rules.

“What we can do is systematically roll back the organization, shrink the territory where they’re operating, decimate its ranks, cut off its sources of support in terms of funding and equipment, and have the threat methodically and relentlessly reduced,” he said.

Islamic State Flag Meaning: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

islamic state flag, isis flag, isil flag, black flag

1. It’s Known as the ‘Black Standard’

The Islamic State flag is historically known as the “Black Banner” or “Black Standard.”
There have been multiple versions throughout history.
Its earliest incarnation can be traced to the advent of Islam in 7th century C.E., where Muhammad allegedly spread his teachings under the Black Standard. He adopted this banner custom from the ancient Romans, who conquered the world under the Aquila, or eagle, banner.
Mohammed may have even adopted the eagle name, as early accounts of his conquest cite that he referred to his banner as “the banner of the eagle” also.
As various sects of Islam developed throughout the coming centuries, the Black Standard began to stand for various eschatological ideologies.
Today it is mostly identified with extremist Sunnism and jihadism.

2. The Arabic Text is Called the ‘Shahada’

The above Arabic text seen on the Islamic State flag is that of an Islamic creed called theShahada, which translates to “testimony.” The testimony confirms that Islam is a monotheistic religion and that Muhammad was its one true prophet.
According to Wikipedia, the Shahada directly translates to:

There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.

The Shahada is the most commonly used statement of faith for Muslims, and in Sunnism it is the first Pillar of the Five Pillars of Islam. The other four are:

2. Salat: ritual prayer five times a day
3. Zakat: giving 2.5% of one’s savings to the poor and needy
4. Sawm: fasting and self-control during the holy month of Ramadan
5. Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime if one is able

3. The Symbol is the ‘Seal of Muhammad’

isis, shahada, seal of muhammad, flag
Below the Shahada is the Seal of Muhammad, or the Khatam an-Nabiyyin.
It is alleged to be a relic of the founder of Islam, although its authenticity has been debated. (Similar to the Shroud of Turin.)
Regardless of its authenticity, the Seal of Muhammad was adopted by jihadists for use on flags in 2006.
Their design of the seal is based on sealed letters of Muhammad’s to the Heads-of-State, which were allegedly found in Ottoman era transcripts of Muhammad’s letters. (See below.)

Like the Seal of Muhammad, the Letters-to-the-Heads-of-State’s authenticity is highly debatable.

4. The Flag Plays Into ‘End of Days’ Eschatology

In Islamic apocrypha, the Black Standard plays into Armageddon stories as the heralding flag of the Mahdi, or the prophesied redeemer of Islam.
There is no mention of the Mahdi in Quran, but stories say that the Mahdi‘s coming is supposed to coincide with the second-coming of Jesus.

5. The Main Goal of the Mahdi is to Establish an Islamic State

The Mahdi is storied to be the leader of the war against the anti-Christ, and with a company of chosen men will lead a war against him and his army in one, apocryphal battle. After beating the anti-Christ, Jesus will return.

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