Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

October 5, 2014

Deadly serious but not existential

Filed under: Strategy,Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Philip J. Palin on October 5, 2014

Last week the Vice President gave a speech at Harvard’s Kennedy School.  The speech was mostly a quick skim of global issues and US priorities.  Not much new.  But as is Mr. Biden’s tendency, he can with tone or particular emphasis, give an old song new life.

Below are his remarks on counter-terrorism.  I have highlighted some elements with which I agree and, in my judgment, are too seldom emphasized.

The fourth element of our strategy is countering violent extremism.  As you know, we’ve engaged in a relentless campaign against terrorists in Afghanistan, in the so-called FATA, in Pakistan, Somalia and elsewhere.  This campaign against violent extremism predates our administration, and it will outlive our administration.  But we’ve made real progress against al Qaeda’s core and its affiliates since 9/11.  But this threat of violent extremism is something we’re going to have to contend with for a long time. 

Today, we’re confronting the latest iteration of that danger, so-called ISIL; a group that combines al Qaeda’s ideology with territorial ambitions in Iraq and Syria and beyond, and the most blatant use of terrorist tactics the world has seen in a long, long time.  But we know how to deal with them.

Our comprehensive strategy to degrade and eventually defeat ISIL reflects the lessons we have learned post-9/11 age about how to use our power wisely.  And degrading them does not depend upon an unsustainable deployment of hundreds of thousands of boots on the ground.  It’s focused on building a coalition with concrete contributions from the countries in the region.  It recognizes outside military intervention alone will not be enough.  Ultimately, societies have to solve their own problems, which is why we’re pouring so much time and effort into supporting a Syrian opposition and Iraqi efforts to re-establish their democracy and defend their territory.  But this is going to require a lot of time and patience.

The truth is we will likely be dealing with these challenges of social upheaval not just in Iraq and Syria, but across the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring, which will take a generation or more to work itself out. 

We can’t solve each of these problems alone.  We can’t solve them ourselves.  But ultimately — and we can’t ultimately solve them with force, nor should we try.  But we can work to resolve these conflicts.  We can seek to empower the forces of moderation and pluralism and inclusive economic growth.  We can work with our partners to delegitimize ISIL in the Islamic world, and their perverse ideology. 

We can cut off the flow of terrorist finance and foreign fighters, as the President chaired the hearing in the United Nations Security Council on that issue just last week.  We can build the capacity of our partners from the Arab world to Afghanistan to solve their security problems in their own countries with our help and guidance.  The threat posed by violent extremists is real.  And I want to say here on the campus of Harvard University:  Our response must be deadly serious, but we should keep this in perspective.  The United States today faces threats that require attention.  But we face no existential threat to our way of life or our security.  Let me say it again:  We face no existential threat — none — to our way of life or our ultimate security.

You are twice as likely to be struck by lightning as you around to be affected by a terrorist event in the United States.

And while we face an adaptive, resilient enemy, let’s never forget that they’re no match for an even more resilient and adaptive group of people, the American people, who are so much tougher, smarter, realistic and gutsy than their political leadership gives them credit for.

We didn’t crumble after 9/11.  We didn’t falter after the Boston Marathon.  But we’re America.  Americans will never, ever stand down.  We endure.  We overcome.  We own the finish line.  So do not take out of proportion this threat to us.  None of you are being taught to dive under your desks in drills dealing with the possibility of a nuclear attack.  And I argue with all of my colleagues, including in the administration, the American people have already factored in the possibility that there will be another Boston Marathon someday.  But it will not, cannot — has no possibility of breaking our will, our resolve, and/or our ultimate security.

That “And I argue… ” is interesting.  I hope he does and I hope he’s right.  Anticipating more freelance threats would be realistic — and resilient — behavior.

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4 Comments »

Comment by Christopher Tingus

October 5, 2014 @ 7:04 am

Thank you for the Vice-President’s speech which few listened to, however my comment, Really?

“But we know how to deal with them” – Joe Biden Really? – Christopher Tingus

_______________________

Today, we’re confronting the latest iteration of that danger, so-called ISIL; a group that combines al Qaeda’s ideology with territorial ambitions in Iraq and Syria and beyond, and the most blatant use of terrorist tactics the world has seen in a long, long time. But we know how to deal with them.

Our comprehensive strategy to degrade and eventually defeat ISIL reflects the lessons we have learned post-9/11 age about how to use our power wisely. And degrading them does not depend upon an unsustainable deployment of hundreds of thousands of boots on the ground. It’s focused on building a coalition with concrete contributions from the countries in the region. It recognizes outside military intervention alone will not be enough.

______________________

Now let’s think about Barry Obama and Michelle Obama and their history as divisive activists who sat in the pews for 20 years and were attentive to the rants of the Rev Wright and his clear statement that as long as the “Zionists” had WMD, Tehran had the same right and then let’s take a hard look at this relationship between Barry Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood and Barry’s Obama’s obvious pledge to none other than to Hussein Obama and his Father’s Kenyan anti-Christian, anti-colonialists and we see clearly just why he ran to Cairo to apologize to the Arab world whose one theme and saying tells all, “Keep the Oven Hot and the Bread Will Bake!” (It must of been so difficult for Barry Obama to send rescue to the Christians held up on the mountain for he could really give a damn….as Christians are being killed and tortured here and there, let’s send the US military to Africa to help out with ebola!

Close our border and get our brave Marine out of prison! How dare you? Send the illegals kids and other back to their country, WE here on “Main Street USA” have no interest in adopting any kids and especially those who are here despite the unenforced immigration laws we have on the books….Our educational system is already overburdened with our own kids and their attention deficit disorders and overcrowded classrooms and poor parenting causing school districts and teachers to do far more than teach a lesson or attempt to do so!

Listen folks, while it is obvious that at least 50% of this nation finds it necessary to just vote for the pigment of skin rather than competencies and You surely deserve the world You now reside for after all, those ignorant, well, in the words of Samuel Adams, “No People will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can they be easily subdued, when knowledge is wide spread and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are unwisely ‘ignorant’ and debauched in their manners, they will sink under their own weight without Aid of foreign invaders”

So while the Vice President who used to sit with a number of my colleagues long ago and expressed his dreams of becoming President or Vice President and however he attained such…well, Barry Obama and his limited scope and merely a Chicago city slicker and nothing more, a politician and much like he and his Hav’rd activist pals, could give a damn about the Constitution and our real history, not as immersed in divisiveness today, but rather a homogeneous population of many of the same accused of racial prejudice voting for I guess any (half-Black) and maybe even Ms. Hillary who shirked her duties and responsibilities per the oath she took and blatantly lied, standing shoulder to shoulder with Barry Obama all the way….

Joe Biden, a heck of nice fella, but Vice-President? Barry Obama and Bill Ayers at the WH and their buddies, proponents of the Muslim Brotherhood, really? …and Michelle Obama having anything to do with insurance when she dropped her license to practice law because of some supposed fraud in insurance dealings never mind much more about the supposed first lady? Really?

Listen, enough is enough! So many died for this nation and Not only lately to enable this country to be free and to stand against the demons such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the five terrorists permitted to be released on a Saturday to go back and continue strategizing against the US, teh same five who had plenty of blood on their hands much like these “Brutes of Tehran” who have American youth’s blood all over their hands and obviously an American Administration whose leanings to Iran and to the Islamic community, made clear from the onset….

Whether it be Joe Biden, or Mary Perkins down the street, We as Americans have an obligation to stand forth and steadfast for those in our intel community who 24×7 deal with those who seek our demise and I shout, “How dare you point again to another and especially to the intel community/“ How dare you?

Arrest Barry Obama and Hillary Clinton and the illustrious AG for suspicion in breach of faith, treason, however this paralysis of self-serving Congressional agenda is also a culprit for it seems few today have character and commitment to oath and pledge as we saw the President with his cup of coffee in half salute and he the illustrious Commander in Chief, really?

God Bless America!

We folks are in direct course for World War III and don’t kid yourself, it started back in Kosovo when the Americans were used as proxies by the Germans and this World War III now continues to speedily move forward because of a real lack of leadership and resolve!

Joe, “We now how to deal with them” and I shout, really? Yea right….

In fact Joe Biden, why don’t you read the following and you, too get educated!

______________________

By Rowan Scarborough – The Washington Times – Saturday, September 20, 2014

Iran’s secretive Quds force is becoming more active in Iraq along side Iraqi soldiers and militias battling the Islamic State terrorist group, as the Obama administration sends signals welcoming Tehran to the fight.

A source close to the U.S. special operations community said some elite Quds forces were on the ground last month when Iraqis recaptured the strategic Mosul Dam from Islamic State fighters. The Iraqis were aided overhead by U.S. strike aircraft providing close-air support.

The report comes as the Obama administration is talking more openly about relying on Iran, a Shiite-dominated nation, to take on the Islamic State group, which also is known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL.

“There is a role for nearly every country in the world to play, including Iran,” Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Friday at the U.N. while drumming up support for destroying the Islamic State.

The Pentagon says it had no troops on the ground and thus does not know the affiliations of all the anti-Islamic State fighters during the battle for Mosul Dam, the most famous and successful to date after U.S. planes began striking the terrorists in early August.

But a senior defense official told The Washington Times that Quds force troops are active in Iraq advising Shiite militias and other Iraqi forces.

“We know that the Quds forces have been operating in Iraq,” the official said. “That we know for a fact. And we know that they have been doing some partnering and assisting with Iraqi forces. A lot of what the Quds forces are doing is more focused on the militias, the Shiite militias.”

The battle for Mosul Dam in northern Iraq would be the first known clash in which Americans fought on the same side with Iran, albeit not in an official or a coordinated manner.

The Iran-U.S. relationship has grown more convoluted with the rise of the Islamic State, which controls towns and territory in Syria and Iraq, and has proclaimed itself an Islamic caliphate.

During the U.S. occupation of Iraq from 2003 to 2011, the Quds force trained Iraqi Shiite extremists who attacked and killed U.S. troops.

Quds force troops are now in Syria fighting on the side of President Bashar Assad, who has directed the slaughter of thousands civilians and whom the U.S. wants ousted. Iran also backs Hamas and Hezbollah, two U.S.-designated terrorist groups.

But in Iraq, America and Iran now have a common enemy whose brutality and threat to the region trump the two countries’ long sour relationship.

It is an undeclared alliance. The State Department says it will not coordinate with Iran, and Tehran rejects the thought of a war partnership with the U.S.

The source close to the special operations community told The Times that the Quds force “was the principal force for taking over the dam” on and around Aug. 18.

Navy Cmdr. Elissa Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told The Times: “We are aware Iran has sent personnel to Iraq who are training and advising some Iraqi security forces and illegal militia. We also know that Iran has provided some supplies, arms, ammunition, and aircraft for Iraq’s armed forces.

“We have been clear that ISIL represents a threat not only to the United States, but also — and most immediately — to the entire region. We believe all countries, regardless of their differences, should work toward the goal of degrading and ultimately defeating ISIL.”

The Quds force is the prime adviser to Shiite militia groups viewed as critical to protecting Baghdad and reinforcing the shaky Iraqi army.

While Iraqi Shiites are more than willing to combat the Islamic State, which brands them as heretics and designates them for murder, many Sunni Iraqis are not.

One of the new diplomatic tasks of retired Marine Gen. John Allen, who commanded troops in Iraq, is to reach out to Sunni tribal and military leaders to persuade them to join a coalition against the terrorists.

Quds force is the foreign operations arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s overriding military institution embedded in policymaking and society. The Wall Street Journal reported in June that then-Quds leader Qasem Soleimani visited Iraq to consult with Baghdad’s Shiite-led government.

Before U.S. airstrikes began last month, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Joint Chiefs chairman, was asked by National Public Radio if the military would coordinate with Iranian advisers in Iraq.

“That’s to be determined,” he said. “We will look at Iran with a cold eye on where and when we may need to operate in the same space and toward what is potentially the same goal of countering” the Islamic State.

“I’m not predicting that it’s entirely impossible that we would at any point act collaboratively with Iran,” the top U.S. military official said. “But there’s a long way to go between here and there, in my judgment.”

Gen. Dempsey recently described the Mosul Dam battle in some detail before the Senate Committee on Armed Services. He said American advice came at a distance from a joint command center in the Kurdish city of Irbil in northern Iraq. Planners used video feeds from unmanned aircraft to provide intelligence to Kurdish fighters and Iraqi counterterrorism units.

He made no mention of any Quds forces on the ground.

Gen. Dempsey told NPR he is aware of Quds force’s history: “I can tell you there’s a lot of leaders of the IRGC Quds force and some of the advisers to the Shia militia that have a lot of American blood on their hands.”

Submitted by:

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”

chris.tingus@gmail.com

Comment by Christopher Tingus

October 6, 2014 @ 4:28 am

Breaking News:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/05/air-strikes-isis-not-working-syrian-kurds

Comment by Christopher Tingus

October 6, 2014 @ 5:06 am

Homeland Security and Obviously Failed American WH Administration Policy:

Breaking News:

Air strikes by American and Gulf state warplanes have failed to halt the advance of the Islamists, who moved to the outskirts of the town over the weekend and were battling to secure a strategic hilltop in the face of fierce resistance.

Kurds vow to fight to the last as Islamic State tightens grip on Syrian town
Reuters
Published: 10.06.14, 12:14 / Israel News

MURSITPINAR/BEIRUT – Outgunned Kurdish fighters vowed on Monday not to abandon their increasingly desperate efforts to defend the Syrian border town of Kobani from Islamic State militants pressing in from three sides and pounding them with heavy artillery.The radical al Qaeda offshoot has been battling for more than two weeks to seize the predominantly Kurdish town, driving 180,000 people into neighbouring Turkey.

Air strikes by American and Gulf state warplanes have failed to halt the advance of the Islamists, who moved to the outskirts of the town over the weekend and were battling to secure a strategic hilltop in the face of fierce resistance.

Comment by William R. Cumming

October 6, 2014 @ 11:07 am

So PERPETUAL WAR now a bi-partisan policy?

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