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Pentagon weighs using force to protect US-backed Syria rebels targeted by Russia


waving flagPublished October 02, 2015, FoxNews.com

Senior U.S. military leaders and defense officials are debating whether military force should be used to protect Washington-backed Syrian rebels who have come under attack by Russian airstrikes in recent days. The Associated Press reported early Friday that the question was part of a broader debate within the Pentagon about the the broader dilemma of how the administration should respond to what White House press secretary Josh Earnest described as Russia’s “indiscriminate military operations against the Syrian opposition.”

Tensions between the U.S. and Russia are escalating over Russian airstrikes that are serving to strengthen Syrian President Bashar Assad by targeting the so-called “moderate” rebels rather than hitting Islamic State (ISIS) fighters it promised to attack.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry says Ankara and its allies in the U.S.-led coalition are calling on Russia to immediately cease attacks on the Syrian opposition and to focus on fighting Islamic State militants.

Meanwhile, a joint statement by the United States, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Britain expressed concern over Russia’s military actions, saying they will “only fuel more extremism and radicalization.” The text of the statement was released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Friday, and confirmed by the French Foreign Ministry.

The Pentagon on Thursday had its first conversation with Russian officials in an effort to avoid any unintended U.S.-Russian confrontations as the airstrikes continue in the skies over Syria. During the video call, Elissa Slotkin, who represented the U.S. side, expressed America’s concerns that Russia is targeting areas where there are few if any ISIS forces operating. Slotkin is the acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.

A key concern is the prospect of the U.S. and Russia getting drawn into a shooting war in the event that Russian warplanes hit moderate Syrian rebels who have been trained and equipped by the U.S. military.

At U.N. headquarters in New York, Secretary of State John Kerry said: “What is important is Russia has to not be engaged in any activities against anybody but ISIL. That’s clear. We have made that very clear.”Picture1

“We are not yet where we need to be to guarantee the safety and security” of those carrying out the airstrikes, he said.

In an interview late Thursday on CBS’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Kerry described the military consultations as “a way of making sure that planes aren’t going to be shooting at each other and making things worse.”

“What is happening is a catastrophe, a human catastrophe really unparalleled in modern times,” Kerry said of the Syrian crisis, adding that Russia should help the United States “persuade Assad to be the saver of his country, not the killer of his country.”Picture2

U.S. officials made it clear earlier this year that rebels trained by the U.S. would receive air support in the event they are attacked by either IS or Syrian government troops. Currently, only about 80 U.S.-trained Syrian rebels are back in Syria fighting with their units.

The U.S. policy is very specific. It doesn’t address a potential attack by Russian planes and does not include Syrian rebels who have not been through the U.S. military training, even though they may be aligned with the U.S. or fighting Islamic State militants.

So far, the Russian airstrikes have been in western Syria. The Syrians trained and equipped by the U.S. have primarily been operating in the north.

U.S. officials said the issue is one of many being hashed out by top leaders within the department and the military’s Joint Staff. One official said they are weighing the potential fallout.

At worst, if Russia bombs rebels trained by the U.S. and American fighter jets intercede to protect the Syrians, the exchange could trigger an all-out confrontation with Russia — a potential disaster the administration would like to avoid.

Fueling the concerns is the fact that Russia has aircraft in Syria with air-to-air combat capacity, even though ISIS has no air force and the only aircraft in the skies belong to U.S.-led coalition or the Syrian government.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook would not provide details of the talks with Russia. But much of the discussion involved proposals for avoiding conflict between U.S. and Russian aircraft flying over Syria.

Backing rebelsKerry said he foresees further consultations with the Russians about air operations. And Cook said the U.S. side proposed using specific international radio frequencies for distress calls by military pilots flying in Syrian airspace, but he was not more specific about that or other proposals.

Russia’s defense ministry said that over the past 24 hours it had damaged or destroyed 12 targets in Syria belonging to the ISIS fighters, including a command center and ammunition depots. A U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, Col. Steve Warren, said he had no indication that the Russians had hit Islamic State targets.

“While there is always danger of conflict, of inadvertent contact” between coalition and Russian warplanes, “we are continuing with our operations,” Warren told reporters at the Pentagon.

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Partyof Deceit Spin and Lies In God We Trust freedom combo 2

 

Pentagon Not Targeting Islamic State Training Camps


waving flagBY:  /  August 28, 2015

URL of the original posting site: http://freebeacon.com/national-security/pentagon-not-targeting-islamic-state-training-camps

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Screenshot from MEMRI

Screenshot from MEMRI

The camps are spread throughout Islamic State-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria and are off limits in the U.S.-led international bombing campaign because of concerns about collateral damage, said officials familiar with planning and execution of the yearlong bombing campaign.

Additionally, the IS (also known as ISIS or ISIL) camps have been so successful that Islamic State leaders are considering expanding the camps to Libya and Yemen. Both states have become largely ungoverned areas in recent years.

The failure to target the training camps with U.S. and allied airstrikes is raising questions among some defense and intelligence officials about the commitment of President Obama and his senior aides to the current anti-IS strategy of degrading and ultimately destroying the terror group. “If we know the location of these camps, and the president wants to destroy ISIS, why are the camps still functioning?” one official critical of the policy asked.Obama Muslim collection

The camps are regarded by U.S. intelligence analysts as a key element in the terror group’s successes in holding and taking new territory. The main benefit of the training camps is that they are providing a continuous supply of new fighters.

IS training camps

An additional worry of intelligence analysts is that some of the foreign fighters being trained in the camps will eventually return to their home countries in Europe and North America to carry out terror attacks.culture of deceit and lies

A White House spokesman declined to comment on the failure to bomb the terror camps and referred questions to the Pentagon.

Pentagon spokesman Maj. Roger M. Cabiness declined to say why no training camps have been bombed. “I am not going to be able to go into detail about our targeting process,” he said.

Cabiness said the U.S.-led coalition has “hit ISIL [an alternative abbreviation for the Islamic State] with more than 6,000 airstrikes.”Really with logo

“The coalition has also taken out thousands of fighting positions, tanks, vehicles, bomb factories, and training camps,” he said. “We have also stuck their leadership, including most recently on Aug. 18 when a U.S. military airstrike removed Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, also known as Hajji Mutazz, the second in command of the terrorist group, from the battlefield.”Picture4

Efforts also are being taken to disrupt IS finances and “make it more difficult for the group to attract new foreign fighters,” Cabiness said in an email.

Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said the coalition has conducted 19 airstrikes against training areas, the most recent on Aug. 5. The Central Command’s news release for that day, however, makes no reference to a training camp being struck in airstrikes. A July 30 release states that training areas were hit.

According to the Command’s website, a total of 6,419 airstrikes have been carried out over the past year, 3,991 in Iraq, and 2,428 Syria, indicating .3 percent of the airstrikes were carried out against training areas. “Whenever we identify ISIL moving, staging, operating or training in any number, target them and strike them,” Ryder said. “As a result, ISIL is not longer able to move freely or train openly for fear of being hit.”

As a result of the air campaign, ISIL has begun “hiding amongst civilian populations and employing terrorist weapons from entrenched, defensive hiding places,” Ryder said, adding, “regardless, the coalition can and will continue to identify, pursue and strike them relentlessly.”

According to the defense and intelligence officials, one reason the training camps have been off limits is that political leaders in the White House and Pentagon fear hitting them will cause collateral damage. Some of the camps are located near civilian facilities and there are concerns that casualties will inspire more jihadists to join the group.cause of death

However, military officials have argued that unless the training camps are knocked out, IS will continue to gain ground and recruit and train more fighters for its operations.

Disclosure that the IS training camps are effectively off limits to the bombing campaign comes as intelligence officials in the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and U.S. Central Command, which is in charge of the conflict, have alleged that senior U.S. officials skewed intelligence reports indicating the U.S. strategy against IS is not working or has been less effective than officials have claimed in public.you think

The Islamic State controls large parts of Syria and Iraq and has attracted tens of thousands of jihadists in both countries and from abroad. The exact number of fighters is not known but intelligence estimates have indicated the numbers have increased over the past year.

The military campaign, known as Operation Inherent Resolve, appears to be floundering despite a yearlong campaign of airstrikes and military training programs aimed to bolstering Iraqi military forces. A review of Central Command reports on airstrikes since last year reveals that few attacks were carried out against training camps. Targets instead included Islamic State vehicles, buildings, tactical units, arms caches, fighting positions, snipers, excavators, mortar and machine gun positions, bunkers, and bomb factories.Christian Persecution

The risk-averse nature of the airstrike campaign was highlighted last month by Brig. Gen. Thomas Weidley, chief of staff for what the military calls Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. “The coalition continues to use air power responsibly,” Weidley said July 1. “Highly precise deliveries, detailed weaponeering, in-depth target development, collateral damage mitigation, and maximized effects on Daesh, are characteristics of coalition airstrike operation in Iraq and Syria.”

Daesh is another name for the Islamic State.

“The coalition targeting process minimizes collateral damage and maximizes precise effects on Daesh,” Weidley said earlier. “Air crews are making smart decisions and applying tactical patience every day.”What did you say 06.jpg

Other coalition spokesman have indicated that targeting has been limited to reaction strikes against operational groups of IS fighters. “When Daesh terrorists expose themselves and their equipment, we will strike them,” Col. Wayne Marotto said May 27.

The military website Long War Journal published a map showing 52 IS training camps and noted that some may no longer be operating because of the U.S.-led bombing campaign.

Bill Roggio, Long War Journal managing editor, said the Islamic State’s training camps are a direct threat to the region and U.S. national security. “While the vast majority of trainees have been used to fight in local insurgencies, which should be viewed as a threat. Historically jihadist groups have selected a small number of fighters going through their camps to conduct attacks against the West. The Islamic State is most certainly following this model,” he said.against America

According the map, among the locations in Iraq and Syria where IS is operating training camps are Mosul, Raqqah, Nenewa, Kobane, Aleppo, Fallujah, and Baiji.

The group MEMRI obtained a video of an IS training camp in Nenewa Province, Iraq, dated Oct. 1, 2014.

The video shows a desert outpost with tan tents and around 100 fighters who take part in hand-to-hand combat exercises, weapons training, and religious indoctrination. Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, an analyst with the Middle East Forum, in June translated details of IS training purportedly obtained from a manual produced by a pro-IS operative in Mosul named Omar Fawaz. Among those involved in ideological training for IS jihadists in Iraq is Bahraini cleric Turki Binali, who wrote an unofficial biography of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Al-Tamimi stated in a blog post June 24.

According to a document thought to be written by Fawaz, training differs for native Iraqis and Syrians as opposed to foreign fighters, who generally are less experienced militarily than the regional trainees. The document also reveals IS plans to export military manpower abroad, including Libya.

“Sessions for the muhajireen [foreign fighters] brothers last 90 days or more, and at the highest level deal with organization, determination, and intelligence operation, including training on heavy weaponry in addition to comprehensive Sharia sessions and multiple tests,” according to a translation of the document. “Sessions for the Ansar from the people of Iraq and al-Sham range between 30 to 50 days.”

The process begins with an application form and questionnaire regarding education, skills, viewpoints, and whether their backgrounds can be verified. The training then includes physical fitness, martial arts practice, weapons training, and ideological indoctrination. After a week of training, jihadists with special abilities are selected and placed in units. The units include special forces, air defense, sniper units, a “caliphate army,” an “army of adversity,” and administrative units for those capable of using electronic devices and accounting. “The rest are distributed in fronts and camps after the end of the military camp training according to where they are needed,” the report said, noting that all graduates are tested in Sharia at the conclusion of their training.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that the Pentagon inspector general is investigating allegations that military officials doctored intelligence reports in an attempt to present more optimistic accounts of the U.S. military’s efforts in the conflict. The probe was triggered by a DIA analyst who stated that Central Command officials were improperly rewriting intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama.

The Daily Beast reported Wednesday that senior military and intelligence officials inappropriately pressured U.S. terrorism analysts to alter estimates of the strength of the Islamic State to portray the group as weaker.Partyof Deceit Spin and Lies

Central Command, on its website, stated that in the year since the Iraq operation began on Aug. 7, 2014, a total of 6,419 air strikes were carried out.  Targets damaged or destroyed include 119 tanks, 340 Humvees, 510 staging areas, 3,262 buildings, 2,577 fighting positions, 196 oil infrastructure targets, and 3,680 “other” targets not further identified.

Update 29 August, 12:00 P.M: This post has been updated with comment from Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal.

Update 30 August, 6:40 P.M: This post has been updated with additional comment from a spokesman for U.S. Central Command.

Islam is NOT In God We Trust freedom combo 2

If I were Secretary of Defense, here’s the FIRST position I’d eliminate


waving flagWritten by Allen West on August 10, 2015

ABW Straight on
I remember when the mantra of “every kid gets a trophy” began to take hold in our youth athletic programs. Well, now that philosophy of social utopianism has permeated throughout our culture and now in a place where it absolutely has no place. In life, there are standards and no one’s entitled to “have” anything — well, besides life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, that is not the societal vision of the liberal progressives; theirs is based upon egalitarianism. That, however, is not consistent with the duty and mission of our armed forces.

I was sent the following article from a distinguished retired Special Forces officer, Brigadier General Remo Butler, who was and continues to be a role model for me. As reported in USA Today:

Many of the Pentagon’s elite commando units — including the Navy SEALs — are overwhelmingly led and manned by white officers and enlisted troops, a concern at the highest levels of the military where officials have stressed the need to create more diverse forces to handle future threats.

Black officers and enlisted troops are scarce in some special operations units in highest demand, according to data provided by the Pentagon to USA TODAY. For instance, eight of 753 SEAL officers are black, or 1%.  

An expert at the Pentagon on the diversity of commando forces said the lack of minorities robs the military of skills it needs to win.

“We don’t know where we will find ourselves in the future,” said Army Col. Michael Copenhaver, who has published a paper on diversity in special operating forces. “One thing is for sure: We will find ourselves around the globe. And around the globe you have different cultural backgrounds everywhere. Having that kind of a diverse force can only increase your operational capability.

Special Operations forces, including SEALs and the Army’s Green Berets, are often the face of the American military in foreign hot spots where they rescue hostages, raid terrorist camps and train local troops. SEAL Team 6 famously raided Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan and killed him. As the military sheds conventional forces — the Army will pare 40,000 soldiers in the next few years — special operators’ ranks continue to be filled as demand for their unique capabilities remains high.

US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) based in Tampa, does not track that information on its nearly 70,000 civilian and military personnel, said Kenneth McGraw, a spokesman. Gen. Joseph Votel, SOCOM’s commander, declined to speak to USA TODAY for this story, said Col. Thomas Davis, another SOCOM spokesman.

Votel did address the issue last month at the Aspen Security Conference and stressed the need for diverse commando units, which operate in almost 90 countries. The average enlisted special operator is 29, married with two children and has deployed four to 10 times, Votel told the audience.

What he didn’t say is that most of them are white.

“SOCOM needs diversity, we need people of color, we need men, we need women to help us solve the problems that we deal with today,” Votel said. “So we need good people; men, women, people of all colors.”cause of death

What we need is a highly trained, well-resourced military focused on defeating our enemies. What these folks fail to understand is that in the community of warriors, no one cares about pigmentation. They care about honor, integrity, character and fierceness.

What I don’t want to see is all of a sudden the focus turn to having “black faces” instead of elite warriors. Diversity is not the goal of the U.S. military; it is to fight and win the nation’s wars. On the battlefield, bullets don’t seek out someone based on skin color. This design of social egalitarianism has no place in our military.

And spare me the diatribe about the integration of blacks into the U.S. military. From the days of Crispus Attucks, black men have shown they’re brave and willing to stand and fight for one single objective: liberty. The men of the 54th Massachusetts and the Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry didn’t seek preferential treatment. As well, the 369th Harlem Hell Fighters, Tuskegee Airmen and Montford Point Marines achieved not because of their skin color, but because of their character.

There’s no need for “diversity agents” to try and manipulate the composition of our armed forces, sacrificing our effectiveness in pursuit of fairness, under the guise of enhanced increased capability. And what’s most disconcerting is the infiltration into the military of this ill-conceived mindset — namely the Pentagon joining in on this folly. The statement from an “expert at the Pentagon on the diversity of commando forces” — since when did the U.S. military need an expert on diversity of commando forces? I can tell you right now, if I were Secretary of Defense, that’s the first position I’d eliminate! The deduction of this so-called expert — “the lack of minorities robs the military of skills it needs to win” — is utterly disrespectful to the men and women serving, sacrificing and committing themselves in fighting for this nation today.

The strength of our military is we do not see color; we only see the oath we take to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. And in doing so, each man and woman who takes up that oath serves in their best capacity — not one based on respective differences, but rather united in the commonality of being an American.

Our elite forces are elite because of their standards — and “monkeying” around with their composition based on some insidious research about diversity is stupidity. There are things that must be earned in life, and so it is with titles such as Green Beret, Ranger, Delta Force, Navy SEAL, Recon Marine and Air Force PJ. These are not just little plastic trophies to be handed out by the gods of diversity. They represent time-honored impeccable standards of excellence and elitism that only a few are called to seek, and even fewer attain.

On my chest I wear three sets of wings: Army Master Parachutist, Army Air Assault and the Navy/Marine Corps Parachutist. Those were not given because I was a minority. They were earned because I sought to “Be All I Could Be.” I didn’t get these through some diversity-approved course; rather, I entered as others and proved myself worthy.

At a time when we’re facing countless global enemies from Russia, China, Iran and Islamic jihadism, it’s not about the skin color of the person pulling the trigger to send our enemies to hell. It’s about the qualifications and their ability to do so. Diversity in our Special Operations forces means committed men and women who have diversified skills and talents enabling us to defeat the enemy. The policies of our Defense Department MUST not be about meeting quota goals, but rather in placing the MOST qualified, trained and ready force on the field of battle. No one cares about skin color, save those who only care about inane statistics they can show for their own elevation.

Once upon a time, the government said every American had a right to own a home and boasted of an increase in minority home ownership. Standards were lowered and what ensued 30 years later, in 2008, was a financial collapse. The folly here will result in an even greater collapse with ramifications on the national security of this republic.

For America, it’s never been about the skin color of the warrior. It has been, and must always be, about their oath of service and commitment to victory — not diversity.

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