Syria Articles


Michelle Obama to Sit With Syrian Refugee at State of the Union

7:38 AM, Jan 11, 2016

The first lady of the United States will be sitting with a Syrian refugee at this week's State of the Union Address. The refugee's name is Refaai Hamo.

"Growing up in Syria, Refaai Hamo lived what seemed to be the kind of life associated with the American Dream – the son of a farmer and housewife, he worked construction at night to pay his way through college on his way to a PhD, married his college sweetheart and built a family together. This life and happiness changed forever when a Syrian government anti-personnel missile tore through the complex Refaai designed and where his family lived; in total seven of his family members died, including his wife and one daughter," the White House explains in an announcement.

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Incendiary Correctness

Jan 18, 2016

"Suddenly there was a hand on my bottom .  .  ." was the rather atypical headline that ran in Germany's ordinarily conservative daily newspaper Die Welt on January 4. It described a riot-like series of sexual assaults and robberies carried out on New Year's Eve in the center of Cologne on the Domplatz, the plaza between the city's train station and its world-famous cathedral. The assailants were mostly described as Arab-looking. Thus far 120 victims have filed criminal complaints, two of them for rape. Descriptions of the assaults have appeared in newspapers across Germany. The stories are varied and shocking. ("They made a kind of wall around us," one of two high-school girls surrounded by a gang of youths

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Five Words? Next Year Will Be Worse

Jan 11, 2016

It was a great year for the Obama administration’s foreign policy .  .  . says the Obama administration. The State Department even created a new hashtag to celebrate the White House's annus mirabilis—#2015in5Words. "Protecting Arctic Climate and Communities" and "Protecting Health of Our Ocean" are among two of the administration's big wins.

A few of the claims are of course questionable, like "Winning Fight Against Violent Extremists." Okay, congratulations to the White House for hosting a conference on countering violent extremism in February.

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Go South, Young Russian

The Great Game continues.
Dec 28, 2015

Russia's aggressive moves in the Middle East have raised speculation about a new Cold War. A more accurate description would reference the geopolitical, historical, and cultural factors underpinning Russia's imperial ambitions in the south—ambitions that preceded the Cold War and took root in the czarist era.

In terms formulated by the renowned British geopolitician Halford Mackinder in his 1904 article "The Geographical Pivot of History," Russia occupies the "heartland" of Eurasia, that is, the central position on the Eurasian landmass. According to Mackinder, "who rules East Europe commands the Heartland. Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island [encompassing all of Eurasia, including Asia, Europe, the Middle

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Kerry: Assad Stays

3:13 PM, Dec 17, 2015

"The United States and our partners are not seeking regime change in Syria," John Kerry said in Moscow this week. The announcement that the White House is fully in line with the position of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's Russian and Iranian sponsors caught some by surprise. Others argue that it's the second time the White House has failed to enforce a red line regarding Syria. Just like the president said it would change his calculus if Assad used chemical weapons, Obama said in August 2011 that Assad should step aside. However, when Obama didn't blink after Assad had slaughtered his first 100,000, White House policy was pretty clear.

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End of the West?

Syria, the Islamic State, and Europe.
Dec 21, 2015

Should the United States militarily defeat jihadist outfits in the Middle East? After 9/11 the answer seemed easy, but after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Barack Obama is not alone in arguing that large-scale offensive campaigns against radical Muslim movements aren't worth the cost. Even if the president's go-slow approach is actually more likely to provoke more terrorism, is it the sensible policy for America? And can Western governments actually defeat the Muslim radicals who live in the West and are a nightmare for domestic intelligence services to find, let alone stop? These questions are as much about Europe as the Middle East.

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz Compares Syrian Refugees to 1939 European Jews

7:06 AM, Dec 04, 2015

The head of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, believes the Syrian refugees of today are like the European Jews of 1939. Wasserman Schultz made the claim in a conference call to explain how "out-of-touch" Republicans are with the Jewish community.

The DNC chair also called the war the U.S. is currently engaged in "the war on terror."

Here's an excerpt of Wasserman Schultz's remarks, as released by the DNC:

"For some, their version of Middle East foreign policy is pandering to our community about supporting Israel, without fully grasping the deep values and history that drive our relationship. But – if you can believe it – this new crowd is even worse than President Bush.

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The Deal and the War

Nov 30, 2015

In July the Obama administration and its European and Russian partners met with Iran in Vienna to sign the so-called nuclear deal. The general idea was to at least delay nuclear proliferation in an already volatile part of the world. No doubt the White House was hoping for much more—that the Islamic Republic of Iran could be welcomed back into the community of nations, bringing stability to a violent Middle East. But it is now clear that Obama’s great diplomatic endeavor has had the opposite effect: Sectarian war is engulfing the Middle East.

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Obama Vows to Destroy ISIS and Take Their Land

9:04 AM, Nov 22, 2015

President Barack Obama is beginning to use tougher rhetoric when discussing ISIS. The leader of the free world, today at a press conference at the Ritz Carlton in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, vowed to destory ISIS and to take the land they are currently occupying. 

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An Economist's View of the Syrian Refugees

2:04 PM, Nov 21, 2015

It is not for an economist to adjudicate between the president of the United States, who feels he is appealing to our better angels by asking our blessing for his plan to grant 10,000 refugees from the Syrian wars entry into our country, and his critics who fear that the wave might include immigrants coming not for refuge but to do us harm, not here to assimilate but to retain the customs and laws that have brought their homelands chaos and penury. The dispute, in short, is between Barack Obama who contends he is following a long-standing, humane American tradition of accepting the world’s tired, poor, huddled masses, and equally well-intentioned congressmen and governors who respond that he is ignoring his first obligation – to keep America and its citizens safe from harm. They add that it is inappropriate to argue that America must not repeat the moral error of turning away Jews who sought to escape Hitler’s death camps by turning away Syrians, among them some pledged to destroy the values fleeing Jews were attempting to come here to enjoy.

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Who Really Betrayed the Syrians?

2:03 PM, Nov 19, 2015

The Islamic State executed a series of devastating attacks in Paris last Friday night. President Obama responded angrily by delivering some effective precision-guided strikes. At the Islamic terrorist organization that murdered 129 and wounded hundreds of others in Paris? Of course not; he calmly described this atrocity as a mere “setback” in his successful efforts to contain IS and vowed to bring those guys “to justice.” Instead, he directed his fusillade at Republicans, his favorite kinetic target. 

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Kentucky Newspaper Mocks GOP Gov Over Adopted Kids

10:22 AM, Nov 19, 2015

The Lexington Herald-Leader published an editorial cartoon Thursday mocking the Republican governor-elect Matt Bevin's position against allowing refugees from Syria to settle in Kentucky. The cartoon, drawn by Joel Pett, shows a cowering Bevin underneath his desk, while an aide points to the framed photos of four dark-skinned children on top.

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Was the Fight for Soviet Jewry Illegitimate?

9:28 AM, Nov 19, 2015

“It would send a demoralizing and dangerous message to the world that the United States makes judgments about people based on the country they come from and their religion.” 

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'President Obama's Cynical Refugee Ploy'

6:38 AM, Nov 19, 2015

Walter Russell Mead has a terrific piece in the American Interest on "President Obama's Cynical Refugee Ploy."

Highlights:

To see the full cynicism of the Obama approach to the refugee issue, one has only to ask President Obama’s least favorite question: Why is there a Syrian refugee crisis in the first place?

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Obama's P.C. Foreign Policy Abandons Christians to ISIS

Hosted by Michael Graham.
4:35 PM, Nov 18, 2015

THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with Elliott Abrams, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, on President Obama's politically correct foreign policy.

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Obama Calls Helping Christian Refugees 'Shameful,' While State Claims That’s Exactly What It’s Doing

11:33 AM, Nov 18, 2015

In remarks a few days ago in Turkey, President Obama said this:

when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefitted from protection when they were fleeing political persecution -- that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.

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America is at War Right Now, With or Without Obama

Hosted by Michael Graham.
5:17 PM, Nov 16, 2015

THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Senior Fellow and frequent contributor Thomas Joscelyn on the fight against terrorism in the Middle East.

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Arkansas Governor: Syrian Refugees Can't Come Here

11:18 AM, Nov 16, 2015

The governor of Arkansas joined the governor of Alabama and others in saying that Syrian refugees can't come to his state. Governor Asa Hutchinson made the announcement this morning on Twitter.

"As Governor I will oppose Syrian refugees being relocated to Arkansas," said Hutchinson.

 

As Governor I will oppose Syrian refugees being relocated to Arkansas.

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Alabama Governor: Syrian Refugees Can't Come to Alabama

7:23 AM, Nov 16, 2015

Alabama governor Robert Bentley is refusing to allow Syrian refugees to relocate to Alabama. 

“After full consideration of this weekend’s attacks of terror on innocent citizens in Paris, I will oppose any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees to Alabama through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. As your Governor, I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way,” Governor Bentley says in a statement released by his office.

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'An American Fight?'

10:54 AM, Nov 15, 2015

During the Democratic debate Saturday night, Hillary Clinton said that ISIS "cannot be contained, it must be defeated." She also said, not once but twice, that this "cannot be an American fight" (while adding, "although American leadership is essential").

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Russian-Iranian-Syrian Axis: France Brought Terror on Itself

10:17 AM, Nov 15, 2015

Since the terrorist attacks in Paris Friday that killed more than 120 people and injured hundreds more, world leaders from President Barack Obama to newly elected Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, and from U.K. prime minister David Cameron to German chancellor Angela Merkel, have expressed their solidarity with France. An exception is Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, who sees mass murder as an opportunity to say I told you so.

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Hillary Still Wants to Bring in 65,000 Syrian Refugees

10:07 PM, Nov 14, 2015

During Saturday night's Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton was asked about bringing in Syrian refugees.

"I think that is the number one requirement. I also said that we should take increased numbers of refugees. The [Obama] administration originally said 10 [thousand]. I said we should go to 65 [thousand], but only if we have as careful a screening and vetting process as we can imagine, whatever resources it takes. I do not want us to in any way inadvertently allow people who wish us harm to come into our country."

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Obama: ISIS Is Not Gaining Strength

9:39 AM, Nov 13, 2015

President Obama does not believe ISIS is getting stronger. At least, that's what he said this morning in an interview that aired on ABC News:

"I don't think they're gaining strength," Obama said of ISIS. "What is true is that from the start our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them. They have not gained ground in Iraq and in Syria ... you don't see the systematic march by ISIL across across the terrain."

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Dem Senator: 'We Don’t Have a Comprehensive Strategy' In Syria

8:28 AM, Nov 10, 2015

Democratic senator Tim Kaine admitted this morning on national TV that the U.S. has no strategy in Syria:

"The problem is, we don't have a comprehensive strategy," said Senator Kaine.

Kaine went on to blame Congress for the lack of strategy. "It's time to really have a strategy between Congress and the president. And that involved Congress being wiling to engage. And Congress hasn't been welling to do that."

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Iran Unleashed

Nov 09, 2015

Last week, the Obama White House moved to ensure Hezbollah’s ability to point 100,000 missiles at Israel. That’s not how they would describe it, of course. But it was the Obama administration—as U.S. officials are quietly letting on—and not Russia that invited Iran to participate in talks in Vienna to resolve the Syrian civil war. By doing so, the White House legitimized the Islamic Republic as a “stakeholder” whose interests in Syria must be respected.

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Gas Attacks Confirmed

10:34 AM, Nov 06, 2015

Reuters is reporting:

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Boots on the Ground; Fighter Jets in the Sky

2:32 PM, Nov 05, 2015

The Pentagon is sending several F-15s to Turkey, as David Axe writes at the Daily Beast.  Their mission will not be to conduct strikes against targets on the ground.

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Jewish Immigration Group Fights to Bring Syrian Refugees to America

7:08 AM, Oct 27, 2015

A top Jewish immigration group -- an organization "Founded in 1881 originally to assist Jews fleeing pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe" -- is fighting to bring Syrian refugees to America. The group is called HIAS, which once meant Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

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Victory Without Soldiers?

The futility of soft power in defeating militant jihadists
Oct 26, 2015

With the war in Syria becoming ever more complex and murderous, it’s worthwhile to revisit a guiding principle of Barack Obama: The use of American military power is likely to do more harm than good in the Middle East, and even in the region’s violent struggles, soft power is important, if not decisive, in resolving conflicts. If Islamic militancy is to be defeated, better ideas, advanced by Muslims, backed up if necessary by Muslim soldiers, must be the principal means. 

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Reading Obama’s Mind

Oct 19, 2015

Last week an Obama administration official bragged that the White House’s Syria policy is working out just as planned. Special envoy for Syria Michael Ratney said that the “Russians wouldn’t have to help [Bashar al-]Assad if we didn’t weaken him.”

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