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Friday, July 10, 2015

Hezbollah keeping Assad regime from rapid contraction.

Link: Hezbollah assists regime forces to retake Syrian border city.

We have been noting for the past few months that recent losses to Jabhat al-Nusrah (JN) and the Islamic Front (IS) have effectively ended any regime threat in eastern Syria.  The Syrian Army still controls a few widely dispersed communities in the east (including Hasaka), but Assad's only real area of influence and control is far west Syria, from Aleppo down south to Damascus.  The regime continues to control the air (except when the U.S.-led, anti-IS air coalition is operational), which has limited recent attempts by the rebels to take Aleppo.  We have also noted that, along with a decreased regime presence in the east, Assad no longer seems to be receiving much support from Russia.  We opined that without his Russian benefactor, that Assad would eventually be obliged to throw in the towel.  I'm sorry to say that we didn't take into account the impact of increased aid from Hezbollah, and by proxy, Iran.  Hezbollah fighters were instrumental in the regime's capture of Zabadani, a town located on the Syria/Lebanon border that until recently was held by rebels. 

If Iranian support for the Assad regime continues (or increases), he will likely survive any offensive by JN or the IS to take Damascus or even Aleppo.  Hezbollah has no problem moving fighters from Lebanon to Syria, and former rebel supply lines that went through Lebanon have been eradicated.  It will be interesting to see if Hezbollah increases its military presence in Syria, or if we might start to see Iranian advisors among Assad's troops, as we have occasionally seen in Iraq.  Depending on how ambitious Iran wants to be, the IS is presently confronted by Iranian-backed regime elements in Syria, and Iranian-supported militia in Iraq.  Given that the IS is a Sunni-based movement, we note the extension of the conflict between Shi'a and Sunni.  Iran has already influenced the rise of the Houthi movement in Yemen, and the activities of the Shi'a militias in Iran.  With the involvement of Hezbollah and the increased support by Iran for the Assad regime, Iran seems intent on setting the stage for another Sunni-Shi'a conflict.  As this situation develops, the United States is faced with the difficult task of identifying who is the more dangerous enemy: the IS, with its growing conventional army and its network of affiliates around the globe, or Iran, which is bound and determined to develop a nuclear weapon capability, and can't seem to stop fomenting Shi'a unrest in various hotspots in the Middle East.

All things considered, this might be a good time for the United States to allow both the Shi'a extremists and the Sunni hot heads to "whittle" each other down a bit.  Not very long ago, the CIA might take the opportunity to create a covert "influence campaign", to utilize social media and other resources to agitate the two groups, and get them to go after each other.  It would certainly keep their focus away from sponsoring international terrorism for a while, or at least that would be the intention.  But those type of operations are a thing of the past.  The Obama Admnistration would never use the CIA to conduct an operation of that nature.  As things stand, we find ourselves supporting the Free Syrian Army, which when we last checked, was actively engaging regime elements, as opposed to the IS, and continuing this nebulous air campaign, that seems to generate no intelligence or news whatsoever.  How much are we spending on those two initiative?  When Bush was in office, didn't we hear a never-ending cacophony from the left about the taxpayers dollars being wasted?  Isn't this a bit of waste as well?  If not, then great, but I want to know the details: how hs it been a success?

(Separate Comment)

The Reality of Illegal Immigrant Felons in the U.S.

We have noticed a rash of news stories lately regarding illegal immigrant felons who have been allowed to stay in the United States after being released from jail, only to offend again.  Because sensational news gets more attention, the stories that involve children or loss of life will always be the priority.  Do you know what a "Sanctuary City is"?  For those who don't, a Sanctuary City is a community that purposely choses to NOT inform Federal Law Enforcement when a foreign national felon has served their time and is being released to the street.  The law requires the community local law enforcement to notify Homeland Security Deportations, so these felons can be returned to their country of nationality.  But some cities, including just about all the big ones on the west coast, allow for something called "Sanctuary" to exist in their cities, because they believe that it is cruel and wrong to deport these individuals, regardless of the crime or how many times that they have re-entered the U.S. illegally.

Statistics show that certain felons are very likely to re-offend, but this doesn't matter to the Sanctuary folks.  Who cares if a teenager is shot dead outside a grocery store, or a mother of two is raped and strangled to death on a bike path?  The only thing that matters are the INVISIBLE rights of the foreign national who presence in our country is predicated on the fact that broke our Immigration Law, and has since racked up a few more violations.  No doubt the groups opposed to Amnesty will use every one of these stories as a means to frighten and mobilize the population, but the truth is the truth.  We do have a problem in this country with an outrageously high number of illegal immigrant felons, the majority of which are not presently incarcerated.

Do you know where your children are?

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