After years of legal battles between the House Oversight Committee and Attorney General Eric Holder, 64,280 redacted Operation Fast and Furious documents held under President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege since 2012, have been turned over by the Department of Justice after an order from U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson. The Justice Department was originally ordered to turn over a list of documents, better known as a Vaughn Index, with explanations as to why documents fall under executive privilege claims by November 1.
To say this is a humiliating defeat for Obama’s strategy in Syria would be a massive understatement.
Two of the main rebel groups receiving weapons from the United States to fight both the regime and jihadist groups in Syria have surrendered to al-Qaeda.
The US and its allies were relying on Harakat Hazm and the Syrian Revolutionary Front to become part of a ground force that would attack the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
For the last six months the Hazm movement, and the SRF through them, had been receiving heavy weapons from the US-led coalition, including GRAD rockets and TOW anti-tank missiles.
But on Saturday night Harakat Hazm surrendered military bases and weapons supplies to Jabhat al-Nusra, when the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria stormed villages they controlled in northern Idlib province.
The development came a day after Jabhat al-Nusra dealt a final blow to the SRF, storming and capturing Deir Sinbal, home town of the group’s leader Jamal Marouf.
The attack caused the group, which had already lost its territory in Hama to al-Qaeda, to surrender.
The collapse of the SRF and attacks on Harakat Hazm have dramatically weakened the presence of moderate rebel fighting groups in Syria, which, after almost four years of conflict is increasingly becoming a battle ground between the Syrian regime and jihadist organisations.
For the United States, the weapons they supplied falling into the hands of al-Qaeda is a realisation of a nightmare.
It was not immediately clear if American TOW missiles were among the stockpile surrendered to Jabhat al-Nusra on Saturday. However several Jabhat al-Nusra members on Twitter announced triumphantly that they were.
Also the loss of a group that had been held up to the international media as being exemplary of Western efforts in Syria is a humiliating blow at the time that the US is increasing its military involvement in the country, with both air strikes and training of local rebels.
In Idlib, Harakat Hazm gave up their positions to Jabhat al-Nusra “without firing a shot”, according to some reports, and some of the men even defected to the jihadists.
Photo via Washington Times
Every election is “the most important” for the simple reason that it has the potential of making our lives better or worse.
What makes elections scary is that votes are cast by people who often have paid little attention to the events, issues, policies or the candidates involved. Casting a vote requires knowing something about the times in which one lives and the persons promising to make them better.
“In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.” That’s John Adams, our second President, a Founding Father, and though I suspect he was joking, I also suspect he was half serious.
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As someone who led the company that transported 550 metric tons of yellowcake uranium-enough to make fourteen Hiroshima-size bombs-from Saddam’s nuclear complex in the Iraq War’s notorious “Triangle of Death” for air shipment out of the country, I know Baathist Iraq’s WMD potential existed. In early 2008, we secretly moved over several nights 140 truckloads carrying 5500 barrels of extremely heavy radioactive material provided to Iraq as part of the French-supplied Osiraq reactor destroyed by Israeli fighter bombers in 1981. The virulently anti-Semitic Saddam had announced “here begins the Arab bomb” and the Israelis took him at his word.