The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

No Coincidence

In Hollywood, the fictional, hardened detective, or spy, or soldier sees a sequence of events that he knows is going to go bad (if it hasn't gone bad already) and engages a superior:
Hardened: I don't like this. It's all connected, there's more to it that you think.

Superior: I know what it looks like, but it's just a coincidence, nothing more.

Hardened: I don't believe it coincidences.
That phrase, I don't believe it coincidences, has appeared hundreds of times in movies, books, and TV. Michael Goodwin thinks it might be worth using when we consider the Russian-Iranian takeover of Syria. He writes:
Imagine Obama trying to sell the Iran deal now. With Russia, Iran and Iraq working together to muscle the United States aside and defend Bashar al-Assad, the president couldn’t possibly argue that the nuke deal would help stabilize the Middle East. Nor could he argue that Russia could be trusted to help enforce ­restrictions on Iran.

The strong likelihood that Obama would have lost the Iran vote if Congress knew then what the world knows now suggests the possibility the president concealed the Russian plan until the Iran deal was done. That view fits with his single-minded determination to get a deal at any price, including making key concessions and downplaying Iranian threats to Israel and the United States.
Obama supporters would relegate Goodwin's comments to tin-foil-hat territory, but consider them for just a moment.

Is our intelligence so weak that indications of the Russian-Iranian move were unknown to the president. If that's the case, the entire CIA/DIA/NSA should be dissolved. There is no way that Russia/Iran did this on the spur of the moment—logistics are required, supplies must land on the ground, agreements must be established.

Obama didn't have a clue about any of this BEFORE the vote of the Iran "deal"? That's very, very hard to believe.

Goodwin drives home the point:
... the Russian plan took shape well before late September. The Iran deal was officially finalized on July 14, and Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani met with Putin in Russia on July 24. Fox News, which first reported the meeting, even had the flight numbers of Soleimani’s Iran Air flights between Moscow and Tehran.
Soleimani, banned from international travel because of links to terrorism, earlier had been spotted in Iraq, helping to defend Assad against Islamic State. Yet five days after Soleimani was in Moscow, Secretary of State John Kerry told the Senate the travel restrictions against Soleimani would never be lifted. Apparently, they would never be enforced, either.

Although Russia and Iran had separately supported Assad, Kerry never mentioned that they could be working together militarily. Yet the Institute for the Study of War, a respected think tank, reported that “available satellite imagery and open sources” showed that “the new buildup of Russian military forces in Syria began in July 2015 and accelerated considerably in late August and September.” That means the buildup began near the Soleimani visit to Putin.
So here are the possibilities:
  1. Our intelligence services missed all of this. Obama was clueless.
  2. Our intelligence services had hazy evidence that a plan for invading Syria was in the works, provided equivocal guidance which Obama chose to view as unpersuasive.
  3. Our intelligence services knew about this in detail, provided a high degree of confidence that the information was accurate, but Obama chose to disregard it so that his Iran deal would pass unimpeded.
No matter which possibility is the right one, the president looks either uninformed, uncaring and sloppy, or untruthful.

And that's no coincidence.