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Monday, September 30, 2013

JG Caesarea Challenge: Obama's Syria Policy and the New York City Opera

Goodness gracious! Yes, you guessed it: Time for yet another JG Caesarea Challenge Round! But are you savvy enough to divine the answer to today's question:

What do Obama's Syria policy and the New York City Opera have in common?

Two . . . one. Pencils down! What happened to "three"? Don't you think you're getting a little too presumptuous. Let's not let our sense of entitlement get the best of us.

And now . . . a drum roll please . . . the answer is . . .

Well, actually the answer takes a little explaining.

In case you didn't notice, Obama's Syria policy has emerged as a complete disaster. Now that Obama has bowed to Putin and agreed to the would-be destruction of Assad's chemical weapons stockpiles without any sanctions if Assad balks on the agreement, many Syrian rebels who were still tied to the so-called "moderate" camp have switched their allegiance to al-Qaeda. As reported in a Washington Post article entitled "Largest Syrian rebel groups form Islamic alliance, in possible blow to U.S. influence" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/largest-syrian-rebel-groups-embrace-islamic-alliance-in-possible-blow-to-us-influence/2013/09/25/f669629e-25f8-11e3-9372-92606241ae9c_story.html) by Liz Sly and Karen DeYoung (my emphasis in red):

"American hopes of winning more influence over Syria’s fractious rebel movement faded Wednesday after 11 of the biggest armed factions repudiated the Western-backed opposition coalition and announced the formation of a new alliance dedicated to creating an Islamic state.

The al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, designated a terrorist organization by the United States, is the lead signatory of the new group, which will further complicate fledgling U.S. efforts to provide lethal aid to 'moderate' rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

. . . .

The new alliance stressed that it was not abandoning [Gen. Salim ] Idriss’s council, only the exiled political opposition coalition, which, it said in a statement, 'does not represent us.'

The creation of the bloc nonetheless leaves Idriss’s council directly responsible for just a handful of small units, calling into question the utility of extending aid to 'moderate' rebels, according to Charles Lister of the London-based defense consultancy IHS Jane’s.

If the development holds, he said, 'it will likely prove the most significant turning point in the evolution of Syria’s anti-government insurgency to date.'

'The scope for Western influence over the Syrian opposition has now been diminished considerably,' he added.

. . . .

The development appeared to take the Obama administration by surprise."

Surprise, surprise, surprise! Nice work, President Obama!

Okay, but what what does any of this have to do with the New York City Opera? Simple. In a CNN article entitled "New York City Opera sings the blues over finances, faces possible bankruptcy" (http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/27/us/opera-possible-bankruptcy/index.html) by Rande Iaboni, we learn that the New York City Opera is facing imminent bankruptcy:

"The New York City Opera needs $7 million in fundraising by Monday or it could be closing its curtains for good.

. . . .

'If we don't raise the ($7 million) by the end of Monday the board is going to begin the process of bankruptcy,' spokesperson Risa Heller told CNN on Friday.

. . . .

The company, dubbed 'The People's Opera' by former NYC Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, was founded on the principle that every New Yorker should be able to afford to go to the opera, Steel said.

Steel explains that in order for the company to break even, it would need to sell every ticket for $600, but instead the starting ticket price is actually $25 to make it more affordable."

Okay, so what does Obama's Syria policy have in common with the New York City Opera? If you answered that they are both bankrupt, you are entitled to partial credit.

However, the correct answer is that in both instances it's over - the fat lady has sung!

And so, better luck next time when the next JG Caesarea Challenge Round again comes your way!

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