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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Frank Bruni, "The Exploitation of Paris": In Fact, Obama Is to Blame

In fact, it was a disaster waiting to happen. And yes, Obama is to blame.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Exploitation of Paris," Frank Bruni objects to responding to the massacre in Paris "with an unsavory opportunism instead of a respectful grief." Specifically, Bruni writes:

"Well, apparently President Obama’s justly profound concern about rising temperatures is proof of his inadequate attention to terrorism and an indictment of his ability to do triage overall.

Or so I gather from a column written by Roger L. Simon for PJ Media. Simon characterized Obama as "a ludicrous man who thinks the world’s greatest problem is climate change in the face of Islamic terror."

Does battling the latter prohibit battling the former?

Simon also mentioned that Obama had once referred to the Islamic state as 'the jayvee team' and had sought to scale down American military commitments abroad. While I question the usefulness of bashing Obama within 24 hours of the Paris attacks, I acknowledge that his past and present assessments of the Islamic state and his readiness (or not) to use American might are fair points of debate in the context of Paris and how we respond to it."

Actually, Obama's responsibility for the catastrophe in Paris extends far beyond the president's neo-isolationism.

As some who read this blog know, a "bit" of my past professional life involved counter-terrorism. And although I was troubled by Obama's reference to the Islamic State as "the jayvee team," this characterization was the least of my concerns.

A coordinated terrorist attack of the kind witnessed in Paris demands money. And from where has funding in support of the Islamic State come? Currently, revenues from the sale of oil and gas are crucial to the functioning of the Islamic State. However, long before there were oil revenues, there were contributions flowing to the Islamic State from wealthy citizens of Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. As Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen declared in 2014:

"Our ally Kuwait has become the epicenter of fundraising for terrorist groups in Syria. A number of Kuwaiti fundraisers exploit the charitable impulses of unwitting donors by soliciting humanitarian donations from both inside and outside the country, cloaking their efforts in humanitarian garb, but diverting those funds to extremist groups in Syria. Meanwhile, donors who already harbor sympathies for Syrian extremists have found in Kuwait fundraisers who openly advertise their ability to move funds to fighters in Syria.

. . . .

Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally, has for many years openly financed Hamas, a group that continues to undermine regional stability. Press reports indicate that the Qatari government is also supporting extremist groups operating in Syria. To say the least, this threatens to aggravate an already volatile situation in a particularly dangerous and unwelcome manner.

. . . .

Private fundraising networks in Qatar, for instance, increasingly rely upon social media to solicit donations for terrorists and to communicate with both donors and recipient radicals on the battlefield. This method has become so lucrative, and Qatar has become such a permissive terrorist financing environment, that several major Qatar-based fundraisers act as local representatives for larger terrorist fundraising networks that are based in Kuwait."

What have Obama and friends done to prevent this funding? Obviously not enough. After all, some 11,000 US troops are stationed at the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which Michelle Obama visited less than two weeks ago, and the president wouldn't want to offend the host country, even as it plays both sides of the fence.

Hillary Clinton? As reported in an International Business Times article entitled "Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary Clinton's State Department" by David Sirota and Andrew Perez, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have "all donated to the Clinton Foundation and also gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons even as the department singled them out for a range of alleged ills, from corruption to restrictions on civil liberties to violent crackdowns against political opponents." Charming.

"Unsavory opportunism instead of a respectful grief" on my part? I don't think so. I'm just angry as hell.

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