Joe Biden is making his latest round of apologies for that rarest of gaffes, especially coming from him: the truth. Biden’s crime was stating that ISIS had been empowered by the backing of Sunni states, including Turkey and the UAE, for the Syrian opposition.
“They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad — except that the people who were being supplied were al Nusra and al Qaeda,” Biden said.
Biden, who insulted plenty of people over the years, has been forced to apologize, making private phone calls to the Islamist thug ruling Turkey and to a UAE prince. It’s a humiliating performance for a man who is only a heartbeat away from becoming the President of the United States to be forced to apologize to some tinpot despots for telling the truth about them.
When Biden decided to throw a temper tantrum in Israel, it was the Israelis who were forced to apologize to him. Biden recently boasted of insulting Putin to his face (though it probably never actually happened) without being forced to make any apologetic phone calls to Moscow. It’s telling that only Muslim countries appear to be able to compel apologies from the Vice President of the United States.
But the one time that Biden did apologize for something he said was also the one time that he should not have apologized because it was the one time that he was telling the truth.
Biden didn’t tell the whole truth. He left out any mention of Qatar and the blank check its weapons smuggling had received from his administration. He also neglected to mention that the roots of the Syrian Civil War had come out of Obama’s Libyan War and the Arab Spring. Still there’s only so much truth that you can expect from a top Democrat who also happens to be a notoriously compulsive liar.
Truth may be the rarest quality in this conflict.
Obama has been mostly blamed for what he didn’t do, arm the rebels, keep troops in Iraq or maintain ties with the Sunni tribes, than for the things that he did do. Neglect is a safer charge than malfeasance. It leaves open the door for Hillary Clinton to run on some variant of her more aggressive foreign policy so that she can finally take her 3 AM phone call from the Syrian terrorists and send them lots of guns.
Biden’s story that his administration refused to arm the Syrian rebels and pleaded with the Sunni states not to arm them is one of those widely circulated half-truths. In fact Obama and his people chose to maintain plausible deniability in both Libya and Syria, attempting to direct arms without getting their fingerprints all over the merchandise, going so far as to ask the UAE to smuggle non-American weapons.
The New York Times, the outlet of choice for officially unofficial administration leaks, quoted a former official as saying, “The U.A.E. was asking for clearance to send U.S. weapons. We told them it’s O.K. to ship other weapons.”
That’s what plausible deniability looks like.
Obama did arm the Islamic militias in Libya and Syria; he just chose to do it more indirectly than directly. Only recently has the work become more direct, but even so it’s still shrouded in misleading leaks, sneakers on the ground and plausible deniability. The smuggling began in Libya and culminated in Syria.
The Sunni states did the actual dirty work of smuggling in weapons in Libya while Obama ordered the military to turn a blind eye to what was going on. Again, quoting from the same story, “NATO air and sea forces around Libya had to be alerted not to interdict the cargo planes and freighters transporting the arms into Libya from Qatar and the emirates.”
The unofficially official story is that the UAE and Qatar were going to ship the weapons anyway and we got involved to see that they didn’t fall into the hands of “extremists.” They kept falling into the hands of the “extremists” anyway and we just threw up our hands and accepted that we couldn’t do anything about it, but let the smuggling continue. Another name for that short play is good cop-bad cop.
The Turkish, Emirati and Qatari bad cops smuggled the weapons while Obama wrung his hands and complained that his Sunni Muslim partners were crazy and he just couldn’t stop them.
In this “best case scenario” story, Obama was a hapless puppet of Qatar, Turkey and the UAE. In the worst case scenario, he was an equal partner. It’s telling that Biden and the New York Times are both sticking with the “hapless puppet” version of the narrative. It makes Obama look incompetent, but the“born-again idiot” routine is becoming an acceptable fallback scenario for the party and the movement.
And it conveniently differentiates Biden from Hillary who has committed to arming the rebels after initially opposing it in interviews while she was still employed by the administration.
Biden’s apologies to Qatar and Turkey are a reminder of who calls the shots on foreign policy and it isn’t the military-industrial complex, the Israel Lobby or the Freemasons. It’s a bunch of desert bandits with oil and a ton of Washington insiders on their payroll. But there’s also a lot more to it than that.
If we accept the version of history put out by Biden and the New York Times, Obama Inc. knew that there were no democracy-loving “moderates” in Syria to arm. And indeed we do have quotes and leaks to support that. But despite that Obama chose to make no moves against Al Qaeda leaders in Iraq and Syria. Instead he went on working with a Syrian opposition that he knew had no credibility.
That scenario doesn’t hold up too well. If Obama knew that the Syrian rebels were too dangerous to arm, then why work with them at all and why eventually arm them?
The Arab Spring and ISIS are both examples of blowback to the joint projects of Obama, Qatar and Turkey. The Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS proved to be dangerous tools for ensuring Sunni supremacy. Everyone except Qatar and Turkey has abandoned the Muslim Brotherhood. And ISIS is even threatening Turkey and Qatar. Like Carter’s botched policy in Iran, a liberal Islamization project has gone up in flames and the man to blame has managed to make it seem as if the problem was what he didn’t do, rather than what he did. Obama has managed to pull off a Carter.
Neither Carter nor Obama wanted the disastrous outcomes that they got, but they did want to set up Islamist states as part of their foreign policy. They just weren’t counting on things getting so messy.
Biden is complaining about the UAE and Turkey seeking out a Sunni-Shiite proxy war in Syria. But that’s only because he’s an idiot. The Arab Spring was meant to empower Sunni Islamists. What did he and his boss imagine that Sunni Islamists would do with their free time, aside from killing Christians and attacking American diplomatic missions? And who else did he think would end up on top of the pile?
Biden can blame Turkey and the UAE for the outcome, but it was always going to end this way. ISIS is Obamas’ mess. The Egyptian military and the Saudis cleaned up the mess in Egypt. Now the Saudis, the UAE and Obama are belatedly trying to put the ISIS genie back in the bottle in Iraq and Syria.
Obama would settle for being criticized for not intervening aggressively enough, but the real problem was his original aggressive intervention. His foreign policy overthrew governments and armed terrorists while maintaining plausible deniability.
Now he hopes that no one notices that he’s bombing the end results of his own foreign policy.