Beltway Insider: ISIS Levels Village, Obama Downgrades; Espionage Arrests; Putin/Kerry Meet; Gay Rights Vote

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President Obama announced this week Secretary of State John Kerry engaged in candid conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his recent meeting and the two nations remain divided over central issues that contribute to furthering sanctions against the nation.

According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week, increased one percentage point to 49% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President decreased one percentage point to 47%.

ISIS Continues Iraqi Assault

Islamic State of Syria and Iraq, ISIS, has continued its military operations and assault against the Iraqi people gaining new ground and waging war as the United States and global coalition downgrades the situation as significantly dismantled.

President Obama has authorized airstrikes, the only decisive line of engagement in this battle, dismantling key targets within the ISIS organization. He has maintained he will not authorize additional military power. His "no boots on the ground" policy remains his strategy.

With the absence of ground troops the United States is fighting an enemy determined to form its own country, taken from both the Iraqi people and the Syrian government. 

Without the fullness of weapons of war, airstrikes supporting ground troops, the fight is dependent on military assessments like the one sided determinations, supported by the president, absent of even the opinions of senior members of his staff.

State Department Assessment

Senior State Department officials announced one day before White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced the mission in Iraq, with ISIS was in "downgrade phase" the assault on Ramadi which included more than 30 truck bombs within the course of two days, leveling city blocks, with ten of the blasts holding the power equivalent to strength of the Oklahoma City Bombing.

Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel described ISIS "as the most dangerous terrorist organization we've faced." Throughout the ISIS conflict, the beheadings of American citizens and allies, the continued escalation of barbaric tactics, similar to Adolf Hitler and Third Reich, the President has maintained ISIS, while momentarily destructive does not pose a significant threat.

In what appears to be continued and clear discrepancy, to the description, strength, determination and objective of ISIS, the State Department and the White House each spent the week providing information to support what each see as an entirely different situation.

Employing advanced technology, drones or ground reinforcement in the area, provides the ability to gather the intelligence necessary to effectively dismantle ISIS

"Obviously we are limited in our ability to do that because we do not have the kind of ground force in that region of Syria that we can depend on to take the fight to ISIL on the ground in their own country that can be backed by coalition airpower.  So our capacity there is limited.  There's no doubt about that.  But that's why we're engaged in this effort to train more Syrian opposition fighters who can take the fight to ISIL in more regions of that country," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

Ramadi and Palmyra

Ramadi, 68 miles west of Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, has fallen to ISIS. President Obama has stated this was a "setback" and still has announced the final 36 month downgrade phase.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter stated the Iraqi's showed no will to fight against the superior military insurgence.  Although numerous media agencies have quoted him as saying the Iraqi's were neither outnumbered nor superior, the Iraqi's simply failed to put up a fight against the advancing and resolute ISIS.

"This is what a very tenacious adversary looks like.  And that's why the President and his team take so seriously this challenge.  But ultimately, no matter how difficult this challenge is, this is not something that the United States is going to do for the Iraqi government.  And we're certainly not going to do it for the Syrian government.  There's going to be the responsibility of the Iraqi people and the Syrian people to take the fight on the ground, for their country, against ISIL," said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest

The ancient city of Palmyra, Iraq, where irreplaceable ancient artifacts are housed, has also fallen.  Mass death and casualty has been reported as ISIS has rolled over the city destroying artifacts showing no interest in maintaining the heritage or culture of the ancient Iraqi's.

Mass graves have been found to contain more than 400 men, women and children has been slaughter as ISIS continues to roll its death and killing machine toward Baghdad.

Downgrade, Defeat and Politics 2016

The Obama Administration has acknowledged the next stage of the engagement in Iraq is the "downgrade and defeat" phase which will last throughout the remainder of the Obama presidency and into the next presidency.

"The President has indicated that over the course of the next 36 months or so, that essentially this is a 36-month military operation that will be in the degrade phase.  And that's the way the President has described this operation.  He has been candid about the fact that this will be a challenge that the next President will have to confront," said Earnest.

As former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is expected to announce his intent to run for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination, questions regarding foreign policy and what many see as obvious failures from Benghazi, Libya to Iraq and the rise of ISIS, are being asked.

ISIS has often be defined as an offshoot of al-Qaeda, who saw one triumph on September 11, 2001 with the World Trade Center and Pentagon Attacks. ISIS was born from this organization.

Unlike al-Qaeda who brought about the demise of its terror network through an expanded world vision and the attack on American. ISIS has stayed with the borders, although tortured and tormented America with personal singular attacks on its captured citizens and other displays of its depravity, of Iraq after President Obama declared a complete withdrawal of all military troops.

The entire balance of the Middle East is now under siege by an irrational, persuasive, leader who apparently cannot be contained and has the ability to draft or indoctrinate followers from around the world through traditional recruitment and the modernized recruitment tactics on the internet.

Under former President George W. Bush, ISIS did not exists and many political insiders see the complete withdrawal of U.S. military personnel as part of the problem. Members of Congress and former Governor Jeb Bush on the campaign trail has suggested bypassing the President and calling for 10,000 military personal to be deployed to Iraq to assist in dismantling ISIS and reestablishing the Iraqi government.

This White House has remained adamant this strategy does not serves the American people. "What the President believes serves the long-term interest of the United States is building up the capacity of fighters on the ground, inside of Iraq, who are willing to fight for their own country. And we believe that this will require political leadership in Baghdad that governs the diverse country of Iraq in a multi-sectarian fashion," Earnest said.

Continuation of Iraqi National Emergency

Obstacles to the orderly reconstruction of Iraq, the restoration and maintenance of peace and security in the country, and the development of political, administrative, and economic institutions in Iraq "continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.  Accordingly, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency with respect to the stabilization of Iraq," President Obama said.

The United States is not fighting ISIS alone nor will the decision to leave the Iraqi fighters to their own wherewithal, the global coalition is maintaining airstrikes and while the president has made his "no boots on the ground" strategy abundantly clear, Iraqi Military personnel are undergoing training from United State Military personal.

Russian President Putin and Secretary of State John Kerry Meet

President Obama has sent Secretary of State John Kerry to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the first official state meeting since the illegal annexation of Crimea and violation of territorial sovereignty of neighboring Ukraine.

The two men met in Sochi, the resort village near the Black Sea where the 2014 Winter Olympics were held, as President Obama thought the possibility existed of some movement toward resolution on issues of the Ukraine, ISIS and the Iran Nuclear deal.

The White House has remained silent on any progress in talks with Russia to scale back its position in Ukraine or other sensitive issues. Although Secretary of State Kerry has indicted the meeting went "well" and was "surprised he [Putin] agreed to meet."

Chinese Arrested, White House Visit Planned

Six Chinese nationals were arrested this week accused of selling trade secrets for the purpose of providing Beijing with an advantageous position in the cellular phone industry by providing advanced technology plans to the government

The six living in China, including college professors, were under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for several years. Accused of Economic Espionage are Tianjin University professor Hao Zhang who was arrested as he entered the United States. The other five are still in China.

The separate action has sparked an international crisis with the Chinese Prime Minister Wang Yi, calling on the United States government to proceed with caution as he has expressed concern over one of the arrested.

Separately, the Obama White House will host a Chinese delegation of government officials in a state department visit later in 2015. With the arrests bringing the advanced economics and competing technologies into full view the precarious relationship between the two countries becomes more fragile.

As China also mines the majority of the world's rare earth elements, necessary for every device, handheld, mobile, flat screen, defense weapons systems, hybrids, and in the manufacturing of every green technology, the arrests could eventually fade to black.

Assassination of Two NYPD Officers Spurs Blue Alert Act

President Obama signed legislation this week to enact the Blue Alert Act, in memory of two New York Police Department officers who were assassinated in their marked vehicle just days before Christmas 2014.

The two officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were patrolling a housing project in Brooklyn when the shooter approached the vehicle and at point blank range shot the two officers. It was later learned he travelled from Baltimore, Maryland where he was also involved in an assault to New York City with the intent on killing police officers.

The Blue Alert System, similar to an Amber Alert, will "initiate a Blue Alert System so that when we know there is an active threat against law enforcement," the president said during the signing of the legislation.

Irish Gay Rights Vote

In a historic and dramatic pronouncement against the Catholic Church, Irish voters have overwhelming voted to allow members of the same sex to marry.

What has been called a "landslide," "lopsided," "an overwhelming victory," "a stunning upset" newspapers are calling on the Catholic Church to redefine its position in the wake of such a positive response to human rights.

The Emerald Isle is the newest nation to allow Gays and Lesbians the same rights to marry legally. Homosexuality and same sex practices are still outlawed in Russia and other nations with some facing barbaric and violent deaths.

The Federal Constitution of the United States defines marriage as between one man and one woman. The inclusion of same sex is provisional up to the individual state constitution to determine either through governmental enactment or voter referendum. Many states have enacted same sex rights and many oppose. The voters of Ireland have through voter referendum approved.

For more information on President Barack Obama: www.whitehouse.gov

Sources: Whitehouse.org, Wikipedia.com

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