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Beltway Insider: Obama on ISIS; Iran Deal; Greece; Vietnam; Cyber Security; The Stones Exhibition

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President Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President François Hollande of France have remained committed to offering sound suggestions to assist Greece reached a conclusion that allows the beleaguered nation to remain in the Eurozone and manage its debt.

According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week, remained at 45% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President decreased one percentage point to 49%.

Obama Issues Brief on ISIS Campaign

President Obama recently briefed reporters on the state of the coalition efforts fight against ISIS reiterating the definitive goal of deconstructing, rooting out every hidden element and ultimately destroying the terrorist organization.

"Our mission to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group ISIL.  This is a cause, a coalition, that's united countries across the globe, some 60 nations, including Arab partners.  Our comprehensive strategy against ISIL is harnessing all elements of American power, across our government, military, intelligence, diplomatic, economic, development and perhaps most importantly, the power of our values," the President said.

The Islamic State of Syria and Iraq, ISIS/ISIL, in this last year, announced Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as Caliphate. This simple declaration places the former number two Al-Qaeda terrorist leader as a direct descendent of the Prophet Muhammad, creating a global loyalty to his directives, pursuits and instruction.

Obama, in a mid-year State of the Union feel speech, brought military and guests to the press briefing held at the Pentagon that began on the high notes of United States successes against the determined, insidious, evil regime.

While Obama announced the various land losses suffered by the terrorist organization, he failed to mention the deep losses in human life also suffered by rouge terror cells dedicated and trained by ISIS loyalists in France, in Texas, homegrown recruitment and allegiances built on internet indoctrination.

He was also the first to admit ISIS/ISIL is a formidable opponent and one the United States and its coalition is determined to destroy. The President also reiterated the boundaries of the United States campaign in assisting Iraq defend itself against internal and civil uprisings and external attacks.

"I want to start by repeating what I've said since the beginning.  This will not be quick.  This is a long-term campaign.  ISIL is opportunistic and it is nimble.  In many places in Syria and Iraq, including urban areas, it's dug in among innocent civilian populations.  It will take time to root them out -- and doing so must be the job of local forces on the ground, with training and air support from our coalition," the President said.

As airstrikes, and military training are the extent to which the United States military will be involved, the President and White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, each announced more than 5,100 airstrikes targeting extremist headquarters, hideouts, facilities and included nearly 2,000 in neighboring Syria.

"This is, understandably, the most conspicuous aspect of our strategy, and it's an important one that's being carried out day in and day out by our skilled military professionals.  Now, there is a less conspicuous, but similarly important element of our strategy that we've previously discussed in this room, and that is preventing ISIL from funding the violence that has destabilized an entire region," said White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest.

As the degrade and obliterate ISIS campaign developed additional aspects including the financial and sectorial sanctions used recently in the isolation of Russia for the violations of territorial sovereignty were introduced.

"ISIL's strategic weaknesses are real.  ISIL is surrounded by countries and communities committed to its destruction.  It has no air force; our coalition owns the skies.  ISIL is backed by no nation.  It relies on fear, sometimes executing its own disillusioned fighters.  Its unrestrained brutality often alienates those under its rule, creating new enemies.  In short, ISIL's recent losses in both Syria and Iraq prove that ISIL can and will be defeated," the President said.

Syria, ISIS and Obama's Revenge

President Basher Al-Assad, the Syrian dictatorial leader, already an outcast, has long supported ISIS/ISIL offering the terror group safe haven, training camps, funding and military support.

Embroiled in five year civil war, the freedom fighters who are supported and funded by the United States and now, as ISIS/ISIL strategy moves into Phase II, will see continued relief as the airstrikes dismantle ISIS/ISIL and Syrian strongholds.

This effort should assist the Freedom Fighters and also bring about the President's ultimate plan of ousting al-Assad and setting up a functional working democratic interim government.

The coalition supported plan of deposing the tyrannical leader has grown and solidified since the use of chemical weapons against his own citizens on August 2013 in a suburb of Damascus, in direct violation of the Geneva Convention.

U.S. Provides Military Supplies

The United States is accelerating two aspects of his assistance to Iraq: training of Iraqi soldiers and new recruits which will advance the ground war effort and supplies to the inadequately prepared Iraqi military.

"The fall of Ramadi has galvanized the Iraqi government.  So, we're speeding up training of ISIL [Iraqi] forces, including volunteers from Sunni tribes in Anbar Province.  We continue to accelerate the delivery of critical equipment, including anti-tank weapons, to Iraqi security forces. And we will do more to train and equip the moderate opposition fighters in Syria," the President said.

The Casualty of War

There is casualty in every war and the fight with ISIS/ISIL is no different and not without deep and permanent scars. Cities, town, ancient artifacts destroyed. The loss of life, on the ground and abroad, the innocence of children, the lasting trauma on families and friends of those murdered. The infrastructure of Iraq, the lives most will never see, never met, the fear of a regime so insidious, evil beyond comprehension, that hiding and possibly starving death to the preferred choice.

Iran Nuke Deal Passes Deadline

The imposed July 7, 2015 deadline passed this week with negotiators in Vienna drilling past the rhetoric and hammering out what will be a long standing and potentially promising deal that will remove all nuclear weapons and the ability to manufacture nuclear weapons from the sanction strapped nation.

John Kerry, Secretary of State, has remained in Vienna with Senior Administration officials working with Iranian officials to keep the deal alive.

"Obviously, Secretary Kerry, Secretary Moniz, their counterparts from the P5+1 countries and obviously their Iranian counterparts are in Vienna right now working through many of these issues.  We've been very clear about what will be necessary in order to complete a final agreement, and that is to come to an agreement that reflects the political agreement that was reached the first week in April," Earnest said.

All reports indicate an announcement will be made Monday, July 13, 2015, EST regarding the next phase of the deal which will loosen the tight financial sanctions imposed for more than a decade.

Greece Financial Crisis

The people of Greece overwhelmingly spoke and voted down the referendum that would have allowed the government to accept or borrow additional funding to meet the current financial crunch and place strict criteria on repayment.

The austerity situation has not magically evaporated, and the subsequent meeting by the Eurozone of which Greece is a member, was not able to reach a definitive response to the vote of expulsion.

President Obama in a series of telephone calls spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Hollande of France in regards to the Eurozone meetings all agreed the "it is everyone's interest to reach a durable agreement that will allow Greece to resume reforms, return to growth and achieve debt sustainability with the Eurozone."

President Obama additionally spoke with the Prime Minister Tsipras of Greece to which the president indicated it was in "everyone's interest Greece reach a mutually acceptable agreement."

As the financial crisis does not directly affect the United States financial markets or economy, the nation's directly involved in the governance of Greece, those in the Eurozone are responsible for the future direction of the finically strapped Mediterranean nation.

"The leaders of Europe, of the European nations who are in the Eurozone have indicated that they would like for Greece to remain part of the Eurozone, but doing so, achieving that goal will require a package of financing and reforms that will put Greece back on the path of economic growth and debt sustainability," said White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest.

Obama Meets Communist Party Leader of Vietnam

President Obama, in an historic meeting, met this week with the Communist Party leader, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong of Vietnam. The two authorities agreed on a joint vision that included an alignment of goals and priorities designed to create a more sustainable effort and union of the two nations.

A released statement expanded the diplomatic relationships covering the past twenty years to include a deepening and lasting diplomatic relationship covering the traditional tiered structures of recognized trade agreements, human rights issues and freedoms, economic issues.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership and its high standards for development and participation also were discussed and both agreed Vietnam would continue its diligent effort so to be an active member of the TPP.

Additionally, the two nations agreed to lessen the economic burdens of its citizens through the elimination of double taxation. Granting Fulbright University a license to operate in country was also agreed upon.

Cyber Security Takes Priority

Cyber Security, a growing global concern, took top priority this week as President Obama continued his mid-year State of the Union brief, explaining the deep and intricate layers under the cyber umbrella within this White House.

The Obama Administration has addressed the domestic and international needs meeting the potential threats with resources designed "to improve our cyber defenses, enhance our response capabilities, and upgrade our incident management tools."

The sophistication of cyber threats and terror is both exhaustive and inclusive of individual targets as well as governmental and infrastructure systems of management like air traffic control, transportation signal disruption, defense system overrides and banking and financial hijacking.

Private sector support, two dozen companies, Tech giants and Silicon Valley experts, also participated with Obama and the Cyber committee to present challenges and solutions to known and unknown threats.

All agreed communications and shared information is key to developing, maintaining and upgrading the growing base of counter cyber terror algorithm or firewalls.

The Treasury Department, Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA), and FBI held workshops focusing on vulnerabilities.  The National Telecommunications and Information Administration expanded their stakeholder model to include cybersecurity in the digital ecosystem.

The Department of Defense (DoD), and Department of Homeland Security will soon open offices in Silicon Valley.

Overall the majority of the initiatives discussed at the Cyber Security Summit will be implemented as government met with real people, tech giants and those with a vested interest in stopping cyber invasion, protecting our systems from data breeches to Identity theft and fraud and hose concerned over actual and real costs of system failures.

The Rolling Stones  – The Gents of Rock and Roll Hosts Exhibitionism

The Rolling Stones, one of the oldest touring bands, at 50, is currently on their Zip Code Tour that began in Los Angeles and is due to close July 15, 2015 in Quebec, Canada. From all reports the current Zip Code tour is selling out as quickly as any of the others.

Mick and the boys, Keith Richards, Ron Woods and Charlie Watts, have long ago reached iconic, but nowhere near retirement, status. The next milestone for the enduring rockers will be their first ever major exhibition at London's prestigious Saatchi Gallery.

Mick Jagger commented, "We've been thinking about it for quite a long time but wanted it to be just right and on a large scale just like planning our touring concert productions. I think right now it's an interesting time to do it."*

Keith Richards commented, "While this is about the Rolling Stones, it's not necessarily just about the members of the band. It's also about all the paraphernalia and technology associated with a band, like as well as the instruments that have passed through our hands over the years, that will make the exhibition really interesting."*

Charlie Watts added, ''It's hard to believe that it's more than fifty years since we began, and it is wonderful to look back to the start and bring everything up to date at this exhibition.''*

Ronnie Wood said, "The scene was great down the King's Road in the 1960s. That was where you went to hang out and watch the fashions go by. So it is appropriate that our EXHIBITIONISM will be housed at the wonderful Saatchi Gallery."*

The first ever Exhibition will take over the entire Saatchi Gallery on London's King Road using nine different rooms, each filled with memorabilia, audio and previously unseen video clips, and will take guests on a timeline tour beginning with the early days of Stones magic traveling with them through the years, the days, times, seasons and events that make this band the living legends of Rock and roll.

From the British beginnings to the invasion and the days with Muscle Shoals along with personal diaries, letters, correspondence and of course all the eye catching album cover artwork.

The comprehensive and immersive experience will allow everyone a glimpse into the life of the greatest touring band who has been described by critics as the world's greatest Rock "n" Roll Band.

Tickets for the show that begins April 5, 2016 and runs through September 4, 2016 can be purchased online or in person at the Saatchi box office.

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

Quotes from Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood courtesy of  http://www.stonesexhibitionism.com/exhibition/

Sources: Whitehouse.gov, Wikipedia.com

 

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