What Did the President Know, and When Did He Know It?

Michael Goodwin of the New York Post points out that the Obama administration must have hidden Russian movements from Congress in order to maintain support for its Iran deal.

The shock-and-awe attacks launched last week are rattling the world as Russian airstrikes pound Syrian rebels, including some we support, with Iraq and Iran providing boots on the ground. But it’s not possible that nobody in Washington saw this coming…. the Russian plan took shape well before late September.

The Iran deal was officially finalized on July 14, and Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani met with Putin in Russia on July 24. Fox News, which first reported the meeting, even had the flight numbers of Soleimani’s Iran Air flights between Moscow and Tehran….

[T]he Institute for the Study of War, a respected think tank, reported that “available satellite imagery and open sources” showed that “the new buildup of Russian military forces in Syria began in July 2015 and accelerated considerably in late August and September.” That means the buildup began near the Soleimani visit to Putin.

The institute offered key details, including that in late August, a Russian ship unloaded armored personnel carriers. It cited another report from Syrian rebels that Russian-speaking soldiers were engaged in combat against Assad’s opponents.

Yet in early September, less than two weeks before the final Iran vote, Kerry still wondered whether the buildup reports were “accurate.”

IranTruth reported on Suleimani’s trip to Moscow at the time.  We suggested that the only reason for a trip by Suleimani would be to coordinate Iran’s unconventional warfare plans with Russia.  The Russian military moves are providing an air force to Iranian-led ground forces.  Reportedly, Iran has been emboldened by this Russian intervention on its side of the civil war to commit regular ground forces to the conflict as well.  These will also be placed under the command of Suleimani, who has regular force experience from his early career in the Iran-Iraq war.

Yet far from painting the danger for Congress, the administration chose to use its resources to rebroadcast Iranian propaganda on Suleimani.  Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty uncritically rebroadcast an Iranian “interview” that painted Suleimani as a loving father and husband, a generous patron of orphans, and a man of piety and the deepest respect of his community.  RFE/RL went on to run an article on President Rouhani’s statements that “Death to America” was simply a metaphor.  At the hour when Iranian and Russian forces were mustering to steal a march on the United States, the President and Secretary of State turned America’s propaganda outlets to the services of these hostile regimes.

Indeed, on the same day as the Senate filibuster against taking a vote on the Iran deal, Iran declared that US military bases in the region were within range of its ballistic missiles.  Rather than bringing these alarming statements to the attention of the legislature, the President and his administration were actively working to encourage the filibuster.  Instead of doing his duty to accurately inform the public debate by a co-equal branch of government, the President was committed to avoiding a debate at all costs.

As the Russian forces obliterate American-trained forces on the ground, the humiliation of the United States on the world stage is complete. Defense officials admit that they will do nothing to stop the Russian airstrikes on forces the US had pledged to support.  Should any of those forces survive, they can at least listen to American propaganda broadcasts praising members of the Iranian regime.