America’s Rivals Make Hay amid US Election Mayhem

In Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, Pyongyang, Damascus and Raqqa, hard eyes are fixed on the election mayhem gripping Washington. Their strategists are girding up for dealing with the next occupant of the White House in Washington, whether it is the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who seems to offer more of the same after Barack Obama, or her rival Donald Trump, who is a political tyro and unpredictable.
The ado surrounding Clinton’s ailments and unstable health is symptomatic of her penchant for a screen of falsehoods to cover weakness, whereas Trump would obviously need an interim period to overcome his inexperience in foreign affairs and prepare for his debut on the world stage.
Either presidency presages a period of uncertainty, which would come inopportunely on the heels of Obama’s laxity and America’s resulting fallback from one world stage after another.
The diplomatic snubs the incumbent suffered at the last G20 summit and on his last Asian tour were compounded by the defiance, belligerency and subversion directed against the United States during the Obama presidency. These affronts peaked in September with the North Korea’s nuclear test timed for the G20 summit; the Philippine ruler’s demand, later withdrawn, to remove US bases; Russia’s joint maneuvers with China on the South China Sea and simultaneous air and sea exercise on the Black Sea; Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ harassment of US Air Force jets and Navy battleships in international skies and waters; and Britain’s exit from the European Union in defiance of Obama’s threat to pull the plug on trade – to name just a few.
But the most mortifying cuts occurred in the Syrian arena. After first collaborating with the US President, Vladimir Putin is now going full tilt with Russian operations for bolstering Bashar Assad, in preference to battling the Islamic State in Syria – in a flat inversion of his private deal with Obama.
And Turkish President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan, after his deal with Putin, brazenly challenged the US and NATO by locking down the US air base at Incerlik and viciously attacking Syrian Kurds and other US-backed rebel groups in Syria. He therefore robbed America of the foot soldiers detailed for driving the ISIS out of its bases in Raqqa and Mosul.
Erdogan is also manipulating the refugee crisis for holding Europe to siege, while giving ISIS succor for its export of terrorism. The pervasive sense of insecurity stirred by jihadist terror and the out-of-control tide of refugees is rocking Europe’s traditional political establishments on their bases.
According to DEBKA Weekly, the refugee figure climbed in September to an estimated 20,000 per day.
The Islamic State is gaining thereby an expanding manpower pool for terrorist attacks, as well as lavish cash profits from desperate migrants, ready to pay their last cent for the most hazardous transportation to reach safe haven in Europe.
A foretaste of ISIS’s next plans for long-suffering France surfaced in the form of three women, who were charged before anti-terrorism judges Monday, Sept. 12 with a terrorist conspiracy on behalf of the Islamic State in association with a French ISIS recruiter. They were detained on Sept. 4, after failing to detonate a car loaded with gas canisters at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris and accused of planning other attacks, including striking a Paris train station and targeting police.
And on Tuesday Sept 13, German special police arrested three Syrian refugees for suspected ISIS membership and links to November’s deadly terror attacks in Paris. They were smuggled into Europe through Turkey and Greece by the same organization that brought the bombers to Paris. Their papers were also forged by the same hand.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls reported this week that the terror threat was at a "maximum" and that the authorities were foiling attacks and smashing jihadist networks "every day.” As many as 15,000 people were considered by French authorities as radicals, who posed a potential threat, he said.
Clearly, the Islamic State is building up to show the West that its capacity for violence is unimpaired by the liquidation of its terror master Mohammed Al-Adnani by a US hit outside Aleppo in the second half of August.
American counter-terror experts don’t pull their punches on the next stage of Islamist terror awaiting the United States whether Clinton or Trump is the next president.
The terrorist threat facing the US and its European allies is “bigger, wider and deeper” than at any point since the Sept. 11 attacks 15 years ago, the White House’s top counterterrorism official Nick Rasmussen said in a grim review of global threats Wednesday, Sept. 14. It was also “considerably less predictable than the danger posed by al Qaeda,” he said.
And CIA director John Brennan warned that US-led coalition efforts to shrink the territory the Islamic State holds in Iraq and Syria have done nothing to address the jihadi group’s growing influence in the region, which is expected to remain present for the foreseeable future.

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