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State Department Tag

Now that the White House has concluded its summit on violent extremism, the State Department is soliciting the public for ideas on how to combat extremism. Via The Right Scoop: This is what national security looks like when a community organizer is in charge.

Over the past few weeks, we've covered the devolution of the strategically important state of Yemen. Iranian-backed Houthi rebels evolved from regional threat to occupying force, taking control of the capital city of Sana'a as well as oil-rich lands well outside their original territory in the northern part of Yemen. Soon after the Houthi made moves to control key areas of Sana'a and usurp the U.S.-backed government, State Department officials began to make plans to evacuate embassy and other official staff. The eventual evacuation drew the attention of the world as eventually-debunked reports of Marines being disarmed surfaced, and now, new information has come available that suggests that the State Department's best laid plans for a safe evacuation weren't just foiled---they were non-existent. Unclassified e-mails reviewed by Fox News suggest that officials bypassed security measures intended to protect sensitive data in their scramble to formulate an evacuation plan. These measures were skipped with the permission of higher ups in Washington, and as a result, e-mails and day-to-day operations were left exposed for three days. From Fox News:
But one email reviewed by Fox News showed genuine concern -- even panic -- in Washington, that an unclassified system exposing emails and day-to-day operations was left up and running at the embassy in Sanaa. "We need to quickly think about the plan for destroying/sanitizing the OpenNet data that is still in Sanaa," the email from a supervisor said. "I am a little worried it is still out there."

On Monday, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf insisted that the only way we'll be able to defeat ISIS is by ensuring the terrorists have jobs and opportunities---a statement that would be hilarious if it were on SNL and not an actual thing that Administration officials believe in real life. Contrary to civilization upon civilization's worth of wisdom, Harf also said, "we cannot win this war by killing" ISIS. The internet, having seen the idiocy in action, responded accordingly. Ms. Harf responded by grabbing the biggest shovel she could find and dug with the fury of 1,000 waffling diplomats. She went so far as to quote... George W. Bush? First, she blasted a link that touts the UN sanctions against ISIL---and we all know how effective sanctions are... Right, Iran? Then, she tweeted where she lifted her talking points; a CNN article from 2008.

State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf is at it again. Last night, Harf sat down with Chris Matthews who had several straightforward questions about how the U.S. plans to deal with ISIS. It was one of those wonderful moments where Matthews was absolutely right. "How do we stop this? ... If I were ISIS, I wouldn't be afraid right now... nothing we're doing right now seems to be directed at stopping this [ISIS]." Matthews said. Harf: Well, I think there's a few stages here. Right now what we're is trying to take their leaders and their fighters off the battlefield in Iraq and in Syria; that's really where they flourish. Matthews: Are we killing enough of them? Harf: We're killing a lot of them and we're going to keep killing more of them. So are the Egyptians, so are the Jordanians. They're in this fight with us. But we cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war. 'So how do we defeat ISIS' you might be wondering? Don't worry, the State Department is like, totally on top of this: Harf: We need, in the medium and longer term, to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups. Fair enough. Cut out the root; kill the plant. But, somehow I don't think this is exactly the root we're looking for... Harf: Whether it's lack of opportunity for jobs... JOBS. WE'RE GOING TO DEFEAT ISIS BY ENSURING THEY HAVE JOBS, YOU GUYS. And to ensure ISIS remains occupied enough to forget their sacred past time of lopping off heads, we must provide unrestricted access to basic human rights like free heath care, and wifi. Probably, anyway. Because at this point, why not?

Yesterday, State Department officials in Yemen were preparing for the possibility of evacuation. Houthi rebels had laid siege to the presidential palace, and later held President Hadi captive in his own home. The United States Embassy was fired upon, and the Navy was on alert. Earlier today, however, the Houthi reached a compromise with the U.S.-backed leadership that would give the rebel group more of a say in government, bringing an end to the immediate violence. (It is unclear whether or not Hadi remains a prisoner in his own home.) Via the AP:
SABA [news agency] said the agreement included a clause that would answer the rebels' demands to amend the constitution and expand their representation in the parliament and in state institutions. It also included promises to ensure better representation for Yemen's southerners as well, the deal said. The agreement also calls on Hadi to shake up a commission tasked with writing a draft constitution to ensure bigger representation for the Houthis. The draft constitution has proposed a federation of six regions, something the Houthis reject. The agreement reached Wednesday night also ensures that Yemen would be a federal state, but doesn't mention the six region proposal, saying controversial issues will be further discussed. The agreement, while addressing the immediate Houthi takeover and security concerns in the capital, leaves the contentious political issues unresolved.
The Houthi reign of terror began last year, when the Iran-backed rebels took partial control of the capital city of Sana'a, and attempted to block the the President from taking power.

Sometimes, more can be learned from what a world leader fails to say. One of the topics President Obama failed to cover in his State of the Union address is the situation in Yemen, a country that has descended so far into chaos that two U.S. Navy warships now stand ready to evacuate Americans from the Embassy. Just prior to the President's speech, California Senator Dianne Feinstein urged that the embassy be closed immediately and the personnel evacuated.
The U.S. government should immediately close and evacuate the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a, Yemen, according to Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic vice-chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. I asked her today whether the embassy, which remains open despite raging violence throughout the Yemeni capital, should be closed. She responded: “Based on what I know so far, yes.” “I’m very concerned about our embassy there, who is still there, who isn’t still there, and what the plans are,” Feinstein added.
Contrast this to what the President said of Yemen just last September:

Following the terror attacks in Paris by Islamic radicals, the Obama administration is preparing for a summit on "extremism" which is leaving many people wondering one thing. Who are they talking about? Byron Tau of the Wall Street Journal:
White House to Convene Summit on Violent Extremism The White House will convene a summit next month on ways the U.S. and other governments can counter violent extremism and domestic radicalization, the Obama administration said Sunday. The Feb. 18 event will highlight efforts at home and abroad aimed at stopping extremists from “radicalizing, recruiting, or inspiring individuals,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a written statement.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf appeared on the Megyn Kelly show last night and was asked by guest host Martha MacCallum to name the extremists. Like everyone else in the White House, she had a hard time putting it into words.

The Islamic State, otherwise known as "ISIS" or "ISIL," made a name for itself earlier this summer via graphic videos showing the beheadings of American hostages Steven Sotloff and James Foley. The atmosphere of terror created by ISIS in northern Iraq and Syria has helped the group draw in millions of dollars in ransom money, and motivated world leaders to work together to develop the growing terror threat in the Middle East. Part of the United States' strategy to fight ISIS is happening online in the form of propaganda videos targeted at Americans who are considering defecting to the Middle East to fight with the Islamic State. The first hit, “Welcome to ISIL-Land," features a series of graphic smash cuts highlighting the torture, beheadings, and mass violence that has defined the group's presence in the American media. WARNING: It's graphic.
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