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Monday, August 11, 2014

In June 2010, Stratfor published a report on the group (ISIS) that considered its prospects in the wake of the killings of the top leadership. The report stated, “the militant organization’s future for success looks bleak.”

U.S. Actions in Iraq Fueled Rise of a Rebel Baghdadi of ISIS Pushes an Islamist Crusade


By TIM ARANGO and ERIC SCHMITTAUG. 10, 2014

BAGHDAD — When American forces raided a home near Falluja during the turbulent 2004 offensive against the Iraqi Sunni insurgency, they got the hard-core militants they had been looking for. They also picked up an apparent hanger-on, an Iraqi man in his early 30s whom they knew nothing about.

The Americans duly registered his name as they processed him and the others at the Camp Bucca detention center: Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badry.

That once-peripheral figure has become known to the world now as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-appointed caliph of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the architect of its violent campaign to redraw the map of the Middle East.

“He was a street thug when we picked him up in 2004,” said a Pentagon official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. “It’s hard to imagine we could have had a crystal ball then that would tell us he’d become head of ISIS.”


At every turn, Mr. Baghdadi’s rise has been shaped by the United States’ involvement in Iraq — most of the political changes that fueled his fight, or led to his promotion, were born directly from some American action. And now he has forced a new chapter of that intervention, after ISIS’ military successes and brutal massacres of minorities in its advance prompted President Obama to order airstrikes in Iraq.

Mr. Baghdadi has seemed to revel in the fight, promising that ISIS would soon be in “direct confrontation” with the United States.

Still, when he first latched on to Al Qaeda, in the early years of the American occupation, it was not as a fighter, but rather as a religious figure. He has since declared himself caliph of the Islamic world, and pressed a violent campaign to root out religious minorities, like Shiites and Yazidis, that has brought condemnation even from Qaeda leaders.

Despite his reach for global stature, Mr. Baghdadi, in his early 40s, in many ways has remained more mysterious than any of the major jihadi figures who preceded him.

American and Iraqi officials have teams of intelligence analysts and operatives dedicated to stalking him, but have had little success in piecing together the arc of his life. And his recent appearance at a mosque in Mosul to deliver a sermon, a video of which was distributed online, was the first time many of his followers had ever seen him.

Mr. Baghdadi is said to have a doctorate in Islamic studies from a university in Baghdad, and was a mosque preacher in his hometown, Samarra. He also has an attractive pedigree, claiming to trace his ancestry to the Quraysh Tribe of the Prophet Muhammad.

Beyond that, almost every biographical point about Mr. Baghdadi is occluded by some confusion or another.

The Pentagon says that Mr. Baghdadi, after being arrested in Falluja in early 2004, was released that December with a large group of other prisoners deemed low level. But Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi scholar who has researched Mr. Baghdadi’s life, sometimes on behalf of Iraqi intelligence, said that Mr. Baghdadi had spent five years in an American detention facility where, like many ISIS fighters now on the battlefield, he became more radicalized.

Mr. Hashimi said that Mr. Baghdadi had grown up in a poor family in a farming village near Samarra, and that his family was Sufi — a strain of Islam known for its tolerance. He said Mr. Baghdadi had come to Baghdad in the early 1990s, and over time became more radical.

Early in the insurgency, he gravitated toward a new jihadi group led by the flamboyant Jordanian militant operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Though Mr. Zarqawi’s group, Al Qaeda in Iraq, began as a mostly Iraqi insurgent organization, it claimed allegiance to the global Qaeda leadership, and over the years brought in more and more foreign leadership figures.

It is unclear how much prominence Mr. Baghdadi enjoyed under Mr. Zarqawi. Bruce Riedel, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer now at the Brookings Institution, recently wrote that Mr. Baghdadi had spent several years in Afghanistan, working alongside Mr. Zarqawi. But some officials say the American intelligence community does not believe Mr. Baghdadi has ever set foot outside the conflict zones of Iraq and Syria, and that he was never particularly close to Mr. Zarqawi.

The American operation that killed Mr. Zarqawi in 2006 was a huge blow to the organization’s leadership. But it was years later that Mr. Baghdadi got his chance to take the reins.

As the Americans were winding down their war in Iraq, they focused on trying to wipe out Al Qaeda in Iraq’s remaining leadership. In April 2010, a joint operation by Iraqi and American forces made the biggest strike against the group in years, killing its top two figures near Tikrit.

A month later, the group issued a statement announcing new leadership, and Mr. Baghdadi was at the top of the list. The Western intelligence community scrambled for information.

“Any idea who these guys are?” an analyst at Stratfor, a private intelligence company that then worked for the American government in Iraq, wrote in an email that has since been released by WikiLeaks. “These are likely nom de guerres, but are they associated with anyone we know?”

In June 2010, Stratfor published a report on the group that considered its prospects in the wake of the killings of the top leadership. The report stated, “the militant organization’s future for success looks bleak.”

Still, the report said, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq, then an alternative name for Al Qaeda in Iraq, “I.S.I.’s intent to establish an Islamic caliphate in Iraq has not diminished.”

The Sunni tribes of eastern Syria and Iraq’s Anbar and Nineveh Provinces have long had ties that run deeper than national boundaries, and ISIS was built on those relationships. Accordingly, as the group’s fortunes waned in Iraq, it found a new opportunity in the fight against Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria.

As more moderate Syrian rebel groups were beaten down by the Syrian security forces and their allies, ISIS increasingly took control of the fight, in part on the strength of weapons and funding from its operations in Iraq and from jihadist supporters in the Arab world.

That fact has led American lawmakers and political figures, including former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to accuse President Obama of aiding ISIS’ rise in two ways: first by completely withdrawing American troops from Iraq in 2011, then by hesitating to arm more moderate Syrian opposition groups early in that conflict.

“I cannot help but wonder what would have happened if we had committed to empowering the moderate Syrian opposition last year,” Representative Eliot L. Engel, the senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said during a recent hearing on the crisis in Iraq. “Would ISIS have grown as it did?”

But well before then, American actions were critical to Mr. Baghdadi’s rise in more direct ways. He is Iraqi to the core, and his extremist ideology was sharpened and refined in the crucible of the American occupation.

The American invasion presented Mr. Baghdadi and his allies with a ready-made enemy and recruiting draw. And the American ouster of Saddam Hussein, whose brutal dictatorship had kept a lid on extremist Islamist movements, gave Mr. Baghdadi the freedom for his radical views to flourish.

In contrast to Mr. Zarqawi, who increasingly looked outside Iraq for leadership help, Mr. Baghdadi has surrounded himself by a tight clique of former Baath Party military and intelligence officers from the Hussein regime who know how to fight.

Analysts and Iraqi intelligence officers believe that after Mr. Baghdadi took over the organization he appointed a Hussein-era officer, a man known as Hajji Bakr, as his military commander, overseeing operations and a military council that included three other officers of the former regime’s security forces.

Hajji Bakr was believed to have been killed last year in Syria. Analysts believe that he and at least two of the three other men on the military council were held at various times by the Americans at Camp Bucca.

Mr. Baghdadi has been criticized by some in the wider jihadi community for his reliance on former Baathists. But for many others, Mr. Baghdadi’s successes have trumped these critiques.

“He has credibility because he runs half of Iraq and half of Syria,” said Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism researcher at the New American Foundation.

Syria may have been a temporary refuge and proving ground, but Iraq has always been his stronghold and his most important source of financing. Now, it has become the main venue for Mr. Baghdadi’s state-building exercise, as well.

Although the group’s capture of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, appeared to catch the American intelligence community and the Iraqi government by surprise, Mr. Baghdadi’s mafia-like operations in the city had long been crucial to his strategy of establishing the Islamic caliphate.

His group earned an estimated $12 million a month, according to American officials, from extortion schemes in Mosul, which it used to finance operations in Syria. Before June, ISIS controlled neighborhoods of the city by night, collecting money and slipping in to the countryside by day.

The United Nations Security Council is considering new measures aimed at crippling the group’s finances, according to Reuters, by threatening sanctions on supporters. Such action is likely to have little effect because, by now, the group is almost entirely self-financing, through its seizing oil fields, extortion and tax collection in the territories it controls. As it gains territory in Iraq, it has found new ways to generate revenue. For instance, recently in Hawija, a village near Kirkuk, the group demanded that all former soldiers or police officers pay an $850 “repentance fine.”

Though he has captured territory through brutal means, Mr. Baghdadi has also taken practical steps at state-building, and even shown a lighter side. In Mosul, ISIS has held a “fun day” for kids, distributed gifts and food during Eid al-Fitr, held Quran recitation competitions, started bus services and opened schools.

Mr. Baghdadi appears to be drawing on a famous jihadi text that has long inspired Al Qaeda: “The Management of Savagery,” written by a Saudi named Abu Bakr Naji.

Mr. Fishman called the text, “Che Guevara warmed over for jihadis.” William McCants, an analyst at the Brookings Institution who in 2005, as a fellow at West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, translated the book in to English, once described it as “the seven highly effective habits of jihadi leaders.”

American officials say Mr. Baghdadi runs a more efficient organization than Mr. Zarqawi did, and has unchallenged control over the organization, with authority delegated to his lieutenants. “He doesn’t have to sign off on every detail,” said one senior United States counterterrorism official. “He gives them more discretion and flexibility.”

A senior Pentagon official said of Mr. Baghdadi, with grudging admiration: “He’s done a good job of rallying and organizing a beaten-down organization. But he may now be overreaching.”

But even before the civil war in Syria presented him with a growth opportunity, Mr. Baghdadi had been taking steps in Iraq — something akin to a corporate restructuring — that laid the foundation for the group’s resurgence, just as the Americans were leaving. He picked off rivals through assassinations, orchestrated prison breaks to replenish his ranks of fighters and diversified his sources of funding through extortion, to wean the group off outside funding from Al Qaeda’s central authorities.

“He was preparing to split from Al Qaeda,” Mr. Hashimi said.

Now Mr. Baghdadi commands not just a terrorist organization, but, according to Brett McGurk, the top State Department official on Iraq policy, “a full blown army.”

Speaking at a recent congressional hearing, Mr. McGurk said, “it is worse than Al Qaeda.”


Tim Arango reported from Baghdad, and Eric Schmitt from Washington. Omar al-Jawoshy contributed reporting from Baghdad; Hwaida Saad from Beirut, Lebanon; and Karam Shoumali from Istanbul.

165 comments:

  1. Ah, finally, ISIS explained: Mafioso Gone Wild.

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  2. But, the "Don" has no air force.

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  3. Now would probably be a good time for the Don to sell out, and move his family to Vegas.

    If the "gang" down in Baghdad gets its act together the kitchen could get very hot, very fast.

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  4. .

    For anyone interested in what happens after a U.S. drone strike.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/gregorydjohnsen/wedding-party-drone-strike

    It is a long article but it describes how mistakes are made, how compensation is paid if it is, how few suffer but the victims, and how more enemies are created than are killed.

    .

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  5. .

    From Foreign Policy magazine, a timely article that expands on the point I made yesterday, to wit, the US has a piss poor record when it comes to preventing genocide around the world.

    The Big Lie Americans Tell Themselves

    Why then do so many Americans cling to the belief that genocide prevention has been -- or could be -- a core national interest? Some of the self-delusion may stem from America's self-image as a moral superpower, combined with the unambiguous success of the 1999 NATO bombing campaign in the Balkans. And it is hard to underestimate the influence of the 2002 book A Problem from Hell by Samantha Power -- now U.S. ambassador to the United Nations -- on the foreign policy community. Yet Power's book, which drew attention to the Washington's poor track record on genocide prevention, has produced far more in the way of historical revisionism than changes to policy.

    None of this grim history should mean that the United States lacks a moral compass in its international relations. Nor does it mean that Washington should not help the Yazidis and other minority groups at the receiving end of the Islamic State's savagery. That is a call for senior U.S. leaders to make, taking into account their country's interests, abilities, costs, and risks. But let's get one thing straight: Stopping genocide is not a core U.S. national security interest, nor has it ever been, and realizing that would be better than radiating false hope to persecuted minorities the world over.


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  6. .

    “The Kurdish region is functional in the way we would like to see,” Obama explained during a fascinating interview with Thomas Friedman published on Friday. “It is tolerant of other sects and other religions in a way that we would like to see elsewhere. So we do think it is important to make sure that that space is protected.”

    All true and convincing, as far as it goes. Kurdistan is indeed one of a handful of reliable allies of the United States in the Middle East these days. Its economy has boomed in recent years, attracting investors from all over and yielding a shiny new international airport and other glistening facilities. Of course, in comparison to, say, Jordan or the United Arab Emirates, Kurdistan has one notable deficit as a staunch American ally: it is not a state. Nor is it a contented partner in the construction of Iraqi national unity, which remains the principal project of the Obama Administration in Iraq. In that light, Obama’s explanation of his casus belli seemed a little incomplete.

    Obama’s advisers explained to reporters that Erbil holds an American consulate, and that “thousands” of Americans live there. The city has to be defended, they continued, lest ISIS overrun it and threaten American lives. Fair enough, but why are thousands of Americans in Erbil these days? It is not to take in clean mountain air.


    http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/oil-erbil

    It’s not about oil. After you’ve written that on the blackboard five hundred times, watch Rachel Maddow’s documentary “Why We Did It” for a highly sophisticated yet pointed journalistic take on how the world oil economy has figured from the start as a silent partner in the Iraq fiasco.

    .

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  7. .

    These past seven days typified the fates of the two parties this election cycle. Democrats have been hit by retirements in tough states — Montana, West Virginia, South Dakota and, to a lesser extent, Iowa — and Republicans haven’t nominated the sort of extreme candidates who lack broader appeal in a general election.

    Those realities — along with a national playing field in which a handful of incumbent Democrats are defending Republican-leaning seats in places where President Obama is deeply unpopular — have made a GOP takeover a better-than-50/50 proposition.


    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/republican-takeover-of-senate-appears-more-and-more-assured/2014/08/10/e992ed4a-2095-11e4-86ca-6f03cbd15c1a_story.html

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  8. BAGHDAD, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Iraq's president on Monday asked Haider al-Abadi, the Shi'ite coalition's nominee for prime minister, to form a government, a spokesman for the main Shi'ite coalition said.

    The move, which comes after months of political wrangling, is likely to be resisted by Nuri al-Maliki, who has rejected calls to drop his bid for a third term as prime minister.

    Iraq's highest court earlier issued a ruling suggesting Maliki's State of Law Shi'ite bloc is the biggest in parliament and therefore was entitled to nominate a candidate for prime minister.





    Maliki's aides were not immediately available for comment. He has defied calls by Sunnis, Kurds, some fellow Shi'ites and regional power broker Iran to step aside for a less polarizing figure.

    Critics say Maliki alienated . . . . . . . .

    Maliki Out - maybe?

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    Replies
    1. If Maliki's out, the ISIS expiry date moves up - by more than a bit.

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  9. If the security of Jews in the Mideast were of real interest to European countries like Germany and Austria, they wouldn't continue subsidizing the Israeli occupation.

    Shielded by the Holocaust, there is no need to discuss Western interests, whether American or European. These include the continued control, through trusted agents, of oil and gas resources, the protection of markets and the safeguarding of the “security” of Israel as a Western power, perceived as a stable entity that can contain and counter the changes in the region.

    If the security of Jews in the Middle East were of real interest to European countries, especially Germany and Austria, they would not continue subsidizing the Israeli occupation. They would not give Israel a permanent green light to kill and destroy.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.609866

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  10. Turkey plans to send new aid flotilla to Gaza

    Tel Aviv imposed an all-out land, aerial, and naval blockade on Gaza in June 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standards of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

    The siege has turned the densely-populated coastal sliver, home to nearly 1.8 million Palestinians, into the largest open-air prison in the world.


    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/08/11/374914/turkey-to-send-new-aid-flotilla-to-gaza/

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  11. US Secretary of State John Kerry has said the formation of an Iraqi government is critical for stability and urged Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki not to stoke political tensions.

    Special forces loyal to al-Maliki deployed in strategic areas of Baghdad on Sunday night after he delivered a tough speech indicating he would not cave in to pressure to drop a bid for a third term – raising concerns that he is determined to retain power at all costs.

    The deadlock over a new government has plunged Iraq into a political crisis at a time it is fighting a land grab by Islamic State (Isis) militants.

    “The government formation process is critical in terms of sustaining stability and calm in Iraq, and our hope is that Mr Maliki will not stir those waters,” Kerry told reporters in Sydney on Monday ahead of an annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN).

    “One thing all Iraqis need to know, that there will be little international support of any kind whatsoever for anything that deviates from the legitimate constitution process that is in place and being worked on now.”

    Kerry’s words came as senior US officials said the Obama administration has begun directly providing weapons to Kurdish forces who have started to make gains against the militants.

    The US previously had insisted on only selling arms to the Iraqi government. The officials wouldn’t say which US agency is providing the arms or what weapons are being sent, but one official said it isn’t the Pentagon. The CIA has historically done similar arming operations.

    Officials say the administration is close to approving plans for the Pentagon to arm the Kurds. Recently the US military has been helping facilitate weapons deliveries from the Iraqis to the Kurds, who had been losing ground to the Islamic State. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the operation publicly.

    The United States threw its weight behind Iraqi president Fuad Masum on Sunday after he was accused by prime minister Maliki of violating the constitution.

    As security forces massed in the capital Baghdad, the under-pressure Maliki made the surprise announcement on state television on Sunday night that he would be filing a complaint against Masum. Security forces loyal to Maliki seized important areas around Baghdad, including bridges spanning the Tigris River and installations in the secured Green Zone.

    On Monday, Iraq’s highest court ruled that Maliki’s bloc is the biggest in parliament, meaning he could retain his position, state television reported. The move puts further pressure on the president, who, according to the constitution, must now ask Maliki to form a new government in Iraq.

    In response to Maliki’s allegations on Sunday, US state department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement: “The United States fully supports president Fuad Masum in his role as guarantor of the Iraqi constitution.

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  12. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/11/us-iraqi-maliki-accuses-president

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  13. When did Britain lose faith in Israel?

    A gradual disaffection grew in Britain. Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories dragged on. Palestinian resistance and bouts of rebellion triggered Israeli clampdowns and repression – and in a post-imperial, post-colonial world, Israel’s behaviour troubled and jarred. The spread of television and then the internet, beamed endless pictures of Israeli infantrymen beating stone-throwers and, later, Israeli tanks and aircraft taking on Kalashnikov-wielding guerrillas. It looked like a brutal and unequal struggle. Liberal hearts went out to the underdog – and anti-Semites and opportunists of various sorts joined in the anti-Israeli chorus.

    Israelis might argue that the (relatively) lightly armed Hamasniks in Gaza want to drive the Jews into the sea; that the struggle isn’t really between Israel and the Palestinians but between little Israel and the vast Arab and Muslim worlds, which long for Israel’s demise ; even that Israel isn’t the issue, that Islamists seek the demise of the West itself, and that Israel is merely an outpost of the far larger civilisation that they find abhorrent and seek to topple.

    But television doesn’t show this bigger picture; images can’t elucidate ideas. It shows mighty Israel crushing bedraggled Gaza.


    The article then goes on to blame the Zionist controlled MSM for the lack of proper propaganda.
    Funny shit, truly.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/11024978/When-did-Britain-lose-faith-in-Israel.html

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  14. Political crisis escalates in Iraq
    Maliki remains defiant as new prime minister is named
    Loveday Morris and Anne Gearan 11:02 AM ET

    Iraqi special forces said to be taking orders from Maliki on Sunday surrounded the Green Zone housing the country’s government, creating more tension at a time when the country was facing a lethal challenge from radical Islamist fighters.

    WAPO

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  15. http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Foreign-Press-Association-blasts-Hamas-for-threatening-journalists-370755
    Foreign Press Association blasts Hamas for threatening journalists

    At last, some truth from Gaza. It reminds me of the old CCCP. And why not, Arafat was a Soviet agent.

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    Replies
    1. No one will care Allen.

      Maybe a few western journalists need to be killed or taken hostage by hamas again...

      Delete
  16. Wars are won by boots on the ground.

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  17. Wars are made Easier by the addition of Drones, and FA-18's to the boots on the ground.


    (esp. when the other side doesn't have drones, and FA-18's)

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    Replies
    1. Not to mention B-1's, B-2's, and F-22's in Reserve.

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    2. .

      The boots on the ground will have to be the Iraqi. US air attacks might provide time and space at certain points but the biggest advantage of the US presence will likely be supporting logistics through providing real-time intel on IS troop movements.

      The Kurds have to defend a 900 mile front.

      .



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    3. Quirk is seeing the problem exactly reversed from reality.

      Those that now have a "front" to defend, are not the Kurds, but the ISIS combatants.
      They are now in a completely new phase of the conflict. Not on offense, but on defense, defending the Caliphate.

      The Kurds only have to initiate offensive operations, at a time and place of their choosing, which they are in the process of. Then the 'new' government in Baghdad will bring pressure on the Caliphate. They have an unending source of 'cannon fodder' available, they have more feet than boots.

      ISIS is famed for their 'lightning advances', in pick-up trucks, which is not especially famed as a defensive tactic. Lightly armed vehicles, dug into defensive positions, not to smart a strategy against Predators armed with Hellfire missiles.

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    4. The entire ISIS conflict is moving to the next phase, which puts ISIS on defense.

      Get up to speed.
      Quit thinking about yesterday and focus on tomorrow, which is when and where the battles will be fought.

      Insurgent guerrillas always have a difficult time transitioning into a conventional force structure.
      ISIS will prove to be no different.

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    5. Yep, 10,000 Dead Men Walking.

      Delete
  18. Funny how Drudge has "gone silent" on

    de "Crisis wit de ISIS."

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  19. ... war is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse carried on with other means.


    Isrel is in Cairo, negotiating with Hamas.

    Hamas has gained international legitimacy, while Israel is losing its.
    The boots on the ground in London are marching away from the Zionists.

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  20. Winning All the Battles but Losing the War, Just Like Hannibal.
    by Robert O'Connell

    ... Hannibal, to an amazing degree, kept beating them, never losing a significant battle during his entire time in Italy. Still, as the years piled up he found himself steadily further south, until he occupied just the toe of the Italian boot, leaving finally in 203 B.C.E., soon to preside over Carthage’s surrender.

    Thus ended history’s most flagrant example of winning all the battles but losing the war – a sort of military oxymoron that often leaves armchair strategists scratching their heads. But such a phenomenon is more than just a freakish occurrence; it can be the starkest kind of barometer of effectiveness, one those involved ignore at their own risk.

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  21. Hue City, 1968: Winning A Battle While Losing A War
    By Maj Norman L. Cooling - Originally Published July 2001


    https://www.mca-marines.org/gazette/hue-city-1968-winning-battle-while-losing-war

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  22. You know, I know there's a lot of flaws in this analogy, but when I think of ISIS, I just can't help but think of Pancho Villa, or even Geronimo.

    The "Bandits" come streaming across the border (or, out of the Res.,) raping, and pillaging, and just raising holy hell in general, and then, fairly soon, have to start heading for the hills.

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    1. Hopefully someone will step up and kick their ass, but who?

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    2. The Peshmerga will kick it in the area that the Kurds want to control, and the Iraqis will, eventually, get around to it in those other places.

      Delete
    3. The Iraqi Army, which includes the Kurdish Brigades.
      All trained by US, all operating under an umbrella of US air support.

      The Sunni mercenaries we hired the last time we were operating in Anbar Provence.

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    4. There is no shortage of aspirants, all they need is air cover.

      Death from Above.


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    5. Hezbollah and the Lebanese Army, both will bring the fight to ISIS.
      The Syrian Army will turn east, when the Lebanese front is secured and the Syrian Kurds stand with Assad.

      ISIS becoming the common foe of all civilized folks in the region.
      Backed only by Israel and the Saudi Arabians, ISIS will be fighting a two front war, much as Germany did twice in the 20th century.
      The new incarnation of the 'Axis of Evil' will be thrown for a loss. Just as the Germans were, after their lightning advances in France, Russia and North Africa during WWII
      .
      .

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    6. From what I can tell a good portion of ISIS are Iraqis (the disaffected Sunni and many ex-military from the Hussein army). I'm guessing they don't hold the radical Islamic belief-set but ISIS suits their purposes for now. Then there is the Syrian side of things plus the radical floating in from all over. There seems to be a constituency of support of the buggers. I don't think they'll be able to extend their reign much further from what they already hold but I'm mostly just guessing...

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    7. funny an American calling Assad's Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah the "civilized folk" in the region.

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    8. They are, when you get out of the Zionist propaganda bubble.

      The Christians are with Assad, so too, are the Kurds

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    9. That Hezbollah and the Persians are not as sectarian as the Saudis and the Wahhabi, a well known historical fact.

      That Hezbollah, founded on the defense of Lebanon from foreign aggressors, is combating the proxies of that same aggressor, not surprising.

      Delete
  23. DONETSK, Ukraine — The prospect of a Russian intervention in eastern Ukraine appeared to rise sharply on Monday, threatening to take to new lows what is already the sharpest East-West confrontation of the post-Cold War era.

    As the Kremlin announced it had sent a convoy of humanitarian aid to Ukraine under the auspices of the International Red Cross, the secretary-general of NATO said there was a “high probability” of a Russian attack and Ukraine raised its estimate of Russian troop strength on the border.

    With increasing urgency, Western governments have condemned in advance any Russian aid missions, which they fear could serve as a pretext for a military incursion to support hard-pressed pro-Russian separatists fighting the Ukrainian Army in the country’s southeast.

    In a telephone conversation Monday with the president of the European Union, José Manuel Barroso, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said he was sending the convoy with aid to Ukraine, though it was unclear whether it had crossed the border.

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  24. .

    Quirk is seeing the problem exactly reversed from reality.

    :-)

    Well, if the rat and General Bob both think that all it will take is "death from above" to defeat IS, then I must be wrong.

    .

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    1. Quirk, it will take some troops, but not a Lot of troops. And, they won't have to be Great troops. Just, "pretty good," or "good enuff."

      The Difference is the Drones - Not as "Strike/Attack" Aircraft, although they can do that, but, more importantly, as "slow-moving, super-eyes in the sky."

      One of the biggest problems of air power has been the inability to move slow, and See Everything. The Drone solves that problem.

      Delete
    2. Rat is a figment of your imaginationMon Aug 11, 04:58:00 PM EDT

      There is a difference between Strategic bombing, which General Fudd had advocated for and Close Air Support, which is what the US provided for the Kurds, so they could retake those two towns, yesterday.

      A major difference in strategies and tactics.

      B52 strikes will not accomplish the mission, but Hellfire missiles could, would and shall.
      They probably did not work on the intricacies of tactical close air support at FoMoCo.

      Delete
  25. .

    The Difference is the Drones - Not as "Strike/Attack" Aircraft, although they can do that, but, more importantly, as "slow-moving, super-eyes in the sky."

    Re-read my post.

    .

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    1. .

      They probably did not work on the intricacies of tactical close air support at FoMoCo.

      Who am I to deny your military expertise?

      Or your rat-like instincts.

      :)

      .

      Delete
    2. I was just responding to this:

      Well, if the rat and General Bob both think that all it will take is "death from above" to defeat IS, then I must be wrong.

      Delete
    3. .

      No, the point I was making is that despite what IS might call themselves, they are an insurgency or if you want to push it a very, very small army. Through terror tactics and organization they made an impressive push and it appeared that the Kurds were up against it. The US strikes kind of gave the Kurds some breathing space to regroup. Additional airstrikes will help but in the end IS remains an insurgency spread over a big area. It will be boots on the ground that in the end defeat them.

      With that in mind, the point I was trying to make was the same you made above. the real advantage the US can provide is more 'eyes in the sky' than 'death from above.' The drones you mentioned, satellite intel, AWAC's, etc.

      Just my opinion.

      .

      Delete
    4. Well, your opinion is a little sketchy, shall we say. :)

      The AWACs, and especially the satellites, aren't that valuable against guys riding around in pickup trucks (and, of course, the fast-movers and bombers aren't much good either.)

      But, the Drone can, and will, not only "see" it, it will, if it so desires, "Kill it."

      Take one of those small towns that ISIS has taken over. When the time comes, those pickup trucks might start 'sploding as they drive down the street. You can just imagine what effect that will have on our dear icey boys' bowel movements.

      Delete
    5. Or, let's say that one of the many drones flitting around the friendly skies of Neo-Sumer-land spots a convoy of vehicles heading for Erbil. It can give a whistle to a couple of 18's on station over in the next sector, and at the same time drop down and take out a couple of the lead vehicles. Sweet.

      it's a potent weapon out there in desert-land.

      Delete
    6. .

      Perhaps, you are right.

      It just seems to me that taking out a jeep here or there might be beneficial if there is a particular somebody in it that you want. Likewise, blowing up a jeep here or there might be a lot of fun. As for convoys, you could minimize the damage merely by spreading the vehicles out I would imagine. However, I don't really see the tactical or strategic advantage of blowing up a few jeeps or taking out a party of IS playing soccer. Maybe I'm wrong.

      The airstrikes they are currently directing on artillery seems to make more sense to me. Those are the ones that can help the Kurds or government troops.

      I'm not saying there is not a place for air power, I'm just saying I don't see it as a deciding factor.

      .

      Delete
    7. The US took out a single mortar position, with a targeted airstrike, and the Kurds were then able to maneuver and retake a town, just yesterday.

      Close Air Support, not strategic bombing, makes all the difference to ground operations.


      If you do not see air power as the deciding factor in ground operations, it is because you have never operated under unfriendly skies. Soviet air power devastated the Taliban, until they were supplied world-class ManPads, by US and Israel.

      Insurgents, guerrillas, cannot hold ground. cannot defend a Caliphate's borders.
      The size of the force is not what creates it's strategic structure. Large groups of insurgents do not become "Armies", large or small. Insurgencies are not armies, they are based upon cells. Small groups acting semi-independently of a central command authority. Armies are not like that, at all.

      Guerrilla forces do not easily become an army. That is a reality.
      It takes more than a bunch of guys, with guns, to be an Army.
      Then to be a 'good' army, one that will hold the line ... in the face of an A-10's 30 mm rotary cannon, well...

      That's a whole other level of discipline.

      Delete
    8. .

      Close air support. Right.

      That is how we won in Vietnam. That is how we won in Afghanistan. That is how we won in Iraq.

      Either today or yesterday you were putting up posts about winning every battle and losing the war. How many times have heard that in Vietnam we didn't lose any of the battles. Now, you are say 'Terror from Above' is the number 42 of warfare.

      "Soviet air power devastated the Taliban, until..."

      The only way you hold ground is by being on the ground. You don't do it from a space station.

      The US took out a single mortar position, with a targeted airstrike, and the Kurds were then able to maneuver and retake a town, just yesterday.

      You're saying that a mortar position was all that it took to keep the Kurds out of the town?

      Well, gee General, its hard to argue with that logic.

      .

      Delete
    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    10. .

      The American air support encouraged the Kurdish militiamen to reverse the momentum of the recent fighting and retake Gwer and the other town, Mahmour, both within a half-hour’s drive of Erbil, according to Gen. Helgurd Hikmet, head of the pesh merga’s media office. General Hikmet said some pesh merga fighters had pushed on beyond the two towns, which lie on the frontier between the Arab and Kurdish areas of Iraq.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/11/world/middleeast/iraq.html?_r=0

      Quirk:

      QuirkMon Aug 11, 01:32:00 PM EDT

      The boots on the ground will have to be the Iraqi. US air attacks might provide time and space at certain points but...


      The air support slowed the IS advance and allowed the Kurds to get their shit together. Seeing the mortar taken out (maybe with some artillery, haven't followed it close enough to say if they were concurrent) encouraged the Kurds. It was boots on the ground that took the towns.

      From the times article,

      American air power in the north also appeared to alter the situation at Mount Sinjar, where members of the Yazidi ethnic and religious minority have been driven into rough country by an ISIS dragnet. Four American airstrikes on the extremists surrounding the mountain on Saturday, along with airdrops of food, water and supplies, helped Yazidi and Kurdish fighters beat back militants and open a path for thousands of Yazidis to escape the siege. The escapees made their way on Sunday through Syrian territory to Fishkhabour, an Iraqi border town under Kurdish control.

      Tens of thousands more Yazidis remain trapped on the mountain, and American officials cautioned that the limited airstrikes alone could not open a corridor to safety for them. Neither, they said, would the American airstrikes be the decisive factor in the fight to stop ISIS.


      .

      Delete
    11. yes, what Rat is saying is all 100% True, Quirk. In this case you have a fairly small outfit spread out over 20,000, or so, square miles, and their primary fighting vehicles, and source of transportation are Toyota pickups with an automatic weapon in the bed. When those start blowin' up without warning, it's a serious situation.

      This isn't Patton's 3rd Army, supplied by the Cannonball Express. This is some gangsters on a rampage. And, they're on a rampage in the worst possible terrain for the equipment, and manpower that they have.

      A couple of battalions of even mediocre troops, underneath our air power, would have a very easy time of all this. This is about as close to a "gimmee" as you're ever going to see in War.

      Delete
    12. Gotta luv arm chair generals! Good ole 'slam dunk' Rufus.

      Delete
    13. And, Quirk, this isn't a popular insurgence, as we faced before, and this isn't a goat farm, AKA Afghanistan, and it sure as holy hell isn't Vietnam. This is, pretty much, open desert. This is the terrain that every AF General in the history of airplanes has gone to bed, and dreamed about.

      Delete
    14. Lordy, save us from those who purport to know it all about Iraqis politics!

      Delete
    15. And ESPECIALLY Air Force fucking dreamers with a hard on for the BIG WIN!!

      Delete
    16. One reason that I'm a little more positive on this than I was a week ago is that the IS have shown No ability to threaten fixed wing aircraft.

      The first "fast-mover" that gets shot down, and I'll be the first to admit that everything has changed, again.

      Delete
    17. Do I attempt to give you sailing lessons, Ash?

      Or, golf lessons?

      Delete
    18. Riiight, the dude who fell off a barstool to cower in Vietnam is an expert on Sunni politics and warfare in, what is it, northern Iraq?

      Next you'll be telling me if only Malaki were to step aside we'd have a chance for an all inclusive Iraqi government and peace will wash across the land.

      Delete
    19. cower?

      No, Ash, those that were prone to "cower" usually ended up in Canada.

      What the fuck is with you tonight?

      Delete
    20. Iraq war redux and slam dunk bulkshit!

      Delete
    21. If you'll remember, I wasn't too crazy about this idea either, but, I'm just saying that it might work out.

      Delete
    22. .

      And, Quirk, this isn't a popular insurgence, as we faced before, and this isn't a goat farm, AKA Afghanistan, and it sure as holy hell isn't Vietnam. This is, pretty much, open desert. This is the terrain that every AF General in the history of airplanes has gone to bed, and dreamed about.


      :-)

      Well. That's true. And we know that desert pretty well.

      From the 8 years we spent wandering around in it.

      .

      Delete
    23. And, since you couldn't possibly know, Enlistment is (or, at least was at that time) about a 3 week process, and you take the oath at the end of a whole battery of tests, and background checks, etc.)

      Even I have never been on a toot that long.

      Delete
    24. .

      A couple of battalions of even mediocre troops, underneath our air power, would have a very easy time of all this. This is about as close to a "gimmee" as you're ever going to see in War.

      I hope you're right.

      .

      Delete
    25. Yeah! Wandering about it on a horse with no name. We know it and its people well!

      Delete
    26. Ya gotta luv the Hillary meme that if only we had funded and armed the nice Syrian rebels ISIS wouldn't have been born. Spare me American world planning!

      Delete
    27. .

      :-)

      Well. That's true. And we know that desert pretty well.

      From the 8 years we spent wandering around in it.



      Whoops,

      I forgot to turn off the sarcasm font.

      Click.

      :-)

      .

      Delete
    28. Quirk, a lot of unexpected things can happen when the shooting starts, but I think I have a pretty good chance of "being right" on this one.

      Delete
    29. .

      I was serious when I said I hope you are right.

      However, if there is success, I may still argue that it was the weapons we are now feeding the Kurds as well as the intel rather than 'Terror from the Skies'.

      ;o)

      .


      Delete
    30. .

      Hmmm.

      'Shock and Awe' didn't really cut it. 'Terror from the Skies' has a nice ring to it.

      .

      Delete
    31. .

      By the way, Robin Williams was found dead tonight. Age 63.

      Presumed suicide.

      You just never know.

      .

      Delete
    32. Yeah, he had it rough.

      Quirk, we'll probably arm the Kurds up to a level quite a bit below that of the IS (remember, they now have some American MWRAPS, Personnel Carriers, and Tanks. Plus, the ISILS will have the added advantage of fighting from defensive positions (the old military adage is that this is a 3 - 1 advantage.

      It'll be the air power that is the overwhelming multiplier.

      "Terror from the skies" seems apt to me. I've been under mortar barrages, but I can't imagine what it would feel like to know that those mortar shells had eyes. (believe me, it was terrifying enough as it was - not the first time, but the second.)

      Delete
  26. Replies
    1. The CIA "interviewed" him before they selected him. You would think that they would have noticed that he was a maniac, eh?

      Delete
    2. Who are the Generals with?

      The Colonels?

      The Iraqi Special Forces, one assumes the best trained and motivated of all the Iraqi troops, the pride of their US trainers and advisers is standing with Maliki. One would have to wonder ... why?

      Especially if he is so divisive and unreasonable.

      Delete
  27. There is no singular solution to Iraq’s vexing crisis. But amidst the uncertainty and chaos, this much is clear: If Iraq is to have any hope of navigating out of its current mess, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki must step aside. On that point, even the most unlikely of allies have reached a common consensus. The United States, Iran, Sunni and Shia leaders have all urged Mr. al-Maliki to make way for a new leader – Haider al-Ibadi – to form a government.

    The trouble is, Mr. al-Maliki doesn’t seem to care.

    His refusal to step down is grounded in the delusion that he is the man who can somehow restore his country to relative calm. He is wrong. During his two-term tenure as Iraq’s prime minister, he has shown himself totally incapable of addressing what lies at the root of Iraq’s problems. Instead of bridging the country’s divisions, he has steadily exacerbated them.

    He has consistently and spectacularly failed to incorporate minority Sunnis into Iraq’s democratic political process, preferring to promote his fellow Shiites to positions of power. The Sunnis’ simmering sense of disenfranchisement has paved the way for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to make alarming territorial gains, inflicting its twisted brand of Islam on minority sects by presenting them with a brutal ultimatum: Convert to Islam or die. Instead of supporting Iraq’s central government, many Sunni tribal leaders are so disaffected that they are now fighting alongside ISIL.

    Iraq doesn’t have to look this way. Sunni leaders have previously shown themselves quite capable of moderation, working within the political process in the interests of democracy and peace. They served as leaders in the Awakening movement, which restored order in large parts of the country, diluted al-Qaeda’s influence and eased sectarian tensions before the American withdrawal. Mr. al-Maliki saw the Awakening movement as a threat, and stopped paying its members’ salaries. Now Iraq is contending with al-Qaeda’s virulent offshoot.

    Winning back Sunni leaders’ trust will be no small feat, but it is not impossible. Sunni leaders have no natural allegiance to ISIL, who are religious fanatics, and viewed by many Sunnis as a foreign force. Many consider the current alliance with ISIL a temporary one – to be severed once Mr. al-Maliki is gone. His insistence on clinging to power sabotages any hope Mr. al-Ibadi has of pulling Iraq back from the abyss. It’s time for him to go.

    Follow us on Twitter: @GlobeDebate

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/editorials/al-maliki-must-go-and-he-must-go-now/article19994997/

      Delete
    2. Good to see that the British are still in lock step with US.
      Trying to micro-manage the politics of other lands.

      Little wonder what the US reaction would be to ... say the Chinese, "helping" to 'choose' the next President of the US.

      As if the Italians, English, French and Mexicans should have intervened when FDR dispensed with tradition and ran for that third term.

      Delete
    3. That's one thing that really bothers me about this, Rat. I wish the administration would have kept their mouth shut about "regime change," and how much they "support" the new guy.

      Delete
  28. ISTANBUL –

    Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced that Turkey plans to receive at least 200 Gazans who are in need of treatment. The statement comes after four injured Gazans, including a child, were brought to Turkey for medical treatment early Monday morning. “The wounded in Gaza cannot be treated due to the lack of electricity,”

    Davutoğlu said. "We want to help our brothers and sisters who are trying to pursue their lives in very difficult conditions." Besides welcoming wounded Gazans for treatment, Turkey will also provide humanitarian aid to Gaza, said Davutoğlu. The foreign minister also stated that Turkey is working on negotiations on a permanent cease-fire between Gaza and Israel.

    The Disaster and Emergency Management Agency of Turkey (AFAD) and the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) have joined forces to open an air corridor to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great, all aid can be delivered to the Port of Alexandria or to Israel for inspection and then transport into GAZA, of course, that is if getting aid to the poor, war torn civilians is the goal...

      Delete
  29. Turkish activists prepare new Gaza flotilla to challenge Israeli blockade

    The Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) announced in an emailed statement that members of a "coalition" of activists from a dozen countries had met in Istanbul at the weekend and committed themselves to launching an aid flotilla "in the shadow of the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza," Reuters reported.

    "The Freedom Flotilla Coalition affirmed that, as most governments are complicit, the responsibility falls on civil society to challenge the Israeli blockade on Gaza," it said.

    An IHH spokesperson for the agency provided no details, saying only that IHH would hold a news conference on Tuesday.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Interesting development...

    up to two hundred american citizens have been killed by america in obama's bombing runs that are fighting for ISIS...

    hmmm...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's not true. It's nonsensical on its face.

      Are you having a nervous breakdown, or something?

      Delete
    2. nope, just the facts....

      american jihadists are fighting and dying in iraq fighting for isis...

      Delete
    3. rufus, the fact that there are THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of jihadists already in the homeland escapes you...

      But they are here, they go to middle east and fight to murder christians, jews and moslems they disagree with..

      America has killed american jihadists in Somalia...

      They are, as well as brits and other, all flocking like moths to a flame..

      Delete
    4. We haven't dropped enough ordnance to kill 200 people, dumbfuck. If everyone we killed was an American, we'd still be short.

      Delete
    5. Aaah, full moon tonight. There ya go.

      Delete
    6. I have decided not to disclose my source.

      Delete
    7. Rufus IIMon Aug 11, 10:24:00 PM EDT
      We haven't dropped enough ordnance to kill 200 people, dumbfuck. If everyone we killed was an American, we'd still be short.

      Really? Like you have any intel?

      Delete
    8. I'll put if out there...

      let's see if in the coming days I am not borne out to speak true..

      Delete
    9. .

      I have decided not to disclose my source.

      :o)

      You're a peach.

      .

      Delete
    10. "O"rdure, a typical Zionist propagandist.
      Nothing but lies and misinformation

      Delete
    11. Hardy rat.

      I made my statement, let's see if my words make it to the main stream media...

      I decided NOT to disclose my source.

      Think about it... Reports across the web about scores and scores of jihadists flocking to Iraq to fight with ISIS/ISIL

      scores and scores of moslems in Dearborn, Minneapolis and Columbus to name a few places have been reported already traveling there...

      articles about european converts to your own faith, Islam, traveling to the middle east are common...

      germany now talking about arresting returning jihadists...

      australia has it's own problems...

      the news is all there to read and process..

      but I'll stand by my assertion...

      hundreds of american jihadists are being KILLED in iraq by American bombing runs...

      Delete
    12. No one cares about where you stand or your assertions, "O"rdure.
      You are no expert, your opinions carry no weight, no authority.

      Even if you were who you said you were, the "Candyman", you would be of no repute, in regards to the Middle East or matters military. Your expertise is limited to selling chocolates, retail.

      Delete
  31. According to one of the lawmakers, Sen. Bob Corker asked the President a long question that included sharp criticisms of President Obama’s handling of a number of foreign policy issues—including Syria, ISIS, Russia, and Ukraine. Obama answered Corker at length. Then, the president defended his administration’s actions on Syria, saying that the notion that arming the rebels earlier would have led to better outcomes in Syria was “horseshit.”

    {....}

    In a New York Times interview published Aug. 8, Obama said that the idea arming the rebels would have made a difference had “always been a fantasy.”

    “This idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth, and that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah, that was never in the cards,” Obama said.

    Horseshit

    ReplyDelete
  32. The mass execution is said to have taken place after attempts from Hamas to make sure that the excavators knew nothing of the locations in which they were digging.

    According to the Israeli website Mako, extreme precautions were used by Hamas.
    “They would take the diggers, about a hundred men, in vans with blindfolds so that they wouldn’t know the location of the tunnels and at the end of the day would blindfold them again and return them to their homes,” claims a source in Gaza familiar with the tunnel industry. “They feared that maybe one of them was collaborating with Israel.”
    The tunnels were guarded by Hamas, via its military wing and commando units which were created in the last two years, and citizens were prevented entry as the whole process was done in the utmost secrecy. It appears, however, that Hamas may have been correct in assuming that some of the experienced terror-tunnel diggers, mostly from the Rafah and Khan Younis areas, were double agents.
    According to M., a former tunnel digger and Israeli collaborator, the extent to which Hamas was willing to go to protect its secrets grew immensly due to the concern that information was being transferred to the Israeli Intelligence forces. Thus, the Hamas terrorists were always masked so that they could not be recognized by the excavators and the latter would go through daily strip searches to ensure that they were not wearing recording devices or hidden cameras.
    “They knew Israel was constantly tailing them and didn’t want to risk it,” he says.
    Diggers worked on average between 8-12 hours with breaks and received a monthly wage of $150-$300. Most tunnels were built under civilian homes, chicken coops and pens which were located about two kilometers away from the border with the Gaza strip. Once they were done digging, Hamas executed dozens of the tunnel diggers who were suspected collaborators with Israel.
    “They were very cruel,” the Gazan source added. “They annihilated some of the diggers because there was a rumor circulating that a few of them had worked with Israel or had been in touch with Israeli civilians. They feared that Israel would know the location of the tunnels and who was involved in their making”.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. bet their deaths are being added to the civilian death toll...

      Delete
  33. Time Headline:

    Iraq War Soldier 10 Years Later: What Was It All For?

    See Obama’s answer to Corker.

    ReplyDelete
  34. A majority of British voters believe that Israel acted in a disproportionate manner during the recent Gaza conflict, according to the latest Guardian/ICM poll, which lends support to the arguments which persuaded Lady Warsi to resign from the government.

    Amid hopes that the month-long conflict between Israel and Hamas could be ending as a ceasefire continued to hold, the poll also found greater opposition to Israel than to the Palestinians.

    The poll found that 52% of voters believe that Israel acted disproportionately when it responded to the firing of rockets by Hamas by launching air strikes against the Gaza Strip. It found that 19% thought Israel had acted proportionately while 29% of those polled did not know.

    The findings will lend weight to the argument of Lady Warsi, who resigned last week as a senior Foreign Office minister after criticising David Cameron for his "morally indefensible" failure to describe the Israeli action as disproportionate.

    More than 1,900 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians, have died in the conflict in which 64 Israeli soldiers have also been killed. Three civilians have been killed in Israel - two Israelis and a Thai agricultural worker.

    Nick Clegg endorsed some of Warsi's criticisms as he called for the suspension of arms export licences to Israel after he also described Tel Aviv's military response as disproportionate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So? How did Dresden work out for them?

      British and American bombing of Dresden in World War II towards the end of the war killed approximately 25,000, many of whom were civilians, and destroyed the entire city center. The bombing gutted the city, as it did for other major German cities.

      Wow 25,000 women and kids killed and the ENTIRE city center destroyed... not to mention other MAJOR german cities...

      LOL

      Delete
  35. I wonder why?

    Tens of thousands of people across Gaza returned to their homes on Monday as a tenuous ceasefire held and hopes rose of an end to the month-long conflict between Israel and Hamas.

    Local officials and humanitarian workers began to inspect the latest damage the war had caused in the overcrowded enclave, with assessments indicating earlier estimates may have been optimistic.

    In Gaza City, which has a population of half a million, 20%-25% of the housing stock had been damaged, said Nihad al-Mughni of the engineering department.

    Mohammed al-Kafarna, the mayor of Beit Hanoun, a northern town which saw fierce fighting and heavy bombardment, said 70% of homes were uninhabitable. "Basically the town is unliveable. There is no power, water or communications. There are not the basics for life," he said.

    In Shawkat, a neighbourhood of Rafah city in the south which saw heavy fighting after an earlier ceasefire collapsed within hours, 300 out of 2,000 houses had been destroyed, along with the town hall.

    "You can't imagine the destruction," said Adel Lubda, the chief council engineer.

    Previous estimates of 65,000 rendered homeless in Gaza now look conservative. In Beit Hanoun alone, about 30,000 people will have to be rehoused. The town is just one of around a dozen communities lying in the two-mile "free fire zone" declared by Israeli troops to have been devastated during the most intense period of fighting.

    Gaza has a population of 1.8 million and already had a chronic shortage of housing before this latest conflict, the third in six years between Hamas and Israel.

    On Monday, the United Nations called the level of destruction "unprecedented".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On Monday, the United Nations called the level of destruction "unprecedented".

      Guess they never saw photos of Dresden, Hiroshima, Fallugah or dozens of other examples...

      Oh let's not forget Hama, Syria.

      "unprecedented"

      BULLSHIT

      Delete
  36. Replies
    1. Nope a consequence on Hamas's war on the Jews.

      reality...

      Launch a war, hide your munitions under homes, schools, mosques and apartment buildings?

      Lose the buildings...

      America did it to the Nazis, Russia did it to the chechnans... France did it to the Algerians

      Brits did it to everyone.

      Delete
  37. MSNBC just reported that America killed LARGE GROUPS of ISIS troops..

    I guess my source leaked to the press...

    LOL

    ReplyDelete
  38. Jobs openings increased in June to 4.671 million from 4.577 million in May. This is the highest level since February 2001.

    The number of job openings (yellow) are up 18% year-over-year compared to June 2013.

    Quits are up 15% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for "quits").

    It is a good sign that job openings are over 4 million for the fifth consecutive month, and that quits are increasing.
    Read more at http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/#a2GY7gOzdJWUtDy1.99

    Calculated Risk

    ReplyDelete
  39. WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. military officials say an armed American drone has attacked and destroyed a mortar position of Islamic militants in northern Iraq.

    The U.S. Central Command issued a brief statement saying the Tuesday morning attack targeted a mortar position that was firing on members of the Kurdish militia who were defending civilians attempting to evacuate the Sinjar area.

    No other details were provided.

    Next

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are witnessing something unprecedented in land warfare. This is entirely new ground.

      Delete
    2. Imagine that you are the local Islamic Shits commander. Now, imagine that you're the Kurd Commander.

      Delete
  40. Maliki got the memo

    BAGHDAD — After two days of defiance and the deployment of special security units around the Iraqi capital that raised the specter of a coup, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki on Tuesday appeared to back away from his implied threat of using military force to secure his power by saying the army should stay out of politics.

    On Monday, Iraq’s president nominated a candidate to replace Mr. Maliki, who then challenged the decision by saying it was unconstitutional. On Tuesday, Mr. Maliki backed down, at least rhetorically, from his intransigence in the face of growing opposition to his rule.

    Iran, a longtime supporter of Mr. Maliki, also lent its weight on Tuesday to the constitutional process of replacing him with the new candidate, Haider al-Abadi, adding pressure on Mr. Maliki to retreat from his threats. The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, congratulated Mr. Abadi during a meeting of Iranian ambassadors, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Andrew Tilghman, Air Force Times 10:45 a.m. EDT August 12, 2014

    The Pentagon's top war planner said the military campaign's impact remains limited after four days of airstrikes in northern Iraq, and the Islamic militants continue to be a powerful force capable of terrorizing Iraqi civilians and seizing territory.

    "I in no way want to suggest that we have effectively contained, or that we are somehow breaking the momentum of [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant]," said Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville, the director of operations, or "J-3" for the Joint Staff, told reporters Monday.

    "They are very well organized. They are very well equipped. They coordinate their operations and they have thus far showed the ability to attack on multiple axis. This is not insignificant," Mayville said at a Pentagon briefing.

    Since President Obama authorized the airstrikes on Aug. 7, U.S. Air Force and Navy aircraft have dropped bombs 14 times, targeting ISIS artillery positions, armored vehicles and convoys.

    The U.S. aircraft are providing nearly 24-hour coverage over northern Iraq, dropping laser-guided bombs on ISIL positions when reliable targeting information becomes available, a CENTCOM official told Military Times.

    Those aircraft include Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles, F-16 Fighting Falcons, Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets and unmanned MQ-1 drones,. They are flying over Iraq from several locations including the carrier George H.W. Bush and some land-based airfields that military officials are not identifying due to "host-nation sensitivities and operational security," the CENTCOM official said.

    Mayville emphasized the limited impact of the operation so far.

    "I think in the immediate areas where we have focused our strikes, we have had a very temporary effect ... and we may have blunted some [ISIL] tactical decisions to move in those directions further east toward Erbil," Mayville said.

    “However, these strikes are unlikely to affect ISIL’s overall capabilities or its operations in other areas of Iraq and Syria," he said...


    ...Mayville declined to say whether Pentagon planners are considering sending more U.S. ground troops into Iraq. Obama has signaled a strong reluctance to send "combat troops," but experts say ground-level forces, such as forward air controllers, advisers for the Kurdish Peshmerga forces or added intelligence units, would be helpful.

    "There are no plans to expand the current air campaign beyond the current self-defense activities," Mayville said.

    Any talk of more boots on the ground is "a little bit too speculative ... for where we are right now," he said.

    “We are right now gripped by the immediacy of the crisis,” he said...

    Obama on Saturday warned that the new Iraq mission will take months and that it would be “big mistake for us to think that we can, on the cheap, simply go in, tamp everything down again.”...


    Finding ISIS targets is becoming more difficult as time passes, Mayville said.

    "Where they have been in the open, they are now starting to dissipate and to hide amongst the people so the targeting of this those forces that are trying to effect a siege around the mountain, this targeting is going to become more difficult," Mayville said.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I wonder how long it will be before we see hellfire missiles with about 1/10th the explosive power, designed specifically for taking out Toyota Pickups in Urban Environments? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What leads you to believe their best weapons are Toyota Pickups?

      Delete
    2. Not their "best," just their most ubiquitous.

      Delete
    3. And your knowledge of that is from, what, having watched a video?

      From Deuce's article above:

      ""They are very well organized. They are very well equipped. They coordinate their operations and they have thus far showed the ability to attack on multiple axis. This is not insignificant," Mayville said at a Pentagon briefing."

      It has been my impression that they have snagged a lot of war materiel and money through conquest, have financial and material backing from some ME players, and they have the support of many of the locals. Hardly a recipe for another slam dunk. The Kurds, with American air power, should be able to hold them back from the Kurdish areas but that is about all - nothing like the 10,000 dead men walking that you have asserted. Sure, the US could do a Fallujah on them but the political will isn't there for that and it would necessitate another occupation to try to hold the fort. Lotta good that'll do.

      Delete
    4. That General is "poor-mouthing" for a reason, and you have absolutely no concept of what you're talking about.

      Delete
    5. oh, and you do do you? You certainly haven't made any posts that suggest you know what you are talking about. Maybe you should try a little demonstration of this wonderful knowledge of the situation that you possess.

      Delete
    6. Have you gone completely off your fucking meds?

      Delete
    7. And, you damned right I know what I'm talking about. I've been where they are. As part of my 3 years experience in that business.

      Look, I've stated my opinion, and you've stated yours. We'll know in a couple of months, right?

      Delete
    8. In the last week, a handful of well-placed ordnance from our drones, and 18's has allowed 20,000, or more, men, women, and children to escape death by thirst, and starvation.

      A similar small amount has caused the rampaging murderers of ISIS to stall their assault on a major city.

      What part of this is it that you hate so much?

      Delete
    9. You were a grunt in Vietnam, right? So, how does this experience apply to the situation in Iraq? We've got a bunch, whom we know very little about, making gains in Iraq and you are stating that a bit of terror from the skies will make it all better. Pardon me if I express some doubt as to such a rosy prediction.

      Delete
    10. I don't hate it and I'm happy to see those folks faring better but the quick sands of Iraq beckon those of you thinking solutions are simple there. They haven't proved to be in the past and I don't think the current situation will be solved easily either. Trading out al Maliki for another doesn't address the non-representation that area has in the Iraqi Parliament. All that has gone before have made the Sunni, ummm resistant, to capitulation. The US can go in full bore, like it did already, and they'll just go back 'underground' patiently waiting their day in the sun. To believe that ISIS is just 10k guys running about in pickups with a few machine guns wreaking havoc on an innocent and non-supporting population is likely to lead one into slam-dunk prognostications on outcomes from the use of a few drones and other delivery vehicles of American terror.

      Delete
    11. A "grunt" is MOS 0311. I was not 0311. Those that are tend to carry a lot of quiet pride in the fact that they are (and, are still alive. :) :) )

      Iraq is NOTHING like Vietnam. Absolutely, Nothing. When you talk "air support," you talk "terrain," and "observability," and "availability."

      If a Marine in the middle of a rain forest calls in that he's being hit with mortar fire, but can't locate the origin, what can you do? Send an F-4 streaking overhead a triple-canopy rainforest at 400 miles per hour to look for the mortars? Good luck.

      Delete
    12. On the other hand, an operator of a drone circling lazily overhead receives a call of (or, observes) mortar fire from the south (max range of an 82 mm Mortar is 2 mi.) of X coordinate out in the middle of, essentially, a desert, is a whole nother ball game.

      I am 10,000% Against putting any more troops back into Iraq. And, I don't pretend to understand, or even, really, to give a shit about, Iraqi Politics. But, I think we might be able to be helpful to a worthwhile cause, in this case, w/o too much sacrifice on ourselves (not to mention the sharpening of some modern war-fighting skills.)

      Delete
    13. " I don't pretend to understand, or even, really, to give a shit about, Iraqi Politics"

      Isn't warfare simply an extension of politics (Clauswtiz)? If so, that statement of yours says a lot.

      Delete
    14. Whatever, you're just being argumentative.

      Delete
  43. We underestimated ISIS. ISIS overestimated itself. They have lost the politics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hopefully the locals will turn on the bastards though a reign of terror is pretty tried and true.

      Delete
    2. True, but we need to remember that this got all wound up with the fall of Mosul - and, that only happened because the General up there quit his post, and told his troops to run away, before the fight even started.

      Would the I Shits have even moved on Mosul if the fix hadn't been in?

      And, Maliki thought he couldn't trust his Sunni Generals. :)

      Delete
    3. These guys have been trotting about in Syria as well have they not? We only started to pay attention when Mosul fell...

      Delete
    4. They were doing their best for the Israeli and the Saudis, and by extension, the US in Syria, Ash.

      ISRAEL PREFERS al-QAEDA

      Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren told the Jerusalem Post that Israel so wanted Assad out and his Iranian backers weakened, that Israel would accept al-Qaeda operatives taking power in Syria.

      “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.”

      Even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.

      “We understand that they are pretty bad guys,” Oren said in the interview.

      http://www.jpost.com/Syria-Crisis/Oren-Jerusalem-has-wanted-Assad-ousted-since-the-outbreak-of-the-Syrian-civil-war-326328


      Israel - Founded by Terrorists and Sustained by Terrorism and now ... Allied with Islamic Terrorists


      In broad daylight, a Saudi-Israeli alliance

      Then ISIS headed east, as per the "Yinon Plan".
      Which is one reason the US waited to deploy the air cap over the Iraq.
      The desire on the part of the US to create a crisis that would act as a stimulus to remove Maliki.

      Delete
    5. oh, yeah, all according to plan. You go rat, you go!

      Delete
    6. No, Ash, I do not have to go anywhere. It is you should go read the "Yinon Plan".

      It is laid out in basic detail. How it is in Israel' national interest to destabilize the region, break up the existing countries into sectarian enclaves. That you refuse to think that countries plan or think beyond tomorrow, well, that is your limitation, you can feel free to operate under that delusion.

      "In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way."
      - Franklin D. Roosevelt


      https://www.google.com/search?q=Yinon+Plan&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=sb

      Delete
  44. The "Best" weapon the ISIS have, taken from the motor pools of Mosul, are the T-72 main battle tanks.
    Which is also the primary target that the Hellfire missile was designed to destroy.

    Beyond that piece of hardware, the primary weapon that ISIS has is their aura of invincibility. That can be shattered.

    The Sunni tribesmen, the veterans of the "Anbar Awakening", they will follow the money.
    They did before, they will again. Cash is the most potent weapon, in Iraq.

    The Iraqi Army will now reorganize under the new government, they will integrate the Shiite recruits and reestablish lines of communication and logistics with the Kurdish Brigades, in the north.

    Then they will roll west and clear the Euphrates river valley and regain control of the dams.
    While the Kurds continue to pressure the ISIS in the Tigris basin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pretty confident predictions there rat. We shall see what really happens.

      Delete
    2. Rat is a figment of your imaginationTue Aug 12, 02:53:00 PM EDT

      It is not that hard to foretell the operational strategy of the Iraqis.

      Engaging the ISIS on multiple fronts is the best way to limit their ability to respond. The Iraqi & Kurds already have the ISIS in a two front defensive position. The empty lands between the two river valleys have no strategic value.
      The ISIS will not defend them, cannot sustain operations there.

      Iraq is all about the river basins, the dams and the water.
      Any desert rat could tell you that water is the key element.




      Delete
    3. The assumption underlying your 'plans' is that the Iraqi government will act in a cohesive functional manner allied with the separatist Kurds.

      Delete
    4. The President of Iraq is a Kurd.
      The US will funnel the logistic train through Baghdad.

      Those are the preliminary "Facts on the Ground", the Kurds will march with US, they have no other alternative.
      They are already in step.

      Delete
  45. "The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence."
    Charles Bukowski

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should have saved that baby for boobie but I just stumbled upon it.

      Delete
  46. QuirkMon Aug 11, 07:26:00 PM EDT

    Close air support. Right.

    That is how we won in Vietnam. That is how we won in Afghanistan. That is how we won in Iraq.


    Again, Quirk hit a home run.
    The US did win every battle in all of those locales mentioned.
    Close air support did provide the tactical advantage.

    Quirk's sarcasm button may have been on, but that has been covered

    Farmer Rob - Mon Aug 11, 02:07:00 PM EDT

    Winning All the Battles but Losing the War, Just Like Hannibal.
    by Robert O'Connell

    Farmer Rob - Mon Aug 11, 02:09:00 PM EDT
    http://www.hnn.us/article/125760


    Farmer Rob - Mon Aug 11, 02:14:00 PM EDT

    Hue City, 1968: Winning A Battle While Losing A War
    By Maj Norman L. Cooling - Originally Published July 2001




    Whether the US won those wars, or not ...
    Not relevant to the coming battles with ISIS

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quirk is looking at the strategy of US foreign policy, and is trying to lay those failures on the tactics of the US military.
      An amateurs train of illogical reasoning.

      Delete
    2. .

      Whether the US won those wars, or not ...
      Not relevant to the coming battles with ISIS


      George W. Bush (May 1, 2003):

      Mission Accomplished

      Hannibal (2nd Punic War: 2018 - 2001 BC):

      We are kicking their asses now, boys

      Quirk (August, 12, 2014)

      Get back to me when IS has signed the surrender terms

      Lest anyone forget where this little tiff with the rat (and Rufus?) began it was with my comment that while air power is nice the intel it provides is as important or more so than its kinetic benefits and if the war with IS is to be won, it will be with won by boots on the ground, hopefully solely Iraqi boots.

      You do not take and hold ground from the air. You do it by boots on the ground.

      As I said, rat, let me know when IS signs the terms of surrender. So far you have told me that the reason the Kurds were able to retake a town was because the US took out a mortar position.

      Damn efficient.

      .

      Delete
    3. .

      By your standards, NATO won the war in Libya.

      Ludicrous.

      .

      Delete
    4. NATO won the battle to depose Colonel Q, that was the military objective, it was achieved.

      What followed was not a military operation
      You want to conflate the two, as amateurs do.

      Delete
    5. .

      Not even close.

      Haven't you heard, it was a humanitarian effort to save 10,000 rebel lives.

      Then the Valkyries in the Obama administration convinced him to jump in to bring freedom and democracy to those millions
      of Libyans.

      The UK and the French were pushing for war because of oil interests.

      Ghadafi? An afterthought. They needed some reason to justify the 'war'. Hell, a few years earlier when he was helping with the WOT, Condi said he was someone we could work with.

      An amateur? I'd rather be an amateur than a naif and a fool.

      .

      Holding the ground. Hell a couple years later and you have Syria, now Iraq. Hell, the US couldn't even hold the ground their embassy is sitting on.

      Delete
  47. Americans back President Barack Obama's decision to begin conducting air strikes in Iraq, but strongly oppose sending American ground troops to fight the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds.

    Fifty-eight percent of Americans in the new poll supported Obama's authorization of air strikes against insurgents in Iraq, while 24 percent said they oppose the move. A similar percentage said they would approve of the use of drones. The air strikes brought a rare moment of bipartisan agreement, with 66 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of Republicans supporting the move. Independents expressed less positive opinions, with just half approving.

    Polls have consistently shown Americans' wariness of foreign intervention, as Obama noted in a Thursday speech. "I know that many of you are rightly concerned about any American military action in Iraq -- even limited strikes like these," he said.

    Now that the decision to launch strikes has been made, though, Americans are considerably more supportive than they were in earlier polling that asked them simply to consider the possibility of such strikes. A June HuffPost/YouGov poll asked Americans to weigh possible interventions in Iraq, with just 44 percent in favor of air strikes and 33 percent opposed.

    article

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.

      - Lyndon B. Johnson

      Delete
  48. Bloomberg Reports
    Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met with military officers today in the latest sign he won’t hand power willingly to his designated successor, as U.S. and Iraqi forces battled Islamist militants.

    Maliki ordered his commanders to keep out of the political crisis that has gripped Baghdad since President Fouad Masoum asked a rival Shiite politician to form a government, according to footage of the meeting shown on television. Earlier, militiamen and soldiers had fanned out across the capital in a show of force. A car bomb killed six people in the city.

    Maliki’s defiance came as a growing number of countries threw their support behind premier-designate Haidar al-Abadi amid efforts to break a three-month political stalemate that has hampered efforts to resist an offensive by the Islamic State’s Sunni insurgents.

    ReplyDelete