“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Why the Russian Strategy in Syria Could Work


Syrian insurgents vow to attack Russian forces as Moscow hints at ground role
The 41 groups are reacting against Moscow’s air war but a senior official says Russian fighters from Ukraine ‘can’t be stopped’ from fighting for Assad regime
More than 40 Syrian insurgent groups have vowed to attack Russian forces in retaliation for Moscow’s air campaign, in a show of unity among the usually fragmented rebels against what they called the “occupiers” of Syria.
The 41 Syrian rebel groups, which included powerful factions such as Ahrar al-Sham, Islam Army and the Levant Front, said Russia had joined the war in Syria after President Bashar al-Assad’s forces were on the verge “of a crushing defeat”.
The insurgents’ warning came as the chairman of Russia’s parliamentary defense committee suggested that Russian “volunteer” units could join with forces fighting for Assad. 
Vladimir Komoyedov, the former commander of the Black Sea fleet, told the Interfax news agency that Russians who had previously fought alongside rebels in eastern Ukraine “can’t be stopped” from going to fight for the Assad regime. 
“A unit of Russian volunteers, conflict veterans, will probably appear in the ranks of the Syrian army,” Komoyedov said. “What brings volunteers there besides the cause? Of course, it’s probably money.”
Russia launched its air campaign on Wednesday and claims it is targeting the Islamic State group and al-Qaida’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front. But many of the strikes appear to have hit western-backed rebel factions.
The Russian attacks have largely focused on the north-western and central provinces – the gateways to the heartland of Assad’s power base in the capital, Damascus – and on the Mediterranean coast.
On Monday, Turkey said that its air force had intercepted a Russian fighter planethat had violated the country’s airspace while apparently flying a sortie over Syria – an incident that risked further inflaming tensions days after Russia’s military intervention began.
Turkey’s ministry of foreign affairs said it had summoned Russia’s ambassador after two F-16 fighter jets intercepted the Russian plane while it was flying south of Hatay, a province that borders Syria, on Saturday.
The Russian intervention has been widely criticised by Syrian opposition groups and activists, especially since Moscow once played the role of a mediator, hosting rounds of talks between the Syrian government and its opponents.
“This new reality requires the region’s countries and the allies in specific to hasten in forming a regional alliance to face the Russian-Iranian alliance that occupies Syria,” the 41 factions said in a statement released by Ahrar al-Sham. It was apparently referring to backers of the opposition, such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
A Syrian military official was quoted by state media as saying that Russian airstrikes on Monday hit in the central province of Homs and Idlib in the north-west.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said warplanes believed to be Russian have targeted the northern town of al-Bab that is an Isis stronghold. It said the airstrike left “a large number” of casualties.
A Facebook page used by Isis posted photos of wounded people being treated in a clinic and another of what appeared to be a burned body being pulled out of a charred car. The Facebook page said dozens of people were killed or wounded in the airstrikes.
The Syrian militant and rebel factions, including the US-backed Division 101 and Tajammu Alezza, said: “The Russian military aggression on Syria is considered a blatant occupation of the country even if some claim it was done with the official request of the Assad regime. Those who lost legitimacy can’t offer it
“All Syrian armed revolutionary factions must realise we are in a war to push an aggressor, a war that makes unifying ranks and word a duty on all brothers,” the factions said in the two-page statement posted online. “Any occupation force to our beloved country is a legitimate target.”
Earlier in the day, militant websites reported, Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood declared that jihad against the “sheer Russian occupation of Syria” is a legitimate duty for everyone capable of carrying weapons. 
The Kremlin has acknowledged that military specialists are in Syria to train local troops in how to use Russian weapons, and a Russian battalion is believed to be there to protect the airbase in Latakia. But President Vladimir Putin has said he will not deploy ground troops to Syria.
However, reports have alleged that Russians who had previously fought in eastern Ukraine have been spotted among Syrian government forces. 
Fighting as a mercenary is illegal under Russian law, but Komoyedov’s statement to Interfax has prompted speculation that the Kremlin could encourage irregular forces to fight in Syria, much as it reportedly did in eastern Ukraine. 
“The Russian regime has carefully avoided the issue [of its use of mercenaries], because it has never has talked about the money received by those fighting in eastern Ukraine,” said defence analyst Alexander Golts. 
“If the head of the parliament’s defence committee talks about money from the start of the Syria conflict, that means that one of leading faces of the regime is endorsing the use of mercenaries. I want to believe in adequacy of the Russian leadership. Any attempt to start a ground operation in Syria won’t lead to victory, as the past five to 10 years has showed. It will lead to catastrophe.”
The reported scale of the Russian mercenary presence in Syria is small. A fighter who took part in the eastern Ukraine conflict told the newspaper Kommersant at the end of September that he was helping send Russians to fight against Isis in Syria for money. He said 12 of his charges were already in Iraq and another 20 or so were preparing to travel to the Middle East in October.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Russia’s Chechnya republic, said last week he was ready to send his soldiers to Syria. Many Chechen fighters took part in the eastern Ukraine conflict, but Kadyrov said recently all Chechens there would be withdrawn from the country.
Ruslan Leviyev, a citizen journalist who has published investigations of Russian soldiers and equipment in eastern Ukraine and more recently in Syria, on Monday posted on Facebook a summons he had received to the prosecutor general’s office for questioning. 
His reports on the deployment of Russian soldiers to Syria, a taboo topic until the Kremlin recently began admitting it had military advisers there, have been sensitive. One woman reportedly wrote to him that prosecutors had opened a case against her soldier husband after Leviyev’s investigation traced his deployment to Syria. 


  1. NATO’s secretary general has said a “substantial” build-up of Russian forces in Syria includes ground troops.

    Although Vladimir Putin has said he would not put troops in Syria, Russian military chiefs have raised the prospect of "volunteer" soldiers joining the fighting.

    If employed, the tactic would have echoes of the crisis in Ukraine, where Russian troops apparently helped rebels while Moscow denied its soldiers were involved in the conflict.

    Jens Stoltenberg also said he doubted Russia's claim that violations of Turkey's airspace were a mistake because there were two incursions and they lasted longer than a few seconds.

    He said the incidents were "very serious" and added: "It doesn't look like an accident, and we've seen two of them over the weekend."

    1. .

      ...Russian military chiefs have raised the prospect of "volunteer" soldiers joining the fighting.

      The return of the 'green men'.


  2. The Russian government is reportedly looking into the second alleged violation of Turkish airspace, after the Kremlin’s ambassador was once again summoned in Ankara for an explanation.

    Moscow has said the Syrian airbase from which Russian planes were flying missions, Khmeimim, was about 19 miles (30km) from the Turkish border and that its aircraft had to approach it from the north in certain weather conditions.

    As Mr Stoltenberg was speaking, Russian media quoted a senior politician as saying Moscow would consider extending airstrikes against militants to Iraq if a request came from Baghdad.


  3. The Guardian article claims more than 40 rebel groups fighting Assad.

    For the past four years the US, UK and Saudi Arabia have been providing arms to these groups in Syria. What has been achieved? The worst refugee crisis since WWII and hundreds of thousands dead.

    ISIS was until a couple of years ago al Qaeda Iraq, and Nusra was their Syrian faction. W

    When David Petraeus and many ‘analysts’ talked about using al Qaeda to fight ISIS, they aren’t mentioning that the two of the forty are as bad as each other.

    The Western-funded Syrian National Coalition said in an interview a few days ago that they are ready to hold talks with al Nusra because ‘they aren't killing the Syrian people'. To them, only Sunnis are ‘Syrian people’.

    Radical islamists by any name all have the same goal: to build an islamic state. Why are we helping any of them?

    1. I suppose we will have to waterboard the Neocons to find out.

    2. Assad with Iranian and Hezbollah created the refugee crisis. They were the ones who murdered 360,000 Sunni Syrians and created millions of refugees You don't see the victims of Isis fleeing into Europe do u?

    3. Basically all the fault of Obama and the Neo-Traitors in the Democratic al_Quds Party for taking the troops out of Iraq too soon.

      (Throwing slogans around really is fun)

      A person would have to be nuts to advocate bringing 4 million Syrian moslems to the Western World.

      The refugees we ought to take would be the Syrian Christians.

      They would have a chance to assimilate.

      It's Russia's problem now. Let them handle it.

    4. Bwabwabwahahahaha Department -

      On the other hand maybe Putin will save the Syrian Christians --

      BwaBwaBwa -

      October 6, 2015
      Who Will Save Middle East Christians: Obama or Putin?
      By Fay Voshell

      Few Western foreign policy analysts have taken seriously Vladimir Putin's radical reorientation of Russia from communism back to Russian Orthodox Christianity.

      Putin is perhaps uniquely qualified to discern that his nation's identity has been for centuries within a spiritual, distinctly Christian narrative and that a violent rending of Russia's historically religious roots led to utter disaster for the Russian peoples.

      Son of a militant atheist and a pious mother, Putin lived through the collapse of the Soviet Union and the resurgence of capitalism as defined in Russian terms. Though raised a secularist, he is now a devout Christian in the Russian Orthodox tradition and has devoted himself to the advancement of Christianity and the repudiation of what he sees as Western decadence. While some may be dismissive of Putin's Christian beliefs, there is no doubt that Christianity informs the way he now chooses to shape his own narrative and the story of his country.

      Putin's religious values are rooted in Russian Orthodoxy and personal religious experiences, including his wife's car accident in 1993 and a life-threatening house fire in 1996. Just before a diplomatic trip to Israel, his mother gave him a baptismal cross. He said of the occasion, "I … put the cross around my neck. I have never taken it off since."

      By his own testimony, Putin has had the personal conversion experience so often ridiculed by the communist regime in which he was embedded for so many years. He now is putting his recently found faith to work in Russia and abroad..................

      Read more:
      Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook


      What horse shit.

      The KGB blue eyed fraud of a fly fisherman killer of journalists and anyone else that 'crosses' him is now a Man of the Cross !!!!

      Had a deep conversion experience, my fucking aching asshole.

      Wampum Day at the Casino.

      I got that to look forward to.....

    5. Had a deep Christian Conversion Experience ?

      Be proud of your faith and show it in public.

      Stand out and up in the crowd for Christ !

      Get your X-tra Large Chest Conversion Crosses from:

      Q's Conversion Crosses R Us.

      Only $99.99, shipping not included, neck chains extra.......

      Send self addressed stamped return envelope to:

      Q's Crosses
      Box 00000
      Detroit, Michigan

    6. Have you ever asked yourself:

      "Just what the fuck is a 'militant atheist' ?"

  4. But as the great historian of Soviet tyranny Robert Conquest wrote, this assumption is the most dangerous mistake those managing our foreign policy can make:

    We are still faced with the absolutely crucial problem of making the intellectual and imaginative effort not to project our ideas of common sense or natural motivation onto the products of totally different cultures. The central point is less that people misunderstand other people, or that cultures misunderstand other cultures, than that they have no notion that this may be the case. They assume that the light of their own parochial common sense is enough. And they frame policies based on illusions. Yet how profound is this difference between political psychologies and between the motivations of different political traditions, and how deep-set and how persistent these attitudes are!

    Obama has serially proved the truth of this timeless wisdom, misunderstanding every one of our adversaries and enemies from the mullahs in Iran to Vladimir Putin. The human race is not progressing towards some peaceful utopia, because human nature has not advanced that much over the last three millennia. The desire for power, resources, and status is as constant among nations as it is among men, and force is the eternal means of achieving those aims. To think that such men can be talked or bargained out of what they perceive is their interests is sheer folly. The truth is, war is not an anomaly or evidence of a failure to progress, but a sad constant of state relations. To think otherwise is to encourage the bold and violent and the death and misery they leave in their wake. The 4 million Syrian refugees and 250,000 dead after Obama’s bluster of “red lines” and “Assad must go” are testimony to this eternal trut.

    The Roots of Obama’s Catastrophic Foreign Policy
    And why the catastrophes are so consistent.
    October 6, 2015
    Bruce Thornton

  5. Here, you read it, I ain't got the stamina for it any longer this nice morning -

    Yale students study “In Defense of Looting” from #BlackLivesMatter protester
    Oct 6, 2015 9:21 AM by Jazz Shaw

    Tata -

    Cheers !

    1. Fuck it, what a bunch of frauds the current crop of Democrats are -

      October 6, 2015
      Playing the pity card: Biden himself leaked his son's dying wish
      By Rick Moran

      We're used to seeing politicians as cynical, manipulative creatures who'd sell their own mother for votes.

      But what about selling a dying son?

      Politico is reporting that it was Vice President Joe Biden himself who leaked his son's dying wish that he run for president, planting the story with NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd. In effect, Biden was "placing an ad in the New York Times" announcing his availability to run, according to the article.

      Before that moment and since, Biden has told the Beau story to others. Sometimes details change — the setting, the exact words. The version he gave Dowd delivered the strongest punch to the gut, making the clearest swipe at Clinton by enshrining the idea of a campaign against her in the words of a son so beloved nationally that his advice is now beyond politics. This campaign wouldn’t be about her or her email controversy, the story suggests, but connected to righteousness on some higher plane..................

      Read more:
      Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook


  6. Assad, supported by Iran and Russia and using troops from Hezbollah and Pakistani and Iraqi Shiite militias have murdered hundreds of thousands.

    Now Russia is going full boar.

    Will it work?


    In war, real war, one side has to be defeated.

    In this case? Russia, Iran, Assad of Syria and Hezbollah will not rest until the game is done.

    The real question?

    What then and who is next.

  7. .

    I suppose we will have to waterboard the Neocons to find out.

    Well, if you consider Obama as positioned somewhere along the neocon spectrum, I guess. I'm coming to think he may not be. He is way too cautious to be considered a full-fledged hawk and much of his talk about democracy, etc. is likely just talking points and bullshit.
    Of course, there was Libya; but he was dragged to that war by the unholy distaff troika headed by Clinton.

    Right now, other than the Iran agreement, US foreign policy is a disaster. Worse than a mess, it is not only ineffective it is embarrassing.

    It started out with his red lines in Syria which turned out not to be red lines.

    On the bombing of the hospital in Afghanistan, first we denied, then we offer sympathy (sans apology), then we said we did it based on a request from the Afghan government, and this morning, a US general told Congress the decision was made within the US chain of command.

    Obama told the world that Russia would 'pay a price' for their incursions into Ukraine. Putin yawned.

    He told Russia that their intervention into Syria was 'doomed to failure'. A week or two later, he said the Russia intervention could prove helpful in the fight against ISIS even though ISIS is way down on the Russian priority list, and even though Russia's first moves involve taking out the so-called moderate groups the US has been training and supporting with arms.

    Russia (and others) talk of setting up a 'no-fly zone' in Syria even though the US coalition and Assad are the only other powers there that have an air force.

    Russia meets with Obama, they shake hands, and within a few days Putin ends up taking out 'moderate' groups fighting Assad. They did however give us a 1 hour notice so we could get our planes out of the way. Our reaction? SOD Carter described the Russian actions as "unprofessional". Good lord, are we back to the days of WW I and the Red Baron? Unprofessional?

    Our response to the Russians? We meet with them to negotiate a 'de-conflct' protocol.

    This is hardly new. We did the same thing when we handed over the leadership of the war in Iraq to Iran.

    US policy changes daily, it changes with the wind, one day we threaten the next after being confronted we back down. The best you can say about US policy is that it is flexible even if also predictable.

    Frankly, any waterboarding would require a 'serial waterboarding regime' just to keep up.


  8. The video Deuce puts up is clear.

    The Russians are bombing anyone who took up arms against Assad, and they are now ALL (men, women and children) terrorists.

    The Syrian expert was clear.

    Russia is bombing the Sunnis to clear them out, they can leave or give up or die.

    Notice how Deuce has no outrage about bombing these civilians..

  9. Here's HIllary on the issue -

    Politics | Mon Oct 5, 2015 9:05am EDT

    Presidential candidate Clinton says removing Assad in Syria is No. 1 priority

    HOLLIS, N.H.

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton makes a point during a speech to supporters at the Human Rights Campaign Breakfast in Washington, October 3, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Monday said removing President Bashar al-Assad is the top priority in Syria.

    Clinton, speaking at a town hall meeting in Hollis, said the United States should pursue a diplomatic solution in resolving Syria's internal conflict.

    (Reporting by Amanda Becker; Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

    hahahaha....a diplomatic solution

    Here's the recent goings on at the University of Pennsylvania -

    Ivy League professor: Award Carson 'coon of the year'
    By Al Weaver (@alweaver22) • 10/6/15 1:42 PM

    Ben Carson: Confederate Flag Should Be Allowed on Private Property

    An Ivy League professor said that Ben Carson should win the "coon of the year" after the 2016 hopeful supported allowing Confederate flags at NASCAR events.

    In a tweet sent out last Tuesday, University of Pennsylvania religious studies professor Anthea Butler, wrote "If only there was a 'coon of the year' award ..." when responding to Daily Beast editor-at-large Goldie Taylor's tweet containing a link to a Sports Illustrated article on the issue.

    "Swastikas are a symbol of hate for some people too … and yet they still exist in our museums and places like that," Carson said during an event with Richard Petty in North Carolina last Monday. "If it's a majority of people in that area who want it to fly, I certainly wouldn't take it down."

    Obviously, Butler disagreed with the famed neurosurgeon, who currently sits second in the Washington Examiner's latest power ranking, behind only Donald Trump.

    Poor U Penn students must be taught by a bunch of PIGS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! using language like that.....

    1. One of the Amish I hired back in Ohio to do some work on my wife's place was of the opinion that:

      "Somebody ought to take Obama on a coon hunt"

      This kinda shocked me as I thought the Amish totally non political and that they don't even vote.....

      He might have recently moved to the Ohio Amish from Pennsylvania perhaps.....

  10. Hillary is of the opinion Syria is the most important thing going, Priority #1, and what is needed is a 'diplomatic solution' of which there is ZERO chance, while McCain wants to give SuperStingerMissiles to somebody/anybody to shoot down Rooskie planes and choppers, everyone and his aunt and uncle on both sides are touting the virtues of 'no fly zones' and 'safe zones' better late than never while the Bar is divided between those who support the Iranians, Assad and the Russians, and those who don't give much of a shit one way or the other, the faction to which I currently adhere.

    I'm just hoping now the Russians get a good big bloody nose out of it, regardless of what else may happen......and we ought to do what we can for the Christians and a few others.....

    I doubt there is one Jew in the entire country.

    I read an article the other day about the last remaining 12 or 14 Jews in Egypt, all over 80 years old.

    And Israel, we are told here, is the apartheid nation......with Arabs sitting in the Knesset no less....

  11. Maybe one of these fine days, after they settle in a little, the Russians will bump Assad off, and put in one of their own, someone they can really trust....

  12. Maybe the Russians will go into Iraq -

    Conflict Zones
    Iraq's Fight Against ISIS Stalls
    October 06, 2015 4:40 AM ET
    Alice Fordham
    Alice Fordham
    Twitter Instagram
    Listen to the Story

    Morning Edition


    Iraqi tribal fighters opposed to the Islamic State receive weapons training near Amiriyat al-Fallujah in the western province of Anbar. It's been more than a year since the U.S. organized a coalition to fight the Islamic State, but the group still holds much of western Iraq.

    Iraqi tribal fighters opposed to the Islamic State receive weapons training near Amiriyat al-Fallujah in the western province of Anbar. It's been more than a year since the U.S. organized a coalition to fight the Islamic State, but the group still holds much of western Iraq.
    Alice Fordham/NPR

    More than a year after the U.S. led the formation of an anti-ISIS coalition, the extremists still hold large parts of western and northern Iraq.

    In the west, ISIS took the desert provincial capital, Ramadi, four months ago. A much-anticipated counteroffensive never materialized.

    In a small area of Anbar Province that ISIS doesn't control, five Iraqi flags on bent brass poles mark out a parade ground bordered by a junkyard and dilapidated warehouse.

    "We want to hear your voice!" yells an Iraqi army officer drilling about 200 recruits from local tribes who have pledged to fight ISIS.

    Over the course of 15 to 20 days, the recruits receive physical and weapons training. "Then," says Maj. Laafi Abbas, "we send them to the front line."

    Their preparation is minimal. Many of the sweating volunteers are in dress shoes or sneakers rather than boots. Few have guns. An instructor shows them how to dismantle a weapon while the men watch. Abbas says he'd like to train for longer, with more weapons, but he hasn't been assigned the money.

    The Pentagon calls these tribal fighters crucial to the long-term defeat of ISIS. The thinking goes that in a place like Anbar, where ISIS enjoys considerable support, you have to encourage any local guys who may be prepared and willing to take on the extremists.

    But the tribes say they're under-resourced and there's no way they can mount an offensive without more help either from the coalition or their own government.

    "All the tribes here are ready to fight," says tribal leader Sheikh Hayel al-Humeidi, sitting in an office on the base. His men sided with the U.S. in the fight against al-Qaida almost a decade ago.

    Now, he says, "we are under a lot of pressure from ISIS." The extremists are 350 yards away from the base. "Daily, they shoot rockets and mortars at our houses."
    Related Stories

    1. U.S. Marines arrive at Saudi Arabia's Dhahran Air Base on Aug. 21, 1990. The U.S. began a buildup in the region just days after Iraq invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2 of that year. The U.S. military has been active in Iraq virtually nonstop for the past quarter-century.
      25 Years In Iraq, With No End In Sight

      Outnumbered And Hoping For More Help
      Kurdish rebels in northern Syria walk near the devastated town of Kobani last November. The U.S. bombing campaign helped the Kurds push back the Islamic State from the area. But overall, the U.S. operation against ISIS in Iraq and Syria has shown only limited gains in the past year.
      After A Year Of Bombing ISIS, U.S. Campaign Shows Just Limited Gains

      The tribal fighters work with the army and a small contingent of pro-government militias. But, says Army Col. Lawrence al-Issawi, they're overstretched and ISIS has better weapons and more men. "We're just holding the front line right now," he says.

      Iraq's broken politics and economy offer plenty of reasons to explain the stalled fight.

      Tumbling oil prices have left the country broke, and a proposed law to give more power to local fighters in Sunni areas like Anbar hasn't been passed. The legislation was treated with intense suspicion by lawmakers from the Shiite majority, including former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He said last month the proposed law was designed to divide the nation. Recent government reports have also detailed massive military corruption.

      But tribal sheikhs, soldiers, lawmakers and senior officials lay the ultimate responsibility for Iraq's fight against ISIS squarely at the feet of the U.S.-led coalition.

      "When the serious will is there, then the fight can start," says Hamed al-Mutlaq, deputy head of the government's defense and security committee. He wants the international coalition to train and equip members of the police, army and tribes, and provide air cover.

      (((((In an interview last week with France 24, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said, "We were expecting the international coalition, Americans, to bring massive air power to protect our forces," he said. "We haven't received that. At the moment we are getting support, but it's not major — it's limited."

      He even raised the possibility of inviting Russia to bomb ISIS in Iraq.)))))

    2. The U.S. defends its efforts, pointing to more than 6,000 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since August of last year — which it says have killed thousands of ISIS fighters, including senior leaders — and advances by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria. Coalition trainers are also working with the army and tribal fighters on two bases in Anbar.

      But the limited progress has drawn stinging criticism from American lawmakers as well. "There is no compelling reason to believe that anything we are currently doing will be sufficient to achieve the president's stated goal of degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL," Sen. John McCain said during a hearing in July.

      'I Don't Think We Will Achieve Any Progress'

      One Iraqi soldier, speaking on condition of anonymity because he's afraid of his commanders, says the coalition, while taking some action, is not doing enough, given how weak Iraq's forces are.

      He says he's received U.S. weapons and "very good" training from American and other instructors. He saved a man's life with the first aid he was taught. When he was deployed just south of Ramadi last month, other soldiers were able to call in airstrikes, allowing his unit to take and hold land on the outskirts of the city.

      "We surrounded ISIS in Ramadi," he says. "But I don't think we will achieve any progress in future." He gestures to a TV tuned to the state channel, proclaiming victories, and calls it lies and propaganda.

      He says that his commanders are corrupt, taking bribes to let people go on leave, and that they abandon troops when the battle heats up — and that there's scarce food and water. ISIS is better armed, more numerous and uses car bombs and similar tactics.

      It will take "seven or eight years" to retake Ramadi, he guesses, unless the American forces leave the training camps on the two bases and join Iraqi soldiers on the ground. "Then we can liberate it," he says.

      Meanwhile, more than 3 million people have been displaced by fighting in Iraq, most fleeing ISIS-held areas. Tens of thousands have piled into Anbar's government-held town of Amiriyat al-Fallujah.

      Some of those displaced have built a little souk selling clothes and household items.

      "The most important thing is that we go back to our city," says Mohammad Ahmad, a stallholder from Fallujah, which is controlled by ISIS. "But we haven't seen anything from the government or the army that can help us."


    WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul spoke with CNN's Wolf Blitzer about the role of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He also talked about gun control and Syria airstrikes.

    Paul, R-Kentucky, told Blitzer that the U.S. military strike that hit a hospital in Afghanistan raises questions over the U.S.'s continued involvement in that country, 14 years after the U.S. first deployed troops there.

    Paul said there is a bigger question President Obama "should have to answer."

    "Why are we still at war in Afghanistan? What is the U.S. object? What's the U.S. mission? And why are we bombing anyone in Afghanistan?" Paul asked. "I think we had a clear cut mission after 9/11, but that's been long gone for many years now ... there's no reason for the U.S. to be involved there at all."

    Paul was critical of the U.S.'s unintended strike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital, saying it was completely unacceptable. He told Blitzer that tragic accidents happen when you're involved in war, but "I don't see why we're still involved in Afghanistan."