- Bobby Gosh, the Christian Palestinian editor of Time magazine, said today on "Morning Mika," that the greatest untruth currently circulating is the canard concerning whether or not Obama really wanted to maintain a residual US military presence in Iraq. He said, to Lightning Joe's consternation, that the the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that Obama wanted a residual of something like 10,000 for; command and staff advisory duties as well as supply management, CT ops, intelligence analysis and collection, etc. Gosh insisted that it was Maliki and company who altogether rejected that plan through the mechanism of having the Iraqi parliament reject legal extraterritoriality for the remaining US troops. I agree with Gosh. Obama did not do that. Maliki did it.
- It seems clear that the Obama Administration is attempting to "manage" the narrative on Iraq by feeding its point of view to selected news people. The soccer fan (Joe) who sits to her left on "Morning Mika," is just sooo self assured when he talks about the situation in Iraq It seems likely that he is getting lot of attention from PAO people in the government. And then, there is Chuck Todd. He has been saying for days that "people in Washington," are telling him that Iraq will be "Yemenized" as a matter of policy. Which "people in Washington?"
- Yesterday (22 June) ISIS fighters shot up a police bus in the area of Hillah (SOUTH of Baghdad). the police were transferring prisoners to a prison just north of Baghdad. 71 people were killed. This means that there is an ISIS presence SOUTH of Baghdad. The roads to Kuwait run through this area. This could become quite important in terms of the ongoing NEO.
- Are there still two US Army combat brigades in Kuwait? the British "Mail on Line," indicates that there are 10,000 US military in Kuwait. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2655485/US-no-plans-send-35-000-Middle-East-based-troops-Iraq-al-Qaeda-overruns-two-cities-forces-500-000-flee-lives.html But are these structured in maneuver brigades that could be useful in an overland NEO? The article also confirms the presence of USAF F-16s in Kuwait.
- John Kerry is in Iraq to persuade Maliki to become a "cumbaya" kind of fellow. Good luck to him!
- The seizure of Rutba near the Jordan border is a real threat to Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The IPC hard surface road runs straight from there to Mafraq and then Zarqa'in northern Jordan. The TAPLINE road that parallels the Saudi border can also be reached overland from Rutba or on the Jordanian road that runs south by Azraq.. Having driven around cross country in that area myself I can tell you that there are enough desert tracks to make that work as well. We should consider a substantial troop commitment in eastern Jordan.