"A classified military assessment of Iraq’s security forces concludes that many units are so deeply infiltrated by either Sunni extremist informants or Shiite personnel backed by Iran that any Americans assigned to advise Baghdad’s forces could face risks to their safety, according to United States officials.
The report concludes that only about half of Iraq’s operational units are capable enough for American commandos to advise them if the White House decides to help roll back the advances made by Sunni militants in northern and western Iraq over the past month." NY Times
Basically, the Iraqi "army" is not worthy of the term. LTG (Ret.) Dubik who now works for !SW and who "trained" this "army" says the same thing although I am told by people who were there when he was so engaged that he was fulsome in the praise of these "troops" at that time. pl
"Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday that Iran and Russia were helping Iraq battle a Sunni extremist insurgency but that the U.S. was not coordinating its own assistance with either country.
"We are aware of the Iranian and Russian efforts to help the Iraqis, but we are not involved in coordinating any missions," Hagel said.
Hagel’s comments came after reports quoted Iraqi military officials saying that Iran and Russia were conducting airstrikes in their country, hitting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets.
A Pentagon official said the U.S. believes Iranian pilots are in the air in Iraq but not Russian pilots.
"We believe that there are some manned Iranian flights manned by Iranian pilots," the official said. "There's nothing that indicates there are Russian pilots flying around." "
And why are we not coordinating any missions? Are we so rigid politically that we cannot grasp the idea that alignments shift as requirements change? We fought the Filipinos, Germans, Japanese, and Vietnamese communists to the death and now have good relations with all of these groups. IS is a real threat, Iran and Russia are not. pl
"Syria is determined to "eliminate" the Sunni extremist group Isis, according to a senior minister, who urged western countries to recognise "new realities" by joining the battle against terrorism and ending their support for rebels trying to overthrow president Bashar al-Assad.
"The only way to resolve the situation is to work with president Assad," Faisal Mekdad, Syria's vice foreign minister, told the Guardian. Mekdad said that "many countries" were now seeking security cooperation with Damascus, but "security matters could not be separated from the political cooperation".
He rejected suggestions that Assad is in league with Isis, which controls large parts of northern and eastern Syria as well as contiguous areas of Iraq. Assad's enemies accuse him of tolerating the group or tacitly cooperating with it to foment fighting between rival rebel units and present himself as a secular bulwark against al-Qaida and jihadi fanaticism." Guardian
This relates directly to my comment above in which I try to make a case for cooperating against common enemies. The notion that SAG is trying to use ISIL to defeat all the other opposition groups is something that only a neocon operative could put forward with a straight face. pl
*Hamas’s military wing published a photograph that it says shows one of its drones. The image gives no direct indication of how big the aircraft is, what its capabilities are, where it came from or where or when the photo was taken. According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, the Iranian-made Ababil-1 is nine and a half feet long, with a range of about 150 miles, and is able to carry up to 88 pounds of payload, such as explosives or camera equipment.
The group also claimed on its website that it had mounted three drone sorties of at least two aircraft each over Israel on Monday, including one it said had hovered over the Tel Aviv headquarters of the Israel Defense Forces. A spokesman for the I.D.F. said that while he could not rule out other drone flights, he was not aware of any sortie over Tel Aviv.
Israel has been talking about a threat of attacks by unmanned aircraft for several years. Compared with the rockets that militant groups typically fire into Israel, drones like the Ababil-1 are potentially capable of greater accuracy and more destructive power, but they also tend to be more susceptible to standard air defenses."
A vision of the future in the ME. Hizbullah used a couple of Iranian drones in 2006. IMO drones are a potential game changer for light military entities that have no air force. pl
All of this is entertaining while we wait to learn if the IDF will cowboy up enough to go in on the ground. pl