"Islamic State gunmen are continuing their sweep across Iraq and are poised at the gates of a town just north of Baghdad – despite American air strikes intended to thwart the extremist group’s advances.
Commanders from the fundamentalist militia are massing near Qara Tappa just 70 miles north of the capital, according to Iraqi security sources and a local official.
The move threatens to broaden the front against Kurdish Peshmerga troops, who in recent days have been routed from several battlefields across northern and western Iraq.
The development came as clashes erupted west of Baghdad and the United Nations announced its highest level of humanitarian emergency for the crisis-hit country." The Telegraph
Various stupidities concerning The Islamic State and the combat situation in Iraq and Syria are being broadcast by US media.
- It is said over and over again that IS's advance has been halted in Iraq, "blunted" by US air strikes. This is nonsense. The Director of Operations of the Joint Staff personally appeared in the press briefing room at the Pentagon a few days ago to insist that the small air effort underway had no chance at all of stopping IS or deterring it further gains on the ground. An attack on a single mortar here, a truck there, is not a serious matter from the point of an aggressive and highly mobile force like IS. Their response to the air action thus far has been to disperse their assets and units and to move quite a lot of them into towns where the US is effectively deterred from attack. At the same time they have forbidden the locals to leave the towns. The Israelis like to accuse Hamas/IJ of using Gazans as human shields. This is silly. War is a political process and one uses what weapons one has. If Hamas or IS had an air force they would use that instead of using the negative political effects on their opponents of civilian casualties but they do not have an air force. In reality IT is still on the march. In the last few days they captured several towns north of Aleppo in Syria. They took them away from other opposition groups. In Iraq they hold Anbar Province west of Baghdad and are positioned 60 miles north of the capital. IMO, IS is consolidating its gains and establishing governnance in the territory they hold. At the same time they are receiving volunteer reinforcments from overseas. It takes some time to integrate new people into the force. IMO the present situation is merely a pause that precedes a renewal of IS expansion. pl
"The White House has instructed the Pentagon and the U.S. military to put on hold a transfer of Hellfire missiles that Israel had requested during its recent operation in the Gaza Strip, the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to the report, during Israel's Operation Protective Edge, White House officials were dismayed to discover how little influence they wield over US shipments of munitions to Israel against the backdrop of the U.S. government's unhappiness with the widespread damage inflicted upon Palestinian civilians.
During the Gaza war, the report said, White House officials came to realize that large amounts of weaponry are being passed to Israel via direct channels to the White House, with little oversight by the political arena." Haaretz
This is the measure of the Israeli government's contempt for the wishes of the United States' elected government. Bibi thinks we are a trivial and easily manipulated people and feels free to abuse our friendhip as he pleases. In this case the Israeli government sought to corrupt the functioning of the US government by going to civilians in the Defense Department and the NSC staff who would "sign off" on release of these munitions without the approval of the elected government of the United States. Israel has a lot of friends in the civil service. It easy to see how this was attempted. Predictably, the congress has howled its support of Israel. Natanyahu now says that he will out wait Obama. pl
"Defense Department officials said late Wednesday that United States airstrikes and Kurdish fighters had broken the Islamic militants’ siege of Mount Sinjar, allowing thousands of the Yazidis trapped there to escape.
An initial report from about a dozen Marines and Special Operations forces who arrived on Tuesday and spent 24 hours on the northern Iraqi mountain said that “the situation is much more manageable,” a senior Defense official said in an interview." NY Times
Here we have an example of another hysterical emotional storm created by US media especially the 24/7 cable news. The introduction of SF and marine recinnaissance teams to Sinjar Mountain revealed that the "genocidal disaster" so feared in the media did not really require a massive US air lift to remove the Yazidis from their perch. For several days there was a lot of talk in Washington of an airhead to be established within which a temporary airfield could be built. Thank God that rather than relying on social media for intelligence as the Obama Administration tends to do, someone thought to send the hard men to have a first hand look. pl