IS (an emerging theocratic state)/Iraq (a geographic expression now rather than a country) -
There is an old German military maxim that runs something like "if you have a serious problem, boot it! Don't pee on it!" (The Germans here will sort me out on this.)
My expectation is that having now seen an actual demonstration of the US willingness to use air power to defend the KRG and Irbil the IS military leadership cadre will decide that the best Course of Action (COA) is to occupy Kurdish towns as rapidly as they can. Expect to see an early maximum effort to take Irbil. The IS mobile force possesses tanks, APCs and artillery and the ability to use them IMO their knowledge was hard bought in the Iran-Iraq War and at the Frunze Academy and other Soviet schools. IMO, ISIS is using military experts from the Old Iraqi Army (the one we disbanded) much as the Bosheviki used former Tsarist officers to organize and run the Red Army until the Blood Purges began in the 30s. Marhsal Tukhashevski was an eample of such a person. He was shot in the purge.
IMO IS is cleaning up its strategic rear and consolidating its new state. Some pathetic newsfool bleated today that "we thought ISIS was "over extended." I suppose that means that the Children's Crusade "experts" in the WH, State Department and media thought that to be the case. Here at SST (home of the truly hard hearted empaths) we never thought that.
An insurgent force that can; wage propaganda war, has lots of money, a coherent ideology and the ability to organize and operate armored kampfgruppen (battle groups) is a very dangerous opponent. IMO that force potentially threatens the state system throughout the Sunni Middle East and is a menace that must be halted.
To build an effective local coalition of forces against IS (a concert of the Middle East?) one must stop trying to unseat the existing governments. They are the only possible basis for such a coalition; Iran, Turkey, whatever government exists in Iraq, Jordan, Syria (Bashar), Egypt, Kuwait (for the basing), Saudi Arabia (for the money and basing), Qatar (for the basing). Unfortunately, to bring these forces together, Obama's government would have to acknowledge the folly of its college bull session foreign policy over the last six years. The Children's Crusade that is the Obama Administration in the NSC and State Department, driven by the social disease of utopian social science fantasies unseated Mubarak and thus began the unraveling of the system of nation states in the ME. In the absence of that system of governments, the underlying traditional loyalties which were suppressed by the nation states have re-emerged with a vengeance.
Will Obama have sense enough to reverse his policy? I doubt it.
Sinjar Mountain and the Yazidis -
These are among the unfortunates of the earth. There are many such groups in the world. Dropping water and food to these people is a necessary but utterly inadequate response to their predicament. What has to be done is for a ground corridor to be opened from the mountain to Turkey through Kurdish held NE Syria. Nothing else will suffice. Will that happen? Probably it will not.
Bibi Agonistes or "Why don't they give up?"
IMO it is the Israelis who are trapped by Gaza. Having attacked Hamas and Company in Gaza on the pretext of supposed Hamas involvement in the murder of three Jewish youths in the Hebron area, Bibi's belief was that he could smash and disassemble the Palsestinian consolidated government through massive and savage application of force on the Gaza population. Instead what he got was continuing (if ineffectual) resistance, the condemnatation of much of the world (including eventually the Obama claque) and now a refusal to accept a more permanent cease fire unless the sige of Gaza is lifted. Israel's war aims include a demonstration of Palestinian helplessness in order to induce a general acceptance of that helplessness among Palestinians. That being the case, the Palestinians must be seen to have gained nothing by resistance, but they keep shooting. Even Carol Costello on CNN can see that, "Oh why don't they give up! They can't win!" Her Irish ancestors (?) did not feel that way about the British throughout their 700 year long struggle. pl