Russia, France and Turkey have agreed to a one time exception to the Montreux Convention to allow positioning of the French Navy De Gaulle carrier battle group in the eastern Black sea for the purpose of air operations against IS in Iraq. France does not want to participate in Syrian operations. France does not want to lured into overflying Syria. Turkey will allow overflight of eastern Anatolia to and from Iraq. Turkey will also allow forward positioning of French naval SAR at Batman and emergency landings at Batman, Mus and Erzurum as necessary. Russia has offered the French battle group port privileges at Sebastopol for ship chandler and re-fueling operations. France has yet to respond to this offer.
Turkey continues to deny the US the use of its airbases for offensive operations in either Syria or Iraq. Turkey seems to believe that it has enough leverage over US to force US ground participation in decisive campaign against the Syrian government as well as in establishment of a "no fly zone" in Syria that would inevitably result in direct combat between US and Syrian air forces.
Iranian assisted Pesh Merga forces in eastern Iraq continue to receive US air support. This unacknowledged cooperation between Iran and the US is effective.
Syria's foreign minister stated once again on 1 November that Syria is pleased with US intervention against IS forces and positions. Syrian and US aircraft are carefully avoiding each other by mutual consent.
In Jordan, IS sympathisers attacked and killed two American tourists at Petra on the 20th of October. Three French tourists were kidnapped on 25 October from the vicinity of one of the Ummayad hunting lodges in the eastern desert near Azraq air base. The kidnappers were Saudi beduin who took the French back across the border into the northern Najd where they have posted Utube videos demanding multi-million Euro ransoms for each one. They state that if their demands are not met they will begin beheading the captives in the name of the Caliph Ibrahim. The Saudi government has made no effort to rescue these people.
German police have apprehended an Al-Qaida affiliate cell in Hamburg. The group was well advance in planning a bombing attack against the NATO headquarters in Brussels.
The US mid-term election resulted in Republican gains in the House of Representatives and control of the senate by the GOP 53-47. On 5 November, Senator McConnell, the presumptive next majority leader, demanded that President Obama take firm and decisive action against Islamic terrorism and IS in particular or face decisive action with regard to failure to "defend the United States." A large group of Republican senators voiced immediate agreement. Washington is overflowing with media hyped rumors that Obama is about to seek a new civilian national security team.
By 5 November a dozen new Ebola cases had appeared in the US causing a serious distraction from foreign affairs. Many more had appeared by then in Europe. Media personalities excoriated public health officials on both continents. In west Africa the first cases of US military personnel displaying signs of what might be Ebola had appeared by 5 November.
President Obama had not, by 5 November, authorised a US ground presence in Iraq or Syria other than as operations advisers, trainers and guard for the embassy in Baghdad. As a result the nearest US ground combat units were in Kuwait and Jordan.
By 5 November IS had taken 90% of the town, in spite of the large number of coalition air strikes, many of them flown, at Kurdish request, by US heavy bombers against targets inside Kobane. These had failed to halt IS' advance but killed many Kurdish defenders and destroyed much of the city. On the 2nd of November IS brought a hundred Kurdish prisoners to the Turkish border where they were executed for the TV cameras. This was staged for network news. In the fighting for Kobane throughout the latter half of October the IS used suicide truck bombers as part of their attack fire plans, rolling the trucks forward through their infantry lines to detonate them just before assaults.
More and more IS fighters have returned to the Aleppo area for the purpose of trying to stop the Syrian Army's finalization of the encirclement of the old city. US air activity has followed them and as a result, US aircraft are now (5 November) flying missions against ground targets presently engaged by the Syrian Army.
US aircraft are now operating from several KAR airfields. Erbil, Suleimaniya, etc. USArmy's first SFGA is present in increasing numbers in the KAR. They are returning to the region with many of the people who were instrumental in the "awakening." Contacts are being re-established and these SF soldiers are returning to the tribal areas behind IS lines. Most of 1 SFGA are engaged as adviser/trainers with the Pesh Merga.
Nearly all of Anbar Province was in IS hands by 5 November. Captured M198 155 mm. howitzers have been emplaced in camouflaged singleton positions within range of BIA. "Searching fire" against the airport began in late October. Two HE shells landed on the apron in front of the passenger terminal on the 25th. The dozen airlines that had been operating through BIA then "suspended' operations until safety could be assured. In the last week of October, IS artillery fire against the airport improved in accuracy. The reason for this was revealed when several airport employees were arrested by the secret police and charged with spotting for IS artillery and reporting by cell phone. These arrests were followed the next night by a ground suicide bomber attack on aviation fuel stores at the airport. It had been hoped that the provision of counter-battery radar to Iraqi Army artillery would enable them to suppress IS artillery, but, in the event, Iraqi Army artillery commanders have declined to advance to firing positions from which they could be effective. IS sympathisers in the area report Iraqi Army firing positions by cell phone and the resulting fire is more than than the Iraqi Army want to experience.
Large numbers of Shia have begun to leave the area of Baghdad west of the Tigris. More and more arms caches in that part of the city are being discovered by the police.
Based on this statement of the situation as of 5 November- 2014, forecast your views as to what is likely to occur between 5 Nomber, 2014 and 1 March 20.
Real world time for inputs for this turn will expire at 1600 GMT, 12 October 2014.
DO NOT FIGHT THE PROBLEM. The game is intended to be a pedagogic tool for sharpening our understaning of outstanding issues. IT IS NOT intended to be predictive of the future. pl