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19 June 2014


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As regards the M1, looks like the fire is coming from the hatches, as opposed to the blowout panels. Seems like the crew must have kept the blast doors open to the ready rack or something when it was hit.

I have seen some talk that the armor of the things is probably equivalent to what the M1A1 had, in other words they have armor protection levels from the mid 80s or so. So its not a shock that they are getting penetrated from the front by Kornets and the like.

I have a question though, Col Lang, what do you believe are the Baathist territorial objectives? Control of the Sunni Arab areas and maybe Kurdistan?

cville reader

"the NY Times has discovered that the forces facing the Maliki government's army are actually a coalition of; ISIS head choppers, ex old Iraq Army people, and the Sunni tribes that fought beside us against ISIS like groups in the days of the Awakening. "

After I read that here, I did notice that no MSM source mentioned this. Just bad reporting, or something more? It seems to lessen the scare factor somewhat.

What is the significance of Saudi Arabia in warning GB, the US and Iran to stay out? And if they funded ISIS, as is being reported, what was their end game?


cville reader & Tom G

The main stream media lack people who have an understanding of; war, war in the third world, war in the historical context of Iraq, Iraqi society. They just repeat simplistic news bits that they pass back and forth to each other and/or hear from local interested parties.

Saudi Arabia has been a covert supporter of the Naqshbandia Army. SA wants an end to Shia rule in Iraq and it sees the possibility now. it wants no interference from outsiders who might pprevent Sunni triumphalism.

IMO The Baath/old army people want to control all the Sunni Arab lands in Iraq. Once they are through with fighting the Shia they will fight ISIS and then the Kurds to try to regain the Kirkuk oil fields. I doubt if the Baath/old army group want to hold more than a symbolic piece of Baghdad.

I suspect that the old T-72s in the hands of skilled crews may be effective in this campaign, and they know how to repair them. pl


“It seems to me that I read something like that elsewhere a while back... Ah, yes! It was here. “

It seems Mr. Arango is doing all the right MSM things to get his ticket punched for the upper ranks. A year in Budapest, off for a masters and now a couple years in Baghdad as bureau chief. Sadly ‘ticket punching” includes crediting WINEP (maybe they read SST and not the NYT people). To quote the latter ““He’s a great totem of the old regime,” Mr. Knights said”…. Totem, really? They can’t even stop the propaganda. You should send the NYT, or WINEP, an invoice for services rendered.


MRAP vehicles were designed high, with V-shaped hulls, for the flatlands of Iran. An MRAP turns into a Rolls when driven over the mountains of Afghanistan, with rivers/canals at the bottom. The Pentagon would do well to redesign its vehicles for different territory--or, better yet, avoid costly conflicts--rather than re-purposing custom designs. I recommend staying out of Afghanistan; it's harder than it looks.



There are a number of exceptions to my general opprobrium directed at the MSM. Arwa Damon, Richard Engel and Wedeman are very knowledgeable. pl



A question - from a US national interest perspective what role should we play in the middle east, if any?

Should we care - if the Sunni and Shia slaughter each other? if the "liver eaters" get more sweetbreads? if Assad stays or goes? if the Saudi monarchy survives or not? if Sisi stamps out the Muslim Brotherhood or not? if the Ayatollahs keep their theocracy or not? if the Zionists beat up or get beaten up by the Arabs?

dilbert dogbert

Re: M1
This comment spoke volumes about the Iraq use of armor: "the fact that militants are repeatedly getting close to the tanks suggests the vehicles lack adequate infantry support." Boots on the ground are needed.


Arwa Damon is very brave and fluent Arabic speaker, and comes across as sympathetic and emphatic to the men and women of Middle East. Let's not forget Nick Robertson of CNN. I saw him file reports on the hour from Doha I believe all day the other day as I was chained to the news.

cville reader

Zanzibar-- There are much more qualified people here to answer your question, but I will take a stab at why we should care about Saudi Arabia. They currently require all purchases of their oil to be settled in US dollars. Many financial experts think that if that were to change, the US $ would collapse.



US should stay out no matter what, any obvious intervention would backfire. Once in a while US should let things run their natural course when things are uncertain. Not everything can be controlled and destinies of peoples and nations can be shaped. Let's let the Iranians send in troops, Kurds take territory they want and Sunnis rebel to their heart's content and Shiites send cannon fodder zealots to the front lines. It is not very vise to charge into a battle when the fog of war is still upon the battleground. And also, how would it shape the future policies of Mr. Maliki if his obnoxious policies blow and US comes and saves his ass? Hard love might work here. Let them all blow some steam and come to an equilibrium where compromise will seem like a better alternative to bloodshed. Without that, nothing can be superimposed from above anyway.



"... designed ... for the flatlands of Iran."

You mean Iraq?

Abu Sinan

Baathists? Just because some of the people involved were former members of the military doesnt make them Ba'athists. The Ba'ath Party (Hizb' al-Ba'ath al-'Arabi al-Ishtiraki fi al-'Iraq), unless I am missing something, is pretty much dead and is not rising again nor as anyone attempting to do so. What presence is left in Iraq has little or nothing to do with the current situation.


What role? How about being active investors in energy (oil, gas, solar), secular education, infrastructure, agriculture and public health with the intention of both nation building and long term profit.

...Maybe even a modified Marshall plan to preclude the possibility of Russia and China doing likewise and getting a foothold in the ME.

Oh wait! Israel won't permit that.


dilbert dogbert

you seem to assume that these M1Ais were put out of business with shoulder fired AT weapons. Why would it not be Sagger or some equivalent stand off system? These are available on the international clandestine market. pl


Col. I may be mistaken but Baiji refinery produces gasoline in addition to electricity. The crude comes from the Kurdish fields. The gasoline is consumed in Iraq and Turkey. Gasoline is at a premium in Turkey. Turkish truckers (40+)were abducted in recent weeks and held for ransom by ISIS. If the Arab Sunnis can't control oilfields for sustainable cash, a refinery would be a viable alternative. Seizing a refinery is cheaper than building one. Aren't Sunni Arabs in Syria brewing up gasoline as small family enterprises? I wonder if there is a shortage of gasoline in northwestern Iraq and eastern Syria? An interesting thing to know would be whether the combatants are trying to seize the refinery or disable it.

William Herschel

"No says Washington. It is us who are choosing a new Iraqi prime minister:

Over the past two days the American ambassador, Robert S. Beecroft, along with Brett McGurk, the senior State Department official on Iraq and Iran, have met with Usama Nujaifi, the leader of the largest Sunni contingent, United For Reform, and with Ahmad Chalabi, one of the several potential Shiite candidates for prime minister, according to people close to each of those factions, as well as other political figures.
“Brett and the ambassador met with Mr. Nujaifi yesterday and they were open about this, they do not want Maliki to stay,” Nabil al-Khashab, the senior political adviser to Mr. Nujaifi, said Thursday."


The Beaver


Want to have a good laugh:
from this tweet:

and two days ago , someone pointed this one in the Atlantic:

different clue

I have just found a comment about ISIS so interesting that I took it from its Naked Capitalism thread to bring here. I know this is frowned upon and I try to hardly ever do it, but it seemed so possibly valuable that I thought I would take the chance on it . . .

June 19, 2014 at 8:58 am
Have you’all noticed this?

And this was linked in Durden comments: http://www.wnd.com/2014/06/officials-u-s-trained-isis-at-secret-base-in-jordan/?cat_orig=us

Again, something so absurd that one can’t help wondering what this ISIS might be… US being sooo shy about bombing them – although any wedding party in that region seems to be a legitimate target. So ISIS popped out of the ground, fully armed, with advanced organisation and a leader…Nowhere is there any indication that anyone identifying themselves as members has ever been interviewed. Mostly active in social media. This http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/15/iraq-isis-arrest-jihadists-wealth-power looked like a potted plant to me, and I keep asking myself: Does ISIS exist? If it does, who are they?

And now WSJ reports that Maliki is out of favor. Although Zalmay Khalilzad is still the favored commentator. Some game is on, it would be quite interesting to know what it is.

Reply ↓


differet clue

The US has trained what it imagines to be "moderates' in Jordan, not ISIS or Nusra. Use your head. What possible reason would the US have for training the jihadi head choppers? We did not do that in Afghanistan in the Soviet War. we carefully avoided sponsoring Abu Sayyaf for this very reason. Abu Sayyaf spawned Bin Laden and the Taliban, not the people we, and ISI sponsored. As for shooting up wedding receptions these are targeting errors. Do you want us to repeat them? pl



OK. They sell some gasoline overland in Turkey. pl


TomG, Indeed, it looks like burning propellant to me.


Did some open source reading and it seems people from Mosul are now driving to Irbil for gasoline. Also rebels appear to be trying to take the Baiji refinery instead of destroying it. Yesterday Iranians have agreed to supply gasoline to Iraq though their delegation was attacked in Baghdad. Oddly Iraq imports 100K BPD of gasoline and Iran imports 50K BPD. Wouldn't it be ironic if the economic viability of an Iraqi civil war hinged on gasoline.



Ahmad Chalabi? The man who repeatedly betrayed the US? Why is the Obama administration even considering working with him?



"I suspect that the old T-72s in the hands of skilled crews may be effective in this campaign, and they know how to repair them. pl "

Which makes me wonder, have the Iraqis received any ammunition upgrades for their T-72s?

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