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29 June 2014


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The BBC video showing the unloading of the Russian aircraft clearly shows it was an Su-25, not the 24. The reporting was wrong.


Perhaps it will be Russian or Iranian pilots flying the tactical jets, no matter which ones are employed. Another question is the maintenance of the planes and the logistics trail- especially for munitions. Presumably the Russians are also supplying that.

John Adamson

BBC news has a video of the planes being offloaded. They look really old and beaten up. Starts at 1:16 of the video.


different clue

Colonel Lang,

Does the Shia side even have anyone who can deeply understand what you wrote about the features, uses and place of those Su aircraft? If they don't even have that, might they want these aircraft for the politics and the emotional/psychological comfort of having them? Political evidence that Russia/Putin backs al Maliki as strongly as it backs al Assad to a similar ultimate victory? Emo/Psycho comfort in that these planes are 'heap big medicine' to scare the Sunni side with?


The Su-25 is a capable ground attack aircraft. Russia's A-10. Served the Russians well in Afghanistan and the Caucasus.

In the current situation Maliki probably has a point when he says that Iraq can use stuff like that better than F-16.

Whether the aircraft will turn the tide is another matter.


ALL: Just to make matters somewhat more intense ISIL have just declared a caliphate.

Story here: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/isil-declares-new-islamic-caliphate-201462917326669749.html

And (Via Moon of Alabama) the declaration itself (English language is here: http://myreader.toile-libre.org/uploads/My_53b039f00cb03.pdf

Getting ahead of themselves seems to be a pattern with this type of Islamicist. It might have been wiser to consolidate first. As it is every government in the region will surely take this as a declaration of war, as a statement that they are in the organisation's sights.



"The rebel command should attack the logistical tail of the Shia army between Tikrit and Baghdad. There is no reason to fight them frontally in Tikrit other than to fix them in place. This armored force has many, many vehicles and can easily be starved of fuel."

The Ba'ath/ISIS people might go even further south, sir.

Six days ago I saw a story about how the ISIS had advanced on the Baghdad/Basra autobahn. Supposedly, they took Iskandariya and Mahmoudiya. Somewhere, I read the ISIS had killed a number of people in the latter town in another story.

The next day I was watching CNN. I saw Nic Robertson reporting. He was in the area south of Baghdad with an Iraqi unit. This unit had with them a T-54 that had seen better days. It was banged up and missing most of its skirt armor. (It did sound like the crew had been doing their preventive maintenance, though.) The OIC was an Iraqi colonel. Robertson asked him about the tank and why his unit hadn't deployed the M-1A1s they had. The answer was that they were left at their base (!) to defend it if it came under attack.

Robertson continued with his report. He said this position like others in the area was a blocking position on this particular road. There wasn't a continuous front connecting the positions along the roads leading to Baghdad. I inferred the IA wasn't even running strong patrols between the positions. This brings to mind I've increasingly heard; the IA is a "checkpoint army", thanks to Maliki's purges.

Another report by Robertson in the same time frame claimed that there wasn't any highway traffic on the autobahn. I would figure this had something to do with those towns occupied. It would appear the ISIS has since withdrawn from them, having established that they can move to the road whenever it suit them. Of course, this may have changed if the IA gets its act together. I can imagine the chaos, confusion and fear that would result if ISIS did cut this highway.

I haven't heard or seen anything about moves on the highway since I saw and heard these stories.



There are Russian SU-25 airplanes, retired Syrian pilots, Iranian Quds, and American Special Forces in Baghdad. Oil money pays for all this plus maintenance and munitions. If enough planes get flying to provide close air support the perimeter could hold.

This is existential battle for the Shiites. Iran has to keep southern Iraq within its sphere. If desperate, Iran will send in the regular troops and air support.

I don’t know what will happen next. For the safety of Americans, there and here, and avoiding the collapse of the western economy, the USA needs to end the Sunni Shiite Jihad. But, the Gulf States, Israel and the Robber Elite may well sabotage any peaceful resolution.

What will ISIS do? They have the troops, the weapons and the Toyotas. It doesn’t make any sense for them batter at the Gates of Baghdad. I guess they will try to encircle Baghdad to lay siege and then they will head to Mecca to do God’s work and let the Sunni tribes hold on to what they have.


I think the Russians prefer to say it is the modern Sturmovik, which the A-10 is patterned after.


Oh I saw a splendid parade of M1A1 Abrams tanks and a huge number of supporting vehicles on their way to front lines today on u tube. Commenting on Colonel's point about supply lines and fuel, does anyone remember Peiper's run to river Meuse during the Battle of the Bulge, where all those immovable King Tigers ran out of fuel and became surplus overnight?


I think that all those concerns relating to the supply and maintenance of the newly arrived Russian aircraft also apply to the heavy armor that Iraqi Army is massing around Tikrit. Without infantry and air support, and reliable supply and maintenance, the heavy tanks are of no value in this kind of war.



With the advent of Russian CAS the rebel coalition should avoid attacking the Baghdad perimeter or do it soon. the better Course of Action (COA) is to cripple the Iraqi Army by cutting its supply line north of Baghdad. The closer they cut it to Baghdad the greater the effect. The father north the quicker the effect.

In regard to the ISIS declaration of the restoration of the caliphate, this is really a dumb move. By this action they have declared every government in an Islamic country to be an abomination in the sight of God and an enemy to be destroyed.

But, these are Obama/Kerry's friends as opposed to the heathen SAG. pl



Yes. Tanks, infantry and artillery must work together on the battlefield. I don't see a lot of infantry in the pictures of the Iraqi Army from tikrit and no artilery except for some armed helicopters. pl


From what I see, the ISIS and ISIL are supremely adapted to the kind of warfare they are waging over there. Look at the practicality of a mechanical Toyota pick up truck as a gun platform, I have seen a hundred variations, field improvisations, quick, reliable, I drove one myself for 4 years, I loved that 4x4, easy to fix, fast, and cheap. Very much like the Jeep of WWII. In fact, if you notice, the convoys of ISIS are very much like that of SAS raiding parties of Italian and French theatres. Even back then, these 50-60 Jeep raiding parties could tie up whole German divisions in France and Italy.
As the Vietnam Vet, you Sir must have seen the shaggy, but supremely practical equipment of the Vietcong, and their tactics that define reason and logic so long as it is supported by ideology and purpose.


Its all bluster Sir, I see it everyday in traffic here in Istanbul. I don't think hard core ISIS guys are impressed with that certain parade, in fact, from what I here they have already IED ed all the entrance points into Tikrit. The heavy armor positioned in the outskirts can be ferocious for a few days, but resupply will pay hell. I personally think that sending a heavy armor force to defeat a mobile highly motivated raiding party is the ultimate admission of defeat and inferiority.


Albayim, they want to establish a Caliphate. How aware are they do you think that it was Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, which is very much in the mix of this mess, was the one who abolished it in 1924?



Whoever wrote that declaration needs an editor. These guys make the Communists appear to be taciturn in comparison and they are a group who will use 100 words when ten would do.

Still, this is a useful paper by virtue of the translations within it.

"Getting ahead of themselves seems to be a pattern with this type of Islamicist."

Exactly. They have this in common with the neocons and their fellow travelers.


A tanker? You have untapped talents. p


Albayim, (In Turkish, Mon Colonel for those who do not know) I would like to stress the obvious, as demonstrated by WWII experience, is that the best way to occupy a town or city is not to actually hold the center, but its environs. I fear it may apply to the situation in Baghdad.

I read somewhere, sorry I can not source, that ISIS has many sleeping cells and rally points within Baghdad waiting. A mass panic, an exodus out of city, and mass confusion and many unclaimed bombings may cripple the city, making it impossible for Iraqi army to interfere anywhere, making roadblocks irrelevant, and thereby making it possible ISIS to reach within mortar range of Green Zone. Then making Green Zone unsafe, under fire, making air power irrelevant, and hello Saigon 1974, call me a pessimist.


Su-25 from Belarus in Iraq


Tanks a lot Albayim, I think I have finally been discovered.



I was trained at VMI to be an armored officer but was seduced by a charismatic infantryman to be that.
it was a defining moment. pl


Albayim, here is an observation.

I see a lot of visuals of Iraqi Army soldiers looking very much like US forces in the same exact equipment, weapons and vehicles. They are posing. This is a part of the world where everyone wants to look American. More than once I almost hugged someone wearing a UNLV t-shirt thinking they were my alma matter. No, Iraqi Army are movie extras, posing, posturing, acting. Even their elite so called forces. An Army not united around an ideology and common purpose to protect a common people and a political entity that represent the interests of that army can not succeed. Not even against an organized force of Bedouins who think they are fighting Mohammed's third battle. Are there any adults in the USG at the moment who can see this simple fact?


You may have done well by your choice Albayim, in my opinion all the chivalry went out of armored cavalry in North Africa after 1943.


All here, my esteemed friends,

I was on a month long production during this ISIS mess, following the events as well as I could.

I hope no one thinks of this mess in terms of a short town take over or a consequent brilliant IA offensives and successes.

This is a process and ISIS is more astute than anyone has ever seen to date.

THEY are capable of strategic withdrawals, whoever has ever seen terrorists ever do that before?

They have corporate business structure to finance their war.

They have capable command and control.

They are flexible, have public relations.

They use technology.

They have a plan, and believe me, it is not to capture Baghdat for a public relations coup.

They are in it for the long haul.

They have plans for reverses for their plans in case of Western intervention. Soviet Jets, Ok, I am sure they are not worried.

Their target audience is the manpower from around the world, who happen to be young Moslem men who can not see the day of light in their respective countries.

The bigger worry should be, not the battle hardened expat Islamists returning to US or UK, but the ones who never went and disenfranchised in their immigrant countries and can never get a date, and bottled up and ready to hit back, idolizing ISIS and these related organizations.

Its a inverted form of war for hearts and minds.

Heard it all from a Taxi driver who wore a religious skullcap in Istanbul, call me a liar.

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