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29 June 2014


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As the worm turns…

Netanyahu: I support Kurdish independence http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Netanyahu-I-support-Kurdish-independence-360958

Reading this was an interesting exercise in attempting to discern truth, propaganda, reality and wishful thinking.


I like this:

"The closer they cut it to Baghdad the greater the effect. The father north the quicker the effect."

Artfully and succinctly put.



I've also seen stories about the sleeper cells in Baghdad.

It would be bad if Ft. Bush... er, the embassy came under mortar fire.


This won't go over well in certain quarters:

"Gen. Dempsey: Iraq Coordination With Iran ‘Not Impossible’"


John McCain for one. Last week Dempsey's name came up and McCain said he was "irrelevant" to him.

robt willmann

And you thought that people saying that the U.S. government was playing both sides in this Sunni - ISIS - Shia - Syrian moderates mess in Iraq and Syria were wearing tinfoil hats?

Guess again. Here we have Isis, Inc.--


"ISIS provides worldwide security, intelligence, technology and training to government and private enterprises. ISIS is strategically positioned across the globe, with a highly credentialed management team and personnel. We have a superlative track record for delivering exceptional service and support to the most demanding of clients in the most challenging of circumstances."

"ISIS has demonstrated expertise and success in performing mission-critical tasks at home and abroad. Our personnel have been trained and tested—often decorated—in the fields of combat, security, intelligence and more. We are ISO 9001 certified, with effective processes for successful contract man- agement. Our management team has decades of combined, relevant experience. Our commitment to our clients is uncompromising, our integrity is unquestioned."

Who would have thought?

They even have an ethics policy--


To top it all off, the client list--


The second to the last client is ... "Multi National Forces - Iraq".

This is like Spy vs. Spy in Mad Magazine. Isis vs. Isis.

Now it finally all makes sense.

(The web site sure looks real; if it is a parody, it is beautifully done.)


Here's one nut who knows:

Abu Umar ‏@AbuUmar8246

1. 90 years, 3 months and 26 days ago, the #Caliphate was abolished by a #Turkish secularist. Today the #Khilafah is restored in accordance



This link should have been included for the above post. There is a map showing the area in question.


And for what its worth, this:


The ISISnuts claim to hold the town. Hmm...


In reply to Ryan 29 June 2014 at 04:51 PM

Agreed. But it's not written with neither you nor me nor indeed anyone who would be in the target audience of this blog in mind. If you read more than even a smidgen of it you'll notice that Arabic political rhetoric in general tends to be both bombastic and prolix. Much much worse than extreme-left stuff or extreme right-wing stuff come to that.

In fact it occurs to me that if you wanted to treat somebody who ... oh I don't know maybe a specialist grade military analyst who leaked a massive amount of confidential information of use to your enemies ... somebody like that. Anyway if you wanted to such a person in a cruel and unusual manner you could force them to read translations of this stuff for several hours a day.



In reply to Dubhaltach 30 June 2014 at 07:55 AM

Aarggghhhh that should read:

But it's written with neither you nor me nor indeed anyone who would be in the target audience of this blog in mind.


Anyway if you wanted to treat such a person in a cruel and unusual manner you could force them to read translations of this stuff for several hours a day.

Type in haste and repent at leisure.

Note to self: preview is my friend, preview is my friend, preview is my friend ...


Like Jesse Ventura in Predator had no time to bleed, McCain has no time for reality, and Dempsey's pathetic reality based bickering.

When Dempsey says that Iran is a rational actor, or that his troops are overstretched already, or that it is not impossible to coordinate with Iran, then he is undermining policy that McCain wishes to see the light of day, and that would be, finally, a war with Syria, Lebanon and then Iran (in that presumable order).

In a nutshell - Dempsey stands in the way of McCain's pusuit of National Greatness ™ and Moral Clarity ™, and of course American Hegemony ™. All that is necessary to achieve these goals is certainty and an iron, unbreakable will. Dempsey doesn't understand that.

In contrast to McCain's bold leadership, Dempsey's timid and petty bickering sows doubt where there should be resolute certainty! He is importing strange divinities of his own (what is this reality that he speaks of anyway?)! And he is further guilty of corrupting the young.


Anyone go information on functioning air bases in Iraq? F16 was to be focused in Balad if I understand correctly but that is on the verge of being overrun and I think foreign contractors have evacuated. Also where are the Su-25's being based?


It's okay, Dubhaltach.

I've been guilty of the same thing.

"If you read more than even a smidgen of it you'll notice that Arabic political rhetoric in general tends to be both bombastic and prolix."

Yes, and the reason for my observation. It's worth the read for the reason I gave above and also to get a feel of how they think.

"Anyway if you wanted to treat such a person in a cruel and unusual manner you could force them to read translations of this stuff for several hours a day."

Or a variation of this would be to make one of their prisoners listen to neocon talk radio nonstop. Something like "The Sean Hannity Show" would probably work wonders as an enhanced interrogation technique.



One more for your list of trademarks. American Exceptionalism ™.
If there is anyone who didn't understand your essay about the dysfunction of what passes as "US foreign policy" would do well to watch the recent program hosted by Chris Wallace on Fox News.

"Fox News Reporting: Iraq and the Rise of a Terrorist State


Iraq is in turmoil as an offshoot of Al Qaeda threatens to take over and expand their reign of terror. We look at what happened there and the danger this explosion of violence has created for the entire Middle East and beyond. Chris Wallace interviews former Vice President Dick Cheney who says he knows who's to blame: President Barack Obama. We examine that claim and explore the threat America and the rest of the world faces if the violence spreads beyond the Middle East."


The transcript and the video hasn't been posted yet. When it is the viewer will be spared numerous commercials. Fox is concerned, but that didn't prevent them from running more commercials than they normally do.

I watched this "report" last night and found it very informative. I learned a number of things. I learned that the failure to bomb Syria last year "emboldened" ISIS. Everyone the US was fighting prior to and during the "surge" were al-Qaida. The US is only a few months from being attacked here in CONUS by ISIS. The US must reinforce its relationship with the gulf states and Saudi Arabia to deal with ISIS. Working with the Iranians would be a terrible mistake. We should listen to Dick Cheney because he said he has "experience".

Some of the people who said all these things were Bill Luti, Dick Cheney and Jack Keane.

The Fox News all Stars (of David) round table was made up with Charles Lane of the WaPo, Liz Cheney and the all knowing and all seeing Charles Krauthammer where they had a "debate" on America's role in the world.

What was that v. Bismarck said? Oh, yeah.

“Fools say that they learn by experience. I prefer to profit by others experience”

If there ever was an example of how not to conduct foreign and military policy this will be the classic example. You can build a whole college course around the GWOT. Alcibiades with his Sicilian Expedition looks brilliant compared to this mess.


CNN wonders who holds Tikrit...

"Key question in Iraq right now: Who controls Tikrit?

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq's government touted its military offensive to recapture Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit from extremists, with some officials taking to state-run television over the weekend to declare the army had defeated the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

But those who live in the city nestled along the Tigris River, about 140 kilometers (about 87 miles) northwest of Baghdad, told a different story on Sunday.

"There are no Iraqi troops here," one woman told CNN by telephone from Tikrit. The only presence, at least in her neighborhood, is the "Islamic state," she said, referring to ISIS.'



"On the video, the man can be heard repeatedly saying 'June 28, 2014,' presumably to offer evidence of the date."

Good idea. Maybe someone there reads this blog.

Happy Night of the Long Knives.



I have appreciated your input and observations. What is your back ground?


"ISIS weapons windfall may alter balance in Iraq, Syria conflicts"


Too bad a break down of what was lost isn't provided. The IA probably doesn't know itself.

Notable comment from a Kurd from the link:

ISIS "took the weapons stores of the 2nd and 3rd [Iraqi army] divisions in Mosul, the 4th division in Salah al Din, the 12th division in the areas near Kirkuk, and another division in Diyala," said Jabbar Yawar, secretary-general of the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs, punctuating his words with quick flicks of his laser pointer as he stitched a scythe-like arc across a map denoting various provinces and cities strung across northern and central Iraq.

I find this credible.



Briefing officers are always the same in senior headquarters; over dressed, of dubious gender, hyper ambitious. We have several on TV now, some of whom worked for me I was blind and am deeply ashamed. they display the catty behavior of their kind. pl

"Abraham Lincoln had an ingrained prejudice against dandies. They made him uneasy. In the western region from which he had emerged, men dressed plainly, or roughly, but never obsessively. Lincoln found it surprising that the War Department staff officers who regularly briefed him were such dandies. Their bandbox perfection of dress and physical beauty puzzled him. He asked Henry Halleck why they all looked the same.

Halleck had not at first understood the question.
The president restated it another way, asking if they were all West Pointers.

The general in chief at last grasped the nature of the president's inquiry. He had shown both sympathy and amusement. He told Lincoln that this procession of the well born, well connected and well dressed was really the outcome of a process of "natural selection" as Professor Darwin would describe it. He gave it as his opinion, based on long observation of army politics, that nothing in the nature of a permanent change could be expected in this process. It was just the nature of things that the “rich got richer” in the army as in all other spheres of human effort.

One of these gorgeously uniformed creatures was attempting to brief him now. It was hard to focus on all the details. He looked out the tall windows at the sunlight disappearing from Seventeenth Street. The White House looked golden in the fading day. His legs ached. Sitting in these low chairs made his knees hurt after a while. The briefing officer paused, uncertain of the degree of attention he was receiving from the commander in chief. Lincoln looked at him, indicating that he should continue. The youthful major tightened his grip on the wooden pointer in his right hand. "And thus, Mister President,’ he said. “You can readily see that it is most likely that the Rebel attack against General Hooker's main force which occurred west of Fredericksburg this noon must be a diversion intended to cover his withdrawal from the defense positions which he occupies in strength just south of Fredericksburg." The slender, handsome major held the point of his stick on the big, hand drawn map which covered most of the wall behind him.

The president found the maps produced by the Army's topographic engineers to be art objects in their own right. This one was a mass of brown contour lines, blue streams and green forests. The watercolor washes which made up the larger blocks of color gave the room a strangely gay aspect.
The major's stick still showed the area of the Southern attack that seemed to have frightened Hooker so. The point of the stick lay on the eastern edge of the big green wood near a symbol which identified a church. Abraham Lincoln fished in a vest pocket for something, finally retrieving a scrap of paper. He looked at it for a few seconds.
The roomful of officials and officers waited.

"And so, Major," Lincoln began. "It is the opinion of the General in Chief that Lee is going to retreat?"

"Yes, Sir. He has no practicable alternative. He cannot take the risk of destruction of his army that the present situation imposes if he continues to defend behind Fredericksburg. General Hooker's plan has succeeded."
Lincoln looked around the room. Secretary Stanton and General Henry Halleck were conspicuous by their absence from this late afternoon presentation of information to the chief executive.

A general murmur of discontent ran round the room. Resentment at the role assumed by the briefer and his presumption in drawing a conclusion of this importance was evident.

"How far south do you think he will go?" Lincoln asked. “I mean Lee,” he said. His heavy eyebrows knit together in concentration.

Confusion and a trace of fear manifested itself in the major's handsome face. He did not like the audience’s reaction to his earlier remark. "I, I do believe he will have to go back to the North Anna, Mister President."
Lincoln leaned forward. "And that is where on the map?"
The major's stick traced the alignment of the Telegraph Road south from Fredericksburg to a wide blue line running west to east at right angles to the road. It was the North Anna River.

The distance was impressive.
Lincoln considered the map. "Twenty-five miles?" he asked the major.
The young man swallowed twice and nodded. "Yes, Sir," he said.

Lincoln meditated upon these matters a moment. He then turned to a brigadier general seated at the large table with him. "Philip," he said. "Why has Hooker drawn back if all this is as described? The opportunity lies before him." He raised the hand containing the small, irregularly shaped morsel of paper. "According to this note, which I made at one of these sessions a week ago, Lee has something like, 70,000 at most and our army around 120,000. Lee is divided between Fredericksburg and wherever it is that he is, over there in the west, by the woods." He waved at the map.
The major hastened to show the probable position of the Rebel force on the edges of the Wilderness.
"Why doesn't Hooker attack? Now!" Lincoln demanded of the brigadier general.

The general flushed red to his collar line. He attempted to make a good case for General Hooker's need to "straighten his lines.” He explained that the forest itself was a major obstacle and factor in the operation. It surely had caused a "disturbance" in the organization of the army. Hooker would undoubtedly attack in the morning in accordance with his original intention.

Lincoln listened quietly, respectfully. His hands made a tent before his features. "Mister Devereux?" he finally said without turning his head.
"Which of us do you mean, Mister President," Claude asked from his seat four rows back.
"Patrick," Lincoln said. "Will Lee think he must retreat?"
Heads turned toward the two men in civilian clothes seated side by side in the back of the room. It would have taken a keen observer to interpret the almost imperceptible nod which passed from one to the other.

"The logic presented here is impeccable, Mister President," Patrick said, "but he will also reason that he must fight you somewhere and turn back your army or face eventual defeat. Would the North Anna be a better place? I think not. The men would be discouraged by the retreat itself and he would be afraid they might not fight as well as they would farther north.."
Lincoln pulled his chair around to face them, and the rest of the group. His back was to the major. "You are a judge of men I think, Claude. Why has Hooker stopped in this way?"
Claude looked at his brother.
Patrick would not meet his eyes.
"There is something terrible in Robert Lee, Mister President," Claude began, "something, savage. It is normally hidden, but it emerges at times like this. The numbers, the geometry of that map all support both General Hooker's plan and the major's explanation, but I would guess that there was something about that Rebel attack today that did not fit with the logic of anything. Lee attacked as though he is not compelled to do anything! General Hooker is a smart man, he must be trying to figure out what it is that Lee is really going to do."
Lincoln swiveled around to stare at the brigadier general.
The red faced man shook his head. "No. No. General Hooker will attack in the morning. Lee will withdraw," he said.
Lincoln glanced at the major. "You do not seem as certain, young man," he said.
The staff officer did not respond.
The President of the United States left the room without goodbyes." from the "Butcher' Cleaver."

SAC Brat

Would that have been Glover Johns or David Hackworth? Both fascinate me when studying leadership.


SAC Brat

Glover Johns? my god! He has been dead thirty years! Hackworth was a good man but not steady enough to rival someone like Johns. No. This was a fellow named Stewart who taught in infantry ROTC. pl

FB Ali


Thank you for your insightful input. Better still, could you tell us where Erdogan stands in this business. Has he been allowing ISIS to obtain supplies and reinforcements through Turkey? Does he still support them? And, how is he likely to respond to the caliphate declaration?


Col: This is quite moving: http://www.vmi.edu/uploadedFiles/Archives/Alumni/JohnsGS1931/Johns_Glover_1931_obituary.pdf



I wrote to Johns when he was in his final illness to tell him how much his example had meant to me when I was a "rat" and in need of a friend.. He wrote back to say that he remembered me because of a classmate with the same surname. He asked me to persevere in the Army without personal ambition. He was like that himself as was Bob Sawyer of whom I have written, perfect gentle knights. Having been asked, I told Johns that I would try to do that. I told my brother rats that even in death he taught us. pl


Very clever, you are quite the wordsmith.



Yes, it is the appeal of a "movement" that is reaching the dispossessed. The only defense is a better idea. I don't see that in action from our drone prone government foreign policy. I don't know how it is in Turkey but I suspect from your prior insights the Erdogan government is doing poorly for these men as well.


FB Ali,

Erdogan is ignoring the situation in Iraq for all practical purposes. The recent politics are all centered around upcoming presidential elections.

Erdogan issued a writ of censure to all press forbidding the news and discussion of Turkish consulate of Musul and around 80 other Turkish citizens being held hostage by ISIS or ISIL. AKP earlier gave the impression that they have enough influence over the ISIL that they can negotiate the safe release of the hostages. It appears not to be the case.

It is my opinion that Erdogan and AKP got caught flatfooted with ISIS success, as usual. Since ISIS is sunni, simple minded Erdogan and team applied their usual simple sectarian logic. Sunni, they are of us-no problem. It isn't so, they are trying to sort it out now.

True, ISIS and all other Sunni radicals got a pass from Turkey, literally. The border has been wide open from one end to the other 900 km from what I remember, I maybe wrong but it is huge. This is by intention, the border is open. Therefore ISIS is completely in contact with the world, western world. One can buy night vision goggles in Bucharest, I know, because a Ukranian tried to sell me a pair as I was looking for a pair of vintage German WWII surplus binoculars there during a location scouting trip, then fly to Istanbul, change planes to Adana in the south, literally walk to the border and over the fields into Syria. The point is, Turkey has been helping and allowing ISIS to flourish. That monster now may bite them, and they are frozen in terror. ISIS can do anything in Turkey, as they are with the hostages. ISIS is threatening Erdogan to toe the line, keep being compliant or else. Turkey is helpless and unfortunately defenseless against ISIS.
I personally support an independent state of Kurdistan, they need it and I believe they will make it work in inverse proportion to the extent they give up tribalism and feudalism.

My response to the latest caliphate news is a belly laugh over a glass of scotch, Ataturk' would have been a glass of milky white Raki if he was alive. Every once in a while, the world events bring fore what a great leader he was, he was the one who abolished the office of the caliph. He commented that Sykes-Picot rulers (in both meanings of the word) would be Democles' sword over the entire world, for kingdom come.(Saudi, Jordanian?)

As can be expected, Erdogan will not be happy about El Baghdadi declaring himself caliph, for all practical purposes that is an title Erdogan has been saving for himself, especially if he becomes president.

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