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29 June 2014


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Very moving Albayim, few of us have the chance to have such gentle mentors who nudge us forward, in the right track, even after their passing.


In the matter of Erdogan support of ISIS, they did openly enough until the near past as a matter of choice, since even I am aware of it. But now that they maybe becoming aware of the monster they helped create, they may have stopped. Unfortunately, now that ISIS is what it is, now they may be blackmailed into continuing their support, this time involuntarily. I said it here many times, it is absolutely possible and easy for a platoon of ISIS fighters to go to Amsterdam for RnR for two weeks if they become impatient to meet their heavenly virgins in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS is also a business enterprise, they trade quite a bit over the border with Turkey, oil, drugs, contraband anything, so they don't want to spoil a fat racket they got going. Erdogan keeps a tight leash over the Turkish Army, which is entirely capable of entering Iraq and Syria and creating a safe zone, of perhaps 30 km. It did not, was not allowed to, because it would have starved ISIS and all other nuts to get men and equipment through Turkey and continue fighting Assad forces, who is not in very good graces of Erdogan for the last three years.
I don't neccesarily see Erdogan and ISIS on opposite sides intellectually, just a bit upset at each other over methodology.



I am an Artist, and Production Designer for film, TV and live events.

My education is in fine arts, design and architecture.

I am a veracious reader and military history enthusiast, that's all. This is the only forum I comment in. I write scripts about war, and human drama with the background as war. I have not sold one yet, but I am working on producing one soon myself.

In Production Design careful research and attention to detail is absolutely critical, so if I want to find something out about the situation in Syria for example, I apply the same methods. Inevitably, I reach some conclusions and I share them here to the best of my ability, since I benefit also tremendously from the discussions here. Sometimes I may not make sense ,but I am not shy about that anymore, who makes sense 100% of the time, all the time?


Ryan, great points, but I would like to question what does it mean holding a town? Especially in artificial country of sectarian Iraq. Was Iraqi 2nd division holding the town of Musul before ISIS moved in? Were they occupying it? I think all the recent confusion about who occupies which town should be clarified semantically first before moving on to other conclusions. Time and time again literal thinking in ME has thrown many intelligent people astray. ME is mind is cursive, as is Arabic, it does not fit into a modern grid consisting of right lines intersecting at exact right angles. Cartesian methods fail absolutely in ME, one must acquire many other subtleties and sensibilities to make sense of things here. It is a difficult chore, one needs a zen attitude even to drive here. Try following road signs to get from point a to point be and even more, ask for directions for a simple location, you will see the difference between a literal mind and cursive mind. Not that one is superior over the other, in fact I find a certain elegance in the cursive mind, which is closer to arts than letters. But it is impossible to get anything done with it in the real physical world of laws of nature.


Actually, these so called dispossessed young angry men simply does not exist here in Turkey in numbers that can be a problem. First of all, they are not any longer suppressed religion wise. Politically they have voice in RTEs personality and party. And they can actually prosper economically, since the economy is booming and still very inclusive. They are in no way under threat of racism, or discrimination-only Kurds of Eastern regions may be an exception, but that is working itself out too.

But the real problem is the dispossessed, discriminated young Moslem men living as immigrants in the west. Second, dangerous demographic is the young men in non democratic, very poor and suppressed societies, especially those divided along ethnic and religious lines. Like Yemen, Somalia, Sudan etc. ISIS appeal may find large audience in these areas, like you say, until a better message is inplanted. I don't see it coming soon. Believe me, ISIS business model must have started to be studied in many a madrasa already.


kunuri and matthew

In those long ago days when I was a first year cadet at VMI the place was very, very Virginia. the cadets were mostly members Of the commonwealth's vast "cousinage" with family relationships reaching back into early colonial times. Those who were not so related were usually connected by high school graduating groups, state regional associations and the like. Foreign cadets like the two Chinese in the obit picture with Glover Johns were carefully protected by the Institute which feared xenophobic reactions. People like me who happened to not sound like Virginians were "on their own" in terms of reaction to them in the barracks. I had been a buck sergeant in an infantry unit of the National Guard. I had enlisted illegally seriously underage while in high school and had three years service when I was discharged to go to college. I was at VMI a couple of months when at dinner one night a senior cadet speaking to one of his mates about something in military science class casually asked me how a particular piece of equipment was disassembled. without thinking it through I told him. There was silence at table. After that a group of upperclassmen began waiting "in ambush" for me in ranks with the goal of running me out of the place. Because of this I went "excess" in demerits one month and began preparing myself for departure and enlistment in the army or marines. Glover Johns was Commandant of Cadets. He took an interest in my situation because he had a classmate with my surname and thought we might be related. This, in itself, was ironic. He encouraged me to stick with VMI. At the same time he had a few words with my company tactical officer and the rush toward the door ended. I have always been grateful pl

Babak Makkinejad

Conceptually, there is no barrier between ISIS or Jihadi types and any Sunni legal school or any Sunni Sufi order.

As you state, it is a matter of degrees and not kind.

Erdogan is MB, and MB has not conceptual framework from which it could label ISIS or other Jihadists as "Illegal Combatants", "Terrorists", or "Bad Muslims".

Only the Shia can do so.

Babak Makkinejad

Erdogan, you must admit, is carrying out the orders he received from his betters in NATO - EU and US leaders told him to help destroy Syria to wound Iran and he was a willing executioner of that - no surprises there.

How Turkey could benefit from the destruction of her markets in Syria and now in Iraq is left unanswered.

EU and US will not make Turkey's losses whole.

Turkey has lost Arabs for at least a generation.



The "Islamic State," is unalterably Wahhabi. How is that compatible with Sufism? pl

Babak Makkinejad

Sufis have no conceptual way of rejecting the contention of 5 guys in a room that they now represent true Islam and everyone other Muslim is an apostate or a bad Muslim or a heretic.

To reject Wahabis (the Protestants of Islam) and their ilk you must appeal to Hierarchy, Tradition, and Authority - which only the Shia have in the form of their Scholars, Ayatollahs, and Religiously-oriented schools.



Tasawwuf is about inner life and a personal relationship to God whether individually or as a member of a tariqa. It takes no position with regard to hierarchy within Islam. On the other hand, the Wahhabi belief is that tasawwuf is "shirk" (i.e., association of some profain thing with God's holy grace). in other words for the Wahhabi there is God, their version of shariah and nothing else. pl

Babak Makkinejad

I agree.

The point I was hoping to make was that at the level of ideas, Sufis cannot combat Jihadists, Deobandis, Wahabis and assorted others.



agreed. pl

FB Ali

Thank you, Kunuri. Initially, I had some respect for Erdogan, and hope as to where he might lead Turkey. I have been sorely disappointed; he appears to be almost a megalomaniac.

However, there may well be some basis to his paranoia. Do you think he is correct in believing that the Gulen movement tried to unseat him?


Certainly not the old Highlander.

Good luck with your endeavors, and welcome aboard.



This information comes from a former naval intelligence officer. According to him the 2nd IA "Lions" Division was stationed in Mosul. Whether they were actually patrolling the town or sitting in their bases I don't know.


I see what you are saying about the cursive mind and your point is well made about being led astray. This is one reason I come to this blog, for enlightenment.

For me, holding a town is in a strictly literal sense. I mean physically occupying it with infantry supported by AFVs and artillery. There is no opposing force either because it has been forced out or has been suppressed to the point it is combat ineffective. Mosul is a big city, so a division wouldn't be enough, especially considering the locals see the IA as occupiers. Maliki planted the seeds for this disaster himself when he started playing sectarian politics. It made this inevitable in my opinion.

This pdf is for the area around Baghdad:


Anything you can do to educate me in the finer points will be received with gratitude. Your posts are well written and informative.

"Tanks a lot."

I haven't heard that in years. It brings back memories.

Website for the above links:




Here's something else you may find useful. It is a map showing brigade deployments,


I looked for this earlier and couldn't find it. It is listed under "photos".




Katrina Vanden Heuvel tells Bill Kristol to enlist in the IA.

"Vanden Heuvel said there should be some accountability for the people who got Iraq so wrong. She called Kristol and other neocons “armchair warriors” and told Kristol, 'If you feel so strongly, you should, with all due respect, enlist in the Iraqi army.' Kristol shot back, 'That’s a very cute line, Katrina.'”


There's a video link showing the exchange. Kristol became very angry.


Col; At what point, if ever, were you allowed to address Senior cadets?

I wanted to attend West Point when I was in high school. Unfortunately, I did not became a US citizen until my college years despite being a resident alien for more than 10 years.

A big regret in my life--although had I gotten in, I probably would have ended up as one of the loathed dandies Lincoln distrusted!


Sufis are very close to Zen Buddhists.



As a professor I had a full run at the cadets but most were not interested. p

The Twisted Genius


Speaking of dandified fops in the officer ranks, not all of us could play the part as you well know. One peculiar aspect of 10th Group in the 80s was that we were never all in one place. It was not unusual to not know who was who within a battalion. One night at RAF Sculthorpe, I was chatting up an NCO from 2nd battalion over a few beers. For some reason, we didn't get around to identifying ourselves. After a while my intel sergeant, came up to me to tell me something or other. He addressed me as sir. The NCO I was talking to looked surprised and asked me, "Are you an officer?" I told him I was and that I was the commander of 334. He laughed and said he thought I was a weapons leader from one of the 3rd battalion teams adding that I didn't have a stick up my ass like most officers. We both had a good laugh and continued our conversation over more beers.

Babak Makkinejad

Nah, how can Kristol serve both in the Iraqi Army and the Israeli Army?


Gary Brecher on the mess in Iraq.

"The War Nerd: Here’s everything you need to know about “too extreme for Al Qaeda” I.S.I.S."



FB Ali,
Yes he did believe Gulen gang tried to unseat him, he even calls it a coup. And parallel state..
December of this year, a series of voice recordings came out, which gives insight to his megalomania-paranoia.

Erdogan hit back immediately, removed from their positions hundreds of judges, high rank police commissioners and other officers whom he suspected to belong to the Gulen movement. Also passed legislation to close Gulen schools, pressured other countries to do the same, including Germany and I believe he is working on US to get Gulen sent to Turkey to face trial. So one can read from the severity of his reaction how he feels about the Gulen movement.

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