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17 June 2014


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FB Ali

Col Lang,

You wrote earlier that ISIS was being supported by the Baathists and, in fact, they were taking a leading role in military operations in Iraq. This was later also reported by the MSM etc.

But something does not 'compute'. ISIS seems to be having a free hand in the territory that has been taken - they are imposing strict Sharia law and killing prisoners etc. There are no apparent signs of the Iraqi Baathists and tribal leaders having any role in governance of conquered territory.

Why? Are they letting the jihadis run wild so that they can alienate the population sufficiently so that it becomes easier to deal with them later? Or are they just content to defeat the Maliki forces and don't wish to rock the boat at this stage? Or is their role in the operations less than what has been assumed?

The beaver


It looks like VOA is compiling map and data from this 'thinktank" for demonstrate what would be under the Sunnis and the ISIL caliphate:


However, look at the bio of its president


and she is a regular on the wsj.

The beaver


My apologies - I forgot this one:


Do you remember Elisabeth O,Bagy from whom Sen McCain was getting his talking points when he met the rebels in Syria including the livereater?
Well she was working for her


FB Ali

IMO the coalition is unstable and will break up sooner or later. At the same time I do not think that the ISIS jihadis are capable of running a campaign like this. "Baathists" is an MSM description of people who probably never cared much about the Baath Party although career progression made membership necessary.



ISW is a shoddy imitation of a real think tank. it employs under qualified people desperate for a job who will say or do whatever the Kagans want. pl

r whitman

Interesting analysis of winners and losers:


The last few days seem much like 1861 in South Carolina. The local establishment has voted for secession.



Mr. Ali,

For what its worth, my opinion has been that this is largely an alliance of convenience, with ISIS routed in Syria and needing a somewhere to operate. The Baathist Army (for lack of a better term) doesn't have to worry about guarding its rear and gets a meat shield for the actually trained troops.

Iraq is relatively modern in the cities, even after years of war and sanctions. Afghanistan was like the moon compared to it. Let the ISIS types alienate the population via beard measuring and executions over discrepancies over verses in the Koran. When the Baathists deal with Maliki they will be welcomed with open arms by the populace if they turn on ISIS, and likely acknowledged by the rest of the ME as "people we can work with" versus insane Salafist cannibals.


I've gotten the sensation that this feels like a zombie horde is loose across the ME.



Regarding the map.

The map you - and VoA - used, has written on it that the source is Kagan's ISW.

I'ld see it as propaganda or psychological warfare likely not based on anything coming directly from ISIS. Iranian media circulated five days ago a different map of what territory ISIS would like to conquer:


Note the differences, esp. regarding Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, Jordan and Kuwait. However, I tend to see this Iraian ISIS map also as an exercise in propaganda or psychological warfare likely not based on anything coming directly from ISIS.

The only maps regarding plans of ISIS I've seen on Twitter from jihadis whom I think they are really aligned with ISIS where maps of the whole world with every single country under an ISIS flag.

I think that's more likely close to the reality - ISIS will go whereever they can flourish.


r whitman,

The report states:
"For Maliki, the rise of ISIS confirms his
skepticism about the loyalty of the Sunni tribes to the Iraqi state and the possibility of
making an accommodation with them. He has been rewarded in the past for fighting
militias against long odds and winning:"

I would say this is spin. Maliki purged his government of most or all who were not of his religion. He set the state for a Sunni revolt. He "won" in 2008 because the US Army was present. I believe the most important question is "what is in the US National interest." The side bar column on page 1 is interesting though:

"The scholarship is part of a long-term
strategy to transition Saudi Arabia
to a “knowledge society,” strong in
high-tech services and industries. But
Saudis today worry aloud about what
will happen as KASP students come

They are right to be worried.



OK! OK! i get it. The ISW jerks made the map. I get it!! pl


Col: My favorite pipe-dream map. See http://www.globalresearch.ca/plans-for-redrawing-the-middle-east-the-project-for-a-new-middle-east/3882

Notice how both Saudi Arabia and Iran lose a lot of coastline. For the Saudi Red Sea, I guess that is where the Zionists think the Jordanians will build the "Palestine" portion of Jordan.

Medicine Man

The War Nerd's take on the combat in Iraq: http://pando.com/2014/06/16/the-war-nerd-heres-everything-you-need-to-know-about-too-extreme-for-al-qaeda-i-s-i-s/

Largely syncs up with your assessment, Col., though Gary Brecher seems to come to his conclusions in a different way.


Tyler: I may be a coward, but avoiding a public beheading would steal me with courage. What were these Shia soldiers thinking?



I agree with you that that map is a pipe dream - or, let's call it a pipe nightmare what I would find more appropriate. I doubt the future borders will fall anyhow similar as outlined in that map. But, the biggest shortcoming of that map, I think is different: it's much too narrow in scope.

Today, we got the Wahhabi types in an almost continous warzone from Boko Haram in northern Nigeria to the East Turkistan Movement in western China, from Bosnian mujahideen to Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, from Chechnyan Mujahideen in Russia to the Deobandis in Bangladesh, from Ahrar Al Sham in northwestern Syria to Shabaab in Somalia. All that is giant wahhabi jihadi zone of death and destruction, having the center, of course, in the western oriented oil rich GCC lands of the Sauds and Qataris.

I doubt Lt-C Peters had any idea that someone could be stupid enough to unleash all that monsterous wahhabi forces in northern Africa by destroying Khadafis Libya, but the theater of wahhabi war is much larger than his map.


"... a meat shield ..." A nice turn of phrase. I'm sure it would never make the grade at Princeton. The later strategy sure makes the cleaning up after Maliki that much easier.


"Dr. Kagan also helped produce the documentary 'The Surge: the Untold Story' with ISW Chairman, U.S Army General Jack Keane (ret.) and LTG James Dubik (ret.) describing the battle of Iraq and how the United States won the war."



"A meat shield..." Apt. You would have done better with me as CO, much better. You just are not a bootlicker. pl

p s c

John Nagl has an op-ed in today's Philadelphia Inquirer and he makes 1 correct statement; the biggest mistake was the invasion itself. Nagl then blathers all the familiars ... disbanding Baathist Army, sectarian war, Petraeus, COIN, Surge to Victory, Obama failure to amend SOFA, failure to arm "moderate Syrian rebels". link below.


robt willmann

1. In all the talk about "what to do" in this current tragic mess brought on by the 2003 invasion of Iraq -- courtesy of the U.S., Britain, and Israel -- will be to put a "legal face" on any actions, especially those dubbed "kinetic".

Well, there is the agreement between the U.S. and the "Republic of Iraq" (really?) on the withdrawal of U.S. forces--


Signed in November 2008 by U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and someone from Iraq with an undecipherable signature, it has unfortunately expired as of January 2, 2012 (Article 30), but is still interesting. Articles 4 and 27 talk about security and kinetics, and Article 22 applies to detentions. But since law is mostly vocabulary, the big one is Article 2 on definitions. You can see that there is a difference in its meaning of "United States Forces" and "United States Contractors", and that a "member of the civilian component" is any civilian employed by the Department of Defense. Flipping over to Article 24, on the withdrawal of "United States Forces" from Iraq, it speaks only of them, with no mention of "United States Contractors" and civilians (such as CIA, etc.) not employed by the Defense Department. Sneaky, sneaky.

What to do? The old unconstitutional authorization to use military force against Iraq is still floating around, having never been repealed by Congress to my knowledge, but the above agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces, though expired, blocks that, especially since Article 25 wipes out the United Nations "mandate" under its chapter 7 (use of force) about Iraq, and the preamble affirms that the agreement is "without prejudice to Iraqi sovereignty over its territory, waters, and airspace".

But remember, president Obama has a pen and a phone. Sure enough, here it is, a letter dated 16 June 2014, to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate--


It states that "up to approximately" 275 U.S. armed forces are deploying to Iraq, and is "consistent with" (but not pursuant to?), the "War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148)".

2. The largest oil refinery (of three) in Iraq has been shut down, but is still in military hands. Foreign staff at the refinery have been evacuated. The article says they have about a month of domestic demand in reserve (just from that refinery or from all three?)--


3. Meanwhile, the mass media continues its campaign to make Hillary Clinton the Democratic Party's uncontested nominee for president in the 2016 election, as Fox "News" gave 30 minutes to an interview of her this evening by Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren.

FB Ali

Col Lang,

There is a revealing report on the situation in Mosul under the new dispensation in the Daily Beast at:


It clarifies much about the current relationship between ISIS and the Sunnis.



Nagl? Ah, the walking dead man, I remember him. pl

ex-PFC Chuck

"I believe the most important question is "what is in the US National interest.""

What a novel idea! Basing policy on the US national interest! /snark


psc, in a recent post there was a long debate about 'electorate' is responsible for what is happening - so this means that the accountability for all the mistakes is missing because the 'electorate' so decided. what is the saying about 'we met the enemy and it is us'?. How come the electorate allows such huge mistakes to occur, and later shows no mood for accountability?

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