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30 July 2014


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alba etie

All of this R2P neocon madness must be made a campaign issue.
Operation Iraqi Clusterfu--k is an ongoing catastrophe for the West . We are in the national 2016 election cycle now .We must give voice to stop this madness . Judith Miller and her ilk must not be allowed to drive this debate ever again ..
The Right and Left Frame of the Overton Window can surely agree on no more grandiose military adventures Overseas..


Specifically to Iraq and Gaza, does the Leahy Law apply ? I ask because we've (our particular situation) been head-butting this wall and can't seem to get around it. How is it applied to Israel (whom seem to be able to tunnel under it at will-a poor joke but bear with me).
I've asked if the Law is individual, unit, divisional or military specific and the answer is all the former. I've about how the application of the law pertains to the Pakistani, Afghan, Egyptian, Indonesian and other militaries that the USG has supplied/trained in the past and have been told 'it's a case-by-case' basis. The law + USG policy is the stick. The training/materiale is the carrot.


Sorry, my question relates to how the law will apply in the Iraq situation. My guess is that there will be a lot of head chopping by both sides in the conflict from herein, so what happens to the application of the law to the GOIq then ?



The law applies when the government wants it to apply. p

Farmer Don

Turned on my computer this morning, and as always first went to the Associated Press top news stories.
First on the list was: Israel vows to destroy Hamas Tunnels

Then eight on the list was: Haunting memories 70 years after Warsaw uprising.


Thank God I'm not in the midst of either. But surely most people don't see the Jews/now the Israelis, as the oppressed in the current heartbreaking oppression.


Alas, Gordon is still with the Times. His title is 'Chief Military Correspondent for the New York Times.' As far as I can tell, he did not serve in the military. Despite his involvement with Miller in the Plame case, he was kept on- while she was let go.


This is the first thing that I saw this morning.


And I still believe that ISIS is a Frankenstein creation to make the PNAC plans a reality.


With regards to Syria, this bit of news is making the rounds today:



who, other than Rand Paul, mabye, would raise it? Surely no one on the Dem side. And damn few on the GOP side.

Dame Judith, and more specifically, her "ilk", are the only ones in 'car'. The rest of us are outside. For now. Once we admit that it may, repeat, may, be the beginning of working towards a solution. i.e. once we acknowledge that the 'game' is fixed, we can start work. But not before.

alba etie

Rand Paul - or maybe an third party with Senator Jim Webb ?

William Herschel



I have three question to the committee of correspondence: What would be the effect of an oil embargo, what is the special status of Samarra in Iraq, and what can be expected from the ex-Baathists within the rebel coalition / ISIL?

The UN Security Council decided little of new substance - just the scheduled prolongation of the mandate of the mission in Baghdad (UNAMI) - from the press statement you can see that it inches towards an oil embargo which can be decided upon later in a separate session.

“Emphasizing the need to continue efforts to promote international and regional cooperation aimed at supporting Iraq and to prevent terrorist groups included on the sanctions list established by the Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), in particular ISIL, from using the territories of Iraq and neighbouring States to carry out violence or other illicit acts to destabilize Iraq and the region, expressing its readiness to sanction further individuals, groups, undertakings and entities who are supporting ISIL, also expressing grave concern over reports of access to and seizure of oilfields and pipelines in Iraq by terrorist groups listed by the Committee, strongly condemning any engagement in direct or indirect trade in oil from Iraq involving these terrorist groups, and emphasizing that such engagement constitutes financial support for such terrorists and may lead to further sanctions listings by the Committee,"


People need to think about what to do once larger parts of Iraq fall, and the logical escalation from a Presidential Statement is to Sanctions.

The intent of ISIL on taking Samarra was made clear in a video circulated over Eid and published on 28 July (picked up on 30 July by Reuters, below verbatim translation is by MEMRI). I find it disturbing that they see it as a "capital of polytheism" - does anyone have an idea why Samarra?

"Motivational Speech Before The Conquest of Samarra"

Speaker 1 To Crowd: "My brothers in faith, you are going to enter the capital of polytheism in the Sunni regions. We did not make the precise location of your raid public, but we can now tell you that you are going to enter Samarra, Allah willing - our target is Samarra, brothers."

Crowd: "Allah Akbar."

Speaker 1 To Crowd: "We did not disclose the target until now for security reasons, but today we disclose the target, allowing you to prepare yourselves, because we are ready for the zero hour. Say: 'Allah Akbar!'"

Crowd: "Allah Akbar!"

Translation source: MEMRI #4378 - ISIS Video Documents Massacres of Hundreds of Iraqi Soldiers
The Internet - July 28, 2014 - 03:29

Link: http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/4378.htm (commercial)
Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/29/us-iraq-security-idUSKBN0FY10P20140729
Link for video: http://www.reuters.com/video/2014/07/29/-gruesome-islamic-state-video-threatens?videoId=329123114

It seems to me from the makeup of the ISIL that the ones who hope for the former Baathists to turn against the fanatic Islamists are mistaken.

Here's my question for the Committee of experts: Would it be probable that a large part of the Baathists ideology has faded away through the last decades and Baathism is now no longer an ideology but a network? Secularism, equality, Pan-Arabism were all partly thrown out by Saddam himself in efforts to stay in power from the 1980s onwards, the weakening of social services under the oil for food sanctions regime contributed to a decline in the formation of young cadres. Would it be possible for those old Baathists to remain united and a counterweight against the ISlamists when there is no longer an overarching ideological bracket for them?

I am no expert on Iraq, but I saw something similar happen with the Afghan Communists: By the mid-1990s they were no longer ideological, but ready to coalesce with the mujahidin factions, even be it the Taliban and Hekmatyar. Those who had secular and nationalist values left in them argued first that this was an alliance of necessity, and that they would gain the upper hand eventually once the Taliban gained control over all of Afghanistan. Most of these individuals were purged by Mullah Omar and his international advisors within three to four years. The rest went into "inner emigration" and manned the Taliban military technical branches until November 2001.

How realistic is a similar fate for the ex-Baathiss in Iraq?


Caliph Ibrahim goes on the offensive again.

“Beginning in the early hours of the morning, IS forces attacked the Sinjar Mountains. The Kurdish Peshmerga defended the area for two hours before being overcome and retreating.

Sinjar lies west of Mosul and Tel ‘Afar, both under IS control. Though a disputed territory not officially part of Kurdistan Province, and somewhat disconnected from Dohuk, the nearest Kurdish governorate, it has nonetheless been an island of Peshmerga control on the Syrian border. The Kurdish role in administering and protecting the area, as well as the claim that this disputed territory should belong to a future Kurdistan, are based in the fact that Sinjar’s population is Kurdish-speaking. Located near the Kurdish part of Syria, Sinjar is also surrounded by areas inhabited by Arab tribes that have often been in competition with Kurds. Some of these tribes worked with al-Qaida during the War in Iraq, and yesterday they aided IS prepare for today’s takeover of Sinjar.


FB Ali


You raise an important issue: what are the chances of the former Baathists (add: and Sunni tribes) breaking with IS and turning on them?

As far as I can see, there are no concrete signs of this happening (on the contrary, see Thomas's report above). In my view this eventuality is becoming increasingly unlikely. By breaking with IS these Sunnis will find themselves caught between the IS forces and the anti-Sunni Shia militias that seem to be doing most of the fighting for the Iraqi government. With every success IS makes such a break more difficult. Their ruthlessness must also prove daunting to anyone contemplating a rebellion.

The only way I can see for creating the conditions for such a break is for the Baghdad government to agree to a Sunni confederal unit in the Sunni-majority area. There is no sign at all of such a development.

A bigger issue regarding the future of IS is the attitude of Turkey, ie, Erdogan. I have seen no clear sign of which way he intends to go.


FB Ali

If it is true, as you suggest, that the IS coalition will not fracture, then IMO we are looking at a growing force that may well n time destroy the current order in the Arab World. pl

FB Ali

Col Lang,

Your prognosis is probable. The only opponents that could stop and defeat the IS are the US, Turkey and Assad's Syria. The US appears to be so hung up on Iran that it shows no signs of intervening (it seems the Maliki/political settlement brouhaha is just a smokescreen). It may ultimately be forced to, but by then it is likely to be too late.

If Assad were supported, he could probably clear IS out of Syria with Hizbullah support. But there are no signs of such support either; in fact, to the contrary.

Turkey is unlikely to take a position until after Erdogan becomes President. I do not see him taking on the IS alone. Such a stance would also require him to abandon his opposition to Assad; he does not seem the type to easily give up grudges. There is a possibility that Erdogan could come to some understanding with the IS, which would immeasurably strengthen it.

Iran can (and will) protect the Shia areas of Iraq, but it cannot defeat the IS without the cooperation of the US and Turkey.

Another factor that could blunt the IS's expansion is bad policy decisions in the governance and military fields. So far they have not made any that I am aware of.

For now the cards seem aligned to enable the IS to grow stronger and expand. Much as I deplore that prospect, I must confess the image of the Saudi royals hiking up their robes as they run like rabbits is a pleasing one!


FB Ali

Having experienced the deluxe misery of serving as Defatt in SA I can only say that I hope we don't let the bastards in the US as refugees. The level of barely concealed hostility was always surprising. pl


" I find it disturbing that they see it as a "capital of polytheism" - does anyone have an idea why Samarra?"

Perhaps because of the al-Askari Mosque.


FB Ali

Col Lang,

Patrick Cockburn has a piece up on Counterpunch on the subject of the Islamic State:


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