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01 July 2014


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Harper is well connected. My only elaboration on this is that even while the Obama Administration has not initiated a Non-combatant Evacuation Operation for the Baghdad area it is nevertheless removing all non-essential people from the US Embassy. This is a typical situation. The Department of State takes care of its own. At the same time more US ground troops are brought in the guard the facility. pl


The Kurds seems to have decided for independence now.


"London (AFP) - Iraq's Kurds will hold an independence referendum within months, their leader Massud Barzani said on Tuesday, as the region reels under a brutal offensive by Sunni jihadists who have declared an Islamic caliphate.

Barzani said the time was right for a vote as Iraq was already effectively partitioned following the lightning gains by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS), formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)."

ex-PFC Chuck

Is the Obama administration deliberately using the 25K Americans in Iraq as bait in hopes that a hostage situation would become the bloody shirt they can use to "justify" a return?

Bill H

Wasn't Turkey at one time in violent opposition to the concept of a Kurdish state on their southern border, and even making raids into Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish forces? Well, PKK terrorists, to be sure, but still...

Babak Makkinejad


I gather from publicly available Internet sources the following:

1 - Iran will not cooperate with US in Iraq
2 - Iran will not countenance an independent Kurdistan.
3 - Iran will not abandon Maliki
4 - Many among Iranian leaders view ISIS incursion into Iraq as a joint plot by US, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey to suck Iran into overt intervention in Iraq.
5 - Iran will do all she can to destroy ISIS and keep Iraq intact.
6 - Leaders of Saudi Arabia and KRG have been explicitly warned to cease and desist.

Ishmael Zechariah

Bill H,

A few points not in any particular order:

1-PKK and Barzani organizations are rivals.
2-The Israeli and Turkish regimes are the first two entities to support this "independent" Kurdistan.
3-Turkey will have presidential elections in August and the 7% Kurdish vote is critical for erdogan.
4-ISIL was trained and armed by the erdogan regime and their wounded are still being evacuated to Turkey.

An interesting game.

Ishmael Zechariah


well, god damn, it seems that Chalabi is back in the game. You can't make this stuff up. Talk of him for PM of Iraq.


Reportedly, Russian pilots will be flying in Iraq, despite comments to the contra by the Russian Ambaassador.



Several comments in response to postings on the site. First, I concur with Iran assessment that they are playing for Iranian interests in Iraq and are not interested in dealing overtly with the US any more than the JCS here is interested in overtly dealing with Iran. That said, however, there are intelligence exchange channels by US IC with both Iranian and Syrian counterparts, because there is something to be said for the common enemy threat. It will be limited, self-serving and may nevertheless lead to common benefits. This requires a sophisticated level of intelligence cooperation and diplomacy. We will have to see if that can be worked out. Second, with the Kurds now having at least partial control over Kirkuk, which is historically a divided Kurd-Arab city, the oil resources of an independent Kurdish state are much bigger. Kurdistan would be land-locked and dependent on Turkey for key export routes, especially oil exports to Europe, etc. As noted, Turkey is in a different position now vis. Kurdish independence, the fight in Syria and the mess in Iraq. Turkey (ie. AKP) is clearly playing both sides for its own regional advantage and they could get burned by this. That remains to be seen going forward. I know they came under immense US pressure to drop support for ISIS and some of the border crossings that Turkey's MIT turned over to ISIS have now been shut off. Right now, the big unanswered question is whether or not the Iraqi Army can demonstrate sufficient combat skills to win their first battles against the ISIS-led coalition (it is not just the jihadists without borders here, but remnants of the Saddam era Army who fought a war against Iran and also ran the resistance against the US occupation--they are skilled). They now have American and Russian advisers working presumably in some coordinated fashion. The test case is the ongoing battle to take back Tikrit from the ISIS forces. If it turns out that the Iraqi Army is hopeless, that changes many considerations, and that question is still not answered.



The basic problem is that the current policy of the Robber Elite who run the USA is more war. It is America’s allies, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, that got ISIS up and running. The USA supplied ISIS with millions and millions of dollars’ worth of arms and munitions; inadvertently or not.

The ambassador appointed to Russia, John Tefft, was the American Ambassador in 2008 to Georgia when their Prime Minister decided to start the war with Russia. Then, he was the Ambassador to Ukraine from 2009 till last year during the run up to the current civil war. He is not the man you to appoint to this job if you want to find a peaceful resolution to the current conflict between NATO and Russia or coordinate the fight with Russia against the Islamic State.

The USA has to get involved again to prevent a new Caliphate from being established permanently but it has to be with the goal of bringing peace to both the Levant and the Balkans. The basic premise has to be to restore good governance at home and abroad. I am afraid this is simply impossible with our current politicians and their rule directed by Wall Street, City of London and Frankfurt.

The Twisted Genius

This echoes of the Boxer Rebellion and the mishmash of allies set out to relieve the Legation Quarter. Not exactly, obviously, but it has the same feel. We have U.S. and Iranian drones sharing the airspace with Russian and Syrian ground attack aircraft. Our SF are in the field with the Iraqi Army and Shia militias probably advised by Iranian Quds Force. All this (and perhaps others) facing an equally odd mishmash of Salafist jihadists hellbent on establishing a Caliphate no matter what the cost or consequences and Sunni tribesmen who only want what is theirs and a little revenge along the way. Oh yes, there's the Kurds and the Turks as well. A multipolar world indeed.

Why do we stay in Iraq? I pose that it is our fear of being irrelevant that drives us even more than our fear of ISIS.



I had to comment on the above article. The USA, China, Iran, may grudgingly come to the agreement ISIS must be crushed. That wont solve the long term issue that there is a large number Islamic fundamentalists both Sunni and Shia who want to change the world. Both sects disagree sometimes violently on how to go about it. Iran has sponsored it's own groups. The Saudis have played the game of giving money to fundamentalists in the past, in exchange for leaving the Kingdom alone. I think the rise of ISIS may have put the fear of God into the Saudis, and annoyed Iran. ISIS may be crushed, but this movement will keep evolving and growing in the long run.


I wonder what the terms of any cooperation might be between US on one hand and Iran and Russians on the other hand. Over many years already, United States has treated them as enemies and sought to undermine them at every opportunity. While the situation at the moment may be desperate enough that some cooperation is doubtlessly taking place in the short term, one has to assume that its terms are limited and highly circumscribed--all the deals are to be made only for immediate payment in unmarked bills only, so to speak. I can't think how they would accept more substantive cooperation over the longer haul if they expect, which I think they should, being double crossed by Washington at any and every minute.

Ishmael Zechariah

VV, Harper;

AFAIK the destruction of Syria was a key goal of a rather wide coalition,including Mileikowsky & Co. The support to (fundamentalist) Sunni rebels in Syria had US approval until a few months ago. Massive amounts of ordnance transited through Turkey to Syria with full knowledge/approval of US intelligence.

Kurds have/had both US/West (even Italy...) and Israeli materiel, logistics and intelligence support for quite a while. The reason is probably not related to "facilitating democracy" in the M.E. In the end game the Kurds may find themselves surrounded by those who hate them, just like Israel, but without its support network.

I do agree that erdogan and his cadre are playing a very dangerous double game. They deluded themselves into thinking that they were the primary causes of certain "successes" and started to act somewhat autonomously. The results, so far, are less than optimal. When/if this blows up, they, and Turkey along with them, might suffer much. This might be the only means of waking up some of the indigenous (and foreign) sheeple who bleat about "democracy".

Interesting times.

Ishmael Zechariah

different clue

I hope everyone is hoping for a total ISIS defeat. Even though Maliki helped kick this off by his reverse-Baath/Husseinist behavior against the Sunnis, wishing for his comeuppance by ISIS victory would be a bad thing to wish for, given the awfulness that the Jihadi Caliphate of ISIStan would export to the world.


Just wait, odds are some neocon nut or one o their Middle Eastern allies will try to save ISIS for something once they have been cut down to size.

Remember how the neocons saved the MEK communist terrorist cult from extinction because they were thought to be useful against Iran.

If I could read McCain's mind I'd probably see something like: "Just consider all the sweet, delicious trouble all those crazy ISIS Chechens could cause Russia, what a precious opportunity ..."

Naturally, these ISIS Chechens will be called moderates then.

They'll then be the rediscovered moderate head chopping and beard measuring wing of ISIS, not the moon howling crazy head chopping and beard measuring extremist wing of ISIS.

Because the one thing you can count on is that people like McCain will learn nothing from their blunders and screw-ups.

Neither the political establishment of either party nor the supine media does hold them accountable.

They are thus insulated from their failure as long as it's just Syrians, Lebanese and Iraqis who do the dying. After all, Bush's PR problem in the US were US casualties, not the scores of Iraqis who died along the way during the US invasion.



You wrote: " This requires a sophisticated level of intelligence cooperation and diplomacy."

Full stop. Real leadership, in the US, right now, would be demonstrated by the individual, or individuals, who have the courage and wisdom to stand up an say, for various institutional reasons, such 'sophistication' is not possible, at the moment, in the our nation. We have to address why that is so...and try and fix it. But you know the line...you have to admit you have a problem, before....we got a problem. At LEAST, the last 13 years has demonstrated such. We ain't very good anymore. Not presently.

My two cents.


Interesting indeed.

" In the end game the Kurds may find themselves surrounded by those who hate them, just like Israel, but without its support network."

I was reading one of the threads started by someone claiming to be with ISIS. He wrote it was the kiss of death to be recognized by Israel and to be surrounded by all those Arabs.



Someone needs to tell the masters of the universe in DC that they are irrelevant. The locals there have taken matters in their own hands and don't give a damn what Obama or Kerry says.

cville reader

There are some people who say that the US and Saudi Arabia covertly supported the Chechens in their two wars against Russia. The US interest in doing so presumably was to isolate Russia, in furtherance of the neocon grand scheme.

No one who is remotely familiar with the brutality of Chechen militants could call them moderates.

Babak Makkinejad

Khomeini in essence discredited and gutted the Shia Fundamentalists; they have no legs to stand on - legally, philosophically, politically, intellectually.

Babak Makkinejad

I would count on EU to spearhead that effort of white-washing ISIS on behalf of the NATO Alliance.

ISIS is a small wrinkle in the NATO project of wounding Iran through Syria; in my opinion.

The other leg was the economic war to repeat the Weimar inflation in Iran - spearheaded by EU.

The only time I read any dissent to this was a mild statement by the Foreign Minister of Sweden who was looking for a Plan B - years ago.


Oh of course the Chechens are not moderates, not by a long shot. That was the very point.

IIRC there are a cases of particular Chechens who have been granted refuge (iirc political asylum) in the US, and for some odd reason the Russians insist to call them terrorists and want them extradited.

So what you say is plausible and may just be true.


would you say that Muqtada al Sadr falls in the category of a Shia Fundamentalist?

Babak Makkinejad

I cannot tell; more like a Shia Opportunist...

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