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13 July 2014

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David Habakkuk

Colonel Lang,

The spectacle of jihadist Jacobins being supplied with the capacity to fight a conventional war effectively by officers and NCOs of Saddam’s army – many of whom, as you have repeatedly explained, were both very able people and in possession of that greatest of all assets for an intelligent military man, extensive experience of war – has a certain surreal quality.

The wicked old imperialist in me looks back to the day when the British were rather good at ‘divide et impera’: hell, a classical education does have some advantages. It increasingly seems that these days American, and British policy, operates on the reverse principle.

The first stage is to imagine alliances between actual or potential adversaries that are actually totally improbable (such as: Saddam and Al Qaeda, the Iranians and Al Qaeda.)

The second stage is to 1. create just the kind of alliance you have trumpeted to the skies, and which, but for your bungling, could never to have existed, and 2. fail to confront questions as to whether, in the mess you have created, people you have designated as the modern Hitlers – such as the Iranian clerics and Putin – might perhaps be potential allies.

A lot of this, quite clearly, has to do with the fact that the imbecile clerisy which increasingly dominates American foreign policy making is to a very considerable extent Jewish, and tends to include a lot of over-educated idiots among Jewish Americans, and almost none of the scholarly and wise American Jews.

In relation to Ukraine, to take another example, we have policy shaped by Victorian Nuland/Nudelman, who is palpably an imbecile – while Stephen Cohen, who has immense knowledge and understanding about the tragedies of the history of Russia and Eastern Europe, is reduced to appearing on RT (as also, John Mearsheimer.)

(See http://rt.com/shows/crosstalk/155288-containment-policy-cold-war/ .)

jonst

It seems apparent to me--which is not the same thing as saying I am correct--that we, the States, were taken by surprise by recent events in the Sunni region of Iraq. Assuming we now are paying attention, have some recent, upgraded, capabilities on the ground, and are now focusing a lot of attention on intercepting communications, when should we begin to have some idea of the order of battle there? In theory, can we assert the following , 'we now should have a much better idea what is going on there', or 'we should have a better idea what is going on there in another few weeks'?. Forget for the moment, what we should do with sound intel....did we not have it, and now we are close to having it?

Or, for whatever reason/s we've ALWAYS known...and let events unfold.

bth

Kind of interesting to watch the dynamics of various players to the emergence of a viable Kurdish government with oil.

Iran threatened to close its borders to the Kurds. Iran is betting all on Maliki it seems.

Then the Turks need safe trucking routes south and can't get them through IS territory so that leaves the Kurds. Plus IS holds the Mosul Turkish consulate hostage. And then the Kurds have the northern oil fields and must sell it through Turkey or IS territories. Lastly Kurds in Turkey may be the swing vote in upcoming Turkish elections.

All in all Turkey seems to be looking more and more favorably at a Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq and the Iranians distinctly against it.

Then there is Kurdish ISIL relations. Did Maliki's assertions of collusion have a measure of truth? One wonders if a Kurdish deal can be made with the Sunni Arab tribes in return for access to oil and routes or in exchange for supplying the Balaji refinery.

bth

The perspective from Iran must be worrisome right now.

They have the Maliki government failing to form a coalition. Iraq is breaking up for good it seems. The Iraqi army collapsing and arming ISIL with surrendered equipment not dreamed possible six months ago. Quds might assist but they can't be both the brains and the balls of the Iraqis can they?

Then they have the Kurds becoming a viable alternate source of oil and commerce to Turkey and a friendly location for the US and even perhaps Israel.

They have the Syrian conflict which two months ago was all but decided now at best dragging on into a financial and political black hole.

Cee

History does repeat in some ways


http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/holocaust/about/01/persecution.asp
Nazi anti-Jewish policy functioned on two primary levels: legal measures to expel the Jews from society and strip them of their rights and property while simultaneously engaging in campaigns of incitement, abuse, terror and violence of varying proportions. There was one goal: to make the Jews leave Germany.

Charles Dekle

DH,
Thank you. I love the term "imbecile clerisy." It meshes nicely with "faith based diplomacy."
Regards,

Charles I

Great phrase, at least they let in women.

On one of the three network gabfests this a.m., Cokie Roberts puts the blame for the Gaza war, started by Hamas, on Obama for not being more violently interventionist in Syria and Iran, thus preventing all material from reaching Hmas in the first place.

Q? Why not just bomb Hamas directly from Israel or the U.S. in the first place Cokie? Don't bother with Iran and Syria who don't rocket Israel, save us all some time and money hmm?

Who are We fighting again, I forget?

toto

At this stage the Iranian's continued support of Maliki is just neocon-grade stupidity.

Fred

Cee,

To quote VOA from the article above:

"Those who fail to comply with the instructions.... ," read a leaflet dropped by the Israeli military ..."

Didn't the Palestinians get told to leave their homes for their own safety in 1948?

CTuttle

Richard Silverstein reported today...

In what was the first ground engagement between the IDF and Hamas forces during Operation Protective Edge earlier today, Shayetet 13 naval commandos landed on a northern Gaza beach, where their target was a rocket launcher firing long-range missiles toward Israel. According to a well-placed Israeli source, the commandos were ambushed and repelled by Hamas fighters. There was a huge firefight involving heavy weapons and the special forces were forced to withdraw with four wounded. None were killed on the Israeli side. The IDF says it killed three Hamas fighters, though this is unconfirmed on the Palestinian side.

According to my source, the battle did not go well for the Israeli forces who had hoped for stealth to reach and neutralize their target. With the ambush they lost the element of surprise and were forced to call in F-16s and helicopter gunships to hold off the attacking Palestinians. Certainly such air support wasn’t anticipated unless the operation ran into trouble, which it clearly did.

The commandos were repelled and never destroyed the rocket launcher. Though certainly later battles between the IDF and Hamas forces will not necessarily go as well for the Palestinians, the fact that they gave the IDF a bloody nose, is a major victory.

http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2014/07/13/in-first-gaza-ground-battle-israeli-commandos-repelled/

turcopolier

C Tuttle

I guess the have to try harder. pl

CTuttle

Sir, Do you think it might actually deter Bibi from crossing the LD...?

Castellio

Off topic in a way, on topic in another. I think it deserves consideration. Brave young man assumes free speech?

http://www.iinclude.com/young-american-jew-stands-palestine-wont-believe-happens-next/

confusedponderer

Commentators in the US and Israeli spokespeople in particular speak of Gaza as if it was a country. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The entire Gaza strip has a an area of 360km². That is pathetically small. If Gaza was a square it would be 19km x 19km, or 11,8 x 11,8 miles. On this live 1,7 million people. That is very densely settled.

The city of Cologne in Germany is home to 1 million citizens, thoroughly urban and has an area of 405km². I can walk from one end to the other in about five hours.

In light of that, Israel calling on Gazans to flee is cynical in the extreme.

Flee? Where to? Are they supposed to drown themselves in the Mediterranean? The Izzies sell their warnings as an attempt to 'prevent civilian casualties', but given the lack of sanctuary in Gaza this is nothing but terrorizing the civilian population. They are as imperiled where they are as where they could flee to.

turcopolier

C Tuttle

I hope not. There are important lessons to be learned on all sides concerning the cost of war. pl

Matthew

Castellio: I hope he doesn't complain to his Member of Congress. That will just trigger a press release supporting the Israeli police!

Babak Makkinejad

If the Australian do-gooders could create a nation out of 750,000 dirt farmers - solely because they were Christians - then Gaza could be a country too.

I mean Andorra and San Marino and Monte Carlo are also countries; and they do not have one hundredth the gumption of Gazans in facing a superior military force.

Dubhaltach

In reply to confusedponderer 14 July 2014 at 05:07 AM

"Israel calling on Gazans to flee is cynical in the extreme."

I'm deeply shocked that you could think such a thing about "the most moral army in the world".

Plainly you've been brainwashed by AntiSemites r Us™

I urge you to seek immediate help so that you can rejoin the community of right thinking people.

Dubhaltach

David Habakkuk

All,

Netanyahu has pronounced final obsequies on the idea of the two-state solution.

(See http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-finally-speaks-his-mind/ .)

So ‘liberal zionism’ really is now as defunct an ideology as ‘socialism with a human face’ was after the Prague Spring.

What he appears unable to grasp is that quite a few people will hold him and his American amen chorus substantially responsible for the chaos which he now suggests provides justification for an indefinite maintenance of Israeli control over the West Bank.

nick b

bth,

I read an interesting article about the Kurdish Peshmerga last week. It talks about their fighting against ISIL, specifically in the town of Jalawla. In the article, a Peshmerga Major by the name of Borham says:

"He said there’s a possibility Sunni tribes could make a deal with the Kurds to turn against ISIS, much in the way they allied themselves with the Americans to fight Al Qaeda during the Anbar Awakening eight years ago.

He said he believes the militants’ hardline religious rules have angered many locals—and, in his opinion, that anger will only intensify."

It's an interesting read.

https://medium.com/war-is-boring/the-peshmerga-are-those-who-face-death-66bd3cbbe0a6

Matthew

DH: Must say I greet with mixed feelings. The question really remains: Whither the PA?

The security coordination was premised on building a Palestinian state.

Dubhaltach

In reply to David Habakkuk 14 July 2014 at 09:49 AM

Liberal Zionists. Those would be the people accurately described by Ben White amongst others as "shoot and cry" Zionists. They're still Zionists. Sometimes a matter is very simple and this is one them.

Zionists — liberal, conservative, neo-whatever, Jabotinskyite, are all Zionists. All of them. It doesn't really matter whether they support what the Zionist state is doing by ommission and commission. They're still supporting it. They're supporting the ongoing colonisation of Palestine and the massacring, starvation, and dispossession of its people. To hell with them.

Dubhaltach

Medicine Man

Thanks for this, Mr. Habakkuk. I hadn't thought about it, but yes you are correct; it is astonishing how the false assertions about Saddam and islamic jihadis have become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Patrick D

DH,

"The spectacle of jihadist Jacobins being supplied with the capacity to fight a conventional war effectively by officers and NCOs of Saddam’s army – many of whom, as you have repeatedly explained, were both very able people and in possession of that greatest of all assets for an intelligent military man, extensive experience of war – has a certain surreal quality."

I too have been wrestling with how this works operationally on the ground. If this is an alliance between professionals from the previous Iraqi army, local Sunnis, and international jihadis then that means the locals and jihadis have to put themselves under the command of the professionals since they have all the heavy weapons and operational competence. I can see the locals doing that but it strikes me as a hard pill to swallow for the average jihadi purist.

My best guess is that the professionals and locals together possess both the competence and manpower to pull off sophisticated operations by themselves. That would allow for a separation of duties and forces at a high enough level so squads of jihadis are not taking orders from whiskey-drinking Iraqi army NCOs.

It also implies the professions and locals represent the bulk of this front possibly making the jihadis and their caliphate a veneer and a distraction for our foreign policy "elites".

All purely speculation on my part. Maybe I'm underestimating jihadi pragmatism. I'd like to hear the Colonel's thoughts as well as anybody else who has actual experience.

Babak Makkinejad

I am surprised that someone with your sophistication even had believed in the viability of "Liberal Zionism"; Israeli liberals are those who say that Arabs must leave Israel since they have so many other Arab countries to go to while Jews only have a single one.

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