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19 July 2014


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Mr. Mohyeldin's reinstatement is welcome news and , given that it was NBC that took him back we must assume the barrage of public support (where from?? USA??) must have turned into an avalanche at some point forcing their hand. Their coverage is one of the most biased I have ever seen, it does not matter what talking head program one watches (i.e. hardball, Morning Joe, Maddow, etc etc ).



I don't know what this news is worth, but anyway:

Quote: Atta confirms setting control on the Baiji refinery and the entire Spyker military base in Salahuddin. [Print] [Save]
19/07/2014 15:13:00

BAGHDAD / Nina /--Spokesman for the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces brigadier general Qassim Atta, confirmed that army and security forces have set control today on Baiji refinery and the entire Spyker military base in Salahuddin province .

Atta said at a news conference today: "The terrorists tried to get close of Baiji refinery and around Spyker base near Tikrit during the past four days, but the attempt was foiled after killing a number of terrorists .. / End



That would seem like the battle of Tikrit is continuing.



"All I don't know what this news is worth," Probably noting. residents in the area are reporting by telephone that this new Baghdad Bob is full of it. pl

r whitman

Can anyone cite a source for a truthful update of the situation in Gaza?


Colonel Lang-- what would you do if you were in charge of the Iraqi 'Army'. Since they seem unable to sustain any kind of offensive, should they fall back to more defensible positions and hold the line?


Can't the NY Times get the story straight- after several days? It was Israeli naval gunfire that killed the four boys in question, not an Israeli air attack.



I've been curious about the fate of this refinery as well. What I have seen is there are around 75 SWAT holed up in the control building. The IA hasn't tried to resupply them due to fear of losing more helicopters. ISIS hasn't tried to take the control building because they are afraid the controls will be badly damaged if not destroyed outright.

FB Ali

Col Lang,

The recent IS victories in Tikrit and the Shaar gas fields are an ominous sign. They testify to IS's military power and its increasing solidification of the caliphate.

Both indicate that it will increase its support by attracting more adherents from the competing jihadi factions and the general Muslim community, especially disaffected youth in the West. The chances of a breakaway by Sunni tribesmen and former Saddam soldiers are reduced with every success it attains.

Meanwhile the West is caught up in a wild orgy of vilification of Russia and Putin. Is anyone looking at where the real danger is emerging?


FB ali

"Is anyone looking at where the real danger is emerging?" Yes, we are. pl



Yes. It is all very confused. I have an Israeli writing to me claiming it was an airstrike. pl

FB Ali

Further to my post above:

Another development that is playing into IS's hands is the Israeli assault on Gaza. The horrifying reports and images coming out of Gaza are not getting much publicity in the West but that is not the case in Muslim countries. The contrast between them and the deathly silence of their rulers is further delegitimizing the latter. They appear to be complicit with Israel and its Western backers to destroy a Muslim community. Erdogan is the only one who has spoken up.

The narrative being developed in the Muslim world is that the West backs Israel to attack and destroy Muslims, with the complicity of Muslim governments. The only ones defending Islam are the jihadis, with IS as their leader.

The seeds of much trouble in the future are being sown.


r. Whitman

my instinct says to me that Richard Engel, Ben Wedeman and Carl Penhaul are doing a credible job. pl


FB Ali... Is that narrative wrong? Is not the US and the West in general doing what it can to assist Israel in the destruction of a Muslim society, and is it not with the complicity of silent Muslim governments?

I don't mean this rhetorically. If faced with the proposition as an analysis, do you (FB Ali) concur or disagree? And if you disagree, on what grounds?

Or to put the question a bit differently, why do you write "They to be complicit with Israel and its Western backers..." Aren't they complicit?

FB Ali

That is why I wish, along with many others, that you were shaping US policies!



I want to repeat my thanks for your hard work, thick skin and intelligence. Yesterday and today, this is the first web site I went to, even before I read my e-mail.

The last time I felt this much anxiety was the weeks before I reported for Induction into the US Army 45 years ago. It is impossible to know for certainty what will happen next but Ukraine and the Middle East today are absolute disasters. NATO is on the flight path to war with Russia. The Sunni Shiite Holy War is ignited. The Islamic State is sure to try to encircle Damascus and Baghdad. If the USA keeps supporting the Sunnis, it is not unlikely that the left over Americans will be cut off in Baghdad together with hundreds of thousands of desperate armed Shiite militias. Likewise, the resurgent Jihadists could seize the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. Instead of a one front war in Gaza, Israel will be fighting on two borders unless they are crazy enough to start third war with Hezbollah or the third Palestinian Uprising ignites

The Likud Party and the Neo-conservatives are one and the same in their beliefs. They will use nuclear weapons if necessary to end the insane wars that they start; no matter if it destroys the Northern Hemisphere.

FB Ali

The narrative being developed is pretty stark - all blacks and whites. The reality is perhaps more nuanced (though the outcome may well be the same as postulated in the narrative).

My own view is that Israel seeks to evict the Palestinians from their land, if necessary by killing a lot of them. Governments in the West tend to look the other way, or utter pious remonstrances on occasion. Except the US, which fully supports Israel in whatever it does, providing it with the means to do so. (So many Americans on this blog have bemoaned the stranglehold that Israel has on US policy).

As for Muslim governments, Egypt, the Saudis and the Gulf Emirates (except perhaps Qatar) don't care about the Palestinians and what happens to them. They seek Israel's cover in their war against Shia Iran. Other Muslim governments don't particularly like Israel, but do need to keep the US happy, so they stay mum. In that sense they are being complicit.

Muslim peoples generally, Arab and others, hate Israel and dislike the US. These sentiments, combined with their helplessness, make them fertile soil for the jihadi narrative to take root and grow.

As I said, I foresee much trouble in the future from these developments.



IMO they will be lucky if they can hold onto the area from Baghdad south. pl

Babak Makkinejad

" The only ones defending Islam are the jihadists, with IS as their leader." is not a true statement.

Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and to an extent Turkey are defending Islam - as you state.

ISIS is akin to Khwarej.

Babak Makkinejad

And the Israeli Labor Party and US Democratic Party are also one and the same; from all evidence.

Babak Makkinejad

It is questionable how long Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are going to endure under a Shia-Sunni war condition.

Charles I

Could do worse than starting at The Palestinian Centre For Human Rights, here:


I see on the right they are reporting fluse of flechette artillery

Charles I

So from where ISIS is in Tikrit, can/will they have a go at Baghdad Airport one suddden day?

Charles I

Be nice to know somebody's got a bead on those Israeli Cruise missile subs, as I have read some very blustery gonna-pull-my-house-down-on-top-of-everybody Strangeloveian reportage,rumour, fantasy and prognostication of the keep-the-goyim-in-line ilk.

Purported target used to be the Saudi oil fields, but that was before U.S oil independence, who knows where those subs are now, or how many they have?

Can we track all their used German subs? i haven't looked into this for years.

Ishmael Zechariah

Brigadier Ali,

Similar observations can be made about Turkey. The population is very unhappy about Gaza. The families of Israeli diplomats are leaving. On the other hand, the tayyipist government has been remarkably silent about Gaza. Some newspapers are taking him to task about this, and are reporting that shipments of Kurdish oil to Israel, permitted by the tayyipists, are continuing. Given tayyipists past (and, probably, current) support of Daash (ISIL) a very strange picture is starting to emerge.

Al Sistani's words: "everyone will regret it tomorrow, when regret has no meaning" might come to haunt us...

Ishmael Zechariah

Babak Makkinejad


I will make it plain:

If you want to fight ISIS or resist it, there is only one single choice:

The Islamic Republic of Iran and her allies.

This choice has been spurned by US and EU.

I am led to conclude that US & EU are not serious about destroying ISIS.

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