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28 August 2014


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alba etie

How long can IS continue to make these strategic gains without the regional neighbors actively engaging al Baghdadi ? Has Erdogan made a deal with IS so that Turkey safely can continue to allow arms and rebel recruits to flow into Syria ? KSA and Rouhani were talking this week - maybe the Sauds can step up to the plate & confront al Baghdadi ?

cville reader

That NYT article also says that many former members of Saddam's Army have become radicalized religiously. If that is the case, it seems less likely that the former Iraqi officers will eventually turn on ISIS.


"So, what will IS do next?"

Attempt to raid Aleppo? Probably not yet. It still has to "clean up" the north of U.S. supported "moderate" FSA groups to clear its logistics to Turkey.

It also needs some winter refuge for its fighters in Qalamoun and elsewhere. Some medium sized city in the north-west should do for that.



That my guess too. Take out the Syrian Kurds and remove the best local allies for Western powers. The Turks would be very comfortable with that result as the YPG milita is related to the PKK.


The Col wrote: "Hey, folks! We brought it on ourselves, or at least, the neocons brought it on us by throwing these men out on the street in 2003."

No, we did indeed bring it on ourselves. (a lot of the people on this Committee excepted, for the most part). The Neocons were at the head of the parade, for sure, but we (the bulk of the American people and almost ALL of the Congress) rushed in behind them with all the gusto of someone who knows someone else will be doing the fighting and dying.

The beaver


All the killings of the regime soldiers were announced by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights based in London and every newspaper is quoting them.
However there are some very gruesome pictures out there when you "google" the Tabqa air base and I dare not open them.

BTW, one of the crossings used by al-Nusra to deliver one of the hostages, released two days ago, to the UNDOF has been taken by rebels - no one can ascertain for sure which one and now the UN peacekeepers are detained by them in the vicinity of Al Qunaytirah.


I have a feeling IS is being manipulated by someone. It was a bad mistake for them to turn on the Kurds and the Sincan Turkomans, all of it worked out for the Kurds-they got arms, their own air force, Kerkuk, depopulation of contested areas for an eventual referendum and the world's sympathy, which will eventually lead to them having their own oil, free for them to export through Turkey to the west, and Israel.

If they realize their tactical blunder in time, I am sure they are not beyond conducting a strategic stand down, organize, set new and more realistic goals and keep on trucking.

I did not believe a single moment that they repulsed the Peshmerge, forced them to withdraw, etc.

Also, if US air strikes are extended to Syria, I think we will find out that Syrian air defenses were going through routine maintenance and therefore nothing was detected.


Oh, IS logistics to Turkey is barrier free, hundreds of trucks each day are carrying enough oil through the border to make up for a small sized pipeline. Everyone is in on it, Turks, Kurds, Syrian state, you name it, commerce goes on even during war, everyone is happy.

Marcy C.

Alba Etie,
Unfortunately the only plate any Saudi prince will ever step up to is a literal plate overflowing with food. They will never even take responsibility for their own safety, preferring that their American friends do that for them too. Sadly some people are an actual waste of space and in Saudi Arabia they all belong to the same family!!


That's my feeling, Erdogan has a leisse-faire gentlemen's agreement with IS, using the term loosely...

I read the Turkish press profusely, I did not hear a single, heavy condemnation of IS from Erdogan to day. His only sour grapes might be that he wanted to be the Caliph, that upstart Baghdadi...



It appears that IS is clearing a corridor to the Turkish border through Nusra held ground. The logistical conveniences that this would be is clear. IS must have maintenance and ammunition problems with the advanced US tank and artillery gear that they captured. Can Turkey make good those deficiencies? pl



Unless the West forces Turkey to close its border with Syria and the United States makes alliances with the Shiites, Kurds and Alawites and quarantines Northern Iraq the only purpose of fighting ISIS is enriching War Profiteers and empowering the Police State. This will be the third war lost in 13 years by the USA not counting Libya, Yemen, Somalia, or Ukraine. The export of MANPADS will turn western air transport into a Malaysian Airlines, flying empty. Not to mention the blowback of another lost Middle East war includes the collapse of the petrodollar as heads roll in the Gulf States. A billion Sunnis will be radicalized; joining God’s winning side, killing infidels.

João Carlos

"So, what will IS do next?"

mmmmm.... Bagdah.... copters flying from US embassy for rescue personal will be good PR ("ït is Saigon again!") and there are lots of shia for kill there.

Jordan...mmmm... too much close to Israel, IS don't want to fight Israel, no much shia for kill there and they will lose if fight against Israel.

Iran... they are not ready for fight Iran and they will lose. Iran can send some million "martyrs"for fight IS same way they fought Saddam.. IS never fight who will win the battle, they choose the opponents.

SA... well, Mecca is there and Mecca will make all "caliphate" thing not be a joke.... the bonus is that the oil prices will skyrocket.

IMHO, don't underestimate the bad things that IS can do... they can do worse than we can imagine.

I fear that the old chinese curse "that you live interesting times" will be true soon.

By the way, there are very interesting times happening now at Ukraine...


Dear Colonel:

What next: I see try IS focused on severing logistical connections to Iran, reduce efforts to the Pershmerga to worrying them along their lengthy border, and move against the Syrian Kurds. Keep testing neighbors except Turkey where they seem to have an understanding. Also, an attack against Israel is always good for recruiting.

Kunuri: The pattern at the time was of IS testing in many directions while pushing hard in Syria and on key logistical pathways. In Kurdistan, the test worked and they moved forward.


It is not so much a problem of being advanced but an engine that is not a diesel, something any truck mechanic can fix, but a turbine. I haven't a clue how hard it is to keep the turbine of an Abraham running but i do wonder.

nick b


How do the 49 Turkish hostages taken by IS from the Turkish Consulate in Mosul earlier this summer fit into the equation?


Hayir Albayim, IS will not get heavy, sophisticated ordnance from Turkey, all Turkish arms are registered in NATO rosters, Erdogan will not dare to go that far. Besides, each air base and ammao dump IS captures, or has captured, will supply them for years to come. In short, no arms and ammunition to IS will come directly from Turkish Army, they are very, very strict about that stuff. You lose a bullet, your military carrier is over, in the Turkish Army.

But the crux of the situation is, in that part of the world, front lines can be blurred when there is a product whose commerce benefits everyone, then all ideology and cause takes a second seat. And in my opinion, tanks are not useful for a mobile, Mongoloid army like IS which lives off the saddle or the back of a 4 wheel drive. And I think they have not yet figured out the power of light, mobile artillery that can shoot and scoot. But they will.

And like I said, really, corridors mean nothing there, daily deals can be worked out by everyone if there is gain, and broken if not. Oriental mind is not so receptive about lines on a map, it is rather cursive based on gain and personal and clan relationships. I have not yet succeeded in Turkey securing a set with lines and guards to keep curiosity seekers out from walking up to the camera and actors.


How do you know Turkey is supplying the moderate Syrian opposition exclusively? Maybe all sides that need a helping hand in return for no terrorist attacks within Turkey, free flow of oil and contraband through the open borders, not naming and shaming Turkey, and not killing various Turkish hostages held by various groups.


Col. Lang,

Are the Turks mad enough to offer such assistance? Do they really believe they can control or direct IS?

- Eliot



"And in my opinion, tanks are not useful for a mobile, Mongoloid army like IS which lives off the saddle or the back of a 4 wheel drive." I do not agree. Tanks can be very useful things when you run up against a defensive position somewhere. The old Soviet tanks will be very useful. They are easy to use and maintain and they know them well. The problem will be how to hide them from US Air. pl

mistah charley, ph.d.

In reply to jonst

I think its an overstatement to say that "almost ALL of the Congress" favored the invasion of Iraq. Figures from the Wikipedia article "Iraq Resolution" of 2002 state:

House of Representatives 297 Y, 133 N, 3 NV
Senate 77 Y, 23 N

Overall, the vote was 3 to 1 in favor. Among Democrats, a majority of those in the House opposed the resolution, along with a minority of Democratic Senators and the only independent Senator, Jeffords of VT (who died 10 days ago).

mistah charley, ph.d.


This is relevant in a general sense - a 7 week long Massively Open Online Course - MOOC - is being offered, beginning September 24, through EdX - auditing is free

War for the Greater Middle East

Military historian Andrew Bacevich recounts the failed U.S. military effort over several decades to "fix" the Islamic world, explaining what went wrong and why.



Beaver et al.

The border crossing taken by al- Nusra is the one near Quneitra between the Golan and Syria. Supposedly, the IAF struck some regime targets during the offensive because of some stray mortar shells landing within the Golan and injuring an IDF soldier.

The Israeli reporting on the above incident has been all over the place; they have waffled between saying the FSA, the "rebels" and/or JaN captured the border crossing. Plenty of photo evidence around that it was JaN.

As for who is holding the 43 or 47 Filipino UNDOF Blue Helmets, I guess we may have to wait until they are released to know exactly who it is that took them.

*Israel is playing cute here as they have been supporting some elements of the "opposition" but it doesn't make them look to good if proven that they are playing footsie with a US designated AQ-affiliated terrorist outfit.

An interesting note about the recently released IS videos/stills of their atrocities is that they are not including footage of the actual beheadings/massacres they commit. Prior to the Foley example, the videos were explicit.

Curious that all of the most recent examples, no matter where they are from be it Syria or Iraq and who they feature, a Lebanese soldier, SAA troops or Peshmerga fighters,are all "PC" versions. This suggests some high degree of centralization in that these widely disparate groups are in synch when it comes to the format of their chronicles of barbarity.

Someone had decided that the unedited versions of live slaughters are too awful for wider viewing. Probably a smart decision because not only are the spectacles horrifying beyond belief, they can also cause one to coldly focus on extermination of the vermin as the only reasonable option.

*To complicate the situation even further, there are some intriguing indications that Israel may become an active part of a coalition to address

The Beaver

@ mistah charley,

This course should be the best:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/14439744594

"The Hertog Advanced Institutes are for individuals who seek to influence the intellectual, civic, and political life of the United States."


Re Hints of Israeli participation in actions against IS/Daesh, some context from a week-old article of pragmatist coalition speculation by Haaretz’ Zvi Barel:

“World powers see Assad as bulwark against Islamic State
Diplomatic map starting to break Syrian president’s way.”


“The strategic change is reflected in the United States and Europe now being more worried about the expansion of the Islamic State than the continued rule of Assad. Assad is increasingly perceived as a vital component in the struggle against the Islamic State. This conceptual change was discussed in recent talks between Saudi Arabia, Russia, Egypt, the United States and Israel. The Saudi and Russian foreign ministers exchanged visits recently, and Saudi Arabia may now be ready to consider a reform in Syria which will allow Assad to remain in power.

This amounts to a sea change in Saudi strategy, and some analysts suggest that such an agreement will include the installation of its protégé Saad al-Hariri as Lebanon’s president. This would allow Saudi Arabia an elegant exit from the Syrian quagmire.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi also discussed Syria in his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sissi never demanded the removal of Assad who, in turn, has never criticized Egypt’s treatment of Hamas during the fighting in Gaza. Iran was among the first to support Egypt’s proposal for a cease-fire. Sissi may therefore join the Saudis in agreeing to Assad’s remaining in power.

This is bad news for the Syrian opposition, whose American support is also shaky. This new axis is also aimed at neutralizing Qatar in the Syrian arena, where it enjoys great influence over Islamist militias.

This may be what lies behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent description of a “new political horizon.” He apparently was not referring to the Palestinian issue but to the new informal alliance of Arab states which are concerned about the Islamic State, viewing Assad as a potential ally in a campaign against it. He could be figuring that harsh expressions against Hamas by Arab leaders, Israel’s diplomatic and military cooperation with Egypt, the new strategic outline presented by Saudi Arabia, threats to Jordan and Israeli concerns about militias overrunning Syria may form a basis for regional cooperation.”

(Not too sure about the Saad Hariri as president of Lebanon business; that could be Israeli wishful thinking.)

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