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07 August 2014


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You are a Brit? let me make it clear that I support virtually unlimited military support for the Kurds in Iraq and Syria. pl


When you use the language, "a knot from which hangs many many threads" I think you are describing what a meme is. It is something that represents many ideas and the way those threads are woven and tied is what lets people understand their reality.

ex-PFC Chuck

This just in from The Saker, regarding the Russian response to the recently installed sanctions, entitled "You wanna be Uncle Sam's bitch? Pay the price!"

" . . this is a typically Russian response. There is a basic rule which every Russian kid learns in school, in street fights, in the military or elsewhere: never promise and never threaten - just act. Unlike western politicians who spent months threatening sanctions, the all the Russians did was to say, rather vaguely, that they reserve the right to reply. And then, BANG!, this wide and far-reaching embargo which, unlike the western sanctions, will have a major impact on the West, but even much more so on Russia . . "

It appears that Putin and his crowd thought this through much more carefully than did Obama, et al. Why am I not surprised?


I am almost afraid to ask but I wonder about our people in Iraq.

Do we know if our people over there are safe?

Can we keep them safe? Will we be able to get them out? Should we be getting some out know?

FB Ali

As I have said earlier, it is a very powerful meme among Sunnis, especially those nursing grievances at having been oppressed or attacked just because of their faith.

It provides an 'umbrella' for various jihadi groups to come together, besides serving as a beacon to attract unhappy Muslims (Sunnis) everywhere, especially among the diaspora in the West.

In the Muslim (Sunni) consciousness of their history, the caliphate is symbolic of their glory days.

Ishmael Zechariah

Brigadier Ali,

tayyip is one of the few friends the Kurds have in the region ( http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2013/11/reality-historic-meeting-barzani-erdogan-turkey-kurdistan.html ). Israel is the other significant force. Pretty much everyone else labels them traitors. The old Saddam army corps and most Arabs, irrespective of sect, truly hate them (Fallujah). A Kurdish defeat (and the loss of oil revenue from their wells) would be a major blow to tayyip. I am quite sure that he and his minions had not anticipated Daash striking into, and being very successful in Iraq. Some sources speculate that the tayyiban had envisioned a simple takeover of Syria, and the formation of a Kurdish entity with access to the Mediterranean, federated with Turkey. Pipe dreams.

The Daash have 40+ known Turkish hostages, and many Turks in their ranks. Their operatives are all over major cities in Turkey and they have an armed network which cannot be rolled up overnight.If tayyip & co. start bombing Daash, fireworks will result in Turkish cities and tayyip will probably lose his election. Such blow-back might topple him even if he wins his election. He is well aware of the fate of Thomas Becket. tayyip is in a trap, and he will find it hard to get out of it.

The situation is not amenable to a direct analysis; there are too many unknown factors.

Ishmael Zechariah


Just a suggestion to the US MIC and Maliki to kiss and make up to deal with this ISIS. So the USAF wants to junk the A-10 Warthog to the boneyards of the Nevada desert. What will happen to these Hog driver pilots who are no longer employed on this platform. Will they be left unemployed and if so, how much would it cost for Maliki to re-hire them as paid mercs in the Blackwater/ Xe Corp. airforce flying the A-10 for CAS for Maliki's army? Kills two birds with one stone sort of speak as the USAF can offload these A-10 with spare parts and ammo at a discount to a client state that is waiting for effective fighter aircraft support for her army that is not putting up any effective resistance to ISIS who are running roughshod in Iraq and will soon be threatening the Kurds, Iran, Syria, Jordan and maybe even their benefactor, the Saudis.


Have to disagree with you on that, Col. While Kurds are nearly always the toughest looking bastards on site they can't seem to do much in what amounts to a fair fight. To paraphrase a line from a Kubrick film: "Why aren't they stomping the shit out of IS?"

Short answer - it's easier to get us to their fighting for them. The tilt towards secular modernity assumed by the Kurds makes them this week's israeli.

They should fight their own fights. G-d knows there's enough of them spread out from Turkey to Iran to lend a hand if things really get tough. I just don't see why our country should save their collective ass.

robt willmann

Remember that in the first major press conference at the Pentagon with Sec. of Defense Hagel and and Gen. Dempsey after the ISIS and Sunni operations made progress in a big way, it was revealed that the U.S. had a "joint operations center" in Baghdad and one that had become operational in Irbil. This is also referred to in the 14 July 2014 press release from the Dept. of Defense stating that the "assessment teams" had delivered their reports; the seventh paragraph says, "The joint operations centers in Baghdad and Irbil are up and running, and the U.S. personnel there are coordinating and communicating with Iraqi forces."


And here is the McClatchy article from 11 July 2014 describing the facility as, "A supposedly secret but locally well-known CIA station on the outskirts of Irbil’s airport [that] is undergoing rapid expansion...." And, "Within a week of the fall of Mosul we were being told to double or even triple our capacities,” said one Western logistics contractor who spoke only on the condition of anonymity...."


In light of recent developments, what is the status of this joint operations center and CIA station near Irbil?


Gen. Ali,

What is the application or impact of the meme in the Sunni areas in southeastern Iran and in the Arab Iranian populations along the shores of the Persian Gulf? In short, is Iran at risk to the meme among its Sunni minority?

FB Ali

In light of recent developments, my guess is: getting ready to get the hell out of there!

IS forces last reported about 20 miles from Irbil. I doubt if air strikes will stop them for long.


FB Ali

Blitzkrieg in action, there are two areas. One is the Yazidi pocket on Mount Sinjar. If Turkey would cooperate the US could use Batman and Incerlik air bases to fight enough to bring these people into Turkey. As a lifetime cynical romantic I would be willing to try. The other is the fate of Kurdistan. The Kurds must fight effectively or go down. US air or ground troops would take weeks coming. pl

Babak Makkinejad

meme is like a piece of innate birdsongs; a piece of DNA; Khalifate is like a symphony - or like a DNA molecule.

Babak Makkinejad

Iran is not at risk.

FB Ali

I agree that it would be a good thing if the Yazidis could be rescued. Unfortunately, I doubt if the US will be able to do it.

The Kurds will probably get US air support; it remains to be seen if it will enable them to hold IS off. I suspect their military prowess has always been overrated.


FB Ali
Sinjar might become a name written in blood on our colors. At last, this would be something worth fighting for, something redemptive., I don't know what kind of CAS could be done for Kurdistan unless that planning cell in Irbil has been busy. and there would have to be a "bare base" kit setting up. pl

FB Ali

No, Iran is not at risk because of its Sunni minority. But it will ultimately face a formidable opponent if the IS establishes itself in Iraq. Especially because the Saudis and Gulf emirates (and, of course, Israel) are stupid enough to back the IS as a counter to Iran. While the US continues its senseless policy of opposing both Iran and the IS, while backing Israel and the Saudis etc.


Thus, Khalifate is a powerful template that can bring forth a life form in its image?


Are they already infiltrated?




Colonel -

I am American, not Brit. Is there a different mike?

I support every possible humanitarian effort that America or other countries could give to the refugees at Sinjar and the ones that have made it to refugee camps in Erbil.

I support giving arms to include heavy weapons and air to the Peshmerga, but not American interference on the ground.

I respectfully disagree with some of the commenters here that Kurdistan is about to fall. I know the Kurds have problems. The Peshmerga were primarily a guerrilla force during their previous combat experiences. They have a lot to learn about modern warfare. Maliki has screwed them over financially. Because of that the Kurdish regional government has no money; the Peshmerga and Kurdish civil servants have not been paid in months. They have that 1050 km hostile border with ISIS (By the way that is about seven times the length of the Hindenburg Line and isn't it almost the length of the Western Front during WW1 from the North Sea to the Swiss border????)

But the Kurds have the morale factor on their side. And they have a lot of friends in the world. They are receiving heavier arms from somewhere (US? Russia? Germany which has a large Kurdish population?) And I understand that a few of the Kurdish diaspora in Scandinavia, Germany, California, and Tennessee are enlisting in the Peshmerga along with Kurds from Syria and Turkey.

I would support an independent Kurdistan with a seat on the United Nations. If anybody deserves independence it is these descendants of Saladin. I realize that Iran and Turkey would be against it. But with the situation on the ground now why wouldn't an independent Kurdistan be a good buffer for either of those countries against IS? If the South Sudan, Montenegro, East Timor, Eritrea, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia and maybe Scotland next month can gain independence via a referendum, then why not Kurdistan?


It is surreal to read these names and know that I was there o my a few years ago and to think how everything has changed.


Captured weapons that are subsequently used against their original owners have long been a problem in combat.

I remember a captured US 105 howitzer by the North Vietnamese Army that was decimating US and ARVAN troops in the battle of An Loc. I was most happy to take out that stolen weapon along with a large weapons cache, with some well-delivered MK-82s.

Moreover, sensitive and classified avionics in my F-4B Phantom would self-destruct in certain instances, to preclude any enemy intelligence.

Given today’s technology, why are we not using remote “kill switches” or at least pass codes to operate our advanced weapons, to preclude their use by enemy forces?

That ISIS in is now able to use some of our advanced weapons we gave to the Iraqis is just unconscionable to me!

Given today’s technology, why are we not using remote “kill switches” or at least pass codes to operate our weapons, to preclude their use by enemy forces?

That ISIS in is now able to use some of our advanced weapons we gave to the Iraqis is unconscionable to me.



"Stolen" seems an odd way to refer to a prize of war. I fought at An Loc. As I recall, the NVA had no shortage of Soviet made artillery. pl



My apologies for an inappropriate use of the word “stolen.” I realize I should have been a bit more precise, if not more eloquent.

You obviously witnessed and experienced a very bloody and difficult battle from the ground. My hat is off to you. I talked to an Army officer shortly thereafter in Saigon who was severely shaken by what he had experienced there.

I only witnessed it from the air, some distance away. But what I witnessed of that battle from the air, I will never forget.

Indeed the NVA had no shortage of Soviet artillery there. And as I recall, Soviet tanks too. Nevertheless, my FAC targeted for me on that US 105 howitzer that at that time was causing havoc. He really needed it taken out, and I did just that!


"Given today’s technology, why are we not using remote “kill switches” or at least pass codes to operate our advanced weapons, to preclude their use by enemy forces?"

Technologically, something like that should be feasible. America is well known for black-boxing their technology. The NSA is known to have introduced back doors for their purposes. I absolutely wouldn't out it beyond the US to think along the lines of kill switches.

I presume that if kill switches or back doors were implemented in modern armaments and equipment, nobody would talk about it, seeing that it would sort of defeat the purpose. Something like that would be highly classified.

Beyond the military impracticability of publicity there are sound economic reasons to keep quiet about it:

Export customers would probably be annoyed by such a display of manifest distrust, and rightly feel they'd buy a compromised product, and go shop somewhere else. Like France, Russia or China.

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