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10 August 2014

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jonst

A bit aside, but maybe not...did anyone else here that little twit Caphart on MSNBC call Col Jack Jacobs (Ret) "Col Jack"? "Col Jack" indeed.

We look like fools over in the ME.

Oofda

Concur- I have been wondering why we haven't been using B-52s. Harken back to Vietnam and Arc Light Operation raids- using bombing to wipe out entire grid squares. Assuming the targeting coordinates could be established, a good portion of the ISIS equipment and personnel could be eliminated.

Using F-18's flying from carriers on the Gulf are indeed 'pin pricks.' They have been using only two-plane section attacks, and due to the range, they would be limited in time on target, if not ordnance.

DC

I quite enjoy reading this site, due to its wealth of experience, knowledge, and reality-based commentary. So, I'm asking this as a novice, perhaps naiive, but with concern for what seems to me to be a rather bleeding obvious problem: why aren't the surrounding arab/muslim states stepping in to prevent a disaster -- frankly, any of a long list of historically recent disasters -- on their doorsteps? I'm pointing at Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey. IS is a big threat to them. There is some degree of sympathetic population in every country, which could rise up against existing governments. Why in the world these countries don't have functioning defense forces and willingness to use them is beyond me. When is the last time any of those guys stepped out of their borders to address an existential threat? I can't think of any.

mike

colonel -

Turkish news agency Hurriyet claimed yesterday that there is a safe corridor from Sinjar mountain to Syria: "Sinjar District Governor told during a press conference on August 9 that they are using a safe corridor jointly set up by Iraqi Kurdish security forces, or Peshmarga, and YPG, the Popular Protection Units that were set up by Syrian Kurds, to evacute the Yezidi people from Mount Sinjar in Iraq and move them to Syria."

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/10000-yezidis-rescued-through-safe-corridor-as-isil-militants-fire-on-aid-helicopters.aspx?pageID=238&nID=70199&NewsCatID=352

J

Colonel,

How far out on the IS's radar screen is their demise of the Saudi royals would you estimate given their current activities? Did Bandar really think that he and his Saudi royals could 'control' them?

John

I remember the many years of many thousands of airstrikes in Laos, Cambodia, North & South Vietnam. I participated in Operations Rolling Thunder, Barrel Roll, Linebacker I, and the massive, 11-day over Christmas, B-52 strikes on Hanoi of Linebacker II.

And what did those many thousands of air strikes over the years get us? And what will a few paltry airstrikes in Iraq do? Certainly not what many uninformed hope for or envision!

Harper

The delusions among policy makers and the media here in the US are stunning, as Col. Lang has so correctly underscored in this latest posting! General Martin Dempsey gave a lengthy interview at the recent Aspen Security Forum in live dialogue with Leslie Stahl. He made clear that defeating IS will require a prolonged and three phase military campaign to halt, contain and then crush them. He also made clear, repeatedly, that he is hamstrung by the fact that he is a military advisor to a civilian president and he can only advise, not order the use of military force. So, as Col. Lang has noted, it is the "civvies" who will ultimately bring the region to ruin by their delusions.

Haralambos

Col. Lang, I have been sending links to some of your posts to a friend who has lived and worked in the Gulf for about 27 years, the last 18 of which have been in SA. As he was preparing to return to Greece t the start of his Ramadan break, he wondered aloud in an e-mail whether he would be heading back, given the IS positions and strategy of taking, holding and consolidating before investing areas with fighters and relying on local alliances to occupy. His assessment of Saudi military capabilities ranks them very low, and he teaches English to the cream of the air force cadets. This is part of his response to my e-mail link of your post:
We twee Westerners are the only people feeling sorry for the Yazidis. In this part of the world "heresy" is taken very seriously and the Yazidis will receive no sympathy let alone support.... I think the US has a substantial presence in both Kuwait and Qatar. However, the argument that the current assistance may prove inadequate still holds true. ‎The other disturbing thing is that IS seems capable of separating theomania from military strategy.

Haralambos

J, sorry for jumping in, but I posted a comment that is not yet up. It references a friend's take on the situation in Saudi. I believe the royals are scared. His take is that Bandar has unleashed a Pandora's box of ills and that the Saudi military is totally incompetent. They have never fought a sustained war or campaign. They have simply been the paymasters for proxy warriors. I imagine the Col. will provide more precise information than I can.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

The Islamic State is a classic case of unintended consequences. It was caused by the toxic mixture of fantasy and greed in the West and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Hardened survivors turned on their paymasters. At some point B-52s and spotters will stop all transportation in the Levant. A big city, Aleppo, Amman or Baghdad, will become the next battleground where Close Air Support is ineffective. Millions will die. Young survivors will be radicalized to fight for the True God. ISIS will continue to grow until becomes the Pan-Islamic Sunni Army. All roads lead to Mecca and God.

NATO support of Ukraine Right Sector is crazier than the Iraq Invasion. Donetsk is the battleground in Europe today. The survivors of the cauldron will be radicalized too. Do the Western fat cats think that after being screwed by austerity for years the youth of Greece, Italy and Spain will die for them when a people’s army or the Islamic Army marches west or will they just ignite NATO’s hydrogen bombs? The Davos Elite had better check their sanity and bring back the Draft and start paying 80% income taxes for their own safety. The way they are screwing the pooch lately there is no way to predict what will happen next except it won’t be good for the people.

turcopolier

Haralambos

The Saudis make reasonable "stick and rudder" pilots and the SANG is a fairly good force but the rest of the Saudi armed forces is worthless. It is much like the ISF that just ran away. the Old Iraqi Army, the one we defeated and destroyed, used to laugh at the Saudis all the time. SA would also have a massive 5th column problem since the Wahhabi faith automatically generates the same kind of fanaticism as is present in IS. pl

turcopolier

VV

"Hardened survivors turned on their paymasters." No. first we defeated the Old Iraq Army (OIA), then rather than let them pacify the country during the occupation (as the US Army wanted) we disbanded them and threw them out on the street penniless. Is it surprising that they threw in their lot with the tribals to fight us. Then we sobered up and accepted the offer of these guys and the tribals to fight AQI who were destroying traditional life. We paid them? Yes. I, too was paid as a soldier. Then we all beat down AQI together and the CC crowd decided that they had to back Maliki since he had won an election and we abandoned these former officers and tribals again and allowed them to be oppressed by the Shia. You are surprised that the people we are talking about finally joined up as a group with ISIS? I am not surprised. We created tis situation through out ignorance and naiveté. pl

Haralambos

Col. Lang, Thanks for this.

Fred

DC,

What else have you been reading? It's public knowledge that the US has pressured Jordan to allow training anti-Assad "rebels" in their country. They face problems along that border plus an unknown number of Syrian refugees. At least one commenter here has pointed out the political problems faced by Turkey should they attempt to intervene. As to Egypt, they just had an counter revolution (if that is even the correct term) to the color/MB takeover our own people thought was so wonderful. On top of that just how do you propose they move an army to Iraqi?

FB Ali

Col Lang,

The old Iraqi army regulars and the Sunni tribesmen were first squeezed by the US sanctions, then had their country (that's how they saw it, a Sunni Iraq) invaded and occupied by the US, then they were ditched by the US not once but twice, and finally were left at the mercy of the upstart Shia.

I would imagine they have some pretty strong feelings about the US, and would like to even the score. The only means available to them at the moment is the IS. The second relevant factor is that the alternative to the IS is Shia Iraq (a cosmetic government in Baghdad notwithstanding).

It is because of these two major factors that I believe that the chances of another Sahwa are practically nil. Even though they have to put up with the IS crazies and their atrocious behaviour.

They probably comfort themselves with the thought that, in the (distant) future, when IS has won and established a Caliphate, they'll deal with the crazies and take over. From what I have seen so far of al Baghdadi's performance, I have my doubts that he'll ever let this pipe dream materialise.

FB Ali

Col Lang,

"...they will have to start operating from Batman and Incirlik in Turkey...."

The fact that they haven't so far would seem to imply that Turkey is not allowing them to do so. That would confirm the view that Erdogan is sympathetic to the IS.

turcopolier

FB Ali

"The fact that they haven't so far would seem to imply that Turkey is not allowing them to do so." Yes, that, but also it may be that Obama's caution may have caused him to restrict activity to the fleet thus far. pl

turcopolier

FB Ali

"are practically nil" I don't know... I would think that the length of the crisis and the establishment of a policy favorable to the secular Sunnis might tip the scale. pl

FB Ali

I believe that the only policy that'll "tip the scale" is an agreement to make Iraq a confederation comprising Shia, Kurd and Sunni units.

There doesn't appear much chance of that happening.

FB Ali

Col Lang,

"...When they are done in the north they will return to the problem of eliminating the present Iraqi government".

I think they will switch to Syria rather than take on Baghdad now. If they can mass sufficient forces there they could seize most of that country, especially as they are unlikely to face US air attacks - which they will if they threaten Baghdad.

That doesn't mean Baghdad will be left in peace; they will continue suicide bombings in it with the aim of inciting Shia-Sunni strife.

James Doleman (@jamesdoleman)

Coup in Baghdad?

From CNN

Iraqi troops and security forces are deployed in #Baghdad's green zone and have closed some major bridges #Iraq

turcopolier

FB Ali

Syria first? - could be. Obama's unwillingness to expand ops into Syria would be a factor. On the other hand SAG and HB are much tougher enemies than the ISF riffraff.

Iraq first? - they will want to destroy the legitimacy of the Iraqi government by defeating it at Baghdad. they also want to humiliate the US by capturing BIA and the Green zone/embassy.

We will see. pl

Babak Makkinejad

I do not think Izaids/Yazidis (from Izad - divine spirit in Middle Persian as well as in Avestan) are heretics. They or their ancestors were never Muslims and thus never heretics - they are technically "unbleivers" or pagans.


JohnH

I just caught Madeleine Albright, Condi, Gates, and Nicholas Burns on CSPAN at Aspen. Albright answered the first question by expounding on Ukraine's right to decide for itself on whether to join NATO. Condi agreed verbosely. Gates wrapped up by simply saying, "I agree with all the other panelists." Total unanimity of opinion. Except in foreign policy, where does that ever happen?

I wonder who gives them their talking points. You get the impression that they're nothing more than a bunch of clones.

bth

What about just letting the place break into 3 states altogether?

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