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08 August 2014


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Brad Ruble

Her Irish ancestors...nor did a lot of ours in 1777. Not to put to fine a point on it, but many of the people in charge today not only couldn't, but wouldn't have done it then. They are incapable of understanding the motives behind resistance. In the end this was the problem with Bush, Cheney et al. In 1777 they would have been Tories.


Brad Ruble

I had several ancestors in the Continental Army and several others who were militia officers. I am unsympathetic to Tory types and you are right. Many of those on the scene today would have been Loyalists. pl


I imagine that once Saddam was gone the Kurds and Shia figured they could sit back, watch the oil revenues stream in and buy MB 500sls with tinted windows for all their relatives. What on earth conjured up ISIS?

Does gross materialism, in the acquisitive and philosophical senses, convoke the emergence of powerful, antagonistic idealism, in this case a totally committed religious resistance? I certainly didn't see anything like this coming.


The estimates of ISIS strength 5-10k, but the map on the link i posted yesterday would indicate more than 10k. Anybody have a better estimate?

IMHO, Egypt can not deliver a truce.


Why on earth would Bibi ever expect them to give up; he believes in and worships the military power of the IDF.

If previously, some Gazans were not Hamas, now all are.

And compare Asmaa al-Ghoul's points of view http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/contents/authors/asmaa-al-ghoul.html to this http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/08/protective-edge-hamas-gaza-strip-abu-zuhri.html

People on different planets. Don't miss the comments.

As some old Jewish writer says about people who worship the idols as the Israelis do war and violence, "You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, " Jewish words, Jewish teachings not heeded. Amaa and her children's children's children will guarantee it.

Sad, just sad.


WOW! If they make a Guderian dash to Ibril all bets will be off...at least in my calculations. And I will look at IS with awed unease. And say, folks, we have found a foe worth fighting and worth fighting now. Now, if only we were not saddled with Tories or Child Crusaders to lead the fight.


Col: I think Ms. Costello should read this op-ed: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amb-marc-ginsberg/can-gaza-ever-be-pacified_b_5659460.html

Hamas's resistance is proving fatal to "The Narrative."

Moreover, Ms. Costello should remember the IRA's most effective operation was Bobby Sands' hunger strike. At the time an acquaintance told me something my British-born ears hated to hear: "Imagine how bad things are in Northern Ireland that people to be willing to starve themselves to death in protest."

William R. Cumming

PL! I cannot thank you enough for this ME Diary. And agree completely that you have hit the proverbial nail on the head in this sentence:

"IMO that force potentially threatens the state system throughout the Sunni Middle East and is a menace that must be halted."

Now IMO a contest between ISIS and states with poor governance for a large historical moment for the 21st Century and denouement!

Ishmael Zechariah

Colonel Lang,

PKK and other Kurdish irregulars are no match for trained mechanized infantry; your solution is the only one that can solve this issue, but since some of these actors have supported/succored Daash against Syria, it might be hard to implement. For example, a scorched-earth bombardment by Turkish and US air assets, operating out of Incirlik and Batman might buy enough time for some sort of evacuation of the Yazidis to occur. Unfortunately tayyip cannot afford this; he has been one of the main supporters of Daash and they have the power to take him out, horizontally if need be.

IMHO the unraveling of ME might be laid at the feet the PNAC zionist neocons. Their manipulation of US foreign policy to make ME safe for Israel, coupled with the less-than-optimal execution of these grandiose plans by military stars such as Petraeus has brought the matters to this pass. The current cadre of fools in DC have exacerbated the situation. The map of ME might be very different within a decade, and the changes might not be those desired.

Interesting times.

Ishmael Zechariah


I hope that Obama's pissing contest occurs in a strong gust of wind in his face! Obama was begged by al-Maliki in January, February and March to bomb ISIS at a time when it could have done some significant preemptive damage. The fact that Obama says that there is no way he will send in ground troops means that IS has an edge, knowing the US will do only limited damage with an air campaign.

Obama still is violating the Constitution. At the White House background briefing Thursday night, the briefers (including Ben Rhodes) said that Obama was acting on his intrinsic constitutional authority to defend the national security. No mention of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution or the War Powers Resolution. He "consulted" with unnamed members of Congress but did not go to Congress for an AUMF. He needs to either go to Congress and present a clear and public case for his proposed plan of action and get Congressional approval or back off or face impeachment.

The briefer also acknowledged that the military actions were to defend US forces in Erbil and Baghdad, AND to defend "critical infrastructure" like the Mosul Dam that has already been taken by IS.

Obama came in to office and ignored Iraq for five years. His first real consultation with al-Maliki was last November! In the interim, he failed to get a SOFA. As Col. Lang has pointed out months ago, had we gotten a SOFA and kept one US air base in Iraq, IS would have never gotten off the ground. Ignored by Obama, al-Maliki became more and more of a sectarian figure, leading to the current mess. I am torn between putting more blame on Obama or al-Maliki for ignoring a running infection.



To be fair I don't think anyone could have gotten a SOFA in Iraq. I continue to be doubtful that we will get one in Afghanistan. pl


Concur on both points on SOFAs- we were never going to get one in Iraq (see Iran) and it is very doubtufl whether we will get one in Afghanistan.

In a related not, Bibi has already started to campaign US pols to cover Israel in regard to war crimes. He urged a group of US congresspeople to " use all the tools at their disposal to, number one, make sure the world knows that war crimes were not committed by Israel, they were committed by Hamas. And that Israel should not be held to a double standard," He should be worried. If Israel is held to the same standard as everyone else, they are in trouble.



My question:
Would a Caliphate really be a threat to the U.S.?
Clearly such a government would not make say, the editorial board of the Washington Israelite (I think what I am referring to is clear) happy,
but would they be the menace to U.S. interests that is being portrayed?
Any more than Saddam really was a threat to the U.S.?



Saddam was an Iraqi nationalist who never had any interest in anything other than his immediate surroundings. IS has worldwide ambitions to spread the faith and God's rule (as they see it) on earth. Their ambitions are limitless. pl


The ISIS gift shop in Istanbul...

It is obvious Turkey is the main supply base for ISIS, and it boggles my mind that this is a NATO country, with US Patriot batteries watching against Syrian scuds where young jihadists are driving across the border, laden with supplies.

There are strong Western oil interests in Kurdistan, for example young herr Rotschild and the ex BP CEO of the Gulf distaster fame Hayward have a little company going there

FB Ali

I agree with both your points.

Even if Kerry can browbeat the eventual winner of the recount in Kabul to sign some kind of SOFA, it won't do much good except bottle up some US forces in Bagram and accelerate the takeover of significant territory by the Taliban.

If anyone signs a SOFA containing a 'sovereign exemption' or/and a clause permitting US forces to attack targets in Afghan towns/villages, it will be the kiss of death for them.


We've got the disciples of political correctness
and (some of) the disciples of Allah
each seeking to convert the world to their ideology.
Sounds like Orwell's 1984 has come true.


Sorry if this has been mentioned before. I did not know there was a financial incentive for the men who fight for ISIS:

"... Several spoke of having their savings, their gold jewellery, even their cars, taken before they were allowed to leave by the Islamic State checkpoints.

Mazen Abdullah’s brother, Adeeb, who worked on the Mosul Dam, said when the group took that he had to pay it $10,000 not to conscript his son, even though he was Christian.

The Islamic State has clear rules on how it divides up such booty: one-fifth to the group’s coffers, and the rest divided between the fighters, according to one statement posted online."


Here's another angle on the Christians of Iraq:

"Everyone here has relatives in Germany, or Australia, or Michigan; most want to join them. There is a community in Britain, many of the children of soldiers who fought with the British in the late empire’s Middle Eastern wars.


... The thousands of people here are eager for hand-outs from aid organisations, the United Nations, or anyone who can help them, before they leave and move on, as they feel they must.

They are less interested in the two bombs that Washington finally dropped on the Islamic State on Friday, regarding them as too little, too late.

Mrs Mansur said an army was needed, not just an air force. “America is powerful,” she said. “They have the weapons.”

“Don’t bother with weapons,” came a voice from behind her. “Just send Green Cards.”

FB Ali


I agree with Col Lang's reply to your question.

However, the significant issue is what the various states involved think. Obviously, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates believe the danger to their dynastic rule is distant, while the utility of the Caliphate as an enemy of Iran is of great immediate value.

Erdogan in Turkey supports the Caliphate (according to Ishmael Zechariah) for his own convoluted ends. He probably believes he can supplant the current leaders and take it over ultimately so as to reincarnate the Ottoman Caliphate.

Egypt's al-Sisi hates all jihadis. But he has to go along with the Saudis and Gulf emirs because they bankroll his regime.

The United States is, typically, all over the place. It bombs the Caliphate's forces to protect Irbil, but doesn't mind their taking down Assad of Syria and posing a threat to Iran. It will probably want to bomb them again if they look like threatening an attack on Baghdad, blissfully unaware that the Caliphate probably plans to commence this operation with a Sunni uprising in the capital supported by its infiltrated warriors, overrunning the Green Zone before its forces attack the city.


Those committed to their religion are not swayed by gross materialism. That should have been obvious to any not indoctrinated by crass materialism or a polisci PhD.


I don't get ISIS drive to capture Kurdish areas. Aren't they just asking for trouble from a population that was restive under Saddam and will be just as restive under ISIS?

Won't they have enough trouble governing Arab Sunni areas?



Ask the million or so American Muslims where their allegence lies. If Jewish Americans can have dual citizenship why not citizens of the True Muslim State?



You don't understand. IS sees itself as God's instrument on this planet. The difficulty of the task is irrelevant to them. pl

FB Ali

The reason the IS switched their thrust to Irbil was because our friends of the CIA had a base there and were trying to recruit Sunnis to do another Sahwa on the jihadis. This is a constant major concern of the IS leaders, and they wanted to nip this in the bud before turning South.



You don't understand the 1500 year old rules of the game. You or your parents paid for my education in Islamic affairs so I will enlighten you. IS, like the original Muslim Arab converts who expanded out of the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th Century see themselves as a community on the march, a community obedient to God's true will expressed then in the Qur'an and now expressed by the roots of Shariah Law as as they understand it. They believe as the early Muslims did that this community (the Ummah)is entitled to booty (ghanimah) seized in battle for their Lord. This booty is distributed according to the same rules now as it was in the 7th Century. The shares are distributed according to seniority and some is reserved for the organization itself to sustain it. In the 7th Century they made a list called a Diwan in which the names of the fighters were inscribed and their share of the booty was based on their date of their conversion to Islam. Do not think for a moment that these men are motivated by money. if you do, you will never understand them.

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