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09 August 2014


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What is the probability that Irbil turns into another Benghazi? If ISIS infiltrators attack the US embassy and CIA station how soon would ground troops need to be introduced?

What is the probability that ISIS blow up the Mosul dam and force the evacuation of the Green Zone?

What is the probability that ISIS take on the Saudi monarchy?

John Minnerath

While we wait to learn who will make the next move in Iraq ... I think I'll remain hiding in the shadow of Yellowstone.
I'd rather take my chances of being et by a griz than deal with a world gone mad.

Lord Curzon


I wonder, should the shrines at Najaf and Kerbala come under threat, whether we'll see massive Iranian intervention into southern Iraq to protect them?

Lord Curzon


The world is going slightly mad!


Lord Curzon

In that case an Iranian intervention is desirable over the alternative. pl



Capture of the city of Irbil would be far worse than what happened at Benghazi where the US stakes were actually small in spite of all the hot air. Embassy attack: If things get to that stage, a disaster would be imminent. It is a very long way to the sea or to Jordan. IMO they will not destroy the dams. They want to rule over something more than a desolation. IMO the destruction of the Saudi monarchy is at the top of their list of objectives. pl

nick b


Is there a back story for the expression 'hardhearted empath' used here?


nick b

I coined the phrase to describe people like TTG and me. pl

FB Ali

Lord Curzon,

The Iranians will not let the shrines at Kerbala and Najaf be placed at serious risk. If necessary, they will move troops in, whether anyone likes it or not.

However, I very much doubt if the IS will threaten them until after it has dealt with the Kurd/US threat in the North, and after it has taken Baghdad - if it ever manages to do so.

Ishmael Zechariah

Col. Lang,

Why is basilisk not writing? Hope he is OK.

Ishmael Zechariah



It seems that he has decided that writing here is not worth the possible employment costs. pl



A minor classic of the English language. pl


From a humanitarian perspective, if nothing else, preventing 'Irbil' from 'turning into Benghazi' is a good thing. But other than that...concern like that, that we are reading about in the NYTimes et al is 'small potatoes'. It is the kind of thing the Children's Crusade types worry about because they view ALL events through the lens of political expediency. The 'message of the day' bull. There are huge stakes here and huge events unfolding. How a policy does, or does not, in the short term turn out and how it is portrayed on the cable talk shows is precisely the kind of mentality that got us here in the first place. Please understand I am not directing this at you Jack, but the CC types and their fans.

Lord Curzon


I think so too - I can quite easily see Iranian armour deployed to counter ISIS. It's all to play for...


Off topic....anyone interested in a comprehensive and well informed view of events in 'cyberspace', security, malware, legal issues, govt spying, this is a great speech. By a guy that might be called the Col Lang of the cyber world.

I've been working in this area for decades now and I think this guy is the best. Plus, FWIW, a lot of good stuff in this blog, on the legality, or lack of such, regarding the use of force in Iraq.



Col. Pat,

I agree. My fear is that the neocons want to bring in Iran. I just pray we are smart enough to side with them to stop this madness.


Of some significance Turkish elections August 10th.Also south bound turkish truck drivers have been authorizedto travel via Iran.

Babak Makkinejad

They already have intervened in Samara & Kazemein, stopping ISIS incursions in those places.

They will not let Baghdad fall to ISIS or any one else - by hook or by crook.

Lord Curzon


The man you seek is Rory Stewart:


different clue


I am suspecting that few or zero Kurds would be ISIS sympathizers or supporters or secret sleepers. Any ISIS sleeper people hiding in Erbil would be ethnic nonKurds. If Erbil is mainly Kurdish, then any ethnic nonKurds should be easy to spot, scrutinize, analyze and assess.

Babak Makkinejad

Won't happen.

Charles Dekle

I read it many years ago and thought it wonderful. I need to read again as I have forgotten much.



Stephen Cohen’s comments on the Cold War 2 are a must listen:

From day one I could not figure out why America was baiting the Russian Bear; it didn’t turn out well for the French or Germans. This may be the reason:

“There is a deeper reason why the oligarchs who own and operate the country formerly known as America are currently attempting to enlarge every problem they see, be it stoking civil war in Ukraine or provoking ISIS into attacking Americans: they are desperate to avoid a scenario where the US collapses on its own, with no external enemy to blame.”

Yes, there is a risk posting on SST. But, the pension is still deposited every month in the bank.

No pounding on the door at 5:30 AM yet but instead from "A Morning for Flamingos" by James Lee Burke:

“I could hear revelers out in the street, glass breaking, a beer can rolling across cement. What was my real fear, or theirs? I suspected mortality more than anything else. You do not wish to go gently into that good night. You rage against it, leaving your shining bits of anger for a street sweeper to find in the early morning light, kneel by your bed in the moon glow, the scarlet beads of your rosary twisted around your fist.

But as always, just before down, the tiger goes back in his cage and sleeps, and sometimes hot and awful rises from our body and blows away like ash in the wind. And maybe the next day is not so bad after all.”

Charles Dekle

Thanks. I never seem to make it to Black Hat but would love to go once before I retire for good.

ex-PFC Chuck

There's a fascinating post at Moon of Alabama today, which itself links to the apparently well-plugged in Christof Lehmann who is the founder and editor of nsnbc international. I'd never encountered this site before. Lehmann argues, referring to his own piece dated at the time, that the Ukrainian war train left the station in December of 2012 with the breakdown of a summit involving the US, the EU and Russia regarding energy at which the US and UK position was that they "should not accept that a major energy provider like Russia or Gazprom had the majority ownership over both the gas and the transportation System." Here are two of the pertinent links:

Perhaps there was a time, when we still had a "trickle down" economy, that it made sense for the American people to indulge the powers that be of the Deep State their power and empire games. Or perhaps not. In any case, we no longer have a "trickle down" economy. Instead it has become "deluge up," and given the coming of pervasive surveillance, the militarization of local and state police forces, the gutting of the Constitutional protections and the Bill of Rights, and the overturning of the Posse Comitatus act the PTB have no intention of ever letting the People have a say in their games again.

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