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01 October 2014


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Present Obama has stated repeatedly that ISIS is a threat to and an enemy of the US. Turkey by both its refusal to allow us of air bases in Turkey and by actively preventing reinforcement of Kurdish forces actively fighting ISIS is aiding an enemy of the United States. Turkey is both a NATO alliance member and a direct ally of the US. Why are they still in NATO if they are aiding our enemy? Why is the US treaty for mutual defense (1951) with this country still in effect? Where are the public announcements from our Secretary of State, UN Ambassador, National Security Advisor and the President relating to this aid and comfort being given by a treaty ally to an enemy of the United States?




Would Sadr's fighters and other Shia militia fight and defend their areas? Or will the Shia abandon Baghdad and flee south?

When will Iran intervene to save their fellow sectarians "bacon"? And what would we do if that happens?


Fred and all,
The news tonight here in Greece seemed to indicate that Turkey's commitment to permitting the use the the Incirlik base was likely. I have not read or heard of any confirmation of that.



Your insight into the Middle East is invaluable.

The Iraq War that is now into its 24th year is turning into something exceedingly weird; an endless religious war not fought to be won but a profit center to move taxpayer’s money to the rich and pitting Christians, Jews, Sunnis and Shiites against each other onto death.

The Saudis did achieve their goal of splitting asunder the Shiite Crescent to their north.

The rest is speculation. Turkey and all Sunni majority country leaders will rail against the Islamic State fearing for their heads. But, they will not destroy a Sunni Caliphate. They want to become it. Also, they are scared shitless of retaliation by the fifth column of jihadis still at home. IS will continue their infiltration and seizing of the Sunni areas of Syria and Iraq. IS will probe into Baghdad controlled areas but Iranians will stiffen the Shiite defenses. Iraq, Lebanon and Syria will end up partitioned. Billions of dollars will be spent for nothing but perhaps propping up Israel and the House of Saud for another decade until the True Believers seize Mecca and the world economy collapses.

The USA will continue it’s descent into a 3rd world neo-liberal police state; a Spanglish money and drug addicted North America ruled by the few in guarded enclaves high above the rising seas.


All, this is recently up: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/09/turkey-syria-isis-tomb-turkish-troops-trapped.html?utm_source=Al-Monitor+Newsletter+[English]&utm_campaign=61dee17cef-October_1_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_28264b27a0-61dee17cef-102321145#

This seems to be the situation: "According to a security expert who knows the area intimately, Turkey has three options for the tomb. The first is to continue without any changes, the second is temporary evacuation of the guard detachment and the third is to reinforce the tomb unit with armored forces. The expert thinks the government is not in favor of evacuation or reinforcement. The Turkish government insisting on keeping 50 to 60 lightly armed troops despite increasing risks has no problem of capability. There must a strategic thought behind their decision."



The Shia militias would fight for their parts of the city. pl

Peter Brownlee

"Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has told the BBC he 'totally' opposes Arab nations joining air strikes against Islamic State in his country."



(He used to have the contract for lift/elevator maintenance at Bush House so BBC World Service may have an inside track.)

Babak Makkinejad

Let's walk through this in the worst case scenario for the Shia:

The Shia are defeated in Baghdad and flee South towards Basra and environs.

ISIS will move the seat of Caliphate to Baghdad and claim even more legitimacy.

Next, they march South, avoiding Basra and the Shia; occupying Kuwait.

Having now control of Kuwait oil, they would send 2 dispersed forces on motorcycles to attack oil installations of Saudi Arabia.

The Shia Arabs manning those installations will flee and oil production comes to stand-still there after a few days.

ISIS will be waging a siege of those installations while others ISIS soldiers would be riding their motorcycles towards Riyadh.

Somewhere along these developments, US will invade with whatever land forces she has to prevent ISIS from controlling so much oil.

The war drags on for decades...


Fred, I agree with you. Personally, I put much greater value on--finally--facing up to certain painful realities. Much as it would cost us strategically and logistically, calling out Turkey. But we won't do it. We are, I fear, beyond doing it.

c webb

30K IS. Over such large an area, fighting on so many fronts.

The internet brutality has been some force multiplier.

Would IS not be most vulnerable to attack helicopters operating from Kurdish areas?

It's a threat the are considering.

The Beaver

@ Babak

FWIW: Hajj is this week.

Me thinks that's the reason the Saudis and their confrerie of Sunnis decided to join the air strikes. Keep the IS, who could go to Makkah and Madina to create mayhem during those five days , busy defending their conquered villages and towns in Syria and Iraq. Hence the fireworks in the sky over those two countries.


Why would any Iraqi army soldier risk his life to save Americans?



That is not the question. The issue is whether or not they want to keep Iraq as a country in the form that the British created. pl

The Twisted Genius

When Colonel Dick Potter took command of 10th Group, he began pushing a new mission area for the Group, strategic intelligence collection and target acquisition (SICTA). This was a well known mission with the the Brits and several other NATO militaries. Small teams would operate behind enemy lines living in hides (holes in the ground) for weeks at a time. They would stay hidden and report all troop movements within their view. (Trust me. It sucks to do this.) Plans for Europe would have put many such teams behind Soviet lines. This is the mission portrayed in "Bravo Two Zero."

This may be something that could help interdict IS movements. It would require a lot of teams on the ground, good commo and air/artillery assets to take immediate advantage of reported intel. It would probably require the establishment of a few forward area refueling/rearming points (FARRP) in the empty areas of Iraq to employ attack helicopters. (I've established those, too.) Perhaps artillery batteries could be employed this way, as well. The big problem with this idea is the slippery prohibition of boots on the ground and the very real danger of killed/captured SICTA teams.


jonst: Turkey used to be good friends with Israel. Apparently, they were well-schooled in the art of maintaining a one-sided relationship with the United States.



Walrus asked why Iraqi soldiers should fight to protect Americans. I presume he means those now in Iraq. I will reverse the argument Why should Americans fight for Iraq? The worthless bastards are too cowardly to fight for their country. To hell with them! IMO we should abandon Iraq to its fate. We can side with the Kurds and the Jordanians if they want to fight, but the Saudi regime should be dumped as well. Let the Australians fight for Iraq. pl

The Twisted Genius


I'm with you on that. I think the best thing we can do is to tell Iran and Syria that we will do absolutely nothing to stand in their way. That includes lifting all embargoes/restrictions we have placed on these countries at the behest of Israel and its supporters.

My SICTA/FARRP idea is just a military proposal, not a policy proposal.



Yes. American leadership should end their indispensable nation fantasy and allow the middle East and others to settle their disputes themselves. We can focus on our borders and terrorist plots against our people.

Ishmael Zechariah

Col. Lang, SST;

Here are three questions I have been mulling over. It would be enlightening for me if the Committee found them worthwhile for discussion:

1-Is there an overarching policy, such as the Yinon Plan (http://www.counterpunch.org/2006/04/25/is-the-us-waging-israel-s-wars/ , that drives the US actions in ME?

2-In your opinion what should be this overarching policy?

3-Is it possible to formulate a military response to Daash without a clear political goal?

I would appreciate your comments.


Ishmael Zechariah


Col., my take on Saudi and much of that region comes from a source who has worked in the region for 25+ years most of them in Saudi. He trains cadet pilots in English. They are among the elite of the military there, and he claims they could not or would not be up to the task.


Sometimes I wonder if the weakness of the Iraqi army is at least in part intentional?

After all if Baghdad falls to ISIS, it will be a yellow flag existential threat to Iran.

If they would ever get to Basra, Iran would be at war with ISIS with or without the "permission" of the US.

Given that is a well understood reality in both Washington and Tehran, should ISIS make too many gains the US would have to allow Iran in and cut a deal, giving Khamenei more power in the Levant than Washington is comfortable with doing.

So why shouldn't Iraq's Sh'ia Surrender Baghdad? Create some massive global headlines and put pressure on the US Iranian relationship in favor of Tehran.

Iraq's Sh'ia will get Baghdad back when the Revolutionary Guards come and a much stronger Sh'ia state into the bargain.


why shouldn't Iraq's Shia Surrender Baghdad?" IS would butcher the Shia like sheep. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Let us consider a situation in which the United States has prevailed against ISIS; Raqqa and Mosul and Tikrit lie in ruins due to intense urban warfare.

To whom would the United States cede the sovereign control of these areas?

To the Syrian Arab Republic?

To the Government of Iraq?

To Turkey?

Would the United States indefinitely occupy an area populated by hostile Sunni Arabs - who like the Palestinians - would not accept defeat and continue fighting year after year?

These political problems will persist for others as well; the Kurds or the Turks (should they choose to intervene and join US).

There is no attention being paid to such questions - infantile negligence of the Peace that follows every war.



The Israelis and their American neocon lobby may well have a plan but the US does not. We are trapped in a paradigm created by ethnic manipulation of our political system and our actions are both reactive to that and deluded by a foolish idea of the possibility of creating a utopian world order. pl


Larry Kart

You wrote that my novels are drenched in sadness. Yes, how could they not be? pl

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