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19 October 2014


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Five more days until the Islamic New Year, will IS try for Baghdad and test the Iraqi Army again? It appears likely with the upsurge of citywide bombings.


Thomas and all,
Thanks for this. Is Kobane a diversionary move leading up to your thought of an assault on Baghdad?

This came to my attention today: http://www.forbes.com/sites/melikkaylan/2014/10/17/putin-erdogan-saudi-arabia-the-balance-of-power-is-shifting/

I am waiting for sandals in the sand news from a friend in Saudi, a long-time hand in the region (27 years, the last 18+ in Riyadh).



"Is Kobane a diversionary move leading up to your thought of an assault on Baghdad?" I presume you are asking for an estimative opinion. Unless you have access to the mind of the opposing commander you can never answer a question like that other than as an estimative opinion. That's why the quality of analysts' minds is so important. It is always possible that you can get lucky and have a prisoner, a deserter, some SIGINT or a spy in the enemy camp. One or more of these things might give you the inside information needed to make a definitive statement but that is rare. Normally the "product" is your opinion expressed to the commander. The neocon dolts before 2003 insisted that they were just as capable as professional and highly experienced analysts at divining the truth buried in incomplete and ambiguous data. they were wrong. pl


All, one more link from me that displays my ignorance of the situation: http://johnhelmer.net/?p=11764#more-11764.
Please let me know if these are just a distraction, since I am not a troll. If they are, please let me know, and I will cease and desist.


Col., thank you as ever.



A lot of gossipy rubbish of the kind that scholars often indulge themselves with. pl

ex-PFC Chuck

Col., Just to clarify, are you putting down Hugh Wilford's book, John Helmer's review thereof, or all of the above?


ex PFC Chuck

Both. pl

Adam L Silverman


It's always important to keep in mind that, in addition to the Badr Corps work within the Ministry of the Interior, the bulk of the Shia soldiers in the Iraqi Army had been Badr Corps members. The other large block were made up of Kurdish Peshmerga. Minimal slots were left for Iraqi Sunnis. Given the Badr Corps personnel's connection to their Iranian sponsor, the Quds Force, our force establishment, modernization, and building program basically handed the Quds Force the tactics, techniques, and procedures we were teaching the Iraqi Army. What always catches my eye on reporting on the current events is that this all seems to have gone down the memory hole. Also makes me wonder if the Badr guys were ever really what they were made out to be...


Col. Lang:

How would evaluate the possibility that ISIS forces will become overextended and cut off from their supply lines, and at that point become vulnerable to attack by Shia militia ?

I recently read a report that Peshmerga forces, acting under the direction of Suleimani, had cut off ISIS supply lines between the Syrian border and Mosul.

ISIS forces have advanced very rapidly through An bar, which may be evidence both of their proficiency and the ineptness of the Iraqi army. But I wonder if they're doing exactly what Suleimani wants -- that is, to advance to the point that they are clearly overextended.



Yes, that is a possibility but who will do it? The Shia militia? I doubt it. pl


Adam L. Silverman

"Also makes me wonder if the Badr guys were ever really what they were made out to be" Meaning what? pl

The Twisted Genius

VOA reports Turkey refuses to resupply or allow others to resupply the Kurds in Kobani. Jerusalem Post reports USAF drops weapons, ammo and medical supplies to those same Kurds by C-130. I think there will be some kind of confrontation between Turkey and the US before this is all over.


I'm not sure what 'winning' this battle can mean for IS. If, say, they were to completely annihilate their opponents there would be a window in there where the US could simply level the city with them in it. How would that constitute winning?

For Kobani, I think we're looking at the 21st century equivalent of "In order to save the village, we had to destroy it", but this could be said of Iraq, as well.


dear sir,
considering the population in Anbar province and the number of armed hostiles, I don't think the Iraqi government has enough number of forces to capture anbar province and to hold it.

"IMO the basic problem with the Iraqi Army is that they are terrified of IS."

does the iraqi army has officers who the troops trusts and respects? If not this running away want stop whatever the branch of islam the defense minister belongs to.



Which Suleimani?



It seems IS has made a serious error investing so much in trying to capture Kobani.

By continuing to press against Kobani by a frontal assault, its actions have caused a crystallization of opposition forces that probably cannot be dissolved.

The War Tool (the total combination of weapons, logistical support, ideas, soldiers and such) is often much more powerful as a threat than when it is used. Case in point, when the U.S. invaded Iraq, it proved to the world the weakness of the U.S. military might to accomplish its stated goal of democratizing Iraq and proved once and for all that its military actions are subject to the operation of the Walrus Principle.

As jr786 pointed out, it IS is able to capture and hold Kobani, it is likely that once there, those there will be flattened from the air and nothing of value will be left for IS to administer. IS should have instead made the Kobani uninhabitable through its standard terrorist repertoire of lightening raids, infiltration, kidnapping, assassinations, protection tax rackets, and car bombings so that the inhabitants were drive out slowly over time.

By focusing upon holding territory instead of focusing on the IS brand’s most valuable trait, the fear of it, IS has seriously damaged its brand by proving that it can be resisted. No matter what happens now, Kobani is already a strategic defeat for IS.



"Kobani is already a strategic defeat for IS." IMO it is too early to make that judgment. Let's see what happens in the rest of the country. You don't actually know how many men IS has lost at Kobane. pl


Qassem, head of the Quds force.


- jr786: "Tthere would be a window in there where the US could simply level the city with them in it. How would that constitute winning?"

"Our glorious martyrs conquered the heretics and their Crusader allies; the Crusaders had no choice but completely levelling the town; our martyrs stood to the last man." Powerful propaganda message, IMO, if only to "prove" that IS' enemies are just Western puppets.

Also, remember the Alamo?

- TTG: "I think there will be some kind of confrontation between Turkey and the US before this is all over."

Actually, it seems that the US and Turkey are collaborating on Kobane. The US drops weapons to the Syrian Kurds, without any overt assistance from Turkey, which at any rate would be politically suicidal for any Turkish leader (arming the PKK? Seriously?) Meanwhile, Turkey keeps assisting the Iraqi Kurds in exchange for that sweet cheap oil. Both US and Turkey collaborate in helping whatever remains of the FSA.

This sounds like a clunky, but potentially profitable arrangement.

See the following analysis from Le Monde (translated by Google):


Also, the Turks hate the Kobane groups because they're PKK-aligned. But apparently the recent surge of PKK-Turkish confrontations has died out and the peace process might be back on track. Is it possible that some kind of deal was reached?

The Twisted Genius


I was very surprised this morning to read of the Turkish decision to let Peshmerga cross into Kobane. Turkey was caught between a rock and a hard place when Kobane didn't fall quickly. As Mevlut Cavusoglu said in that Le Monde article, Turkey does not want Kobane to become a grave... at least not while the world is watching. They would much prefer ISIS on their border to the PKK and YPG. The forces they are allowing to enter Kobane are probably PKK and/or YPG, but the Turks cannot say that for obvious reasons. I wonder what kind of pressure was put on Turkey by the US. This is probably a reluctant collaboration on Turkey's part. I agree with you about some kind of deal being reached between Turkey and the PKK to make this all possible.


2 recent developments in the Kobane front:



Read and be informed...



"“We had a walkie-talkie tuned on the Isil radio system, that we had taken from a jihadist that we killed,” said Mr Kharaba.

“When the first air strikes hit, we heard them on the radio screaming in panic."

Ah, now this is interesting. If IS is using commercial hand held voice for commo their positions can be triangulated and the content may yield casualty data. pl


"Unless you have access to the mind of the opposing commander you can never answer a question like that other than as an estimative opinion."

True. My personal opinion is that IS has to stay on the offensive and Baghdad, with the green zone being a key symbol of the Iraq State and its Foreign Supporters, is the prize that has to be taken if this baby beast of a state wants to live a full life. Time is not on their side, especially with Kobani providing a unifying cause for the multiple state players to take action against them. Once they are put on the defensive how well will IS fight and how many of their reserves will switch sides to their local tribal community? To find out the Iraqi Army will have to stand and fight for the city.



It is my guess that IS will try for the city this weekend, though the Kobani operation may make them think twice because if the US is willing to drop bombs meteres from the front line there then it will do so also in West Baghdad.

Please ask your friend how the situation with Da'esh in the Kingdom is progressing to date.


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