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07 October 2014

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Kunuri

OK, then there I go. If I don't feel like I am writing a paper, or a newspaper article, I am in. I just worry that someone will ask, hey, where did you get that?

Clwydshire

Some attempts at contributing:

Kurds: The spectacle of Kobane is helping the Kurds to recognize what a perilous situation they are in. If over the past months they have hoped that civil war in Syria and the collapse of the Iraqis might bring them allies and help them plant the seed of an independent Kurdistan, they are learning that these wars are in fact forcing them into dependency on Turkey, which does not want to see independent Kurds anywhere. Kurdish fighters are brave but out-matched both in terms of equipment and training. American air support cannot save them, especially when it is as ineffective as it has been. Kurds need asylum in Turkey, they need supplies of food and weapons through Turkey, and if they are to continue the fight effectively, they need Turkey to allow fighters to join them by crossing the Turkish border. Turkey is permitting only those forms of aid that are consistent with dependency.

There is a generational split among the Kurds in which older, cooler heads recognize realities and younger people hate hate the Turks almost as much as they hate ISIS.

Government of Syria: Sitting pretty. They know that Russia's very cold anger over America's idiotic meddling in the Ukraine will last for many years, and has firmed up their alliance with the Russians. They have made recent gains against Aleppo and confidently expect victory against non-ISIS rebels there. Government of Syria already sees a situation in which the only real choices on the battlefield are themselves or ISIS.

ISIS: Still expanding and testing their capabilities: ISIS has arranged to avoid conflict with Turkey so that whatever is said publicly, they now focus on consolidating their territories and preparing an attack on Baghdad. They have learned not to fear American air attack and continue to work on ways to hide their weapons and forces from such attack. They are healthy financially, and we must imagine that right now they are trying to acquire better anti-aircraft capability. Their successes continue to expand their forces.

ISIS faces no army on the ground that would be able to drive them from historically Sunni territories, and only one force, Iranian Quds forces, that might defeat them on Shia territory, especially in areas closer to Iran. The Sunni tribal leaders do not constitute such a force, being cautious because of the rapid collapse of the government armies, and the reign of terror.

Government of Iraq: There is no government of Iraq, because the American invasion destroyed it, and splintered the country into sectarian groups. There is a Shia leadership in Baghdad that may seek allies in other groups, but it is not a national government. True, this leadership possesses a very large poster, paid for by American money, that says it is the government of Iraq, but that does not make it so. There are no really working institutions or even effective patronage networks to give structure to decisions. Everything has to be negotiated and so every move takes a very long time to work out. Corruption is rampant and that also slows everything down. The army has proved itself to be a hollow illusion, and there has not been time to rebuild it (that would now take years).

Cee

All,

We have to establish who really are the IS and anti IS coalitions. Who are our real friends and foes? Israel supports Al-Nusra while the US is or claims to be fighting them. Members of Al-Nusra are joining other factions of ISIS due to losing ground in battle. Syria will prevail.
I've said before that our so-called allies are NOT TO BE TRUSTED. The more we bomb Syrian grain silos forcing kids to eat grass, the more enemies we make and for what?

different clue

I don't know how to tell how much of IS's growing strength comes from ISIS itself and how much still comes from the Tribes and the Baathists and the Former Army members. The Tribes etc. have been helping ISIS in order to get for themselves a free autonomous Iraqi Sunnistan at least on par with Iraqi Kurdistan. They have given up on ever getting any equal treatment from any Iranian-leaning Shia government in Iraq.
Erdogan wanted an ISIS victory against Syrian Kurdistan in order to prevent growing Kurdish strength and linkups. He blocked armed Kurds getting to Kobani and obstructed American use of Turkish air bases long enough to tilt the battlefield in ISIS's favor. Now that it has been decisively tilted and ISIS will conquer Kobani with some hard unpleasant fighting, Erdogan can pretend like he "warned us" about this and he is demanding an army presence and massive aid to the Syrian Rebels to finally overthrow Assad. I read he tried extorting the Syrian Kurdish militias to join FSA war against Assad as his price for helping or even permitting them to prevent ethnic cleansing of Kobani.
So Erdogan will have his ISIS victory against Kobani any day now ( so soon that I hope that isn't considered a prediction rather than present fact fast emerging). Erdogan is splitting and fracturing Turkish society several ways . . between the Erdogists and the Gulenists and with the newly re-embittering Turkish Kurds who see the Turkish Turks (Erdogists) conspiring with ISIS to destroy a part of Syrian Kurdistan.
American policy is torn between conflicting goals of weakening or destroying ISIS as against overthrowing Assad the way the Erdogists and the Saudi Gulfies still want even after everything they have seen happen.

johnf

Largely agree with that.

To the East I would think IS's natural limit is the river in Baghdad.

Two other fronts. The Israel/Syria/Lebanon borders are simmering. An al-Nusra front, with the de facto support of Israel, has opened a new front to the south of Damascus along the border. And yesterday - I'm not sure whether in disputed territory or not - two Israeli soldiers in a tank wounded by an IED which Hezbollah acknowledges was their's.

Simultaneously, Israel trying to crowbar Selafis into Lebanon to turn Hezbollah's flank.

And in Yemen the Shia - I don't know how closely allied they are to Iran - seem to be doing well. Saudi Arabia probably not best pleased.

elaine

Kobani is under intense assault from ISIS in a 3 prong attack. A female Kurdish Peshmerga commander charged an ISIS group. She was throwing grenades & ultimately blew herself up with one. The Kurdish protectors are low on ammo
& only have old small arms.

Turkey has received over 14 billion dollars in military aid from the U.S. since 1947. Turkey has no love for the Kurds & is using water cannons to stop Kurds they consider hostile to joining the fight in Kobani.

BabelFish

US: Republicans in a quandary over level of intervention, with some leaders suggesting boots on the ground. Democrats without consensus. The population does not want to see another land war but also does not want to view further murders of citizens by ISIS. The whole country is in cognitive dissonance and heading into an election year.

NATO: air interdiction further stresses out European military assets, many of which only have a 40% rate of availability. Despite the coalition banner, the burden of executing air attacks will continue to be carried by the US and probably will increase.The use of drones, particularly the Air Force Reaper, in the theater will continue to rise. This is welcomed by the Air Force as the GAO had seriously challenged the numbers of Reapers the USAF had ordered.

Turkey: diplomatic pressure is linked to entry to the EU in a carrot/stick sequence. In the long run, even Erdogan wants nothing like a caliphate on his southeast flank. However, vice an immediate provocation, the Turks continue to wait for bigger rewards from NATO and the EU.

Amir

Iran increased the length of conscription from 18 to 21 month, on the spot increasing the number on conscripts with 15%.
In South-East Iran's Balouchistan province, as a conciliatory measure, Iran allows the Sunnis to hold their own ceremonies according to the "Ahleh Sunnaat" rites. This will allow for transfer of some forces to the Western boarder.
Although there are no immediate plans for an intervention, the necessary reserves are being built up as precautionary step.

Poul


Turkey:
Main goal.
Overthrow Assad. Hence their demands for a no-fly zone, training "moderate" rebels, etc in Syria.
IS is a tool for that goal but with alternative uses like stomping the PKK in Syria. If the price is right IS will be abandoned.

Syrian government:
Main goal:
Regain control of the country. Victory will be won in the Western part of the country. The three provinces mostly controlled by IS are important economic-wise (oil & grain) but thinly populated plus a large part of the population are Kurds hostile to IS. Let the coalition bomb IS to their hearts content and hope the Turks don't get their wishes fulfilled.

Iraqi government:
Main goal:
How to create an armed force to insure survival. All else is irrelevant right now.

Iran:
Support the two governments above in their efforts plus get friendly with the Iraqi Kurds if Iraq fragments.

Hizbollah:
Much like Iran. Stop IS in Syria/Iraq before they run rampant in Lebanon.

Syrian/Turkish Kurds:
Keep IS out of the Kurdish regions. Unhappiness with the Turkish government's policy is clear.

Iraqi Kurds:
Also kick IS out of the regions coveted by the Kurds for an independent Iraqi Kurdistan. However such a state need a stable partner to export oil and other commerce. Hence I doubt the Iraqi Kurds will antagonize Turkey. The PKK is not a friend and fellow countryman with regards to Turkey.


Arab Gulf states:
They like the political results of IS and will only really support a military effort if their thrones are threatened by IS.

Jordan:
Not familiar with their politics so no comments


USA:
The administration is conflicted and needs a coherent strategy for the Iraq/Syria conflict. Until then it's "muddle-thou" time
with one hand not knowing what the other is doing.


The rest of the Western allies:
Will follow the US's lead as we saw with Libya they lack the resources to really project air power in Syria/Iraq.

Kunuri

I confirm IZ data input.

Hezbollah and PKK are in hot confrontation Eastern Turkey, and within larger cities.

Erdogan mentions a safe corridor to Kobane from Turkish border.

Some reports about IS withdrawal from some suburbs of Kobane, though not clear whether it is forced, or a tactical withdrawal.

High level US delegations are due in Ankara today and tomorrow.

bth

Only a couple of fill in observations.
- Refined fuel capacity, namely gasoline, remains in short supply in IS areas.
- Turkey's extremely high gasoline prices and imported oil from Iran remain a drag on the economy.
- Farmers were not paid for their crops in IS territories of Iraq and harvests were seized so 2015 planting is uncertain.
- Turkey needs clear trade routes to Shia controlled Iraq to sell finished goods (market second only to Germany) for them.
- No one mentioned Israel or Jordan in earlier statements. They should be factored in.
- Govt of Iraq is going to export oil as fast as they can into a sluggish market.
- Iran threatens trade route blockade to Iraqi if Kurds break off from Iraq.

Babak Makkinejad

I think Kurds in Eastern Iraq were saved from ISIS by Iran and not by Turkey. Without the Iranian intervention, Irbil would have fallen.

In my opinion, this means that politically the project of independent Kurdistan is now dead; it was demonstrated on the field of battle that such a state cannot exist.

Let us now say that there is no Government of Iraq and let us say that Iraq's territory is pacified by a military force - regardless o f its composition.

Where do you start the political process of the governance of that territory? From scratch (Day Zero of Science-fiction writers)? From the constitution of 2005?

It is clear to me that in that case, just like in Lebanon after the end of the civil war there, one will have to start with the constitutional structure currently in place.

Which would mean the permanent ascendancy of the Shia in that country. Which the Sunnis will evidently not accept.

Which would mean that the war against ISIS will have to model itself after Sherman's March to the Sea with the aim of "breaking the Will of South to resist".

Babak Makkinejad

US public policy is predicated on the notion of balance of power.

Therefore, there can be no friends or foes, only useful agents that could be herded or beaten into line to support some semblance of equilibrium.

That theory, however erroneous it be, is in principle not applicable in this situation; in my opinion.

Babak Makkinejad

On your last statement:

Iran already imposed such an blockade weeks ago when Kurds were publicly stating their desire for independence.

That and the subsequent attacks of ISIS on KRG ended all of that and I do not think that the blockade is in place any longer.

William Fitzgerald

SITUATION IRAQ/SYRIA AND ADJACENT STATES 08OCT14

IS has established tenuous control over a region consisting of Northeastern Syria and Western Iraq. The Iraq/Syrian border in that area no longer exists and the area under IS control must be considered as a geographic unit with characteristics of a state. IS is currently fielding a force equivalent to 2 divisions, composed primarily of light infantry and some armor and artillery. IS has no air capability and limited anti air resources.
IS capable of increasing its force to the equivalent of 4 divisions, however will not be able to acquire additional armor or artillery. As presently constituted, IS is capable of defending its current position, attacking east to isolate Baghdad, attacking west toward Aleppo, or attacking south against Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Syria controls the area extending from Damascus to Aleppo and to the coast, including much of the border with Lebanon. Syria has a force totaling 6 to 8 divisions and complete command of the air with an estimated 12 squadrons. Logistics support is primarily provided by Iran and the Russian Federation. Syria is cabable of defending the area under its control and attacking to regain specific objectives.

Iraq currently controls the area from west of the Euphrates to the Iran border and south to Basra. Kurdistan is virtually automonous and functions as an ally, rather than as part of the Iraqi state. Iraq's forces consist of the remainder of the army (after the defeats in western Iraq) and units of Shia militia and are estimated to total 5 divisions. Iraq has limited air capability. Iraq's ability to defend against a determined offensive by IS is in doubt.

Iraq is supported by Iran (Annex A, unattached), US Air, advisory, and logistics assets (Annex B, unattached), and coalition air assets (Annex C, unattached).

The capabilities of Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia/Gulf States are not addressed in this estimate.

WPFIII

Babak Makkinejad

There has never been or ever be an "Arab Gulf" - Gulfo de Persico has been the established name since the time of the ancient Greeks.

Babak Makkinejad

Even a servant has some autonomy...

Babak Makkinejad

ISIS is putting a positive vision of the future on the table - in which vast numbers of Sunni Arabs and Muslims can drop their exhausting struggle of catching up with Western Modernity and safely ensconce themselves in a pre-industrial world dominated by traditional rituals that think for oneself.

Babak Makkinejad

The absurdity of it is this:

Russia, Syria, Iran, and distantly China are opposed to ISIS as well as Takfiri jihadists and have been so far longer than US has been.

US, on the other hand, wishes to contain Iran, Russia and China and destroy Syrian Arab Republic all the while being allied to those countries that feed the monster.

Bandolero

In 2001 a political faction deeply committed to further Israels interests (Neocons) in controlling all of Eretz Israel and totally dominating the Middle Eastern region got control of the sole remaining superpower after the end of the cold war. To reach this goal they intended to use the vast power of the US to conquer Afghanistan and seven more countries, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran, in the next five years, and install liberal western democracies there, headed by selected puppets of those in power in Washington and Tel Aviv.

The countries selected by these Washington and Tel Aviv people for regime change understood the intent and, to protect themselves from further US war plans, they successfully derailed the initial US-led wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. In Iraq and Afghanistan they managed to trap the US-led coalitions in costly insurgencies and in Iraq they even managed to install a government loyal to Iran as a result of the US-led war against Iraq. Efforts to bring down Hezbollah in Lebanon failed. Israel and their buddies ruling in Saudi Arabia were extremely unhappy with that outcome and tried to fuel a Sunni jihadi insurgency in Iraq to take down the Iran-friendly Shia government in Baghdad, but to no avail. US and Iran both wanted, though for different reasons, stability in post-war Iraq and they managed to get something what at least looked so.

In 2009 a candidate representing a different interest group, Obama, was elected to power in the US, because the Neocon group was, dispite all their power they still held, quite discredited for their costly and unsuccessful war in Iraq. To get to the top position the new US ruler had to put many of the people representing the old power structures into important positions. Therefore he was limited in his policy options. The policy was to force peace in greater Israel by the two-state-formula, to wind down the two costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and then to turn attention to Eastern Asia, where a new power rose challenging the US-led world hegemony: China.

Pullling US-forces back from Iraq he managed, but it came at the price of handing over the country to Iran. The effort of forcing Israel and Palestinians into a durable two state solution failed in 2010 when the Israeli ruler openly defied the attempt of POTUS to stop settlement building and line out borders for two future states for two people in Greater Israel/Palestine. In that situation POTUS decided to change the regional environment empowering people of the region instead of autocrats by unleashing a string of colored revolutions prepared at the Neocon controlled state department with the MEPI programm since 2002, the arab spring. There were different bets in place: POTUS bet, democratic regional governments more driven by their peoples aspirations will bring on more pressure on Israel, while Israel and Israel's good friends bet, the arab spring will bring chaos, extremism and thereby lessen attention for the Palestine problem and ease pressure - at least for some time - for an imposed two state solution which Israel didn't want.

Changing a US-friendly autocrat into a democratically elected US-friendly government in Tunesia didn't hurt nobody and changed really nothing, but it built up a credible story for a wave of regional regime change driven by people protests. Changing Mubarak for a MB government in Egypt was a bit more problematic for Israel and their Saudi friends. They feared the Egypt MB could strengthen Hamas, take down the Saudi regime and bringing the whole region into an arc dominated by the MB based on Turkish, Egypt and Qatari power. Regime change in Libya was easily agreed because the war was cheap and the ruler Gaddafi, who seemed to have appeased to the US and Israel after he knew he was a target for regime change in 2003, was still not trusted and he was needed to be taken out to keep the story of a successful "arab spring" credible. Chaos in Yemen and disorder in Bahrain were unpleasant byproducts of the arab spring story, and were contained and suppressed as such. But the big price was Syria. Israel and the Sauds wanted Assad out to give Iranian influence in the region a serious blow, Israel also hoped for legitimization of it's Golan acquisition 1967 as a result of regime change in Damascus, and Turkey and the MB axis wanted Syria as a cornerstone in a new MB-Ottoman empire spanning from Turkey over the GCC to Tunisia with it's capital being Istanbul. But Iran organized resistance against these plans of regime change in Syria, and found in Russia and China powerful allies for the resistance against forced regime change in Syria. Russia and China took the path of resistance against regime change in Syria, because they want to deal a serious blow to the whole practice of US-led regime changes in countries, which are not client states of the US. Israel, the Neocons, the Sauds, Turkey and their partners wanted Assad out at any cost, but President Obama was not willing to commit the US military to regime change in Syria in such a situation where Iran, Russia and China strongly opposed such direct US military action. Because Israel and their friends were unhappy with POTUS Obama's decision to hold back the US military in Syria, they tried to unseat POTUS in his re-election by supporting his challenger Romney.

But Obama won his re-election. After his re-election put in place a defense secretary who isn't more loyal to Israel than to the US: Hagel. That he took Hagel as his Defense Secretary shows that Obama is very wary of attempts by Israel and friends to pull the US into fighting more wars for Israel in the middle east. But Obama still isn't free to take on the war lobby in the US, because he has to work with a US Congress where Israel's good friends hold clear majorities. Instead of bombing Syria after his reelection Obama listed Al Qaeda's Qatari-backed Syria branch, some of the toughest fighters against the Assad government, as terror organisation. Meanwhile, after the US left Iraq and Syria was in chaos due to the efforts to oust Assad and the resistance against these efforts, Israel and the Sauds feeded a new Sunni tribal and jihadi insurgency in north-western Iraq to at least weaken Iran's friends in Baghdad - or better to overthrow them completely, and to open some more routes to channel support to the insurgency in Syria. Obama took down the Qatari emir in mid 2013, because of Qatar's open support for Al Qaeda in Syria, and then helped to take down the MB in Egypt, because of their spreading of hatred against Shia and thereby serving Israel's agenda of spreading chaos in the region. Obama's efforts to also take down Erdogan in Turkey failed so far. Erdogan expressed his anger by threatening to leave NATO and team up with Russia and China.

In Syria, meanwhile in August 2013, a false flag chemical attack by insurgents to force Obama to commit the US military to ousting Assad didn't work. Instead of bombing the Syrian military as hoped for by the rebels and their backers, Obama reacted by making Assad a partner in destroying Syria's CWs. And furthermore, shortly after that Obama made a preliminary deal with Iran regarding solving the fabricated-by-Israel allegations about Irans nuclear programm, that brought some sanctions relief to Iran, and that enabled Iran to provide even more help to Syrian president Assad. With that preliminary nuclear deal with Iran, which already brought some real sanctions relief, Obama effectively proved his willingness to switch sides and team up with Iran against Israel and the Sauds. Israel tries hard to prevent the collapse of the Iran sanction regime, but it is already crumbing, even as no final deal is done yet. The Neocons tried to further up the ante by punishing Russia for support of Assad and Tehran with a regime change in Ukraine. Russia countered this by grabbing Crimea, creating a frozen conflict in the Donbass, and Obama angered the Neocons by taking US military to confront Russia in Ukraine off the table.

Despite that Al Qaeda in Syria and Iraq are labeled terror organisations, US partners for regime change in Syria, like the Sauds and Turkey, continued to heavily support these organisations (ISIS, Nusra Front et al) deep into 2014, because they deemed them the most effective fighters against the Syrian army, and they want regime change in Syria at any price. Israel and it's friends made clear that they agree with that policy, as they too think, better have Al Qaeda ruling in Syria than Assad. But one such Al Qaeda group, ISIS, - which is likely heavily infiltrated by Syrian, Iranian and Russian intelligence - slipped out of control of it's Saudi masters. ISIS's attack on Mosul (a megacity where Al Qaeda is very strong and deeply entrenched since many years) was planned by it's masters as a blow against the Iranian-backed government in Baghdad and coordinated with Israel's and Turkish clients in the KRG, but Tehran and Baghdad doubled down, and let it happen largely unchallenged while playing surprised. Their bet is, ISIS takeover of Mosul and some more towns in Iraq and Syria will turn against those countries interests, who fuel the sectarian insurgencies in Syria and Iraq. Since ISIS kidnapped Turkish staff in Mosul, attacked Erbil, Kurds, Yezides and declared a caliphate, thereby threatening the legitimacy of the Saudi monarchy, so far things develop relatively well for Baghdad and Tehran. Having Obama personally precide over the UN Security Council forbidding, once again, the support of ISIS and Al Qaeda is another good result for Damascus and Tehran. Their fight against ISIS and Al Qaeda is now declared as the currently most pressing fight of all humanity. In Yemen Obama has not intervened as Iranian-nacked Houthis just seized power in the capital, thereby worrying the Sauds and pleasing Tehran.

The US decision to bomb ISIS in Iraq, and ISIS and the Nusra Front in Syria, joined by the Sauds, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Jordan, has no friends on the ground in Syria. The only result so far is, that almost all people in Syria are united in anger about these US-led bombings. In military terms it's unclear so far whether bombing ISIS has weakened or strengthened it, as ISIS seemed to have gained more credibility and popularity inside and outside Syria by these bombings (which often seem to be poorly targeted) so far and it's reported, quite many fighters from competing jihadi groups joined them since the bombings started. The Syrian military is meanwhile winning important ground in western Syria at the fronts in Damascus, Aleppo and Hamah, while Israel and friends support a new heavy attack on Syria led by Al Qaeda's Nusra Front coming from the neutral "disengagement" zone bordering the Israeli-controlled Golan heights.

Babak Makkinejad

I think many Sunni Muslims will join ISIS; it is a proto-state and not a business.

Poul

Babak:

Hold your horses. I just meant Gulf states which were Arab. It was not a reference to the body of water - the Persian Gulf.

Haralambos

This is the current situation in Kobani: http://www.independent.co.uk/incoming/article9780885.ece/alternates/w460/web-kobani-graphic.jpg
In contrast to other areas of the current fighting in Iraq and Syria, the Kurdish forces defending the city have a significant fore of female fighters: http://kickerdaily.com/female-kurdish-suicide-bomber-kills-dozens-to-slow-isis-advance-into-town/ This piece puts the number at 10,000.

ISL

Dear Colonel, for consideration, formatted along the lines of Sker's SitReps, which I found very useful.

ISIS/DAESH has consolidated control of its territory, pulling back from some areas where it does not have the population support – e.g., Kurdistan. Efforts to take back important ISIS cities by Iraqi govt forces or Kurds have failed, repeatedly – e.g., Jalawla or Tal Afar, or Tikrit. ISIS has displayed superior military and political strategy to the Iraq government due to participation of well trained and experienced former Iraqi army officers. ISIS is extremely effective in using fear and social media in support of combat, and as a recruiting tool. Furthermore, there are signs ISIS is establishing supporting movments in neighboring and more distant Sunni countries. ISIS modis operandi includes sending out small expeditionary forces to test the defenses of a city or country, and if the “wall topples,” expand rapidly into the existing vacuum. ISIS has enough trappings of a state to economically support their military efforts, and is highly effective at recruiting.

Lebanon is one area of repeated ISIS testing. Each expedition has ultimately failed, but required days to weeks for Lebanese/Hezbollah forces to regain control. In some Lebanese communities there likely are sufficient supporters to allow ISIS expansion. In comparison, Jordan claims to have prevented cross-border ISIS infiltrations, but there are no reports of direct attacks on Jordanian towns.

In Syria, ISIS primary enemies are other rebel groups – ISIS success on the battlefield, weapons, and money are rapidly shifting the dynamic towards them. ISIS is allowing other Syrian rebels to more directly confront Syrian government forces. Loyalist forces are happy, for now, to oblige.

ISIS blunts the primary current/past foreign policy tools of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and more distant emirates, to overthrow the Syrian government. Turkey appears to be abandoning their former Syrian rebel allies (FSA), shifting support to ISIS to destabilize Syria. Turkey successfully withstood Bush 2 pressure to support US goals in Iraq, and to date, Obama pressure to support current US policy, particularly with regards to Kurdistan.

Saudi policy relies on the US military to maintain their status quo against external agression. Saudi Arabia is still wedded to ride the tiger, supporting jihadis against the Syrian government. However, twitter suggests broad support for ISIS domestically.

The Iraqi military and government have been ineffective, despite renewed US air support and advisors, to change the military dynamic (the Iraqi army continues to crumble) or politically (e.g., tribal loyalties) on the ground. This maintains the fertile land for ISIS advances, from Sunni areas into mixed areas where ethnic cleansing then occurs. Logistical routes to Baghdad are captured / being captured, isolating Baghdad, which is heavily infiltrated.

Iran: Maintains strong support for Shiite militia’s; however, the reported (by Iran) introduction of some Iranian troops into Iraq to retake Jalawla, failed. Currently, Shia-Iraq and Kurdish Iraq are buffer (rump) states against ISIS,

US policy towards ISIS remains a confusing self-contradictory bundle of policy initiatives, and unsurprisingly, ineffective. The domestic politics are aligned with bombing, as they always are at the initiation of hostilities. The only effective US policy has been to support and buttress Kurdistan.

Looking at the larger Kurdistan, Turkey remains in conflict with its existence and supports efforts to weaken Kurdistan in areas under their influence – Syria and Turkey. ISIS efforts against Iraq Kurdistan were shifted with dramatic success to reducing Syrian Kurdistan, creating a massive refugee crisis. ISIS testing against Kurdish militaries revealed their weakness even in Kurdistan.

Babak Makkinejad

The ne-cons, the Alibi of an entire politico-military alliance called NATO, are evidently also in control of EU states as well as Canada and Australia.

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