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07 October 2014

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b

Since yesterday B1-B bombers over Kobane with some friendlies' eyes on the ground designating targets. Some 20+ bomb runs today.

IS used VBIEDs today in Kobane but seems to have not made much progress.

19 dead in Turkey after the Erdogan regime attacked "peaceful demonstrators". One wonders when Obama will finally call Erdogan's rule illegitimate.

Kunuri

Reports of two IA helicopters are downed by IS in the last few days by shoulder fired missiles and some kind of SAM. If true, and if IS has finally got its hands on this kind of ordnance, and if they can get it to Kobane area, this would definitely be a game changer.

If I were IS, I would try very, very hard to get SAMs to counter my vulnerability from the air.

BabelFish

A further point. There is no serious MSM discussion on how to choke off ISIS money. I have found none in the normal specialty media I follow.

William R. Cumming

Cumming SITREP Noon EST 10/08/2014

Stalemates politically almost worldwide while awaiting outcome of November 4th, 2014 US elections. Two major exceptions! 1. Worldwide developed world economies struggling. Almost all are trending broad declines. 2. IS gathering armed strength to envelop Iraq GREEN ZONE next year. Current IS efforts bait and switch on US Coalition.

Florent

France: member of the coalition bombing only in Iraq. Doing very little actual bombing (2 strikes in the last 12 days) but flying missions everyday, from UAE base.
Extension of bombings into Syria very problematic for political and legal reason (French bombing killing a French jihadist without solid political/legal cover? non merci)
Also delivering weapons to Kurds in KRG. Special forces stuff there as well (no clear info)

UK: member of the coalition bombing only in Iraq. Doing little actual bombing, flying missions from Cyprus. Extension of bombing into Syria seen as problematic as well.
Also delivering weapons to kurds in KRG, special forces etc.
Was "summoned to battle" by repeated ISIS murder of UK civilians.

Germany: member of the coalition, no bombing. Delivering weapons to kurds in KRG (big deal, breaks former self-limits on weapons delivery into conflict zones). Ongoing scandal of underfunding of German army and humiliation with repeated failures in the delivery of weapons to Erbil.

Rest of EU: members of the coalition. No bombing. Some other arms delivery to Iraqi kurds (Italy). Humanitarian response to refugee crisis in KRG.

Tunisia: part of the coalition (according to Stade Dept). Very worried about numerous Tunisians going to fight in Syria. Very worried about Libyan chaos next door.

Algeria: not part of the coalition. Homegrown fringe terrorist group recently declared membership of ISIS and murdered a French tourist in the country. Big loss of face. Being pressured by France to allow/join a military action into south Libya against jihadist groups.

These are just a few comments to enlarge the scope of the discussion.
cheers.

Ryan

Here you go, colonel, aka "Turcopolier Control". This is how I see ISIS' situation.

After the success of ISIS' June offensive they moved a good bit of captured equipment from Iraq into Syria, perhaps with the objective of using it to capture Aleppo. If this was the case it has been abandon as the SAA and Hezbollah has had recent success and is operating in some strength.

The ISIS forces that remained in Iraq were to be used to push the Kurds back and keep up the pressure around Baghdad. While initially successful against the Kurds by seizing the Mosul dam and the area around Kirkuk they have since suffered setbacks and have been pushed back.

The situation there has been ongoing since the middle of June with ISIS attempting to interdict the road net south of the city while also approaching it from the northeast. To aid in this objective ISIS has pulled an unknown number of troops from the area around Damascus and moved them east, most likely to the area southwest of Baghdad. The drive from the northeast seems to be stalled and if reports are true have lost ground from a counter attack by ISF. There was an interview with the vicar of Baghdad a few days ago. He claims that ISIS has cells controlling the center of Baghdad. This may be an exaggeration, but it explains the source of the car bombs.

ISIS want Kobane to clear their rear area and to close up on the Turkish border for smuggling purposes. At the same time they are using their attack there as a feint to cover for operations at Baghdad.

ISIS is capable of multiple operations, which tells me that their troop strength is a low ball figure.

Kunuri

Sorry Bandolero, but I don't see the relevance of this long treatise on this topic, and besides, it sounds too self-indulgent and strident to me.

Kunuri

A safe corridor into Kobane from Turkish border is a real possibility, very soon. This is not a prediction, which is in the second phase of the exercise, but I have been following all activity in Turkish press, all day. There is a lot of diplomatic activity also, all around, including France announcing support for further interdiction along the border. Kurds are very upset for inaction, which would become radical if Kobane falls.

I am just wondering if UN Security Council vote can be managed after the fact of a Turkish Army interdiction, given the potential humanitarian disaster to follow if Kobane falls.

DH

Latest US intelligence assessment determined that Iran's elite Qud Forces stationed in Iraq had been ordered not to attack US forces.

William Fitzgerald

Continuation of Situation Iraq/Syria and adjacent states.

Annex A: Iran has the capability of reinforcing Iraqi forces in Eastern and southern Iraq with combined arms forces and aviation assets for defense and counter-attack operations.

Annex B: US Central Command is conducting operations against IS with one Carrier Group and can augment that force with one or more additional Carrier Groups. The US can provide military assistance in the form of advisors, logisticians, and intelligence assets. The current level of US assistance includes approximately 3000 personnel in country. The US is also capable of moving up to 3 brigades to Iraq at relatively short notice (one month).

Annex C: Coalition support is mainly cosmetic and likely to remain so.

WPFIII I hope this made the time limit.

readerOfTeaLeaves

Relative populations (rounded numbers for simplified perspective). Numbers from Wikipedia:

Saudi Arabia: 27,000,000, of which nearly 30% are non-Saudis
Syria: 18,000,000 (down 5 million from several years ago)
Lebanon: 6,500,000 of which at least 1/3 are refugees from Iraq, Syria, Palestine
Iraq: 31,000,000
Iran: 75,000,00
Egypt: 94,000,000
Israel: 8,200,000 (of which 1.7 m are Arabs)
Turkey: 77,000,000
Takeaway: Egypt, Iran, Turkey total 246,000,000
These populations have quadrupled (and more) since 1950

Median Age:
Saudi Arabia: 25 years
Syria: 22 years
Lebanon: 30 years
Iraq: 21 years
Iran: 26 years
Egypt: < 20 years
Israel: 30 years
Turkey: 30 years
Takeaway: The vast bulk of these populations are in prime child-bearing years. Majority of these populations born in the mid-1990s; they would have been between 8 - 13 years old at the beginning of the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Percent of population under 21 years of age (estimated):
Saudi Arabia: 60%
Syria: not found
Lebanon: 30%+
Iraq: 50%
Iran: 30%
Egypt: 75%
Israel: not clear
Turkey: 30%+
Takeaway: Lots of youth, lots of people seeking employment and adjustment to adult life. Personally, I find the Egyptian, Saudi, and Iraqi figures -- if they are accurate -- chilling. This suggests a lot of young people, many of whom followed the Arab Spring in their teens after watching the Americans invade Iraq in their pre-teens, who are probably not very invested in maintaining the status quo.

Fertility rates:
Saudi Arabia: 2.26 offspring
Syria: 2.35
Lebanon: 1.74
Iraq: 3.58 (very high)
Iran: 1.3
Egypt: 3.0 (in 2008, again quite high)
Israel: 3.04 (again, quite high)
Turkey: 2.07
Takeaway: Birth rates in Iran are manageable; however, in Iraq, Egypt, Israel, and even Saudi these birth rates portend more population pressure on scarce arable land.

With the exceptions of Lebanon (55%) an Israel (20%), most of these populations are at least 95% Muslim. Col. Lang has explained that Islam is based on consensus within the local community; if these groups become radicalized, there would be a powerful sense of belonging.

Arable land, percentage of land area:
Saudi Arabia: 1.49 -- yes, < 2%
Syria: 24% in 2007, but it is at least half that after the drought of 2007-10
Lebanon: 11%
Iraq: 9%
Iran: 10%
Egypt: 2.8% (yes, less than 3% for a population of 94,000,000 that is 98% urbanized)
Israel: 14%
Turkey: 26%
Takeaway: Huge and growing population pressure on scarce arable land; water consumption figures unclear, but a previous SST post pointed out that Turkey and Iraq are drawing down the waters of the Euphrates, leaving less water downriver for irrigation and consumption.
Source: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2097.html

My summary: with the demographics that I saw from a peruse of Wikipedia, there are millions of young, probably minimally employed youth who are in prime child-bearing years and seeking employment. Their adolescence would have spent hearing about the American intervention in Iraq. it's hard to see how many of these people would be interested in shoring up a status quo that probably does not offer them the future they hope for in terms of economic success.

Col Lang, without this thread, I would never have gone to Wikipedia and scouted these figures. The implications are, to my mind, potentially horrendous.

Meanwhile, 10% of Russia's population is Muslim.
And few in US foreign policy circles speak Arabic or have a knowledge of the history of this region.

Sykes-Picot is deader than a doorstop.

Kunuri

William Fitzgerald

"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."

I don't think conventional military orders of battle applies here. A division is basically a way of characterizing a group of 10,000 combatants, but in this war its just a number. Numbers here mean a little or the specialties, such as front line troops, or support troops, IS is shying away even from command centers, or HQs, they are basically Mongols on mechanicals. They have no detectable central command. I wouldn't be surprised if they are using runners between units for communication, WWI style, even just verbal messages. Or just leaving all field units to their own decisions.

I think everyone would be wrong to fit western style organizational templates to IS fighting forces.

Haralambos

There are widespread protests across Turkey with numerous injuries and deaths as Kurds demonstrate against the Turkish inaction against the siege of Kobani. Turkey is under pressure from the US to contribute to the effort against ISIS, but Turkey is resisting strongly. Turkey likely fears a Kurdish state on their border more than ISIS and certainly would like to see Assad gone.

LeaNder

"The tayyiban are trying to "rent" TSK "

Can tayyip & co's be so sure there will not be another "Ergenekon conspiracy"? The military may well remain the most prominent suspect in this context.

Just kidding.

This is of course way over my head.

JJackson

Groups and positions
Turkey – doesn’t see IS as a more problematical neighbour than Assad, at this stage, and they have the added benefit of degrading the threat of a viable Kurdistan. Tacit understanding that if each keeps to its own side of the boarder there is no need for hostilities. Also no desire to allow US use of its air bases as this will just make it a target for ISL and their sympathisers within Turkey.

Iran – Actively assisting Iraqi Shias on the ground, Assad and Hezbollah. Only interested in not letting any of these groups fail while trying not to incur too high a cost.

ISL – Realistic about the problems of extending territory into areas without a sympathetic Sunni majority but willing to go onto the offensive outside these areas if they are a threat or have significant strategic or financial value.
Other factions fighting Assad – Mainly interested in holding on to what they have and where possible attacking Assad – as much as anything at this stage to stop a bleed to IS of their fighters.

SFA – The new Chalabi. Not a force to be reckoned with but being closely watched by IS and the others in the hope they will be given money, training & weapons so they are worth absorbing.
Russia – Initially concerned about a US puppet in Damascus now equally concerned by the effect rampant Islamism may cause at home and amongst its other neighbours. Prop up Assad so he is left with a viable rump state but having bigger fish to fry elsewhere.

US – Doctrinal commitment to defeat ISL and Assad but no clear vision of what might realistically replace them which would not be equally unacceptable. Unwilling to get involved on the ground and very limited air time over target due to lack of secure airports.

US allies – Irrelevant militarily. The Sheiks will make polite noises but avoid doing anything unless personally threatened. UK and others may be ideologically committed but are not significantly going effect the balance of power.

Iraq – No such thing. Shias are supporting Iran as best they can. Sunnis doing their own thing getting rid of Shias and paying lip service to ISL in the hope of self-government in the endgame. Kurds fighting hard to hang on to what they have in the hope of being around to reignite the Kurdistan dream.

Assad government – Conserve forces while making sure areas of potential support are not cut off from core territory. Hope that someone else will blunt ISL for them.

Kim Sky

October 7, 2014

Diplomatic: Saudis, Emirates, Qatar and Turkey have distinct agenda - support IS and eliminate Asad. US is outmaneuvered by these extremely skilled players. Russia, China, Iran continue support for Hezbolla, Asad, Iraq-Gov and Kurdistan. US supports Asad, Iraq-Gov and Kurdistan.

Economic: US spending 22Billion a year on IS-War, another major recession looming. Black-swan, Ebola about to happen. Russia/China and BRICS slowly chipping away at Dollar-hegemony, including new Euro-Huan exchange. Sanctions against Russia and Iran hastening demise of Dollar-hegemony.

Political: Alliance of Western Governments, Anglo-countries, Germany etc, poised for new colonial style carve-up of Middle East. Ridiculous? US-boots on the ground looming. Ultra-War-State of Israel continually gains influence throughout the West, governments/corporations. US-Government hobbled by spectacle and lobbyists, only WAR unity, disguised as disunity.

Military: War contagion everywhere: Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, etc. Appears as if war will come to Turkey (internal and external). Latest significant development, helicopters in war on IS. IS relentlessly gaining recruits and territory.

Kunuri

It seems, soon, someone will start reciting NATO 5th article about IS presence along the Turkish border with Syria, which will simplify matters somehow. Especially if Kobane falls and a new exodus starts. Ant I think it is already overlooked for too long, I don't know why, there is clearly overt aggression, and enough consensus within the international community.

different clue

Poul,

Erdogan's price for dropping ISIS is effective and irreversible no-way-back involvement to successfully overthrow the Syrian Arab Government and replace it with the liver-eating headchopper cannibal government of Erdogan's desire. Erdogan will consider nothing less.

Imagine

1. One of the primary objectives of the Washington government is to protect the well-being of the State of Israel, at all costs.

2. America gladly went from $6T debt to $12T so that we could overthrow Iraq. Now (Oct '14) we are pushing $18T debt, and it's growing exponentially. America is heroically bleeding itself dry, but it's for a holy cause.
- Nonetheless, many realize if we were to launch another Iraq War-sized conflict, it could bring debt to $24T, sink the American economy, and destroy what's left of the U.S. dollar as we know it.
- We will probably reach $24T debt by 2022 in any case, even without another medium war, but by that time Pres. Obama won't be in office any more and it will be Someone Else's Problem. God help them. In the meantime, we can't afford a full-scale war with Russia, nor even a medium-scale war in the Middle East; so we're limited to economic warfare, advisors, CIA, and drones.

3. Washington has succeeded in placing the former Gov. of the Bank of Israel as the power behind the throne at the Fed. See #1.

4. Israel/Likud, and the people who know what they're doing in Washington, aka "Zionists", have a long-standing plan to wipe out all the economic and political competition to Israel, and maintain dominance. To subvert nations to be friends with Israel; if that doesn't work, to effect regime change and topple the government; if that doesn't work, to pull the country apart and mire it in the tar-baby of anarchy and civil war. To bring it back to the stone age. Primary targets involve Iraq (accomplished), Iran (teed up), and Syria (in progress). See #1.

- "But that's not what's worrying me. It's HOW to do it. These things must be done very del-i-cate-ly...or you hurt the spell."

5. Syria was teed up to be bombed back to the stone age by last October '13. There were allegations of use of WMD. Then, astoundingly on the very day that the UN WMD inspectors were set to land, there was massive news coverage of a new presumed WMD attack. The State Dept. took this and ran with it, beating the drums for starting a new war against Syria.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the war room. The American people, sick of the expenditures and the lies used to vivisect Iraq, rose up against Congress and said "Hell, No". At the same time, Russia stepped in and treacherously created peace, getting Assad to swear off his chemical WMD. - Note: It is presumed that the only reason Assad was willing to give up his chemical WMD counterbalance against Israel's nukes and Israel's chemical/biological WMD, is because they were no longer needed; something greater than these had taken their place. One hypothesis would be Russia granting a nuclear umbrella to Syria. Another would be overwhelming firepower in some kind of conventional weapon that would obsolete the need for chemical WMD.
- This rightfully earned the enmity of the Zionists, who resolved that Russia would pay for its temerity.

6. The Zionists regrouped on Syria.

7. In the meantime, State and the CIA were funding and training the "moderate al Qaeda" in Syria. Making Syria a magnet for the worst hive of scum and villainry, the CIA+State sought to create an atmosphere of anarchy that would topple Assad, and replace him with a rainbow unicorn that would magically be friends with Israel. Or at least leave Syria in a state of permanent anarchy and civil war. We were funding, training, and giving weapons to anyone who could fog a mirror. We even funded the liver-eating commander. This is so extremely insane that even Glenn Beck came out against it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Wh_j981T0c
but hey, see #1. At all costs.

8. Russia had previously treacherously declared peace by bringing Iran to the nuclear negotiating table. What was supposed to be a show set-piece of kabuki before the war, all of a sudden turned into something that the government had to take seriously. The campaign to bomb Iran suffered a severe setback. Conclusion: Must take down Russia.

9. State got busy with overthrowing the elected government in Ukraine, funding literal Nazi warriors, setting up a CIA command post to help the Ukraine gov't run in the right direction, flying the Director of the CIA and our VP in to ensure clear communication, helping our Zionist oligarch friend Kolomoyskyi to scrub out those pesky ethnic Russians living on the East side, and, in general, doing what we do best. The hope was to bait Russia into an overt invasion of the Ukraine. This would give an excuse to refund and re-arm NATO, which would also create jobs in the defense industries back home. Even if sadly Russia didn't take the bait, it served as an excuse to degrade Russia and the rest of the world economy. Since the world economy is obviously a zero-sum game, and not based on wealth creation through mutual cooperation, degrading the economy of the entire rest of the world would somehow paradoxically serve to make America stronger. And Israel, of course.
- Degrading Russia and its treacherous peace programs also serves to weaken Syria and Iran. See #4 and #1.

10. Israel needed to "mow the grass" but did not want world attention. This campaign was started on the same day that a Muslim passenger jet was mysteriously shot down. Although the 35mm bullet holes are round, only directed at the cockpit, come out of both sides of the metal, and although Russian radar shows a fighter jet from Ukraine soil rising to be next to the passenger plane, Washington is strangely silent on details on how the plane got shot down, and apparently wishes that you'd forget.

11. Americans have the memory of a goldfish. The mid-term elections are coming up next month. After funding and training terrorist rebels in Syria in the art of modern warfare, CIA-style terror, and modern propaganda for years, all of a sudden a large army of terrorist soldiers appears as if from out of nowhere on the outskirts of Syria. They are intelligent, well-trained, well-coordinated, well-funded, and highly efficient. They take down a good third of Iraq in a successful blitzkrieg that would make Rommel proud.

12. Normal commanders who take ground and want to survive maintain a "live and let live" philosophy. Hope that the world powers forget about you, crawl under a tarp, and you can keep on going with massacres indefinitely. Not these guys. Americans are beheaded on video with an in-your-face ferocity to the propaganda. And, just to make sure the message is not lost, a Brit is beheaded as well. With professional footage. It's almost as if someone was /trying/ to start a war incorporating America.

13. This time, there is no public outcry. 12 months later, the State Dept and the CIA get the green light to send drones to Syria, and bomb whatever they feel like. Iraq is once again involved in anarchy and war. Although ISIL is supposedly a Middle-East military-based theocracy, which threatens the #1 and #5 world militaries with an in-your-face challenge, there is curiously no noise at all towards threatening the Jewish State in the Levant. ISIL tanks parade but do not get shot. America drops tons of bombs and Democrats feel satisfied they are real men "doing something", while Republicans get to say "I told you so" and try to make the Democrats look stupid. ISIL moves real equipment elsewhere before the bombs drop. Everybody wins.

14. Syria gets degraded; Iraq gets degraded; Iran gets its army chewed up; the Democrats get degraded; the US military-industrial complex gets a funding and jobs boost; the Kurds are set free to run more conflict / civil war; Syria gets a big lion eating its backside for the long-term foreseeable future; and the whole region devolves into anarchy and civil war. But not on Israel's doorstep. Mission accomplished. See #4.

Thomas

johnf,

The Caliph and Shura would be pleased with an Israeli-Hizbullah war as it weakens both enemies.

Nusra, in neck saving fashion, are assisting the West against Assad because their Emir and his Information Officer, who dropped the dime on Baghdadi back in December, are on the to do list of the Islamic State's Dissension Detail. Play ball if you wish to live is the mantra they are probably hearing.

Babak Makkinejad

Iran: Another hard slug.

Turkey: They got rid of my guys (MB in Egypt), I am going to sit this one out and enjoy the Arabs scurrying around

Russian: I told you so.

EU: Let me give you a band-aide for that.

US Executive Branch: Between a rock and hard place; wants to save Iraq but cannot do so without allying herself with Syrian and Iranian governments.

US Congress: Bomb someone, anyone. Or just bomb them all.

Arabs: Please damage ISIS but not too much since we need it to someday bring Sunni Arabs back to control of Iraq.

Israelis: "Thank God for all of this."

All ethno-religious minorities: Iran is our only salvation.

mike

Dutch and Belgians have conducted limited strikes also.

ToivoS

This looks like fun. No need to analyze what happened before today but use your understandings to assess what will happen tomorrow.

Hezbollah is not going to be a major factor in this game since their interests are along the Syrian-Lebanese border and with Israel. They could become a factor if the fighting moves towards their positions of interest.

The Syrian Army surrounds rebel forces in Aleppo, defeats them and surviving rebels retreat into Turkey. These forces, those that have not given up, are free to move east and reinforce ISIS in Iraq and norther Syrian. This has the possibility to strengthen ISIS in the Kurdish regions of Syria and Iraq.

Turkey comes under increasing international pressure to stop supporting the ISIS forces in Syria and Iraq. This factor and popular revulsion inside Turkey against Erdogan causes Turkey to hesitate. ISIS loses its supply lines from Turkey. Fundamentalist inside Turkey begin to rebel against Erdogan. The Kurds inside Turkey return to military rebellion. Turkey is back to civil war and loses interest in Syria and Iraq.

Now the battle is between ISIS and the Kurds in Syria and Iraq and between ISIS and the Iraqi government. Iran is now in a real dilemma. Do they intervene with significant ground forces or not. It is not possible to say at this point. Is game theory allowed at this point?

The coalition remains a myth created by US PR and is not a factor.

US airpower continues to lurch from one crises to another but without any strategic overview, their actions remain irrelevant other than blowing up a lot of stuff.

BabelFish

Comments about Germany are spot on. Ready rate of their rotary aircraft fleet is minuscule and their Typhoon availability rate is not much better.

curtis

Ignored so far is the role millenialism is playing in the different groups motivations.

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