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08 October 2014


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João Carlos

"Euro-NATO governments are shocked and immediately imposes economic sanctions on Turkey."

IMHO, Europe's governments will look other side. Europe's population maybe will be shocked, but I think that a media blackout will make the general population ignorant about the genocide. So, no sanctions against Turkey. And Erdogan popularity between the turkish military will go up. It is my humble opinion.

r whitman

ISIL will attempt to shift attention away from the current war zone by successfully attacking a US embassy or other major US installation in a Sunni Muslim country not directly in the combat area. Possibilities include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria.


Australian F 18 Super Hornets continue to fly ineffectual missions out of Al Minhad Airbase in Dubai because they are fettered with too strict rules of engagement by an Australian Government terrified of the domestic media impact of civilian casualty images, particularly children, published very effectively by ISIS. The Prime Minister defends this situation: "Just because they are returning with ordnance intact does not mean that they aren't making a difference to the fight against ISIS".

On 28th October contact is lost with a RAAF F18 during a strike mission near Fallujah. Wreckage is detected but efforts to find the pilot fail. On 30th October ISIS release a video of the beheading of the 25 year old Australian pilot. 33 Australian muslims are killed and Eight Mosques destroyed in riots in Melbourne and Sydney during the following Five days.

Questions are asked by media commentators among the non - murdoch press about exactly why we followed America into this war.


As an addendum to your scenario:

Now that ISIS is in control of Kobane, after a few days (or R&R for the ISIS forces as they pillage Kobane just like the olden times), they commence their attack along the Turkish border in order to preserve the momentum of their attack.

Your other scenarios could still be valid (the scenario above is strictly on the local level).

As you know, ISIS is bent on establishing a Caliphate, "the political-religious state comprising the Muslim community and the lands and peoples under its dominion in the centuries following the death (632 ce) of the Prophet Muhammad. Ruled by a caliph (Arabic khalīfah, “successor”), who held temporal and sometimes a degree of spiritual authority, the empire of the Caliphate grew rapidly through conquest during its first two centuries to include most of Southwest Asia, North Africa, and Spain."


Because Erdogan's government is not Islamic enough for ISIS, they must destroy the secular govt. of Erdogan and change it to a theocratic form of govt. Thus the attack on Turkey now commenced...

What you reap is what you sow.



Thanks for the history lesson on early Islam. Erdogan they can deal with later. pl


Also to accommodate your scenario, the attack on Turkey after the successful Kobane offensive has been put on hold while the Baghdad ISIS offensive is in full swing. Therefore, a relative peace settled on the Kobane region, w/c Turkey misconstrued as weakness by the ISIS and thus did nothing to reinforce the borders. Thus when the Baghdad question has finally been settled, it came as a surprise when ISIS attacked Turkey next.


Syria encircles Aleppo, and the IS/"moderate" rebels are killed to a man. IS releases propaganda through the FSA claiming Assad has done all sorts of bad stuff, using chemical weapons and "barrel bombs" and the like. The US talks about expanding its mission not simply to defeat IS but to protect the freedom loving would be western democracy adherents of the FSA from the evil bad man Mr. Assad. Turkey announces they will begin deploying elements of the army into the Syrian border.

However, with events currently simmering away nicely in the Ukraine, Russia says that they will begin deploying airstrikes against IS forces in Syria, as well as actually sending in FSTs to work hand in glove with the Syrian Army. The air strikes are actually effective, and amateur footage on the ground captures visuals of the "polite green men".

Cue lots of angry rhetoric from the perpetually out of her depth junior varisty debate club member Jen Psaki, and something about how great everything is really in Iraq from the adjunct professor himself. Turkey holds off on the deployment after hearing from certain sectors in Europe (who need that Russian gas) that an Article V claim will not be honored.

BIA falls after the Shia fight in human wave style tactics after ignoring the 8 weeks of infantry training they were given. Iraqi War vets watch the planes leaving BIA and feel much like Vietnam vets did seeing the Fall of Saigon.

Tyler tries to make out Camp Stryker, fails, gets stinking drunk.


In the situation analysis, not much was said about ISIS strength around Baghdad. IMO ISIS will move to create an October Surprise, crippling Baghdad International Airport in the hope of seeing Americans escape from the Green Zone as they did in Operation Frequent Wind from the Saigon embassy almost 40 years ago. Such an event would rivet world attention and thoroughly humiliate Obama just before the mid-term elections. ISIS is media savvy. Even if ultimately unsuccessful, such bravado would electrify public opinion in many non-elite sectors of Arab Society, much as Hezbollah's facing down Israel in 2006 did. At that point, Turkey will forced to join the battle and will immediately suffer an embarrassing bloody nose, inexperienced as the Turks are in responding to guerrilla operations on foreign terrain.

Babak Makkinejad


ISIS spreads South and avoids major confrontation with the Shia militia.

ISIS will leave BIA alone as it does not pose any strategic threat to it and avoids directly engaging US forces.

As ISIS spreads, it becomes harder and harder to wage an air war against it,

ISIS will not attack Turkey.


Compounding the inherent difficulty of US support for non-IS Syrian rebels, the shortages of material created by the siege of Aleppo, and potential for Syrian infiltration/turning of other rebel groups has forced IS to abandon the pretense of working in concert with any other group in the besieged city. IS forces quickly dispatch those rebel groups who do not join under the IS banner. The fighting is brief (underscoring the lack of viability of other rebel groups), followed by mass executions of infidels and non-IS fighters. In an effort to force Syrian government troops to open escape/supply corridors for IS forces in Aleppo, IS embarks on a hostage execution/genocide against the remaining, non-IS supporting civilian population.
In SA, the Gulf states, and elsewhere, former AQ affiliates continue to abandon allegiance to that group and join the IS team. The first IS sponsored/homage terror attack occurs on a Western compound in SA, complete with beheadings of Western and foreign workers.
In an effort to appear relevant, Ayman Al-Zawahiri again issues warnings and pronouncements that are conspicuously ignored by Western governments and former Sunni supporters alike. The defection of top AQ operatives to IS, and IS desire to consolidate control of Sunni leadership creates strange bedfellows in intelligence circles. Al-Zawahiri's days appear numbered.
Seeing the additional pressure Hezbollah is under to support Syria, Netanyahu decides to take more chances and loosens rules of engagement on the Lebanese border regarding retaliatory responses. For it's part, Hezbollah leadership attempts to instill more discipline in restraint. Temporary advantage, Israel.
Turkish immigrants across Europe begin demonstrations against Erdogan's policies and in support of Turkish demonstrators. Fearing spillover of the political instability in Turkey, EU governments begin putting pressure on Erdogan to change policies regarding IS.


Oops. Apparently Israel and Netanyahu are already doing what I predicted. My bad.

I will add a different prediction. The Western media hasn't had an IS individual to focus hatred on yet. The next month will see the rollout of a US gov./media campaign to identify and demonize individual IS leaders, provide/create biographies/stories for each. The process of "educating" the US public is in it's infancy, and will remain in childhood throughout this time frame, but the accepted narrative will emerge.


oops looked like I jumped the gun in step 1. Sorry to repeat a few items from there.

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. The defeated and exhausted troops will require about a month to be reconstituted into fighting strength. They will not be a factor until well after Nov 5. The Syrian Army will remain occupied consolidating their gains and will not have time to transfer their forces to the east for the immediate future. They will not be a factor in fighting ISIS for another few months. ISIS is not interested in taking on the Syrian Army in any direct offensive operation and stay out.

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 and riots break out in Istanbul. The Kurds inside Turkey return to military rebellion. Turkey is back to civil war and begins to lose interest in Syria and Iraq. By Nov 5 they have more important problems at home.

Now the battle is between ISIS and the Kurds in Syria and Iraq and between ISIS and the Iraqi government. ISIS forces will continue to have the offensive advantage. The Kurds can defend but they do not have the capacity to go on any offensive. Their soldiers are still guerilla fighters without the skills to coordinate their actions with air and armor formations. Kurdish refugees will continue fleeing into Turkey helping to stir up the mess there.

The Iraqi army also does not seem to have the capacity to engage in coordinated offensives but with sheer manpower they manage to stop ISIS advances into major Shia population centers.

Iran is now in a real dilemma. They will send in troops to defend Baghdad if needed but will be hesitant to engage in offensive operations in the Sunni heartland. Most likely outcome will be to see Iranian ground forces engaging ISIS forces near its border and in the Baghdad region.

ISIS realizes it is stymied in their offensive against Baghdad and the Shia towns to the south. Now they are faced with a decision. Stop their offensive operations and try to consolidate the caliphate or to attack some other vulnerable targets. They decide the latter and isolated terrorist attacks begin occurring in Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

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.


Short term – YPG resists takeover of Kobani City. But even with coalition airstrikes they are not able to retake southern fringe of the city nor the surrounding Kurdish villages from dug-in jihadis. Pesh and Iranian Quds force continue siege or Jalawla attempting to starve out defenders. Some sallies are attempted against besiegers but do not break out. Baghdad keeps getting hit with suicide bombs and/or vehicular IEDs.

Other than that concur with what Mr Makkinejad forecasts - except for possibly an occasional one-off mortar or rocket attack on the Green Zone or BIA. Just to let us know they are still around.

Long term - Too early to tell. Airstrikes alone will never defeat the jihadis. Especially since the Pesh and the Shia seem to only want to defend instead of going on an offensive in territory not their own? On the other hand the airstrikes could keep the jihadis from winning and attaining their goals. So that smells like a stalemate or some kind of Mexican standoff. But I doubt seriously if a political solution could be found to break the impasse.

FB Ali

Request for TC Input:

Turkey has asked US to impose a no-fly zone over Syria. It also proposed a buffer zone along its border with Syria where Syrian refugees can find sanctuary.

What is the US response?


Request for TC Input

Has the US moved any additional forces into the region/theater, particularly in the Baghdad area? Where is maintenance/support on the Attack Helicopters occurring - at an Iraqi airbase that is under ISIS threat? Out in the open at BIA? or up in Kurdistan?

Jack Sparrow

ISIS will secure the Kobani front and mop up any Kobani hotspots and begin resupply, while continuing with hit and run tactics in and around Baghdad to keep coalition ground forces focused on protecting the Green Zone, for the short run and to contemplate the seige of Baghdad.

Turkey? Not in the game at this time though there will be pressure to cross the boarder by the United States and other nations.

US? Nothing more than current strategy until midterm elections are over. Though one or two surprise operations should not be out of play prior to the elections.

Syria/Russia? As long as the cards fall on their side the FSA will continue to be on their full court press agenda. If Turkey crosses the boarder, then all bets are off.



IS has consolidated its gains in Iraq and now is a neo-State. A few roadblocks remain to full scale access to Turkey for supplies, recruits, money, and oil markets. They will be cleaned up in the next two weeks despite sporadic American air attacks.

IS propaganda against its great enemy, the USA, continues. To a man, the Iraqi Sunnis know that it is their right to rule Iraq. However, Kurdish Erbil held against their first attack. This leaves the vulnerable US command post in the Green Zone defended by untested Shiite militias. Their greatest impact would be a victory prior to the US November elections. A forced evacuation would undermine American resolve to defend to the death Kuwait’s oil fields. This points to continued infiltration around Baghdad Airport. Then on Friday October 31st cutting the Airport Road, start shelling, and attack the Green Zone. Everything could collapse at once, everyone running to the hills to the East who wasn’t helicoptered out; unless the bridges across the Tigris are blown and the Iranians send in reinforcements.

Kuwait and Mecca await the next chapter.


Game projections:
ISIL does not further attack Turkey, Syria, Jordan, KSA, but concentrates on obtaining/consolidating hold on lands in Iraq due to the power vacuum. Takes land surrounding Baghdad in an "amoeba" attack, esp. along the rivers, then laying siege. Grabs BIA when it's expedient.

America sends waves of drone strikes against all and random in eastern Syria, antagonizing the population. McCain and Panetta still criticize Obama for being a wuss. Baghdad is reluctantly left out of the equation, quietly written off.

One week before the Nov election, a mysterious massacre occurs in Syria. Obama sends in SEALS and captures the perps in one day. Those dirty scum are not brought back to Gitmo, but die resisting arrest over the ocean, and are buried at sea with blessings.

Turkey stands pat.

Iran is a wild card, as it is genuinely interested in ISIL not taking down Iraq, and knows how desert fighting actually works. ISIL will lay low, absorb the countryside, getting ready for a blitz attack on Baghdad around Thanksgiving. Iran may end up being confronted with a fait accompli, and will have to then decide for itself whether to invade Iraq or not. In the end it chooses No . But that's 2-3 months down the road. In the meantime, Iran beefs up its presence in Baghdad, but only with token forces of several thousands. They are pointedly ignored by the Americans left on the ground. They turn out to be not enough.

Whoever is backing ISIL continues to give them money and intel. They successfully evade most major US bombings. The CIA continues to mysteriously be unable to intercept their cell phone conversations.

American policy is frozen in bombing mode until November.

different clue

Between now and Nov. 5th, ISIS will get Kobani conquered and under control. They will extend this conquest to enough of the villages and village lands around
Kobani to divide the two parts of Syrian Kurdistan with a barrier too big for any Kurds to get across no matter how skilled. They will try to expel the Kurds into Turkey rather than kill them all in place. Erdogan will order that they be let in so as to play the great humanitarian on the world stage. He will still think he can have his cake both ways and eat it too, same as now.
ISIS will not attack Turkey. ISIS and the Erdogists are implausibly deniable partners. Turkey wants the Syrian Kurds made broken enough to be kept manageable and containable. That's what dividing Syrian Kurdistan into two pieces is for. In return for that service, the Erdogists will join ISIS in keeping the border peaceful and quiet, and Turkey will make sure to be a "non-threatening" neighbor to ISIS so that ISIS can do other things elsewhere without worrying about what Turkey might do. If necessary, the Erdogist government people and ISIS people will quietly consult on how much counter-ISIS action
Turkey has to perform and ISIS has to accept to keep up the cardboard replica fiction of Turkey somehow supporting the anti-ISIS coalition a little bit.
Elsewhere I don't know enough to guess what the ISIS/Baathist coalition will do on the other fronts. But I feel that the ISIS-Turkish border will be quiet enough that ISIS will feel free to move many people and stuff away from that border to other targets.
As Turkish Kurds get more overtly angry and bitter, Erdogan will think he can gezify them a little and if that doesn't quiet them down he can gezify them a lot. I don't know what that will lead to within Turkey.


IS launches attack on Baghdad and BIA supported by infiltrators creating mayhem all around the city. People panic and start to flee. The Iraqi army runs with them. This has the US corporate media hyperventilating with all kinds of dire scenarios and putting massive pressure on Obama during the election cycle.

Turkey begins to get destabilized as domestic unrest intensifies and spreads due to the aggressive tactics to repress dissent. Sets the stage for civil war.

IS consolidate all anti-Assad forces in Syria under one command while masquerading as moderate forces become recipient of US money & arms. They begin infiltration of Jordan under the guise of receiving traning by CIA and special forces teams for moderate Syrian rebels. They launch massive attack against Assad forces.

Israel uses this opportunity to settle scores using a pretext to attack into Syria across Golan and Lebanon. Air & missile strikes against Syrian government and Hizbullah targets.

IS infiltrators and sympathetic Islamists attack inside Jordan. King flees.

The Saudi royal family and the Gulf state monarchies submit to the Caliph to protect themselves.

The global economy enters into another recession. The shock of the chaos in the ME dents confidence and over-levered speculators surge to the narrow exits causing panic in financial markets. The central banks print staggering amounts of money to staunch the bleeding but that only exacerbates the panic. Highly leveraged Banks with speculative portfolios collapse. Many average people lose their savings.

Demagogues appear blaming Ehrabs and Muslims and fanning the flames of social discord. Riots break out in the west. Dark skinned people targeted by lynch mobs.

G. I. Hazeltine

A few thoughts:

1) While ISIL seems indeed to stand to recruit disaffected young men in some numbers I wonder if they will be able to recruit significant numbers of the trained and experienced Iraqi army veterans that seem to have had such a significant effect in many roles, from command to handling the tanks and artillery.

As for experienced and battle hardened jihadis they too might be harder to find as time goes on. They are recruiting many jihadis from Syria it seems, but these are the relatively ineffective elements of the Syrian opposition, as I understand it.

It seems to me if this dilution of skill and experience takes place it will slow them down considerably. The Colonel has pointed out many times that training effective soldiers is a long process, as in years.

2) Further, as their numbers increase, and the geographical area they control increases, then issues of command and control increase, and the difficulty of maintaining discipline and loyalty will increase as well.

As the Colonel has pointed out, Islam, and Sunni Islam especially, is rather democratic. This habit of thought may become a problem, it seems to me.

3) Apparently the CIA estimates the number of ISIL fighters at twenty to thirty thousand. If this is correct, or even the higher number estimated by some of 50,000, and they control a population of something like eight to ten million at the moment, and millions more if they take Baghdad, then they are spread very thin. Not many more per civilian than the NY City police, or perhaps fewer.

As I understand it nearly every adult male in this region is armed. If all men in depressed areas of US cities had a Kalashnikov in the house and many were skilled at planting IEDs policing would become problematic, I think.

4) ISIL's extreme Islam is in conflict with much if not most of many generations of custom, both tribal and city, and while extreme brutality will keep things under control initially, it is hard to see how they will be able to effectively maintain that control over extended areas and for extended periods of time.

People in general don't like change, and particularly not to have their lives upended, and even less if that is done by outsiders.

So, for all of these reasons I wonder if we are not in some cases overestimating the long term, or even medium term future for ISIL in its present form.

And I wonder if their recent effectiveness in taking territory can be sustained, even for months.

But I could be very wrong, of course.


While everyone is watching what happens in Kobane, ISIS is preparing a massive operation in Iraq with the main objective of capturing as much as military hardware as possible. Special emphasis on weapons that can't be easily bought/ found.
Ex: anti-air craft systems, tanks, AT missiles, etc. (ISIS needs these kind of weapons to defeat the Syrian army and to launch attacks against any other country. However capturing weapons from Syrians may be difficult since Syrians are putting a strong fight. Easiest option seems to Iraq.)

[There is a report that Iraq has received Russian Pantsir-S1 air defense systems and will soon receive TOS-1 (Multiple Rocket System on tank chassis) systems. ISIS will sure love to have some of these (with operators).]

ISIS attack in iraq is targeting major iraqi bases and ammo depots. ISIS will not try to capture Baghdad but it is casuing sabotage and disruptive activities (like suicide bombings) inside Baghdad and other Iraqi cities to overwhelm the Iraqi security forces (and shia militias). ISIS is trying to disrupt activities in the Baghdad air port without actually capturing it using artillery (since that place has lot of US personal. ISIS target will be to engage the Iraqis without a major US intervention).

ISIS attacks in to the Iraqi bases (or cities and towns where these bases are located) is using normal infantry/"technicals", sleeper cells and even saboteurs who have joined the iraqi forces. ISIS have inserted their small teams in to iraqi cities and towns so when the main ISIS thrust happened these teams have attacked the Iraqis from the behind causing the Iraqis to run away.

ISIS objective of capturing seems succeeded despite US air attacks. Baghdad is not fallen yet but Iraqi army is in disarray. Air attacks against ISIS are not successful mainly because there are too many targets but with little intel on where exactly to attack.


Till Nov. 5
ISIL will engage Kurds , take Kobane, get more support from Erdogan and run deeper into Kurdish state. That’s the price for Erdogan support. Kurds are on the losing side, this time huge… shame on us…
Baghdad - Iraq is the prize for ISIL leaders, but they can't move untill things will be cleared out on the north
SAA clears Aleppo and holds. Don't know the level of ISIL infiltration by Syrian Security, for the any future for Assad the bigger the better...
US - between a rock and a hard place, will do nothing just continue "bombings" and secure BIA
Iran is split between Rohani "toward west" policy and usual anti-imperialism (Ahmadinejad)attitude, will do nothing (IMHO they should invade Iraq ASAP on the full scale if they wonna be player, not played...)
Russia - should not allow to develop this Nabucco project, radicalize Iran, supporting Ahmadinejad party... thus more confrontation
China - those guys are happy as ever, every US vs EU vs Russia confrontation is like a manna from heaven... well its their time, isn't it :))


Suppressed religious energy throughout the region is increasingly mobilized by IS successes, resulting in the emergence of numerous hotspots, especially in Egypt and Jordan. These isolated oil spots are the first steps towards coalescing into the physical entity imagined as the restored Caliphate. The vanguard of IS will inspire a lost generation of Muslim young people, whose own access to social media will begin to convince them that there really is a war against Islam - this, btw, is not my personal opinion but a fair assessment of how it is perceived. In any case, the theo-political jinn is out of the bottle and too dispersed to be countered with strictly military efforts.

In Turkey, the ridiculous dream of EU acceptance and membership will finally be exposed for what it was - an eternally unfulfilled promise. Europe will never allow the admission of a Muslim state. Turkey is holding the best cards in this hand, as the Administration looks more and more pathetic in pleading for action against IS. Turkey will negotiate from a position of strength and demand that the West give it something in return, perhaps the ethnic cleansing of Kurds.

The borders that Turkey closes, or opens, mirror and mock the closing of Europe's borders to Muslims. The incipient destabilization of Turkey will include the great numbers of increasingly orthodox Muslims, some of whom will organize resistance within Turkey as de facto support of IS aspirations, if not its methods. Jihad will overcome fitna.


Very short term: Turkish Army establishes a limited corridor into Kobane, on humanitarian grounds and to prevent genocide, with Special Forces, followed with armor. IS remains passive. Kurdish anger subsides. Lots of PR and atta-boys for RTE.

IS stands down, clings to the edge of town, some kind of détente achieved for the time being. RTE-IS understanding remains, as long as there are not too many casualties on either side. IS shifts its trade simply to the east and west of the corridor. Assad remains passive, grateful that a buffer zone is avoided for the time being.

US airstrikes ease, with no real damage inflicted on IS, which by now has learned to hide and avoid.

IS shifts its focus to Baghdad, but remains West of the river and away from Shiite areas. Causes a lot of trouble for the airport and the green zone.

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