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08 October 2014

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bth

For TC consideration:

US airstrikes continue to target fixed and mobile gasoline refineries in Syria and Iraq territories controlled by IS creating regional shortages of refined fuel. Black market develops between Shia with access to Iranian fuel and Sunni tribes in IS territories.

Rumors of food shortages, farmers refusing to plant without cash compensation from prior harvests and hording emerge in IS territories. IS responds with decrees and public displays of terror tantrums.

Oil prices fall rapidly to $80/bbl for WTI. World suppliers produce to full capacity. Economic recession hits Europe and parts of Asia throttling energy demand. Government budgets in Russia and Iran are particularly affected.

Oil fields near Kirkuk come under IS attack.

Nightly air flights begin to arrive in Irbil with light munitions, artillery and communications gear for Kurdish fighters despite public objections from Iraq and Turkey.

Turkey accepts China’s offer for a free trade agreement infuriating the EU.

Information is leaked in the British press linking Ergodan’s family to Iranian gold smuggling for oil causing an additional crackdown by the Turkish government on dissidenting parties and partial blockage of the internet in Turkey.

Back channel discussion between US and Iran allows movement of surplus US ground equipment (MRAPS etc) from Afghanistan to southern Iraq transiting Iranian truck and rail routes with local transport. US counter battery support emerges near BIA. News of this is leaked to the Telegraph by unnamed sources accusing Obama of collusion with Iran.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia agree to strengthen military ties. Additional financial support to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia is announced. India steps up support for Afghanistan.

Russia requires Iran to pay for arms shipments (past and present) Russia makes to the Assad regime.

The Ruble continues to weaken. Inflation continues to surge in Russia particularly for food and automobiles.

Fuel shortages and continued political tensions in the Ukraine grind that economy to a halt.

The US announces that with stronger jobs data released just before November US elections that it expects short term interests rates to rise. The dollar strengthens against all world currencies. EU tightens its monetary policy causing deflation in Southern Europe and fear of social unrest. Immigration policies toward Turkish citizens in the EU are re-evaluated.

After the November elections in the US, an agreement is announced regarding the Iranian nuclear program along Iranian terms. Rumor of a backchannel deal are denied by all. Iran-Contra type hearings are threatened by Republicans. Hillary Clinton denies all knowledge of Iran but has sonogram pictures and announces a baby shower for Chelsea.

Ebola arrives in India and China from expats. China suppresses the information. India blames Muslims and signs a MIG deal with Russia involving tech transfer. Russian announces its rejuvenated support for political reform movements in Southern Europe, Africa and South America. Investments in African countries flat line causing social political strains not seen in decades.

turcopolier

fred

TC response:

"US and Russian Federation attempt to curtail the ‘regime change’ actions in Ukraine and have back channel discussion on anti-IS actions in Syria."

US categorically denies any such back channel discussions.

"US and Iran work to tacitly turn a ‘blind eye’ to sanctions violations. US provides intel to Iran on IS activities in Iraq where available and appropriate."

Any such contacts are closely held at NSC level in US.

"US and Gulf States – continue efforts to curtail funding directly and indirectly of IS supporters."

There are ongoing efforts toward this goal with coalition partners.

"US and Turkey – US pressures to open NATO airfields to combat use. Will this be effective before Nov 5?"

Turkey continues to insist that US air and ground forces must be committed against Syrian government before "full" cooperation can be given.

"US and Egypt – US pressures Egypt to curtail IS actions and keep the canal area in operation."

Egypt remains fully committed to internal security operations.

"What naval forces are available to deploy the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf to provide air and missile support to interdict and IS supply lines, exposed artillery and massed forces near BIA and the Green Zone?"

An additional US carrier battle group is expected to be on station in eastern Med. by 15 December. French De Gaulle battle group will be on station in the Black Sea by the same date to support air ops in Iraq. turkey offers no objection to overflight of french naval aircraft to and from Iraq only.

"What can be deployed in Kuwait or Jordan to provide logistics support to JTACs, LR reconnaissance (and defense of such bases of operation)?"

A Stryker mechanized brigade is being readied for deployment to Jordan (Azraq) to help secure the base as a center for US activities. Brigade quartering party will arrive by 5 November.

"Will raids outside the greater MEA be considered part of this scenario – i.e. an ‘October’ surprise attacks in the UK, US or other areas."

Such operations are estimated to be a possibility. pl

Bandolero

Kobane front
Syria and Iran will try a half hearted (more designed for PR purposes than for real effect) humanitarian and special forces mission to rescue Kobane. As Turkey doesn't grant transit rights through Turkey, they try to go from Qamishli to Kobane through Syrian territory. But IS is too strong and the rescue mission fails. YPG & FSA in Kobane will be defeated by IS and Kobane falls completely to IS in mid october. There will be reports of gruesome things done by IS in Kobane. There is political fall out.

IS declares victory in a crucial battle against the crusaders and their puppets and asks more Wahhabi/Salafi jihadis in Syria to join them. Some more of the so far FSA-affiliated jihadis in Syria decide to defect from Nusra Front/Ahrar Al Sham and the likes and join IS. IS is strengthened by this development, the western-backed "moderate" rebels are weakened.

Erdogan will be blamed by Turkish Kurds affiliated with DBP & PKK, by most western countries and by Syrian YPG Kurds to have let Kobane down. DBP & PKK cancels peace process with Turkey. Western countries ask Erdogan again to join the fight against IS, but, for fear, Erdogan ditches NATO and teams up with Russia and China, they bring no real pressure on Erdogan and Erdogan doesn't do anything. Syrian YPG Kurds in Afrin - northwestern Syria - see an alliance with FSA & US as not string enough to beat IS and switch alliance to team up with Assad. They wait anxiously for the Syrian army to close the gap in northern Aleppo between Handarat and Shia city Nubol, so the Syrian army can supply them with weapons. The western-backed "moderate" Syrian rebels are further weakened by this development. US government will come under criticism to have not coordinated their efforts to rescue Kobane with Syria and Iran.

Baghdad front
IS will use their heavy weapons to attack BIA. They will create chaos, send US personell stationed there on the run and thereby claim another victory against cursaders and their puppets. However, Iraqi forces, perhaps backed up by Iranian IRGC, will hold the airport and Baghdad. The beheading of the captured US helicopter pilot by IS will lead to loud calls of revenge in the US. But their will be still no unity in the US on the question whether the US should coordinate it's fight against IS with Iran, and therefore the action taken by USG will be that the US uses more drones instead of helicopters. US-led combat against IS will thereby become less effective. IS claims victory in the battle against the helicopters of the infidels and their puppets.

Aleppo and western Syria front
The Syrian army will further entrench, fortify and enhance it's current position. As of November 5 the Syrian army will gain some more ground in crucial areas in East Ghouta/Damascus and northern Hamah thereby further diminishing hopes of victory of western-backed moderate rebels. On the Aleppo front the Syrian army will fortify it's current positions and gain some minor ground. As of November 5 the army will neither have closed the ring around Aleppo completely nor linked up Handarat with Nubol yet, but the army looks increasingly on the verge of doing such a jump. IS will, after conquering Kobane, use it's free resources in that area to bolster it's front against western-backed moderate FSA/IF rebels in Marea north of Aleppo. The situation for western-backed moderate rebels in and around Aleppo looks increasingly desparate. North of Aleppo the western-backed moderate FSA/IF rebels seem to be in a position to be completely exterminated between the amboss of the Syrian army and the hammer of IS. On the southwestern front in Daraa/Quneitra on the border with Jordan/Israel suddenly IS will pop up, mostly as a result of IS infiltration into Salafi/Wahhabi groups like Nusra Front and increasing defections from such groups to IS. It will trigger some fruitless discussion in western states about the effectiveness of the current anti-ISIS-campaign and hamper Israel/Saudi/Turkish efforts of having their guys conquering Damascus coming from the Southwest/Golan.

Other areas of interest:
Until US Congress elections on November 4 no new major diplomatic activity on world level will be taken and bear fruits. After US Congress elections POTUS Obama will be faced with a Congress even more hostile to him. Some segments of Sunni populations in GCC anti-IS-coalition countries and Jordan will become increasingly angry about their state's participation in the US-led war against IS.

Haralambos

EU and US governments ramp up current efforts to identify possible ISIS recruits. Refugees fleeing into Greece and the southern rim of the EU increase dramatically, and the EU comes under pressure from rim countries, Greece,Italy, and Spain for more aid to deal with this. Turkey comes under increased political pressure internally to resist or to protect Kurds and is also under pressure to deny them access on either side of the border. Tensions escalate in Turkey between the Kurds (PKK) and the government. External issues for Turkey remain on the boil due to issues claims regarding oil and gas deposits in the sea off Cyprus.

Fred

Request for TC Input
IS commander –

Deploy four separate strike teams armed with man-pads to Dubai. Travel via separate routes and methods (including camels if practicable) and stage forces near international airport. One team kept in reserve. Conduct scouting operations after arrival. Attack timing is prearrange before deployment. Code name “pin the tail on the kangaroo”

Planning staff assessment of Iraqi Army in Baghdad and forces within supporting distance of BIA, the Green Zone. Location of enemy reserves within supporting distance. (Which side of the Tigris.) Planning staff to target bridges and road junctions for truck bombing/interdiction attacks to block reinforcements.

Deploy agents to monitor inbound coalition air and land assets in Jordan, Kuwait and naval traffic/logistics in Bahrain.

Direct planning staff to prepare decoys of tanks and artillery pieces using available materials and civilian vehicles. Designate assembly ‘areas’ of decoys and stage AAA traps to ambush coalition air.

Diplomatic effort.
Conduct/attempt negotiation with Turkey to continue prohibition of use of Incilik and other airfields to coalition air.

Attempt contacts with officials in SA, the Gulf States as well as officers and NCOs of SNAG and Qatari forces (to subvert/convert the latter two).

Attempt to acquire one or more of “Our Girls” from Boko Haram and bring them to al Raqqa.

Coalition commander:
CJCS directs planning staff to prepare NEO for BIA and Green Zone.
Planning for deployment of additional ground attack assets (AF A-10s) and marine aviation. Provide force availability projection for November, December, January 2015 given current commitments ordered by POTUS/SecDef. Include armor, infantry, artillery and aviation assets plus naval forces.
Assessment of coalition casualties for a IS attack on BIA and the Green Zone.
Logistics requirements for resupply of fuel, ammunitions, spares as well as food and water. ( for coalition forces).

Cee

All,

Going out on a limb but still expecting the worse...I pray that Erdogan and Ocalan will speak out more forcefully and recommit to a peace pact re: Kurds. Then all parties bury the hatchet and work to enlist the aid of Assad (who had given Kurds and Ocalan sanctuary) and all unify to defeat ISIS.
Haralambos mentioned female fights in the prior wargame forecast That tactic may work on the manipulated Jihadi bogeymen who think that they won't go to heaven if a woman kills them, but not on the false flag mercs. Still, I like that plan.

Some stability starts to break out and the adults in the US will not be tricked into this failed chaos strategy AGAIN. Amen.

Dave Schuler

My guess as to what will happen between now and November 5 in the conflict is that we’ll continue bombing, IS will expand its territory a bit but mostly continue to consolidate its present holdings, the Arab states who’ve been participating in the bombing will begin to pull back, having reached the limits of their resources, and the Syrian government will continue to very, very slowly push back the rebels.

William R. Cumming

Am I correct that ANBAR PROVINCE in Iraq under total control of IS?

Stephen C

From my office chair, this is a fascinating read. Thank you.

I'm inexpert. Still, I think--hope--the following intuition is uncontroversial.

At the Pentagon and ops centers, teams are mapping, overlaying, identifying, and doing all sorts of gathering and crunching so they can support requests for more plans.

What kinds of requests might be driving analysis right now?

Is the problem of not having robust real time targeting assets 'at sand level' going to be solved by November 5th?

What's happening of interest at the commands and DoD right now and over the next few weeks?

elaine

Kobani falls.( ISIS does not attack Turkey rather moves on toward Erbil dragging Kurdish human shields along with them,) the U.S. will defend Erbil more seriously with intense bombing. ISIS sleeper cells in Bagdad, Lebanon,
Sinai, Egypt & Jordan start popping off.

U.S. African Command distracted by Ebola social work unable to strike effectively @ Boko Haram. Possible attacks inside the U.S. & Europe. Egypt & Israel share intel in attempt to clear Sinai. Saudis start paying a little attention to Yemen.

alba etie

TC Request
The members of the Syrian Government , USG , Russian government - and whomever else -UN Iran ? ) that helped facilitate and get done the CW removal from Syria , begin back channel talks about an Assad sanctioned 'stepped down ' from power that would leave the Baathist party still in power but with limited reforms to satisfy 'core democratic principals" . In return the USG would stop funding "moderate anti Assad rebels " because hey Assad the bad man is stepping down . The new SAR government is now given free rein and a UN Resolution to mop up all liver eaters in Syria. The same state actors that did the CW deal and helped broker the Assad stand down -now begin back channel outreach to al Douri to join the World Community in stamping out Daash . In return the Nashqbani leadership is allowed to represent & lead the Sunni interest in whatever comes out of the former Sykes Picot state known as Iraq. Daash is defeated militarily and diplomatically by the "World Community " .

herb

In my scenario prediction above, AQ threatens an attack in the US before the election but is too decimated to pull it off. In fact, any October Surprise is likely to be another successful US mission capturing or killing a top remaining AQ target. The overall IS modus operandi is to fill the power vacuum created by weakened states in the area. They will gladly sacrifice AQ leadership to the US for the reward money to its operatives, to consolidate its control of Sunni jihad imagination, and to create breathing room with the US. This is a threefer for IS. These intelligence transfers would occur through Erdogan factions in Turkey. That support being the most operationally significant to IS. Col. Lang has been very prescient throughout in recognizing Turkish complicity in IS ascendancy.

The Erdogan faction is definitely ready to resist significant US, NATO, and internal political heat. Kurds within Turkey who supported Erdogan in the last election are going to become quite restive over the period before Nov. 5, as the realization becomes more stark how badly they were duped.

CatMack

Request for TC input,

French carrier group entering the Black Sea would be in violation of the 1936 Montreux Convention.

Even if this was not intentional, let us spin this branch further.

After two months of minimal contracted deliveries of natural gas from Russia and "revers" deliveries to the Ukraine, by the beginning of November it becomes clear to all key actors that Central European natural gas stocks are too low to support industry and the population through the winter. Parties start to position themselves to support two concurrent crisis in the coming months.

Stories start to emerge about equipment withdrawn from Afghanistan being shipped to Georgia and US Air Force logistical elements are spotted in one of Georgian airbases. Turkey grants U.S. overflight rights for operations in Iraq.

Note on logistics and technical plausibility: It is 650km from Batumi to Mosul, vs 850km from Kuwait City to Mosul and 1300km from Bahrain to Mosul. Given that carriers in Med would maintain at least 200km stand-off from the Syrian coast against Yakhonts, should overflights against targets in Syria be allowed, Georgia again is the closest secure piece of land to targets Northern Syria, 300km closer then Cyprus. No need to consider S-300 which may or may not magically appear in Latakia.

Best,

CatMack


alba etie

PS ( reply to alba etie )
Further TC Request ..
USG sweetens the deal by promising to send former Neocon Iraqi Czar Paul Bremer to Tikrit as the new 'aide de camp " to the soon to be sworn in interim al Anbar Republic President Ibrahim al Douri - Shortly after arrival dear Paul goes missing never to be seen or heard from again ( if only,, )

b

@Pat

Don't have time to write a scenario though I remarked on Lebanon on my site. Seems seriously endangered.

@TC

"French De Gaulle battle group will be on station in the Black Sea by the same date to support air ops in Iraq. turkey offers no objection to overflight of french naval aircraft to and from Iraq only."

No carriers are allowed in the Black Sea. Russia would surely raise some big red flags should Turkey let a carrier pass through.

 Ishmael Zechariah

Request for TC Input: 1534 Zulu

1-Probability of Daash activating their cells in Turkey for direct attacks, pursuant to their latest "threat" video with hand grenades.
2-Probability of clashes between separatists Kurds (SK) and Citizens of the Turkish Republic (CTR) rising to the point of civil war. (In Tarsus two days ago, ~6000 CTR were prevented from taking out a few areas with known concentrations of SK only by 2 hr of pleading from the mayor and the commander of the local gendarme.
3-Probability of Turkey becoming ungovernable, resulting in a military coup.

Ishmael Zechariah

turcopolier

IZ

TC response - It is estimated that IS finds present Turkish government so useful that a policy of observance of Turkish law is in place for the time being while IS deals with more pressing matters. It is estimated that the probability of mob action between CTR and SK is high. Probability of unrest in Turkey leading to fall of government is 50%.

TC (former rifle platoon leader, weapons platoon leader and Bn. recon platoon leader 2/2 Infantry Regiment. 1964-66. "Noli Me Tangere" pl

turcopolier

b et al

In light of Russian interest in the destruction of IS, the Russian government has decided that that it will not raise an objection to the presence for six months (renewable) of the De Gaulle carrier battle group in the eastern Black Sea for the specific purpose of missions in Iraq against IS targets. There has been an exchange of notes among the three governments (Russia, Turkey and France) in which Russia further states that French fleet visits in Sabastopol from the battle group for the purpose of R&R and re-victualing would be possible. pl

Lemuel Vargas

Request for TC Input:

Here is a website that has updates on the ISIS war:


http://warincontext.org/

hope this helps in your scenario making.

William Fitzgerald

TC - Summary of operations and the situation as of 05NOV14

Kobane was secured by IS on 15OCT. Turkish actions on the border are being compared with the Soviet halt at the Vistula in AUG 1944 by commentators and un-named government officials. By 05NOV Turkey is being viewed as a liability. The overall situation in Syria has not changed, except for slow gains by SAG forces around Aleppo.

Air ops continue from the USS GHW Bush and Azraq Air Base, increasing in tempo. Target acquisition is inadequate, nevertheless IS forces north and west of Baghdad are denied movement and the ability to mass.

The counter battery equipment and personnel arrived BIA 19OCT and married up with the artillery regiment of the 6th Iraqi Division (M198 155mm Towed). An advisory staff was put together from the military assistance group and operations began against IS artillery fire. IS unable to mass fires and with very little FO capability was forced out of range of BIA by 05NOV.

_SF GP arrived Erbil by 31OCT and by 05NOV began operations priorities are 1. To establish contact with Sunni tribes, beginning with the Al bu Nimr 2. Begin Guerilla ops against IS lines of communication as soon as practicable 3. Target acquisition for the air campaign.

The two brigades in Iraq will receive a DIV HQ by 01DEC and the main body of the Stryker Bde is expected to arrive by 15DEC. Planning has begun for an attack by this force on an axis Najaf, Karbala, Ramadi, Haditha; to secure the area Haditha - Tikrit. The planning is for a possible authorization for the use of ground forces.

On 05 NOV the situation in Iraq is stabilized. Quiet liason with Iran is being done through Iraqi Army contacts. Kurds remain on the defensive and are receiving upgrades in their weaponry. Kirkuk remains in Kurdish hands. IS forces near Baghdad are unable to achieve a decisive victory and have lost momentum. Coalition forces will be unable to achieve the objective of destroying IS without a re-vitalized Iraqi Army. That army cannot be a glorified Shia militia if it is to have success. Stalemate?

WPFIII

turcopolier

CatMack

TC response - Turkish government has continued to deny US use of its air bases for tactical activity against IS in either country to include overflight from former USSR air strip in Georgia. It is estimated that Turkey believes that it possesses enough leverage against the US to force employment of US ground forces to defend its southern border and to destroy Syrian Air Force in a no-fly operation. pl

the Unready

Iran accepts that the Shia govt in Iraq is currently unable/unwilling to fight IS in Sunni Iraq, or ideed to effectively govern any Sunni area. Iran acquiesces in the fall of BIA and Western Baghdad and begins to consolidate the Shia rump state.

Assad consolidates rump state of Western Syria.

Russia intervenes in a limited but effective way against IS in Eastern Syria, at the request of the Syrian govt. Once again, Putin outsmarts Obama - doing something (e.g. for the Kurds or to push IS away from Aleppo) versus meddling and prevarication.

It becomes clear that IS has nowhere to go but Saudi Arabia.

Oil prices rise again. Iran and Russia satisfied. Turkey and Saudi very uncomfortable.

ThePaper

What's the point to move Charles De Gaulle to the Black Sea? The obvious place is close to Syria/Lebanon coast. IS and allies are no maritime menace in the Mediterranean. Overfly through South Turkey if Syria airspace is closed.

Kim Sky

German government votes to Save Kobani, release massive bombing campaign against Islamic State. ISIS quietly remove two important Germans from inside Cristal Grand Ishtar Hotel, as a German Trade Delegation has arrived with their share of spooks. First a search. Two days later, video released of beheading of Rolf Meyer-Reuman, head of a Law Firm located in Dubai. The following day, another video denouncing German campaign in Kobane. Massive round-up of usual-suspects throughout Baghdad. Baghdad frozen with so many blockades that IS can actually move through city more easily. Car bombings, suicide bombings. Shiite neighborhoods default to defense, meaning 15,000 Iraqi Police are unavailable to defend the Green Zone, remarkable untouched for the moment.

German, Western response hysterical. Troops on the ground!!! Taking time to organize. Airport road is riddled with IEDs. Beginning of actual military campaign against IS. Arab and Turkish partners be damned. Whole Sunni cities bombed: Falluja, Ramadi, Tikrit. Massive civilian casualties.

curtis

During last week of October several small mobile recon units of IS find themselves stranded due to their vehicles dying just after passes by coalition (U.S.) aircraft. It is discovered these vehicles were targeted for demonstration of EMP weapons effectiveness.

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