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18 November 2014


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Hard to believe that estimate - where the hell are they training them? Made up Kurd propaganda is more likely, in order to explain their own shortcomings and lack of elan in confronting an enemy. At 200,000 they simply must be helped with American soldiers, right?


Mr Hussein's logic is appealing, however let's also keep in mind he has a vested interest in making exaggerated claims in order to get money and other resources for his side.

As you say, time will tell.


Guerrilla armies in their varying echelons of organization vary widely in their levels of training and equipment. pl


This is somewhat reminiscent of Alan Pinkerton in support of General McLellan. "Enemies? Of course, Sir, How many would you like?" I doubt this estimate to an extreme degree. Fighting on interior lines and exploiting mobility makes it possible for few to seem to be many. Wishful thinking and a vested interest can expand the numbers even more.



I am less doubtful. That is not what Pinkerton did. He added all the reports together and summed them up. pl

Babak Makkinejad

All ISIS needs is to introduce Draft in the areas under its control.

Given the mutual antipathies of all the antagonists and protagonists of this situation, I am led to believe that ISIS is here to stay.

Let us face it; there is no Sunni state that is against ISIS - even though ISIS is a thread to them all.


If concentrated pressure were put on, let's say, 2 spots within ISIS' interior lines - say one in Syria and one in Iraq at the same time - I wonder how many IS fighters could/would gas up their truck, leave their families and drive to the battle?



That is the point of a US UW campaign. pl


With total air superiority, and the clarity of anyone not in the Obama administration, one wonders why Dempsey or his theater commander, can't pick up the phone and say to the Kurds, we'll give you all the small arms and munitions you can carry and then you pick the target and on, say, Dec. 7th, we'll cover you for twenty miles on a very narrow front. And you Mr Iranian general running the Iraqi army/mob, pick your preferred ISIS target and just send the horde running on foot across any ten miles of field you choose and we'll provide air support. And Mr. Assad, we're not friendly, but for this week only we'll shoot anything that moves in your direction 20 miles ahead of your position at any location of thrust you choose that day so long as you don't shoot at us.

Then if its good for everyone, we'll smoke a cigarette and try it again in two weeks.

Even when ISIS is tipped off there's little they could do about it that wouldn't be seen from the air as a target of opportunity. They might trigger an early uprising in Baghdad but without the ability to follow through with reinforcements, since they'd be pressured on at least three sides, it would seem a moment of opportunity for the good guys especially with ISIS command structure shot up last week.


IS needs to be deprived of their easy transportation. Time for some EMP weapons to be deployed and used. Vehicles don't run if their computers are fried and necessary wires are burnt out. Of course that is unlikely to happen since so many of TPTB (the powers that be) are reaping great rewards from this series of events.

Charles I

Be drafted or die upon occupation would at least supply a goodly amount of cannon fodder for the next front.

I haven't looked for or seen any reporting on just how many ISIS fighters are being killed, as opposed to the long lines of Syrian and Iraqi bodies on the news that they kill. Haven't heard a single body count or claim.


jr786 ,
"where the hell are they training them?"

I don't think ISIS trained them. Prior to 2013 this area contained a number of trained men from former-Syrian military, Baathist, western back FSA men, veterans from Iraqi insurgents, etc, etc.

I don't think ISIS killed each one of them and recruited new people. I think they followed the example of the Mongol army (Mongol Empire) recruitment practices to a certain extent.


Charles I ,
"Be drafted or die upon occupation would at least supply a goodly amount of cannon fodder for the next front."

It is not really cannon fodder. Read this interview. ISIS treat recruits based on their skill level.


Jim Buck

Isis are here to stay




Anecdotally, watching all these ISIS and other videos, they strike me as being young men. Late teens & 20s. They don't seem to be hardcore Baathist left over from the old days. IDK the Syrian military to know how many well trained troops they had that could have broken away - but I'd suspect most of the original Syrian insurgents are probably dead by now and have been replaced by those with no formal training (what's the survival rate for a young Syrian insurgent?)

No doubt their elders are leading or assisting, but I would guess with a pool of millions of young unemployed men in places like KSA, there are a lot of bodies to throw at the problem.

Has any researcher ever published how many non-Afghans went through the meat grinder against the Soviets? 10K? 50K? 100K? Would that apply as a model for these wars?

Charles I

Thanks. I am thinking of an analysis I heard on CBC noting ISIS's facile use of foreign fighters as inoculated against local tribal and human sympathies allowing for splendid barbarism, n/w/s how eager the buggers seem to go there to play out whatever particular bug got up their ass.

Charles I

Yet the foreign fighters as "useless" analysis is at the end of your article as well:

"The consequences of disbelieving were not clear in an environment where they practice beheading.[Obey or die?]. . . foreign recruits had no clue as to what the verses of holy Quran actually meant. I saw many foreign recruits who were put in the suicide squads not because they were "great and God wanted it" as IS commanders praised them in front of us, but basically because they were useless for IS, they spoke no Arabic, they weren’t good fighters and had no professional skills[cannon/barbarism fodder?]

Charles I

Will beheading be a yellow card?


Uh huh, and what passes for OB analysis these days uses exactly the same technique. The healthy suspicion of every source is long gone, I am afraid.



Not on my watch pl

Babak Makkinejad

Any army could very well use such assets in the manner deployed by ISIS.

The Assassins of Hasan Sabbah, Islamili Shias, used such tactics very effectively.


hardcore Baathist are probably in higher ranks by now. The many ISIS members does seems to be in their 20s but it does not mean much because we don't know when they started. This region has been in a war for the most of the last decade.

"most of the original Syrian insurgents are probably dead by now and have been replaced by those with no formal training"

However I don't think this is the case. I don't think ISIS (or any other group with a proper idea about the future) sent their best to the front. It does not take very long to train someone. Also ISIS has lot of recruits from other rebel groups (who have been trained by the Saudis, Jordanians, etc).


Charles I,
foreign fighters based on their skills-set may be useful for different purposes. Here the non-arab speaking useless foreign fighters most probably came from europe. Even for a non-Arab speaker, a Chechen with experience may be treated different.

Jim Ticehurst

The Islamist Groups seem to have always had a Decent Level of Strategic Planning Organization..ReOrginazation ..Supply and Funding IMO The United States has been playing Into Their Hand since 9/11..At Least...

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