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10 November 2014


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Piotr, Poland

I agree partially with Mr Makkinejad, but not when he said:
„I expect the new Salafi state in Western Iraq and Eastern Syria to endure and become - in time - a UN member.”

This begs few important questions:
1. What will happen to near 6 milions of fugitives from ISIS Iraq/Syria area? Living in fugitives camps forever? How long Turkey and Lebanon could accept this situation and feed those people? Could UN accept new ISIS state and forget those people? I don't think so. Could IS let them go back to their own places of living, which they left? – I don't think so either. So we have the Gordian knot here.

2. What will happen to all those strangers fighting for IS? Could they stay in IS area and begin to build peacefully the new islamic state? Some of them probably yes, but all of them? Or rather they'll come back to their homelands bringing the flame of new islamic revolution? And Europe or US/Canada could tolerate this? Hardly to believe.

Piotr, Poland

Oh sorry, I should to write "refugees" not "fugitives". My mistake.

different clue

Piotr, Poland,

Syriastinians, Iraqistinians . . . Syriastinians especially. Assad will probably keep out the Syrian refugees who are currently out, except for those few who totally satisfy the SAG that they can be trusted to come back.

As for the JihadIStas, ideally they would all go to the ISIStan front and all be killed there, and none survive to come back to their own countries.

Duncan Kinder

According to James Baker:

"It is in Iran’s interest as well to defeat ISIS. Is there an opportunity to find some common ground with the Iranians?

If you accept that winning this war will require troops on the ground, that we don’t have any available, that Turkey is not willing to put troops in, and that the Gulf states don’t have that many troops to send, I’d much rather have Iranian troops in there fighting ISIS than I would American boys and girls. The Iranians helped us in Afghanistan in 2001, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that they could do it again.

If we did work with the Iranians against ISIS, it would have to be done very quietly, because we would lose our Sunni Arab allies and it would create a firestorm in Congress. But I would be surprised [if] we weren’t working in concert with Iran right now at some level. There’s not one country in the world that doesn’t have an interest in seeing ISIS destroyed, so I think this would be an ideal place to build a truly effective coalition."



To Piotr,

1. What will happen to the fugitives/refugees? Exactly what happened to the Palestinians who fled Israel's tender mercies. They will remain in camps forever. ISIS will never give "heretics" any right of return.

2. Could the UN accept an ISIS state? Yes, if it's money was good.

3. What happens to the strangers fighting for IS? They will look for new battles to fight, possibly in Poland.

Babak Makkinejad

ISIS is not a threat to Iran.

Why should Iran fight ISIS?

And look like she is waging a religious war against the Sunni Arabs.

Babak Makkinejad

As you have observed, refugees will stay where they are and become a headache for Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and KRG.

No one is going back to where they were before they fled for their lives.

And everyone in EU will turn to Germany and as for money to help the refugees. Business as usual.


If I may, I would like to share an opinion on ISIS from China.

Quote Tian Wenlin, associate research fellow at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, on 2014-9-18 in Globaltimes:

"More importantly, we still know little about the real face of the IS. Currently, Western media outlets have given full coverage to the cruelty and extremism of the IS. But according to various sources, the group provides water and electricity in its occupation areas and well manages bakeries, banks, schools, courts and mosques. It is unclear if the IS is a heinous terrorist group or a product of Middle East politics. It is too early for China to take part in military actions against it. Such prudence also proves China is a responsible power."



From history lessons I have heard that there was a time when the US were widely respected in the world because they didn't meddle in people's affairs on other continents. Today such attitudes seem to be more characteristic for Chinese positions in world affairs.

Babak Makkinejad

The Western Syria is the most populous and most productive part of Syria which is controlled by the forces of the Syrian Arab Republic.

I should expect the enemies of that state will not be going back to ISIS-controlled areas; they are not Eastern Syrians. They will remain in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan.

NATO countries have created 5 states: South Sudan, ISIS, Eastern Libya, Western Libya, and Kosovo; all dominated to varying degree by unsavory characters.

Let us see how these 5 states evolve

Does not look good.

Piotr, Poland

1 But Palestinians were only 1000's not millions in camps. Those people are beaten now, but if history of Palestinians could teach us something those refugees (or rather their sons)could form real military power....

2. UN accept IS when US, Russia and China decide to do so? Is US ready to do it?

3. Good joke, but we have no problem with salafists, like our neighbours, Germans have for example. We have near 1000 of "old" Muslims of Tatar roots, totally assimiliated in eastern Poland who are afraid of the Salafi islam, and maybe a 100 of neophytes. There is no even single Pole among IS fighters. Looks like we are immune to ISIS's siren song to this moment.


Col. please consider opening a specific thread, like your gaming thread last month, on what an unconventional warfare plan would actually look like against ISIS? Specific equipment, specific logistics, specific alliances, command structures, and training at a granular level?

You have good people with diverse knowledge contributing to your blog so you could accomplish before Thanksgiving what must take government think tanks months to sort out if it is happening at all. I figure somebody will read it and perhaps turn on a light bulb on in DC.

I attach below a link to Bluto's declaration of war speech in Animal House and wonder how close it is to the debate which will occur in Senate Armed Services under McCain. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7vtWB4owdE

different clue

Duncan Kinder,

The Iranians would want a believable guarantee of no-doublecross this time around, before they coordinate their efforts with ours. Perhaps that is part of what the Nuclear Negotiations are for.


Unfortunately our not-so-wise leaders don't seem interested in listening to sensible Russian strategic insights into the Middle East, or anywhere else these days. After all, they're old fashioned realists... very suspicious!

I have been looking for an excuse to post this hilarious bit of satire, which, in it's own unique way, gives some insight into how the Western elite views Russia these days.

The Problem with Russia’s Continued Presence in Eurasia http://www.greanvillepost.com/2014/11/04/the-problem-with-russias-continued-presence-in-eurasia/



"Nato countries have created..."
Yes, because the Sudanese, Libyans and Kosovaars have nothing to do with the places they are living in or the form of governments therein; and ISIS, well none of those proclaiming adherence or allegiance to the Caliph are in any way inspired by a fundamentalist whabbi view of Islam; perhaps they are just enamored of the NATO treaty?


Well, if NATO hat not intervened we would have not have gotten Kosovo's independence.

The Serbs would have put the KLA down. NATO's intervention tipped the scales in the KLA's favour.

"Clint Williamson has spent three years investigating allegations of atrocities in the late 1990s, when Kosovo Albanian guerrillas were fighting Serb forces.

He said elements in the KLA murdered ethnic Serbs and other minorities.

There was also evidence of human organ harvesting and trafficking on a very limited scale, he said.

The EU's Special Investigative Task Force (SITF) was set up in 2011 to investigate allegations made by Dick Marty, special rapporteur of the Council of Europe. He alleged that organs were taken from prisoners killed by the KLA.

Mr Marty also alleged that KLA allies of current Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci engaged in heroin smuggling and assassinations."


"Other crimes perpetrated by senior KLA members, such as unlawful killings and forced disappearances, amounted to the ethnic cleansing of large portions of the Serb and Roma populations, and there was enough evidence to prosecute, Williamson said."


NATO had used the KLA, and had at the same time been instrumentalised by them for their own ends.

By helping them, NATO enabled the KLA to do what they did. They would have been unable to do all of that without NATO help.

That doesn't mean that the KLA folks are not responsible for their own actions, to the contrary, they are. But NATO bears responsibility, too, for enabling them.

It is just like that in any oher country where the US or NATO decides to tip the scale by supporting this or that group. All these groups have their own animosities and agendas. It is foolish to believe that they share the motives that Western governments project on them.

On more abstract level, NATO would not have set a precedent of agressive war in violation of the UN Charter (no UN mandate, meddling in a domestic Serbian affair).

IMO that was the 'Sündenfall' that led down a path to instability and an increased frequency of intervention and (now almost habitual) breach of international law for the sake of expediency and in pursuit of one or another nominally humanitarian goal.

So, as far as I am concerned, I could have easily done without Kosovo's independence.


I think the worst solution is to let them stay in camps, which are a nice breeding ground for extremists.

In re Germany: Germany can absorb around 300.000 worker per year during the next decade.

As long as we do not repeat the meistake we made with the Turkish "Gastarbeiter", i.e. too many in too short time, which resulted in the formation of cultural ghettos, Germany should allow immigration of people from Syria IMHO.

What is your assessment of educational level of Syrians in comparison to Iranian? The latter integrated very well in Germany.

I have only a few students from Syrian families, they do very well, but they may be outliers.

Babak Makkinejad

The Iranians in Germany, and the Western states, are largely refugees from Islam.

Syrian refugees cannot be absorbed into Germany or any European state - in my opinion because they are more religious oriented.

The 2 most advanced Muslims states - Iran and Turkey - were once parts of the Seljuk Empire (together with portions of Transoxiana). Whatever is noteworthy about Islamic Civilization and Culture may be traced to that Seljuk period and its cultural synthesis.

It never included the Arab lands or what is today Pakistan.


"As for the JihadIStas, ideally they would all go to the ISIStan front and all be killed there, and none survive to come back to their own countries."

IMO that's precisely the reason why the US is bombing ISIS now. And, as it appears, Obama's vicious campaign of drone strikes has effectively broken the back of Al Qaeda. They have had horrible leadership attrition at the hands of the US.

That's also why Russia is supporting Assad. And the Russians can be somewhat forgiven: "They rather fight'em over there than over here", to borrow that inane phrase. In the case of Russia and the Chechens it does make sense. They form a key contingent among ISIS fighters.


Now of course, McCain can't have that.

On the one hand he harangues Obama for not having already bombed Syria and destroyed ISIS and Assad with an army of armed unicorns - but Chechens, they're friends, as long as they cause Russia trouble ...




Clearly, only a knave would doubt that, unlike Crimea, which illegally declared independence from Ukraine, Chechnya has every right to secede from Russia.



" All these groups have their own animosities and agendas. It is foolish to believe that they share the motives that Western governments project on them"

That was my point, though not articulated as well.

Ishmael Zechariah


I can understand where the izzies are coming from in terms of a long range ME strategy, but I cannot decipher the overarching strategy driving US actions. Supporting several Kurdish groups, who do not share goals or language (who actually hate each other) to form yet another proxy state which will forever need propping up, will exactly achieve what, when?

Ishmael Zechariah


You are on to something with "noteworthy about Islamic Civilization and Culture" but i don't think Seljuks had anything to do with it. The organic milieu which led to advancement in Islamicate societies in those regions is a complex subject and was not a product of something seljuks did


And i think i would disagree with "most advanced Islamic states" title for Iran and Turkey. However open to the criteria you used for this qualification.


"...which will forever need propping up, will exactly achieve what, when?"


It provides connected Courtiers cash now.

different clue

Ishmael Zechariah,

I suspect our policymakers do not have the granularity of detailed knowledge to know that the Kurds come in "several groups" who "hate eachother."

The Twisted Genius

Ishmael Zechariah,

Who said our policy was to create a Kurdish state or two? I'm all for assisting those Kurdish groups, including the YPG, in resisting the IS. Beyond that, what the Kurds do is their business and their neighbors' business. I understand Turkey's resistance to assisting Kurds, especially the YPG and PKK. I don't have a dog in that fight.

In Vietnam, SF did not work with the Montagnards and Hmong to form separate states for them. It was to support US goals. Hard hearted empaths and all that. Even so, several Special Forces Association chapters do their best to this day to care for their former comrades in arms and their families.



Not really that different in numbers, since West Bank and Gaza are, essentially, overgrown refugee camps too. Besides, refugee "crises" have been common enough in the past century anyways, some numbering many millions, and most refugees did make peace with their new homes one way or another, eventually.

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