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14 November 2014


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Col: Is this agreement a tacit admission that IS prioritizes consolidating its current areas of control over trying to destroy the SAA?


dear sir,
not really surprising since both organization are similar. But this would probably shock the WH, the State department and many in the msm.


Some journalists I talked to who are knowledgeable in the Syrian jihadi issues believe that the above news item is wrong. Reports a few days ago that IS had joined JAN in the attacks on CIA-rebels in Idleb were definitely wrong. IS was not involved at all.

The sources in the piece are very weak.

The original AP report is here:

... according to a high-level Syrian opposition official and a rebel commander ... according to the sources in rebel groups opposed to both Islamic State and Nusra Front ... A US official with access to intelligence about Syria said the American intelligence community has not seen any indications of a shift in the two groups’ strategy, but added he could not rule out tactical deals on the ground.

Two anonymous rebels looking for money and resources claim that JAN and IS made peace and would now jointly attack them. The U.S. official has not seen that in the intel.

I find it hard to believe that Al-Qaeda and the Caliphate would join. Who would be the boss? The caliph is a challenge against AlQaeda's leadership and Mullah Omar. He broke his oath to the AlQaeda organisation. I doubt that this will be forgotten.


Here is Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi at Landis' blog making now the same points I made earlier above.


These sources are not credible and the rift is too deep to be healed now.

In short, the recent reports of supposed merger and alliance talks between JN and IS need to be taken with a pinch of salt as rebel disinformation. From JN’s perspective anyway, an alliance with IS would be strategically disastrous in the long-run, as IS will seek to subjugate it. That JN, Jabhat Ansar al-Din, al-Qa’ida branches and even more mainstream Islamists in general might see the international coalition as a war on Islam is only to be expected, and is certainly relevant to the question of whether the U.S. can build an effective local Sunni fighting force against IS in Iraq, for example. But this debate needs to be distinguished from sensationalist talk of IS-JN mergers and the like that fails to understand IS’ self-perception and how it relates to its interactions at the grand level with other groups.



IMO you enjoy being contrary in the hope of catching the old man (me) in a mistake. pl


Think the alliance that has been allegedly forged is just on the tactical level, not on a strategic level.


Perhaps the Caliph, along with a bunch of his buddies, really are dead, so that the breach of oath is no longer relevant and IS is in sore need of leaders. It seems the history of jihad leadership is Darwinian survival of the fittest and those that survive longest rule.



Yes, of course it is a tactical alliance. pl


All and any,
This is probably off-topic for this thread aside from the thought that there are moderates available to be trained and the likelihood of that success and some of what is at issue in that part of the world. On finding, training, and standing up a competent moderate resistance force: I, among many, remain very skeptical. I have followed this story over the past week or so: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/nov/04/lansley-criticises-ministry-defence-serious-failure-libyan-military-training

A friend with 25+ years in the region and about 20 in Saudi Arabia commented as follows recently: "I fear the issues would be the same be the trainees Syrians, Iraqis, Kuwaitis or anyone else. For most of us with knowledge of the region and education/training, the salient issues in the article came as no surprise. The idea of creating a disciplined anti-regime force anywhere in the Levant or elsewhere in the region is hogwash. The end result in Syria will be 25,000 armed . . . psychos indistinguishable from their supposed foes."

This is also of possible interest regarding what is in play in the background: http://business.financialpost.com/2014/11/13/lawrence-solomon-saudi-arabias-war-of-attrition/



It looks like Caliph Ibrahim may have survived as he made an audio statement with time related facts.

"A voice recording has surfaced, attributed to Ibrahim al-Samarra’i, the leader of the brutal terrorist group Daesh (which the US calls ISIL or ISIS). Al-Samarra’i was wounded in a US airstrike on a Daesh convoy near Mosul last Friday. This voice recording may not actually be by the Daesh leader (it has not been authenticated).

The voice recording, in any case, depicts al-Samarra’i as boasting that his caliphate is spreading, referring to the pledge of allegiance he received from Ansar Bait al-Maqdis (Helpers of the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem) in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, an announcement that came after last Friday’s air strikes."


Now that he got all blown up, he wants to strike back at the Kingdom.

Getting a hit on him, even without sending him face to face with God, is a positive sign since the intel had to come from somewhere, such as a disaffected member currently employed by IS willing to drop the dime for a Dubai condo and bank account.

The Caliph should have led today's Public Prayers as it is part of the job description he assumed.


Not at all. I try to digest the information about and from Syria. That is difficult for anyone as the motive of each source of "facts" is often hard to assess.

I am confident in this one. IS and JAN have some local arrangement in Qualamon where both and some other groups surrounded by SAA and Hizbullah and have little communication with the outside. But there is no general cooperation, none in Idleb at all, and indeed the published proclamations of the leaders of both sides point to further hostilities between the two.

Some FSA guy wanting money and support claiming this or that is totally unreliable. To base theories on their claims does not make sense.

Lord Curzon

"Game over, man. Game over!"



Rule #1 I’ve learned in your online correspondence is that the Middle East is a zero sum game. The participant's gain (or loss) of utility is exactly balanced by the losses (or gains) of the utility of the other participant(s). Basically, certain states (Iraq, Syria and Libya) have lost power to religious non-government organizations (al Qaeda and the Caliphate). Much of this due to the machinations of the USA, Israel and the House of Saud. The Saudis have cleaved the Shiite Crescent north of their border. Israel has gotten Hezbollah involved in a forever war in Syria and has downgraded the Assad Regime. USA military contractors have waved off sequestration. Billions of dollars will continue to flow into their pockets.

My Rule #2 is that blowback is guaranteed. It will be a big black squawking swan. Something like the Sampson Option, the fall of the House of Saud, or WWIII.

“Russia stations warships off the coast of Australia for G20”
The whole foundation of the global order is shaking. Now is time to end America’s regime change escalation, quarantine violence, and end austerity before it is too late. The current path terminates in the Dark Ages II.


The CIA was training the psycho liver-eaters last year, on purpose. Different in degree, not kind.

Halliburton has moved to Dubai. Gosh, I wonder who might get the contract to train and supply these people? Pure speculation...

Joshua Meryman

yes, fine...but was does "working together/struck an alliance" actually mean, what does it look like?...is one "advising" the other? funding? supplying extra arms? or not killing eachother?...


b, turcopolier, all

I'ld dismiss the ISIS-Nusra deal alledgedly concluded in Atarib, too. There is no information who represented whom in that meeting, if it happened at all. Most likely, ISIS was in reality Jund al-Aqsa, a long time Nusra ally which pledged loyality to ISIS long ago, in that meeting, and the scope of the deal, if there is a deal at all, is hardly for more than Atarib and other towns closeby. Whatever there was, let's wait for what action on the ground will show. I'ld bet it won't change anything.

What I find a more interesting report regarding Syria was two days ago in Reuters. Quote:

Syria rebels in south emerge as West's last hope as moderates crushed elsewhere

With moderate rebels facing defeat by al Qaeda in Syria's north, groups holding a corner of the south are seeking a higher profile and more help, as the last Western-backed forces holding out against both President Bashar al-Assad and the jihadists.


Assad's forces control Damascus, the Mediterranean coast and much of the area in between. Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot, controls the east, while Nusra controls much of the northwest and is expanding at the expense of moderates.

The southern provinces near the Jordanian border are an exception, where rebels calling themselves the "Southern Front" still control territory and have managed to resist Assad while avoiding direct clashes with the Nusra Front.



If I read that correctly the Reuters report says no less than western-backed rebels have been crushed everywhere, either by the Syrian army, ISIS or Nusra, and there is no way to reanimate them anywhere except at the southern front, meaning Daraa and Quneitra.

But, the Reuters language is carefully crafting language around a major caveeat: "... have managed to resist Assad while avoiding direct clashes with the Nusra Front."

So, according to reuters, one of the great achievements of the "West's last hope" is that they managed to avoid direct clashes with Al Qaeda.

The fact the Reuters report carefully conceils by this language is that among the Southern Front rebels there are lot's of Nusra Front Al Qaeda fighters. My impression is that as soon as the western-backed rebels from the Southern Front take on the Nusra Front, the western-backed rebels from the Southern Front will cease to exist, either because the Nusra Front fighters will finish them off, or because when they fight the Nusra Front the western-backed rebels from the Southern Front will be so much weakened that the Syrian army will defeat them afterwards.

Certainly the truth is that the western-backed rebels from the Southern Front are either too weak or not willing to fight Al Qaeda, because if they were willing and able they would have finished off Al Qaeda's Nusra Front on the Southern Front already.


The Saudis have also inked a $3 bil. arms deal with France to aid Lebanon.


All part of the propaganda war IMO. Smoke screens galore.


bandolero, b et al

I have a problem with your analytic methodology. It seems to me that you are relying too much on news reports originating from reporters in the field who have only limited access to the subject under discussion. In effect they are trying to describe an elephant while blindfolded by touching the elephant in various places. IMO an analyst should use that information plus everything else he knows from general experience and indeed instinct. In this instance I judge that the military logic of combining forces against Assad in operations rather than organizationally or hierarchically makes sense. pl

Babak Makkinejad

This deal was announced months ago.

Not a single bullet has been delivered yet.

Why would Saudi Arabia empower Lebanese Army to fight Wahabis and neo-Salafis?

Iran offered 2 weeks ago to send weapons to Lebanon at no cost.

It was quashed by US.

The absurdity is this:

US is fighting Wahabis/neo-Salafis, so is Iran, which is under UN Sanctions to not export arms, and so is Lebanese Army.

The funder of the Jihadists sits pretty all the time making announcements.

The only thing lacking here are the Marx Brothers.

The beaver


Just in case you've missed this info:


an update on the so called alliance of ISIS and Al-Nusra...



@Pat - here some tweets from Elijah J. Magnier ‏@EjmAlrai, one of the best informed ME journos, posted some 9 hours ago.


Amir Jaish al-Muhajereen Salah al-Din Shishani confirmed he was asked by both #JAN & #IF (surprisingly) to mediate with #IS +

In this video, Shishani said (acc 2 translation) he went to see #IslamicState who refused the mediation . #IS #Syria http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoNPvnFrkEU

I was really surprised 2see that #IF wanted a truce w/ #IS & more surprised 2see #IF can even believe that #IS would accept 2 trust Allouch

Amir al Muhajereen wal Ansar said (see video) #IS answered: "we don't trust these (#JAN and #IF)

If IS accepts any kind of request form JAN it means a recognition. Same for IF.

And I was surprised how both could believe IS could agree on truce.


The southern offensive has been ongoing for over a month. The insurgents went from Jordan along the Golan up to the Lebanese border under cover of Israeli artillery. Whenever they were attacked by the Syrian army they fired a mortar into Israel proper and the Israeli army responded by shelling the Syrian army because, it said, it is the Syrian army's responsibility to keep everything calm. Nice logic ...

The move is now into the direction of Damascus but a Syrian counteroffensive is planned and will soon start.

These insurgents and all the fighting have been led by al-Nusra while all official mentioning, like in that Reuters piece, claims it is an FSA offensive. It is not. Al-Nusra is clearly in the lead.


Polyanna view: won't take as long as the 1914 clusterfuck and its consequences rule out updated replay of 1939-45

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