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13 January 2015


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William R. Cumming

P.L. I am confused! Why not just heavily arm and train the Kurds in Syria and Iraq and reward Turkey for its FP lapses and perhaps Iran also? This is not divide and conquer strategy but rewarding the Kurds for the many betrayals of them by US!


Dear Sir,
while US may be able to hold off any major ISIS offensive, it want be able to hold off random mortar rounds, sniper rounds or suicide bombers. Very high possibility of US taking casualties at least in small numbers.

On other news, ISIS has opened a office in Helmand province but does not seems to very popular among the local Taliban.




Having been mortared and rocketed a lot, I wholeheartedly agree that US casualties can occur anywhere that our people are exposed to such fire even if the fire is not particularly directed at them. At the same time, a capture of US soldiers will have predictable consequences. pl



In recently recovered Jalawla (thanks to Iran), the Shiite militia's have demanded the Kurds who helped retake the town, leave. The Kurds refused, and may start openly fighting with the Shiite militia's. So, here you have the US supporting two sides of a three-way civil war. To ask the obvious question: What could go wrong with allies like these?

Of course its worse, if you note that the "battlefield" extends into Syria (i.e., more than 3 sides), but the US strategy is based on defeating IS in Iraq but not supporting its goals in Syria.

You are right to find this SNAFU confusing.


I can't seem to find the link but I read somewhere that Gwer was suppose to be the staging ground for the alleged attack on Mosul scheduled for later this year. If that was true then this is the Islamic State throwing the old monkey wrench. Or simply ruining the party.


I've got Gwer (or al-Kuwayr) to the South West of Erbil and - as you said col - half way to Mosul. These are the coords: 36°2'37"N 43°29'59"E
Google Maps says its 59 minutes by car to Erbil. And I didn't notice much in the way of natural obstacles either.


Colonel - McClatchy reported on Sunday that the attack was repulsed.



At least, the Kurds has the courage to fight. Read somewhere that a unit of Iraqi troops (pls. correct the info if wrong) retreated haphazardly when confronted by the Daesh attack. If not for the Kurdish special forces in Gwer (w/c subsequently were reinforced by Peshmergas)Gwer might be in Daesh hand again.

alba etie

al Jezerra America also had a report yesterday that depicted what looked like a A-10 Warthog strafing Daash lines in the vicinity of al Kuwayr .


mike, great article. McCatchy did a really good job too during the last decade, where they caught my attention.

"Barzani said Kurdish troops had recovered at least 17 bodies of dead Islamic State fighters and had paraded them in nearby villages because “seeing dead terrorists is good for the morale of the people.”

I am not completely sure, if this is a good approach, but then I have been circling around 'respect' and 'related rights' of the dead in the last decade. Reading a Nazi legal thesis on the subject from the early years of the "third Reich" here in Germany--do with info what you like--but stopping short of looking into the two opposing legal camps in the contemporary legal scene today.

Ok, I'll add that: the Jewish struggle against Mormon practices had caught my attention. And in this context I found out that some 'spiritual German-Jewish friends', like the painter Felix Nussbaum, was among the baptized too.


Col. Here is a link to an NPR Hear and Now interview with Mitchell Prothero of McClatchy in Iraq which is worth a few minutes. http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/01/14/irbil-iraq-prothero Key takeaways: Iraq army worthless before April and likely inept thereafter, ISIL unable to do much more than raid because of air cover, Gwer was attacked from boats on the river and raid repulsed.

.... As a side note I wonder if the agricultural crops will be planted in ISIL territories this year?



An interesting comment about the crops. Who would interdict the planting, ISIL or simply fear of combat from any party?

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