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18 January 2015


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Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

Yes, I agree.

And likewise Syria is partitioned and we have a new state called ISIS.

Likely, we will see more of it as history marches on - South Sudan and Yemen will probably cease to exist in their current configuration as well in a few short years.


IMVHO, this post circles back to the issue that keeps surfacing again, and again, (and again...) on this blog and several others: US foreign policy does not appear to have a clearly articulated, coherent set of goals.

So out of the blue, civilians like myself hear that we're supposed to be upset about Putin and Crimea (and Ukraine). And the next week, we're supposed to get hysterical about some other flare up. And so on...

If I'm at all typical of the US public, we have foreign policy whiplash: look here! no -- look there! and now, over there! Layer on R2P, and it's a ceaseless, expensive game of whack-a-mole, with no clear, coherent policy objectives, and increasing levels of risk: military, economic, and environmental.

If the US had a clear, sensible set of foreign policy objectives, it would be simpler to 'move on', because the tradeoffs would be more clear. At this point, I'm not clear what the US military is being asked to do, nor why.

The problem with admitting that Picot-Sykes is now history, and we need to move on appears to be one more symptom of fuzzy leadership, probably stemming from conflicting objectives within the foreign policy nexus of think tanks, NGOs, lobbyists, private service providers, and government.

Charles I

One day you'll no doubt be fighting in Saudi too, no?


There seems to be a growing movement in the Iraqi parliament to tell US to pack sand.

"And last week Iraqi MPs began to push for answers, with some even suggesting a cancellation of the SFA. Among them was Alia Nassif, an MP for the ruling State of Law party, a Shiite Muslim-majority party headed by both the current and former Prime Ministers of Iraq. “Iraq does not benefit from the security agreement with the US,” a statement from Nassif’s office said. “On the contrary the agreement has become a heavy burden on us because the US has not fulfilled one of its stated obligations – strengthening and supporting the democratic system in Iraq. The IS group threatens the whole existence of the Iraqi state.”

Nassif also noted that the international alliance fighting against the IS group, which is being led by the US, isn’t large enough or consistent with the strength of the American nation, which could defeat the extremists within weeks if it wanted to.

Niazi Mimar Oglu, the MP representing the interests of Turkmen in Iraq’s Parliament, was another politician calling for the end of the SFA. “This agreement prevents Iraq from getting weapons from other countries because the US promised to give Iraq arms,” Oglu told NIQASH. “But the US hasn’t kept its promise, especially at a time when we are in desperate need.”

These kinds of criticisms appeared to be the motivation that the Ahrar block in Baghdad – the political wing of the movement led by cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who was always vehemently opposed to the US presence in Iraq – needed to start collecting signatures so that the proposed end of the SFA could be discussed in Parliament."


It looks like last week was the opening of the New Year's winter offensive with the global jihadis in general agreement (i.e. AQAP and IS operatrives cooperation in Paris).

The one attack that got the least attention was a female martyrdom member blowing up an Istanbul police station. That appears to be a warning message to the Sultan by the Caliph that some threats are more significant than others, so move wisely in the Global Game.


But colonel, the Iraqi Sunnis will never be content with the rump of Iraq in the north. And the Shias and Kurds, in competition, will seek to take away Mosul from the Sunni rump.

The current situation is a sort of what if: had the U.S., USSR, France, KSA and the Gulf States not supported Saddam Hussein, and the Iranian offensives of the 1980s succeeded, to the point where Iraq now stands. In fact, the current situation mirrors the war aims of the Iranians during what they refer to as The Imposed War. And they got this, mind you, on the cheap, via U.S. military blood and treasure. They continue to do it on the cheap, using PMUs, and loyal elements of the ISF.

I think you're right, Colonel: Iraq is shedding its European conceived framework, for a regional one that appears more historically recognizable-- that is, pre-Eutopean colonial.



IMO it is their problem, not ours. pl



Thank you for your excellent overview of the situation in the land formerly called Iraq.

The American people and their governing elites are consumed by mass delusions. It is going to be very painful when reality strikes.I shudder to think what their reaction is going to be.


Well I'm two for two as far as campaigns Ive fought in being a total wash.

different clue


Is there really a move in the Iraqi Parliament to tell us to pack sand? Oh if only! Please set us free, O Iraqi Parliament! We have better sand to pack than what is in Iraq.


I was in the minority that predicted this a long time ago, a few dollars more in our treasury. Sir, two quick questions. First, will the Kurds now have to cut a deal with the Iranians? Also, will anybody in our government ever acknowledge this reality?

Babak Makkinejad

Neither Kurds nor the Shia Arabs of Iraq will have the capability of capturing Mosul.

Sunni Arabs have to make a decision to rejoin Iraq in an inferior position compared to what they had before 2003.

They will not make that decision and given the affinity of Sunni Arabs in Eastern Syria and Western Iraq, there would be new state that will remain a threat to all states of the region; excepting Iran and Israel.

Who know, may be another Salah al Din is going to emerge out of ISIS and conquer all of Levant - including Palestine.

Babak Makkinejad


Prophecies of Professor Vali Nasr - 2008


ex-PFC Chuck

A bit off topic, but still in the pertinent part of the world. A few days ago John Robb put up a post at Global Guerillas suggesting that the near simultaneity of the Charlie Hebdo operation in Paris and an ISIS attack on the modern day Maginot line the Saudis are building along their Iraq border was not an accident. The fact that the general in charge of the construction was killed during the attack implies the attackers had inside information on his itinerary, according to Robb, and that this fact must be very disturbing to the Saudi powers that be. Any thoughts on this among readers of this blog who are better informed than I?



If it's any consolation you're in good company. George and Barrack both managed to wash out too. At least you didn't lead us unto that "messopotamia".

Swami Bhut Jolokia

Yep, sounds about right. I'm sure the military schools have excellent history departments and most (but not all) military leaders have the proper perspective; too bad our politicians choose to ignore history. We're exceptional, remember?


Hey that's one hundred percent.
Might as well buy a lotto now as
the odds seem in your favor.
💰💰👀. Of course I agree it is
a sad state for all who have been
involved. As we used to say in
RVN "Sin Loi" (sorry bout that!)


Well, console yourself that you're not the only one. I'm in the same boat.



Let's not forget who conceived 911. They, the root cause of all the instability, should have been foreign policy priority and objective to begin a decade ago. What they got away with, can be compared to Japanese getting away with Pearl Harper.


was not Salah al Din a kurd?

Babak Makkinejad

The fault often is not with the generals but with the non-military leaders.

Few of the civil executives of governments have had any military experience.

Furthermore, the democratically elected ones seem to feel that since they have won so many votes, they are now Olympian characters, fit to strive with gods.

Babak Makkinejad


Globus Pallidus XI

Are we mad? I would rather say that "we" (our elites) are insouciant.

Let us consider Hilary Clinton. During her tenure as secretory of state, the highest praise that you could give is that her policies did not actually result in the outright destruction of western civilization as we know it (so far). And yet, Saint Hilary is widely touted as a ‘serious person’, she is currently the top-seed for next president of the United States, she gets million dollars fees for spreading her wisdom at speaking events. Where sane people would see only a record of repeated failure, a Neoliberal sees a long resume of important positions and serious jobs (and she’s a woman!).

How does this happen? Others pointed out the flaws in her policies before they failed, others do not have such a track record of failure – ah, but they don’t have powerful friends. So they are not allowed anywhere near the levers of power. They are not given coverage in the mass media, they are not appointed to prestigious universities… Ultimately Hilary Clinton is lauded as a senior statesman because the game is rigged (and did I mention that she's a WOMAN?), because the elites in the United States are now a self-congratulating pack of cronies. So it doesn’t matter how badly they fail – all the institutions and mechanisms for identifying and demoting failures are under their own control. There is no feedback, there is no correction, the Neoliberals live in a golden bubble where everything they do is wonderful, regardless….


Charles I

It just seems to me that's where the jihadis will eventually want to go, and where they go, we go. Whether there will still be be Royal House of Saudi terrorists for us to defend is another thing.

William R. Cumming

Will China or Russia intervene in MENA with armed force?

I understand the US intends to increase its forces in Iraq?

Charles I

Not to mention that Royal succession is at play.

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