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19 February 2015

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turcopolier

Patrick Bahzad

A wonderful piece. I would add to the list of MB attacks on the SAG after Hama the several car bomb attacks on public buildings in which the assailant drove into the lobbies of the building before detonation. pl

anna-marina

The Vineyard of the Saker's take on the US policies in the Middle East and Ukraine:
http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2015/02/seven-countries-in-five-years.html

"Unfortunately ... the US will resort to harsher means than the nazification of Ukraine, Kurdistan or muslimification of Europe or the Middle East to achieve their goals. And Putin will resist. And it looks like Turkey will defend itself too."The war to save the petrodollar is already on the way and USA are playing vabanque with the world. And stupid Europe is helping the very third time in its history."

confusedponderer

Indeed, a wonderful post. Thanks!

Charles I

Divide and conquer. . . or just divide. A tremendous post, thank you.

If only this kind of background were available to the public because for us, while reflecting on the history of the ME, its difficult to see ANYTHING but blood, hate, sand and religion

Abu Sinan

Great read. It might seem counter intuitive, but not all Sunnis support the uprising. I know more than a few who do not. It is not that the love Asad, it is because they are well aware of what the other option is.

Patrick Bahzad

Absolutely PL ! The interesting point with this MO being that it was similar to the way the U.S. embassy in Beirut was blown up in 1983 ... Strange coincidences sometimes !

Cee

All,

You know my thoughts on the origin is these monsters.

The following is interesting.

http://gnayabchohan.com/2015/02/18/who-the-hell-are-isis-wesley-clark-says-our-friends-and-allies-funded-isis-to-destroy-hezbollah/

rick

Patrick Bahzad

Thank you for this and all of your posts. Really. Looking forward to more.

Patrick Bahzad

You're welcome ! Count on a follow up to this essay already (hopefully soon) and possibly some piece about ISIS and Al Qaeda recruitment of westerners possibly At a later date ...

Ishmael Zecharia

Patrick Bahzad, SST;

IMO oil fields and Mediterranean access for the new court favorites, the Kurds, are two issues at the heart of the current conflict.

Here are two links which might be relevant to the discussion at hand:
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/02/turkey-kurds-kurdish-spring-david-phillips.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-l-phillips/iraqi-kurds_b_1912568.html

"Professor" Phillips appears to be yet another "activist" operative tasked with eliminating "anti-US" regimes. There is no reason why his machinations will fare any better than Sykes-Picot in the long run.

It will be interesting to see how the game plays out this year.

Ishmael Zechariah

Jonathan

I don't think this adds much but, apropos Hezbollah, the Saker has posted the full speech of Nazrallah on Feb 16th. Perhaps there is little new in it, but I was impressed by his starting with condemnation of the killings of the Coptic Christians just as I was by his condemnation of the Chalie Hebdo killings.
He is so far from the picture of Hezbollah painted in the MSM that each time I read what he says, I am surprised at how much I have been influenced by the MSM event though I know better. Here's the link to the text published by the Saker
.
http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com.es/2015/02/hezbollah-secretary-general-nasrallah.html
.
Almost at the very beginning he says:
"However, allow me first to tackle a really grave incident. I find myself obliged to express our as well as your strong condemnation of the brutal and savage crime perpetrated by the Takfiri Daesh organization against the oppressed Egyptian workers in Libya. This crime cannot be tolerated or bore by the mind, heart, conscience, religion or humanity. In your name, we extend our condolences to their oppressed and deemed-weak families, the Egyptian people, the Egyptian government, and the Coptic Church. We also express our consolation and deep sorrow for this calamity which afflicted them. In fact, it afflicted us all - Islam and Christianity, Muslims and Christians, and every human being who has a mind, a conscience, and an intact nature. We will return to this topic again in the course of the speech."

And later in the talk he takes up the notion of 'conspiracy'

"These are new wars and fronts. Whom are they serving? For whose interest are they fighting? Here and for the first time I dare to say: Consider the "Israeli" Mossad, the CIA, and the British intelligence. Previously, we did not pose the theory of a conspiracy. But now we say let's take that into consideration.
Everything that the Takfiri current and Daesh do serves "Israel", "Israel's" hegemony over the region, and the US hegemony over the region."

Babak Makkinejad

Yup, create another state out of Kurds and watch it become a failed state over-night; just like South Sudan.

Ex–PFC Chuck

Thank you, Patrick!

Fred82

Patrick,

This is truly amazing stuff.

Now, approximately how many AQ members or personnel from "elite" al Qaida units have defected to ISIS?

And how successful has ISIS been in recruiting ex Syrian military and intelligence personnel?

Patrick Bahzad

Thx for the links Ishmael ! I didn't know this Prof. Philipps, but from what I gathered he thinks the Kurds are now America's best friends in the region ... sure, why not ! After having tried every other option, I guess it is time for a "strategic" alliance with the Kurds. I'm sure America's friends in Ankara were thrilled when they heard about this.
I'll get more into the stakes for the regional powers in my next piece about the Islamic State.

The Beaver

@ PB

That's what some people in Israel is pushing for :
here is an example :
http://mida.org.il/2014/08/14/israelis-ones-kurds-trust/
and the mantra that we hear and read:
"It is a society that rejects religious zealotry. Most Kurds are Sunni Muslim and one can hear the five-times-a-day Muslim call to prayer, but it is muted and ignored by most.

Like Israel, Kurdistan is more democratic than any of its neighbors. Like Israel, Kurdistan is surrounded by enemies that wish it did not exist. Like Israel, Kurdistan looks West. And like Israel, Kurdistan has maintained an internal equilibrium though all the world betrays it."

and picked up by Jpost also:
http://www.jpost.com/Experts/The-Kurds-and-Israel-Straws-in-the-wind-361248

However, it is ironic that it was Comverse Infosys who gave Turkey via the Israeli govt or Mossad the location of the PKK chief Abdullah Ocalan in Kenya back in 1999.

Patrick Bahzad

In reply to both your questions:
- difficult to give realistic numbers about defections, because of general lack of [reliable] information about what goes on on the ground in Syria. It's safe to say though that ISIS has gained a lot more influence especially, among the foreign fighters. According to some estimates around 40% of JaN personnel defected to ISIS after Caliphate proclamation, but the situation is fluid, things can change quickly and individuals - particularly among small brigades - can join another group, so I wouldn't venture into any personnal estimate of defection towards ISIS. At the moment, they have certainly gained in strength as opposed to JaN, which is still a very structured and consistent force. That's all I can say with certainty;
- regarding second question, plenty of defectors from Syrian military (SAA) joined the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the early stages of the uprising. Ever since the war has reached its current intensity level, with a polarization of allegiance on both sides, things have stabilized, meaning the number of Syrian army defectors to ISIS is close to zero (unless they have a death wish). ISIS has been much more successful with recruitment of ex-Iraqi military.

Patrick Bahzad

Thx for the links ! I will have a look ... but it seems in line with traditional Israeli foreign policy in the region, i.e. looking for alliances with actors on the periphery of the area that's of interest to Tel Aviv, with possibility of a "back door" entrance into hostile countries or as a platform for long distance power projection, which isn't something they're very comfortable with.
Now that they blew it with Turkey and still are on a counter-productive collision course with Iran, there aren't many options left. Kenya is one in Eastern Africa (Ethiopia maybe too), links with Caucasus republics like Azerbaijan and Georgia are being strengthened, but in the ME itself, the Kurdish regions are about the only thing left, other than genuine insurgent groups.

Charles I

Patrick, apropos of our apocalyptic angle discussions and your, and others I now recall, the references to the secular Baathist element, the disbanded Iraqi officer element evident in initial ISIS success, how do these 'secular' warriors view the barbarism being employed?

Patrick Bahzad

I think the Baathist element in ISIS sees this barbarism in a very pragmatic way, as means to achieve political domination over a territory and it's population through terror and fear. It's nothing new to them, that's how they managed to quell any unrest in the days of Saddam Hussein (remember how they broke the Shia and Kurdish uprising after operation "desert storm" ?) ... Those of the former Baathist who have found comfort in salafi faith will refer to passages of the Quran suggesting to terrorize the enemy in the early stages of battle until he submits.
Overall however I think this debate about ISIS' barbaric acts is blown out of proportions and is not the real issue. Usually in any war, especially a civil war, atrocities are being committed. Nowadays these atrocities are also used more and more as a propaganda tool on both sides. But I don't seem to recall anybody protesting against the use of white phosphorus as incendiary weapon by the Marines in Fallujah ...

The Beaver

@ PB

With respect to Roland Dumas, he has been involved in quite a few "magouilles" under Mitterand ( sorry in French) and most probably during the Cohabitation :
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affaire_des_otages_du_Liban

And he figures prominently in this episode also: The merc for the secret services - the journalist , hostage , agent and diplomat: Roger Auque

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4627312,00.html

Patrick Bahzad

I think the most controversial episode in Dumas' career was the weapons sales to Taiwan in the early 1990s. I'm not aware of his personal involvement in the hostage crisis in Lebanon though.
in any case I don't think it hurts the credibility of his public statements regarding Syria. I only mentioned him because his interview can still be found on YouTube but there are enough other statements by public figures with the same baseline

Charles I

I think you're right about war, proportions and real issues, that focus obscures the larger picture, which has so many moving parts we need to be cognizant of.

It takes me a bit to separate the fighting and reporting from the analysis and prognostication of wtf is actually going on and is to come.

W/r/t white phosphorous, etc, we just went through this parsing barrel bomb vs bomb. It does seem to work though, one can read analysis that the horrors inflicted on the Jordanian pilot were symbolic of and analgous to a drone strike explosion and building collapse in support of the plaint that when a state with uniforms and high tech does it its war and when a tinted local irregular does it its barbaric terror.

Poul

Turkey have evacuated the tomb of Suleyman Shah. Apparently they don't trust IS not to attack and defile the grave.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/22/us-syria-crisis-turkey-idUSKBN0LQ03U20150222

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