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17 March 2015

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jonst

The Col wrote: "How long are we supposed to pretend that we believe the Iraqi and US governments' baloney about the "rising" Iraqi Army (Shia), and the prospect of a reintegrated multi-confessional Iraq?"

As long as the funding is there for many to make money. Financial motive. And for the crazies, R2Per's and Neocons to continue to deny---in THEIR minds plausibly--that they were wrong, and arr wrong. Psychological motive And as long as the fearful dopes in the US let it go on. Ignorant of any motive other than fear. That is how long. IMHO anyway....

William R. Cumming

P.L. and ALL: would the total control of Tikrit by the Shia or that of MOSUL or both mark the end of the beginning of ISIS?

ex-PFC Chuck

A bit tangential to the topic of this post, but definitely pertinent to the dysfunctionality of US foreign policy.
The US is starting to experience some painful comeuppance for its foreign policy arrogance over the past half century or so. In defiance of US arm twisting many of its client states have signed up to be a part of the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. This will likely be yet another nail in the coffin of the US dollar as the world's only reserve currency. If it weren't for the pay wall I'd link to the Financial Times piece on this topic, to which Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism refers. But FT subscribers here can find it using the link in her piece.
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/03/major-american-allies-ignore-u-s-pleas-and-join-chinas-development-bank.html#comment-2417920

b

In 2004 it took the Marines some 8 weeks to clear Fallujah. The Iraqi forces have only now, in week three, cleared the approaches to Tikrit and are probing the city.

There are some 5,000 Sunni Arab tribal fighters and more Sunni Kurdish forces fighting on the side of the government.

The U.S. news about the events in Tikrit is totally unreliable. Yesterday Tikrit was about to be freed (which wasn't the case) and today allegedly "high losses" have the government forces on retreat (which is nonsense 50-100 casualties per day in urban combat are not "high losses").

The Iraqi and Iranian leaders want to keep the U.S. out of the fight. They suspect that the U.S. wants to keep ISIS alive, at least some remnants of it, to have some future influence.

On Syria Kerry just repeated what he had always said but that was misreported by Reuters and others as a new revelation. What Kerry really did was to threaten new pressure on Assad and the renewed anti-Syrian media campaign is already gaining speed. Expect to see a lot of (false flags) "Syria uses chlorine" in the next few days.

Abu Sinan

It is ironic that the US government is trying to promote a multi-sectarian state in Iraq and its actions are promoting sectarian strife in Yemen. The Iranians are only in Yemen in a nominal basis. If civil war does break out Iran will most certainly step in in a much larger way than it has. Yemeni history and politics has historically been more about ideological movements and personality politics than sectarian divides, but there are many trying to change this.

bth

Persian new year is coming around March 21. Perhaps the fall of Saddam's home town around the New Day? Probably going to be big publicity for Quds Force when Tikrit falls. And one has to consider the evolving political situation in Iran and the timing of any nuclear deal if there is going to be one. Would it be easiest for an Iranian government to announce a nuke deal from a position of strength a parade in front of Saddam's destroyed tomb might provide?

FB Ali

I don't think so. Certainly not just Tikrit, though Mosul would be a bigger blow (but how likely is that, considering the problem the Iraqis are having in taking Tikrit?).

In any case, the problem for the West (and much of the rest of the world, including the Muslim world) is not ISIS but the Jihadi/Wahhabi/Salafi creed that has spread among Muslims in the ME and is creeping through other Muslim countries.

The source of this is Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates. Unless they are dealt with, this cancer will spread, and so will the Jihadi armed movement, ISIS or no ISIS.

Fred

WRC,

no it would not. ISIS is a "movement" and won't be defeated by taking one city or another.

turcopolier

b

Please share with us your forecast/estimate of how the Iraqi government occupation of Tikrit will proceed. p

confusedponderer

b,
"Expect to see a lot of (false flags) "Syria uses chlorine" in the next few days."

I wonder.

I think that what we will certainly see is a wave of anti-Assad propaganda in response, that will stress real and alleged atrocities. Excpect for instance HRW pushing the barrel bomb theme. Expect 'pictures from Assad's torture chambers'. Expect activist testimony.

Still - you may be right: Those invested in regime change in Syria must want idea that the US could possibly talk with the monster they made Assad killed in the bud.

Such an event might to happen in contested territory, perhaps between Nusra/ISIS and Assad, so that no journalist takes the risk to find out what has actually happened?

Patrick Cockburn in his latest book "The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution" refers to the "Qhadafi ordered mass rapes and handed out viagra" story, and notes it was implausible to begin with (a 100.000 participant survey in civil war stricken Libya? Seriously?) but editors ran with it anyway and didn't want to hear of any doubt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Libyan_rape_allegations

Doubt kills ratings. If it bleeds, it leads!

Excellent little book by the way.

ISBN-13: 978-1784780401

The Beaver

@ b

It has already started:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/17/fresh-allegations-of-chlorine-gas-attacks-in-syria

Fabius wants Assad to go - thus watch for Le Monde to produce yet another sample

Tyler

I like how tranny rights in foreign countries are now considered a national security interest.

Kind of odd how we went from Obama saying marriage is between a man and a woman in 2008 to today where men wanting to use the female bathroom is a civil right and if you disagree you are worst than Hitler and deserve to lose your job.

mike

NYTimes, Newsweek, Fox, CNN reported last Friday that Petraeus is advising the NSC on Iraq. This in spite of his recent guilty plea.

The man knows Mosu and Nineveh province well. But why isn't he advising General Allen's coalition staff or the Joint Chiefs instead of the WH?

mike

Mosul not Mosu

ISL

b

antiwar.com introduced the offensive very nicely. They pointed out that the Iraqi government was reporting great success. They then pointed out that the Iraqi govt modus operandi is to report great success and then back off and admit that things were not a great success. Current reports are consistent with great exaggeration.

Dempsey thinks there are a few hundred ISIS in Tikrit, Cockburn thinks a thousand, 20:1 seems to be a recommendation for urban fighting (with air cover and good logistical support).

I think it will turn into a siege, ISIS will break the Iraqi govt support lines and will succeed, while also making significant gains elsewhere. Reports that the attacking force outran their supply lines are not a good omen.

Charles I

SNAFU

Iraqi Kurds attack Baghdad for withholding funds:

"Mr Barzani was clearly furious that the Shia militias - as well as the administration in IS-held areas - were being paid by the government in Baghdad while it was withholding budget funds from Kurdistan and its Peshmerga forces battling IS, the BBC's Jim Muir in northern Iraq says.

"They [Iraq's government] are paying Mosul, they are paying Anbar [province], which are under the control of ISIS. Why aren't they paying Kurdistan, who is an ally? We are fighting a common enemy, how come we are not getting the appropriate support?"

The central government in Iraq has not been funding Kurdish areas in the north because of an oil production row."

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31917412

William R. Cumming

Agree!

bks

Serious question: How can the Goverment forces outrun their supply lines when Tikrit is an easy two-hour drive from Baghdad?

Tidewater

Tidewater reminding All,


God's Mercy
On the Wild
Ginger Man.

ISL

Absolutely agreed - but it was the Iraqi govt that make the statement about waiting for support to catch up. Lack of support vehicles? Maybe the road is so beat up its a lot more than 2 hours.

Or a lame excuse for failure on the battle field.

bth

I'm not aware of ISIS making significant gains anywhere in 2015. There was the push toward Kirkuk but that has been rolled back.

bth

I can't seem to find out what supplies they are specifically short of. Is it ammunition? Gasoline? They didn't use the Iranian rockets and Badr commander said that they had a $10 billion tab run up with Iran for weapons but it looked to me like a lot of shot up Humvees around Tikrit and some artillery. Rifles and machine guns looked good and EOD guys seemed active. Not clear what the shortage actually is. Perhaps it is cash payments to the militias?

lally

"Current reports are consistent with great exaggeration."

According to "antiwar.com" ?

Do you know what the Iraqi govt forces ran into after making quick work of the perimeters?

Apparently, politics on both sides are precluding coalition airstrikes on the entrenched nest of Daesh.


turcopolier

ISL et al

What is being demonstrated is the basic ineptitude of the "officers" of the New Iraqi Army. They can't plan. They can't train. They can't lead and they can't do logistics. They are a waste of time. Sorry, BTH. The Old Army guys were better. Yes, we defeated them in both Gulf wars. We would have defeated any army. pl

Aka

bth,
may be some courage.

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