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17 April 2015

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Matthew

Col: Frontline this week had an interesting show on Yemen. Although the journalist didn't help the viewer understand much about the different Yemeni groups, she did demonstrate the land's fractious nature. It really did appear to be a "country" full of people who shared no nationality--but full of absolute certainty about their faction's "justice." Truly, a discouraging situation.


Laguerre

"Reporting from Tikrit indicates that IS declined to be decisively engaged (make or break) in that city and that they made an economy of force play there with well dug in stay-behinds and lots of booby traps."

I'm convinced that the same happened in Kobani. There was no reason to leave behind a large force to be massacred by US air-strikes.

VietnamVet

Thanks for your pain spoken wisdom.

In the Bush/Obama Administration one fact dominates. Once sovereign nations have been partitioned; Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine. Others have fallen apart; Afghanistan, Libya and Somalia. This is an abject record of total failure. Yet, Washington DC proceeds as if nothing is wrong.

Being human beings we have to wonder why. My take is, 150 years later, that the American Civil War was fought for naught. The proposition that untied the North was that the United States is a nation founded on the belief that all men are created equal. Clearly this is not the case. The America government is being run by and for the new aristocracy not the people. The Masters of the Universe who run western finance who are squeezing Americans, Greeks, Italians, Irish, Spanish and Portuguese dry clearly believe they are better than the rest of us. Money is to be made in a world of chaos no matter the risk of blowback and from an exponential increase of renters in debt.

elaine

News that our consulate in Erbil was hit by a suicide bomber (2 dead & an
American woman critically injured) certainly adds to the very morose feeling
of this post.

Kurdistan Pres. Masoud Barzani scheduled to be in D.C. soon; no doubt asking for more assistance despite SecDef Ash Carter in a recent news conference
making it abundantly clear he wants all assistance to go through Bagdad.

Europe being overrun with desperate, sometimes hostile, people from N. Africa & the ME is also very concerning; ditto reports of an ISIS presence near our southern border in Mexico & if it's also true Mexico has lost 2 small stockpiles of nuclear material then I'm not just feeling morose. The
Neo Cons may have done phase 1 of screwing up the world but the Progressives
are just compounding the mess by their 1/2 hearted approach. Frankly I don't understand what we're doing.

AbuAbdullah

I have been following with avid interest news developments on Al Douri and his clan for years now, and had(and still have) my doubts that he was ever alive in the first place; especially in the wake of the June media flurry in the form of dozens of news pieces speaking on his supposed personal involvement in the ISIS takeover of Iraq during the period(with no video/picture proof ever being offered.) Note that I am not disputing the mass involvement of ex Baathist elements.

My personal theory, considering that a verified sighting is many years old and the last thing we have out of him is an audio recording, is that he has been dead for a long long time. The supposed Al Arabiya images of his corpse are suspect at best

oofda

Reports are that ISIS is seriously threatening Ramadi. As noted above, Asad AB, near Ramadi, is where several hundred soldiers and airmen are stationed. And Ramadi is the provincial capital and its fall would presage the fall of the province. Not good

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/17/iraq-isis-ramadi_n_7085986.html

ex-PFC Chuck

"We done it folks. We done it. We rotted the world." pl

Now we're about to turn a gun on ourselves, said gun being the Trans-Pacific Sovereignty Surrender Treaty(aka Trans-Pacific Partnership). If this gets approved by Congress everything from national legislation such as minimum wage laws to local zoning regulations is at risk of being [in effect] overturned by "Investor State Dispute Settlement" panels, which entirely bypass USA federal and state justice systems.
http://www.citizen.org/tpp

Amir

His military significance is unknown to me but I do know that he led the Al Anfal campaign against the Iranian SF and Kurds, while I the side gassing Halabjah civilians, at the end of the Saddam's war against Iran. His demise made a lot of people happy.

turcopolier

Amir

His military significance was zero. His political significance was considerable and would have been greater if we could have used him against IS. pl

Fred82

What I still don't get is the persistent view the Baathists are controlling the Islamists in ISIS. All the evidence I have seen indicates the Islamists eclipsed the Baathists and converted many of them to ideologies like Wahhabism.

Baathism, particularly the Iraqi brand which basically revered Saddam Hussein as a god is pretty much dead. Wahhabism seems to be filling the void left by Saddamism's demise quite nicely.

elaine

Like you I'm totally opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I hope you continue to rail against in every venue possible. Try
to forgive me as I've given up, just couldn't get any traction
going & unfortunately it seems like a done deal.

However if sense even a slight opening in the line I'll be right there with you.

turcopolier

fred82

It has been my belief that the ISIS fanatics are making use of former Iraqi military personnel for their military planning skill much as the Soviets made use of people like Tukhachevsky. pl

b

@Fred82 "What I still don't get is the persistent view the Baathists are controlling the Islamists in ISIS."

That was likely the view the Baathist themselves had. Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri brought some of the Anbar tribes to ISIS and he (or his folks) organized the ISIS shock campaign that overran half of the country. Good planing and execution. But after Mosul was captured ISIS made clear, in a bloody way, that it saw itself as the only game in town. The former Baath parted. Al-Douri's organization then opened an office in Amman, Jordan to where many of the former Baathist had fled.

---
Tikirt is free of IS fighters I am told but IS quickly changed tact and launched simultaneous attacks on Ramadi and the large area of the Baji refinery. After a few days Iraqi special forces mostly cleaned up the Baji refinery mess but Ramadi is now in serious danger to fall. Several thousand Iraqi (Shia) militia are on the way to Ramadi and will try to kick IS out again.

b

Of interest:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/islamic-state-files-show-structure-of-islamist-terror-group-a-1029274.html

"The Terror Strategist: Secret Files Reveal the Structure of Islamic State"
By Christoph Reuter

/quote/
when the architect of the Islamic State died, he left something behind that he had intended to keep strictly confidential: the blueprint for this state. It is a folder full of handwritten organizational charts, lists and schedules, which describe how a country can be gradually subjugated. SPIEGEL has gained exclusive access to the 31 pages, some consisting of several pages pasted together. They reveal a multilayered composition and directives for action, some already tested and others newly devised for the anarchical situation in Syria's rebel-held territories. In a sense, the documents are the source code of the most successful terrorist army in recent history.
/endquote/

William R. Cumming

Agree! Worshippers of MAMMON in control.

William R. Cumming

P.L. and ALL: was the Bath Party in Iraq largely Sunni?

AbuAbdullah

The "upper stratum" ruling class of Saddam's Iraq were more often then not Sunnis, but it is important to take heed not to view those days through the modern realities of sectarianism in Iraq. 1 million Iraqis, most of them Shia conscripts, died fighting and killing 1 million Shia Iranians during the Iran-iraq war. Saddam's top Shia generals and officers were instrumental in putting down the CIA-sponsored and soon disavowed post-Gulf war rebellion in which hundreds of thousands of Shia and others were killed. The same is true for Saddam's Kurdish generals and politicians, who were instrumental in putting down the Kurds throughout the 80s/90s.

In answer to your probable line of questioning, the main targets of "debaathification" were almost exclusively the Sunnis; hence ex-Baath officers/soldiers/supporters such as al Douri rallying around Shura council groups and then ISIS post-war. The other non-sunni minorities of Iraq were simply appropriated by the Americans as the "true Iraqi", the fruits of which we see today in their building of the vibrant freedomloving multiconfessional democracy that is Iraq today.

Amir

No,
Baath was an Arab-socialist-Nationalist (not to be confused with Social-Nationalist) movement spread all over the Arab world. Their ideology was pan-Arabist and secular and they were only able to capture the power in Syria and Iraq. Saddam was not religious at all. During the Iranian Shah's period , he gave asylum to the anti-monarchist Iranian Shiite religious leaders. Later during his invasion of Iran, he visited the Shiite pilgrimage sites (Karbala, Najaf and Samara) to pay homage to the Shiite Holy Imams. His cabinet was non-confessional: as an illustration, I refer to his Christian foreign minister Abdul-Aziz .

Dismayed

I agree with both of you. Our nation is being ruled (into the ground) by a mammon-worshiping internationalist aristocracy. Most seeking power in America these days are either part of it or desperately aspire to join it.

Valissa

OMG... we're ruled by an elite that is primarily concerned about power, status and money! What a shocker! /snark

Come on people, this is simply human nature and is typical of all large human groups throughout time. History shows this is normal behavior for elites. It is not reasonable to assume that elites and leaders have at heart the interests of us little people, that they are supposed to "play fair" with us. Sure a few of them are more altruistically inclined and are, in fact, good leaders who are more concerned about the rest of us... but as a whole not so much.

These facts need to be acknowledged before people attempt to determine strategies to encourage these elites to behave differently.

Charles I

I just posted this Owellian nugget replying to Confused Ponderer and Mathew about the cynicism of U.N. aid pledges in Gaza in the The Pakistani stance on Yemen … and its implications for Saudi–Arabia thread.

The Saudis must have read my comment, or my tinfoil hat is leaking.

"Saudi Arabia, which is leading an air campaign against rebels in Yemen, has pledged to provide exactly the amount of emergency aid to the country as called for in a UN appeal on Friday."

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32363845

Its the new pay to play, decap and trade.

Thank Yehovah the GOI is not that cynical.

different clue

Elaine,

The MSM-Industrial Complex and the pro Free Trade officeholders work together to foster a sense of hopeless defeat among everyone within sight of their print or reach of their soundwaves. And it is easy to feel defeated.
But given the stakes, it is perhaps worth spending a little time and energy being involved somehow someway in case one of those ways turns out to be the opening that opens up.

The Naked Capitalism blog has been lately posting blogposts or running comments containing easy-to-use links to officeholders' office numbers and addresses. They offer interesting ananlyses and terms which can be studied for possible weaponization and use in the brainwars to come.

Using derisive words for Free Trade Agreements like "Obamatrade" might be useful in everyday talk encounters. "If you like Obamacare you'll love Obamatrade." Things like that. We can try our best to be Reverse Luntzians . . . coming up with the most compellingly awful language to describe Obamatrade.

different clue

b,

How do we know that these Baathists actually fled to Jordan? How do we know they didn't process the depth of the bad publicity they were harvesting for themselves by supporting anti-Yazidi genocide, recreational beheadings, beheading video theatre, etc.? How do we know they haven't merely pretended to "flee" to Jordan and are in fact offering as much advice and support to ISIS as they possibly can?

If they had really fled and are speaking sinCEREly against ISIS, wouldn't they be afraid of ISIS people coming to kill them? Right there in Jordan right next to Iraq? If they were really afraid, wouldn't they flee much further beyond ISIS's reach than Jordan? Pardon my tinfoil, but I am suspicious.

Thomas

Thanks for the link to this informative article.

These paragraphs highlight the comprehension issue that is prevalent on the Potomac, the inability to see that IS are who they say they are the Islamic State of Iraq-Syria

"Attempts to explain IS and its rapid rise to power vary depending on who is doing the explaining. Terrorism experts view IS as an al-Qaida offshoot and attribute the absence of spectacular attacks to date to what they view as a lack of organizational capacity. Criminologists see IS as a mafia-like holding company out to maximize profit. Scholars in the humanities point to the apocalyptic statements by the IS media department, its glorification of death and the belief that Islamic State is involved in a holy mission.

But apocalyptic visions alone are not enough to capture cities and take over countries. Terrorists don't establish countries. And a criminal cartel is unlikely to generate enthusiasm among supporters around the world, who are willing to give up their lives to travel to the "Caliphate" and potentially their deaths.

Thomas

I wonder if Policy Correctness in regards to Iran by the usual suspects is giving IS a boost in Anbar?


"Many of the Shiite Muslim militias are known to be supported by – and themselves support – neighbouring Iran. However the international alliance aiding the Iraqi army's efforts with airstrikes is under US leadership and the US have said that the Shiite Muslim militias, who have been accused of committing retaliatory crimes against Sunni Muslims, should withdraw. There are fears that having the Shiite fighters in the mostly Sunni Muslim populated areas will only deepen existing sectarian tensions and may in fact push local Sunnis to support the IS group – which would obviously be counterproductive in the campaign to get rid of them.

As a result some Shiite militias have withdrawn in the Ramadi area. At the same time the international coalition has stepped up air strikes. But this has meant that the Iraqi army is being left to fight in Anbar without the ground support formerly supplied by the Shiite Muslim militias."

http://www.niqash.org/articles/?id=3638

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