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16 May 2015


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You predicted this sometime ago. Our government reflecting our current society are consumed by mass delusions. I can't imagine how our contemporary culture of entitlement and dependence will react when the belief in unicorns is shattered.

William R. Cumming

MSM reporting heavy refugee flows out of Ramadi over the last week and continuing. Pictures look like France 1940.


Iraqi governments is facing the same problem it faced in 2014 in the first ISIS offensive. It does not have enough competent soldiers under it. Without the Iranian and Shiite militia support, it lacks the necessary manpower.

US problem in Iraq is even more complicated. It can't send troops to fight ISIS. Only available support is from Iran and US can't allow too much of them.


Let me play devil's advocate and go against the tide of commenters here:

Yes, this is the beginning of the end. The end of ISIS as we know it in Iraq. They will survive in the long term in the Maghreb and the Arabian Peninsula and a few odd corners of Europe and elsewhere. In Anbar they are desperately seeking Tet-like public relations victories. Those pr victories are succeeding around the globe but are bleeding them dry in Iraq.

Meanwhile they are building trenches and moats around Mosul. And going on the defensive throughout Nineveh province. How long they will hold out in the north is the question. They can milk it for a long time while Baghdad and the Shiite militias and Erbil argue over implementation. But eventually they will have to retreat to Syria or stage their own version of 'Camaron', probably the latter imho.


Dear Colonel,

Only leaving a token reserve IS force in Tikrit, makes sense (as pointed out on SST), ignored in DC and Baghdad in the effort to self congratulate and boost Iraqi militia self-esteem.

An interesting article on al-monitor suggests IS also is adapting (pretty quickly considering) an effective civilian strategy.


If IS was to followup with a scare bombing campaign in Baghdad, one might imagine the govt of Iraq retrieving forces to the capital, allowing IS to followup on the Mosul campaign.

The disconnect between the war the US appears to be trying to influence and reality grows.


There was a lot of pressure from the U.S., some sectarian journalists and some Iraqi Sunni Anbar "leaders" on Saudi payrolls to not let Shia militia help in defending Ramadi. Now they are crying over the loss of the city.
The Iraqi premier should learn from that lesson. Let the militia fight the war. They can win.

Caliph Baghdadi has announced an event "bigger than 9/11" in his latest speech (in the audio, it is not in the transcripts) probably for the time of Ramadan (July). Nothing in "western" media about it.

The stuff the Pentagon tells about today's raid in Syria is clearly as false as the stuff the CIA told about the Bin Laden raid. The media eat it up. The Syrian government announced and claimed the raid 45 minutes earlier than the U.S. government. What does that tell us?



"to not let Shia militia help in defending Ramadi" Are you sure you are not exaggerating? Some of the reporting yesterday indicated that Shia militia leaders on the scene had fled to the east abandoning their men. And then there is BBC reporting today that the IS possessors of Ramadi have beaten off a major Iraqi counter-attack involving 3 "regiments." Regiment (fawj) is not a term generally used in Arab armies in the modern era. Battalion or brigade are the terms used, "katiba" or "liwa" respectively. It would be nice to know which it was. pl



"as false as the stuff the CIA told about the Bin Laden raid." So, you accept Hersh's story as gospel? pl



The USA is in an untenable schizophrenic position. It has been it at war with the Iraqi Sunnis for twenty-five years. But, because Western rulers refuse to be taxed to pay for the war and the public refuses to be drafted to fight in the long war; the USA is relying on Shiite militias and ineffective government forces on the ground. Yet, on the western front the USA is sending arms and keeps trying to train moderate Sunnis to fight Shiites and Alawites. Like Vietnam before, the US government cannot face the reality that it is right in the middle of a civil war plus this time a thousand year old religious hatred is added. Since America’s only war fighting capabilities are air strikes and special operations; the basic premise is that killing Sunni leaders and indiscriminant bombing will defeat the Islamic State. Just like Vietnam, the replenishment of young men willing to die for the families to defeat the foreign invaders is not being dented a bit. Western rulers don’t dare to acknowledge that their policies are insuring that a billion and half Sunni Muslims are becoming America’s enemy or that while killing Sunnis in Iraq training effective puppet Sunni forces in Syria is impossible.

Instead of containment, moderation and modernization; hatred and greed has overcome all rational policy in the West.


Watching Fox News at the gym today and all the pretty talking head (Uma something or other) could go on about was how the ELITE DELTA FORCE had killed some oil & gas minister and talked in circles with various guests about what a set back this was for IS and further more!...

Great. We killed what amounts to a deputy secretary of the Interior Department and this is the flag we're going to wave around? The three legged tripod of Drone Assassination/Commando Actions/Air Strikes that is currently the end all be all of US combat doctrine is really showing the limits of its utility: great for killing the occasional one off guy but you're not holding ground or doing much else in the way of warfare with it.

How many of you guys are up to date with the current focus of the Army right now? Its sexual harassment (SHARP is the acronym they use) and its got a higher priority than winning or even fighting a war. We don't have a military, we have a jobs program. Heavens forfend if we do end up in the damned Levant - its gonna be a meat grinder.

William R. Cumming

IMO this story only designed to mask the impact of loss of RAMADI!

William R. Cumming


William R. Cumming

Female enlistments in all services sharply dropped over sexual harassment and the military needs their brains if not brawn.

Peter C

Armored Bulldozers, the current crop of attackers Ramadi not too long ago captured depots full of heavy armor and who knows how much other heavy war-fighting equipment paid for by U.S. taxpayers. When a depot that the U.S. stocked and outfitted there are all the spares and other items needed to maintain specialized equipment. Think of when you buy a new car, the dealership and spare parts go with the deal. It's one thing to capture a tank and be able to run it for a short while until something breaks, the tank just sits there, but if you capture a tank and all the stuff it takes to maintain and move the tank around, now you have a system.



As you know that was very early in the war before the Iraqi Army developed into what it was later and when the Mullahs could afford to throw former units of the imperial forces away like they were nothing. I am not fond of people who play gotcha with me. pl



What are you even talking about? The most commonly reported sexual incident is man on man. Brains? Okay which is why men are typically better at math and the sciences.

Get outta here with this nonsense.



You have to forgive WRC and myself. We served in a completely different army with no contact with women while on duty and absolutely no homosexuality of any kind; period. When the first lieutenant asked me what my problem was after I returned from Vietnam, I said that I hear a different drummer. I am sure that Colonel Lang would agree that this attitude and the black power movement forced the Army to move to a volunteer army. A draft army will not fight a colonial war of choice well. The pictures of my old brigade arriving at Kiev Airport do not look like the soldiers I served with 45 years ago but the French Foreign Legion.



Peter C,
any idea why Iraqi forces were not able to destroy these Bulldozers before they cleared the way? They are not certainly fast and a RPG should penetrate their armour without much of a problem. I have heard about this tactic but it was a serious threat only when the other side did not have enough anti-tank weapons (or enough of them).


No, I do not accept Hersh as gospel.

But his claim that Bin Laden was in Pakistani custody and found through a walk-in instead of torturing couriers, as the CIA claims, was confirmed by Charlotta Gall in the NYT and through the Pakistani The News. It was also earlier claimed by R.J. Hillhouse.

That is the probably biggest point in Hersh's reporting and that point seems to be true. It also fits the other facts we known.

Other details, like what happened to Bin Laden's body are of lesser interest and probably as false in Hersh's account as in the official one.

The claims of yesterdays raid ring mostly false to me. They shot around a human shield to kill someone? They have some Abu Sayaff and Umm Sayaff but no Sayaff and they do not know the real name of the people they went after? The guy was in the IS oil business six month after the Pentagon claimed they had completely shut down that oil business? The Syrians claim the raid and the target, including by name, 45 minutes before the U.S. publishes about it? How did they know?

All this the same day IS captures Ramadi which is the much bigger news?

Nice diversion but otherwise total bollocks.


As far as I can tell the government sent part of their "Golden division", aka special forces, and some other regular army elements. Three battalions of whatever size in total. They have not yet completely arrived or attacked IS positions. The U.S. is providing some very minor air-interdiction around Ramadi while IS is consolidating within the city.

AFAIK the core Shia militia are still waiting to be asked to help.


Just to cheer everyone up, here is Jack Belden explaining why the American-trained Chinese Nationalist troops under Chiang Kai-Shek melted away in the 1946/9 Chinese civil war:

"American interference in the affairs of the Chinese army in the end produced little change in the status of the soldier. As long as the Americans took an isolated force, trained, equipped and fed it, they might improve the lot of the soldiers, but as soon as this outfit went to war - that is, returned into the mainstream of Chinese life - it reverted to its old ways. Nor - unless the Americans took over almost the whole of China's army and thus created a state within a state - could it be otherwise. For as long as the society did not change, the army would not change."

Let's hope and pray that ISIS is not reading its Sunni public as well as the Eighth Route Army read the Chinese peasantry.


Colonel, current IA and MoD use of the terms battalion and regiment can be confusing. Here's an effort at updated ORBATs:



The Iraqi army might be routed in Ramadi, but Da'ish will not succeed in taking Baghdad. Since the capital was ethnically cleansed in 2007, the Sunni population is really quite small - not enough to support a Da'ish movement into Baghdad. Nor can Da'ish take over the largely Shi'a cities of the south, including Kerbala', 90 km from Ramadi. The best that Da'ish can do is to close Baghdad airport by interdicting fire - that would be serious enough, but not catastrophic.



They don't need to occupy all of Baghdad. A foothold in the western, Sunni neighborhoods and a shut down on the airport will do the job of destroying the Abadi government image. After that kind of ;loss the rump state of Shia "Iraq" would extend south from there to the Gulf. pl


"Is Ramadi the beginning of the end?" End for who? Because I swear watching the Kornacki show et al, and the NYT articles on the hit in Syria, all the while ignoring events (no story at all in this Sunday's Times!!!) I'm beginning it is the end for us. Delusional. Friggin delusional!! And I'm still trying to get over having to watch (cringe) relic John Kerry diggin up another relic, James Taylor, to sing an off key version of 'You Got a Friend" (a horrible song at best) to the French as part of our response to the cartoonist shootings. I thought I was hallucinating. Or watching a Fellini farce...

Just about the entire class is corrupt in DC.

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