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20 May 2015

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Poul

It seems that Palmyra has fallen. Shall we expect bulldozers to level the ruins of the ancient city in short time?

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32820857

oofda

And BG Wiedly's comments about having "everything under control" certainly look silly today. We may end up hoping for a 'Chosin Reservoir' in Iraq- at least a lot of our people got out there.

Claud_Alexander

Col. Lang,
Could I ask you to elaborate on the unfolding disaster you foresee?

Specifically, I imagine that the Borg
(after some hilarious attempts at minimization, such as today's hapless Pentagon colonel's arguing "I think it’s notable that it took ISIL a year to get this far in Ramadi.",
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/05/18/267052/better-late-than-never-pentagon.html#storylink=cpy )
might reverse and start comparing Baghdad to Saigon in 1975, etc.., which also seems unlikely. Going from the experience in Syria (which perhaps does not apply) militias are good enough to defend their home areas, and even now all of ISIS's captures have been (I think) of largely Sunni cities.

I'm obviously not trying to suggest that having Sunni Iraq fall under ISIS control (and a Shia government possibly howling for Iranian infantry support) would *not* be a disaster. I just wanted to ask whether you think ISIS would be able to push its territorial control beyond Sunni areas.


As a footnote, from the article here,
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/05/17/266937/islamic-state-routs-last-elite.html

it seems that ISIS's large-scale use of suicide bombers (on foot or vehicle-borne) as its "heavy weapons" support is not only difficult to suppress by air, but also to counter on the ground.

"the White House announced that it was rushing shoulder-fired rockets to Iraq that were especially useful for destroying car bombs before they could reach their targets

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/05/17/266937/islamic-state-routs-last-elite.html#storylink=cpy"

Anonymity is probably a sell out but whatever...

H. Rap Brown? You mean Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, the guy who shot two black Fulton County deputies in the A-T-L. with a 30-6 back in 2000 ?

But the good folks of Atlanta, many of whom were black, adjudicated him guilty. Granted, after the verdict was read, some woman leapt out of her seat and said, “They are killing our prophets” and started carrying on mightily.

But people, including those of the msm and many of academica, forget all those good blacks who just are trying to make it through life and serve on juries and so on. That thought is what people will need to hold onto when the “chickens come home to roost” in the USA, aka blowback from our US foreign policy. And, yes, blowback will fragment the body politic in the USA.

May I offer the following instead, from someone who was born a couple of blocks from where I write this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmYMt3K52Hk

Anonymity is probably a sell out but whatever...

Geez…I am feeling fairly chatty tonight.

Nancy K, are you out there? I noticed you were singing the high praises of NC lately at SST. I don’t blame you. I love NC.

But, Nancy K, how many times did you blast the South when you were living in California? Be honest…and I will do the same and tell you that I really like California, particularly northern California. I just got sick of the off-the-charts hypocrisy, and I say that as a bona fide, honest to God hypocrite myself.

But I definitely see why so many GI’s after WWII stayed in California when coming back from the Pacific theatre. I would have done the same, I reckon, although I love the Northwest too. Seattle? Wow. And don’t even get me started on Vancouver. But dang it, Southerners always have to go home, I reckon, at least for awhile before heading on once they put on their travelling shoes.

Andy

By now it's clear the ISF cannot do much of anything without external support, either from the US, Iran, the Shia Militias or all three. It will be interesting to see which of these, if any, are willing to step-up in order to keep the ISF from losing Anbar completely, much less retaking (and holding) territory. For the US, securing the LOC to Al Asad and the base perimeter could bring more kinetic support to the ISF, but it's hard to see how that works in our favor over the long term. Thus far we've been reluctant (with good reason) to really integrate our airpower with ISF ground operations.

Overall, I'm skeptical about the future of "Iraq." We don't really have a strategy, just half-assed tactical efforts to keep the Iraqi government (such as it is) from falling while hoping they have a change of heart and embrace real political compromise with the Sunni's. I suppose it could happen, but there's not real evidence to support it. Thus we are left with a stalemate that could last years and I don't really see an off-ramp that avoids a continuation of this tragic civil war.

mike

X Corps' retreat at Chosin was not the only disaster at that time. The entire Eighth Army was involved in the Big Bugout down to the 38th Parallel.

J

Colonel,

ISIS weapons caches appears to be :
Isis weapons and equipment

T72 tanks
Stingers
Type 59 artillery
Seregey AA
Iraqi cw site north of Baghdad
Chinese HJ8 anti tank
Strela-2s
Humvees
M198 howitzers

turcopolier

andy
"For the US, securing the LOC to Al Asad and the base perimeter" You will have to explain this to me. The LOC to Al Asad? An LOC from where? There are a whole lot of hostiles between Al Asad and anywhere to the east. An LOC from Jordan? pl

turcopolier

mike

X Corps? 8th Army? Is this part of your ongoing critique of the US Army? pl

turcopolier

Anonymity is probably a sell out but whatever... Funny. Your Southerness is showing. pl

turcopolier

Claud_Alexander

"I just wanted to ask whether you think ISIS would be able to push its territorial control beyond Sunni areas" I have been over this before somewhere here. You must be new. Oh, well... IMO it depends on how well they continue to do. BTW, one can no longer consider either the IS army or the Hizbullah units fighting in Syria to be militias. These are real military forces. If IS succeeds in consolidating its hold on the Sunni parts of Syria and Iraq I think they will commence infiltration and later invasion operations in Jordan, SA and the Gulf. they already have underground cadres in these places. pl

FB Ali

A couple of interesting developments:

US officialdom is finally acknowledging the true dimensions of the problem (though still anonymously and unofficially!): http://tinyurl.com/mwzap7s

Iraqi PM Abadi is in Moscow seeking military and other assistance. (Has he given up on the US? Or, is he just trying to get some competitive bidding going?)

FB Ali

I also think it's about time the IS was accepted as a regional player on an equal footing with the other states. Rather than being considered as a 'terrorist' organization or just another jihadi group.

Andy

PL,

The LOC to the few remaining ISF controlled areas in Anbar. These provide a buffer for the airbase as well as logistic supply for ISF forces in places like Haditha. If ISIS continues its takeover of Anbar, then Al Asad will become an untenable position.

petrous

COL. Lang
In anearlierpost we had wondered where the Shia militias had gone and whether they would nowretreat to the natural partition lines seperatig their hometurf frothat of Sunni Iraq. It seems the PM, Mr. Abadi has softened his stand against the use of these militias.Maybe he now considers themmorl boosters for a cut and run army, holding hope with thema reversaloffortunes would be possible in Ramadi. Reports talk of heavy movements in bases on the outskirts of the Captured Ramadi territory. And there are reports that the Shia militias are also massing in these areas following kinder words from Mr. Abadi.Here is a link and a money quote from that link by Prof. Cole in his blog ,the informed comment:

"..The Shiite militias have rallied, now that PM al-Abadi has lifted his earlier injunction against them operating in heavily Sunni al-Anbar Province, and are making plans to push Daesh back from Ramadi.
Hadi al-Ameri, head of the Badr Corps and over-all leader of the Popular Mobilization Forces or Shiite militias, said Tuesday that the military task of taking back Ramadi is actually less complicated than campaigning north of Baghdad in Salahuddin Province (where the militias and the Iraqi Army have taken Takrit and Beiji from Daesh).
He said that 25,000 militiamen were already gathering for the fight, which would begin as soon as the volunteers could be assembled and armed. He said they would be joined by Sunni tribal levies and American advisers, and would be given close air support by the US and its anti-Daesh coalition ... "

In fact even Russia, worried about heavy Chechen presence in Daesh may ggive some support as well. Interesting times..

www.juancole.com/2015/05/militiamen-battle-ramadi.html

confusedponderer

"the White House announced that it was rushing shoulder-fired rockets to Iraq that were especially useful for destroying car bombs before they could reach their targets"

Do not the Iraqis have PRG-7 in spades and are familiar with it? Is the AT4 really that much better than the ubiquitous RPG-7, in particular in accuracy and range? Or is it about a failure to use these weapons properly? If so, then AT4 won't make much of a difference.

Patrick Bahzad

The fact IS has a territorial base makes it different to any other group ... They govern unchallenged over roughly 6 million people. And things don't seem to be that desperate for ordinary Sunni Iraqis living in the caliphate. There's food, basic services a harsh but functioning justice and police which is quite a progress to previous times.

Regarding their strength, they're military forces as such I agree. But in the big boys league, neither of them qualifies as top notch infantry. They fight on their own turf and they set the terms and pace, that makes a whole difference.

As for expansion, Jordan might be on their "to do" list, with the recent split among salafis there, but AQ has a strong following in Jordan (way in front of IS) and they still got Intel services that keep a watchful eye. If things boil over to another area in the region, I would say lebanon is a likely candidate ... And Gaza is top priority too in terms of infiltration.

Aka

sir,
this also includes a much better description of how the suicide attacks in Ramadi were conducted.

Multiple suicide attacks, armored suicide vehicles. Only a very determined and experienced defenders would have stood through this.

BTW is there any talk about suicide "special forces" being used by ISIS? Similar to the ones who came for 2008 Mumbai attacks.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Mumbai_attacks

confusedponderer

PB,
"If things boil over to another area in the region, I would say lebanon is a likely candidate"

Absolutely.

ThePaper

As usual the Takfiri loving US subjects tell it backward. It's the sunnis ISF (including kurds) that fails to fight and crumbles at any point. It's the local people of Ramadi who fights mostly for ISIS. And it's the Shiite militias who will defeat them.

I just don't understand why the Iraqi government is still trying to please the US government bent on destroying them. The US which provides support ... for Sauds to kill anti-AlQaeda Houthis in Yemen. And allows US made TOWs to be provided in the hundreds to Al Qaeda in Syria while trying to sell to ignorant media that some upgraded RPGs like the AT4 are a good measure to counter suicide ISIS attacks. ISIS have guided missile ... provided to the 'syrian rebels' (rebranded AlQaeda).

Face it, US, and we, most western countries, are allied with the Saud created Takfiris against Iran all shiites in the world. But keep dreaming about reconquering Baghdad. It won't happen this century for sure even if you start using nukes.

William R. Cumming

Thanks P.L. and ALL for this post and thread. This story will dominate the decade IMO!

All the kings horses and all the king's men could not put HUMPTY DUMPTY [Iraq] back together again.

And you all know who broke Iraq and wasted lives and trillions. US!

LeaNder

"I suppose it could happen"

somewhere on the arrow of time in a not too close future?

How would you arrange the necessary basics, given the present context?

LeaNder

"Your Southerness is showing."

I wondered about that too, and gave up a response.

For one reason: If I get interested in his supposed associative synapses I would allow him to hijack the thread even further...

Strictly I wondered if his "Baltimoreness" was showing, but then. ;)

turcopolier

LeAnder

My reference to his "southerness" was a compliment. I welcome his expression of opinion in the kind of non-linear "associative" way so alien to others. pl

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