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12 June 2015


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I find it interesting that the word "Jordan" does not appear in the report.

Patrick Bahzad


I think the capable people you're referring to is mostly one person, Jessica Lewis McFate, former Intel officer for US Army ( 2004 to 2012), deployed for almost 3 years in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Patrick Bahzad

Pl, an additional comment, I slighlty disagree with the report's assumptions regarding likelihood of ISIS attack on morocco or Southern Europe. Sounds very unlikely in my view. I also think that multiple attacks in various western countries are not a "most dangerous" scenario but rather sci-fi.
On the other hand, I wouldn't be totally surprised if they'd tried some sort of even symbolic action with high media value in Gaza in particular. I haven't seen anything about it in the report.
In other words, the report slightly overstates danger in far abroad and understates risks in certain areas of near abroad, and also in Iraq. Baghdad in particular looks very vulnerable and likely to be targeted during Ramadan.
Regarding syria, the scenarios seem sound and reasonable.
I can send you the extended version of the report if you don't have it.


How many ISIS fighters are there? I didn't see an estimate in the report. I've been wondering if their total fighting force has been growing with their territorial expansion or are they getting thin but good at keeping the scare up?



I think no one knows, perhaps not even them. I doubt if there is a central personnel office. It would not be their style. they present a small overhead imagery target,and probably not any other kind of good target. pl

The Twisted Genius

pl said: "they present a small overhead imagery target,and probably not any other kind of good target."

That's true. I suggest a campaign of aggressive patrolling forward of YPG positions in northern Syria in the direction of Raqqa. This should include recon, ambush and raids. Couple this with a good spotter network in Turkey to identify supplies and recruits coming across the border. Quietly taking out a few key IS facilitators in Turkey now and then is a good idea. There's reportedly around 400 Western volunteers working with the YPG. We could go with with a 100 or more "volunteers" to train/advise this patrolling effort and the spotter network. IMHO disrupting IS LOCs into Turkey would be key to slow down IS in Syria and Iraq. I don't think an air campaign, no matter how robust, could do it on its own.


Sending a barge full of "whatever a military man recommends" down Tigris and Euphrates, would certainly bring down a few bridges and get some media attention.


BTW do you think ISIS strategists read these stuff? and would they care about them considering the connection between these think-tanks and the US government?


These 'Kagans' get everywhere .... the sister in law to Robert & therefore sister in law by marriage to the doyen of the Ukraine ... one Victoria Nuland.

So nice to know you have 'brave lasses' like her with a hand firmly on the tiller in DC ... & previously in the field with brave Dave P & Co.

I wonder if a this was copied to the handlers in Riyadh?

Per Mare Per Terram

Patrick Bahzad

Bth, as PL explained, no one actually knows with certainty. If you're interested, there are openly accessible reports about their fighting force with various numbers coming up, from conservative estimates to very worrying figures.
Last years developments also changed the dynamics a little, but anything between 25 000 and 50 000 seems possible, with very different levels of training, experience and fighting abilities. It's not a western army !


It is a no wonder that the estimate vary from 50,000-250,000 since there are different levels within ISIS fighters. Some who are capable fighters who are fighting because of the ideology, others who have been drafted (including the children) and also the ones who are immigrating to the Caliphate each day hoping to become "martyrs".


In his last speech the Caliph announced an event in the "west" for the month of Ramadan. He said "the reaction will be huge on all Muslims living in the West".

I find it sound to take him by his words.



Yes. The only way to get a good understanding of IS numbers is to do it the really old fashioned way in the manner you describe. If you got enough data that way you would still need the ability to assemble that data and have some central authority interpret it. If you do not you may well, like McClellan/Pinkerton, count all the parts of "the elephant" many times from different viewpoints. If you are not discriminating in evaluating reports you may easily end by believing that a single elephant has two tails and twelve legs. pl



Agree. There is no reason to think that they cannot do a number of things simultaneously. They may well have a group devoted to that task to the exclusion of all else. pl

Babak Makkinejad

You cannot be serious; sending - I assume - US SF - into Turkey a fellow member of NATO to "disrupt terrorist support networks"?

Like that is ever going to happen.

Supporting YPG is another Bridge-too-Far; to how and to what end?

The population of Kurds is scattered across Northern Syria - what you are suggesting is the creation of Kurdish Lily-pads with little military value.

And staffed by who? Lightly trained farmers and teachers and assorted other rural folks that have to resupplied by airplanes?

And slowing down ISIS to what larger political or military aim?

You need to put together a couple of armies like the Union's and led by men like Sherman and Unconditional Surrender Grant and go through the ISIS territory and destroy the Will of the Sunni Arabs of Western Iraq and Eastern Syria to resist - using Sherman's methods.

Who is going to do all of that - logistics be damned here for a moment.

It is because of such considerations that I have come to conclude that ISIS is here to stay.

Babak Makkinejad

I just cannot see them doing anything in any Western state since that could provoke military retaliation by such friendly states as France.

Why provoke a Western military response when she needs to concentrate on Jordan?

The Twisted Genius


I am dead serious about this. If I was in charge, I would do this and i know who I'd use to do it. Since I'm not in charge, I do agree with you about the chance of this ever happening. There is nothing lily pad about this. The YPG has managed to reclaim a lot of their territory from IS and are close (4 km) to Tal Abyad, the direct link from Turkey to Raqqa. When Kobani was under siege a few months ago, few could have predicted the situation in northern Syria today. Those lightly trained farmers and teachers, along with their mothers, wives and daughters, have done alright for themselves. Granted U.S. air support has been instrumental to this.

ISIS may be here to stay and Lord knows what it may morph into, but i see no reason not to put a kink in its tail where and when we can. Why should we cede the initiative to them at every turn?

The Twisted Genius


Hmmm... a joint DIA/SF/Kurdish intelligence fusion center as part of the JUWTFME. I like it.

Babak Makkinejad

"Why should we cede the initiative to them at every turn?"

"Because we do not want them to lose."


Colonel, FBAli, TTG,

The CIA finally declassified its report on Saudi links to 9/11. Here's what it says. - Vox



Yes. I have not forgotten the WG2 but this has been moving so fast... pl

different clue


I presume that when the Caliph says the reaction will be huge "on", he means "against"? Does he hope to make the West so violently anti-muslimitic that millions of Muslims will be driven out of the West and some of them will become willing recruits to ISIS? Is that the Caliph's goal?


One has to wonder how the ISIS, Syria, Iran, Crimea subject matters are being handled by the Bilderberg Group at their confab.




McClellan/Pinkerton? I think in the current parlance they would find we have a trio of "statistically identical elephants". I sure hope we don't repeat that mistake now. Hopefully we have more than a few men (and women) like George Sharpe on duty? Whether they are listened too is another story, sadly.

FB Ali

This business of "rogue Saudi officials" is laughable. When Saudi intelligence wishes to undertake an operation, or pursue a policy, that would be 'officially' embarrassing, it relies on 'private' individuals and organizations to sponsor them or carry them out. The simplest of these is financing such an operation/policy; there are many charities that receive such funding and pass it on.

It is perhaps difficult for people in the West to comprehend this; they tend to relate it to their own societies, and the difficulty of doing something like this in them. SA is a medieval, religious, tribal society masquerading as a 'modern' state; a collection of fiefdoms owing nominal allegiance to a ruler. The chiefs of these fiefdoms often pursue policies that may not be supported by other chiefs or the King.

It is quite possible that Saudi intelligence supported AQ and ObL at the time of 9/11 (and later). Prince Turki was Chief of Intelligence till 10 days before 9/11. His sudden removal has continuously sparked rumours about his connection to the attack (and also led to court cases).

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