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28 August 2015


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Johnny Reims

Patrick Bahzad – with hat in hand, I need your additional input based on your considerable experience:

If you recall back on your recent thread , I wrote the following:

Johnny Reims said in reply to Patrick Bahzad...
PB. Got it. Thanks. I am totally kosher with idea of a new factor, e.g. domestic terrorism. Trying to determine if US FP still adds or diminishes to the overall risk and whether or not it should be considered in addition to new factor that leads to the writing on the wall. As an example, will bombing ISIS or deploying US troops to Syria effect overall risk to US civilians and, if so, how much. Should US seal borders for national security reasons, in addition to acknowledging domestic threat that already resides within and so on. Basically, I have viewed the risks of new factor as overlaying the continuing risks of the old, meaning the old should not be ignored but incorporated into overall new assessment.

-------end of quote-------

Here is one conclusion from this essay, From Paper State to Caliphate (page 36):

The military campaign also bodes poorly for U.S. homeland security. The Islamic State has long prioritized the Middle East over the West, focusing on seizing and holding territory in its home theater, then bringing down neighboring governments. The air campaign, however, has apparently altered the group’s strategic calculus. On September 21, 2014, Islamic State official spokesman Abu Muhammad al-‘Adnani called on all supporters to kill Westerners arbitrarily throughout the world—Americans, Canadians, Australians, and their allies, both civilians and military personnel.215 This call is being met, with Islamic State-inspired attacks having occurred in these countries.216 Never before has the group seemed so intent on targeting the West. In another speech on January 26, 2015, ‘Adnani repeated his call.217

-------end of quote------

If the above is true and US FP is increasing risk to US citizens, how should US respond to protect its citizens? Continue bombing away? Deploy troops to Syria? Seal US borders? Or become less involved in ME and get out of neighborhood? Or have we crossed the Rubicon and US FP, no matter what form, will not alter risk to citizens (or more generally, the West)? If latter, then I see that as a major, major game changer.

Paul Escobar

To all,

Re: In 1792, for example, Saudi Wahhabi forces launched an attack on the Shi’ite center of al-Ahsa’ in eastern Arabia in order to stamp out Shi’ite practices there. Later, in 1801, they besieged the two holiest Shi’ite shrine cities of Najaf and Karbala in Iraq, pillaging Karbala and killing several thousand. As late as 1927, the leading Wahhabi scholars of the Saudi kingdom sought forcibly to “convert” the Shi‘a of the country’s eastern province or else expel them. The modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia no longer actively prosecutes the anti-Shi’ite war; anti-Shi’ite sentiment, however, still runs deep in Salafism.

I am curious...why is it that the Saudi's have never actually "ethnically cleansed" their territory of Shia? They seem to exercise absolute control over their territory, and clearly have anti-Shia fanatics in positions of influence and power. I imagine it must be a humiliation (with the sort of mind-set they have) to have such heretics living among them.

Is it a numbers thing? Do they need the labour? Or are the leaders somewhat rational & tolerant - as opposed to the rest?

different clue

Paul Escobar,

My mere guess is that if KSA tried to outright drive several million Shia from the oilfield province into neighboring Iraq or all the way further into nearest edge of Iran, that either or both of those countries would try somehow to break KSA power and control over the oilfield province and force KSA to immediately let all the expellees back to their homes.

Since those Shia do most of the heavy labor of working the oilfields, driving them all out at once would reduce or stop the oil flow ( I should think) and that would make the petro-dependent countries of the world tolerate "just enough" Iraqi and/or Iranian counterpressure to force KSA to let all the expelled Shia right back in.

Babak Makkinejad

It would destroy Kuwait - with a population which is 30% or more Shia.

Abu Sinan

Piecemeal the Saudis have gotten away with it. A concerted drive to cleanse or murder their Shi'a population would meet with a different response and they are well aware of it.


Col, do you see any hope that the people within IS controlled territories will ever overpower the religious crazies or is it beyond that now?


Yes, it is beyond that. pl


Will it splinter apart once a place like Damascus is taken?

William R. Cumming

P.L. and ALL: What is the closes historical precedent to an ISIS-like group? If any?



The whole initial expansion of Islam became in its early stages much like IS. And, then there were the two revivalist invasions of The Ommayad state in Andalus. These (Moravides and Almohads) were intended to create entities like IS. pl

FB Ali


I hope you realize that the people you call "religious crazies" appear so to you, and others who think like you. Large numbers of Muslims believe they are following the precepts of their faith.

The Wahhabi creed the IS follows is practically the same as that of Saudi Arabia and most of the Gulf states, who are firmly supported by the US and the West, most recently in the Yemen genocide. Their publicly declared faith does not seem to bother these Western countries, or the numerous citizens from them who flock to work in or for them.

I would suggest the take-away is: Note what they do, not what they say!

Patrick Bahzad


Sorry, I couldn't get back at you earlier !

I agree with the quotes. What you had asked was about in earlier thread - if I remember correctly - is the "blowback" effect of US invasions in ME. My reply was that these "blowback" attacks, which were being justified as retaliation for US killing Muslims and AQ fighters in Iraq and elsewhere, are a thing of the past, in the sense the US are not occupying any country in ME-NA.

That being said, I noted, as does Bunzel, that any offensive action against IS for example is likely to trigger willingness on their part to stage attacks in the West. However the justification for the current calls to strike in the West is not just linked to US led coalition. There is a wide array of reasons that are often given by IS prodaganda: unfair treatment of Muslims in the West, military intervention by Western powers in Muslim world, Israel, lack of support for Syrian insurrection, allegedly discriminating anti-Muslim laws, you name it.

That is the major difference I was referring to in relation to mid-2000s. Nowadays, IS and other Jihadi organisations could and would find plenty of reasons to attack the West if they consider it as being in their interest.
Now of course, US FP should take this into consideration, but no doing anything won't deter the Jihadis from attacking the West anyway. So would you rather fight them on your streets or thousand of miles away ? This is of course some sort of balancing act, as you have to weigh up the risks involved in getting sucked in deepter into conflict with IS, but as this point, refusing to confront them on thei turf is only going to make them stronger and thus make the challenge more difficult for domestic law enforcement when they have to step in to counter IS operations on US territory.
No easy choice, but no making an omelette without breaking any eggs ...
I think, of all the options you mention last, the 'game changer' scenario is the most likely one.

Patrick Bahzad

in psychiatry, you call this called "schizophrenia" ...

Johnny Reims

PB -Many thanks for your response. I am in DC right now and will give this a closer look soon. Very curious about how your analysis may effect some assumptions upon which I have always relied. Btw I had hope to dine at a restaurant called Montmartre but it was closed on a Monday night. Again many thanks.

Johnny Reims

Btw...the crickets are surprisingly loud in DC. Healthy reminder this place is a swamp despite beautiful brownstones. Looks like lots of political science majors walking about.

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