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01 September 2015


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This could be the center piece for a IA final exam course: present with the instruction -EXPLAIN or DISCUSS

I'd like to try that with Obama's senior policy-makers. A gentlemanly 'C' in all likelihood would be beyond them. As for McCain, Graham, et al - a note from the doctor explaining their absence is to be expected

The Twisted Genius

Looks like the credits shown at the end of a major motion picture... goes on forever. It also reminds me of the intel briefings we received at Fort Devens in 1983 on the belligerents in Lebanon. It was page after page of butcher paper briefing charts filled with groups written in one inch high letters.


Is this a TO&E chart of Hell?


looks like a really colorful mix. A good place for the next US president to send ground troops.


It's out of date.

Opposing the Kurds, there should be included a table listing Turkey..

And Israel is missing among the Allied Arms Group listing with JAN.


Have to go with the Sham Legion as best false cognate.

This entry reminded me of a gag from a Bob Hope movie where he's about to fight a duel and as goes to choose his weapon the female lead (Martha Raye?) tells him:"There's a cross on the muzzle of the pistol with the bullet and a nick on the handle of the pistol with the blank". He starts repeating it to himself, gradually getting it mixed up. When he gets to the pistols it's hopelessly muddled. This article had a similar effect.

William R. Cumming

A wonderful display of the results of the brilliance and skill of the US FP establishment's effort.

What is the asylum position of the US on Syrian refugees?


I think that's a wonderful illustration for what usually goes by the shorthand 'clusterf*ck', and that term is only apt considering that Syria by now is, thanks to outside meddling - in particular from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulfies and Israel - indeed f*cked up beyond recognition.

I stopped counting 'opposition groups' of the various stripes (FSA, Al Nusra or ISIS) at 50.

Patrick Bahzad

That's what you get from Wikipedia I suppose ... Sqeeze it all in, somebody will sort it out, somehow, someday !

I wonder when this was last updated anyway. Most of the FSA groups are just empty vessels with big names and some of them are non existent anymore, like the Faroor Brigades, a conglomerate of splintered Salafi groups with a very dubious track record. Defunct since early 2014 at least !

I didn't bother having a second look, but I suspect, you could probably cut that list to size and reduce it to a 1/5 of its current lentgh.


Thank you for this posting. It is one of the most useful ever posted.


Where's the Borg on this chart? They have a few legions between the various think tanks and Facebook fanatics pushing their narrative.


Col Lang,

Seems a bit like the Mos Eisley Cantina
crowd but without the style.

USMC 65-72
FBI 72-96

The Twisted Genius


That's what I figure as well. Some of these names were thought up by a couple of clowns squatting around a hookah, others are a platoon minus at best and some, as you say, are long extinct. And then we got Division 30. Monty Python couldn't come up with something half as absurd.


TTG and PB

The absurdity IS the message. pl

Patrick Bahzad


Yes it is absurd, bordering on the ridiculous.
On the other hand it can be quite convenient to have all these groupings in order to create the false impression of a wide insurgency movement encompassing large segments of syrian society. It may also come in handy when you want to fill up the ranks of these ghost groups with all those 'reconcilables' were have been hearing about.

Wouldn't be the first time a PR stunt or sting is organised to give the impression a large array of opinions are represented within an insurgency, while in fact they all answer to just one or two major players pulling the strings in the background.

Patrick Bahzad

And also, forgot to add, it's very useful for officials who need to dodge tough questions back home:
- is the US actively supporting JaN ?
- No Sir, of course not. The only help we have provided is to FSA groups such as [blablabla].


On Jihadistan on the Syrian-Turkish border.


Is there a touch of irony in the
fact the Star Wars episode was
filmed in the Tunisian area
of Tatooine?


There are 57 officially registered opposition parties in Ethiopia. All of which are linked to the ruling regime and most of which are one man bands.

The Beaver


Do we have a new Bandar in town?


Just to put a smile on the face :

[Quote]At another private meeting with Wendy Sherman, a top State Department official, he struck a dramatic tone. "Our F16 is ready, Madame Sherman. Tell us what time you need them," he said, according to one participant and confirmed by others briefed on the meeting.

Within days of the Pentagon gathering, a photogenic female Emirati fighter pilot, Major Mariam Al Mansouri, led a UAE bombing strike on ISIS, in coordination with U.S. forces. It was the perfect PR move. "That's awesome," said Joe Scarborough when Otaiba appeared on "Morning Joe" to confirm the pilot’s identity. "You can't do this without us, and we can't do this without you," Otaiba replied, referring to the anti-ISIS effort. “I love it. I absolutely love it," Scarborough replied. [EOQ]



"The only help we have provided is to FSA groups such as ..."

yes indeed. and the listed ideology of the FSA is "secularism". Nice touch to the information ops there.

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