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09 October 2015


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Ishmael Zechariah

The mind boggles. USA needs conscription for all with a mandatory 4 month basic infantry boot camp involving live fire maneuvers. These chaps think it is so easy...
Ishmael Zechariah



This is a fool’s game. It is simply graft. If the head choppers show up in force the Sunni elders will pray to God as they swear fidelity to their overlords or flee if it is the Russians or Iranians. I believe that there are too many dead and too much enmity for them to dare to swear an oath of allegiance to the Syrian government.

The only way to stop the escalation of this regional Sunni Shiite Jihad into a world conflict is for the USA to join a coalition of nations to quarantine the Islamic State just like the USSR was. This would require Turkey, the minority enclaves in Syria, Jordon, Lebanon, Israel and Iraq to seal their borders and prevent resupply and to stop the want-to-be Jihadists from entering. In one or two generations, Sunnis living in the Islamic State would demand that it be opened in order to make the Hajj to Mecca and to trade and travel.


"whatever money remained would be used to provide lethal aid for groups already engaged in the battle."

Al Nusra will do what they've done, each and every time, they'll just take these weapons from our proxies.

- Eliot

different clue

Wouldn't it be funny if the SARgov were able to send some people who looked convincingly like "moderate opposition leaders" to get some of those weapons?

FB Ali

I just watched Judy Woodruff on the PBS Newshour discuss this issue with PJ Crowley and another former State official. During it Crowley several times talked about the Obama administration's current plan, which, he said, was to deal with IS militarily and with Assad politically. Neither of the other two challenged this!

Since I don't believe any of them is that dumb, I can only conclude that they believe that their audience, or the bulk of it, is dumb enough to (a) either, not follow the news out of Syria, or (b) believe that the CIA doesn't work for the administration.

Either way, it points up a serious problem in the USA these days: the media is complicit in fooling the US public while its government pursues risky (and, in the opinion of many, crazy) policies abroad.


Not-entirely-unrelated question: Who, exactly, is holding Aleppo these days ?

Babak Makkinejad

For those chaps this is just a 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM job.

At the end of the day they go home to their nice houses, spouses etc.

And they have a nice weekend to look to on Friday.


At this point "moderate" head choppers need to wonder if they're going to get hammered by a Russian airstrike when they decided to take arms.


"But officials said they were trying to adapt their strategy by seeking to identify the leaders of “capable, indigenous forces” in Syria who — after what the officials described as a vigorous vetting process — will be the first time the Pentagon has given military equipment to rebel leaders to distribute to their forces engaged in fighting on the ground."

As you note, those "capable, indigenous forces" would be the SAA. Only those in Washington lala-land would think otherwise. Sorry to see the US double down on its idiotic and failed policy. Perhaps it's all just face-saving P.R. rhetoric, but I doubt it.

The US should be engaging Russia in negotiations over possible solutions, not fanning the fires.


I will stand by my earlier predictions, with increased pressure being put to bear on the non-IS forces in Syria they will ALL FOLD TO IS. The lightning capture of the handful of villages within 1 mile of Aleppo today, the only notable change of territory in the country since the falls of tens-thousand populated Quaratayn in August to ISIS,as well as the death of the top Iranian general in Syria near Kweiries,all of this is a harbinger of things to come. Aleppo will be the new capital of the Caliphate by Spring 2016


Walrus: Be kind to us Poli Sci majors. The History major in me says they did not study either the French Revolution or the Russian Revolution. French moderates met Dr. Guillotine's machine. Kerensky and is lot ran for their lives. Moderates in Syria? Seriously?

These are Masters students or Doctoral candidates coming up with this idiotic idea. We mere majors are not stupid enough to come up with this.


I fear most teenagers in most western countries first need a 6 months PT heavy course to bring the BMI down and their physicla fitness up to acceptable values, then we can talk about basic military training. :-)


Duffle Blog had a gloriously snarky article regarding the Army proposing to save huge amounts of money by giving equipment directly to ISIS, thereby cutting out the Iraq and Unicorn Army middle men. As silly as their humor can be, that one cut to the quick.


Banal, I believe you identified the essential flaw in American society right now


The inherent logic of the suggested direct delivery of hardware to ISIS is impressive, this with more than 60% savings, I would give it a try in RL. :-))

SAC Brat

"It only hurts if it's true" as elementary school kids say.

http://www.duffelblog.com/ throws them across the plate pretty well. Imagine a world where the editors didn't have any subjects to write about.

I'm waiting for "Russian Government upset US didn't let them in on scam, sued by contractors for lost profits".

ex-PFC Chuck

Bombing in Ankara. 86+ killed.


You inspired me to hunt that one down :)

Pentagon To Bypass Iraqi Army And Supply ISIS Directly http://www.duffelblog.com/2015/06/pentagon-to-supply-isis-directly/

Here are a couple more from DuffelBlog...

My personal favorite... After Al Qaeda Declares War on ISIS, US Unsure Which Terrorists To Back http://www.duffelblog.com/2015/09/us-unsure-which-terrorists-to-back/
“If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last hundred years,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement following the declaration, “it’s that funding and supplying terrorist groups never backfires. Look at the thriving, first world nation Libya has become in just the last five years. Cuba is at least slightly less tyrannical than it would have been without the Bay of Pigs. And Afghanistan … well, it’s Afghanistan. This strategy will work here, too. We just need to figure out who will turn on us slower.”

More silly than snarky, would make good stand-up comedy... Opinion: Let’s Fight Them Here So We Don’t Have To Fight Them There http://www.duffelblog.com/2015/08/fight-them-so-dont-have-to-there/


Having spent my military career in the lower half of the enlisted ranks, I read duffel blog daily. It is a balm knowing that the troops are the same level of very intelligent dumbass my buddies and I were.

I think that this is the article you spoke of.



I continue believe that the effort to find strategic coherence and tactical logic in any Obama policy in the Middle East is fruitless. For it assumes that he and his team are serious people with the mind, skills and sense of responsibility to do so. Instead, there is abundant and ever growing evidence that we have in place a set of people you are making and conducting foreign policy by the seat of their pants in the manner of a political campaign (a poorly organized political campaign) in which the emphasis is on shaping tomorrow's headlines. (All of the White House's conduct on domestic matters as well has demonstrated these traits since day one). This may be both painful to admit and counter to almost all past experience, but I see no other explanation for what we have been witnessing.


"Aleppo will be the new capital of the Caliphate by Spring 2016"

Wanna bet? A new group of professionals are coming to town and they are not using COIN Dealer Dave's freshly minted Fool's Gold.


Aleppo is landlocked. Once the Russians, Syrians, and the Kurds seal off the Turkish border- then the game is over. The Katshuya rockets will finish off ISIL.

The smartest move the Syrian government can make is to recognize the Syrian Kurds- give them autonomy or their own country and guarantee them access to the mediterranean. Then, they definitely will seal off the Turkish border to Erdogan and his thugs. (If he's still around after Nov. 1st)


to my understanding Aleppo is still contested, with parts being held by entrenched gvt forces, and the larger part of the city controlled by opposition.

Babak Makkinejad

Well, here is someone who has found coherence in his policies:



"The smartest move the Syrian government can make is to recognize the Syrian Kurds- give them autonomy "

De facto, Assad already did that more than two years ago.

"President Bashar Assad, facing a growing rebel presence in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and its commercial hub, has turned control of parts of northern Syria over to militant Kurds who Turkey has long branded as terrorists, prompting concern that Istanbul might see the development as a reason to send troops across its border with Syria.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in comments late Wednesday, said that Turkey would not accept an entity in northern Syria governed by the Iraq-based Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has long waged a guerrilla war against Turkey, and its Syrian affiliate, the Democratic Union Party.

He said the two groups had built a “structure in northern Syria” that for Turkey means “a structure of terror.”


Assad had his offer reiterated in March:

"A Syrian minister has indicated that the Bashar al-Assad regime is willing to accept Kurdish autonomy in Syrian Kurdistan in the north of the war-torn country, where Kurdish forces have been engaged in fierce fighting with ISIS.

“The Syrian leadership is ready to negotiate over the project for self-management,” National Reconciliation Minister Ali Haydar told Kurdish Rudaw news agency Sunday."


As for the Kurds, it took them just before Geneva II to act:

"A day before the launching of the Geneva II conference, political and military Kurdish powers, mainly the Democratic Union Party (PYD), stole the spotlight after announcing the formation of an autonomous government in three Kurdish towns in the north and northeast of Syria — namely Afrin, Qamishli and Malikiyah."


The empires former imperial viceroy for the region, Robert Ford, however, disaproves:

"NEW YORK - Washington’s support for Kurdish forces in northern Syria is undermining US strategy in the country by raising Kurdish hopes for a self-governing Kurdish zone in Syria and thus antagonizing Turkey, former US ambassador Robert Ford told Rudaw."


These pesky Kurds. Who do they tink they are, meddling in America's schemes for Syria just because they happen to live there? Geez.

On the other hand, since Erdogan is absolutely capable to crush any Kurdish attempt at self-governance Ford has a point. The Kurds, by declaring autonomy, make themselves a target.

But that isn't Ford's concern: "When the Americans help Syrian Kurds, they do two things. They, either directly or indirectly, give Syrian Kurds hope that they will be able to set up an independent state. Two, the Turks, understanding that, become harder to deal with"

Translate: Let ISIS kill them off, that'll make US diplomacy easier. It (= giving them what they want) will also make the Turks easier to deal with.

The Turks have been running their own game, trying to scam the US by apparently facilitating the Ghouta incident, and having ISIS address their Kurdish problem. ISIS conquest of Mosul, the Kurdish Jerusalem, was the key move.

IMO that's pretty hard to deal with to begin with, and for that Erdogan didn't even need the Kurds as a pretext. I always understood his previous offers of peace to the Kurds to read in clear text: Look, forget about autonomy and all these secular things, are we not all Muslims?

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