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24 December 2015


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It's all over but the shouting.

We, both the USA and Russia will eventually declare victory in Syria but the positioning and mess will continue....

The Beaver

Oh well, another recipe for "who is responsible for the creation of ISIS? "


Yep another one who thinks that he knows the ME and would be interesting to know whether he does speak Arabic :

different clue

The ISIS hostage-takers in Ramadi will prevent any civilians from leaving. The ISIS hostage takers plan to use all the civilians as human shields and bomb-catchers.
The Baghdad Shia regime figures will accuse the civilians of showing their support for ISIS by staying even though the Baghdad Shia regime figures know very well the civilian human shields will not be allowed to leave.

Any surviving Ramadians and their co-tribals beyond Ramadi will have their bitterness against Baghdad renewed and their resignation to ISIS rule re-inforced.
Or so it seems to me.


That article does go into the Islamicization campaign that Sadaam undertook -- one that was thoroughly opportunistic -- and also discusses how it played out at the tribal level. It prepped people for a much stronger emphasis on Islamic eschatology that we see now in ISIS. It appeals to my suspicion that ISIS has used Islamic fundamentalist rhetoric as an organizing tool. They certainly wouldn't be getting cannon fodder from France and Chechnya if they were pushing a Baathist line, would they? That's not to say some of them don't believe what they say, but it's certainly congruent with a drawing on an international pool of reserves and trying to legitimate bloody, totalitarian rule.



"... their resignation to ISIS rule re-inforced."

I thought that tactic had been done byfore. Didn't that ISIS lesson in governance penetrate the first time around?


How many ISIS guys are there? Some of the stories put the number around 300. Three hundred guys are defending a city 100 miles from Baghdad? Is that possible?

Trey N

The Ramadi and other Iraqi Sunnis have been cheering for Daesh for the last year, while the liver eaters were on a roll. Now that the tables have turned, they're crying in their beer. They shoulda got the hell outa Dodge while the getting was good, but it's too late now -- they're gonna get what's coming to them, in spades. Karma is indeed a cold bitch.

The good news for the rest of the world: if the Anbar tribes have the sense to realize who unleashed this horde of head-chopping scum into their desert, they'll turn and invade Saudi Arabia and Qatar and remove the heads of every Wahabbi cleric and royal they can find -- and I hope they find every last one of them....

robt willmann

24 December 2015

During a brief intermission this day, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas....




while you are corrrect to point out Saddam's campaign, this fact is being used by the 'ISIS is really Saddam's fault' crowd to make an argument that wants to absolve the US from their responsibility for breaking Iraq.

If that's what you're saying, I'd find it not persuasive, since it is a conveniently misleading thing for an American to say. It amounts to digging out Saddam and have him justify and own US mistakes from the grave.

For one, Saddam's Islamisation campaign really did emphasise Wahhabi or Salafist creed as formulated by IS and AQI, given Saddam's emnity to such groups? Did he not rather push traditional Iraqi Sufi lines? If so, then the appeal of groups like IS and AQI is something inherently Sunni.

Then, the subsequent radicalisation of Iraq's re-Islamicised Sunni probably cannot be explained and would probably not have happened without both US occupation and the repressive measures by the new US installed Shia dominated government in Baghdad.

Arguably, Sunni disenfranchisement began with Lord Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 2 that dissolved the Iraqi army and the subsequent "de-Baathification" which led in a Shia majority country to a 'de-sunniisation' in which the US, too, were instrumental, having handed the top job to Ahmed Chalabi.



was directed @beaver

The Beaver

I am in between final prep in the kitchen but i caught this on the news:

"Top Syrian rebel leader Zahran Alloush killed in air strike in Damascus suburb "

Abu Sinan

Zahran Alloush and about a dozen of his leaders were killed by the Russians. A Christmas gift to the world from the Russians. This guy is what our leaders are calling a moderate. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhlazMjqVME


Abu Sinan

Can you summarize for us jihadi withdrawals at present? pl

different clue


Don't worry, I'm not trying to absolve America and the United Kingdom from breaking Iraq to begin with.

I am thinking about what is happening now, amid the wreckage which the US/UK invasion set in motion. Part of what I think I saw happening now, when I read that elements of the Old Baathist army, secret police, etc. decided to work with ISIS after it emerged on its own . . . is that the Old Baathists realized they could use ISIS as a containment dome for their own core goals and mission. I continue to think that.

Sunni disenfranchisement beginning with Lord Bremer's order (following upon the firing and removal of Garner) seems inarguable to me. (So you can rest easy on that score.) I fully understand that the US and UK worked to install the Shia Supremacist regime in power in Baghdad today. But people in power and authority "have agency" , as the progressives like to say. And even reflexive revenge-bent Shia supremacists in the seat of power in Baghdad "have agency" to decide to realize that their present and future persecution and oppression of the Sunni Arabs will not help them patch up any kind of functional Iraq. So while it is US/UK's fault for bringing them into power, it is their own Shia Supremacist fault for abusing their power the way they have freely chosen to abuse it. Noting that basic fact need not be suspected of being some kind of underhanded way for America and the United Kingdom to self-absolve themselves from the initial wreckage of Iraq.

different clue


I think the 300 guys are probably left-behinder suicide troops who will keep fighting to the last man. They may be largely foreign jihad volunteers but that is just a guess.

different clue


It probably did. But then the Maliki regime taught an equal and opposite lesson that a Shia Baghdad regime would betray and discard the Sunni fighters against AQ in Iraq completely, and then go on to resume the oppression and persecution even harder than before.

So once the Baghdad forces retake Ramadi, if they decide to pretend to believe that the civilians forced to remain behind as human shield hostages
are really eager ISIS supporters, and kill, torture and persecute them some more, they and especially their co-tribals beyond immediate Baghdad regime reach will have that "equal and opposite" lesson re-inforced all over again, and even harder.

For the Sunni Arab tribespeople to offer support to Baghdad without a proven verified square-fair deal first, would seem to them like utterly humiliating self-abasement. They will endure any amount of ISIS pain rather than humiliate and abase themselves before Baghdad. The coming Rape of Ramadi ( if that's how the Baghdad forces and the Shia militias decide to celebrate their victory) will harden Sunni Arab resolve to bear the ISIS burden even further.

That is all just my intuitive feeling, to be sure.


Does anyone here have an understanding of whether there is a relationship between the Arab style of prayer and song and that of the Hebrew/Jewish tradition?

Joseph Campbell once said that Hitler's rhetoric was so persuasive that it was almost impossible to resist raising one's hand in the Heil salute. Hitler was conversant in German opera, especially Wagner, and used the drama, mythologies and melodies of opera to great effect. I enjoy Wagner's opera and frequently can't get one or another melody out of my head. I can understand how Wehrmacht war songs would inspire an audience predisposed to that style of music.

On the other hand, listening to the youtube Abu Sinan posted grates in my ears. The cadences are alien and harsh. But I would have to assume they are familiar and stirring to Alloush's audience. This is not the comment of a bigot: I try to learn about Arab (but more especially Persian) culture and appreciate them on their own terms; I'm just saying that the styles are quite different from what appeals to western ears. I guess that's an obvious point.



In reality, war reaps more war. As long as the Gulf Monarchies export jihadists and money, plus the West’s dependency on war profits; the Middle East will be engulfed in a Holy War. Powerful oligarchs do not want Russia to succeed. World War III has started.

The comments about the 2003 Iraq Invasion are true. But, the Sunni/American conflict goes back to 1990. The cure for the Vietnam Syndrome was not to overthrow Saddam Hussein at that time but to start a forever cold/hot war in Iraq that continues for the foreseeable future.

Unless the West ends the wars and agrees to a peace settlement, it has sowed the seeds for its own destruction. A million refugees have already flooded Europe with millions more to come. Although it is hard to admit, there is a revolt against society by youngsters converting to the one true religion to find a just and noble cause in their lives.

It is mankind’s fate for the young to die for their beliefs in god forsaken places like Ramadi or to find out too late that they are cannon fodder.

robt willmann

An article about Zahran Alloush, an anti-Assad militant leader apparently killed today, written by Joshua Landis at the University of Oklahoma, is here--




i thought all along we were to believe Russians don't/ can't have precision guided bombs.


Colonel, TTG,

What to make on this one, apparently DoD won't 'cooperate' on Daesh with the Russians until the Russians changes their position regarding Assad, per DoD spokesperson LTC Michelle Baldanza.

Exactly what kind of 'cooperation' is Baldanza talking about regarding Daesh, both DoD and Russia? Is one party talking apples while the other party talking oranges? What do the Russians want? What does DoD want? What are their agreements and disagreements regarding Daesh? What level of Intel do the Russians seek regarding Daesh? What level of Intel does DoD doesn't want, or wants to disclose regarding Daesh? We're talking the human liver eaters/head decapitators aka Daesh. This whole imbroglio between DoD and the Russians regarding Daesh is getting stranger and stranger by the moment.



Josh Landis has a piece on Alloush


Carnegie Endowment's Aron Lund has a piece on Alloush's death, and the Islam Army's news outlet names Alloush's successor as Abu Humam Bouidani


Chris Chuba

"It amounts to digging out Saddam and have him justify and own US mistakes from the grave."
Confusedponderer, that is a perfect assessment of the goal of that article but it does contain some interesting facts if you disregard their bogus conclusion. It mentions that Saddam established a smuggling network in response to the U.N. sanctions and this assisted 'the Caliphate' in western Iraq as they put it. Following this logic, wouldn't this exonerate Assad from the charge that he assisted the flow of fighters and material support for Al Qaeda in Iraq during the insurgency? It would be much more logical to attribute the flow of Al Qaeda fighters between Syria and Iraq to Saddam's old network and contacts inherited from his former military.

Ghost ship


This details Soviet and Russian guided bombs up to 2012. Note that the weights are in kilograms rather than pounds.


Croesus, the music in Abu Sinan's video does not sound grating to my ears. But then for a while I was quite fascinated in what in Jazz is called Worldmusic borrowing tunes from different places. From the top of my head, the high pitched female voices in Indian music may be a bit hard for me. ;) But grating?

It feels to me you misunderstand Joseph Campbell. Hitler a lover of opera? Which led to a certain type of Wagnerian Wehrmacht war songs? No doubt Hitler was a frequent guest in Bayreuth.


And yes, Wagner was an antisemite. But is there something like antisemitic music?

To not delve into Wagner and/or Hitler do you have the respective Campbell quote?

The first thing that shows up on the web is interestingly enough an article on First Thing by someone I seem to have registered under propagandist:


Notice Daniel Barenboim, although Jewish, correctly considers Wagner an antisemite, but as Musician feels the music cannot be. I agree.

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