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28 December 2015


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There were once 200,000 people living in Ramadi. Where are they now?

Babak Makkinejad


Romancing the Sunnis:



Since we are on the topic of the latest on Iraq & Syria :
Today there was a pretty good review of the tug of war between the DIA and the current administration ever since the outbreak of the internal war in Syria. It is titled:

Military to Military
Seymour M. Hersh on US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war

Published in the London Review of Books and it is worth a read here:


The following is an interesting paragraph from the same:

" ... Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition. Turkey wasn’t doing enough to stop the smuggling of foreign fighters and weapons across the border. ‘If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic,’ Flynn told me. ‘We understood Isis’s long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.’ The DIA’s reporting, he said, ‘got enormous pushback’ from the Obama administration. ‘I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.’ ... "

Chris Chuba

Without question, most U.S. politicians are indulging the Sunni states and bending over backwards to indulge the Sunnis at our peril. Yemen is probably the clearest illustration of that model but it applies to Syria and Iraq as well. In Yemen, we are indulging our Sunni client Saudi Arabia in a preemptive war to prevent a theoretical future problem that might develop with a Yemen under Houthi control. However, in the process we are allowing ISIS and Al Qaeda to setup shop now.

Regarding Iraq, Abadi does seem to be more competent then Maliki. I admit that I am a naive fool when it comes to these things, was Maliki ever actually elected or was he simply selected by the U.S? Same question regarding Abadi. It's funny that we accuse Iran of being the puppet master here.

In any case, regarding Iraq, I certainly don't know what mix of forces is necessary to defeat ISIS and I don't have a lot of confidence in our ability to divine that either. So my take is that we should be supportive of what the central govt decides to do. If they can establish a working relationship with some Sunni militias then great, if they need to work with some acceptable Shiite militias, fine. They will make some mistakes along the way but a natively won victory will be much longer lasting then one imposed by us.


Another bombing at a rebel group meeting in Daraa province, Syria. This group, Islamic Muthana Movement, was much smaller than Zahran's Jaysh al Islam.

"Daraa-based opposition activist, said explosives were planted at the farm and detonated once the militants had gathered there. 'Once the fighters entered the farm, the explosives were detonated, killing 17'"


BBC video (2 minutes) of Ramadi. I count zero civilians visible.



I expect they will join these Sunni Arabs from the Kurdish controlled North as refugees.


Rebuilding Ramadi with the presently low oil prices is doubtful. There is not much left over after the costs of the war have been deducted. And who knows... the Iraqi government may prefer a less inhabited Ramadi.


Russian Syrian rotation of some Russian Marines were broadcast on Russian TV along with the Russian Syria Christmas and stars from Russia entertaining their deployed troops.


You must have missed this post on 12/20...

Hersh article on the JCS, the Borg and Syria http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2015/12/httpwwwlrbcoukv38n01seymour-m-hershmilitary-to-military.html


Col Lang,
What is the "Anti-Lebanon"?


Speaking of General Flynn, can you believe what John Schindler wrote about him recently:
"DIA has a long-standing reputation inside the Beltway for possessing more enthusiasm than skill, and a recent effort to bolster its HUMINT role by then-director General Mike Flynn was beaten back by CIA. That proposal died with President Obama’s dumping of Mr. Flynn for bad judgement—which, given Mr. Flynn’s lies about ISIS intelligence since his firing and his recent reinvention as a Kremlin propagandist, looks like an excellent call by Mr. Obama."
Schindler again being the Company's mouthpiece no doubt.

The Virginian

Assuming that the Iraqi Army (IA) is able to take back Ramadi and its environs, as noted it will remain vulnerable to ongoing Daesh operations. This implies that the IA has little ability to hold / defend recaptured territory while massing for operations elsewhere in Anbar (ie. Fallujah) or further afield in Ninevah (Mosul). Progress by the R+6 in Syria along with that of the Kurdish YPG would seem set to dictate the evolution of the battle space more so than Iraqi or Iraqi efforts to date.

One additional point on the IA and broader Iraqi security / intelligence services - during the US presence Washington made a critical mistake by trying to build an Iraqi military in the image of the US in terms of doctrine, equipment, etc. In turn, the US deceived itself by thinking that the officers and enlisted trained by the US / Coalition, along with the intelligence officers and systems, would remain after US troops left. Maliki targeted them in classic survivalist fashion and swept away whatever nascent capability there was (coup proofing), however limited that might have been.







Yes, this is yet another example of CIA's anti-DIA IO at work. pl


great. any John Bolton quotes?




alba etie

The Virginian
Will Abedi & the current Iraqi national Government leadership be willing to work with the Sunni Tribal leaders in al Anbar - and vice a versa to hold ground taken by the IA ? And any chance of bringing back any of the Baathist Army Leadership to maybe further the political & ideological struggle against Daesh ? I guess the Camp Bukka and al Gharib legacy makes any kind of political reconciliation problematic . Once again thank you Viceroy Bremer & the whole Bushcheney team ( sigh ) ...


It is just the name for a region/mountain range in Syria/Lebanon. Nothing political. Just wiki it.



I posted the link. pl


Sorry, yes I should have wiki'd it. For some reason, it seemed esoteric and something that wouldn't be found there but there it is:


IMO it wouldn't have made any difference if US tried to form the new Iraqi security forces in any different way, even one after the Mongol' army or any other form.
One important fact that westerners, and in particular Americans don't understand or don't want to accept is, that the majority of Iraqis are Shia, which in reality they are a minority, among all other Arab countries.
Naturally as of the result, no matter what and how, the new empowered majority, will form and shape it's new security forces to protect their security internally and externally with the help from impartial regional other minorities, ethnicities and allies, as well as any strategic international allies that has same security concerns.
IMO, This natural formation of new necessary (for a group of minorities like in Syria) security architecture, was not possible for US to prevent.
IMO after the Iranian revolution sooner or later the Shia uprisings and empowerment was going to happen where ever Shia was mistreated like in Lebanon, ,Iraq, Bahrain, with or without necessarily needing a foreign stimulus like the invasion of Iraq. As it happened in Lebanon many years before, the Iraq, and is happening in Bahrain, Yemen and elsewhere.
For many years the Arab Shia citizens of Sunni controlled Arab countries were treated as second class citizens, as soon they can they form their security forces after, and perhaps with the experience of Iran. Which means to form a storing militia political+military force along side the national regular army. Like the Badr brigade in Iraq, NDF in Syria, Hezbollah, Ansarallah, etc. the Shia and their allies correctly realize that they are the minority in the Sunni world, due to this understanding they don't intend to dominate and over use their new empowerment, but they no longer will accept the domination of the sunnies. This a natural formation. That perhaps can be delayed but can't be derailed.
IMO at this time the best US Interest (after continued and huge strategic mistakes) is to seat this one out. Russia can not dominate the ME, Iran cannot rule and dominate the Sunni world, China like Europe is only interested to freely buy oil, why do we need to give us a bad name taking a side?



During the Iran-Iraq War I spent a lot of time with Iraqi army, much of it at the front. There were a lot of Shia officers, some quite high ranking. The Lieutenant General who commanded the Republican Guard armored corps in the invasion of Kuwait was Shia and a member of the Baath Party. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I am a time traveler from that epoch. pl


Yes I understand sir, a distant relative, an air force general in shah' Air Force trained and educated in Texas past away a few days ago here in LA, after thirty some years in exile, denying what shaped. Sir, he, they, and I are not the Shia I am talking about.



The Iranian armed forces in the time of the shah were mostly Shia. That has not a thing to do with the majority Sunni countries like Iraq and Syria where there were many Sunni but also non-Sunni officers. pl


The advance continues from the October Dam. If it really is only Arab forces participating is unknown.


Possible extend of advance.


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