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07 February 2016

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VietnamVet

Colonel,

Thanks again for the war updates and insight. The tide of battle has turned in Syria. The Western position is insane.

Washington DC functions today to make a few oligarchs fabulously wealthy by outsourcing war to mercenaries and proxy forces whose control is dubious at best. Incompetence is ignored. Not trusting its citizens to serve, the West has lost its moral basis for the wars and is floundering. Borders and the global economy are collapsing. In the next few weeks, the possible Turkish invasion of Syria has to be aborted. An agreement signed with Russia to eliminate the Jihadi groups. The Ukraine crisis settled. Syria and Libya rebuilt. The flow of refugees stopped and returned home. I don’t see Barrack Obama, David Cameron or Angela Merkel doing this. I think we are on the brink of a World War.

Liza

Col. Lang:

Do you have any indication that US-led forces are now moving toward Mosul and Raqqa ?

I just checked Brett McGurk's Twitter feed to find out if American-led forces were conducting any operations. He alluded to upcoming operations in Mosul and Raqqa on Feb. 1st. I just checked #Mosul and #Raqqa and found some information on what are presumably preliminary operations in both cities.

Regarding Mosul: A tweet yesterday showed "what appears to be US Blackhawks landing near #Mosul Dam".

Another tweet yesterday from Haider Sumeria @Iraqi Security indicated that tribal forces will participate in the upcoming operation. His tweet read: "#Mosul Ops Cms/tribal Hadid will now cause problems for Da'ish in Ninawa while the main contingent of #Iraq's forces push up from Shirquat."

A tweet today by PKK commander Akers Kalari said that the PKK were willing to participate in "the #Mosul liberation operation."

Regarding Raqqa: The US coalition was reported to be dropping leaflets on Feb. 3.

The cultural center was reported to be destroyed by air strikes on Feb. 4th

https://mobile.twitter.com/search?q=%23Mosul

turcopolier

Liza

It takes a while to do things like this. Think months to position everything. pl

Fred

VV,

"Not trusting its citizens to serve, the West..."

Just who do you think is serving in the US army now? How about the Russian armed forces; or do you not consider the Russian's "Western"?

cynic

The Sultan just might be so crazy as to push things to war with Russia, and suffer catastrophic consequences. Via the Saker, there's this account of a Greek holy man who predicted that in the near future Turkey would be dismembered after losing a war with Russia.
http://greece.greekreporter.com/2015/11/25/some-greeks-turn-to-elder-paisios-prophecies-on-russia-turkey-conflict/
The Russians are expected to give Constantinople back to the Greeks,apparently with Ionia, whilst the Kurds and Armenians achieve their territorial claims. The surviving Turks either convert to Christianity or go back to their central Asian homeland. It's a Greek fantasy of course, but boundaries on maps are often not very stable. The cartographers have been busy in our lifetimes and may have more work to do!

Babak Makkinejad

nah, Ukraine is dead and we shall see the consequences of its putrefaction in the coming months and years; no one will go to war over the carcass of that poor country.

Libya is wide open for any sufficiently strong Arab military force to assert legitimacy - say ISIS. Again, in my opinion, NATO intervention in Libya, if ever, will go badly and make no difference to the situation there - just look at Somalia.

No one will go to war over Libya.

The danger in Africa, in my opinion, is the disintegration of Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, and Central African Republic where Muslims will carve out various fiefdoms for themselves. Senegal could be gone too.

That leave, the Shia Crescent - a.k.a. the Iranian Sphere of Influence - which is in the process of military consolidation - under tutelage of the Russian Federation.

Again, I do not believe NATO will contest this - after all, the Shia Crescent is better than having more immigrant flooding into Europe.

The Europeans will have a serious fight as they physically have to force the migrant back across the Mediterranean Sea - as the Immigrant Season starts with the coming of Spring.

Walrus

The genesis of Americas current failures is Postmodernist philosophy. which basically denies that there are universal truths and asserts that everything is situational. The consequence of this is the belief that we can change the reality of any situation simply by thinking about it differently.

Trivial examples include the entire "self development" industry starting with the reams of books on the subject visible at any airport right through to the MBA industry that asserts that real experience of a task is unnecessary because anyone can manage anything if they have been taught and employ the right process tools.

The Middle East foreign policy adventures, including supporting the competing goals of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the kurds, and the unicorn army of "nice jihadis", Europe, etc. iare not at all difficult conceptually for a post modernist because to them it is the interface that matters and the substance underneath is irrelevant.

To put that another way a postmodernist view of the Kurds and Turkish confrontation would be along the lines of "Why fight? Can't you guys just mellow out and get over it?"

In business I have seen thepostmodern attitude in some software and other IT companies whose staffs levels of abstraction from the day to day real world and esoteric tastes lead to simply absurd business decisions.

Karl Roves alleged quote perfectly sums up this bizzaro-world attitude: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Needless to say, President Putin is not a postmodernist, nor I suspect are the majority of Russians.

Emad

"... the entry of the fabled (very fabled) Arab Muslim ground task force into eastern Syria."

Do you mean to tell us that the ladies of Foggy Bottom know what a military TF is? I should like to think that you're instead ridiculing their use of jargon without "getting it".

Bill Herschel

Kerry is reported to have said that the "Opposition" screwed themselves by walking out of the "peace talks", because a ceasefire was the only hope they had (i.e. American soldiers fighting beside them was not in the cards). The "Opposition" walked out because Saudi Arabia told them to, prior to or simultaneous with their offering to fight under American command (and protection) against ISIS.

The NY Times now has an article a day, almost, heavily critical of Saudi Arabia... although their Syria correspondent is stationed in Riyadh.

And if you watch the Russian MOD incredibly detailed presentation about oil being shipped by ISIS to Turkey in collusion with Erdogan's family, which you linked to, you get the feeling that Russia is determined to and is probably successfully undermining whatever support Turkey has in Europe.

Fishy I don't know. But I now don't think there are any rabbits in the Sunni hat. In other words, I'm calmer. Spring has come (very) early to New Hampshire which is a lot more worrisome (there may not be global warming, but there sure is NH warming) than worrying about what Erdogan will do next.

turcopolier

Emad

I called it a task force. I was being mocking but it had nothing to so with the R2P ladies. BTW many of them work at the WH, UN, etc. pl

Chris Chuba

"The contradiction in US policy among its various goals is so lunatic that I will not blame you pilgrims if you think something fishy is happening in the apparent attempts of the US to reconcile; support of Tayyip, support of the YPG Kurds"

That says it all. FWIW I lean towards stupidity not planned. I don't think that wonder boys like Rubio are all that smart and he sits on the most prestigious Senate foreign this and that committees, or perhaps he's a narcissist and that's common among politicians. Rubio made several references to Churchill and must fancy himself a modern day version of him. HRC is just as bad.

Perhaps the U.S. breeds politicians like this while Russia breeds Putins simply because we are so powerful that we can make mistake after mistake and just re-write the narrative to our liking. Iraq was Assad's fault, Libya and Syria was because we tried to do it on the cheap. In Russia's case, one miscalculation and they are ruined so they tread carefully. Incidentally, if any other country had the power that we have they would be at least as bad and probably more so.

To me, Syria should have been easy to figure out if anyone spent even a few hours with reasonably good information. I just don't get how blind our politicians have been on this. I read a couple of Pat Buchanan columns almost 3yrs ago and pretty much came to my current conclusion and they were not nearly at the level of detail of blogs like this and other places.

Sorry to go on and on but I am just trying to wrap my head around this rapid succession of foreign policy blunders and this class of politicians and establishment types who simply will not even entertain the possibility that they might be wrong about anything.

To get back on point, I lost it months ago when the Turks started bombing the Kurds and the neocons said absolutely nothing. So yeah, the Turks and Kurds are both good guys and we support both of them and we are all one big happy family; they can simultaneously believe this because they are certifiable lunatics.

bth

Iraqi government was talking yesterday about June offensive on Mosul.

turcopolier

Chris Chuba

Knowing these people, I think it is incompetence, but I can see how others might find this level of incompetence implausible. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Likely it is Hubris more than anything else; my understanding was that US carefully prepared for the occupation of Japan, Germany, France, Italy before the war had ended.

And UK had her Colonial Office with deep area expertise as well as devotion to duty.

turcopolier

Walrus and Babak

Yes, it is post-modernism, and the same thing that causes people to doubt that there can be universal value in such things as "Principles of War." The US, prior to the onset of the post-modernist plague believed in knowledge and expertise. My father was trained for a year in the US for his role in the US occupation of Germany. That was before the end pf the war. He knew the Germans well by the time he arrived there. pl

The Twisted Genius

Chris Chuba,

Within our vast foreign policy machine, intelligence agencies and defense establishment there are many fiefdoms with their own parochial goals. These fiefdoms compete against each other and form temporary alliances among themselves in pursuit of their organizational goals. This becomes rampant and out of control when strong central leadership isn't exerted. Even the Borg have their secret divergent desires. From the outside looking in, this looks lunatic. In reality, it's just a real life version of Game of Thrones" with twice the backstabbing and deceit.

turcopolier

TTG

Yes, the fact that all these Byzantine factions often work at cross purposes contributes mightily to the mess. pl

Bill Herschel

Wow. I don't think I've read a more succinct, credible description of nearly everything ever. I guess it helps that although I could never have had the ability to write it I agree with it. Cameroon and Senegal is very sad. The francophone population is well educated and civilized. What a tragedy.

turcopolier

Babak

If R+6 cleans up a lot of this mess in western Syria IMO it will not be necessary to force most Syrians to go home. pl

Emad

Colonel,

I understand, dare I say I know, kettles here, kettles there, kettles everywhere.

Rebels capture this and lose that place. They capture that place only to lose this place and two more. A month passes and they realize they've been chasing their own tails frantically in futile skirmishes that pop up just about everywhere, and they've little to show for it. Exhaustion sets in; defeat looms large. A Baklava in Antep, barely feasible a month ago, is now a distant dream.

Now I can't fault the DC crowd with not getting it or not wanting to get it. What I'm having a hard time with is the rebels' attitude. They're fighting the fight, so regardless of whether they think it's winnable or not why don't they go for unity of command, so they can in theory fight better? Ideologically, Nusra, Ahrar, Jaish Al-This, Jaish Al-That and ISIS differ little; militarily to some degree. Right now they think they may or may not pull the battle of Aleppo off. With a unified command, if they do, those who remain standing have all the time in the world to go at each other's throats later, if they don't, well at least they gave the "Russian occupiers" a run for their money.

Is it possible that the rebels still don't see it as do or die? If so, are they being duped by aggressive Saudi and Turkish public stances and behind the scene promises? In other words, are they already drinking their own Jihadi Kool-Aid?

turcopolier

Emad

There has been nothing random in the actions of the R+6 forces. They have been following a carefully worked out campaign plan that involved massive attrition and then compartmentalizing their enemies into smaller and smaller groups that can be defeated in detail. The rebels of all types on the other hand are a rabble of small guerrilla groups advised by foreign amateurs from groups like the CIA. They have simply been outclassed, something like the Dallas Cowboys playing a high school team. pl

Emad

Colonel,

Of course the R+6 campaign is well planned. I meant unpredictable from the rebels' perspective.

turcopolier

Emad

There was nothing unpredictable about the R+6 plan. We forecast it here at SST starting several months ago and in considerable detail. No. the rebels' problem is/was that they are/were incompetent in the military game. They were/are just a bunch of guys with guns who were good at oppressing civilians and who outnumbered the government's forces. Well, now it is their turn. Good! Ah, they should have learned the Principles of War. pl

VietnamVet

Fred,

No. Russia is not part of the Latin west. It would be to benefit and security of the American people if Russia was allied to the West. It is not. Indeed, we are in the middle of the second Cold War with the Russia with not a communist in sight. The Balkans are called the Cradle of War for the ethnic religious conflicts between Muslim, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant religions born there. The notion that the refugees fleeing Syria will not bring these conflicts to the heart of Europe is delusional.

I am a member of the last generation of Americans drafted to serve in the armed forces. Today’s U.S. Army does not reflect all of the people. It is composed of volunteers. In my opinion it is too small of win the endless wars. There is no draft because a conscript army will not fight the Empire’s colonial wars on the other side of the world. I support a small professional army and air force with everyone able serving for two years and bringing their weapons home to store in the closet in case they are needed for national defense. This would be similar to the Swiss model with a strong Navy to keep the sea lanes free of pirates.

A. Pols

"The genesis of Americas current failures is Postmodernist philosophy. which basically denies that there are universal truths and asserts that everything is situational. The consequence of this is the belief that we can change the reality of any situation simply by thinking about it differently."

Walrus;
Thank you for your succinctly stated verity...
A world where anything goes and nothing matters.

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