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31 March 2016


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Babak Makkinejad

Nah, it is just the view that the world is a fantasy based on the Godfather movies.


Is he still also trying to turn Afghanistan into a paradise of democracy, human rights and feminism?


"Such an approach is reminiscent of college bull session discussions, graduate school seminars and papers and government funded war gaming in which the most bizarre nonsense is often "floated" as "the next move" in the game."

But that is exactly how Obama policies always look. They are such. Just see for example the stupid conflict with China he is building and the bad relations with Russia. This whole "Assad must go" farce despite the knowledge that al Qaeda or IS would take over is also of such kind.


His opinion on the Iraqi Kurds that he is lauding so much is also pretty ridiculous.

President: Masoud Barzani now in the 7th year of his 4 year term
Prime Minister: Nechervan Idris Barzani, nephew of Masoud
Head of Kurdistan Region Security Council (secret services): Masrour Barzani, son of Masoud

Several Barzani cousins, sisters, nieces etc are leading members of the KDP and hold the most huge$$$ business interests in the Kurdish region.

Meanwhile the Kurdish region is bankrupt. Teachers and other state paid people (allegedly 70% of the population) as well as the Peshmerga militia have not been paid for several month.

Barzani did not deliver oil, as he should, to the central Iraqi oil administration and was therefore not paid by the Iraqi government. He sold oil through illegal deals with Turkey. Erdogan recently shut down one of the two pipelines to pressure Barzani to do Turkey's bidding.

The Barzanis are throughout corrupt and incompetent. Even worse - they are unreliable. The population is mostly against them. I don't get why anyone would ally with them as Obama does.



"But that is exactly how Obama policies always look." The "but" is misdirected since I obviously agree with you. pl

Patrick Bahzad


Totally agree with your conclusion: there is no obviously no collusion of interest between the US and ISIS, not even using ISIS as a foreign policy tool. There is just sheer incompetence masquerading as the "grand game" thinking of the chosen ones ... Actually, more a mixture of self-delusion combined with unwarranted arrogance and intellectual autism.

Patrick Bahzad

That's an interesting and important post, because it opens a window of opportunity both for the Barzani clan and for ISIS in Iraq. They might both be tempted to use each other as leverage against other regional actors: the IS entering into a more overt deal-making policy with Barzani's people, regarding the oil trading for example. And Barzani bartering for his support in the battle for Mosul in exchange for better financial favours from Baghdad.
See how it turns out, I sort of have a bad feeling about this ...


"intellectual autism”

You make that up yourself, or am I missing that as someone's new descriptor making the round? Great phrase. I’m stealing it, PB. What an apt description of Obama’ foreign policy.

Babak Makkinejad

That might be true but I think "ISIS was made by US" is probably going to be very very difficult idea to dispel or otherwise disprove.

Babak Makkinejad

It is all about day-to-day survival and there is no strategic vision worth a damn behind it.

They were collaborating with Saddam Hussein earlier against other Kurds.

In Turkey, the PKK initiated the war against AKP Government to marginalize the People's Democratic Party; lest it gains a firmer hold on the Kurds of Turkey.

Some ethnic groups cannot govern - Sikhs, Kurds, the Dinka, the Nuer, the Fulani....


People should remember that at that moment in time in 2014 the anti-ISIL Coalition also was not in a position to be able to effectively use air power against ISIL in most populated areas of Northern Iraq or adjacent to Iraqi troop concentrations without a great risk of civilian casualties or fratricide of ISF. The Shia Government of Iraq (GOI) has never been particularly concerned about non-Shia civilian casualties which has always complicated use of coalition air power.


No wonder the Iraqis think that US is double-crossing them. If they had any doubt, Obama removed it with his above statement.

The thing is that very few in many places would see it in your way (despite it being the truth).

Many would think it is part of some grand strategy.


I think there is some collusion with IS, some blackmail of the government (replace al-Maliki and include Sunnis in the PMF), and some genuine attempt to protect the civilians from the Shia militias. Denying air cover and letting ground forces engage at a disadvantage can't be excused as incompetence as it's happened several times.


OT, which I know is not allowed or frowned upon re: the colonel’s latest commenting directive, but important to listen to, imo: Stephen Cohen’s weekly interview on the John Batchelor Show this past Tuesday. Speaks directly and anecdotally to your assessment of Obama’s foreign policy chops, Patrick.



WRT Barzani and KRG forces, they are our most dependable allies in Iraq, but there is no reason to have unrealistic expectations. In 2014 they were not expeditionary, nor could they be expected to defend outside of Kurdish territory, especially IVO Mosul where we had already seen them not defend against AQI in 2004, nor assist in retaking Mosul in 2005, and when the ISF was running away.


Off topic (I apologize) but related in terms of how policies get made. Poroshenko (of all people) asks how we are to tell the difference between good and evil. He then asks for a comprehensive bilateral security agreement between the US and Ukraine.

"Speaking at the World Affairs Councils of America in Washington, Ukraine's President P. Poroshenko stated, "Since I've visited America last time, Ukraine has effectively stopped the Russian offensive. The price we have paid is striking. Almost 10,000 people have died. [...] 19 months after we initiated the Minsk process, I still receive reports about losses and shelling of our positions in the frontline every single day... Russia continues sending troops, heavy weapons and ammunition into Ukraine a few times a week... In 1994, Ukraine abandoned the third largest nuclear weapons arsenal. ... We got security assurances under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum about sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of my country... Russia simply defied its assurances to Ukraine and committed a direct armed aggression against my state... We, Ukrainians, are entitled to call upon the Western guarantors under the Memorandum to take all possible efforts to restore international justice and order, to help us in our battle for survival and independent, democratic and European future.... Sanctions are the only 'line in the sand' that the West drew after 2014. It is the only line between good and evil drawn in the context of this war. And if there is no line anymore - than what's the difference between good and evil?... The US support has been critical for successful resistance to the Russian aggression. It is high time to boost Ukraine-US bilateral dialogue in form and content. It is also time to upgrade our strategic alliance and to channel our intense cooperation in defense and security into a comprehensive bilateral security agreement."

A full transcript of his remarks is available at http://www.president.gov.ua/en/news/vistup-prezidenta-ukrayini-na-forumi-bitva-ukrayini-za-svobo-36927


Does anyone know if the Witches of Eastwick
Powers,Rice ,the former third Hillary, have
Obama's ear currently? Mommy dearest Michelle?
IMO the majority of of his FP decisions were
consensus built as many others have noted.
The Goldberg and Friedman interviews a cathartic?


PB: The Borg explanation: https://twitter.com/SyriaSource/status/715555871351300097

My translation: The Russians have defeated the Turkish/Saudi funded Liver Eaters we wanted to topple Assad. Had the Liver Eaters taken over Syria, then we would have gotten UNSC approval for NATO to use force to insert a new Chalabi into Damascus and route the aforementioned Liver Eaters.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

The additional irony of this coming up in an interview with the famously incoherent Friedman is almost too much.

The Beaver

Is Russia MIA or Putin was not invited?
Ditto for Iran !!!

Nuclear Security Summit 2016 @ DC

I would have thought that ChiHuaHua Jubeir would have made the trip - Nope.
The Sultan of Turkey is present as well as a king and some princes from the ME.
Bibi is absent and is represented by a minister.



"They were collaborating with Saddam Hussein earlier against other Kurds." Untrue. I have told you that before. pl


How The World’s Biggest Bribe Scandal Unfolded In Iraq
A Monaco-based company called Unaoil cultivated an astonishing web of influence.

Apparently the corruption was institutionalized and international.

I wonder why the US Treasury Dept's Office of Terror Finance (OFAC) failed to spot this enterprise.

Babak Makkinejad

One faction made a deal with Saddam and another one fled to Iran; that was my recollection.


Although the Kurdish parliament ceased to meet in May 1996, the fragile cease-fire between the PUK and KDP held until the summer of 1996. During this period, the Iraqi government was permitted by the KDP to establish a smuggling route through the Khabur River basin for the transportation of illegal petroleum exports.[15] Barzani and his associates seized the opportunity to impose taxation on this trade, giving them the means to earn several million dollars per week.[16] This led to a dispute with the PUK over the beneficiaries of Kurdish imports and exports. Although the two parties reached an agreement where the Iraqi–Turkish smuggling routes would be divided evenly between each other, the KDP continued its attempts to exert greater control over the movement of goods through Kurdistan.[15]

Talabani established an alliance with Iran, permitting them to conduct a military incursion into northern Iraq aimed at the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran on July 28.[11][17] Faced with the prospect of fighting both Iran and the PUK, Massoud Barzani asked for assistance from Saddam Hussein. Seeing an opportunity to retake northern Iraq, Saddam accepted. On August 31, 30,000 Iraqi troops, spearheaded by an armored division of the Iraqi Republican Guard attacked the PUK-held city of Erbil, which was defended by 3,000 PUK Peshmerga led by Korsat Rasul Ali, in conjunction with KDP forces. Erbil was captured, and Iraqi troops executed 700 captured soldiers of the PUK and the Iraqi National Congress dissident group in a field outside Erbil.


installing the KDP in control of Erbil, Iraqi troops withdrew from the Kurdish region back to their initial positions. The KDP drove the PUK from its other strongholds, and with additional Iraqi help captured Sulaymaniyah, on September 9. Jalal Talabani and the PUK retreated to the Iranian border, and American forces evacuated 700 Iraqi National Congress personnel and 6,000 pro-Western Kurds out of northern Iraq.[11][13] On October 13, Sulaymaniyah was recaptured by the PUK, allegedly with support of Iranian forces.[19]


Colonel and PB,

BS, hubris and intellectual autism pretty much nails American Foreign Policy in the 21st Century.

How else can you describe the fiasco of CIA supplied Syria rebels in firefights with Pentagon supported Syrian rebels? No one is fired or demoted. The American policy of support of Islamists to destabilize Russia goes back to July 3, 1979 when President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul; 37 years.

Fighting endless unwinnable wars is not happenstance. It is national policy. All the contortions are due to the unwillingness to acknowledge reality and tell the truth to the American people.

The Twisted Genius


You're wrong about the Barzani KDP collaborating with Saddam Hussein. They got a little help from Iran and a little from Turkey in their civil war with Talibani's PUK. All Hussein did was get out of Barzani's way as he (Barzani) went after the PUK. I dealt with several Barzanis in the late 80s and early 90s. They never had a good word for Hussein.

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