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30 March 2016

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b

I do not give much credit to whatever the U.S. or the Kurds say about the Iraqi army.

The Barzani mafia/Peshmerga Kurds, they ran away when ISIS captured the Yezidi areas, have nothing to boost about. The Iraqi army was partly ordered to retreat and partly betrayed when ISIS captured Mosul and other cities. The U.S. did not help it all. Remember that Obama himself said he did not do anything against ISIS in Iraq because he wanted to regime change Maliki first (Friedman interview Sep 2014).

I believe that the Iraqi army could be brought up to some standard within a few month. I am not sure that any U.S. training will help. Obama is still playing games in Iraq and judging from the numbers of airstrikes etc. has no interest to let the Iraqi government get Mosul back.

The Iranian army taking over the Iraqi army training while IRGC Suleiman brings up the Shia militia and Russia lends some air support would clean Mosul up in a few month.

Barish

"The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) supported by Russian warplanes and fighter helicopters is advancing on the town of al Salamiyah located on the important crossroads in the province of Hama. The army units are now in full control of several key areas and heights near the town. If Salamiyah is captured, the Syrian forces will be able to increase the safety of the vital M5 highway [...]"

The text here is indeed somewhat confusing without watching the video itself: what is shown there are advances being made by SAA and allies on the unicorn Ar-Rastan - Talbiseh-pocket between Homs city and Hama city, also seen here:

http://www.edmaps.com/html/palmyra_march_28.html

As for the quoted Kurdish Colonel: bragging about how much better his fellow Kurds are than his southern Iraqi peers shouldn't be discounted when it comes to how he arrives at his assessment. There's reports here and there that morale among KRG-troops's ranks isn't too high either, in all likelihood also due to strained financial situation of KRG itself. That's not to say that the man's assessment itself is wrong per se.

turcopolier

b

you make a good point about a change of management. Do you have a link for the Friedman interview? pl

cynic

Veterans Today has suggested that ISIS in Mosul may just be a cover for a joint operation between the Barzani Kurds and Erdogan's forces to steal the local oil. Maybe nobody is trying very hard to dislodge them.
http://www.veteranstoday.com/2016/03/12/399578/
The story governments tell may be far from the truth.

Barish

I recall that episode, and believe I linked to it on this here blog before:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/09/opinion/president-obama-thomas-l-friedman-iraq-and-world-affairs.html?_r=0

"The reason, the president added, “that we did not just start taking a bunch of airstrikes all across Iraq as soon as ISIL came in was because that would have taken the pressure off of [Prime Minister Nuri Kamal] al-Maliki.” That only would have encouraged, he said, Maliki and other Shiites to think: " ‘We don’t actually have to make compromises. We don’t have to make any decisions. We don’t have to go through the difficult process of figuring out what we’ve done wrong in the past. All we have to do is let the Americans bail us out again. And we can go about business as usual.’ ”"

What comes to mind here the most: horrible, inept, naive, a little bit of all three...

Ishmael Zechariah

Col. Lang, SST
Several observations:
1-The goals of the Borg w/ respect to Iraq and Syria have not really changed but had to get modified because Putin took a seat at the table uninvited and turned over three aces.
2-I do not believe that a strong, well-trained Iraqi army was ever in the cards; It was the Borg who dissolved Saddam's Army, and putting together it back together again will take far more than weapons.
3-The Kurds talk tough, but have never performed when facing a real force. They are patsies and may suffer if their puppeteers abandon them yet once again.
4-If and when the "grand bargain" gets disclosed we will see what the new Sykes-Picot will look like. So far the goals of Russia and the Borg are orthogonal.
BTW, can someone explain to me the treatment sultan tayyip gets from the West? His son flees from arrest in Italy in Saudi garb, using a fake Saudi passport-the local police chief cries corruption, and almost no one carries the story. tayyip orders police to fire on unarmed people, jails journalists, closes newspapers, builds palaces w/out permits, mocks the courts, funds and arms ISIS, etc, and the only thing we hear is "Assad uses barrel bombs".
Curiouser and curiouser.

Ishmael Zechariah

turcopolier

Barish and b

"horrible, inept, naive, a little bit of all three..." I could not agree more. pl

The Beaver

Colonel,

The YouTube Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnRNszsza_8

turcopolier

cynic

No. We Americans have just screwed the pooch in Iraq and no longer have the skill to repair the situation. As the Borg turns... pl

turcopolier

Beaver

I will post on this tomorrow after I digest it. pl

Bill Herschel

Out to lunch.

Babak Makkinejad

Right about Barzani; he thought he could pump oil and become another Kuwait or Abu Dhabi.

I think Iraqi generals were brined in Mosul to not fight or do anything else to hinder ISIS.

If not for Iran and that famous Iranian - Ayatollah Sistani, ISIS would have been in control of much, if not all of Baghdad - in my opinion.

Ghost ship

How much do the Iraqis consider the Iraqi army to represent American interests? Since it was created and trained by the United States, I would guess quite a lot. Why should Iraqis wish to die to advance American interests? Meanwhile, with the involvement of Iraqi militias in Syria, they are quite happy to risk their lives advancing Iraqi/Arab interests while they probably develop into battle-hardened units capable of complex operations. Something I suspect the United States was reluctant to do when training the "Iraqi" Army because of the threat that might represent to certain clients in the region.

b

The Maliki moment is at 18:55 min into the video.

https://youtu.be/nnRNszsza_8?t=18m55s

Castellio

What's so curious?

Can Turkey legally cede the Golan. Is Turkey aligned with Hizbollah?

Or is Turkey making life very hard for the ruler who can give up the Golan and can stop supporting Hizbollah?

So it will continue, pretty well no matter what our would be Sultan does...

Chris Chuba

I wonder what's going to happen to Mosul once the Iraq army finally inches it's way into the city limits considering that we destroyed about 80 percent of Ramadi. This crew called in air strikes on just about every city block. There is very little incentive for us to change this pattern because the U.S. media gave this very little scrutiny. I haven't even found a claim regarding civilian deaths. They cheered the liberation of Ramadi for over a week while ignoring its demolition. The favorite narrative was, 'it's an important step for the Iraqi army', boy I wish I could get a dime every time every time cable news repeats a catch phrase.

Regarding civilian deaths due to U.S. coalition airstrikes, I thought that this was a good column that explained how the official number of 26 is ridiculous and that the actual total is likely closer to 1,000 and how they derived it. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/02/02/us-killing-more-civilians-iraq-and-syria-than-acknowledges-globalpost/79686772/
It is NOT claiming that our pilots are butchers. It is simply reality. The pilots are given targets from ground spotters and if we are working with Kurdish forces to increase effectiveness then it's inevitable, isn't it? This makes sense to me. Wars cause death, it's serious business, we should never lose track of that or accept a cartoon portrayal of it.

There's something off in that south front story or http:://militarymaps.info, according to the latter source, al Salamiyah as been in the SAA's hands for quite a while.

annamaria

But there is also something that looks as almost willful incompetence on the top. Could it be true that the US military personnel find themselves fighting the US military personnel in the course of implementation of the ziocons' plans in Syria?
"Pentagon-backed rebels fighting CIA-backed rebels:" https://www.rt.com/op-edge/337646-syrian-showdown-pentagon-rebels/

turcopolier

annamria

Simple incompetence is a good enough answer combined with Obama's lack of positive control over his administration and consequent infighting among the factions, departments and agencies of the federal government. pl

The Beaver

From:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/30/opinion/america-needs-frank-talk-on-isis.html?ribbon-ad-idx=3&rref=opinion&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Opinion&pgtype=article&_r=0

"The White House last week provided a synopsis of the next steps in the campaign against the Islamic State in a seven-page report to Congress. It says that the group has not had a major military victory since May and that American warplanes have significantly cut its revenue by bombing oil trucks and other targets."

The synopsis:
https://armedservices.house.gov/sites/republicans.armedservices.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Section%201222%20Report.pdf

In both Iraq and Syria, the Coalition continues its campaign to degrade ISIL
’s ability to fund its activities,including through attacks on military objectives that have an impact on ISIL controlled petroleum and financial infrastructure. Recent Coalition operation in support of these efforts include Operation TIDAL WAVE II, which began in early November 2015, and which has
destroyed roughly 400 oil trucks, disrupting ISIL fuel supply lines that the terrorists use across Syria and Iraq. We assess that TIDAL WAVE II has reduced ISIL’s revenue by approximately 30%. These strikes included hitting an “I
SIL bank” in Mosul, a key site for collection, storage, and distribution of ISIL revenues.

Coalition in Syria , meh !!! Only the US AF and what we know about Russia+6

The Beaver

In Iraq:
https://imgur.com/kRbqjlm

Heavy Air & artillery bombardment on #Hit.
http://internal.beta.mobile.reutersmedia.net/article/idUSKCN0WX0WP?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=twitter

Patrick Bahzad

Funny how every time R+6 comes up with an important victory, the "other Coalition" tries to mount some counter-PR Ops to try and grab some of the headlines at least.
Was true when R+6 took back Kweires airport and closed its grip on Aleppo. At T+14 days approx., the ISF announced their offensive on Ramadi, which was officially retaken on Dec. 31st 2015, despite skirmishes going on for much longer.
Same goes for Palmyra. Huge boost for Assad, Putin and R+6. Couple of days later, CJTF-OIF announced the "beginning" of the operation to take back Mosul (which according to knowledgeable ppl is not gonna happen before the end of 2016).
But I guess this is all just coincidence ... Btw, waiting for the next coincidence when R+6 is gonna push into Deir ez Zor. Be ready !

The Beaver

@ BM

"If not for Iran and that famous Iranian - Ayatollah Sistani, ISIS would have been in control of much, if not all of Baghdad - in my opinion."

Don't know whether you've seen this?
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/03/iraq-us-position-support-popular-mobilization-units.html#

F5 F5 F5

Why would anybody in Iraq fight for the government today, apart from getting regular wages higher than ISIS'?

We would think that the destruction of ISIS is the beginning of the end game, but it's not.
Even if ISIS suddenly vanished tomorrow, the issues would remain. We're only hiding behind our little finger.

The Iraqi central government itself is corrupt, deliquescent, and under foreign influence(s).
Tensions between Arabs and Kurds are still very real.
Tensions between Sunnis and Shia are still very real.
Sunnis still do not have any legitimate representation.
And even if Sunnis somehow got a place at the table, it wouldn't make any difference. It would be like joining the Vichy government at Sigmaringen.
The US is also an increasingly reluctant ally because it put itself in a box.

So my question is what is the strategy?
Syria can probably tolerate a Kurdistan, but would Iraq and Turkey?
And if there is ever a Kurdistan, can there be even be an Iraq?

Babak Makkinejad

In regards to Erdogan or his erstwhile friends, the Gulfies:

Turkey and Gulfies have been allies of good standing for NATO states for decades, they are not going to be discarded so easily. And then there are those who have gained from business deals with them.

Furthermore, NATO states need Turkey against Iran and Russia.

And look at the alternative for the NATO states: there is not any. They burnt their bridges with Iran a long time ago and are in the process of doing so with the Russian Federation.

one works with the allies that one has and not with the allies that one wishes to have.

Babak Makkinejad

Thanks.

Johnny-come-lately - but at least he has arrived.

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