« Open Thread - 30 April 2016 | Main | Safe Zones in Aleppo City »

30 April 2016

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

BraveNewWorld

It brings up a number of questions for me. First how has their not been direct co-operation between the two countries? I always thought the two countries were on fairly good terms. The Americans would hate the idea but the Iraqi government does lots of things Washington hates.

I get the blocking supply lines part. But is there a major benefit beyond PR to opening that land bridge between the countries? Are there things they would like to move by land that they currently can't? If they are talking about moving military forces back and forth to work on big projects like Raqqa or Mosul that could make sense. Having Daesh fighting on two fronts instead of one also makes sense. Spending resources on this at this time doesn't make much sense unless there is a bigger plan behind it.

The Twisted Genius

BraveNewWorld,

If Iraq and Syria could pull this off, Raqqa and Mosul would be isolated from each other. My concern is that it draws a lot of R+6 resources away from the Aleppo front. OTOH, it draws a lot of IS resources away from Aleppo as well. As far as the question of direct coordination between Baghdad and Damascus goes, my guess it they have enough to worry about already. It's like the old saying, It's hard to remember that the original objective was to drain the swamp when you're up to your ass in alligators.

VietnamVet

TTG

A logistics landline from Tehran to Damascus makes strategic sense for the Iranian and Hezbollah forces. Not so much for Russia which is trying to get Western agreement to continue to exist. The young Saudi warrior prince seeing the reestablishment of the Shiite Crescent to his north will be honor bound to prevent it. Plus, if Muqtada al-Sadr supporters having stormed the Green Zone can seize the Iraqi government, 5000 US troops will be between a rock and a hard place. It appears that the Sunni Shiite Holy War has re-erupted. Once again, America has avoided a peaceful resolution and has ended up with more war.

Serge

Despite being an invaluable source Fadel is prone to extreme hyperbole, I would classify this piece as one such example. I do not see what value this move would have especially given the precious resources that would be diverted in the effort, either as a benefit to Iran or as a detriment to ISIS. The area is largely unpatrollable and is as deep in Indian country as one can get, any value as a supply line would be mitigated by constant IS raids as was seen from 2012-2014 when the Iraqi/Syrian government still claimed nominal control over the region. The Akashat ambush comes to particular mind.

The Twisted Genius

Serge,

I think you're right about Fadel's hyperbole. That area is a lot of empty desert except for the strip from Deir Ez-Zor to Al-Qa’im along the Euphrates. That area is critical to the IS if it wants to keep its caliphate contiguous.

turcopolier

VV

"Not so much for Russia which is trying to get Western agreement to continue to exist. The young Saudi warrior prince seeing the reestablishment of the Shiite Crescent to his north will be honor bound to prevent it. "Russia is "trying to get Western agreement to exist?" Where did you get that idea? The "Saudi warrior" can't even defeat the Yemenis. Why would you think the Saudi fops cold do anything about this possibility? pl

Babak Makkinejad

There was never ever a historical precedent for this Shia Crescent. Even the Sassanid Empire could not maintain control of Levant for long and had to cede to the Romans.

"The Shia Crescent" was the rhetorical device of King Abdullah of Jordan - a comment unworthy of a Hashemite King; Hashem being the family of the Prophet.

But it came into existence due to the wars of containment of Iran after US destroyed Saddam Hussein's government in Iraq.

None of the Shia Doctors in Najaf or in Qum nor the Supreme Jurisprudent of Iran have declared a Holy War against Sunni Muslims.

Ayatollah Sistani - an Iranian - called on Iraqis of all sects to help Iraq's Government to defend Iraq. That call was answered largely by Shia Iraqi but was not a formal call to Arms against Sunnis.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

The proxy wars in Ukraine and Syria plus the economic sanctions are the West’s attempt to get rid of the current Russian government. I think Russia is trying reach a diplomatic agreement with the West to stop this. But, so far to no avail.

Hot blood, pride and fear will never let the House of Saud acquiesce to reestablishment of the Shiite Crescent that Prince Bandar severed by funding of ISIL. They are flooding rebel Sunnis with weapons. You are correct that so far Turkey and Saudi Arabia have not intervened to defend their fellow Sunnis. However, facing the prospect of defeat and humiliation, the oil sheiks could do something crazy like invading with Turkish and Arab troops with American air support to dismantle the Islamic State and forge a new Sunni Land in the Levant that severs the Crescent.

The collapse of the cease fire tends to support the thought that the ultimate Western/Israeli goal is to have the combatants exterminate each other. Which, if true, would inevitably engulf the world in war.

The Twisted Genius

VietnamVet,

The House of Saud has nothing but their hot blood, pride and fear to throw in any fight in Iraq and/or Syria. They will do nothing but scream, whine and continue funding the Sunni rebels, including the IS. They are impotent. If the Turks attack anyone, it will be the Kurds. I doubt they will do that. Your thought of "Turkish and Arab troops with American air support to dismantle the Islamic State and forge a new Sunni Land" is pure fantasy.

turcopolier

VV
"the oil sheiks could do something crazy like invading with Turkish and Arab troops with American air support to dismantle the Islamic State and forge a new Sunni Land in the Levant" As TTG told you that is a fantasy that has nothing to do with any reality on the ground. Kind of reminds me of the time a Texas banker told me that the way to solve the Arab/Israeli problem was to destroy the old city of Jerusalem. Are you a banker from Texas? pl

William R. Cumming

Implications for the future of Iraq of the Green Zone insurgency in Iraq?

Dubhaltach

In reply to VietnamVet 30 April 2016 at 09:03 PM

Shiite Crescent that Prince Bandar severed by funding of ISIL.

As Babaak and I'm sure others have pointed out "Shiite Crescent" was a turn of phrase coined by a weak monarch fearful that his career as monarch was liable to be cut short. Take a look at the two maps you'll find here: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-25434060 it's hard to reconcile the reality they outline with what is little better than an advertising slogan.

You are correct that so far Turkey and Saudi Arabia have not intervened to defend their fellow Sunnis. However, facing the prospect of defeat and humiliation, the oil sheiks could do something crazy like invading with Turkish and Arab troops with American air support to dismantle the Islamic State and forge a new Sunni Land in the Levant that severs the Crescent.

Sorry but have you actually ever seen what Saudi Barbaria calls an army? They're so bad at logistics and fighting that they're a liability. They're GREAT at internal repression. They're seriously good at driving across a causeway in tanks and apcs and slaughering unarmed Bahreini but ummmm you know that other thing they're meant to be able to do (fighting against other soldiers) not so good.

Honestly if push came to shove other states would pay good money not to have them on their side. The key word in all you've written above is "could" yes they _could_ do that and thereby remove a major disincentive to their population to overthrow them. Not going to happen.

For different reasons the same applies to Erdogan who unlike the Gulf Monarchies does have a worthwhile army. A minor excursion? Maybe but I have to say I think it very doubtful because unless it's a complete walkover the damage to his standing would be out of all proportion to the damage inflicted on a Turkish expeditionary force.

In all of this I haven't even _begun_ to touch upon the fact that the Shi'i in the "crescent" are far from being a monolithic bloc. I wonder if Babak could be persuaded to tell us what the Farsi for "herding cats" is.

Tel

Seems like there would need to be simultaneous cooperation on the air support side, as well as the ground troops.

Also, chain of command in Iraq is a bit ambiguous... no one known how much influence Tehran really has in Iraq, but if the above is to be believed then apparently quite a lot of influence. How exactly can Tehran organize something like this? Not through official Iraqi government channels I presume, must be some additional channels in operation.

"Having Daesh fighting on two fronts instead of one also makes sense. Spending resources on this at this time doesn't make much sense unless there is a bigger plan behind it."

If I was Iraq, and I saw the Daesh losing on the Syrian front, that's about the time I would be thinking of hitting them. Sport is all about playing fair, war is all about being unfair.

bth

Babak, could you see Sadr forming an Iraqi nationalist reform alliance with Iraqi Sunnis against the Iranians to gain political power in Iraq?

bth

Perhaps this article outlines how the major powers have decided to keep pressure on IS with simultaneous geographic spheres of influence but de-conflict command and control. Objective Mosul with US/Kurd/Turk/Sunni tribes and US trained Iraqi counter terrorism troops; Iran and Shia Iraqis on the east/west conjunction discussed in the main article cited above; US/Syrian Kurds and Syrian tribes targeting Raqqa; Russia/Syria Army securing Aleppo, Latakia and surroundings. Even if the zones are aspirational at this point, it would allow coordination between major outside powers if in no other way than timing.

Babak Makkinejad

No.

Dubhaltach

In reply to VietnamVet 30 April 2016 at 04:37 PM

"if Muqtada al-Sadr supporters having stormed the Green Zone can seize the Iraqi government"

Oh please. Sadrist seize control of the government, I'm sorry but have you any idea of how utterly ludicrous that statement is? They don't have the numbers, they don't have weaponry, and above all as their record shows they don't have the desire.

The Sadrists (and I'm using that term in the narrow sense of Iraqi followers of Muqtada al-Sadr) have been mounting a campaign against the corruption, ineffectuality, and isolation from the Iraqi populace for a long time now. Their key demand is that the quota system be abolished. Another of their demands is that the blast walls surrounding the Green Zone and the check points into and out of it be dismantled.

This weekend a few hundred of the pulled down some of the blast walls and occupied the parliament. On Saturday they left the parliament on Sunday morning they left the Green Zone.

It was a political action, a stunt, if you want to use that word, backed up by Sadr who over the weekend gave a (televised) speech from Najaf denouncing the quota system and saying his followers would not part take part in it. He also instructed his followers to peacefully leave the Green Zone having made their point.

They did.

Less Cassandraism and more concentration upon the facts please - a _very_ cursory swing through google would have told you all of the above.

Dubhaltach

In reply to VietnamVet 30 April 2016 at 04:37 PM


"Russia which is trying to get Western agreement to continue to exist"


Me me me it's all about me me me.


I've news for you no it isn't - most Russians are very patriotic - which is one reason why Putin's so popular the populace see him as somebody who is at least as patriotic as they they are and as a leader moreover who took Russia from being desperately weak to a resurgent power.

The idea that even at its nadir under Yeltsin that a country like Russia would in your own words be:

"trying to get Western agreement to continue to exist"

is quite frankly grotesque and speaks to a level of ignorance of Russian history, Russia as it now is, coupled with gross ethnocentricity on your part which I have to say is truly remarkable.

Little history quiz for you:

Where are all the Western invaders of Russia now?

What happened to them - or to put it another way - what did the Russians do them?

"trying to get Western agreement to continue to exist"

Wow, just wow.

Dubhaltach

In reply to William R. Cumming 01 May 2016 at 02:11 AM

It was a political stunt not an insurgency. Moreover it was a _peaceful_ political stunt. How on earth does a peaceful political stunt which lasts for less than a weekend come to be categorised as an "insurgency"?


Amir

It resembles the Constitutional Revolution of 1905 and the earlier Tobacco Riots, in Iran.

different clue

VietnamVet,

Hasn't the RussiaGov long since assumed that the West would deny it permission to exist if it could deny that permission? Hasn't the RussiaGov therefor decided to secure its existence in the teeth of its percieved-to-be Western denial of permission to exist? So why would the RussiaGov do anything in hopes of winning Western permission to exist?

I am thinking the RussiaGov wants real stability in Syria. Their thinking appears to be that some deal must be offered to reconcilable non-jihadi rebels. Its about what Russia wants to achieve for and inside Syria. Or am I wrong about that?

BraveNewWorld

Qatar called an emergency meeting of The Arab League. The meeting is to discuss ways to protect Sunnis in Aleppo. Take that as code for a desperate plea for Egypt to send troops as Egypt is one of the few countries in the region that can fight it's way out of a wet paper bag. Yemen is another but they are kind of busy.

The problem for Qatar is that Egypt doesn't buy into the Qatar & KSA agenda at all. In fact they have been fighting Daesh in the Sinai and want them all dead.

Dubhaltach

In reply to BraveNewWorld 01 May 2016 at 02:42 PM

I'm not surprised that the Gulf Monarchies are starting to feel a bit anxious. I hope a few of them keel over from stress.

I agree with you that they'd love to get anyone they can roped into their Syrian imbroglio and I also agree that Sisi isn't suicidal. I'm pretty sure he also remembers what type of person it was who killed Sadat and why.

Not sure about your assessment of the Egyptian army though - trained and armed for internal suppression rather than fighting against well armed and experienced fighters of any kind is my impression of them.

Any force they send to Aleppo would need to be very good (see above) and able to adapt to house-to-house fighting against a well-seasoned and motivated foe(s). I can't see it myself and I bet Sisi can't either. Which is another reason to agree with you

Yemenis of all stripes are somewhat preoccupied at present I agree.


Dubhaltach

I see what you mean. That's an interesting comparison and one I hadn't thought of. I'll need to think about that one. Thank you.

VietnamVet

dc,

Mankind has not found way to end conflicts along ethnic and religious fault lines other than by conquering and eliminating all of the combatant males or by ethnic cleansing and securing strong borders. The USA, Russia, India and China are the last super sovereign states still intact with significant ethnic minorities. Each is subject to chaos if supported by outsiders. From the start, I felt that the super states and rest of the world should have made an alliance to eliminate the Islamic State or at least quarantine it and end the violence. As part of the agreements, Ukraine would be a neutral buffer state and the super majority ethnic regions rejoining Russia and the Levant partitioned.

I am much more negative than TTG or the Colonel who admittedly know a hell of a lot more than I do. I do not think the Sunni territory in Syria and Iraq can be conquered by Shiite forces alone without starting a World War if the majority Sunni nations intervene to prevent a massacre. The Islamic State will continue exist as long as the USA, Turkey and the Gulf Monarchies support the Sunni rebels and Israel continues its meddling.

This can not work out well unless there are jobs, education, birth control, and the supranational institutions democratized to serve mankind not corporations.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

October 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Blog powered by Typepad