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02 January 2017


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William Fitzgerald

Pat Lang,


(signed) A history major

Patrick Bahzad


Agreed. It would not be a cake walk, to quote a former US SecDef ! Additionally, urban environments are more favourable to a defensive strategy and tend to even out technological and quality gaps among forces. In other words, urban warfare requires the attacking force to master fire and manoeuver to a degree that is currently out of reach for ISF.
As for the Baathist element in ISIS (mentioned by CC), it certainly is present and it has been mixed with other influences. ISIS is a conglomerate, it's also a survivalist organisation, that managed to adapt and prevail in almost 15 years of war against the US and the Iraqi forces. It was almost detroyed at one point, but those who survived learnt their lessons. As PL mentioned recently, war itself is the best teacher.

Patrick Bahzad

PL and TomV,

4GW is one more label that sounds and looks fancy but doesn't add anything new basically. PL is right, it is a fraud. No need to come up with yet another name tag to describe something that has existed in slight variations for centuries.
Small war, guerilla war, Revolutionary warfare, Low intensity conflict, Counter-insurgency, 4GW, hybrid warfare, grey wars and whatever else ... just names. If anything, stick to those who describe principles, not situations: the nature and principles of war are immutable, the situation/environment may change.

Babak Makkinejad

The large items that could not be transported were broken into smaller pieces and sold as scrap in Turkey.

In Iraq, for a while, they were selling copper across the border in Iran - from Iraq's electric grid.

Babak Makkinejad

Since the end of the Cold War, there have been many countries that have disintegrated: Zaire (Congo), Somalia, Afghanistan, Liberia...

Iraq is not even the latest; Yemen and South Sudan come to mind.

I think the sectarian genie has been led out of the bottle and it could consume, in its wake, those weak post-colonial states that are still in the process of congealing - such as India and Pakistan. For if the Sunni Jihadists can wage war among Arabs, they could do so among Punjabis in Pakistan, and among Indians of all sects and religions in India.

Babak Makkinejad

"what is to prevent Iraq from starting to fly apart?"

Money, Howza, Iran, Turkey.

Iraqis are focused like a hawk on the price of oil and that is what would be used to keep the country together. When the price was high - $100 or more- Kurds could entertain being another Kuwait on their own dime - so to speak - at $35 per barrel that dream is dead.

The Shia Doctors of Religion organized in Najaf will fight the break-up of Iraq. They will not let this historical opportunity for Shia ascendancy in Iraq - after so many centuries - to be lost.

Iran will also stand-by her allies in Iraq as well as threaten and cajole Kurds to lowers their "Independence" pretensions.

Turkey will join Iran in the effort to prevent the emergence of an independent country in Iaqi Kurdistan. In my opinion, they will invade and make sure any such declaration of independence by Kurds of Iraq is still-born.


If Tukey doubled its conventional forces, it would use them to finish off its genocide of Kurds in Southeast Turkey. Or perhaps, if they feel skittish enough then to double down on bombing and shelling the Kurdish Cantons in northern Syria.


Unconfirmed report that the Iraqi army has sent large reinforcements to Haditha in preparation for the storming of Anah and Rawah just NW of Qadisiyah Lake. Those towns are also on the road to Qaim on the Iraq/Syria border.

If true, would it be a 2nd offensive front? Or a feint towards Qaim? Or perhaps a blooding of green troops that will soon go to Mosul?


can't ever resist commenting on Cannae, even tho off-topic. Patrick nails it that the essence was "only a small fraction doing the heavy lifting." The Romans became so constricted and hemmed in that only the ones on the outside of their besieged ring could fight and they were readily slaughtered. And then the ring would close tighter. The ones on the center of the ring were powerless to help. The key to this situation of the noose tightening was Hannibal's Numidian cavalry which chased off the Roman cavalry and facilitated the envelopment along with his weak center.

At the Battle of Zama, the Numidians had switched sides. A little known fact, untrained horses would bolt in fear at the strange smell of elephants, not that there were any at Cannae. At Zama, the Roman maniples simply sidestepped and avoided them.


I was thinking in the longer run when IS has been suppressed in Iraq.

A statement by Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki is along those lines.




Sounds like sunni Iraq are screwed, to be colloquial, no matter what happens.

Still, I could see the Kurds shooting themselves in the foot, so to speak. And Iran could simply absorb under a protectorate Shia-Iraq which is where most of the oil is as in the Crimea, but you are correct, Turkey would invade and take up the mantle of uniting all Iraqi's in opposition to prevent Kurdish independence - as the US did.


Agence France-Presse is now reporting on the new offensive in western Anbar.

Key takeaways are: "A military operation has begun in the western areas of Anbar (province) to liberate them from Daesh," said Lieutenant General Qassem Mohammedi, head of Jazeera Operations Command, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

He said the operation was led by the army's 7th division, police, and fighters from local tribes that have opposed the jihadists, with aerial backing from the coalition.

The main targets of the operation are Aanah, Rawa and Al-Qaim, the westernmost Iraqi towns along the Euphrates Valley.


Babak Makkinejad

I do not think so, eventually the Arabs - Shia and Sunni - will come to some sort of agreement. Just look at Lebanon.


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