« The NY Times is wrong again. I was spat upon. | Main | Major General Issam Zahreddine killed in Deir Ezzor - TTG »

16 October 2017


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


Thank you. Clear, concise and pithy! I wish you were still "in the rotation" of the talking heads...

Clueless Joe

McCain warning Baghdad that there will be "severe consequences" if US-provided equipment and US-trained army keep on being used against the Kurds and not against ISIS will only push them further towards Iran and, to a lesser extent, Russia.
In a way, Borgists should actually be glad this happens now, since this ties up a lot of Iraqi forces and PMU that could be sent West and might help SAA - if not directly, at least indirectly by destroying ISIS and helping SAA to take over the East.


"As Churchill said. "just one damned thing after another.""

Looks like US FP is betting on the wrong horse again!!!, same for the Barzani clan. the question could be, would this be the end of Barzani?

The Twisted Genius

Most reports are saying the Iraqi Army and PMU are quickly gaining control of Kirkuk and the nearby oilfields. The PUK Peshmerga withdrew from these areas refusing to fight the Iraqi Army. The KDP Peshmerga are not putting up much of a fight. This all sounds very familiar. I wonder if the Green Berets are once again watching forces they trained squaring off against each other. I know how that feels.


It seems to me this whole Iraqi Kurdistan thing blew up as the SAA and the SDF found themselves facing off east of the Euphrates. If the PMU were not occupied in Iraq I assume they would be in eastern Syria helping the SAA secure the Baghdad to Damascus highway and those oil fields east of the Euphrates. The referendum in Iraq seems timed perfectly to help the Kurds in Syria take more territory.


It's a good summation of the last 100 years.
Ah, Perfidious Albion!!
It can be tough for divergent elements to make common cause voluntarily, but
to be forced together by someone neither one likes is a dog that won't hunt.
Why are we led by people with "Halitosis of the intellect"?
(Credit given to harold Ickes)

The Twisted Genius

The USG has chosen a side. US embassy spokesman quoted as saying: "We support the peaceful reassertion of federal authority, consistent with the Iraqi Constitution, in all disputed areas." I'm sure the YPK in Rojava are hearing this loud and clear.


Why You Should Read These Military Classics
They tell us much about service life and futile imperial adventures.
By Andrew J. Bacevich • October 16, 2017

There are, in my judgment, three great novels that explore American military life in the twentieth century. They are, in order of publication, Guard of Honor (1948) by James Gould Cozzens, From Here To Eternity (1951) by James Jones, and The Sand Pebbles (1962) by Richard McKenna.

The first is a book about airmen, set at a stateside air base during World War II. The second is a soldier’s story, its setting Schofield Barracks in the territory of Hawaii on the eve of Pearl Harbor. In The Sand Pebbles, the focus is on sailors. It takes place in China during the 1920s when U.S. Navy gunboats patrolled the Yangtze River and its tributaries.




I have very little confidence in the USG being able to follow a clear policy in Iraq. pl


In 1920 the population of Iraq was under 3 million; now it's about 37 million and growing fast. It's a little unfair to blame Britain (I know, everyone does...) for not forseeing problems 100 years hence in a country of ten times the size.


Colonel –

It started long before 1925. There was a Kurdish uprising against the Abbasid Caliphate in the 9th Century. There were several more in the following centuries against various dynasties, continuing up until the Second Mahmud Barzanji revolt in 1922. Those are only in what is now Iraqi Kurdistan and do not include the many other uprisings in Iran and Turkey.

Bill Herschel

This is wildly off-topic and must be treated as such.

In the Times today we read about the U.S. going through a routine exercise to evacuate U.S. dependents in South Korea in the event of war. Apparently, the U.S. military is going out of its way to emphasize the routine nature of this exercise.

In the financial news we have an entity called the Korea Fund.


It is behaving as though there is absolutely no threat of war on the peninsula at all. None.



IMO it is quite fair to blame Britain as well as the US for this mess. It was the British who decided to structure the country the way it is. from this all else followed. pl


"I have very little confidence in the USG being able to follow a clear policy in Iraq."
I'll second that. I think it is up to the Kurds to work out a policy that leaves them strong at the end of this. I can imagine them winning such a war, but it is hard for me to see how they then make that work. Their oil has to go out somewhere to support their state, i.e. though Iraq, Iran, Turkey, or Syria. None of those neighbors is likely to be very friendly, but maybe they can work that out. On the other hand it seems a good bet that Iraqi government capabilities will begin to deteriorate almost immediately once ISIS is removed. The Kurds need a vision and a policy to keep as independent and as strong as possible. Their call.


Amen! It seems to me that we had very little thought (or none) about the consequences when we started training and deploying th3 peshmerga for Iraq or Turkey. This current situation was easy to see coming



Well, I had to start somewhere, but you are right. The Kurds have always been difficult. BTW, the Kurds typically do not revere Saladin whom they consider to have been very Arabicized. pl


Linda, you feel it had been wiser to simply let the Daesh forces take over both regions in Iraq and Syria?


The Kurds are morons for buying the snake oil they were being sold. They were running scared in Erbil. What makes them think they would have fared any better, without the Iranian help they cried out for to defend Erbil.


Colonel -

Difficult? Yes, like the Irish, the Scots and the Indian revolts and mutinies against the British. And I suppose the American colonials were thought of as difficult and ungrateful by George III.

They are the new deplorables. Yet they stood standfast against Daesh several years ago when the Iraqi Army ran in panic.


A significant piece of modern history of Iraq not mentioned: the 1920 Iraqi Revolt.
This revolt against British rule began as joint sunni and shia.
And it had some serious success. It began with peaceful demonstrations and protests, which were dismissed by British officials. The British managed to crush the revolt by making a deal with the minority sunnis, which offered them leadership of Iraq and ruling status over majority shia, in return for turning against the revolt. The British under direction of Winston Churchill, bombed shia areas, including the use of "poison fas against uncivilized tribes". The shia were crushed, the sunni were empowered, and Faysal was installed. This form of minority rule lasted until Bush/Cheney were forced by Sistani to hold fair elections.


I find it difficult to talk of "the Kurds"

There are four Kurdish languages who are not mutually understandable. There are a dozen religions among Kurds though a majority are (Sufi) Sunni. They have been schooled and socialized in four different states. There are tribal conglomerates or clans like the Barzani and Talibani which have their own political parties and are led by patriarchal family mafias. There are members of the anarcho-marxist cult of Özalan while neighboring Salafi Kurds have joined ISIS to then kill the neighbouring Yezidi Kurds. None of these groups has any enlightened or democratic understanding of the world.

The Kurds never got a state and will never get one because they are so hugely diverse and have little national unity. They will rather fight each other than accept some common leadership.

Since the 1950s the Zionist have build up the Barzani Kurds as a counter-force to the Arabs. Israel was the only country that supported Barzani's independence vote gimmick. It is the worst ally the Barzani-Kurds could have chosen as all surrounding countries hate Israel.


Good precis.


The organized ethic cleansing of dozens of Assyrian Christian villages in what is now kurdistan by Sunni and yazidi Kurds(what a twist!)didn't occur in 2000s,it occurred in 1933

The Beaver


Reading the diaries of Gertrude Bell may make you think otherwise !

Especially this one:

We shall, I trust, make it a great centre of Arab civilization and prosperity; they were bent on a Turco-Prussian steam roller which would have flattened out, if it could, all national qualities and characteristics. And now we've got to keep the other ideal well before us; that will be my job partly, I hope, and I never lose sight of it.


“The difference is that George W Bush was being urged towards the Iraq conflict by people in his administration who were neo-cons. They were civilians who were demanding military action. In the case of Trump we have people in the administration who are military but who are the moderates urging restraint. That is very interesting, isn’t it?” Blix reflected.


The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

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
Blog powered by Typepad