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01 January 2020


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In hockey it's called "drawing a penalty" - causing the other guy to lose his cool and retaliate stupidly, getting a penalty. Whoever sent the rockets that initiated this mess (and it may have been KH but I would guess some other malicious party) got exactly what they wanted - a US over-reaction. I have a hard time believing Pompeus MAximus was first in his class after this stupidity, but perhaps he really wants to inflame Iraqi's against the USA. Good job, then, Pompeus.

Brad Ruble

What I don't understand, is If the PM was given a heads up, why didn't he get on the horn and give these guys some warning. Give them a chance to scatter. Would anyone here sit still and let a bunch of their guys get killed?


The below paragraph is from 2004, by the notorious Thomas Friedman, whom I trust as far as I can throw Fred Kagan. Was he lying about Iraqis calling US troops "Jews"? If not, is this nickname still being used? Did it spread to Syria?

I was speaking the other day with Scott Pelley of CBS News's "60 Minutes" about the mood in Iraq. He had just returned from filming a piece there and he told me something disturbing. Scott had gone around and asked Iraqis on the streets what they called American troops -- wondering if they had nicknames for us in the way we used to call the Nazis "Krauts" or the Vietcong "Charlie." And what did he find? "Many Iraqis have so much distrust for U.S. forces we found they've come up with a nickname for our troops," Scott said. "They call American soldiers 'The Jews,' as in, 'Don't go down that street, the Jews set up a roadblock."'


The Twisted Genius

Brad, according to the Pentagon, the PM was given 30 minutes notice. The PM wasted his time trying to convince CJTFOIR not to strike. We never had any intention of listening to him.


Brad, Good question, however I'm trying to get what the initial justification was for the Iraqi forces to attack the U.S. forces
killing a contractor & wounding some U.S. troops. I'll welcome a
response/explanation from anyone. I'm trying to understand how this
entire situation started.

The Twisted Genius

Vegetius, it's crude shorthand. I know a lot of people who, without thinking, equate the current Likudnik Israeli government actions with Jews in general. The Iraqis just consider American troops as pawns doing the bidding of the Israeli government. I can't say they're wrong.


Axis of Evil plots a two-front war. Interesting timing.


The Federalist weighs in with a 180 degree different view point - looks more like a media war played out on the home front than facts played out on the ground. But far more concern this is one more tar baby, like everything else in the Middle East. https://thefederalist.com/2020/01/01/the-media-is-lying-about-the-attacks-on-the-embassy-in-baghdad/

Just when I was starting to sort out all those Ukrainian names, now I have a new vocabulary list of Iraqi's and Iranians to track too.

Brad Ruble

Thank you


Elora Danan

You don't sound like your usual girlie self and you continue, perhaps deliberately, to underestimate the collective ineptitude of the US government.



I wish I could find photos of the US embassy in Managua which do it justice. It is huge - and it sits up on a ridge that overlooks the city. The Poles complain about the imperialistic hubris of the Russian embassy in Warsaw - but it is nothing in comparison.



Your Federalist piece looks like neocon propaganda to me.


Shias ~ US ~= Germans ~ Rome.


Thanks for responding Elora, however I wonder who are the"Israeli operatives"? Sunnis employed by Israel? For purposes of smuggling oil. I don'get it...they're smuggling oil so they attack U.S. forces??? A false flag op in hopes of heating up U.S. Iran conflict? I can't connect too many dots & the initial aggression is done under an Iraqi flag? This is too convoluted. And how is the oil transported to Israel?

What's next in the realm of conspiracies? It was a U.S. friendly fire cover up? How about the official version? The Iranians just want to get it on & think the Chinese &/or Russians will back them in getting the
U.S. out of Iraq? Will we ever really know?


Perhaps this should all be called "Operation Rope-A-Dope" since the initial attack on Kata’ib Hezbollah outposts, as you describe, brought a rather predictable response from Iraqi's and forced, or allowed Mike Pompous and Mark Esper to influence, Trump's response. You would think that both a Former head of the CIA and the current Secretary of Defense would be aware of the facts you point out regarding Kata’ib Hezbollah being part of the PMU and integral to the Iraq military's actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Not only has the US killed people who might not actually have been involved in the triggering incident but we also managed to damage our country's already shaky credibility in Iraq. But on a bright note Pompeo can claim to have big cahones when he runs for Senate in Kansas since he and Esper manged to get Trump to increase troop levels by almost 100%.

Congradulations on getting played Mr. "what are we doing in the Middle East". Should we conclude that the sanctions that we are being told are driving regime change in Iran aren't working and their government is so stable that they do the one thing that will trigger a resonse - attack Americans? I didn't realize you thought Iran's government wasn't as smart as Syria's. At least you get to tweet about "anti-Benghazi" and be all macho. Maybe you should have told the best and brightest no to the attack Kata’ib Hezbollah without some real evidence; then get them to explain just why they thought units of Iraq's militray would do something so stupid to begin with.

The Beaver

however I'm trying to get what the initial justification was for the Iraqi forces to attack the U.S. forces killing a contractor & wounding some U.S. troops

Who can confirm that it was the Iraqi forces who did the attacks?
Only Pompeo and his ilks are spewing the misleading myth that it is Iran , even to the point of equating KH with Hizb'Allah from South Lebanon. Oh, because they found four unused rockets " made in Iran" !

The Twisted Genius

Terry, you lost me. What are you saying?

The Twisted Genius

Elora Danan, my advice, querida mía, is FIDO ;)


Ask the guys that decided it was a good idea to put a P8 Poseidon up in the air and violate Iran's airspace 6 months ago...


The Israelis have been very active with the Kurds for almost 2 decades. The Kurdistan dream was one of their goals, but the culmination of it was dashed by Soleimani within 48 hours.

Ingolf Eide


Yes, another in the seemingly unending sequence of unforced errors.

Given your comment about “God ordained manifest destiny” perhaps it’s reasonable to bring a recent essay by Patrick Lawrence (“After Exceptionalism”) to the committee’s attention.


“There is no certainty Americans will reach for any of what is available to them. To abandon our claims to exceptionalism is to give up our customary assumption of assured American success. It requires us to accept the difference between destiny and possibility. One does not find abundant signs Americans are yet ready to do this—not among our leaders, in any case. There seems to be little awareness that the only alternative to the change of course Jimmy Carter favoured forty years ago this past summer is decline—decline not as a fate but as a choice, one made even as we do not know we are making it.”


I am of mixed feelings. We never should have gone into Iraq in the first place. But since we had then we should have left 16 years ago after the capture of Saddam. And never should have gone back in to fight ISIS.

On the other hand I find it hard to believe comments that the 27 Dec rocket attack on the K1 Base was a false flag, or a minor pinprick that we responded to disproportionately. This latest attack was just one of 11 in the last 60 days by Kata'ib Hezbollah on Iraqi bases where US personnel were present. And the latest attack was with over 30 rockets; there were six WIA, four US & two Iraqi, in addition to the dead contractor. And since 2007 Kata'ib Hezbollah has been responsible for numerous violent terrorist attacks with snipers, IEDs, RPGs, mortars (and rocket-assisted mortars), and Katyusha rockets on both Coalition and Iraqi forces. Plus they also killed two UN workers and wounded 15 in a November 2008 attack, which led to them being designated as a terrorist organization. So as far as I'm concerned these bozos have had it coming for a long time.

But our method of response was still a mistake. I agree with Colonel Lang that you should not underestimate the ineptitude of the US Government. Pompeo should have heeded the Iraqi PM's advice and haledt the air strikes. Doesn't anybody in Pompeo's State Department know that several of the leadership of Kata'ib Hezbollah have embedded themselves within the Iraqi Government at a high level?



I think he is saying "Shias are to the US what the Germans were to Rome" ... in other words, the barbarians that will bring down the empire. I think he is wrong. I think the Persians (more broadly R+6) are learning from the US/UK and adopting their techniques and technologies - they won Iraq via the ballot box and now they are deploying Long Range Precision Strike capabilities. So I would compare the Persians to either the Japanese or the Germans when they were rising powers ... except that they were both soundly defeated, and I am not sure the Persians will be.

JP Billen

The Izzies have also been very active with Turkey in helping to fight the Kurdish PKK. There is mutual antagonism between Israel and the Kurds in Turkey and Syria. It dates back to Bashar Assad's father Hafez, who sent PKK units to southern Lebanon in 1982 to fight alongside the Palestinian Resistance against the Israeli occupation. That may have changed lately in Israel's thinking. But the Syrian Kurdish leadership knows that any help they get from Israel would be a poison pill for them and want nothing to do with it.

It is different for the Tel Aviv relationship with Iraqi Kurds. They have long been trying to get them to help acquire intel sources within the Iranian Kurdish community.

The Twisted Genius

JamesT, Ah, I would have gotten the analogy if Terry mentioned the Gauls or the Helvetians. Thanks.

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