Yemen: From The Land Of Sheba

Yes the Queen of Sheba…..that Sheba….the queen that beguiled Solomon….if you buy into that story…..you see the queen was from a land called Saba which was on the sole of the Arabian peninsula and was a rich kingdom thanx to frankincense…….but that is not what this post is about.

You see Saba was located in what is called Yemen today…..and that is where we will begin the post……

Yemen!  Yemen?  I can hear the head scratches and the mad dash for the Google machine……at least from those that are mildly interested……most people will remember Yemen because in 2000 the USS Cole was attacked in Aden harbor by AQ…….and from there nothing until after the invasion of Afghanistan and the US started a drone strike program which has killed more civilians than terrorists…….

For those that are interested then there is a perfect history lesson……

BBC News – Yemen profile – Timeline

In 1962 the Yemen Arab Republic was formed and all Hell broke loss….the South Yemeni set up a separate nation called the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen was formed and a mini civil war began that lasted until 1990 when a truce was formalized and the two nations became one, Unified republic of Yemen……

I bring all this stuff to light because we have a situation forming in Yemen today…….the Houthi tribesmen have been fighting with the central government in Sa’an for a couple of years and it has become more intense in the last year of so…….now the South Yemeni are once again on the road to setting up another South Yemen nation…….

Thousands of people demonstrated in South Yemen’s main city of Aden demanding independence at a time when Shiite Houthi rebels are expanding their control over the country.

The demonstrators marched towards the governorate building, prompting police intervention and clashes that wounded at least five, Agence France-Presse reported.

The Southern Movement which called the protest is campaigning for autonomy or outright secession for the previously independent south.

Waving the flag of what used to be South Yemen, protesters who poured into Aden from neighboring southern provinces vowed not to let up until they achieve independence.

It appears as the Yemenis are once again going into battle with the North….all over again……which could present a problem for all concerned……

In light of the current crisis in Yemen and the control of Sanaa by Houthi armed groups, Egyptian experts predict that Egypt would intervene in the conflict to prevent the Houthis from gaining control of the strait of Bab al-Mandeb on the Red Sea, in defense of Egyptian and Gulf security.

Former secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, issued a joint statement with former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. They called for an Arab initiative to work on restoring the unity of the Yemeni army and mobilizing to restore security. In addition, they would eliminate all usage of weapons in Yemeni cities to move forward with the parliamentary elections.

Moussa and Siniora warned about the division in Yemen and the danger it poses to Arab security from the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea, if the Houthis, who are supported by Iran, reach Bab al-Mandeb strait.

The problem is the security of the Red Sea and the Straits of Hormuz……this area is heavily traveled by most of the …..any disruption in shipping and it could have consequences that are immeasurable…..

Yet another problem that will need a “plan” by the US and its Western allies……the US CANNOT ignore this development and once again we will intervene and in the process make more foes….we already have a terrible reputation in Yemen and our intervention will do NOTHING but make things worse……something we excel at doing!

The problems in Yemen are bringing traditional foes together…….

The Houthis, a Shiite tribe, control the north of Yemen. Their militia is trained and equipped by Hezbollah, whose strings are also pulled by the Iranians. For several weeks, the Houthis have been expanding their foothold in Yemen after defeating the regime’s army and the Sunni militias supported by al-Qaeda. Their biggest takeover was of the Yemeni port city of Hodeida and the shoreline toward the southwest coast of Saudi Arabia and the Ras Isa marine terminal.

For Saudi Arabia, a Houthi takeover of western Yemen, while al-Qaeda controls the country’s center and eastern areas, constitute a clear and present danger. Israel also cannot remain indifferent to the new Iranian stronghold on the seaway that connects it to Africa and Asia.

What does this development mean from Israel’s point of view? First, the need for security coordination with Saudi Arabia has increased. Even if covert channels exist for this kind of cooperation, the new situation is likely to warrant a more visible and pronounced relationship. But in light of the way Israeli governments have rejected the Arab Peace Initiative so harshly, and of the policies of the current government about the Palestinian issue, the chances for this are negligible. Another Israeli security interest is thus sacrificed on the altar of maintaining the status quo in the West Bank.

The situation in Yemen is causing much concern for security…..and there is a push to control the region….Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen and the battling ideologies are between Iran and Saudi Arabia……the US will pretend to be a spectator but we all know better than that……right?

 

 

ISIS Coalition SITREP #56

I apologize for the lack of a briefing yesterday……personal events made it unlikely I would give a SITREP……I have returned and all is well…..so let’s get on with it.

Item 1–It is good when the prez gives a pep talk…..but at least he could be realistic……

Speaking today at Fort Dix, President Obama promised that the US would allow ISIS no safe haven anywhere on earth, pursuing them militarily anywhere and everywhere

Our coalition isn’t just going to degrade this barbaric terrorist organization. We’re going to destroy it,” Obama insisted, praising the ongoing attacks as “hammering” ISIS.

His speech reinforced the idea that this war will NEVER come to a conclusion…….but he is being optimistic which is a polite way to say….he is lying.

Item 2–There is a call to bring this to an end through negotiation………

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When Padraig O’Malley says we must talk to Islamic State, he’s speaking from experience.

A seasoned mediator, O’Malley brought together warring parties in Iraq at the height of the sectarian conflict in 2007 and 2008, resulting in an agreement that formed the basis for political reconciliation in Iraq and helped curb the violence.

He did this with the aid of negotiators from South Africa, and from Northern Ireland, where he helped pave the way for the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that ended 30 years of sectarian conflict.

 

Another delusional solution…..

Item 3–US troops have their first taste of ISIS……

It hasn’t been confirmed by the Pentagon yet, but reports out of Iraq say that US ground troops have engaged in their first combat against ISIS troops in the Anbar Province of western Iraq.

The troops, nominally advisers but “equipped with light and medium weapons” carried out an attack on ISIS troops in the al-Dolab area, near the Ain al-Assad base, expelling the ISIS forces.

And so it begins!

Item 4–It appears that China is itching to use their military…….

China has long avoided direct military involvement overseas, but according to Iraqi FM Ibrahim Jafari, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi approached him with an offer of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq.

China’s interest in Iraq centers around major stakes Chinese companies have in Iraqi oilfields, including the West Qurna 1, one of the world’s largest fields.

But it is NEVER about the oil…….right?

Item 5–Al-Anbar is the center of the battle against ISIS…..so far it is not going well……

Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat—Reconstruction in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, large parts of which remain under the control of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters, will cost more than 18 billion dollars, a local official said on Tuesday.

Arkan Khalaf Al-Tarmouz, head of the Anbar Reconstruction Committee, informed Asharq Al-Awsat that ISIS remains in control of more than 85 percent of territory in Anbar, adding that there has been large-scale destruction across Iraq’s largest province in the fighting between ISIS and government forces.

Item 6—-the ‘Hogs return to combat missions……..

The A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jet has been carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State since late November on a near-daily basis, a U.S. military official said Tuesday. It marks the first time the use of the pugnacious plane against the militant group has been confirmed, although U.S. military officials disclosed last month that they had deployed the A-10 in support of the mission in Iraq and Syria.

The ‘Grunts” best friend has returned to help……..

This concludes today’s briefing……

Thanx for your time and attention……

Turn The Page!

ISIS Coaltion SITREP #55

Good day…..last week was a short week….the story of the torture report release sucked all the energy out of anything happening in the Middle East….hopefully this week will be a a better week for news out of the Middle East…..but I fear that the trickle we get now will be all we get until something bad happens……

Item 1–Syrian deployment of US Troops gets a bit better….pay wise……

It’s not much of a stretch to consider flying over Syria dangerous duty.

But until a few days ago, the Pentagon didn’t consider air crews flying missions against Islamic State fighters eligible for combat pay.

Missions in Syria began Sept. 21 and continue today with jets pounding tanks, trucks and barracks. The Syrian regime, headed by Bashar al-Assad, has sophisticated air defenses, according to the Pentagon, although they have not targeted American warplanes.

Yet the military’s table of world hot spots, last updated Dec. 31, 2013, didn’t account for bombing in Syria. The memo details, down to latitude and longitude in some cases, regions in which troops qualify for “imminent danger pay.”

Item 2–An old foe of the US is hitting the news again……

Iraqi Shia cleric and head of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada Al-Sadr yesterday ordered his Peace Brigades to prepare within 24 hours for jihad against the Islamic State (ISIS) attacks.

ISIS recently gained control of areas and villages around the city of Samarra.

Iraq’s Al-Sumaria news website reported Assistant Jihadist, Abu Doaa Al-Issawi saying: “Given the exceptional conditions and imminent danger to the sacred city of Samarra from the legions of terrorists, our leader Al-Sadr has ordered the Peace Brigades to prepare within 24 hours for jihad.”

Al-Sadr is expected to release a direct military order in another statement.

Will the order stop with ISIS or will any Sunni be in the cross-hairs…..this is a problem in the making….

Item 3–ISIS continues to consolidate its control over Iraq’s al-Anbar province…….

Islamic State (ISIS) militants seized control of more villages in the Iraqi province of Anbar, while clashes broke out between Iraqi forces and ISIS near the city of Samarra, Iraqi sources revealed.

Sheikh Naeem Al-Ku’oud, one of Anbar’s tribal leaders, said that ISIS took control of 15 villages in the Western Iraqi province.

According to a security source, dozens of Iraqi soldiers, including two senior officials, were killed during clashes near the city of Heet.

The security source has also confirmed that ISIS forces managed to take control of the Doulab area near Heet.

This will continue until someone steps up to take on ISIS on the ground…..and we wait.

Item 4–Breaking news is that airstrikes are not that effective…..but I and others have said that from the beginning….but now someone is trying to make it official…..

60-plus nations nominally in the coalition and over 1,000 airstrikes between Iraq and Syria, the US has thrown myriad data at Congress to try to prove “progress” in the war on ISIS. Yet a closer inspection reveals anything but.

Over 1,000 airstrikes sounds like a lot, but it’s not clear how many actually hit intended targets. McClatchy reported that some of the bombing locations were nearly 100 miles off of the target.

Watching what’s actually happening on the ground sure doesn’t help the case of the war, as ISIS controls virtually all of the territory it did at the start of the US war. They lost a few border villages and gained some others.

I have calling for a better plan…….

Item 5–Troops are needed on the ground to win this thing….but what Army will step forward?

Written in World Affairs…….

The 35th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Doha this week set an important milestone: the decision to create both a joint naval force and a common counter-terrorist body. This is surprising because military alliances mean little in the Arab world: in spite of several attempts to foster greater cooperation, defence remains a national affair – although 71% of Arabs, according to opinion polls, support the establishment of a joint force alongside national militaries.

Now, not one but two extensive proposals for military cooperation have been floated over the last twelve months in the Gulf: one which would see the creation of a joint command in the Gulf, and another which would form a military alliance encompassing certain Gulf states, Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco. So far, these ideas have been met with cautious optimism, as the list of failed attempts at Arab collective security is almost as long as the list of violent conflicts in the region. But if either of these proposals succeeds, it would have arguably positive – and certainly transformational – repercussions for regional stability. Has the time for joint Arab militaries come at last?

Item 6–Unlimited funds for war?

The new Omnibus spending bill, with its $1.1 trillion in myriad funded, passed the House in a 219-206 vote, and as usual buried some $64 billion in discretionary military spending in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).

The OCO not only allows Congress to inflate the Pentagon budget annually, but gives the president a virtual blank check for any war he wants to start over the course of the year, since the spending can be shifted to wars that Congress isn’t officially funding yet

Thanx for your time and attention……..

Turn The Page!

ISIS Coalition SITREP #54

Good day my friends….please take a seat and we will get right with it……

Item 1–US has stopped paying rebels in Northern Syria…….

Which reflects the nature of a lot of the “moderate” rebellion, that they are there to collect US paychecks and, in their absence, they’re for sale to the highest bidders, which will probably be al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.
Does money buy friends?
Item 2–Hagel tells media that airstrikes will not solve the problem……
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel admitted today that he was pressed by Iraqi Premier Hayder Abadi on shipments of heavy weapons as well as escalations of airstrikes.
he declined any comment on what, if anything, he’d agreed to provide Abadi, but did say that US firepower would never be enough to solve all of Iraq’s problems, noting it didn’t work during the last war, and won’t work during this one.
Now you see why he was forced to resign……
Item 3–the bomb maker of Khorasan, the seal team six of AQ, was reported killed back in November….but maybe not…..
Throughout the Syrian War, the US has claimed massive death tolls among leaders of the “Khorasan” faction of al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front. In October, officials conceded the early attacks failed, and almost immediately thereafter claimed David Drungeon, a top French “bomb maker,” was killed in a drone strike.

The story of Drungeon’s suddenly becoming a “top bomb maker” was extremely dubious, but officials figured he was killed, and slain al-Qaeda members have a way of being posthumously promoted by the US.

Only Drungeon isn’t dead, officials are now admitting. They think he was “seriously injured” but survived the drone strike, and he is believed to have since recovered.

Drungeon’s death was of particular PR value to Western officials as a convert to Islam who was slain overseas. His survival serves as further embarrassment to a US war in Syria which has gone poorly from the start.

The whole Khorasan thing is not passing the smell test….a little too convenient…….

Item 4–Assad is backing Russia’s attempt at peace in the beleaguered country…….

President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday met a top Russian envoy who said Moscow is hoping to relaunch peace talks for the war-torn country and could host a Syria-US meeting.

After meeting Assad, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted as saying, for the first time, that he “was in contact with our American partners.”

The Russian foreign ministry said Assad and Bogdanov also discussed on “consolidating efforts in the fight against the Islamic State group and other terrorist organisations.”

For the sake of debate….let’s say they achieve a peace deal with the rebels…..what will that mean in the fight against ISIS?

Thanx for your attention……….

Turn The Page!

 

ISIS Coalition SITREP #53

Good morning……..today’s briefing will be short……the torture report has been released and all eyes are on that……fingers are being pointed and denials are being said and in the end….they will get away with the barbaric acts they performed.

Item 1–The Syrian forces are having more successes than most thought that they would have……

The Syrian army has regained control of Deir ez-Zor Airport after succeeding in thwarting an attack by the Islamic State (IS) on the military airport a few days ago. Although clashes are still ongoing in the areas surrounding the airport, they have lessened to a large degree.

IS fighters quickly retreated after their attack on Deir ez-Zor military airport failed, withdrawing to the outskirts of surrounding villages. The Syrian army launched intensive airstrikes on their strongholds on the outskirts of the villages of al-Jafra, al-Hawija and Marihiyak in order to further secure the airport area and prevent fighters from having a second opportunity at getting close to its walls.

Item 2–Quietly Obama has been trying to get his options for the use of ground troops……

Despite the administration insisting for the past three months that they would never, ever consider boots on the ground in Iraq, Secretary of State John Kerry today informed the Senate that President Obama is actively seeking options for how to use ground troops in the war.

Kerry insisted no decision was made yet on ground troops, and that there still is no plan for doing so, but warned Congress against any war authorization that “binds the hands” of the president by excluding a ground war.

Interestingly, previous administration talk of getting an authorization for a ground war was much more open to limitations on how ground troops would be used, and now they seem reluctant for any serious limits.

So it begins!

Told you it would be a short one today……..

Thanx for your time and assistance……

Turn The Page!

Children Are The Future

How many times have you heard that piece of political crap?  My fave tag line by the mental midgets we elect is the one that states….”we must secure the future for the children”……then these same “saviors” set about destroying any program that would benefit the children.

But the US is not alone…..we hear all about the children from international sources and they too are concerned for the future…..another really poor tag-line.  If these people truly cared one iota about children crap like this would not happen…..

“Children have been killed while studying in the classroom and while sleeping in their beds. They have been orphaned, kidnapped, tortured, recruited, raped, and even sold as slaves.” That’s Anthony Lake, executive director of UNICEF, explaining why the UN organization has designated 2014 as the worst year on record for children across the globe. “Never in recent memory have so many children been subjected to such unspeakable brutality.” Lowlights from the UNICEF report, per the New York Times:

  • As many as 15 million children are directly affected by violent conflicts in Africa, the Middle East, and Ukraine. And 230 million are estimated to live in regions where armed conflicts are taking place.
  • In the Central African Republic, where 2.3 million children are affected by violence, more than 430 have been killed or hurt and as many as 10,000 have been recruited as child soldiers.
  • The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza has left 538 children dead, 3,370 hurt, and 54,000 without homes.
  • The Syrian civil war and the rise of ISIS have disrupted the lives of 7.3 million Syrian children and 2.7 million Iraqi children.
  • South Sudan’s civil conflict has left hundreds of thousands of children displaced, as refugees, or suffering from severe malnutrition.
  • West Africa’s Ebola outbreak has also left thousands of kids orphaned.

There is NO excuse for the deliberate targeting of children……….and the children have a very limited future unless the powers that be pull the collective heads out of their butts…..and I do not see that miracle occurring any time soon…….

ISIS Coalition SITREP #52

Morning and welcome to the room…..today the info coming out of the conflict zone is a bit thin….it seems a couple Royals farting around and the release of a torture report will get all the coverage……

Item 1–The US has been saying that the Iraqi military will be ready next Summer for a major offensive…….but there are other plans being called……

The Pentagon has been of two minds about the timing of an Iraqi offensive on Mosul, saying in October that it would be conservatively a year before Iraq was ready to move on the city, and then in November talking up a January offensive.

That January offensive is getting awfully close, and Iraq is looking forward to what some officials were saying would be an “easy” attack on the massive, ISIS-held city.

Now, the Pentagon is back to warning Iraq they aren’t nearly ready, noting that Iraq likely won’t have serious local support and don’t have nearly the Sunni militia backing they need.

This is going to be a cluster f*ck…….

Item 2–Old problems are starting to show its face yet again…….

The blood of two militants killed during Islamic State’s rout in the Iraqi town of Jalawla has yet to be washed away, but a turf war is already brewing between Kurdish and Shi’ite forces that jointly drove the insurgents out.

The recapture of disputed territory and towns such as Jalawla is reopening rivalries over the boundary between areas of Kurdish control and those administered by the Shi’ite-led Baghdad government.

Another problem that will be the undoing of all that the Coalition is trying to accomplish……

Item 3–On a horrific turn….ISIS has executed by beheading of 4 Christian children because they refused to convert……this just shows that there is nothing Islamic within this organization.

Item 4–the build-up of troops continues….

U.S. allies have committed to send about 1,500 forces to Iraq to help train and advise Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers battling the Islamic State, which increasingly appears on the defensive, the top U.S. commander guiding the coalition effort said on Monday.

Lieutenant General James Terry, commander of Operation Inherent Resolve targeting the militants in Iraq and Syria, said the forces would come on top of the up to 3,100 troops U.S. President Barack Obama has authorized to deploy to Iraq

I apologize for the minimum amount of info…..maybe tomorrow if the media gets its head out of the Royals butt long enough to report news we will have a better briefing……

Thanx for your time and attention…..

Turn The Page!