As promised I will try and keep my readers up to date on the happenings around our newest war……the battle for hearts and minds in Iraq/Syria….or the coalition of the willing (cute name for a handful of cowards) against the spread of the Islamic State…….
There is a lot more happening than the media is willing to tell the public…..I will try and do my best to tell “the rest of the story”…….
Item 1–the media coverage of the conflict…….we know that the media will not have free access as in Vietnam but rather an imbedding system that way the control of information can be controlled. the media will be used to drive the conversation…I know I keep harping on that point but if not why would this have taken place?
President Barack Obama met with over a dozen prominent columnists and magazine writers Wednesday afternoon before calling for an escalation of the war against the Islamic State, or ISIS, in a primetime address that same night.
Peter Baker, the chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, reported on Saturday that Obama had met with columnists and magazine writers but did not name the attendees.
Baker wrote that three New York Times columnists and one editorial writer attended, but indicated they weren’t sources for his story. Since the meeting was off the record, the Times columnists could not report what Obama said. But Baker, a Times reporter not in attendance, was under no obligation to withhold the fact that the meeting took place.
The Obama team will need some allies in their trip to control the flow of information……and the media is a willing participant. You still think that there is a free press?
Item 2–The Free Syrian Army (FSA) has been named as one of the ‘moderates’ that we should be supporting…..but how successful are they?
The FSA has a much smaller footprint across Syria than it once did, having lost virtually all of its territory to rival rebels, and seeing mass defections, including large numbers joining ISIS.
The FSA’s ability to recruit and keep fighters seems to be heavily weighed down by the group’s lack of success so far, as the group has not shown itself to be particularly adept at anything but currying favor with Western nations, and what arms its obtained from them are quickly distributed to other factions, which do all the heavy combat.
Sounds like any training and weapons we give the FSA will be of more use to IS than any coalition Obama may put together…….
Item 3–Some members of the ‘coalition of the willing’ does not think it is a good idea that it include other Arab nations……
The Obama Administration’s efforts to cobble together a coalition of nations for the new war on ISIS has netted a handful of Sunni Arab nations willing to conduct airstrikes inside Iraq, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and by some accounts Egypt.
The big problem is that no one asked the Iraqis if they were okay with this, and President Fuad Massoum today made clear that the Iraqi government considers such nations “unnecessary,” which is a polite way of saying extremely unwelcome.
That dislike comes from sectarian distrust more so than any geopolitical reasons…..will this be a major sticking point when the hard choices become necessary?
Item 4–I personally do not like smoke up my butt……it appears that some Americans relish the idea……I am talking about the Iraq/IS thing……as long as Maliki was the PM we did nothing in Iraq….we went on and on about the needs for a inclusive government…….you see Maliki was of the Shia persuasion and a majority in the country are of Sunni……so Obama’s rhetoric was a more inclusive government….then there was a new Pm and our airstrikes began seemingly because it was a new day in Iraq and inclusiveness…..but there is a slight rub that no one mentioned very much in all the reports…..
New Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s cabinet is 56 percent Shia, according to a count by indispensable Iraq blogger Joel Wing. That makes his cabinet even more Shia heavy than either of his disgraced predecessor Nuri al-Maliki’s last two administrations, which were (respectively) 52 and 46 percent Shia.
“I’ve insisted that additional US action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days,” Obama said in his September 10 address announcing the new counter-ISIS campaign.
But the reality of the Iraqi government, thus far, suggests the opposite. “The government is composed mostly of Shia Islamists who may not differ from Maliki on many key issues,” Fanar Haddad, an expert on Iraq’s Sunni-Shia divide at the National University of Singapore, told me in an email. “In fact, the track record shows that the new government is likely to be more hardline than Maliki on contentious issues.”
So what part of the Iraqi election changed anything? Anything culturally that is……
Item 5–Al Anbar province of Iraq, a Sunni majority area has been under attack and parts controlled by IS…..but it seems that IS has decided to pull out of the region at least for now…..
In a piece written in Asharq Al-Aswat an Arabic newspaper………
Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is adopting new tactics in anticipation of impending air strikes by the US-led coalition, an expert on armed groups has told Asharq Al-Awsat, at the same time that authorities in the Sunni-dominated Anbar province announced the group is beginning to flee areas in and around the governorate.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the head of the Anbar Provincial Council, Sabah Karhout, said Anbar’s security forces had received information that members of ISIS were “fleeing the districts and surrounding areas of the province which are under their control and heading to the Western Desert region and to Syria in a state of panic.”
Hisham Al-Hashimi, an expert on armed groups from the Al-Nahrain Center for Strategic Studies, told Asharq Al-Awsat that ISIS was adopting “new tactics” in anticipation of international military action, including “hiding in ditches and using camouflage to evade fighter jets, since the [impending] international mobilization [against the group] will only rely on air strikes for the time being.”
Hopefully Western intel has picked up on this change in tactics……..if I were part of the ‘coalition’ I would be concerned about this…..what tactic will they replace it with?
Item 6–One might ask….why is the US having such a problem lining up willing participants in the war on IS…..and the answer is an easy one to pin point…….
U.S. credibility has suffered in the Middle East since Sept. 11, 2001, which doesn’t help the recruitment effort. The arguments for invading Iraq have been discredited, and the Iraqi and Afghan campaigns — which went on years beyond the original plan — are not looking successful. Smaller fights against terrorists in Pakistan and Yemen seem destined to continue without end. The Obama administration’s swift abandonment of Hosni Mubarak in 2011 shocked allies in the region, most of whom were hardly more democratic than the ousted Egyptian leader. U.S. attempts to work with Islamists, during the brief rule of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, left many concluding that American leadership was naive and its diplomacy inept. When the U.S. threatened Syria if it used chemical weapons, and then did not attack after their alleged use, it was seen as America flinching, even though Assad eventually gave up the arms. In an echo of colonial-era animosities, many in the region see Western leaders who are stirred to action by the beheading of a few Westerners — but not by hundreds of thousands of Arab deaths. Washington also has proven unable to influence its close ally Israel to slow down Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank — one of the few things that can unite virtually all Sunnis and Shiites in angry opposition.
That ends briefing #2. You may smoke if you have them.
If you want to stay up to date on the newest US war in the Middle East then I suggest that IST become your new fave site. I will be giving you all the info available that you will need to stay up to date and on your toes….
Next briefing will be as soon as possible the intel is available.
Thanx for your attention.
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