ISIS Coalition Situation Report (SITREP) #27

Good day and thanx for stopping by……

Today’s briefing will be a short one….the coalition is focused on Kobane and not much else seems to matter to the media…….

Item 1–Kurds en route to Kobane via Turkey…….

Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has sent 150 Peshmerga paramilitary fighters into Turkey, to be taken across the country’s southern border into the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani (Ayn al-Arab in Arabic).

There are considerable doubts over whether or not 150 additional troops, even armed with artillery as they reportedly are, will really be a game-changer, with estimates of thousands of fighters on either side of the battle.

Item 2–Turkey sets demands for the war in Syria……..

Turkey has named its price for co-operation in the West’s fight to end the Islamic State’s stranglehold on the Syrian border town of Kobane, saying the fight must be led by the Free Syrian Army rather than Kurdish “terrorists”

The country’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said that any military operation to free Kobane must involve arming regular Syrian rebel groups rather than the Kurdish militants who have so far defended the town. Turkey has refused to help the Kurdish fighters so far, claiming that many of them belong to the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a separatist insurgency against the Turkish state.

“Equip and train the Free Syrian Army so that if the Islamic State leaves, PKK terrorists should not come,” Mr Davutoglu said, aiming his comments at the US.

Eventually the Us will stop being dictated to about the direction of the coalition….

Item 3–The economy of Syria is badly damaged by airstrikes…….

The US war on ISIS in Syria, when it hasn’t centered on the offensive near Kobani, has mostly been a war on oil. Airstrikes have pounded oil wells and refineries across ISIS territory, which is also the primary oil-producing part of Syria.

It’s being couched as an effort to cut off ISIS funding, but the oil wells and other infrastructure being targeted are actually privately owned, and the attacks are badly damaging the civilian economy across Syria.

After at least 3 years of a civil war…how much civilian economy could be left to destroy?

That concludes today’s briefing….the briefings may be shorter for now…..as the drudgery of the air war continues there may not be much to report.

Thanx for your time and attention.

Turn The Page!

ISIS Coalition Situation Report (SITREP) #26

Good day and welcome to the briefing…….

Item 1–The Coalition in the battle against ISIS is trying all venues to try and stop the successes of the group…..and now it ventures into cyberspace…..

The United States on Monday unveiled what it called an information coalition with Muslim and Western nations to combat efforts by Islamic State to recruit online and stoke sectarian hatred through a “cult of violence”.

“There is a military coalition that is on the battlefield with Daesh (Islamic State) every day and from the very beginning the partners in the coalition … felt that there should be an information coalition that complements the military coalition,” U.S. Undersecretary of State for Public Affairs Richard Stengel told a news conference after the talks.

Worried by the growing threat from Islamist militants after the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) captured large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria in June, Washington has been working with regional and world powers to fight the militants militarily, financially and politically.

With the biggest successes that ISIS has had is in the use of social media so logically this is a good place to concentrate your efforts…..

Item 2–US has had its first casualty in the war against ISIS……..

Washington may not have “boots on the ground” in Iraq, but it still recorded the first death of a serviceman in the fight against ISIS—19-year-old Marine Lance Cpl. Sean Neal, the Washington Post reports. The California native reportedly died in Baghdad in what the Pentagon is calling a noncombat incident. The military divulged no further details but says it is investigating Neal’s death, the Marine Corps Times reports. Neal was on his first deployment as part of a new crisis-response group under US Central command; most of the group’s 2,300-strong force are stationed in Kuwait, but Neal was one of the 150 assigned to guard US facilities in Iraq, the LA Times reports.

A sad moment…….and another thing to consider is that he will NOT be the last…….

Item 3–As the old saying goes, “war makes strange bedfellows”……….

Syria’s state media agency SANA has issued a report today claiming they are providing both “direct and indirect” military aid to Kurdish factions within Kobani to help them fend off ISIS.

The report did not specify which factions were receiving the aid, and the PYD, the largest faction, rejected the claim as “propaganda,” knowing that the confirmation of a link to the Assad government would portray them in a more negative light with US and other coalition members.

In essence the US and Syria are on the same side in this conflict…….

Item 4–For a month now we have been told that the Syrian rebels would take the fight to ISIS as a western surrogate….but now this report comes out…..

(Reuters) – The United States does not expect Syrian rebels it plans to train to fight Islamic State militants to also take on President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, but sees them as a crucial part of a political solution to end the war, the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper quoted a senior U.S. official as saying.

Asked whether those rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) units would ultimately go on to fight Syrian government forces, John Allen, the U.S. representative to the coalition, told the Asharq al-Awsat daily:

“No. What we would like to see is for the FSA and the forces that we will ultimately generate, train and equip to become the credible force that the Assad government ultimately has to acknowledge and recognize.”

The most logical question to ask now…..Is there ANY plan for a ground force to take on ISIS?

Item 5–The war is a costly endeavor at best….so what is it costing?

The Pentagon has revised its estimate of the cost of the US air war in Iraq and Syria, saying the price tag for the campaign against the Islamic State group comes to about $8.3 million a day.

Since air strikes began on August 8, the campaign — which has involved about 6,600 sorties by US and allied aircraft — has cost $580 million, said Pentagon spokesman Commander Bill Urban.

Now the question is…from where will the funds come……which domestic programs will suffer to pay for this latest intervention?

That concludes today’s briefing…..I do hope that you found it informative……

Thanx for your time and attention.

Turn The Page!

ISIS Coalition Situation Report (SITREP) #25

Good day and welcome to another week of a war without end……..

Item 1–There have been rumblings in the Middle East that the military authority defending Kobane is coordinating with the Free Syrian Army in its battle with ISIS…..now an “official” comment has been made……

Sources of leadership in the city of Kobani denied for SOHR that it has been coordinating with them about entering of 1300 fighters from the Free Syrian Army to the city of Kobani in order to help the Kurdish fighters in repelling the attacks of IS militants who are desperate for controlling the city f Kobani. The sources said to SOHR that there is a very effective way to help us with no need to enter the city, it is by attacking IS militants in their held- towns and cities of Jarablos, Manbej, al- Bab and al- Ra’i in the northern and eastern countryside of Aleppo. A thing that make IS fighters retreat from the city of Kobani in order to defend their held- areas.

It is a weak denial…….

Item 2–As reported in a previous SITREP the Iraqi army is only capable of small limited attacks on ISIS….will they ever be ready to take on ISIS full front?

The Iraqi army is still months away from staging a major offensive to retake ground lost to the Islamist State group and is regrouping after suffering battlefield defeats this year, US military officials said.

Iraqi security forces were now able to stage small-scale attacks against the Islamic State group but needed time to plan and train for a larger operation, even with the aid of US-led air strikes, one military official told reporters.

Nothing they say is reassuring that the Iraqi army will ever be ready for the ‘big time’……

Item 3–Reports have come in that say that ISIS has captured many armored vehicles from the Iraqi army in its haste to get away……..now we have a number……..

(IraqiNews.com) The United States confirmed that it had destroyed a number of tanks – mostly American made – that were seized by the organization of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq (ISIS), adding that ISIS retains significant capabilities with its estimated 2,500 military vehicles.

General Lloyd Austin, head of the Central Command of the United States did not mention the number of tanks and armored vehicles that were destroyed by air strikes, but Pentagon officials said that ISIS has seized over 2,500 armored vehicles, including tanks and Humvees, from captured bases of the Iraqi Army and in the city of Mosul.

Maybe we should question the need to replace these vehicles……

Item 4–In a previous SITREP we reported that Iraqi Kurds would assist in the fight for Kobane……like so many situation in Iraq things change……

The story surrounding 150-200 Peshmerga fighters from Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) heading to Syria remains unclear, with the latest reports saying that the Peshmerga will never actually enter Kobani or take any direct role in the fighting there.

Rather, the Peshmerga will be used to provide artillery support for the Kurdish fighters already in Kobani, who are trying to keep ISIS fighters from seizing the town and the border crossing into Turkey.

In other words….they will be there for support and not fighting……could present a problem for Turkey….

Item 5–A new worry for the Coalition…..ISIS missiles……….

From the battlefield near Baiji, an Islamic State jihadist fired a heat-seeking missile and blew an Iraqi Army Mi-35M attack helicopter out of the sky this month, killing its two crew members.

Days later, the Islamic State released a chilling series of images from a video purporting to capture the attack in northern Iraq: a jihadist hiding behind a wall with a Chinese-made missile launcher balanced on his shoulder; the missile blasting from the tube, its contrail swooping upward as it tracked its target; the fiery impact and the wreckage on a rural road.

Once the techniques becomes second nature all coalition planes will be a target…….

Item 6–the conversation in DC is beginning to turn to the troops that may be needed……..

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said on Sunday it’s important not to rule out putting troops on the ground in Syria to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, but smaller, more targeted steps are needed first.

“When people think about boots on the ground they’re thinking big maneuver elements: divisions, brigades, battalions,” Rogers said. “No one is talking about that, although I don’t think we should eliminate it, but no one is talking about that. … If we don’t do this smaller, more effective thing now, then we’ll get to the point where we need big maneuver elements.”

This issue needs to be watched closely….there are those that are looking for a good reason to send in the American “cavalry”…..

On A Side Note:  In an attempt to disassociate anything cute and good with the name is being eliminated…..it began with the cartoon “Archer” who works for an agency called ISIS…..and the latest attempt………

The question of how to deal with an embarrassing Labrador has hounded English families for decades.

But even by the wacky standards of Downton Abbey, killing it off seems a little extreme. Tonight’s episode of ITV’s period soap opera appears to tackle a problem that has been getting harder to ignore. Lord Grantham’s dog is called Isis. This is awkward because it shares a name with the terrorist movement sweeping the Middle East. With the jihadists showing little sign of giving up, one of them had to go, so – spoiler alert – Julian Fellowes and his script-writers have given the dog the heave-ho.

And that boys and girls is how propaganda works….

This concludes today’s briefing and I am open for questions at this time……..

Thanx for your time and attention……

Turn The Page!

ISIS Coalition Situation Report (SITREP) #24

Good Day and thanx for joining the conversation……

Item 1–The US wants to end ISIS funding from oil……their plan is to bomb the pipeline that carries this oil…..that may cause a fire, an oil fire…..did we not appreciate it when Iraqi troops set wells on fire back in 1991?  What would the difference be?  A fire to prevent an enemy from using the oil….not a lot of difference there.

Item 2–The disturbing part about the Coalition’s fight with ISIS is the lack of reliable intel…….

The lack of intelligence on ISIS, both in failing to predict the various ISIS advances in both Syria and Iraq, and in lack of information on the organization’s current operations, is a major concern, particularly as the US continues to escalate an open-ended war against them.

Yet the official response so far is a broad exercise in blame-shifting, as administration officials point their fingers at the intelligence community for “underestimating” ISIS.

Finger pointing is what our bureaucrats do when times get tough……we need to  form a reliable intel gathering apparatus…..

Item 3–Coalition fixation on ISIS has allowed the Syrian forces to make gains……..

With the US air war and fighting with Kurds more or less keeping ISIS occupied, the Syrian military is moving apace in the central Hama Province, where they ousted al-Qaeda and its allies from the key town of Morek.

Rebel mouthpiece the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Morek has more or less entirely fallen, and that it is under the control of the military. Syrian state media’s most recent report merely said they held the majority of the town.

This situation needs monitoring closely……..the Coalition’s success could be aiding the Assad forces….which could present yet another obstacle to across…..

Item 4–A new report from the Iraqis say that ISIS is using CWs……..

Iraqi Defense Ministry officials have reported three separate incidents recently in which security forces, either police or military, have fallen suddenly ill in clashes with ISIS, and were hospitalized with symptoms consistent with chlorine poisoning.

Iraqi forces say that the incidents are signs that ISIS is increasingly turning to the use of crude chemical weapons, in the form of chlorine gas attacks, and warn that ISIS might be increasing its capabilities.

A turn of events that has yet to be independently confirmed…..if true would make another level of worry…..

Item 5–The Iraqi army had a major set back at the beginning of the Iraq sector of the ISIS war…….and there have been questions about their capabilities………

….Iraq’s fractured army has begun to regroup and stage modest, localized attacks on the Islamic State militants who routed them last spring and summer, but they are unlikely to be ready to launch a major counteroffensive for many months, senior U.S. military officials said Thursday.

“We’ve seen them start to act like an army,” one official said in a lengthy exchange with a group of Washington reporters who were invited to U.S. Central Command headquarters for the command’s most extensive briefings on operations in Iraq and Syria.

The Iraqi security forces, trained for years by the U.S. prior to its departure from Iraq in 2011, have suffered sectarian divisions, a breakdown in leadership and a loss of confidence. To compound the problem, they surrendered tanks, armored personnel carriers and other U.S.-supplied equipment several months ago when IS fighters overtook Mosul.

Slowly may not be the most prudent action…….

The news reported in the media seems to be fair to good….the problem with that is that it is all hype….the only successes the coalition is having is from the air and that cannot continue before someone has to take it to the ground…..

That concludes today’s briefing…..I hope that it was informative…..

Next briefing will be Monday unless something breaks that needs covering….

Thanx for you time and attention……..

Turn The Page!

Sweden: Catch Us If You Can

You guys know that I prowl the internet for news……mostly dealing with the Middle East but from time to time there is a report that catches my attention…..for I can see more to the story than the report would indicate………….

For a week now I have been watching a saga play out….a saga of cat and mouse……there seems to be a submarine, possibly a mini-sub, that has been playing a game with the navy of Sweden…..Russia sez “not ours”……The Dutch had been blamed by Russia…..and all the while the Swedish government has been steadfast that they want to find and identify this sub operating in their waters…..operating covertly…….

Then this morning news came out……..

Swedish authorities say they have called off their weeklong search for a suspected submarine in the Stockholm archipelago. Military authorities have ordered naval and amphibious forces to end their hunt for the submarine, though some ground forces will remain involved. Last Friday, Sweden’s military launched its biggest anti-submarine operation since the twilight of the Soviet Union after receiving credible reports of foreign underwater activity. Military officials haven’t blamed any country for the suspected intrusion, though most Swedish defense analysts say Russia would be a likely culprit. Earlier this week, the military said it was willing to use armed force to bring the sub to the surface, but admitted finding it would be very difficult.

Okay….wassup?

Just two days ago it was imperative that this sub be located and identified……and now…..Sweden has thrown up the hands and called it “operation finished”……..

Why?

I read it is costing about $1.5 million a day for the operation…..was that too expensive?………or maybe the culprit has been identified and may cause some international embarrassment……..just why did the importance wane in two days?

This is a good mystery……I will be watching.

Any ideas?