ISIS Coalition SITREP #57

I would like to say that the credible info coming out of the Middle East is slim at best….when there is little good news the media has a tendency to move to greener pastures…..News from Sony….news on Cuba…..news on attack in Pakistan….all this is stifling all other news……reports coming out of the Middle East are few….but we will carry on…….

Item 1–Cannot bomb what you cannot find……

Large numbers of airstrikes were launched by US and allied warplanes in the first nine days of the air war against ISIS in Syria. The number of strikes dropped in October, dropped again in November, and are now almost entirely halted.

The problem is lack of targets. There was little intelligence on ISIS territory in eastern Syria, and what few obvious stationary targets there were got destroyed early on.

Once again it all comes down to intel….and we have NONE!

Item 2–The Kurds have broken the siege of Sinjar Mountain in northwest Iraq………

Iraqi Kurdish officials have reported that the Peshmerga, backed by US warplanes, have seized control over Mount Sinjar again, opening a corridor between the Yazidi territory and Kurdistan.

WAIT!  Was not the people trapped on the mountain as a pretext for the return of US Troops?  I thought we4 had solved the problem some 3-4 months ago.  And why were not these “thousands” trapped not making news like the previous people trapped?

Item 3–Drone usage have been the subject of much debate and now the CIA report tells the tale……

Wikileaks on Thursday has made public a never-before-seen internal review conducted by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency that looked at the agency’s drone and targeted assassination programs in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and elsewhere.

The agency’s own analysis, conducted in 2009, found that its clandestine drone and assassination program was likely to produce counterproductive outcomes, including strengthening the very “extremist groups” it was allegedly designed to destroy.

Here’s a link to the document, titled Best Practices in Counterinsurgency: Making High-Value Targeting Operations an Effective Counterinsurgency Toolocument (pdf).

I do not expect much media coverage of this….why>  Does not fit the paradigm that DC is pushing.

Item 4–Iraqi troops retake the city of Baiji………

Iraq made a big deal of retaking the city of Baiji a little over a month ago, but lost the city back to ISIS without putting up much resistance, as they ordered troops to flee the city and reinforce at the nearby Baiji Refinery.

Iraqi officials had presented the retaking of Baiji as proof that they had shifted momentum against ISIS. The loss of the city suggests that the momentum shift was nowhere near as significant as advertised.

My thought is that thr Kurds and Iraqis are having amazing successes…..kinda cool since the A-10 Warthogs are now deployed in Iraq for close combat support….if I were a betting person I would say the new found success is thanx to the soon to be retired ‘Hog.

Item 5–Any success, a ultimate success, will have to include the Sunni tribes…..

Washington: The US plan to save Iraq from the advances of the so-called Islamic State was in trouble even before it was conceived – years before its unveiling in September, the marauding fundamentalists had systematically eliminated hundreds of the Iraqi tribal warriors who Washington believed would take up arms against the new threat posed by IS.

It says a lot about IS – which campaigns as a force that will “save” Sunnis – that in girding its loins for war with the Shiite-led government in Baghdad, it first set about murdering an entire leadership layer in its own community.

No one took much notice. But Craig Whiteside was counting. A veteran of the Iraq war and now a professor at the US Naval War College, Whiteside has identified 1345  members of the Awakening or Sahwa movement – Sunni tribesmen who fought against al-Qaeda – who have been executed, in what he bills as the most successful assassination campaign since the Viet Cong’s attack on the Diem regime in 1959-60.

There cannot be a final victory against ISIS without the tribes of al-Anbar….time for the US to get serious about their plan or go home.

Item 6–Finally there may be some good news…at least for the Obama group……….

the Pentagon’s top officer says US air strikes have killed several high-ranking military leaders of IS in Iraq.

The Kurdish offensive against IS forces besieging Mount Sinjar began early on Wednesday with the most intensive round of air strikes yet by US and coalition forces – 45 in all.

“The Wall Street Journal” cited U.S. officials as saying that U.S. military air strikes had killed three top leaders: Abd al-Basit, head of IS military operations in Iraq; Haji Mutazz, a deputy to the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi; and Radwin Talib, the group’s self-styled governor in Mosul, Iraq.

Be cautious with this news…I remember an Afghan leader that was reported killed at least 3 times……plus this will be only, if true, a minor setback….there are others capable and willing to step up to replace their “leaders”…..

Thanx for your time and attention……I will return Monday….next week will be a short week and will return after the Xmas holiday.

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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……

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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……..

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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!

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…..

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ISIS Coalition SITREP #51

So begins another week…..and welcome to the briefing…..

Item 1–We have a new Sec of Defense…..what type of defense person will he be?

President Obama announced that he’s nominating Ashton Carter to be the next Secretary of Defense. Carter has had a long career in national security, including two stints at the Pentagon, and most media profiles of him note that he’s widely respected on the right and probably won’t face too much opposition from Senate Republicans at his nomination hearing.

Part of the reason Republicans are so keen on him is that Carter, the words of the New York Times, “may advocate a stronger use of American power,” which is to say that he’s a fan of blowing things up. He’s especially fond of blowing things up in North Korea, and there’s already been quite a bit of discussion about a 2006 Washington Post Op-Ed he co-authored advocating that the U.S. “immediately make clear its intention to strike and destroy the North Korean Taepodong missile before it can be launched.”

Does that answer the question?

item 2–We have a new command for handling ISIS…….

The Pentagon has announced today the creation of a new military command, dubbed Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, which will oversee the war against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.

The Pentagon seemed to be trying to downplay the significance of establishing a formal command specifically for the war, saying only that it would mean press releases about the war would come from the command instead of from Centcom.

But the US doesn’t establish new conflict-centric military commands, particularly for ones spanning multiple countries, just every day, and the move reflects the continued escalation of the war in both size and length.

War is good business…….sounds like a perpetual war to me…..

Item 3–ISIS is once again threatening another Syria military base…….

ISIS is once again pushing against the air base, the easternmost military site still under Assad government control, and which has faced several previous sieges.

The base is also the last real site from which the Syrian military can launch airstrikes against a large portion of ISIS territory, and the loss of it would seriously curb the Assad government’s ability to bring air power forth against ISIS.

Item 4–Over the weekend Israeli planes bombed Syria…….

Earlier Sunday, Israeli warplanes launched multiple attacks on Syria, hitting at least 10 distinct sites, mostly in and around the Damascus International airport, but also including a military installation along the Lebanese border in Dimas.

What was attacked is still a subject of no small speculation, as the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) said it was conceivable the sites were Hezbollah arms dumps, though they appeared to have no evidence supporting that

Israel needs to remain on the sidelines….any action they start could have wider implications…..the fragile Coalition could be at stake.

Item 5–Afghanistan could be part of the problem with ISIS…….

For young jihad-minded students in Afghanistan, joining the Taliban or one of its associated groups has long been a no-brainer. They are, after all, one of the longest-standing such groups in the world.

But the ISIS bandwagon is growing even in remote Afghanistan, with students seeing the large territory ISIS has carved out in such a short time, and seeing the Taliban as comparatively feckless.

A situation that needs deep scrutiny……..

This concludes today’s briefing and I  now return you your normal internet viewing day….

Thanx for your time and attention……..

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