– Rest in Peace, Queen Zenobia!

ISIS has taken control of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra………to most people it means nothing but since I am a history buff and have had the opportunity to visit the site back in the 80’s it is especially interesting for me…

Ifrom time to time like to throw some history in my post to help people understand why some places are important…..Palmyra is one of those sites…….ever hear of Queen Zenobia? – Rest in Peace, Queen Zenobia!.

Syria: Bad Guy Vs Bad Guy

Opinion from the tortured fingers of Chuq

Does anyone remember reading MAD Magazine in their youth……especially the cartoon panels entitled “Spy Vs Spy”….one white one black and no one knows who was good or bad……

That cartoon made me think of a situation brewing in Syria as I write this…..Everybody is at war with everybody else and in between are the civilians that NO one, mostly notably the US, cares about….but that is a post for another day.

Let’s look at that war….we have Assad fighting anyone that is not in his army……we have rebels fighting rebels……we have the Coalition fighting ISIS…….and ISIS fighting anyone that gets in their way to gain total control of the region……about here is where I pick up on the post……..

There are many units fighting in Syria on various sides of the conflict….there is of course ISIS and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the AQ affiliate, Nusra Front which is fighting mostly in the Southern part of Syria……..this is where it becomes most interesting……

Both ISIS and Nusra are considered to be extreme fundamentalist which adhere to a very strict interpretation of Islam…..on the surface it would appear that these two entities should be allies…..but that ain’t happening.

The Nusra Front has launched an assault on rival Islamic State positions in the Qalamoun mountains on the Lebanon-Syria border, al-Qaeda’s official representative in Syria said.

According to social media accounts belonging to Nusra, its militants began attacking IS positions on Tuesday and now plan to “eradicate” IS in the region because it has exploited “the vision of an Islamic state”.

While the two groups have clashed throughout much of Syria, they had, until recently, fostered relatively good relations in Qalamoun, a mountain range key to securing supply routes into Syria.

– See more at:

“Eradicate” ISIS?  Now that should be good news to the ears of our guys in the State department…..but wait!  Nusra is an AQ affiliate how does that fit into the equation?

Now with this break between the two….will the US arm and train an AQ affiliate?  Where does this situation fit into the grand scheme of things (if there is a grand scheme)?
As with everything about the conflict in Syria…….there are questions…… many questions and so little answers.
Well is this good news or not?

ISIS……Yet Another One Bites The Dust!

ISIS leader has been seriously injured and the number 2 dude is dead during an airstrike and now the leader of ISIS in Syria dealing with finances has been killed and his wife and laptop in US hands……

Last Friday night, US Special Operations attempted to capture a senior ISIS commander and his wife in Syria. The rare raid didn’t go as planned. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter today said that Abu Sayyaf fought back and was killed; the US troops involved were unharmed. They did manage to capture wife Umm Sayyaf, who is being held in Iraq. CNN notes that “Abu Sayyaf is not a name familiar to many ISIS watchers.” Carter gave context: “Abu Sayyaf was involved in ISIL’s military operations and helped direct the terrorist organization’s illicit oil, gas, and financial operations as well.”

NBC News reports that a young Yazidi woman had apparently been enslaved by the couple; she was rescued. The raid, which took place in al-Amr, was carried out on orders of the president, which were given on the “unanimous recommendation” of his national security team. The AP notes this is only the second time troops have carried out a ground raid in Syria……the first one did not go as well as this one…..

This is good news…..the leader can and will be replaced but the intel and the wife during interrogation could be a gold mine of financial data that could help dry up so of the monetary sources for ISIS.

This by NO means spells the end of ISIS but it does aid the fight considerably……

The Town The World Forgot

For months this small rural town in Syria was held up as a beacon of hope in the fight against ISIS.

It was the source of endless reports and speculation……it became a symbol of humanity’s battle against barbarity… were told day after day the body counts, the strategy and the destruction and finally the world was treated to the battle taken to the enemy and the win if we call it that and now……….NOTHING!


Kobani – a symbol forgotten | World | DW.DE | 08.05.2015.

ISIS Coalition SITREP #82

The war against ISIS has fallen victim to the normal media tactic……make it mundane and the viewer will stop tuning in and they can move on top less important issues……this is still a WAR!

The battle against ISIS continues…..although the situation in Yemen has suck the life out of news from Iraq and Syria…….but the battle continues.

The battle for Tikrit went well……the combined forces of Iraqi army and Shi’a militias and airstrikes helped the enemy to be driven from the town……

1–ISIS is now attacking on several fronts in Anbar province…….

In a surprise assault, Islamic State fighters captured three villages outside Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province 100 miles south of Tikrit, and pushed to within 500 yards of a key government center in the northeastern section of the city, one of the few population centers in Anbar still under government control.

2–A week ago ISIS attacked and overran the refugee camp of Yarmouk in Syria……

The ISIS takeover of the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in metro Damascus lasted only a little over a week. They are now said to have lost most of the camp, withdrawing to neighboring Hajar al-Aswad, amid repeated skirmishes with Aknaf al-Maqdis, a Hamas ally.

However the camp is not out of danger yet…..ISIS has been replaced by an AQ ally and may be just as harsh as ISIS.

3–There are reports that the success against ISIS are all true and they may be losing the war……….

Since the US airstrikes started last August, ISIS’s territorial ambitions have been significantly disrupted. The Iraqi army, the Kurdish peshmerga, and Shia militias (which are often sponsored by Iran) have been pushing them back. This is why many analysts are confident ISIS will soon lose it territory in Iraq and once again end up where it started a year ago, a delusional group of hardened warriors festering in the chaos of a Syrian civil war.

4–Off again……On again…….The Saudis ended airstrikes in Yemen on 22 April and restarted it on 23 April……while they pounded the Houthis in the West of the country…..thge US is drone attacking AQ and ISIS in the East…….

5–The battle with ISIS rages in the North and the West of Iraq…….and the bombs still blow up civilians in Baghdad center…….daily death and destruction…..

6–Suicide bombers and IEDs are still the rule of the day across Iraq…..but indications point to a stalemate with ISIS….push here….retreat there…..not much is being accomplished other than the waste of resources…….

Sadly this is the best I can do with the battle against ISIS…..hopefully the focus will once again be on the death and destruction in the Middle East……

Thanx for your time and attention…..I will return when more news is available…..

Turn The Page!


Syria: The Next Stroke Out For The GOP

This past week the news has been all about the trade agreement, Loretta is confirmed and a hostage was killed in Pakistan by a drone attack……plus a wealth of political theater for 2016……with all that to confuse the public a small story was reported and few if any noticed…….

The world has been watching the USA and the game that its politicians are playing with the nuke deal that the P5+1 negotiated with Iran.  However it was not a surprise to us political analyst….if anything it was predictable.

Hyper-partisan thinking has eliminated any real progress coming from the Congress….so if the Obama team got a good deal from the Iranians it would not matter for the deal would not be acceptable to the Republicans in Congress and especially not for the conservative media.

While the War Hawks are dashing to cameras to diss the deal and in some cases threaten Iran with military force…..there is another bit of news that has not quite made it to the ears of politicians……that news is that there possibly be some cooperation between the US and Iran on a plan for Syria.


Reuters is reporting that there is a possibility of some form of cooperation in the works…..the US State Department has not ruled out this work for the “stability of the region”…….

The State Department still surprised many, saying they were open to the possibility of talking to Iran about “regional stability” centering on Syria, saying they would allow Iran to participate in Syrian peace talks if they made unnamed policy changes.

The UN already announced last week that they intend to invite Iran to the next round of peace talks, with or without the American imprimatur. That the State Department is willing to countenance this at all, instead of just railing at it, suggests some progress.

I waited after hearing the news…….waited for the proverbial outcry of disapproval……..and waited and still nothing……to say I was disappointed would be an understatement……but then I realized that it was only a comment or a suggestion and no real meetings have occurred……and that is where they are silent.

Now if and when a solution after meeting with Iran for Syria then the kooks from the War Hawk party will come out of the woodwork and once again be on the attack.

From the sidelines the Gulf Nations and Israel will exert all their influence to stop any solution that will include Iran.  I expect them to use the conflict in Yemen to help sell their points.  Since according to the Saudis the Houthi rebels are being supplied and trained by Iran and they will of course want to point out that Iran is responsible for much of the instability in the Middle East……..that is their story they will stick to it!

The US needs to be honest……..they have NO unearthly idea how to handle Syria.  Their plan seems to be to throw lots of manure4 at the wall and see what sticks.

NBC’s Conduct in Engel Kidnapping Story is More Troubling than the Brian Williams Scandal – The Intercept

As one who spends a lot of time with the Middle East and events that occur I like Richard Engel….he knows the region and he speaks Arabic so he can interview people without using a go between….

I heard some rumblings about his kidnapping last summer…..some of them were disturbing……….

I recall when I saw the news that he and his team had been kidnapped in Syria I was concerned….journalist have not been too fortunate in Syria and Iraq…..and then he was “rescued”……

Now a story has come out about that kidnapping and NBC… is a disturbing story at that……..while Engel still has my respect and confidence I cannot say the same for NBC……..they are starting to show the same lack of professional journalism as CNN has shown…….


NBC’s Conduct in Engel Kidnapping Story is More Troubling than the Brian Williams Scandal – The Intercept.