IST Classroom: Remember The Crusades

Yep…that time again.  I will force feed my readers a little history to make their day.  I apologize if you are not a history buff but…..you will get over it!

These days with all the Islamophobia there is always someone somewhere that will bring up the Crusades and use it as some sort of example of how to handle things…..the problem is most of their knowledge is second hand and biased…..for instance the 1st Crusade……1095.

The most passed around story is that the Seljuk Muslims were brutally attacking Christians in the Holy land……and the Pope got pissed……Launched by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095, the First Crusade was the most successful. Urban gave a dramatic speech urging Christians to swarm towards Jerusalem and make it safe for Christian pilgrims by taking it away from the Muslims. The armies of the First Crusade left in 1096 and captured Jerusalem in 1099.

Now there is proof that the 1st Crusade was not necessarily needed……while Urban was lathering up the people to go to the Holy Land……you see the Muslims that were preventing the pilgrims from entering into the Holy Land were the Seljuks….by the time Urban got his troops on the way the Seljuks had been defeated by another Muslim group…the Fatimids.  The Fatimids had no problem with the influx of pilgrims for they were interested in trade and tourism….their presence, the pilgrims, meant more cash for the coffers…..

The problem arose when the Crusaders got to the Holy Land and started their Holy War….the butchers of Europe, the same groups that had got on a Jew killing spree only years before the Crusade began killing everything insight…..both Muslim and Jews until they finally captured Jerusalem in 1099.

Another problem with these invaders……… From these conquered lands Crusaders carved out small kingdoms for themselves which endured for some time, though not long enough to have a real impact upon local culture.in doing so they began to oppress the locals until 1187 when Muslim general Saladin defeated the Crusaders army and retook Jerusalem.  So the whole “saving the Holy Land” was a smoke screen for plundering the region…..

We could say that with a little patience Urban could have avoided all the death and destruction….that is if it was truly about the pilgrims and their visits to the Holy Land.

Haste makes waste!

Some things never change…….rush to war…….when war could have been avoided.

Sound familiar?

Thanx for your attention…….

Class dismissed!

Who Dropped The Shoe?

The drama swirling around the election of the Speaker of the House has a new twist for all you political geeks…….

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy dropped a political bombshell on his Republican colleagues Thursday morning by dropping out of the race for House speaker. McCarthy was the heavy favorite to succeed John Boehner at the end of the month, though he faced long-shot challenges from Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Daniel Webster, the latter being the chosen nominee of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, reports the Hill. Republicans were supposed to pick their nominee Thursday, but McCarthy’s announcement forced the vote to be postponed. Even had he won this vote, it was unclear whether McCarthy would be able to get the necessary 218 votes when the full House voted on Oct. 29—thanks to the conservative opposition to him from within his own party.

The GOP cannot do anything without some sort of drama.

Now that big Mac is gone…who oh who will get the leadership roll?

Surely someone has an opinion……here is your chance….take it!

Same Song…….Different Dance

As usual when it comes to foreign policy our politicians are notoriously ignorant….since the 1950’s and the Cold War the US has always fought a proxy war with first the Soviet Union and then Putin….we fought these proxy wars because no one wanted to get their hands dirty…..it is easier to let someone else do the fighting and the dying…..

Funny how world leaders (?) fall for the same geopolitical crap time and time again.  You would think that somewhere they would see that it has been tried before and it was a failure and back off the old stand by exercise of trying to block one political ideology or the other.

Think back to the early days of the Cold War……USSR would make a move and the US would attempt to counter it……then the US would make a move and the Russian would react……and each of these moves did little but waste time and lots of money.

Then in 1979 the USSR decided that the invasion of Afghanistan would be an excellent idea……..10 years of war and death and destruction they decided to call it a draw and go home…..wasting lives and money to no avail.  We spent millions arming the rebels that fought Russia…..Afghanistan was a proxy war….but most seem to conveniently forget that fact……after Russia departed we left Afghanistan and cut all ties and the Taleban and AQ were our rewards for stupidity…..

Now we go to Syria….you remember that corner of the world, right?

Source: Obama Lost the Middle East While Putin is Building His Own Trap There | Middle East Briefing

And now the GOP has woken up to what a lot of us have been saying for 15 years…but as usual…NO One Was Listening!

Now McCain, a Senator points to ‘abdication of American leadership’ by White House and says Putin is ‘treating US with disdain and contempt’….interesting….how long have we treated Russia with disdain and contempt?

Source: John McCain says US is engaged in proxy war with Russia in Syria | US news | The Guardian

Now it is a proxy war…before it was just keeping the peace of the world…..

God I love these guys!

But with all that said and laughed at….there is still more to the story……

Source: Defining Imperialism Down: Yes, the US Has Waged War on Syria | Rogue Nation

You see Syria has been in the cross hairs of American politicos for decades……only difference is….someone finally pulled the trigger!

Will There Be A New Plan?

I have been writing for months if not years about the ineptitude of the US plan for Syria…..others have joined in that criticism…..this whole plan of airstrikes and the training and arming ‘moderate’ rebels was just a short-sighted band-aid that would, never be successful…..

Recent events have shown that my prediction was accurate….the massive airstrikes in Syria has produced nothing that could be pointed to and called a success….then there is the ‘moderate’ rebel thing…..rebels trained and returned to Syria are either captured immediately or the cut and run at the first sign of opposition….not the success that the war party and Obama had predicted…..

The big wheels have retired to their lairs and licked their wounds and tried to think of the next big plan to fight ISIS and save Syria…..

The news these days is an old reliable tactic of a “no fly zone” over Syria…..it seems that Assad has his air force drop barrel bombs on the population and now Russia has entered the fray and attacked the rebels fighting Assad (not a good idea to the US)…..it appears that Turkey has decided to join the air campaign against their enemies….the Kurds…..

So basically the major players are all fighting a different foe….and in all that confusion the best idea they have is a no fly zone…..seriously?

What is a “no fly zone”?

The general term no-fly zone means different things in different countries. Broadly speaking, a no-fly zone is an airspace in which aircraft are forbidden. Acknowledged as a step towards war, the declaration of a no-fly zone is quite similar to a demilitarized zone in that encroaching on the territory could justify military retaliation.

That sounds like a good idea, right?

Check out a detailed report on the “no-fly zone” scenario…….

Source: A Syrian No Fly Zone: Options and Constraints | United States Institute of Peace

There is one draw back……..No-fly zones don’t have to apply to military engagements.  Take a moment and think about that statement……(pause here for reflection)……

How would that work in Syria?  Since all planes flying are conducting a military engagement in one form or another.  What happens if no one lives by the no-fly ruling?  Could this be the start of something big?  Nerves will be on the ragged edge…….in a short amount of time things are already tense……

A Russian military aircraft was too close for comfort in the skies above Syria, forcing two US F-16s to move out of the way and scuttling their mission, CNN reports. The Pentagon made the announcement Wednesday but would only say the incident occurred in the past few days. All US pilots have been warned to keep 20 nautical miles away from any Russian plane over Syria. With Russia beginning airstrikes in country Wednesday, NBC News states there is “the greatest threat of an accidental clash between Russian and Western forces since the Cold War.” According to the network, it’s the first time Russian and US military aircraft are flying combat missions over the same country since WWII.

CNN reports the F-16s were on their way from Turkey to a location near an ISIS stronghold, but the mission had to be called off after the Russian plane forced them to divert. The US and Russia are still working on coming up with mutual rules for flight safety over Syria. According to USA Today, the Pentagon met with Russia about flight rules last Thursday but are still waiting on a second meeting. “We will keep the channel open because it’s a matter of safety and security for our pilots,” Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Davis says. CNN reports Russia has a history of intercepting US aircraft, and the Pentagon wants to be extra cautious until mutual rules are in place.

The War Party is a big proponent of this tactic….from McCain to Rubio to Trump (God who knows what this douche thinks)  and now Hillary Clinton (that should be very telling of her foreign policy in the future).

The big plus of this is to protect the population from death and destruction……if true how will it protect them from the ground forces of ISIS?

Personally, this sounds like another band-aid for a sucking chest wound……..or the worst case scenario is a beginning of another “Cuban” stand-off……..and finally the unthinkable……

Any thoughts?

Turn The Page!

The House Of Drama

At the end of this month (October) the House of Representatives will vote on a new speaker……the present speaker has decided he has had enough of the games and antics of the clowns in the political circus we call the House.

Boehner is out and McCarthy is the heir apparent………or is he?  It seems the Mr. Mac has a problem when speaking into a microphone (and he wants to be speaker….see the irony there?)

Any way Mac has a challenger one sleepy time Rep known as Jason Chaffetz from the state of denial….no wait….Utah, the state of Utah.  After Mac made his now famous comment about Hillary and the Benghazi investigation he got a challenger….I guess the other GOPers are pissed that Mac gave away the secret of the tape…..

But what if Mac is not that popular when the vote comes around and we have a hung trial and the votes go on……

Rep. Kevin McCarthy is the heavy favorite to be the next House speaker, but he’s got a big math problem at the moment: When the full House votes on Oct. 29, he needs 218 ayes—and a group of about 30 conservative Republicans can prevent him from getting there, writes Russell Berman in the Atlantic. That raises the possibility that the House will be unable to elect a speaker and thus could become “institutionally paralyzed” for weeks or even months despite a host of pressing issues. One scenario is that John Boehner will stay on until a new leader is elected, instead of resigning on Oct. 30 as planned, notes the Hill.

That would be a “nightmare scenario” for Republicans and the House, which hasn’t needed multiple ballots to elect a speaker since 1923, writes Berman. Conservative Jason Chaffetz is running a long-shot candidacy against McCarthy, but his prospects of actually winning are all but nil. Berman’s piece suggests a way out of the mess: Conservatives will wring enough concessions out of House leaders—key committee posts, etc.—in exchange for their support of McCarthy’s speakership before the House vote.

(Click to read the full post. McCarthy hasn’t helped his own cause with his Hillary Clinton comments.)

Is it possible that we could get even more drama out of the House?  More entertainment watching the GOPers act like spoiled rug rats?  Will the Freedom Caucus (new name for the Tea Party) be as moronic as they have been in the past?  Will we get much deserved chuckle from the antics of silly little people?

Hashtag#smileyface!

Should We Rethink A Counter-Terrorism Strategy?

My war was that of counter-insurgency in Vietnam….in other words we were there as a blocking force against the North Vietnamese tactic of insurgency.  You see the USSR was using the NVA as a proxy to spread communism to Southeast Asia….hence the Domino Theory….if one country fell to communism then others would topple like dominoes…..

Our tactics were defensive, not offensive….and it has been the same ever since….we react instead of acting…..it was so in Central America, Southeast Asia and now the Middle East.

When ISIS reared its ugly face we were already fighting a defensive war in Afghanistan…..we tried to take the initiative in Iraq but then we settled into a defensive posture and from there we have been fighting ever since.

I have been calling for a new strategy for the war against ISIS….this one is not working properly or even slightly successfully.  The US has now taken up a defensive footing against ISIS….not to win but to block and degrade with airstrikes and the like……but is that the best strategy for Syria?  Or does it need to be rethought?

Source: US counterterrorism efforts in Syria: A winning strategy? | The Long War Journal

I understand the past need for a counter-insurgency force….but those days are gone……we need to look beyond the control and degrade tactic and look for a winning strategy…..if not then these are generational wars….possible multi-generational wars……

An in-depth report was made by the Center for Strategic and International Studies that covers the idea of change in battle plans…..to re-think the US strategy that is NOT working…..

Source: Rethinking the Wars Against ISIS and the U.S. Strategy for Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency | Center for Strategic and International Studies

This situation with ISIS is going to be a long drawn out affair……and a tactic from the 20th century may not be the best of all possible techniques……time to sit down and draw a new battle plan….but is that possible?  I mean since all wars are controlled by corporations and their search for more profit….will there be a new strategy or just a tweak of the one we have now?

Don’t Underestimate Free Syrian Army

Well I awoke breathing so that “end of days” prediction was about as worthless as the morons that predicted it……

Shall we move on to real news and real situations?

We all have heard of the Free Syrian Army (FSA)…..in the beginning of the US interests on the Syrian situation the FSA was what would become known as the “moderate” rebels…….that was in the beginning…..then it morphed into some moronic debate on who was the purist of intentions……and that dialog was load by the war hawks and their constant barrage of “moderate” rebel BS.

There then was a massive debate on just who were we going to suppoprt in this fight….but first the confusion of who to fight was it Assad, AQ, ISIS or a whole wealth of random entities….just who was the true enemy?

There is a story in the HuffPo that sorta covers this big foreign policy mystery….the true moderate rebels……read on…..

Source: Syria, the Times and the Mystery of the “Moderate Rebels” | David Bromwich

My regular readers will know that I follow war, almost ALL wars very closely…..and that the western media seldom covers the conflicts properly….they give the American people just enough information to call it news…..details are seldom part of the report……

In other words the media is used as a tool to tamp down any information that could lead to a strong anti-war movement….without information the protesters have very little to go on to tailor their protests…..it is a brilliant piece of propaganda……apparently the government learned a valuable lesson from Vietnam and the free access to the war…….

Any way with that little rant out of the way I can get back to the main thought of this post……

I spend a lot of time reading Middle East news sources and getting information we seldom hear or read in this country……and the story I am getting is that the FSA is not the bumbling pack of incompetents they they have been portrayed as here in the US………

This is a report written by Al-Monitor, a Middle East news site……

What is more, the state-owned media have ignored the revolution throughout its four years, and have failed to acknowledge that army soldiers are defecting. These soldiers have become the pillars of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the revolution’s military wing. The regime says only that it is fighting against extremist groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra and IS. It is as though these groups control all Syrian territories, and the Syrian army is battling against them day and night.

However, the reality is much different. Anyone who follows what is actually happening on the ground knows that there are no battles between the Syrian army and IS. The areas IS controls were won through short battles for wide spaces and large warehouses. This was the case in Palmyra, where IS confiscated the second-largest ammunition warehouse in Syria.

Meanwhile, the FSA is completely dismissed when it comes to media coverage. It was formed early in the revolution and developed into an army defending civilians in regions outside the regime’s control. From a defense group, it grew to become an attack force and took over areas previously controlled by the regime.

Source: Don’t underestimate Free Syrian Army – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

The FSA will be playing a roll in any settlement of the Syrian conflict….to ignore them and dismiss them outright is doing a grave injustice to the Syrian opposition and the Syrian people.

You now have information at your finger tips….do with it as you see fit……and I fear as usual NOTHING will be done with the information.

The readers of IST are the best informed people in the blogosphere….if it is international you will find it here!

Turn The Page!