I have neglected my reports on the Middle East because the sideshow in DC these days is just too damn entertaining to ignore…..I shall try to rectify my oversight.
The wars in Iraq and Syria against the arch enemy ISIS are wearing down….ISIS has all but lost the Iraqi city of Mosul and in Syria they are losing ground faster than a speeding bullet.
The ISIS bunch will be digging in and fighting a more traditional guerilla war in and around Mosul….
Islamic State militants began reinventing themselves months before U.S.-backed Iraqi forces ended their three-year reign of terror in Mosul, putting aside the dream of a modern-day caliphate and preparing the ground for a different fight.
Intelligence and local officials said that, a few months ago, they noticed a growing stream of commanders and fighters flowing out of the city to the Hamrin mountains in northeast Iraq which offer hideouts and access to four Iraqi provinces.
What is really the future for the ISIS held territories?
Can we cheer the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq?
What really matters is the even the “defeat” of ISIS will not bring about a peaceful region……
The fight against the Islamic State appears to be going well. On July 9, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in Mosul after the city was finally retaken. The same day, the United States and Russia agreed to a cease-fire in southwestern Syria, ostensibly giving government forces and Syrian rebels a freer hand in fighting the Islamic State – not that the rebels have ever fought IS. Then on July 10, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was dead, as had been rumored a month ago.
These are welcome developments for the enemies of the Islamic State. But the fight is far from over.
The one thing we can say for certain is that the “defeat” of ISIS will give Trump a positive talking point…..something he has needed for months now….
Trump will be able to make the Middle East anew….something in his image….(now that is a scary thought for NO one has any idea what that image would be)….and toss in a little history and maybe an idea will make an appearance…(but do not hold your breath)……
President Trump got excited over a Saudi-Israeli scheme to combat Iran, but Trump’s cooperation with Russian President Putin on Syria goes in a profoundly different direction.
In the early 1920s, an ambitious young British official, Harry Philby, urged a Saudi leader (not then a king) to be bold: He could seize the leadership of the Arab world (using fired-up, Wahhabist forces), and become a true “king.” But first, it was absolutely essential he win British government support for his project; and secondly, the Saudi leader would need to change the image of his peripatetic, mounted marauders – the murderous Ikhwan. Abdul Aziz (in the West, often called Ibn Saud, the first king of Saudi Arabia) succeeded in both (though the latter, he simply had murdered by the British).
The Middle East is about to become more volatile than in the past (and you thought that was not possible)……
Messy will be the best description from today forward.