Will Iraq Have A Silver Lining?

Many seem to think that the defeat of ISIS in Iraq will bring to an end to this barbaric chapter of the country. (I am not one of them)……

So the question is….with the defeat of ISIS will there be a silver lining?  Will Trump beat his chest with the defeat of ISIS?  What will be the outcome of said defeat?  Who will win and who will lose?

Below is a commentary I read in Reuters…..

Will the defeat of Islamic State in Iraq be a foreign policy victory for Donald Trump? With the fall of Mosul imminent, what happens next?

There will be winners, like the Kurds. There will be losers, like Iraq’s Sunni minority. There will be gains for Iran, which backs the Shi’ite militias drafted to fight Sunni-dominated IS. And there may be a silver lining for the Trump administration – specifically in the form of Kurdish independence and permanent American bases in a Shi’ite-ruled Iraq. But any declaration of “victory” on the part of the United States depends on how the measure of those results is taken.

Start with the Kurds. Their military forces currently control a swath of northern territory, including the oil-rich province of Kirkuk. The area has been a functional confederacy since soon after the American invasion of 2003 and in spite of likely opposition from Baghdad, a fully-realized nation-state of Kurdistan seems inevitable. The Kurds certainly think so; they’ll hold an independence referendum on September 25.

Source: Commentary: Trump’s silver lining in Iraq | Reuters

Death Of A Bad Man

Word is spreading through the news organization that ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi, has been killed in a Russian airstrike…..I believe this is the 5th time he has either been injured or killed…..what we need is verification…..not speculation…

Russia’s claim to have killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an airstrike in Raqqa on May 28 should be taken with a heavy grain of salt. At the time in question, the U.S.-led Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.) were only days away from launching their final assault on the city and there’s no logical reason imaginable why Baghdadi would have risked staying in a surrounded, sitting target. Notwithstanding justified doubts surrounding Baghdadi’s then presence in Raqqa, Russia’s statement also says its strike killed another 330 ISIS fighters – which is almost certainly an absurd claim.

Russia has a long track record of issuing fake claims and deliberate misinformation during its campaign in Syria. This recent statement also contradicts a claim by its Syrian partner, the Assad regime, to have killed Baghdadi themselves on June 10. Either Baghdadi has dozens of lives, or nobody really knows where he is.

Source: Russia’s Baghdadi Claim Needs Verification | Middle East Institute

Let us say that their claim is genuine…..what will that mean for the region?

Does that mean we may be winning the War on Terror?  I think not…there will be someone to step into the void.

The news of the possible death of the leader of the so-called Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, no doubt filled most people with a certain sense of relief. It’s not often the death of a human being elicits such an emotion but Baghdadi, most sane people can agree, barely makes the homo sapiens cut.

Nonetheless, our collective exhale may be premature. According to the Russian defence ministry, Baghdadi may have been caught by a Russian airstrike targeting a meeting of senior ISIS commanders south of Raqqa, the capital of the group’s self-declared caliphate, at the end of May. He was reportedly killed along with 30 other mid-level ISIS commanders and 300 fighters.

Source: Why the death of ISIS’s leader could spell trouble – Macleans.ca

You see if he is dead then he is one terrorist dead…there are many others waiting their turn.

Do not rejoice…..be vigilante…..

Qatar: The Rest Of The Story

 By now if you are an IR geek then you are scratching your head about the situation in the Persian Gulf region……Qatar and Saudis are having a  moment of dispute…..Trump has weighed in on Saudis side and condemned the Qataris for their support of terrorism…..debate lines (for now) are being drawn…..

After his, Trump, scathing condemnation of Qatar abd then he authorizes a sell of weapons to the very same country……

Defense Secretary James Mattis and his Qatari counterpart, Defense Minister Khalid al-Attiyah have signed a $12 billion arms deal today in Washington, a move made particularly high-profile because of the ongoing blockade imposed on Qatar by its Gulf Arab neighbors.

The agreement is for the purchase of a number of F-15 fighter jets, a sale which the Pentagon says will ensure that Qatar has “state-of-the-art” defensive capabilities. Qatar is the richest nation on the planet in per-capital GDP, but a very small nation to be spending $12 billion on warplanes.

Over the past couple of decades, oil-rich Gulf Arab states have used some of their massive oil revenue to buy US warplanes as sort of prestige pieces to trot out during parades and the like. That tensions are rising between Qatar and the other nations, who have their own large fleets of US warplanes, but this purchase in a totally different context.

(antiwar.com)

So what is the rest of the story?

Ambassador from the United Arab Emirates suggested the US should move their base out of Qatar to “pressure” them. That, it seems, is not under serious consideration from the Pentagon.

So is it about the US base location?  Or about the support for terrorism?

Could it be more geopolitical than we are told?

The intra-Arab rift that has set Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt against Qatar is now in its second week. A feud that seemed to begin as a principled stand against Doha’s support for terrorism—one flash point was Qatar’s recent payment of nearly $1 billion to Iran and to Sunni extremists to liberate a hunting party held captive in Iraq— now appears to be something else.

The diplomatic crisis splitting the Gulf Cooperation Council isn’t really about Sunni extremism, or Qatar’s easy flirtation with Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Thus it has nothing to do with the larger issues shaping American foreign policy and the role of our GCC allies in implementing it. No, it’s just Abu Dhabi waging political warfare against Doha with a specific goal in mind—to get the United States to move its military base from Qatar to the UAE.

Source: The Real Story Behind the Diplomatic Crisis With Qatar | The Weekly Standard

As an IR geek this is just too damn interesting to pass up.

The question now is….will this situation have a possible diplomatic solution?

If it does then the US may well not have anything to do with the solution…..the top US diplomat in Qatar has resigned because of the wonky Trump foreign policy.

Confrontation appears to be in the wind…will calmer heads prevail?

Phantom Of The Desert

Not to be confused with the “Lion of the Desert”….Omar Mukhtar….Libyan freedom fighter against the Italian occupation.

Omar al-Mukhtar (about ca. 1860-1931), national hero of Libya and member of the Senusy, a religious organization with administrative and military functions, led the anticolonial resistance in Cirenaica from 1923 to 1931, when he was captured by the Italians and condemned to death.

A short course on the recent history of Libya……
But the “Phantom of the Desert” is Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi…son of the disposed leader of Libya who died in 2011 at the hands of rebels (or so goes the common tale)….
Saif had been captured by a rebel group and imprisoned for the last 6 years….but all that has changed….

Seif al-Islam, the son and one-time heir apparent of late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, has been released after more than five years in detention, his captors said on Saturday. A statement by his captors, the Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Battalion, said Seif al-Islam was released on Friday, but gave no details on his whereabouts. Battalion officials reached by the AP at Zintan, a town south of the capital Tripoli where it is based, confirmed his release. They declined to disclose his whereabouts, citing concerns over his safety. His lawyer tells CNN: “He is free in a safe place in an undisclosed location in a Libyan city.”

They said his release was decided as part of a recent pardon issued by the Libyan parliament based in the country’s eastern region. The parliament in the city of Tobruk is part of one of three rival administrations in Libya, evidence of the chaos that has prevailed in the country since Gadhafi’s ouster and death. Gadhafi’s son was captured by the battalion’s fighters late in 2011, the year when a popular uprising toppled Gadhafi after more than 40 years in power. He was later killed. The uprising later plunged the oil-rich North African nation into a ruinous civil war in which Seif al-Islam led Gadhafi’s loyalist forces against the rebels.

I bring this all up because of the situation in Libya these days……there are 3 separate groups claiming to be the legit government of the country.  The country has broken down along old imperialistic lines…..

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An update on Saif……it appears that there may have been an attempt on his life after his release…..

As reported by RT, hundreds of people took to the streets in Ghat, on Saturday night, to celebrate the release of Saif Gaddafi after several years of detention.

The footage shows honking cars driving through the streets. Other Gaddafi supporters were seen waving the green flags of the ‘Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’, as has been seen frequently in parts of Libya since the fall of the state in 2011.

What hasn’t been widely reported in international media is the alleged assassination attempt that was carried out on Saif in May. It was reported by some Arab sources that Saif had ‘narrowly survived an assassination attempt by gunmen from local militias’.

There is no way of knowing if this assassination attempt was simply a rival militia or jihadist group acting entirely of its own accord or whether someone else was also behind the incident.

(RT is not a reliable source in my book…but for the sake of news I thought I would include their report….my personal opinion)

Saif could be a stabilizing factor, his politics suck, but Libya is tearing itself apart at the seams…..he could bring some order to the disorder,,,but first he will have to find a way to counter the CIA puppet in charge in Eastern Libya….Col. Haftar

Some group needs to sit down with Saif and see if there can be a workable solution….he could be part of the solution……this will not happen….but it should.

Qatar: The War Of Words

Most people know of the problems that are brewing on the Arabian Peninsula between the Saudis and Qatar…right now it is a war of words and diplomatic BS.

I read a horrible story the other day about the poisoning of some Iraqi refugees…..

Iraq’s Health Minister and the UN refugee agency have confirmed that there was a mass food poisoning at the Hasansham U2 camp, located between Mosul and Irbil, and at least one person has died. Health Minister Adila Hamoud said the meal that was served as Iftar affected around 800 people, with at least 300 in critical conditions.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it was “really concerned” by the events at the camp. Its staff are coordinating with other agencies and authorities to provide swift medical treatment and transport the seriously sick to nearby hospitals.

Source: Iraq: Around 800 people poisoned at refugee camp | Myinforms

I know…what has this got to do with the back and forth between the Saudis and Qatar?

Easy peasy.

Food poisoning at a camp for displaced residents of Mosul has made more than 700 people sick, with hundreds hospitalized, Iraqi officials said Tuesday. The incident at the Hassan Sham U2 camp, about 13 miles east of Mosul, has become part of the ongoing dispute between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Saudi media accused a Qatari charity of supplying tainted food to the residents of the desert camp. Iraqi Health Minister Adila Hamoud told the AP that 752 people in the camp became ill following a Monday night iftar—the meal breaking the dawn-to-dusk fast by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan. At least 300 people remain in serious condition, he said. Various reports have put the number of related deaths between zero and three.

Amira Abdulhaliq of the UNHCR said it was unclear when the meals had become contaminated, whether it was during preparation, packaging, transportation, or distribution. “So far, we have received around 800 cases. Around 200 have been transported to the hospitals in Irbil,” she said. Irbil Gov. Nawzad Hadi said the food was prepared in an Irbil restaurant by a local NGO, Ain el Muhtajeen, and funded by a Qatari charity known as RAF. In Saudi Arabia, which has been leading a recent campaign to isolate Qatar, state media quickly seized on the issue with coverage that implied Qatar was poisoning refugees deliberately. The Hassan Sham U2 camp houses thousands who have fled their homes in and around Mosul after a US-backed Iraqi offensive was launched in October to dislodge the Islamic State group.

I see the usual tactic…..grab onto something in the news and turn it into a justification for action…..(and that Irene is how propaganda works)…it was successful in the first Gulf War as well as the return trip to Iraq.

And now more weapons will flow into Saudi Arabia…..

The Senate on Tuesday narrowly turned back a bipartisan bid to rebuke Saudi Arabia and reject President Donald Trump’s plan to sell the kingdom more than $500 million in precision-guided munitions, sparing the new Republican administration an embarrassing defeat.

The vote Tuesday was 53-47, clearing the way for the sale to be finalised. The precision munitions are part of Trump’s proposed $110 billion arms package to Riyadh, which the administration said would create US jobs while also improving a key ally’s military capability.

(alArabya.co.uk)

Where will these weapons be used?  Yemen….Qatar?  This is what happens when your ambassador takes a hike…..no one there to try and end the posturing.

Maybe this is what was wanted all along……I mean would not be the first time.

Is Trump Fighting Terrorism?

Or is he just tweeting about it, while making it worse?

I recall during the election there were promises made about the elimination of terrorism made by then candidate Trump.  Does anyone else recall this?

Well we have had yet another terrorist attack in the UK and Donald has gone back to his thumbs and started Tweeting again about the death of terrorism…..

But is he going about removing terrorism the right way?

So far he is using the same tactics as the last two presidents and they also promised to end this rein of terror….so I say again….is Trump fighting terrorism?

Donald Trump came to the presidency on a wave of overheated rhetoric about the terrorist threat, the failures of his predecessors, and promises, as he said in his inaugural address, to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.” Four months into his term, and on the heels of Saturday’s terrorist attack in London, which killed seven and injured dozens in the third attack in Britain in three months, it’s worth asking: Is Trump actually delivering decisive counterterrorism?

Let’s break it down. Yes, he’s been decisive and even dramatic, from the issuance of his initial travel ban a week after being inaugurated to his May trip to Riyadh, where he tried to galvanize the Muslim world against terror. But it isn’t serious counterterrorism—that is, policy that will diminish the terrorist threat—that he is producing. Instead, Trump’s steps so far seem to be designed to exacerbate the danger and lengthen the life expectancy of jihadism.

Source: Is Trump Fighting Terrorism? – POLITICO Magazine

So far it is the same stale tactics as before….did not work then….will it work now?

Here’s a thought…..since ISIS et al are Sunni extremism then maybe a better tactic would be to align ourselves with Iran, who are Shia…….

In the past quarter century, the United States and its Western allies have suffered much from terrorism, mostly perpetrated by Sunni extremists. America has spent billions of dollars fighting al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups and more recently the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) with little to show for it. Washington has forged new counterterrorism alignments with several Sunni leaders—Arab and non-Arab—across the greater Middle East to contain the threat of terrorism, again to no avail. President Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia and his meetings with the mostly Sunni heads of Arab and Muslim countries are the latest examples of Washington’s feverish pursuit of alliances to fight radicalism and extremism.

Source: Aligning with Iran Necessary to Combat Sunni Extremism « LobeLog

Just a thought…….

Not going yo be a popular idea in some circles…but think about it….who better to take on extreme Sunnis than the Shia?

So far our president has given us promises……promises in 140 characters.

Not Remembering the USS Liberty

I will be dedicating today’s posts to the attack on 08Jun1967…..

It is June and everywhere there are celebrations of the victory in the 6 Day War….nowhere in all this is there ever much mention of the deadly attack by Israel on a US naval vessel, USS Liberty, and the death and injuries that it caused.

If Trump were this “America First” dude then why did he NOT bring up this attack that the world knows about but the US and Israel choose to forget?  Why?

It is safe to assume that when President Donald Trump lands in Israel Monday, he will not have been briefed on the irrefutable evidence that, nearly 50 years ago – on June 8, 1967 – Israel deliberately attacked the USS Liberty in international waters, killing 34 U.S. sailors and wounding more than 170 other crew. All of Trump’s predecessors – Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – have refused to address the ugly reality and/or covered up the attack on the Liberty.

Source: Not Remembering the USS Liberty by — Antiwar.com

Every American should be outraged at this dismal of American deaths….the US should sack up and confront Israel over this betrayal…instead of cowering to them like well beaten mutts…..only COWARDS allow this to go unanswered……

Then we remember the day……

There has been a lot of media coverage mostly written by Israelis or American Jews regarding Israel’s “victory” fifty years ago during the so-called Six Days War directed against its Arab neighbors but I have yet to see an account that mentions the fate of the U.S.S. Liberty. Nevertheless, the Liberty is not forgotten. This Thursday at noon at Arlington National Cemetery there will be a small gathering for the annual coming together with the survivors and friends of the most decorated ship in the history of the U.S. Navy, a victim of a particularly brutal and unprovoked attack by Israel that has been covered up for half a century by the powers that be in Washington. The moving service will include reminiscences by surviving crew members plus the ringing of a ship’s bell for each one of the thirty-four American sailors, Marines and civilians that were killed in the deliberate Israeli air and sea onslaught that sought to sink the intelligence gathering ship and kill all its crew. Present will be a number of veterans like myself and other Americans who are committed to ensuring that the story of the Liberty will not die in hopes that someday the United States government will have the courage to acknowledge what actually happened on that fateful day.

Source: Remembering the U.S.S. Liberty – The Unz Review

Source: Infamy at Sea: Israel’s Attack on the USS Liberty 50 Years Later

Source: The Day Israel Attacked America – Al Jazeera English

Source: USS Liberty crew member recalls fatal ’67 US-Israeli skirmish – News – Stripes

Source: 50 Years Ago: NSA’s Deadliest Day | Observer