Welcome To Fallujah (Again)

Fallujah…..a term that will strike many chords to many people….Fallujah has been the focal point of several major battles….especially in the 21st century…..

The first battle for Fallujah was in 2004 or Operation Vigilant Resolve…..was an operation to root out extremist elements of Fallujah and an act of retaliation to, as well as an attempt to apprehend the perpetrators of, the killing of four U.S. contractors in April 2004.

On 1 May 2004, the United States withdrew from Fallujah, as Lieutenant General James Conway announced that he had unilaterally decided to turn over any remaining operations to the newly formed Fallujah Brigade, which would be armed with U.S. weapons and equipment under the command of former Ba’athist Army General Jasim Mohammed Saleh. Several days later, when it became clear that Saleh had been involved in military actions against Shi’ites under Saddam Hussein, U.S. forces announced that Muhammed Latif would instead lead the brigade. Nevertheless, the group dissolved and had turned over all the U.S. weapons to the insurgency by September

The second battle for Fallujah……or shall we call it Operation Phantom Fury……it became one the bloodiest battles since Tet in Vietnam and the battle for Hue.

Nevertheless, the battle proved to be less than the decisive engagement that the U.S. military had hoped for. Some of the nonlocal insurgents, along with Zarqawi, were believed to have fled before the military assault, leaving mostly local militants behind. Subsequent U.S. military operations against insurgent positions were ineffective at drawing out insurgents into another open battle, and by September 2006, the situation had deteriorated to the point that the Al-Anbar province that contained Fallujah was reported to be in total insurgent control by the U.S. Marine Corps, with the exception of only pacified Fallujah, but now with an insurgent-plagued Ramadi.

After the U.S. military operation of November 2004, the number of insurgent attacks gradually increased in and around the city, and although news reports were often few and far between, several reports of IED attacks on Iraqi troops were reported in the press. Most notable of these attacks was a suicide car bomb attack on 23 June 2005 on a convoy that killed 6 Marines. Thirteen other Marines were injured in the attack. However, fourteen months later insurgents were again able to operate in large numbers.  (Thanx to Wikipedia)

Now the ISIS franchise has been in control of the city for a couple of years…..after many skirmishes the Iraqi Army is now attacking the city to re-gain control…

With the fall and virtual destruction of the Anbar Provincial capital city of Ramadi earlier this year, Fallujah is the major ISIS city that is closest to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, and is the target of a new offensive announced by Iraqi PM Hayder Abadi this weekend.

Fallujah is actually the longesst-held ISIS city in Iraq, falling in January of 2014, when public protests against the Maliki government provided an opening for the ISIS forces to take over parts of the city. Iraqi forces have been surrounding the city in recent months, pending this offensive.

Iraqi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasoul ordered all civilians to flee the city of some 200,000 people, adding that they are providing “corridors” to escape through. This call came in spite of weeks of Iraqi officials claiming ISIS wasn’t allowing anyone to flee.

The Army prediction is that it is only a matter of time before it falls to the Iraqi Army…..

ISIS is retaliating in the only way they know……

Isis execution squads have appeared in the streets of Fallujah, a city 40 miles west of Baghdad, with orders to kill anybody trying to flee or surrender as government forces advance towards this Isis stronghold. “Groups of Isis fighters are saying they will kill anybody in Fallujah who leaves their house or waves a white flag,” says Ahmed al-Dulaimi, a political activist who spoke by phone to relatives and friends in the city.

Iraqi army units started an offensive east of Fallujah on Monday morning after heavy shelling and airstrikes overnight. Mr Dulaimi said that Shia militias known as the Hashd al-Shaabi were joining in the bombardment with a home-made-rocket called “the Nimr”, named after the leader of the Saudi Shia minority, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who was executed by the Saudi authorities in January this year.

Source: Isis unleashes death squads as Iraqi forces advance on Fallujah – The Unz Review

Now the tally is starting to filter out of the city from the news action to re-take it……Although the offensive was launched on Monday, Iraqi government forces have besieged the city and its suburbs for several months now, resulting in shortages of food and medicines.

At least 15 civilians have been killed so far during the offensive, sources told Al Jazeera.

At least 35 soldiers and allied militiamen have also been reported killed. More than a dozen Shia militias are taking part under the umbrella of the Popular Mobilisation Forces.

Source: Fallujah: Déjà vu all over again

The battle is under way….how will this end?  Will ISIS be removed from the city?  How many Americans are part of this operation?

 

We Have a Winner!

We Americans love some winners…..but not all winners are good news….

Recently the US used a drone (the weapon of choice for targeted assassination) to kill the leader of Afghanistan’s Taleban….and this time he is really dead…..not some press release that is retracted in a week or so….nope the dude is dead….confirmed by the Taleban themselves.  (I still would like to know how many civilians were at the location).

After the death announcement was released the Taleban stated that there would be a shura (supreme council) to pick the new leader for the Taleban….and the winner is…….

Senior Taliban members, after successfully evading American drone strikes for long enough to hold a leadership conference, have named a successor to the leader killed in a US airstrike last week. The Afghan Taliban, acknowledging Mullah Mansour’s death for the first time, announced Wednesday that he will be succeeded by one of his deputies, Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada. The BBC reports that unlike Mansour, Akhundzada is an uncontroversial choice who has, until now, served more as a religious leader than a military commander and has issued most of the group’s fatwas.

Akhundzada is believed to be a member of the powerful Noorzai tribe from Kandahar, which analysts say will make it easier for him to unite the group. The BBC puts the new leader’s age at somewhere between 45 and 50, though Reuters reports that it’s closer to 60. He is a former aide to Mullah Omar, according to Taliban sources, and like that leader, he is notoriously camera-shy. On the same day Akhundzada was named as the group’s leader, the Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that hit a minibus carrying court employees in Kabul that killed at least 10 people, the AP reports.

Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada

He was said to have been chosen over two key rivals – Sirajuddin Haqqani and Maulvi Yakub – due to his religious background.

Now the question is will the two that were passed over take the loss well?

The next question…at least in my mind is……if the US knew the shura was going to happen why not try to take out the council in one fell swoop?

But I guess that is a post for another day…I would not want to confuse my readers unnecessarily.

If You First Don’t Succeed

The Pentagon has a new idea for fighting the “bad guys” in Syria…..not as moronic as the “moderate” rebels……nope it is far more idiotic than that…..

After their last attempt to recruit and train a whole new rebel faction for Syria ended in disaster, the Pentagon is angling to try again. US officials are bursting with confidence, saying they have more Arabs volunteering than they know what to do with.

Described as an “eclectic” group, the new recruits seem even less suited to the role than the last ones. One US military adviser described them as “raw, literally civilians coming off the streets,” which plays well to the US narrative of locals rising up to resist ISIS.

But the US training missions have struggled enough with training proper militaries and rebels with considerable existing experience. Carving a whole new fighting force out of untrained civilians is the very thing President Obama mocked as “fantasy.”

(antiwar.com)

They could hardly do worse than the last attempt, however, with the Pentagon’s previous training attempts not only ending with the “first class” of recruits wiped out in a matter of days, but with the second class defecting to al-Qaeda almost immediately with a large amount of US equipment.

The Pentagon is already trying to same scheme again so soon after such an embarrassment reflects the lack of realistic ideas among US officials on how to win the ongoing war, and continued pressure to “do something,” even if it clearly won’t work.

What was it that Einstein had to say about doing the same things over and over?

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet

Nope, not some silly reference to the Man of Steel movie…..but rather something a littler more real than some cinematic crap.

I am an old fart and I remember the Cold War all too well.  The arms race….build a bigger and better plane…or a tank…..or a bomb.

In my youth when in grade school we had nuke attack drills…..where the kids would get under their desks and cover their eyes and ears and wait for the blast.  These were monthly drills….they were very scary for 8 or 9 year olds…..

Thankfully those days are behind us……a new world was born and we feel safer….at least against a nuke attack.

In today’s world things move at a faster pace…..and the necessities for delivering a nuke bomb is no exception…..

A rocket went up over the Australian desert on May 18, but this successful test launch was no ordinary feat: The experimental rocket hit a speed of Mach 7.5—or 7.5 times the speed of sound—qualifying it for “hypersonic” status, reports Gizmodo. Military scientists from the US and Australia teamed up on the project, called Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation, or HiFire. The goal, reports techradar, is to design an engine that flies at Mach 7, and Wednesday’s test is one in a series that will run through 2018. “It is a game-changing technology … and could revolutionize global air travel, providing cost-effective access to space,” says chief Australian scientist Alex Zelinsky, per AFP.

To put the feat in more concrete terms, the scientists say such an engine could make a trip from Sydney to London possible in a mind-boggling two hours. (Today’s travelers can figure on closer to 24 hours, factoring in connecting flights.) In fact, it would make any trip in the world much more manageable and make it far easier to put satellites in space. But Popular Science also takes note of the military applications: “With that much speed, it would be impossible for an enemy [to have enough time] to move anything on the ground after radar detected [a] plane, letting it either capture pictures immediately or drop bombs almost unimpeded.” The next test, in which the engine would separate from the booster rocket, is scheduled for 2017.

This is what the industry has come to……we now have a rocket that can deliver a nuke in the time it takes to pee…..

Ain’t progress great?

Professor’s Continuing Battlefront Diary

This is a series that I write to keep my readers up on the conflicts that the US is involved in….most times the media does not report on this stuff….and by media I mean the mainstream media…you know the crap they feed you at 6 p.m.

The US was involved in the humanitarian effort that brought down Qaddafi…..and we have never left….we are handling one of the “leaders” a Col. Haftar through the CIA and now we are sending in more combat troops…..

Adding to the details about the US deployment of special forces into Libya to prepare for a ground invasion of the country, officials today revealed that two “military outposts” have been established in the country since late 2015, each containing “fewer than 25” troops.

Details are scant, but the bases are said to be located near Misrata and Benghazi, respectively. It is noteworthy that neither of these areas are under the control of either of the UN-backed governments, though Misrata is largely aligned with the Tripoli parliament, a third government that the UN doesn’t recognize.

How long will it be before we have a Libyan surge?

A good question and here is the start……

Officially, the US supports the “unity government” in Libya, whose territory includes a single naval base in Tripoli and a few nearby buildings. In practice, the US is seen backing the two other extent would-be governments just a seriously.

That’s becoming more and more obvious as the Pentagon is increasingly open about its ongoing ground operations in Libya, where they are “meeting a variety of Libyans.” Less important that the sight-seeing is that the US has established two bases, one in Misrata and one near Benghazi.

You’ll notice that neither of those places is right next to the naval base in Tripoli. Rather, the Misrata base is in territory held by the Tripoli parliament, a rival government, and the site near Benghazi is in the sphere of the Tobruk parliament, another “UN-backed government.”

Yet another country that we will occupy and not be held responsible….

When do old enemies become new friends?

President Barack Obama appears poised to begin selling weapons to an old enemy and a new friend: Vietnam.

Obama, who will embark this weekend on his first trip to the Communist country, is weighing an end to a United States’ ban on selling weapons that started in 1975 at the close of the Vietnam War, which left nearly 60,000 Americans dead and scarred a generation.

Vietnam has long sought an end to the moratorium. But the request took on a more urgent tone in recent years after its neighbor, China, repeatedly threatened or attacked ships in the disputed waters of the South China Sea and started picking territorial fights with Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan.

US arming an old enemy that killed 60,000 of our countrymen…..will this come back and bite us in the ass?
The New World War 3 will begin May 2017……(so sez a past NATO commander)
Former NATO deputy commander Gen. Sir Alexander Richard Shirreff has published a new book, called 2017 War With Russia, in which he predicts a full-scale nuclear war between NATO and Russia, saying the sides are heading “inexorably” for a nuclear exchange, and that the war will start next May.
The book’s narrative follows the same expectations as other NATO officials who have been angling for bigger budgets and more military buildup, claiming Russian President Vladimir Putin will just randomly invade NATO member nations and start a huge war out of the blue.
Sir Richard says Russia feels “encircled” by NATO, and will invade Latvia in May, and threaten nuclear war if NATO isn’t okay with that. NATO won’t be okay with that, and so the world will basically end with the same nuclear holocaust NATO has hung over our heads for generations.
Is this yahoo trying to sell books or is he prophetic?
Ant then there is Afghanistan….there has been a lot of rhetoric about the US ending its involvement in the country…most of which is BS……
2016 is almost half way over, and the war in Afghanistan is going as bad as ever. Though it’s not as high-profile a topic of discussion at NATO meetings 15 years into the failing occupation, the alliance once again agreed to extend the military operation, which was scheduled to end at the end of 2016.

The US, of course, had no intention of withdrawing at the end of 2016 at any rate, and has already punted their end date to the end of 2017, and later extending it to an indefinite point in the future. The NATO announcement just means they’ll have company from the other nations, at least the ones still willing to throw troops at the war.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also confirmed that the alliance is separately debating a plan to extend the subsidy of Afghanistan’s military beyond the present end date of 2020. After 15 years of occupation, NATO has created a huge Afghan military, but the nation has virtually no economy, no tax base, and no chance of paying for it on their own. Most analysts agree this subsidy is going to continue for decades to come.

All the news that no one will use…..

And You Think That The Syrian Conflict Is Confusing

I have written about just how damn confusing the Syrian conflict has become….we have 34 factions fighting…..and we are supporting this one or that…ISIS is supported by this one or that…..Russia is supporting Assad against….well who flipping knows?

I recently wrote a piece for Ace News Room on this situation (linked below if interested)……

Source: Syria: Just How Confusing Can One Conflict Be? – In Saner Thought

I bring this up because I have been watching the situation in Libya and it has become a massive cluster f*ck…….and now the US has decided to wade into the waters of another civil war….we just cannot help ourselves….we f*cked it up and now we have to try and make it worse…..

There are almost as many players in Libya as there are in Syria…..will we chose wisely or will it be just another rewplay of a failed policy?

In Libya there are very few truly national actors. The vast majority are local players, some of whom are relevant at the national level while representing the interests of their region, or in most cases, their city. Many important actors, particularly outside of the largest cities, also have tribal allegiances.

Since the summer of 2014, political power has been split between two rival governments in Tripoli and in Tobruk, with the latter having been recognised by the international community before the creation of the Presidential Council – the body that acts collectively as head of state and supreme commander of the armed forces – in December 2015. Several types of actors scramble for power in today’s Libya: armed groups; “city-states”, particularly in western and southern Libya; and tribes, which are particularly relevant in central and eastern Libya.

Source: A quick guide to Libya’s main players | European Council on Foreign Relations

How many times can the US make the same mistake before a new strategy is formulated?

Will a new president make any difference?  Can we afford to keep making the same mistakes?

Women Take Up Arms

I remember when the Army allowed women into the Ranger training course and couple of them passed with flying colors…..there was a bit of a push back….mostly from those people that think that women should be at home bare foot and pregnant cooking dinner, having his slippers waiting when Papa comes home.  And then after that “set back” the news broke that women would be allowed to choose “combat arms” when entering the Army…..meaning they could be thrown into the conflict just like their male counterparts……and once again those people that think that women are only good to keep the “home fires burning” were back in force….railing about all that 17th century bullsh*t……

But I have written about women in the Middle East that are as much “freedom fighter” as their male counterparts……(but in case you missed my superb posts)…….

Source: The female guerilla fighters of the PKK | Middle East Eye – In Saner Thought

Objectifying female fighters | openDemocracy

With your memory sufficiently refreshed ….there is more on the women of the Middle East that are doing more than their part to defeat the forces of evil……

It is no exaggeration to say that a strip of land along Syria’s northern border with Turkey is home to the most radical experiment in democracy and gender equality, not just in the Middle East, but in the whole world. Western Kurdistan, or Rojava, ‘the land where the sun sets’, first entered popular consciousness in that lopsided way that news from elsewhere hits Western TV screens, when Kurdish women fighters liberated Yazidi women and children from ISIS on Mount Sinjar in August/September 2015. When the might of the US, the Free Syrian Army and the other regional armies in Iraq were unable to stop the advance of ISIS, young women in military fatigues and floral scarves defeated men who can barely tolerate fully covered-up women. Such film footage was undeniably eye-catching. Yet rather than leading to further information and analysis of the Rojava phenomenon, it was appropriated for the purposes of capitalist consumerism. H&M tried to sell a range of clothing based on the women’s uniforms, provoking outrage in the Kurdish community for trivializing their struggle.

Source: Military fatigues and floral scarves — New Internationalist

These women are fighting evil and the right for a freer democracy in their homeland….

These women are proving that they are just as capable as any man and in some cases more so……

It is the 21st century in case you were not aware that the 17th century has long since passed……