Have You Heard The News?

The good news is that the Saudis have come up with a master plan for fighting ISIS….It seems that they now have a 34 nation coalition that will do the trick…..I said when I heard the news that it was too good to be true…..maybe I am a psychic….or something…..

Some key members of the 34-nation anti-Islamic State coalition announced by Saudi Arabia have a fundamental question: just what is it?

Indonesia did not know it was going to be a military alliance, which it does not want to join. A senior Pakistani lawmaker only learned the news from a Reuters reporter.

And while Western governments welcomed this week’s initiative, there was uncertainty over how it would work.

Comments from several of the countries that signed up to the initiative appeared to reveal a lack of preparation by Riyadh, which approached partners with an invitation to join a coordination centre but then announced a military alliance.

When Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the new group at a sudden midnight press conference, he called it an “Islamic military coalition”, a description that appeared to surprise some of the governments involved.

OOPS!  Our Bad!

Looks like someone may have spoken too soon…..some of the countries have trust issues with the Saudis…..why?

Modern jihadist groups follow an extreme interpretation of Islam’s Salafi branch, of which Wahhabism was the original strain, and whose clerics regard Shi’ism as heresy, laud the concept of jihad, urge hatred of infidels and back harsh penalties for religious offences.

This is a problem….because?

Saudi is the home of the salafist movement and they follow a strict fundamental line of Islam…….sound familiar?

Understanding ISIS: Leaked document reveals nation-building plans

Everybody has an opinion on how to defeat ISIS…..I mean with the horrendous acts they have committed everyone wants them gone in one way or the other…..

The prez and every other world leader has given the country their assurances that ISIS WILL be defeated….there is a consensus among western leaders……the problem I have is that not one of them will give a rudimentary plan of how they will accomplish this feat.

To my way of thinking….the only way ISIS can be defeated is by understanding every aspect of their operation……I have written in the past that this organization is trying to act like a nation state…..this could be a source of information to help in that defeat….

A state-building manual for Islamic State administrators confirms the complexity and breadth of the group’s efforts to create a functioning state, albeit one ruled by terror. In life under Islamic State, however, many civilian services seem to be suffering.

Source: Understanding ISIS: Leaked document reveals nation-building plans – CSMonitor.com

As I have said…..this could be a good start in finalizing what to do about ISIS and their desire for a nation state…..

Syria: How Complex Could It Possibly Be?

I have tried in the past on many occasions to try and explain the complexities of what is happening in Syria……I am not sure that I have made it clear just how absurdly complex it really is……I saw this cartoon and decided to try it more more time…..

This is a fine example of what the war in Syria looks like……

image

This Cartoon by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Is it clear now?

What could possibly go wrong?

In the battle against IS, where is the Arab coalition?

The coalition against ISIS keeps growing…..and many people that I have talked with because they know that I watch and write about the Middle East ask me the same question….almost daily.

Why has the Arab countries not stepped up?

An excellent question that would take me an entire book to explain accurately……that is why when I saw this piece while reading the news I found an easier way of answering the question without giving myself a migraine….

Arab countries claiming their opposition against the Islamic State have stood down in their battle against the self-proclaimed “Caliph Ibrahim,” creating a political void in the coalition.

Source: In the battle against IS, where is the Arab coalition? – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

The sectarian divide will have to come to a head if this situation will ever be resolved……

Syria: Guy Ritchie Would Be Proud

I am a huge fan if film director Guy Ritchie……his movie have more twists than Lombard in San Francisco……..his work is interesting, entertaining and well done…….if you have not seen any of his work then I suggest you do so…..they are well worth the price of admission.

That said I am comparing the situation in Syria to a Guy Ritchie movie.

In essence it is the US Syria policy that is messed up…….

The program is meant to train and equip rebels who will fight ISIS in Syria. But the problem is that, broadly speaking, America has three goals in Syria, and they don’t line up:

  1. Support local fighters in Syria who can push ISIS out of its territory in the country’s north and east
  2. Avoid getting drawn into a direct conflict with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad that could escalate into a major, Iraq-style war
  3. Prevent other extremist groups in Syria, such as al-Qaeda, from getting stronger

These three objectives are fundamentally irreconcilable. In order to retake ISIS territory, the United States needs allies on the ground, which means Syrian rebels (Kurdish forces aren’t enough on their own). But those rebels typically see Assad as a bigger priority than ISIS. If the US were to simply train them, equip them, and let them go their own way, they’d likely use their American support to focus on fighting Assad.

The whole plan is a silly and fruitless exercise….something that I have been saying from the beginning…..and I am not alone……

Let’s look at the training of “moderate” rebels………we started training and have turned a small group lose in Syria……and how has the plan working?

President Obama asked for $500 million to arm and train the Syrian rebels. This year alone, the effort is supposed to train 3,000 soldiers to fight ISIS.

But so far, it’s only yielded about 60 fighters. Of those 60, over half have been killed, wounded, or captured in the past week alone by Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch. American officials, according to the New York Times, “did not anticipate an assault from the Nusra Front.”

So far the plan has been a failure with NO chance of success……..is it time for a step back and devise a new plan?

Let’s be honest……if we keep to the plan we have no there is NO way to win and definitely NO way out of Syria!  Maybe that is the plan…….the longer we stay in Syria the more money the M-IC will rake in and after all profits is what war is all about, right?

As I was writing this word came out that all is NOT well with the US trained rebels……..

Syrian fighters trained by the United States are now refusing to fight.

In the past few days, five of the US backed recruits have been detained by the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front. A sixth recruit has reportedly been killed.

The US-backed group, Division 30, is accusing the Pentagon of misrepresenting its mission.

The fighters say they signed up to battle the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), not the al-Nusra Front.

Will this finally put an end to the snowjob of training the “moderates” to fight?  It is NOT working no matter how much McCain thinks it will…..

In an article by Jason Ditz…..

A solid year after Congress authorized $500 million for the training and creation of a brand new pro-US Syrian rebel force, the first class of trainees was deployed into Syria. What was initially expected to be tens of thousands of fighters ended up being 54, and they were quickly routed by al-Qaeda.

It’s just now that the Pentagon is finally admitting to there being “flaws” in their plan, and they are now talking about “tweaks” so that their future efforts are a little less disastrous than what they’ve accomplished so far.

The admission itself is a leap forward for the Pentagon, which has been insisting the 54 troops were going to do just fine, despite there only being 54 of them. Despite this, however, they are offering no indication of what changes they might make, suggesting that finally noticing there are problems with their plan didn’t bring them much closer to “fixing” it.

And there Irene is the problem….Tweaks will not win the day….a whole new approach needs to be found……it is so sad that even with the disaster of the rebels training the Pentagon will still only “TWEAK” the program…..

Victory is going to be a long time coming with these plans…..

Dismantling ISIL’s propaganda machine

I do hope that everyone enjoyed their Labor Day, that is all the American visitors, but it is time to get back to work, at least for me….I wanna see how many people I can irritate…..welcome back.

For over a year since the prez announced the “degrade and destroy” plan for dealing with ISIS has done little to accomplish the end result that he promised.

Airstrikes and drones have killed many…..some were terrorists but most have been civilians…….the Iraqi Army is ineffective at times and inspiring at others…..the Kurds are a strong fighting force but have their problems with Turkey and supplies to continue the fight……Moderate Syrians are fighting each other and ISIS is running amok.

All in all the conflict is going badly for the US and the Coalition…..at best a draw is the end result of a year of wasting resources and weapons……the present plan is not going to win the war with ISIS…..something I have been saying for over a year…….without an overall total commitment of destruction ISIS will survive to continue to fight and kill.

ISIS strongest weapon is its propaganda machine….the videos, the recruitment are strong and some far uncontrolled…..if the West is ever going to end this conflict with a victory they must find a way to counter the propaganda machine that ISIS has put together……something I have been preaching for over a year.

Efforts to combat ISIL must also include a wider strategy to attack the group’s ownership of powerful symbols.

Source: Dismantling ISIL’s propaganda machine – Al Jazeera English

This is how ISIS can be defeated….the problem is that they have a head start on this and it will take commitment to neutralize the effects…..now the question is…..does the US have the stomach for the fight?  If we are not willing to fight fire with fire…..then this will be just another wasted effort and a failed endeavor.

Has The US Been Duped?

I would like to remind my readers that about a year ago the president went before the nation and announced that we would “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State.

After many many airstrikes by the US and its coalition members the news from the battle front is not the best we could be getting.  It appears that the terror group known as ISIS is no closer to defeat than a year ago when this all began.

Recently the media reported a favorable situation Turkey has decided to allow US planes to use their airspace and air bases as a base of operation…..they also decided to join in the fight.  The problem with their participation is that they are flying more ops against the Kurds, a long time enemy, than against the ISIS positions.

The Kurds an ally of the US and the most successful fighters against ISIS is now a target of one of our allies…

So my question now is…..was the US duped by Turkey so they could wage an all out war against a long time foe?  This question needs an answer if this whole plan is to be remotely successful.

There is something rotten in Istanbul!

 

Source: Turkey duped the US, and ISIS reaps rewards – The Unz Review

ISIS Coalition SITREP #83

Welcome to the briefing…..it has been awhile since the last one that is because there has been very little news that is worthy of comment….since the last report al-Baghdadi has been seriously wounded, number 2 man in Iraq has been reported killed, the ISIS minister of finance in Syria has been killed and wife taken prisoner with lots of data captured as well.  Al-Anbar province is being overrun…………city of Ramadi has been taken by ISIS fighters…..and the airstrikes continue.

Item 1–Advancing near the ancient city of Palmyra, ISIS is said to have captured the al-Hail and Arak gas fields, two very important parts of fueling Syria’s electricity grid.

Item 2–US airstrikes are working as the air cover for Shi’ite militias……….

Item 3–the defeat in Ramadi of Iraq troops looked a lot like the early days of the fighting with ISIS……massive retreating leaving equipment and arms behind…..with the fall of Ramadi ISIS is just 50 miles from Baghdad……that should worry everybody in DC.

Item 4–ISIS has finally captured the ancient city of Palmyra and with that victory that control a wide swath of land in Syria……

Capturing the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur in Arabic) and valuable nearby gas fields was just part of the gains of ISIS across Syria, which have now reached the point that the “caliphate” includes more than half of Syria’s territory.

Indeed, ISIS seems to be making gains across both Syria and Iraq, taking the major Iraqi city of Ramadi yesterday, and then seizing the al-Waleed border crossing, the last crossing between Iraq and Syria that they didn’t already hold.

Item 5–……..the story around the fall of the Anbar Province capital of Ramadi in recent days has been predictions of Iraq retaking the city, the reality is ISIS is continuing its eastward advance.

Early in the day, Iraqi forces reported they were exchanging mortar fire with ISIS forces east of the city, and had held them off, but by evening police commanders confirmed they’d been overrun entirely by ISIS.

Keep in mind that Baghdad is less than 60 miles from Ramadi…..is the capital next on the list?

Item 6–It appears that our “ally” Turkey may have helped ISIS inn the beginning…….

Witness testimony obtained by Reuters has once again shown that the Turkish government was dishonest about their involvement in the rise of Islamist rebels in northern Syria.

The testimony of officials revealed that Turkey’s MIT state spy agency repeatedly accompanied cargoes of weaponry across the border into Islamist rebel-controlled territory in January of 2014, and threatened border police who objected.

The weapons shipments were distributed among various rebel factions, and are believed to have played a significant role in ISIS gains in that area of Syria, which they control to this day.

Now I will wait to see if the media touches this or if it is down played…..my guess is the later.

Item 7–Iran has sent in troops to Iraq to assist in the refinery fight that is raging at this time.  This is gonna be a big deal.  The US has got to decide one way or the other.  Or should it be up to Iraq to decide who fights the good fight?

Item 8–Since the beginning of the conflict the Sunni tribes had to depend on the Shia government in Baghdad for supplies and arms……that is about to change…….

Under US law, foreign military aid is supposed to be provided directly to foreign governments. Efforts to arm up various factions in Iraq, including the Peshmerga and Sunni tribal militias, have thus long had to go through a central Iraqi government with limited interest in seeing those groups get too powerful.

Today, the Pentagon announced it has plans for direct provision of weapons to Sunni tribal factions inside Anbar Province, aiming to bolster them amid recent ISIS gains.

This one simple action could do more good than a month of training……

This concludes the briefing……next one will be as needed…….

Thanx for your time and attention…….

TURN THE PAGE!

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!

 

ISIS Coalition SITREP #81

Events in the battle against ISIS have been overshadowed by other situations…..like a plane crash…..religious intolerance……you know menial crap!

I want to keep my readers ahead of the game as far as the Middle East goes…….

Item 1–The battle for the Northern Iraqi city of Tikirt is over….at least that is what the Iraqis are saying…..but is it?

Iraqi officials are bragging about a “magnificent victory” over ISIS in Tikrit, and the “liberation” of the Sunni city from foreign Islamists. The liberation looks an awful lot like another ugly occupation.

Shi’ite militias that led the offensive against Tikrit are now carrying out lynchings, insisting the people they are summarily executing are ISIS sympathizers, dragging their bodies through the streets on parade.

Then there’s the looting. The militias are gleefully running amok in Tikrit, ransacking stores and private residences, and burning homes seemingly for the run of it.

It is getting uglier by the week in Iraq….

Item 2–The Iraqis are getting cocky thanx to the ‘win’ in Tikrit…….

Iraqi officials are brimming with confidence after the capture of the city of Tikrit from ISIS. Don’t let the ugly round of lynchings and looting fool you, they’re seeing it as a trend.

Now, Iraq is ordering their military to wipe out ISIS nationwide by the end of the year, with military sources saying the aim was to have them in full retreat “within a few months.

Me thinks that these people have gotten a bit over-confident……

Item 3–ISIS has entered into a Palestinian refugee camp and fighting is heavy in Syria…….

A surprise Wednesday offensive by ISIS saw them taking a large portion of the Yarmouk refugee camp in metro Damascus, and on Thursday they’d lost most of it back in the face of opposition from Palestinian fighters.

Within hours, ISIS launched a counter-counteroffensive, and had regained portions of the camp that they’d lost, leaving them in control of an unspecified, but significant, percentage of it.

The PLO is doing the fighting and doing the dying……..

Could the PLO and Hamas become willing partners in the fight against ISIS?

Item 4–The big plan for combating ISIS is the arming and training of Syrian rebels….but just how effect will this be?

U.S. military officials had been vetting the first unit of Syrian fighters slated to join a new force to be trained by the United States and allied nations. But when violence flared up in the unit’s home area, the fighters made a decision to stay home and defend their communities, forcing U.S military officials to line up an alternate unit.

That last-minute scramble delayed the launch of the training program by several weeks to sometime in May, military officials said. It is also a sign of the obstacles the United States and its allies face as they try to build a rebel force, from a distance, in the midst of Syria’s civil war.

A senior military official said that training preparations had been held up “due to the fluid environment in Syria” but were now moving ahead. Training sites will eventually be opened in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan.

Maybe it is time to re-evaluate this whole damn plan….it is met with delay after delay…….a substantially well trained force looks to be further away than when the situation began.

Item 5–The next great battle, according to the Iraqi officials, is Mosul, the largest city that ISIS has taken in its run up to today……..but there is a problem brewing in the plan for Mosul…….

TIKRIT, Iraq – Mosul’s exiled governor Atheel Nujaifi ruled out any role for the Hashd al-Shaabi Shiite militia in the battle for Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city and ISIS’ Iraq stronghold since the militants captured it 10 months ago.

After a crucial role in liberating Tikrit from ISIS, fighting alongside the Iraqi Army, the militia’s leaders have been eyeing the bigger anticipated battle for Mosul.

The presence of Hashd al-Shaabi in Mosul will cause sectarian tensions. The Iraqi government already agreed to exclude the group in the Mosul operation,” Nujaifi told Rudaw.

Sectarian in-fighting can be as harmful to Iraq as ISIS……..

Item 6–With the relative success of the Iraqi Army and militias the world seems to think that it will be Mosul as the next ‘big’ action…..but is it?

The success in liberating Tikrit presents Iraqi leaders with their next choice — determining when to begin operations to retake Mosul and Anbar. According to most predictions, the next battle will be in Anbar, because that confrontation does not require the degree of political consensus that will be necessary before the battle for Mosul can get underway.

Although the tribes in Anbar will partner with Iraqi forces, Mosul’s situation is more complex because of an overlapping of Kurdish peshmerga forces with units being trained by Atheel al-Nujaifi, the Mosul governor, with the help of Turkey and the United States. The participation of the PMU at Tikrit required taking a number of factors into consideration. It was difficult to devise an arrangement for coordinating the popular forces and the international support being provided. Developing an effective configuration of forces in Anbar will necessitate reaching understandings with the various tribes in the province.

Since Anbar is mostly Sunni region and the militias are mostly Shi’a then this could turn into a massive sectarian problem…..we will watch!
THat ends today’s briefing……more to come as the battles heat up…..right now people in US as well as the media, do not care about the events unfolding in Iraq or Syria……but that could change tomorrow…..
THanx for your time and attention……..
Turn The Page!