Iraq And The Troops

The year is 2009 and we had a new president that had promised to bring our troops home from Iraq by Christmas……

Well troops came home and from the get go there has been a steady deployment of US troops back to Iraq.  There are talks these days about after the defeat of ISIS how many American troops would remain in Iraq……

With Mosul the last major city to be invaded, ISIS is expected to soon have little to no remaining territory. US officials have made clear that this won’t impact their deployment to Iraq, and talks are now said to be ongoing to cement that as a reality.

After the last US occupation, Iraq was eager to be rid of as many of the occupation troops as possible. This time, the US is arguing that any situation which doesn’t include an open-ended US military presence will end up with a new insurgency cropping up, and US officials are insisting that the Iraqis agree.

Of course, the expectation is that as soon as ISIS loses all its territory it will just go back to being an insurgency anyhow, and the presence of US troops isn’t going to impact that at any rate, beyond whatever agreements are made to have them involved in defending sensitive targets.

Ongoing talks are mostly centered on what form the permanent US deployment will take, and if the Bush-era talks are to be any indicator, the focus is likely to be on ensuring that US forces have absolute legal immunity for anything they do in Iraq.

(antiwar.com)

It appears that the Iraqis are telling a different tale about the days after the defeat of ISIS…….

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has been forced to deny that US combat troops will remain in his country following the final defeat of the Islamic State group.

The denial followed comments by US and Iraq officials in the Associated Press which said that US secretary of defence James Mattis was currently in talks with Abadi to maintain a “modest” US military presence in Mosul after the defeat of IS.

Source: US troops won’t stay in Iraq after Islamic State is defeated, says PM | Middle East Eye

There seems to be of a bit of confusion about what will happen if and when ISIS is defeated….will the US retain troops in Iraq or is that just wishful thinking?

Personally I say bring them home they have done enough to secure Iraq for Iraqis…now let them stand up and do this fighting for themselves.

The Attack Of The Boars

This would be a good title for a discussion of Trump and his supporters….nothing is more boring than those people……but in this case I am talking about pigs (yes these same people could be called that…but not in this incident)…..the four legged type of pig.

It appears that ISIS has a new foe in the battle for Iraq……

An apparent ambush of ISIS militants is making headlines, if only because those who overpowered them were reportedly wild boars. A tribal leader in northern Iraq tells the Times of London the animals killed three members of the Islamic State and injured five others on Sunday. His best guess is that the militants were preparing to launch an ambush of their own near a Kurdish checkpoint some 55 miles from Kirkuk. “The area is dense with reeds, which are good for hiding in,” he says, but he speculates the men’s movements disturbed the boars.

Refugees fleeing fighting in the area spotted the bodies, and a Kurdish intelligence official floats an alternative theory—that the militants were near the checkpoint because they intended to defect and surrender, reports the Telegraph. Either way, ISIS responded by killing as many wild boars as they could in the area, he says.

NY Post had another take on this situation……..

A herd of wild boars became the latest group to join the fight against ISIS — killing three jihadi barbarians during a stampede this week in Iraq, according to reports.

At least eight ISIS fighters were taking cover among dense reeds in the al-Rashad region about 55 miles southwest of Kirkuk, preparing for a surprise strike on local anti-ISIS tribesmen when the hero boars charged them on Sunday, Newsweek reported.

But in the three days before the boars attacked, the militants executed 25 people attempting to escape the clutches of the terror group, Assi told the Times.

“We know that a massacre took place in Hawija district through our sources,” he said. “This will not be ISIS’s last massacre against citizens.”

ISIS is believed to have recovered the bodies of their dead , and have now began to shoot at the boars in retaliation.

This is a problem with a solution….EAT PORK!

This technique is a bit cheaper than bombs….a plan to consider….for it is better than anything that we are trying these days.

Iraq: 14 Years And Counting

I am sure that most Americans will let this auspicious anniversary slide away without much notice….so let me be the first to let you know…..

This week we shall celebrate the 14th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq…….

What: The American conquest of Baghdad

 When: 3-14 April 2003

 Where: Baghdad, Iraq

What happened?

 After the United States led an illegal international coalition to invade Iraq on 20 March 2003 under the pretext of destroying Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s fictional weapons of mass destruction stockpile, the main strategic target for the so-called “Coalition of the Willing” was the capital of Baghdad itself.

To sow discord in the Iraqi army’s command structure and to force the Iraqis to fight outside the city rather than within it, the coalition heavily bombed their rear areas in Baghdad itself. The Americans feared what would happen if the fighting degenerated into urban warfare, calculating that their losses would be very high. By heavily bombarding Baghdad itself, they thus forced the Iraqis to commit most of their forces outside the city limits where they were largely destroyed

Source: The Fall of Baghdad – Middle East Monitor

I bring all this up because the rhetoric flying around the most recent missile strike in Syria……we could be about to do the same thing all over again only in Syria this time…….

After the Soviet Union launched a full-scale invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979, President Jimmy Carter remarked to a television interviewer that this event had “made a more dramatic change in my opinion of what the Soviets’ ultimate goals are than anything they’ve done in the previous time I’ve been in office.”

Carter took much criticism for this comment, with charges that he was revealing naiveté and should have known all along about the nature of the regime he was confronting. But at least the Soviet military intervention was a very large data point — a major departure in Soviet policy that was far different in scale from the use of a particular weapon in one encounter during an ongoing war.

Source: The Scary Temptation of War in Syria – Consortiumnews

One missile strike does not an invasion make……but the rhetoric seems to indicate something is brewing……the US needs to beat due diligence to avoid “mission creep” in Syria…….

On April 6, President Donald Trump ordered a cruise missile strike against the Syrian airfield used by the warplanes that launched last week’s chemical attack against Syrian civilians.

This strike was an appropriate, proportional, and carefully calibrated response for the Assad regime’s repeated use of illegal chemical weapons.

While it was a bold tactical strike that sent a powerful message that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s behavior was unacceptable, it is merely the opening bid in what is likely to develop into a protracted diplomatic crisis.

Trump reacted viscerally to the pictures of poisoned babies and moved decisively to launch the punitive reprisal. But that limited military action is unlikely to be decisive in and of itself.

Source: Trump Must Avoid Mission Creep in Syria | RealClearDefense

The best advice has come from those who know…in this case it is the Iraqi war veterans…..

Almost as soon as the first cruise missile struck Syrian government forces Thursday evening, a furious debate over the prudence of the action began to build. While the strike was among the first actions taken by President Donald Trump to garner bipartisan support from lawmakers, it generated intense criticism within much of Trump’s base. This includes veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom were drawn to Trump’s campaign message of avoiding entanglement in Middle Eastern conflicts, particularly in regards to Syria.

“I was hoping for non-intervention foreign policy. I didn’t expect him to cave so soon,” said Michael Mazzuto, a Marine Corps Infantry Sergeant who served in Fallujah, Iraq in 2005, and was wounded in Ramadi in 2006, “With Hillary, I think they would have bombed a month sooner, but I don’t think there’s any difference now.”

Source: Iraq War Veterans Warn Against Syrian Entanglement | LifeZette

Sage advice from those that have lived the war……will it be enough for those advisers to pay attention?  My guess is no…….there is money to be made and that will be the ONLY policy.

It Is NO Longer Important

IST tries to keep my readers up to date on the doings involving our troops……since most of society could care less….we here want it to be known what the Pentagon is doing with our soldiers.

Word has come down from the Pentagon that the  number of troops being deployed in the Middle East will NO longer be made public…..

Since the first “no boots on the ground” pledges of President Obama, the Pentagon has systematically and repeatedly lied about the number of US ground troops they have in Iraq, deliberately omitting large numbers of troops from the official count by labeling them “temporary.”

Today, Centcom announced that they are going to end the lying about the number of US troops in those countries. They’re not going to start telling the truth, of course, but rather have decided to stop providing any numbers at all on the matter.

Centcom spokesman Col. John Thomas argued that people don’t need to know the number of US troops that are deployed in the countries, and that the important metric is “capabilities, not numbers.” Of course, the figures the Pentagon was giving were never particularly useful in the first place for reporters, since they were always clearly false.

Officially, per the last figure the Pentagon provided was that exactly 5,262 US troops were in Iraq. This was the formal “cap” on the number of troops that could be in the country, though in practice well over 6,000 US troops are actually there, with more being deployed regularly.

The official troop level deliberately excludes everyone labeled a “temporary” soldier, which includes a large number of troops with open-ended deployment dates, labeled temporary simply to avoid going over the cap at a given time.

(antiwar.com)

Be assured that IST will try to keep the word coming on troop deployments….it may take some digging but if at all possible the news will be reported.

Let’s Go To The Tape

The final battle against ISIS in Iraq is being fought in and around the town of Mosul……many deaths have happened thanx to this battle….but the latest deaths may be horrific as it appears the US airstrikes killed nothing more than civilians

Facing growing criticism over an attack earlier this month that killed hundreds of civilians in Mosul, the Pentagon today confirmed that it has video footage of ISIS forcing hundreds of civilians into the destroyed buildings, which they presented as “provoking the attack.

While this is designed to shift some of the blame away from the Pentagon for bombing buildings full of civilians, it appears to actually do the exact opposite: it confirms that the Pentagon knew before the attacks that those buildings were full of civilians, and attacked them anyhow.

ISIS has long been criticized for pushing civilians around and forcing them into various areas, but the fact that civilians were being forced into buildings does not prove that the buildings were of any specific value as a target in the first place, and the Pentagon’s assertion appears to be that putting civilians in there amounted to making the buildings a more tempting target in and of itself.

The huge civilian death toll of the US strikes has been condemned by several human rights groups, unsurprisingly, but the Pentagon’s narrative has rapidly changed from denial, to sheepish admission of “probable” guilt, and now to outright defiance over the fact that they killed so many people.

(antiwar.com)

Blatantly killing civilians?  This should be enough for a review of our tactics and strategy concerning the use of airstrikes and drone attacks…..

But will it?

A Ban Of A Different Color

We all recall the day that Trump issued his new EO about the banning of people from 7 specific countries…Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya and one and on….7 total.  We also remember the a judge issued a stay and then it was back to the drawing board.

Shortly after Trump issued his silly ban the Iraqis retaliated……

Iraq’s lawmakers on Monday backed a “reciprocity measure” that would bar Americans from entering Iraq in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s banning of Iraqis and citizens of six other majority-Muslim countries from traveling to the United States.

After this vote became public the M-IC went batcrap crazy…..they would not be able to rape the country for contractors and munitions and other assorted American expertise.  Not to mention the billions of dollars lost in profits if the Iraqi ban was upheld.

You can bet that there was a flurry of meetings at the Pentagon trying to find the right pressure to get this situation repaired……and guess what?

The clout of the M-IC is just amazing……

President Trump’s new immigration order will remove Iraq from the list of countries whose citizens face a temporary US travel ban, US officials say, citing the latest draft in circulation. Trump is expected to sign the executive order in the coming days. Four officials told the AP that the decision followed pressure from the Pentagon and State Department, which had urged the White House to reconsider Iraq’s inclusion on the list given its key role in fighting ISIS. Citizens of six other predominantly Muslim countries—Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—will remain on the travel ban list, the officials say.

The new order includes other changes as well. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the order before it’s signed, say the 12-page document no longer singles out Syrian refugees for an indefinite ban and instead includes them as part of a general, 120-day suspension of new refugee admissions. The officials also say the order won’t include any explicit exemption for religious minorities in the countries targeted by the travel ban. Critics had accused the administration of adding such language to help Christians get into the United States while excluding Muslims. Unlike under the first order, existing visas will be honored, the officials say.

If that ban was a real concern then Iraq would still be part of it…..this moronic ban was purely arbitrary and does NOTHING to protect American national security.

This change of heart proves it.

“Money talks and bullshit walks”…..and Trump has taken a walk.

Get Comfortable………We Gonna Stay

We all know by now about the off the cuff comment Trump made about Iraqi oil….but in case you have been in a coma…..

One of the recurring themes of Donald Trump’s national security strategy is his plan to “take the oil” in Iraq and from areas controlled by Islamic State (Isis) extremists. It would drain Isis’s coffers and reimburse the US for the costs of its military commitments in the Middle East, the candidate insists.

At a forum hosted by NBC on 7 September, Trump suggested oil seizure would have been a way to pay for the Iraq war, saying: “We go in, we spend $3tn, we lose thousands and thousands of lives, and then … what happens is we get nothing. You know, it used to be to the victor belong the spoils.”

He added: “One of the benefits we would have had if we took the oil is Isis would not have been able to take oil and use that oil to fuel themselves.”

The idea predates Trump’s presidential campaign. As far back as 2011, he was telling the Wall Street Journal that this was his policy for Iraq. “You heard me, I would take the oil,” he said. “I would not leave Iraq and let Iran take the oil.” And he insisted to ABC News that this did not amount to national theft

(the guardian)

Of course it is being spun that he was just thinking out loud….and then news hit the fan about something that out Joint Chiefs added to the conversation…..

Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford says that the Pentagon is considering a “long-term commitment” to operations in Iraq, intending to keep troops in the country after the ISIS war, with an eye toward keeping Iraq’s military propped up.

Exactly what form this would take remains to be seen, as the US already has thousands of ground troops in Iraq, and they have already made a point to say that their existing operation has “no fixed end date.” US officials have previously indicated that the US would likely be in Iraq more or less forever, believing ISIS or something similar would crop up if the US was ever not occupying the nation.

Dunford’s comments suggest the US is considering something above and beyond this, but might portend both an increase in US military aid to Iraq and an even bigger deployment of ground troops in a nation-building capacity, though this would clearly run contrary to President Trump’s position that the US is spending too much money having troops abroad in so many different countries.

(antiwar.com)

That statement raises so many questions for us foreign policy wonks.  Will they be there to protect American businesses in the Iraqi oil industry?  If the Iraqi military will never be up to the task, then why keep pouring money down that rabbit hole?

Like I said….questions.