Greed Knows No Religion

Back in the days after 9/11 there was a ransom offered for the location of Osama….it stood for a decade……..no one would step up to claim the multi-million dollar reward.

I thought hen that these people that knew of his whereabouts were more dedicated to the movement than to the pursuit of cash…..almost admirable…..

But in the end….greed will always win the day…..a true American way……

A friend in Iraq sent me a mews story that I need to pass onto my readers…..

Kirkuk – Iraqi media outlets announced on Monday, that eight people working in the so-called Diwan al-Zakat (Zakat Bureau) of the Islamic State in Hawija district, southwest of Kirkuk, disappeared with 600 million dinars in mysterious circumstances.

According to alsumaria.tv, “Eight workers in ISIS Diwan al-Zakat in Hawija, including the currency exchange official, disappeared in mysterious circumstances yesterday.”

“600 million dinars also disappeared from the fund of Diwan al-Zakat with the workers,” Sumaria explained. “The ISIS militants waged raids on the homes of the workers but failed to find them, which raised suspicions that the disappeared persons fled with the money out of Hawija,” Sumaria added.

Noteworthy, the areas southwest of Kirkuk have been under the control of ISIS since June 2014, including the areas of Hawija, Zab, Riyad, al-Abbasi and al-Rashad.

File photo.

I guess greed will win out every time…..

IST Hits A Home Run

From time to time it feels good when a blog gets the jump on the government….In Saner Thought has had one of those times…..and all of us bloggers like to think that we have a better feel about events than the government or the media…..

Back in August of 2016 I recently wrote an op-ed for Ace News Room about the possible aftermath of the destruction of ISIS and/or AQ…..

Source: A Terrorist Diaspora | Ace News Room

I bring this up because of something that the FBI chief said at a recent (yesterday) Congressional hearing……..

The number of Americans traveling to Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State group has slowed to a trickle in the last year, but as the so-called caliphate is “crushed,” many militants from Western nations who are already there will stream out of the region and create new security threats.

“There will be a terrorist diaspora sometime in the next two to five years like we’ve never seen before,” Comey said.

Source: Senators press FBI director on response to terrorism threat

Really?  I wish I had said that……(sarcasm intended)…..I would like to think that IST was instrumental in this epiphany….but in reality he most likely reads the same reports that I do……just I am quicker on the draw than he.

May I suggest that they pay attention to the smaller blogs….some of us do have good instincts…..

Staying alert is the first rule of survival…….

Atta boy, Chuq

It’s Miller time!

The Decentralization Equation

Let me see….we have been trying to mop up the crap in Iraq since 2003….then there is the manure pile that is Syria since 2011….no matter what we try…..it is wrong.

In the beginning of the war in Iraq there was a couple of plans that would bring federalism to Iraq…..so far none of them have gone very far but the Iraqi military has had its hands full for a few years now…..I am sure it is still on a back burner some place.

The there is Syria and some have floated a similar plan of partitioning of Syria….. to save time and space…….

Source: Would Partitioning Syria Be Folly? | Ace News Room

So far these plans have been all talk……and now there is new talk about a plan for both Syria and Iraq….it is called “decentralization”……

The term “decentralization” embraces a variety of concepts which must be carefully analyzed in any particular country before determining if projects or programs should support reorganization of financial, administrative, or service delivery systems. Decentralization—the transfer of authority and responsibility for public functions from the central government to subordinate or quasi-independent government organizations and/or the private sector—is a complex multifaceted concept. Different types of decentralization should be distinguished because they have different characteristics, policy implications, and conditions for success.

Source: Different Forms of Decentralization

I bring this issue up because of several articles I found while doing research…..these writings bring up the possibility of Iraq and Syria being able to profit from a program of decentralization…….

Source: Iraq’s regional decentralisation debate is heating up – Al Jazeera English

Source: No Going Back: Why Decentralization is the Future for Syria | World Affairs Journal

Could this truly be a godsend for these two countries?

But the one thing to keep in mind…..this is not a cure all…..

Obstacles will be many….but if a workable plan can come to light then why not give it a try?  I mean could not be any worse than the situation these days….

Once again…it should be the people that decide the future not the powers that are looking for some sort of benefit….whether is is natural resources or location…..the people will know what is best and the people will make any plan either work or fail…….

Sowing the seeds of conflict in the Middle East

Time for the old professor’s historical perspective (something you all have been dreaded for a long time)…..

The Middle East….some will pass around the bullshit that it has always been a violent and destructive region….that is what they want to believe and no amount of disputing evidence will change their minds….because they know all and see all….

Some experts will have you believe that all the problems started with the Balfour Declaration and the Sykes-Picot Agreement…..my opinion is that it was the beginning but not the sole reason for the violence.

But now onto the perspective……

Whatever else they were guilty of, the two authors of the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, George Bush and Tony Blair, displayed an astonishing ignorance of history.

Many people, understandably, are perplexed by the violence and disorder of the Middle East. They look at, say, the conflict in Syria and ask: how did it come to this?

Part of the problem is that the media focus on the crowded foreground and neglect the all-important historical background – in particular, the formative period in the emergence of the modern Middle East, in the age of empire.

Source: Sowing the seeds of conflict in the Middle East | openDemocracy

A little reading will help you understand…that is if you want to understand or to stand by your idiotic perspectives…….

Damn!  I love history and the perspectives that can make understanding so much easier…..but only if you want to understand…..

Syria: OOPS! Our Bad!

Last week the powers involved in the fight in Syria were pleased with themselves…..after months of talks there is a ceasefire in place……there have been some violations but for the most part the ceasefire has held for 5 days and counting…..

Everyone was certain that it would not last….that there are too many players for all of them to act as responsibly as the US…..

And then the news broke…….

Syrian government warplanes and special forces on Sunday destroyed several positions of ISIS in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour. The advance regained territory lost Saturday when Syrian troops were accidentally hit with airstrikes by the US-led coalition, reports the AP. The incident has threatened an already-fragile US and Russian-brokered ceasefire that has largely held despite dozens of alleged violations on both sides. The Syrian Foreign Ministry called the strikes a “dangerous and blatant aggression.” The ministry’s statement, sent to the presidents of the United Nations and the UN Security Council, said US warplanes repeatedly attacked Syrian army positions Saturday in strikes that were “on purpose and planned in advance,” and killed dozens of soldiers.

Russia’s military said at least 62 soldiers were killed in the Deir el-Zour air raid and more than 100 wounded. On Sunday, the state-run SANA news agency quoted an unnamed military official as saying that dozens of ISIS fighters were killed in the offensive on Tharda mountain under cover of Syrian airstrikes; ISIS had claimed its fighters captured Tharda mountain. The Syrian military official said government troops had regained control of areas the extremists captured, “as a result of the American aircraft aggression.” Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said ISIS fighters shot down a Syrian warplane over Tharda mountain, adding that its pilot was killed. The Observatory said intense strikes by Russian warplanes have killed at least 38 ISIS fighters since Saturday.

After all the finger pointing and accusations….it would seem that the US and its air power have destroyed a fragile ceasefire.

In the defense of the Deir Ezzor Airport, the Syrian military has long depended on an army base in Jebel Tharda to repel ISIS advances. That base has been lost this weekend, after a disastrous series of US-led airstrikes killed a large number of Syrian troops defending the base, and ISIS quickly overran what was left.

For over 20 minutes, the coalition warplanes attacked the base. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the attack killed at least 83 Syrian troops and wounded 120 others. The US Central Command claimed they thought the base belonged to ISIS.

It does now. With the forces decimated by the US attack, ISIS quickly overran the base. Syrian state media claimed an ongoing effort to recover the site, but it does not appear to have been successful yet, as ISIS managed to shoot down a Syrian warplane, flying out of Deir Ezzor Airport, over Jebel Tharda.

Never ask what could go wrong….just a thought.

While writing this post it became official……

Syria’s military command has declared the US-Russian brokered ceasefire over, blaming the country’s rebel groups for undermining the agreement that lasted seven days, reports the AP. In a statement Monday, the Syrian military said that “armed terrorist groups” repeatedly violated the ceasefire that came into effect last week. It said the armed groups also took advantage of the truce to mobilize and arm themselves while attacking government-held areas. The statement said the rebels wasted a “real chance” to stop the bloodshed. Activists and rebel groups also accuse the government of violating the ceasefire. The UN said the Syrian government has obstructed the delivery of aid, a key component of the deal.

Speaking earlier Monday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, US Secretary of State John Kerry said some humanitarian assistance is moving. The truce took effect last Monday with the goal of creating a joint US-Russia military facility to coordinate airstrikes on ISIS and an al-Qaeda affiliate. That was to be set up after seven days of reduced violence and sustained aid deliveries to Aleppo and other areas. Syrian state TV earlier quoted President Bashar al-Assad as saying that the airstrike of the US-led coalition against his troops was meant to support ISIS. Assad described the attack that killed dozens of Syrian soldiers in the eastern province of Deir ez-Zour as a “blatant American aggression.”

Report On US Troops

Everybody is up in arms about Trump and his “birther” comments…both then and now….who cares what he thinks…he is an idiot…..and as usual the candidates are NOT talking about issues and solutions but rather the mundane crap of insults toward the other….and the media feeds this lack of true discourse just to gain ratings…..

This post is for all those “sunshine patriots” that wrap themselves in the flag and spout crap…….

I have pissed and moan about the population of this country cares little about our troops except when they are needed for some purpose….day to day they care little…….

For instance…..last week another US soldier died in the Middle East….just in case you people actually care…..

The U.S. Defense Department says a soldier from Mill Creek, Washington, died from a noncombat-related injury in Kuwait.

The department says 1st Lt. Jeffrey D. Cooper, 25, died Saturday.

The WDRB TV station in Louisville, Kentucky, says Cooper was killed in a rollover vehicle accident while traveling from Camp Buehring in Kuwait to the Ali Al Salem Airfield. The department says Cooper was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

WDRB reports that Cooper’s awards include a National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.

True it was a non-combat death….but any death of an American soldier should be news and reported.

Now in Syria we are supporting the “Free Syrian Army” in their fight against Assad…..we give them cash, weapons and other support….but as usual nothing buys loyalty……

US special forces soldiers got a chilly reception from Syrian rebel troops when they showed up to help them fight ISIS in the town of al-Rai on Thursday, UPI reports. According to the Telegraph, a video posted to social media shows US troops fleeing the town “under a barrage of abuse and insults.” The special forces soldiers were in Syria to assist Turkish troops working with the Free Syrian Army rebel group, themselves financed and supported by the Pentagon, in their efforts against ISIS. But it seems technically being an American ally doesn’t necessarily mean you want to work alongside actual Americans.

In the video, members of the Free Syrian Army could be heard chanting “down with America” and calling the US soldiers “crusaders, RT reports. They also called Americans “dogs and pigs.” “We won’t accept any American here—we’re Muslims, not infidels,” one rebel says. “Christians and Americans have no place among us,” says another. In the face of this protest, the US soldiers left town in trucks and headed back for the Turkish border. A spokesperson for the US State Department calls the response of the Free Syrian Army “not appropriate.” And US Central Command says it’s looking into the incident.

Once again more troops to Iraq and the MSM missed it in favor of some hair crap…….

Reports out of the area around Qayara say that hundreds of additional US ground troops have arrived at the Qayara Air Base, to join several hundred troops already there. The troops are expected to provide “logistic support” for the Mosul invasion.

Plus….do you think that the military is all in favor of our involvement in Syria?  Think again!

The deal for U.S. military cooperation with Russia would expand the current mission in Syria far beyond it’s exclusive focus on the Islamic State group.

And the Pentagon is not happy about it.

The agreement forged by Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart could, for the first time, broaden the American-led air campaign’s target list to include al Nusra, the notorious al Qaida-linked group that is a major actor in the multi-sided Syrian civil war. Until now, the two-year-old U.S. air campaign in Syria has been limited to ISIS.

“This could be massive mission creep,” said Josh Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “The military is pissed off because they’re being asked to do two jobs now. They were asked to do one job, which is kill ISIS. Now John Kerry is asking them to do another job, which is cooperate with Russia and kill al Nusra.”

(Military Times)

Finally, a week ago the “good news” in the Middle East was that the US and Russia have brokered a ceasefire….with the hope that the humanitarian crisis could be lessened somehow…..wishful thinking……

In the defense of the Deir Ezzor Airport, the Syrian military has long depended on an army base in Jebel Tharda to repel ISIS advances. That base has been lost this weekend, after a disastrous series of US-led airstrikes killed a large number of Syrian troops defending the base, and ISIS quickly overran what was left.

After going into effect Monday and providing one of the calmest five-day spans of the entire Syria Civil War, the US-Russia brokered ceasefire now appears to be on the brink of collapse, following US airstrikes on Saturday and subsequent Syrian airstrikes against rebels in the far south of the country.

Once again we are spinning our wheels in the Middle East….why not say “Fuck It” and bring our troops home and let the players decide this “war” for themselves……

Until then I shall keep pointing out the fallacies of this insanity……if anyone cares….

I’m off young eager minds await…see you guys tomorrow….

What Is An Arab?

Most Americans have a very simplistic idea of what an Arab is all about…..

A friend (electronically) from Lebanon sent me this cartoon via Twitter and it sums up what Americans think when they hear the word ARAB……most people have this caricature of what an Arab is….

My friend added to the ‘toon…”and the wife is in the kitchen”……

Being “Arab” is more complex than the limited knowledge of most Westerners have….which according to them makes them an “expert”…..

Nothing about the ‘toon is accurate……but why let accuracy get in the way of hatred?