Yemen And The Attacks

I am always writing and the good people at Ace News Room seem to always want an op-ed from me…..this is one I wrote awhile back when the news that missiles had been fired at a US Naval vessel…..

I could go into the barbaric conflict that the Saudis are forcing on Yemen….or I could write about the Yemeni deaths, the starvation, the destruction….but no….I want to talk about…

Source: Yemen And The Attacks

After I wrote this op-ed more news has come out….

US warships have once again attacked Yemen’s Red Sea coast after reporting for the third time in a week that they came under fire from the area by anti-ship missiles, a large number of which were fired but none of which actually hit anything. At least, that was the story initially.

After once again attacking Houthi targets along the coast, in spite of any evidence that the Houthis fired the missiles at them, officials are now saying they’re not even sure about the missiles, and are looking into the possibility that the USS Mason, which has claimed all the attacks, has a radar malfunction which is generating ghost signals.

This raises the possibility that the US warships are not only retaliating against the wrong people, but that there was nothing to retaliate against in the first place. Though there was some speculation that remnants of the Yemeni military were involved in firing missiles, by way of explaining why the Houthis were denying it, this must inevitably raise questions if anything happened at all other than the heavy-handed US reaction.


If there was NO proof on who launched the missiles then why did we attack?  Did we attack to help the Saudis in their destruction of Yemen?

Oops will not get it!  Time for someone to answer some tough questions….questions that will never be asked.

Syria: Lies And Damn Lies

This election there is a wealth of solutions for the problems in Syria….they range from “making the sand glow” to a no-fly zone……the problem is that most of these brilliant ideas ill do nothing to solve any problems…..

Let me illustrate the 5 biggest damn lies about Syria……

1. Lie Number 1: The world will not forgive us for inaction in the face of mass atrocities in Syria. Nothing dries faster than a politician’s tear. International relations are unsentimental. The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must. The world has “forgiven” us for inaction while Stalin and Mao collectively murdered over 100 million, genocides unfolded in Rwanda and Cambodia, and Hitler exterminated 6 million Jews. At present, the world is not rebuking us for inaction during the killings of more than 5 million Congolese in an ongoing civil war and during the mass atrocities and starvation that are besetting the South Sudanese people. Today, we enjoy a semi-alliance with Vietnam despite dropping 388,000 tons of napalm and killing more than 2 million civilians during the Vietnam War.

2. Lie Number 2: The carnage in Syria would be diminished if the United States provided military assistance and intervened on behalf of moderate Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad, the Russians, and Hezbollah. There are no moderates in Syria dedicated to the rule of law and democratic norms. All Syrian fighters are driven by ulterior motives to make their tribe dominate others. Internecine warfare rages amongst the rebels. A $500 million Pentagon plan to vet and train 15,000 moderate fighters collapsed because no qualified enrollees could be discovered.

3. Lie Number 3: Russia will gain at our expense. The opposite is the truth. Conquest or occupation of a hostile population weakens the conqueror or occupier. The annexation of Crimea has proven an economic albatross to Russia. The Soviet Empire disintegrated in 1991 because the costs of occupying and subsidizing Eastern and Central Europe were prohibitive. President Vladimir Putin is losing money and men to support Syrian President al-Assad in exchange for the fleeting and juvenile thrill of projecting power for its own sake. The United States loses nothing by inaction. Thus, after we refused to rescue South Vietnamese President Thieu from defeat by North Vietnam in 1975, sixteen years later the USSR—our arch-enemy—fell without our firing a single shot. We were left as the sole superpower in the world in large measure through masterly inactivity.

4. Lie Number 4: If Aleppo succumbs to President Al-Assad and President Putin, international terrorism against the United States will spiral. This is nonsense on stilts. Assad and Putin are enemies, not allies, of ISIS and Al Qaeda. Their takeover of Aleppo would be a setback for international terrorism. President Reagan withdrew our troops from Lebanon in 1984 after the Hezbollah terrorist attack on our Marine barracks in Beirut, but no spike in international terrorism against us ensued.

5. Lie Number 5: The credibility of the United States as the leader and defender of the free world will be devastated. This argument if the last refuge of a scoundrel eager to risk the lives and fortunes of others to gratify a craving for power or domination. Our withdrawal from Vietnam made us stronger, not weaker. Ditto for Lebanon. The argument’s premise is also flawed. As the United States Constitution and patriotism require, we pursue self-interest abroad like all other nations. Freedom is made subservient to Realpolitik. We have sold a staggering $90 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia in recent years despite its oppressive monarchy, military intervention in Bahrain to suppress freedom, and war crimes in Yemen. We recognize the dictatorial People’s Republic of China at the expense of the democratic Republic of China on Taiwan. We are snug with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi despite his totalitarian methods. Other examples are endless.

Read a bit more about these lies……Source: Five Stupendous Lies Told By Buglers for Military Intervention in Syria | Huffington Post

One more thing…..the US spy master has waded into the fray and commented on Clinton’s pet solution to the problem in Syria…..thew No-Fly Zone…….

A proposal backed by Hillary Clinton could cause Russia to lash out and shoot down American planes over Syria, the nation’s top intelligence official said on Tuesday.

Clinton has repeatedly called for a no-fly zone to halt the chaos in Syria and prevent Russian and Syrian government forces from launching air strikes on the war-torn country, in a break with the Obama administration’s policy.

But doing so could trigger a backlash from Russia that might put Americans at risk, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said.

“I’m not a mind reader, but I do take seriously the very sophisticated air defense system and air defense coverage that the Russians have,” Clapper said at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.

Maybe now would be a good time to go back to the drawing board, Mrs. Clinton.

How Will The Battle For Mosul Affect Iraq?

Even though the US election is extremely important I cannot in good conscience ignore the rest of the world…..especially the war in Iraq and the battle for the hearts and minds of Mosul……

The battle for Mosul is in full swing and some are even calling it the end game for ISIS.  I do not know it I would go that far…..but it is an extremely important battle for the future of Iraq is at stake…..

Analysis: What happens in Mosul could determine the future direction of the country.

The battle for Mosul is intensifying as Iraqi government forces and Kurdish troops edge closer towards the country’s second-largest city. According to the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) interior ministry, the Iraqi army is only five kilometres from Mosul – and they could be even closer.

Several towns and villages have recently been cleared, including the predominantly Christian towns of Bartellah and Qaraqoush, southeast of Mosul. Fierce battles are raging on multiple fronts.

But fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) are hitting back hard. ISIL fighters have slowed down the advancing forces by waging waves of coordinated suicide car-bomb attacks, deploying tens of snipers and relying on a network of trenches and tunnels.

Source: How will the battle for Mosul affect Iraq? – News from Al Jazeera

Will an Iraqi win amplify the internal problems of the country?  A question few are asking….at least in public…….

Last week the Iraqi government in Baghdad claimed that Turkey had violated its sovereignty by deploying troops and tanks to the town of Bashiqa, north of Mosul. Turkey has stated that this deployment is part of a previously agreed plan to train Iraqi Kurdish forces to combat ISIL. Some Iraqi officials in the central government deemed it a Turkish “invasion”.

The deployment, which had the blessing of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq, but resulted in condemnation from the central Iraqi government in Baghdad, is symptomatic of the schizophrenic foreign policy of post-2003 Iraq, compounded by a complete reversal of a Turkish policy of allying with Iraq’s Kurds against Turkey’s own Kurds.

Source: Diagnosing Iraq’s problems – Al Jazeera English

Granted the complexion of Iraq could change after this battle is won….but will it be the beginning of the end?

Conventional military doctrine cautions against urban operations. Typically they require huge numbers of troops, are painstakingly slow and result in high levels of casualties particularly among the civilian population.

Yet, the Iraqi government is not fighting a conventional war and, as it prepares to wrest back control of Mosul from ISIL, it will be engaged in a battle where the tactics of each side will be determined by their long-term strategies.

For the Iraqi security forces (ISF) not only do they need to dislodge a brutal and – at times – literally suicidal opponent, but they need to retake the city in a way that facilitates Baghdad’s future rule over the Sunni minority population and the encroaching ambitions of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

Source: The battle for Mosul: The beginning of the end – Al Jazeera English

The fixation on the defeat of ISIS is honorable….but someone needs to be paying attention to the consequences that could present themselves……let us not forget what happen in Afghanistan in the 1990’s…..the wrong foot could turn a small problem into a bigger one and a more dangerous one…..

Avoiding Old Traps in Iraq

Optimism is pouring out of the veins of those involved in the newest attempt to put ISIS down….the Battle of Mosul could very well be the end of ISIS in Iraq….they could tuck tail and run for Raqaa in Syria……But first…another American soldier has died in Iraq…….

While the US-backed Iraqi forces won’t even reach the city of Mosul for at least a couple of weeks, the operation already has its first US death, with a soldier embedded with the Kurdish Peshmerga killed in a roadside bombing attack just north of Mosul.

Exact details on the location are unclear, but the soldier’s vehicle hit the bomb planted in the road, and it detonated. He died later of his wounds. Pentagon officials have described there being around 100 US troops embedded with Iraqi security forces around Mosul.

The media actually reported this death…..but was it because of the major battle or good faith?

Now let’s say they are defeated in Iraq…..will the world make the same mistakes it made in 2004?

The Center for Strategic and International Studies has taken a look at the possibilities…..

It is hard to remember exactly when there was widespread optimism about Iraq, but it is easy to remember the circumstances. Shi’a were united, Kurds were united with them, and Sunni dissatisfaction was the only obstacle to the country coming together. Unfortunately, the Sunnis didn’t see the events of 2004 or so that way. They saw the country’s politics freezing them out permanently, and many committed to doing anything they could to disrupt Iraqi stability. Some supported al Qaeda in Iraq, to protect themselves from what they saw as the depredations of Iraq’s Shi’a community.  Bombs exploded, shrines were destroyed, civilians were murdered, and the optimism evaporated.

Things have gotten better slowly in Iraq, but in the last several months, politics seem to be melting down. The Shi’a coalition is coming undone, Kurdish unity seems to be fraying, and different Sunni groups aren’t sure where to turn. Mosul is about to be in flames. Although Iraqi politics seem headed for a cliff, in fact, recent events are actually a hopeful sign.

Source: Middle East Notes and Comment: Avoiding Old Traps in Iraq | Center for Strategic and International Studies

I look for new problems within the different factions….the Chaldeans, Assyrians, Kurds, on and on…..everyone will be looking for that pound of flesh…..

Trapped Between The Moon And Syria

Hey this election is NOT long on ideas for the fighting in Syria…but the one that seems to get more attention than it deserves is something that Clinton seems to champion during her dash to the White House…..a No-Fly Zone.

The first time I wrote about this horrendous idea was when Libya was in revolt……

Source: How About That “No Fly” Zone? – In Saner Thought

And we see how well that worked huh?

Then last year the idea was floated for Syria……

Guess what idea is making the rounds with the people that have failed to contain ISIS?  (I’m waiting…..the title can help if you are suffering from brain farts)….

There are those in the US and elsewhere that are pushing the idea of a “no fly zone” or a “buffer zone”…the excuse is that it will help protect innocent civilians from the ravaging of war……(I have my doubts on the validity of the promise)…..

Source: Syria: “No Fly, Schmo Fly” – In Saner Thought

I have been pointing out the lack of thought this plan is……and yet with all the info available it seems that it is still an idea that will not die…..

Much was made in this week’s Commons debate on Syria of the need for a no-fly zone over Aleppo. Given that the Syrian government and the Russians have a monopoly of air power over the city, the idea of denting or deterring it might seem attractive. Hillary Clinton also advocated such a zone in Sunday’s presidential TV debate.

In 1991 the US and Britain imposed a successful no-fly zone over northern Iraq to protect the Kurds. But they were already at war with Saddam Hussein, having just defeated him in Kuwait. Saddam was on his own internationally, despised and isolated. He had no support from Russia or any Arab allies. The last thing he wanted was to confront the US any further. Enforcing a no-fly zone (even though it had no clear UN security council authorisation) involved no risk to the US or UK. Saddam made little effort to resist and not one of their manned aircraft was shot down.

Source: A no-fly zone for Aleppo risks a war that could engulf us all | Jonathan Steele | Opinion | The Guardian

Maybe that is what the plan is all along…..draw Russia into a real confrontation…..but is a war in Syria really in America’s best interests?

The calls for U.S. military action against Syrian government forces have become more vociferous in recent weeks, as outrage over the current Russian and Syrian military offensive in rebel-held eastern Aleppo mounts. The calls are not new: critics have been urging President Barack Obama to become more involved in the Syrian civil war since it began in 2011, and have since become louder amid glaring human rights abuses.

Source: Is War in Syria in America’s Interest? | The National Interest



Iraq: Battle For Hearts And Minds

The big news of the week is that the battle for Mosul has finally begun….after months of moving equipment and men around all the prep work has come to the “final” battle…..

If you have been living under a rock and not aware of the situation in Iraq…then I can be of assistance…..

Source: War Against Islamic State in Iraq

I felt it necessary for my readers to be notified of the start of thew battle for I had no confidence that it would be a priority for the MSM……

The war in Iraq has not been in the headlines later even though about a 100 people a day die….the media rather play on an endless loop the gossip coming out of both sides of the election̷…

Source: Iraq: And So It Begins – In Saner Thought

Even if the battle is won and ISIS takes it on the lame….will this be the end of the problems in Iraq?

The Unesco constitution says: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.”

The only thing people seem to agree about the current battle for Mosul is that Isis will be defeated militarily and the city retaken. Militarily, Isis is losing. But progress on giving Sunnis in Mosul reasons to believe in their future and to support the country’s Shia-dominated government remains elusive. And this is the key battleground: without victory here, we will be locked into a cycle of violence without end.

Source: The battle for Mosul is not just coalition (good) v Isis (bad) | Jonathan Shaw | Opinion | The Guardian

Any defeat of ISIS is a welcome story….but in Iraq’s case the possibility of it sinking into further violence is possible…..we have the Iraqi military, the shi’a militias and the Pesh Merga fighting to liberate Mosul….but why?

Each one of them has an agenda…..and not one of them is fighting for the nation of Iraq…..

Iraq could sink into the divisions that have all players in Syria at each others throats…..none have any idea what is at stake beyond their own petty dreams of power….Iraq is looking as a similar problem for the world to sort out.

I say the world because…..well they created the problem….they need to man up and handle it.

Iraq: Battle For Mosul Update

The battle to take back Mosul from ISIS has begun and the story is that it will be the Iraqis in the lead and in the fighting….


“No boots on the ground” has evolved into over 6,000 US troops in Iraq, and pledges that they would play no combat role in the war against ISIS has now given way to US ground troops being deployed on the front lines in Iraq’s largest invasion to date, the ongoing attack on the massive city of Mosul.

The troops are special forces who are being used as “forward air controllers,” and are meant primarily to do targeting for US warplanes that are constantly pounding the city from above. Officially, these troops are still being classified as “non-combat.”

Pentagon officials later insisted that “most” of the troops in Iraq, which again is over 6,000 of them, aren’t on the front lines in Mosul. The ones that are, however, seem like they’ll inevitably end up participating in combat, whether they’re classified that way or not.

Now for the update on the Iraqi situation……

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced the launch of operations to retake Ninewa Province and Mosul from ISIS at dawn on October 17. PM Abadi named Deputy Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Abdul al-Amir Jarallah as commander of the operation. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Peshmerga began offensives on the Khazar-Gwer axis, southeast of Mosul, and moved north from the Qayyarah airbase, retaking several villages. ISIS offered minimal resistance to the joint forces’ advance and may elect to withdraw the bulk of its forces to Mosul to await the city offensive.
Security forces over the past several weeks have moved into position to begin a multi-axis offensive to encircle the city. Units from Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) and Iraqi Army moved to locations in Kurdish-held territory north and northeast of the city, where they have begun to work in parallel with Peshmerga forces around Khazar and Gwer. Units from the Peshmerga affiliated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) also moved into primarily Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) terrain around Khazar. Coordination between the KDP and PUK Peshmerga is rare and was likely the result of a still undisclosed agreement. Shi’a militias, including Iranian-backed groups, have deployed into the vicinity, primarily around Qayyarah and Shirqat, where they will likely shadow militia-friendly ISF units northwards. Turkey also responded to the launch of the Mosul operation, moving military forces along the Iraqi border as Turkish President Recep Erdogan maintained Turkey’s right to intervene in Iraq. Coordination between forces in Iraq remains high, although complications may ensue as these forces near the city itself and prospects for Mosul’s post-ISIS administration become more immediate.
Mosul will be a tough nut to crack, at least that is the feeling among those fighting this battle……
Iraqi and regional actors are preparing to assist with or spoil the Iraqi Security Forces’ (ISF) operation to retake Mosul and its environs from ISIS. Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced the start of operations to retake the city on October 17. The ISF began shelling ISIS-held villages south of Mosul, Iraqi Army armored units and Federal Police advanced towards Mosul near Gwer, southeast of Mosul, and Peshmerga units began advancing towards Mosul from Khazar, east of Mosul. The ISF’s operation against ISIS will require security forces to isolate Mosul before it can begin a block-by-block clearing operation in the city itself. The ISF recaptured Shirqat, the last major ISIS-held city on the Mosul-Baghdad highway, on September 22, thereby setting the operational conditions to launch operations for Mosul. The ISF will need to continue its line of effort up the highway while also encircling the city from the north and northeast. ISIS will seek to conduct attrition warfare against the ISF before it arrives in Mosul, leveraging its remaining lines of communication in Anbar, Ninewa, and Syria to shift people and supplies. ISIS will also use the sparsely populated areas on both the eastern and western sides of the Tigris River to launch attacks against recaptured areas and the ISF.
Will a win in Mosul be all that they want?
The fight to liberate Mosul has begun. In fact, it began with a new round of U.S.-led air strikes before the Iraqi announcement that the various elements of Iraqi ground forces were ready to engage. It will be one of the most critical elements of the U.S. military effort to defeat terrorism and violent Islamist extremism, as well as help determine the success of future U.S. efforts to bring some elements of stability to an increasingly more unstable Middle East.
There are so many outcomes to this that not all will be good for the US and its allies…..