Wednesday, October 15, 2014

US & Syria to share intelligence on ISIL, via Moscow!

Al Jazeera English

"... Also on Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Paris, to discuss the latest developments in Iraq and Syria.Kerry said the US had agreed to "intensify intelligence cooperation with respect to ISIL and other counter-terrorism challenges of the region".He said Moscow would also explore whether it could do more to help arm and train Iraq's embattled military..."

Z Moussawi wants to testify against 'several' Saudi banks & the Arab Bank ..

... and the crusade of the 'invisible hand' against the whole Arab banking sector continues!

"... After a federal jury in Brooklyn found Arab Bank liable last month for financing Hamas operations during the Second Palestinian Intifada, Moussaoui sent a handwritten letter to the clerk of the court from a super-maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado, where he is serving a life sentence. (Moussaoui said he heard about the jury verdict on Fox News.) “I want to testify against financial institutions such as Arab Bank, Saudi American Bank, the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia” and several individuals, Moussaoui wrote, “for their support and financing of Usama bin Laden and Al Qaeda from the time of the Eastern Africa embassy bombing, U.S.S. Cole bombing and 9/11.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

'America'ss allies' logic of the situation believe that the US will be compelled to intervene on the ground'

"As the pace of operations against ISIL accelerates but with inconclusive results, there are signs of rising tension between President Obama and his leading military advisers. In a visit to the Pentagon on October 8th, Obama received what a Department of Defense contact described to us as a “reality check.” With top Pentagon spokesmen acknowledging that air strikes by themselves will not check ISIL advances, the talk in Washington has turned to ground troops. Talks with regional allies, notably Turkey, about supplying combat forces have proved fruitless. As a State Department official remarked to us: “They all believe that the logic of the situation will compel us to intervene on the ground, so they will not make the first move.” Administration contacts tell us that both Secretary of State Kerry and Secretary of Defense Hagel accept this logic, but Obama and his inner circle remain resistant and thus the official line remains that ground troops are not under consideration. Another unresolved dilemma for the Administration’s posture is Syria. Advisers close to Obama now advocate giving less priority to efforts to unseat the Assad regime, at least until ISIL is sufficiently weakened. We do not, however, see this as likely to emerge as official policy. One unexpected beneficiary of the turmoil in Iraq may be the nuclear negotiations with Iran. Following a bilateral meeting between US and Iranian officials on October 14th in Vienna, Kerry will resume talks with his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javed Zarif together with the EU negotiator Katherine Ashton there on the following day. While expectations for these sessions are modest, US officials tell us that the conflict with ISIL on which the US and Iran find themselves broadly aligned has made these talks more collegial. As one official put it: “We have found that we have interests in common.” Whether this will lead to tangible results remains to be seen."

'Kobani will be remembered as a turning point for Turkey in the expanding US-led coalition’s war on ISIL'

"... Turkey is in the least enviable position in the region. Bursting at the seams with Syrian refugees, crawling with foreign and local jihadis, and on the receiving end of increasingly unrealistic demands from the West, the country is facing renewed internal violence from Kurds throughout the country.
Certainly, the Turkish leadership has made several mistakes in its quest to see the Assad regime removed..."

The origins of Russia’s new conflict with the West

"... The Ukraine crisis demonstrated that the West has no means to impose its twenty-first century worldview on Putin. To paraphrase Anthony Lake’s words of a quarter-century back, the US does not have leverage over Russia’s ways, now even beyond Russia’s borders..."

The U.S. government does not trust the Free Syrian Army!!

"... Being excluded from Tuesday’s coalition meeting is only the latest clear signal to the Syrian Opposition Coalition and the FSA from the Obama administration that they don’t see these groups as a credible or trusted partner in the fight against ISIS..."

The Syrian clowns of Saudia & Qatar

'Mama & the Emir'
GulfNews.com

"... The two countries are seen as competing for influence in regional affairs. Over the weekend, the Syrian National Coalition failed to agree on a prime minister during a summit in Turkey. A member of the SNC said the biggest dispute at the Istanbul meeting centred around a split between the favoured candidates of vital funders Saudi Arabia and Qatar..."

'Kurdish forces at Kobani benefit from U.S. airstrikes while being targetted by Erdogan'

"... Turkey has blocked military aid or Kurdish volunteers from crossing into Kobani, but Idriss said he is hopeful that talks with the Kurdistan Regional Government, the largely autonomous Kurdish area of Iraq, will lead to weapons and ammunition support. If that comes to pass, the question is whether Turkey will allow it in.The airstrikes in Hakkari, about 250 miles east of Kobani, may suggest that the answer is “no.”

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/10/14/243388/kurdish-forces-at-kobani-benefit.html?sp=/99/117/416/#storylink=cp

Our friends in the Middle East are issuing new passports


Friday, October 10, 2014

Taking down Assad "not on the front burner"

"... Turkish Kurds fought a decades-long insurgency in which 40,000 people were killed. A truce last year has been one of the main achievements of Erdogan's decade in power, but jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan has said the peace process would collapse if Turkey permits Kobani to fall...."

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Romancing ISIS continues in Erdogan's Turkey

"... Former Deputy Prime Minister Emrullah İşler defended the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which is known for its brutal treatment of people in every place it has taken over, in a tweet he posted to his Twitter account late on Wednesday, stating, “ISIL also kills, but at least doesn't torture.”İşler's tweet, seen as supportive of the terrorist ISIL, which has been attacking the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani with heavy artillery for over three weeks, drew ire on Wednesday.İşler wrote: “What was the crime of the youth who died after he was struck by stones in the head? Even ISIL cannot hold a candle to those who did this. ISIL also kills, but at least does not torture.”

Moscow & Tehran to Erdogan: 'Do not attempt regime change in Syria!'

'MOSCOW. Oct 8 (Interfax) - Moscow believes it is unacceptable to take advantage of the fight against the Islamic State as a pretext for regime change attempts to in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said."It is unacceptable to use antiterrorist combat slogans in order to make attempts to change regimes. I hope nobody is talking about this," Lavrov said in commenting on some remarks by Turkish leaders.Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday that Ankara would agree to join a ground operation against the Islamic State in Syria if the U.S. guaranteed that its antiterrorist strategy implied the continuation of the struggle with Bashar al-Assad's regime.'

Sunday, October 5, 2014

'Greater Middle East Battlefield XIV'

Bacevich in the WaPo:
"... , Syria has become at least the 14th country in the Islamic world that U.S. forces have invaded or occupied or bombed, and in which American soldiers have killed or been killed. And that’s just since 1980.Let’s tick them off: Iran (1980, 1987-1988), Libya (1981, 1986, 1989, 2011), Lebanon (1983), Kuwait (1991), Iraq (1991-2011, 2014-), Somalia (1992-1993, 2007-), Bosnia (1995), Saudi Arabia (1991, 1996), Afghanistan (1998, 2001-), Sudan (1998), Kosovo (1999), Yemen (2000, 2002-), Pakistan (2004-) and now Syria. Whew....."

Winep/Aipac to Israel: 'Please support al Qaeda in Syria!'

"... The risk of empowering an al Qaida affiliate is a small price to pay for Nusra’s contributions on the battlefield, said Jeffrey White, a former senior Defense Intelligence Agency analyst who’s now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank..."

Friday, October 3, 2014

Something gave (part II) Joe Biden: "Our allies are the reason behind ISIS' strenghth!"

Something gave (part II) Joe Biden: "Our allies are the reason behind ISIS' strenghth!"

Something gave (part I): “I will send weapons to al-Qaeda if it will help” topple Assad

"... But unity within the Istanbul operations room frayed when the Turks and Qataris began to support Islamist fighters they thought would be more aggressive.... The Turks and Qataris insist they didn’t intentionally support the extremist group Jabhat al-Nusra or the Islamic State. But weapons and money sent to more moderate Islamist brigades made their way to these terrorist groups, and the Turks and Qataris turned a blind eye.
“The operations room was chaos,” recalls one Arab intelligence source. He says he warned a Qatari officer, who answered: “I will send weapons to al-Qaeda if it will help” topple Assad. This determination to remove Assad by any means necessary proved dangerous. “The Islamist groups got bigger and stronger (see Something gave (part II) above) and the FSA day by day got weaker,” recalls the Arab intelligence source.
The Saudi effort was run until late 2013 by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, at that time head of Saudi intelligence.
Bandar was enthusiastic but undisciplined, adding to the chaos. Pushed by the United States, the Saudis in February replaced Bandar and gave oversight of the Syria effort to Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef. The program was less chaotic but no more effective in checking the rise of Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State...."

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Escobar: 'Obama using the ISIS pretext to go after Assad!'

"... Escobar said. “So now Obama's finally got his war in Syria - and in no less than three fronts; against the Caliphate; against the mysterious Khorasan jihadi group; and weaponizing the Syrian ‘rebels’ to try once more to get rid of Bashar al-Assad.”...
 “There had to be an ‘unimpeachable’ justification for yet another Obama bombing/droning ‘kinetic’ adventure in the Middle East. So those ghostly Khorasan goons perfectly fit the bill - more evil that Caliph Ibrahim. To the point that the Pentagon is convinced their ‘plotting was imminent’ to stage a new 9/11,” he added.
Concluding, Pepe Escobar referred to
Khorasan as “the perfect ghost in the GWOT [Global War on Terrorism] machine; the invisible target of a war within a war.” He also stressed that Khorasan is “the perfect terror ghost; nobody has heard about them before, nobody knows how many they are, and nobody knows exactly what they want...."

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

'Why al Qaeda only?'

"... Who was in the building at the time was unknown. One media activist told McClatchy that the missile killed at least 10 “emirs” of the Nusra Front, but another activist denied that any Nusra leaders were in the building.
“Nusra is still popular in Syria,” Hamadi said. “And now Nusra is playing on the emotions of the Syrian people.” It says that those who deal with the West become part of the West, he said. “They are accusing us of being traitors. And the majority of the Syrian people are speaking in the same tone.”But the biggest complaint about the bombings was that they didn’t target Assad..."

Recent reminders: 'Bandar & ISIS'

"... The Free Syrian Army (FSA), the “moderate” armed opposition in the country, receives a lot of attention. But two of the most successful factions fighting Assad’s forces are Islamist extremist groups: Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the latter of which is now amassing territory in Iraq and threatening to further destabilize the entire region. And that success is in part due to the support they have received from two Persian Gulf countries: Qatar and Saudi Arabia.Qatar’s military and economic largesse has made its way to Jabhat al-Nusra, to the point that a senior Qatari official told me he can identify al-Nusra commanders by the blocks they control in various Syrian cities. But ISIS is another matter. As one senior Qatari official stated, “ISIS has been a Saudi project.”
ISIS, in fact, may have been a major part of Bandar’s covert-ops strategy in Syria. ..."

Game changer in Jordan

"... In response to the attacks, Mohammed al-Shalbi, a leading figure of Jordan's Salafist movement, told Al Jazeera that: "ISIL has been advised not to target Jordan but now it is a different story as the group will be in self defence mode and will seek revenge."
Other commentators harshly criticised the move."Assisting foreigners in any military activities is condemned by all popular forces and it goes against Jordan's real interests," said Zaki Beni Arsheed, deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. "There is no interest for Jordan to transfer the Syrian conflict into the country."

Jordan clears Terrorist of charges

This is very interesting, as Israel just opened a corridor for Jabhat al Nusrah after creating a defacto 'no-fly-zone' in Syria.

 Al Jazeera English

"... The Bethlehem-born Salafist was extradited from Britain last year after a lengthy legal process and was acquitted in June in a separate case of charges of conspiring to commit acts of terrorism. That acquittal was also based on lack of evidence.Analysts say Jordan's decision to release Abu Qatada comes as a part of its internal war on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and extremism."Jordan clearly needed his support to influence supporters of the ISIL in Jordan," said Hassan Abu Hanieh, a political analyst and expert on the Salafi movement in Jordan.Being a supporter al-Nusra Front, a rival of ISIL, Abu Qatada has been critical of the ISIL, calling it a "killing machine" and "dogs of hell"..."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Aerial 'tour d'horizon'

48 hours ago: Hezbollah used Iranian made, HzB manned drones for aerial bombings of Jabhat al Nusra positions.
Today, the US launched aerial attacks against IS & other's positions in Syria. (Minions apparently joined: in wishes and prayers and a token flyer riding on a US fighter!)
Syrian radars were 'passive' according to the Pentagon.
One aberration: Israeli creation of a Jabhat al Nusrah corridor (no-fly-zone) in Syria.

"John Kerry’s Rhetoric On Isis Insults Our Intelligence"

Robert Fisk 

"... What we can’t be told by Kerry is as simple as he claims the struggle against Isis to be: that there will have to be a Western alliance – of some sort – with Iran to defeat Isis, that this will inevitably have to include an unspoken understanding with Bashar al-Assad’s Syria, even with the ghastly, unthinkable, “super-terrorist” Hezbollah guerrillas who – unlike Kerry’s description of Isis – do not go around “killing and raping and mutilating women” or selling off girls “to be sex slaves to jihadis”.But for a man who thought he could stitch up a Palestinian-Israeli peace in 12 months, what else can you expect? Yes, Isis is the latest monster to taunt us. But isn’t there another one, not that far away, which is a threat to us all and which really has “to be defeated, plain and simple”. It is threatening to kill infinitely more people than Isis. It’s named after an obscure African river. So where are the calls for a 50-nation alliance to destroy Ebola?"

"Erdogan's flying carpet unravels"

"... Despite the largesse of the Gulf States, Turkey is locked into a vicious cycle of currency depreciation, higher interest rates, and declining economic activity. Turkish voters stood by Erdogan in last March's national elections, believing that he was the politician most likely to deliver jobs and growth. But his ability to do so is slipping. If the Turkish lira drops sharply, the cost of debt service to Turkish companies will become prohibitive, while the cost of imports and ensuing inflation will depress Turkish incomes. By some measures Turkey already is in a recession, and it is at risk of economic free-fall. 
That explains Erdogan's propensity to shoot the messengers: the rating agencies, the central bank, and even the New York Times. For the past dozen years he has made himself useful enough to his neighbors to stay in business. His magic carpet is unraveling, though, and his triumph in the March elections may turn out to be illusory much sooner than most analysts expect."

"Grow up Obama & recognize the simple truth: the SAG is a de facto co-belligerent!"

"... The Syrian government was informed in advance and the Director of Operations (J-3) of the Joint Staff described Syrian air defense radar as "passive," i.e., unresisting, during the operation. The Children's Crusade (NSC and State staffs) continues to insist that there was no coordination with the SAG. Well, boys and girls, what occurred is called "de-confliction" among the adults and that is undoubtedly coordination. Semantic BS does not change reality. It just makes you look childish..."

Monday, September 22, 2014

'We’ll have to ally with Bashar al-Assad'

"... If our failure to build an army capable of stabilizing Iraq after our departure looks like a pure tragedy, then the arm-the-rebels gambit in Syria has more than a whiff of farce. But really it’s a studied evasion, a way for this administration to pretend that we don’t face a set of deeply unpleasant options in our quest to contain or crush the caliphate.
The first realistic, non-farcical option is the one that the president seemed to choose initially, when he launched limited airstrikes to rescue the embattled Kurds last month. This would basically be a strategy of containment and attrition, oriented around the current lines of battle in Iraq, in which we see if the Kurds and those Iraqi Army units that didn’t collapse can push the front westward, see if a post-Maliki government can woo local Sunni leaders, and use our air power to degrade the caliphate’s fighting capacity while letting its internal weaknesses degrade it from within.
The trouble with containment is that it would leave the Islamic State in control of a great deal of territory (with more beheading videos, no doubt) for months and years to come. Hence the administration’s pivot to Syria; hence the strategic dream palace that is our arm-the-rebels strategy.
The cold reality, though, is that defeating ISIS outright in Syria will take something more substantial than dropping a few bombs in support of a few U.S.-trained moderates. Either the American military will have to intervene in force (including with substantial ground troops) or we’ll have to ally, in a very un-American display of machtpolitik, with Bashar al-Assad...."

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Iran!

"... He said: "It raises the big question about air strikes. Are we doing them for diplomatic reasons, to remain friends with the US, or because they will make a difference to the situation on the ground?
"Unless you get a clear sense of what difference they make on the ground,
we shouldn't just be doing them because we are embarrassed that the French have started."
Sir John said there was also the possibility of reaching "some form of accommodation" with Iran, especially with the chaos in its neighbouring countries.It appeared to be stronger language than David Cameron, the Prime Minister, who told the Sunday Telegraph in August that Britain might "perhaps even" work with Tehran as he urged a coalition of nations to tackle the growing threat...."

'To topple or not to topple, that is the question!'

"... Sir John told the Financial Times that the lesson of Afghanistan and Iraq was that a government can be toppled in months but it then takes years to rebuild the country.He said: "If you decide not to [rebuild], as we did in Libya, partly because of the scars from Iraq, then you topple the government and you end up having nothing in its place."And if you don't intervene at all, you end up with a situation like you have in Syria. These are real dilemmas."..."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

CIA: '"Ramping up Syrian rebels is a 'fool's errand' while many of the arms we provided ended up in the wrong hands"

"... One Democratic member of Congress said that the CIA has made it clear that it doubts the possibility that the administration's strategy could succeed.
"I have heard it expressed, outside of classified contexts, that what you heard from your intelligence sources is correct, because the CIA regards the effort as doomed to failure," the congressman said in an email. "Specifically (again without referring to classified information), the CIA thinks that it is impossible to train and equip a force of pro-Western Syrian nationals that can fight and defeat Assad, al-Nusra and ISIS, regardless of whatever air support that force may receive."
He added that, as the CIA sees it, the ramped-up backing of rebels is an expansion of a strategy that is already not working. "The CIA also believes that its previous assignment to accomplish this was basically a fool’s errand, and they are well aware of the fact that many of the arms that they provided ended up in the wrong hands," the congressman said, echoing intelligence sources...."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Eureka! Kerry found 'one'!

'WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In what Secretary of State John Kerry described as a significant foreign-policy coup, the U.S. claimed, on Tuesday, that it had successfully located a (hehe) moderate Syrian rebel.Though Kerry did not elaborate on how the U.S. did so, he said that locating the rebel was “the culmination of a months-long effort.”The Secretary of State said that the Syrian had been appropriately vetted and was deemed “moderately rebellious.”

If 'moderate' does not work for you, try "appropriately vetted"!!

"... The White House formally submitted its $500 million request to Congress on June 26. The money would go to train and equip "appropriately vetted" members of the Syrian opposition. That's a lot different from "moderate rebel forces", and it is yet another indication that we simply do not know who the "moderates" are in Syria. This little detail continues to be shoved aside by those who stubbornly insist on this strategy..."

Monday, September 15, 2014

'Work with Assad, Iran & Hezbollah'

"... First, it is imperative to find a way to work with the most effective forces on the ground: Mr. Assad’s Syrian Army and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters. All of the West’s differences with the Syrian regime should be postponed until the tide of battle has turned. Indeed, an anti-ISIS coalition that includes Syria, Iran and Russia may be the only real key to a political engagement with Mr. Assad that could help bring about a peaceful resolution of the three-year-old Syrian civil war..."

'Turkey, the 'non-ally', is trotting its way out of NATO...'

"... Turkey is trotting its way out of NATO, out of its relationship with the US and ultimately out of its prospects for membership in the EU. There is also the matter of its once good relations with Israel.Erdogan, Davutoglu and all that crew have turned their backs on the old, Kemalist, secular, Turkish Republic and opted instead for what they seem to think is possible in realizing a leadership role in the Sunni Muslim World.  
- They have denied the US the use of air base facilities built in Turkey with American money and occupied by US forces for at  least 50 years.  That denial is a great boon for IS in both Syria and Iraq. 
- They have made it clear that the Turkish Army will not participate in operations against IS, al-Nusra or any other Islamist forces in Syria and Iraq.  That is a crippling blow to Obama's hopes of an effective Sunni coalition against IS.  Turkey has the largest and most effective Muslim state forces in the region.
As people here know, I like Turkey.  We lived there a lifetime ago in Izmir on the Aegean Sea.  The people were mostly friendly, the food was delicious, the art was exquisite.  Life was good and now I can see that the life we lived in Turkey is disappearing as a prospect for Turks, let alone  ifranj like us.   It is unusual for me to agree with the WSJ editorial board but I must say with sadness that the US (and NATO) should stop thinking of Turkey as an ally.  pl  "

Unlike the Senior geography dimwit, Ryan Crocker is honest: 'We are clueless!'

"... Current and former American officials acknowledge the government’s lack of deep knowledge about the rebels. “We need to do everything we can to figure out who the non-ISIS opposition is,” said Ryan C. Crocker, a former United States ambassador to Iraq and Syria. “Frankly, we don’t have a clue.”..

Of 'vital importance'

"(Reuters) - Syrian special forces on Monday destroyed a bridge over the Euphrates River used by Islamic State to move supplies in eastern Syria, media run by Hezbollah said, a blow to the group in the swathe of Syrian territory it controls near Iraq.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the war, said an explosion had destroyed the bridge in Deir al-Zor city that is of vital importance to Islamic State as the only way for it to move into parts of the city it controls...."

Syria is 'trickier'

"... But a statement after Monday's conference made no mention at all of Syria - the other country where Islamic State fighters hold a wide swathe of territory. Iraq attended Monday's meeting but Syria did not, nor did its main regional ally, Iran..."

Senior White House Official: 'I am clueless, but it doesn't matter!'

'... SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I guess I would just add one thing on the coalition question -- and I think this is important to really focus on, which is to say, in discussions with governments in the region, notably the Saudis and the Jordanians, what is clear is that we have a very common view of this threat.  And this is really quite unusual. ISIL has been I think a galvanizing threat around the Sunni partners in the region.  They view it as an existential threat to them.  Saudi Arabia has an extensive border with Syria.  The Jordanians are experiencing a destabilizing impact of over a million refugees from the Syrian conflict, and are profoundly concerned that ISIL, who has stated that their ambitions are not confined to Iraq and Syria, but rather to expand to the broader region. ...'

Sunday, September 14, 2014

"US delivery of weapons to the FSA will be just a way station in delivering this materiel to ISIS"

"... "... Some parts of the Free Syrian Army have now made agreements with IS that will call a halt to fighting between them so that the FSA can concentrate on fighting Assad's forces.  The Nusra Front (AQ) brokered the deals.  US delivery of weapons to the FSA will be just a way station in delivering this materiel to IS. "

Just say it: 'Moderate Syrian rebels' is a fantasy!!

"... In his remarks to reporters, Ricciardone described extremist rebels such as those in Nusra and the Salafist group Ahrar al Sham as “beyond the pale.” But he suggested that the Turks didn’t take the U.S. concerns seriously. Ricciardone balked at assisting an Islamist coalition that includes the ultraconservatives of Ahrar al Sham, which the U.S.-backed Syrian opposition coalition has described as moderate, because there was no telling “what might become of those weapons." 
“The short version is: We agreed to disagree on a number of specific cases,” Ricciardone said of the U.S. talks with the Turks...."

ISIS finds thousands of recruits in Istanbul & across Turkey

Newsweek:
"... In June, Turkey’s Milliyet newspaper reported that as many as 3,000 Turks have joined the group. “No other Nato country is as exposed to the threat of Isis jihadism as Turkey is,” says Sinan Ulgen, a former diplomat and head of Edam, an Istanbul-based foreign policy think tank. In the past, Western diplomats have accused Turkey of indirectly facilitating the flow of arms and foreign fighters to Isis ..."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

'Moderate' Syrian Revolutionaries Front continues to support al Qaeda

"... The only problem with this example of a possible US ally in the fight in Syria is that Maarouf has already stated that he has no problem with al Qaeda's Syrian branch, the Al Nusrah Front, and has admitted to sharing weapons with it. And this example of cooperation between "moderate" and radical Islamist groups is not an isolated one..."

Friday, September 12, 2014

Mosul attack planned in Istanbul under MIT supervision

"... It has come to light that the ISIS terror organization and its supporters planned details of the attack on Mosul in a hotel in Istanbul under the protection of the Turkish Intelligence Organization between the 28 February and 2 March. The militants reportedly met in Jordan’s capital Amman on the 1 June and invaded Mosul a week later. .."

"There’s simply no acceptable Syrian partner on the ground to complement the American role in the sky"

"... Analysts who closely follow Syria are divided as to whether the problems can be overcome or will hobble the whole effort, but there’s agreement that finding an acceptable Syrian partner is the least developed and most elusive part of the president’s ultimate goal of destroying the Islamic State.
Obama’s 14-minute address Wednesday night sidestepped
his strategy’s Achilles’ heel: No matter how effective U.S. airstrikes are in taking out Islamic State leaders, there’s simply no acceptable Syrian partner on the ground to complement the American role in the sky. The president made no mention of specific factions that would be involved in the coalition’s fight against Islamic State militants, and it’s not at all clear whom he meant when he referred to “the opposition.”

On the apetite to arm the 'moderate rebels'

"... Remarkably, though, even this USA Today article notes that there might be a slight problem or two with this brilliant plan to stop ISIS, otherwise known as “the personification of evil in the modern world“:
'... Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska, another endangered Democrat, said he was opposed to arming Syrian rebels. “We must have greater assurance that we aren’t arming extremists who will eventually use the weapons against us,” he said.House Republicans are divided into two camps, according to Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana. He told the Associated Press after a closed-door caucus meeting that one side hopes to hold Obama “accountable for doing the right thing.” The other group — that includes himself, Fleming said — believes Obama’s plans amount to an “insane strategy to go out there and depend on people that are proven undependable” to take down the Islamic State...."

Who can better fight fanatical Wahhabis than a...fanatical Wahhabi kingdom?

 Let me explain this to you: we are asking a Wahhab...:
"“We now have the commitment from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be a full partner in this effort — the train-and-equip program —..."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

“It will be a Saudi face for a U.S effort,”

"... It’s also important because, “We haven’t been on same page with them on Syria for a long time,” said the former ambassador. “There’s been a lot of bad blood” between Riyadh and Washington--and not just over Syria. The Saudis themselves nourished the brand of puritanical Islam that would give birth to al Qaeda and its evil stepchild, the Islamic State. Denouncing its savagery seems beyond hypocritical on the part of the royals ..."

"The chance to destroy IS is gone!!"

"... A goal of marginal containment through direct support to regional players combined with periodic retaliatory strikes might be the maximum realistic scope possible against the IS Sunni state-let. 
Arm and train the Kurds positioning for independence to press IS on the east particularly around Kirkuk.
Focus on small territorial gains and border consolidation. 
Form an alliance of convenience with Iran; also with Assad where mutually beneficial in the west. 
Assist the Shia Iraqis to train and fight with air support from the southeast, support Jordan heavily on the southwest of IS ********and make plain to Saudi, Kuwait and Turkey that they could be mangled by the IS monster they created**********.
The chance to destroy IS is gone. 
Targeting economic sites - gasoline refineries, small oil fields, bootleg pipelines, electric grids, plus pre-emptive strikes on any military concentrations might work but better to buy off the Sunni tribes slowly with Saudi money. 
US public support for boots on the ground in the US is weak. 
US public support for covert and indirect methods is probable. 
NATO allied support is meaningless. 
Let them focus on their own eastern problems.... 
Does Obama have the support of the military and I'm not referring to the officers - but the enlisted? I don't see the trust. 
Does Congress have the will to fund more war? 
Even air wars are expensive. I doubt the political will exists. 
Past this Nov. election it will be budget gamesmanship all the way to the 2016 presidential."

'In the end, there will be no alternative to substantial US ground forces'

"... Obama appears to have a mass of moving parts in his campaign plan:
- The plan assumes that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey can be made into active supporters of an anti-IS "war."  Qatar and Saudi Arabia were the only Wahhabi dominated states until IS proclaimed its caliphal status.  These two countries are deeply sympathetic to IS' goals if not its methods.  Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia were instrumental in the early stages of development of IS as it morphed from AQ Iraq, into the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and then to a final glory as IS.  [[[[[[[[[[Do we really think it will be easy to enlist Qatar and Saudi Arabia in this fight?]]]]]]]]]]  Do we really think that these deeply Sunni states are going to support continued Shia governance from Baghdad?
- Erdogan's Turkey has been a supporter of Sunni governments and movements from the moment he took office.  Remember Erdogan's refusal to allow US troop transit (4th Infantry Division) for entry into Iraq from the north in 2003.  To this day, [[[[[[[[[Erdogan is not allowing]]]]]]]]]]]{ the use by the US of air bases in Turkey.  Those air bases would greatly facilitate air operations in Iraq and Syria.  It should be remembered as well that Erdogan's Turkey provided shelter, supply lines, transit rights and training space for IS among other Sunni jihadi groups fighting in Syria.  The Turks are still doing this.
- There is a new face in Shia government in Baghdad.  A new cabinet has been suggested as a possibility by the existence of that face. Unfortunately the two most important cabinet posts, Defense and Interior, [[[[[[[[[[have not been ]]]]]]]]]]]appointed yet.  IMO there will be a mighty struggle among the Shia Arabs over the issue of assignment of these two ministries to Sunni Arabs.  The Shia know that if they do not control the police and the army, they do not control Iraq.
- Obama intends to [[[[[[[[simultaneously]]]]{]]] wage war in eastern Syria against IS while also waging war in Western Syria against the Syrian Government.   He, apparently [[[[[[[intends to ignore]]]]]]]]] the possible cooperation of Syria with regard to airfields and air units as well as Syrian, and/or Hizbullah ground forces.  Churchill said that to fight Hitler he would fight him in hell if necessary and make an alliance with the devil to do it.  In accordance with that idea he allied the UK with the USSR.  Obama also intends to increase arms deliveries to "moderate" Syrian guerrillas.  IMO these groups never amounted to much militarily.  They were always the "unicorn army," and could never have defeated Syria's government no matter  what you gave them.  And in fact the "moderates" have among them many pro-jihadi people. 
- Yet another military axiom holds that "you can never have too many friends on a battlefield."  Iran is making friendlier noises concerning possible discreet cooperation and de-confliction of operations with a Western led coalition, but, no, even now[[[[[]]]]]] Iran's advances are re-buffed publicly ]]]]]]]]]]]because Saudi Arabia and Israel don't like the idea. If Israel doesn't like something, well, that is the end of that thought.
- The notion is being nurtured by people like Robert Scales that something like the McChrystal led JSOC counter-terrorism campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan will deal comfortably with IS.  As Larry Johnson pointed out on this site, that campaign was about small raids against personalities, raids usually conducted in the dark of night and within territory dominated by friendly conventional forces.  [[[[[[[[[[IS is nothing like that target set.]]]]]]]]]]]  This is a real guerrilla army, with real forces who run a real government that is now coming into being.  We should stop calling them terrorists and start calling them the enemy.
- Obama is firm that conventional US ground forces will not be committed to this war.  That means that other, foreign, forces will have to be found to act in coopertion with US and NATO air power.  Who will they be?

    *  Turkey is "out" for the reasons stated above.  The Turks were the most obvious choice for the job.    *  The Iraqi army is  a shambles.  It will take years to try to make something of it.  Remember, we failed the last time.  Don't expect the Iraq army to be much help.    *  The Pesh Merga are a guerrilla self defense force.  Give them heavy weapons?  Certainly, but it will take time for them to learn to use them effectively and the PM are unlikely to want to fight outside their homelands.  There are other Kurdish forces in eastern Syria but the Turks will be unhappy with strengthening them.    *  The Egyptian army is large, inept and unlikely to be willing to fight in Syria or Iraq.  Sisi and the other generals will want to keep them at home to control any possible Islamist uprisings in Egypt.    *  Jordan will be fully occupied with its own defense and a large Islamist 5th Column.    *  Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait have little in the way of ground forces that have actual combat power.
In the end, if a decisive outcome is desired, there will be ************no alternative to substantial US ground forces************.  That will mean reconstruction of the US logistical and command and control base in Iraq as well as the use of several air bases.  Is Obama going to demand legal extra-territoriality for our forces as a precondition? He should, but, will he?
A long campaign against IS will require the re-recruitment of Sunni Arab tribes in Iraq.  It can be done.  They hate the wahhabi jihadis and they will manage to forget our previous betrayal in favor of the Shia.  They more or less expected it then and will again, but the money will be good as will be the guns and the comradeship of the handful of Americans who like them.
Economic warfare, police action in the home countries of the West, border controls, yet tighter restrictions on personal freedoms in the West, these are all more moving parts.
I have no doubt that the US Congress will give Obama whatever he wants and the Republicans will then wait for next year for their chance to settle up with Obama.
Too many moving parts.  pl "


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Israel's Michael Oren: "Let ISIS prevail!"

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EgBsTT0h_SA&sns=fb

The 'inside job'

"... Idilbi said the meeting of so many key leaders apparently had been called to consider whether Ahrar al Sham should join a new rebel coalition, the Council for Leading the Revolution, that would unite moderate rebels, including those receiving U.S. aid. The decision to join the coalition, whose formation was announced hours after the explosion, would have been a major change for the group, whose ties to the Nusra Front were so close that some U.S. intelligence officials have advocated that Ahrar al Sham be classified as an international terrorist organization.The explosion was likely to prove fatal to the organization, which was once thought to have had as many as 35,000 fighters...."

Qatar & Saudia: 'Source the ISIS problem ... etc.

"... “You may well say that including Qatar and Saudi Arabia is a bit counterproductive because a lot of people blame them for the problems in the first place, but it’s like with Iran – they have to be part of the solution,” said Michael Stephens, a specialist on Gulf states, Israel and Syria for the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, a British research center..."

Our 'allies' the Saudis & Turks: 'ISIS not such a bad thing after all!!'

"...  The Americans counter that the Sunni leaders also have room for improvement, starting with the need to crack down on the networks that send money and fighters from the Persian Gulf states to the Islamic State, which now controls roughly half of Iraq and a third of Syria.
“Without us having some skin in the game, it’s not clear that all the parties would play their assigned roles,” said Gregory Gause, a Persian Gulf specialist who heads the international affairs department at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. “
The Iranians would be fighting these guys anyway, but the Turks might say, ‘We have to do a deal with them if they control all this territory.’ And the Saudis might say, ‘These guys are bad, but they’re fighting Assad and Iran...."

More on your favorite 'Moderate Syrian rebels'

"... The report said the jihadists disposed of "significant quantities" of US-made small arms including M16 assault rifles and included photos showing the markings "Property of US Govt".It also found that anti-tank rockets used by IS in Syria were "identical to M79 rockets transferred by Saudi Arabia to forces operating under the Free Syrian Army umbrella in 2013"...."

International Crisis Group is not about resolving crises, but fostering them!!

"... Such a regime shift appears unlikely. In its absence, the only realistic alternative is for the opposition’s state backers to improve support, qualitatively and quantitatively, to credible non-jihadi rebel groups with roots in Aleppo. That could become more costly to the regime and its allies than a local deal, as some of the support would inevitably be deployed against regime forces...."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Saudia to hatch the antidote? Not!!

Al Jazeera English

"... Kerry's meeting in the Saudi port city of Jeddah, which will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, will be attended by ministers from Egypt, Jordan and the six Gulf Arab states as well as Iraq, an Egyptian Foreign Ministry official told AFP..............Gebran Bassil, Lebanese foreign minister, will also take part in the talks, ...."




Kerry to hold Saudi talks on Islamic State

US president sending top diplomat to Middle East as he seeks to broaden coalition in fight against armed Sunni group.

aljazeera.com

Makes sense.

"... At any rate, when I first heard of the flight from Bagram landing in Iran, I immediately began to wonder whether there might be some sort of prisoner exchange taking place. After all, the US still has a number of international prisoners housed at Bagram. With the situation on the ground in Afghanistan looking increasingly shaky, the disposition of these prisoners could be one of the most difficult aspects of a hasty retreat from Afghanistan should the US decide not to leave a small force there after the end of this year.So, is it possible that the landing in Bandar Abbas was actually staged so that some of these prisoners could be dropped off? If so, the cryptic announcement of new fighters being arrested in Iran could fit pretty closely with that event. It is a bit more difficult to account for the announcement saying that Afghans as well as Pakistanis were part of the arrests. The official story is that the US no longer holds any Afghan prisoners at Bagram, but the US has long played shell games with prisoners there, so they would be motivated to make any actual Afghan prisoners disappear quietly. [And note this report by Spencer Ackerman where it seems that the foreign prisoners held by the US at Bagram seem to have at least some communications with Afghan prisoners so that hunger strikes spread between the two populations.]..."

NYorker: Truth on 9/11 "buried in order to preserve the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia"

"... Stephen Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat, told me that the document is “stunning in its clarity,” and that it offers direct evidence of complicity on the part of certain Saudi individuals and entities in Al Qaeda’s attack on America. “Those twenty-eight pages tell a story that has been completely removed from the 9/11 Report,” Lynch maintains. Another congressman who has read the document said that the evidence of Saudi government support for the 9/11 hijacking is “very disturbing,” and that “the real question is whether it was sanctioned at the royal-family level or beneath that, and whether these leads were followed through.”