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Author Topic: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU, TARFU, and FUBAR  (Read 50321 times)
G M
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« Reply #350 on: June 13, 2014, 08:42:25 AM »

Let it burn.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #351 on: June 13, 2014, 09:28:41 AM »

What do you think will follow if we take that course of action?

 Jim Geraghty
June 13, 2014
Happy Friday the 13th!

Some Big Questions to Consider on Iraq

First, the obvious: Is ISIS bad for our interests? Does anyone want to dispute this?
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has thrived and mutated during the ongoing civil war in Syria and in the security vacuum that followed the departure of the last American forces from Iraq.

The aim of ISIS is to create an Islamic state across Sunni areas of Iraq and in Syria . . .

It wants to establish an Islamic caliphate, or state, stretching across the region.

ISIS has begun imposing Sharia law in the towns it controls. Boys and girls must be separated at school; women must wear the niqab or full veil in public. Sharia courts often dispense brutal justice, music is banned and the fast is enforced during Ramadan.

Sharia law covers both religious and non-religious aspects of life.

Some may point to their dispute with al-Qaeda . . .

The stories, the videos, the acts of unfathomable brutality have become a defining aspect of ISIS, which controls a nation-size tract of land and has now pushed Iraq to the precipice of dissolution. Its adherents kill with such abandon that even the leader of al-Qaeda has disavowed them. "Clearly, [leader Ayman] al-Zawahiri believes that ISIS is a liability to the al-Qaeda brand," Aaron Zelin, who analyzes jihadist movements for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told The Washington Post's Liz Sly earlier this year . . .

But a dispute with al-Qaeda does not indicate they're any less dangerous or ruthless:

But in terms of impact, the acts of terror have been wildly successful. From beheadings to summary executions to amputations to crucifixions, the terrorist group has become the most feared organization in the Middle East. That fear, evidenced in fleeing Iraqi soldiers and 500,000 Mosul residents, has played a vital role in the group's march toward Baghdad. In many cases, police and soldiers literally ran, shedding their uniforms as they went, abandoning large caches of weapons.

Two: Is the preservation of the existing government in Iraq in the U.S. interest?

It's understandable if Americans feel no particular affection for Nouri al-Maliki . . .

The stunning gains this week by Iraq's Sunni insurgents carry a crucial political message: Nouri al-Maliki, the Shiite prime minister of Iraq, is a polarizing sectarian politician who has lost the confidence of his army and nation. He cannot put a splintered Iraq together again, no matter how many weapons the Obama administration sends him.
Maliki's failure has been increasingly obvious since the elections of 2010, when the Iraqi people in their wisdom elected a broader, less-sectarian coalition. But the Obama administration, bizarrely working in tandem with Iran, brokered a deal that allowed Maliki to continue and has worked with him as an ally against al-Qaeda. Maliki's coalition triumphed in April's elections, but the balloting was boycotted by Sunnis.

. . . and it's understandable if Americans see this as similar to Syria — an Iranian-backed leader stuck in a bloody fight with Islamist extremists:

In the worst case, if Mr. Maliki were driven from power, the shrines were threatened and radical Sunni insurgents were killing Shiite civilians, Iran would more than likely be compelled to intervene, say experts close to Iran's leadership.

"They are our ally and we will help them," said Hamid Taraghi, a political analyst who is close to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But exactly how Iran would do so is unclear.

But we do have interests in keeping the country stable:

Iraq is a major oil-producing country that shares borders with Iran and Syria. The United States has a large embassy in Iraq, and the country has attracted sizable foreign investment. "We're committed to this country," [James Jeffrey, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq], said. "Its stability is important." Growing chaos in Iraq would lead to a spike in oil prices and would likely spread instability throughout the region.

Three: Can we make a difference? Obviously Maliki thinks we can, otherwise he wouldn't be asking for the airstrikes, and Obama wouldn't be considering them.
While initial reports indicated that the Iraqi army turned and ran, there are some men in Iraq willing to stand and fight against ISIS:

Volunteers flocked to protect the Iraqi capital on Friday as militants inspired by al-Qaeda seized more territory overnight, continuing a rampage that is threatening to tear the country apart.

Iraqi officials said tens of thousands of volunteers had answered a call to join the ranks of the crumbling security forces and repel advances by heavily armed fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as the group seized the towns of Saadiyah and Jalawla north of the capital.

Iraqi state television showed the new unpaid volunteers scrambling to get on packed army trucks at recruitment centers after a call from the Shiite-led government. The mobilization of the irregular forces, as well as Iraq's notorious Shiite militias, to battle the radical Sunni Muslim insurgents threatened to plunge Iraq into large-scale sectarian bloodletting. The volunteers also appeared to be mostly Shiites.

For what it's worth, some like Leslie Gelb argue we need to ensure our help is minimal:

And before the U.S. government starts to do the next dumb thing again, namely provide fighter aircraft and drone attacks and heaven knows what else, it should stop and think for a change. If America comes to the rescue of this Iraqi government, then this Iraqi government, like so many of the others we've fought and died for, will do nothing. It will simply assume that we'll take over, that we'll do the job. And when things go wrong, and they certainly will, this cherished government that we're helping will blame only America. Don't think for a moment it will be otherwise. Don't think for a moment that the generals and hawks who want to dispatch American fighters and drones to the rescue know any better today than they've known for 50 years.

Sure, I'm in favor of helping governments against these militant, crazy and dangerous jihadis. But first and foremost and lastly, it's got to be their fight, not ours. As soon as the burden falls on the United States, our "best friends" do little or nothing and we lose. If they start fighting hard, and we'll know it when we see it, there will be no mistaking it. Then the military and other aid we provide will mean something.

That's persuasive in the abstract, but what if the Iraqi government is just short of being capable of pushing back ISIS? Is it worth withholding our assistance to make the point that they need to be independent? How much can fear of future scapegoating limit our options in the here and now? If we really are going to adopt a philosophy of  "we could help you, but we suspect you'll grow dependent upon us and blame us for problems down the road", could we please apply that to domestic spending programs as well?

Four: What is the risk to our forces? We already have drones over Iraq.

The U.S. since last year has been secretly flying unmanned surveillance aircraft in small numbers over Iraq to collect intelligence on insurgents, according to U.S. officials.
The program was limited in size and proved little use to U.S. and Iraqi officials when Islamist fighters moved swiftly this week to seize two major Iraqi cities, the officials said.
Before the Islamist offensive, the program was expanded based on growing U.S. and Iraqi concerns about the expanded military activities of al-Qaeda-linked fighters.

Officials wouldn't say what types of drones were being used but said the flights were conducted only for surveillance purposes. The program was launched with the consent of the Iraqi government.

A senior U.S. official said the intelligence collected under the small program was shared with Iraqi forces, but added: "It's not like it did any good."

Obviously, manned flights would include more risk to pilots than unmanned drones. Downed helicopters are more common that fixed-wing aircraft getting shot down, but sometimes the enemy is lucky, and sometimes accidents happen.

We already have Americans in harm's way:

U.S. contractors began evacuating the air base in Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad, that is being prepared for the arrival this year of F-16 aircraft purchased by Iraq. The international engineering and electronics company Siemens was trying to move 51 people out of Baiji, about 30 miles farther north, where they are upgrading Iraqi power plants . . .

About 10,000 American officials and contractors are in Iraq.

Looking for a 'Weh' Ahead in a Bad Situation in Iraq

As the GOP candidate for Senate in New Mexico, Allen Weh has a tough road ahead.

But he might be a good guy to have in Washington right now. He's one of the guys who spent some time training the Iraqi forces:
"Regrettably, the current administration's failure to consummate an agreement to leave a residual force for training and counter insurgency operations has directly contributed to the deterioration in security conditions in Iraq and a deterioration in military capability."

Weh, a retired Marine colonel, was the Chief of Staff of the original Coalition Training Team sent to Iraq in 2003 to begin organizing and building the new Iraqi Army and Air Force. Among other initiatives he was personally responsible for obtaining approval to establish an Iraqi Special Forces capability that could employed in the growing fight against Al Qaeda.

Weh was the only American officer assigned to a joint selection board that selected the first group of Iraqi general officers appointed in the Army and Air Force. Weh was also directly involved in getting a cadre of Iraqi officers assigned to coalition country military service schools such as The Australian War College, the Jordanian Army Command & Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College.

The nucleus and planning for an effective Iraqi Defense establishment was accomplished beginning in 2003 and continued for several years thereafter.

Weh returned in 2008 as a guest of the Deputy Commander of the Iraqi armed forces and given three days of briefings on the progress made after he left in April 2004.
"In 2008 our progress was impressive," said Weh. "There was no question then that this Army was on track to become the stabilizing force it was intended to be for both the country and the region."
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DougMacG
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« Reply #352 on: June 13, 2014, 10:37:18 AM »

If we have the ability to turn things around now in Iraq,  we should negotiate now for our help what we should have negotiated before leaving, a lasting security presence, a well-located, permanent, American military base, and protections in the Iraqi constitution to guarantee individual freedom in Iraq worth protecting.  If that is not what we want, or is not attainable, or if there are no good guys left to help, then... we let them slug it out and step in again later with air power next time they pose a direct threat to our interests.

This President has lost all credibility and is incapable of leading or visualizing an end game.  He already did his Mission Accomplished dance on Iraq, while these players were waiting us out.   The question is more hypothetical to me.  If we had a great president who has credibility and capability, what could and should he or she do now and what should have done throughout the Obama years in Iraq?

From the article:
"Iraq is a major oil-producing country that shares borders with Iran and Syria. The United States has a large embassy in Iraq, and the country has attracted sizable foreign investment. "We're committed to this country," [James Jeffrey, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq], said. "Its stability is important." Growing chaos in Iraq would lead to a spike in oil prices and would likely spread instability throughout the region."

This President wants high energy prices and is NOT committed to the stability of Iraq.  He is committed  only in the sense of focus group polling problems at home and the obvious black eye these developments put on his record in history.

Optimistically, reforming the problems in the Middle East is a 300 year project that hasn't started yet.  The immediate world peace plan is not top down, but is coming out of the ground in places like North Dakota, Texas and Canada.  Produce enough affordable energy for the needs of the developed world without relying on terrorists in war zones.  Get our own act together and rebuild our own capabilities because trouble around the world is most certainly still brewing.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #353 on: June 13, 2014, 10:38:08 AM »

third post of morning-- from my FB page:

My long term prediction-- based only on what I've read-- would indicate an almost inevitable eventual partitioning of the country... Maliki has failed to successfully build a coalition government. I believe you are correct that no one wants to put the troops back in (the ones which we should never have taken out in the first place). Nor do we have any remaining credibility with the Iraqi people or our own allies even.

I think your long term questions are intriguing... i.e. if ISIS takes over part of the country, can they actually run it, and can they do so without the simple compunction of force? I doubt it, but fear worked just fine for the Taliban.

So, given their insistence on radical Sharia I can see a Taliban-like state emerging in whatever territory is eventually held by ISIS, and I can see THAT terrirtory fighting with an Iran backed Shia province/ State. And, with the close relations they already have with whatever elements of the 'Syrian resistance' they are affilliated with, I can also see that terrirtory being leveraged to destablize Jordan, Lebanon, and even Israel. The most existential threat to regional security being obviously an increasingly boxed in Israel.

Then, with support from Iran (at least for whatever Shia unitary province emerges), I think you will see a "Little Iran" backed by the Mullah's there--- a puppet province of Iran in everything but political borders... (My understanding is that ISIS is Sunni but I haven't confirmed that, specifically?)

Then the Kurds, who (from what I read this morning) have been simply waiting for the oppportunity to reestablish thier historic territorial homeland which they lost under Saddam. It seems like the Kurds have moved to 'establish their border' and ISIS has mostly driven by them in a greater push for Bahgdad. And their historical beef has always been more with Turkey. Which is now a NATO member.

Worst case outcome, I think, would be some sort of physical territorial connection between Iran and Syria. Although they are supposedly arming Hamas already so maybe that would just be a 'formalization' and 'making convenient' of what is already going on. China is already offering to step up and "help" the Iraqi government, and I would expect Russia to do the same. Iran has physically introduced troops from what I read. So a worst case scenario would be the entire loss of a substantial portion of the region to Russian or Chinese allied hegemony, or some sort of Russian-Chinese-Iranian coalition.

So, I think the answer to your good questions is 'all of the above' to some extent or another: long term instability and higher oil prices which are only going to prolong the worldwide recession.

As far as our options, they are few, in my opinion. We've already taken 'troops' off the table. That leaves (long overdue) air strikes merely in a limp attempt to slow ISIS down somewhat and try to give the Iraqi army time to regroup. For whatever reason, I have read that they were "surprised" in Mosul; so hopefully they will put up a better fight for Bahgdad but I'm not holding my breath at this point-- they vastly outnumber ISIS and they are still running?

An obvious 'failure' of Iraq will leave Obama with serious political egg on his face, but at this point, who is watching? Anybody with a shred of critical thinking skills already knows he is incompetent if not deliberately acting to thwart the best interest of the country. As to the rest, you simply can't save the stupid from themselves. He has a loyal following STILL that has already started to do damage control on this... (It couldn't have been forseen, it's not that bad, It's Maliqi's fault for not putting together a better government, etc. Fancy Nancy even says we have "no responsibility" to Iraq. Ummm... "OK".

Most importantly, we are fairly well boxed in primarily *because* the entire world knows that even if Obama initiates some sort of *symbollic* short term military action, they know full well that that is all it will be-- symbollic. A vague, disinterested (reactive) 'response' to what anybody with a lick of intelligence can see has been developing since the pullout. It has always been a matter of time and Afghan will be worse. And before anyone flames me, no I am not saying we should have 'stayed forever'. But we should have stayed until these regions were stable and that has always been a twenty year committment-- that's about how long it really took with Japan and Germany, basically, a generation.

Long term, I confess to being somewhat afraid that we are already entering into the beginning of a much larger conflict... The Middle East is on fire from Nigeria to Afghanistan, and those regimes that are 'stable' (Iran, Saudi) have their own competing interests and none of them are too too happy with us. And, bottom line, I think the entire world knows that America presently has a president who is simply 'not up to the challenge', if he is not simply working purposefully to encourage a smaller, weaker America. We can't even secure our own border, evidently. I have little confidence the Obama national security team has either the talent or the discipline to be able to do anything seriously meaningful about Iraq.
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G M
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« Reply #354 on: June 13, 2014, 05:17:09 PM »

Very sharp analysis above.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #355 on: June 13, 2014, 09:25:07 PM »

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/06/13/as-jihadists-take-aim-at-baghdad-iran-steps-in-to-help-historical-foe/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #356 on: June 13, 2014, 10:01:23 PM »

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/06/what-is-Isis-Iraq-explainer.html?mid=facebook_dailyintelligencer
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #357 on: June 13, 2014, 10:58:09 PM »

Not that our Commander in Chief gives a fk , , ,  angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry

http://www.special-ops.org/200-u-s-contractors-surrounded-jihadists-iraq/ 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #358 on: June 14, 2014, 12:16:08 AM »

A DBMA Group Leader who was stationed at Balad writes:

I was at Anaconda 2007 - 2008, yes.  Gus was also stationed there as well.

I saw this on CNN's iReport, it's not been vetted, but whoever sent this says that there are 500 US contractors on Balad:

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1143661?ref=feeds%2Flatest

The company this unknown informant works for says on their website that they've been "relocated to safe sites":

http://www.mbakerintl.com/

Anaconda is a HUGE place.  Lots of places to hide, but the most crazy thing is, the perimeter is a chain link fence.  There were guard towers all around the perimeter, which made it unapproachable for the most part, but I can imagine over the years it has degraded severely.

What a fucked up situation   Sad.
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G M
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« Reply #359 on: June 14, 2014, 12:44:58 AM »

Well, since they aren't diplomats they might not be left to die.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #360 on: June 14, 2014, 01:26:30 PM »



I get a little tired of hearing about how this was Bush's fault... we are six years down the road. It is a fact that PRESIDENT Obama (I contrast to 'candidate Obama'') 'inherited' a mostly stable Iraq. Obama campaigned on "ending the war" that had almost already ended when he got there. For him, "pulling the troops out" was the simplest and most symbollic thing he could do, and I honestly beleive he doesn't give a damn about the consequences. I think current events were *certainly* anticipated within military planning circles but they just didn't think they would happen as fast as they have. And Obama (via Jarret) had hoped (I believe, and rather overestimated) his ability to reach a diplomatic fdeal with Iran over the nuke program... WItness the preelection negotiations during the summer of 2012).

Look, Bush certainly made serious mistakes in his prosecution of the war (in some sense, based on faulty intelligence, you could say getting involved in Iraq in the first place was the 'cardinal mistake' if a person wants). And yet, I'd challenge anyone advocating that position to 1) name a war where mistakes *haven't* been made, even by the victors, and 2) (and more importantly) tell me how you fight a protracted war with a land-locked country and no ability to securely manage your supply lines?

The Afghani government harbored and allowed the training of Team 9-11. That put them in the cross hairs. Saddam was destabilizing the region and his own people for 30 years prior, (and yes, frequently with our help). AQ and Osama was, in effect, partly a CIA creation. That's because this 'problem' effectively predates Bush, it predates Reagan, it predates Carter, and it goes to the heart of centuires old religious hostilities in the region, and the (rather arbitrary) carving up of the old Ottoman Empire by the Britsh and French, as later adapated and modifed by the Allied victors of WWII.

Everybody forgets that in 2003, 75% plus of the American people (including the Congress, and including, I believe Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Hillary) were clamoring for Bush to "do something" (how soon we forget!). What were we going to 'do' about Afghan? Nuke them? Chastize them in Obama fashion? Crusie missile an empty camp, like Clinton? Fly in tanks from Europe across Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan? Or from the Gulf over Pakistan, and Iran? And then fight a protracted war with a country fronted on two sides by our 'Frenemy' Pakistan and a country that was openly hostile to us (Iran)? Iraq was *always* intended as a FOB for projecting a larger US footprint in the Middle East--- precisely the opposite of doctrinal Obama foreign policy. Saddam and his WMD just provided the best excuse.

Now, a person can argue that was a mistake. The Bush doctrine at heart was always ambitious and possibly, a little naieve. But how else do you fight a war against a borderless ideology, except with an *alternative* ideology? At it's heart, the 'war on terror' has always been a religiious war, which no one wants to say: it is a war between a Western, individualized world view, against the feudal elements of radicalized elements of Islam, who are not afraid to use violence (e.g. "terro") to achieve a religious agenda, and the battlefield is an increasingly smaller planet.

So fine, I'll buy that the entire War on Terror was a mistake, if somebody can tell me rationally what we should have done instead? We didn't have a lot of options then, either.

Fast forward ten years, Billions of dollars, and countless limbs and lives mangled. We are now soundly *OUT* of the Bush years. We are now solidly *IN* the Obama years, and it is THIS president who is driving the bus now, today. The real 'mistake' is to take a country where we had essentially just WON a war, and hand it back over to our enemies for purely political gains here at home; and for a 'difference of opinion' regarding what has essentially been Amercan doctrine for the last forty years. It is WAY bigger than Iraq, under Obama we have seen the undermining of virtually every single strategic gain we have made in the middle east since Reagan.}. If Obama was Truman, and Bush Roosevelt, Obama would simply have pulled out of Europe and let the Soviet Army have it; and likewise left Japan open to the influence of the rising Chinese. Strategically, the situations are about the same.

Seriously, we might as well blame TH Lawrence for the probelms in present day Iraq. Bush, whatever his warts and misjudgements, was working *for* the interests of the country, not against them. I'm not sure you can say that about Obama unless you are a total isolationist who believes we ought sinmply to withdraw behind our own fence and wait to fight AQ in the streets of American cities. In which case our country will start to look a lot more like fortified Israel, IMO.

I originally connected to Mr. Denny via an interest in DBMA and I expect a lot of you might be here for simliar connections... What is the first thing we tell students about not 'projecting' a victim attitude (in terms of body language and physical carriage), if they hope to avoid becoming a victim?! What do we tell them about the peaceful CAPACITY for restrained violence and the underlying WILLLINGNESS to resort to it when necessary as being their 'best last defense' in a pinch? Imagine facing an assault, or rather the threat of one, when you have already taken the option of force off the table.

The US was a stabilizing influence in the world for eighty years. Our withdrawal has only left our allies unsure, and our enemies slavering over the opportunity to expand where we contract. We are seeing the effects of a *MANAGED* US withdrawal the world over and I don't see how anyone can say it is not a complete and total disaster. Look around.

Imagine instead of today's probably collapse of Iraq, if we had stayed. The first outcome we might project is that MORE US soldiers might have been killed or wounded. We would also have, based on those sacrifices, an increasingly stable country, working *toward* democracy, and a platform from which to show the world that Democracy CAN work in the Middle East, and that people are both happier and freer under that method of governance, and *therefore* more likely to renounce violence againstr their neighbors the way Jordan and Lebanon-- both of whom we helped stabilize-- have, as just two examples. That was the 'plan' under Bush. And yes-- it was ambitious and frought with problems.

What is the 'plan' under Obama? 'Hope for change?' We can only look at his supposed 'successes'. 1) Put "daylight" between ourselves and our longest standing and most faithful ally after GB, Israel. 2) Support the MB in Egypt, despite more than ample evidence that this group has directly and indirectly supported the violent establishment of an Islamic Caliphate for as long as we have been in the ME. 3) Give Iraq back to our enemies on the basis that the fledgling President we helped establish there isn't simply an Obama yes-man. 4) Repeat this policy for Afghanistan. 5) Bomb Libya back into the stone ages, making it ripe for jihadists and then leave it in anarchy. 6) 'Tweet' to stop groups like Boko Haram and al-Shabab, largely armedout of the Qaddaffi stockpiles we left unsecured. 7) Arm 'questionable' AQ affilliated elements in Syria while we claim to no longer be involved in 'nation building' and ongoing attempts to reshape the global map. Cool Allow China and Russia to reestablish historic and new influences in the ME 9) Impede and prohibit domestic policies which would lead to US energy independence. 10) Essentially, as regards 'core' AQ,continue the Bush policies covertly while pretending not to in the press. 11) reduce our military force preparedness to pre-WWII levels. 12) Crow 'hey hey war is over'.at every opportunity while we are still AT war. 13) Release our enemies, again for politically expedient and ideological reasons.

Bush made a lot of mistakes, granted. But at least there was no apparent evidence that he was actively working to dress the US down several points in terms of our ability to project power internationally. Beyond any domestic politcial party affilliations or predilections, I simply do not see how anyone can at this point think this president is not *directly* working to undermine US international interests. He is *consistently* on the wrong side of 'best' outcome for our country, so much so that I hardly think you can call the consistency of this occurrence a "mistake". Nobody is THAT bad. This president is treasonously working against the best interests of the country and should be impeached if he doesn't simply resign first.

I read a tweet from Marcus Lutrell yesterday that summed up: Paraphrasing: "Do I think we should go back to Iraq? No... Do I think We'll have to? Yes."

They say politics is the ultimate spectator sport... I feel sometimes n these debates like we are discussing the merits of this UFC fighter or that. So take the presdient out of it. The current US FP **doctrine** is to all appearances on a trajectory that is *highly* likely to lead to increased loss of American lives, both domestically and abroad, and both civillian and military. That is enough for me to advocate as passionately as I do for a different direction.
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ccp
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« Reply #361 on: June 14, 2014, 06:25:16 PM »

"Bush, whatever his warts and misjudgements, was working *for* the interests of the country, not against them. I'm not sure you can say that about Obama unless you are a total isolationist who believes we ought sinmply to withdraw behind our own fence and wait to fight AQ in the streets of American cities."

Isn't it obvious Obama is about one world government with fantasies as himself in charge.    He is about the full blown progressive agenda.   It is hard to say he is an isolationist.  In fact he is just the opposite.  He lets the hoards come into the US almost at will.  He refused to enforce the laws.  As long as they are mostly Democrat party voters.  

To me it is all payback time for him.  FU to the GOP.  FU to whites.  And probably FU to Christians and Jews.  
FU to "exceptionalist" American thought or traditional values.  Everything he does is to FU the values this nation was founded on.

If one listens carefully at what he says he gives this away.  LIke when he was speaking to some Democrats party hacks recently.  He plainly said the illegals are the future of this country.  Why?  Because they will by large majorities vote for a party that gives them the payouts and thus keep Democrats in power for a long time until there is a major upheaval and enough people wake up.

Although by then we really may be all made into government drones.

If I hear one more person say he is either incompetent or stupid I will explode.  

This guy knows exactly what he is doing.  And he will finish his Presidency in a blaze of fire.

All will be pardoned.  After he lets many millions more get here first exactly as we are seeing.  Later after being pardoned they will bring their relatives so that in 10 yrs we could realistically have another 50 million in the country 80% who will vote for the Democrats.  

That is if there is any money left to buy their votes with.
 
« Last Edit: June 14, 2014, 06:27:27 PM by ccp » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #362 on: June 15, 2014, 02:26:14 PM »



http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/15/world/middleeast/rebels-fast-strike-in-iraq-was-years-in-the-making.html?emc=edit_th_20140615&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193&_r=0
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #363 on: June 16, 2014, 03:59:41 PM »

Isn't this the guy who disbanded the Iraqi army out of the clear blue?   Anyway, I post it not because it is particularly insightful-- it is not IMHO-- but because of who he was.

Only America Can Prevent a Disaster in Iraq
Without U.S. help, the civil war may spiral into a regional conflict as other countries, including Iran, intervene.
By L. Paul Bremer
June 15, 2014 6:04 p.m. ET

The crisis unfolding in Iraq is heartbreaking especially for those families who lost loved ones there. They gave so much; it is all at risk. It did not need to be this way.

As I wrote in these pages in December 2011 after the last of our military left Iraq, "President Obama made a serious mistake." The withdrawal of all American forces has now had its predictable results.


First, our departure meant that the Iraqis lost a lot of immediate on-the-ground intelligence, a vital need for any effective military force. Second, though Iraqi military leaders publicly and privately stated that their national forces were not yet ready to defend the country, American training of those forces was cut back.

Finally, America lost considerable influence over political events in Iraq. Our military presence always had an important political dimension. It was symbolic of our intent to help Iraqis stay the course in rebuilding their country. Removing Saddam Hussein upended a thousand years of Sunni domination in the lands of Mesopotamia. It takes hard work and a long time after such a political revolution for stability to return. No amount of clever diplomacy could substitute for our continued military presence.

After we left, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, began a sectarian campaign against the Sunnis. Within 24 hours of our troops' departure, he issued an arrest warrant for his Sunni vice president. He launched a campaign to intimidate the Kurds. He began to purge the Iraqi army of well-trained officers, sometimes down to the battalion level, often replacing them with his partisans.
Opinion Video

Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot on why the White House may partner with Iran to beat back an Islamist insurgency in Iraq. Photos: AP

What is to be done? President Obama said on Friday that "we have an interest that ISIL [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant] does not get a broader foothold" in the region. This is correct but understates the risks to American interests.

America's core interest remains a stable, united and democratic Iraq. But American regional interests are broader. At stake now is the century-old political structure of the entire region, with huge consequences for our friends and allies there.

If the terrorists continue south and take the capital, Baghdad, or threaten the Shiite holy cities of Karbala and Najaf, a full-scale civil war is likely. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani Friday issued the first call for "jihad" by the Shiite religious leadership in almost 100 years. Radical Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr has reactivated his " Mahdi " army and other Shiite leaders have recalled two battalions from Syria to fight in Iraq. A serious threat to the holy cities would almost certainly provoke intervention by Iranian Revolutionary Guards on the side of the Shiites. Kurdish leaders, who have the best-organized military force in Iraq, have taken advantage of the current chaos to wrest control of the long-coveted city of Kirkuk from the central government, and would be tempted to declare Kurdistan's independence.

Those Americans who have pressed in the past for dividing Iraq should be careful: They might get what they wished for. The price would be very high: a regional war on top of an Iraqi civil war. American action now would be considerably less difficult than later.

After a feckless and hesitant American policy against any intervention to stop Bashar Assad's slaughter in Syria, the region needs to see that we understand the risks by demonstrating a clear commitment to help restabilize Iraq. That means first stopping the southward march of the ISIL; then helping the Iraqis retake important cities like Mosul, Tikrit and Fallujah.

Manned airstrikes may be useful against the ISIL lines of communication. But they are of limited use in urban environments. Whatever mix of manned or drone strikes is employed, we and the Iraqis will need good current intelligence. As during the U.S. troop surge in Iraq in 2007, Iraqis will need Americans to help plan and execute those operations. So there may be a need for American intelligence and fire control personnel on the ground. If so, President Obama would be correct to insist that Mr. Maliki quickly sign a Status of Forces agreement to give our military standard immunities that all our overseas forces have.

It would be appropriate, as Mr. Obama suggested on Friday, to condition American military assistance on concrete steps to establish an all-parties Iraqi government. Prime Minister Maliki should relinquish the positions of minister of defense and interior. He should be pressed to establish the multisectarian national security commission he agreed to after the 2010 elections.

It is time for both American political parties to cease their ritualistic incantations of "no boots on the ground," which is not the same as "no combat forces." Of course Americans are reluctant to re-engage in Iraq. Yet it is President Obama's unhappy duty to educate them about the risks to our interests posed by the unfolding drama in Iraq.

The crisis in Iraq is a flashing warning light about the dangers of a reductionist national security policy that sends a signal of weakness to friends and enemies abroad. The most immediate crisis is in Mesopotamia. But we can be sure that the Taliban in Afghanistan are watching closely to see if the withdrawal of American forces comes to mean American indifference. Beyond the Hindu Kush, east across the Zagros Mountains and to the north of Iraq, hard-eyed men in Beijing. Tehran and Moscow are also calculating the implications of our handling of this crisis. The stakes could not be higher.

Mr. Bremer was U.S. presidential envoy to Iraq in 2003-04.
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« Reply #364 on: June 16, 2014, 04:21:45 PM »


http://www.glennbeck.com/2014/06/16/the-caliphate-is-here-glenn-reacts-to-the-state-of-the-ever-crumbling-middle-east/


OTOH Allen West has the interesting idea of allying with the Kurds and dividing the ISIS in half.

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« Reply #365 on: June 16, 2014, 05:05:28 PM »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKELtjoNrPU  

===========================

Most reporting on the offensive the transnational jihadist group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant launched in Iraq has focused on tactical aspects. Few if any have discussed the strategic thinking behind the group's decision to proceed with such a massive undertaking requiring significant amounts of its resources. The discrepancy in reporting is due to the tendency to view jihadists through the lens of ideology rather than viewing them as rational actors. Like all other geopolitical actors, the militant group's leadership decided to strike only after assessing threats and opportunities.

In the past two and a half years, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant made significant territorial gains in neighboring Syria. These advances came despite its having to fight on multiple fronts against the al Assad regime and its Shiite backers (Iran, Hezbollah and fighters from across the Muslim world), Syrian Kurdish separatists and a constellation of rival rebel groups, many of which subscribe to milder versions of Salafist-jihadist ideology and enjoy backing from countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The group is also fighting various other jihadist groups, such its former brothers in arms from the al Qaeda franchise group Jabhat al-Nusra.

While expending most of its efforts in Syria, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant also maintained a steady tempo of operations in Iraq. It capitalized on the growing disenchantment among Iraqi Sunnis with the Shiite regime of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The group's sudden focus on Iraq came from a desire to pursue an available opportunity to achieve its ultimate goal of re-establishing the caliphate.

What is a Geopolitical Diary? George Friedman Explains.

The U.S. move to effect regime change in Iraq in 2003 and the outbreak of the Arab Spring in Syria in 2011 have resulted in the meltdown of once powerful Arab autocracies. The transnational jihadist movement has since sought to exploit the ensuing anarchy in the region. The rise of the Iranian-led Shiite camp over the last decade or so has created an additional opportunity for jihadists to mobilize Sunni fighters from Muslim-majority countries and among Western expatriates.

Despite its audacious offensive, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant remains mindful that it has two still formidable Iranian-backed Shiite regimes blocking its path. To the west, the al Assad regime in Damascus has turned the tide against the rebels, giving rise to a stalemate. To the east, it faces the al-Maliki regime, though political and security conditions in Iraq have sharply deteriorated since the withdrawal of U.S. forces at the end of 2011. Power struggles among the country's three principal groups (Shia, Kurd and Sunni) have weakened Baghdad's writ, creating the opening that enabled the recent jihadist offensive. Refocusing on Iraq offers a way to force Iran and its Shiite allies to reallocate resources in Syria to defending their position in Iraq, which contains sites of greater significance to Shiite Islam. It could even help them break the stalemate in Syria. The shift toward Iraq enables the militant group to deflect criticism that it has been fighting with fellow Sunnis and even Salafist-jihadists in Syria.

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant knows that its opportunity in Iraq will not stay open for long given that demographic trends in Iraq favor the Shia. It also recognizes its limits among Iraq's Sunnis. Most important, it understands the convergence of U.S., Iranian and Turkish interests that is underway; for different reasons, none of these three countries can tolerate its expansion in Iraq.

This means the group knows it is not in a position to seize Baghdad just yet. For now, it must try quickly to consolidate itself in the Sunni-dominated provinces of Anbar, Ninawa and Salah ad Din, as well as the mixed provinces of Kirkuk and Diyala. It knows that the outside countries will not send ground forces into Iraq's Sunni areas and instead will rely on air power and special operations forces against its fighters.

Therefore, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant will limit itself to establishing a presence in western Iraq similar to what it has in eastern Syria, where outsiders will fear to tread and where neither the Shiite-dominated central government nor the Kurdistan Regional Government can impose its writ. If the jihadist group can survive, any amount of space where it can enjoy freedom of activity will suffice for its purposes of establishing an emirate in the roughly contiguous cross-border area, affording it strategic depth and a launchpad for later offensives against Baghdad and Damascus

Read more: The Logic Underpinning the Militant Offensive in Iraq | Stratfor
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« Reply #366 on: June 18, 2014, 12:13:21 PM »

As far as refocusing my own remarks on what to do now... '?'. Syria's government is Alawite; most closely related to Shia; and from what I have read the 'rebels' inclduing ISIS are Sunni. Theoretically, AQ is Sunni, as is most of the disavowed Bathists in Iraq. The Maliki givernment is reportedly Shia, which is why they are getting Iran's support against ISIS, as is Syria. 'Power for power' Sunni Saudi Arabia is the best positioned to physically oppose Iran and from what I have read over the years it is our close relations with Saudi and *their* tug of war with Iran over who will be the 'great power' in the Middle East which is largely behind our own troubled relations with the latter. I read this morning that attacks on ISIS are being coordinated between Iraq and Syria. So, I would maintain that we are looking right now at what is basically a 'cross-border regional war', whether our news wants to call it that or not.

It appears that the consensus here is for non-intervention, and I think I mostly agree with that; although if we had clean targets I think I would be behind strikes on ISIS within Iraq... The Iraqi's have asked for it, and other than lacking targets, (and ignoring the question of political will) I'm not sure what we're waiting on... I really think we're waiting because such a move would be a tacit acknowledgement by Team Obama that something really DOES need to be done, i.e. it would represent an open acknowledgement of failure regarding his policy, and that, ore than anything is what I believe is behind our present restraint. I can also agree with certainty that I am against the reintroduction of US ground troops, especially under this president.

And, what about the rest of the world? Read today that ISIS has ordered the destruction of all churches in Mosul. They are crucifying and behading their way across Iraq. To me, that seems enough justification for a united worldwide response against such barbarsim. Does the UN have a role in what is an increasingly humanitarian crisis?

And, accepting that we are in fact UNLIKELY to do anything about Iraq (except chalk it up as a zero), the larger question to me is what we then do with Afghanistan...? I read an article at FP a couple of months ago that said (essentially) if he's smart, Karzai already has a nice flat picked out somewhere along the Seine... we are almost certainly looking at the resurgence of the Taliban there as soon as we pull out. But with the restrictions placed on them, is our government even really trying to 'win' there (when we're giving them back their field commanders?!?)? So, here too, do we just pull our troops back? In whcih case, WTF have we been doing for ten years? Is this then ultimately a 'defeat' for us in the war vs. radical ISlam, and is that conflict just 'over', or just in an armistice phase until the next 9-11?

And, if we withdraw completely, the second largest question (for me) was raised by Marc is 'what happens then?'... i.e. three to five to ten years down the road, after somebody establishes dominance? Yes, I know we can cross that bridge when we come to it, but I would maintain that it is preferable to us to fight AQ 'over there' someplace than 'over here' someplace. I read three articles today stating that the real danger is going to be Syria/ Iraq conflict trained jihadis coming back to Europe and the States with both 'native' passports and the ideology, training and motivation to wreak havoc. Let alone the supposed 'refugees' and questionable status immigrants that the current adminsitration is letting into the US... which for me is just another example of what I was describing earlier.

The third biggest question is energy independence. I think we should pursue that, but THAT is going to require settling our own 'sunni-shia divide' domestically (fuguratively speaking, of course), between the enviro's and anybody who sees fracking as a viable thing. Certainly Keystone should be authorized-- it should have been authorized in 2009-- the oil is coming out of Canada, it is just a question of who profits from its refinement. So that is a total 'no-brainer'... and yet? But beyond that, there are larger questions about fracking and the safety of water supplies, but I think these could be both balanced and managed. But they never will be as long as 50% of the population is opposed to the use of fossil fuels of any kind, regardless. imagine, for a moment, however, if we had dumped $865B into clean fossil energy, instead of how many failed attempts to force solar tech that is simply not viable in large portions of the country and electric cars with a battery life of two years.

And, if we pull out of the ME entirely, aren't we just setting the table for something worse? I agree that we can't settle their problems for them, nor should we try. I support a strong and evident committment to Israel, but not at the exopense of the more fragile Alliances we have built with other Gulf State countries (e.g those who were previously united AGAINST Israel, but who now choose to put COEXIST bumper stickers on their BM'rs.). And I worry that a total withdrawal will not only leave the ME open to the Chinese and Russian influence, but also will be-- in effect-- virtually equivalent to our ignoring the rise of the Nazi's in Germany in the 20's ad 30's. There are numerous historical examples where Isolationism is a dead end for us, and yet, we cannot stay on a perpetual war footing forever, either: I have a kid in highschool, he wasn't even IN school when 9-11 happened. So I suppose you could also say there are numerous historic examples of country's where perpetual war led to their downfall.

This is why I think the Obama doctrine is truly such an utter failure-- if we simply let Iraq and Afghanistan go, it has really made the sacrifices of the last ten yeas for nothing. I supported the Iraq war. If I had it to do over again, however, I don't think I would. Not because our troops failed, but because the country simply does not have the attention span to actually sustain the necessary committment. We're at war RIGHT NOW, but would you know it looking around the US?

And, especially in the immediate case of Iraq, I don't see how we can justify a continued committment of money and materiale when you have two divisions being quite literally routed by a few thousand...? At some point, Iraqis (and Afghanis) have to stand and fight for the country THEY want. I think we should support that, but not do it for them.

Regardless, given the present instability across all of the ME, I think we are looking at a significant reshaping of the globe in the making, it is just a question of which current coalition of ME countries is going to come out on top.

I think my greatest fear for a regional nuclear war in the ME is a Shia state-coalition dominated by a nucelar Iranian power, which is committed to the destruction of a nuclear Israel. But maybe that will just produce a detente similar to that which we have with the Russians. Especially to the degree that the Israeli's feel like they can no longer rely on the backing of Western powers to support their continued existence.

http://www.pbs.org/.../map-sunni-and-shia-the.../2539/
Red Lines and Deadlines ~ Map: Sunni and Shi’a ~ The Worlds of Islam | Wide Angle | PBS
www.pbs.org
Islam, as described by Muhammad, was a straightforward faith, demanding of its adherents only that they acknowledge a set of basic beliefs: that there is only
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« Reply #367 on: June 18, 2014, 12:27:50 PM »

second post

http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/iraq-is-a-catastrophe-but-not-yet-a-caliphate-four-big-predictions-of-what-will-happen-next/# 
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« Reply #368 on: June 18, 2014, 04:42:47 PM »



http://online.wsj.com/articles/a-plan-to-save-iraq-from-isis-and-iran-1402960909


By
Jack Keane And
Danielle Pletka
Updated June 16, 2014 7:44 p.m. ET

The Middle East is in a downward spiral. More than 160,000 have died in Syria's civil war, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, aka ISIS, has captured key Iraqi cities and is marching on Baghdad, and the security investments made by the U.S. over the past decade—like them or not—are being frittered away.

It is still possible to reverse the recent gains of ISIS, an outgrowth of what was once al Qaeda in Iraq. The group's fighters number only in the thousands, and while well-armed, they lack the accoutrements of a serious military. But only the United States can provide the necessary military assistance for Baghdad to beat back our shared enemy.

Setting aside for the moment the question of whether this administration has the will to intervene again in Iraq, here are the components of a reasonable military package that can make a difference:

• Intelligence architecture. Iraq's intel screens went blank after the U.S. military pulled out in 2011. Washington needs to restore Baghdad's ability to access national, regional and local intelligence sources, enabling the Iraqi military to gain vital situational awareness.

• Planners and advisers. The Iraqi military needs planners to assist with the defense of Baghdad and the eventual counter-offensive to regain lost territory, as well as advisers down to division level where units are still viable.

• Counterterrorism. Special operations forces should be employed clandestinely to attack high value ISIS targets and leaders in Iraq and Syria.

• Air power. Air power alone cannot win a war, but it can significantly diminish enemy forces and, when used in coordination with ground forces, can exponentially increase the odds of success.
Enlarge Image

Demonstrators wave Islamist flags in Mosul, Iraq, June 16. The country's second-largest city fell to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria on June 10. Associated Press

ISIS has made extraordinary progress in recent weeks in Iraq and controls large swaths of territory in northern Syria. But its forces are not impregnable and their tactics are not terribly complicated. ISIS has progressed via two main routes in Iraq, traveling during the day in columns. Its forces and staging areas are exposed targets—but the Iraqis have very limited air power.

Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and some of the necessary target development have already begun on the Iraq side; the U.S. needs to expand them to the Syria side of the Iraqi-Syrian border. We need to know more about who is moving, how they're moving, who is helping, and how to stop them. This target information will assist air interdiction and non-American ground forces to counter ISIS.

The next necessary step is air interdiction of ISIS staging areas, supplies, sanctuaries and lines of communication. To be effective, this must address targets in both Iraq and Syria. Air interdiction alone will not achieve a victory, but it is a necessary component for follow-on ground operations. And hitting ISIS in Iraq without hitting it in Syria will allow the enemy to reserve its strength for another effort.

President Obama is reportedly considering providing elements of the Free Syrian Army with weaponry and other tools to begin to push back on both Iranian-backed Syrian forces and al Qaeda and Gulf-backed Islamist extremists. Remember, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is the only force in Syria that has attacked ISIS. The Assad regime and ISIS enjoy a cordial entente and do not attack each other. Should President Obama choose to do so, air interdiction against targets inside Syria will be a boost that allows FSA moderates to gain ground they have lost over the past year.
Opinion Video

American Enterprise Institute Vice President for Foreign and Defense Policy Studies Danielle Pletka presents an option for the United States to keep Iraq free. Photo credit: Associated Press.

After interdiction, the next step will be providing air cover. As the terrorists and Iraqi Security Forces face each other, the Iraqis are going to need close U.S. air support. That means coordination with ground forces, a task that was simpler with U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq, but is now substantially more complex. Iraqis cannot facilitate our targeting.

Without air-ground controllers, this requires U.S. special forces to assist the locals. Far from the "boots on the ground" meme that has been so vilified in Washington, this is a job for which special forces have been trained. It is not combat, but it is the kind of partnership and facilitation that should have been left in place once the bulk of our troops left Iraq in 2011.

These are all arms-length measures, and they will likely stop the advance of ISIS on the ground in Iraq. Air power will also help to defend Baghdad and interdict ISIS, but at some point there will need to be a counteroffensive to take back land now held by the enemy.

The largely Shiite forces that make up the Iraqi army cannot win alone, especially as Sunni extremists join forces with ISIS. They must turn to Kurdish Peshmerga troops for assistance. This will not be an easy choice for the Kurdish leadership. But the Kurdistan Regional Government is playing with fire if it believes that ISIS and its ilk are the road to a more stable Middle East. A fragmented Iraq based on terrorist rule will not enable continuity of oil supplies or security for Kurdish population centers.

The Syrians and the Iraqis have made their own beds—so why stick our noses in now? The answer is that al Qaeda, ISIS and others will not stop at Iraq and Syria. Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and others will be next.

Think subcontracting the job to Iran is the right call? Surely, no one wishes a Middle East managed by the ayatollahs in Tehran. Don't care? Remember the admonition of the 9/11 Commission: "The most important failure was one of imagination." Imagine what controlling vast areas of the Middle East will do for extremists of all stripes.

Yes, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has failed dismally to include Sunnis in Iraq's government, military and economy—with disastrous effects. Nonetheless, President Obama's formulation—that the U.S. will provide assistance only if Mr. Maliki makes necessary reforms—assumes that we have some leverage over Baghdad. To the contrary, Washington will earn far more leverage if it is willing to step in and provide the kind of support that should have been there in the years after victory. Only then will Mr. Obama have the influence and the trust to bring together Iraqis to reconstitute a foundation that can withstand the predations of ISIS, Iran and others.

Are these prescriptions a guarantee of victory? No. Are Iraqis and Syrians and all their neighbors worthy of another American investment? That's not the right question. This is not just about them. This is about the security of the U.S., our allies and our vital interests. If we do nothing—if our imagination fails us once again—it is the American people who again will pay a terrible price. Weighed against the limited requirements to help Iraqis and Syrians fight for themselves, that is well worth the effort.

Gen. Keane, a retired four-star general and former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, is the chairman of the Institute for the Study of War. Ms. Pletka is the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
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« Reply #369 on: June 19, 2014, 09:17:08 AM »

Comments?


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/19/world/middleeast/as-moderate-islamists-retreat-extremists-surge-unchecked.html?emc=edit_th_20140619&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193
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« Reply #370 on: June 19, 2014, 09:30:16 AM »


Know the difference between moderate muslims and bigfoot?


There are people who claim to have seen bigfoot.
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« Reply #371 on: June 19, 2014, 09:55:32 AM »

Very witty but what implications for US strategy?  IMHO this piece is full of them.
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« Reply #372 on: June 19, 2014, 11:34:39 AM »

Very witty but what implications for US strategy?  IMHO this piece is full of them.

From near the ending of the article:

"Many say hopefully that Tunisia is building the new model. “The Tunisians proved you can make compromises without losing your existence,” said Emad Shahin, an Egyptian political scientist close to many Islamists, who spoke by telephone from Washington because he, too, had been forced to flee Egypt.


No, Tunisia is quite different than Egypt, Iraq, Syria, etc.  Note that the Egyptian political scientist close to many Islamists, "spoke from Washington because he had been forced to flee Egypt".

If there is any truth to the idea that the US projection of strength or weakness influences events around the world, then the implication for the US for the long run is clear.  Short version, be the opposite of an Obama-led America.  Even when he orders an aircraft carrier moved "in case it is needed in Iraq", it has no meaning without resolved leadership.  http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/06/14/us-aircraft-carrier-repositioned-in-case-needed-in-iraq/
Instead of help, he says, "We can't do it for them".

The Cheney article had it right.  Also Thomas Sowell today, comparing our post-war presence in Germany and Japan to our abandonment of Iraq and Afghanistan.
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/06/17/a_bitter_after-taste_123010.html

We can't instantly undo the damage of our recent and current policies, especially with him still in office.
My view forward, US Strategy should:
Rebuild our economy.
Rebuild our military.
Rebuild our leadership.
And hope there is a world left to influence and protect by the time we get our act back together.

What should the US do, right now, with the President we have, to truly make a difference in what appears to be out of anyone's control?  I don't think anyone knows.  He can't draw a red line, he can't commit troops or anything else, He can't gather trust and support from even his own country or congress, his words have lost meaning, even President Obama's actions, like ordering an aircraft carrier to the region "in case it is needed", have lost all meaning.

Lost in the historical archives is the 1991 Saddam Hussein surrender speech where he declared victory for waiting out the American invasion.  "We won because we persevered."  Even hanged, Saddam has more influence in Iraq today than does our current, can't wait to leave, President.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2014, 11:54:17 AM by DougMacG » Logged
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« Reply #373 on: June 19, 2014, 01:04:18 PM »

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/6/17/saudi-iraq-isil.html
ISIL’s advance puts Saudi Arabia between Iraq and a hard place
Analysis: The kingdom is trapped between Sunni fighters it dislikes and expanding Iranian clout in Baghdad
June 17, 2014 11:59PM ET
by Tom Kutsch @tomkutsch
The battle between Iraq’s government and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which threatens to plunge Iraq back into the chaos of sectarian civil war, puts Saudi Arabia in an increasingly awkward position
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So what is "The Levant"?  The eastern Mediterranean.  We think they are fighting for Iraq and Syria(?) and they think they are fighting for control of the region which also includes, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levant
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« Reply #374 on: June 19, 2014, 01:45:22 PM »

Good point Doug.  From here forward I will be using ISIL.

===============================================================

The Intrigue Lying Behind Iraq's Jihadist Uprising
Geopolitical Weekly
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 03:05 Print Text Size
Stratfor

By Reva Bhalla

Events in Iraq over the past week were perhaps best crystallized in a series of photos produced by the jihadist group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. Sensationally called The Destruction of Sykes-Picot, the pictures confirmed the group's intent to upend nearly a century of history in the Middle East.

In a series of pictures set to a purring jihadist chant, the mouth of a bulldozer is shown bursting through an earthen berm forming Iraq's northern border with Syria. Keffiyeh-wrapped rebels, drained by the hot sun, peer around the edges of the barrier to observe the results of their work. The breach they carved was just wide enough for the U.S.-made, Iraqi army-owned and now jihadist-purloined Humvees to pass through in single file. While a charter outlining an antiquated interpretation of Sharia was being disseminated in Mosul, #SykesPicotOver trended on jihadist Twitter feeds. From the point of view of Iraq's jihadist celebrities, the 1916 borders drawn in secret by British and French imperialists represented by Sir Mark Sykes and Francois Georges-Picot to divide up Mesopotamia are not only irrelevant, they are destructible.

Today, the most ardent defenders of those colonial borders sit in Baghdad, Damascus, Ankara, Tehran and Riyadh while the Europeans and Americans, already fatigued by a decade of war in this part of the world, are desperately trying to sit this crisis out. The burden is on the regional players to prevent a jihadist mini-emirate from forming, and beneath that common purpose lies ample room for intrigue.

Turkey Searches for a Strategy

With the jihadist threat fanning out from Syria to Iraq, Turkey is struggling to insulate itself from the violence and to follow a strategic agenda in Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkey has forged an alliance with the Iraqi Kurdish leadership in a direct challenge to Baghdad's authority. With the consent of Turkey's energy minister and to the outrage of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, two tankers carrying a few million barrels of Kurdish crude left the Turkish port of Ceyhan in search of a buyer just as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant was ratcheting up its offensive. Upping the ante, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz announced June 16 that a third tanker would be loaded within the week. With al-Maliki now relying on Kurdish peshmerga support to fend off jihadists in the north, Ankara and Arbil have gained some leverage in their ongoing dispute with Baghdad over the distribution of energy revenue. But Turkey's support for Iraqi Kurds also has limits.

Ankara had planned to use a tighter relationship with the Kurdistan Regional Government to exploit northern Iraq's energy reserves and to manage Kurdish unrest within its own boundaries. However, Turkey never intended to underwrite Kurdish independence. And with Kirkuk now in Kurdish hands as a result of the jihadist surge, the largest oil field in northern Iraq stands ready to fuel Kurdish secessionist tendencies. Much to Turkey's dismay, Kurdish militants from the Kurdistan Workers' Party and the People's Protection Units are already reinforcing peshmerga positions in northern Iraq. At the same time, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and its jihadist affiliates are holding 80 Turkish citizens hostage.

Turkey will thus enlarge its footprint in Mesopotamia, but not necessarily on its own terms. Some 1,500 to 2,000 Turkish forces have maintained a quiet presence in Iraqi Kurdistan. That force will likely expand now that Turkey has an array of threats to justify such a presence and a growing need to temper Kurdish ambitions. Iraq's Kurdish leadership will be reminded of their deep distrust for Turkey but will also be overwhelmed by its own challenges, not least of which is Turkey's main regional competitor, Iran.

Iran on the Defensive

Unnerved by Turkey's increasingly assertive Kurdish policy and possibly in anticipation of the expanding jihadist threat sweeping Iraq's Sunni belt, Iran over the past several months has been expanding its military presence along its northern border with Iraq. Tehran now finds itself in the uncomfortable position of having to reinforce its Shiite allies in Iraq militarily. Though Iran has perhaps the most sophisticated and extensive militant proxy network in the region to do the job, this strategy carries enormous risks.

Iran has spent recent years painstakingly trying to consolidate Shiite influence in Iraq under a central authority in Baghdad. Tehran was never wedded to al-Maliki in particular, but it did need to maintain a strong enough foothold in Baghdad to manage Iraq's naturally fractious Shiite landscape. Employing Shiite militias enables Iran to reinforce the Iraqi army in a time of urgent need but risks undermining Iran's long-term strategy to manage Iraq through a firm hand in Baghdad. The more empowered the militias and the weaker Baghdad becomes, the harder Iran will have to work to keep a lid on separatist moves in Iraq's Shiite south.

The militants rampaging through Iraq's core Sunni territories will embrace deeper Iranian involvement in the conflict. There is no better motivation for Arab Sunni fighters of various ideological stripes than a call to arms against their historical Persian foes and their Arab Shiite allies. An outpouring of sectarian blood feuds will also make it all the more difficult for Iraq's Shiite government to recruit enough allies among Iraq's Sunni population to fight against the jihadists. Indeed, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant would not have been able to mount its lightning surge across Iraq had it not been for the substantial support it has received from local Sunni tribes who in turn receive substantial support and guidance from sponsors in the Persian Gulf. Our attention thus turns to the Saudi royals sitting quietly in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia Stirs the Pot

This has not been a good year for the Saudis. A Persian-American rapprochement is a living nightmare for the Sunni kingdom, as is the prospect of the United States becoming more self-sufficient in energy production. Saudi Arabia has little means to directly sabotage U.S.-Iranian negotiations. In fact, as we anticipated, the Saudis have had to swallow a bitter pill and open up their own dialogue with Iran. But the Saudis are also not without options to make life more difficult for Iran, and if Riyadh is going to be forced into a negotiation with Tehran, it will try to enter talks on its own terms.

Syria and Lebanon always make for useful proxy battlegrounds, though a Sunni rebellion has little chance of actually toppling the Iranian-backed regime in Damascus, and Lebanon is too fragmented for any one regional player to claim a decisive advantage. The contest has thus shifted back to Mesopotamia, where Iran cannot afford to see its Shiite gains slip and where Saudi Arabia -- both the government and private citizens -- has maintained strong ties with many of the Sunni tribes in Anbar and Mosul provinces that have facilitated the Sunni uprising. There is no love lost between the Saudis and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. In fact, the Saudis have branded it a terrorist organization and have even uncovered cells of the group on Saudi soil plotting against the kingdom.

But the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant is also not the only group participating in the current offensive. Former Baathist fighters from the Naqshabandiyya Way along with Jaish al-Mujahideen and Jaish Ansar al-Sunnah are also playing a substantial role in the fighting. Most of the Sunni militias and the growing number of Awakening Council (Sunni fighters recruited by the United States to battle al Qaeda in Iraq) defectors joining these militias coordinate directly with the Majlis Thuwar al Anbar (Anbar insurgents' council), which in turn coordinates with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant on a selective basis. Saudi Arabia's acting intelligence chief, Yousef bin Ali al Idrisis, is believed to be in direct communication with the Majlis Thuwar al Anbar, affording Riyadh the opportunity to influence the shape of the battlefield -- and thereby to aggravate Iran in a highly sensitive spot.

As a bonus for Saudi Arabia, even as the Sunni uprising is largely confined to Iraq's Sunni belt and thus unlikely to seriously upset Iraq's production and exports from the Shiite south, the price of Brent crude has climbed to $113 a barrel for the first time this year. Saudi Arabia is not the only one that welcomes this bump in the price of oil; Russia is quite pleased with the outcome in Iraq as well.

Revisiting a Mysterious Meeting in Sochi

Just days before the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-led offensive in Iraq, a quiet meeting took place at Russian President Vladimir Putin's vacation spot in Sochi on June 3. Putin invited Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal to see him and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who cut short an engagement in Moscow to get there on time. Details on the meeting are scarce. Our attempt to obtain information about the gathering from Russian and Saudi contacts resulted in scripted and strangely identical responses that claimed that Saudi Arabia and Russia were discussing a power-sharing resolution for Syria. The state-owned Saudi Press Agency then reported June 10 that Lavrov and al-Faisal had a follow-up phone conversation to discuss a Syrian settlement. Syria may well have been on the agenda, and Russia has an interest in protecting its influence in Damascus through a deal that keeps Syrian President Bashar al Assad in power, but we suspect there was more to these engagements.

Both Saudi Arabia and Russia share two key interests: undermining the U.S.-Iranian negotiating track and ensuring oil prices remain at a comfortable level, i.e., above $100 a barrel. There is little either can do to keep Iran and the United States from negotiating a settlement. In fact, the jihadist threat in Iraq creates another layer of cooperation between Iran and the United States. That said, Washington is now facing another major Middle Eastern maelstrom at the same time it has been anxiously trying to prove to itself and everyone else that the United States has bigger issues to deal with in other parts of the world, namely, in Russia's backyard. Moreover, the United States and Turkey are not of one mind on how to manage Iraq at a time when Washington needs Ankara's cooperation against Russia. If an Iraq-sized distraction buys Moscow time to manage its own periphery with limited U.S. interference, all the better for Putin. Meanwhile, if Saudi Arabia can weaken Iran and test U.S.-Iranian cooperation, it might well be worth the risk for Riyadh to try -- at least for the time being.

A Lesson from History

Whether by mere coincidence, strategic design or a blend of the two, there are as many winners as there are losers in the Iraq game. Russia knows this game well. The United States, the heir to the Sykes-Picot map, will be forced to learn it fast.

When the French and British were colluding over the post-Ottoman map in 1916, czarist Russia quietly acquiesced as Paris and London divided up the territories. Just a year later, in 1917, the Soviets threw a strategic spanner into the Western agenda by publishing the Sykes-Picot agreement, planting the seeds for Arab insurrection and thus ensuring that Europe's imperialist rule over the Middle East would be anything but easy. The U.S. administration recognizes the trap that has been laid. But more mindful of the region's history this time around, Washington will likely leave it to the regional players to absorb most of the risk.

Editor's Note: Writing in George Friedman's stead this week is Reva Bhalla, vice president of Global Analysis.

Read more: The Intrigue Lying Behind Iraq's Jihadist Uprising | Stratfor

« Last Edit: June 19, 2014, 02:03:41 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #375 on: June 24, 2014, 12:23:14 PM »


Summary

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are connected. The border between the two countries has become meaningless, and the emerging crisis in Iraq has direct consequences on the fighting in Syria. Neither the Syrian regime nor the rebels that oppose it stand to gain a decisive advantage from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's recent actions in Iraq. As things stand now, the primary beneficiary will be the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant itself.
Analysis

Because of the way its military advance in Iraq has played out, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has earned prestige and a propaganda boost -- it is viewed as a competent organization capable of decisive results. This growing perception will be crucial in the group's ability to attract a growing share of the foreign fighters heading toward the region, and possibly draw additional Syrian rebel fighters to its ranks. The group's seizure of weapons and vehicles -- much of this equipment taken from retreating Iraqi soldiers -- and reportedly more than $1 billion in funds during the recent Iraq offensive will only increase its attractiveness to jihadist fighters.
Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant Activity
Click to Enlarge

The equipment taken includes armored vehicles, small arms, ammunition, artillery, communication devices, uniforms and logistical vehicles. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant may have also seized night vision equipment and air defense weaponry. This gear would provide a substantial boost on the battlefield in Syria, and the group has indeed already begun to transfer some of this equipment across the border.

The growth in the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's prestige could in theory have detrimental effects on the rebels and on the Syrian regime. Since the transnational jihadists serve the cause of neither, their efforts in Iraq will create a mixed set of variables for the combatants in Syria.
Effects on the Syrian Regime

Perhaps the greatest negative consequence for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad is the shift of Iraqi Shiite militants back to their homeland to confront a resurgent Sunni opposition. The Syrian regime has come to rely heavily on foreign fighters -- be they Hezbollah combatants, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps advisers or Shiite volunteers from across the region -- to bolster its ranks and negate its demographic disadvantage. These foreign fighters, most notably the Hezbollah members, played a critical role in halting the string of defeats that beset the regime in late 2012, and they continue to spearhead regime offensives across Syria. Furthermore, and unlike what has happened with the Syrian rebels, the regime has not suffered from divisive infighting due to the influx of foreign fighters.

Click to Enlarge

With the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and its allies advancing south toward Baghdad from Mosul, and with sectarian emotions flaring across the region, Iraqi Shiite fighters are keen to return to their homeland -- they have made this desire abundantly clear in statements and videos. Even Hezbollah has threatened to dispatch fighters to Iraq. Though Hezbollah is unlikely to shift much of its efforts from Syria to Iraq -- partly for logistical reasons, but mostly due to the regime's critical dependence on the group -- it will probably move additional fighters to Syria to help offset losses of Iraqi militia. There is already substantial evidence that thousands of Iraqi Shiite fighters are on their way home. Iraqi fighters have reportedly withdrawn from Syrian fronts in the coastal province of Latakia and in al-Meliha, in the suburbs of Damascus, while witnesses have reported seeing convoys of trucks leaving the football stadium that served as the Iraqi militia base in the northern city of Aleppo.

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's current focus on Iraq has also wrought a notable decline in the intensity of rebel infighting. In the months prior to the fall of Mosul, rebel infighting in Deir el-Zour province in particular resulted in hundreds of rebel casualties as Jabhat al-Nusra and its rebel allies battled against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant fighters. Though these clashes continue, particularly in Aleppo and Deir el-Zour provinces, the intensity of the fighting has markedly decreased, a clear sign that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has turned its attention, and likely a large number of its fighters, to Iraq. It could always move its forces back across the unrecognized border, but for now, the group appears to be prioritizing Iraq and will likely keep reinforcing its fight there against Iraqi government counteroffensives.
Effects on Syrian Rebels
The Evolution of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's shift in focus to Iraq will probably help Syrian rebels more than the regime. For one thing, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant over the last year has maintained positions mostly in northeastern and eastern Syria, where the loyalist presence was rather scant and certainly not as critical as areas farther to the west. This geographic distribution in part reflected the militant group's opportunistic behavior, seizing lightly held territory, and its desire to secure energy resources, and it meant that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant was primarily a threat to Syrian rebels and to Kurdish militias in Hasakah.

However, Washington and its allies will be increasingly nervous about supplying advanced weaponry to the rebels in Syria. Having shown it can seize weaponry from the Iraqi army, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's potential ability to seize weapons delivered by the United States to often ragtag rebel groups worries the Americans. This re-evaluation comes at a particularly bad time for the rebels, who seemed on the verge of finally convincing the United States and other allies to deliver substantially more weapons to their fighters.

Interestingly, while the regime preferred not to interrupt its enemies' infighting, it undertook a notable aerial bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, both within Syria and across the border in Iraq, after the fall of Mosul. Two things can explain this turn of events. First and less important, the regime may sense an opportunity to strike at the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and relieve pressure on regime forces that come into contact with the militant rebels -- particularly the 17th division in Raqqa province -- while the group is busy in Iraq. The primary reason, however, is the regime's need to demonstrate that it is invested in the well-being of its allies, and in particular that it is attuned to the concerns of its patron, Iran. With the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant becoming a major threat to Baghdad, Hezbollah and Tehran's interests in Iraq, the Syrian regime will try to show that it is doing its part in the wider struggle. The al Assad regime can leverage an opportunity to share intelligence with others, since the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant is now the prevalent regional threat.

It is clear that the fall of Mosul and the spike in the fighting in Iraq have further complicated an already elaborate regional conflict where borders are fast losing their importance. For the Syrian battle space, the developments in Iraq bring a mixed array of advantages and disadvantages to the varying combatants. Even if it does not decisively tilt the battle, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's Iraq pivot will play an important role in the conflict in Syria.

Read more: Iraq's Crisis Changes the Battle Space in Syria | Stratfor
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« Reply #376 on: June 24, 2014, 02:27:56 PM »

Hat tip to our GM:

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/06/24/report-kurds-offered-to-help-stop-isis-months-ago-but-didnt-hear-back-from-the-white-house/

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« Reply #377 on: June 25, 2014, 10:24:32 AM »



Now Is the Moment for Kurdish Independence
Middle East borders are vanishing, and the U.S. should adjust its diplomacy accordingly.
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William A. Galston
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June 24, 2014 6:55 p.m. ET

Jerusalem

'The Kurds of Iraq can decide for themselves the name and type of entity they are living in." With those lapidary words, a spokesman for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan formalized a historic shift in Turkish policy. For the past five years, Turkey has been investing in Iraq's increasingly autonomous Kurdish region and even opened a consulate in its capital, Erbil. The Turkish writer Mustafa Akyol recently noted that Ankara, long fearful of Kurdish political ambitions at home and abroad, now regards Iraqi Kurdistan—and perhaps its Syrian counterpart—as a force for regional stability and security.

If Turkey can abandon outmoded doctrines, surely the U.S. can do so as well. Whatever Secretary of State John Kerry may say, Iraq is not about to "heal its divisions." Whatever the outcome of the military confrontation between Sunni extremists and the Shiites, the dynamic that the U.S. invasion set in motion has broken the unitary state of Iraq beyond repair.

But contrary to Colin Powell's famous "Pottery Barn" analogy, the fact that we broke it does not mean that we own it. Taken together, the failed U.S. occupation, the formation of a Shiite government that marginalized the Sunnis, and the total withdrawal of American forces mean that our influence is limited at best.

It is time for stubborn facts to guide our diplomacy, not threadbare ideas and tactical maneuvers. Nearly a century after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, we have yet to deal with its consequences. The lines British and French diplomats drew on a map in 1916 never corresponded with ethnic and sectarian realities on the ground, and now the lines of the Sykes-Picot agreement are unsustainable. "Iraq" and "Syria" are names, not nations.

By contrast, the Kurds are a distinct people. They have their own language, culture and history. They have been oppressed by every country in which they have languished as a minority. They were promised independence in 1920, only to have that promise rescinded three years later. They have made wise and patient use of the autonomy they have gained in Iraq. It is hard to think of a people who more deserve their own state.

The case for Kurdish independence is more than moral. Despite persistent corruption in Iraq, the Kurds there have governed themselves effectively and have attracted significant foreign investment. Their army has proved to be disciplined and effective. With the Kurds' recent takeover of Kirkuk, they have what they have long regarded as their true capital, their Jerusalem. And the Iraqi Kurds' entente with Turkey allows them to export oil without Baghdad's cooperation, securing their economic independence.

As Ofra Bengio, head of the Kurdish Study Program at the Moshe Dayan Center in Tel Aviv, recently noted in the Jerusalem Post, this appears to be the Kurdish moment in the Middle East. Syria is "neutralized by its own struggle for survival" and "will not . . . raise a finger against the Kurds." It is hard to imagine that Jordan, Saudi Arabia or Kuwait would do so either. Turkey is willing to accept an independent Iraqi Kurdistan, and its control of the oil pipeline would give the new Kurdish state incentives not to meddle with Turkey's Kurds. As for Iran, says Mr. Bengio, Tehran is "up to its neck with business and relations with the Kurds."

Kurdish leaders, though cautious, believe that recent events augur fundamental changes. Nechirvan Barzani, the prime minister of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, recently stated that it would be "almost impossible" for things to return to the way they were before the extremist forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, captured Mosul. Responding to U.S. pressure to support a new multi-sectarian government in Baghdad, Kurdish President Masoud Barzani told Mr. Kerry on Tuesday that "We are facing a new reality and a new Iraq."

Israel, America's staunchest ally in the Middle East, would welcome an independent Kurdistan, which it regards as a likely ally. Reuters reported on Friday that a tanker carrying Kurdish oil had docked that day in the Israeli port of Ashkelon. Indifferent to the Iraqi threats that deterred other nations from purchasing this oil, Israel would provide a steady market for future Kurdish production.

Washington has long opposed the export of Kurdish oil without Baghdad's consent as a threat to Iraqi unity. It is time to reverse that policy—to acknowledge that Iraq's current borders cannot be maintained and that the Sykes-Picot agreement is a dead letter. The highest and best use of America's remaining influence in the Middle East would be to work toward a new security order with national boundaries that all the major regional players can endorse.
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« Reply #378 on: June 26, 2014, 11:04:28 PM »

Emboldened ISIS Threatens Americans
by John Rossomando and Ravi Kumar
IPT News
June 26, 2014
http://www.investigativeproject.org/4440/emboldened-isis-threatens-americans
 
Supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have launched a viral propaganda campaign on Twitter threatening to attack the United States and its interests if America acts militarily against the group in Iraq.

These threats have been delivered through messages on ISIS's #CalamityWillBefallUS hashtag and feature images of the 9/11 attacks; dead American soldiers; the body of slain U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens; a threatening message from Anwar al-Awlaki, the late leader of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP); and the Nick Berg beheading video among others.

"We will kill your people and transform America to a river of blood Smiley!" a poster tweeting under the name "Miqdad remain #" said in a post on the #CalamityWillBefallUS hashtag.

The threats are posted in English as well as in Arabic. For example, the ISIS-linked Al-Battar Media Foundation sent out a tweet Wednesday night telling supporters that "Tweeting in English is preferred" in a Twitter campaign that it plans for Friday that it is calling a "Warning to American People."

The United States has sent military advisers to Iraq. There is talk of possible airstrikes, but Secretary of State John Kerry seemed to rule them out in the near term. Bombing now "would be a complete and total act of irresponsibility," Kerry said, because of Iraq's political environment, which offers "nothing there that provides the capacity for success."

In a separate interview, Kerry dismissed ISIS's threats, saying the group did not yet have the capability to carry them out.

ISIS's Twitter intimidation campaign, therefore, may be a combination of recruiting propaganda and an attempt to drive public support down for any future American strikes.

ISIS says it will target every American embassy around the world with car bombs should the U.S. attack Iraq, according to an image posted by a user @BZEAA.

"... EACH and EVERY #American is targeted, whether he lives in or outside the #US! …," the Al-Battar Media Foundation warned Wednesday. The foundation also warned of a pending 9/11-style attack, saying it would happen in an "UNEXPECTED PLACE."

Mohamed al-Jizrawi, an ISIS supporter with 2,000 Twitter followers, similarly warned that U.S. embassies, interests and citizens around the world would be targeted should the Obama administration increase American military involvement in Iraq.

Additionally, threats have been leveled against companies in the Arab world, stating they will be a "legitimate target for every Muslim" if they employ Americans.
Likewise, American doctors have also been threatened with a message bearing ISIS's logo stating, "Every American doctor working in any country will be slaughtered if America attack (sic) Iraq."

Social media tools have become essential for ISIS to obtain new recruits and funding, Western and Arab sources told the Wall Street Journal.

Besides threatening the United States, ISIS uses social media to find recruits and provide instant reports about its battlefield maneuvers. A slickly produced recruitment video tweeted by ISIS members last week telling Western Muslims to join their jihad exemplifies the terror group's social-media strategy. Thousands of Western Muslims already have answered the call – many of whom are fighting for ISIS.

Combating ISIS's use of social media is a bit like playing whack-a-mole because the terrorists replace closed social-media portals with new ones as soon as the old ones are closed.

One thing is for sure, ISIS's use of social-media means jihadist propaganda has come out of the shadows and into the public eye.
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« Reply #379 on: June 29, 2014, 09:52:51 AM »

 Chronology: Key Dynamics Leading to Renewed Sunni Militancy in the Levant
Analysis
June 29, 2014 | 0613 Print Text Size
A Chronology of Recent Militancy in Syria and Iraq Read more: A Chronology of Recent Militancy in Syria and Iraq
A Kurdish soldier stands guard near the front line with Sunni militants on the outskirts of Kirkuk, Iraq, on June 25. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Analysis

Ever since Sunni rebels pushed Iraqi government forces out of Mosul, the mainstream media and most analysts have rushed to point out the threat posed by the militants' goal of creating a transnational polity in eastern Syria and western Iraq. Stratfor has long forecast that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's efforts to exploit the conflict in Syria would have major repercussions on Iraqi security. Below is a chronology of analyses on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's aims to create a singular battle space in Syria and Iraq, where the militant group seeks to form a medieval-style emirate, and the major obstacles in its path.
Jihadist Opportunities in Syria

    Feb. 14, 2012: In an eight-minute video clip titled "Onward, Lions of Syria" disseminated on the Internet Feb. 12, al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri expressed al Qaeda's support for the popular unrest in Syria. In it, al-Zawahiri urged Muslims in Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan to aid the Syrian rebels battling Damascus. The statement comes just days after a McClatchy report quoted unnamed American intelligence officials as saying that the Iraqi node of the global jihadist network carried out two attacks against Syrian intelligence facilities in Damascus, while Iraqi Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al-Assadi said in a recent interview with AFP that Iraqi jihadists were moving fighters and weapons into neighboring Syria.

Jordan's Reluctance To Confront Syria

    April 13, 2012: Amman is facing pressure from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to take a stronger stance against the Syrian regime, specifically by backing Syrian rebels against the Iranian-backed Alawite government in Damascus. Jordan is the most logical conduit for Arab support, supplies and fighters to enter Syria. The GCC, led by Saudi Arabia, will try to entice Jordan into serving as the staging ground for Arab intervention in Syria and, by extension, countering Iranian and Shia influence in the region. While it aligns with the Gulf Arab monarchies on most issues, Jordan has a unique historical relationship with Syria and its own set of concerns that will significantly restrain its actions to undermine the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

Considering a Sunni Regime in Syria

    July 10, 2012: Last week's publicized defection of the Tlass family marked a potential turning point for Syria's al Assad regime. The Tlass family formed the main pillar of Sunni support for the minority Alawite regime. The patriarch of the family, former Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass, had a strategic, brotherly bond with late Syrian President Hafez al Assad. The two military men served as members of the ruling Baath Party in Cairo from 1958 to 1961 when Syria and Egypt existed under the Nasserite vision of the United Arab Republic. The failure of that project brought them back home, where together they helped bring the Baath Party to power in 1963 and sustained a violent period of coups, purges and countercoups through the 1960s.

The Consequences of Intervening in Syria

    Jan. 31, 2013: The French military's current campaign to dislodge jihadist militants from northern Mali and the recent high-profile attack against a natural gas facility in Algeria are both directly linked to the foreign intervention in Libya that overthrew the Gadhafi regime. There is also a strong connection between these events and foreign powers' decision not to intervene in Mali when the military conducted a coup in March 2012. The coup occurred as thousands of heavily armed Tuareg tribesmen were returning home to northern Mali after serving in Moammar Gadhafi's military, and the confluence of these events resulted in an implosion of the Malian military and a power vacuum in the north. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other jihadists were able to take advantage of this situation to seize power in the northern part of the African nation.

Jihadists Seek a New Base in Syria and Iraq

    May 28, 2013: Al Qaeda in Iraq is trying to use the Syrian conflict to reignite sectarian warfare in Iraq and thereby create an uninterrupted operating space stretching from Iraq to Lebanon. Since mid-May alone, more than 300 people have been killed and hundreds more wounded in bombings by suspected jihadists across Iraq that have largely targeted the country's Shiite population. The jihadists sense a historic opportunity to acquire their largest and most significant area of operation since the movement was based in Afghanistan before the 2001 U.S. invasion. However, they still face several constraints that will enable the Iraqi government and its Iranian backers to contain the spillover into Iraq, at least for the near term.

A Revolt Within the al Qaeda Movement

    June 20, 2013: In a June 15 audio message, a man identified as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, did something no leader of an al Qaeda franchise had ever done: He publicly defied a directive from Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of the al Qaeda core organization. As we have noted for many years, the al Qaeda core has struggled to remain relevant on the physical and ideological battlefields. We've also discussed since 2005 the internal frictions between the core and some of the more independent franchise commanders, such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq until his death in June 2006. If al-Baghdadi's revolt goes unchecked, it very well might spell the end of the concept of a global, centrally directed jihad, and it could be the next step in the devolution of the jihadist movement as it becomes even more regionally focused.

Turkey's Options to Manage Syrian Kurds and Jihadists

    July 31, 2013: A concern shared by most countries is the prospect that Syria, in light of its ongoing civil war, could become an arena for transnational jihadism. But for Syria's northern neighbor Turkey, an even graver concern is the prospect of Kurdish separatism. In fact, Syrian Kurds already are trying to create an autonomous zone akin to the one located in northern Iraq. Ankara has no choice but to pit jihadists and Kurdish separatists against one another in hopes of obstructing the zone's creation. But in doing so Turkey risks impeding its own geopolitical ascendance.

Are There Moderate Salafists and Jihadists?

    Dec. 5, 2013: The United States is trying to recruit moderate Salafist-jihadist rebels in Syria for its fight against al Qaeda, but Washington may not be able to find many willing partners among such ideologues. How well the Obama administration fares in its efforts will ultimately determine the extent to which it can counter al Qaeda-inspired transnational jihadism -- and how well it can minimize Iran's benefits now that the two have reached an accord.


Read more: Chronology: Key Dynamics Leading to Renewed Sunni Militancy in the Levant | Stratfor
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« Reply #380 on: June 29, 2014, 10:00:47 PM »

Bibi Endorses Kurdish independence in definace of Kerry... more "daylight"?

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/29/israel-prime-minister-kurdish-independence



The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has voiced support for Kurdish statehood, taking a position that appears to clash with the US preference to keep sectarian war-torn Iraq united.

Pointing to the mayhem in Iraq, Netanyahu on Sunday called for the establishment of an independent Kurdistan as part of a broader alliance with moderate forces across the region, adding that Israel would have to maintain a long-term military presence in the West Bank even after any future peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu laid out his positions in a policy speech that marked his most detailed response to the gains made by Sunni extremists fighting in Iraq. His endorsement of Kurdish independence, as well as his tough position on the West Bank, put him at odds with prevailing international opinion.

In a speech to a Tel Aviv thinktank, Netanyahu said that the rise of both al-Qaida-backed Sunni extremists, as well as Iranian-backed Shia forces, had created the opportunity for "enhanced regional cooperation". He said Jordan, which is facing a growing threat of spillover from conflict in neighboring Iraq and Syria, and the Kurds, who control an oil-rich autonomous region of northern Iraq, should be bolstered. "We should ... support the Kurdish aspiration for independence," Netanyahu told the thinktank, going on to call the Kurds "a nation of fighters [who] have proved political commitment and are worthy of independence".

Israel has maintained discreet military, intelligence and business ties with the Kurds since the 1960s, seeing in the minority ethnic group a buffer against shared Arab adversaries. The Kurds have seized on recent sectarian chaos in Iraq to expand their autonomous northern territory to include Kirkuk, which sits on vast oil deposits that could make the independent state many dream of economically viable. The Kurds have long held aspirations for independence, but have said seeking nationhood is not realistic at the current time. The international community, including neighboring Turkey as well as the US and other western countries, are opposed to the breakup of Iraq.

Since the outbreak of hostilities in Iraq, Washington has been insistent that it the crumbling unity in the country restored. Last Tuesday, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, visited Iraqi Kurdish leaders and urged them to seek political integration with Baghdad.

Netanyahu's call for a long-term military presence in the West Bank also risked triggering international criticism. The Palestinians seek all of the West Bank, captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day war, as the heartland of a future independent state, a position that is largely endorsed by the international community. The territory is flanked by Israel on the west and Jordan on the east.

Netanyahu said that given the threats in the region, Israel would have to maintain a military presence throughout the West Bank for the foreseeable future. "We must be able to stop the terrorism and fundamentalism that can reach us from the east at the Jordan line and not in the suburbs of Tel Aviv. He went on to say that whoever does not accept Israel's need for a security presence "isn't facing reality".

While conceding that there might someday be a peace agreement creating an independent Palestinian state, he argued that Israel could not turn over its security needs to either the Palestinians or international forces. He said Palestinian forces are "not capable" of ensuring security, and foreign forces would eventually withdraw. "Therefore we must understand that in any future agreement with the Palestinians, Israel will have to continue controlling security in the territory up to Jordan for a very long time," he said.

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« Reply #381 on: June 30, 2014, 01:49:38 PM »

“With this declaration of khilāfah, it is incumbent upon all Muslims to pledge allegiance to the khalīfah Ibrāhīm and support him”

Robert Spencer    Jun 29, 2014 at 4:49pm

Will Muslim spokesmen in the West who have derided warnings about the Islamic supremacist aspiration to reestablish the caliphate now explain on Islamic grounds why Muslims worldwide do not need to pledge allegiance to the new caliph? Will they explain why this declaration, which is full of Qur’an citations, is a misunderstanding of Islam? Or will it just yet again be assumed by all quarters that they have already done so, without their having to do any actual work?

Here is part of the declaration of a new caliphate that I posted about here. From The Islamic State’s “This Is the Promise of Allah” — full text here (thanks to Axel):

The time has come for those generations that were drowning in oceans of disgrace, being nursed on the milk of humiliation, and being ruled by the vilest of all people, after their long slumber in the darkness of neglect – the time has come for them to rise. The time has come for the ummah of Muhammad (peace be upon him) to wake up from its sleep, remove the garments of dishonor, and shake off the dust of humiliation and disgrace, for the era of lamenting and moaning has gone, and the dawn of honor has emerged anew. The sun of jihad has risen. The glad tidings of good are shining. Triumph looms on the horizon. The signs of victory have appeared.

Here the flag of the Islamic State, the flag of tawhīd (monotheism), rises and flutters. Its shade covers land from Aleppo to Diyala. Beneath it, the walls of the tawāghīt (rulers claiming the rights of Allah) have been demolished, their flags have fallen, and their borders have been destroyed. Their soldiers are either killed, imprisoned, or defeated. The Muslims are honored. The kuffār (infidels) are disgraced. Ahlus- Sunnah (the Sunnis) are masters and are esteemed. The people of bid’ah (heresy) are humiliated. The hudūd (Sharia penalties) are implemented – the hudūd of Allah – all of them. The frontlines are defended. Crosses and graves are demolished. Prisoners are released by the edge of the sword. The people in the lands of the State move about for their livelihood and journeys, feeling safe regarding their lives and wealth. Wulāt (plural of wālī or “governors”) and judges have been appointed. Jizyah (a tax imposed on kuffār) has been enforced. Fay’ (money taken from the kuffār without battle) and zakat (obligatory alms) have been collected. Courts have been established to resolve disputes and complaints. Evil has been removed. Lessons and classes have been held in the masājid (plural of masjid) and, by the grace of Allah, the religion has become completely for Allah. There only remained one matter, a wājib kifā’ī (collective obligation) that the ummah sins by abandoning. It is a forgotten obligation. The ummah has not tasted honor since they lost it. It is a dream that lives in the depths of every Muslim believer. It is a hope that flutters in the heart of every mujāhid muwahhid (monotheist). It is the khilāfah (caliphate). It is the khilāfah – the abandoned obligation of the era.

Allah (the Exalted) said, {And mention when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a khalīfah”} [Al-Baqarah: 30 Qur'an 2:30 - RS].

Imam al-Qurtubī said in his tafsīr (Quranic exegesis), “This verse is a fundamental basis for the appointment of a leader and khalīfah (caliph) who is listened to and obeyed so that the ummah is united by him and his orders are carried out. There is no dispute over this matter between the ummah nor between the scholars, except for what has been reported from al-Asamm [the meaning of his name is “the deaf man”], for his deafness prevented him from hearing the Sharia.” That ends his words, may Allah have mercy upon him.

Therefore, the shūrā (consultation) council of the Islamic State studied this matter after the Islamic State – by Allah’s grace – gained the essentials necessary for khilāfah, which the Muslims are sinful for if they do not try to establish. In light of the fact that the Islamic State has no shar’ī (legal) constraint or excuse that can justify delaying or neglecting the establishment of the khilāfah such that it would not be sinful, the Islamic State – represented by ahlul-halli-wal-‘aqd (its people of authority), consisting of its senior figures, leaders, and the shūrā council – resolved to announce the establishment of the Islamic khilāfah, the appointment of a khalīfah for the Muslims, and the pledge of allegiance to the shaykh (sheikh), the mujāhid, the scholar who practices what he preaches, the worshipper, the leader, the warrior, the reviver, descendent from the family of the Prophet, the slave of Allah, Ibrāhīm Ibn ‘Awwād Ibn Ibrāhīm Ibn ‘Alī Ibn Muhammad al-Badrī al-Hāshimī al-Husaynī al-Qurashī by lineage, as-Sāmurrā’ī by birth and upbringing, al-Baghdādī by residence and scholarship. And he has accepted the bay’ah (pledge of allegiance). Thus, he is the imam and khalīfah for the Muslims everywhere. Accordingly, the “Iraq and Shām” in the name of the Islamic State is henceforth removed from all official deliberations and communications, and the official name is the Islamic State from the date of this declaration.

We clarify to the Muslims that with this declaration of khilāfah, it is incumbent upon all Muslims to pledge allegiance to the khalīfah Ibrāhīm and support him (may Allah preserve him). The legality of all emirates, groups, states, and organizations, becomes null by the expansion of the khilāfah’s authority and arrival of its troops to their areas. Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, as reported by ‘Abdūs Ibn Mālik al-‘Attār, “It is not permissible for anyone who believes in Allah to sleep without considering as his leader whoever conquers them by the sword until he becomes khalīfah and is called Amīrul-Mu’minīn (the leader of the believers), whether this leader is righteous or sinful.”

The khalīfah Ibrāhīm (may Allah preserve him) has fulfilled all the conditions for khilāfah mentioned by the scholars. He was given bay’ah in Iraq by the people of authority in the Islamic State as the successor to Abū ‘Umar al-Baghdādī (may Allah have mercy upon him). His authority has expanded over wide areas in Iraq and Shām. The land now submits to his order and authority from Aleppo to Diyala. So fear Allah, O slaves of Allah. Listen to your khalīfah and obey him. Support your state, which grows everyday – by Allah’s grace – with honor and loftiness, while its enemy increases in retreat and defeat.

So rush O Muslims and gather around your khalīfah, so that you may return as you once were for ages, kings of the earth and knights of war. Come so that you may be honored and esteemed, living as masters with dignity. Know that we fight over a religion that Allah promised to support. We fight for an ummah to which Allah has given honor, esteem, and leadership, promising it with empowerment and strength on the earth. Come O Muslims to your honor, to your victory. By Allah, if you disbelieve in democracy, secularism, nationalism, as well as all the other garbage and ideas from the west, and rush to your religion and creed, then by Allah, you will own the earth, and the east and west will submit to you. This is the promise of Allah to you. This is the promise of Allah to you.
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« Reply #382 on: July 01, 2014, 12:33:02 PM »


Summary

The Iraqi army continues to press its offensive north of Baghdad with the primary focal point centered on the city of Tikrit, where significant numbers of Sunni militants continue to hold out. The government forces' attack on Tikrit began with a June 26 helicopter assault that landed troops close to the city's university. The landing forces suffered heavy casualties, and militants brought down one or two aircraft. Armored columns reached the city June 28 but were forced back due to stiff resistance and a number of improvised explosive devices strategically placed in the approaches to the city.
Analysis

Anticipated fissures between other Iraqi Sunni factions and the Islamic State, formerly known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, are already becoming apparent. A number of Sunni tribal factions have reportedly assisted the Iraqi army in Tikrit after initially remaining neutral. This change of stance is due to Islamic State's draconian interference in their affairs. This has been one of the main weaknesses of the militant group, whose policies provoke local discontent and erode their support base. Over time, this could lead to the main Sunni support base in Iraq completely turning on Islamic State.
Iraq: The Prospects of the New 'Caliphate'

The Iraqi air force, meanwhile, is rushing to bring new aircraft into service. To do so it is turning to countries that can facilitate quick deliveries. The delivery of the first few Su-25 airplanes from Russia has been confirmed, and Iraq is reportedly also in talks with Belarus, the Czech Republic and Iran for more aircraft. Baghdad is reportedly asking Tehran for the return of Iraqi air force aircraft brought there by fleeing pilots during the First Gulf War.

Russian An-124 strategic airlift aircraft delivered the quickly refurbished Su-25s to Taji air base near Baghdad on June 28. Russian technicians arrived along with the delivery and will help maintain the aircraft until Iraqi ground support personnel can be trained in Russia. Baghdad says that it has also called up pilots that flew Su-25s under the Saddam Hussein regime. Iraqi forces could alternatively rely on Russian or even Iranian pilots, which also fly Su-25s in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Iraq's air force continues to rely on U.S. equipment to combat Sunni rebels and recently received another batch of 75 Hellfire missiles to replenish depleted stocks. The Iraqi government has, however, expressed frustration with the United States. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that the United States deluded the Iraqi government when it signed arms contracts. This stems from the amount of time it will take to deliver F-16 aircraft to Iraq, which the United States says is standard for newly built aircraft. The timeline will be further extended because U.S. contractors preparing infrastructure for the F-16s had to withdraw from Balad air base during the current turmoil.

The Su-25 is a specialized close air support aircraft. If the Iraqis were able to bring them quickly into service, they could use them to interdict massed Islamic State and Sunni rebel convoys if flown well and directed at targets properly. Footage of a large Islamic State convoy over the weekend of June 28-29 near Mosul showed hundreds of vehicles, armored cars and trucks towing captured U.S.-made M198 howitzers. Such a compact concentration of militant forces in a single location would have been virtually impossible when U.S. airpower ruled the skies over Iraq. New Su-25s could once again complicate militant moves.

The lack of a serious aerial threat has allowed Sunni militants to use lightning raids in quickly assembled convoys of pickup trucks equipped with medium- or heavy-weapons systems, known as technicals. This is a widely used tactic in the region, deployed, for example, by Polisario Front rebels against the Moroccan army during the Western Sahara War and later by militants in Mali. On the rare occasions when Iraqi aircraft have been able to intervene against these convoys, they have inflicted significant casualties. The air force, however, has only a small number of combat aircraft and helicopters, and lacks the necessary surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence assets to replicate this on a larger scale. The current unmanned aerial vehicles and fixed-wing sorties performed daily by U.S. assets in conjunction with the joint headquarters in Baghdad staffed by U.S. military advisers will bolster this capability.

The Iraqi forces continue to work to press their advantage by bringing in fresh recruits, purchasing aircraft and enlisting foreign support from a range of nations. The initial fissures between Islamic State and some of the base Sunni support could also seriously boost Baghdad's potential success on the battlefield if they continue to expand. Even as the Iraqi central government gradually takes back the strategic momentum in the conflict, it will have a very difficult time taking back lost territory against an emboldened and experienced force flush with newly captured weaponr

Read more: New Aircraft in Iraq Will Bolster the Push Against the Islamic State | Stratfor
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« Reply #383 on: July 01, 2014, 12:36:38 PM »

second post


Summary

The Islamic State, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, has changed its name, but otherwise the militant group remains the same. Over the past weekend, a spokesman for the group announced that it had established a caliphate stretching from Diyala province, Iraq, to Aleppo, Syria. The caliphate is a political institution that the Islamic State claims will govern the global Muslim community. "Iraq" and "Levant" have been dropped from the organization's name to reflect its new status.

The trouble with the announcement is that the Islamic State does not have a caliphate and probably never will. No amount of new monikers will change the fact that geography, political ideology and religious, cultural and ethnic differences will prevent the emergence of a singular polity capable of ruling the greater Middle East. Transnational jihadist groups can exploit weakened autocratic states, but they cannot institutionalize their power enough to govern such a large expanse of land. If anything, the Islamic State's drive to unify the Middle East will actually create more conflicts than it will end as competing emirates vie for power in the new political environment.
Analysis

In recent years, the term "caliphate" has become somewhat warped; it has become more of a slogan for radical Islamist groups than an actual political objective. Even the Islamic State, which has made impressive territorial gains quickly, has only an emirate, which encompasses a far smaller geographic area than a caliphate. Establishing an emirate is not terribly remarkable. Similar groups have established emirates before: The Taliban ruled more than 90 percent of Afghanistan prior to 9/11, and al Qaeda franchise groups oversaw short-lived emirates in Yemen and Mali.

Still, the Islamic State's announcement is the first serious attempt at re-establishing the caliphate since the institution was abolished in 1924 by the Turkish republic, which replaced the Ottoman Empire after World War I. Over the past 90 years, there have been a few attempts to revive the caliphate, but none were particularly successful. Notable examples include Hizb al-Tahrir, which rejects democracy and nationalism, and more recently, al Qaeda.
Iraq: The Prospects of the New 'Caliphate'
Click to Enlarge
The Caliphate: Origin and Evolution

Caliphate is derived from the Arabic word for "successor," a designation for those who would govern the Muslim community after the Prophet Mohammed died. However, Mohammed did not appoint his political successor; such a person was supposed to be elected by the community. Differences quickly emerged as to who should lead the Muslims subsequently. One camp preferred Mohammed's closest associate, Abu Bakr, while another camp favored Mohammed's cousin and son-in-law, Ali. The group loyal to Abu Bakr would later be known as Sunni, and the group loyal to Ali would later be known as Shia.

But neither group knew exactly how it wanted a caliphate to function. Centuries later, the Shia developed a theory whereby the leadership of the community is not political, but rather divinely ordained. Even among the Sunnis, the caliphate was not a neatly outlined system of government. Their texts include only general principles for politics and governance; most practices were developed as the situation arose.

Abu Bakr eventually became the first successor, or "caliph," in 644. After roughly two years in office, he died of natural causes and another top lieutenant of Mohammed, Omar, took over. He was assassinated a decade later, but not before he appointed a council of six men to elect his replacement. They chose a man named Uthman, during whose tenure Islam saw its first significant, and violent, political disagreements, which ultimately led to Uthman's assassination.
The Iraq-Syria Caliphate
Click to Enlarge

Ali succeeded Uthman, but by that time the divisions within the caliphate had worsened beyond repair, leaving Ali to manage three separate civil wars. He, too, was later assassinated, bringing an end to what was known as the Rashidun caliphate and giving rise to the Umayyad caliphate.

As an institution, the caliphate would continue to be central to Islam for some time. But it declined well before the modern era. In Egypt, the Mamluks (1250-1517) kept the term caliphate more for religious symbolism than political necessity; their authority came from military power rather than from pledges of the faithful. Even the Ottoman Empire was more akin to a sultanate. It was not until 1517, when Sultan Selim I defeated the Mamluks, that the Ottoman sultans assumed the title of caliph. But even then, the caliphate lay dormant until Sultan Abdul-Hamid II unsuccessfully tried to revive it in 1876. When the caliphate was abolished in 1924, it had not really existed for centuries.

Truthfully, the caliphate was nearly always in flux. Even during the Abbasid era (749-1258), which is considered the golden age of the caliphate, autonomous and sometimes independent emirates and sultanates threatened the central government. The Abbasids overthrew the Ummayads, but the Ummayads maintained a rival caliphate on the Iberian Peninsula from 929 to 1031. At roughly the same time, another rival caliphate led by the Fatimid dynasty based itself in Cairo (909-1171).

In actuality, a single entity able to rule the entire Muslim world did not exist but for a brief period of early Islamic history. Geography constrained every regime. For a while, the caliphs in Medina, Kufa, Damascus, and Baghdad ruled large expanses through a sort of provincial system, but over time provincial rulers accrued power and in some cases independence. These rulers would sometimes ally with the caliph, but their loyalties would change as other power centers emerged.
Resurrecting the Caliphate

As a concept, the caliphate has evolved throughout history. The basis for Sunni jurisprudence was formed during Mohammed's rule and the Rashidun era. But interestingly, no caliphate ever referred to itself as the "Islamic State," though the Ottomans adorned honorific names like "The Exalted State." The notion of an Islamic state is actually a modern development, a response to the rise of the secular nation-state.

Of course, not all Muslims advocate the creation of an Islamic state any more than they reject the nation-state. And even those that do agree in principle may disagree on the methods used to create it. Radical groups like Hizb al-Tahrir and the Islamic State want to replace the nation-state with a caliphate. Moderates may take a more measured approach.

But all this points to a larger issue: The role of Islam in politics remains unsettled. Most Muslims have embraced such ideals as nationalism, republicanism and democracy. But radical groups are as relevant as ever, due in no small part to the rise of secular authoritarianism, Islamism, the failure of Arab/Muslim states to build viable political economies, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the U.S. wars in the Muslim world. These issues have helped militant Islamists drum up support, vying for a return to the past by restoring the caliphate.
The Evolution of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant

Until now, calls for its restoration were disregarded as propaganda. In light of the Syrian civil war and the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, such calls are arguably much more significant. The Islamic State knows it probably cannot create a caliphate, but simply saying as much benefits the group tactically: It stokes fear in the West and, considering it was announced during the first weekend of Ramadan, it appeals to Muslim sensibilities.

Plenty of Muslims, Islamists and jihadists reject the Islamic State. But for now, the group wants to use the caliphate to consolidate control over newly acquired territory. In the long run, the declaration of the caliphate also helps the group to resurrect the concept in political discourse, especially as the region is in such disarray. The Islamic State knows the declaration of a caliphate and a caliph is an issue that the Muslim world will have to address as it reconciles the role of Islam in politics.

Read more: Iraq: Examining the Professed Caliphate | Stratfor
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objectivist1
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« Reply #384 on: July 02, 2014, 09:52:13 AM »

The Caliphate Restored

Posted By Robert Spencer On July 2, 2014 - frontpagemag.com

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has declared itself a caliphate, renamed The Islamic State, and named its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the caliph, and demanded that all Muslims worldwide pledge allegiance to him. Al-Baghdadi has called upon all Muslims to relocate to his caliphate to wage war against non-Muslims. Many have ridiculed and denigrated this declaration; few have realized its implications.

The restoration of the caliphate has for decades been the central goal of jihad groups worldwide. The caliphate (khilafa) was from the beginnings of Islam until the early twentieth century, at least among Sunnis (who constitute eighty-five to ninety percent of Muslims worldwide), the center of the supranational unity of the global Muslim community (umma). The caliph, who was theoretically chosen from among the most pious and capable men of the community, was considered to be the political, military and religious successor of Muhammad as the leader of the Muslim community. He ruled according to the dictates of the Sharia (Islamic law), implementing Allah’s decrees of justice on earth.

The caliphate was abolished by the secular Turkish government in 1924. The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928 partly as a reaction to the end of the caliphate, and from the beginning a central part of its program has been the need to work toward restoring it and then recovering lands that had been lost to Islam. Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna explained:

We want the Islamic flag to be hoisted once again on high, fluttering in the wind, in all those lands that have had the good fortune to harbor Islam for a certain period of time and where the muzzein’s call sounded in the takbirs and the tahlis. Then fate decreed that the light of Islam be extinguished in these lands that returned to unbelief. Thus Andalusia, Sicily, the Balkans, the Italian coast, as well as the islands of the Mediterranean, are all of them Muslim Mediterranean colonies and they must return to the Islamic fold. The Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea must once again become Muslim seas, as they once were.

The kind of government that would then be established would not be a pluralistic democracy by any stretch of the imagination. Hamza Tzortzis of the Britain-based Islamic Education and Research Academy has stated this plainly:

We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom. We see under the Khilafa [caliphate], when people used to engage in a positive way, this idea of freedom was redundant, it was unnecessary, because the society understood under the education system of the Khilafa state, and under the political framework of Islam, that people must engage with each other in a positive and productive way to produce results.

The desired results, obviously, have nothing to do with freedom as it is understood in Western societies. Abu Mohammad al-Julani, leader of the Syrian jihad group Jabhat Al-Nusra (Al-Nusra Front), has expressed a desire to establish a caliphate in Syria, explaining: “Being Muslims, we do not believe in political parties or parliamentary elections, but rather in an Islamic regime based on the Shura (advisory council) and which implements justice … Our heading towards the establishment of Islamic law is jihad in Allah’s way.”

Ahmad ‘Issa, commander of another Syrian jihad group, the Suqur Al-Sham Brigades, interviewed on Al Jazeera network on June 12, 2013, joined Barack Obama in praising Islam’s imperative for justice, which he said the caliphate had always manifested: “We have been providing the minorities with their rights ever since the establishment of the state of Islam, since the beginning of the Caliphate in the days of the Prophet Muhammad, and in the days of the Righteous Caliphs, and to this day. Throughout history, nobody has suffered injustice under the state of Islam – the state of truth and justice.” Nobody!

However, his idea of justice did not involve non-Muslims having the right to equal participation in the nation’s political life. “Islam,” he said, “must be the single source of authority of the state…We demand that the president and parliament speaker be Sunni Muslims, and that the state’s sole source of authority be Islam.” He said that his group would “not accept” a Christian as the head of the Syrian state. And this would not be a democracy, but a state ruled by Islamic law: “We are talking about a state of justice and truth. We want the people to be ruled by an infallible law – the law of Allah. We do not want people to be ruled by man-made laws….”

On June 21, 2013, Al Jazeera aired a speech of Professor Mohammed Malkawi, the founder of the Chicago-based organization Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) America, which is dedicated to non-violent implementation of Sharia in the U.S. and around the world. The speech illuminated the Islamic supremacist perspective on the abolition of the caliphate and the necessity for its restoration. Malkawi blamed non-Muslims for Islam’s decline and the fall of the caliphate: “After Islam had reached the peak of glory and the Muslims were masters of the world, there came a time when the infidels conspired against the Muslims, who were in a deep slumber. Britain conspired against them, along with Arab and Turkish collaborators and traitors, and ended the Islamic Caliphate and its glory.”

This was, he said, a great tragedy, for also like Barack Obama, Malkawi believed that a state based on Islamic law embodied justice: “Ever since the Caliphate was destroyed, the world has lost an exemplar of justice, a model for humanity in its entirety. Since then, the world has been held hostage by wolves, who do not respect the honor of a man or a believer. Two world wars cost the lives of over 70 million people, yet they accuse us of terrorism. They killed over 70 million people, and dropped atomic bombs on Japan, yet they level accusations against us.”

In contrast, Malkawi said, “We demand a state ruled by the Koran,” and led the crowd in chanting that phrase. Another speaker added: “We reject secularist rule. We reject the rule of Satan.”

Malkawi asserted that the U.S., and Barack Obama in particular, had made people “terrified of the word ‘caliphate.’” He continued:

They say to you: “You can say anything except that you want Islamic law.” For them, Islamic law is something unimaginably harsh. For them, Islamic law prevents usury. It prevents them from exploiting the peoples. Islamic law and the caliphate bring about the rule of justice, which will make all those rulers face piles of garbage— for garbage is all that they are worth.

This is not really why people think Islamic law is harsh. People think Islamic law is harsh because of the stonings, the amputations, the institutionalized oppression of women and non-Muslims, the denial of the freedom of speech, the death penalty for apostasy, and so much more. But as far as Malkawi is concerned, those things and the other elements of Sharia are what constitute justice.

All these other rulers are dwarfs— from Obama, the master of the White House, to the rulers of those palaces in the lands of the Muslims. They are all dwarfed by the Islamic caliphate and law, and that is why they try to make us scared of it. They scare the Muslims. They say to the rebels in Syria: “Do not demand a caliphate out loud, because the US will deny you equipment and aid.” They say to the Egyptian people: “Do not demand to instate Islamic law, because America will not be happy about that.”

They say that the caliphate makes the infidels angry. Don’t we want to make the infidels angry? Isn’t this Islam?

Let America and Britain hate the caliphate. Let Britain, America, and the entire West go to hell, because the caliphate is coming, Allah willing.

And now it is here, although it is by no means clear, of course, that The Islamic State will be viable or long-lasting. If it is, however, the world could soon be engulfed in a much larger conflict with Islamic jihadists even than it has been since 9/11. For in Islamic law, only the caliph is authorized – and indeed, has the responsibility – to declare offensive jihad against non-Muslim states. In his absence, all jihad must be defensive only, which is why Islamic jihadists retail laundry lists of grievances when explaining and justifying their actions: without these grievances and a caliph, they have to cast all their actions as responses to Infidel atrocities. With a caliph, however, that obligation will be gone. And the bloodshed in that event could make the world situation since 9/11, with its 20,000 jihad attacks worldwide, seem like a harmless bit of “interfaith dialogue.”
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"You have enemies?  Good.  That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #385 on: July 05, 2014, 11:37:49 AM »



http://shoebat.com/2014/07/02/islamic-caliphate-iraq-major-problem-u-s/
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« Reply #386 on: July 14, 2014, 08:57:59 PM »

Too bad this made the newspapers, maybe now the President will find out about it  evil

http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/11/4231510/expansion-of-secret-facility-in.html
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« Reply #387 on: July 14, 2014, 09:03:41 PM »

Too bad this made the newspapers, maybe now the President will find out about it  evil

http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/11/4231510/expansion-of-secret-facility-in.html

Aside from the Israelis, I trust the Kurds the most in the middle east.
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« Reply #388 on: July 14, 2014, 09:12:03 PM »

Agreed.  Many of my friends have worked with them and speak well of them.  They have proven themselves over many decades.
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« Reply #389 on: July 20, 2014, 09:05:56 PM »

http://www.israelvideonetwork.com/obama-signs-11-billion-arms-deal-with-hamass-greatest-ally?omhide=true&utm_source=MadMimi&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Israel+Breaking+News+Video%3A+Obama+Signs+%2411+Billion+Arms+Deal+with+Hamas%E2%80%99s+Greatest+Ally&utm_campaign=20140720_m121404817_7%2F20+Israel+Breaking+News+Video%3A+Obama+Signs+%2411+Billion+Arms+Deal+with+Hamas%E2%80%99s+Greatest+Ally&utm_term=Obama+Signs+_2411+Billion+Arms+Deal+with+Hamas_E2_80_99s+Greatest+Ally 
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« Reply #390 on: July 21, 2014, 02:23:47 AM »


Who could have seen this coming?
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« Reply #391 on: July 21, 2014, 09:47:19 AM »

I confess to being surprised that this report is the only report I have seen of this so far , , ,
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« Reply #392 on: July 21, 2014, 11:20:43 AM »


Summary

The Kurdistan Regional Government's recent stream of announcements make it appear that Iraqi Kurdistan, now endowed with the prize of Kirkuk oil, is on the verge of political and economic independence. But behind the Kurdish hubris is a government in an increasingly desperate financial situation, with only its old adversary Turkey to rely on for its survival. This situation will create deeper divisions among Iraq's Kurdish factions, providing neighboring Iran with an opportunity to counter Turkey's moves in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Analysis

Now that the Kurds have established control over the Kirkuk oil fields, the Kurdistan Regional Government is working rapidly to connect the fields to its own energy infrastructure. Multiple sources have confirmed that the Avana Dome has been connected to the Kurdish-controlled Khurmala Dome. The next step will be to connect the Baba Dome and nearby Bai Hassan field to the Avana Dome, which altogether would add (in theory) some 415,000 barrels to Kurdish production capacity, though these fields currently produce around 160,000 barrels per day of sour light crude. Kirkuk crude can be blended with light Taq Taq crude to channel more oil for export, but that would irritate potential buyers, who are looking for consistency in output and would be reluctant to buy crude from a disputed territory. More likely, Kirkuk crude will be diverted to local refineries for domestic Kurdish consumption.


Still, the Kurdish acquisition of Kirkuk does little at the moment to alleviate the Kurdistan Regional Government's deepening financial crisis. For the past six months, it has gone without a roughly $1.2 billion monthly budget allocation from Baghdad, since the Iraqi government sought to punish Kurdish attempts to attain energy and political independence. That is about the same amount the Kurdistan Regional Government spends monthly for public sector employee salaries, operational expenses and investment projects. Critically, 60 percent of the Kurdistan Regional Government's monthly expenditures go toward the salaries of a bloated 700,000-strong bureaucracy, including 200,000 peshmerga soldiers.

The government has had to delay paying some public sector employees, especially teachers. With security threats rising, paying peshmerga forces seems to be a priority, even if those salaries are not paid in time. After its financial obligations to its employees, the Kurdistan Regional Government also has to answer to more than 50 international oil companies and contractors operating in Iraqi Kurdistan that also face repeated delays in payments. The government tried to extract fees from these firms to alleviate its current financial problems, demanding immediate payments for the services of its oil protection units. But the patience of international oil companies wears thin with such demands the longer they go without pay. The Kurdistan Regional Government's total debts to international oil companies and contractors is estimated to be roughly $5 billion and counting.

Without reserves to draw from, the Kurdistan Regional Government in Arbil has had to borrow from a limited menu of lenders. Several of Iraqi Kurdistan's business tycoons, including the heads of KAR Group and Asiacell, have been called on to issue loans and maintain liquidity in public banks. Most foreign banks are reluctant to lend to the Kurdistan Regional Government, but Arbil appears to have secured around $1 billion total in regional loans from Turkey's Asya Bank and VakifBank, in addition to funds from Lebanese banks IBL, Byblos and BBAC. After securing a $2 billion to $3 billion loan from Turkey in March, the Kurdistan Regional Government has requested additional loans from Ankara, but the terms and exact amount remain unclear.
Overcoming Obstacles

With a growing deficit of more than $6 billion and no resolution with Baghdad in sight, the Kurdistan Regional Government is desperate to generate enough revenue on its own from oil sales to cover basic expenses. But that is easier said than done. The Kurdish government has already been trying to convince the market that any oil exported out of Iraqi Kurdistan constitutes a legal sale, even as Baghdad has threatened to fine and sue any company that bypasses the central government in such commercial transactions. The legality of Kurdish crude exports has only been compounded by the Kurds' seizure of fields in disputed territory.

Arbil has assumed that all it has to do is establish precedence in selling its oil to drown out Baghdad's threat. Unfortunately, only one of four tankers -- carrying roughly 100,000 barrels of Kurdish crude -- has been sold so far to a buyer out of Israel, while traders such as Glencore, Vitol and Trafigura have kept their distance. Turkey meanwhile announced July 18 that it is halting the flow of Kurdish oil through its pipeline to the port of Ceyhan because its storage tanks are already full with unsold Kurdish crude.

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Kurdish officials have lobbied firms throughout Europe in the hope of selling the remaining oil, but the Kurdistan Regional Government would then face the challenge of securing the funds from those sales. Fearing that firms would buy the oil but deposit the funds with Baghdad to avoid a legal morass, the Kurdistan Regional Government has put out messages threatening legal action against its own potential buyers since Baghdad will withhold those funds and deny the Kurdistan Regional Government its revenue. The key to Arbil's funds lies in Turkey's hands. Some $93 million from the first Kurdistan Regional Government crude sale by tanker is sitting in a Turkish Halkbank account. Arbil recently sent a delegation to try and secure those funds, but Ankara can be expected to proceed cautiously in releasing these funds as it tries to avoid incurring further wrath from Baghdad and Washington.

Turkey understands the enormous financial leverage it holds over the Kurdistan Regional Government as Arbil struggles to make its monthly payments. Turkey will selectively -- and stringently -- provide enough aid to allow Arbil to scrape by, but will also demand that Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani and his Kurdistan Democratic Party lay off their calls for independence. A nearly bankrupt Kurdistan Regional Government will have no choice but to heed these demands, but it is also not comfortable with its deep dependency on Turkey.

This sentiment appears to be growing within Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. Factions of the party have already vocalized their unease with the policies of Barzani's party that have led Iraqi Kurdistan into a tight dependency with Turkey and an increasingly hostile relationship with Baghdad, Washington and Tehran. This intra-Kurdish tension grew deeper following the Kurdish Democratic Party's ousting of National Oil Co. officials from the Kirkuk fields. The Kurdish Democratic Party made it a point to use its own peshmerga forces and oil protection units to take control of Kirkuk's oil fields, largely edging the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan out. Also, local Arab and Turkomen resistance to Kurdish control over Kirkuk province is rising and will further complicate the regional government's hold over Kirkuk in the long term.

Informal networks and Turkish aid will enable the Kurdistan Regional Government to avoid financial collapse, but growing economic tensions will only exacerbate frictions among Iraq's Kurdish factions as the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan sees its own interests compromised by Kurdish Democratic Party policy. The longer Arbil holds out on a deal with Baghdad, the more financially dependent the Kurdistan Regional Party will be on Turkey and the more difficulty Kurdish parties will have in maintaining their patronage networks while under financial duress.

This provides Iran with an opportunity to further its already strong ties with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Gorran to counterbalance Turkey's sponsorship of Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party. Iran has already threatened to close its border with Iraqi Kurdistan to trade should Barzani proceed with his calls for independence, a move that would have significant economic repercussions for the regional government as a whole, but the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in particular. Through a carrot-and-stick approach, Iran will try to sow divisions among Kurdish parties, potentially offering financial and military assistance to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan while using its influence among the Iraqi Shia to grant political concessions and positions to cooperative Kurds in forming a new government. This may well be the subject of conversation when a Patriotic Union of Kurdistan delegation visits Iran in the coming days.

Read more: Iraqi Kurdistan's Financial Trap | Stratfor
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #393 on: July 24, 2014, 10:02:08 AM »

'Hamas's struggle has receded as a priority in the new Arab world' (Roula Khalaf, Financial Times)

"It is not that the Palestinian cause is no longer an emotive issue for Arabs. But the turmoil spreading across the region has lessened the shock of a soaring Palestinian death toll while stripping Islamist groups, including Hamas - which controls the Gaza Strip - of an automatic claim on public sympathy. Few in the region are rushing to Hamas's rescue. State-backed media in both Egypt and Saudi Arabia are blaming not only Israel but the Islamist group, too, for the violence.

The shift in Arab attitude has not gone unnoticed in Israel, which has expanded its campaign by launching a ground offensive. While it plays to Israel's advantage in the short term, though, it also complicates the search for a way out of the crisis that Israel will eventually need.

'The circumstances of the region are different this time. There are problems no less important than Gaza - whether in Syria, Iraq or Libya,' says Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian official who now teaches at Birzeit University near the West Bank town of Ramallah."
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« Reply #394 on: July 25, 2014, 11:01:33 AM »



http://dailycaller.com/2014/07/23/iran-supreme-leader-the-only-solution-for-crisis-is-israels-destruction/?utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fm.facebook.com
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G M
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« Reply #395 on: July 27, 2014, 09:59:32 PM »


Comment Rachel?
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