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[FINAL]

In the first weeks of June, ISIS drove through token opposition at Mosul and went on to capture dozens of towns that lacked perimeter defense systems. The Iraqi Army in Nineveh Province had been ordered to disperse rather than confront thousands of local Sunnis.

Then since the middle of July, ISIS has lost four major battles in Iraq:

-- At Tikrit to a 3,000 man counterattack;

-- the Al-Sahra Air Base to first-rate use of small arms and artillery;

-- at Samarra to a very strong defense; and

-- to another 2,000 man counterattack by Kurdish forces near Rabia and Sinjar.

The Jihadis have lost raiders by the hundreds in these actions, roughly a thousand killed in these battles with loss of their equipment and supplies. Anti-ISIS forces have lost fewer than 50 killed, including two dozen lost to suicide-bombers at Tikrit.

So what is happening here ??? And why are these actions reported in the Middle East and Asia but not by corporate MSM in the United States? What do we know in particulars about the ISIS raiders?

To begin with ISIS fighters are motivated by Jihadi denunciations of rival sects of Muslims and by calls to wipe out "Devil worshipers" who practice other religions. Mass murder with high enthusiasm is their signature tool for social engineering. The big ideas are promises of Martyrdom, eternal life in Paradise, and annual returns to Mecca in Spirit form to participate in the Hadj.

Hashish is also in play. And pills.

ISIS raiders go into their attacks hyped up with a bloody madness that comes only with crowds of young people. They share psychological delusions in groups, similar to offensive operations seen during crusades and the witch-hunts of other eras. The Christian Crusader slaughter of Jerusalem in 1099 matches up to what ISIS is doing.

It should also be no secret: ISIS fills its ranks with the Arab world's psychopaths. For these Jihadis of so many nationalities, the Islamist principles of Excommunication and Exile generate passionate jusbah e Jihad -- “blood lust for Jihad.” They die as willingly as they kill their victims.

So where does all this madness succeed? And where and why does it fail?

Can we get together a framework for a Lessons Learned study?

Scope and Limits

The ISIS raiders do indeed produce effective ground assaults. They are very good at attacks on fixed targets.

Surprise, lethality, focus, speed, high-quality equipment, follow-up plans -- they've got it all. However from a military perspective these are heavily armed raiders, not a normal army. Suicide bombers and esprit de corps are their prime force multipliers.

On the attack they have all the tools they had when they operated as Al Qaeda in Iraq:

-- Suicide bombers
-- AK-47s and grenades
-- RPG-7 and similar rocket launchers

Plus they have hundreds of new toys from their 2011-2012-2013 operations in Syria, courtesy of Wahhabi Salafi donors:

-- 20mm and 23mm anti-aircraft cannons
-- 81mm and 120mm mortars
-- Vehicle-borne rocket launchers
-- Virtually unlimited ammo

Captured American weapons are appearing slowly. They do like humvees.

The anti-aircraft guns are what ISIS uses to overcome their rivals in Syria. Range goes 1,500 meters and the rounds explode when they hit something solid. Their 23mm guns (usually ZU-23s) can wreck any structure in Iraq or Syria. That takes under a minute, using multiple 23mm's pumping out bursts at 400 r.p.m.

After a Jihadi Assault attack is kicked off with infiltrated and/or disguised suicide bombers, a chain of vehicles goes in with larger bombs on board. Then a first wave of 50 to 150 raiders is moved in as quickly as possible on trucks and using small vans. This first wave goes at it with AKs and grenades and RPG missiles. They kill everything in the targeted neighborhood.

This pattern has been tried repeatedly at multiple sites in Syria, at Tikrit and Samarra, and other cities in Iraq and at times in Afghanistan.

The first place the Jihadi Assault pattern failed to a systematic defense was Qusayr in Syria in 2012. The head of Iran's Qods Force, Major General Suleimani, set up a 10 kilometer perimeter defense at Qusayr using available Hizb Allah and Syrian Army and QF commandos. The 10 km. sizing is determined by the effective range of rifled 120mm mortars -- defenders need to respond to heavy mortar fire from prepared positions.

Qusayr Model defense succeeds, first, by limiting the value of suicide bombers. Check points are moved out, away from fortified defenses. Defenders never congregate and certainly never make a crowd to celebrate a success -- that minimizes opportunity for suicide bombers.

Military earthworks are constructed where possible to protect strong points. That is a very old technology. Defenders can expect they are going to get hit with 23mm rounds from the beds of incoming pickup trucks. Design accordingly. Earthworks keep any type of weapon from working effectively at straight-line angles.

Other tasks are completed ahead of time. Artillerymen on the defensive side need to work out direction and range calculations for their guns well before the battle. They need to do tests. One key task is to do multiple calculations, so the gunners can use the reports they receive from prepared spotter positions immediately. Spotters produce direction and range estimates from their own positions, not from the guns' positions. Advance preparation and practice cut response times to single-digit seconds.

These Jihadi Assaults come in fast so defenders need instant positioning work. This requirement applies to howitzers and field pieces as well as to mortars. Against well-prepped artillery, the ISIS pickup trucks are nothing but soft targets.

In Syria the Qusayr Model was executed successfully without drones or other aerial survey assets. Same for the Tikrit-Samarra system. One can imagine running a Qusayr Model city defense with the extra eyes up top 24/7.

Consider Iraq

One mystery in Iraq remains the question of why the al-Maliki government and its military did not apply the Qusayr Model at Mosul. If they do have a functioning General Staff, their experts had two years to catch up with this defensive technology. Certainly ISIS has been a credible threat from its days as al-Qaeda in Iraq. And considering that the ISIS leader calls himself "al-Baghdadi" despite that he was born up by Samarra, it had to be a when-not-an-if problem for ISIS coming back home.

You have to start with Threat Analysis.

When General Suleimani got to Samarra, it took him three weeks to get troops to the proper assignments and implement a full Qusayr Model system for Tikrit and Samarra. Three battles have followed: at Tikrit where ISI lost between 300 and 500 raiders on the west side to a full-force counterattack; at the  Al-Sahra Air Base where an ISIS attack force was annihilated; and at Samarra where an 80-man first wave was annihilated and another 250 follow-up troops were killed under artillery barrages.

ISIS still gets to fire a handful of mortar rounds into Samarra. That happens with pickup trucks running in and running back out. Minimal damage so far. They held several hundred structures on the west side of Tikrit for weeks before the counterattack. They continue to lob in mortar rounds at the air base, more frequently than at Samarra.

They got nothing real to show for their losses.

Note: If you are in Iraq or Syria and want to set up a defense against ISIS at a city's walls, fergeddaboudit. You are going to lose. The ISIS first wave will take a 50% death rate, scream for martyrdom, and kill you to the man.
Had to get that in.

In-depth perimeter-based defenses and professionally led counterattacks seem to do well without exception against ISIS. The Kurds have had similar success with counterattacks in the Rabia-Sinjar area:

At least 50 [ISIS] gang members were killed on 3 August and an armoured vehicle and 5 military vehicles destroyed. In the following days the gangs tried to enter Rabia and were repulsed by the YPG, who killed at least 36 gang members. In Sinjar there were fierce clashes on 5 and 6 August in particular.  The Sinjar Resistance Units, YPG and HPG forces launched attacks in villages around Sinjar on 5 August, killing 4 gang members. On 6 August 6 more were killed and 3 captured, while 2 Hummer vehicles were destroyed.

In clashes between 2 and 6 August at least 170 [ISIS] gang members were killed on the Rabia - Sinjar front, according to YPG forces, and large quantities of military equipment and ammunition was seized. 9 YPG fighters also died in these clashes.

Based on all this recent experience, on every set piece battle, the ISIS raiders make mediocre to poor soldiers.

Strong defense and frequent counterattacks. The al-Maliki government and their generals did none of it. Obviously it works. Today the commander for the area surrounding Tikrit and Sammara and the air base (up a couple miles from Tikrit on Route 1) is Major General Suleimani. The Persian. The Iranian. The same general who won the Battle of Qusayr in Syria.

Going Forward

Global warming has not been kind to the Iraqis. Weather conditions in Iraq continue to feature peak temperatures for Baghdad at 113F to 117F. These temperatures have held for a month, up from historical peaks averaging 5 to 9 degrees cooler.

Yes, the "normal" 108F is noticeably cooler than this week's 113F and 117F.

Thing is, military logistics for a major counterattack will not be feasible until September or early October when the heat breaks. As you can see from battlefield results described above, counterattacks can generate heavy casualties on the ISIS raiders. Annihilation is as common as not. When temperatures fall to peaks at 90F in October, the combined military and civilian truck system in Iraq will be able to support a large army:

-- 200,000 solid Iraqi Army troops
-- As many as 50,000 Qods Force commandos
-- An estimated 500,000 trained militia including Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq

Consider what the Kurds did with ISIS up at Rabia and Sinjar. Also that ISIS forces have not won a full scale battle since the middle of June. This main counterattack can be expected to annihilate the ISIS force in Iraq.

[A question came up in comments: why use 500,000 militiamen? One task they perform now is protecting civilians from the suicide bombers. You can expect to see blanket coverage and several thousands of new checkpoints. They also respond to the odd mortar attack that comes out of Sunni tribal areas. Militia roles go to what Hizb Allah does in Lebanon on a day-to-day basis.]

In summary: ISIS can be effective on the attack against unprepared urban defenders, as well as against tribal militias. Their suicide bombers and the 20mm and 23mm anti-aircraft guns overwhelm almost any fixed-position soft target. They generate palpable terror, what is called Terror Shock.

For defense and for holding territory, ISIS has not shown that they have much going. They are a "gang" as the Kurds describe them. Looking forward to September or October and the months that follow, a real army with Iraqi and Iranian leadership will have advantages including overwhelming manpower. These advantages are not available to pro-government forces in Syria.

Also, this Iraqi-Iranian army will have every motive to carry out a mass extermination on the ISIS raiders.

Do keep track of corporate MSM coverage of the ISIS invasion. So far MSM have omitted what is happening for every action involving Iranians. When an Iranian SU-25 pilot, Col. Kamal Shirkhani, was killed at Samarra, a story was constructed at Reuters that had him fighting on the ground rather than flying his plane. Killed by a mortar round. Kurdish victories are also not reported.

Our military budget is ballooned up like a Super-Sized Michelin Man. All twenty countries of it at one time. So apparently our public needs a steady stream of new boogeymen -- at best an inscrutable, Bachmann-crazy, invincible horde out of Asia riding to slaughter on our own Blame Obama humvees.

Good luck with that, MSM. One can only imagine what they will tell the public, if ISIS does collapse this fall and the big Iraqi-Iranian army pushes on through Syria and wipes out ISIS and its Wahhabi Salafi bloody madness.

What are the likes of CPAC and PNAC and the Tea Party agitprops going to do, if they ain't got no more al-Qaeda ??? All together my brothers: pray for them.
- - - - - - - - -

Copy edited overnight. And previously in this sequence:

ISIS In Iraq: U.S. Drone & F/A-18 Strikes Start and a Big Iraqi-Iranian Victory at Samarra

A goody-goody for those suffering links addiction.

Originally posted to waterstreet2008 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 04:06 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Undisciplined psychopaths most of them. (7+ / 0-)

    Doubtlessly some bad dudes organizing them, but waves of cannon fodder, really.
     

    •  The more we get into this and into recruiting (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mosesfreeman, G2geek

      in Europe for ISIS, the more it looks like you hit the nail on the head.

      And tactically, units present top level defense where the unit members fight for each other. They fight as cohesive groups. With units filled with psychopaths that's not going to happen.

      •  I predict a lot of martyrdom (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, waterstreet2008

        but even more desertion. A lot of these guys aren't going to wait for their commander to volunteer them to be the next martyr. Once the reality of imminent defeat hits, these units will disperse. The trick will be rooting them out of their hiding places once ISIS collapses.  They'll revert to plan A, plain old terrorism.

        … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

        by mosesfreeman on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 06:47:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  regression to the mean (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        waterstreet2008, mosesfreeman

        Wondering what you think of this:

        This is frequently noted in the social sciences: As the sample size increases, the observed size of whatever effect is being measured, decreases toward the mean average for the population.

        As applied to ISIL:

        First ISIL starts out with a tight, capable force.  As it expands in size, the quality of its recruits declines to the average for the populations from which they are recruiting.  

        But I'd also suggest the following:

        There comes a point where there is no one left to recruit but people who are clearly dysfunctional in some substantial way, for example diagnosable schizophrenics who can be enticed with dreams of glorious martyrdom.  So after a while, the quality of recruits goes below mean average and down the drain.

        And I wonder about this:

        The hashish and the pills.  What evidence do we have that ISIL attack forces are hopped up on drugs?   Assuming the "pills" are meth, what about the possibility of slipping them a shipment of sedatives or sleeping pills?  Strictly speaking that would probably count as a Geneva violation (chemical warfare), but none the less might be "interesting" to speculate about.

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 08:54:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  From the images I've seen (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          waterstreet2008, G2geek

          several of their members are syndromic, I'd say that they've already hit up the dysfunctionals. It's a pity too, as I'd hoped that they would remain a jihadi-magnet long enough to rid the rest of society of like-minded folks.

          Get 'em all in one place, then KA-BOOM!

          … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

          by mosesfreeman on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 11:08:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  they're still a jihadi magnet... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            waterstreet2008

            .... though after they start taking a few well-publicized significant defeats, they will loose their magnetism to some extent and the situation will become more diffuse again.

            Interesting that you've already observed a few ISILs who are showing overt signs.  I haven't been watching videos because the graphic stuff is nightmare fodder.

            Their tactics of massed maneuver warfare really do lend themselves to being remediated from the air.  They have some AA capabilities but those could be targeted by drones before piloted aircraft swoop in.  In any case we need surveillance drones in the air at all times to detect when they're engaged in a mass attack, so air power can be called in on short notice.   That's pretty close to getting them all in one place;-)

            Underlying problem: population overshoot of resources, heightening denominational & tribal conflicts.  That problem is going to get substantially worse as a function of climate change.  What I would really like to see is a joint project with Iran, to build thorium fission reactors, and offer to subsidize them throughout the region.  Reactors = desalination along with electricity = numerous economic benefits that in turn translate to natural decrease in birth rate.  Thorium fission can't be used to proliferate nuclear weapons, and it's meltdown-proof, so it's safe on both of those axes.

            Another underlying problem:  I have a going hypothesis that the cognitive & emotional traits that make for jihadis, and fundamentalists in general, are neurophysiological in origin, genetically determined, and normally distributed in human populations.  It may be possible to find ways to adjust cultures such as to provide harmless outlets for the traits & behaviors, and it may be possible to change the traits & behaviors to some extent.  But as long as the normal variation persists, there will always be individuals who are predisposed, and we will always have to deal with them.  Preferably medically rather than militarily, but in the end, if they go on the attack, they will have to be defeated, again and again, until our species substantially evolves.

            We got the future back. Uh-oh.

            by G2geek on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 03:31:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thorium fission (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              waterstreet2008

              is an interesting idea, although there is enough oil there to handle any electric needs for the next generation or two. In the big picture though we all need alternatives to dinosaur juice. I'm not convinced that Iraq is a good candidate for widespread desal. Their coastllne is so small, and it's hard to efficiently dispose of the waste.

              Religious extremism and violence pops up in most cultures from time to time. Regarding violence, Celtic warriors used to hand the heads of their enemies on their chariots as trophies. Even in modern times, US cavalrymen mutilated the bodies of native American civilians in ways that even Daj hasn't thought of yet. If there is a genetic predisposition, I would expect that the gene is pretty common in most populations. Yet you don't find the Welsh hanging heads from their front bumper these days, or at least if someone does, you can rest assured that it's an outlier.

              I think a pre-disposition to violence lies just under the surface in most societies. What it takes to express it is variable, but I think it usually has it's root in a desire for genocide... wanting to completely remove/eliminate a competing population in the quest for scarce resources.  I can imagine a group of cro-magnons completely slaughtering a rival band in order to gain exclusive access to a spring, for instance. The idea is that genocide enables one group to propagate it's genes at the expense of another.

              What was simply a survival feature for our ancestors becomes catastrophic in modern terms. We can say that education, prosperity, etc suppress this tendency, but if so, how do we explain the twentieth century? The Germans were among the most highly cultured people in Europe, yet look what they did 70 years ago.

              I don't know how to effectively curtail jihadi tendencies, beyond the ideas above. Education, feminism, economic development, wider exposure to other cultures and values, religious moderation... all can play a role, but there is no guarantee that we won't be facing this over and over again, until, as you say, our species substantially evolves.

              … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

              by mosesfreeman on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:53:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  "Jihadi magnet" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mosesfreeman

            That looked to be the theory with recruiting for AQI.

            Between the intel services efforts and dumbass walkons, they had more suicide hounds than Occupation targets. And the first paymasters in Iraq were Saudis, which changed to Syrians. but it was always saudi money.

            Same today. Murdering Shi'ia civilians.

            One question: the Israelis have warned off the Saudis from killing their people. The odd attack comes from Lebanon or Gaza. But the Iraqis sit there and take it. No payback.

            •  The attacks from Lebanon and Gaza (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              waterstreet2008

              reflect the anarchic nature of the region.  The Saudis keep a lid on it to the greatest extent of their abilities, they just can't control everybody. Hamas can't either, in fact noone can. Rooting out the rocketmen is as much of a policing issue as a military one.

              Payback is an interesting question. Look at Lebanon... there have been several suicide bombings and rocket attacks directed against Shia in the last year or two. Nasrallah has urged restraint, and the Shia have been remarkably restrained, yet the attacks continue. KSA-friendly forces are behind it all, trying to drag Lebanon back into sectarian division and violence. Nasrallah, btw is a genius, and grossly under-rated by the west. He'd be a great peace partner.

              With Shia in Iraq it's the same, no real blow-back for KSA. I don't really get it either, but I note that if a Shia crescent ever does develop, that most of the Saudi oilfields are in Shia areas.

              As far as I know, noone in Iraq is calling for restraint. If the Saudis aren't getting hit, it might be luck, stupidity, or maybe there are other forces at work...

              … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

              by mosesfreeman on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:23:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  And let's make sure that ISIS members (3+ / 0-)

    and supporters residing in our western countries are legally deported.  

    •  By Iraq and Syria ??? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PeteZerria

      There have been a number of guys bail on ISIS. They were taken in when their tribes (Sunni, Syrian) switched to ISIS from Free Syrian Army or their families gave them up to press gangs.

      Other than voluntary departures, it doesn't look like the Kurds or Suleimani's force at Samarra-Tikrit are taking prisoners. No reason for Iraq's largely Shi'ia army to change that.

      •  What kind of support (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        waterstreet2008

        is ISIS getting from the ex-Baathist types? Is it just leadership, or are there tricks they can pull out? What's the King of Clubs up to these days?

        Np prisoners is a great policy, I hope they keep up the good work. If prisoners must be taken, the Quran mentions cutting off hands and feet on opposing sides, I'm sure they wouldn't object to being judged by the Quran. Missing appendages makes it tougher to return to battle in the event of a PW swap.

        … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

        by mosesfreeman on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 11:17:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ohboy, I can understand the... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          waterstreet2008, mosesfreeman

          ... tactical advantage of sending back their prisoners minus an appendage or three (don't forget the dangly one they use for raping women), but I'm inclined to believe that's a serious Geneva violation too.

          Prisoners have high intel value if given the right treatment (lookup: US Marine Corps Interrogator/Translator Teams, aka USMCITTs).  But that means humane treatment.  Even for despicable psychopaths.  

          We got the future back. Uh-oh.

          by G2geek on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 08:57:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Who are their supporters in the US? (8+ / 0-)

      They get their funding mostly from Saudis, do you have evidence that there are people in the US funding them as well?

      Or does this mean we should deport McCain who posed with some of these guys a while back?

      No War but Class War

      by AoT on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 08:48:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We could do the same for Hamas supporters (4+ / 8-)

      which include a lot of commenters here. ISIS and Hamas aren't that much different; they just target different civilian populations.

      •  I don't know if I should dignify that statement (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        waterstreet2008

        but I don't see Hamas flooding Tel Aviv with suicide bombers and hundreds of troops or destroying Christian and Muslim monuments.

        A million Arcosantis.

        by Villabolo on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 06:51:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hamas doesn't flood Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, charliehall2

          with suicide bombers because they don't get the chance any more.

          Research Intifada II. Or from Wiki:

          "A 2007 study of Palestinian suicide bombings during the Second Intifada (September 2000 through August 2005) found that:

          -- 39.9 percent of the suicide attacks were carried out by Hamas
          -- 26.4 percent by Fatah
          -- 25.7 percent by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad
          -- 5.4 percent by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and
          -- 2.7 percent by other organizations.

          Total of 804 victims over the years. D'oh.

          Poking the IDF lion with a stick is going to accomplish what ??? How is not learning the Gandhi lesson of nonviolence helping Palestinians to meet any objective other than suffering?

      •  Name the Hamas supporters here (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PeterHug, cville townie

        or shut the fuck up.

        Oh, and have a donut.

        … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

        by mosesfreeman on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 11:23:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  uprated to counter bogus HR. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        waterstreet2008

        Nothing in the comment was a violation of site rules.

        But it is a violation of site rules to HR a comment on the basis of disagreeing with it.

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:01:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Accusing site members of supporting (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          waterstreet2008

          terrorists is HRable. This guy does it all the time, yet refuses to provide examples or proof.

          … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

          by mosesfreeman on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 11:12:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Don't be a fool (0+ / 0-)

            You know exactly what I mean.

            •  Actually I don't (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              waterstreet2008

              Opposing Bibi doesn't equal support for Hamas, now or ever. Accusing people of supporting terrorism is a serious violation. If you have specific information or incidents in mind, in support of your claim, then provide them. Otherwise expect to get HR'd when you make baseless claims like this.

              … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

              by mosesfreeman on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:31:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  but that's the HR-able thing: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            waterstreet2008, mosesfreeman

            Accusing a specific person of being a terrorist supporter.  That's an ad-hom and depending on the group, may also be an accusation of committing a crime.

            For example if I said "JoeRandom123 is a Hamas supporter," that would be the ad-hom.

            If I said "JoeRandom123's comment 'Hamas is the front line of defense against The Jewish Conspiracy' is CT and making excuses for terrorists," that's not the ad-hom even though the differences (aside from 'Teh Jewish Conspiracy') are subtle e.g. "Hamas supporter" vs. "comment is making excuses for Hamas."

            Anyway I don't feel like having a pie fight over this, and per your comments about Wahhabis & Salafis vs. Sufis, I'd say the areas where we agree are more important than the areas where we disagree.

            We got the future back. Uh-oh.

            by G2geek on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 05:35:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Piling on against Israel is not the same as (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mosesfreeman

              supporting Hamas.

              Or not.

            •  There will be no pie fights in this diary (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              waterstreet2008

              I promise! LOL!

              I actually appreciate good and clever hasbara when i see it, and am a bit slower than most to throw the donuts, but the idea that liberal Kossacks are Hamas supporters won't ever fly.

              If anything, donuts might encourage him to up his game. I've noticed in the I/P pie fights that many "I" side folks are taking a different, more productive tack. I'm quick to give a rec' if someone is cogent, truthful, and insightful.

              … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

              by mosesfreeman on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:55:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  I'd rather not let the enemy loose in the wind (0+ / 0-)

      Not unless there's a good plan for turning such generosity to our advantage.

  •  Even with your reports (and thank you for them) (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, waterstreet2008, AoT, alypsee1, Kevskos

    I can't tell what's really going on. Why is it necessary to have 800,000 "troops" to rout, what, some few thousands, or maybe even some few tens of thousands of "gangs"?

    And where in the hell is air?

    This sounds far too similar to the Iranians and the Iraqis fighting to the death out in the southern swamps back in the eighties. And dieing by the how many tens of thousands.

    Strange that there still seem to be so many people who just love to kill and die. Why?

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 06:34:54 PM PDT

  •  Great description. Like a Tom Clancy novel... (4+ / 0-)

    ...in a good way.  Thanks.

    Government works when you elect those who want it to. --askyron (2013)

    by Simul Iustus et Peccator on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 06:46:25 PM PDT

  •  Cui bono? (6+ / 0-)

    I can be naive at times.

    I like that the author reminded us to watch the corporate media coverage of events. I've observed the same idiosyncracies in their coverage.

    Now I wonder . . .

    Why do they cover it the way they do? It's not an accident and it's not laziness. And I don't think it's benign.

    If it's not benign, it is therefore calculated. For it to be calculated, someone has to benefit.

    So I ask, who benefits from the American media covering these events as they do?

    Cui bono?

  •  They'll have to recruit heavily. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2008, Metric Only

    And like someone pointed out a few days ago, holding areas is different than attacking them.

    While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 06:55:53 PM PDT

  •  asdf (2+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2008, Euroliberal
    Hidden by:
    GoGoGoEverton

    Biggest piece of total outsourced nonsense seen on Kos in quite a while.

    What is your motivation for making up such nonsense?  Do you hate Muslims?  Are you crazy? Are you a paid government blogger?

  •  Thanks for another well-written, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2008

    informative installment on the mess o'potamia.

    Marx was an optimist.

    by psnyder on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 07:14:13 PM PDT

  •  ISIS has capature a Syrian base (3+ / 0-)

    In  Syria,one day  Israel will be confronting them on thier ground ,  thier not threat to America homeland ,but too Israel    

  •  ISIS power requires looting and capturing (4+ / 0-)

    weapons, therefore it requires constant expansion and victories, which aren't going to come.  

    Someone actually admitted on DK, "Yes. If it pisses you and the other Greenwald-Tweet-pearl-clutchers off, it's smart." Wow. Just....wow.

    by Inland on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 08:45:34 AM PDT

  •  Do you have evidence as to the claims (4+ / 0-)

    that Hashish is part of what they're doing? Because  that sounds like the age old slur on the Assassiyun of the old man in the mountain.

    No War but Class War

    by AoT on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 08:50:12 AM PDT

    •  I liked the diary... (8+ / 0-)

      ...but this has never made sense to me.

      Anybody who has ever smoked hash knows that the last thing you want to do is fight and kill.

      All you want to do is eat Snickers and watch Animal Planet.

      Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

      by The Termite on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 08:54:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's from reports of short wave conversations. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, The Termite, Metric Only, PeteZerria

      Kurds say they captured kilos of hash. The chain that tried to hit Al-Shara were higher than kites. After their vehicles got mortared and gunned, they tried to crawl in.

      If we get sample "evidence" I'll put you on the list. Got a Colorado POB ???

      •  I'm only a half hour from the border (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        waterstreet2008

        so I'll get a PO over there you can send it to ;)

        No War but Class War

        by AoT on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:12:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  LOL (6+ / 0-)

        All I'm saying is that the effects of this drug include things like reduced response time and diminished reflexes, placidity, lethargy, narcosis, and increased feelings of empathy. I have seen drunks go looking for fights; I have never once seen a stoner go looking for a fight. Ever. In decades. Not once.

        As well, there is no real analgesic aspect to it, so it's not like it would help you shrug off a wound and keep fighting. Your body has far more effective mechanisms for that all by its lonesome.

        Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

        by The Termite on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:40:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If any drug is being used it would be Captagon (6+ / 0-)

      This is an amphetamine. Even the US uses amphetamines to enable soldiers/pilots to remain alert for long periods of time.

      I doubt hash would be used by hard core ISIS due to religious constraints. There are videos showing the burning of marijuana plants as well as the destruction of cigarettes and liquor.

      •  The Saudis lead the world in pill popping. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, PeteZerria, G2geek

        All this is illegal but the authorities seize metric tons of the junk. Speed seizures are a commonplace at their hospitals.

        Hash produces a soothing dreaminess, hyped with speed to produce high-energy activity. Instead of crapping their pants like everybody else first time in battle, the doped up Jihadis rush ahead seeking Martyrdom.

        Obviously this is no way to run a defense.

        •  Captagon gives a euphoria all on it's own (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          waterstreet2008, protectspice

          It suppresses hunger and is an effective pain killer. It increases the sense of well being, self-confidence, aggressiveness, power and superiority.

          Hashish on the other hand produces listlessness, poor hand eye coordination, distortion of time/space and a "could care less" attitude. Hash smokers would not make a very effective military force. I doubt if they could even make it to the battlefield if they were sufficiently stoned.

          I've not seen any evidence that ISIS members are smoking hashish or pot.

          •  Ketamine is also available. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Claudius Bombarnac, Metric Only

            Dirt cheap.

            •  Ketamine is an anesthetic (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              waterstreet2008, G2geek

              It won't make them fight any better and would likely knock them out. I would imagine an amphetamine is part of the equation, plus whatever.

              … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

              by mosesfreeman on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 11:44:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Tell that to a rave crowd. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mosesfreeman, G2geek

                And yes, an anaesthetic. Add to hash and speed -- PERFECT !!

                Rule the effin world !

                •  I hadn't heard about the recreational use (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  G2geek, waterstreet2008

                  of ketamine. Yikes. We mostly use it in pediatric trauma cases, and usually for intubation.

                  … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

                  by mosesfreeman on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 08:01:01 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  also a highly effective emergency antidepressant.. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mosesfreeman, waterstreet2008

                    .... in very small doses.  

                    As in, takes effect in less than an hour.  You get a patient who's in on suicide hold, infuse them with @ 20 mg. Ketamine, and in a couple of hours they're safe.  It's not an anaesthetic effect and it's not a psychedelic effect.  

                    Keep them for the entire 3-day psych hold anyway and try to persuade them to get on SSRIs.

                    Peer reviewed findings in a respectable journal.

                    Ixquick-search "ketamine + antidepressant" should probably find it or a mass media story with the lead researcher's name.

                    We got the future back. Uh-oh.

                    by G2geek on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:20:29 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Interesting (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      G2geek, waterstreet2008

                      but small dose or not, who's going to write for it? I predict that this would take quite some time to gain wide acceptance. Everyone is cautious these days, probably more than we should be, but there you go.

                      … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

                      by mosesfreeman on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:46:10 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  try this: (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        mosesfreeman, waterstreet2008

                        Look up the journal article, print it out and put it on the desk of whoever is in charge.

                        Hospitals are already using Ketamine for trauma surgery and nobody complains about that.  One anaesthetic dose gives you @ 10 emergency antidepressant doses, heh heh;-)

                        Try this: use it on your repeat suicide attempts, the ones who get brought in for a second or subsequent attempt.

                        What I'd do is get IRB approval to randomly administer it to half of the repeat attempters, placebo-controlled RCT, and then keep track of who keeps coming back and who doesn't.  Return visits are a hard metric and a ratio-scale variable.  

                        It's also going to save hospitals money.  What's the cost per patient per day for locked psych ward?  Calculate the cost of a repeat attempter vs. the cost of a shot or two of Ketamine.  That should get attention if nothing else does.

                        The fact that kiddies use the stuff at raves (not much, but it's not unknown) shouldn't be determinative.  They're also popping benzodiazepines, narcotic analgesics, ADHD meds, and just about anything this side of major anticonvulsants and antipsychotics.

                        And yeah, I'm thinking of Robin Williams too.

                        Think of what happens when it becomes generally known, as with SSRIs, "there's a new antidepressant and it works much faster."   Most of the suicide attempters are just seeking the fast exit from unbearable emotional pain.  OK, so envision a future where everyone knows there's an instant cure for suicidal feelings: they can voluntarily go to the ER, get a shot, stay overnight in a regular inpatient bed, and the next day they're safe to go home.   Seems to me that would get a lot of suicidal PTs to just straight-up drive themselves to the ER and say "I want to kill myself, please make the pain stop."

                        Lives saved are worth bucking the status-quo for a bit.  It shouldn't take long before this is an approved indication and then it should become routine.

                        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

                        by G2geek on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:07:53 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Ecstasy is "E." Ketamine is "K." (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mosesfreeman

                    That common.

                    Somebody in LA tries a drug. A few brain cells survive after the "Wow!" Next weekend it's all over the club scene in London.

          •  depends on the culture. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            waterstreet2008

            Culture and individual variations in biochemistry have substantial effects on the observed effects of drugs.

            We got the future back. Uh-oh.

            by G2geek on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:14:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Most terrorist groups (4+ / 0-)

    do very poorly when fighting a real military. See for example Hamas in the recent Gaza war. They could do nothing of consequence against the IDF, and their only accomplishment was to increase the death toll among their own citizens (which seems to have been their primary objective). ISIS appears to be no exception.

    What would have happened had L. Paul Bremer not abolished the Baath Party and the Iraqi Army? I suspect that ISIS would have been nipped in the bud.

    •  The Ba'athists were 60:40 Sunni to Shi'ia. (4+ / 0-)

      Also secular, not religious. An abomination to Wahhabi Salafis and targeted by their proxies, the Bushes.

      •  i wonder about this: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        waterstreet2008, mosesfreeman

        Your use of the phrase "Wahhabi Salafis."  

        As I understand, Salafi is the term they prefer for themselves, and Wahhabi is seen by them as a pejorative.

        I call them Wahhabis because IMHO they deserve opprobrium.

        I'm not aware of any .mil or IC standards as to which word(s) to use.

        Is there some context in which using both words as a phrase is common?

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:23:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It should read Wahhabi/Salafi (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, waterstreet2008

          They are similar, but different.

          A valid comparison could be drawn from the protestant Christian fundamentalists. To an outsider, we could lump these groups together effectively, they stand for more or less the same things, and their differences are negligible for our purposes. Yet to an insider, the differences are important, a Pentacostal is not the same as a Southern Baptist, even if they vote the same way.

          Wahhabi is a term that many shy away from, but it refers to the traditional beliefs endemic to KSA and elsewhere since the time of Abd ul-Wahhab (google him). This is a strict and literalist interpretation of Islam, largely a reaction to the dominant Ottoman Sufi interpretation prevalent at the time.

          Wahhabism follows the Hanbali school of thought, and is within the Sunni mainstream of Islam, radical and literal as it is.

          The Salafi on the other hand are new. They sprung from Wahhabism, but are separate from it. They follow none of the four established schools of Sunni thought, and instead carve their own, new way, but they do it in a strict, literalist fashion. They have their own scholars, and don't take the lead from Saudi Hanbalis.

          Both groups are similar in their extremely literal interpretation of the Quran and hadith, both reject allegory, simile, song and poetry. Their natural antagonists are Shia and Sufis in this regard. Deeper meanings, understandings  and dimensions of spirituality are rejected in favor of outward conformity and rote memorization. It is said that the Salafi/Wahhabis can recite the Quran beautifully, yet not understand a word of it.

          Where they differ is in jurisprudence. To the Salafi, the gates of ijtihad are still open.A Wahhabi might issue some insane fatwa, but it will be in line with some other insane fatwa issued in the past. The Salafi on the other hand, will issue an insane fatwa that has no basis in Islamic law otherwise, thus they are more dangerous. An example of this was the "sex jihad" ruling that encouraged Tunisian girls to "marry" themselves several times per day to various Daj operatives. To the Wahhabi, this ruling is anathema.

          Functionally, the differences don't matter much, but just for the sake of reference, the Salafi are worse. Baghdadi, by the way, is Salafi.

          … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

          by mosesfreeman on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 12:10:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This underscores a core cause of mine (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            waterstreet2008, G2geek

            One that oddly, has received no currency thus far (western infatuation with the House of Saud might have something to do with it).

            Islam is defined by it's scholarship, yet for the past two generations at least, it's scholarship has been monopolized by those I describe above. Note, the Shia are excluded from this statement, that's a completely separate equation, but note that the Sunni are 90% of Islam's adherents.

            Every time a mosque needs to be built, or an Islamic school, anywhere in the world, chances are you will find Gulf donors willing to "help". With the donation comes the strings. I remember, prior to 9/11, that Saudi "floaters" would pass through the mosques, checking to make sure that the literature and programs all passed muster.

            KSA has a near monopoly on Islamic education. Whether it's support for institutions like al-Azhar, printed materials, curriculum, scholars sent out to instruct, the end result is that the Wahhabi mentality is presented to the rest of the world's Sunni community as the dominant ideology, yet in fact Wahhabism is an outlier.

            The best single defense against radical Islamic extremists is to revive traditional Islamic scholarship. No one would accept  blatant US sponsorship like we saw with Karen Hughes under Bush. What's needed is more subtle.

            I doubt that the Americans could handle a project like this, but I would bet that the British would be up to it. Just saying.

            … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

            by mosesfreeman on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 01:10:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  agreed. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              waterstreet2008, mosesfreeman

              KSA's influence on the world is pernicious, and control of Islamic education is the cornerstone of that.

              By all right and reason, we should regard KSA as a global adversary.

              I've tended to think that a mass outbreak of Sufism would be the cure.

              Intriguing what you say about the British.  Is there a strong Islamic community in the UK that is not infested with Wahhabi or Salafi heresies, that could reliably take on the task?  Or the UK Gov, or something else?

              Agreed, the US couldn't do this other than by replacing money spent by the UK or other govs.  This is one place where the USIC and US .mil need to step back and not get engaged, due to the risk of backlash if any such involvement was made public.

              We got the future back. Uh-oh.

              by G2geek on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 04:17:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  "We should regard KSA as a global adversary." (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mosesfreeman

                Bribing both Bush41 and Bush43 with tens of millions of dollars over the years is all I need for proof of that. Their damn Carlyle Group investment system spread out the slime across that top level political team.

                •  KSA is the enemy (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  waterstreet2008

                  and anybody who cooperates with it is a collaborator.

                  I've been knocking heads with those weasels for decades, long before it was cool. The trick though is to neutralize it without violence, and let it make itself irrelevant.

                  … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

                  by mosesfreeman on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 08:54:14 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  I say the British (0+ / 0-)

                because Americans aren't subtle enough, diplomatically. They tend to think they already know everything, then are shocked when their plans fall through.

                I remember under Bush, Karen Hughes was appointed to somehow change perceptions of the US in the Islamic world, and to define a new direction for Islam. The gulf was flooded with these puerile magazines, a project worthy of North Korea, and she went around making speeches to groups of Khaleeji women. In one particular instance, she was addressing Saudi women and said something to the effect of "Someday you won't have to wear these coverings anymore", then was shocked at their cool reception of the idea, and then was further surprised by their incisive questions about politics.

                The Bush administration was completely tone deaf. Their attempts to influence Islam were transparent failures.

                Obama hasn't done anything like that, but he also hasn't taken advantage of potential ways of mitigating the influence of KSA. I truly believe it's beyond the capacities of the US.

                An effective campaign has to think in the long term... generations. There can't be much intervention or oversight. Foggy Bottom can't micro-manage it, that would destroy it's efficacy. It's got to be spontaneous, yet intentional.

                If I were to try and wrest control of Sunni thought from the KSA, I would approach it from multiple angles. First I would plant hundreds of seeds. I would sponsor mosques and scholars, I would encourage Sufi tariqats, dhikr night in the mosques, seminars, speeches, articles, books, websites. I would sponsor translation of old texts, revive old works of poetry, make films about the inner dimensions of Islam and Islamic spirituality.

                I would target women, I would bring them greater participation and greater exposure to the inner magic of their religion. I would republish the works of Ghazali, Abdulqadr al-Jilani and other saints and philosophers. I would encourage pilgrimages to the old shrines, open new populations to direct personal religious experience. I would use music, which is kryptonite to the wahhabi, but nevertheless has a long Islamic history. Festivals, concerts, curriculum, academic chairs would all have their place.

                I would tacitly sponsor religious movements, some of which I may disagree with, like Gulen.

                The point is, to allow "spontaneous" religious development in ways and methods that are directly opposed to what the KSA stands for. We'd steal their fire.

                There are natural audiences for this type of thing in Turkey, Malaysia, Morocco, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, the other 'stans and elsewhere. The Muslim emigrant community in Europe and the States is also a natural audience.

                The bulwarks that are hard to penetrate are the Gulf proper, and Islamic universities like al-Azhar. The first will have to erode over time, and the second can be countered by offering programs in Islamic studies (I mean formal scholarship, not what we have now) in mainstream universities worldwide.

                This might sound big and expensive, but actually I think it could be done on the cheap, a grant here, a subsidy there. the heavy lifting would be done by private citizens, and many aspects could be self-supporting after a little seeding.

                … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

                by mosesfreeman on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 08:50:25 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  fundamentalism vs. mysticism again (and again) (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            waterstreet2008, mosesfreeman

            Sufism is the mystical branch of Islam, and so this conflict follows the historic pattern of "fundamentalists vs. mystics" that plays out in every religion.

            (Definition of mysticism: the branch of religion/philosophy that is concerned with direct personal encounter with the deity or ground of being, unmediated by scriptural or clerical authority.)

            I didn't know that the Ottoman empire promulgated Sufism.  That's also very interesting in light of the above.

            Understood re. all the points re. literalism vs. allegory & symbolism.  That is also definitional of the culture war between fundamentalists & mystics.

            You can put a dozen mystics from different religions in a room together and they'll all come out saying "all is one, and all is peace!"  You can put a dozen fundamentalists from different religions in a room together but you ought to have the police and paramedics ready to deal with the consequences, otherwise only one will come out alive.

            Mystics don't have a problem living side-by-side with fundamentalists: live and let live.  But fundamentalists have an annoying (heh) tendency to persecute mystics mercilessly.

            I knew the Wahhabi were fanatical fundamentalists and the Salafi as well, but I didn't know that the Salafi were a different sect that emerged more recently.   That plus the Ottoman item, looks like I have some reading to do (I use Ixquick not Google, because Ixquick doesn't spy on people).

            BTW, the underlying divide between fundamentalists & mystics is a matter of brain wiring.  The most obvious observable is "concrete thinking vs. abstract thinking" respectively, which set of characteristics will almost certainly be found to be embedded in hardware rather than culture (software).  However I would prefer to conclude that those characteristics could be changed, as demonstrated by occasional periods during which mysticism increased in cultures.

            And in case anyone is wondering, this is not a science vs. religion item.  The same personality characteristics are observed in the sciences.  For example Einstein was an atheist as far as theology was concerned, and also a mystic in his overall outlook, and there are well-known and well-verified quotes by him that make those positions clear.  I can't think of any well-known scientists whose overall outlook was fundamentalist, but occasionally one runs into individuals whose approach to scientific thinking is highly rigid and dogmatic in whatever way, and that would qualify.

            We got the future back. Uh-oh.

            by G2geek on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 04:11:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  One might also find that paranoia drives the (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek, mosesfreeman

              mental processes of Fundamentalists. Clearly, they revel in their anguish related to Hell. Hell, if nothing else, is out to get them. Now and forever.

              The mystic finds Allah within.

              One could build up accounts for how much trouble the various Fundamentalists cause over the centuries. Big numbers there. Celestial.

              As to Wahhabi, this is a destructive iconoclastic form of Isalm that focuses on recreating their imagined world of the 7th Century. Anything new is forbidden. The word was not coined in Saudi Arabia.

              Wahhab's family continue to run the religious apparatus in KSA.

              Salafist practice features obsession with details of the way of life in the 7th Century. They quote a line attributed to The Prophet:

              "The people of my own generation are the best, then those who come after them, and then the next generation."
              Pretending to know how The Prophet set his arms and his body for daily prayers is given weight above any natural virtue. And that's not the most extreme distortion to values.

              The Salafi also run to all-out hatreds. Expose a paranoid schizophrenic to Salafi madness, spin twice to the right, and you've got a murder machine.

              •  right on target. bull's eye. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                waterstreet2008, mosesfreeman

                Everything you said.

                You have a rare combination of fluent knowledge of some pretty widely different fields including military strategy & tactics, and comparative religion & philosophy.  I'm highly impressed but I shouldn't speculate in public;-)

                It would be really interesting to declassify the redacted sections of the 9/11 report, and I'm quite sure those pages will be chock full o' Saudis who supported AQ financially and logistically.  Bottom line is, KSA is the source of much trouble in the world, and should have been held responsible for its role in supporting the AQs who attacked us.  Meanwhile, "here they go again."  

                BTW, there's much good stuff in Small Wars Journal; you probably read it already.

                Re. paranoid schizophrenics: yes and I think that's why we're going to see their quality of recruits not just regress to the population mean but dip quite a bit below it.

                I'm inclined to think that al-Baghdadi has narcissistic personality disorder with grandiose features, as he's fashioned himself as walking in The Prophet's footsteps, including overtly trying to duplicate The Prophet's military strategies & tactics.  In Western culture when someone believes they are the Second Coming of Christ, that is diagnostic for a psychotic state with grandiose delusions, but this is usually accompanied by deteriorated functioning on one or more axes of measurement.  

                In the case of al-Baghdadi it's not that (because he's clearly been high-functioning in his chosen roles), it's something else, and I think narcissism fits the bill.  Alternately he's a con artist seeking raw power and not believing his own rhetoric, but I think that is highly improbable.

                The best outcome re. al-Baghdadi would be for him to be subjected to a couple of high-profile defeats that would derail his "Second Coming of The Prophet" narrative, so he comes to be viewed as a crank or wannabe.  After that, for him to be KIA by Muslim forces: Iranian or Kurdish for example, but definitely not US or UK.  It's majorly important that the new narrative be that he is not favored by Allah, he was out for himself, his military failures demonstrate his personal shortcomings, and then finally he met his end.  

                That kind of defeat for his faction of Islam might also create an opening for Sufism to expand, or at least for Shiites to gain power commensurate to that of Sunnis and exercise countervailing power against Wahhabi & Salafi influences in the region.

                We got the future back. Uh-oh.

                by G2geek on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 02:52:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think you're on target regarding (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  waterstreet2008, G2geek

                  Baghdadi's narcissism. I don't see him as a con artist either, I think he really believes he's God's own appointed savior. Having him killed off by Muslim forces would definitely be a better outcome than a drone strike or similar. The best outcome would be an end similar to Qaddafi's, but I digress.

                  I am fascinated by his watch. Even a Salafi would have a hard time justifying that. He is far enough off the mark regarding fiqh that I strongly doubt that he can gain wide appeal. I am guessing that his appeal is going to be limited to young men of poor prospects, criminals, the less educated, and those with common enemies and an axe to grind.

                  KSA is vulnerable to opposition by the Salafists. Their excesses and hypocrisy are well known. It's possible to exploit this division, especially in the short term, but tricky, because if either side wins it's a wash. A real master stroke would be to defang both KSA and the Salafists, and open the door to a more moderate version of Islam through Sufism.

                  While I love the Shia, their influence would be seen as too polarizing in the current climate. Sunni Sufis can co-habitate with Shia pretty well, the current bunch, not so much. I would like to see better relations with Iran, and peaceful relations among Shia and Sunni, but Shia influence has severe limits in how effective it can be.

                  … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

                  by mosesfreeman on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 07:18:15 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The Shia btw (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    waterstreet2008, G2geek

                    are natural Sufis, even if most don't acknowledge it. Their orthodoxy encompasses many concepts that are found only in Sufis among the Sunni. They have a depth that you would never find in Wahhabi circles.

                    … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

                    by mosesfreeman on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 07:58:40 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  there is poetic justice in that. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mosesfreeman

                    Qaddafi meeting his end while hiding in a sewer pipe, if I recall correctly.  

                    Re. al-Baghdadi's watch:  yeah that was interesting.  Not the first time that the watch someone wears has proven to be a useful clue.  Though (and I know little to nothing about watches), depending on the features the watch has, it might have served a practical purpose in terms of keeping track of time in different time zones, or timing events or setting appointment reminders.  A manually-wound watch of high accuracy is a more robust way of keeping time than any device that runs on a battery.  None the less, a nice propaganda coup to spread the meme that al-Baghdadi has a taste for "decadent Western luxuries", heh;-)

                    Same case applies to any background objects or audio in any photo or video.  Not long ago there was much speculation about a cellphone seen next to Kim Jong Il.  In an earlier DPRK video, I once spotted a Japanese type 600 dial phone in a high gov office, from which I inferred that the office was served by an NEC or Hitachi crossbar PBX, a fact that could have been useful at the time the video was made.

                    Re. divisions in KSA:  I'd be careful about the US supporting Salafists, that could have nasty follow-on consequences.  The possible exception being if a "CIA scandal" was arranged whereby, when the Salafists were no longer useful, they were exposed as CIA "dupes."  The trick is to manage that situation such that the backlash is directed against the Salafists rather than against the US or in favor of the KSA royals.

                    But yes, the sheer decadent hypocrisy of the KSA royals is well known.  Sex and booze and rock & roll.  

                    Shia influence in KSA?  That strikes me as improbable, what did I miss?  

                    Shia & Sufis:  Yes, see also the late Ali Bakhtiari, former oil minister of Iran, Sufi, and a true Renaissance mind, Islamic scholar and wide-ranging intellect in the sciences & engineering & humanities.  Folks such as he are a strong reason to believe that Iran and the US should be natural allies.  Had the hostage crisis never happened, we could have accommodated ourselves to the Iranian revolution and then, after some formal apologies for the 1956 coup, established a strong relationship.  Given the pragmatics on the ground right now with US & Iran & Turkey & the Kurds all on the same side vs. ISIL, there is hope that after ISIL is eradicated, some new alignments can flourish.

                    We got the future back. Uh-oh.

                    by G2geek on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 04:15:13 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  You know I hope he does copy (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  waterstreet2008, G2geek

                  the Prophet's strategy and tactics, because the Prophet was arguably a pretty lousy general.

                  Yeah, I know, sacrilege and all, but it's true, bear with me. He fought a couple of dozen battles and skirmishes through the course of his life, but only three truly decisive ones... one victory, one terrible loss, and one draw.

                  The victory was at Badr. It was essentially a suicide mission, the Muslims were badly out-numbered, but they were the attacking force. The victory, by Muhammad's account, was only due to divine intervention, and angels appearing on the battlefield, so his tactics don't get credit.

                  The Muslims were badly defeated at Uhud, due to lack of discipline and fire control.

                  The Battle of the Trench was a draw. The entrenched Muslims held off the Meccans and their allies, but also gained no military advantage. What eventually changed the game was a not a military development, but a spiritual/diplomatic one. Many of the Meccans just refused to fight the guy any longer. Muhammad won the respect of his enemies, and they wanted to join, rather than fight him.

                  At the end of his life, his followers controlled the entire Arabian peninsula, but it was more through the force of his personality and charisma than his military tactics.

                  … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

                  by mosesfreeman on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 07:39:52 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  interesting. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    waterstreet2008

                    Sacrilege but none the less useful to consider all aspects to look for anything actionable.

                    Along those lines, "angels appearing on the battlefield," at night, via holographic projection, and giving the clear impression of divine disapproval of ISIL, might prove useful.  I vaguely recall we have the capability to do that.

                    The Battle of the Trench could still be considered a victory, via civil affairs, in a manner of speaking, and from a strategic standpoint, control of geography counts.  None the less, to the extent that ISIL field commanders seek to repeat history, they only increase their own predictability.

                    We got the future back. Uh-oh.

                    by G2geek on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 04:27:12 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, it's the mysticism/fundamentalist (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              waterstreet2008

              dichotomy. I've noticed some correlation between this dichotomy and Myers Briggs profiles.

              Another way to put it is that the fundamentalists tend to be "rules" people, and the mystics renegades. One likes proper procedure, the other is focussed on outcomes and concepts.

              Bureaucrats and outlaws, Ike and Patton.

              … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

              by mosesfreeman on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 07:51:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  64 IDF soldiers died in Operation Protective Edge (8+ / 0-)

      It is only when superior technology is applied at a distance that the terrorist groups do poorly (although never so poorly as to be eliminated). Mano-a-mano, guerrilla fighters excel when fighting a "real military" in urban areas. They are much more committed to their cause.

      What would have happened had L. Paul Bremer not abolished the Baath Party and the Iraqi Army? I suspect that ISIS would have been nipped in the bud.
      That was never in the cards. The last thing the west and Israel want are secular, socialist, pan-Arab nationalist governments in the Middle East. The Ba'ath Part would have been subsequently taken down as is currently being attempted in Syria.

      It was funding and arming from the Saudis and Gulf States, with explicit support of the US, during the last 2 years in Syria which has given ISIS it's current power and status. ISIS's caliphate capital and base of operations is Raqqa, in northern Syria. The situation in Iraq since the US invasion just added fuel to the fire.

      •  The Last Thing Saudi Arabia Wants... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PeterHug, mosesfreeman, G2geek

        "are secular, socialist, pan-Arab nationalist governments in the Middle East."

        Apart from the Khomeini phenomenon, Iran and Syria were usually closer to Ba'athist government policies than to anything mirroring KSA.

      •  Two things.... (4+ / 0-)

        First, the only two reasonably quiet borders that Israel has ever had have been Jordan and Egypt. Secular and reasonably sensible.

        Second, to speak of "nationalism" in a vast sea of tribalism where the borders have all been artificially created by British and French colonialism is laughable.

        Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

        by drybones on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 06:18:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you do not understand Arab nationalism in (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, waterstreet2008

          the Middle East and the almost continuous attempts by the western nations to suppress and subvert it then you have not followed the history of the region.

          •  On the contrary... (4+ / 0-)

            I lived in the Middle East for a decade and I have studied the history of the region extensively. The very concept of Arab nationalism is a Western construct that has been imposed upon a tribal society, just as the current countries of the region are all totally artificial, created by the Great Powers following the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Those in the Middle East that use the term "Arab nationalism" do so because they desire power, rather than out of true loyalty to any Arab "nation." A perfect example is that madman who is running ISIS. He speaks of a new caliphate, but that is simply a facade to cover his ambition.

            Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

            by drybones on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 11:17:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The fact that the nationalistic tendencies are a (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              waterstreet2008

              relatively new phenomenon in the Middle East does not mean that they do not now exist.  

              Those in the Middle East that use the term "Arab nationalism" do so because they desire power, rather than out of true loyalty to any Arab "nation."
              You are conflating "Arab" nationalism with Kudish, Turkish, Armenian, Syrian and Iranian nationalism all of which have roots that go back to the days of the Ottoman Empire.

              The problem is that the western powers have consistently and continuously subverted any nascent nationalistic tendencies in order to keep the countries fragmented and weak.

              •  I am conflating nothing. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                waterstreet2008, mosesfreeman

                I am saying that when the French and the British put their arbitrary little lines on the map with the Sykes–Picot Agreement, ignoring all issues of ethnicity, religion and tribe when they did so (not to mention the British later arbitrarily taking three-quarters of the land area of historical Palestine and turning it into Jordan), they created a whole slew of what are essentially Arab equivalents of Northern Ireland or Bosnia. Even were the western powers to renounce all interest and interference in the Middle East, it would take both the renunciation of violence by all groups in the region and a charismatic figure on the order of a Mahatma Gandhi to create a true Arab nationalism. I don't see that as happening anytime soon - and until it does, the whole mess will remain a tinderbox.

                Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

                by drybones on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:37:56 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Bassem Youssef was getting that rolling (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  drybones

                  in Egypt.

                  Amazing impact.

                •  There was no real "historic Palestine" (0+ / 0-)

                  I have not been able to even find the term used prior to about 1911. The extremist pro-Israel argument that "Palestinian" is a made up nationality has a basis in fact. The problem with argument  that so is "Israeli" and most other nationalities today.

                  •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    waterstreet2008

                    Mark Twain wrote in "Innocents Abroad" (published in 1867):

                    "Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies. Palestine is desolate and unlovely – Palestine is no more of this workday world. It is sacred to poetry and tradition, it is dreamland."
                    ...somewhat earlier than 1911, and Twain certainly not have used a term unfamiliar to his readership in a non-fiction travel journal...

                    Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

                    by drybones on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 05:26:02 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  You could also buy yourself a map... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    waterstreet2008

                    Here's one from 1850 for sale...
                    http://www.antique-maps-online.co.uk/...

                    (apologies for forgetting to properly format the link in my previous comment)

                    Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

                    by drybones on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 05:35:12 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  What I meant was (0+ / 0-)

                    its use as a national term. The region had been called Palestine in Roman times. But the populace were not Palestinians. They were Jews, Greeks, or Romans. (No Arabs until the 7th Century.)

                    •  "Arab" is an amorphous term (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      waterstreet2008

                      By itself it doesn't mean much. Are we talking language, culture, ethnicity?  "Arabs" are not strictly people who come from the Arabian peninsula, they are mixed with Berber, Egyptian, Phonecian, European, Turkish, Kurdish, African and a dozen other genetic influences, depending on location.

                      A study was done on people in the Mediterranean basin, and what was striking is how alike these people are, having common genetic roots and influences. I suppose it's not surprising after millennia of trade, but the point is that all Mediterranean people are genetically mixed.

                      I'm reminded of von Daniken's stupid assertions in the 70's. He'd say "Where are the Mayans? How did they disappear?" yet all the while he was standing amongst them, or at least their descendants.

                      The Palestinians aren't pure Najdi Arabs. Since the 7th century there has been some Najdi genetic input, but there is also Roman, Greek, Phonecian, Samaritan, Egyptian etc etc.  They are a mix that reflects the long history of the region.

                      … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

                      by mosesfreeman on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 06:16:34 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  You are aware of course (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    waterstreet2008

                    that Palestinians have a distinct accent. You can spot a Palestinian instantly based upon how they speak, even if they have lived among other Arabs for a couple of generations. They are a distinct group.

                    … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

                    by mosesfreeman on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 06:19:46 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  The national borders of the region (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek, waterstreet2008

            were carved out in the twentieth century. Gulbenkian's red pen could be said to be the source of several countries in the region. Tribal or regional loyalty goes back centuries, national loyalty, not so much.

            … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

            by mosesfreeman on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 07:38:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Actually the Syrian border has been quite quiet (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          waterstreet2008

          After badly losing two wars, the elder Assad realized that directly attacking Israel was stupid. So he turned his attention to massacring his own people, and with engaging in a proxy war with Israel through Hezbollah.

          •  Hezbollah is no threat to Israel (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            waterstreet2008

            as long as the present borders are respected.

            An earlier generation of Israelis would have made peace with Nasrallah. I don't think Bibi is smart enough to fill those shoes.

            … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

            by mosesfreeman on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 10:34:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Nasrallah isn't interested in peace (0+ / 0-)
              Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has said in an interview that “Israel is a cancer” and that the “ultimate goal should be to remove it.”
              http://www.jpost.com/...

              Israel has been completely out of Lebanon for FOURTEEN YEARS. Yet Nasrallah started a war in 2006. Like Syria, a bad defeat knocked sense into him. But he is still the same evil man.

  •  How capable do you rate Iraq's army, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2008, mosesfreeman, G2geek

    in terms of both its officer corps and enlisted men? Do you think it will be up to the task of  a counter-offensive this fall?

    •  Helped out with the Qods Force officer corps (5+ / 0-)

      and the Iraqi veterans of the Iran-Iraq War being recruited for temporary duty, they will have the basics in place.

      The counterattack at Tikrit went on a rail. Feints ID'd the ISIS gun positions, then barrages neutralized them. The hand-to-hand fighting turned into ISIS collapse.

      •  I'm guessing that they'll learn (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        waterstreet2008, G2geek

        from their mistakes though, especially if they are getting advice from pros.

        Under the circumstances, wouldn't they just hit as hard as they can, right now, while it's blazing hot, rather than wait for the hammer to fall?

        … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

        by mosesfreeman on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 11:49:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Dead people don't learn shxt. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mosesfreeman, G2geek

          The attacks at Samarra and Al-Sahra failed miserably with heavy to complete losses of manpower.

          But yes, that's ISIS's top card. If they could stay away from Gen. Suleimani, their chances would go up.

          Thing is, they have already lost their two top line attack groups to his counterattack at Tikrit and then at Samarra.

          •  I'm guessing that they are (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            waterstreet2008

            piss-poor at effective indirect fire. I've heard that they have acquired the systems, but have seen no evidence that they have mastered them.

            … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

            by mosesfreeman on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:59:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "Indirect fire" refers to high arcs for artillery (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mosesfreeman

              shells. They go way up before they come down.

              Thing is, ISIS likes to attack while they drive in their pickup trucks. There is no way to set up mortars same time as racing over terrain.

              Ron. Or shoot. Not both.

              On the other hand, they have skill with the mortars where they set up. The Afghans were doing that back in the 1970s.

              •  Yes both (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                waterstreet2008

                I could envision setting up artillery and using the trucks as spotters, as well as a strike force, but as far as I know they haven't done that.

                Or maybe they strike so far and so fast that even that isn't possible?

                Most of what I've heard regarding Grads and type 63s has been way off the mark, so far that they might as well not even bother. Haven't heard anything about traditional mortars, but I wouldn't guess the results were much different.

                … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

                by mosesfreeman on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:37:58 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  It is disappointing that (6+ / 0-)

    the only place I have heard about the battle of Samarra is here at Dkos. The  Cable airwaves are silent   as to any losses by ISIS and they would rather wring their hands on  the issue of limited airstrikes  by US and  what is success, leaving out all the other resources arrayed against  ISIS.

    •  You have the Internet. (5+ / 0-)

      Forget american news media. You simply are not being informed. If you want to know what´s happening in the world, you need to go on your own through the internet and find appropriate news there. Of course you need to be able to tell good info from the huge quantity of chaff there. But  thats how it is in our times.  

      •  Finding sources goes to connecting up with (4+ / 0-)

        people who at least get to eye witnesses. Even then there is no proof against distortions.

        The four battles presented in this diary are reported all over MENA. There's video up and images with bodies by the dozens.

        Background on General Suleimani is also all over the place. CIA & Friends keep a large book on him. The Saudi and Israelis see him as a major enemy. Which is foolish. They have no idea why you are better off with solid rivals -- not a clue how to value him.

        •  The Israelis played the game much better (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          waterstreet2008, G2geek

          a generation or two ago. The current batch is clueless.

          … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

          by mosesfreeman on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 11:52:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, Bibi is running everything. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mosesfreeman, G2geek

            He might succeed this time getting Gaza demilitarized.

            Otherwise, it's not a big challenge to keep the electricity off and take out muni water systems. Make for a migration back to Egypt where they started. And no, Gaza is not predominately "Palestinians."

            Back 1950 Gaza had 100,000 residents. If Bibi doesn't get what he wants, you could see that again. How else can he take out Hamas?

            Was he watching "Walking Dead" ??? Got his ideas there?

            •  Gaza's only part of it (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek, waterstreet2008

              I'm talking about the bigger picture. Israel has somehow lost the ability to discern who it's possible friends are. The older generation were masters at dividing the opposition. Bibi is an expert at unifying it.

              Realpolitik demands dropping the grudge.

              … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

              by mosesfreeman on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 07:48:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Who comes out on top in Baghdad... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2008, Metric Only, G2geek

    ...must certainly be a factor in U.S. strategy. I think the President is walking a tightrope made of eggshells in Iraq.

    It would be greater blow to "Islamist extremism" for ISIS to be defeated by other Moslems than by foreign "crusaders".

    Iran's forces will be essential to the effort, but Team Obama is probably seeking ways to minimize Tehran's involvement, and shape the victory in a way that elevates the prestige of pro-western elements in Baghdad.

    In that regard, the U.S. is playing a weak hand. Our airpower is formidable, but troops on the ground are going to have more political impact than F-18s in the air.

    I'd rather see Iraq become a puppet of Iran than the seat of a new "Caliphate"... but I am not looking forward to the "Who Lost Iraq" debate in 2016. I hope that PBO can thread this needle successfully.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:54:36 AM PDT

    •  The U.S. is all but irrelevant. (6+ / 0-)

      Iran's Qods Force guys speak Arabic. They have earned a reputation for courage June/July/August. Whatever happens in Baghdad, revenge is going to drive events come fall.

      I don't see Ray Ordierno sleeping in the cellar at Al-Askari any time soon. And he thought he was putting AQI out of business back 2006-2008. Our best people are borderline ignorant.

      Consider a Shi'ia Crescent running 1,500 miles from Beirut to the east.

      If they adopt a thoroughly non-sectarian social order, that could attract the local Sunni tribes, who are done with Wahhabi Salafi narcissism. The Sunnis in Syria and Iraq know they don't matter in the least to the Saudis -- no different from Palestinians.

      •  Making the U.S. appear relevant is one of PBO's... (4+ / 0-)

        ...political challenges. He'll have to do just enough of just the right things with U.S. forces to blunt Republican screeching about "Iran's takeover of Iraq" in November... even if he can't reasonably do anything to stop it.

        A "non-sectarian social order" run from Tehran is a pretty big if. The Qods force is an arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, not the regular army. "Qods" means "Jerusalem" ferchrissakes.

        I agree that they are a sophisticated "special forces" unit (with elements parallel to CIA "special ops"), but it's not clear if they report to the Grand Ayatollah or the President of Iraq.

        If the only choice is between a Salafist Caliphate and an "Islamic Republic", I'll take the later... but I'd rather see secular Arab nationalism prevail.

        I just hope that a Shia-led campaign against ISIS doesn't result in the leveling of Sunni towns (and moderate Sunni political power) across Iraq.

        “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
        he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

        by jjohnjj on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 05:54:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  After the Saddam years and after Bremer and (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Metric Only, G2geek

          after AQI and after al-Maliki and with ISIS/AQI back in country there's something of a shortage of Moderate Sunnis in Iraq.

          Or moderate anything.

          From the Iranian point of view they have strict rules for Shi'ia and tend to minimize proselyting. For recent decades anyway. Sensible nationalism is on the rise.

  •  ISIS funds itself through cooperation with Assad (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Metric Only

    in the form of captured oil production facilities and captured electrical grids, and they are enlarging their potential funding sources through areas in Northern Iraq that are now under their control. Assad purchases oil and electricity from this terrorist group. This is widely documented, and was in a diary that linked to this Charles Blair report on dailykos in the last few days, although there are some inaccuracies in the report, but not about the funding:

    http://thebulletin.org/...

  •  So in conclusion, no ISIS is not a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Metric Only

    "One trick pony", but has been developing into a ruthless, fighting force for over 10 years now, and is a direct response to western genocidal actions in the Middle East for decades, in my opinion.

  •  the real trick for the iraqi army (5+ / 0-)

    is in restraining themselves from just massacring the entire sunni arab population as they inevitably push ISIS back. ISIS did as well as they did because of local sunni arab support or toleration of ISIS as a weapon that hurt their enemies in the iraqi government.

    if such a counterattack can be paired with diplomatic work turning local sunni arabs against ISIS in exchange for a better arrangement between sunnis and shia after ISIS leaves, and a post-battle settling of scores avoided, a major vulnerability to the iraqi state will be removed. returning to the status quo ante + grudges from the wars against ISIS will not remain stable for long.

    as obama said yesterday, "no victors, no vanquished." there has got to be a plan for the peace that follows the war.

  •  And there will be more of the same (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PeterHug, waterstreet2008, G2geek
    Global warming has not been kind to the Iraqis. Weather conditions in Iraq continue to feature peak temperatures for Baghdad at 113F to 117F.
    Syria has been suffering from a major drought with the government doing nothing to relieve the situation. That has driven many impoverished farmers into the cities.

    Expect Global Warming to disrupt the entire Middle East and surroundings with the inevitable result of more wars and migrations.

    This will be the new normal from now on.

    A million Arcosantis.

    by Villabolo on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 07:13:51 PM PDT

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