Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 10, 2014

The Islamic State Prepares For A Big Attack - Baghdad Or Aleppo?

A month ago I wrote that the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) is now the only game in town when it comes to insurgents fighting against the Syrian (and now also Iraqi) state:

In a few month the Islamic Front will no longer exist. It will vanish like that phantasy of a Free Syrian Army. Parts of it will swear allegiance to the Islamic State, parts will give up fighting and parts will change over to the government side. Then the real war against ISIS will start.

The "moderate rebels" Washington has been searching for for years are a unicorn. Whomever the U.S. gave weapons to and trained in Jordan and Turkey is now part of ISIS.

The Islamic State consolidates itself (recommended) in west Iraq and across the east and north of Syria:

The frontiers of the new Caliphate declared by Isis on 29 June are expanding by the day and now cover an area larger than Great Britain and inhabited by at least six million people, a population larger than that of Denmark, Finland or Ireland. In a few weeks of fighting in Syria Isis has established itself as the dominant force in the Syrian opposition, ...

By now IS generates enough money from oil sales and blackmail to support itself. It has taken an immense haul of weapons from four Iraqi divisions and now also from the Syrian Brigade 93 which it defeated a week ago:

In addition to 5+ 122mm D-30 howitzers, the IS captured approx. 20 T-55 tanks & 1 ZSU-23-4 Shilka SPAAG

Note: The haul in Iraq was much, much bigger than this one.

The Islamic State has enough experienced soldiers to handle these weapons. How good its logistics are run though is an open questions. Those may eventually turn out to be its weak point.

The Islamic State also gained in numbers. Even the ardent promoter of the non-existent Syrian Free Army Hassan Hassan now admits that all these folks are under IS control. International forces so far aligned with Al-Qaeda are moving over to IS. Tribes in the newly captured areas pledge allegiance to the Islamic State and add to its forces.

One military expert says:

ISIL has now progressed from local victories to a regional strategy. They have moved from what is referred to in Counterinsurgency warfare as Phase II to Phase III operations, or transformation from fixed covert insurgency to an overt war of mobility. This is when a terrorist group grows strong enough to come out of the shadows to transform into a mobile “liberation army”.

Colonel Pat Lang remarks:

Today I am told that DoD has decided that the IS force is the most capable non-Israeli army in the ME. pl

IS has lots of light and heavy weapons, it has money, it is led by experienced senior officers from Saddam's old army and it has a large force of indoctrinated foot soldiers. What is it going to do with these capabilities?

In his speech declaring the Caliphate Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi promised to do something big. He needs a big event to consolidate his position. The former Saddam officers aligned with IS want to capture Baghdad and regain their old status. The current attack against the Kurdish Erbil is not the big one but just a sideshow. Baghdadi wants to eliminate it as a U.S. position that could otherwise be used to attack his back. As Pat Land sees it:

When they are done in the north they will return to the problem of eliminating the present Iraqi government. I doubt if they plan to occupy the Shia south of Iraq but the destruction of what remains of Iraqi government central authority is certainly possible.

If they succeed in doing that much, Jordan, Lebanon and the Gulf will beckon.

But over the last weeks the Islamic State also consolidated its position in Syria and connected the two battlefields into one.

Elijah J Magnier, a Middle East analyst and journalist with excellent sources, suggests a different target for the big attack as storyfied here. Excerpts:

Hundreds of tanks & sophisticated anti-air artillery gained from #Iraq & #Syria are gathering for a spectacular attack Baghdadi promised.
...
2my mind, #IS is pulling z attention on #Iraq 2hit harder in #Syria, knowingly that a) #SAA & #Assad would attract less interntionl help

Magnier suggests that the Islamic State will run a spectacular attack on Aleppo and will probably capture the city. He is right to believe that - should the Islamic State use its full force - the weakened Syrian army will have little chance to hold this important city. The result would be a huge bloodbath.

While the U.S. would probably try to stop an attack on Baghdad, though impossible with a few pinprick airstrikes, it is unlikely that any international help would come to counter an attack on Aleppo. Patrick Cockburn concurs:

Isis may well advance on Aleppo in preference to Baghdad: it’s a softer target and one less likely to provoke international intervention. This will leave the West and its regional allies – Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey – with a quandary: their official policy is to get rid of Assad, but Isis is now the second strongest military force in Syria; if he falls, it’s in a good position to fill the vacuum. Like the Shia leaders in Baghdad, the US and its allies have responded to the rise of Isis by descending into fantasy.

In my view the Islamic State is at its core a genocidal and extremely dangerous force that should be defeated by all means as soon as possible. There are now believable claims that it just killed or buried alive some 500 Yazidi. This isn't its first or last massacre it committed. The Islamic State has thereby very different dimensions than the laughing stock Al-Qaeda threat we were told to fear over the last decades. If it has more time to gain additional resources it will become much more difficult to defeat.

Unfortunately, because the threat of the old Al-Qaeda was over-hyped, this new force has little to fear from the "west". Obama promised to only protect Erbil for its oil and for its value as an intelligence base. A few air attacks from a far away carrier can not hold a city against a determined capable force. Erbil may soon fall.

Obama withholds any further weapons or help to the government of Iraq because he wants to blackmail it into some phantasy of "national unity government":

The ongoing strikes, which began Friday, address “immediate” concerns of protecting Americans, besieged minorities and critical infrastructure in the north, Obama said. But comprehensive aid to push back advances by the Sunni Muslim extremists through much of the country over the past two months will require a new Iraqi government, he said.

For the first time I can think of I -in this case- agree with the neocon warmonger John McCain:

Mr. McCain said he would favor sending combat air controllers into Iraq to help identify targets for airstrikes. Heavy military equipment should be rushed into Erbil, the Kurdish capital, the senator said. And he said he believed the airstrikes must extend into ISIS-controlled territory in Syria.

Airstrikes can not win wars and can not take ground away from the Islamic State. Local forces will have to do that. But airstrikes can destroy its heavy weapons and the ammunition depots it captured. The Syrian air-force is too small to achieve this. An Iraqi air-force does not exists. Turkey and Jordan have some capabilities but are either unofficially allied with IS or fear its retribution. The U.S. could run such an air campaign. It would take the U.S. air-force supported by special operation groups on the ground only a few weeks to reduce the Islamic State to an infantry force incapable of larger geographic actions.

But Obama and the people informing him still believe that the Islamic State, which they partially helped to grow, is some cuddly homegrown Al-Qaeda that can be used to further this or that geopolitical phantasy. They are wrong to believe this.

Posted by b on August 10, 2014 at 01:31 PM | Permalink

Comments
next page »

This is not what the neocons had in mind when they pushed for "regime change"in Iraq...

Posted by: Ralphieboy | Aug 10, 2014 1:34:50 PM | 1

What are you smoking today? Some Peshmerga who didn't care and didn't think IS was their enemy (they thought they were their enemies enemy) running away or getting slightly beaten from some periphery towns inhabited by people they may not even think are their own doesn't means that Iraqi Kurds (and their different allies) are just going to fold and disappear like the traitors fest in Mosul in June.

Erbil isn't going to fall not without a long protracted war. It's their capital. And if the lame US/Israel supposed Kurdish allies (at least allies of some Kurds) fold Iran and the Kurdish factions that they helped against Saddam won't. Erbil is the Kurdistan capital.

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 10, 2014 1:46:28 PM | 2

"moderate rebels"... may as well just called them "moderate murderers".. nice to know the us is supportive of moderator murderers..

but they won't stop ISIS movement towards a bloodbath in aleppo.. it's in syria which is another country us-rael want to bring democracy and freedom to!

thanks for the article b with links.

Posted by: james | Aug 10, 2014 1:58:28 PM | 3

Fuck you, gatekeepr Cockburn.

So, let's focus on that core group of allies - i.e. Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar - and let's just fucking ignore ONCE A FUCKING GAIN, the genocidal apartheid elephant in the room that is Israel and which according to plan after plan after plan GOING BACK DECADES has stated that it would like nothing better than the balkanization of the entire ME.

How about all that WINEP/Israel wooing of the Kurds that's being going on for years and has ticked up recently? Should you talk about that PC? Nah.

Yup, no one could have seen this ISIS shit coming.

Fucking nonsense. Fucking bullshit. Fucking shameful.

The word "Israel" doesn't appear fucking once in Cockburn's entire piece and yet people here will say stupid fucking shit - although even bevin came around to acknowledging the foreign-backing of ISIS last week - that accepts the MSM portrayal of ISIS as some sort or rag-tag yet extremely well-organized and funded group of crazy mercenaries.

Gee, do you think the unspeakable atrocities they are committing are DELIBERATELY being committed so that the world continues to THINK that they are just "crazy jihadists" and NOT a Zionist-backed mercenary group on a professionally coordinated campaign of chaos?

Nope. Just crazy jihadists all around. Why, JSore, just look at all the crazy shit they're doing!

Fucking stupid. Fucking preposterous. Fucking NO WAY.

The lesson of 9/11, Iraq/WMD, Ghouda, Libya, Ukraine, MH17 and on and fucking on apparently have NOT been learned yet by the West as we continue to believe in the fucking fantastical narrative given to us by the MSM and their gatekeeping brethren.

Fucking fuck.

Please someone hit me with my favorite line rebuttal about how I'm being racist in denying the Arabs/Muslims the necessary agency/competency to carry out this campaign. Please my head needs to explode everyday at least twice before fucking lunch.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Aug 10, 2014 2:07:01 PM | 4

the airstrikes must extend into ISIS-controlled territory in Syria.

No thanks, I'm positive if US bombs anyone in Syria it will be SAA, softening them for an ISIS attack. Still someone under illusions this Al Qaeda franchise works against USrael interests? Call me when ISIS attacks Israel (they supposedly hate), which will never happen. In the meantime ISIS will continue serving as a USrael proxy terror army.

Posted by: Harry | Aug 10, 2014 2:15:51 PM | 5

Now b is parroting BS Iraqi and Western propaganda about the Islamic State and seems to be joining the Liberals in there R2P mania. When someone joins McCain, The Insane, in supporting US agression they have truly gone over to the Dark Side.

Amything the US does to escalate our involvement will only fertilize the growth of the Caliphate because more than a physical force it is an Idea who's time has come.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Aug 10, 2014 2:29:27 PM | 6

Thank you, Jsor. I despise Patrick Cockburn. Nailed it.

Posted by: Colinjames | Aug 10, 2014 2:33:36 PM | 7

Here's what you get when two psychopaths have a conversation.

One blatant lie after another, for example:

we had no skin in the game that really enabled us to prevent this indiscriminate arming [of ISIS].

If she is elected say goodbye to world peace.

Posted by: ess emm | Aug 10, 2014 2:40:48 PM | 9

"...even bevin came around to acknowledging the foreign-backing of ISIS last week"

I have never doubted that ISIS is a production of the Saudi regime and its allies, which include the US and Israel. Why you cannot post one of your screeds without slandering me and others who post here, I cannot imagine.

As to Patrick Cockburn your insistence that he adopt your attitude to the world and interpret its events to accord with your prejudices is unreasonable. Cockburn supplies information which is of great utility to those willing to understand where it comes from, who publishes it and in what circumstances he gathers it.

Your heated and shrill rhetorical style is married with a Jacobin insistence that all agree with your very simple views, Were you ever part of Larouche's operations? Or are you just an old Spartacist?

Posted by: bevin | Aug 10, 2014 2:56:18 PM | 10

I mean it's barely a fucking week since we've seen the US justify/support the fucking Israelis with their nonsense narratives regarding Hamas etc while they deliberately murdered innocents in schools/hospitals and now we're supposed to jump on the next installment of Zionist nonsense narrative - i.e., ISIS fucking horseshit narrative - while the US starts to carry out airstrikes?!!!

Gee, I'm sure gonna TOTALLY FUCKING SURPRISED when said airstrikes and other such support "accidentally" start to take out Syrian infrastructure, its military etc etc.

Totally fucking surprised.

Like I was about Israeli bombing hospitals and UN buildings.

No one could have seen that shit coming.

Holy fuck.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Aug 10, 2014 3:03:56 PM | 11

How credible is this article ????
http://nsnbc.me/2014/08/09/u-s-airstrikes-against-is-in-iraq-part-of-war-on-baghdad/

Posted by: Willy2 | Aug 10, 2014 3:06:31 PM | 12

@JSorrentine -

Your screeds are getting more and more idiotic. You live in some world that is completely monocausal, where there can not be more than one force with this or that interest involved in the facts that appear on the ground.

The language you use in these screeds is even more vulgar than then simpleminded thoughts behind it.

Either you find a way to more sophisticated arguments than your current sandbox whining over that one kid that once destroyed your oh-so-carefully-build castle and a language that avoids personal aggression and fits the one other use here or you will be banned from this blog.

Posted by: b | Aug 10, 2014 3:10:45 PM | 13

Adding:

I mean, one of the first fucking questions on the lips of every good "progressive" regarding MH17 when it first happened was cui bono? Why would Putin do this etc etc etc?

But when confronted with an EVEN MORE PREPOSTEROUS string of events - i.e., all things ISIS - NO ONE sees fit to ask the same cui bono type questions even though the Israelis and their Zionist ilk have answered that exact question time and time and time again:

The Israeli scum benefit from ISIS. They want and have wanted for decades a fractured ME.

The recent Gaza operation should be seen as a campaign running parallel with THEIR OTHER campaign: the breakup of the rest of the ME through the use of their faux-jihadist mercenary group ISIS.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Aug 10, 2014 3:11:01 PM | 14

Fine, b, I'll take a "break" and go "educate" myself and get more "sophisticated".

Posted by: JSorrentine | Aug 10, 2014 3:13:29 PM | 15

...Spiegel said it was not clear whether the Americans worked for private firms or were from the army but said some wore uniforms. The training focused on use of anti-tank weaponry.

Some 200 men have already received such training over the past three months and there are plans in the future to provide training for a total 1,200 members of the "Free Syrian Army" in two camps in the south and the east of the country Britain's Guardian newspaper also reported that U.S. trainers were assisting Syrian rebels in Jordan.

British and French nstructors were also participating in the U.S.-led effort, the Guardian said on Saturday, citing Jordanian security sources..."

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE9290FI20130310?irpc=932

Calculated chaos is this well funded IS mercenary group. This story is from 2013.

Posted by: really | Aug 10, 2014 3:18:05 PM | 16

To call for US bombing in Iraq is a mistake. The United States can no more play a positive role in the region now that it could with its 2003 invasion.

The world should call instead for support for the legitimate governments of Iraq and of Syria, demand a halt to all shipments of arms to IS and any of the Syrian Rebel groups. The legitimate governments of Syria and Iraq should be lent support from the countries of their choosing - Russia and Iran. Not have the unasked for "help" of the US which will - quickly is my guess - turn to a bombing campaign to achieve its own interests in the region.

The goal of any US strikes will not be to destroy IS, but to establish an anti-Iranian bulwark in middle of the supplies lines that start in Tehran and end in Southern Beirut and the Gaza Strip. Why should we imagine that the bankrupt US will suddenly spend billions in pursuit of humanitarian objectives in Iraq and Syria, having spent several years trying to destroy these two nations?

No more role for the United States. Not anywhere. The first answer to the problems of the Middle East is the removal of American power from the scene, not more of it.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 10, 2014 3:22:52 PM | 17

http://nsnbc.me/2014/08/09/u-s-airstrikes-against-is-in-iraq-part-of-war-on-baghdad/

Well, the content of the article at the top of this thread makes this article more credible. Washington seems to have switched sides in Iraq. Abandoning Maliki & backing up IS. But will IS disregard all of this and attack the Kurds anyway ?
A major attack on Aleppo or Baghdad will distract attention from US support for the Kurds.

I think both Maliki's & Assad's days are numbered. Then the next question becomes what happens to the Kurds ?

Is this an outcome Israel likes ? To have IS as their neighbours (Golan Heights) ? Or would love Israel like IS to destroy Hezbollah in Lebanon ?
I think IS as Israel's neighbours won't go down too well in Israel. In that regard Assad was a more predictable person to have as a neighbour.

Questions, questions and no good/definitive answers. Only time will provide those answers.

Posted by: Willy2 | Aug 10, 2014 3:26:13 PM | 18

I think this is a must watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPS-pONiEG8

The Myth of the "Clash of Civilizations". Edward Said
Uploaded on May 13, 2011
In 1993 Harvard Professor Samuel P. Huntington wrote an essay titled "The Clash of Civilizations?" and later he expanded into a book with the same title, but without the question mark. Edward Said, late Columbia professor rips Huntington's thesis to shreds.

As a voice in search of justice, I have heard few more passionate. The perfect foil for the Zionist-sponsored idea of the Palestinian as a barbaric, simple-minded, fundamentalist Muslim filled with hate.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 10, 2014 3:32:05 PM | 19

Maliki is "toast" because the iraqi army is a joke. Undermined by corruption. He even didn't bother to care (finacially) about the Sunnis. Maliki was warned several times that he should dole out money to the Sunnis in order to gain support from them. But he didn't wanted to do that. So, the Sunnis won't rest before Maliki is dead and/or gone.

Moqtada Al-Sadr could unite the Shia in the south but does he want to return to Iraq ?

Posted by: Willy2 | Aug 10, 2014 3:41:54 PM | 20

I think we should all be very wary of going the Hitchens route. Sure, IS is a radically evil force, even more radical and more evil than that prodigious, US-created boogeyman, Al Qaeda, which spurned Hitchens to abandon all of his passion for anti-imperialism and call for the invasion of Iraq.

I suppose we all hit our point at which we cry out in fear for the monster-maker to reign in its creation. And no doubt the US has made some frightening figures - now we face fundamentalist be-headers, known to dine on their victims? Does it get any worse?

But as long as we always try and face the monsters instead of taking on their creator, we are playing the game laid out for us.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 10, 2014 3:45:56 PM | 21

Actually, as an evangelical Wahabbi Saudi proxy, I'm more concerned about IS having an end-game of provoking Iran and/or the United States in just-such-a-way as to then jump-start the long sought (by KSA + Israel) America-vs.-Iran dual in the sun -- "How 'Bout You and Him Fight?" ...
Would an attack on Aleppo bring Iran's air force out of the shadows? Would Russia's battleships deploy? While Russia probably would refuse to come to Baghdad's defense (also Kabul) for not-my-problem BTDT historical reasons, they might come to Assad's aid if he were genuinely threatened.
Personally, I'm doubtful that IS would want to submit itself to Assad's unrestrained arsenal, so if-it-were-me I'd keep hammering away in Iraq hoping to be able to marshal significant manpower for whatever comes "next" -- whether a checkmate advance on Baghdad (which might prove very popular among the massive number of ex-Baghdad residents among displaced Sunni Iraqis) or some next-year-in-Jerusalem advance on Iran of their dreams.
As has been mentioned various places, IS is no longer dependent on its backers in the KSA and KSA official-dom likely considers them a shoot-on-sight threat ... Attacks on Riyadh or Amman would likely be suicide missions.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Aug 10, 2014 3:46:41 PM | 22

I don't think Erdogan likes the fact IS has become so strong. It would undermine Erdogan position in Turkey, IMO.

The question becomes more and more: How long are the puppets Turkey and other countries willing to dance to Uncle Sam's tune ? When their interests don't align with Uncle Sam's interests ?

Or is the US more & more relying on Kuwayt, Quatar & Saudi Arabia to play the policeman in the Middle East ? When it's in the process of "pivoting" towards East Asia.

Regarding "pivoting towards":
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/conn-hallinan/parsing-the-east-asian-po_b_5630935.html
The US WANTS MORE instead of LESS instability.

Posted by: Willy2 | Aug 10, 2014 3:51:16 PM | 23

What b is talking about is a very good example of the crudity of US policies: first they arm these wahhabi militias to the teeth, then they pour large quantities of weaponry, money and training resources into preparing them for battle. And then, when the jihadis actually do what they say they will do, the US, now desperate either to recover its arms and munitions or to give the world the impression that they wish to do so, starts bombing their positions. Or pretending to do so, probably by looking out for wedding parties or tribal gatherings.

There are two aspects to this: the first is that US policy is characterised by tactical virtuosity and strategic illiteracy. It really has no idea how to achieve its ends, hence the succession of enormously expensive military campaigns ending in disastrous failures, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq. Vast amounts of resources poured out with only one certain result-death and suffering, rubble and ruined lands. All that expense of blood and treasure and the net result is a bump in the number of international refugees.
Those who wish to do so, as we know, will go to any length to prove that what appear to have been failures were in fact stunning successes, that the US has tightened its grip on the world oil supply, that it was all part of the Israeli plan
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39376.htm
to destroy Iraq.
And there is some truth in this.

Which leads to the second aspect of US policy, which is that, apart from the Pentagon's specialists training, arming and assisting these wahhabis, who appear to know their business, those involved in directing US policy are so much at cross purposes with each other, and there are so many competing factions, with such a variety of conflicting objects, some peculiarly zionist and Israeli, others frankly electoral and partisan, others wholly economic and related to the MIC scams which have been the engine of the US economy since 1940, others on behalf of Riyadh and still others with the general aim of simply promoting chaos, regionally and globally, under the theory that international disorder will lead to general acceptance of US hegemony as world policeman.

The reality is that the US is losing control. It is creating so much chaos in so many places that it can no longer follow what it is doing. Everywhere it is delegating its super-power to very questionable agents. In Ukraine the neo-nazis, weird volkish cultists. some of them, who haven't left the beer kellar in half a century, the sort of loonies who probably would try and shoot down Putin's jet. Does anyone think that, had the US desired such a thing it would not have carried out the plan with more subtlety?

Then, in Iraq/Syria, they have empowered, quite openly, really, the proto-Caliph and his motley followers who under the disguise of that wild eyed mad mullah persona that the western media insists upon, appear to be emerging as highly rational, strategically astute operatives.
No good can come from US intervention-no good has come from US intervention.
But it cannot be stopped, whether or not its aircraft carriers in the Gulf bomb ISIS positions is only a side issue: the reality is that, Israel and Saudi Arabia, and their agents, which include Egypt right now, between them constitute US power in the region in a much more permanent way than American expeditionary forces and navies. By the same token the forces resisting that power, essentially centred on Iran, may or may not prevail. If they do it will be because they have drawn Russia and China to their assistance. Which takes us back to those earlier posts in which b talked of the shifting of tectonic plates in the world community.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 10, 2014 3:52:28 PM | 24

***I suppose we all hit our point at which we cry out in fear for the monster-maker to reign in its creation. And no doubt the US has made some frightening figures - now we face fundamentalist be-headers, known to dine on their victims? Does it get any worse?

But as long as we always try and face the monsters instead of taking on their creator, we are playing the game laid out for us.***

Here, here! So very well said, guest.

I mean any entity which has spent decades bombing, well everything, yet still performs "humanitarian bombing" such as this...should never be trusted when they claim they are here to help.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/11024037/Iraq-crisis-It-is-death-valley.-Up-to-70-per-cent-of-them-are-dead.html
On Sunday night, I became the first western journalist to reach the mountains where tens of thousands of Yazidis, a previously obscure Middle Eastern sect, have been taking refuge from the Islamic State forces that seized their largest town, Sinjar.
I was on board an Iraqi Army helicopter, and watched as hundreds of refugees ran towards it to receive one of the few deliveries of aid to make it to the mountain. The helicopter dropped water and food from its open gun bays to them as they waited below. General Ahmed Ithwany, who led the mission, told me: “It is death valley. Up to 70 per cent of them are dead.”
Two American aid flights have also made it to the mountain, where they have dropped off more than 36,000 meals and 7,000 gallons of drinking water to help the refugees, and last night two RAF C-130 transport planes were also on the way.
****However, Iraqi officials said that much of the US aid had been “useless” because it was dropped from 15,000ft without parachutes and exploded on impact.****

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Aug 10, 2014 4:02:33 PM | 25

b,
JSorrentine raises a good question @14. You even mentioned it yourself in in 2006 and in 2005.

Do you see the Yinon Plan and Clean Break, while not mono-causal, as having important, even preponderant, causal explanatory force in 2014?

Posted by: ess emm | Aug 10, 2014 4:03:29 PM | 26

Sept. 2013

"...But a significant number of Congress members reject any increased U.S involvement in Syria, fearing it will lead to being drawn into another Middle East sectarian battle. According to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)“there are a great many of us who applauded the president’s caution about not being dragged into this conflict and continue to have great concerns.”

Somewhere in the middle are those, including Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) who support arming the rebels, but object to the covert nature of the proposed actions. However, in mid-July both the House and Senate intelligence committees approved using the CIA to proceed with the weapons shipments, financing the operation by re-programming previously appropriated funds. This allows the operation, stalled for more than a month, to proceed.

Meanwhile, the several previously described bills that would authorize arms and training to Syrian rebels have made no progress. S. 960, the“Syria Transition Support” bill, introduced in May by Menendez, was passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 21 by a vote of 15-3, but still has only four co-sponsors, including Menendez. It would among other things, authorize the president “to provide defense articles defense services, and military training” to specific Syrian rebel forces...."

http://www.wrmea.org/wrmea-archives/551-washington-report-archives-2011-2015/september-2013/12172-congress-watch-congress-can-t-agree-on-how-to-respond-to-events-in-syria-or-egypt.html

Posted by: really | Aug 10, 2014 4:06:38 PM | 27

Cockburn

"For America, Britain and the Western powers, the rise of Isis and the Caliphate is the ultimate disaster. Whatever they intended by their invasion of Iraq in 2003 and their efforts to get rid of Assad in Syria since 2011, it was not to see the creation of a jihadi state spanning northern Iraq and Syria run by a movement a hundred times bigger and much better organised than the al-Qaida of Osama bin Laden.

Of course the implementing in staggered increments of the Yinon Plan, also, could also result in blowback, couldn't it?

Substitute "Israel" for whatever "THEY" intended and...voila! I see no mention
or hint of takfiri caliphate mentioned therein.

Sorrentine asks

"Please someone hit me with my favorite line rebuttal about how I'm being racist in denying the Arabs/Muslims the necessary agency/competency to carry out this campaign."

The overall implications of your hyper-conspiracy crankery, do involve a
tacit belief in Jewish supremacism, wherein Israel always wins.
9-11-2001...even if LIHOP played a role (Raimondo/"9-11-Terror Enigma") has resulted indirectly in overstretch via Iraq War quagmire and diminished power for the US and if not now, ultimately Israel in the Mideast, where Hamas has arguably
done what was needed to reverse the tide of world opinion and give Hezbollah some
tactical hints in the process.

The guest nails it, though. Sorry that b has a strain of the liberal internationalist in him.

"No more role for the United States. Not anywhere. The first answer to the problems of the Middle East is the removal of American power from the scene, not more of it."

Posted by: truthbetold | Aug 10, 2014 4:12:55 PM | 28

@24 bevin,

the impression the usa wants to give is it's doing 'selective' bombing for humanitarian reasons.. one only has to open the link ess emm shared @9 to know how delusional usa leadership and prospective leadership is.. the 'selective' bombing is just like the 'selective' humanitarian acts where gaza and donetsk are off limits, but ironically the place - irbil - where all the big oil companies are headquartered and to which netanyahu suggests should have it's own country - is the place they are bringing this 'selective' bombing / humanitarian help to...

i can be accused of being quite cynical about the usa's intentions, but i don't believe it is anything other then just what those running the deep state underneath bozos like obama and etc. want.. it is exactly what they want.. the usa has been taken over.. the ordinary people of usa have no say whatsoever in any of the madness their country is inflicting around the globe..

Posted by: james | Aug 10, 2014 4:13:14 PM | 29

"For the first time I can think of I -in this case- agree with the neocon warmonger John McCain:

Mr. McCain said he would favor sending combat air controllers into Iraq to help identify targets for airstrikes. Heavy military equipment should be rushed into Erbil, the Kurdish capital, the senator said. And he said he believed the airstrikes must extend into ISIS-controlled territory in Syria.

[Video] John McCain Photographed Chilling With ISIS Leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi

    The last photo is courtesy of our own CNN, who photographed the man talking to John McCain face to face.

Posted by: Chortle | Aug 10, 2014 4:13:45 PM | 30

FWIW, my impression was that the "Syrian rebels" were not doing very well -- that infighting had flared up creating a crippling impediment to any gains against Assad. So, I've wondere if the movement of IS into Iraq may have been a retreat from the anti=Assad, anti-rivals Syrian battlefield into the welcoming arms of Sunni Iraq and onto the world stage as previously unrecognized, international major-player.
The Iraqi Baathists were and are seasoned professionals with decades of experience of keeping the Iraqi Shiia in line (oh and veterans of the brutal Iran/Iraq War) -- Its worth wondering just how much of IS's success in Iraq is due to Saddam's old crew. My impression of the Syrian Jihadist Rebels is not one of this sort of discipline and professionalism.
I'd take the "slaughter of 500 Yazidhi's" with at least a tiny grain of salt -- mostly because it has been reported as new "news" for several days now with little to no on-site verification as well as some horror-inflation ... Yazidhis buried alives, 300 Yazidhi women taken as slaves, 50 children killed in the siege, etc. In many ways, both sides have reason to portray IS as the baddest bad terrorist/murderers ever (see Al-Qa’ida after 09/11), and while I do not doubt the reports mass executions of a month or so ago that was a matter of killing the male Shiia populations -- men who might well be potential enemy troops. I'm waiting for a bit more evidence of their wanton killing of women and children -- while, YES, I do think it's possible, I don't think it's wise to trust anyone to be truthful.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Aug 10, 2014 4:25:22 PM | 31

Apparently, the United States has moved on from "humanitarian assistance" to "preventing the another Benghazi" -- protecting American personnel in Baghdad and Kurdistan ... Humanitarian Assistance is no longer operational, particularly as there are reports of 20-30,000 having escaped the mountain by a route cleared by the Peshmerga.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Aug 10, 2014 4:30:01 PM | 32

"In my view the Islamic State is at its core a genocidal and extremely dangerous force that should be defeated by all means as soon as possible."

defeated by whom? the "genocidal and extremely dangerous force" that created IT?

+++

the problem with guys like JSorrentine is that they don't believe in Santa Claus. i mean, ISIS is what, maybe 10 thousand fighters tops, with a shitload of high quality weaponry made in the usa that they oh so conveniently got their hands on. weaponry that's gotta be constantly maintained and resupplied in a swathe of land the size of fucking great britain! well, obviously they're makin' a list and checkin' it twice...

sheesh!

Posted by: john | Aug 10, 2014 4:33:37 PM | 33

The repealing of the IS monsters requires adulthood, in three areas: 1) Boots on the ground, and there are only four military forces seeming capable of doing it, if acting together, what would require a political understanding unheard of: the Kurdish Peshmergas; the Iranian Al-Quds Force; the Hizbollah; and the Syrian Armed Forces; 2) a serious effort against their revenue sources, that would require an intelligence and law enforcing push against the sales in the black markets of the oil and antiquities robbed by the IS; 3) replacing all the foreign hegemonic pretensions in the Middle East with a shared effort for the overall development of the whole region. As this seems to be wishful thinking, we are left with the option of praying.

Posted by: Geraldo Lino | Aug 10, 2014 4:39:47 PM | 34

I think that the US best option was never to
have invaded Iraq in the first place (and that includes the 1990s sanctions "war"
which killed 100,000 plus Iraqis)
This option would also have "saved" the US $1.7 trillion.

even the Afghanistan war was largely a misconceived enterprise gone wrong.

Saddam Hussein was always the Iraqi and rest of Arab worlds best hope
(if you could call it that)

but then the US is not exactly being run by people whose interests coincide with that of the American people anyway.

Posted by: chris m | Aug 10, 2014 4:41:16 PM | 35

Why can't the U.S. mount air attacks from their nearby land base in Incirlik, Turkey?

Posted by: lysias | Aug 10, 2014 5:09:23 PM | 36

Somehow it seems if the ISIS threat to Baghdad or Aleppo is this dire it would seem that it would be Iran's interest to enter into Iraq with a sizable military force and directly engage them. If the Kurds were under such a drastic threat then they would also be willing to host Iranian troops. If the US was so concerned about ISIS they would provide tactical air support. There is no way that the US will reintroduce ground troops to Iraq.

The US is powerless to change the damage we have caused. It might be politically impossible for the US to support Iranian forces but we could quietly sit back and not cause any more trouble.

Maybe, just maybe, the one thing we could do is to cancel that $500 million of military support that we have promised to send to the Syrian "rebels". And maybe we could ask Turkey very politely to stop supporting the ISIS forces in Syria. Not much else beyond that. Under these circumstances it is hard to call it good news that America's influence in the world has dropped so drastically, but that is one silver lining in this cloud.

Posted by: ToivoS | Aug 10, 2014 5:11:56 PM | 37

The US best choice is to get the Brits in (50-100,000 would be about right)
and leave them there-----
The UK was always behind the that fake religion called Wahhabiism
(remember Lawrence of Arabia)
and that other fake religion called Zionism.
or should we call it Anglo-Zionism)

oh and leave behind a few F-16s and other assorted hardware)

Thanks but no thanks

Posted by: chris m | Aug 10, 2014 5:13:18 PM | 38

OT, but a nice take on the triumph of Bashar Assad and the Syrian people over colonialism:

http://www.intifada-palestine.com/2014/08/metamorphosis-bashar-al-assad/

The Metamorphosis of Bashar al-Assad

Since the retirement of Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez’s death and the interdiction of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to nominate a candidate in Iran’s presidential election, the revolutionary movement is absent a world leader. Or rather, was absent a world leader. However, the incredible tenacity and composure of Bashar al-Assad has made him the only chief executive in the world surviving a concerted attack by a vast colonial coalition led by Washington and has been largely re-elected by his people.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 10, 2014 5:16:41 PM | 39

I agree with the half dozen or more commentators above who reject b's attitude. Another point I'll add, which was said obliquely by Susan Sunflower #22 and #30, is that b is over-hyping the military power of ISIS. b didn't indicate how many fighters he thinks ISIS has. You've probaby come across estimates in which the number of ISIS fighters is "small". E.g. at the time when ISIS took over Mosul it was widely reported, and correctly, that the number of ISIS fighters in that operation was only in the hundreds and less than a thousand (while the Iraqi army and other Iraqi security forces have a combined headcount of about 900,000, and so there is a serious marshalling problem with the Iraqi army).

I've said on this board before that, out of all of the factors in the situation in Syria over the past two years, the most critical factor has been the poor marshalling performance of the Syrian army -- it's been poor given the weaponry it has, the number of soliders it has, and the support of the population that it has (and in other words the Syrian rebels have had much weaker weaponry, far fewer soldiers, and far, far less civilian support). For an example of its marshalling weaknesses, the Syrian army has never successfully executed a cordon operation (or "siege") over the past two years, something every army with superiority in weaprony and numbers of men should be able to do; the rebels inside the cordon were always able to get out. Nevertheless, the Syrian army has over and over again proved itself capable of maintaining defensive positions against rebel attacks. If ISIS attacked Aleppo city it wouldn't be able to drive out the Syrian army from the army's defensive positions there. Also the number of armed men that ISIS could send to attack Aleppo would only be like the number involved in the attack on Mosul, and they would be coming up against Syrian soliders in Aleppo who would be willing to fight them to the death. Thus I say a successful ISIS attack on Aleppo is impossible.

My more general point, that b is now much over-hyping the power of ISIS, is something that time will be showing the correctness of, or incorrectness of. I will remember it in one and two year's time, to find out if I've made a mistake I can learn from.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 10, 2014 5:24:49 PM | 40

Blaming Bush For Iraq Invasion
http://www.arabworld360.info/2014/08/blaming-bush-for-iraq-invasion.html

Posted by: M. Tomazy | Aug 10, 2014 5:28:11 PM | 41

@34 How many planes, pilots, mechanics does the base have? Is it safe from ISIS raids or what would be needed to defend the base? What kind of anti-aircraft weaponry does ISIS have?

Do we need high performance bombers to blow up a jeep? Desert Storm took place six months after Desert Shield started when the U.S. and it's allies had far more forces to commit. Not to compare the two opposing forces, but counter offensives take time. In the case of Libya, France and Italy were gung-ho. Moving aircraft from the UK and Germany was no problem to bomb a regime which had largely disarmed in the post-Soviet world.

And we can't forget Turkey refused their airspace in 2003. Turkey has its own issues with Kurds, but the post-secondary landscape could embolden Turkey. American air power is impressive, but it's not just ready to go especially as we've been moving into Africa and Southeast Asia. The Enterprise isn't available to zip extra air power over night anymore. The other carriers are smaller.

Obama would have to request Congressional approval because the War Powers Act won't carry him through any kind of build up, and there won't be a vote until after the election.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Aug 10, 2014 5:45:17 PM | 42

Posted by: jo6pac | Aug 10, 2014 2:40:22 PM | 8

The still associated with the article is clearly an Iranian 60mm mortar bomb. Captured in Syria. (The photo's been used kinda a lot.)

Posted by: JustPlainDave | Aug 10, 2014 5:46:05 PM | 43

Maliki using military right now to try keep power in Baghdad. Something really big is happening now.

Posted by: Steve | Aug 10, 2014 5:48:05 PM | 44

For the first time I can think of I -in this case- agree with the neocon warmonger John McCain:

Mr. McCain . . . said he believed the airstrikes must extend into ISIS-controlled territory in Syria.

&

In my view the Islamic State is at its core a genocidal and extremely dangerous force that should be defeated by all means as soon as possible. There are now believable claims that it just killed or buried alive some 500 Yazidi. This isn't its first or last massacre it committed. The Islamic State has thereby very different dimensions than the laughing stock Al-Qaeda threat we were told to fear over the last decades. If it has more time to gain additional resources it will become much more difficult to defeat.

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


From 2007 - Senior Qaeda figure in Iraq a myth: U.S. military

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A senior operative for al Qaeda in Iraq who was caught this month has told his U.S. military interrogators a prominent al Qaeda-led group is just a front and its leader fictitious, a military spokesman said on Wednesday.

Brigadier-General Kevin Bergner told a news conference that Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, leader of the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq, which was purportedly set up last year, did not exist.

The Islamic State of Iraq was established to try to put an Iraqi face on what is a foreign-driven network, Bergner said. The name Baghdadi means the person hails from the Iraqi capital.

Bergner said the information came from an operative called Khalid al-Mashadani who was caught on July 4 and who he said was an intermediary to Osama bin Laden.

He said Mashadani was believed to be the most senior Iraqi in the Sunni Islamist al Qaeda in Iraq network.

"In his words, the Islamic State of Iraq is a front organization that masks the foreign influence and leadership within al Qaeda in Iraq in an attempt to put an Iraqi face on the leadership of al Qaeda in Iraq," Bergner said.

===========

Posted by: Chortle | Aug 10, 2014 5:54:19 PM | 45

Contrary to your view b, I have the strongest feeling that the Islamic State is at its *periphery* a genocidal force. My money's on the jihadis eventually finding out just how good the old Baathists really are - they were competent soldiers and not a small number of the old guard were also competent security intelligence operators. Goes to show how old regulars with limited resources and deep knowledge can out last superficially informed whiz kids even with functionally unlimited resources.

Posted by: JustPlainDave | Aug 10, 2014 5:57:47 PM | 46

OT but: http://rt.com/business/179332-poland-us-import-apples/

Interesting view on the commitment and sacrifice shown by US allies in the war against Russia as Poland squeals about lost apple sales and demands that the US make up the difference.

Someday - and likely soon - the US will have to cut off the cash spigot. How many allies do you think we'll have then?

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 10, 2014 6:33:22 PM | 47

all the Islamic State and ISIS before it are proving is islam is a religion of war

Posted by: brian | Aug 10, 2014 6:46:21 PM | 48

Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 10, 2014 5:24:49 PM | 38

something to paste on your refrigerator!

the jihadis were never a conventional army but guerrilla mercenaries called RATS by the locals for their burrowing, tunnenling-thru-walls and cannibalstic habits. They were always going to be difficult to defeat as no matter how many wrer killled more kept coming, drawing from a billion sunni wannabe jihadis

Posted by: brian | Aug 10, 2014 6:50:47 PM | 49

'Today I am told that DoD has decided that the IS force is the most capable non-Israeli army in the ME. p'


since when is the israeli army 'capable'! or has he forgotten the war on lebanon. what israel is good at is shooting fish in a barrel, esp when backed by the 'international community'

Posted by: brian | Aug 10, 2014 6:55:00 PM | 50

Someday - and likely soon - the US will have to cut off the cash spigot. How many allies do you think we'll have then?

As you are likely aware, the printing presses run 24-7.

As long as the world believes that a dollar is worth a dollar, the US will keep shipping it out on pallets (not to us, austerity for us).

These current "conflicts" are about three things (none of which include R2P):

Resource extraction for Multinational Corporations, expanding Usrael territory in the ME (with more privatized resource extraction), crony capitalism (MIC at the trough), and to enforce adherence to America's Monopoly Money as the world currency.

Posted by: Fast Freddy | Aug 10, 2014 6:55:07 PM | 51

'In my view the Islamic State is at its core a genocidal and extremely dangerous force that should be defeated by all means as soon as possible. There are now believable claims that it just killed or buried alive some 500 Yazidi. This isn't its first or last massacre it committed. The Islamic State has thereby very different dimensions than the laughing stock Al-Qaeda threat we were told to fear over the last decades. If it has more time to gain additional resources it will become much more difficult to defeat.'

so who is in thie Islamic state? are they just iraqi sunnis? or are there a large number of imports? yet again we never learn WHO THEY ARE. Not so long ago they didnt exist.

Posted by: brian | Aug 10, 2014 6:59:09 PM | 52

all the Islamic State and ISIS before it are proving is islam is a religion of war

Where did they get all the Christian Vehicles and Munitions?

Posted by: Fast Freddy | Aug 10, 2014 7:01:48 PM | 53

Maliki not going as quietly as Obama hoped.

Could he be playing chicken with USG? Perhaps believing that USG wont allow IS to succeed in capturing Baghdad.

Posted by: ess emm | Aug 10, 2014 7:02:00 PM | 54

a wiki on ISIL, which implicates the Musmlim Brotherhood...Morsis gang
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_State_of_Iraq_and_the_Levant

'ISIS is an extremist group that follows al-Qaeda's hard-line ideology and adheres to global jihadist principles.[95][96] Like al-Qaeda and many other modern-day jihadist groups, ISIS emerged from the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s first Islamist group dating back to the late 1920s in Egypt.[97] ISIS follows an extreme anti-Western interpretation of Islam, promotes religious violence and regards those who do not agree with its interpretations as infidels and apostates. Concurrently, ISIS (now IS) aims to establish a Salafist-orientated Islamist state in Iraq, Syria and other parts of the Levant.[96]

ISIS's ideology originates in the branch of modern Islam that aims to return to the early days of Islam, rejecting later “innovations” in the religion which it believes corrupt its original spirit. It condemns later caliphates and the Ottoman empire for deviating from what it calls pure Islam and hence has been attempting to establish its own caliphate.[98] However, there are some Sunni commentators, Zaid Hamid, for example, and even Salafi and jihadi muftis such as Adnan al-Aroor and Abu Basir al-Tartusi, who say that ISIS and related terrorist groups are not Sunnis at all, but Kharijite heretics serving an imperial anti-Islamic agenda.[99][100][101][102]

Salafists such as ISIS believe that only a legitimate authority can undertake the leadership of jihad, and that the first priority over other areas of combat, such as fighting against non-Muslim countries, is the purification of Islamic society. For example, when it comes to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, since ISIS regards the Palestinian Sunni group Hamas as apostates who have no legitimate authority to lead jihad, it regards fighting Hamas as the first step toward confrontation with Israel.[103]

Posted by: brian | Aug 10, 2014 7:02:13 PM | 55

the above article is fairly comprehensive and show how some view ISIS as not islamic...even when its orgins are and its ideology is like the wahhabis: the quest for purity. But for sunni islam this group would not exist.

Posted by: brian | Aug 10, 2014 7:05:05 PM | 56

Brian@ 46

All Patricharical religions are Religons of War except maybe that Flying Spaghetti Monster one and I'm not too sure about them.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Aug 10, 2014 7:10:20 PM | 57

maenwhile in west china:
'It is interesting to note that the terrorist campaign in Xinjiang, that has already resulted in scores of deaths, is reported to be led by Sunni muslim extremists. The US has funded Sunni Muslim extremists in Syria in an ongoing attempt to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic. In addition, the US funded Sunni Muslim extremists in Libya to overthrow Gaddafi, and dismantle the top oil producer on the African continent. Currently, the US is indirectly funding the Sunni Muslim extremist ISIS organization in Iraq, through the proxy regime in Saudi Arabia.'
http://journal-neo.org/2014/07/05/terrorism-in-china-is-the-us-involved-this-time/

Posted by: brian | Aug 10, 2014 7:13:15 PM | 58

All Patricharical religions are Religons of War except maybe that Flying Spaghetti Monster one and I'm not too sure about them.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Aug 10, 2014 7:10:20 PM | 55

let nme know when you find a Christian State waging a war of aggression..they may have in the past, when wars were religious...but not today

Posted by: brian | Aug 10, 2014 7:14:39 PM | 59

Where did they get all the Christian Vehicles and Munitions?

Posted by: Fast Freddy | Aug 10, 2014 7:01:48 PM | 51


what 'Christian Vehicles and Munitions'?

Posted by: brian | Aug 10, 2014 7:15:56 PM | 60

Rumours about a coup in Egypt now by...well who?

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 10, 2014 7:17:39 PM | 61

Yet another feature of 'our' 'jihadists' is that their atrocities can give the atrocities of our Zionists a run for their money ... or try to. But they play on different venues, the 'jihadists' on the MSM and the Zionists in the real world.

I read of two polls recently, one gallup (republicrat) and one pew (demoblican?) which both recorded the under thirties as having seen through the 'fog of war'.

The gallup poll had them 51% Palestinian sympathizers and 25% Zionist.

I think that in the end ISIS will be seen to have been just more of the gratuitous murder and devastation the ignoble Nobelist, as my friend Charlie calls him, has unleashed in Libya/Syria/Iraq .... Ukraine

Martin Luther King Jr, a man who lent that piece of toilet paper some of his stature which it once enjoyed, would be in tears, but denouncing the 'Black Man' in the White House. The nihilist. The revolving-door, revolutionary. The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

Posted by: john francis lee | Aug 10, 2014 7:29:16 PM | 63

@52
That is a possibility ess emm.

Or maybe Maliki is thinking the US has left him swinging in the wind. He probably knows he is not going to get any love from any US appointed replacements.

Posted by: really | Aug 10, 2014 7:31:43 PM | 64

WP: EGYPT Muslim Brotherhood party is disbanded.

Egypt’s highest administrative court Saturday dissolved the political party of the banned Muslim Brotherhood and ordered its assets liquidated in the latest move against the 86-year-old Islamist group.

The decision against the Freedom and Justice Party precedes parliamentary elections expected this year and prevents the group from trying to rejoin politics a year after its leading member, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted from Egypt’s presidency by the military.

After President Hosni Mubarak was deposed in a popular uprising in 2011, the party was founded by the Brotherhood, Egypt’s historic Islamist movement, which was created in 1928. The party went on to dominate subsequent legislative elections.

The religious parties were the only "opposition" parties permitted during the cold war when, largely at our (US) insistence. All other parties, leftwing parties with special prejudice, were banned. The religious parties were felt to be immune to the appeal of (godless) communism, but the the fiction of "democracy" required some "opposition party" for optics.... Cue Tom Leherer.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Aug 10, 2014 7:36:18 PM | 65

@60

The google cache

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Gar8ufbJZcgJ:http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/%2BInformation+Clearing+House">http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/%2BInformation+Clearing+House">https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Gar8ufbJZcgJ:http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/%2BInformation+Clearing+House


of the home page has a list of contents ... hard to tell which one might have 'forced' the destruction of the site. Maybe all of them together?

But there are lots of sites that publish these and other articles like them. Why ICH?

Posted by: john francis lee | Aug 10, 2014 7:43:44 PM | 66

Posted by: c | Aug 10, 2014 7:28:01 PM | 60


like whoa! yes Information Clearing House has had its account suspended...but by whom?

Posted by: brian | Aug 10, 2014 7:44:14 PM | 67

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Gar8ufbJZcgJ:http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/%2BInformation+Clearing+House">http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/%2BInformation+Clearing+House">https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Gar8ufbJZcgJ:http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/%2BInformation+Clearing+House

Posted by: john francis lee | Aug 10, 2014 7:48:02 PM | 68

Sorry, no luck with the google cache url. Typepad tries to make sense of it I guess. You can just type 'Information Clearing House' into google by hand and then click on 'Cached' beneath the bold type listing ... if you turn on javascript from google. Don't know how long it will last before google's Winston Smith 'edits' it.

Posted by: john francis lee | Aug 10, 2014 7:51:46 PM | 69

On 2 Aug 2014, the Syrian minister for defense, General Al-Freij, said: "He who thinks that there is an ability in what remains of the rebel gangs to do what a three-year-war failed do to is self-delusional." Also on 2 Aug 2014, the Syrian army's chief of staff, General Ayyoub, said rebel morale is substantially on the wane due to the consecutive defeats they've been suffering this year, 2014. http://www.sana.sy/en/?p=8643

I agree with those two statements. I also agree with Bashar Assad when he said on 16 Jul 2014: "The huge turnout [in the presidential election on 3 Jul 2014, namely 11,634,412 people voted]... has been, to many Syrians, a bullet fired at the hearts of terrorists and those who stood behind them. Millions of bullets.... These bullets declared that all those enemies... may be capable of inflicting harm and damage, but they are incapable of winning." http://www.sana.sy/en/?p=6859

Of course, it's one thing to say the rebels are incapable of wining and another thing to say when the Syrian army is going to win it. The contest has been progressing at a very slow slog and I don't see anything on the horizon that could quicken the pace. Hypothetically, if ISIS strengthened at the expense of other rebel groups as b has prognosticated, it could strengthen the government's hand by virtue of demoralizing various rebel groups other than ISIS, and then a big victory in one battle against ISIS could quicken the pace. However, while I can agree with b and everyone else who says that practically all Syria's rebel fighters are Islamists, I believe b is quite mistaken when he says "ISIS is now the only game in town" for these fighters.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 10, 2014 8:01:09 PM | 70

Posted by: JSorrentine | Aug 10, 2014 8:03:50 PM | 71

Apparently, the Syrian "rebels" who want to continue the fight are leaving their groups and joining ISIS -- though I have the impression this is thought to be more on the basis of Isis's successes in Iraq (everyone loves a winner) than ideology (and the low morale of the non-Isis rebels).

If Assad will continue to be "tolerant" of those who lay down their arms ... some sort of peace may be possible. I've wondered just what percentage of Syria 'ISIS' is currently in Iraq and what sort of reception/obstacles they may encounter returning to Syria (If they do so). Similarly, wondering how many "Syrian ISIS" fighter are, in fact, Syrian at this point.

Zero Anthropology has an interview with an Iraqi Lawyer (Shiia) link.
who says

D: Let’s talk about the most recent invasion–of ISIS. Why now?

S: The answer to that is very simple. ISIS had been fighting in Syria, receiving training and arms from the USA and its local allies, they were beaten in Syria and they had nowhere to go but back to Iraq.

D: So, most of them are from Iraq?

S: Most of them, yes, but they have fighters from Saudi Arabia and other places.

D: And what is their history in Iraq?

S: When the Syrian crisis started, a group called Al-Qaeda In Iraq set up a sub-group called Al-Nusra, for volunteers who wanted to fight in Syria against the government. Al-Nusra remains part of the Al-Qaeda project for a global caliphate, but some of them thought that getting a caliphate in Syria and Iraq was doable in the near future, so they split from Al Nusra and founded The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). When they were defeated in Syria, they came back to Iraq.

So, if that's the case, I'm trying to figure out why ISIS would return to Syria anytime soon ... if ever. People to see, things to do, bigger fish to fry, Iran to harrass.

Oh, about Jordan -- I think it was last year (time flies) Jordan was providing a base at which American special forces -- a couple hundred as I recall -- were training "moderate Syrian rebels" ... however, as I mentioned, JOrdan has become very spooked at the prospect of their young men, returning from Jihad in Syria, and view them with deep suspicion (and likely 24/7 surveillance)>

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Aug 10, 2014 8:15:13 PM | 72

Gee, who've thunk it (after months of the USA all-but-demanding Maliki step down)... more US-grade-A democracy in action ... yeah right, I'm "sure" we had nothing to do with this grassroots popular movement to oust our-ex-BFF ... whatever. Amazing American were pushing Chalabbi to replace Maliki ... If Chalabbi gets the nod ... or Alwawi ... sheesh ... poor Iraq .. can you say, CIA??? I knew you could.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Aug 10, 2014 8:21:02 PM | 73

@69 - From a State Dept chief:

Brett McGurk ‏@brett_mcgurk 2h
Fully support President of #Iraq Fuad Masum as guarantor of the Constitution and a PM nominee who can build a national consensus.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 10, 2014 8:24:37 PM | 74

Yes, Fuad Masum was elected President back in July. Maliki is the Prime Minister. I'm not well Versed on Parliamentary systems ... from YAHOO:

According to an unofficial power-sharing agreement, the position of federal president goes to a Kurd and Masum edged his rival Barham Saleh during a vote Kurdish MPs held behind closed doors in a Baghdad hotel, an official told AFP.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Aug 10, 2014 8:29:45 PM | 75

@70 "I'm trying to figure out why ISIS would return to Syria anytime soon ..."

Money. You think these people work for nothing?

Posted by: dh | Aug 10, 2014 8:31:55 PM | 76

Question, I suppose, is what Iran will do now, and how much they support Maliki.

It certainly appears that Maliki got the jump on his opponents. And I doubt that the
Shia - Sistani, Sadr, all - are ready to abandon the coalition that has brought them to
power in Iraq.

Does Iran support Maliki? Maliki just moved on the MEK. Maliki is certainly no US puppet.
This could easily be the final showdown between Iran and the US for the remnants of Iraq.

All I know is when shit like this
shows up on twitter, shit is getting serious.

But all I know is what I read in the twitters.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 10, 2014 8:54:42 PM | 77

guest77 is correct, you are way off base here, b. Less emotion and more analysis is called for.

The "moderate rebels" Washington has been searching for for years are a unicorn.

These are the type of throwaway lines in your analyses that I always have the most trouble with. What evidence is there that the West ever wanted a moderate solution? -- historically, they have always used the most extreme forces for destabilization purposes. Focus upon what they do, not upon what they say -- but we all know that by now.

You have not accounted for where this new huge boogieman army suddenly came from. Just a month or two ago, we were told that the zombie forces were exhausted, in retreat, losing 100 or more men a day, and that their mobilizable strength was falling to below 60k and their lines of supply threatened, if not outright cut. Now suddenly they are able to take over, control, and administer "an area larger than Great Britain and inhabited by at least six million people, a population larger than that of Denmark." (Gee, I wonder if the R2P crowd will call for civility, free doughnuts, and prompt elections, and if not, than why not? Samantha, Victoria, HRW, and assorted friends, its time to step up to the plate here; your faces and logos are on the global jumbotron.) More seriously, what is the implication of this oversight for the reporters of this world? How sustainable is this purported accomplishment? And, is it real?

Pat Lang breathlessly frets that

“Today I am told that DoD has decided that the IS force is the most capable non-Israeli army in the ME.”
Told by whom? Aside from some major confusion over the DoD’s cognitive dissonance in comparing ISIS with the ever-diminishing assessments of the Israeli Army (as opposed to air force), who can’t defeat -- and are afraid to directly confront -- a tiny impoverished ghetto, one wonders if that assessment includes the army of a technologically advanced nation of some 80 million people, namely Iran. It barely merits mentioning that we have commented rather acidly upon the utility of US intelligence previously; perhaps the esteemed Colonel has missed these appraisals. If not, I have Ray McGovern’s email to share with him. (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, oddly enough, does not appear to have an email or website.)

This hysterical apocalyptic media buildup and resultant call to action has all the hallmarks of what is popularly referred to by the misnomer, the “Hegalian Dialectic.” Problem, Reaction, Solution. Create a problem, engineer the outrage, and swoop in with what you wanted to do in the first place, but couldn’t because of public opinion.

(For those new to this concept, David Icke, despite his bizarre theories of how the world works which I do not hold to or defend, is an excellent public speaker and has several very good expositions of this process on youtube. If this concept is new to you, it can take a while to sink in. But it is used by those in power to subvert the pubic will all over the world. Indeed, one might say that it is the oldest trick in the historical handbook of governance. And there is no need to get lost in the fog of conspiracy theorizing surrounding every false flag in the world to apprehend how the concept works. The process is as simple and direct as, lower taxes, announce a financial “cliff,” and propose privatizing valuable public assets as the only solution: This pattern -- or more accurately, model -- was used in the fall of the Soviet Union, and it is used in the calls to break public unions in cities across America and privatize Detroit’s priceless art collection today. There is nothing mysterious about the process and it is not “Conspiracy Theorizing.”)

In this case, the adherence to the P-R-S model is glaringly obvious: Create an out of control marauding army, publicize some horrifying atrocities on “social” media, and intervene against public will with the long term goal of toppling the two governments resistant to Western hegemony: Syria and Iraq, thereby setting up a base of operations to take on the next task: Iran.

Patrick Cockburn, by the way, is the perfect example of an apple that fell far from the tree, and continues to roll further down the hill with the passage of time. (Since this point is rather perpendicular to the thrust of my argument, I will leave my observation there for the present, but I invite readers to go back over the past ten years of archives and compare his assessments, analyses, and predictions with what has actually occurred and why.)

More to the point:
*Did those six million people (where have I heard that phrase before?) suddenly convert to Takfiri views, or are they being suppressed by terror, and if so, how sustainable is that?
*Where are these endless hordes being trained? Their leadership appears to have an almost unlimited set of highly advanced capabilities.
*What is their ultimate number?
*Who has trained them in the use of advanced weapons, cutting edge 4th generation military planning, civil governance, large scale provisioning and quartermastering, advance weapon maintainence and repair, graphic design and media outreach (including access to the western military/social media nexus for posting their choreographed atrocities), etc.?
*Where do the supply lines come from?
*Who is purchasing the oil?
*What pipeline/transportation systems are conveying the oil?
*Who is providing financial services on the international market; remember, the innocent indignant protestors that the monster Gaddaffi was evilly plotting to kill had somehow figured out the intricacies of setting up international oil banks recognized by the West from their simple mud and brick residences in Bengazi; this new horde appears equally savvy.
*An alliance of Baathist generals (the cards that mysteriously fell out of Bush's "deck of cards?") with Takfiri monsters sounds most improbable on the surface. What does each side of the alliance think will happen to the other side should they prevail? And who was their matchmaker? Perhaps the true leadership, and their patrons, prefer to keep allegiances more occult.

That is to say, who exactly are their patrons, who sustains their interactions with the outside world, and what are their goals? To say that ISIS exists off of the revenue from oil sales (without the interaction of the outside world) is a prize-winning furphy -- and an impossibility. To argue that their public intellectuals have crafted some sort of overwhelming mobilizing ideology, which like communism, is capable of inspiring the masses in their aspirations for a better and more stable life into an historically unprecedented and suicidal action, is plainly ludicrous. To argue that ISIS’s strength has appeared spontaneously, ex nihilo, or de novo is to consciously ignore the Pasteurs of political analysis at the indulgence of the bewailing Cassandras. And the pathetic liberal plaint, that what we have here is a “Frankenstein," an experiment that unfortunately “got out of control," is clearly nonsense to anyone attempting to answer the few detailed questions (and to those knowledgeable in these affairs, there are many, many more) as to who their benefactors are, right now, TODAY, not when the well-meaning but accident-prone doctor first entered his laboratory. It is to deny how complex of an undertaking toppling two -- admittedly shaky and destabilized -- countries really is, and how much knowledge, management and co-ordination is involved in such a task. If I cannot get a better political analysis of who is behind the celebrity-like phenomenon of ISIS, then I am wasting my time in political discourse, which might be more profitably employed in taking up wildcrafting, or in re-watching the Bugs Bunny cartoons of my childhood.

Finally, your recommendations beg the six million dollar question: when did aerial bombing by a superpower ever make anything better for the people involved in a conflict? Dresden, or Tokyo perhaps? If Howard Zinn or Kurt Vonnegut were still around, I’m sure they could tell us.

Moreover, b, your oversight in failing to connect current events in the Middle East with global geopolitical developments is most problematic. For surely, these utterly sudden and extreme events do not occur in a vacuum. The Western alliance of global institutions, and lock-step financial, economic, scientific, and social policies, and singular media propaganda system as ubiquitous as the air we breathe, the so-called "Washington Consensus," the austerity control system, is under global assault at this very moment. And the rulers of the world who most benefit from current arrangements are fighting back with everything they have -- every dirty trick and scheme, every bought and compromised politician and “celebrity," every fake opposition activist and public intellectual called to task, every possible destabilization and false flag, everything -- they are throwing their entire playbook up in the hope that something will stick to the ever more assaulted wall of human social order. They have become the very personification of what Pepe Escobar calls, “The Empire of Chaos.” US and European advisors and operatives have been deployed on the very border of a nuclear-armed and now universally demonized Russia, with, according to Russian politician Evgeny Fedorov, a destabilization of that country planned for the fall. The global fever pitch and danger level has never been higher, and numerous prominent and experienced voices like Stephen Cohen and Paul Craig Roberts, are warning us of this threat, and the madness of the brinksmanship of our leaders of “the free (our way or bust) world.”

J. Robert Oppenheimer, who led the US development of the atomic bomb, once quoted from the Bhagavad Gita in an interview: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds" -- today, that vision is a perfect representation of the dying order of the “End of History.” The only question is whether or not we passively follow Shiva down the road to uncreation. Not to be melodramatic, but that is how important the accurate analysis of events is today, how much is riding upon “getting it right”.

And really, not to be as monocausal (and certainly not as shrill and repetitive) as JSore (since I don't believe as he and most of your readers do that "the Joos run the world"), it does seem that all of the nations of the world are being presented with a rather stark and public binary choice at the moment: Would you prefer a single global center of power dictating all social and political positions, or would you prefer the world broken up into several smaller regional blocks of power? That’s it, no social justice, eco-utopian visions or possibilities -- just one simple question is being put to the elites of the world: one single capo di tutti capi or several competing capos. And, by its nature, the polarized essence of this proposition precludes the possibility of “non-aligned” nations: “Well, gee, we here in Utopiastan don’t really care whether our marching orders come from the Uncle Sam across the lake or MacKinderville down the road.” The new boss might be as bad as the old boss, but it won’t be the same. The history of the world system since the fall of the Soviet Union should have some instructive lessons for us in this regard.

Therefore, I maintain that it is impossible to view what is going on in the Middle East as separate from that question. Of course, the foot soldiers in the battle are completely ignorant of even the existence of the proposition; but not so the powers who fund, train, arm and direct these forces. For them -- the hidden directors behind the curtains, the Jordans, Turkeys and Qatars, among others, of this world -- the refrain “Which side are you on” pounds in their brains every conscious moment, for the blandishments, threats, and stakes keep mounting. The train, which stopped for a while at the wreckage of Francis Fukuyama station, is now moving again, and picking up speed -- and, as we all know, “you can’t be neutral on a moving train.”

Running a public blog, and putting your political views up to scrutiny every day for years is hard. Lord knows that I am not capable of it, and if I had compiled such a public account of my opinions we could all enjoy some merry moments laughing over some of the boner calls I would have made. Nevertheless, calling for US involvement in the form of bombing attacks on ISIS in the heart of the Middle East is the single worst call you have made in the history of Moon, to my mind.

Sorry to be so rough on you here, my longtime friend.

Posted by: Malooga | Aug 10, 2014 8:56:51 PM | 78

I swear I thought of the "got the drop on" bit myself:

billmon ‏@billmon1 15m
.@LemonSlayerUS @emptywheel US govt wants Maliki gone--but looks like he got the drop on them as far as a military coup is concerned.

billmon ‏@billmon1 29m
@emptywheel I don't think this one is ours. Made in Tehran maybe, but seems more likely Maliki is trying to set up in business for his own.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 10, 2014 8:57:26 PM | 79

It seems that IS has become the mask that frightens and threatens everyone, an Enemy For All Seasons. It has an exaggerated life of its own, a pure menace,--not least of all to the Saudi Kingdom,-- the Frankenstein master who purportedly has stitched the monster together. This monster hates all shrines, even the one that draws pilgrims to Mecca. The monster is a most peculiar servant to the Saudi Royals. So whose interest does the beast really serve?

It's difficult to see how the rampage of this particular jihad is not somehow connected to the larger conflict in the region. I don't know if it's coincidence or coordination that Flight 17 was shot down just as the Israelis were launching their pogrom in Gaza. Is it serendipity that IS, the CaliFATE, appears on the scene just at the time when Assad's army is finally beating the foreign-backed insurgents? Maybe it was just dumb luck that a splendidly outfitted IS, under constant satellite surveillance of Uncle Sugar, was able to swashbuckle and behead its way into Mosul, for the bank heist of the century, that included making off with a king's ransom of gold bullion, as well as a depot's worth of heavy American weapons.

It is fascinating that they can be employed to bedevil both Baghdad and Aleppo. Man, is that ever a lot of highway stretching from Erbil to the Gates of Damascus! They are champing at the Cedars of Lebanon too. Patrick Cockburn tell us the CaliFATE is now as spacious as Britain and as fully peopled as Denmark.
What can they not do?

One question that rises--is which national leaders are so enfeebled in mind?--that they would venture into the chaos of Iraq? Perhaps the CaliFAIT ACCOMPLI can entice Iran to extend their neck over into No Man's Land, where the sharpened swords and drooling mouths of the Empire await any misstep.

The West has commenced an Economic War against Russia, and just the other day Samantha Power warned Russia, at the UN, against making any foolhardy move, such as running any humanitarian corridor into eastern Ukraine. And it was termed "a strong warning" by the apparently insane US ambassador.

Let's not forget that this so-called "IS" is a sideshow; and while it is playing a role in this global passion play, it is not some kind of new Moby Dick. Although, to some extent, it may be "a pasteboard mask of evil".

And then there is the breaking coup in Iraq: From Zero Hedge,

"The news has promptly led the WaPo Beirut chief correspondent Liz Sly to ask the question: did Baghdad just have a coup 3 days after the US conducted its fourth military intervention under as many US presidents?"

Posted by: Copeland | Aug 10, 2014 9:06:27 PM | 80

guest77 is correct, you are way off base here, b. Less emotion and more analysis is called for.

The "moderate rebels" Washington has been searching for for years are a unicorn.

These are the type of throwaway lines in your analyses that I always have the most trouble with. What evidence is there that the West ever wanted a moderate solution? -- historically, they have always used the most extreme forces for destabilization purposes. Focus upon what they do, not upon what they say -- but we all know that by now.

You have not accounted for where this new huge boogieman army suddenly came from. Just a month or two ago, we were told that the zombie forces were exhausted, in retreat, losing 100 or more men a day, and that their mobilizable strength was falling to below 60k and their lines of supply threatened, if not outright cut. Now suddenly they are able to take over, control, and administer "an area larger than Great Britain and inhabited by at least six million people, a population larger than that of Denmark." (Gee, I wonder if the R2P crowd will call for civility, free doughnuts, and prompt elections, and if not, than why not? Samantha, Victoria, HRW, and assorted friends, its time to step up to the plate here; your faces and logos are on the global jumbotron.) More seriously, what is the implication of this oversight for the reporters of this world? How sustainable is this purported accomplishment? And, is it real?

Pat Lang breathlessly frets that

“Today I am told that DoD has decided that the IS force is the most capable non-Israeli army in the ME.”
Told by whom? Aside from some major confusion over the DoD’s cognitive dissonance in comparing ISIS with the ever-diminishing assessments of the Israeli Army (as opposed to air force), who can’t defeat -- and are afraid to directly confront -- a tiny impoverished ghetto, one wonders if that assessment includes the army of a technologically advanced nation of some 80 million people, namely Iran. It barely merits mentioning that we have commented rather acidly upon the utility of US intelligence previously; perhaps the esteemed Colonel has missed these appraisals. If not, I have Ray McGovern’s email to share with him. (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, oddly enough, does not appear to have an email or website.)

This hysterical apocalyptic media buildup and resultant call to action has all the hallmarks of what is popularly referred to by the misnomer, the “Hegalian Dialectic.” Problem, Reaction, Solution. Create a problem, engineer the outrage, and swoop in with what you wanted to do in the first place, but couldn’t because of public opinion.

(For those new to this concept, David Icke, despite his bizarre theories of how the world works which I do not hold to or defend, is an excellent public speaker and has several very good expositions of this process on youtube. If this concept is new to you, it can take a while to sink in. But it is used by those in power to subvert the pubic will all over the world. Indeed, one might say that it is the oldest trick in the historical handbook of governance. And there is no need to get lost in the fog of conspiracy theorizing surrounding every false flag in the world to apprehend how the concept works. The process is as simple and direct as, lower taxes, announce a financial “cliff,” and propose privatizing valuable public assets as the only solution: This pattern -- or more accurately, model -- was used in the fall of the Soviet Union, and it is used in the calls to break public unions in cities across America and privatize Detroit’s priceless art collection today. There is nothing mysterious about the process and it is not “Conspiracy Theorizing.”)

In this case, the adherence to the P-R-S model is glaringly obvious: Create an out of control marauding army, publicize some horrifying atrocities on “social” media, and intervene against public will with the long term goal of toppling the two governments resistant to Western hegemony: Syria and Iraq, thereby setting up a base of operations to take on the next task: Iran.

Patrick Cockburn, by the way, is the perfect example of an apple that fell far from the tree, and continues to roll further down the hill with the passage of time. (Since this point is rather perpendicular to the thrust of my argument, I will leave my observation there for the present, but I invite readers to go back over the past ten years of archives and compare his assessments, analyses, and predictions with what has actually occurred and why.)

More to the point:
*Did those six million people (where have I heard that phrase before?) suddenly convert to Takfiri views, or are they being suppressed by terror, and if so, how sustainable is that?
*Where are these endless hordes being trained? Their leadership appears to have an almost unlimited set of highly advanced capabilities.
*What is their ultimate number?
*Who has trained them in the use of advanced weapons, cutting edge 4th generation military planning, civil governance, large scale provisioning and quartermastering, advance weapon maintainence and repair, graphic design and media outreach (including access to the western military/social media nexus for posting their choreographed atrocities), etc.?
*Where do the supply lines come from?
*Who is purchasing the oil?
*What pipeline/transportation systems are conveying the oil?
*Who is providing financial services on the international market; remember, the innocent indignant protestors that the monster Gaddaffi was evilly plotting to kill had somehow figured out the intricacies of setting up international oil banks recognized by the West from their simple mud and brick residences in Bengazi; this new horde appears equally savvy.
*An alliance of Baathist generals (the cards that mysteriously fell out of Bush's "deck of cards?") with Takfiri monsters sounds most improbable on the surface. What does each side of the alliance think will happen to the other side should they prevail? And who was their matchmaker? Perhaps the true leadership, and their patrons, prefer to keep allegiances more occult.

That is to say, who exactly are their patrons, who sustains their interactions with the outside world, and what are their goals? To say that ISIS exists off of the revenue from oil sales (without the interaction of the outside world) is a prize-winning furphy -- and an impossibility. To argue that their public intellectuals have crafted some sort of overwhelming mobilizing ideology, which like communism, is capable of inspiring the masses in their aspirations for a better and more stable life into an historically unprecedented and suicidal action, is plainly ludicrous. To argue that ISIS’s strength has appeared spontaneously, ex nihilo, or de novo is to consciously ignore the Pasteurs of political analysis at the indulgence of the bewailing Cassandras. And the pathetic liberal plaint, that what we have here is a “Frankenstein," an experiment that unfortunately “got out of control," is clearly nonsense to anyone attempting to answer the few detailed questions (and to those knowledgeable in these affairs, there are many, many more) as to who their benefactors are, right now, TODAY, not when the well-meaning but accident-prone doctor first entered his laboratory. It is to deny how complex of an undertaking toppling two -- admittedly shaky and destabilized -- countries really is, and how much knowledge, management and co-ordination is involved in such a task. If I cannot get a better political analysis of who is behind the celebrity-like phenomenon of ISIS, then I am wasting my time in political discourse, which might be more profitably employed in taking up wildcrafting, or in re-watching the Bugs Bunny cartoons of my childhood.

Finally, your recommendations beg the six million dollar question: when did aerial bombing by a superpower ever make anything better for the people involved in a conflict? Dresden, or Tokyo perhaps? If Howard Zinn or Kurt Vonnegut were still around, I’m sure they could tell us.

Moreover, b, your oversight in failing to connect current events in the Middle East with global geopolitical developments is most problematic. For surely, these utterly sudden and extreme events do not occur in a vacuum. The Western alliance of global institutions, and lock-step financial, economic, scientific, and social policies, and singular media propaganda system as ubiquitous as the air we breathe, the so-called "Washington Consensus," the austerity control system, is under global assault at this very moment. And the rulers of the world who most benefit from current arrangements are fighting back with everything they have -- every dirty trick and scheme, every bought and compromised politician and “celebrity," every fake opposition activist and public intellectual called to task, every possible destabilization and false flag, everything -- they are throwing their entire playbook up in the hope that something will stick to the ever more assaulted wall of human social order. They have become the very personification of what Pepe Escobar calls, “The Empire of Chaos.” US and European advisors and operatives have been deployed on the very border of a nuclear-armed and now universally demonized Russia, with, according to Russian politician Evgeny Fedorov, a destabilization of that country planned for the fall. The global fever pitch and danger level has never been higher, and numerous prominent and experienced voices like Stephen Cohen and Paul Craig Roberts, are warning us of this threat, and the madness of the brinksmanship of our leaders of “the free (our way or bust) world.”

J. Robert Oppenheimer, who led the US development of the atomic bomb, once quoted from the Bhagavad Gita in an interview: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds" -- today, that vision is a perfect representation of the dying order of the “End of History.” The only question is whether or not we passively follow Shiva down the road to uncreation. Not to be melodramatic, but that is how important the accurate analysis of events is today, how much is riding upon “getting it right”.

And really, not to be as monocausal (and certainly not as shrill and repetitive) as JSore (since I don't believe as he and most of your readers do that "the Joos run the world"), it does seem that all of the nations of the world are being presented with a rather stark and public binary choice at the moment: Would you prefer a single global center of power dictating all social and political positions, or would you prefer the world broken up into several smaller regional blocks of power? That’s it, no social justice, eco-utopian visions or possibilities -- just one simple question is being put to the elites of the world: one single capo di tutti capi or several competing capos. And, by its nature, the polarized essence of this proposition precludes the possibility of “non-aligned” nations: “Well, gee, we here in Utopiastan don’t really care whether our marching orders come from the Uncle Sam across the lake or MacKinderville down the road.” The new boss might be as bad as the old boss, but it won’t be the same. The history of the world system since the fall of the Soviet Union should have some instructive lessons for us in this regard.

Therefore, I maintain that it is impossible to view what is going on in the Middle East as separate from that question. Of course, the foot soldiers in the battle are completely ignorant of even the existence of the proposition; but not so the powers who fund, train, arm and direct these forces. For them -- the hidden directors behind the curtains, the Jordans, Turkeys and Qatars, among others, of this world -- the refrain “Which side are you on” pounds in their brains every conscious moment, for the blandishments, threats, and stakes keep mounting. The train, which stopped for a while at the wreckage of Francis Fukuyama station, is now moving again, and picking up speed -- and, as we all know, “you can’t be neutral on a moving train.”

Running a public blog, and putting your political views up to scrutiny every day for years is hard. Lord knows that I am not capable of it, and if I had compiled such a public account of my opinions we could all enjoy some merry moments laughing over some of the boner calls I would have made. Nevertheless, calling for US involvement in the form of bombing attacks on ISIS in the heart of the Middle East is the single worst call you have made in the history of Moon, to my mind.

Sorry to be so rough on you here, my longtime friend.

Posted by: Malooga | Aug 10, 2014 9:08:26 PM | 81

I have tried several posts, but they don't go through. So much for spending one's time writing a cogent and considered reply.

Posted by: Malooga | Aug 10, 2014 9:11:47 PM | 82

1)

guest77 is correct, you are way off base here, b. Less emotion and more analysis is called for.

The "moderate rebels" Washington has been searching for for years are a unicorn.

These are the type of throwaway lines in your analyses that I always have the most trouble with. What evidence is there that the West ever wanted a moderate solution? -- historically, they have always used the most extreme forces for destabilization purposes. Focus upon what they do, not upon what they say -- but we all know that by now.

You have not accounted for where this new huge boogieman army suddenly came from. Just a month or two ago, we were told that the zombie forces were exhausted, in retreat, losing 100 or more men a day, and that their mobilizable strength was falling to below 60k and their lines of supply threatened, if not outright cut. Now suddenly they are able to take over, control, and administer "an area larger than Great Britain and inhabited by at least six million people, a population larger than that of Denmark." (Gee, I wonder if the R2P crowd will call for civility, free doughnuts, and prompt elections, and if not, than why not? Samantha, Victoria, HRW, and assorted friends, its time to step up to the plate here; your faces and logos are on the global jumbotron.) More seriously, what is the implication of this oversight for the reporters of this world? How sustainable is this purported accomplishment? And, is it real?

Pat Lang breathlessly frets that

“Today I am told that DoD has decided that the IS force is the most capable non-Israeli army in the ME.”
Told by whom? Aside from some major confusion over the DoD’s cognitive dissonance in comparing ISIS with the ever-diminishing assessments of the Israeli Army (as opposed to air force), who can’t defeat -- and are afraid to directly confront -- a tiny impoverished ghetto, one wonders if that assessment includes the army of a technologically advanced nation of some 80 million people, namely Iran. It barely merits mentioning that we have commented rather acidly upon the utility of US intelligence previously; perhaps the esteemed Colonel has missed these appraisals. If not, I have Ray McGovern’s email to share with him. (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, oddly enough, does not appear to have an email or website.)

Posted by: Malooga | Aug 10, 2014 9:14:15 PM | 83

Susan@70

The source you quote seems to be as confused as many Western commenters are about the Islamis State although there are some facts in his statement.

The IS never left Syria only a part of their forces invaded Iraq where they were already active and based. The IS spent most of the last three years conquering the other rebels in Syria and hardly engaged the Syrian Army until recently when they won every battle. There is no border in the Caliphate between Iraq and Syria and their troops move freely where they wish.

The IS split from AQ in Iraq not Al Nusra and the IS has never been defeated anywhere. Once the twenty or so rebel groups in Syria are defeated or incorporated into the IS the final battles to remove Assad will commence although they have already overrun two Syrian Army bases recently.

The Caliphate is an internationalist movement and their passports do not reflect petty nationalism, all Muslims who submit are citizens.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Aug 10, 2014 9:16:16 PM | 84

Susan Sunflower #70 said: "I think it was last year (time flies) Jordan was providing a base at which American special forces -- a couple hundred as I recall -- were training "moderate Syrian rebels".

At the time, it was June 2013, the government of Jordan said that was a false story. Multiple high-ranking individuals of the government of Jordan went on record saying it was a falsehood, saying it was contrary to government policy, and reiterating the principles on which the goverment made its policy on such an issue. The only source for the story was an anonymous person said to be a US government official, who was reported in the Western newspapers as an anonymous leaker. At the time, June 2013, b on this board, with his prejudices, chose to believe that all those Jordanian officials were lying, and their principles were a load of hogwash, and that the anonymous source quoted in the Wall Street Journal was telling the truth. It's another case of b cruising on instinct and have shitty instinct.

By the way, earlier this summer, 2014, the US Whitehouse proposed to allocate US$500 million to train Syrian rebels. As part of the proposal, the US government recently requested the government of Jordan to allow the training to occur in Jordan, and the government of Jordan formally replied that Jordan won't allow the training to happen in Jordan, consistent with Jordan's longstanding policy; see http://thehill.com/policy/defense/214537-white-house-plan-to-help-syrian-rebels-stalls-and-losses-mount .

Susan Sunflower #70 quoted someone saying "ISIS had been fighting in Syria, receiving training and arms from the USA." Susan Sunflower followed up with: "If that's the case...." To which I reply: No, it's NOT the case."

Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 10, 2014 9:16:57 PM | 85

Sorry, but I missed the "retraction" of the training in Jordan story (which I read in more than source at the time). I am not sure I would trust the denials since "of course Jordan would say that" ... but I'll accept that it's highly disputed and was probably a false report. The question had been asked by Jordan had not been attacked. Jordan like KSA seems to have a mighty grip on what "news" is fit to print, however, IF they had aided in training the rebels, my thinking was that they might have been seen as an ally or not-an-enemy. KSA had a big roundup about 3 months ago that warranted 1 story with no followup, as I recall 17 were arrested.

The other quote is from a Shiia human rights lawyer in Baghdad -- while he may be mistake, it's what he apparently truthfully understands the situation to be. I had mentioned that I wondered how much of IS was Syrian (and theoretically committed to ousting Assad as a Syrian) and what percentage might be Iraqi (and more interested in change in Iraq) ... while there may be "no borders" -- as is inescapable, Iraq has oil and Syria not.so.much. At least some of Iraq's infrastructure has been rebuilt and oil is going to market. Syria's economy, I imagine, is dying on the vine.
Even if "nationalities don't matter" ... Iraq appears ripe for the picking (look at all those weapons and gold they picked up) and family ties are family ties.
Apparently assessment of the rebels strength and Assad's weakness vary more widely than I realized.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Aug 10, 2014 9:33:25 PM | 86

@80 Parviziyi.. thanks for joining the conversation. you are a welcome addition who is offering an alternative viewpoint but saying this right below seems unnecessary..

"It's another case of b cruising on instinct and have shitty instinct."

i recall b's instinct on the turn around in syria being right on track in advance of it the unfolding of it.. instinct is just that - instinct.. sometimes it works better then other times..

and fwiw, i too share susan sunflowers @70 viewpoint which is partly articulated in the posts shared by crone @82.. if the usa isn't directly funding isis, they have some pretty strange bedfellows that are doing it.. you are known by the people you sleep with to a good extent.

Posted by: james | Aug 10, 2014 10:07:22 PM | 88

correction --- about those Saudi terrorist arrests -- from Wiki

In May 2014, a 62-person terror cell was discovered plotting to assassinate officials and attack government targets. The group comprised mostly of Saudi nationals, with links to Al Qaeda (AQAP) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). They had plenty of cash and a facility to make bombs, IEDs and electronic jammers, together with large quantities of arms and explosives smuggled across the border from Yemen.[32] 35 of the Saudis who were arrested had previously been detained for terrorism offenses and released under the country's rehabilitation program. Another 44 members of the cell are believed to be on the run.[33] The group was based in Abha, near the border with Yemen.[34]

given the amount of surveillance and the peril involved in almost any political activity in KSA, that 62 persons were arrested is truly remarkable. posted just because, I realized I had misremembered the number wondered if there had been any further followup (didn't find any). (fwiw, I could find no cites for "terrorist attacks in Jordan" just the aforementioned stories of their recent security crackdowns.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Aug 10, 2014 10:10:51 PM | 89

3) malooga

More to the point:
*Did those six million people (where have I heard that phrase before?) suddenly convert to Takfiri views, or are they being suppressed by terror, and if so, how sustainable is that?
*Where are these endless hordes being trained? Their leadership appears to have an almost unlimited set of highly advanced capabilities.
*What is their ultimate number?
*Who has trained them in the use of advanced weapons, cutting edge 4th generation military planning, civil governance, large scale provisioning and quartermastering, advance weapon maintainence and repair, graphic design and media outreach (including access to the western military/social media nexus for posting their choreographed atrocities), etc.?
*Where do the supply lines come from?
*Who is purchasing the oil?
*What pipeline/transportation systems are conveying the oil?
*Who is providing financial services on the international market; remember, the innocent indignant protestors that the monster Gaddaffi was evilly plotting to kill had somehow figured out the intricacies of setting up international oil banks recognized by the West from their simple mud and brick residences in Bengazi; this new horde appears equally savvy.
*An alliance of Baathist generals (the cards that mysteriously fell out of Bush's "deck of cards?") with Takfiri monsters sounds most improbable on the surface. What does each side of the alliance think will happen to the other side should they prevail? And who was their matchmaker? Perhaps the true leadership, and their patrons, prefer to keep allegiances more occult.

That is to say, who exactly are their patrons, who sustains their interactions with the outside world, and what are their goals? To say that ISIS exists off of the revenue from oil sales (without the interaction of the outside world) is a prize-winning furphy -- and an impossibility. To argue that their public intellectuals have crafted some sort of overwhelming mobilizing ideology, which like communism, is capable of inspiring the masses in their aspirations for a better and more stable life into an historically unprecedented and suicidal action, is plainly ludicrous. To argue that ISIS’s strength has appeared spontaneously, ex nihilo, or de novo is to consciously ignore the Pasteurs of political analysis at the indulgence of the bewailing Cassandras. And the pathetic liberal plaint, that what we have here is a “Frankenstein," an experiment that unfortunately “got out of control," is clearly nonsense to anyone attempting to answer the few detailed questions (and to those knowledgeable in these affairs, there are many, many more) as to who their benefactors are, right now, TODAY, not when the well-meaning but accident-prone doctor first entered his laboratory. It is to deny how complex of an undertaking toppling two -- admittedly shaky and destabilized -- countries really is, and how much knowledge, management and co-ordination is involved in such a task. If I cannot get a better political analysis of who is behind the celebrity-like phenomenon of ISIS, then I am wasting my time in political discourse, which might be more profitably employed in taking up wildcrafting, or in re-watching the Bugs Bunny cartoons of my childhood.

Posted by: test | Aug 10, 2014 10:28:58 PM | 90

4) malooga

Finally, your recommendations beg the six million dollar question: when did aerial bombing by a superpower ever make anything better for the people involved in a conflict? Dresden, or Tokyo perhaps? If Howard Zinn or Kurt Vonnegut were still around, I’m sure they could tell us.

Moreover, b, your oversight in failing to connect current events in the Middle East with global geopolitical developments is most problematic. For surely, these utterly sudden and extreme events do not occur in a vacuum. The Western alliance of global institutions, and lock-step financial, economic, scientific, and social policies, and singular media propaganda system as ubiquitous as the air we breathe, the so-called "Washington Consensus," the austerity control system, is under global assault at this very moment. And the rulers of the world who most benefit from current arrangements are fighting back with everything they have -- every dirty trick and scheme, every bought and compromised politician and “celebrity," every fake opposition activist and public intellectual called to task, every possible destabilization and false flag, everything -- they are throwing their entire playbook up in the hope that something will stick to the ever more assaulted wall of human social order. They have become the very personification of what Pepe Escobar calls, “The Empire of Chaos.” US and European advisors and operatives have been deployed on the very border of a nuclear-armed and now universally demonized Russia, with, according to Russian politician Evgeny Fedorov, a destabilization of that country planned for the fall. The global fever pitch and danger level has never been higher, and numerous prominent and experienced voices like Stephen Cohen and Paul Craig Roberts, are warning us of this threat, and the madness of the brinksmanship of our leaders of “the free (our way or bust) world.”

J. Robert Oppenheimer, who led the US development of the atomic bomb, once quoted from the Bhagavad Gita in an interview: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds" -- today, that vision is a perfect representation of the dying order of the “End of History.” The only question is whether or not we passively follow Shiva down the road to uncreation. Not to be melodramatic, but that is how important the accurate analysis of events is today, how much is riding upon “getting it right”.

And really, not to be as monocausal (and certainly not as shrill and repetitive) as JSore (since I don't believe as he and most of your readers do that "the Joos run the world"), it does seem that all of the nations of the world are being presented with a rather stark and public binary choice at the moment: Would you prefer a single global center of power dictating all social and political positions, or would you prefer the world broken up into several smaller regional blocks of power? That’s it, no social justice, eco-utopian visions or possibilities -- just one simple question is being put to the elites of the world: one single capo di tutti capi or several competing capos. And, by its nature, the polarized essence of this proposition precludes the possibility of “non-aligned” nations: “Well, gee, we here in Utopiastan don’t really care whether our marching orders come from the Uncle Sam across the lake or MacKinderville down the road.” The new boss might be as bad as the old boss, but it won’t be the same. The history of the world system since the fall of the Soviet Union should have some instructive lessons for us in this regard.

Therefore, I maintain that it is impossible to view what is going on in the Middle East as separate from that question. Of course, the foot soldiers in the battle are completely ignorant of even the existence of the proposition; but not so the powers who fund, train, arm and direct these forces. For them -- the hidden directors behind the curtains, the Jordans, Turkeys and Qatars, among others, of this world -- the refrain “Which side are you on” pounds in their brains every conscious moment, for the blandishments, threats, and stakes keep mounting. The train, which stopped for a while at the wreckage of Francis Fukuyama station, is now moving again, and picking up speed -- and, as we all know, “you can’t be neutral on a moving train.”

Running a public blog, and putting your political views up to scrutiny every day for years is hard. Lord knows that I am not capable of it, and if I had compiled such a public account of my opinions we could all enjoy some merry moments laughing over some of the boner calls I would have made. Nevertheless, calling for US involvement in the form of bombing attacks on ISIS in the heart of the Middle East is the single worst call you have made in the history of Moon, to my mind.

Sorry to be so rough on you here, my longtime friend.

Posted by: test | Aug 10, 2014 10:30:01 PM | 91

second part refuses to go through

Posted by: test | Aug 10, 2014 10:33:41 PM | 92

The more Erdogan islamizes Turkey and avoids criticizing ISIS the less Turkey would be exposed to Islamist extremists. This would ensure the security of the investments and the growth of the economy.
That's a dangerous game that may turn against Turkey.
Neigbouring countries, Iraq, Syria and Egypt have had their industrial bases significantly reduced by wars and revolutions. Erdogan wants to flood their market and participate in the reconstruction.
To achieve that, Erdogan will have to win back Iraq, Syria and Egypt.
That is a tough challenge in view of the tense relation existing.

Therefore I expect either a gradual shift in the foreign policy under a new Turkish foreign minister or a slower economy. In the latter, this will affect his popularity and his ability to change the constitution to obtain full power.
Difficult time lies ahead for Turkey

Posted by: Virgile | Aug 10, 2014 10:38:34 PM | 93

fuck this comment system

Posted by: malooga | Aug 10, 2014 10:38:59 PM | 94

These tweets from sami ramadani were found at MRzine

@SamiRamadani1
Urgent 17: Maliki could have gained Sadrist support had he agreed to release 1000s
of Sadrists who fought against occupation. US veto on it
Urgent 18: US red line on releasing Sadrists weakened Maliki but helped his links
to US. But Maliki not harming Iran & Syria crucial to US
Urgent 19: Also Maliki rejected Biden plan: very weak centre in Baghdad and 3 statelets.
US now implementing plan with close ally Barzani
Urgent 20: ISIS advance into Mosul is providing cover for US to intervene militarily to
bolster Barzani KRG forces & form new 'Sunni' army
Urgent 20: So called 'Sunni' will be led by Saddamist officers to control north west Iraq.
Now in alliance with Barzani's KRG Peshmerga

@87 Sorry to hear that you cannot send Part II. Please try again. Sane people deserve to be heard too.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 10, 2014 11:01:33 PM | 95

It seems that people treat others' opinions as in some way affecting the state of the world. They do not. Nothing we say here has any effect on the state of the world, only on the state of our minds ... perhaps that's the problem.

b seems to me to be 'right' more often than he seems 'wrong'. Truth to tell I come here to read b and not the comments ... although occasionally the comments are very good.

Just my opinion. What do I know. Not much.

Posted by: john francis lee | Aug 10, 2014 11:06:12 PM | 96

Susan@ 81

Andre Vltchek wrote, at Counterpunch, an interesting article about his taxi trip to the Iraq border in Jordan where he passed the training facility you mention. I think it is still active because his driver wouldn't go anywhere near it. Jordan is ripe for insurrection with it's illiterate King and repressed Palestinian majority.

The IS's goal is to conquer all of the ME and Iraq and Syria are just the first to fall, the nationalist rebels in both countries are joining the IS or being crushed and their nationalist tendencies will be delt with after the conquest. Again this is an Internationalist Movement with fighters coming from around the world who despise borders and fight for a unifying Caliphate.

Syria may not have a huge amount of oil but the IS is estimated to be making at least a million dollars a day from selling what they control. Iraq is a much bigger prize and that is why the IS is moving to take the Northern Oilfields from the Kurds.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Aug 10, 2014 11:45:31 PM | 97

forget it, it wont post part 2 -- tried different computers and isps. Maybe b will post the full comment tomorrow as one piece in order. most points have already been made by others and better anyway. just annoying when you take time out of a sunny summer day when I should have been outside.

Posted by: malooga | Aug 10, 2014 11:54:16 PM | 98

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Aug 10, 2014 7:36:18 PM | 63

good news..the Muslim brotherhood is bad news for syria. and are likely behind the rise of ISIS

Posted by: brian | Aug 11, 2014 1:56:08 AM | 99

Parviziyi I have to agree with much you have said here especially in counterpoint to b's initial essay. But I think you underestimate the power of ISIS. It seems unlikely that they will be able to march on Aleppo and conquer that city. The SAA is too strong for that. HOWEVER!!

It should not be that surprising that ISS forces recently defeated the Kurds in a battle. This battle was between two forces. The ISIS forces happen to consist of battle hardened troops, these are soldiers and their officers that have been in active combat for the last 25 years (excluding the war against Iran in the 80s). From both their senior officers to their lowest shock troops, they have combat experience. In recent years they have gained experience in face to face combat with opposing armies.

They fought against the Kurds. We have all heard stories about how ferocious the Kurds can fight. In fact, they have not fought for over 15 years, And before that their current officers fought in a guerrilla war. These are senior officers that have not experienced set battle lines that must confront direct attacks --guerrillas are trained to retreat in the face of direct assault. I am not suggesting that the Kurds cannot fight ISIS, just that they will first have to gain some battlefield experience before they can defeat them in battle.

My comment here is based on simple battle rule. Soldiers cannot really be trained for combat on the training grounds. It takes real combat experience to gain that training. Unfortunately for the students such training means that many will perish in their first contact with the enemy.

Posted by: ToivoS | Aug 11, 2014 2:11:43 AM | 100

next page »

The comments to this entry are closed.