Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 14, 2014

The Caliphate's Anti-Imperial/Imperial Dualism

A bit more on the tweets by Peter Lee aka Chinahand I had quoted:

Westerners mock pretensns of IS Caliphate bt it seems 2 strike chord among quite a few Muslims: effort to reestablish theocratic rule in 1/3
heartland of Umayyad/Abbasid caliphates, turn page on disastrus century of colonial/postcolonial rule, replace fragmented/corrupt states 2/3
w/ united Islamic power. West passivty validates the caliphate & its transnational strategy. May be PRC/Rus that try 2 draw the line. 3/3

(BTW - Denigrating those ideas because of shortened spelling in a Tweet(!) is petty.)

After further thinking about that I believe that Peter is right. ISIS, the group now claiming a Caliphate, might have had roots in some sectarian scheme the CIA and the U.S. Special Forces were running in Iraq. But it has by now far exceed that realm. The Caliphate is based on original Wahhabi ideas which were in their essence also anti-colonial and at first directed against the Ottoman rulers.

See Alastair Crooke's essays, You Can't Understand ISIS If You Don't Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia and Middle East Time Bomb: The Real Aim of ISIS Is to Replace the Saud Family as the New Emirs of Arabia, on the origin and history of these thoughts.

After 1741 the minor Ibn Saud Bedouin tribe collaborated with the radical cleric Abd al-Wahhab to justify its expansion. Several decades later they became too successful and the Ottoman rulers, with the help of their Egyptian army, exterminated the movement and the first Saudi proto-state. When a hundred years later the Ottoman empire fell apart the Wahhabi ideas and the Saudi movement sprang back to life. But the Saudi rulers were now under British imperial influence and that required to put their Puritans down:

Abd-al Aziz, however, began to feel his wider interests to be threatened by the revolutionary "Jacobinism" exhibited by the Ikhwan. The Ikhwan revolted -- leading to a civil war that lasted until the 1930s, when the King had them put down: he machine-gunned them.

Wahhabism survived after that but in a crippled form subordinated to the ruling Saud family.

The new Caliphate followers are copies of the original Wahhabis who do not recognize nation states as those were dictated by the colonial "western" overlords after the end of the Ottoman empire. They do not recognize rulers that deviate, like the Saudi kings do, from the original ideas and subordinate themselves to "western" empires. It is their aim to replace them. As there are many people in Saudi Arabia educated in Wahhabi theology and not particular pleased with their current rulers the possibility of a Caliphate rush to conquer Saudi Arabia and to overthrow the Ibn Saud family is real.

In that aspect the Caliphate is anti-colonial and anti-imperial. That is part of what attracts its followers. At the same time the Caliphate project is also imperial in that it wants to conquer more land and wants to convert more people to its flavor of faith.

Both of these aspects make it a competitor and a danger to imperial U.S. rule-by-proxy in the Middle East. That is, I believe, why the U.S. finally decided to fight it. To lose Saudi Arabia to the Caliphate, which seems to be a real possibility, would be a devastating defeat.

Espousing a (reactionary) anti-imperial, anti-colonial ideology while at the same time furthering an imperial project is not as strange as it appears. The U.S. itself is of anti-colonial heritage and is now trying to establish a global empire. This dualism requires some serious doublethink. Billmon wrote a short Twitter essay yesterday on how the originally anti-colonial U.S. and its officials now have to lie to themselves to justify their imperialism. See also Guest77's comment on the unconscious doublethink of U.S. officials. They lie to a New York Times reporter one day then read their lies the next morning, believe them and feel confirmed in their false views.

There is not that much difference between the unaltered Wahhabi ideology ISIS espouses and the puritanical believes of the first white conquerors in North America. The anti-imperial/imperial duality is only one commonality. Indeed I believe that there are quite a lot parallels between both movements.

Posted by b on September 14, 2014 at 17:10 UTC | Permalink

next page »

It's not my intention to hijack the thread. (Actually, it may not be that far off topic...) Anyway, has anybody wondered what might motivate the western powers to take such an interest in the "culture" of China's Uyghers?

Posted by: Maracatu | Sep 14 2014 17:42 utc | 1

When ISIS destroyed the tomb of Jonah, I knew they weren't Muslims. The split personality of western objectives jives well with it's celebrated and succored enemy-du-jour, the poseurs of Islamic purity. It's probably already been discussed on previous thread, but the 'execution' of Haines had all the same earmarks of deceit as the previous two. They are way too stoic in their accepted fates, and if the purpose is terror, it's just weird that they always cut away at the critical moment. Now the Turkish hostages are up. It seems Turkey needs to be moved off the dime. So many wheels within wheels. And what about the schizophrenia of American polls? What is it 65% say we need to fight ISIS, and 65% think it's a waste of time? sheesh.

Posted by: Ben Franklin | Sep 14 2014 17:50 utc | 2

testing....lost comment

Posted by: Ben Franklin | Sep 14 2014 17:56 utc | 3

Posted by: Maracatu | Sep 14, 2014 1:42:26 PM | 1

amazing, isn't it?

And of course it is very much on topic, as

Uighur girls get calls to be ISIS sex slaves

b. ISIS is not real. It is a - social media - creation.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 14 2014 18:13 utc | 4

This here is the London Uighur Ensemble - very un Wahhabi.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 14 2014 18:20 utc | 5

b quote : "That is, I believe, why the U.S. finally decided to fight it."

i disagree.. i think the motive is regime change in syria, although it could be seen as multi-purpose - short term and long terms goals in mind..

i don't think we can get around the fact ISIS is in part a creation of the usa's.. it is the new al qaeda version 2..

Posted by: james | Sep 14 2014 18:22 utc | 6

And this here is the Chinahand b. quotes ISIS now rhymes with ISI and indeed threatens the worldly Uighur people. (The sex slave news was an Indian slur, I suppose)

Isis tentacles reach toward China

No caliphate did ever manage to get that far. It is a joke.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 14 2014 18:31 utc | 7

the possibility of a Caliphate rush to conquer Saudi Arabia and to overthrow the Ibn Saud family is real.

I see Caliphate as a marketing idea to attract wahhabis. The "threat" to Saud family - I believe it when I see it, so far ISIS dutifully attack USrael enemies, while minor skirmishes with their alies* Iraqi Kurds they create a pretext for US to return militarily to Iraq and Syria.

New ISIS targets also are USrael enemies, like Russia and recently announced ISIS "pivot to Asia". I dont see them attacking Saudis, or Israel, or Turkey, on the contrary - these continue support for ISIS as far as I can see. Same does US, after training ISIS jihadis in Jordan (literally, with ISIS chief in charge, with whom McCain also met multiple times), now they will be training "moderate wahhabis" in Saudi, as well as channeling $500 mln. of weapons to Syria's jihadis, who are aligned with ISIS (or actually are ISIS groups).

* ISIS and Iraqi kurds both have the same supporters, and their uprising was carefully coordinated and launched at the same time (for last details they had a meeting in Jordan 4 days before attack on Iraq begun, and multiple meetings in Kurds heartland in Iraq later). The only kurds who are actually fighting ISIS are in Syria, not Iraq, where feuds seem more about the loot or just for show.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 14 2014 18:31 utc | 8

re 6. No caliphate did ever manage to get that far. It is a joke.

I don't think that any of those people would be bothered about whether the caliphate ever historically reached Xinjiang. Boko Harum is also claiming to be part of the Caliphate, and the Caliphate never reached south of the Sahara either.

Of course the idea that Uyghur girls were going as sex slaves is a slander, either Chinese or Indian. ISIS are very moral - they marry the girls. There was a story about them going round Tikrit looking for unmarried girls to take to wife, even insisting on checking the girls' identity cards, which indicate marital status.

Posted by: Alexno | Sep 14 2014 18:46 utc | 9

I agree with Harry above. Although I can't rule out the possibility that ISIS may at some point in the future 'go rogue', I see no evidence whatsoever that they have done so up till now. So far, they have directed all of their firepower at Iraq and Syria only. If they ever attack Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Qatar, etc., then I will revise my assessment of ISIS.

Posted by: Seamus Padraig | Sep 14 2014 18:50 utc | 10

IS and the Caliphate are a petard, so if Muslims take your advice, or if what you say is true about their collective sentiment, and they embrace this notion, they will surely be hoisted on this petard.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Sep 14 2014 18:54 utc | 11

ISIS are very moral - they marry the girls.

Oh My God! More from The Unintentional Satirist.

How nice and decent of them — "I'm going to rape you repeatedly after I marry you first, because I'm moral like Muhammad."

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Sep 14 2014 18:57 utc | 12

If they ever attack Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Qatar, etc., then I will revise my assessment of ISIS.

Or more importantly, Israel. Where's a beheading video where the executioner addresses Netanyahu?

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Sep 14 2014 19:00 utc | 13

Posted by: Seamus Padraig | Sep 14, 2014 2:50:58 PM | 9

They will need income/oil at some point. So either the people backing ISIS make a deal with the Iraqi government, or the Gulf has to spend a lot of money to sustain a colony "balancing" Iran. Turkey presumably wants them to "balance" the Kurds (and drive a wedge between Antakya and Syria).

Posted by: somebody | Sep 14 2014 19:10 utc | 14

the possibility of a Caliphate rush to conquer Saudi Arabia and to overthrow the Ibn Saud family is real.

No, b,it's not. Wishing it so, won't make it true. If IS were to even try, they would be bombed to less than nothing by US and Israel. There would be nothing left of them, zilch, nada, zero. Surely you must know that?

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 14 2014 19:31 utc | 15

Merkel is really pathetic, no wonder Germany wont act against Israel

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 14 2014 19:35 utc | 16

How the West Created the Islamic State

According to a little-known November report for the US Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) and Strategic Studies Department, Dividing Our Enemies, post-invasion Iraq was “an interesting case study of fanning discontent among enemies, leading to ‘red-against-red’ [enemy-against-enemy] firefights.”
While counterinsurgency on the one hand requires US forces to “ameliorate harsh or deprived living conditions of the indigenous populations” to publicly win local hearts and minds:
“… the reverse side of this coin is one less discussed. It involves no effort to win over those caught in the crossfire of insurgent and counterinsurgent warfare, whether by bullet or broadcast. On the contrary, this underside of the counterinsurgency coin is calculated to exploit or create divisions among adversaries for the purpose of fomenting enemy-on-enemy deadly encounters.

In other words, US forces will pursue public legitimacy through conventional social welfare while simultaneously delegitimising local enemies by escalating intra-insurgent violence, knowing full-well that doing so will in turn escalate the number of innocent civilians “caught in the crossfire.” The idea is that violence covertly calibrated by US special operations will not only weaken enemies through in-fighting but turn the population against them.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 14 2014 19:44 utc | 17

No, the problems are/run IMO much deeper. Blaming it on religion only is simply nonsense.
- The arab population is "not happy" with the governments in that region. Corruption, torture, nepotism. But those governments are supported by predominantly the US. That's why the US is hated as well.

A good example was the Sjah of Persia (ruled in Persia from 1953 up to 1979). He was installed by the US and his secret police (SAVAK) was trained by the CIA. That gave the mullahs (Khomeini) a good reason to remove the Shaj in 1979.

We saw the same in Eastern Europe from say 1948 up to 1990. The russians were hated because they "supported" the governments in Eastern Europe.

The arab governments also blame Israel for their own economic failings. The arabs also don't like the fact that Israel treat the Palestinians as second rate citizens.

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 14 2014 19:45 utc | 18

I honestly believe that ISIS is nothing more than a scene play from USA (and puppets) to create panic and justify their interventions against their foes in the Middle East. The executions, beheadings (in western citizens) are nothing but Boeings again thrown against buildings. I can not see a drop of authenticity in this movement ...

Posted by: Dario | Sep 14 2014 19:45 utc | 19

Talking of pettiness: How can THIS be denigrated as a spelling issue?

Posted by: hg | Sep 14 2014 19:52 utc | 20

oh. from above link #16

This story of ISIS’ stupendous bank looting spree across Iraq made global headlines but turned out to be disinformation. Senior Iraqi officials and bankers confirmed that banks in Iraq, including Mosul where ISIS supposedly stole $430 million, had faced no assault, remain open, and are guarded by their own private security forces. How did the story come about? One of its prime sources was Iraqi parliamentarian Ahmed Chalabi – the same man who under the wing of his ‘Iraqi National Congress’ peddled false intelligence about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction and ties to al-Qaeda. In June, Chalabi met with the US ambassador to Iraq, Robert Beecroft, and Brett McGurk, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran. According to sources cited by Buzzfeed in June, Beecroft “has been meeting Chalabi for months and has dined at his mansion in Baghdad.”

Posted by: somebody | Sep 14 2014 19:56 utc | 21

CoalHole, I always love it when commenters insist on making such a big show of their ignorance.

Posted by: Alexno | Sep 14 2014 20:19 utc | 22

Agree. The Caliphate wants to an Empire as well. Like Osama Bin Laden had the same target: topple the saudi government.

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 14 2014 20:23 utc | 23

well, i'm sure george washington and his continental army would have been totally psyched to have been armed to the teeth with state-of-the-art muskets and canons and whatnot by their imperial nemesis, but, i guess, no such luck. they prevailed anyway.

personally, i find this whole ISIS construct to be kinda flimsy. i mean, they definitely don't have the mojo of, say, the taliban, or the viet minh.

but with imperial sponsors i suppose anything's possible.

Posted by: john | Sep 14 2014 20:33 utc | 24

Mitchell Prothero's articles are regularly published in the Miami Herald (Online). E.g.:

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 14 2014 20:34 utc | 25

I believe the 'war" against ISIS is a show, something that Obama was forced into by the Steven Sotloff beheading publicity and the ranting of some congressmen, to which Obama has always folded.

Basically, Job One of the United States is the destruction or, failing that, the weakening of Iran and its allies, Iraq and Syria, which has been accomplished in regard to Syria and Iraq. All else is secondary. Which is why, for example, Kerry has stated that the US will not cooperate with Iran against ISIS. ISIS may not be exactly what the US had in mind, but it will do.

I wrote an article on The Caliphate here. Now I've got to return to it and add some info on how the US armed ISIS.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 14 2014 20:36 utc | 26

My vote is with Harry, Seamus, Okie Farmer and somebody, obviously.

By the way, that story about the $430M raised my hackles so I did some research at the time. Banks don't keep much cash around as physical cash (cash on hand). All the retail banks in Mosul put together don't have that much cash. So, I thought I spotted an obvious hoax. But the central bank of iraq keeps approx. 3x that amount in cash around for its needs. And the second largest office is in Mosul. So if the central bank was broken into, the story was theoretically possible. So I didn't say anything.

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 14 2014 20:38 utc | 27

Well Obama has threatened to destroy Syria's air defences if they shoot at American planes. Doesn't much matter who does the shooting. Assad will be blamed. It's all going according to plan.

Posted by: dh | Sep 14 2014 20:53 utc | 28

The Gulf potentates and Turkey that Obama and Kerry have been sucking up to have offered zero support. Obviously they don't feel threatened.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 14 2014 20:59 utc | 29

The US would probably confine its aerial aggression on Syria, is any, because that riles Russia, to ISIS formations. Syria would not respond to that.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 14 2014 21:01 utc | 30

From b's topic post:
"...Espousing a (reactionary) anti-imperial, anti-colonial ideology while at the same time furthering an imperial project is not as strange as it appears. The U.S. itself is of anti-colonial heritage and is now trying to establish a global empire. This dualism requires some serious doublethink..."

This statement is so true. It also requires a serious dose of geopolitical hypocrisy on behalf of america's leaders which has increased year after year.

Posted by: really | Sep 14 2014 21:02 utc | 31

The US has sided with fascists, communists, Islamic radicals, democracies, whatever, anyone who can advance US world (economic) interests. It's the interests that count, not any ideology. That's for pointy-headed intellectuals. :-)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 14 2014 21:07 utc | 32

@29 And how would anyone know who the response comes from?

Posted by: dh | Sep 14 2014 21:16 utc | 33

US and ISIS were good for each other for a time, and now its time to part ways, but ironically, they'll still serve each other's interests even as direct enemies.

For we Americans, it is the Myth of Sisyphus - our "burden" continues without end, condemned as we are by the gods in Washington:

Posted by: Brad | Sep 14 2014 21:32 utc | 34

the problem with wahhabism is it mixes its concern for a degenerate mixed islam with extrme violence, which it never asks if Mohammed would have approved.
that muslims(esp youth) are ready to engage in extremem violence goes along way to stoking the islamophobia they then claim is being directed against them.

Posted by: brian | Sep 14 2014 21:59 utc | 35

'The arab population is "not happy" with the governments in that region. Corruption, torture, nepotism'
Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 14, 2014 3:45:29 PM | 17

'Corruption, torture, nepotism'

so why dont we see the christian equivalent of ISIS in the US?

Posted by: brian | Sep 14 2014 22:01 utc | 36

so US made a frankenstein monster that has escaped (or threatens to escape) its control?

Posted by: brian | Sep 14 2014 22:04 utc | 37

ISIL is a mask for for the empires mercenary jihadists. Now the story from the empires propaganda bullhorn is that the so called moderates are going to stop the in-fighting and join forces against assa any action against ISIL that was originally planned to combat ISIL and the ccaliph will be put on ice (sorry I could not help myself) and this is ok with the empire. So I guess the empire is going to hire a crap load of mercenaries an pass them off as moderate al qaeda types. Any questions now about the origins and motive of al qaeda now non believers.

The average american will never ask themselves the question, why after 9/11 and 12 years of war against al qaeda would the US congress and military hierarchy want to team up with al qaeda, and the USG is going to give al qaeda $500,000,000 in weaponry?
This is an egregious affront to the memory of 9/11, the US military, all those military personnel who died or were injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, the victims of 9/11, the first responders of 9/11, the american people etc. Etc.

Shame on anyone who suggest such heresy and traitourous nonsense. Is getting rid of assad that important to certain members of the USG that they would turncoat and sully the memory of 9/11 in such a disgusting fashion?

Posted by: really | Sep 14 2014 22:10 utc | 38

Denigrating those ideas because of shortened spelling in a Tweet(!) is petty.

c’mon, b, that was a single clause --meant to be humorous -- in one sentence of a long complicated post. My argument had nothing whatsoever to do with his spelling. Cheap shot!

When Peter Lee says, ”turn page on disastrus century of colonial/postcolonial rule, replace fragmented/corrupt states,” I simply replied, “we all know by now that what is disastrous for others is propitious for the Empire.” I stand by that conclusion. I also asked what assurances Peter Lee has that the Caliphate would be any less corrupt? If he has any inside knowledge in this regard, he should surely tweet us, before supporting the formation of a totalitarian religious state he would never live in.

I take the opinion of Hassan Nasrallah much more seriously than the opinion of Peter Lee -- or even you, for that matter. And he has spoken very forthrightly (and at much greater length than even I can muster ;-) that ISIS would be a disaster for all of the people of Lebanon. Call me a fool, but I believe him, not Peter Lee.

What’s more, Erdogan does not want to see Turkey overrun by ISIS, nor does anyone in Iran. Nor any stable state. Nor do the majority of their populations -- many of which will be ethically cleansed should that happen. What Peter Lee is arguing, and you are buying, is a travesty!

Finally, Peter Lee is deflecting attention away from the real problem of post-colonialism -- which was not fragmented states (European states are historically, linguistically, and ethnically fragmented), and corruption (which exists in all states, even EU and US), but continued US and EU meddling with these states, as well as overthrowing any which became powerful enough to be independent.

That is basic to post-colonialism -- that the empire refuses to let go and cede control. History 101, Peter Lee. Turning everyone into powerless Takfiri automatons does not solve that problem.

What’s more, there are winners and losers in every struggle. Was the century so disastrous for Iraq’s great intellectual and technical class (highest rate of Phds in the world)? Was life so horrid for those who had state healthcare, free education, government subsidies on food and gas, and welfare for the indigent in the Baathist states?

I live 70 miles outside of Boston. Go into Boston and everything is shiny and new -- even if people have to work like slaves to afford their 500k mortgages. But where I live, half of my block lost their houses since the financial crisis. No one over 40 has any real teeth left in their mouths, and people die of preventable diseases or cancer in their 50‘s. If you want to talk disastrous, the last half century has been disastrous for all but the top 20% in America -- but Peter Lee has more important concerns than 1/4 Billion of his countrymen.

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 14 2014 22:25 utc | 39

@really 37

Good question! Answer: Yes!

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 14 2014 22:31 utc | 40

@really #37:

Is getting rid of assad that important to certain members of the USG
Assad is blocking a pipeline the US wants to build to make Europe less dependent on Gazprom:

The US is Yet Again Trying to Create an Oil and Gas Collapse in Russia

Damascus is a desirable prize not only in terms of politics, but also in terms of economics. Thanks to its unique geographic location, Syria may become a key player in oil and gas supplies to Europe. The agreement on the construction of the Iran − Iraq – Syria gas trunk line was signed by the parties in July 2012. Coincidentally, Syria became a major obstacle for the implementation of the gas pipeline project from Qatar’s North Field to Europe which would have allowed another player – Qatar – to hit Gazprom and, therefore, Russia with a sharp increase of the supplies of the cheap Qatar gas to Europe. Damascus, for various reasons, did not give consent for the construction of a gas pipeline from Qatar through its territory to Turkey and the Mediterranean coast and onward transit to Europe. While Assad remains in power, no construction of a gas trunk line to Syria’s Mediterranean coast from Qatar is possible.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 14 2014 22:36 utc | 41

To rise to the top of the pile, the spokespersons have to believe what they say. That it isn’t consistent with reality really didn’t become of concern till this century when the goals of the rulers came at the expense of the ruled. I’m slow and it didn’t become clear to me until Ukraine. The Economic Elite’s seizure of Ukraine’s resources and the attempt to destabilize Russia is being done at the risk of a nuclear war between NATO and Russia which can kill me and my family.

ISIS is a Sunni local rebellion that with outside funding that expanded into a no man’s land created by the Iraq and Syrian civil wars. Chaos, climate change, and plagues will lead to further revolts. For a decade or more, the USA will bomb here and there. But either bankruptcy or a western revolt against the plutocrats or the collapse of the House of Saud from within will bring the whole house of cards tumbling down. If mankind survives, it will be a neo-feudal world of scarcity, evangelical religions and energy efficient technologies unless the people regain control of their governments.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Sep 14 2014 23:29 utc | 42

@40 Demian


Official: Iran to Start Gas Export to Iraq in Months

Posted by: really | Sep 15 2014 0:07 utc | 43

ISIS can imagine themselves to be King Henry VIII I suppose. It doesn't make them that. They are a weak force who were whipped out of most of Syria by an increasingly powerful Syrian/Hezbollah/Iranian force. They swept into a disgruntled, sparsely populated desert region with an army of Toyotas in a victory that had more to do with a massive PR campaign based on their monstrous violence than their military power. If the Syrian Army can bring the firepower to bear to trounce them, then the US certainly can - and the Saudis certainly can if only because they'll have the US supporting them 100%.

Not to mention that these guys are far, far from Saudi Arabia - State Dept. "maps" not withstanding. So unless we start to see vigorous unrest in Saudi cities - I think this is not much of a threat. Because any decent highway to Saudi Arabia goes through heavily Shia areas of Iraq which are no go areas for ISIS obviously. There is, perhaps one desert route that they could take, but if the US can't figure out how to bomb a long convoy of pick ups on a 15 hour journey through the desert then... that says quite a bit too.

The US is clearly up to something. Why all this preposterous talk of "funding the Syrian opposition to fight ISIS" all about? We can go back over a year and a half of reporting from the most mainstream of mainstream sources and find again and again the same refrain: The "moderate" Syrian rebels simply do not exist. [see below] So this is either them buying into a ridiculous plan with a high rate of failure - or it is a ruse.

So we have a continuos stream of talking heads from Congress, think tanks, and the military telling us that ISIS is the greatest threat to the United States (literally ever in the case of a US Senator) telling us what a threat they are, chatter about WMD and dirty bombs like it is the run up to the Iraq War. And the solution involves a bombing campaign in two countries - having recently tried and failed at an extremely similar gambit - in support of a fictitious group which will wipe out this threat? All while Obama is being called weak and pressed to give the green light for military action which is obviously open-ended?

I don't know - maybe the US has actually backed itself into a corner by flooding Syria with weapons and has created something it isn't sure of what to do with. But then why all the smoke and mirrors about the opposition? Why all the talking up of ISIS instead of talking them down? Something stinks.


On the non-existence of Obama's "moderate Syrian Opposition".

Sep. 12, 2014 - McClatchy

the Syria leg of the strategy President Barack Obama outlined to combat the Islamic State relies heavily on an on-the-ground opposition partner, which still doesn’t exist in any viable form.

Aug, 2014 - Patrick Cockburn

the US and its allies have responded to the rise of Isis by descending into fantasy. They pretend they are fostering a ‘third force’ of moderate Syrian rebels to fight both Assad and Isis, though in private Western diplomats admit this group doesn’t really exist outside a few beleaguered pockets.

May 2014 - Gen. Dempsey

Dempsey noted that the Syrian opposition maintains no governance structure to provide goods, services and security; no force capable of holding ground to administer aid and wage attacks against the regime; and no counterterrorism capability to root out al Qaeda-affiliated groups in the country. "And we're not on a path currently to provide that," he said.

Mar, 2014 - Carnegie Endowment

In mid-February, opposition websites circulated a statement signed by 49 different rebel factions in southern Syria. Banding together as the “Southern Front,” they declared themselves to be “the moderate voice and the strong arm of the Syrian people.” For many Syrians, that must sound too good to be true—and it probably was just that.

Aug., 2013 - Col. Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan

We don’t have an opposition that I think we should be putting in power,” said Col. Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, and a senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, speaking by phone from London. “The opposition is dominated by al-Qaeda and other extremists, so it’s going to be bad, possibly worse than Assad himself.”

James Fallon, a Middle East analyst

“For the U.S. and Western powers, there is a Syrian opposition that they’d like to see and that doesn’t exist,” said James Fallon, a Middle East analyst at Control Risks in Dubai. “The U.S. knows who it wants to back. It knows what it wants the Syrian opposition to look like. But those groups are only part of a larger, more disperse grouping of opposition.”

Mar, 2013 - Aaron Lund at SYria Comment

the FSA doesn’t really exist. The original FSA [was] a branding operation/ The FSA was created by Col. Riad el-Asaad and a few other Syrian military defectors in July 2011, in what may or may not have been a Turkish intelligence operation. To be clear, there’s no doubting the sincerity of the first batch of fighters, or suggest that they would have acted otherwise without foreign support. But these original FSA commanders were confined to the closely guarded Apaydın camp in Turkey, and kept separate from civilian Syrian refugees.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 15 2014 0:46 utc | 44

So the Caliphate of OBL goes forward, cut-outs going exponential, while the gain of risk goes to zero.

Posted by: Jay M | Sep 15 2014 0:57 utc | 45

Syrian Arab News Agency link.

Posted by: really | Sep 15 2014 0:58 utc | 46

@ 12,

Or more importantly, Israel. Where's a beheading video where the executioner addresses Netanyahu?

I think, without even realizing it, you've asked a very intelligent and germane question. Where indeed is the video-with or without beheading-in which ISIS calls out Israel's bombardment of Gaza? Where do they promise to help the Palestinians "at some future date?" Doesn't even have to be soon. As for their anti-House of Saud sentiments, are there any ISIS videos calling them fat fake Muslims conspiring with the west against the Umma? Any videos urging Saudi youth to rise up against the KSA government? Any?

So forget about ISIS ACTING against KSA/Israel, how about at least SPEAKING against them? 'Cause if they aren't even doing that much, that kind of says it all, doesn't it.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 15 2014 1:12 utc | 47

On the one hand - its totally the perfect story line:

Man turns to the dark side to destroy his rival and succeeds in forcing them to his will. He now faces the dilemma of continuing his quest for power beyond his wildest dreams while this evil gnaws at him and threatens to destroy him - or giving it all up to make common cause with those he once triumphed over, and redeem his soul from this evil that threatens his existence.

It's a little perfect - it's a cartoon. You couldn't make it up, really. It's too Hollywood.

The other hand - the realpolitik which certainly the leaders of the rest of the world have to consider - would be to say that the US has been building up ISIS and similar groups, either directly or by proxies to fight its enemies - for the most part the remnants of the Soviet bloc - for decades. And ISIS shows little evidence that it aims to fight the US aside from some showboating. It appears, in fact, to be focused still on battling not just the "old" US enemies but new ones too - in Iran and in China as well. And the US is steering this thing as it has always done and as it sees fit.

Now, I'm no General, but when you look at the geography of what ISIS controls - it is basically long narrow river valleys in the middle of vast expanses of impassable desert. Clearly these guys could be wrapped up in no time if the US was serious about supporting the Syrian government and the Iraqi governments to do the job. So I think the idea that the US is first and foremost concerned with ISIS has to be thrown immediately out the window. If the US wanted, it could defeat them, and quite easily. And surely the Russians and the Chinese and Iran see this as well and must certainly want ISIS destroyed- though neither has the power to do so directly, unlike the hegemon. So what are they to think? The US doesn't seem to be actually as concerned as they claim to be - in fact, they are still largely focused on other goals like causing trouble in Syria and in the Ukraine instead of trying to seriously fight ISIS.

My point is this: whatever the case and whatever the reality of the situation with all its certain complexities and contradictions, Russia, Iran, and Syria are certainly correct to consider that ISIS is, in the worst case scenario that they must plan for, a US asset which is directed first and foremost at them.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 15 2014 1:31 utc | 48

Not that it is particularly meaningful, but my corny little allegory in (47) is, hopefully clearly, referencing the US security state creating radical right-wing Islam to attack Socialism and Communism.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 15 2014 1:37 utc | 49

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 14, 2014 8:46:26 PM | 43

Something stinks.

A situation has been created where the American people voted in a president because of his "opposition to the war in Iraq", overlooking that he was at the same time promoting the "good war" in Afghanistan, at the exact moment his predecessor had negotiated a withdrawal of US troops.
The pretext for both wars was Al Qeida. As Al Qeida could not really be pinned on Iraq (though tried), there was the invention of weapons of mass destruction.
The new president had the head of Al Qeida killed and called mission accomplished though the Taliban (who had been considered al Qeida as pretext for the war in Afghanistan) were clearly winning.
So there was a new Al Qeida created when the weapons of mass destruction failed as pretext in Syria because of Russian creativity, this time in Syria and Iraq. And the American people find themselves reengaging in Iraq (would be "and Syria" but there still is Russia).
ISIS is marketed to Muslims and Americans as Obama was marketed to Americans and Muslims.
The brand changes the - neo colonial - content remains the same.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2014 1:41 utc | 50

ISIS, US and Saudi Arabia - the love triangle

To the extent that in 1991, the US military made it mandatory for its female personnel in Saudi Arabia to wear a head-to-foot abaya (cloak), making Saudi Arabia the only country in the world where US military personnel wear a religiously-mandated garment.

While the House of Representatives ruled against the Pentagon from "formally or informally" making female personnel wear abayas in 2002 after the highest-ranking female fighter pilot in the US and now retired colonel, Martha McSally, filed a lawsuit, the practice continues to be encouraged today.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2014 1:51 utc | 51

why isn't cold n holefield banned for repeatedly breaking the multi-post rule?

Posted by: tamlin | Sep 15 2014 2:16 utc | 52

There is that quote: "warfare is the continuation of politics by other means".

I think that's done. Warfare is all we have now. War swallowed politics whole a while ago, and in one gulp. The plans for the United States role in the world are made up in terms of zero-sum games and executable strategies without any regard for either morality or self-restraint.

It is impossible to find one US politician who isn't corrupted not just on some level - but on all levels. The final elimination of voices the likes of Kucinich and McKinney was bad enough as a loss of even some sort of alternative narrative, but hearing Elizabeth Warren declare that Israel should bomb hospitals and schools to reduce the small threat to its citizens by some small fraction said it all.

It is hard - no, impossible - to take seriously any calls for positive change. You can just see the last democratic institutions totter over and get swallowed up in the sickening flood of sewage that is American politics today.

We're fucked if we don't figure out how to fight.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 15 2014 2:30 utc | 53

@ guest77 #47
when you look at the geography of what ISIS controls - it is basically long narrow river valleys in the middle of vast expanses of impassable desert.

From what I've seen, ISIS is controlling population centers (cities, towns) and lines of communication (LOC). Looks pretty smart to me, although I haven't studied it in depth. Just looking at a map of control. Why waste forces in an open desert, where they are vulnerable especially without air? They wouldn't last.

Compare to the US setting up remote forward operating bases (FOB) in Afghanistan, which later had to be either reinforced at great cost by air, because they never controlled the highways, or abandoned. The US never has controlled Highway One in Afghanistan. Helicopter flights, at night, for resupply. The pilots would sleep all day and be woken at 6pm for their pre-flight briefing, stuff like that.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 15 2014 2:44 utc | 54

The US still has bases in SA, by the way, including about 2,000 US military personnel
at Eskan Village Air Base. Total US military in the Gulf is about 40,000, including an infantry brigade, and growing, plus part of the Fifth Fleet. Bahrain: 7,000, Kuwait: 15,000, Qatar: 10,000, UAE 5,000.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 15 2014 2:50 utc | 55

@53 We'll, I don't know a whole lot - and certainly they control Mosul and some of the larger Sunni cities - but when you talk about the Syria/Iraq border route, you're basically discussing the Euphrates valley (which, to my discredit, is probably a whole lot bigger than it looks on Google Earth).

I can't argue it, but I'd be interested in reading about the differences in tactics and level of success in fighting Iraqi insurgents in these river valleys versus fighting them in the considerably larger tracts of arable land in the Fertile Crescent where the two rivers come close to converging.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 15 2014 2:53 utc | 56

Obama tried to retain troops in Iraq but Iraqis (understandably) hate them. Maliki told him to get out, as stipulated. There is a Strategic Framework Agreement that could be used as justification for US intervention, but nobody has mentioned it, probably for the same reason. Like a girl once told me after a date when I was a teen -- don't call me, I'll call you. (I'm still waiting.)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 15 2014 2:57 utc | 57

Oh goody--

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress and the White House anticipated a peace dividend by winding down America’s foreign wars, closing bases and shedding tens of thousands of troops.

But President Barack Obama’s new, open-ended strategy to confront Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria is likely to eat into some of the nearly $500 billion in Pentagon spending cuts that were planned over the next decade.--Stripes

Why, it's almost like they planned it!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 15 2014 3:11 utc | 58

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 14, 2014 9:12:29 PM | 46

The interesting point is not so much what ISIS is saying - that is marketing, the point is what they are doing.

This well connected US analyst sounds as if a strategy has gone sour. He is basically arguing that ISIS did intentionally not make al Qeida's "mistake" in targeting American interest, but are doing the beheadings now to deter US airstrikes that were "ostensibly" done to protect ethnic minorities. For cynics, the US seems to have swapped the anti-western Al Qeida brand for a new brand "avoiding mistakes".

Why did the US do the airstrikes (not to protect ethnic minorities that is sure)?

Because ISIS attacked US interests in Kurdistan. And there, the cui bono gets very murkey indeed.

And, whilst the hate gets directed at Saudi Arabia, NATO partner Turkey seems to be out of the media on the issue of ISIS or receive some very understanding treatment.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2014 3:20 utc | 59

@ brian @ 35

Because Americans are, mainly, lazy ignorant cowards who will-not-act. Period. Unless that action is to kidnap an estranged ex wife, and hold her family hostage, over of the outcome of a football game.

Posted by: Marc | Sep 15 2014 4:07 utc | 60

@ malooga @38

Peter Lee's motives cant be trusted. He made a very generally similar comment about what would be the "best" outcome, of the US instigated conflict with Russia, and according to peter that would be for pro-US Russian oligarchs to overthrow the Putin govt. and impose another Yeltsin-like oligarchy on the Russian people. " Better " for whom Peter ?? Obviously better for who ever pays peter to write his drivel day after day, month after month. He certainly doesn't write because he's "passionate" about current events. He writes on behalf of criminal capitalist oligarchy, from a US/Sino-Pacific pov.

Posted by: Marc | Sep 15 2014 4:18 utc | 61

Guest77 at 52

There is that quote: "warfare is the continuation of politics by other means". That's from Carl von Clausewitz "On War'. He was a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, and "was promoted to Major-General in 1818 and appointed director of the 'Kriegsakademie'" of the Prussian Army. He, like many soldiers, died of disease. He served in the field when they mobilized in response to various Revolutions (Fr., Belg., etc.) at the time, in 1831. See of course wikipedia.

"I think that's done. Warfare is all we have now. War swallowed politics whole a while ago, and in one gulp. The plans ... are made up... without any regard for either morality or self-restraint."

Well said, that is, tx.

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 15 2014 4:23 utc | 62

if you're well read on the origins of the usa and its architects and key players, then you'll know that it was conceived as an imperialist project from the start. we have to separate the myth from the facts. then and now.

Posted by: b real | Sep 15 2014 5:20 utc | 63

here is the book to read on wahhabis

Posted by: Cu Chulainn | Sep 15 2014 6:05 utc | 64

I disagree
The beaheadings are meant as a demonstration of force (from the viewpoint of the "international djihadist brigades") while they are a revenge for Falluja and Iraq (from the viewpoint of the former Baathists allied to the Sunni tribes).

Posted by: Mina | Sep 15 2014 6:31 utc | 65

OT but amazing, NYT

Holder Says Private Suit Risks State Secrets
WASHINGTON — In his first year in office, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. put new limits on when the government could dismiss lawsuits in the name of protecting national security. Now, in what he has said is likely his final year, Mr. Holder has claimed broad authority to do just that in a case unlike any other.
The Justice Department intervened late Friday in a defamation lawsuit against United Against Nuclear Iran, a prominent advocacy group that pushes for tough sanctions against Tehran. The government said the case should be dropped because forcing the group to open its files would jeopardize national security.
The group is not affiliated with the government, and lists no government contracts on its tax forms. The government has cited no precedent for using the so-called state-secrets privilege to quash a private lawsuit that does not focus on government activity.
The lawsuit, by a Greek shipping magnate, accuses United Against Nuclear Iran of falsely accusing him of doing business with Iran. The businessman, Victor Restis, subpoenaed the group for its donor list and all information it had collected about him. That was when the Justice Department stepped in.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. intervened on Friday to dismiss a lawsuit that does not focus on government activity. Credit Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images “There is no precedent, literally, for what the government is attempting to do,” said Abbe D. Lowell, a lawyer for Mr. Restis.
Under President George W. Bush, the government used the state-secrets privilege to defeat lawsuits over the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program and the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture of terrorist suspects. The government’s power in such cases is absolute. Once it declares that information would jeopardize national security, a judge cannot force the government to reveal it.
In 2009, Mr. Holder tightened the requirements for asserting the privilege. The attorney general must personally approve each case, and “only when genuine and significant harm to national defense or foreign relations is at stake.”
The case most similar to Mr. Restis’s lawsuit is a government scientist’s defamation claim against Penthouse magazine for a 1977 article describing Pentagon research on dolphins. But the government’s interest in that case was clear: The allegations focused on government science, and a senior Navy security official was on the witness list.
The government interest here is less clear. Typically, an assertion of the state secrets privilege is accompanied by a sworn public statement from a senior official — the secretary of defense or C.I.A. director, for example. Those statements, while circumspect, help explain the government’s interest.
In this case, however, the Justice Department said that “the concerned federal agency, the particular information at issue and the bases for the assertion of the state-secrets privilege cannot be disclosed” without jeopardizing national security.
If United Against Nuclear Iran possesses American classified information, it is not clear how the group obtained it. Government intelligence agencies are prohibited from secretly trying to influence public opinion.
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story “I have never seen anything like this,” said Ben Wizner, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who represented clients in other cases that have been quashed because of state secrets. “If there’s something in their files that would disclose a state secret, is there any reason it should be in their files?”
Another possibility is that the Justice Department is trying to protect foreign relations with Israel, a vital ally. In court documents, Mr. Lowell has accused United Against Nuclear Iran of being financed by unidentified foreign interests. He has tried to force the testimony of Israel’s former intelligence chief and a prominent Israeli businessman, who he said helped pass information about his client.
Lee S. Wolosky, a lawyer for United Against Nuclear Iran, said the group had received no money from foreign donors. He said nobody on its advisory committee — which includes Meir Dagan, the former Israeli intelligence chief — was involved in Mr. Restis’ case. The group has repeatedly said the lawsuit is meritless.
“It is clear that U.A.N.I. and its leaders know they have no defense, and so are hoping to get the government to make this case go away,” Mr. Lowell said. “The bigger question now turns to why the government is doing U.A.N.I.’s bidding and exactly what relationship U.A.N.I. has with the U.S. government, other countries and its web of undisclosed financial supporters.”
Mr. Lowell could argue that the lawsuit should continue without the information he was seeking, but Mr. Wolosky said he expected the case would be dismissed.
“U.A.N.I. will continue to speak out against those who undermine the security of the United States, our friends and allies by doing business in Iran,” Mr. Wolosky said

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 15 2014 6:37 utc | 66

The "moderate" Syrian leader of the Free Syrian Army (or one of them anyway), Riyadh Al-As`ad (who was once hailed as the very hope of Syria and the man who made the days of Bashshar numbered) said yesterday that he won't join in the American war on ISIS. Let me translate his principled stance: where is my cash, damn it.

(From the Angry Arab: )

Posted by: Mina | Sep 15 2014 7:10 utc | 67

US President Barack Obama has threatened to wipe out Syria’s air defense system and topple the Syrian government if President Bashar al-Assad ordered his forces to shoot American planes entering Syrian airspace.

He made the remarks during a meeting in the White House before his speech about Washington’s strategy about the ISIL terrorist group, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

Obama ordered the US military on Wednesday to expand its bombing campaign against ISIL terrorists and launch airstrikes in Syria.

“If he [Assad] dared to do that, Mr. Obama said he would order American forces to wipe out Syria’s air defense system, which he noted would be easier than striking ISIS (or ISIL) because its locations are better known,” the newspaper said.

“He went on to say that such an action by Mr. Assad would lead to his overthrow, according to one account,” the Times said.

The US president also noted that ISIL made a major strategic error by killing American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff “because the anger it generated resulted in the American public’s quickly backing military action.”

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 15 2014 7:32 utc | 68

BTW the language of revenge is also in the "orange" shirt of the executed hostages

Posted by: Mina | Sep 15 2014 7:54 utc | 69

I think you got this one wrong. Every indication says that the ISIS is a creation and tool of the U.S. and Israel (through intermediaries Turkey and Saudi Arabia). I would be extremely surprised if they were to ever be a threat to any U.S. regional ally, and indeed so far their actions and positioning have been strikingly in line with American interests, for all their anti-Western rhetoric.

My guess is that they will remain in Iraq with the West covertly supporting them, never posing a threat to neither Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, or any of the U.S. client states like Jordan, but wreaking as much havoc as possible on Syria and Lebanon, and Iran, to the extent they get the opportunity. Of course they will completely destroy the current Iraqi administration who had the gall to act independently of American dictate. When ISIS have exhausted their usefulness we get another U.S. invasion, dutifully supported by the U.S. public after a few years of mass media brainwashing and possibly some false flag terrorism 'assisted' by U.S. intelligence, then a new client state that can be milked for resources.

Posted by: bondo | Sep 15 2014 8:20 utc | 70

Posted by: Mina | Sep 15, 2014 2:31:39 AM | 64

How can it be revenge when they waited so long and presumably would have accepted money to free the hostages? Something the US and the British do not do in contrast to other European countries.
The link claims that ISIS are trying to deter the US. I wonder what Saudi is trying to achieve by - is it threatening? - that ISIS might come to the US and Europe. I also wonder what the perfect British jihadi accent is meant to achieve.
The Iraqi Baath uprising and the Saudi Jihadis can always rebrand and ISIS can be declared dead - like Al Qeida.

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 15, 2014 3:32:50 AM | 67

That is a funny way of saying that a) he intends to fight Assad's enemies b) he will not topple Assad if he lets him fight his enemies.

The "strategic mistake" stuff is interesting, too.

Lavrov, by the way, is taking part in the conference on Iraq in Paris.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2014 8:37 utc | 71

@Marc 60

I don't trust Peter Lee, but every so often b uses some pro-empire analyst like him and I have to get on his case. He used Brown Moses once before they were uncovered, Martin Van Crevald, and a few others down the line I can't remember.

What's interesting is that b has changed his opinion, which he has held forever, about ISIS being evil puppets -- 180 degrees, to them being independent actors in this post, and no one seems particularly troubled.

Did anyone see actual beheadings? I mean I've watched a few real beheading videos on the web -- one from Chechnya -- and they are really, really gruesome spectacles. Almost physically impossible to watch.

So this is like Bin Ladens killing, another simulacrum, which b and everyone else took seriously despite the entire ship saying that no one was buried at sea, etc, etc, etc. Sometimes I don't know why I bother.

I should go back to my own blogs and write about hiking, foraging, and training animals -- all of which are real.

Why do people read all this disinformation in the lead-up to war, and believe it? Does anyone else follow what Hassan Nasrallah says? I mean he is right there and more than a little involved.

Ho hum...

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 15 2014 9:11 utc | 72

Out now
It is the PKK that is fighting ISIS. Well they call them YPG here.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2014 9:30 utc | 73

Off topic:

Posted by: really | Sep 15 2014 9:54 utc | 74

@Malooga #71:

No, please stay. We've lost a few contributors lately, so the local ecosphere needs you.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 15 2014 9:56 utc | 75


On the anniversary of Sep11, carried out by the Saudis:

Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, Virginia was awarded a $43,293,745 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for services to support the Royal Saudi Land Forces. Services in the contract include consulting, intensive management, logistics support, and contracting support within the United States, for the Royal Saudi Land Forces.

Wait, it gets better!

Booz Allen Hamilton, of McLean, Virginia, is being awarded a $95,500,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide support services for countering weapons of mass destruction situational awareness, intelligence, operations, and data visualization support that enables the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to monitor global situational awareness of WMD threats and activities.

Absolute Business Corp.,* Herndon, Virginia (W911W4-14-D-0012);{and other WADC-NOVA John Does} were collectively awarded a $2,160,000,000 hybrid, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for global intelligence support services acquisition.

BAE Systems Information Solutions, Inc., McLean, Virginia {and other WADC-NOVA John Does} were collectively awarded a ceiling $5,040,000,000 hybrid, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for global intelligence support services acquisition.


Posted by: ChipNikh | Sep 15 2014 10:08 utc | 76

Because Americans are, mainly, lazy ignorant cowards who will-not-act.

So, what would you have these so-called "Americans" do besides strut their stuff on the internets like certain "American" red-headed professors?

I mean this seriously. What would you have these lazy, cowardly "Americans" do effectively to stem the tide of Imperialism?

Nuke D.C.?

Go on a hunger strike?

Vote for the right corporate candidate in the next elections?

Blog and comment on blogs more than they do already?

Boycott everything?

Petition Putin for annexation to the Russian Federation and declare themselves ethnic Russians so Putin can intervene on their behalf and save them from themselves?

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Sep 15 2014 10:16 utc | 77


Despite $Bs spent to elevate Saddam to power, and $10Bs spend to arm him with WMDs against Iran, and more $10Bs spent to drive him out of Kuwait and destroy those WBDs, then $100Bs spent to pretend the WMDs were never destroyed and Saddam was a 'bad, bad man' intent on nuking Israel, when he was captured and tried, and there were video transcripts of the whole thing, and there are 1000s of Arabic translators living in Los Angeles, and 100s of video transcribing services, Americans did not hear ONE SINGLE WORD that Saddam said in his own defense. NOT ONE WORD! Nevermind the hanging, which was also not televised, since it might be too troubling for kiddies to see 1200 Palestinian decapitated corpses left after Israel's 'Iron Whatever'.

Americans have been poodled! The retired adults travel the world in pointless idleness, their childrens' only purpose is to spend down their elders' last life savings that are never coming back, then go on welfare to spend down America's last equity that is never coming back. Like a pumpkin in the fields at November's hard frost, hoary, dulling in color, slowly sinking, squamus, cracking, soggy, slimy, and then buried in permafrost.

Posted by: ChipNikh | Sep 15 2014 10:22 utc | 78

@72 somebody

From someboy's link provided:
"...The YPG relies heavily on snipers, backed by mobile support weaponry (mainly 12.7 mm Russian-issue heavy machine guns) that carve up the battlefield and suppress enemy fire. It also uses roadside bombs to limit enemy movement and preven outflanking manoeuvres, particularly at night.

While Iraqi Kurdish forces (known collectively as the peshmerga) are receiving military assistance from countries including France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, the Syrian Kurds have received little such help.

Accusations that they remain close to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces withdrew from Kurdish territory in 2012, and that they are closely linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is fighting for Kurdish independence from Turkey, make them an unpalatable choice.

Turkey in particular believes the YPG to be a tool of Damascus, while those who believe the Rojava government's aims run against the goals of the Syrian opposition often accuse the Syrian Kurdish region of being a haven for Iranian influence.

The Syrian Kurds are essentially operating in an isolated canton facing the IS to the south and a deeply suspicious and hostile Turkey to the north, while Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) cannot decide whether they are friend or foe..."

So the little YPG is holding its own militarily against the uber jihadists IS. Meanwhile the leaders of the 'almighty' hegemon is quaking in its boots and pissin its levis™ over how to deal with IS. Apparently, according to this particular revelation 1+1=3.

Posted by: really | Sep 15 2014 10:22 utc | 79


A Canticle for Leibowitz (Walter Miller)

Posted by: ChipNikh | Sep 15 2014 10:32 utc | 80

78) even more from the link provided

Yet the YPG's lines have yet to break when attacked by better-equipped IS forces. The YPG has even managed to expand into Iraq, largely thanks to the retreat of the KRG's peshmerga from around Mount Sinjar following the IS advance in early August. The persecuted Yazidi minority fleeing the conflict were protected by YPG units before making their way north via the humanitarian corridor running through northeast Syria into Turkey.

Eager to avenge IS atrocities, many Yazidis have asked the YPG for weapons and training. The YPG has so far trained more than 1,000 in one-week military courses and sent them back to Sinjar, where they operate as local defence units under YPG and PKK supervision. The result is that the YPG now occupies areas in Iraq previously controlled by the peshmerga.

YPG officials deny having permanent intentions on Iraqi territory, but it is unclear what the future holds. Even if the YPG withdraws from the Sinjar area, the Yazidi units left behind appear loyal to the YPG, not the peshmerga. For their part, the Iraqi Kurds have insisted there can be no discussion on this matter and that the YPG presence is a violation of sovereignty.

So what is Germany training the Peshmerga for - to beat back Yazidis and YPG?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2014 10:41 utc | 81


EU has not recovered since 2011, their debt to equity and debt to exports numbers are flat-line. The North Sea continues to decline, and they have no real options except for brown coal and nuclear power, to resist a tsunami of Russian energy imports, from a mafia run oligarchy whose people outside of Mokva don't have two kopeks to rub together. On a best day at noon in the middle of July, the EU produces only 14% renewable energy.

What will Russia do with all those Euros?!

More to the point for Americans, now that Russia has frozen US 'meat' imports for a year, prices are falling like a stone, pork is so cheap it's just crazy, and chicken is so cheap it's starting to really stink, they have to move the surplus by rinsing it in ammonia then selling it as 'fresh unfrozen', which is a Madison Avenue term for rotting corpses.

This is causing a huge backlog in US grain storage, right at the harvest time. The Midwest granaries are still half-full, and farmers faced with a bumper crop, but an early winter will be forced to store their still-too-wet grains under tarps in the fields, freezing, splitting, becoming moldy with aflatoxin, more deadly than botulism.

Spoiled field-stored surplus will all have to go to animal feed or the worst to ethanol. Ethanol is tapped out. American vehicle power trains can't take any higher ethanol without breaking down. Too much ethanol, too much frack gas and transportation of Bakken crude is grinding to a standing national rail jam that won't work through for one or two years.

Yet USUKEU Elites are playing chicken with Russia! This is a mad power-game for the 1%rs!

They HAVE to find markets for the grains, meats and fuels, or the price of crude will crash, and the now BILLION A DAY IN EXCESS OIL PROFITS the Saudis slosh around the world for oil supply wars will disappear, and the visual embodiment of that, Dubai, will turn into a ghost town, and the mirror image of that, China, will grind to an inexorable halt because America will be trapped in a deflationary death spiral.

A year ago, the US allowed meat producers to export frozen byproducts to China, process them, then reimport them without duties as 'Packed in America'. That entire cold-chain, or canned-goods chain, had relied on Russia absorbing the excess meat production to keep prices where feed lots could afford to feed and slaughter the animals, and where it was worth shipment to access cheap Chinese processing. That will now end.

It's hitting the skids, rippling through fracking fields abandonment, farm disasters and livestock culls. Yet the US stock market and Federal tax revenues are at an all-time high!

Who is going to blink first?

Posted by: ChipNikh | Sep 15 2014 10:57 utc | 83

So what is Germany training the Peshmerga for - to beat back Yazidis and YPG?
Posted by: somebody @80


Posted by: really | Sep 15 2014 10:58 utc | 84

Yep,obviously it is all about Kurdistan

digging ditches in Kurdistan

And there is this from June

The initial assault that began in the city of Mosul on Saturday has now spread south to include Hawija, parts of Kirkuk, Tikrit and Samarra, all of them major Sunni cities. Parts of Nineveh, most of Kirkuk and northern Diyala fall within the so-called disputed territories that are claimed by both Baghdad and the Federal Kurdistan Region which controls the provinces of Erbil, Sulaimani and Duhok. The incresing threat of ISIS, which is reportedly supported by Turkey, has made visible how the People's Defense Units (YPG) is giving a massive resistance in Rojava. The YPG fighters are exhibiting a great resistance in Rojava for more than a year. YPG fighted against the ISIS gangs in cities like Serêkaniyê, Tıl Koçer and Kobane and liberated them.

'We went wrong towards YPG'

Despite all of this, some powers like Turkey supported the ISIS. When the treat of ISIS spreaded to other territories, self-critisim has came from Kirkuk Governor Najmeldin Karim who became governor with the alliance of Kurdistan Democracy Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). Kirkuk Governor spoke to Milliyet author Aslı Aydıntaşbaş said: "We could not understand the YPG before." Aydintaşbaş asked: "PYD (YPG) is struggling in Syria for almost one year in Syria. Both Ankara and Hewler (Erbil) did not take an attitude supporting PYD. When we look now.." He responded: "We were wrong, we went wromg towards YPG. But, it is not too late to change this wrong policy."

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2014 11:28 utc | 85

" originally anti-colonial U.S. now have to lie to themselves to justify their imperialism. See also Guest77's comment on the unconscious doublethink of U.S. officials. They lie to a New York Times reporter one day then read their lies the next morning, believe them and feel confirmed in their false views."

So, Billmon and Guest77 both read the minds of these persons they are referencing and can make these absurd conclusions with certainty?
Lie to themselves to justify their imperialism? Manifest Destiny and all that nonsense aside, right? American exceptionalism- what's that?

How does Billmon KNOW they are lying to themselves? Perhaps they aren't? What's more likely is they are lying for the purposes of misleading the masses, via their media megaphones, in order to keep the populace believing in utter nonsense.
If one is purposely lying to a reporter why would they need to see it in print for confirmation of the lie. What difference could it make? And why would one assume this confirmation makes said liars believe their lies any further? They likely laugh and think to themselves, job well done!
When someone is knowingly, intentionally and with forethought- lying, that's not unconscious

from guest77's comment

"And though it isn't stated that that was the exact case with the pregnant woman, it seemed pretty obvious that that was the case"

It didn't seem obvious to me that was the case? Nor was it stated this was the case. Therefore why would you assume?

If you,G77, know this kind of stuff goes one, why assume theseCIA agents didn't? Their CIA agents in Vietnam for god's sake?! It would seem to me they are fully aware of all sorts of manipulations/machinations and general malfeasance we can't even imagine.

Unconscious doublethink?
The unwashed masses usually wallow in unconscious doublethink- with the help of indoctrination like 'american exceptionalism" and their intentional ignorance/ laziness to do any homework in order to enlighten themselves.

It's beyond my comprehension why it is, some people wish to make these wishy washy sort of excuses for the wrong doings of these people being referred to?

Posted by: Penny | Sep 15 2014 11:42 utc | 86

@35: Give it time and it will surface in the US as well.

- Never heard of the "TEA Party" ?

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 15 2014 12:09 utc | 87


What did Nasrallah say ? Weblinks ?

Nasrallah has A LOT TO lose. If ISIS wins in Syria then Hezbollah/Nasrallah will/could be the next target of ISIS.

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 15 2014 12:24 utc | 88

And what about this: "GOP nurturing a Menace".

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 15 2014 12:28 utc | 89

Yet USUKEU Elites are playing chicken with Russia! This is a mad power-game for the 1%rs!

They HAVE to find markets for the grains, meats and fuels, or the price of crude will crash, and the now BILLION A DAY IN EXCESS OIL PROFITS the Saudis slosh around the world for oil supply wars will disappear, and the visual embodiment of that, Dubai, will turn into a ghost town, and the mirror image of that, China, will grind to an inexorable halt because America will be trapped in a deflationary death spiral.

Don't forget what plummeting oil prices will do to Russia. This will win the game of chicken with Putin, but of course, all oligarchs everywhere will have to take it in the shorts.

So, which will it be? Oligarchs taking it in the shorts by dropping the price of oil to $25/barrel and neutralizing Putin's Russia in the process, or nuclear war where the oligarchs can spread the suffering around to everyone and maybe even avoid it in their underground digs until the skies clear, if ever?

I'm hoping for the former with this paper vs plastic proposition.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Sep 15 2014 12:55 utc | 90

The retired [American] adults travel the world in pointless idleness.
But they must be cautious. From the State Department, April 10, 2014:

Worldwide Caution
The Department of State has issued this Worldwide Caution to update information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world. U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated September 25, 2013, to provide updated information on security threats and terrorist activities worldwide.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 15 2014 13:03 utc | 91

Hey Cold:

Don't ignore post #159 on the 'Some Links On That "War On ISIS"' thread, where I prove you are a hateful liar.

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 15 2014 13:11 utc | 92

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, voiced its opposition to Lebanon's participation in the US-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

"Hezbollah is opposed to Lebanon's presence in the anti-ISIL coalition led by the US and Saudi Arabia and created with the partnership of those countries supporting the Takfiri terrorist groups," the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar quoted a source close to Hezbollah as saying on the condition of anonymity on Monday..."

Posted by: really | Sep 15 2014 13:14 utc | 93

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 15, 2014 9:03:18 AM | 90
American interests are in the process of being redefined.

The Obama administration has said that the Islamic State group, the target of more than 150 U.S. airstrikes in recent weeks, does not pose an imminent threat to the continental U.S. The Khorasan group, which has not been subject to American military action, is considered the more immediate threat.

I don't know why the article is labelled AP enterprise maybe because they get paid for spreading this.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2014 13:22 utc | 94

"...Kurdish forces in Rojava (north east Syria) have captured severa positions of the ISIS jihadists reports the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which says 35 jihadists and 15 members of the pro-Kurd People’s Protection Units (YPG) were killed in the fierce fighting. Kurdish fighters took several hills during the battle, which ISIS had previously seized and were using as military positions. ANF  reports that the fighting in the Kobanê canton is continuing and tha at least 120 ISIS members have been killed in recent days, along with 14 YPG and YPJ fighters, four of them volunteers from North Kurdistan.

"... The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reports fighting in eastern Syria between a Sunni tribe and ISIS after the jihadists detained 3 tribe members apparently in breach of an agreement. Shaitat tribe members have posted on Twitter: “Shaitat rises up against the Islamic State.”

It appears YPG is the viable opposition against IS and the caliph. In addition it seems some sunni tribes have been resisting IS.

Posted by: really | Sep 15 2014 13:30 utc | 95


warning: He is verbose!!!!!!!

You can find more by google video with a date range, but most don't have subs.

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 15 2014 13:33 utc | 96

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 15, 2014 9:11:14 AM | 91

I wasn't ignoring it. After b opens a new thread, I tend to not look back at the old threads. I will occasionally, but only very rarely. In this case, I didn't look back, so I wasn't ignoring it or you.

In any case, I've answered you on that thread.

Also, can I offer you a brownie — the special kind that helps take the edge off?

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Sep 15 2014 13:49 utc | 97

@ really | Sep 15, 2014 9:30:13 AM | 94"It appears YPG is the viable opposition against IS and the caliph. In addition it seems some sunni tribes have been resisting IS.""

And that might well explain Turkey's otherwise apparently schizo position wrt ISIL -- if they believe YPG represents a greater threat to THEIR (very own Turkish) interests wrt their very own Kurd problem(s).
I was poking around the internets yesterday trying to figure out if "we" (i.e. "the west") had already "lost" Turkey (or if Turkey's westward looking contingent had either declined in influence or otherwise lost faith/interest in pursuing EU membership, etc. []
"We" tend to act as if Turkey is an ally and a "reasonable" Muslim country, but it's been clear again with ISIL that the relationship are beyond "frayed" even if Turkedy is still part of NATO and historically, generally "friendly" towards Israel.
The whole American support for Kurds in Iraq was always thorny, and the prospects for Kurdish autonomy and/or an actual Kurdish state cobbled from Syrian, Iraqi and Turkish territory post-Assad's fall have been mentioned in ongoing fashion.
Thanks for the YPG insights. It makes better sense even if there's not good guy/bad guy discernible (or likely present in reality).

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Sep 15 2014 14:01 utc | 98

@35: another link on the "American Taliban".

(Bachmann & Perry are dominionists ???)

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 15 2014 14:10 utc | 99

@Malooga: Thanks for the Nasrallah link. (Too verbose for now) I think Israel should make up with Hezbollah and support it. But that's nearly impossible with the current radical right wing government in Israel.

The US is currently reaching out to Iran. It wants to improve relations with Iran after more than 30 years of animosity between the two countries. But oddly, it places the US on the side of the Shiites in the Middle East.

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 15 2014 14:15 utc | 100

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