Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 27, 2015

U.S. Role In Iraq Endangers Anti-Islamic State Fight

Some 4,000 Iraqi army troops and some 25,000 Shia militia have surrounded Tikrit in Iraq. There are  few civilians left in the city but some 1,000 Islamic State fighters have barricaded themselves inside and digging them out would be a very bloody and costly affair. Up to recent days the U.S. was not involved in the Tikrit campaign.

The Iranian advisers who accompany the militia had therefore decided not to storm the city but to revert to siege tactics cutting off electricity, water and all other supplies to weaken their opponents. They are using artillery against the Islamic State positions and plan to eventually storm the city but they see no urgent need to do it now.

But somehow that situation was disliked in Washington and the U.S. is has muscled itself into a position to command the campaign. But doing so endangers the whole anti-Islamic State campaign. There is suspicion that this is the indented purpose of the scheme.

Some elements in the Iraqi army, trained by the United States, have insisted on U.S. air strikes on Tikrit. The Shia militia and their advisers have insisted that these are unnecessary. Under U.S. pressure the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi sided with his U.S. trained military staff and allegedly ordered the Iranian general Suleiman to leave. Now the U.S. bombs the city but the bigger Tikrit campaign is falling apart.

Consider this:

Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the head of U.S. Central Command, which oversees operations in Iraq, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that the United States had insisted that the militias and their Iranian advisers, including top Iranian commander Gen. Qassem Suleimani, withdraw from the battle before the U.S. would agree to launch airstrikes. Suleimani, a once shadowy figure who’d become an increasingly public presence in Iraq, left the Tikrit area over the weekend and may have returned to Iran.

and this:

Iraqi militia forces that have led the fight against Islamic State militants in Tikrit balked at U.S. intervention Thursday, saying that they would stop thousands of fighters under their influence from joining an offensive on the city.
Washington has pushed for Shiite militias to leave the battlefield, even as it is drawn into a fight against their enemy, the ­Islamic State militants. But the Shiite militias, many of which are hostile to the United States, play a dominant role among the Iraqi forces. Around Tikrit, they outnumber the regular Iraqi government troops by more than 6 to 1.
“All the popular mobilization will refuse to fight until the American airstrikes stop,” said Moeen al-Kadhimi, head of the popular mobilization committee on Baghdad’s provincial council. “Let them try to do it without us. America is just trying to steal our victory.”

That the U.S. wants "to steal the victory" is not the real concern. Many of the "Hashd" volunteers and their leaders believe that the U.S. created the Islamic State and that it has interests in keeping it alive:

“We don’t trust the American-led coalition in combating ISIS,” said Naeem al-Uboudi, the spokesman for Asaib Ahl al-Haq, one of the three groups which said it would withdraw from the front line around Tikrit. “In the past, they have targeted our security forces and dropped aid to ISIS by mistake,” he said.

The U.S. bombing of Tikrit started yesterday. Here are two results. Consider how the volunteer militia fighting the Islamic State will interpret these.

Elijah J. Magnier ‏@EjmAlrai

#BreakingNews: 6 killed and 13 wounded of Kataeb Hezbollah #Iraq & the federal Police by the #USA led coalition south of #Tikrit (c.damage)
12:02 PM - 26 Mar 2015

Elijah J. Magnier ‏@EjmAlrai

#Iraq Hashd al-Sha'bi #Tikrit Brigade seems hit by an air strike today.Many casualties. Confidence between #USA and Hashd is lower than ever
3:05 AM - 27 Mar 2015

The awesome reconnaissance capabilities the U.S. air force uses and its expensive precise weapons managed to directly hit the "friendly forces" which are laying the siege on Tikrit. Twice within less than 24 hours?

Who will believe that these direct hits were made in error and are just collateral damage?

Why is the U.S. pressing for a role in the Tikrit affair when the result, for lack of feet on the ground, is now likely to be a complete failure? 

Posted by b on March 27, 2015 at 11:19 UTC | Permalink


Assume the US is anti-Iraqi and pro-ISIS and this result entirely predictable.

In other words, we need to believe our lying eyes and completely disregard anything that comes from Washington as 'anti-truth' ... like anti-matter when it meets ordinary matter it annihilates its opposite on contact. In a blinding flash of light both are consumed leaving ... nothing.

The Nihilist Neo-con Nobel Peace Prize Laureate strikes again.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 27 2015 11:43 utc | 1

Indirectly seeking Iran's contribution on the ISIS problem?

Posted by: nmb | Mar 27 2015 11:47 utc | 2

I think they are trying to delay, if not stop, Iran's joining the SCO.

ISIS hasn't worked out as well as they'd hoped so now its the KSA/Israel/Egypt & the GCC dwarves. And, yeah, they want war between Iran and the ISIS' replacement, but not the replacement's defeat.

So it seems to me, at any rate.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 27 2015 12:36 utc | 3

Anyone who trusts the US needs their head examining, just think why the US has not supplied the f16's to Iraq and going back some time, and which have already been paid for, but not delivered. The US cannot make up its mind who to support or,even who the enemy is. I think the US position is..If only IS had concentrated on Syria instead of going off script, they [the US] would not be in this embarrassing situation. The Iraqi Prime Minister has made a big mistake.

Posted by: harry law | Mar 27 2015 12:37 utc | 4

Why is the U.S. pressing for a role in the Tikrit affair when the result, for lack of feet on the ground, is now likely to be a complete failure?

The United Snakes of America** speak with forked tongue?

(**A term coined by an MoA regular)

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 27 2015 14:02 utc | 5

More likely than not, the US still needs IS to be functional and complete the job against Syria.

Just like Osama in Tora Bora.

hl @ 4: " I think the US position is..If only IS had concentrated on Syria instead of going off script, they [the US] would not be in this embarrassing situation. The Iraqi Prime Minister has made a big mistake."

Much truth in the above statement.

Posted by: ben | Mar 27 2015 14:29 utc | 6

The United Mistakes military strikes again!

Posted by: Colinjames | Mar 27 2015 14:30 utc | 7

From RT:

Posted by: ben | Mar 27 2015 15:06 utc | 8

OT Vladimir Putin Not Responsible for Ukrainian Civil War, Expert Says

Posted by: okie farmer | Mar 27 2015 15:15 utc | 9

Trusting US policy is difficult, and one reason is that it is very hard to figure out what is it. It is perfectly logical for KSA to attack Yemen, as the nature of the regime requires thorough intimidation of the population in border provinces that does not adhere to Wahhabi doctrine. But how logical it is for USA to support that caper?

Pro-Israel and Gulf money occupy large sections of Washington, D.C., funding think tanks, "educating" moron legislators etc. When the interests of those two money-bag groups diverge, military-industrial complex is the arbiter -- that was the story of military sales to KSA against the Israeli opposition.

Imperial policies have to work with peoples, and this is Achilles heel of American Empire. At this juncture, America does not have any particularly coherent and compelling ideology that could inspire followers in, say, Iraq, Yemen or Ukraine. As those countries are riven by internal conflicts, hands extend searching for outside support, so surely we can find someone pretending to accept American "guidance". it was particularly bewildering in Iraq where everybody had a turn of getting American support and getting whacked by other guys who got that support. I just know less about Afghanistan, but it seems that the pattern of bumbling is fairly universal. And the bumbling steps from the fact that American people on the ground despise all locals, and the feeling is mutual, additionally, no functioning model of prosperity (and democracy, human rights?) can be discerned in the effects of American intervention.

Some time ago Americans trained a lot of military officers in Mali. Then the conflict with Tuaregs flared up, as the latter got a fresh batch of weapons (and vehicles) from disintegrating Libya, the better students joined the rebellion and defeated to inferior students, so the latter got dismayed by the civilian government that asked them to fight and die, and made a military government. This is actually a part of a success story, but if the end-result was not a total disaster, it was in part due to French actually knowing something another the people there and having a direct role.

At least, in Central America there exists elites with proper education in top American colleges, and there is some prosperity model based on agricultural produce and underwear factories. Results are mixed, but it is not FUBAR. (Still a mystery why we care one way or the other who "controls" supplies of raspberries, socks etc.)

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 27 2015 15:19 utc | 10

Considering how comprehensively anti-islam ISIS/IS seems to be, and how anti-Israel it obviously isn't, shouldn't it be called JSIS/JS until it stops behaving like a Mossad construct, and being assisted by the US as if it were a Mossad construct?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 27 2015 15:30 utc | 11

B is becoming very good at spin, apologia and projection to cover the humiliating loss the Iran/Iraq forces suffered at Tikrit, it is almost convincing. Coalition bombing that turned the tide of battle in Kobane, Sinjar, Mosul Dam and other combats is now the cause of failure in Tikrit, how clever.

The coalition forces have shown the Shia population of Iraq, whether we like it or not, that the Soleimani led militias are incapable of victory in any major battle without Uncle Sugar's help.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Mar 27 2015 15:55 utc | 12

Another diktat that Abadi agreed to, besides excusing the Iranian-led militias, is Sunni control of Tikrit post-siege. This from a story yesterday:

American officials seemed heartened that Mr. Abadi had made a point of calling the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey last weekend to reassure them that once the Islamic State is rooted out of Tikrit, the Sunni city would be returned to the control of its Sunni police, not dominated by Shiite forces.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Mar 27 2015 15:56 utc | 13

The blatant invasion of Yemen’s sovereignty by the Saudi government comes against a backdrop of total silence on the part of international bodies, especially the United Nations. The world body has so far failed to show any reaction whatsoever to the violation of the sovereignty of one of its members by Riyadh.

source -


Apparently what this WWIII scenario is all about is maintaining geographic borders created by the British Empire over 80 years ago. This is not a natural partitioning of geography but an unnatural self serving British wog control strategy.

The enemies of the US cannot win a direct confrontation with our military. What they can accomplish is spreading out the conflict area so that our air superiority strength is diluted to the point where intended targeting only serves to strengthen our enemies resolve as the populations witness innocent men, women and children reduced to dust.

It is my personal belief that Saudi Arabia, soon to be Arabia, is the big pinata in this whole British/Christian hegemony freak show. Once the pinata is shattered it cannot be put back together.


just my opinion

I could be right

Posted by: Alberto | Mar 27 2015 16:21 utc | 14

Whatever, you piece of shit asshole.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Mar 27 2015 17:12 utc | 15

@14, Mon Dieu! Might we at least know what it is, against which you lob your puerile, "last resort" scatology?

You are usually good for some weak argument of evidence-bending, mild chauvinism. As such, you serve a useful strawman function - where the demolishing of your nonsense refines the arguments and strengthens the citations of others in the discussion.

I can go nearly anywhere else, to witness the rhetorical hurling of feces. Please, manage a biased or partially reasoned position in the MofA threads. If you are overwhelmed by the urge to defecate, avail yourself of another facility for doing so.

-- Jeremiah

Posted by: Jeremiah | Mar 27 2015 18:30 utc | 16

I thought it was obvious to anyone able to think - that the US is trying TO HELP AQ, not defeat it. Perhaps I was wrong...wait...I was!
People have lost their ability to THINK and come to conclusions IN A LOGICAL MANNER. Another thing the ZioCrazy american government tried to do...and succeeded!
That's why people don't question how on earth it is possible for the US govt. to make a "mistake" and re-supply AlQaeda. They think it was merely an honest mistake. Twice. Then three times. Then Four...Then...they prefer not to think of it any might start to bother their stay ignorant.

Posted by: S-true | Mar 27 2015 18:37 utc | 17

Bashar al Assad sums up Obama's Fake War on Terra in a few short paragraphs during a Russian Media interview (via What's Left March 27).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 27 2015 19:46 utc | 18

re 13

Another diktat that Abadi agreed to, besides excusing the Iranian-led militias, is Sunni control of Tikrit post-siege.
The governor in Tikrit was always Sunni, even under Maliki. I doubt if the issue is that significant. A Shi'a would be isolated, and they might lose Tikrit again.

Posted by: Laguerre | Mar 27 2015 19:52 utc | 19

Amazing that even with their supposedly super-accurate weapons, the US are still bombing their own side, much as in WW II.

Posted by: Laguerre | Mar 27 2015 19:58 utc | 20

Anyway, I just read a report that confirmed that the 30,000 Shi'a militias have withdrawn in a huff, leaving the 4000 government soldiers to finish the job. They're boycotting the battle out of objection to the US air-strikes. The report claimed that the offensive is about to be relaunched.

Actually, a siege is the logical solution. There's no point in a deadly fight from house to house. Falluja leaves a long shadow - it showed that the way to fight successfully in the ME against a superior enemy, is to fight in the towns, not in the desert..

Another tit-bit I had confirmed this week is that the Iraqi army has completely evacuated the south of the country, in order to fight the battles in the north (Tikrit + Anbar). Let's hope that Kuwait doesn't invade Iraq! I take it that there are very few reliable troops.

Posted by: Laguerre | Mar 27 2015 20:31 utc | 21

I think the US (army) wants ot bomb because it makes good Public Relations for the Army.

But the info above also shows that the Shias don't have too much confidence in the intentions of the US in Iraq.

Keep in mind that all parties inside (& outside) Iraq all have their own (sometimes conflicting) agenda. Those agendas sometimes have the same objectives and sometimes have opposite objectives.

Posted by: Willy2 | Mar 27 2015 21:27 utc | 22

Just wonder how much of US the politico-military incoherence is due to the rise of warlord groups within the hugely privatised military and "intelligence" structure. Different groups with their own agendas determined by political lobbyists with distinct ideological and funding interests. Or maybe the local US generals now just decide who they're going to attack.

Posted by: jearls | Mar 27 2015 21:28 utc | 23

you would agree, i take it, that obomber is in truth aiding al queda, and "isis" not bombing them as the lamestream purports - that the real target is assad and unseating maliki in iraq, yes?

Come on - you know those good democrats like suppying those MODERATE syria "rebels" - you are not going along with the script,(no job at nbc for you) - perhaps by siding with them moderate blood drinkers you can qualify for UN goodwill ambassador like Angelina Jolie - or apply for a job at CFR. being a democrat lackey requires skill however

america without the perpetual warfare complex would we just be one of the failed states the us govmnt turned Libya, Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghans into?

Posted by: FredGarvin | Mar 27 2015 21:31 utc | 24

Just listened to an honorable man Nasrallah lambasting other Arab countries for joining the Saudis in the assault on Yemen. He can't understand why these countries can act as mercenaries for the Saudis, what conceivable good would it do for their own citizens to fight the Saudis battles for them? Other than to keep the Saudis Crowns intact. What have they done for the Palestinians he asked? What have they done for Syria and Iraq except to unleash the Takferi terrorists on them? The Arab masses have to find a way of getting rid of the human scum that masquerade as the benevolent rulers of the Gulf. When they spend 10's of billions on weapons, gold plated airplanes, and spend their time in the casinos and whorehouses of Europe, while Egyptians, Yemenis and other Arabs are starving to death. The Arc of resistance Iran, Syria, Iraq, Hezbollah and now Yemen should find ways to destroy or cripple the Saudi economy. Until that medieval filth are removed, there will never be peace in the region.

Posted by: harry law | Mar 27 2015 21:38 utc | 25

It is quite difficult to decide whether the light US bombing of ISIS is due to policy or technical problems. Probably both.

In the case of Kobani, the technical problems dominated. The planes flew off the Vinson in the Gulf. It was a long flight, 6-7 hours, with four in-flight refuellings. That reduces impact.

In the case of Tikrit, that's much nearer, but still 2-3hours. But the US has got Saudis, Qataris and Turks whispering in their ear not to be too hard on ISIS. I would guess it is Saudi who has the dominant voice. Wahhabist conquest of the Near East is their idea. They've been doing the same elsewhere, by the construction of mosques and the propagation of Wahhabi ideas.

US policy seems to me to be in a state of confusion, obeying one interest and then another.

Posted by: Laguerre | Mar 27 2015 22:06 utc | 26

Just to remind everyone where WayOutWasteOfBreath is coming from, here's my favorite quote of his: "...every major move the IS has made has seemed calculated and brilliant in its outcome, what is their next move?" link

I mean, I don't often sink to calling someone a "fanboi" but you do come off sounding as though you have to type your sonnets to ISIL with one hand.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 27 2015 22:25 utc | 27

"how on earth it is possible for the US govt. to make a "mistake" and re-supply AlQaeda. "

Same way they can accidentally spill the beans about upcomign Iraqi offensives against ISIL. [link]


Posted by: guest77 | Mar 27 2015 22:29 utc | 28

War in Yemen - CNN shows no sign of it. Amanda Knox taking front and center of the USAs premiere news network.

Imagine if any other country had launched an offensive against a neighbor. You think that wouldn't make CNN.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 27 2015 22:33 utc | 29


There was a recent tribute in the New Yorker to Nina Simone, the singer/songwriter and civil rights activist. She was well known in the black community and all over the world. It turns out that it was she who coined the phrase, "The United Snakes of America".

She toured widely during her final years. In Seattle, in the summer of 2001, she worked a tirade against George W. Bush into “Mississippi Goddam,” and encouraged the audience to “go and do something about that man.” She was already suffering from breast cancer, but it wasn’t the worst illness she had known. She was seen as a relic of the civil-rights era, and on occasion she even led the audience in a wistful sing-along of “We Shall Overcome,” although she did not believe her country had overcome nearly enough. Once she became too sick to perform, she did not return to what she called “the United Snakes of America.” She died in France, in April, 2003; her ashes were scattered in several African countries. The most indelible image of her near the end is as a stooped old lady reacting to the enthusiastic cheers that greeted her with a raised, closed-fisted Black Power salute.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 27 2015 22:34 utc | 30


The Medieval tactic of siege is a bit outdated for this conflict which will be decided by urban guerrilla warfare. A better archaic reference might be the Battle of Thermopylae with The Three Hundred against another Persian horde.

One thing is certain, the offensive against the Islamic State in Mosul has been delayed at least until the Fall if it occurs at all.

Now that the Coalition has taken over the battle for Tikrit we can expect destruction similar to that seen in Kobani which will mean there will be little left of the city when this ends for anyone to claim.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Mar 27 2015 23:15 utc | 31

The treachery of the Saudis know no bounds this from Israeli Media spot "Strategic Zionist-Saudi partnership" "That is, every enemy to Iran is a friend of us," said Motti Bershenbawm, a Zionist journalist.

"Moderate Arab states are not interested anymore in the Palestinian issue, because they are in need to Israel in their conflict against Iran," the Zionist orientalist Gay Bekhor told the channel.

"Those countries became the mediator between Israel and Europe," he said, adding that the Zionist entity is now seeking the help of the Saudi Arabia in order to affect the stances of the West countries, while the Arab kingdom and its allies are collaborating secretly with the entity because they feel the threat from Iran.

Posted by: harry law | Mar 27 2015 23:47 utc | 32

' Now that the Coalition has taken over the battle for Tikrit we can expect destruction similar to that seen in Kobani which will mean there will be little left of the city when this ends for anyone to claim. '

Hard to contain your delight, isn't it.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 28 2015 0:14 utc | 33


The so called Moderate Arab states have never really cared much about the Palestinians just look how they have treated the Palestinian refugees in their countries. They have used the Palestinian issue for their own purposes from the beginning of the State of Israel. Their move to open collusion with Israel may be new but they have been cooperating with Israel for decades.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Mar 28 2015 0:31 utc | 34

Wayoutwest. The Iraqi forces in their assault to recapture Tikrit did not suffer a humiliating defeat. For those of us who have followed the ISIS gains in Iraq over the last year this campaign against ISIS in Tikrit was going to be a measure of their ability to take on those forces. I certainly had no illusions that it would be a "cakewalk". The initial stages were impressive in that the ISIS forces were forced to retreat into the city, the Iraqi forces succeeded in surrounding the city and it looked like they had succeeded in cutting off those ISIS forces from resupply. What the Iraqi forces were not prepared for was to engage in intense street fighting. Fighting in open country side and inside cities are two different things. Once it became clear that 1000 ISIS fighters inside Tikrit were ready to fight to the death then it was clear that the Iraqi forces would have to lose more that 1000 soldiers liquidating that pocket. The officers in charge decided on starving them out.

There is nothing that b has written that contradicts this summary. Perhaps if you were the officer in charge you would have ordered the death of over 1000 of your fighters to prove your manliness. Easy for you to say writing from your mother's basement without any real military experience.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 28 2015 1:54 utc | 35

If you just look at the movement of forces and ignore their composition, and rumors, then the operations look very sensible. First, the area east of Tigris river was cleared of ISIS, and apparently ca. 1000 fighters were swept into Tikrit. There they fortified positions in the city center with a lot of explosives, and presumably tunnels for movement between the buildings and ambushes. They probably lost most of vehicles. Leaving a siege force of 4 thousands and moving the rest forward, to continue the sweep is the most sensible thing to do.

The most important strategic objective in Tikrit is keeping the takfiris in, and preservation of force. Any long range artillery should be destroyed as the first priority, this is where air support can help most. Clearing segments of Kobane from ISIS took quite a bit of time, and Americans needed two months to complete the second battle of Falluja. In the meantime, the Iraqi forces should take care of Baiji and the countryside between Baiji and Kirkuk, perhaps setting a siege of two.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 28 2015 2:11 utc | 36

This suggestion that US warplanes made a "mistake" when they hit those Iraqi forces besieging Tikrit brings to mind the US bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the air campaign against Serbia in 1999. I visited China in 2004 and inquired about that event. Not one person I talked with thought it was a mistake. They believed it was deliberate, as I did. They saw it as a message to China to not support the Milosovic government. They mentioned that it was well known that the Chinese embassy was aiding the Serbs by using their embassy communications systems for Milosovic to exchange messages with his foreign embassies and other nations. At this time the US had destroyed the Serbs communication system with the outside world.

This bombing of the embassy led to a major change in the minds of many Chinese in their attitudes towards the US. Some of these are people I met in earlier visits who were supporters of the Tienanmin Square demonstrations in 1991 that held up the US as a model for liberalization of Chinese politics. After 1999 they saw the US as a power that would use military force to constrain China. About the time of this event also saw a big drop in popular enthusiasm for mass democratic elections based on western models.

Both the Chinese and Russians (and I mean the people) have learned some valuable lessons in the past decade or so.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 28 2015 2:16 utc | 37


I didn't realize you were an old War Dog or leader of men and armies, T. Please tell us how you lead your men to victory and what tactics you used. We're really talking about paramilitary militias here so what would you do as the Warlord leader of these forces who are untrained in urban warfare yet attacked an entrenched and battle hardened opponent.

What the Iranian led forces actually did was hand a PR victory to the US on a silver platter and then whined about being told to leave the theatre of battle.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Mar 28 2015 3:03 utc | 38

@wow 37.. everything the usa does is a PR victory, even when it isn't.. the iraqi war was a PR victory until it wasn't.. i think toivo already suggested the approach that was being taken of starving them out was an intelligent one.. of course no made in the usa bombs would have to be bought, so clearly it is not a good solution according to the bomb mentality that pervades usa culture and which is the basis for their economy. good luck with more of your PR bs..

Posted by: james | Mar 28 2015 3:29 utc | 39

Actually, the behavior of the US in this matter may have little to do with spoiling attacks or geopolitical aims.
Frank Spinney among others has noted that the US military has, for years, been entranced by the mechanical model of warfare: that the ability of an opponent to fight is the result of the sum of mechanical components in said opponent's military and social structure.
Why does this matter? It is this theory - first propounded by the US air force as a way to enhance its own prestige and budget - which was the rationale behind mass aerial bombing in World War II and Vietnam, is the rationale behind drone strikes, and is also used for theories like "targeted" sanctions.
I'll leave it to this audience to decide for itself how useful this theory is.
There are many other models: the Mongol model which was to physically annihilate opponents if they failed to accept literal subjugation. The Russian/Byzantine model of co-opting neighboring tribes to serve as buffers. The British model of using one ethnic group to control others. et cetera.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | Mar 28 2015 9:00 utc | 40

wayout @37

Sheer nonsense. You criticized b for pointing out some very simple points. I think we all understand that the ISIS forces are quite capable. But they are not supermen. As all armies they need logistical support and if that is denied they can be defeated. The Shiite militias with
Iranian support seemed to isolate those 1000 ISIS soldiers inside Tikrit. How you can call that a major PR victory for the US defies any kind of reason. You must be a fool if you think the US can defeat ISIS forces simply using air power. It will require ground troops to occupy land and take them on. And that is exactly what the Iranian lead Iraqi forces were trying to do around Tikrit. There is no one who predicted that this was going to be an easy task.

Wayout, you sometimes say sensible things but then you come out with some really stupid stuff like this. What is your game?

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 28 2015 9:35 utc | 41

How is it possible for the Saudis and their friends to unleash 30,000 screaming nutcase Takferis for years, with a proxy war on the Arc of resistance, Hezbollah,Syria,Iraq and who the Saudis call the 'head of the snake' Iran, and now a hot war against Yemen, without any, ANY blow back. Those countries policies seem to be to absorb the punishment and hope they can defeat the Saudi sponsored and heavily armed scum in costly hand to hand fighting in towns and cities, they will be defeated, but it may take some time. In the process their infrastructure is destroyed and millions are displaced. The old adage 'people in glass palaces should not throw stones' should be appropriate here, the Saudis have not had so much as a window broken. With thousands of miles of pipelines, vulnerable oil terminals and thousands of miles of porous borders, it beggars belief that they can act with such impunity. I don't wish to sound like an armchair General [ 5th keyboard brigade] but even a small commando force or other clandestine group could wreck havoc on them, that is the only message the Saudis will understand. The price of oil would go through the roof benefiting Iran, Iraq and Russia.

Posted by: harry law | Mar 28 2015 9:50 utc | 42

What the Iranian led forces actually did was hand a PR victory to the US on a silver platter and then whined about being told to leave the theatre of battle.
Posted by: Wayoutwest | Mar 27, 2015 11:03:33 PM | 37

Once the Iranians figure out that their tacit agreement with the lying Yankees, to jointly combat IS, has been repudiated by the Yankees, they'll know whose side the Yankees are really on and they'll know what to do about it. Come back in 4 weeks and remind us how 'clever' the Yankees were. In a PR kind of way...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 28 2015 10:30 utc | 43


I didn't say that the US was clever, except in a reactive way, about this conflict. The US was forced out of Iraq in 2011 and Iran was not, they remained and expanded their influence in the government and military. They were already there when the US was begged to return, with air power to save the Maliki government and I don't think there was any agreement between the US and Iran about this new situation. Actually the US only started bombing when the US interests in Kurdistan were threatened.

The US has spent most of their efforts working with the Kurds and to a lesser extent the Iraqi Army to try and rebuild the Army not the Iran backed militias who I think they always rejected as a problem not an asset.

The US military has already stated that the air war will not defeat the Islamic State and can only assist ground forced in that task. What we are seeing now is there is no ground force Iraqi or Iranian that can do that job and some reporters are returning to the, only US ground forces are up to the task, meme.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Mar 28 2015 15:20 utc | 44

When the GA al-Sistani called for the creation and expansion of these Militias, there were already Iranian backed militias in operation in Iraq, their stated purpose was to protect Shia holy sites from IS attack but they are now being used to attempt offensive operations and this may be why al-Sistani is criticizing their professionalism and leadership. Iran wants to take over the fight against the IS in Iraq and al-Sistani recognizes the danger of this especially as they rampage through the Sunni countryside. There are almost too many competing factions in Iraq to keep track of and this may cause more problems than we have already seen.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Mar 28 2015 15:51 utc | 45

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Mar 28, 2015 11:20:11 AM | 43

It's nice when someone almost apologises for a gloat by explaining, at length, what the gloat omitted...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 28 2015 15:59 utc | 46

43;Begged to return by who?The Iraqi people,or our new toad in Baghdad?
Thermopylae?Persian hordes?300?God,Zionist cartoons affect small minds.

Posted by: dahoit | Mar 28 2015 16:06 utc | 47

while it's true that if one compare's the World Heritage sites in Iran with those in the USA one might well be a little bewildered by the contrast of civilizational duration and continuance, but i think Wayoutwest's denigratory "another Persian horde" is best explained as just the insecure rantings of some dweeb from clovis.

Posted by: john | Mar 28 2015 16:06 utc | 48

Becomes maddeningly convoluted and irrational, not to mention completely illegal, immoral, and murderous, absolutely gut-wrenching horrific (not that the Iraq war wasn’t, etc.)

Finian Cunningham on ICH (orig on Sputnik) develops this theme a bit.

One interpretation that is always seductive, is the US is applying a scorched, burnt-earth policy, the peons can either fight each other, kill each other off, or desist and submit. Other forces - terrorist, radical of Gvmt - may be allowed their interests, aims, for a while as instruments but down the road they too will have to submit, and they should realise promptly, concessions to them will be minor and temporary and only awarded if, when, they accept puppet status. PNAC, full spectrum dominance, re-draw the ME map, etc., with vassals hoping for survival or small gains as trumpeting bona-fides of being on the US side.

Another is that the US is disintegrating, collapsing, and all this lashing out and confusion actually represents an Empire in death throes, plus the influence or control of the military-security complex who wants nothing but more war, of any stripe. US ‘democracy’ as is known is controlled not by its paid-up actors in the democratic facade but by shadows, a Deep state, etc. Obama is a figure-head. The dollar will soon crash. Desperation is evident. The end is nigh. The culmination may be the apocalypse, nuclear war.

A third view, not well fleshed out, imho, is that classical free-market economics ideology has taken over State functioning, where profits and self-interest are the only name of the game. That self-interest may be limited to a few, like the now legendary 1% - or call it 10, 20 - at the top, or be far broader, such as the interests of Greek ppl or of the ruling body of Qatar.

With International law (such as it was) destroyed, relations between countries in the pits of confusion, Gvmts in much of the world teetering for whatever reason (Arab Spring, Ukraine, color revolutions, soon to come a place near you..) with power accorded to multiple smaller groups acting, inherently destructive mayhem flowers. Basically bands of thieves (ISIS is a good example, the Pentagon is another..) are accorded scope and some kind legitimacy (different kinds of power, control) and on it all goes.

These interpretations are not mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 28 2015 18:28 utc | 49

It's hard to see how the US can maintain this twisted policy. I think the only reason it is doing so is because the media in the US itself is completely silent on all of the machinations going on. I don't think that the American people would like to know that their government is playing all sides in this conflict.

These governments are in a bind. The could refuse the US their airspace, but the US would probably refuse claiming the "ISIL threat" will probably refuse. And from there they have no real way of preventing the strikes short of attempting to shoot down a US plane which would surely have extremely negative consequences.

What are the other options? The regional governments involved at least need a communications campaign that exposes these facts to US citizens.

There is a huge population in the US which is dead set against another Middle Eastern war - especially our involvement in Iraq. This is that main group that must be spoken to. This group is largely cowed by the arguments that ISIL is an unmitigated evil (which is no doubt true) but have no idea of the actual relationship between ISIL and the US and its allies. The facts of US apparent involvement in recent "accidental" exposures of Iraqi plans, and the "accidental" airdrops to ISIL must be exposed, even if as examples of "incompetence". This path will surely open up secondary questions to the whole campaign, along the lines of the whole "WMD" lies of 2002-2004. As these "accidents" increase (necessitated by the US achieving its goals in an ever more critical environment) these "accidents" must be tied back to the information that US allies created and funded ISIL (the Biden comments, etc...).

The governments must also do what they can to force the US hand in this situation. To attack ISIL in such a way that the US is simply forced to come to their aid openly. The pull back of the fighters seems to me self defeating (from my point of view safe behind my computer) so I wouldn't want to second guess their actions, but it seems as though the more they attack ISIL, the more they force the US to show their true nature. If the have to pull out because they are being bombed, then they should make their point that they are being bombed by the US while they are trying to do the good work of defeating ISIL. Upload the carnage to LiveLeak and YouTube and make that point explicitly, it seems to me. Start some protests in front of the US Embassy that the US media cannot ignore. Then of course the US DoD will have to respond with the usual "we are incompetent, we are killing the wrong people in the Middle East once again" and that of course will lead to many questions among the American people.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 28 2015 19:02 utc | 50

Iraqi military leader states 'Major Sacrifices' needed to take Tikrit even as Coalition bombing opens the way. Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more, something the militias were unable or unwilling to pursue.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Mar 28 2015 20:57 utc | 51

We have seen the deployment of light bombing, a heavy barrage of PR, and a brave attack by Iraqi troops with so-so results.

It is hard to tell if Iran-equipped militias pretend to step out of the action and Americans pretend to request that to satisfy political constrains away from the battlefield (I read such an interpretation from a rather reasonable source), or if one or both sides are serious. Some PR stimulating titles verged on absurd: US drones patrol the booby trapped center of Tikrit. Well, unless US possesses some unheard of technology, air force is not the best way to detect explosives, and neither are human-operated bulldozers , but there are other ways, and they have to be deployed by the ground forces. Air force support or not, either there will be huge parking lot made of central Tikrit, or it will be a rather slow going, and there is no way around it. Actually, robot-tanks that Russia is developing with UAE cooperation seem to be perfect, with the assist of smaller remote control vehicles. The tanks are still at the prototype stage, but the smaller vehicles are around. A large batch should be purchased before proceeding onto Mosul.

On the other hand, Debaltsevo cauldron was also fortified with mine fields, clearly there are ways to deal with them. Ask the Cossacks from Lugansk People's Republic for advise?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 29 2015 18:37 utc | 52

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