Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 02, 2016

U.S. Does Not Know How Much Territory ISIS Lost In Syria

January 29, 2016

Department of Defense Press Briefing by Col. Warren via Teleconference from Baghdad, Iraq

this reflects our estimate that ISIL has lost approximately 40 percent of the territory it once held in Iraq. Approximately 5 percent of the territory it once held in Syria.

February 2, 2016

John Kerry, Secretary of State, Remarks at the Ministerial Meeting of the Small Group of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL

We have had up and downs, but more recently, more ups than downs, and Daesh lost 40 percent of its territory in Iraq and 20 percent of its territory in Syria.

Somehow I can not find the news that would explain this big change within just three days. I conclude that whatever U.S. officials say about ISIS held territory are just wildarse guesses.

Posted by b on February 2, 2016 at 15:08 UTC | Permalink


I think you will find that 67.8% of statistics are made up.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Feb 2 2016 15:51 utc | 1

In the meantime you have one stupid British FM playing games:

“Since the Russian intervention in Syria, the dribble of people who were perhaps going back from these camps to Syria has stopped dead, and there is a new flow coming in because of the actions the Russians are taking – particularly in southern Syria along the border just a few kilometres from here,” Hammond said.

yeap, he does not even talk about how his country is helping the havoc being created both in Syria and Yemen. Isn't the refugees part of the actions of David Cameron and Sarkozy demands that Assad goes since March 2011? What are the Brits doing wrt those refugees? Nah, his buddies Rothschild and the former CEO of BP were making millions until Putin decided to bomb those oil tankers !!!

Posted by: Yul | Feb 2 2016 15:55 utc | 2

@ Yul, for me there is nothing sweeter than the sound of western "leaders" whining because they can't have their way. Which is what we are seeing here. Hammond is complaining that Russia is not helpful in the process of turning Syria into either a failed state or Turkey/Saudi dominated wahhabi state. Poor baby. Would you like a binkie to suckered on?

Posted by: Lysander | Feb 2 2016 16:33 utc | 3

Yul@2 and Lysander@3. Agree with both comments. What I found very interesting is the comments section of that article. I only read probably 30/40 and with one or two exceptions [barrel bombs etc], all thought the UK Foreign Secretary to be an imbecile, simply mouthing the US position.

Posted by: harry law | Feb 2 2016 16:46 utc | 4

If you look up ISIS territorial losses on Google, you'll find they were touting a 25 percent rollback as long ago as April 2015. Obviously, it didn't quite jive with the many news reports touting ISIS' impressive gains up until Russia entered the war. They have to provide justification for more troop commitments, while at the same time, they have to show that they're actually doing something, even if it's a lie.

Posted by: Les | Feb 2 2016 17:23 utc | 5

I'm guessing that the Yankees would rather talk about % losses of ISIS territory than % losses of ISIS ter'rists (the lesser evil).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 2 2016 18:05 utc | 7

american politicians do what the wall st. bankers do - they play with numbers to get the desired result.. just make up reality to suit the agenda... kerry, or greenspan - all of them cut from the same lying cloth..

Posted by: james | Feb 2 2016 18:16 utc | 8

Since Syria hasn't "invited" us, we have had to walk the tightrope of playing up the threat in Iraq (where there are regular reports that ISIS is losing some hearts and minds), so as to justify escalation of force (and personnel) while downplaying the rapidly diminishing popularity n of our most recent designated ex-pat Haider al-Abadi.

Iraq Government / Haider al-Abadi is requesting (more) US aid in training the local police force (which I believe we have been doing since 2003+, obviously with "mixed results" ... and demanding (since 12/11/2015) that Turkey/Erdogan remove its troops ... most recently suggesting Turkey provide training and equipment for Iraqi troops instead.

Iraq's prime minister appealed Friday to Turkey to pull its troops out of Iraqi territory and instead provide training and equipment to fight the Islamic State group, which he and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry insisted is losing ground.

01/22/206 from Davos.

such laffs.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Feb 2 2016 18:27 utc | 9

Or maybe he's a miracle man ...

Al-Monitor: It’s official: Sunnis joining Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units.

BAGHDAD — Sunnis are saying "sign me up" now that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has approved the appointment of 40,000 Sunni fighters to the Popular Mobilization Units, a force that was once almost exclusively Shiite.

Summary⎙ Print Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has announced that 40,000 Sunnis will join the mostly Shiite Popular Mobilization Units, fueling speculation that the new balance could lead to formation of a National Guard.

Obviously if true, they will need to be armed, clothed, fed and paid ... ca-ching!
If phantoms, they will need to be armed, clothed, fed and paid ... ca-ching!

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Feb 2 2016 18:31 utc | 10

The old Sanctions Boomerang -

Turkey is facing a shortfall of nearly 4.5 million Russian tourists this year, causing Turkey's tourism industry to miss out on some $4.5 billion in lost revenues, according to Aegean Touristic Enterprises and Lodging Association (ETHICS) Chairman Mehmet Isler, as quoted by the newspaper.

European tourists, mainly from Germany, have changed their preferences to Greek resorts, he added, citing the "propaganda" of the recent terrorist attacks in Turkey as covered by the European media as the reason for this trend.

source -

Posted by: Alberto | Feb 2 2016 18:35 utc | 11

"The US government still refuses to implement a full reform that will end up reducing the IMF’s global power. China, meanwhile, advances with facts on the ground such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and the BRICS with their New Development Bank (NDB), a serious attempt at breaking the stranglehold of a fraudulent – and hyper exploitative – monetary and financial system.

"Bretton Woods may be dead but the world is still encumbered with its corpse. The same applies to the larger Washington Consensus – as much as deadly chickens are increasingly coming home to roost.

"The myriad of economic problems confronting US turbo-capitalism are structural and absolutely insolvable under the economic/political system in place, which is in fact a Washington/Wall Street crypto-consensus.

"Fissures among the Masters of the Universe themselves are about to explode in the open as the planet embarks on a tectonic shift towards a more multipolar economic and political order centered on Eurasia."


"Not only the AIIB but also the Silk Road Fund, and even the NDB bank in the future, will all be geared towards bringing about the One Belt, One Road vision; the New Silk Roads which will be the lifeblood of an integrated Eurasia.

"China and the BRICS’s strategy of establishing a rival international monetary, financial, diplomatic, trade and geopolitical system is the ultimate nightmare of the Masters of the Universe – as divided as they may be."

--The Plan has always been to bring China into the NWO. Club of Rome took the decision some years back to homogenize living standards, that countries might more easily be integrated. Are we seriously to believe that the US is not purposely being brought down? That shipping jobs, capital and technology transfers to China over decades had the "accidental" result of building up China? That pumping trillions into the hands of the oligarchs to speculate or to invest outside of America could have a different purpose than destroying our economy? That the confused helplessness that our "leaders" feign about how to revive the economy is real? Are we supposed to believe that TPTB, alone among educated people, don't know that we need investment in high-value-added enterprises? That the billionaires who successfully create enterprises all over the world are helpless to do it in the US & EU? Is the continuing collapse of the US economy a collapse for the oligarchy, too? Then why are they causing it?

--As a consequence of making most countries of the world dependent on exports, even to be permitted to create currency and credit, labor all over the world is set into competition. Just so does the IMF/Fed system trap labor to compete at surviving on less to enhance the oligarch's profits. Only if the "integration" that Russia and China advocate empowers the monetary and economic and trade sovereignty of individual nations is it a force for our freedom.

--I implore you to measure everything against what the people of the world need. We can have the freedom to build prosperity and peace only thru sovereign govts to which we have delegated the representation of our individual sovereign rights-- and always with the possibility to take it back. Free citizens don't choose to make exports the driving engine of their economies. They don't choose to make whatever industries are vital to them the object of international competition. Or to delegate credit creation to anyone who can't be reached by their votes. And when those who decide whether we go to war are the very people whose sons go to war we can hope for peace.

There is not so much wrong that we cannot set it right, if we keep our wits about us.

Posted by: Penelope | Feb 2 2016 19:20 utc | 12

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - A long-anticipated battle to recapture the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State (ISIS) will be difficult, bloody and long, the spokesman of the US-led coalition warned Tuesday.

US Army Col.Steve Warren dismissed claims that the coalition had signed any secret agreements to reclaim Mosul from ISIS.

Speaking to reporters at the US embassy in Baghdad, Warren said that an estimated 5,000 to 8,000 militants from the ISIS group are expected to be inside Mosul and other parts of the province.

He warned that ISIS fighters will fiercely fight off any offensive to defend what is Iraq’s second-largest city and the group’s stronghold in the country.

"There will be difficult battle, bloody battle and will be long one," he predicted.

Warren urged Iraqis in ISIS-held areas to remain patient, pledging that Iraqi forces would liberate their areas. - 2 hours ago.

Interesting the need to "dismiss claims" ... I have read that in the past ISIS has vastly reduced the number of their soldiers in any given city in advance of similar attacks/attempts to regain control.

Will ISIS make "coalition forces" look the fool... and possibly the liar?

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Feb 2 2016 20:24 utc | 13

Phillip Hammond turned up here in Auckland, New Zealand wanting troops to Iraq as our country was ‘part of the family’.
Using the concept of ‘Family’ to drum up support for more war, death and destruction is obscene.
What of the 3.9 million Iraqis that have lost their homes and families and become refugees inside and outside Iraq, under appalling conditions??

In 1998 both UN Humanitarian Commissioners Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck resigned rather than continue policies that added to the destruction in Iraqi – both Lives and Families.
Would that Philip Hammond ( Oxford educated, net worth £9m, family and two homes to return to ) show the same degree of integrity.
Or any degree of integrity

Posted by: DavidKNZ | Feb 2 2016 21:45 utc | 14

@12 pen

--The Plan has always been to bring China into the NWO. Club of Rome took the decision some years back to homogenize living standards, that countries might more easily be integrated. ...

--As a consequence of making most countries of the world dependent on exports, even to be permitted to create currency and credit, labor all over the world is set into competition. ...

--I implore you to measure everything against what the people of the world need. ...

There is not so much wrong that we cannot set it right, if we keep our wits about us.

Is that all you, Pen? Great stuff! So what ought we to do?

Posted by: jfl | Feb 2 2016 21:48 utc | 15

Bless you b, for even processing the info. My eyes glaze over wherever Der anonymous US official is telegraphed. 5%? 390%? Same difference, out of those mouths.

Posted by: L Bean | Feb 2 2016 21:52 utc | 16

Covert Invasion of Libya Under-Way?
Tony Cartalucci -

We've ruined the country, all the rich folks have fled to the EU, so it's now time to rape it completely...

Posted by: fredjc | Feb 2 2016 22:44 utc | 17

@15 jfl... penelopes post is a quote of pepe without the link.. mystifies me why folks do these sorts of things..

Posted by: james | Feb 2 2016 22:45 utc | 18

The territory is not well defined.

Posted by: Edward | Feb 2 2016 22:47 utc | 19

wrt Libya the greedies must be shitting themselves about Russia moving on once Syria is sorted. The insane attempts to force a round peg into a square hole by combining the western backed mob from Tobruk with the more nationalist Tripoli mob can't succeed long term since one mob is all about making sure French Italian and English elites grab the cash and the other prefers to dough to go to Libyan elites. Meanwhile Libyans despair at the destruction of their once world leading infrastructure and social cohesion.
AFAIK Saadi Gaddafi still lives and the attempts to smear him further by hanging him for murder have back fired badly so badly he may not be able to be butchered - sitting in prison Saadi Gaddafi poses a great threat to the world's greedies not unlike that of Gianni Infantino's tilt at the FIFA presidency.
That is to say both have been accused of taking the cream off the top but nevertheless the bulk of the wealth of FIFA and Libya was nevertheless spread about the people, a situation that the greedies abhor and one that won't continue should their opponents hold sway.
Corrupt champagne socialists make me sick but not as much as the elite's marionettes do.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Feb 3 2016 0:26 utc | 20

"$582.7bn budget will address ‘new strategic era’ of state-based aggression US to press advantage in hi-tech weapons and check Chinese ambitions"

Exactly - This should be on the lips of everyone blabbing about Iowa.

Jeez, the "new strategic era"... wasn't it just 15 years ago Donald Rumsfeld was telling us how we were in a "new environment" and had to prepare the military to fight asymmetric wars against small nations?

Seems like there's a "new strategic era" every time there's a check to be signed...

The biggest shell game every played - which $600 Billion Dollars is the "new strategic era" under?

Posted by: guest77 | Feb 3 2016 0:45 utc | 21

Not completely off the subject, but it seems that Erdogan is playing a lateral. He recently appeared in Chile, of all places (???)
and was seen all smiley faces signing "trade" agreements with President Bachelet. His next stops are stated to be Peru and Ecuador. Pity those peeps.

Does any one have any thoughts/facts on this?

And thanks very much to all for comments and especially to b and Paveway IV.

Posted by: Miss Lacy | Feb 3 2016 1:24 utc | 22

Hillary was just on Charlie Rose.....puke.

Posted by: shadyl | Feb 3 2016 1:30 utc | 23

James @ 18,
No, the parts jfl quotes are mine. The Pepe parts of my own are in quotes. I accidentally omitted the link; it's his current one out today.

Pepe is a pleasure to read, but he always tells you what you want to hear. The truth is considerably darker.

Posted by: Penelope | Feb 3 2016 2:21 utc | 24

Shady Lady @ 23, Yes, she is disgusting. It's been my personal observation of her character these past two years that she is probably on drugs-- the sometimes slovenly grooming and that aspect of incontinent emotion. Like when she laughs-- ughh.

As if there weren't enough the matter w her.

Posted by: Penelope | Feb 3 2016 2:26 utc | 25

So many mind games ... in place of actual strategery, as GWB would say ... The only people who would be alarmed by that headline would be anyone actually paying attention ... crickets. Everyone is still talking about BernieBros and how sexist it is to suggest that Clinton under performed in Iowa -- a state that actually doesn't really matter because it's so terribly liberal and they like renegade candidates -- meaning that Clinton actually won -- even if she actually tied.
I am so tired of the parsing and quibbling about trivialities.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Feb 3 2016 2:29 utc | 26

On the matter of what portion of Syria that is controlled by ISIS, there is a useful map in elterritoriodellince. Lince distinguishes between the area ISIS controls and the area (mostly desert) where they have influence. It turns out that the area they control is actually rather small – smaller than that controlled by the Kurds. The area on which they have merely influence is huge, but perhaps not that important. With this in mind, the various estimates about what proportion of their territory ISIS has lost take on a different significance.

Posted by: Roger Milbrandt | Feb 3 2016 3:01 utc | 27

"Moscow is used to “unsubstantiated claims” coming from Western capitals, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said in a strong response to his British counterpart’s statement that Russia is undermining international peace efforts in Syria."

Posted by: ben | Feb 3 2016 3:07 utc | 28

jfl @ 15,

If Russia & China would act together in creating a new financial system where nations manage their own currency/credit and their own bilateral trade policy-- If they would do that, almost all of Latin America would join them in a heart-beat, and SCO. So would Malaysia; she tried once before to leave the IMF w a group of other countries. (I can't quite remember what the details were.) They could even do it simultaneously.

But alas, China has recently committed quite extraordinary economic acts to better her integration into the IMF-- privatizations and monetary policy changes to "harmonize" w the rest of the world oligarchy. I don't see any evidence that China's now neo-liberal oligarchs want to overturn global oligarchical institutions. US is sponsoring China as leader of the G20 this year.

Russia alone w SCO, Iran, S America-- I don't know if she could pull it off. I don't even know if truly sovereign nations or democratic states are wanted by the Russian leadership. There was at least a limited agreement between US & Russia for Russia to go into Syria. Must have been-- no sanctions & pretended surprise after it happened in slow motion. Not so terrible-- it was in Russia's interest & govts make secret agreements. But it bothers me greatly that Russia didn't close the Syrian border, at least w Turkey. What can it mean?

So what should we do? Form a political platform, a specific set of political principles that we want to form the basis of our govt. That clearly shows how to structure an alternative political and economic path. Only after Americans are united behind a set of ideas will candidates appear. The political will to insist comes out of having the certainty of specific intent. It's grand to say we want the constitution back, but it didn't envision the monetary and international structures that usurp sovereignty. And it's not enough just to be AGAINST today's oligarchs or their actions and institutions. Americans, like people all over the world, are idealistic. We fight for ideals, for a vision of a just society presented in more detail than just slogans.

Unfortunately, there is a powerful wedge issue which will inhibit activists and others from coming together-- the global warming hoax. It is a powerful impediment with wide consequences.

Posted by: Penelope | Feb 3 2016 3:30 utc | 29

Penelope @ 25 Penelope, you suggest that Ms Rodham may be on drugs. Drugs are a universal cop-out for ill behavior. I think it truer to say that she is herself slovenly by nature. That is the state of her character. If you remember back to her first five years in the White House, she was constantly trying to change her hair style, her clothing style, her demeanor and was failing time after time to create a style that worked. If you remember back to the photographs of her in college or as Bill's new bride, you will remember that she always looked as if she'd just fallen off the back of a garbage truck. She is, by her nature, slovenly and unkempt and has no sense of grace. As for her intemperate comments, nothing has changed there since the beginning.

Posted by: Macon Richardson | Feb 3 2016 3:38 utc | 30


Valentine Katsonov of Moscow State University has written extensively on the IMF, China and Russia. Basically, there is now a struggle for control of the IMF. The BRICS block wants veto rights, and if the United States doesn't grant this, Russia and China may leave the IMF. Obviously, China's exit would effectively end the IMF; the US couldn't finance the IMF in the absence of China. The impetus for this was the IMF's recent decision that Ukraine could still receive loans after defaulting on a sovereign loan from Russia. The Chinese and Russian governments believe that the US may encourage nations to default on loans from China and Russia. They now want to have a veto to insure their rights as creditors. Imagine the impact: Will nations continue to pay their debts to the US issued through the IMF, if the IMF can no longer function as the lender of last resort, or will they default and look to the Chinese-led banks for future financing ? Here is Katsonov's latest on this topic; he's done a series of articles on this that are well worth a read.Michael Hudson also wrote an excellent piece on this that was published on Counterpunch and his website (

Posted by: LZA | Feb 3 2016 4:07 utc | 31

independent: cockburn: Isis in Iraq: The only way to ensure Islamists are beaten in Iraq is to defeat them in Syria first, say Kurds.

Isis was born out of the Islamic State of Iraq which took advantage of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011 to spread to Syria. But it has never been as strong in Syria as it is in Iraq, where it holds Mosul, a city of 1.5 million people, and Fallujah, just west of Baghdad.

[General Sirwan Barzani]says: “Daesh are getting weaker, but they have a front line of 3,700km [surrounding the self-declared caliphate in eastern Syria and western Iraq] and they can always collect 500 fighters and 10 suicide bombers to make an attack.”

He says that he has about 15,000 men, though not all are on duty at the same time, to defend a front that is about 120km long.

As in the rest of Iraq and Syria, the front lines are too long to be manned effectively and fortified, so each side can make a lunge forward but gains are difficult to hold.

Sounds like the border is very soft -- changeable and poorly defended, because ISIS is either conserving troops or not showing its hand (or both).

As I recal Mosul was one of the Kurdish cities that Saddam ordered colonized/populated by Arabs as part of several Arabization projected (a tactic not confined to Iraq, but also used elsewhere, including perhaps Israel's settlements). Anyone know how willing Iraqi "Arab"s are to risk their lives liberate a Mosul as a Kurdish (Sunni) town? or if Mosul has become sufficiently Arab, as opposed to Kurdish, to be considered "worth" serious sacrifice to liberate it from ISIS?

complicated history: (wiki)

After the 1991 uprisings by the Kurds Mosul did not fall within the Kurdish-ruled area, but it was included in the northern no-fly zone imposed and patrolled by the United States and Britain between 1991 and 2003.

Although this prevented Saddam's forces from mounting large-scale military operations again in the region, it did not stop the regime from implementing a steady policy of "Arabisation" by which the demography of some areas of Nineveh Governorate were gradually changed. Despite the program Mosul and its surrounding towns and villages remained home to a mixture of Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians, Turkmens, Shabaks, a few Jews, and isolated populations of Yazidis, Mandeans, Kawliya and Circassians. Saddam was able to garrison portions of the 5th Army within the city of Mosul, had Mosul International Airport under military control, and recruited heavily from the city for his military's officer corps; this may have been due to the fact that most of the officers and generals of the Iraqi Army were from Mosul long before the Saddam regime era.

When the 2003 invasion of Iraq was being planned, the United States had originally intended to base troops in Turkey and mount a thrust into northern Iraq to capture Mosul. However, the Turkish parliament refused to grant permission for the operation. When the Iraq War did break out in March 2003, US military activity in the area was confined to strategic bombing with airdropped special forces operating in the vicinity. Mosul fell on April 11, 2003, when the Iraqi Army 5th Corps, loyal to Saddam, abandoned the city and eventually surrendered, two days after the fall of Baghdad. US Army Special Forces with Kurdish fighters quickly took civil control of the city. Thereafter began widespread looting before an agreement was reached to cede overall control to US forces.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Feb 3 2016 4:11 utc | 32

Susan Sunflower@32 - "...Anyone know how willing Iraqi "Arab"s are to risk their lives liberate a Mosul as a Kurdish (Sunni) town? or if Mosul has become sufficiently Arab, as opposed to Kurdish, to be considered "worth" serious sacrifice to liberate it from ISIS?..."

Your statement suggests a substantial number of Iraqi Arabs were forced out of Mosul and now want to return and liberate it. While that must be true to some extent, the majority of the Iraqi Arabs in Mosul were Sunni and stayed (at least initially) when ISIS showed up.

Arab Sunnis made up somewhere around 60% of Mosul city's population of 2.5 million at the start of 2014. Many were sympathetic with Saddam's Baathists and preferred (at the time) ISIS control rather than Baghdad's Shia-dominated control. I'm sure many have since changed their minds and want to leave, but can't. ISIS disarmed them, so there are no sleeper cells of anti-ISIS fighters that are going to help much.

Arab Sunnis considering whether to liberate Mosul have to be thinking about this dilemma: do they want to die to return to a city that was pretty much handed over to head-choppers by the old Baathist loyalists of the Iraqi military who still live there? Are the moderate Sunnis that fled merely liberating it for the ISIS-and-Baathist-sympathizing Sunni Arabs that remained? Are the liberating it only to see ISIS-supporting Sunni residents remain as if nothing had happened and their support is consequence-free? Are they liberating it for the Shia-dominated Iraqi government that was pretty much responsible for letting it fall into ISIS hands through ineptness to begin with? Are they liberating it so the Barzani Kurds can carve out a piece of their own on the east side as part of their ever-expanding Israeli Kurdistan?

I would bet that a lot of them do want to return home, but they won't die for the privilege merely to enable another group of exploiters and mobsters to run the place. That's after the Iraqi Shia militias and Kurds loot the place for whatever wasn't destroyed in the battle. And neither the Iraqi Army, nor the Kurds are going to kick doors down house-by-house. They will expect someone's artillery or air power to neutralize (level) hostile areas before they move in. Mosul will be a wasteland of smoking ruins by time they have the last few head-choppers chased out. Then the endless car bombings begin.

Honestly, would you be willing to die to return to the hole where your home was in an city with no functional infrastructure, police, hospitals or jobs?

The Sunni Arabs have been given 'some' small arms and ammo, but hardly anything to mount a serious defense of the city after they retake it. Does that mean they will - once again - have to rely on an inept Baghdad and Shia militia for security? Or will they have to rely on mobster and billionaire Barzani for security? How will they protect themselves from whomever is protecting them? And who screens the returning Sunnis to weed out any closet jihadists of various stripes?

The choice might be easier for a displaced Arab Sunni if they've been living under a blue plastic tarp on the side of a mountain starving to death for the last year. How could things get any worse?

The following Gulf2000 Project Ethnic Composition Map of Mosul (2013) is an excellent reference. From the Kurdish perspective, they are willing to go in and reclaim Kurdish neighborhoods, but hardly see it as their job to sacrifice thousands of Kurds for what is now and ethnically-cleansed, all Sunni Arab city. Nor do they want to be stuck guarding Arab urban areas when the car bombs start going off. The Kurds are to the north and northwest of Mosul roughly at the periphery of the circle on the map.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Feb 3 2016 6:43 utc | 33


And as a consequence of al-USIL's rout in Syria by the Russians, almost 40% of al-USIL's seized territories now lost again, DOD is proposing a 400% increase in the 2017 US-NATO budget for RUSYOPS, a new and improved-response version, based on EKV (they claim) nuclear ballastic missile systems staged in EU, ...because you don't have to outrun the Bear, just Light Him Up!

Posted by: Chipnik | Feb 3 2016 8:53 utc | 34

LZA @ 31,

Thanks for the link to Valentine Katsonov's article; he's a good man. Michael Hudson is one of the originators of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and I've read his books. However, he is sometimes remonstrated even by his host on the Real News for optimistic projections of the behavior of China & Russia-- that is, rosy conclusions which host and other guests are just bound to object to because they counter known behavior.

I am not without hope, but present behavior certainly tends in another direction. It is not control of the IMF which must be amended, but its central role must be done away with. It's an instrument of control and surveillance which is not compatible with national sovereignty.

Everyone said when the IMF was forced to break its rules by lending to Ukraine while in default that it was the death of the IMF and/or the Silk Road. (Building the Silk Road requires guarantees for the credits to be advanced.) China in her threat to leave wants that violation of the rules rescinded, and perhaps further changes to the allocation of voting rights. Neither will change the nature of the neoliberal system of which the IMF is one of 3 embodying institutions.

Thanks again for the link. I'll try to write something coherent on what the IMF central role is in the next week or so.

Posted by: Penelope | Feb 3 2016 9:45 utc | 35


Pepe is selling to a nutbar audience market, like Glenn and Rush (and Weiss, Black, Rogers in 'finance') the whole lot of them whores to the Fifth Quintile of the Fifth Quintile: that 1/5th of America now white seniors with the majority of the nation's savings wealth; and within that quintile, the 1/5th of seniors who are angry, sclerotic, racist, end-timers, who subscribe to any Silk-Road Petro-Ruble knotted-cord sexplay that promises anti-government, reduced taxes and more gnus.

It's laughable if it wasn't for the fact that it's electable, like the Zika virus, itself a pandemic of microcephalopoids, and has no place here on MoA as a strategic global analysis.

Posted by: Chipnik | Feb 3 2016 10:11 utc | 36


HRH HRC is an inveterate liar, check-kiter and baaksheesh wallower who ran her last presidential campaign $35 MILLION dollars in the red, in 2008, then in 2009, as now SecState, grifted Hamid Karzai $5 BILLION skimmed from US humanitarian aid to Afghans. US State wrote the speech that Karzai gave at the London conference. Shortly after, hearing no nays, HRH made five undocumented trips to Kabul with her big ambassador pouches. Shortly after, Clinton's announced her -$35 MILLION campaign debt had been, "paid by an unnamed benefactor", and 'dead broke' former First-Lady was suddenly worth $15MILLION.

It's all in the record. $15M+$35M=$50M, standard 1% Finder's Fee in international trade for $5000M grift to Karzai, while HRH was a Fed official in plain view,...and nobody said dick, although many were privately appalled like our Ambassador to Afghanistan, who stated that 85% of that humanitarian aid to Afghans was, "round-tripped to WADC-NOVA." They killed him.

She's slovenly because she's handled. Her *handlers* are the Deep Goverment follow-the-money you're seeking. Clinton is just the pentagram, drawn in the dirt with chicken's blood, to call up Shaytan on the next new blood moon of Shibboleth.

"We came ... we saw ... he died! Haww,haww,haww."

Posted by: Chipnik | Feb 3 2016 10:34 utc | 37

@29 pen

Thanks for your reply. I certainly agree that it's not enough to be against ... that there must be something to be for ... I'm for democracy.

' Form a political platform, a specific set of political principles that we want to form the basis of our govt. That clearly shows how to structure an alternative political and economic path.'

I think those are steps 'b and 'c. We have no power, no means of enacting anything with the oligarchs in charge. Step 'a is to gain political control, in my view. Of uniting in a first things first way around the need to seize power, and let what we do once we have power sort itself out afterward, democratically. I've specified elsewhere the sort of actions that I can imagine working before.

I agree with your assessment of China ... they're oligarchs themselves and if they can make a win-win deal with the oligarchs in Washington they'll be happy. The Russians seem as equivocal as we are and they, too, are waiting till they have no other choice, I suppose. Of course, via-svis the US, time is on their side. The US cannot walk on air forever. I think LZA @31 is right on target there. I haven't read his link yet, but I did read Michael Hudson's post on the US' bifurcation of the 'globalized' economy into 'us' and 'you all', and China and Russia and everyone else will have to react to that. It's a case of the US isolating itself, thinking instead that it is isolating everyone else. I suppose it's technically true, yet it's the ultimate pyrhhic victory. Like Samson's. Not for nothing is it neocon embraced.

But whatever they all do and whenever they all do it, we have even less control over what Russia and China and Iran and the rest of the world actually do do than we have over what our own country does and doesn't ... which is no control at all at this point in time.

So the only practical thing I can see for us to do is to simply, democratically, seize power in our own country ... and then to democratically change our military and economic policies. It's not a quick change, but it's a real change, and tomorrow always comes. If we'd started in 2004 or 2008 or 2012 ... so let's finally start now. If we don't do that the best we can hope for is our own economic collapse, and that's not going to be at all a pleasant starting point from which to build democracy.

I think that democracy is the only hope for all of us, not only in the US. We desperately need power to be distributed to the people who are being badly hurt by the oligarchs, the growing majority of us, who know what changes have to be made and who can accept them. Noirette's 15-20% are worse than hopeless, they're terrified, and have given it all up to the oligarchs in return for the hope of 'security'. Even the oligarchs know they are playing a losing hand, they're just each all planning on delaying judgment day till after their own personal demise. They are true nihilists.

I don't see global warming as divisive. The vast majority of humans have accepted the reality of global warming and are ready to do something about it. You're certainly welcome to your opinion, but you and the oligarchs form a minority and will not be a problem on this count if we can build a democratic government.

If we cannot build a democratic government things will continue as they are across the board, and our best hope will be the collapse of the US financial house of cards. At least then the wars will stop. If they don't it will really be the end. If the wars do stop, our grandchildren will have to deal with the mess we've made of mother earth and the end of life as we knew it here. If we cannot build a democratic government ... our only alternative as far as I can see, we're every bit the nihilists the oligarchs are, wily-nily. It seems to me it's not a question of trying and failing, of being defeated ... for we are many and they are few ... it's a question of trying ... or not trying.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 3 2016 10:44 utc | 38

@ Edward no 19: "The territory is not well defined".

Exactly. Are we talking about territory where ISIS roadblocks control access, areas where they operate freely without interference or areas they have covered by artillery and rocket fire?

Posted by: ralphieboy | Feb 3 2016 10:48 utc | 39

It's been my personal observation of her character these past two years that she is probably on drugs

perhaps treating a lifetime affliction of pseudologia fantastica with an ever beefed-up array of heavy-duty pharmacotherapy?

god knows the myriad amnesiacs who sing her praises don't know or care.

she's a bellwether of our civilization.

civilization phaze lll

Posted by: john | Feb 3 2016 12:02 utc | 40

re 32

As I recal Mosul was one of the Kurdish cities that Saddam ordered colonized/populated by Arabs
Quite wrong. It's a Sunni Arab town, always has been. With some Kurdish eastern outskirts. Note that Paveway, ever the Kurdish propagandist, doesn't want to admit this, although it's been true ever since the city's foundation in the 7th or 8th century (it's an Early Islamic garrison town, built opposite ancient Nineveh, with some dubious pre-Islamic history).

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 3 2016 12:19 utc | 41

Laguerre@41 - You seem like an educated person, yet you are unable to articulate exactly what part of my posts are lies intended to deceive someone about the Kurds. You surely know more about the situation there than I do. Do you understand how posting works? Nobody can read your mind and figure out what you don't like about my replies, least of all me.

Are you a Barzani fan-boy and object to my characterization of him as a mobster and thief? Do you hate Kurds and wish they would all just leave Iraq and go somewhere else? I honestly don't know because you've never once bothered to explain yourself in your snarky replies accusing me of bias. You seem to suggest some kind of secret, pro-Kurdish agenda on my part at times, but those are usually to replies where I am less than charitable to the Kurdish leadership or their actions. See why I'm confused?

re Mosul being an Arab city: "...Note that Paveway, ever the Kurdish propagandist, doesn't want to admit this...

OK, what part of 'land-grabbing' and 'Israeli Kurdistan' don't you understand? The implication was that Mosul WASN'T a Kurdish city for them to retake. The comment about 60% Arab applied to the situation in 2013 after a massive influx of refugees from other parts of Iraq. Mosul was about 20% Kurdish, if that, with all the refugees. And while Mosul had an Arab majority population and Arabic was most commonly spoken, it was a fairly diverse multi-ethnic/religious city, i.e., it was not exclusionary in the eyes of the majority Sunni Arab population that I've ever heard of. That excludes issues like 'forced Arabization' which really didn't apply to Mosul to the degree it applies in other Iraqi cities.

The only part 'I won't admit to' is that Sunni Arab refugees from Mosul are single-mindedly eager to fight and die to take their city back 'because it's an Arab city'. That ignores the complexity of the situation in several dimensions, dumbing it down to a black-and-white choice kind of like CNN or the NYT would do for the knuckle-draggers. I'm not accusing YOU of over-simplifying the situation, but you have contributed nothing to Susan's question other than your usual warning about my Secret Agenda©.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Feb 3 2016 14:07 utc | 43

More Kurdish propaganda for Laguerre:

CNN reporter Clarissa Ward tweets: "We managed to get to the secret air strip in Syria that is being developed for US military use. Our story here"

Inside Syria: The farm airstrip that's the center of the U.S. fight against ISIS

The massive U.S. Air Base in Syria is still (last week?) only an unpaved dirt extension to the old, shorter airstrip. Base facilities so far: two construction trailers. The CNN crew drove by in a minibus, but were unable to penetrate the heavily-guarded (by two locals) extensive fortifications (a double line of barrels and some pointy rocks). Local sheep farmer says he hears aircraft and helicopters, but doesn't see anything land there. Ward describes the facility as a "drop-and-go strip".

As much as I pick on CNN, I have to hand it to Clarissa Ward - she's the first one that did any actual reporting by driving out there to see what was going on for themselves.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Feb 3 2016 16:01 utc | 44

@44 So the area in question 'has long been neglected, despite its oil and farming, by the Syrian regime'. Good thing too I guess otherwise they'd be accused of brutal repression.

Posted by: dh | Feb 3 2016 16:28 utc | 45

The central government (current) has been talking about taking-back Mosul for months and months and yet it has not happened. The government's army does care whose lives they are laying down their own for, that's why I asked. 1980 is not that long ago (the reported start of Mosul's arabization) and I have no idea what migrations have occurred into or out of Mosul since 2003, again, that's why I asked.

Paradox is written in the history I copy/pasted above -- Mosul benefited by being part of the American no-fly zone intended to protect the Kurds.
from above:

Mosul fell on April 11, 2003, when the Iraqi Army 5th Corps, loyal to Saddam, abandoned the city and eventually surrendered, two days after the fall of Baghdad.

>>> US Army Special Forces with Kurdish fighters quickly took civil control of the city. <<<<

Thereafter began widespread looting before an agreement was reached to cede overall control to US forces

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Feb 3 2016 17:01 utc | 46

30;As I despise the hell bitch,my take that clothes do not make the person,and substance is much more preferable in a candidate than their sartorial choices,is put to the test by her vacuous and terrible policies of sh*t.
Elon Musk tells critic;No Tesla for you!Ah its good to be a billionaire Ziomonster,sucking on the American taxpayers dole.

Posted by: dahoit | Feb 3 2016 17:06 utc | 47

Territory is not just area in % km2 or xyz measure, anyway as b points out it is all rubbish.

Territory and the happenings in it, the power it holds, rests on many characterstics: population, industry, commerce, geography.

Geographical: climate, type of terrain, natural resources (fill it in), geographical situation (rivers, seas, fertile plains..), combined with human built / natural infrastructure, such as waterways, viable transport routes, working industry, agri…

Organisation and control: politics and all that, influence

Supposedly controlling some large swatches of desert can’t be compared to holding even a small town that has influence and control on the outskirts or further.

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 3 2016 17:35 utc | 48


Granted. Whether it has more recently added the impulsiveness of drugs to its pre-existing evil is probably not a fit speculation for rational minds. Let us bend the little gray cells to more important topics. Regards.

Posted by: Penelope | Feb 3 2016 18:26 utc | 49


Thank you for all your posts. They are always intelligent and inform us further. Thanks for repeatedly correcting my assumptions about the US "air facility". Don't let the goofs get to you.

Posted by: Penelope | Feb 3 2016 18:38 utc | 50

"uniting in a first things first way around the need to seize power, and let what we do once we have power sort itself out afterward, democratically."
To seize power first & assume you can guide it into a sound polity later was tried by:
-- Occupy Wallstreet: "We musn't make specific demands cuz might be co-opted."
-- Maidan: The innocents first demonstrating & even others paid to demonstrate wanted to get rid of the corrupt Yanukovich & the other oligarchs. They thought a more just regime would automatically follow.
-- Egypt: The first revolution was simply against Mubarik. There were candidates who had thought about what came next-- real democrats. It is said (unverified) that the US managed to pressure them into hurried elections Many Egyptians were baffled to find Morsi & his Muslim Brotherhood to have "won" the election. Maybe. Egyptians might have benefitted by rigorous debate of political ideas all the way down to what a concrete enactment would mean.

Democratic revolutions are no different than color revolutions in at least one regard: Whoever is best organized wins. Do you think people who haven't even arrived at consensus as to what they want are sufficiently organized to find & maintain leaders and all the rest of what's required after the fact?

As you say, jfl, it's a question of trying or not trying. I think it's best to engage the little gray cells BEFORE acting & that without a commonly-understood goal action cannot lead to it.

Posted by: Penelope | Feb 3 2016 19:31 utc | 51

This is hilarious. A syrian tweets that he will blow himself up he hates the Brutal Despot that much! then changes his mind after a little encouragement from friends.

Posted by: ruralito | Feb 3 2016 20:06 utc | 52

You don't think Global Warming is divisive? Good lord, man, it's become identity politics.

You say that I and the oligarchs are on the same side in denouncing the Anthropogenic GW.

So you think the oligarchs are against the AGW hypothesis? In that case, how very brave our govt is to defy them by passing laws to diminish the use of oil & gas. And our brave legislators are spending billions to subsidize alternative energy. Yessir, their actions are in defiance of Big Oil and their Bankers.

And how have you become convinced of the correctness of AGW? Did you have to find out about it thru the internet cuz TPTB wouldn't cover it in the MSM? Why no, the MSM has bravely defied the power structure from the very beginning. Why they even carry exaggerated stories pushing AGW.
stories out of all proportion to even AGW science. That's because they are concerned and so are willing to defy their very corporate owners.

Yessir, the govt & MSM are allied against Big Oil, their Bankers & the whole power structure.

Ah, I see, you believe the AGW story because it was told by that consummate outsider, former vice
president of the US Al Gore. Why he got the Nobel Prize for it (just one week after a London Court found serious errors of fact in his video).

I'm sorry for the sarcasm, jfl. You see so clearly that govt and MSM are aligned in Big Oil & Bankers' interests in foreign wars-- that they are in fact one power structure with the big transnational corps.

By what process do you forget that when you look at the AGW issue? Do you really think that govt & MSM are defying Big Oil/Bankers in forwarding the AGW story?

Posted by: Penelope | Feb 3 2016 20:19 utc | 53

@ Penelope | Feb 3, 2016 3:19:38 PM | 53

A little obsessive, compulsive there don't you think?

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Feb 3 2016 20:47 utc | 54

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