# News Iraqi unrest, Syrian unrest, and ISIS/ISIL/Daesh

1. Jun 12, 2014

### Chronos

The Iraqi government, under severe military pressure from insurgents, is apparently on the verge of collapse. They requested US military aid, but, were refused. Is it just me, or does anyone else find this disturbing?

2. Jun 12, 2014

### PhysicoRaj

I'm with you. For what reason were they refused?

3. Jun 12, 2014

### Greg Bernhardt

It's extremely depressing. The ISIS appear to have taken Mosul. Stratfor is reporting Turkey might use this instability to further venture into Iraqi Kurdistan.

4. Jun 12, 2014

### Dotini

It is said the administration fears to be seen supporting al-Maliki. They would rather be seen as supporting the Iraqi people.

Additionally, supporting the Shiite al-Maliki could be portrayed as supporting Iran, another no-no.

But the most inhibiting choice of all would be the taking of sides in a burgeoning civil war.

Even so, it is seldom easy to nail down another person's reasons, i.e., motives, for their actions or in this case, inaction.

Last edited: Jun 12, 2014
5. Jun 12, 2014

### SteamKing

Staff Emeritus
It would be nice if that were truly the administration's position. I would settle for the Obama administration supporting the American people for a change, instead of lecturing and hectoring us like we were children.

Since the insurgents are Sunni, and if they take control of Baghdad like looks possible, I think the possibility of another Iran-Iraq conflict increases significantly. With the Obama administration recently cutting secret deals with Iran over sanctions against Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons, I don't think the fear of supporting al-Maliki passes the smell test, even for this administration.

Sigh, I never thought I'd say this, but Obama and his administration make me wish Jimmy Carter was still president. A six-year old child could come up with a better foreign policy than Kerry or Clinton, and still have time to be a better president after taking his nap after lunch.

6. Jun 13, 2014

### edward

I get a kick of how this has so quickly become Obama's/Kerry's fault for some people. The radical religion driven insurgents, sometimes referred to as militants, never have been open to any countries suggestions. Their wars and sectarian religious rivalries go back a thousand years.

The only thing that they understand is blood in the streets, especially if it is their blood and I don't think the American people are willing to go through that again in Iraq.

Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
7. Jun 13, 2014

### Chronos

The insurgents have long term goals. Their strategy is to wait out US support before they counter - and it appears effective. It's a good reason to maintain a credible military presence in politically unstable situations.

8. Jun 13, 2014

### SteamKing

Staff Emeritus
No doubt war and religious and ethnic conflict are endemic to this part of the world, but when you intervene to try to alter the status quo one day, and then all of a sudden throw up your hands and say "I'm done!", the next day, it does adversely alter the perceptions of people and governments in that part of the world about whether it is healthy to be seen as pro-western, if not pro-American. Certainly one does so at the risk of life and limb to be friendly toward such a fickle and inconstant ally.

If Obama had been honest and said he had no clue about the kind of foreign policy which would defuse tensions in the region, that would have been better than claiming that the other guy didn't know what he was doing, and that his, Obama's, approach to the politics of region would be an improvement.

Now, with the US walking away from Iraq so abruptly, it is a sad repeat of what happened in South Vietnam in 1975. It is certainly not going to be easy for any secretary of state in the near future to deal with defusing any similar crises, no matter in what part of the world they may occur.

It's also highly ironic and tragically comical that a new ambassador appointee to Iraq is currently testifying before the Senate at his confirmation hearing. Whether his new post will exist after the next few days is questionable.

This is why the administration's approach to this region has been so puzzling and dismaying. The US did fight a couple of wars in the region, if not to make things better, at least to keep them from getting worse. Obama has been tripping all over himself to get out of Baghdad as fast as he can, essentially saying, "Well, we tried, but it didn't make any difference that we spent all this blood and treasure here."

Expect more of the same in the near future in Afghanistan, once the drawdown of US forces there is complete. And don't expect the terrorist groups at the heart of this insurgency to confine their attentions to butchering the hapless Iraqis: once the insurgents run out of blood there, they will be looking for new victims the world over. They have captured large amounts of cash from banks in Iraq which can be used to fund new terror networks worldwide.

9. Jun 13, 2014

### Staff: Mentor

The BBC has a long report on ISIS's advance and the problems in the region:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-27828595

It's really hard to see what any other country could do. According to the report there are Iraqi Sunnis that are joining/supporting ISIS. This situation isn't an invasion of a foreign power but seems to have all the hallmarks of developing into a civil war.

10. Jun 13, 2014

### mheslep

There is the option of destroying the ISIS advance by force. Unlike dug in, ill-connected insurgencies, here, for the moment, they are out in the open, concentrated along a single route of advance. Distaste for more involvement is not the same as the option being physically unavailable.

I note the ISIS leader Badhdadi was captured in 2005 and held in US custody for several years in camp Bucca in southern Iraq and later released, which shows the theoretical downside of releasing the five Taliban.

Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
11. Jun 13, 2014

### edward

Massive bombings of their current location or the use of drones would probably stop them for now. But they will be back. This type of religious warfare has been going on forever.

Then we have the fact that the Iraqi army that we spent $billions training, apparently just does not want to fight. http://www.vox.com/2014/6/12/5803416/isis-one-sentence-iraqi-army At least the blame for his release can not be put on Obama. There have been many more people held at Guantanamo than most people realize. And there have been many more detainees who have graduated ( released from ) Guantanamo than most people realize. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Guantanamo_Bay_detainees 12. Jun 13, 2014 ### AlephZero For some reason, that line of strategic thinking always reminds me of one of the more politically incorrect jokes from the spoof history textbook http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1066_and_All_That. One of the milestones in the British "conquest" of Africa in the 19th century: 13. Jun 13, 2014 ### SteamKing Staff Emeritus Kinda like Caesar's tag line, "I came, I saw, I conquered," when discussing the Gauls. 14. Jun 13, 2014 ### Borg In 2011, the U.S. wanted to keep some forces in Iraq. However, the Iraqi government made its choice - Iraq Withdrawal: U.S. Abandoning Plans To Keep Troops In Country Since then, the Maliki government has had a legacy of exclusion with respect to Iraqi minorities. These same minorities are now supporting the ISIS forces. If the government had been more inclusive, perhaps ISIS may not have been able to invade from Syria. 15. Jun 13, 2014 ### lisab Staff Emeritus A sad, sorry mistake, IMO. At what time was Iraq *ever* our ally? By "other guy", do you mean Bush II? Because the evidence is overwhelming that he, in fact, did not know what he was doing! Remember when that administration claimed the WMD, and that we would be "greeted as liberators"? Everything about our Iraq "adventure" has been a horrible error which is attributable to GWB. Once you realize you're on the road to hell, you should do everything you can to get off the road to hell. The fact that so much "blood and treasure" has been spent *does not* justify further spending of blood and treasure. Do you have a link for that? 16. Jun 13, 2014 ### Evo ### Staff: Mentor I think he meant Iraq looking at the US as an "ally". Did Iraq really ever consider us an "ally"? Or a forced temporary bedfellow? But what was failed to mention is the fact that Bush started the war, started the mess, then Obama was left to clean up the mess. It's different governments (presidents) and listening to the wishes of the American people. It's not Obama's fault.. 17. Jun 13, 2014 ### nsaspook The chances for air strikes in Iraq this weekend are pretty good. http://www.businessinsider.com/50-aircraft-ready-strike-iraq-2014-6 He could order it at any time as the 2003 Iraq resolution is still in force. Tactically now is a good time as the insurgents are concentrated targets. 18. Jun 13, 2014 ### SteamKing Staff Emeritus As shambolic as US foreign policy has been, it's unusual to install a hostile government in a foreign country, send botelodes of foreign aid and infrastructure improvements, sign all sorts of cooperative agreements, and offer to train the host country's military, if not to cultivate an ally. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S.–Iraq_Status_of_Forces_Agreement Everybody thinks that Saddam Hussein was an honest actor in the months leading up to the invasion in 2003. After months of playing cat-and-mouse games with UN inspectors in Iraq, I think Bush did the prudent thing in toppling Saddam to put an end to the prevarications of his regime in complying with the terms ending the first Gulf War. If Bush didn't know what he was doing, he certainly convinced a lot of other people to sign on to his delusion, starting with the UN Security Council and working down thru the governments of the other coalition members. With just a few months separating 9/11 and Saddam trying to be too cute by creating the impression that he had something to hide w.r.t. WMDs, I would say, as Bush did, eliminate Saddam and eliminate any doubts as to whether there are WMDs. Certainly, Saddam had enough conventional weapons stockpiled to start ten wars in the Gulf, and it was taking the UN quite a while to inventory, let alone destroy, these stockpiles. Who knows all the places where these weapons were hidden and moved about? After the 2003 invasion, the insurgents didn't seem to suffer any problems in obtaining ammunition and explosives to continue their reign of terror. That's a bit hyperbolic, IMO. There is nothing to indicate that the current situation in Iraq was inevitable, but disengaging at great haste as the US has done has created at a minimum an atmosphere of mistrust of US intentions in the region. It is a tragedy that the Iraqi people must suffer because of the unseemly manner in which the US abandoned all hope and its current position of 'monitoring' events as they unfold without doing much to influence them. Look, ISIS and groups like that should be the sworn enemies all free and law-abiding societies, to be engaged and destroyed anywhere they pop up. The fact that reportedly several of their leaders are graduates of 'Gitmo U' is all the more humiliating and infuriating. How soon will the latest five graduates of that august institution, released as part of the Bergdahl swap, turn up directing similar atrocities in Afghanistan? Here is one of many: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/06/13/isis-terror-rich-bank-ira_n_5491156.html Estimates are that ISIS has grabbed approx.$400 million in Iraqi dinars and other currency from the central bank in Mosul. In addition, stocks of gold bullion of unknown worth have reportedly been seized as well. Expect a similar, if not greater, haul if Baghdad falls.

19. Jun 14, 2014

### edward

Actually we know of only one detainee who is named named above. He was detained at camp Bucca Iraq, not Guantanamo.

20. Jun 14, 2014

### SteamKing

Staff Emeritus
In the words of former Secy of State Clinton, "What difference, at this point, does it make?" He was off the board, now he's back in the fray. And he's not the first detainee to be released from detention to turn up on a battlefield. The Taliban 5 are tanned, rested, and ready to go, in Afghanistan or wherever.