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

Chronos

Gold Member
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?

Related General Discussion News on Phys.org

PhysicoRaj

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

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.

Dotini

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

SteamKing

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

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

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.
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.

edward

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.
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:

Chronos

Gold Member
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.

SteamKing

Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
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.
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.

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.
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.

Ryan_m_b

Staff Emeritus
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.

mheslep

Gold Member
It's really hard to see what any other country could do. ...
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:

edward

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 does not also mean the option is not available.
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.

edward

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

SteamKing

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

edward

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.
Tanned and rested after a 12 year vacation at the Guantanamo Hilton? The scheduled activities there included sleep deprivation, water boarding, and a lot of other nasty treatment.

We do know that some detainees have return to militant activities, although I can't find any information on recidivism of those held long term. It is ironic that during the time Russia occupied Afghanistan we helped train and also supplied weapons to the militants.

I am getting off topic here so I will leave it at that except to say that the Taliban look like boy scouts compared to the crazy militants in Iraq.

I honestly believe that all along our most sincere motives involving Iraq have always been tainted with crude oil.

SteamKing

Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
Tanned and rested after a 12 year vacation at the Guantanamo Hilton? The scheduled activities there included sleep deprivation, water boarding, and a lot of other nasty treatment.
Beats having to survive the brutal Afghan winters, trudging around getting shot at or blown up, falling off a mountain side, or dying of some disease. 3 hots and a cot every day, courtesy of Good 'Ol Uncle Sam.

As the USMC instructs their recruits, "You can sleep when your dead!"

I honestly believe that all along our most sincere motives involving Iraq have always been tainted with crude oil.
Puuuleeeze. I bet you don't mind having your life 'tainted' with crude oil. It keeps us cool in the summertime and toasty warm in the winter. It lets us get around town without thrashing the bejeezus out of some poor draft animal. It cooks your food and provides medicine when you're sick.

Instead of letting Saddam and his cronies steal all the revenue from selling the oil, we at least tried to cut the Iraqi people in on the deal. Instead of using the revenue from their natural endowment to build a better life, rather than smashing the next guy's head in just because he's from another tribe, some groups like ISIS would rather engage in perpetual bloodshed of the most cruel and vicious kind.

OmCheeto

Gold Member
The Iraqi government, under severe military pressure from insurgents, is apparently on the verge of collapse.
Sorry I'm late, but can you provide a source for who is saying the Iraqi government is on the verge of collapse. The only links I can find are blogs, and articles from 2012.
They requested US military aid, but, were refused. Is it just me, or does anyone else find this disturbing?
I don't find it disturbing. What I found disturbing was the fact that 800 ISIL members scared 30,000 Iraqi troops out of Mosul. That led me to conclude, that something's fishy.

The one sentence that explains why Iraq is falling apart

Soldiers have been deserting in large numbers for some time. In Mosul, soldiers didn't run because they were doomed to defeat at the hands of a much smaller ISIS force. They ran because they didn't want to fight.
bolding mine

I'm not sure if that's the "one sentence" that explains it, but it kind of says to me; "If you're not willing to defend your own country, why the hell should we?"

Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
As the USMC instructs their recruits, "You can sleep when your dead!"
That's what my Calc II professor used to say. But she added, "Until then, you're mine!"

SteamKing

Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
Ok, back from my nap. I have another question regarding the OP:

That was date stamped 6/12/2014. The two articles you sited as references, are date stamped 6/13/2014*. Is everyone but me clairvoyant, or was "on the verge of collapse" something everyone independently decided?

If so, it appears just mentioning that has shamed Maliki into taking action:

(bolding mine)

Good job!

*The Mashable article is actually date stamped "1 day ago", but looking at the html source code, you'll find the date: "pub_date":"06/13/2014"
Well, like all such fast-breaking news stories, what appeared to be on the verge on happening just a few days ago now might not happen at all. Apparently, the insurgents have driven so far south from their bases in the north of Iraq that they may not be able to lay siege to Baghdad just yet.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/14/iran-iraq-isis-fight-militants-nouri-maliki

According to the story in the WSJ, the Iraqi army and other security forces positioned between the insurgents and Baghdad have stiffened their resistance and stopped the insurgents' drive south. Whether this state of affairs will last for more than a few days is uncertain, unless you have access to a Ouija Board or a Crystal Ball. Other actors are presently entering the arena, as the US has moved a carrier into the Persian Gulf and Iran is reported to be sending troops to Iraq to fight the Sunni insurgents.

"Iraqi unrest, Syrian unrest, and ISIS/ISIL/Daesh"

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving