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

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  • #1
Chronos
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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?
 

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  • #2
PhysicoRaj
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I'm with you. For what reason were they refused?
 
  • #3
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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
Dotini
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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.
 
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  • #5
SteamKing
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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.
 
  • #6
edward
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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.
 
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  • #7
Chronos
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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
SteamKing
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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.
 
  • #9
Ryan_m_b
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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
mheslep
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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.
 
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  • #11
edward
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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.

Then we have the fact that the Iraqi army that we spent $billions training, apparently just does not want to fight.

The Iraqi army outnumbered ISIS by about 40:1 in Mosul. Yet the army still turned tail and ran — ran so fast, in fact, as to leave some of their tanks and helicopters behind.

http://www.vox.com/2014/6/12/5803416/isis-one-sentence-iraqi-army

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.

At least the blame for his release can not be put on Obama.:devil: 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
AlephZero
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There is the option of destroying the ISIS advance by force.

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:
The Zulu Wars. Cause: the Zulus. Zulus exterminated. End of Zulu Wars.
 
  • #13
SteamKing
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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:


The Zulu Wars. Cause: the Zulus. Zulus exterminated. End of Zulu Wars.

Kinda like Caesar's tag line, "I came, I saw, I conquered," when discussing the Gauls.
 
  • #14
Borg
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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
Throughout the discussions, Iraqi leaders have adamantly refused to give U.S. troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts, and the Americans have refused to stay without it.
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
lisab
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<snip> but when you intervene to try to alter the status quo one day <snip>

A sad, sorry mistake, IMO.

Certainly one does so at the risk of life and limb to be friendly toward such a fickle and inconstant ally.

At what time was Iraq *ever* our 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.

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.

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."

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.

They have captured large amounts of cash from banks in Iraq which can be used to fund new terror networks worldwide.

Do you have a link for that?
 
  • #16
Evo
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At what time was Iraq *ever* our ally?
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
nsaspook
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The chances for air strikes in Iraq this weekend are pretty good.
http://www.businessinsider.com/50-aircraft-ready-strike-iraq-2014-6

The Bush and her accompanying battle group of ships "were in the region and ready for any tasking," said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary. Kirby would not confirm several reports that the Bush had already moved into the Persian Gulf.

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
SteamKing
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At what time was Iraq *ever* our ally?

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

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.

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.

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.

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?

Do you have a link for that?

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
edward
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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.
 
  • #20
SteamKing
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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.
 
  • #21
edward
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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.
 
  • #22
SteamKing
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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 let's 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.
 
  • #23
OmCheeto
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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?"
 
  • #24
Ivan Seeking
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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!" :eek:
 
  • #25
SteamKing
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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://online.wsj.com/articles/iraq...ith-isis-1402765053?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories

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.
 
  • #26
OmCheeto
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I don't see how any newspaper, radio and television news coverage, wire service, etc. can meet your standards.
...
I actually didn't have too much of a problem with the McClatchy article, other than the date stamp.

In any event, one should not read just one article on such a sprawling subject as Middle East events. OmCheeto had apparently emerged from his den to see if there were six more weeks of summer left if he saw his shadow. He's free to consult the websites of CNN, the NY Times, the Washington Post, the Daily Telegraph in London, Pravda, Izvestiya, the Daily Planet or the Baghdad Gazette if he wants more information. Even al-Jazeera has probably mentioned this story by now.

I've been following it from the day this thread started.

The first thing I had to do, was figure out what an "ISIL" was:

ISIL: Rising power in Iraq and Syria
...
Despite earning the fury of even the core al-Qaeda leadership for its methods, ISIL has expanded to control vast areas of Iraq and Syria as it seeks to establish a new Islamic caliphate.
...

Ok. We are dealing with something that even al Qaeda doesn't like. This might be serious.
This was the last thing I viewed on Thursday the 12th, according to my browsing history.

Yesterday morning, the following, was appropriately one of the first articles I read. (Not that I don't trust my fellow PF'ers to keep me up to date, but...)

What the Hell Is Happening in Iraq Right Now?
...
Iran, on the other hand, deployed Revolutionary Guard forces to help Iraqi troops, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Iran is helping Iraq? hmmm...

Then I read the following article:
Two more towns fall to armed fighters in Iraq...
And on the second day, ISIL stormed Ankara's consulate in Mosul and detained 49 Turkish citizens - including the Consulate General, Ozturk Yilmaz, a former advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. There is little immediate prospect of Turkish intervention, unless ISIL begins executing hostages...
Starting to look like a blitzkrieg. But taking the Turkish Consulate General, did not strike me as a smart strategic move. But then again, maybe they have that, "Ala Aqbar! Let me die fighting, and be a martyr!" attitude. Suicide, by pissing everyone off. Probably not though. But then again...

Then I read about their leader:
The fierce ambition of ISIL's Baghdadi
...
But his methods are extreme and his actions repugnant to many - captured enemy fighters are shot or decapitated and their deaths recorded for the Internet.
...
Now we know who their leader is. Mean little rascal.

Then I read a blog by Imran Khan:
[Blog warning!]
ISIL: a united front in Iraq?
[/Blog warning!]
I don't think I read much of that. But the image:

2014.06.13.Islamic.ninjas.jpg

NINJA'S!
ISLAMIC NINJA'S!

Then, my web browser history tells me that I read about 20 more articles, at which point, I came back to PF, and decided to finally find this thread. But that was still yesterday. It took me about 5 hours after getting up this morning, to finally comment.

Sorry I'm so slow.
 
  • #27
OmCheeto
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Well, like all such fast-breaking news stories
...
and Iran is reported to be sending troops to Iraq to fight the Sunni insurgents.

Ho hum, I should take more naps...

From another article I read yesterday:

11 facts that explain the escalating crisis in Iraq
9. Iran is already involved, and this conflict could get much bigger

Iran has sent two battalions of Iranian Revolutionary Guards to help Iraq fight ISIS. These aren't just any old Iranian troops. They're Quds Force, the Guards' elite special operations group. The Quds Force is one of the most effective military forces in the Middle East, a far cry from the undisciplined and disorganized Iraqi forces that fled from a much smaller ISIS force in Mosul. One former CIA officer called Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani "the single most powerful operative in the Middle East today." Suleimani, the Journal reports, is currently helping the Iraqi government "manage the crisis" in Baghdad.

The kids at VOX are a bit young, so I wouldn't put all my trust in them. My Russian friend's analysis of Max Fisher's analysis of the Ukrainian mess was, that Max didn't know what he was talking about. argh!
 
  • #28
Evo
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Due to the problems with questionable sources, certain posts and responses are under moderation until I have time to do a cleanup. I will get this done later today.
 
  • #29
SteamKing
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Ho hum, I should take more naps...

From another article I read yesterday:



The kids at VOX are a bit young, so I wouldn't put all my trust in them. My Russian friend's analysis of Max Fisher's analysis of the Ukrainian mess was, that Max didn't know what he was talking about. argh!

If you're still interested, here is a link to an article in the New York Times which lays out with pitchers 'n' words the progress of the ISIS insurgents last week south toward Baghdad from Mosul in northern Iraq:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/15/w....&region=Footer&module=TopNews&pgtype=article
 
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  • #30
OmCheeto
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... if you're still interested, here is a link to an article in the New York Times which lays out with pitchers 'n' words the progress of the ISIS insurgents last week south toward Baghdad from Mosul in northern Iraq:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/15/w....&region=Footer&module=TopNews&pgtype=article

Good article.

I would not recommend reading the following, unless you have a strong stomach.

From an Australian news source: The Sydney Morning Herald

ISIL Twitter terror: gruesome Iraq photos and candid selfies of jihadist group members

The photographs, released on one of ISIL’s own Twitter feeds, show dozens of Shiite soldiers being driven in trucks to a rural area where they are forced to lie facedown in the dirt with their hands tied behind their back.

In the next frame, a Sunni militiaman appears to execute them in a hail of automatic gunfire that kicks up the dirt near their heads. The next frame shows a pile of lifeless bodies.
 
  • #31
edward
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Shiites gathering for war against ISIS.

 
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  • #32
Ryan_m_b
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The BBC is reporting that the Iraqi government has formally requested the US to launch airstrikes:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-27905849

I'm very concerned about what is going on right now in Iraq and Syria, it's not as simple as an invading external army. Yes ISIS is a radical group which advocates a harsh interpretation of Sharia law but there are reports that Sunni civilians within Iraq are welcoming and even joining ISIS. Probably due to widespread feelings of discrimination and oppression by the predominantly Shi'ite government. In many ways what is happening now in Iraq has characteristics of a civil war with ISIS leading/aggravating/capitalising on strong sectarian tension.

I realize the US has a vested interest in supporting the Iraqi government given the last ten years but I'm honestly not convinced that any intervention which chooses one side over the other won't just make matters worse down the line.
 
  • #33
jim hardy
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The BBC is reporting that the Iraqi government has formally requested the US to launch airstrikes:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-27905849
...
I realize the US has a vested interest in supporting the Iraqi government given the last ten years but I'm honestly not convinced that any intervention which chooses one side over the other won't just make matters worse down the line.

I've never been there, I don't know beyond what's reported and don't trust that very much.

I did read Brzezinski's "Grand Chessboard" wherein he suggested that Iraq was a Normandy-like beach head from which the West should spread benign self government in that region, almost like missionaries spreading religion. Given Pres Bush's evangelism i can understand why the idea appealed to him.

Didn't catch on with the natives, i guess.

Seemed like for a while there was a semblance of a government in Iraq - i remember newscasts of some elections and street celebrations.
But i also read that all the oil contracts went to non-US companies.
At what point do you do a Gary Cooper*, ie throw down your badge and say "Your choice" ?

Maybe democracy just isn't for everybody.

*an allusion to an old mans' movie , 'High Noon' which is sometimes said to be an allegory for Cold War era ideology.
 
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  • #34
Ryan_m_b
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With all due respect Jim that's a very poor opinion. The idea that it's unenlightened locals rejecting democracy would be laughable if it wasn't so sad. The issue is not pro-democracy versus non, the issue is a deeply divided society with a lot of history that has encouraged that division (way back to Iraq being created whole cloth by European empires paying no attention to cultural divides in that region). And that's all before we consider how western influence has supported dictatorships and outright subverted democratic regimes in the region.

I'm not saying this as some sort of cultural guilt trip but not understanding the current and historical realities is not going to result in a good understanding of the current conflict.
 
  • #35
jim hardy
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Thanks Ryan for your honest appraisal.

I'm not saying this as some sort of cultural guilt trip but not understanding the current and historical realities is not going to result in a good understanding of the current conflict.

The question though for me is, what should a supposedly enlightened West do about it ?

old jim
 

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