Author Topic: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread  (Read 183916 times)

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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #50 on: June 30, 2014, 13:41:01 »
There is a great hope among many people (and not just in the region) that ISIS will burn itself out. Their barbaric practices will most certainly reduce the level of popular support, so as they start receiving pushback from Iran and Syria (and their proxy Hezbollah army), not to mention the Kurds, they will discover that getting supporters and new fighters from the "Caliphate" won't be quite so easy. Of course things won't work out quite as neatly as we would like.

I suspect the real reason the Jordanians, Kuiwaitis and Sauds have not taken to the field against ISIS has more to do with the well founded fear of the Salafist radicals are active in their own countries. For the Gulf States in particular, exporting their own radicals along with financial and logistic support is a way of killing several birds with one stone; they get rid of the most radical people, they can identify others who remain and these radicals are fighting the Gulf States own proxy war against Iran, and Iran's proxies and allies. If they can get the Americans to fight for them as well, then bonus!
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Transporter

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #51 on: June 30, 2014, 14:02:15 »
There is a great hope among many people (and not just in the region) that ISIS will burn itself out. Their barbaric practices will most certainly reduce the level of popular support, so as they start receiving pushback from Iran and Syria (and their proxy Hezbollah army), not to mention the Kurds, they will discover that getting supporters and new fighters from the "Caliphate" won't be quite so easy. Of course things won't work out quite as neatly as we would like.

I suspect the real reason the Jordanians, Kuiwaitis and Sauds have not taken to the field against ISIS has more to do with the well founded fear of the Salafist radicals are active in their own countries. For the Gulf States in particular, exporting their own radicals along with financial and logistic support is a way of killing several birds with one stone; they get rid of the most radical people, they can identify others who remain and these radicals are fighting the Gulf States own proxy war against Iran, and Iran's proxies and allies. If they can get the Americans to fight for them as well, then bonus!

I believe they have spread themselves too thin and their actions far exceed what the regional players are prepared to ignore. I'm betting they are about to get schwacked.

Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #52 on: June 30, 2014, 14:54:38 »
I believe they have spread themselves too thin and their actions far exceed what the regional players are prepared to ignore. I'm betting they are about to get schwacked.

Oh please let there be a smiting.... Along with the ones that leave here to wage jihad.
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Offline S.M.A.

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #53 on: June 30, 2014, 23:45:44 »
A prelude to a larger US buildup in the region? And wouldn't a better title for this thread be "Iraq Crisis (2014)" since this ISIS threat involves a larger part of Iraq?

Military.com

Quote
US Sending 300 More US Troops to Iraq

Associated Press | Jul 01, 2014 | by Josh Lederman

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is sending another 300 troops to Iraq to beef up security at the U.S. Embassy and elsewhere in the Baghdad area to protect U.S. citizens and property, officials said Monday.
That raises the total U.S. troop presence in Iraq to approximately 750, the Pentagon said.

The State Department, meanwhile, announced that it was temporarily moving an unspecified "small number" of embassy staff in Baghdad to U.S. consulates in the northern city of Irbil and the southern city of Basra. This is in addition to some embassy staff moved out of Baghdad earlier this month,

Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Baghdad embassy "will be fully equipped to carry out" its mission.

(...EDITED)


Military.com

Quote
Bataan Amphib Heads to Persian Gulf

Jun 30, 2014 | by Richard Sisk
The U.S. amphibious assault ship Bataan with 1,000 Marines aboard was headed to the Persian Gulf Monday as part of the buildup of U.S. forces in the region to protect Americans and counter the threat to the Iraqi government from Islamic extremists.

Pentagon officials confirmed that the 844-foot Bataan, based in Norfolk, Va., had left the Mediterranean and was expected to join six other Navy warships in the Persian Gulf, including the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush.

Until earlier this month, the Bataan and the Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, based in Camp Lejeune, N.C., were on standby off the coast of Libya in case of an emergency at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli.

The other warships already in the Persian Gulf were the destroyers Arleigh Burke, Truxtun, and O'Kane, the cruiser Philippine Sea, the dock landing ship Gunston Hall, and the amphibious transport dock Mesa Verde.

(...EDITED)

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Offline GR66

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #54 on: July 01, 2014, 09:28:24 »
One of my first clear memories of an international news event was the fall of Saigon in 1975.  Can the US afford to abandon the Green Zone in Baghdad if ISIS proves capable of moving on the city?  The images of fleets of helicopters ferrying American personnel out of danger and leaving their "client" government to face the music on their own would have a huge impact on world opinion of the USA's ability and willpower (already in question by many). 

Is the alternative...direct US military intervention by air attacks or even ground troops to maintain control of the city...a much better alternative?  You might as well put up billboards saying that the Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki is totally illegitimate and is only being kept in power against the will of the country's own people by the power of the US military.   

I agree with others that have suggested that possibly the best long term solution for Iraq (and other ethnically split areas) is for the Sykes-Picot borders in the region to be abandoned and more "natural" borders between the various groups be allowed to take their place (understanding that this will NOT be a smooth or peaceful change).

Is this clip from the above article a possible precursor to full embassies in an independent Kurdistan and a new Shiite state around Basra?

Quote
The State Department, meanwhile, announced that it was temporarily moving an unspecified "small number" of embassy staff in Baghdad to U.S. consulates in the northern city of Irbil and the southern city of Basra. This is in addition to some embassy staff moved out of Baghdad earlier this month,


Offline George Wallace

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #55 on: July 01, 2014, 09:48:27 »
We are not dealing with a "Western" society and any hopes of winning hearts and minds along with "Reconstruction" as seen at the end of WW II is a fantasy.  WW II ended with "civilized" nations arriving at a peaceful end to world conflict with mutual understandings.  We can not hope to achieve the same results dealing with "barbaric" cultures who are still stuck in near pre-historic times.  We can not achieve anything by trying to impose our will and power over these states.  Even aiding them is not achieving positive results.  Let God (or Darwin) sort them out.

The Darwin Awards have already been awarded to some failed classes of suicide bombers.  Let us award more.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #56 on: July 01, 2014, 10:07:04 »
From Sarajevo to Baghdad: The Lessons of War

My purpose here is not to throw stones, lay blame, or provide a justification, of any sort, for the horrendous violence and fanatical ideology of the jihadis, whose promised land is a sectarian, sexist dictatorship—a totalitarian negation of the Enlightenment. My point, on this anniversary, is simply to restate an elementary lesson of history that we’ve recently relearned to our cost. Wars are terrible things, and they have terrible, unpredictable consequences.

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2014/07/from-sarajevo-to-baghdad-the-lessons-of-war.html
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Offline Transporter

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #57 on: July 01, 2014, 10:11:10 »
We are not dealing with a "Western" society and any hopes of winning hearts and minds along with "Reconstruction" as seen at the end of WW II is a fantasy.  WW II ended with "civilized" nations arriving at a peaceful end to world conflict with mutual understandings.  We can not hope to achieve the same results dealing with "barbaric" cultures who are still stuck in near pre-historic times.  We can not achieve anything by trying to impose our will and power over these states.  Even aiding them is not achieving positive results.  Let God (or Darwin) sort them out.

The Darwin Awards have already been awarded to some failed classes of suicide bombers.  Let us award more.

Agreed. Has anyone heard about s*** happening in Rwanda in the past 20 years? No? Hmmm....

Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #58 on: July 01, 2014, 10:12:24 »
We are not dealing with a "Western" society and any hopes of winning hearts and minds along with "Reconstruction" as seen at the end of WW II is a fantasy.  WW II ended with "civilized" nations arriving at a peaceful end to world conflict with mutual understandings.  We can not hope to achieve the same results dealing with "barbaric" cultures who are still stuck in near pre-historic times.  We can not achieve anything by trying to impose our will and power over these states.  Even aiding them is not achieving positive results.  Let God (or Darwin) sort them out.

The Darwin Awards have already been awarded to some failed classes of suicide bombers.  Let us award more.

Saw a patch the other day that said:

"Only God can judge our enemies: we'll arrange the meeting"
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #59 on: July 02, 2014, 13:03:06 »
The difference between terrorism and insurgency
 (STRATFOR security weekly)

By Scott Stewart

It is not uncommon for media reports to refer to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS) as a terrorist group. While the group certainly does have cadres with advanced terrorist tradecraft skills, they are much more than a terrorist group. In addition to conducting terrorist attacks in its area of operations, the group has displayed the ability to fight a protracted insurgency across an expansive geography and also has engaged in conventional military battles against the Syrian and Iraqi militaries.

It is because of this that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant is much more accurately referred to as a militant group; that is a group which uses terrorism as one of its diverse military tools. We have taken some heat from readers who view our use of the term "militant group" to be some sort of politically correct euphemism for terrorism, but militant group is really a far more accurate description for groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (or ISIL/ISIS as it is sometimes abbreviated), al Shabaab, and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which all have the capacity to do far more than conduct terrorist attacks.

Terrorism and insurgency
 First, it is important to recognise that terrorism is only one tool used by organisations that wage asymmetrical warfare against a superior foe. Terrorism is often used to conduct armed conflict against a militarily stronger enemy when the organisation launching the armed struggle is not yet at a stage where insurgent or conventional warfare is viable. That said however, also there are instances where state-sponsored terrorism can be used by one state against another in a Cold War-type struggle.

Marxist, Maoist and focoist militant groups often use terrorism as the first step in an armed struggle. In some ways, al Qaeda also followed a type of focoist (revolution through guerrilla warfare) vanguard strategy. It used terrorism to shape public opinion and to raise popular support for its cause, expecting to enhance its strength to a point where it could wage insurgent and then conventional warfare in order to establish an emirate, and eventually a global caliphate. Terrorism also can be used to supplement insurgency or conventional warfare. In such cases, it is employed to keep the enemy off balance and distracted, principally by conducting strikes against vulnerable targets at the enemy's rear. The Afghan Taliban employ terrorism in this manner, as does the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

Once a group becomes more militarily capable, the group's leaders often will switch strategies, progressing from terrorist attacks to an insurgency. Insurgent warfare, often referred to as guerrilla warfare, has been practiced for centuries by a number of different cultures. Historical commanders who employed insurgent tactics have ranged from the Prophet Mohammed to Mao Zedong to Geronimo. Simply put, insurgent theory is based on the concept of declining battle when the enemy is superior, and attacking after amassing sufficient forces to strike where the enemy is weak. The insurgents also take a long view of armed struggle, seeking to live to fight another day rather than allow themselves to be fixed and destroyed by their superior enemy. They may lose some battles, but if they remain alive to continue the insurgency while also forcing their enemy to expend men and resources disproportionately, they consider it a victory. Time is on the side of the insurgents in this asymmetrical style of battle, and they hope a long war will exhaust and demoralise their enemy.

This style of warfare is seen very plainly in the history of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. In 2004, when the group was called al Qaeda in Iraq, it attempted to progress from an insurgent force to a conventional military, seizing and holding territory, but it suffered terrible losses when facing the United States in clashes which included the first and second battles of Fallujah. In 2006, the group, known then as the Islamic State in Iraq, suffered significant losses in the battle of Ramadi, and the losses continued during the Anbar Awakening. However, the group persevered, abandoned its efforts to hold territory, and reverted back to a lower-level insurgency, and so continuing its pursuit of a long war. The group's persistence paid off. Now known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the militants’ regained strength after the US withdrawal from Iraq, and through their involvement in the Syrian Civil War. Today, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant is arguably the most powerful jihadist militant group in the world. The group has even been able to progress militarily to the point where it can engage in conventional military battles simultaneously both against the Syrian and Iraqi armies. The group is clearly more than just a terrorist group; and its military capabilities are superior to those of many small countries.

Constraints
 All that said, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant also is constrained as to how it employs its military power. Its first constraint is the projection of that power because force projection is a challenge for even large national militaries. It requires advanced logistical capabilities to move men, equipment, munitions, petroleum, and other supplies across expanses of land, and it becomes even more difficult when substantial bodies of water must be crossed. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant is aided by the fact that it can operate along internal supply lines which cross the Iraq-Syria border, so allowing them to move men and material to different areas of the battlefield as needed. Mostly this movement is achieved by means of trucks, buses, and smaller, mobile technicals (pickup trucks) and motorcycles.

For the most part, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant is practicing a mobile `hit-and-run’ style of warfare aided by sympathetic Sunni forces, but in some places, such as Mosul, Ramadi and Baiji, they are conducting more conventional warfare along fixed battle lines. The militants have not shown the capability to project their conventional or even insurgent forces very far into the Kurdish and Shi’ite-controlled areas of Iraq, where they lack significant local support. In the past, they have been able to conduct terrorist operations in Kurdish and Shi’ite areas, including Arbil, Baghdad and Basra, but in recent years the group has not conducted terrorist attacks outside of its operational theatre.

Back in 2005, the group carried out bombing and rocket attacks in Jordan, including the 9th November 2005 suicide bombings against three hotels in Amman, but it has not conducted an attack in Jordan for many years now. Local supporters often facilitate the group's terrorist operations in Iraq, Syria and Jordan, even when foreign operatives conduct a suicide bombing or armed assault.

Historically, it has been fairly unusual for a militant group to develop the capability to project power transnationally, but developing such a capability without state sponsorship is even more unusual; and the transnational groups such as Hezbollah, Black September and the Abu Nidal Organisation all received significant state sponsorship. It is far more common for militant groups to confine their military operations within a discreet theatre of operations consisting of their country of origin and often the border areas of adjacent countries. In many cases, the militant group involved is a separatist organisation fighting for independence or autonomy, and its concerns pertain to a localised area.

In other cases, militant organisations have more global ambitions, such as the jihadist or Marxist visions of global conquest. These groups often will try to accomplish their global goals via a progression that begins with establishing a local political entity and then expanding. This initial local focus requires a group to commit its military resources toward local targets rather than transnational targets. This is likely why, for example, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has not yet attempted to conduct transnational terrorist operations directed against the United States and the West. The group has more pressing local and regional targets to hit.

The militant groups face another constraint on the projection of military power in the form of transnational terrorism: The tradecraft required to plan and orchestrate a terrorist attack undetected in a hostile environment is quite different from the skill set needed to operate as a guerrilla fighter in an insurgency. In addition, the logistical networks needed to support terrorist operatives in such environments are quite different from those required to support insurgent operations. These constraints have shaped our assessment that the threat posed by foreign fighters returning to the West from Syria, is real but limited.

Amongst the things which made the al Qaeda core organisation so unique was its focus on the "far enemy" (the United States) first rather than the "near enemy" (local regimes). Al Qaeda also developed the capability to train people in advanced terrorist tradecraft in camps like Deronta and to create the logistical network required to support terrorist operatives operating in hostile territory. Following the 9/11 attacks, al Qaeda lost its training camps and logistical networks. This has made it much more difficult for the group to conduct transnational attacks, and explains why the long-awaited follow up attacks to the 9/11 operation did not materialise. Indeed, in 2010 the al Qaeda core group jumped on the bandwagon of encouraging individual jihadists living in the West to conduct simple attacks where they live rather than travel to other countries to fight.

Among the al Qaeda franchise groups, such as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al Shabaab, tensions have erupted between members of the organisation who favour the al Qaeda-like focus on the far enemy, and those who want to focus their military efforts on the near enemy. For the most part, the regional franchises also are under heavy pressure from the local authorities, and are struggling to survive and to continue their struggles. In such an environment, they have very little extra capacity to devote to transnational attacks.

Even a local franchise group like al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has adopted more of a transnational ideology, can be constrained by such factors. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has not been able to launch an attack directed against the US homeland since the November 2010 printer bomb attempt and moreover, it is important to recognise that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula launched the attacks targeting the United States from its base of operations in Yemen, rather than sending operatives to the United States to plan and execute attacks in a hostile environment. The group did not have operatives with the requisite tradecraft for such operations, and also it lacked the logistics network to support them. Therefore, the al Qaeda franchise was limited to executing only the transnational attacks which it could plan and launch from Yemen.

So far, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has not demonstrated a focus on conducting transnational attacks against the far enemy. It also has not shown that it has operatives capable of travelling to foreign countries to plan and conduct sophisticated terrorist operations there. However, the group retains a robust terrorist capability within its area of operation, and consistently has been able to acquire weapons and explosives, to fabricate viable explosive devices, and to recruit and indoctrinate suicide operatives.

 The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant is far more than a terrorist organisation. It can launch complex insurgent campaigns, and even conduct conventional military operations, it is able to govern areas of territory, administer social services and collect taxes. Thus simply labelling the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant solely as a terrorist organisation underestimates the group's capabilities, and this can give it the element of surprise when it launches a major military operation just like the one resulting in the capture of a significant portion of Iraq's Sunni-dominated areas. It is a potent foe.

"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline S.M.A.

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #60 on: July 03, 2014, 17:49:28 »
Wouldn't some of America's allies in the region, namely Turkey as well as Iraq's Maliki government, be wary of the US becoming closer to the Kurds, who covet their homeland which carves out parts of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Turkey?

Military.com

Quote
US Sends Green Berets to Northern Iraq

Special Forces advisors have set up an operations center in northern Iraq as part of the expanding U.S. political and military effort to keep Iraq from splintering against attacks by Islamic extremists, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday.

In recent days, a small team of advisors opened up a Joint Operations Center (JOC) in Irbil, capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government, Hagel said at a Pentagon briefing with Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Irbil mission will complement the JOC already in operation in Baghdad in assessing the capability and will of the Iraqi national security forces to combat militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant who have swept across large swaths of western and northern Iraq against little opposition.

(...EDITED)

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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #61 on: July 03, 2014, 20:57:11 »
And the theatre continues to expand. It won't take much to finally trigger Saudi Arabia, Jordan or any other State threatened within or without by Salafist radicals to enter the conflict. The big question is how long before they finally decide to hit the hornet's nest (Iran) rather than just swat at the hornets?

http://www.the-american-interest.com/blog/2014/07/03/another-road-to-war-in-the-middle-east/

Quote
THE WORLD IGNITES
Another Road to War in the Middle East

The Iraqi Army withdrew from the border with Saudi Arabia in the heavily Sunni Anbar Province yesterday, leaving the road open for ISIS to attack the Kingdom. In response, the Saudis sent 30,000 troops to fill the gap. The Financial Times reports:

Saudi Arabia has deployed 30,000 troops to its border with Iraq, the pan-Arab television station Al Arabiya said on Thursday, after tribal leaders within the war-torn country reported Iraqi government forces abandoning their posts on the frontier.

Iraqi government officials have not yet commented on any withdrawal, nor is it clear how many soldiers were told to leave. But Abdul Razzaq al-Shammari, a tribal sheikh from the restive Anbar province, said troops had been ordered to leave the Saudi border near Anbar, one of the areas where Sunni insurgents and militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (known as Isis) have been seizing territory.

The withdrawal represents another stage in the full scale collapse of the Iraqi government as anything but the rule of a Shi’a rump of the country. Meanwhile, this creates a huge danger for Saudi Arabia. Will ISIS turn south?

This is yet another scenario that could well drag the U.S. into war. The costs of the American failure to contain the Syrian War continue to grow.

Published on July 3, 2014 11:38 am

I'm not sure that America will be dragged into the war in any direct fashion, however. The current Administration is doing everything possible to distance themselves from taking any action or responsibility for what is happening in the ME, and a future administration may conclude that aside from carrier battle groups steaming offshore and the occasional dollop of aid to one side or the other, it will be better to let all the various parties fight it out amongst themselves  to focus their attention inwards and exhaust their resources (much like the Iran-Iraq war back in the 1980's). Having Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States locked in combat with Iran and her allies and proxies may be the least worst solution, from Washington's point of view.

America stands to benefit by selling its own oil and natural gas on the open market (energy wealth to repair the economy), and parties who are keen on getting Middle Eastern oil will also be turning their attention to that part of the world, rather than outward. US Maritime strategy will allow contestants to shuttle forces in and out of the Middle East (if it is in America's interest), and provide convoy protection for whatever energy is being exported from the region.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline S.M.A.

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #62 on: July 05, 2014, 21:39:11 »
A new rogue state rises out of Sunni-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria with ISIS in control, calling themselves a new "caliphate" :

From Agence-France-Presse via Yahoo News

Quote
IS, the jihadist group claiming world leadership
By: Agence France-Presse
July 6, 2014 2:10 AM

BAGHDAD -- The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group which spearheaded a sweeping militant assault that overran swathes of Iraq is now claiming leadership of the world's Muslims.
Known for its ruthless tactics and suicide bombers, IS has carried out frequent bombings and shootings in Iraq, and is also arguably the most capable force fighting President Bashar al-Assad inside Syria.

But it truly gained international attention last month, when its fighters and those from other militant groups swept through the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, then overran swathes of five provinces north and west of Baghdad.

The group led by "caliph" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and backed by thousands of fighters in Syria and Iraq, some of them Westerners, appears to be surpassing Al-Qaeda as the world's most dangerous and influential jihadist group.

In a sign of IS confidence, the hitherto secretive Baghdadi made an unprecedented public appearance in the militant-held north Iraq city of Mosul, ordering Muslims to obey him, according to a video distributed online on Saturday.

(...EDITED)




Jihadist caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi demands obedience of Muslims

Quote
July 06, 2014

SELF-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has made an unprecedented appearance in the Iraqi city of Mosul, which his forces helped capture last month, and ordered Muslims to obey him, according to a video post. ...

The video showed a portly man clad in a long black robe and a black turban with a long greying beard addressing worshippers at weekly prayers at Al-Nur mosque in central Mosul.

“I am the wali (leader) who presides over you, though I am not the best of you. So if you see that I am right, assist me,” said the man, purportedly Baghdadi.

“If you see that I am wrong, advise me and put me on the right track, and obey me as long as I obey God.”

Text superimposed on the video identified the man as “Caliph Ibrahim”, the name Baghdadi took when the group on June 29 declared a “caliphate”, a pan-Islamic state last seen in Ottoman times, in which the leader is both political and religious.

The video is the first ever official appearance by Baghdadi, says Aymenn al-Tamimi, an expert on Islamist movements, though the jihadist leader may have appeared in a 2008 video under a different name.

The Australian

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Offline cupper

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #63 on: July 06, 2014, 00:04:12 »
Have The Islamist Militants Overreached In Iraq And Syria?

http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2014/07/05/328145985/have-the-islamist-militants-overreached-in-iraq-and-syria

Quote
The Islamist radicals who have declared an Islamic caliphate on land they control straddling Iraq and Syria are waging an audacious publicity stunt, according to some analysts.

While it may bring them even greater attention, it's also likely to be an overreach that will open riffs with its current partners, the Sunni Muslims in Iraq who welcomed the militant group in early June. They all share the goal of overthrowing Iraq's Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his sectarian rule, but the more secular parts of the Sunni coalition didn't sign up for an Islamic state.

"By announcing the caliphate, they are picking a fight with everybody," says David Kilcullen, a guerrilla warfare expert and former chief counter-terrorism strategist for the U.S. State Department.

The militants were known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. But in announcing a caliphate, which is a single, unified Islamic state, they are now simply calling themselves the Islamic State.

The group has been taking territory since last year, first in Syria and now in Iraq. They grabbed international attention last month when they seized the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, one of the largest and most important population centers in Iraq.

But so far, at least, the Islamic State has not tried to make the city the centerpiece of the declared caliphate.

"No, no, there is nothing like that in Mosul," insists a former Iraqi military officer when reached by phone. He dismisses the caliphate with a snort, because, he says, "the other groups object."

The former officer says he fears retribution from the Maliki government and didn't want his name published. He says he is part of the Sunni alliance in Mosul that originally welcomed the Islamic State. Now, he has some doubts.

"We will soon name one of our people to be the boss in Mosul," he says. "There is no caliphate here."

A Sunni Alliance Of Convenience

The Islamic State declared the caliphate on June 30, three weeks after a successful sweep across northern and western Iraq in a land grab that includes strategic border posts.

A small group of IS fighters served as the "tip of the spear" in this Sunni alliance of convenience. In the first thrust of the spear, IS was supported by tribal chiefs, village elders, Islamist groups, former military officers from an army disbanded by the U.S. in 2003, and former members of the outlawed Baathist party that governed Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

But now IS is in classic overreach mode, says Kilcullen. Other analysts agree that IS's ambitions will create divisions.

"It will help and hurt" the Islamic State, says Ramzy Mardini, a non-resident fellow at the Washington-based Atlantic Council. Declaring a caliphate "creates uncertainty for the Sunnis that backed" the group, he says. Mardini points out that IS arrived in Mosul in early June with a limited force of around 2,000 fighters. They were prepared to spring prisoners from the jails. They didn't expect the Iraqi army to collapse so quickly.

"They weren't prepared to take over a city of 2 million people," he says.

The caliphate, with deep religious symbolism that harkens back to the early days of Islam, is a recruiting bid to a wider audience, says Mardini.

The brash quest to redraw the map of the Middle East was trumpeted on IS's social media outlets in a video titled "Breaking Borders" and translated into English, Russian, French, German and Albanian.

IS is now calling on Muslims to immigrate, specifically "religious scholars, particularly judges, those with military, administrative and service experience, doctors and engineers."

The self-declared caliphate had immediate detractors. Rival groups fighting in Syria were the first to speak against the caliphate. IS has already hijacked the Syrian revolt, turning a citizen's rebellion into a terrorist war.

Religious scholars across the region called the caliphate "nonsense." Arabic-language Facebook pages popped up to satirize the elusive IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and imaged his rejection of a "friend" request from the al-Qaida boss, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Even al-Qaida considers IS too extreme.

But the reaction of Iraq's Sunni community is a key to the future power of IS.

"In Iraq, 99 percent of the Sunni Arabs don't want to live under a caliphate," says Ali Khedery, who served as a political adviser to U.S. ambassadors and top military commanders in Iraq and the Middle East from 2003 to 2010. He resigned in protest when the U.S. supported Maliki's second term as prime minister.

"Iraqis like to drink, dance, and smoke. They don't want to be ruled by Chechens and Afghans and live under 7th-century standards," Khedery says.

In some IS-controlled neighborhoods in Mosul, masked fighters enforce a radical Islamist code of behavior announced in some mosques and on social media. But other neighborhoods are controlled by local Sunnis who ignore IS edicts.

After an initial exodus of the Christian community, some are returning to Mosul, including the head of Chaldean Church, Archbishop Emil Nona. Many IS fighters have moved on to the front lines, so their presence in limited in Mosul and in the Christian villages in the suburbs of the city.

"I can't say if there is future or not, because we don't know which future we have," says the wary archbishop.

However, IS is "filling a vacuum as the Iraqi state collapses," according to Khedery, the former U.S. adviser.

'They've Booby-Trapped The Whole City'

So far, the Sunni coalition has not publicly split with IS. There is no incentive, says Ramzy Mardini, as long as Maliki is still a contender for a third term in office. Iraq's Sunnis are not yet willing to "take their foot off the accelerator," he says.

The Sunnis believe undercutting IS now would lift the pressure on Baghdad.

But the longer IS remains unchallenged, the stronger is is likely to become, says Mardini.

Take the example of Tikrit. The city was captured in a matter of hours by IS militants on June 11. Soon after, IS posted photographs of the spoils of war after capturing a prison and executing scores of Iraqi soldiers.

"When they first came to Tikrit, it was a bunch of guys in pickup trucks," says Zaid Al-Ali, the author of The Struggle for Iraq's Future and someone who has close family ties in Tikrit.

"Now, they've booby-trapped the whole city," he says. IS brought compressors to dig up the streets and plant bombs on strategic roadways, according to relatives who witnessed the takeover.

IS is growing in strength, says Al-Ali, "The longer Maliki stays in office, the more entrenched they become."

For Militants, Founding Of Caliphate Is Win In Rhetoric, Not Reality

http://www.npr.org/2014/07/03/328209560/for-militants-founding-of-caliphate-is-win-in-rhetoric-not-reality

Quote
On the first night of Ramadan, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria announced it would change its name to, simply, the Islamic State, declaring that the land it had captured in Syria and Iraq constituted a new caliphate. The group's leader is trying to use this new narrative to wrest control of the global jihad from al-Qaida.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The head of a terrorist group controlling large parts of Syria and Iraq has declared himself the leader of a new caliphate, or Muslim state. But does saying it make it so? Counterterrorism officials say they haven't seen much happening on the ground that suggests major political changes. They say the decision to establish a caliphate is more about rhetoric than reality, that it's part of a strategy to help the group seize the mantle of terrorism from al-Qaida. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports now on whether that plan might work.

DINA TEMPLE-RASTON, BYLINE: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's decision to try to reestablish a caliphate in Syria and Iraq is not about setting up an Islamic government. It's really about politics - jihadi politics.

MATTHEW LEVITT: There was no groundwork laid for this. I think he really saw this as a way to present himself as an organized challenge to al-Qaida.

TEMPLE-RASTON: That's Matthew Levitt, from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. And by groundwork, he means al-Baghdadi apparently did not alert other jihadi groups or important religious leaders that he intended to name himself caliph, the leader of a Muslim state. He just waited until the first day of Ramadan, and he did it.

LEVITT: I think that al-Baghdadi has bitten off more than he can chew here. The idea of a caliphate is all Sunnis are supposed to have a obligation to this caliph. Now, if - if they don't follow suit, then it's empty words, and he demonstrates that he is not as powerful as he thought he would be.

TEMPLE-RASTON: Counterterrorism officials are watching key players outside Syria and Iraq - leaders in the jihadi community, to see whether they accept al-Bagdhadi as their leader, or they don't. And right now, it looks like they don't.

PATRICK JOHNSTON: None of the - the existing militant groups are really biting, except for some small-bit players.

TEMPLE-RASTON: Patrick Johnston, of the Rand Corporation, has been tracking who is lining up for al-Bagdhadi.

JOHNSTON: Not the stronger groups that ideally ISIS would peel away from supporting al-Qaida.

TEMPLE-RASTON: Al-Bagdhadi's list of supporters include locals in Raqqa, Syria, where he has training camps. They tweeted congratulations to him and called on others to pledge allegiance to him. A commander of Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia, with the Twitter handle @BlackFlagNews, said he'd support al-Bagdhadi as the new caliph. And minor clerics, like a firebrand in the U.K., offered some measured support, which could help boost recruitment for al-Bagdhadi in Britain. But Rand's Patrick Johnston says the big jihadi names have been quiet.

JOHNSTON: I think they're waiting to see whether this will take, and someone has to make a first move.

TEMPLE-RASTON: Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute agrees.

LEVITT: The big prize for Bagdhadi would be to get actual al-Qaida affiliates to begin siding with him. AQIM, AQAP, the Shabaab - etc. And so far, we haven't seen this.

TEMPLE-RASTON: AQIM is al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. AQAP is the group's arm in Yemen. And Shabaab is al-Qaida's affiliate in Somalia. And they have all been noticeably quiet. The Nusra Front, al-Qaida's arm in Syria, greeted al-Bagdhadi's announcement with sarcasm. They said he had succeeded in creating, in the group's words, a Twitter caliphate. The Rand Corporation's Johnston says al-Bagdhadi's definition of a caliphate is in keeping with his tendency to overreach.

JOHNSTON: And it ends up being counterproductive.

TEMPLE-RASTON: And what have we heard from one of the most important players in the struggle for jihadi hearts and minds, al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri? Absolutely nothing. Dina Temple-Raston, NPR News.
It's hard to win an argument against a smart person, it's damned near impossible against a stupid person.

There is no God, and life is just a myth.

"He who drinks, sleeps. He who sleeps, does not sin. He who does not sin, is holy. Therefore he who drinks, is holy."

Let's Go CAPS!

Online Colin P

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #64 on: July 09, 2014, 10:43:28 »
Wouldn't some of America's allies in the region, namely Turkey as well as Iraq's Maliki government, be wary of the US becoming closer to the Kurds, who covet their homeland which carves out parts of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Turkey?

Military.com

The current government of Turkey is slightly more open to the Kurds and with the current set of events the Kurds while having conflicting priorities with the Turks would also be sen as one of the few rational and reliable actors in the region.

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #65 on: July 09, 2014, 14:40:43 »
The Turkish Government may have an ulterior motive for wanting to support the Kurds. It does a couple of things, keeps the Kurdish movements in Turkey occupied looking south rather internally. And if they do succeed in getting an independent and separate state from a break up of Iraq, it gives the Turks a place to displace their own Kurdish population if they choose to go that route.
It's hard to win an argument against a smart person, it's damned near impossible against a stupid person.

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Offline GAP

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #66 on: July 09, 2014, 17:00:34 »
You are missing the glaring fact that the Turkish Kurds want their territory annexed into the new Kurdish country. They are not looking to move.

Can't see a problem with that......the Turks are nice guys...no?
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I´m not so sure about the universe

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #67 on: July 09, 2014, 17:09:38 »
You are missing the glaring fact that the Turkish Kurds want their territory annexed into the new Kurdish country. They are not looking to move.

Can't see a problem with that......the Turks are nice guys...no?

Haven't missed the fact.

I understand that the Turkish Kurds want their territory to be part of a larger Kurdistan.

My point was that having an independent Kurdish state in the remnants of Iraq, The Turks could now have a place to force them out to their Turkish territory should the Kurds decide to become more forceful in their claim than they already are.

And I'm not saying it would be the smart thing to to for the Turks, as the outcry from the rest of the world would be politically untenable. But there is historic precedent for ethnic cleansing and genocide by the Turks in the not to distant past.
 
It's hard to win an argument against a smart person, it's damned near impossible against a stupid person.

There is no God, and life is just a myth.

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #68 on: July 09, 2014, 17:56:05 »
Plus the Kurds know they need Turkey to make a go of it and will likely work with what they have rather than just what they want. that's not to say all of the PPK will agree. The Kurds are clearly playing the long game and making the moves they think they can win. There is a painful but slowly succeeding peace deal with Turkey and a recent oil deal as well. I think both Turkey and the Kurds are putting off dealing with a "Greater Kurdistan" to deal with today's and tomorrow's problem and not the one years down the road.

As the ISIS make Assad look sane and if Assad can continue to win in Syria, Turkey may have backed the wrong horses and will be struggling to to be relevant in the region. Propping up the Kurds with quiet promises not to look at Turkish soil for the time being might be the only game in town for them with any economic and political brightness.

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #69 on: July 09, 2014, 19:42:51 »
ISIS has captured a WMD site north of Bagdahd. While it is to be hoped that the chemical munitions have deteriorated and degraded over the years, nothing should be taken at face value (and even the degraded chemicals are likely to be quite toxic). Of course there is something which the article carefully fails to mention: the constantly repeated claim that there were no WMDs in Iraq during OIF. 

The other issue is if this site was known since the 1980's, why was it not dealt with in a timely manner after Saddam's overthrow? Even something as simple as burning the munitions in place with thermite would have consumed the chemicals for good and destroyed the machinery beyond any hope of repair.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10913275/Isis-storms-Saddam-era-chemical-weapons-complex-in-Iraq.html

Quote
Isis storms Saddam-era chemical weapons complex in Iraq
Facility containing disused stores of sarin and mustard gas overrun by jihadist group

By Damien McElroy7:58PM BST 19 Jun 2014Comments163 Comments

The jihadist group bringing terror to Iraq overran a Saddam Hussein chemical weapons complex on Thursday, gaining access to disused stores of hundreds of tonnes of potentially deadly poisons including mustard gas and sarin.

Isis invaded the al-Muthanna mega-facility 60 miles north of Baghdad in a rapid takeover that the US government said was a matter of concern.

The facility was notorious in the 1980s and 1990s as the locus of Saddam’s industrial scale efforts to develop a chemical weapons development programme.

Isis has shown ambitions to seize and use chemical weapons in Syria leading experts to warn last night that the group could turn to improvised weapons to carry out a deadly attack in Iraq.

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former commander of Britain’s chemical weapons regiment, said that al-Muthanna has large stores of weaponized and bulk mustard gas and sarin, most of which has been put beyond ready use in concrete stores.

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“It is doubtful that Isis have the expertise to use a fully functioning chemical munition but there are materials on site that could be used in an improvised explosive device,” he told the Telegraph. “We have seen that Isis has used chemicals in explosions in Iraq before and has carried out experiments in Syria.”

US officials revealed that the group had occupied the sprawling site which has two bunkers encased in a concrete seal. Much of the sarin is believed to be redundant.

“We remain concerned about the seizure of any military site by the [Isis],” Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said. “We do not believe that the complex contains CW materials of military value and it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to safely move the materials.”
During its peak in the late 1980s to early 1990s, Iraq produced bunkers full of chemical munitions.

A CIA report on the facility said that 150 tons of mustard were produced each year at the peak from 1983 and pilot-scale production of Sarin began in 1984.

Its most recent description of al-Muthanna in 2007 paints a disturbing picture of chemicals strewn throughout the area.
“Two wars, sanctions and UN oversight reduced Iraqi’s premier production facility to a stockpile of old damaged and contaminated chemical munitions (sealed in bunkers), a wasteland full of destroyed chemical munitions, razed structures, and unusable war-ravaged facilities,” it said.
“Some of the bunkers contained large quantities of unfilled chemical munitions, conventional munitions, one-ton shipping containers, old disabled production equipment and other hazardous industrial chemicals.”

Britain has previously acknowledgeded that the nature of the material contained in the two bunkers would make the destruction process difficult and technically challenging.

Under an agreement signed in Baghdad in July 2012, experts from the MOD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory were due to provide training to Iraqi personnel in order to help them to dispose of the chemical munitions and agents.

Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons during the Iran – Iraq War (1980 to 1988) and against the Kurds in Halabja in 1988.

One US official told the Wall Street Journal yesterday that Isis fighters could be contaminated by the chemicals at the site.

“The only people who would likely be harmed by these chemical materials would be the people who tried to use or move them,” the military officer said.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline upandatom

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #70 on: July 10, 2014, 13:49:23 »
We are not dealing with a "Western" society and any hopes of winning hearts and minds along with "Reconstruction" as seen at the end of WW II is a fantasy.  WW II ended with "civilized" nations arriving at a peaceful end to world conflict with mutual understandings.  We can not hope to achieve the same results dealing with "barbaric" cultures who are still stuck in near pre-historic times.  We can not achieve anything by trying to impose our will and power over these states.  Even aiding them is not achieving positive results.  Let God (or Darwin) sort them out.

The Darwin Awards have already been awarded to some failed classes of suicide bombers.  Let us award more.

One of the FEW times I will agree with you GW. Back Everything out of there, EVERYTHING. If your not from the area, or dont want to be in the middle of a warzone by this date, GTFO. Come home, let them fight it out themselves. Why would we enter the situation again, and have two sides fighting, and in turn have them both turn on our Western Ideals. Last time I checked, we arent killing eachother over being Atheist, Christian, Jewish or Muslim in the western world. Set up a barrier around them however far out. If women and children wish to leave let them. Send drones over and keep an eye on stuff to make sure they arent building giant nukes. Use planes and bombing runs to finish it off and to make sure neither side gets too far ahead of the other. They need to start policing themselves.

 
I am McLovin

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #71 on: July 10, 2014, 14:09:20 »
Not to be sexist or cold hearted, but I wouldn't even let the women and children out.  They often hold the exact same beliefs as the male population; sometimes even more extreme.
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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #72 on: July 10, 2014, 16:03:32 »
Not to be sexist or cold hearted, but I wouldn't even let the women and children out.  They often hold the exact same beliefs as the male population; sometimes even more extreme.

But is that a truly held belief, or what has been beaten into them (either literally or figuratively) by their male relatives and overlords.
It's hard to win an argument against a smart person, it's damned near impossible against a stupid person.

There is no God, and life is just a myth.

"He who drinks, sleeps. He who sleeps, does not sin. He who does not sin, is holy. Therefore he who drinks, is holy."

Let's Go CAPS!

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #73 on: July 10, 2014, 17:01:21 »
We could ask the Khadir sisters.

We could ask, if they were still alive, the Muslim women who have become suicide bombers. 

Problem is, how do you know their true allegiances?
 
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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #74 on: July 10, 2014, 17:47:00 »
One of the FEW times I will agree with you GW. Back Everything out of there, EVERYTHING. If your not from the area, or dont want to be in the middle of a warzone by this date, GTFO. Come home, let them fight it out themselves. Why would we enter the situation again, and have two sides fighting, and in turn have them both turn on our Western Ideals. Last time I checked, we arent killing eachother over being Atheist, Christian, Jewish or Muslim in the western world. Set up a barrier around them however far out. If women and children wish to leave let them. Send drones over and keep an eye on stuff to make sure they arent building giant nukes. Use planes and bombing runs to finish it off and to make sure neither side gets too far ahead of the other. They need to start policing themselves.

These maniacs would love to kill all the Catholics by heaping them on their bonfires tonight, and vice versa. Situation normal there since the 16th C or so... and this is in a 'civilized' nation.

http://rt.com/news/171856-giant-bonfires-ireland-twelfth/
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon