Author Topic: Iraq Unravels  (Read 26636 times)

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Offline Baz

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #350 on: January 17, 2020, 06:42:24 »
That is something I think almost all of us agree on.   :goodpost:

Agreed.

Hypothetical question: what would have been the fallout of the USSR deliberately and openly targetting and killing the CIA Pakistan chief of station visiting Afghanistan in the mid 80s, during the US effort to support Iskamic efforts against the USSR?

Online SeaKingTacco

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #351 on: January 17, 2020, 09:58:35 »
Agreed.

Hypothetical question: what would have been the fallout of the USSR deliberately and openly targetting and killing the CIA Pakistan chief of station visiting Afghanistan in the mid 80s, during the US effort to support Iskamic efforts against the USSR?

It is a useful thought experiment. Given that both the US and USSR were nuclear powers, I do not believe it would have led to war. It would likely have been diplomatically protested and led to increased western sanctions against the USSR.

Interestingly, I also think it may have led to the US quietly backing away from supporting Afghan Mujhadeen forces and finding another avenue to discomfort the Soviets.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #352 on: January 17, 2020, 12:01:31 »
I'm merely pointing out that when you blow up the general of a nation state that you are not at war with then you are in fact committing an act of war.

... and we have just walked through a particular kind of 'looking glass' so, if we haven't already done so, the USA and everyone who Iran (and their allies) views as an American ally had better up our security game to be ready for whatever comes next.
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #353 on: January 17, 2020, 13:29:54 »
Iran was more or less winning the asymmetrical fight, they were using proxies, mostly with poor Afghans and others to fight and die for a pittance, their Iranian leaders more or less safe. By this action the US has said, that your no longer safe outside your borders, making Command and Control of their proxies far more difficult and dangerous. Coupled with mounting sanctions, raising domestic issues, Iran may find it difficult to both lead and pay for these proxies, meaning they won't operate with a common goal. As long as Trump is willing to offer a political solution to the Iranian leadership, coupled with an aggressive response posture and continued sanctions, we may very well see meaningful change within the power structures of Iran. What I have found interesting is how quickly the Clerics and the government blamed the IRGC for both the shooting the airliner down and the coverup of the blunder. They know the people want blood and are forcing the IRGC to put up it's own sacrificial goats in order to save the Government/clerics from the wrath. I suspect there are many palace intrigues going on and lot of sleepless nights for the leadership. If Trump gets re-elected, they are going to be very worried. 
« Last Edit: January 17, 2020, 14:02:55 by Colin P »

Online Brad Sallows

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #354 on: January 17, 2020, 14:47:56 »
What's the high risk, exactly?
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

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Online Remius

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #355 on: January 17, 2020, 14:53:42 »
What's the high risk, exactly?

Collateral damage vs contained?   :dunno:
Optio

Offline Baz

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #356 on: January 17, 2020, 15:05:32 »
What's the high risk, exactly?

That it blows up in our face.  It goes from terrorism, which is a pin prick, to state on state conflict involving Russia, which is an axe in comparison.

Offline Colin P

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #357 on: January 17, 2020, 17:25:28 »
That it blows up in our face.  It goes from terrorism, which is a pin prick, to state on state conflict involving Russia, which is an axe in comparison.

Not so sure Russia would choose to get into a direct conflict with the US on behalf of Iran, China might, but likley only if the flow of oil to her is threatened and quiet sideline diplomacy can ease that concern. There is no chance of an invasion of Iran, so the country itself is not threatened and likely the US would slowly escalate the attacks and currently Iran could not endure to many without massive problems internally. The non-IRGC military might decide not to get involved in order to protect it's assets from destruction and might be secretly happy to have the IRGC taken apart by US airstrikes. If the US focuses retaliation purely on the IRGC, then the other power factions in Iran might see it as something the IRGC brought upon itself and try to wrestle power from them to safeguard the country. Any attacks should also be supported with secret diplomacy moves to non-IRGC power brokers to help an internal move to limit the Clerics and IRGC.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2020, 20:09:06 by Colin P »

Online Brad Sallows

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #358 on: January 17, 2020, 19:24:26 »
>state on state conflict involving Russia

Truly?

Conflict costs money.  Even at peace, Iran needs to sell oil more than the purchasers need to buy that oil; Iran's need is amplified if conflict escalates.  Most of the purchasers nevertheless would be disgruntled if Iran elected to slit its own throat, close the gulf, and grind to a halt.

Suppose Iran is irrevocably stupid and closes the gulf while entering into a conventional war.  Lacking hard cash flows and a military-industrial complex of its own, Iran will rapidly deplete its major equipment and ammunition and its ability to buy more.  Any country coming to Iran's aid - and prolonging the oil crunch - will be looked upon very disfavourably by the purchasers of gulf oil.  I doubt any nation capable of making a difference will supply its own hard cash or stockpiles of equipment and ammunition to stretch out an unpopular war.

Suppose Iran is a bit smarter, and declares the gulf "open" provided no-one attacks its terminal facilities, while entering into a conventional war.  What is it supposed to do that will attract anyone's interest, other than invade a neighbour and grind down its military forces to no useful purpose?
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

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Despair is a sin.

Offline PuckChaser

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #359 on: January 17, 2020, 22:03:23 »
Cut out a lot of the chaff dealing with the US Presidency, and put it where it belongs in the Politics subforum.

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Offline Baz

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #360 on: January 18, 2020, 08:08:23 »
That it blows up in our face.  It goes from terrorism, which is a pin prick, to state on state conflict involving Russia, which is an axe in comparison.

Let me be less specific.  Trump's actions, in my view, carry more risk because of third order effects and unintended consequences.  It seems, to me, this administration does not consider or maybe even understand that.  There seems to be a segment of the US voters, who are the only ones that matter to his election, that feel the same way.

Online Brad Sallows

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #361 on: January 18, 2020, 11:55:28 »
There is a universe of possibilities from actions taken or not taken.  A critic of a bold response will worry about escalation by angry foes; a critic of a weak response will worry about escalation by emboldened foes.  What they share in common is vague worries.

>this administration does not consider or maybe even understand that.

That is most likely true of Trump, and unlikely to be true of the entire administration.  What we have been shown, repeatedly, is that people in the administration have been willing to slow walk or ignore instructions borne of Trump's worst impulses and that Trump has a short attention span.

What is more likely: that response options pop into Trump's head and he commands one or more to happen, or that lists of considered options are presented to Trump by people who have thought about them?
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline Brihard

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #362 on: January 18, 2020, 12:20:04 »
There is a universe of possibilities from actions taken or not taken.  A critic of a bold response will worry about escalation by angry foes; a critic of a weak response will worry about escalation by emboldened foes.  What they share in common is vague worries.

>this administration does not consider or maybe even understand that.

That is most likely true of Trump, and unlikely to be true of the entire administration.  What we have been shown, repeatedly, is that people in the administration have been willing to slow walk or ignore instructions borne of Trump's worst impulses and that Trump has a short attention span.

What is more likely: that response options pop into Trump's head and he commands one or more to happen, or that lists of considered options are presented to Trump by people who have thought about them?

Thing is he has a penchant for ignoring, insulting, and ultimately firing those people. Those who attempt to curb Trump's excesses typically are not destined for long and fruitful careers in his administration. The number of quality or at least experienced individuals he has driven out is alarming. He is at best a sometimes, briefly, captive audience to experience and insight- barely influenced by it, and certainly not at all deferential to true expertise in fields where he lacks even a rudimentary grasp. We see time and again that he tries to force things into a nice comfortable for-profit corporate box in his mind. Anything outside of that context, he seems to struggle with and have little to no time for.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Colin P

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #363 on: January 18, 2020, 14:45:52 »
We see time and again that he tries to force things into a nice comfortable for-profit corporate box in his mind. Anything outside of that context, he seems to struggle with and have little to no time for.

I think that's a pretty accurate statement, although I think for his political opponents, the only thing that changes is the box they are in.

Offline quadrapiper

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #364 on: January 19, 2020, 01:18:48 »
For the sake of discussion, other than not discomfiting the Saudis (who are behind far more pervasive and geographically distributed asymmetrical misery) and (potentially) the Israelis (who can a) take care of themselves, and b) aren't economically significant), what is the long-term practical interest in containing Iranian interests? Their crude's as good as any.

Online Brad Sallows

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #365 on: January 19, 2020, 01:25:29 »
Some people might want to contain their interests.  Some just want them to stop being a state sponsor of terror.  Imagine if Iran were just like most other countries and wasn't stirring up crap among its neighbours.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #366 on: January 19, 2020, 10:41:53 »
Same arguments could be applied to the House of Saud.
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #367 on: January 19, 2020, 11:56:13 »
Same arguments could be applied to the House of Saud.

The Iranians are more competent at it and more devious. Iran could be a real economic power in the region if run by anyone other than the Clerics and IRGC.

Offline FJAG

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #368 on: January 19, 2020, 13:20:40 »
The Iranians are more competent at it and more devious. Iran could be a real economic power in the region if run by anyone other than the Clerics and IRGC.

The Saudi's are more subtle. They have been singularly responsible for the spread of Sunni Wahhabism throughout the world through the massive infusion of cash for the building of mosques and fundamentalist Islamic schools. I'm only guessing here but I would expect that as many allied servicemen were killed or injured in Afghanistan by Sunni fundamentalist Taliban (and their ilk) who were indoctrinated in Saudi funded schools in Pakistan as were by Shi'ite, Iran inspired ones in Iraq. But then again, it's not really a competition. Or is it?

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Online Brad Sallows

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #369 on: January 19, 2020, 13:29:24 »
>Same arguments could be applied to the House of Saud.

Yes,  and probably a few other countries.  Add them all to the list.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline Colin P

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #370 on: January 19, 2020, 14:00:38 »
The Saudi's are more subtle. They have been singularly responsible for the spread of Sunni Wahhabism throughout the world through the massive infusion of cash for the building of mosques and fundamentalist Islamic schools. I'm only guessing here but I would expect that as many allied servicemen were killed or injured in Afghanistan by Sunni fundamentalist Taliban (and their ilk) who were indoctrinated in Saudi funded schools in Pakistan as were by Shi'ite, Iran inspired ones in Iraq. But then again, it's not really a competition. Or is it?

 :worms:

The Sunni world is much bigger than the Shia world and Iran never had the cash that the Gulf States had. otherwise the 12th Iman types would be doing the same.

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #371 on: January 23, 2020, 15:13:53 »
An update from the Institute for the Study of War ....
Quote
Warning Intelligence Update: Iran Increases Pressure on U.S. Forces in Iraq

Key Takeaway: Iran is organizing a new effort to increase political and military pressure against U.S. forces in an effort to compel an American withdrawal from Iraq. Iran’s proxy militia groups are working with Iraqi nationalist Shi’a cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to organize a “million strong march” on January 24 to oppose U.S. troop presence in Iraq. Sadr’s support lends additional credibility to the march and may enable Iran’s proxies to generate a more significant protest than they otherwise would be able to achieve. Iran is also attempting to coalesce its lethal Iraqi proxy militias, and potentially Sadr, into a more unified military force to target U.S. forces in the region. Iran faces some obstacles in doing so, but the formation of an anti-U.S. Iraqi resistance front poses a significant threat, even in its preliminary stages of organization ...
More @ link.
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