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Thread: Iraq: Out of the desert into Mosul (closed)

  1. #941
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    One would hope the western ICs will get a chance to copy the documents, codes and take the equipment apart as it is a certainty that this particular Russian SIGINT site was tied into the Russian global GRU/FSB SIGINT network.

    Would be a nice exchange for western weapons and bombing raids.


    Brown Moses @Brown_Moses

    More footage from that captured Russian spy centre in Syria https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5iHrsNwd5c … cc @oryxspioenkop

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    I apologize for the bad taste in quoting my previous comment, and may open a new thread on how terrorists/militias/insurgents use and intend to use WMD. I suspect we're at the beginning a trend that will increase exponentially as tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) are further refined. The new information at the bottom is from the 11 OCT round up on the SWJ homepage.

    Alsumaria News / Baghdad
    confirmed the number of MPs from the province of Diwaniyah , on Monday, killing 300 soldiers using chlorine gas for the first time by the militants..
    National Defense Magazine article 'ISIL Determined to Acquire Biological Weapons':http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.o...t.aspx?ID=1632


    Syria declares new chemical weapons facilities:http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29534926

    The UN Security Council has been told that Syria has revealed for the first time the existence of four more chemical weapons facilities.
    Of course this sentence shouldn't surprise anyone, hope it was added for comic effect and that the author wasn't actually surprised by this.

    Correspondents say the announcement heightens concerns that the Syrian government has not been fully open about its chemical weapons programme.
    Chlorine gas by itself is minimally effective as a weapon, which is why I remain suspect of the Iraqi news report that ISIS used it to kill 300 Iraqi soldiers. On the other hand what the use of chlorine gas as a weapon indicates is that they will use more dangerous chemical weapons if they acquire them or make them, and as they demonstrated they're a learning organization so it is possible they'll develop their own form of chemical weapons. Highly improbable that states will be able to deter them from using these weapons. The discussion on bio weapons is premature for now, but I suspect it won't be too long until we see an attempt by IS and other extremist groups to use them. I doubt they'll be restricted by the same logic states used about the concern of containing the impact of bioweapons to a specific geographical region.

    In sum, the rules have already changed and we should anticipate improvements in their TTPs. The implications are we may to go back to the future, and place a greater emphasis on protective gear for our soldiers, and dust off the homeland response plans for chemical attacks. For the current state of the art (which won't last, it will progress) the effects will be more psychological than physical, but as we have seen from our reaction to the Boston Marathon Bombing psychological effects can have strategic effect in the media age where we have 24hour news coverage.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-11-2014 at 05:14 PM. Reason: Fix quote and links. A new thread opened on Insurgents & WMD, so this post has been copied to it. Please discuss WMD there

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    Bill,

    There are only three threads where the subject line includes WMD. There is one thread, which you started, from February 2007 'Possible Chemical Attack in Iraq' which maybe useful today, it covers many points:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=2252

    I will later today create a new thread, as suggested. Slightly surprised there isn't one, although over two hundred threads have WMD in; although the US definition of WMD is rather wide.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-11-2014 at 05:14 PM. Reason: A new thread opened on Insurgents & WMD, so this post has been copied to it. Please discuss WMD there!
    davidbfpo

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    One must compliment the IS--they seem fully capable at running a "war of movement". Meaning feint left move right then hold, feint right then move left and hold---over and over and it is working well for them.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/isis-wit...-with-manpads/

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    Default War Against ISIS: US Strategy in Tatters as Militants March On

    War Against ISIS: US Strategy in Tatters as Militants March On

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

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    My latest security report for Iraq for the first week of Oct. Most of central Anbar fell at beginning of month. ISF & militias continue with latest security op in northern Babil. IS is getting closer to Baghdad. ISF is going through Mansuriya and Muqtadiya areas of Diyala still. Fighting in Kirkuk has shifted to the east to Daquq district. Peshmerga and Shammar tribe have recaptured Rabia border crossing with Syria in Ninewa. Salahaddin remains other main battlefront in Iraq. Here's a link.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JWing View Post
    My latest security report for Iraq for the first week of Oct. Most of central Anbar fell at beginning of month. ISF & militias continue with latest security op in northern Babil. IS is getting closer to Baghdad. ISF is going through Mansuriya and Muqtadiya areas of Diyala still. Fighting in Kirkuk has shifted to the east to Daquq district. Peshmerga and Shammar tribe have recaptured Rabia border crossing with Syria in Ninewa. Salahaddin remains other main battlefront in Iraq. Here's a link.
    How is the Iraqi army adjusting to these high and sustained casualty rattes? Are they expanding their recruiting pipeline and training base? Are they relying on militias? Can they control the militias? I doubt that the stats are available, but I would like to see their officer casualty rate. Are their officers even fighting yet? Are they recognizing and promoting effective combat officers?

    How the military and government are adapting is important to understand to assess probable outcomes. Seems to me that Baghdad is at least at risk of being contested.

  8. #948
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    How is the Iraqi army adjusting to these high and sustained casualty rattes? Are they expanding their recruiting pipeline and training base? Are they relying on militias? Can they control the militias? I doubt that the stats are available, but I would like to see their officer casualty rate. Are their officers even fighting yet? Are they recognizing and promoting effective combat officers?

    How the military and government are adapting is important to understand to assess probable outcomes. Seems to me that Baghdad is at least at risk of being contested.
    Bill---latest number of IS fighters guess estimated by say Moses Brown on the blogging side that have drawn up in array around Baghdad seem to indicate 10K plus fighters--using their war of movement they could in fact drive the ISF and Shia militia a tad crazy as attacks can come from multiple directions.

    In some aspects a perfect example of swarming--will be interesting to see how swarming will be used by their field commander who up to now has been rather good at it.

    There was a RAND study on swarming and it seems like IS got a copy--in some aspects the IS is in fact validating the old AQI belt strategy as being valid in 2006/2008--they just did not have the same level of manpower they do now have.

    Interesting question is just how would have the Army handled the same set of tactics being used by IS now---when AQI/Islamic Army did stand and fight or they used swarming attacks on us---we did not react well to it and we did take some heavy hits---just ask the former COL Jones 1st Cav about their experience with swarming attacks in Diyala.

    BUT--they is some serious reports coming out that the ISF together with the Shia militia are killing ever larger number of Sunni civilians--many found with their hands handcuffed behind their backs an shot in the head---if that continues the Sunni tribes will cement themselves even tighter to IS and the Shia will feel a ever deeper ethnic killing surge by IS and the tribes in attempting attacks on Baghdad---the civilians in Baghdad should be prepared for that --in the eyes of IS Shia civilians are just the same as a military target.
    Last edited by OUTLAW 09; 10-14-2014 at 02:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    How is the Iraqi army adjusting to these high and sustained casualty rattes? Are they expanding their recruiting pipeline and training base? Are they relying on militias? Can they control the militias? I doubt that the stats are available, but I would like to see their officer casualty rate. Are their officers even fighting yet? Are they recognizing and promoting effective combat officers?

    How the military and government are adapting is important to understand to assess probable outcomes. Seems to me that Baghdad is at least at risk of being contested.
    They had a huge surge of volunteers after Sistani's fatwa in June. Said to have been up to 200,000 joined ISF. Also relying upon militias heavily. They are integrated into supposedly almost 50% of army units now and run their own forces. The ISF has no real control over them. PM Abadi is also trying to clean house with the officer corps. He fired around 300 officers in two waves and got rid of the Office of Commander and Chief that Maliki was using as his own chain of command.

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    Did an in depth study of car bombs from 2012-2014. IS started 2012 with a surge of VBIEDs in Jan & Feb to let world that it was still around after its nadir in 2011. By 2013 was able to launch car bomb waves. End of 2013 into 2014 launched most VBIEDs in years to soften up targets for summer offensive. Since that started number of car bombs has actually gone down. Trends also show greater use of VBIEDs for tactical attacks such as on ISF and infrastructure like bridges not just on civilians to sow terror. Here's a link.

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    Syrian rebels started an offensive near #Maarat_al_Numan.
    Tanks and apcs involved.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alACns_RUW0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpDGPUj

    Another tunnel bomb attack on Assad forces---looks like a true mini nuclear blast--that is how much explosives was packed into the tunnel.

    Another video of today's #tunnel_bomb vs. an #Assad regime base near #Maarat_al_Numan.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL-g8zlcAgQ
    Last edited by OUTLAW 09; 10-14-2014 at 02:36 PM.

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    Joel--it seems that there are two distinct wars ongoing right now in Syria and Iraq---one is IS as they are building their Caliphate --the second one is the moderate Islamist forces fighting directly the Assad military which is slowly but steadily winning both territory and defeating in fight after fight Assad's Army.

    When the moderate Islamists defeat the Assad Army what do the two main antagonists then do?--merge together and or fight each other---that is an interesting question.

    At the rate the Assad Army is losing bases and territory that might not be so far away.

    An even better video on the tunnel bomb attack.

    #BreakingFootage Syrian rebel tunnel bomb rocks #Assad regime base near #Maarat_al_Numan.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYgiH6ZDtU8

    This looks just like the tunnel bomb trench attacks of WW1 in France.
    Last edited by OUTLAW 09; 10-14-2014 at 02:51 PM.

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    Seems now Russian news media is carrying the killing of Sunni civilians by Shia militia in Baghdad, Samarra, and Kirkuk.

    From RIA today:

    MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti) - Amnesty International has slammed Iraqi authorities for supporting and arming Shia militias, who are carrying out attacks in the cities of Baghdad, Samarra and Kirkuk on Sunni civilians, ostensibly in retaliation for Islamic State (IS) actions, a statement published on the organization's website said Tuesday.

    "By failing to hold militias accountable for war crimes and other gross human rights abuses the Iraqi authorities have effectively granted them free rein to go on the rampage against Sunnis. The new Iraqi government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi must act now to rein in the militias and establish the rule of law," Amnesty International senior crisis response adviser Donatella Rovera said in the statement.

    "Militia members, numbering tens of thousands, wear military uniforms, but they operate outside any legal framework and without any official oversight," the statement added.

    The organization stated that Sunnis were attacked under the pretext of fighting terrorism, whereas the real aim of the Shia militias is to "punish Sunnis for the rise of the IS."

    According to the organization, details about the fate of many individuals kidnapped by the Shia militias remain unknown. Some abductees, Amnesty notes, were killed even though ransoms were paid.

    Amnesty stated that the Shia militias came to power and prominence in June, when the Iraqi Army gave in, leaving almost a third of the country under IS control.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    Joel--it seems that there are two distinct wars ongoing right now in Syria and Iraq---one is IS as they are building their Caliphate --the second one is the moderate Islamist forces fighting directly the Assad military which is slowly but steadily winning both territory and defeating in fight after fight Assad's Army.

    When the moderate Islamists defeat the Assad Army what do the two main antagonists then do?--merge together and or fight each other---that is an interesting question.
    In the video of the interview with Joshua Landis that I posted on the Syria thread yesterday he touches on some of the previous relations between the FSA and the Daesh, particularly in the taking of the Menagh Air Base: http://youtu.be/_-roW5Y7vbw?t=19m11s He mentions the propo video Flames of War by way of evidence. I won't link to the video, which is easily enough found by any search engine.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    Joel--it seems that there are two distinct wars ongoing right now in Syria and Iraq---one is IS as they are building their Caliphate --the second one is the moderate Islamist forces fighting directly the Assad military which is slowly but steadily winning both territory and defeating in fight after fight Assad's Army.

    When the moderate Islamists defeat the Assad Army what do the two main antagonists then do?--merge together and or fight each other---that is an interesting question.

    At the rate the Assad Army is losing bases and territory that might not be so far away.
    Sorry but this sounds as if you've missed only some three years of Civil War in Syria?

    ...and the latest spate of regime's successes too?

    You've mentioned three topics here:

    1.) The Islamic Front (IF) was established already back in late 2012, with Saudi backing and to counter Qatari supported JAN, i.e. to stop the flow of defections of 'Islamists' (i.e. those Syrian insurgents that were religious) from the FSyA to the JAN. Majority of the IF consists of 'moderately religious' people, but its top leadership is sectarian. Means: Alawis are unlikely to have it good under their rule.

    2.) The IF is neither winning nor gaining territory. On the contrary: lately they have lost several major battles.

    For example: they've lost much of northern Aleppo Province to the regime's offensive from Sheikh Najjar Industrial City in direction of Nubol and az-Zahra. Organized and run by the IRGC, and with help of a full IRGC-brigade, supported by a battalion each of the Ba'ath Party Militia and Hezbollah ('special forces'), plus NDF tanks and artillery, this operation punched through insurgent defences which were weak following JAN's withdrawal from that area. This withdrawal was caused by US air strikes on local JAN HQ and large-scale defection of (primarily foreign) combatants to the Daesh.

    Another 'Islamist' (actually: 'Salafist') insurgent group, Ahrar ash-Sham (and another one recently hit by US strikes), then attempted to distract the regime through a counterattack against the regime's supply corridor for Aleppo, south of that city. This corridor is stretching from Palmyra all the way up to Aleppo, and goes in between areas held by insurgents (western side) and the Daesh (eastern side). Ahrar temporarily captured as-Safira (famous as location of most of Syrian defence industry), but then lost it in a vicious regime (read: IRGC) counterattack.

    Overall, the situation on this frontline is now something like 'stalled', but regime 'won' the last round: if nothing else, due to capture of Hindarat, north of Aleppo, it is overlooking the last few roads connecting insurgents inside Aleppo with Turkey. Plus, it is still in control of its corridor.

    Another example, this time from south-eastern Damascus: following the latest chemical attack by the regime - which mauled five battalions of the JAN in Adra, in late August - the IRGC launched a major offensive on the IF and the JAN in that town, and overrun them. Then the IRGC launched another offensive on besieged Jobar (meanwhile rather resembling the Moon-scape), and overrun this place too (just yesterday).

    This means that now the IF in Eastern Ghouta is completely besieged - and this ahead of the coming winter.

    The fighting in Moarek area... even this is no 'win': it's actually an aftermath of a failed IF-JAN offensive in direction of Hama. Earlier this year, this nearly reached the Hama AB (north of that city), but meanwhile the JAN fell back, Ahrar followed in fashion (guess why?), and the IF lacked forces to maintain frontlines. Because of this, the insurgents fell back towards north, i.e. in direction of Moarek (scene of a 4-months long regime's offensive, earlier this year, which was not only stopped cold, but extremely costly in terms of casualties - for Damascus, but for Tehran too).

    The difference is: it is in this area that the IF can lean back upon support from Harakat Hazm, i.e. the hard-core of the former FSyA, and one of only 3-4 groups of Syrian insurgents really supported by the US... actually: they are supported by Saudis with US consent. Harakat has its 'A-team' of TOW-shooters in the area, and they've claimed about 30 kills in Moarek area, the last month or so.

    Finally, the only area where insurgents managed to seriously advance in this year is southern Syria. Here the Southern Front - which has nothing to do with the IF and is rather similar to the Harakat (though not as happily supported by the US/Saudis) - managed to liberate most of Qunaitra Province. They did so in cooperation with the JAN, which is the reason Washington dislikes the SF so much.

    Further south-east, the SF managed to vastly expand the area under its control aside of a very narrow, regime-controlled corridor connecting Damascus with whatever was left of regime's garrison inside Dera'a. Should they manage to completely seal that corridor, the regime there would be in extremely serious trouble, and actually the insurgents could then stop thinking about an advance in direction of Ghouta.

    3.) Now to the next topic you mentioned:
    When the moderate Islamists defeat the Assad Army what do the two main antagonists then do?
    The IF is the largest insurgent group in Syria (most conservative estimate: about 50,000 combatants), and the best armed (including not only at least two 'companies' of armour, plenty of artillery, but also two operational SA-8 systems), but they cannot win this war on their own.

    Anyway, they are against the Daesh, and there is no way they might ever merge with them, or even with the JAN. Otherwise, they would have done so already long ago.

    At the rate the Assad Army is losing bases and territory that might not be so far away.
    Following its large-scale withdrawal in late June (in reaction to Daesh's advance into Iraq), the IRGC-QF is now back in force in Syria, operating a number of new brigades there. That's the reason why the regime 'suddenly' became capable of capturing Jobar and of advancing north of Aleppo.

    Presently, I do not see the way how should insurgents - whether Harakat, Southern Front, Syrian Revolutionary Front and the Tawhid Brigade (four groups de-facto making the FSyA; conservative estimate: about 45,000 combatants), or the IF, and whether either on their own or all united and fighting together - 'defeat' the IRGC-led regime forces in Syria. They are not only too few (primarily because they can't arm and support more fighters), but also not well-enough armed.

    This is unlikely to change any time soon - and even less likely to happen if Washington continues its short-sighted policy of blindly ignoring the Syrian regime.

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    Default A bad investment: ISF

    A conservative explanation why the ISF collapsed - before Mosul - which is a good, quick read:http://www.theamericanconservative.c...d-army-failed/

    It ends with:
    One thing is clear: the foreign armies that the U.S. invests so much money, time, and effort in training and equipping don’t act as if America’s enemies are their enemies. Contrary to the behavior predicted by Donald Rumsfeld, when the U.S. removes those “training wheels” from its client militaries, they pedal furiously (when they pedal at all) in directions wholly unexpected by, and often undesirable to, their American paymasters. And if that’s not a clear sign of the failure of U.S. foreign policy, I don’t know what is.

    The more I read the more I wondered is the ANSF next.
    davidbfpo

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    I don't know how many times reality needs to validate the inherent fallacy of "Building Partner Capacity" as adopted in recent years by the US Military.

    We are not the British Colonial Office, we are not seeking to secure the British Empire; and it is not 1914 - yet we pursue this line of illogic as if all those things were true.

    We should focus on developing our own understanding, relationships and influence among the populations, governments and places where our truly vital interests manifest most. And then we need to learn to accept a degree of risk in terms of who might rise to power in those places in any particular time, or what form of governance might be employed for some period as well. So long as we are in a position of understanding and influence we are unlikely to be overly put out by any temporary rise of some brand of governance that offends our idea of what right looks like.

    But in an era where people and countries everywhere are working to be more like themselves, it is an unwise to invest in security capabilities and capacities that are intended to conform them to US perspectives and interests.

    It is time to move on to a better model, one more attuned to the world as it actually exists, rather than one attuned for a world long relegated to the annals of history.
    Robert C. Jones
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    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    The ANSF does not have to be next. The US does not make the SAME mistake everywhere...the biggest mistake would be to think that everything is the same.
    In Afghanistan, the US supported regime and its army are both viable. They have been badly served by many US mistakes and they have thdir own weaknesses, but none that are necessarily fatal. The mistake here would be to dump them because the mess in the middle east proves the US did nothing right...
    Last edited by omarali50; 10-14-2014 at 10:35 PM.

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    In Iraq and Syria, the US made almost every wrong assumption possible and continues to make new ones. The most rational strategy there would be to support the Kurds with US taxpayer's footing the bill, to help defend the oil kingdoms and Jordan with THEM footing the bill and publicly asking for and defending that assistance, and to let the rest find their own way. Iran can defend Shia Iraq and Alawite Syria, maybe with Russian help. Turkey can stew in its own BS while being kept out of Kurdistan by the US.
    Nothing like this will happen of course...I am just saying that would be somewhat rational.

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    Few points here:

    1.) Afghanistan: the US went in there and cleaned up the Taliban, back in 2002-2003, which was 'all nice and fine' - but de-facto 'curing effects of disease, not the disease itself'. Nothing was done about Pakistan, and nothing about primary supporters of Wahhabism. And where is Wahhabism an official state religion...?

    (Connect the dots for yourself.)

    And to make matters worse: the US then de-facto forgot about this war and started the Iraq-quagmire instead.

    What a surprise then, the Taliban 'are back'. How could that happen...?

    2.) Iraq: yes, the US did really everything wrong there. But what's worse, Obama seems to be so insistent on building-up and expanding Bush Jr's mistakes... I really have a huge problem believing what kind of nonsense is he doing there.

    Result: given there is not a word of complaint from Tehran about Shi'a ethnically cleansing Sunnis from areas still under Baghdad control (actually: being more busy with this than fighting the Daesh), I would say Iranians are perfectly happy with having a better part of Iraq delivered under their control. That said, they were already in economic control of much of it before, but now they're going to establish themselves so firmly there, there will be no way to do anything in Iraq without consent from Tehran.

    But hey, Obama says Iran is fighting the Daesh and that's making even such terrorists like the IRGC, and such Islamist fanatics like their Shi'a militias from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere...'friends'...?!?

    3.) Syria: ....sigh... what I find as amazing as Obama's insistent failures in Iraq, is not only the US, but general Western ignorance of the fact that the Assadist regime there is now completely dependent on Tehran. Nobody cares about the fact that two organizations from FBI's list of 'terrorist organizations' - namely the IRGC and Hezbollah - are in charge of regime's military and intelligence apparatus, nor that this apparatus now consists of IRGC/Basiji-like mix of militias (half of these non-Syrian) and little more but gangs of criminals that are using chemical weapons as they like.

    But, 'who cares', eh? Saving Iranian-controlled parts of Iraq is so much more important...?!?

    Why? Because 'Iraqi government is US-friendly'....?

    4.) Kurds: oh yeah, but sure, lets support Kurds, they're the 'good' ones, they're laicist, and pluralist, and inclusive and thus 'unlike all the Moslems that are all terrorists'.

    Hey, has anybody there beyond the great barn realized that:

    - a) Kurds are fighting for their own, Kurdish state only, not for the USA, not for a unified Iraq, nor for anybody else?

    - b) majority of Kurds are Moslems?

    - c) nearly a third of Daesh is consisting of Kurds?

    - d) none of major Kurdish 'political' parties is 'pluralist', and they act as 'inclusive' only for show?

    - e) half of various important Kurdish groups are considered 'terrorists' not only by the USA, but by Turkey, Iran, even Iraq etc.?

    5.) Sunni Arabs: the US politics in the Middle East already proved costly for local Christians and other minorities. Now it's proving exceptionally costly for supposedly major 'Arab' allies of the USA - the Sunnis.

    But hey: no problem. Keep on teaching Sunnis that they're incompatible with democracy, pluralism, and non-inclusive, and that they should stick with their police-kingdoms. Because these are maintaining control of their population with help of brutal oppression and extremist religion.

    All of this is 'perfectly rational', of course - as long as it's for the sake of oil: who cares if the latter is meanwhile hardly interesting for anybody else but for China, India and Japan...

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