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

  1. #1001
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    David,

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Citing Crowbat (in part):

    I am aware that Iran has a Kurdish community, although not one noted to my knowledge for being a violent insurgency.
    Iran has a large minority of Kurds, and even a province named Kurdistan. One of 'classics' about Iran is that any government in Tehran is in serious trouble only once there is (usually Kurdish-led) demo/protest/unrest/violence in Tabriz - one of areas densely populated by Kurds. That's, just for example, how the affair that ended with downfall of the Shah began. Immediately afterwards, the first major crisis of the then newly-born Islamic Republic of Iran was a major uprising of Kurdish separatists in the same part of Iran. This ended only because of Iraqi invasion of Iran, in September 1980....

    And re. 'not one noted...for being a violent insurgency': permit me to remind you of the Kurdish terrorist group named PJAK, which is launching attacks into Iran since years.

    Just because Tehran says they're supported by Israel, this shouldn't mean we all ought to 'suddenly forget' about them.

    So there are Kurds in the Iranian prison system, whether for criminal or political reasons. IIRC Evin Prison is for political prisoners, Wiki states only a 'wing' is so used:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evin_Prison

    So Kurds were covertly recruited in the prison, that I can follow as few prisons have total control - though a political wing can be different (as Israel has shown). I am wary about such a prison allowing 'radical' Islamists to flourish.
    ...according to not only one source that enjoyed the hospitality of Evin, the guards are scared to death of the crucial figure behind recruiting activity in question. So much so, nobody even knew his name. That character was eventually left to go - together with all of his newly-won followers.

    I always say - indeed: I often insist on - 'connect/ing the dots'. Now, couple such reports with those like this one:http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Leb...Qaeda in Syria

    ......Iran is assisting key Al-Qaeda figures to transfer Sunni fighters into Syria, the Obama administration charged Thursday.

    The accusation, detailed in new sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury department targeting Iranian terror links, indicates Iranian officials are backing opposing sides in the Syrian civil war.

    Olimzhon Adkhamovich Sadikov, described by the Treasury Department as an Iran-based Islamic Jihad Union facilitator who “operates there with the knowledge of Iranian authorities,”...
    ...and I think everybody should get the picture.

    Namely, while not directly related to each other, these two 'reports' are at least circumstantial evidence of Tehran at least ignoring the activities related to, if not outright co-working in, creation of the Daesh.

    ...and from that standpoint it's on hand that the super-wise pres - meanwhile renowned for completely ignoring every single advice - is all the time working into the hands of Khamenei, Vahid & clique:
    Obama Wrote Secret Letter to Iran’s Khamenei About Fighting Islamic State
    ...Presidential Correspondence With Ayatollah Stresses Shared U.S.-Iranian Interests in Combating Insurgents, Urges Progress on Nuclear Talks
    ...
    Sigh...
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-07-2014 at 09:48 AM. Reason: fix link

  2. #1002
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    Articles that follow show how ISIL is adapting to the air campaign, although if the breaking news today that ISIL leadership convoy was targeted turns out to be correct that may change the game, at least for the near term.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/06/wo...ref=world&_r=0

    ISIS Wave of Might Is Turning Into Ripple

    This title is very misleading, but if its purpose was to draw a reader in, it worked on me. What the author points out is that ISIL is adapting to current conditions, which does not mean they are being defeated. In other parts of the article the author does make a good point, if it is accurate, that ISIL has been unable to expand outside Sunni dominated areas.

    Across the territories the Islamic State holds, the group has overhauled its operations. Bases and hospitals have been evacuated and moved to civilian homes that are harder to identify and bomb, Iraqi officials said. Fighters who used to cross the desert in convoys now move in small groups or by motorcycle.
    Its fighters now move in small groups, making them less vulnerable to air power. And instead of storming into towns with overwhelming force, the group has begun establishing sleeper cells in areas it wants to seize.

    “It used to be that a force would come from the outside and attack a city,” Mr. Alhashimi said. “Now the forces rise up from inside the city and make it fall.”
    http://america.aljazeera.com/article...ttlefield.html

    ISIL brings more than just brutality to the battlefield

    But according to a new analysis from the Soufan Group, a New York-based security and intelligence consultancy firm, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's (ISIL) headline-grabbing brutality has obscured the other factors behind its emergence as a formidable challenger to regional powers. Under the guidance of veteran Saddam-era Iraqi commanders, ISIL has morphed from an underground terror cell into a dynamic and well-oiled military force that defies the conventional definition of an insurgent group.

    “In Baghdad, it's still a classic terror group. In Fallujah, it's a light infantry unit. It’s whatever it needs to be,” said Patrick Skinner, the lead author of Soufan’s November report, which collated open-source information and analysis from other experts.
    Interesting perspective on how complex the fight is from our perspective. The time it takes to develop consensus with our multinational partners gives the adversary the ODAA loop advantage. I doubt that advantage will be decisive in the long run, but it certainly impedes our ability to apply force effectively.

    Kobane is just one battle, and waging it has exposed the steep costs involved in simply stopping ISIL from advancing on a single front. It took a herculean effort of diplomatic engineering led by the U.S., coupled with massive protests by Turkish Kurds, to convince a reluctant Ankara merely to allow those reinforcements through its gates. Even with the backing of coalition strikes, all they've managed is a stalemate.
    Here is the link to the Soufan Report, which is quite detailed. The authors all seem to have very good credentials. Just skimmed the report so far (66 pages), but initial impression is positive.

    http://soufangroup.com/wp-content/up...tate-Nov14.pdf

  3. #1003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    In other parts of the article the author does make a good point, if it is accurate, that ISIL has been unable to expand outside Sunni dominated areas.
    That’s interesting in light of some of what Joshua Landis was saying in a CNN interview yesterday: http://cnn.it/1Ef74tT
    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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    Another we need a political solution speaker that ignores the reality of human passion and hatred. We'll just draw a line on the map, you guys can have this area, and you guys can have that area. This problem will ultimately be solved weapons and force, and unless ISIL is put under significant more pressure than they are now why would they seek a political solution? Unless they the speaker thinks they're happy with the current boundaries of Caliphate? Does he assume Turkey and Iraq will be content with these proposed boundaries? Iran? Seems overly simplistic to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Another we need a political solution speaker that ignores the reality of human passion and hatred. We'll just draw a line on the map, you guys can have this area, and you guys can have that area. This problem will ultimately be solved weapons and force, and unless ISIL is put under significant more pressure than they are now why would they seek a political solution? Unless they the speaker thinks they're happy with the current boundaries of Caliphate? Does he assume Turkey and Iraq will be content with these proposed boundaries? Iran? Seems overly simplistic to me.
    I understood him to suggest Turkey as contributing substantially to the “weapons and force” part of the equation.
    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 ganulv View Post
    I understood him to suggest Turkey as contributing substantially to the “weapons and force” part of the equation.
    I was doing dishes the first time I listened, and this time I heard "we need to drag the Turks into this to disarm them and establish a good government." Paraphrased, but close to what he said I believe.

    Staying in my grumpy and defiant mood, what are the chances Turkey wants to do this? Are they capable of helping them establishing a good government? Why wouldn't Turkey continue to arm the Sunni Syrians to finish off Assad's regime? Granted he is a regional expert, but it all seems out of the reach of reality to me.

  7. #1007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    I was doing dishes the first time I listened, and this time I heard "we need to drag the Turks into this to disarm them and establish a good government." Paraphrased, but close to what he said I believe.
    From my on the fly transcription:
    [3:13] What one would have to do if they wanted to solve this problem, and not just make a narrow counter-terrorism approach to it, would be to try to draw the Turks into Syria with Saudi, American backing, and NATO backing, to try to disarm the militias and set up a government that was a good government, that everybody could get behind and pour money into for development […]
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Staying in my grumpy and defiant mood, what are the chances Turkey wants to do this? Are they capable of helping them establishing a good government? Why wouldn't Turkey continue to arm the Sunni Syrians to finish off Assad's regime? Granted he is a regional expert, but it all seems out of the reach of reality to me.
    First question: You got me. Almost none at the moment? The chances might go up with a few third party incentives and 5–10 more years of the current status quo.

    Second question: A completely fair point. I think you can see what Landis is trying to get at when at 5:08 he discusses the need to realize that a de facto Sunni state has already been created. I think the Western government in a box + aid money approach that has been attempted in Afghanistan is almost certain to fail, too. But maybe a neighbor with longer term interests and a better understanding of the dynamics would stand a better chance. Emphasis on maybe.

    Third question: Also fair. The counterweight of Iranian support for Assad?

    Landis is putting it out there. For all I know he is playing Devil’s advocate, saying, “If you think what I am saying sounds out of reach of reality…”
    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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    Just published new security report for first week of Nov. 2014 in Iraq. Attacks remained relatively low but casualties took a jump due to IS massacres of Albu Nimr tribe in Anbar. Fighting in Anbar has hit a stalemate. IS went after Shiite pilgrims with car bombs in Baghdad. ISF and militias consolidating hold upon Jurf al-Sakhr in Babil while IS has relocated just to the north of it. ISF also on offensive in Salahaddin trying to surround Tikrit and cut off IS units there from their supply lines. Here's a link to the article.

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    Iran has followed almost the same strategy in Syria and Iraq. Tehran did not trust the Syrian military to put down the protests in 2011 and the ISF was disintegrating after the fall of Mosul in 2014. With the unreliability of the government forces Iran pushed to using militias. In Syria Iran advised and helped create the Shabiha, the Popular Committees and then the National Defense Force. As the fighting intensified it also brought in its militia allies from Syria. It advised the Syrians at the strategic and tactical level and sent in thousands of its own fighters into Syria as well as using Hezbollah for advising and combat operations. Similarly in Iraq Iran sent in advisers to form strategy as well as at the tactical level. Jan 2014 Iraqi militias were starting mobilization for fighting in Iraq and have become the backbone of the defense forces. Many brought back their fighters from Syria for deployment to Iraq. Hezbollah is also operating as advisers in Iraq. Iran wants Damascus and Baghdad to defeat their insurgencies and to increase its influence which it has exponentially done as it is seen as THE key ally supporting the home governments. In Iraq there is an additional goal which is to make sure Iraq does not emerge as a powerful state again, because it doesn't want that rivalry reborn as it was during the Saddam era. Tehran has far greater ability to make sure Iraq doesn't come out of this war a strong country now than ever before. Here's my complete article on the topic.

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    Just wrote an article comparing Anbar in 03-06 with the current situation. Many parallels with anger at U.S.-Baghdad, tribes being divided over insurgency, ISF in a hard place, etc. Here's a link.

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    My new article covers Gen. Abdullah Jabouri's observations about how the Iraqi security forces in Anbar struggled to establish themselves until they garnered popular support, and then detailed how the ISF are struggling in the province today. Here's a link.

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    English translation of the new speech of Islamic State leader Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi here:
    https://ia601403.us.archive.org/21/i...english.pdf%20 … …
    pic.twitter.com/pHekh6tGsG

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    Just published my new security report for second week of Nov. 2014 in Iraq. Attacks were at the lowest of any week of the year but casualties were unchanged. In Anbar IS continued executions of Albu Nimr tribe while tribes & ISF were preparing for big operation there. In Diyala ISF freed another irrigation system from IS. Biggest news was ISF entering Baiji district in northern Salahaddin in effort to free refinery there and cut off Tikrit. Overall, ISF was making advances during the week against the insurgency. Here's a link.

  14. #1014
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    Default 'Renting Hearts and Minds': building up Sunni militias

    Clint Watts (CWOT on SWC) asks if the USA is ready to again build-up Sunni (tribal) militias in Iraq and just maybe nearby - in the knowledge that their loyalty is only rented:http://www.fpri.org/geopoliticus/201...-against-isis#

    It is not a policy problem just in Iraq:
    The lack of viable ground options for securing terrorist safe havens is not a challenge unique to Iraq. The U.S. faces a similar challenge against jihadist enclaves enmeshed in ungoverned spaces in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya and the Sahel to name only a few places.
    He provides a framework summary:
    Four factors: Establishing favorable conditions for negotiating with militia partners; Offering incentives for participation; Determining the level of control and responsibility for militia actions and Duration of Support
    The use of irregular forces is very common in Western COIN and relatively recently in colonial wars in Southern Africa - sometimes with a persistent legacy, e.g. Mozambique.

    The Iraqi Kurds know all too well that external support can be quickly terminated; those Algerians who served France paid a high price.

    I am sure the prospective 'rented' militia manpower in Iraq know very well their options and that Daesh (ISIS) will be ruthless.
    davidbfpo

  15. #1015
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    If modern COIN concepts seem to hold very little power as a model for action at the moment--or at least rely so heavily on the right mix of balanced strategic objectives and achievable policy goals that it is proving very hard to formulate an effective and sustainable response to ISIS--I'm wondering if Wilf's old prescription for "killing one's way to control" should come to the fore.

    This is partially rhetorical, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately
    Last edited by jcustis; 11-17-2014 at 09:38 PM.

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    Is our objective to defend the Iraqi government which would be FID in support of Iraqi COIN (or a hybrid of it, since ISIL has conventional capabilities), or is our objective to disrupt and degrade ISIL to minimize it as a threat to U.S. interests and its allies (Saudi, Jordan, Turkey, Europe, etc.), to include attacking the U.S. homeland? In that case, it may be another form of military operation where we co-opt Iraq and others into our coalition.

    I have often wondered if our legacy doctrinal concepts of war, FID, COIN, UW, CT, etc. unintentionally limit the way we approach operations.

    I don't think our objective is limited to Iraq's internal defense. I thought about counter-UW operations, but even that concept falls short. It seems we're executing a holistic (whole of government, multinational, and incorporating non-state actors that consist of NGOs and militias) across a wide geographical spectrum that includes but is not limited to Iraq. Campaigning?

    Those executing may have some sense of clarity, but sitting on the side lines watching it all seems a little confused to me.

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    We can't solve their underlying problems, they have to do that. Development has done little to decrease the level of conflict in the majority of conflict zones where development was implemented as a line of effort. Capacity building only works if those we're training have the will to fight (they believe in what they're fighting for). If we believe ISIL is a real threat to our national interests, then killing on a larger scale would seem appropriate. Historically higher levels of violence have worked for non-Western countries in many cases. I don't dismiss an enduring political solution, but I do question our ability to facilitate or impose one, so again if it is in our national interest to degrade ISIL as a threat to our interests, killing them on a larger scale than they can recover from would seem appropriate. We may be able to shape what comes next, we won't be able to control it.

  18. #1018
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    It seems to me that in the post WWII era, with a noted escalation in the post Cold War era, we fight far more often for national emotion than for national interest .

    Fear, pride, anger, ego, false duty, etc. It rarely ends well when we confuse emotion for interest. To make matters worse we have even morphed our national security strategy in this same era to codify an emotion-based approach to interests.

    We need a return to the practical pragmatism we practiced more as a rising nation. We've lways been driven by emotion, be it our decision to fight the Barbary pirates while everyone else paid tribute, or the constant string of "remember the xxxxx" battle cry's that work so well to motivate Americans to war - but it has gotten worse in this era of self-determination, shifting balances of power and our own strategic confusion over all of the above.

    Clint Eastwood once said the best acting advice he ever received was "Don't just do something, stand there. Gary Cooper was never afraid to do nothing."

    Our foreign policy is not Eastwoodesque or Cooperesque in any way. Certainly not Wayneesque, and in no way George Washingtonesque. We need to just stand there and think about that.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 11-18-2014 at 12:37 PM.
    Robert C. Jones
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    "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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    Just wrote a piece on the insurgent networks in Iraq. Many initially thought it was the Baathists and then the Islamists that were the backbone of the insurgency. Neither was quite true. Iraqi Sunnis used multiple identities and experiences from their history to organize the insurgency. An example could be a cleric that came from a traditional religious family, was a former Baathist, had a relative in Iraqi intelligence, and came from an important tribe. All of those connections would be used to organize and recruit for the insurgency. Explains how you have so many former Baathists who were supposed to be seculr within IS's leadership today. Read more here.

  20. #1020
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    It seems to me that in the post WWII era, with a noted escalation in the post Cold War era, we fight far more often for national emotion than for national interest .

    Fear, pride, anger, ego, false duty, etc. It rarely ends well when we confuse emotion for interest. To make matters worse we have even morphed our national security strategy in this same era to codify an emotion-based approach to interests.

    We need a return to the practical pragmatism we practiced more as a rising nation. We've lways been driven by emotion, be it our decision to fight the Barbary pirates while everyone else paid tribute, or the constant string of "remember the xxxxx" battle cry's that work so well to motivate Americans to war - but it has gotten worse in this era of self-determination, shifting balances of power and our own strategic confusion over all of the above.

    Clint Eastwood once said the best acting advice he ever received was "Don't just do something, stand there. Gary Cooper was never afraid to do nothing."

    Our foreign policy is not Eastwoodesque or Cooperesque in any way. Certainly not Wayneesque, and in no way George Washingtonesque. We need to just stand there and think about that.
    Wonder why we are so involved in countering the IS when it does not threaten any waters towers anywhere inside the US.

    "More people with American citizenship have been killed by Palestinian terrorists in the lst year than have been killed by ISIS"

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