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

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    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    Dayuhan----


    Robert Jones would say ---the current problem in Iraq is the lack of the rule of law and good governance.
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...ni-revolt.html
    Taken from the above link:
    “I can assure you a widespread spectrum of groups participated in what happened in Mosul. The media is focusing on ISIS,” he said. “They are influential and empowered on the ground and they are participating in this armed revolution. But we shouldn’t be blamed for that.”

    The Maliki government reneged on its promises to build an inclusive government with the Sunnis as soon as the American troops left Iraq, Hashimi said, and went after Sunni moderate leaders even though those leaders had led the Sunni awakening in 2008 that resulted in extremist groups leaving Iraq in the first place.

    “We managed to clean up our territories, especially Anbar, and we put an end for a time to he extremists. But Nouri al-Maliki, instead of involving the Sunni moderates, he attacked them, starting with me,” said Hashimi. “There are two sides, the extremists and moderates. If you target the moderates, you intentionally create a vacuum that could be filled by the extremists and that’s exactly what happened.”

    As former U.S. official in Iraq Ali Khedery wrote in The Washington Post, the U.S. policy during the crucial years following the 2008 Sunni awakening was to place faith in Maliki to build an inclusive system rather than use American influence to support other political actors.

    WaPo link:
    http://m.washingtonpost.com/opinions...9f1_story.html

    Hashimi said that the Obama administration was repeating that mistake again by sending U.S. advisers and equipment to shore up the Iraqi military and considering U.S. military force against Sunnis inside Iraq. He urged the U.S. to stay out of the conflict.

    “It’s a really annoying development. The U.S. is in the process of committing itself into another set of grave mistakes. Definitely we consider all this military support to Nouri al-Maliki an alliance with Iran against the Arab Sunnis,” he said. “Try to avoid any use of military means, try to be fair, try to diffuse the bomb by asking Nouri al-Maliki to immediately to establish a caretaker government. Try to be neutral at least.”

    And don’t expect another Anbar awakening this time around, Hashimi warned. The Sunni tribes still remember what happened last time and they are not going to make the same mistake of expelling the extremists and thereby leaving themselves vulnerable to Shiite forces.

    “Nobody from the Arab Sunnis are ready to repeat the same experience of 2008, no way. But if we establish a real state in Baghdad, extremism will be over, I assure you.”

    “The U.S. ethically is still in charge of our security, our stability and preventing interference from foreign countries, whether neighboring countries or far away countries, it is still the responsibility of the U.S.,” he said. “Transparency, human rights, no corruption, justice, no interference. All of these values have been talked about nicely but nobody has pressed the government on which have been achieved and which have failed. That is the role of the United States.”
    Outlaw,

    I am not buying this. I read these articles. They sound like an attempt by Ali Khedery to extricate himself from any association with the “Bad Maliki”. He and Crocker supported the “Good Maliki” that existed before 2009. Maliki turned evil only after a change in President’s allowed “Bad Maliki” to be unleashed, and therefore events that have happened in Iraq since 2009 are all The U.S.’ fault. I am not buying it. For one thing I find it odd that he keeps referring to the Sunni Awakening as happening in 2008 instead of 2006, as if everything changed in that year.

    The illusion was the possibility of maintaining an inclusive government without the American Leviathan coercing the political leadership into supporting it. I fail to believe that any intelligent person who had even a minimal understanding of the requirements for a successful democratic transition and consolidation had any realistically thought that an inclusive democracy was possible is such a factional place as Iraq with its recent history of Sunni control. The best we could hope for was a loose confederation. It should have been clear from the nature of the constitutional conventions that the Kurds wanted autonomy. Remember too that it was a Sunni Awakening conducted by local Sunni clan leaders that ousted AQ, not the actions of the central government. Holding Iraq together was only going to be achieved by a strong central dictator. That is what Maliki was trying to become.

    We were not going to stay in Iraq for the 20+ years it was going to take to for a democracy to consolidate. Pretending that all Maliki needs to do now is include a few moderate Sunnis, who, by the way, are not in control of any part of the area controlled by ISIS, is delusion on the highest level.

    This is just the ranting of a man who is now realizing that he backed the wrong horse.

    The sad thing is that it took the actions of a group like ISIS to make us finally come to grips with the reality that Iraq needs to be divided.
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 07-08-2014 at 03:38 PM.
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    Ali Khedery - now working for the oil industry and himself - clearly is attempting to protect his own legacy. Sorry bud, own it. You were just as tactically short-sighted, and overly focused on personalities and the Western agenda as everyone else.

    And to clarify what I would say the main problem is, in a single word: Trust

    The promises of the US designed system have fallen flat, the money the US gave to influential leaders to trust in those promise has been spent. The result is renewed conflict. People will not altruistically try to get to trust, like the US, they will try to get to what they think is best for them. That will rarely lead to trust by all.

    I see four levels or degrees of state action to facilitate trust:

    Getting to Trust - A strategic concept postulating the necessity of trust for any society to attain some degree of durable, natural stability. The degree of distrust resident between populations in any given place determines the degrees of action necessary to get to trust.
    Level 4 Balkanization is the highest degree. Short of that, in descending order are:
    Level 3, creating lesser, included regions, such as the current Kurdish region of Iraq, or FATA of Pakistan;
    Level 2, changing laws to be more inclusive of the aggrieved population, such as the passing of civil rights laws by the US in the 1960s; and lastly,
    Level 1, to simply enforce the rule of law against those working illegally to coerce change.

    We have tried a mix of Level 1-3 in Iraq and failed. Assad is attempting a pure Level 1 approach in Syria and may temporarily succeed, but will ultimately fail. It is my belief that it is time for a self-determined Level 4 approach across Syria and Iraq as they currently exist. This may result in modern systems of governance with some chance of getting to trust.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 07-08-2014 at 04:23 PM.
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    On the question of whether IS is a serious threat or not, one of our most intelligent bloggers had a post:

    http://brownpundits.blogspot.com/201...this-time.html

    His conclusion:

    The last group to try building an "Islamic State" as an example were the Taliban in pre-9/11 Afghanistan, but they were never going to succeed because: a) They were not Arab; b) They had limited resources; c) They failed to curb their violent instincts; and d) They had no sophisticated feel for history. Pakistan, of course, has been trying to make itself into an ideal "Islamic State" for decades, but the product doesn't sell because it is based entirely on fictions. Attempts in Algeria and Egypt were nipped in the bud, and Turkey's re-Islamization is still too modern - and too royalist - to attract transnational allegiance of fundamentalist Muslim populations. And, of course, both Pakistan and Turkey are non-Arab (though Turks can probably command allegiance in Arab societies based on the vestigial memories of Ottoman rule).

    It is hard to say what the strategists of the Great Powers are thinking, but if their strategy involves allowing ISIS, even temporarily, to create an actual state in Mesopotamia, they will regret it sorely - and pay for it with blood and treasure for decades or longer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
    It is hard to say what the strategists of the Great Powers are thinking, but if their strategy involves allowing ISIS, even temporarily, to create an actual state in Mesopotamia, they will regret it sorely - and pay for it with blood and treasure for decades or longer.
    That lot has already been cast. Nothing will be done about IS at least until Jan 2017 at least. That is two and a half years. That seems to be at least temporary or more. So we are looking at a country called IS being around for a while. You are entirely right that we are going to regret this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
    On the question of whether IS is a serious threat or not, one of our most intelligent bloggers had a post:

    http://brownpundits.blogspot.com/201...this-time.html

    His conclusion:

    The last group to try building an "Islamic State" as an example were the Taliban in pre-9/11 Afghanistan, but they were never going to succeed because: a) They were not Arab; b) They had limited resources; c) They failed to curb their violent instincts; and d) They had no sophisticated feel for history. Pakistan, of course, has been trying to make itself into an ideal "Islamic State" for decades, but the product doesn't sell because it is based entirely on fictions. Attempts in Algeria and Egypt were nipped in the bud, and Turkey's re-Islamization is still too modern - and too royalist - to attract transnational allegiance of fundamentalist Muslim populations. And, of course, both Pakistan and Turkey are non-Arab (though Turks can probably command allegiance in Arab societies based on the vestigial memories of Ottoman rule).

    It is hard to say what the strategists of the Great Powers are thinking, but if their strategy involves allowing ISIS, even temporarily, to create an actual state in Mesopotamia, they will regret it sorely - and pay for it with blood and treasure for decades or longer.
    Omarali,

    Unfortunately I cannot access that site at the moment, but his conclusion seems to be contradictory. The paragraph seems to indicate that ISIS must, at a minimum, “curb their violent instincts” if they are going to succeed. I would argue that, for them to truly become the Caliphate they must also control the “Two Holy Cities” now located in Saudi Arabia. But then in the last sentence he seems to advocate immediate action. What form should that action take?

    Also the last sentence says that the great powers will pay in blood and treasure “for decades or longer.” We are already still involved in the ME and will certainly continue to expend blood and treasure. If we do act I don’t see that changing. If anything, it only justifies why more people in the ME will want to kill us.

    What exactly is he advocating we do?
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 07-08-2014 at 06:27 PM.
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    Just published another interview "Analyzing The Finances Of Al Qaeda In Iraq Interview With RAND’s Patrick Johnston". I talked with Patrick Johnston of RAND who has been analyzing hundreds of captured Al Qaeda in Iraq documents at the CTC Harmony Program. Goes over how AQI became an Iraqi financed and highly bureaucratic & centralized organization.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    What's the actual extent and condition of those oil reserves and revenue streams?

    Syrian oil production was unexceptional at its peak and has declined enormously. The production infrastructure has deteriorated. Turning oil into money is not all that simple: does ISIS have the money or the expertise to get even the limited reserves they may control onto the market? To bring in foreign expertise you have to be able to pay for it or convince investors that you are stable enough to let them take their cut from downstream earnings... can ISIS do either?
    Dayuhan

    IS is trucking out the oil from Syria and selling it to Turkish and other companies. Ironically the Assad govt is buying some of this oil as well. It now has control of several oil fields and infrastructure in Iraq as well where it has been smuggling oil for years as well. As for running the infrastructure they're not going to do that themselves but rely upon the workers already there. When it took over most of the Baiji refinery for a short period in Salahaddin for example it told all the workers to stay on cite and continue with their work. They have the money to pay them as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    Outlaw,

    I am not buying this. I read these articles. They sound like an attempt by Ali Khedery to extricate himself from any association with the “Bad Maliki”. He and Crocker supported the “Good Maliki” that existed before 2009. Maliki turned evil only after a change in President’s allowed “Bad Maliki” to be unleashed, and therefore events that have happened in Iraq since 2009 are all The U.S.’ fault. I am not buying it. For one thing I find it odd that he keeps referring to the Sunni Awakening as happening in 2008 instead of 2006, as if everything changed in that year.

    The illusion was the possibility of maintaining an inclusive government without the American Leviathan coercing the political leadership into supporting it. I fail to believe that any intelligent person who had even a minimal understanding of the requirements for a successful democratic transition and consolidation had any realistically thought that an inclusive democracy was possible is such a factional place as Iraq with its recent history of Sunni control. The best we could hope for was a loose confederation. It should have been clear from the nature of the constitutional conventions that the Kurds wanted autonomy. Remember too that it was a Sunni Awakening conducted by local Sunni clan leaders that ousted AQ, not the actions of the central government. Holding Iraq together was only going to be achieved by a strong central dictator. That is what Maliki was trying to become.

    We were not going to stay in Iraq for the 20+ years it was going to take to for a democracy to consolidate. Pretending that all Maliki needs to do now is include a few moderate Sunnis, who, by the way, are not in control of any part of the area controlled by ISIS, is delusion on the highest level.

    This is just the ranting of a man who is now realizing that he backed the wrong horse.

    The sad thing is that it took the actions of a group like ISIS to make us finally come to grips with the reality that Iraq needs to be divided.
    TC---I would flip this around and state and many might not like it that we via the national level IC did not vet Chalabi or Malaki for their Iranian connections and there were a few out of the DoS that in 2003 were saying it openly but they were shut down as secondly opinions were not wanted nor asked for.

    Which if one looks closer --the current problems for the US goes back to the core reasons presented to both the UNSC and the American population that led us straight into eight long years of losses in blood and money. Which again no one seemed to vet thoroughly.

    This lack of vetting of the entire Iraq adventure was at the heart of the failures we are now seeing.

    We can take as a single example of this lack of understanding on the IC side ---most of the young interrogators assigned to BCTs and Divisions up through 2008 were seriously under trained for the jobs they were suppose to be doing--gaining intelligence. This problem really did not smooth out until we left as the Army never did achieve it's goal of training enough interrogators so there were always shortages in Iraq.

    How can you send young American interrogators into an Arab country not understanding the tribal ties, the religious differences between Sunni/Shia or better yet lacking deep experience using translators and far more important having actual years of experience in a highly challenging job not just someone with a MOS and no experience.

    We were asking from these young interrogators to be the judge, jury, defense lawyer and prosecutor all in one person and one wonders why so many AQ and Sunni fighters while actually captured walked out of Abu Ghraib with us never knowing they were AQ or a Sunni insurgent?

    Then when suggestions were presented to the Army Intel school for improving that deficiency---the response was---we cannot train them strictly for Iraq as they must have a broad MOS training since they are Army interrogators and will not be serving all the time in Iraq---thus many experienced civilian interrogators who were also Arab linguists who had great track records in Iraq got fed up----left and went back to Iraq.

    So up to about 2009 vast amounts of intelligence that could have been gained was lost not because of honest efforts but because the system as a whole did not "understand" what it was "seeing".

    Next the HUMINT efforts were at the BCT and Division levels just as hampered--again Americans sent into Iraq with little or knowledge of reality on the ground and definitely through 2009 with limited HUMINT training for an UW/IW war.

    Next the Corp level Abu Ghraib collection effort ---also hampered by the lack of focus at the national level-example from 2006 assigning a Korean strategic debriefing unit with Korean linguists into an Arabic language environment with absolutely no understanding of 1) the ME, 2) the Sunni/Shia divide, 3) tribe relations, 4) AQ, and 5) the history of Iraq.

    There was an Abu G standing joke in 2006---never send out a national level request for information as it will never get answered.

    This was the interrogation side---it was even worse on the intelligence analyst side with again young analysts and little experience.

    This also does not address that single fact that boots on the ground up through 2010 especially with the surge BCTs were running manning wise a 63 to 72% strength level---in one BCT we pushed out of the NTC-we had to deploy the entire Ops Group to it in order to get it out the door---over 120 personnel who were on serious health profiles were also deployed just to get the numbers up.

    So yes while the numbers went up manning wise it still was to little to cover the sheer amount of ground---example in Diyala one BCT covered Diyala and half of Saladdin with four BNs---and we wondered why the ethnic cleansing got out of control.

    Our solutions say in Baghdad---T barriers and a high number of checkpoints---so really all we did was "dampen" down the problems---not "solve" them as we should have done.

    So really all we did from 2003 until we left was "manage" the problem--we never addressed and "solved" the problems--we just took the route of the easiest solutions over and over and called them "successes".

    The first article is interesting as Robert is correct it is a CYA---but again it reflects the failure of national IC to vet Malaki and now we are engaging via the DoS with Chalabi again evidently not wanting to accept his Iranian past.

    The second article is from more important as it is a leading Sunni stating what I believe to be a valid Sunni opinion shared by the Sunni tribal leaders--question is will in the face of our past IC failures read this article "accurately" or declare the messenger a "terrorist"?
    Last edited by OUTLAW 09; 07-08-2014 at 07:07 PM.

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    Curmudgeon,

    The problems with Iraq were two fold. First there was a lack of strong institutions, which is true for most developing countries. Also like most developing countries that left the military as one strong force that people turned to to control and run the country. Later the Baath Party became more than just the ruling party but took on the form of a state within a state as it institutionalized itself throughout Iraqi society. When the U.S. came in it took down those two ruling institutions and never built up anything to replace them. U.S. planning was all about getting out as quickly as possible, which was then reversed by Bremer, but he got undercut by U.S. political domestic concerns over elections there that made the White House push for a return to sovereignty and an Iraqi constitution to show progress for the American electorate. The Iraqi constitution was a rushed job that has so many holes in it all the political elites claim they are following it while working against each other. That means today there is no rule of law, no due process, no independent courts, etc. Secondly Iraq suffered from failed state building. The elite that took over Iraq after the British didn't do a good job in uniting the people around the new idea of the Iraqi nation. They followed top down policies that ended up alienating large sectors of the population. Then when Saddam fully took power he destroyed any competing centers of power. That left sect and ethnicity as two of the only issues to organize around. Hence the Iraqi opposition ended up creating ethnosectarian quota systems in their meetings before 2003. When they came into Iraq they wanted the same system, which the U.S. immediately institutionalized with things like the Iraqi Governing Council that had a set amount of seats for Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, etc. The ethnosectarian identity politics that then took over Iraq immediately split the nation because each group saw itself as a victim of the others in the country, which is a sure way to lead to political deadlock and worse insurgency and militias. That's also why there is no rule of law, etc. in Iraq because each political party runs its own ministries, government offices, etc. Those parts of the government are run for the elite's benefits and to increase their patronage networks so that they can stay in power with very little thinking about what's best for the country as a whole. That in a nutshell is why Iraq is so screwed up right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JWing View Post
    Just published another interview "Analyzing The Finances Of Al Qaeda In Iraq Interview With RAND’s Patrick Johnston". I talked with Patrick Johnston of RAND who has been analyzing hundreds of captured Al Qaeda in Iraq documents at the CTC Harmony Program. Goes over how AQI became an Iraqi financed and highly bureaucratic & centralized organization.
    JWing---we logged an amazing number of Iraqi captured documents into Harmony and only about 20% had any translation work done on them---due to the serious lack of translators. Up through 2008 thousands of documents were never picked up as the BCTs were never trained on how to collect evidence from their raids and most of the documents collected were on a per chance basis.

    Now they just sit there for the historians ---we will never ever get around to them--but there is a large amount of intelligence buried there that would unlock the true secrets of the Sunni insurgency but I am afraid we as a government do not want those secrets "aired" as it would challenge the reasons given to the UNSC and what the American population was told by the former President Bush and his DoS.

    Harmony is therefore a Catch 22 problem---there is another database that is far deeper and goes into the true "physic" of the worldwide jihadi ---the Dark Web project of the University of Arizona in Tucson who has sucked up literally thousands of videos, documents, training manuals etc which are limited to a few researchers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Ali Khedery - now working for the oil industry and himself - clearly is attempting to protect his own legacy. Sorry bud, own it. You were just as tactically short-sighted, and overly focused on personalities and the Western agenda as everyone else.

    And to clarify what I would say the main problem is, in a single word: Trust

    The promises of the US designed system have fallen flat, the money the US gave to influential leaders to trust in those promise has been spent. The result is renewed conflict. People will not altruistically try to get to trust, like the US, they will try to get to what they think is best for them. That will rarely lead to trust by all.

    I see four levels or degrees of state action to facilitate trust:

    Getting to Trust - A strategic concept postulating the necessity of trust for any society to attain some degree of durable, natural stability. The degree of distrust resident between populations in any given place determines the degrees of action necessary to get to trust.
    Level 4 Balkanization is the highest degree. Short of that, in descending order are:
    Level 3, creating lesser, included regions, such as the current Kurdish region of Iraq, or FATA of Pakistan;
    Level 2, changing laws to be more inclusive of the aggrieved population, such as the passing of civil rights laws by the US in the 1960s; and lastly,
    Level 1, to simply enforce the rule of law against those working illegally to coerce change.

    We have tried a mix of Level 1-3 in Iraq and failed. Assad is attempting a pure Level 1 approach in Syria and may temporarily succeed, but will ultimately fail. It is my belief that it is time for a self-determined Level 4 approach across Syria and Iraq as they currently exist. This may result in modern systems of governance with some chance of getting to trust.
    Robert---level four is what the Sunni leader al Hamdun is talking about in his German article.

    http://www.spiegel.de/politik/auslan...-a-979714.html

    The same is being voiced as well by the Iraqi VP Sunni al Hashimi in this article as well.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...ni-revolt.html
    Last edited by OUTLAW 09; 07-08-2014 at 07:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JWing View Post
    Curmudgeon,

    The problems with Iraq were two fold. First there was a lack of strong institutions, which is true for most developing countries. Also like most developing countries that left the military as one strong force that people turned to to control and run the country. Later the Baath Party became more than just the ruling party but took on the form of a state within a state as it institutionalized itself throughout Iraqi society. When the U.S. came in it took down those two ruling institutions and never built up anything to replace them. U.S. planning was all about getting out as quickly as possible, which was then reversed by Bremer, but he got undercut by U.S. political domestic concerns over elections there that made the White House push for a return to sovereignty and an Iraqi constitution to show progress for the American electorate. The Iraqi constitution was a rushed job that has so many holes in it all the political elites claim they are following it while working against each other. That means today there is no rule of law, no due process, no independent courts, etc. Secondly Iraq suffered from failed state building. The elite that took over Iraq after the British didn't do a good job in uniting the people around the new idea of the Iraqi nation. They followed top down policies that ended up alienating large sectors of the population. Then when Saddam fully took power he destroyed any competing centers of power. That left sect and ethnicity as two of the only issues to organize around. Hence the Iraqi opposition ended up creating ethnosectarian quota systems in their meetings before 2003. When they came into Iraq they wanted the same system, which the U.S. immediately institutionalized with things like the Iraqi Governing Council that had a set amount of seats for Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, etc. The ethnosectarian identity politics that then took over Iraq immediately split the nation because each group saw itself as a victim of the others in the country, which is a sure way to lead to political deadlock and worse insurgency and militias. That's also why there is no rule of law, etc. in Iraq because each political party runs its own ministries, government offices, etc. Those parts of the government are run for the elite's benefits and to increase their patronage networks so that they can stay in power with very little thinking about what's best for the country as a whole. That in a nutshell is why Iraq is so screwed up right now.
    Jwing,

    The problem is that you and I are seeing the same events but we are interpreting via significantly different political frames of reference. You, like most people, see events as fights between political elites who subjugate and control groups of people using identity politics to create cleavages that allow them to maintain their spheres of influence. I see pods of people who naturally band together based on a shared identity and have a give-take relationship with their leaders. They will give the leader support as long as the leader can provide security and patronage. If the leader no longer delivers the goods, the group will become disgruntled and replace the current leader or align themselves with another group.

    Take Maliki. Most people think he has turned on the democracy the U.S. established. I see him as doing the only think he can to survive in a politically factious country. There is no coalition of Kurds, Sunnis, and Shi’ites. The best he could do with the Kurds was keep them from openly leaving. He could offer them little. The Sunnis never trusted him. Moderates in this political atmosphere have no power. People who are willing trust others, to engage in give and take, to share what little they can bring back to their tribes as patronage are seen as weak and will be replaced by someone more aggressive. Maliki’s problem was not that he was consolidating power in his tribe, it was that he did not do it fast enough to survive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    Omarali,

    Unfortunately I cannot access that site at the moment, but his conclusion seems to be contradictory. The paragraph seems to indicate that ISIS must, at a minimum, “curb their violent instincts” if they are going to succeed. I would argue that, for them to truly become the Caliphate they must also control the “Two Holy Cities” now located in Saudi Arabia. But then in the last sentence he seems to advocate immediate action. What form should that action take?

    Also the last sentence says that the great powers will pay in blood and treasure “for decades or longer.” We are already still involved in the ME and will certainly continue to expend blood and treasure. If we do act I don’t see that changing. If anything, it only justifies why more people in the ME will want to kill us.

    What exactly is he advocating we do?
    I am sorry, I hastily posted his piece without any comments of my own. Now I have a few minutes, so here goes:
    1. My main agreement with the piece is with the notion that an Arab Islamic state has a certain draw and legitimacy that Afghans, Pakistanis and even Turks cannot easily match and that IS therefore does have the potential to be a more serious threat because it can awaken dormant millenarian dreams in a larger proportion of the world's Muslims.
    2. I dont think its there yet though. They have made more progress than most, but consolidating their position will not be easy.
    3. I DON'T think the US should openly intervene against them. First of all, the US has a terrible record of handling such interventions and will likely muck things up further or spend trillions of dollars where a Chinese businessman from Canton could get more done with millions. So I dont know what Ali Minai may want the US to do, but I dont think the US should go all in. From watching movies and reading books one gets the impression that great powers do have less obvious ways of intervening, and if so, I guess those will be used. What they are and how much they will help or hinder, I have no clue.
    If the caliphate is unable to capture either Iraq or Syria (not just their deserts and Sunni areas, but the business end of things) then I dont they will be able to stabilize as a state. And I dont think they will capture either of them, but then again, I have very little knowledge beyond what I read in blogs and newspapers. Allah ul alam, as the Arabs like to say http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...lies/smile.gif

    Now that i have had a chance to think about it, I think my main motivation was to say "look, my friend sort of predicted that these people are likely to be more dangerous than the usual non-Arab jihadi fantasist".

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    Jwing,

    The problem is that you and I are seeing the same events but we are interpreting via significantly different political frames of reference. You, like most people, see events as fights between political elites who subjugate and control groups of people using identity politics to create cleavages that allow them to maintain their spheres of influence. I see pods of people who naturally band together based on a shared identity and have a give-take relationship with their leaders. They will give the leader support as long as the leader can provide security and patronage. If the leader no longer delivers the goods, the group will become disgruntled and replace the current leader or align themselves with another group.

    Take Maliki. Most people think he has turned on the democracy the U.S. established. I see him as doing the only think he can to survive in a politically factious country. There is no coalition of Kurds, Sunnis, and Shi’ites. The best he could do with the Kurds was keep them from openly leaving. He could offer them little. The Sunnis never trusted him. Moderates in this political atmosphere have no power. People who are willing trust others, to engage in give and take, to share what little they can bring back to their tribes as patronage are seen as weak and will be replaced by someone more aggressive. Maliki’s problem was not that he was consolidating power in his tribe, it was that he did not do it fast enough to survive.
    TC---in the article link concerning Malaki this stood out and many have overlooked it.

    It goes to the heart of why Malaki will not compromise with any Sunni regardless of any pressure placed on him just ask al Hashimi.

    My question is why was this not seen by national IC.

    Over a span of three decades, Maliki moved between Iran and Syria, where he organized covert operations against Hussein’s regime, eventually becoming chief of Iraq’s Dawa branch in Damascus. The party found a patron in Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s Islamic Republic of Iran. During the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, when Iraq used Western-supplied chemical weapons, Tehran retaliated by using Shiite Islamist proxies such as Dawa to punish Hussein’s supporters. With Iran’s assistance, Dawa operatives bombed the Iraqi Embassy in Beirut in 1981 in one of radical Islam’s first suicide attacks. They also bombed the American and French embassies in Kuwait and schemed to kill the emir. Dozens of assassination plots against senior members of Hussein’s government, including the dictator himself, failed miserably, resulting in mass arrests and executions.

    During the tumultuous months following America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, Maliki returned to his home country. He took a job advising future prime minister Ibrahim al-Jafari and later, as a member of parliament, chaired the committee supporting the De-Baathification Commission, an organization privately celebrated by Shiite Islamists as a means of retribution and publicly decried by Sunnis as a tool of repression

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default WMD in a desert bunker: details from 2010

    An unusually detailed report, written as Iraq joined the CWC and still had the contents of the sealed bunker(s):http://cns.miis.edu/stories/100304_iraq_cw_legacy.htm
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    My latest article "Iraq’s Southern Front Babil Province Where The Islamic State Has Free Reign". IS was never driven out of northern Babil even during the Surge. It now has been building up its network there for over a year. In response Baghdad has launched 6 security operations there so far this year. After each one the government claims success and then starts another one. In fact IS has been able to destroy a huge amount of ISF equipment and is using northwest Babil as a base to infiltrate into southern Baghdad as well as launch car bombs into southern Iraq. Despite official claims IS is as entrenched in northern Babil today as ever showing the failures of the security forces.

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    Just a note about U.S. track record in interventions: I count 12 U.S. interventions (of various size in duration and level of committment) since 1991. Of these, four are on-going conflicts, and two had mixed results (War in Iraq, Somali Civil War 2006 - 2009; though I'd argue Iraq should be classified as a defeat). So of the 8 completed conflicts, 6 were completed with favorable terms for a 75% victory percentage; that's comparable to Russia's performance over the same time period (63-71% depending on typology). From 1901 to 1991, the U.S. participated in 10 conflicts, with 3 not ending in fully favorable conditions: Russian Civil War, Korea, and Vietnam. That's about the same track record as the post Cold War period. And in the 19th century, the U.S. participated in 47 wars, with only 4 ending in unfavorable terms. So if it's the case that the U.S. is a poor performer in interventions, this raises questions about the character of the wars themselves or of U.S. strategy in those war. And if it's a question of strategy, then it becomes one of analyzing intergovernmental politics to determine how strategy was formulated and implemented. That means that, potentially, the U.S. can in fact be successful in such interventions, provided that an effective strategy is created, properly resourced, and diligently pursued.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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    I call this reporting crap. According to the U.N. inspectors and WMD experts the mustard gas was the only agent of those listed that had a shelf life that could keep it useful by 2003. It's now 2014 and it has probably degraded even more. Agents like sarin probably expired far before 03. In fact the WMD facility at Muthanna was known to have taken short cuts in the production of agents which made them have an even shorter life than usual.

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    Good to know you can conclude so succinctly.

    Understandably chemical weapons are so 'orrible to think about, few have expertise.

    Hamish de Bretton-Gordon has just Tweeted:
    Regarding the old Iraqi CW depot in Muthanna - If the public domain info is right, the best ISIS could do would be a nuisance device
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-09-2014 at 07:10 PM. Reason: add 3rd sentence
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    Reidar Visser gives a critique of the Khedery piece in the Washington Post about how the U.S. backed Maliki

    http://gulfanalysis.wordpress.com/20...edery-version/

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