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Old 05-16-2015   #61
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Default Small SOF raid, big impact

The BBC amongst others report a long range raid into eastern Syria to get a Daesh logistician:
Quote:
The US says its special forces have killed a senior Islamic State (IS) member and captured his wife in a rare ground raid in eastern Syria.Abu Sayyaf helped direct oil, gas and financial operations for IS, as well as holding a military role...
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-32764995

Clints Watts at FPRI writes that:
Quote:
This daring U.S. raid and its great success likely signal a turning point in the fight against ISIS.
Link:http://www.fpri.org/geopoliticus/201...e-game-changer

Yes there maybe an intelligence gain, it may disrupt funding via oil & gas production (IIRC mainly sold to the Syrian regime) and affect the confidence of Daesh supporters / fighters. I am doubtful from this armchair that it is 'game changer'.
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Old 05-16-2015   #62
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Too early to tell what the impact will be, but I tend to agree that it could be a game changer for the following reasons. These raids tend to provide a wealth of intelligence that enabler further targeting, often at a fast clip. More importantly perhaps, it now appears that the U.S. has the political will to publically put boots on the ground on a very high risk mission. If we let the network targeting machine loose again, it will significantly reduce IS's capacity to operate, and may lead to local uprising against IS as the tide begins to turn against them. It will take a few weeks to see if a positive trend emerges.

Of course this doesn't provide answers to the underlying issues, but it could significantly reduce IS's ability to terrorize other Muslims in the region and reduce their ability to continuing destroying historical sites. These items alone make it worth killing as many IS members as possible.

Most importantly for now, congratulations to the men who pulled this raid off.
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Old 05-17-2015   #63
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Too early to tell what the impact will be, but I tend to agree that it could be a game changer for the following reasons. These raids tend to provide a wealth of intelligence that enabler further targeting, often at a fast clip. More importantly perhaps, it now appears that the U.S. has the political will to publically put boots on the ground on a very high risk mission. If we let the network targeting machine loose again, it will significantly reduce IS's capacity to operate, and may lead to local uprising against IS as the tide begins to turn against them. It will take a few weeks to see if a positive trend emerges.

Of course this doesn't provide answers to the underlying issues, but it could significantly reduce IS's ability to terrorize other Muslims in the region and reduce their ability to continuing destroying historical sites. These items alone make it worth killing as many IS members as possible.

Most importantly for now, congratulations to the men who pulled this raid off.

Again proves the DA role of SF--BUT and there is always a but in anything--the common JSOC targeting cycle of 24 hours which is/was at the height of Iraq and to a degree also in AFG--may have had an impact on high value targets BUT it did nothing to change the flow of the Iraqi and AFG insurgencies.

With a breathing living ecosystem such as an insurgency-- when do you stop the kill or capture processes?--so you shot your way through the third generation leadership or through the fifth generation leadership --there is always a replacement leadership generation--AND here is the key they analyze like crazy to understand their previous failures and the OPSEC on the insurgent side just keeps getting tighter and tighter to the point that you have a Baghdadi in your midst that you never fully realized his position and you had him in Bucha for five years and still did not know his position in IS.

If JSOC is honest with itself as I had privy to their targeting even in AFG they were basically running out of HVTs and still it made no impact on the Haq or the Taliban. A second issue also starting showing up--targeting mistakes due to the speed and mis-targeting due to by target analysts usually by defense contractors who changed out frequently. Serious mistakes started showing up in the last phases of Iraq and actually the same failures were also being seen in AFG--so it was a systemic problem in the processes.

This raid if anything was a "political will" show of force--the question is--was it driven by DoD or CIA and did the "political will ie DC" just sign off on it?

I am suspecting DoD/CIA as events on the ground will be further reinforced by this raid.

What though is of more interest is if one has been following the Syrian fighting on a daily basis the last four months--there has been a sudden turn-a-round on the ground by the FSA supported by the US, moderate Islamists also supported by the US/Sunni states and potentially and I use the term potentially al Nursa who is receiving weapons and money from the Sunni states as well. There has been a rather interesting development that all resistance groups have formed a general working alliance regardless of religious or political views and have often taken on and beaten IS head to head and have driven them out of previously held territories.

That is the way IS will be beaten--by Sunni's themselves and no outsider can do that.

The resistance movement has suddenly acquired a more effective command and control, is more deliberate in their attacks and their follow through, AND more importantly TOWs and MILANs are literally flowing "at will" into Syria.

The battle videos coming from the various TOW and MILAN teams are impressive--the targets they select and actually hit are impressive and they are now even being used to attack and destroy fixed bunker fighting points of the Assad military and Assad's military, Iranian IRGC and Hezbollah have been taking massive losses both in manpower and territory--AND along the way they have been just as effective in attacking and taking territory from IS.

The combination of TOW attacks and ground attacks by well trained infantry have started an impressive string of ground successes. There is an apparent structure to them that was not there months ago.

The turning point in the war has been finally reached and Assad's military and Hezbollah are scrambling to just survive. Hezbollah is actually pulling out of the fighting and focusing more on Iraq and their loses as well as IRGC loses are climbing badly for them.

Here is my heartburn with DC--why run to Sochi to talk to the Russians because one wants a "legacy win" for the history books AND one assumes we need Russian assistance to get Assad out--right now Assad is barely surviving and some say his military will force him at some point to run to either Russia and or Iran.

Russia has "lived" off of Assad in order to have a Med. harbor port and Assad has paid Russia well via oil funds for years for Russian weapons which in the end has kept the Assad military in the field especially their AF which is bombing cities and towns into the ground--yes Russia claims to have helped with eliminating chemical weapons but their GRU knew for years about the capacity AND now the West never even utters a lost word when daily chorine bombs are still being dropped on civilians.

AND it has not been Russian TOWs that made the turn-a-round but IMO the CIA is the unsung group in the sudden improvement--so why does DC need Putin--can anyone explain that to me?

So while a great "demonstration of political will" do we see the same "political will" being "expressed" in the Ukraine-no.

Again my question why is that?--it is because someone wants a "legacy" and the Ukraine is being left for 2017 for the next "legacy".

So again is it really "political will" or really a military necessity to get a "military win on the ground and force out Assad"?

Brings me back to a statement often heard in DC--"you can't win militarily in the Ukraine"--actually right now even though it appears weird the Ukrainian military is actually "winning militarily" on the ground.

So much for the failed statement--"you can't win militarily in the Ukraine"--when you the weaker fighter can actually stymie a far strong fighter is that not in effect "winning"--Sun Tzu would agree it is "winning"--it is all about perceptions.

In a tank target rich environment of eastern Ukraine--what a field day TOW/MILAN teams would have with 700 targets if Syria is the example.

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Old 05-17-2015   #64
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That is the way IS will be beaten--by Sunni's themselves and no outsider can do that.
Concur, but for that to happen they need to believe they can win, and a demonstration of real political will (something airpower can never provide) on our part can provide significant motivation and hope in that regard. The impact of a raid, or any military operation, is rarely limited to its tactical effects in today's world. I haven't seen any evidence in the media of positive trends in Syria or Iraq. If you want to call a stalemate positive, then maybe an argument can be made that ISIL has lost its forward momentum in several locations.

I also agree that HVI targeting had limited impact in Afghanistan, but the fact of the matter was we confused anyone putting an IED next to the road as a HVI, so HVI in reality was just a term in vogue, it didn't actually mean the individuals were HVIs. In Iraq, they went after HVIs and just as importantly they killed a lot of foot soldiers, which greatly suppressed, not defeated, AQI. Any arguments to the contrary is simply twisting history around. It created so called political space to reach a more enduring solution, which we all know how that turned out.

Quote:
AND it has not been Russian TOWs that made the turn-a-round but IMO the CIA is the unsung group in the sudden improvement--so why does DC need Putin--can anyone explain that to me?
Perhaps, but there are so many actors in Syria, both internal and external, I would be very hesitant to identify any particular actor the unsung group in the alleged sudden improvement. Sudden improvement of who exactly?

Quote:
So while a great "demonstration of political will" do we see the same "political will" being "expressed" in the Ukraine-no.
I think we have plenty of political will for dealing with Ukraine, Ukraine is Putin's biggest strategic mistake (it is our OIF) that has backfired in almost every conceivable way. We have no obligation to defend Ukraine, yet we are providing significant support throughout DIME, and Putin is not making progress. Furthermore, Putin exposed his hand, so a repeat of this strategic approach against an actual NATO country will be very difficult if not impossible.

Quote:
Again my question why is that?--it is because someone wants a "legacy" and the Ukraine is being left for 2017 for the next "legacy".

So again is it really "political will" or really a military necessity to get a "military win on the ground and force out Assad"?
From a policy perspective, I thought we dropped the idea of removing Assad? That is now a long term goal to be achieved through the political process, because we realize if it is done militarily it will look like Libya (not that it doesn't look that way already).

Quote:
Brings me back to a statement often heard in DC--"you can't win militarily in the Ukraine"--actually right now even though it appears weird the Ukrainian military is actually "winning militarily" on the ground
.

You hear this statement about every conflict in D.C. lately. As you point out, it is only a partial truth. In reality it all depends upon how you define winning. As you pointed out yourself, our military successes in Iraq didn't lead to the desired end beyond removing Saddam from power. Most countries struggle with how to translate military power into desired political effect. I think that has been true throughout time. If you extend the logic on this thinking, if war worked, it would seem we would get to a point where we didn't have wars anymore. That hasn't happened, and it doesn't look like it will, so maybe we just need to accept the fact that war is a messy business that can achieve temporary aims, but it won't achieve an enduring utopia.

At the end of day, I still think this raid can signify a significant change in our approach to IS/ISIL, which in my view is a significant near term threat to our interests.
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Old 05-17-2015   #65
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Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
Concur, but for that to happen they need to believe they can win, and a demonstration of real political will (something airpower can never provide) on our part can provide significant motivation and hope in that regard. The impact of a raid, or any military operation, is rarely limited to its tactical effects in today's world. I haven't seen any evidence in the media of positive trends in Syria or Iraq. If you want to call a stalemate positive, then maybe an argument can be made that ISIL has lost its forward momentum in several locations.

I also agree that HVI targeting had limited impact in Afghanistan, but the fact of the matter was we confused anyone putting an IED next to the road as a HVI, so HVI in reality was just a term in vogue, it didn't actually mean the individuals were HVIs. In Iraq, they went after HVIs and just as importantly they killed a lot of foot soldiers, which greatly suppressed, not defeated, AQI. Any arguments to the contrary is simply twisting history around. It created so called political space to reach a more enduring solution, which we all know how that turned out.



Perhaps, but there are so many actors in Syria, both internal and external, I would be very hesitant to identify any particular actor the unsung group in the alleged sudden improvement. Sudden improvement of who exactly?



I think we have plenty of political will for dealing with Ukraine, Ukraine is Putin's biggest strategic mistake (it is our OIF) that has backfired in almost every conceivable way. We have no obligation to defend Ukraine, yet we are providing significant support throughout DIME, and Putin is not making progress. Furthermore, Putin exposed his hand, so a repeat of this strategic approach against an actual NATO country will be very difficult if not impossible.



From a policy perspective, I thought we dropped the idea of removing Assad? That is now a long term goal to be achieved through the political process, because we realize if it is done militarily it will look like Libya (not that it doesn't look that way already).

.

You hear this statement about every conflict in D.C. lately. As you point out, it is only a partial truth. In reality it all depends upon how you define winning. As you pointed out yourself, our military successes in Iraq didn't lead to the desired end beyond removing Saddam from power. Most countries struggle with how to translate military power into desired political effect. I think that has been true throughout time. If you extend the logic on this thinking, if war worked, it would seem we would get to a point where we didn't have wars anymore. That hasn't happened, and it doesn't look like it will, so maybe we just need to accept the fact that war is a messy business that can achieve temporary aims, but it won't achieve an enduring utopia.

At the end of day, I still think this raid can signify a significant change in our approach to IS/ISIL, which in my view is a significant near term threat to our interests.
Bill--actually we did drop the get rid of Assad because the ground fighting was going nowhere and Hezbollah and the IRGC were so heavily involved the US never figured the ground fighting would reach a culminating tipping point which has now has been achieved and the Assad military is defacto now actually losing the fight all because someone is training and shipping a large number of TOWs into the fight--last rough count--there have been well over 300 fired with a high success rate--ie it has decimated the Assad armor and artillery and is being now used to crack open critical defensive Assad military positions.

Am a firm believer that the TOW is the great equalizer when armor is in play--even during the Cold War in Europe TOWs were mounted on just about anything that could shoot and scoot.With COIN it simply fell out of favor due to civilian loses when it was used.

The more interesting question--who are the trainers and who in the US is signing the purchase orders and more importantly who is flying them into country--SF or CIA??

Now that it appears Assad is actually losing the US feels they need Russia to figure out that he is losing and come up with an exit plan in order to save face basically for the Russians --while we seem to be so involved in "Russian face saving in Syria" we seem to be letting Putin continue along the lines of "let's let the Ukrainians fight 700 tanks even if the TOW is the critical weapon of choice" and can make a "non military win" or at least keep Russian troops and her mercenaries bottled up and allow no further territorial gains at the expense of the Ukraine--that is the least the US can do under the impression that the Budapest Memorandum really meant nothing even with a US signature.

I would argue that even Iran after watching the US basically run from their responsibilities on really what was a nuclear disarming memorandum fully understands they can violate the ongoing nuclear deal any time they want to with no back lash.

Just as long as we do not get involved and it does not cost us to much and it appears we really are involved in Europe--a kind of on the cheap approach that is basically not working after Sochi or why else is Nuland now in Moscow after Sochi?--did not Putin get the message the first time around in Sochi?

That is if we even provided a message--if we did then he did not understand it based on the massive shellings and ground attacks since Sochi costing the Ukrainians 17 KIA and 50 WIA in just this week alone.

BTW the supplier of choice for the more critical defensive systems ie night vision and counter battery radar/drones has been the Canadians----.

Just a second thought--WHAT the US is not noticing is in fact among the fighting groups and that includes FSA the US supported guys, moderate Islamists and al Nursa they recently held a joint planning council and have largely started taking on a form of council government without outside help--that has led to their suddenly attacking IS and basically pushing them out of previously held territory. After four years of fighting and largely losing and constant AF bombings they discovered the strength of a joint council---again who influenced that ---SF or CIA or actually the KSA? My tip is the KSA.

Something no one thought possible--defeating IS inside Syria his home turf.

Something missing from the conversation is the role of the young Saudi "hawks" ---Ft. Irwin trained officers now in the COL and early General ranks who feel that the KSA has to break out of the US shadow and formulate their own foreign policy and use force is necessary to back up that policy--really what we are seeing in the push back of Iran in Yemen and KSA support into Syria.

Next to Israel the KSA no longer trusts Obama to hold to anything he states--the Saudi snub to the Obama during the meeting he called for is a clear sign of the "hawks" taking control of Saudi FP--and the clear and distinct statements from them that we will go down the nuclear path as well simply because we do not trust the Iranians from our experiences to hold to the agreements. Notice that the Obama push to say the US will protect them in that event fell on deaf ears in the KSA--basically since the US has not backed up anything they have stated in the last six years the KSA simply no longer trusts them.

One cannot blame them.

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Old 05-17-2015   #66
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Bill--actually we did drop the get rid of Assad because the ground fighting was going nowhere and Hezbollah and the IRGC were so heavily involved the US never figured the ground fighting would reach a culminating tipping point which has now has been achieved and the Assad military is defacto now actually losing the fight all because someone is training and shipping a large number of TOWs into the fight--last rough count--there have been well over 300 fired with a high success rate--ie it has decimated the Assad armor and artillery and is being now used to crack open critical defensive Assad military positions.

Am a firm believer that the TOW is the great equalizer when armor is in play--even during the Cold War in Europe TOWs were mounted on just about anything that could shoot and scoot.With COIN it simply fell out of favor due to civilian loses when it was used.

The more interesting question--who are the trainers and who in the US is signing the purchase orders and more importantly who is flying them into country--SF or CIA??

Now that it appears Assad is actually losing the US feels they need Russia to figure out that he is losing and come up with an exit plan in order to save face basically for the Russians --while we seem to be so involved in "Russian face saving in Syria" we seem to be letting Putin continue along the lines of "let's let the Ukrainians fight 700 tanks even if the TOW is the critical weapon of choice" and can make a "non military win" or at least keep Russian troops and her mercenaries bottled up and allow no further territorial gains at the expense of the Ukraine--that is the least the US can do under the impression that the Budapest Memorandum really meant nothing even with a US signature.

I would argue that even Iran after watching the US basically run from their responsibilities on really what was a nuclear disarming memorandum fully understands they can violate the ongoing nuclear deal any time they want to with no back lash.

Just as long as we do not get involved and it does not cost us to much and it appears we really are involved in Europe--a kind of on the cheap approach that is basically not working after Sochi or why else is Nuland now in Moscow after Sochi?--did not Putin get the message the first time around in Sochi?

That is if we even provided a message--if we did then he did not understand it based on the massive shellings and ground attacks since Sochi costing the Ukrainians 17 KIA and 50 WIA in just this week alone.

BTW the supplier of choice for the more critical defensive systems ie night vision and counter battery radar/drones has been the Canadians----.

Just a second thought--WHAT the US is not noticing is in fact among the fighting groups and that includes FSA the US supported guys, moderate Islamists and al Nursa they recently held a joint planning council and have largely started taking on a form of council government without outside help--that has led to their suddenly attacking IS and basically pushing them out of previously held territory. After four years of fighting and largely losing and constant AF bombings they discovered the strength of a joint council---again who influenced that ---SF or CIA or actually the KSA? My tip is the KSA.

Something no one thought possible--defeating IS inside Syria his home turf.

Something missing from the conversation is the role of the young Saudi "hawks" ---Ft. Irwin trained officers now in the COL and early General ranks who feel that the KSA has to break out of the US shadow and formulate their own foreign policy and use force is necessary to back up that policy--really what we are seeing in the push back of Iran in Yemen and KSA support into Syria.

Next to Israel the KSA no longer trusts Obama to hold to anything he states--the Saudi snub to the Obama during the meeting he called for is a clear sign of the "hawks" taking control of Saudi FP--and the clear and distinct statements from them that we will go down the nuclear path as well simply because we do not trust the Iranians from our experiences to hold to the agreements. Notice that the Obama push to say the US will protect them in that event fell on deaf ears in the KSA--basically since the US has not backed up anything they have stated in the last six years the KSA simply no longer trusts them.

One cannot blame them.
Bill--these events today out of the Ukraine and one comment out of Syria from yesterday in fact shows an indication that the rag tag Ukrainian Army on their own are actually holding on well and are starting to use their version of our TOW--all without US assistance as we stand on the sidelines trying to "rescue Putin's image because we think it is the right thing to do"??

AND the comment out of Syria is indicating that the current fighting is decimating IRGC and Hezbollah--both incidents are getting absolutely no US news media coverage.

Photo-op with General Qasem #Soleimani shows four IRGC top commanders killed recently in #Syria.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-18-2015 at 12:26 PM. Reason: Copied to Ukraine thread and a little editing afterwards.
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Old 05-17-2015   #67
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Few US foreign relationships have been more dysfunctional and out of date/balance in recent years than those with Israel and the KSA. There will be a bit of back and forth until we find a new balance with these important partners, but change in general can only be a good thing in the long run.

As to the dramas in Syria and Iraq (or more accurately, "states formerly known as..."), we will get to a better perspective as to what we should do, and how we should do it once we are able to shift our focus from trying to preserve the Band-Aid of governance and security we slapped onto Iraq to give us time to withdraw and the naturally emerging threats to that poorly conceived solution; and focus more on what our truly vital interests in the region are, and how to guard against those things that are truly a threat to our interests, and to facilitate events gently toward a zone of self-determined solutions that are not likely to be too adverse.

Control is overstated and overvalued - we need to end up with influence with who and whatever emerges once the dust finally settles.

Oh, and SOF? General Votel is spot on when he is making the return to "Quiet Professionals" a central theme to his command of USSOCOM. We need to get our civilian officials on board with that as well. Stop bragging about big, tactical kills as if they were some game-changing strategic event. Bad form at a minimum, and historically these types of event shape, rather than define, outcomes.
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Old 05-17-2015   #68
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Ah......the speed of social media----one has to like it----wonder if the US IC is this fast--concerning Russian Spetnaz POWs and the Assad Army taking a beating. Wait long enough and social media will have their entire life histories if they placed it into the net.

On another battlefield, things are suddenly looking bad for Assad. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...ing-gains.html

Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-18-2015 at 12:27 PM. Reason: Copied to the Ukraine thread and edited afterwards
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Old 05-18-2015   #69
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Default 'Game changer' as the 'posts' change?

The Soufan Group's e-briefing on the raid has several good points, including just who exactly is the target and ends with:
Quote:
As important as the killing of ‘Abu Sayyaf’ is, as long as the group’s foes remain incapable of defense and offense outside of their comfort zone, and the ground reality remains one of poor governance and persistent grievance, the group will remain a serious threat to the region and beyond.
Link:http://soufangroup.com/tsg-intelbrie...ship-in-syria/

This short ISW briefing is harsh and ends with:
Quote:
Partnership is also essential, because the U.S. is no longer a legitimate ally in the eyes of many populations in the regionPartnership is also essential, because the U.S. is no longer a legitimate ally in the eyes of many populations in the region.
Link:http://understandingwar.org/report/i...daptive-enemy?
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Old 05-18-2015   #70
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The Soufan Group's e-briefing on the raid has several good points, including just who exactly is the target and ends with:Link:http://soufangroup.com/tsg-intelbrie...ship-in-syria/

This short ISW briefing is harsh and ends with:
Link:http://understandingwar.org/report/i...daptive-enemy?
Not overly helpful when the ISW report states this:

Quote:
The only way to defeat ISIS, which is necessary for U.S. national security, is to guarantee a ground force that will occupy, secure, and rebuild Syria, and Iraq to a lesser extent. More limited solutions are insufficient to shape ground conditions that promote stability and reduce the opportunity for groups like ISIS to remain.
Then goes on to list all the countries that shouldn't be considered included Arab countries, Iran, and the U.S. Who then? Maybe Russia or China?

The TSG makes this no brainer comment:

Quote:
While the killing of Abu Sayyaf is important, the group remains stubbornly lethal in both Syria and Iraq, having just taken over most of the important Iraqi city of Ramadi this weekend.
Followed by,

Quote:
All of this high-level personnel loss comes amidst an undeniable push by the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria. The group has reportedly taken near complete control of the important city of Ramadi in al-Anbar Province, after threatening to do so for weeks. The collapse of the Iraqi security forces in the face of a determined extremist foe continues to be a problem, and U.S. airstrikes have begun in Ramadi to help drive off the Islamic State. As important as the killing of ‘Abu Sayyaf’ is, as long as the group’s foes remain incapable of defense and offense outside of their comfort zone, and the ground reality remains one of poor governance and persistent grievance, the group will remain a serious threat to the region and beyond.
I frequently wonder who funds these whiz kids/adults to develop these assessments. Did anyone in officialdom anywhere claim that the removal of Abu Sayyaf would cause ISIL to collapse? One would think that a think tank could consider the potential longer term consequences on the conflict's outcome if the West increasingly targets ISIL's leaders via SOF raids. Making an argument that it will have limited impact is fair, but so is the argument that this potential change in U.S. will could serve as a catalyst for resistance forces in the region against ISIL to act with greater confidence. Of course any analysis at this point is completely speculative, it will take weeks or longer for a trend to emerge that is worth discussing.
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Old 05-19-2015   #71
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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: NR-175-15
May 16, 2015
Statement by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on Counter-ISIL Operation in Syria

Last night, at the direction of the Commander in Chief, I ordered U.S. Special Operations Forces to conduct an operation in al-Amr in eastern Syria to capture an ISIL senior leader known as Abu Sayyaf and his wife Umm Sayyaf. Abu Sayyaf was involved in ISIL's military operations and helped direct the terrorist organization's illicit oil, gas, and financial operations as well.

Abu Sayyaf was killed during the course of the operation when he engaged U.S. forces.

U.S. forces captured Umm Sayyaf, who we suspect is a member of ISIL, played an important role in ISIL's terrorist activities, and may have been complicit in what appears to have been the enslavement of a young Yezidi woman rescued last night.

No U.S. forces were killed or injured during this operation.

The operation represents another significant blow to ISIL, and it is a reminder that the United States will never waver in denying safe haven to terrorists who threaten our citizens, and those of our friends and allies.
http://www.defense.gov/Releases/Rele...eleaseID=17274
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Old 05-19-2015   #72
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U.S. Forces Seize Digital Trove in Syria Raid
Special-operations mission that killed Islamic State finance chief could yield information on group’s operations
http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-forc...05925?mod=e2fb
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Old 06-17-2015   #73
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Default The Only Thing Worse than Misusing SOF is Policy Makers Misusing SOF Operational Meth

The Only Thing Worse than Misusing SOF is Policy Makers Misusing SOF Operational Methods as a Strategy

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Old 06-29-2015   #74
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Default Reorganization is Imperative to Fixing Special Forces’ Bent Unconventional Culture

Reorganization is Imperative to Fixing Special Forces’ Bent Unconventional Culture

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Old 07-09-2015   #75
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Default Resist the Hype: Prevent SOF From Being the Next Victim of Too Much Attention

Resist the Hype: Prevent SOF From Being the Next Victim of Too Much Attention

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Old 08-03-2015   #76
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Default Building Special Operations Partnerships in Afghanistan and Beyond

Building Special Operations Partnerships in Afghanistan and Beyond

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Old 08-16-2015   #77
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Default Special Operations Today

Special Operations Today: FSR Interviews LTG Cleveland (Ret.)

http://www.fletchersecurity.org/#!lt...interview/c7ay

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Our thinking at USASOC is that the security problems of the future will not necessarily resemble those of the past. It is in this context that we feel that SOF forces are uniquely capable, through our persistent global engagement, to shape things well before crises develop. The fact of the matter is, that we are in competition with various state and non-state actors for physical, cognitive, and moral security of populations and increasingly, in this hyperconnected world, the notions of sovereignty and identity”. We have to develop a portfolio of new approaches to impose a cost calculus on our adversaries in this space, but first we must recognize and accept that the security paradigm that we grew up with has changed fundamentally.
This is an outstanding interview, while I had my philosophical differences with LTG Cleveland in 2003, he was clearly the right man to lead USASOC and push U.S. ARSOF into the 21st Century. A lot of wisdom throughout this interview.
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Old 08-16-2015   #78
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Some of they key points:

An emphasis on manipulation of behavior, uses ISIL as example where it is imperative we dominate the influence fight. IMO this points to the importance of the emerging and hotly contested concept of human domain. Yet the fact remains we can dominate the physical domains (space, cyber, land, maritime and air) and still lose the fight the human domain. This is one of the principle changes in the character of warfare that is both tied to ancient history, yet enabled by modern information technology to the point it transforms it relevance, even dominance in modern warfare.

LTG Cleveland discusses the reality of constantly shifting interagency and DOD supported and supporting relationships in response to a question that attempts to limit the military to a traditional stovepipe role of applying conventional military power. The perception by traditionalists couldn't be further away from the truth.

He compares surgical strike (a term that overly limited and doesn't address the unconventional capabilities of our advanced special operations units that focus on direct action) with special warfare. He argues surgical strike is focused on eliminating uncertainty to the extent possible (true enough), while special warfare is conducted in the ever morphing world of uncertainity.

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Special Warfare, is one that is defined by uncertainty, and for which we build units such as our Special Forces (or Green Berets) which are specifically designed for this type of operating environment. These teams, with their unique training, linguistic and cultural acuity, are designed to operate amongst indigenous peoples, gain a deep understanding of the environment, shape events, and report back.
He addresses the reality of the so called indirect approach of working through others. In fact, when conditions are not right it won't work no matter how much money and time we plow into it. This approach is not a panacea, it is appropriate when it is, and we need to recognize when it isn't.

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What I am afraid of is that often progress is measured by spending a lot of money on equipment and training. You can’t spend enough, really, for training on these problems if the government doesn’t have the credibility. It doesn’t matter what you put on their back, it doesn’t matter how much training you give them, you are going to have serious problems when you encounter a serious enemy who is motivated. And so, I guess my concern is that we have to be very careful that we are judging the motivation and addressing the motivation issue and in some cases that means a different kind of policy. How good is that government on governing, and how respected are they by their people? You can only do so much, and you can’t fight your way out of bad policy.
He discussed the evolution from Field Manuals to real doctrine for Army SOF (ARSOF) as being essential to facilitate ARSOF achieving the vision laid out for them. ARSOF 2022 is the doctrine, and it is being taught to both SOF and conventional army forces to garner support. This seems to be a major step in the right direction, yes it is a step backwards towards our roots, but it is also a sprint forward to the 21st Century, which has different realities. As he stated,

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Time will tell.
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Old 08-16-2015   #79
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Default Special Operations Today

Special Operations Today

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Old 09-01-2015   #80
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Default Special Ops Brace for Release of Tell-all Book

Special Ops Brace for Release of Tell-all Book

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