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Remember the Alamut

July 20th, 2014 - 4:39 pm

Bill Roggio reports on the disasters overtaking the Iraqi Army. A key base near Tikrit being used by the government to counterattack ISIS was reported overrun with heavy loss to equipment and life.

Two days after repelling an Iraqi military attempt to retake the city of Tikrit, the Islamic State and its allies are said to have overrun Camp Speicher, a large base just outside the city that was being used in the failed effort to retake the provincial capital.

The Islamic State’s Salahaddin Division claimed in an official statement released on Twitter yesterday that it overran Camp Speicher and is in “control of the airport and the base completely.” In the statement, the Islamic State claimed it killed “scores” of Iraqi military personnel, including a brigadier general and a colonel. It also said that a number of pilots were killed in a “martyrdom” or suicide operation on the base before it was overrun. …

The Iraqi military made its first effort to retake Tikrit in late June, when it airlifted commandos into Tikrit University in an effort to gain a toehold north of the city. An advance on the city from the south was defeated. Then, on July 16, the Iraqi military launched Operation Decisive Sword. A large column of military and militia units entered southern Tikrit and thought they liberated the city, but as they celebrated they were ambushed with suicide bombers, IEDs, and conventional attacks. The Iraqi forces then withdrew from the city.

After the Iraqi military withdrew from southern Tikrit on July 16, the Islamic State immediately began its assault on Camp Speicher, as the base was the last remaining holdout of Iraqi forces near the city (Iraqi forces were withdrawn from Tikrit University sometime before the second offensive was launched).

The Daily Beast disputes Camp Speicher’s fall, saying the “Iraqi Army’s Alamo” is still holding out.

A high-ranking officer in Baghdad’s military operations center said only that “Speicher is under the control of the army and the volunteers. ISIS never entered the base.” He declined to discuss further what he said were classified matters relating to the base’s defense.

Without being inside Speicher or peering above the base’s walls, it is impossible to say for sure who controls it. But one clue that ISIS has not taken it over is the lack of documentation on their social media accounts. If ISIS had really killed hundreds of Iraqi soldiers, destroyed army helicopters, and captured a major base, as they claim, the Twitter-obsessed group would likely be tweeting the evidence and basking in the images of carnage. So far, this hasn’t materialized.

The Iraqi Army isn’t the most reliable source of information, so the facts are still in doubt.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi government touts victories in Tirkit on a steady basis while ISIS regularly claims to have slaughtered government forces and taken control of the city. The truth seems closer to a deadlock. The Iraqi Army has the manpower and weaponry to defeat ISIS in open skirmishes but is often fighting from a defense. While the army tries to retake Tikrit, it’s forced to counterattack and hold its ground against an enemy that likes to ambush and then fade away into the sympathetic or cowed elements among the local population.

But if ‘Alamo’ it is, the bastion’s investment or fall was sealed by strategic blunders committed in the past. The Iraqi Army’s woes go deeper than the tactical situation at Speicher. Bill Roggio cites an assessment by a US advisory team, released on July 14 by McClatchy, which paints a grim picture of organizational collapse.

The initial U.S. assessment, which arrived at the Pentagon Monday, apparently is just as grim. In one of its most alarming findings, according to a Pentagon official, the advisers concluded that while Iraqi troops could defend Baghdad against an attack now, they would be unable to launch the kind of offensive maneuvers required to fend off the insurgents for the long term, leaving the capital at continued risk. …

The advisers also warned that the majority of Iraqi brigades are infiltrated by either Sunni extremists or Shiite militias, the official said.

…  the size of the Iraqi debacle in June is becoming increasingly clear:

Four Iraqi army divisions have simply disappeared and won’t be easily resurrected.

The 2nd Division was routed from Mosul … the 1st Division also is basically gone … the same is true of Iraq’s 3rd Division. The division’s 6th and 9th Brigades fled the Islamic State’s advance in the north, and the status of its 11th Brigade is unknown. A small unit of its 10th Brigade is still in Tal Afar, but it is trapped by Islamic State forces.

The 4th Division also was routed. Half its members have disappeared — many suspect they were massacred when the Islamic State captured Tikrit — and only one small unit is known to still exist, surrounded by Islamists at a one-time U.S. military base near Tikrit known as Camp Speicher.

The essential problem according to Jeff Collins is that the Maliki government deserves to lose: “the Iraqi army morphed into a Shiite army.” It’s a rabble, a corrupt, inept, Shiite rabble. Collins adds that to his predecessor’s missteps, the Obama administration added some of his own.

the roots of this battlefield rout stretch all the way back to 2003 when Jerry Bremer, then head of the American appointed Coalition Provisional Authority, abolished the Saddam Hussein-era military and banned all Baath Party members from participating in the new Iraqi government. …

Of course, it never had to be this way. Following the successes of the American ‘surge’ in 2007 and the crackdown, by Maliki, of Shiite militias in Basra in 2008 many in the Sunni community had bought into the new political experiment in Baghdad. But the joint failure of the Obama administration in not obtaining a status of forces agreement that would have kept American advisors in place and later completely absolving itself from anything Iraqi after the 2011 withdrawal has come back in spades to haunt them. The rot, it is clear, is deep and any measures taken by the United States to not only defeat ISIS but prevent another repeat are going to need to be long-term.

Philip ‘PJ’ Dermer, who participated in the Anbar Awakaning recognizes some of the dead and dying in the ISIS videos as his boys — former militants he had persuaded to join the American cause. “I froze when I saw ISIS thugs attacking captured Iraqis. Many of the men being taunted, tortured and killed were leaders of the Sahwa, the Sunni militants who once fought against the American military and the Iraqi government before they realized that their bigger enemy was al Qaeda and joined us in the fight. U.S. forces, grateful for their support, dubbed them Sons of Iraq.”

The Sons of Iraq now find themselves orphaned. Their bigger enemies was al-Qaeda. But that didn’t necessarily mean that Washington would adopt them. The word of ‘PJ’ Derner was not the word of ‘BH’ Obama.

The dilemmas were immense. First, the movement was almost exclusively Sunni while the government in Baghdad and its political support mechanisms were largely Shiite. Second, while the Sahwa had “reconciled” to a large degree with the U.S. by turning against al Qaeda, it had not made such a commitment toward the Iraqi government, which many Sahwa saw as an agent of Iran. For its part, the Iraqi government viewed thousands of armed Sunnis as a strategic threat (this view has not diminished). Most of Iraq’s senior security leadership wanted no part of any militia, Sahwa or otherwise.

Still, the goal of our office was to find ways to foster life after the fight with the Sahwa fully embedded in Iraq, including in its security services. This is what we told the Sahwa and their U.S.-commander counterparts who were trying to manage Sahwa fears and expectations. This is why I froze while watching the ISIS lunacy on YouTube. We, the United States of America, had made the Sahwa and their Sunni popular base a promise, a moral commitment, when they took up the fight beside us beginning in 2007. We told the Sons of Iraq that we would work out the operational mechanisms with the Iraqi government and not leave them twisting in the wind. We made this promise time and again all over Iraq.

And now the Sahwa have been scattered like chaff before a hot wind. Perhaps the real parallel to Vietnam in Iraq lie not in the threat of The Last Helicopter, but in the actuality of Washington’s betrayal. Camp Speicher is nobody’s Alamo; there is nothing so bright or laden with hope about it.  And that lack of high purpose may be a mercy. Sordidness means one less thing to regret.


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Top Rated Comments   
[CONTINUED FROM ABOVE]

>>>>To be a nation, people have to share a culture. What is our shared culture? Is it the heritage of Europe focused through the lens of post-Civil War [English Civil War] Britain? Is it the culture of victimization that values failure over achievement? Is it the heritage of the descendants of those oppressed by the Spanish? Is it the culture of the Europhile Marxists on the coasts? Once again, the context of the “dictionary” differs from group to group. And as the context shifts, meaning shifts. Indeed one could question whether there is any meaning that can be transmitted. Because, amongst others, the last 3 cultures mentioned have ‘deconstructed’ the concept of meaning to the point of, well, meaninglessness. Words and concepts mean what is advantageous to them at the moment, and you cannot hold them to any logical consistency. I am sure my fellow BC-ers have encountered this when dealing with Chiroptera Lunarii. Case in point, “All discrimination is bad, especially when practiced by someone opposed to the Left.”. But “Discrimination against Whites, males, and those who achieve is good; especially if it favors those who are non-white [except Asians], females, and those who are incapable of achievement.”. Red Queen territory.

The final, and most obvious, characteristic of nationhood is a shared territory over a period of time. And yes, all the disparate groups that are in this country share the territory of the 50 [or 57 if you are an Obamabot] states. But there is still a separation within the 50 states. The Left holds sway in large urban areas. [see presidential vote maps broken down by county] That is where their culture is based. We accept the difference and even joke about it. New Yorkers tend to believe that everything from New Jersey [a wilderness itself] to California really doesn’t exist except for outposts like Chicago, Boulder [Colorado] and Austin [Texas]. It is flyover country and it and its inhabitants are considered uneducated rubes who cling to guns and Bibles, and probably could not either identify the finest vintages of any given year in France or comprehend the subtle, ironic artistic nuances of a crucifix immersed in urine. Nor do they understand the complexities of the urban minority experience and they fail to celebrate the various gansta lifestyles.

Those in flyover country tend to believe in guns, God, and the Constitution; not in that order. And they disproportionately take up the burden of defending this country; over the objections of the Coastal Left who hates the military and those who serve. Once again culture, but also culture that is separated geographically.<<<<

Looking at the constant threats, insults, and contempt for legality and the Constitution expressed by TWANLOC towards us; can we really say that in reality TWANLOC regard us as moral or physical equals? Is our assumption of rational or moral motives by TWANLOC as much fiction as the Twilight Zone episode. I will leave the Gentle Readers to ponder and discuss further.

Subotai Bahadur

(show less)
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
So long as TWANLOC control our government, no foreign nation can depend on any commitment by the United States. They will betray any commitment, no matter how solemn, no matter if keeping the promises would be to their benefit. Re-read the fable "The Frog and the Scorpion". To them, any country that would ally with, or trust, the US has proven that it deserves to be destroyed.

We are just watching the inevitable end in Iraq. And that is just the appetizer. This is going to be a multi-course feast, and we will choke on it.

As long as we are controlled by TWANLOC.

Subotai Bahadur
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama and this cabal are remaking the world in their image.

Corrupt, incompetent, underhanded, backstabbing, duplicitous and treasonous.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (87)
All Comments   (87)
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The truth is, that, you, Emricans can sh*t on us, is the "Mistral gagnants"

Blast machin chose, you can't make a illusion with your doctoral dialect,

we don't care, not only as Europeans ,but also as Emirican's

17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
What in all that is holy are you trying (failing) to say.

I ran it through google and got klingon jibberish.
I ran it through idiot euro babelator an my computer froze like IE8 trying to digest PJM's front page...
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
In tune with some other comments about the Middle East:

I think they are in the midst of a Hundred Years War, that started in 1980, with Iran fighting Iraq, and the USSR invading Afghanistan to support their Socialist puppet government. And the civil war in Lebanon, the most Westernized country in the Middle East, outside of Israel. Well, used to be.

Iran and Iraq exhausted themselves, then Iraq invaded Kuwait to re-invigorate it's power and finance. Gulf War, ejection from Kuwait, status quo ante; although Saddam continued to make war on the people of Iraq.

We are well into the next phase of the Hundred Years War, with Salafist Sunnis positioning themselves to fight the Revolutionary Shia of Iran and Hezbollah.
And frankly, the Hamas - Israeli thing is a sideshow, compared to the brewing civil war in Egypt, the already extant civil war in Syria, and now ISIS in Iraq. And the ethnic cleansing to follow each respective conquest.

Soon, Shia Persia will get involved actively again in the Hundred Years War. I would wager that soon, Iran will have a fission bomb, and the first use will be against a Sunni target, and not Israel. Perhaps then, Sunni Pakistan will use one or more of their A-bombs against Iran. Perhaps via the KSA.


In the end, they will make a desert of the whole Middle East, and call it Peace.

The Middle East, once and future, to quote cfbleachers:
Corrupt, incompetent, underhanded, backstabbing, duplicitous and treasonous. I think that covers it.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
DtL, your words have much truth, and there is even lots more truth beyond: Think "Millennium War."

These people have been slaughtering each other since just a few years after the death of their Prophet.

Mohammed is supposed to have spoken his desire to have leadership pass to his young cousin, who was also his son-in-law – consanguinity being the rule rather than the exception in these cultures. He was too near death to write his words himself. His nephew/cousin/son-in-law was evidently too young properly to assume the mantle of responsibility, so leadership passed to one of the Prophet's intimate friends.

Within a few years, leadership changed hands several more times, as a result of ASSASSINATION. Eventually Mohammed's designated heir did come into his Caliphate, but death and intrigue continued.

The split between those who felt the Caliph should be chosen by men (Sunni) versus those who thought it should pass as directly as possible through the line of Mohammed himself (Shi'ah) came in the "Battle of Karbala" a fairly one-sided affair in the year 680 A.D. A large force of soldiers waited to intercept Mohammed's heir on the path they knew he was traveling. They were in the employ of Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad, governor of Kufa, loyal to Yazid I, the Ruling (elected not born) Caliph of the Umayyad. Yazid had demanded the loyalty of Mohammed's heir Husayn ibn Ali (grandson of Muhammad the THIRD imam) but Husayn was not interested.

Husayn ibn Ali and some 56 of his family and retainers were massacred.

The profound hostility and even hatred between Sunni and Shi'ah has persisted for 13 centuries.

Those of us who watched the events surrounding the fall of the Shah, the Return of exiled Ayutollah Ruholla Khomeini, the take-over of the U.S. Embassy by Iranian Islamic Revolutionaries, etc., will recall streets filled with young Persian men celebrating Ashura, commemorating Karbala. At first it brought to mind a surreal "Monty Python" aspect, until you realized they were deadly earnest. Many of these men whipped their own backs with chains studded with small spikes - their shirts were bloody, as were their foreheads and cheeks, slashed with knives. Many carried young sons, appearing no more than 4 or 5 years old, with similar bloody wounds.

They sang and chanted as they marched.

It really brought home how little I knew of the world.
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17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
I can't argue with BC Alexis’ basic thesis of 4 hours ago at all. How you fight a war, depends on the nature of your opponent, how the opponent regards you, and how you regard them. If you grant each other status as moral and physical equals, there can be limitations as to the nature of the war. If either side regards the other as less than human, or less than moral beings; it will become a war of extermination. There is no way to avoid it. Even if one side tries to keep to their version of less than wars of extermination; the other side will not and force a change in strategy after the "moral" side had endured horrendous losses.

Those are the facts of human nature. Cultures are not identical, nor are they necessarily equal. Because ..... humans! Attempts to understand other cultures have to include not only what you think the other is about, but also has to include an unbiased analysis of what purposes the different institutions in the other culture serve. Not what you think is your own equivalent, but what the other culture actually does.

And there has to be an honest recognition of the fact that some cultures are not compatible, and either one or the other must die.

We are talking about what passes for a Western culture here -v- Islam. I think that we probably have enough data to make a judgment as to whether such compatibility is possible between the two; both from 1300 years of experience and from the vocalizations of their innate beliefs individually, officially, and in the media both from the Ummah and from those Muslims resident in the West.

If I may, I will offer the proposition that this can be extended to two other cases.

The first is somewhat out there, but consider that much of our entertainment has a theme of encounters with alien civilization(s). There is an inbuilt assumption that whoever we encounter will be like us, enough so that we will get along. Part of that is because our entertainment is conceived by Western humans and reflects their cultural bias'. But I offer the thought that who/what ever we encounter will have a totally different, truly alien, world view. And that we are quite possibly viewed as a threat. Or as vermin. Or perhaps as in the classic Twilight Zone, "To Serve Man".

The second proposed extension of the principle is far more local. And it would cause screams of outrage [and death threats] if published in most media.

Remember my formulation of TWANLOC; Those Who Are No Longer Our Countrymen.


>>>>>If you are part of a nation, you must either have one common language or if there is more the people must be multiply fluent. This is important because language determines thought patterns. If a language does not have a word, the people who speak that language do not have the concept the word represents. As an example, one of the problems when the West encountered China, they did not understand each other. When Westerners extolled the virtues of freedom, the word did not translate into Chinese as the concept of liberty under the rule of law. It translated as “license”, which did not go over well in Chinese culture.

We no longer share the same language as those I refer to as TWANLOC. The words do not mean the same things, and they are more than willing to twist words because the very concepts of “meaning” and “cause and effect” for them are just “social constructs”. It is akin to Marxist value; that which promotes the revolution is good, that what does not is evil.

To be a nation, a people must share a history, and within the bounds of socialization [in the political science sense, not the sense of a Socialist Party], they must share a basic interpretation of that history. To those Americans who we can call Patriots, America has had, and has flaws, but the overall trend is to fix what is wrong. To TWANLOC, America is an unmitigated evil. It is the cause of all the troubles of everyone else in the world. Take the view of slavery. To Patriots, slavery was wrong, our forefathers fought a war and lost hundreds of thousands of lives to end it. And no one alive now has owned a slave. To TWANLOC, America is somehow permanently tainted for having slavery, ever. Yet somehow, Islamic cultures that still enslave people are somehow pure. That is but one example, but if you talk to any Chiroptera Lunarii, if they have any knowledge of a history before their puberty, you will find an ingrained belief that the United States has never done anything good.<<<<

[CONTINUED BELOW]

17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
[CONTINUED FROM ABOVE]

>>>>To be a nation, people have to share a culture. What is our shared culture? Is it the heritage of Europe focused through the lens of post-Civil War [English Civil War] Britain? Is it the culture of victimization that values failure over achievement? Is it the heritage of the descendants of those oppressed by the Spanish? Is it the culture of the Europhile Marxists on the coasts? Once again, the context of the “dictionary” differs from group to group. And as the context shifts, meaning shifts. Indeed one could question whether there is any meaning that can be transmitted. Because, amongst others, the last 3 cultures mentioned have ‘deconstructed’ the concept of meaning to the point of, well, meaninglessness. Words and concepts mean what is advantageous to them at the moment, and you cannot hold them to any logical consistency. I am sure my fellow BC-ers have encountered this when dealing with Chiroptera Lunarii. Case in point, “All discrimination is bad, especially when practiced by someone opposed to the Left.”. But “Discrimination against Whites, males, and those who achieve is good; especially if it favors those who are non-white [except Asians], females, and those who are incapable of achievement.”. Red Queen territory.

The final, and most obvious, characteristic of nationhood is a shared territory over a period of time. And yes, all the disparate groups that are in this country share the territory of the 50 [or 57 if you are an Obamabot] states. But there is still a separation within the 50 states. The Left holds sway in large urban areas. [see presidential vote maps broken down by county] That is where their culture is based. We accept the difference and even joke about it. New Yorkers tend to believe that everything from New Jersey [a wilderness itself] to California really doesn’t exist except for outposts like Chicago, Boulder [Colorado] and Austin [Texas]. It is flyover country and it and its inhabitants are considered uneducated rubes who cling to guns and Bibles, and probably could not either identify the finest vintages of any given year in France or comprehend the subtle, ironic artistic nuances of a crucifix immersed in urine. Nor do they understand the complexities of the urban minority experience and they fail to celebrate the various gansta lifestyles.

Those in flyover country tend to believe in guns, God, and the Constitution; not in that order. And they disproportionately take up the burden of defending this country; over the objections of the Coastal Left who hates the military and those who serve. Once again culture, but also culture that is separated geographically.<<<<

Looking at the constant threats, insults, and contempt for legality and the Constitution expressed by TWANLOC towards us; can we really say that in reality TWANLOC regard us as moral or physical equals? Is our assumption of rational or moral motives by TWANLOC as much fiction as the Twilight Zone episode. I will leave the Gentle Readers to ponder and discuss further.

Subotai Bahadur

(show less)
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Then Maliki and Obama may share the same problem of disappearing divisions, soon, for quite the same reasons. Sure hope it doesn't come to that, here and many places in the world.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Subotai, for what it's worth.

I don't care where you come from, where you call home, what color your skin is, who you worship, or even if you worship a god at all...I consider you my brother in Liberty.

Thank you.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
c'est un coonhard, because of his origin, he had to emphasize his US citizensheep, like any immigrant (I hold exemples as illusrations)

p'tain I still prefer his peers in China, he should learn from the then leedership, it's not working to implement western rules in other cultures
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Panic and Pernod...
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
no, rage
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
/looks pained

I was, with certain qualifiers, a believer in the neocon experiment. I never thought we could turn a tribal society into a Jeffersonian democracy. I *did* think we could have three hundred pint-sized Marshall Plans for each tribe, and organize them into a confederation that would allow them to fight their tribal quarrels out at the ballot box, with no one getting murdered or exiled. I thought it would be the most slovenly and corrupt democracy on earth... but I also thought it would introduce the rule of law and a peaceful method of succession into a society that hadn't had these things since Hammurabi kicked the bucket. I didn't think it was a sure thing. I thought the attempt ought to be made. It appeared to be better than the Cold War model of knocking off the nasty dictator and installing a nice one. That gets you Pakistan, Iran....

And it worked, for a short while -- in Iraq anyway. It actually really did. But the Middle East is full of predators, and they are hanging off Iraq's flanks and legs and neck and testicles like a bunch of jackals bringing down an injured water buffalo. And then they will eat it alive. We can use money and air power to beat the jackals off and suture the buffalo's wounds and feel like we've done our good deed for the day, but they'll just come back... if not that pack of jackals, then a different one. As for AfPak? We should never have had boots on the ground there to begin with after the first year.

We needed to know all of that. We needed to humble our lofty aspirations and trashcan our Lawrence Of Arabia romantic mythology about in an inbred savage family of dysfunctional cultures stuck permanently on hood-rat-stupid and hood-rat-mean. And now we have, and we do. And that knowledge -- of them, of ourselves, and of our limitations -- is valuable. Because next time we will know that there is nothing we can do by act or omission to make those people settle down and leave us alone save naked WW2-style smashmouth force. It will be the biggest, bloodiest punitive expedition since Rome sacked Carthage, and there will be no aid package to follow. Merely a warning not to make us come back. Ever.

It still wasn't worth it, in retrospect. If we can glean nothing else perhaps we can get a free and independent Kurdistan on the map. They seem capable of holding it, and the Turks seem to approve for once.

I am not so much sorry about all of this as unspeakably, unbearably sad.
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17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Eschatology. Some of the middle part of the story is omitted, but the end is writ clear enough. The beginning dates back to Isaac and Ishmael. See also Gal 4:29, But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also..

There is truth, but we are free to believe whatever we choose. We can seek the truth or believe that which is pleasing to ourselves. That, in essence, is the difference between the conservative and the liberal. One believes what pleases, while the other attempts to reconcile beliefs with truth, wherever that may be found.

The end of the animosity between Islam and the people of the book occurs in the Plain of Esdraelon, near Megiddo. Nothing any human can do will remove the hatred from the heart of the followers of Islam.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
ahahah

can you sustain our irony?
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good post. Your views dovetail nicely with my philosophy of "Aggressive Isolationism," which I propounded in this forum several weeks ago. Punitive expeditions, baby: that's the way to go.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
''Hell is truth seen too late.''--John Dryden

Yes, and now we see it: they don't want to be just like us, waiting to be free of Saddam and blossom into America East. It hurts, but it's true, and we'll be better off for knowing it.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ravi over on orbat.com keeps track of current status of Iraqi troops (and everybody elses for that matter). The most recent status as of the 10th of July was:

To recap, Iran has 14 divisions before ISIS (now IS) attacked. 2ndand 3rd simply disintegrated. In part it was because ethnic Kurd troops (separate from Kurdistan forces) decided that defending Baghdad was no part of their deal, particularly as for six months the latter had refused to make tax payment to Ibril and Kurdistan was in bad shape.

Earlier, 1st and 7th Divisions had not exactly covered themselves with glory in Anbar when IS attacked in June. We mistakenly thought that at least the divisions were intact, but let us just say unless you want to put the word “intact” on the rack and torture it to it to death, these divisions were not intact.

4th, 5th, and 12th Divisions in Diyala and Saladin provinces were bypassed by IS/allies and also decided He Who Fights And Runs Away Lives To Fight Another Day. The divisions disintegrated and have not been sighted since.

Okay. At least 6th, 9th Armored, 11th Commando, and 17th Division in the Baghdad area seemed intact, as well as 8th Mechanized, 10th, and 14th Divisions in the south – Shia country. We had noted that when you lose 50% of your divisions, you really do not have an army anymore. But still, there was something left for the US to organize.

Then we learned 17th Division, which in Sunni country south of Baghdad had also decided to call it a day. But where was the fighting in this area, you will ask. There wasn’t anything serious, just some clashes with Sunni allies of IS. But that was enough to pull Iraq down to six divisions.

Yesterday we learned from a casual mention in Washington Post (9 July 2014, p. A6) that 8th Mechanized Division, which is 200-kilometers south of Baghdad, had 70 men left at its barracks in Diwaniya. Since two brigades are at other stations, this does not mean the division is gone. But think of it: if HQ, division troops, and brigade at Diwaniya are down to 70 men, then its more than likely the rest has also decided to go on permanent vacation. But this division was not threatened and nor did it engage in any fighting.

Ravi is a good analyst. From my perspective, if your troops melt away like this, it's all over but the shouting.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's what we got for our $3 trillion dollars and 4000 body bags. And you wonder why Libertarians are isolationist.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
You mean a $3 trillion "boost to the economy"!
Somebody got paid.
No wonder libertarians are isolationist.

Otoh, it was an audacious attempt and put paid to any thought of civilizing Islam. Plus we have the only army in the world experienced in Islamic war conditions, beyond some middle-aged Soviet vets.
My brother the spook called it a training war.

I agree it's a Hundred Years War from an Asia-centric view.
Their only chance is to spread, colonize, and metastasize.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Whenever a Muslim claims he loves death more than non-Muslims love life, don't believe it – it's a lie. If a Muslim truly loves death more than others love life, then he should have no objection to the extermination of Islam from human existence.

A true embrace of death transcends the mere sanctification of religious murder, for a true embrace of death would naturally mean an embrace of the extinction of one's own culture, one's own language, one's own religion, and one's own entire way of life.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
The nature of a war depends inherently upon the nature of one's adversary. One can only regard an enemy as a moral equal – as a comrade of sorts who shares the same experience – is if there is some basic agreement upon the rules of combat. The “Long War” is being fought over what the rules of combat are supposed to be. Is suicide bombing acceptable? Is beheading captives acceptable? Is murdering civilians en masse acceptable? For our side to regard the enemy as a moral equal, we would need to accept that mass murder is not merely morally acceptable but morally exalted.

Whenever Gazans gloat about celebrating their own deaths or celebrate the mass murder of enemy civilians, they are practically daring anybody who will listen to put them out of their misery. The only thing saving them and their cause is the moral scruples of their enemies – otherwise, Gazans would be toast.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is unlikely that drone technology would have expanded so dramatically in the past ten years were it not for suicide bombing. The morality of using robot assassins (which are what weaponized drones basically are) depends entirely upon the moral code – or lack thereof – of the enemy. If the enemy does not use suicide bombers and does not target civilians, there may be a question of whether assassinating him is ethical. However, if the enemy promotes suicide bombing and particularly suicide bombing against civilians, then assassinating him is morally acceptable.

Suicide bombing creates one sense of impunity while the robot assassin creates another sense of impunity – this is developing into an asymmetric war where victory depends upon the willingness of snipers to shoot and kill a seemingly defenseless man who just happens to the mastermind of a plot to murder millions of people.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
qu'est-ce que-t'es chiante !

I know you since SandMonkey's blog from 2006
I rather much worship Ted Edmonson and or Jon Weinberg balanced views than yours
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Spengler is right - let it burn. Let the entire mid-east burn, let it be like the 30 years war in 17th century Europe, where the population was reduced by half over the 30 year span. Let the violent half kill themselves off, and after 30 years of that, see if the survivors want to talk peace. Til then, just stay away.

The Arab world is not "reformable", not until a very large (and by that I mean at least half) of the general arab population is wiped out. That's going to take decades, but it looks like they're going to do that for us.

Let them.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
So long as the internal war can be contained. Easier in the 17th Century
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why will it not be the battle-hardened that survive? Oops.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Plus I just re-read your comment on the previous thread; even better than today's.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree; I've long felt our policy should be ''Let's you and him fight.'' Let them settle their seventh-century hatred in their own way--maybe we could arm both sides! The more violent it gets perhaps the fewer resources they can spare towards us. If we can somewhere get the skill (!!) and luck to protect ourselves from it all, we can avoid being sucked in.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, that's just what we did for the Iraq and Iran War and the Left still talks about how horrible that was, with Iran Contra.

Iran Contra was a good idea, admittedly with some significant flaws in execution of the plan, like getting the bank account numbers wrong.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
What the Left talks about is very simple to deal with - anything done by a Democrat is "good" (ever hear any complaints about Bosnia, or Libya?) and anything done by a Republican leader, no matter what, is EVIL!!!

once that's acknowledged, it's pretty easy to see there's just no point in paying attention to anything that those on the left say, other than you don't want to completely ignore the insane killer clown posse roaming your street. But that's the only level of credibility any of them have left.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem with the Mid east runs even deeper than Islam. Egypt I can give a pass to as it's basically a desert with stone as its one useful material. But the Fertile Crescent? And you are still engaged in tribal warfare from prebiblical times? The Arabs have not, in 10,000 years, grown up.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
''We, the United States of America, had made the Sahwa and their Sunni popular base a promise, a moral commitment, ... ''

Right there you've got a problem.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why is that a problem? Perhaps the moral commitment inherent in fighting side-by-side with others against a common foe (AQ) is something you don't grasp?
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Blast from the Past, re reforming Arab world: "Finally we have to take the children and ensure they get an education to our standards for at least three generations."

Isn't that the truth!

Of course, the first children we need to educate to "our" standards are Western children. We can already see what 3 generations of education to Gramsci standards has done to the West -- eg Soetero, Camoron, and the rest of the elected idiots who are demolishing the West from within.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
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