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Hitchcock Unit budget tactics vs. Obama's 6-Point Plan to beat ISIS

j.j. hitchcock hitchcock unit barack obama isis friedman unit

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#1 mmoghand



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Posted 22 June 2015 - 08:22 PM

The Next Two Or Three Years Will Be Critical

Wherein Washington and global politics follow J.J.'s budget-grabbing ploy. (James Johnson Hitchcock, R.I.P).


President Obama presented his Six Point Plan for defeating ISIS back in September 2014. And mainly due to ISIS barbarity and tactical ineptness, the war has gone better than one might have expected. The standard "two or three year" Hitchcock Unit time period was declared then by the president. The president may not have realized the power of bureaucratic planning -- always personified by 800-pound gorillas.


Considering recent battles in northern Iraq and between ISIS and the Kurds in Syria, it shouldn't take a full Hitchcock Unit to accomplish the mission. Even with tepid CENTCOM cooperation. We're 9 months into the full 2 or 3 years of an HU. Let's see where we are.


Six months of fantasy time is a Friedman Unit. A FU.


That was born as the always sliding estimate for when Bush43's ignorant meddling in Iraq would produce paradise on earth. Similar to free beer, tomorrow. Two or three years of budget out-years time is the Hitchcock Unit. Not exactly a "bow wave" projection... more sophisticated. Invented by Hitchcock way, way back. Before Washington heard about Vietnam, much less knew where it was.


Let's review Obama's Six Point Plan. The president's six item-defining sentences:


1) Significantly expand the bombing campaign in Iraq

2) Train and equip the Iraqi army and Kurdish troops

3) Begin bombing in Syria

4) Train and arm the Syrian rebels

5) Get regional actors like Saudi Arabia and European allies on board to counter ISIS' regional and international influence

6) Keep US troops out and stay away from the Syrian and Iranian governments


Easy to evaluate nine months later.


1) Significantly expand the bombing campaign in Iraq

3) Begin bombing in Syria


CENTCOM is throwing out 20 hits a day for Syria and Iraq. compare/contrast with 800 attacks a day during the 2003 war. That's what the 2% Solution looks like through May 2015. This is documented from CENTCOM's PR releases.


Obama made no mention of providing ISIS with a Safe Zone that equates to Western Syria. As a guess that's the bureaucracy's ace in the hole for keeping ISIS viable for the whole three years.


2) Train and equip the Iraqi army and Kurdish troops


The Kurds up in Syria have received substantial material assistance. In Iraq, next to nothing apart from drone airstrikes on ISIS assets. The Iraqi army has more equipment than it knows what to do with. The problem there is that stopping truck bombs/VBIEDs depends on a combination of close air support -- which has not been forthcoming -- and recoilless rifles/shoulder launched missiles.


The Russian RPGs/AT3 Saggers from 1973 are perfect for the task of blasting idiot-driven trucks. During the Yom Kippur War, Israel adapted new tactics asap to respond to Egyptian deployment of Sagger. ISIS and its suicide attacks offer no such flexibility. In any case, the Ramadi debacle let the Pentagon sell 2,000 $1,500 RPGs to Iraq. (In a sand storm, bet on Sagger.)


4) Train and arm the Syrian rebels


A joke. The "Syrian rebels," so-called, are the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria out of their traditional tribal stronghold, Aleppo. This is the same Salafi, pro-Al Qaeda anti-Western operation as Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which is identical in every respect to HAMAS in Gaza. Retagging MB as "FSA" Free Syrian Army required getting the fifth dumbest plebe out of Annapolis to go into Syria for hugs all around and a photo op.


The other "Syrian rebels" are Nusrah Front. A.k.a., Al Qaeda.


5) Get regional actors like Saudi Arabia and European allies on board to counter ISIS' regional and international influence


France is flying aerial sorties against ISIS. Same for Great Britain. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries sent planes over temporarily to make a show of cooperation, which has dwindled away to surveillance over the months. However, Jordan lost a pilot, Muath al-Kaseasbeh, who was burned alive by ISIS. That act of madness brought a strong change to the internal politics of Syria's Sunni tribes. If anything, the main tribes are now neutral pro-government. They want ISIS and Nusrah gone.


On the international front ISIS oil sales were halted. The West is good at money. War, not so much. Coercing "allies," not much at all.


6) Keep US troops out and stay away from the Syrian and Iranian governments


It should be obvious that channels are in place with the Syrian and Iranian governments. U.S. Special Forces assist with fire control tasks for the Iranian led coalition in northern Iraq. Same for the battles up around Al Hasakah in Syria, where Kurdish and Syrian government troops with Iranian artillery advisors/trainers have been locked in a fight against ISIS units for more than a year.


Saudi Arabia and the other oil states lay out a whole lot of money bribing western politicians. There's also some kind of deal going where oil prices have been tanked, arguably a tool for taking the starch out of Russian expansionism. But for Syria and Iraq where the task at hand is taking out ISIS, holding hands with ISIS's paymasters remains bad form.


After the U.S. sat back and allowed ISIS to wreck Ramadi on May 14th-16th, some 450 fresh U.S. troops were reported on route to Iraq. That's out of the White House. They were described as "trainers" and "advisors" severally.


How's about "hostages" ???


Consider CENTCOM's dereliction on the morning of May 14th. ISIS was observed outside Ramadi setting up suicide chains. Nothing went down. No CAS. No drone strikes.


If there had been a couple dozen U.S. Marines in there with the contingent defending the Government Complex in Ramadi, what's odds that a close air support operation would have been launched immediately from the Al Asar air base (10 minutes to the west from Ramadi) ? The U.S. has a wing of A-10 Warthogs out there. Fergawdsake.


The whole of that ISIS 100-vehicle attack group combo could have been brewed up on the road similar to the Highway of Death during the Gulf War in 1992.


The Iraqi troops at the GC paid 60 of their lives to evacuate the Government Complex buildings. They got that evacuation done before the biggest of the truck bombs went off.


The truth of that battle was covered over in western media with lies about Iraqi troops turning tail as cowards. The false story was pasted to photos that in fact showed troops being recalled to their bases, picked up asap from their normal routines patrolling Ramadi streets. The core reason that Ramadi fell to ISIS again was that the U.S. failed, not providing CAS support or even drone strikes, not that the Iraqis went yellow.


Stay Away


The business about staying "away from the Syrians and Iranian governments" translates to tactical and logistical military blunders. Between the Syrian Army and Iran's Quds Force, first rate spotting/fire control information is available all across Syria and northern Iraq. Instead of hitting 20 targets a day, CENTCOM manned planes and drones could go up to 50 or 100 hits a day. Easily. Working with any and all anti-Salafi/anti-ISIS/anti-Nusrah operations is what makes sense, if the Pentagon and White House are willing to see the war end.




First, Obama's Six Point Plan would have been a bust if ISIS had not burned Muath al-Kasasbeh alive. That barbarity changed everything inside Jordan and Syria and even Lebanon and parts of Israel and Egypt.


Second, Obama's approach to the Commander in Chief job does not include getting strong quality control channels in place. He punishes insubordination, not getting many hundreds of people killed like the Ramadi dereliction of duty on the morning of May 14th. And providing ISIS and Nusrah a Safe Zone in western Syria ??? Not using local spotting resources? How much worse could White House performance be than that?


Imagine Truman, the artillery officer from WW I, or George H.W. Bush or Dwight Eisenhower in this fight. They knew damn well how to kill the enemy in wartime.


A Safe Area for ISIS called western Syria ??? Not those guys.

#2 mmoghand



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Posted 23 June 2015 - 06:28 AM

To be clear this is not exactly how you would deploy aerial resources trying to defeat ISIS:




The original is available HERE.


The situation in May 2015 was a skosh worse than that. The hits in Syria help Kurdish efforts in the far north and east rather doing such as protecting Syrian civilians generally. The big units of the ISIS army in Syria are over in the west.




The original for this accounting table is available HERE. 


It was constructed from the CENTCOM public reports for May 2015.


SecDef Ashton Carter talks about "pushing ISIS out of Iraq." Does he intend to serve tea at the crossings?

#3 mmoghand



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Posted 17 September 2015 - 08:39 AM

NY Times today edges toward accepting evidence that the Obama policies for Syria have accomplished nothing. "THE EDITORIAL BOARD" still pretend that the summary of evidence presented above does not exist. In sum:




During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, American military officials often provided misleadingly upbeat assessments of battlefield efforts and belittled reporting that contradicted their narrative. Their take on the progress of the troops was frequently at odds with the conclusions of civilian intelligence analysts and reporting by journalists in the field. The opposing views were important because they sometimes forced the Pentagon to face unpleasant truths and change course.


The war against the Islamic State terrorist group, which the Obama administration launched more than a year ago, however, has unfolded out of sight by design.



Then they bullshxt us, denying that the daily press releases can be put together to define targets and intensities.


The Elusive Truth About the War on ISIS


And of course no mention that we are hitting ISIS at 20 airstrikes a day, compared to 800 a day hitting Saddam Hussein in 2003. NYT's TEB then admit the obvious, quoting what was already broadcast live from Congressional hearings:


Gen. Lloyd Austin,  the commander of Centcom, said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday that ... the United States currently has "four of five" Syrian fighters battling the Islamic State — more than a year into a campaign that depends heavily on grooming and training a local fighting force.


With Iran putting 6,000 soldiers into Syria and Russia coming on board with a decent sized air force and modern armored vehicles and artillery, plus Kurdish Peshmerga coming in with Iranian equipment, this nonperformance from the United States and its NATO allies may not prove decisive. In eastern Syria we can expect the Russian air operation to give the Kurds all they need to take the fight to ISIS.


Sa'ud & GCC financing for ISIS has produced a shocking loss of life in Syria. 200,000 in western Syria and an estimated 500,000 in the northern and eastern regions. The country ran into a severe drought and the GCC crowd tried to take advantage and install a Wahhabi-dominated client state. The tens of thousands of foreign fighters recruited and sent in there outnumber the whole of the Syrian army as of 2010. It should not surprise that countries that fought off Sunni Islamic conquests centuries back are taking the lead fighting off this new Caliphate.


Duchy of Moscow vs. Islamic Hordes


After 400 years of war with the Mongol-Tatars and 600 years of Islamic predations, it took Russa four centuries beginning in 1444 to break Islamic threats out of the Caucasus and Ottoman Turkey. The White Russians were able ultimately to acquire Western European technology and military organization (including integrated logistics) leading to the big consolidations under Katharine the Great. But prior to that some 2,000,000 of their people were taken as slaves and sold into various Caliphates and the Ottoman Empire.


Slavs generally had been a conquered people under Muslim control. Russia's final revenge in the mid-1860s included a displacement that resembled the earlier American "Trail of Tears" slaughter of the Cherokee. Half a million Muslims from the highland Caucasus were driven toward Turkey or far south into what are today "The Stans." Many of them died of disease and exposure en route.


Persian history is equally brutal. The Iran-Iraq War turned ultra-violent when President Reagan reversed Carter's neutrality and shiploads of war materials were sent in to help Saddam Hussein kill Persians. Estimates run to 500,000 combat casualties and another 1,000,000 civilian deaths in Iran. American conservatives still whine that Iran took a "terrorist" measure of revenge helping kill 243 at the Marine BLT Barracks in Lebanon, 1983. That would not have made one day of the killings going on then at the southern front of the Iran-Iraq War.


War on whole peoples has been the rule more than not for more than a millennium. What we are seeing as Syrian refugees today would most likely have been converted to a flood of new slaves back 500 years ago. Slaves and corpses.


That is what ISIS is doing with the Yazidi minority in Syria and Iraq. Rape and enslave the girls and murder the men.


No surprise that Putin and Suleimani see this war differently from D.C.'s Beltway Gang. Also, certainly, Putin and Suleimani are not taking Sa'ud bribes. Not a Bush, not a D.C. lawyer in their mix. There is that.

#4 mmoghand



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Posted 19 September 2015 - 08:10 AM

Senator Marco Rubio hsad this to say during the Republican debate at the Reagan Library:



Syria's a perfect example of it. The uprising in Syria was not started by the United States; it was started by the Syrian people. And I warned at the time -- this was three and a half years ago -- I openly and repeatedly warned that if we did not find moderate elements on the ground that we could equip and arm, that void would be filled by radical jihadists.


Well, the president didn't listen, the Administration didn't follow through, and that's exactly what happened. That is why ISIS grew. That is why ISIS then came over the border from Syria and back into Iraq.


What is happening in that region is the direct consequence of the inability to lead and of disengagement. And the more we disengage, the more airplanes from Moscow you're going to see flying out of Damascus and out of Syria...



Facts don't support any of it:


-- The Aleppo "uprising" in 2011 was a Muslim Brotherhood event. That's pretty much the same overall organization as HAMAS.


-- ISIS grew because they got hundreds of millions of dollars in military support out of the GCC countries. Plus Turkey shipping in the anti-aircraft guns, mortars and ammunition that made the ISIS Attack Groups overwhelmingly powerful in fights with local militias and police.


-- "Moderate elements" would have been the Syrian government back during the early days of the big Syrian drought. Ba'athists are the one and only secular, modern law-based Muslim groups in the Middle East.


Marco Rubio ??? Basically he's another slogan spouting entertainer. Another Limbaugh, another Trump.


That's what we are seeing at the top of the Republican Party. Same time as another declared candidate -- Carly Fionia -- says that America should not talk to international players such as Russia and North Korea. Amazing stuff.

#5 mmoghand



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Posted 03 October 2015 - 06:58 PM

Now we have National Review, the child of William F. Buckley, come on board with an appraisal of Syria's reality that matches the posts here at Foolmoon over the last year. They're not quite comfortable with maps. They hate Global Warming with an ideological obsession that blocks consideration of Syria's prolonged drought -- it ended only in 2013 after years that matched what we have been seeing in California.


Still, we should be pleased at any spread of realism:



To repeat, in Syria, there has never been a vacuum — i.e., a void created by the failure to cultivate a viable opposition. Yes, there are some moderates in Syria, but the backbone of Assad’s opposition has always been Islamist: the Muslim Brotherhood and the even more extreme jihadists with whom they seamlessly make common cause. They are not moderates; they want to overthrow Iran’s despicable cat’s paw, Assad, in order to do to Syria what the Brotherhood tried to do to Egypt — and what Islamists have done to Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, etc.


It is not true that Obama failed to back the Syrian “rebels.” In fact, after the mutual Obama-Beltway GOP strategy of siding with Islamists against Qaddafi blew up on us in Libya, a reprise was attempted in Syria.


Alas, the “rebels” we backed kept aligning with the jihadists (just as they did in Libya); the weapons we gave them kept ending up in jihadist hands. That was not just because the “rebels” were insufficiently “vetted”; it was because there was no way to overthrow Assad without the Islamists’ playing a major role — and, probably, a leading role.This contributed to the ascendancy of ISIS, but was not the cause of that ascendancy. The cause is the dominant regional culture — Islamic supremacism.



Local substitution for White Supremacy.


And yes, Global Warming. Without the drought there would have been no opening for the Islamists to bribe tribal leaders and gain space to bring in the 20mm and 23mm anti-aircraft guns and other war goods and the big money.


They do manage to go lost toward the end. Damning Obama feels so good... Andy McCarthy and his editors can't hold on to the tasks of doing evidence and logic. There is one gem:


Republicans, especially those seeking the presidency, will never get the policy right until they get reality right. It is reality that must inform American interests, which in turn must inform American action.


From cap-C Conservatives.


Instead of proceeding to the evidence, they fall over to Slogan Logic. They repeat foolishness that American interests go to defeating "both Russia/Iran/Assad and ISIS/al-Qaeda/Muslim Brotherhood." [Serious lists would have expanded that first with Hezbollah and then with HAMAS.]


Inside Syria that means defeating everybody. Well, everybody who exists as a military organization.


The U.S. got involved in Syria during the Iraq occupation. 2,000,000 Iraqis had run for their lives into Syria and the Bush penchant for "rendition" political kidnappings relied on the Assad regime as one of their contract torturers.


We're dirty. Always have been.


Blaming "Sunni and Shiite" radical Islam isn't going to change that. I'm not even sure what they mean by a "Shiite radical Islam." Do they think that Hezbollah is a 7th Century throw-back like Al Qaeda ?????


National Review has found the road. Now they will need to stick to it. Also to add in the roles of Sa'ud-GCC bribery and military aid to Wahhabi extremists.


They're getting better.

#6 mmoghand



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Posted 13 October 2015 - 09:06 AM

We have an updated map of Syria in hand. Force dispositions inside of Syria and Iraq. Let's look first:






First, in Iraq, Mosul is now surrounded. Same for Fallujah and Ramadi. The ISIS forces at those locations cannot be provisioned or reinforced as the current situation holds. As a rough guess that put 3,000 in the trap at Mosul and 1,000 each at Fallujah and Ramadi.


Second, there's not a whole lot of point to maintaining a fiction that something called a "Free Syrian Army" exists inside of Syria. That's a budget line for CIA accountants. Cousin to astronomy's Black Hole objects.


Muslim Brotherhood has its usual allies among the Sunni tribes. That is what gives the light green areas the considerable area that you see on the map. If a tribe allies with the Brotherhood then their area is tinted light green. None of this area was conquered by external forces. This is not the ISIS model.


al-Qaeda (Nusrah) has small pockets of control in otherwise Brotherhood areas.


The big news looks to be Hezbollah finishing its campaign to take high ground in the main mountain area Jabal esh Sharqi. Two large ISIS contingents had occupied the heights in 2013-2014. The Lebanese Army is the only operation with full artillery strength, so what we are seeing is joint operations with Hezbollah providing the ground troops.


Corporate Resources


If you compare this map with what the American broadcast news services are showing on screen, you might wonder what is happening. Single-tint areas for "Moderate Opposition" or "Opposition" replace al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood. The Kurds are shown to be far less successful along Syria's northern border. Look to ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and you'd think the Kurds are in trouble.


Of course the corporate news outlets are also pushing the notion that crushing ISIS depends on taking out the secular Ba'athists and the Assads first. Amazing propaganda theme. That is also quite an original notion. The Ba'athists man the Syrian Army, both Sunni and Shia plus Druze. That remains the largest fighting force in the country.


Taking out Assad is a long time Wahhabi objective. Has been for decades, going back into the 1950s when the Sa'uds and the Turks allied to support Brotherhood penetration in Aleppo and other urban areas. How it got to be an American objective might could take us to the topics of bribery and blackmail. The Sa'uds just spent an estimated $300 million on a state visit to see President Obama, so don't ignore "Black Gold Rules" as a candidate for prime commandment.

Edited by mmoghand, 13 October 2015 - 09:06 AM.

#7 mmoghand



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Posted 10 February 2016 - 08:39 AM



Y'all remember the Friedman Unit from 2003-2007 in Iraq. That was a never changing 6-month period of time -- a planning constant -- after which Bush's invasion would start to make sense. Always flowing out from today into the future.


Let's get real. Freidman is a propagandist. Want to find out what the Permanent Government, a.k.a. Military-Industrial-Complex wants us to believe then Friedman is the GoToGuy.


Here's the basic collection for demi-factoid tags:


  • A No-State Syria
  • Sunni Allies
  • Shiite Rogue State
  • Rogue-State Shiite Iran
  • Shiite Proxies
  • Dominate (occupy) four Arab capitals

To say the least, each of these phrases is arguable from the ground up. Let's look at how Friedman weaves this into a story line:


...a no-state Syria — a Syria that Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers only partly control — will be a chest wound bleeding refugees into Europe. I am certain that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is deliberately bombing anti-regime Syrians to drive them into Europe in hopes of creating a rift in the European Union, strain its resources and make it a weaker rival to Russia and a weaker ally for America.


And the non-state Sunni caliphate (ISIS) and rogue-state Shiite Iran will feed off each other. I love it when both Democratic and Republican candidates say, “When I am president, I’ll get Sunni Arabs to take the lead in fighting ISIS.” Gosh, I bet Obama never thought of that!


The Sunni Arabs are never going to destroy a non-state ISIS as long as Iran behaves like a Shiite rogue state, not a normal one. It’s true, Iran is a great civilization. It could dominate the region with the dynamism of its business class, universities, science and arts. But Iran’s ayatollahs don’t trust their soft power. They prefer instead to go rogue, to look for dignity in all the wrong places — by using Shiite proxies to dominate four Arab capitals: Beirut, Damascus, Sana and Baghdad.


-- www.nytimes.com/2016/02/10/opinion/the-many-mideast-solutions.html




First, it's not in that excerpt but the whole notion that the Sunni oil states are our allies is hardly a constant. They're the ones supporting HAMAS. 99% of it, not the Iranians.


And the drive to generate a Sunni rebellion in Syria was framed from 2011 to replace Syria's Ottoman heritage -- going back to Suleiman the Magnificent and his modernizing Kanun Law -- with Saudi rule.  The Saudi goals go to Wahhabi/Salafi authoritarianism, Sharia Law, destruction of modern education, well-defined patterns of corruption where Royals can take property at will.


"The Sunni Arabs are never going to destroy a non-state ISIS as long as Iran behaves like a Shiite rogue state" -- Hell, Saudi Arabia's intel operation financed AQI in Iraq and then when it relocated from Iraq to Syria. KSA Intel bought the heavy guns they used as AQI-then-ISIS to roll the local tribal militias.


KSA also financed Al Qaeda (Nusrah) as part of their scheme to inflict Sharia and remake Syria to look like a poor version of Arabia.


Some allies. They're also letting money flow to Ansar al-Sharia in Libya, Boko Haram, another half-dozen pro-Sharia armed bands of irregulars.


Blame it on the Iranians ??? Why not? Of course there's no evidence linking Iran to these pro-Sharia armies. Iran is decidedly anti-Sharia in the sense of Saudi custom and laws.


Propaganda is built on slogan logic. Not facts. Blame the deficiencies of the Sunni oil states -- authoritarian government, crippled education, xenophobia, oil sloth generally -- on Iran. It's fiction, good only to support perpetual war.


P.S. Syria now has two real states. The Alawite-led Ba'athists and the Kurds. They are more than happy to cooperate on military and economic issues. Long after ISIS is destroyed they will remain in place, opposing further Saudi adventures. These Ba'athists are majority Sunni as are the Kurds. Syrians haven't taken the Sunni/Shia split seriously for centuries. They have individual tribes that go both ways. The Alawites, for example, incorporate elements of early Christianity. Nobody cares.

Edited by mmoghand, 10 February 2016 - 08:55 AM.

#8 mmoghand



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Posted 11 February 2016 - 09:13 AM



This problem of citizenship mismatch is also characteristic of the other 24 individuals who showed up end of January for the United Nations meeting chaired by Staffan de Mistura. The press release out of the U.N. says this group "represent the Syrian opposition."


Switzerland issued visas to the initial 24.


Then you get to Mohammed Alloush who functions as the public face for a coalition of pro-Sharia militias called Jaysh al-Islam. His brother Zahran Alloush had been brought in to run suicide-bomb operations through a militia known as Liwa al-Islam. Liwa al-Islam inflicted dozens of these savageries on Damascus from 2011 through 2015. Mohammed and Zahran Alloush came to prominence as sons of Saudi cleric-politico Abdullah Mohammed Alloush. They spread out plenty of Saudi money driving these efforts in Syria -- hundreds of murders a year.


Recruiting individuals with Major Depression to carry out mass murder is a uniquely Saudi tactic. Saudis set up the first pilgrim-killing gangs in Iraq. These Alloush brothers replicated that carnage in Damascus, Syria.


December, 2015 was end of the road for Zahran Alloush. An hour of airstrikes wasted the Jaysh al-Islam headquarters east side of Damascus, killing their operational leadership.


It is unclear how a suicide-bombing operation is going to change its spots and lead a peace process. Jaysh al-Islam and al-Qaeda in Syria were also the militias that carried out the slaughter of hundreds of civilians at Adra al-Omalia and Douma in September, 2014.


Follow the money. When you start out in Syria that is not an especially difficult problem.

#9 mmoghand



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Posted 21 October 2016 - 05:46 PM

1) Significantly expand the bombing campaign in Iraq

2) Train and equip the Iraqi army and Kurdish troops

3) Begin bombing in Syria

4) Train and arm the Syrian rebels

5) Get regional actors like Saudi Arabia and European allies on board to counter ISIS' regional and international influence

6) Keep US troops out and stay away from the Syrian and Iranian governments


CENTCOM had upped its sortie rate. But on October 21st this was it. Contrast with the 800-a-day sortie rate during the 2003 invasion. That was done in 2003 with no drones.



*       Near Mosul, four strikes engaged three ISIL tactical units and two staging areas; destroyed an ISIL headquarters building, 23 fighting positions, eight ISIL VBIEDs, six ISIL-held buildings, six vehicles, five mortar systems, three heavy machine guns, a tanker truck, and a command and control node; damaged a VBIED; suppressed nine heavy machine gun positions, five sniper positions, four mortar positions, an artillery system position and 11 ISIL tactical units.
*       Near Rawah, one strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit.
*       Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a VBIED, a vehicle and an ISIL-held building.
*       Near Tal Afar, one strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two checkpoints.


1. Honestly nothing about CENTCOM's air campaign has been expanded. They're useful but not expanded. Not at all decisive.


2. The Iraqi army is in better shape. For equipment the Americans get points. For strategy it's Quds Force and a newly minted General Staff.


3. and 4. CENTCOM is bombing DEASH in Syria. They refuse to bomb al-Qaeda or the al-Q allies including Muslim Brotherhood. "Arm Syrian rebels" gave TOw missiles and mortars to al-Qaeda / Nusrah.


5. Saudi Arabia is on the wrong side. Same for Qatar. The governments, maybe not. But the big oil money still goes to Jihadis. DAESH and al-Qaeda -- same difference.


6. U.S. troops are in Iraq again. Why they're not working with anti-Jihadis of any flavor is unclear.

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