We Shouldn’t Feel Too Optimistic if Isis Are Defeated in Mosul
PATRICK COCKBURN • MARCH 3, 2017 • 1,200 WORDS
Other factors work in favour of Isis: it is fighting a vast array of enemies forced into an unwilling coalition against Isis because they fear and hate it just a little bit more than they hate and fear each other. As Isis weakens and becomes less of a threat, the edgy détente between different anti-Isis forces, such as the Iraqi government and the Iraqi Kurds, will begin to fray. People in Baghdad recall that the Kurds took advantage of the defeat of the Iraqi army in 2014 to grab extensive lands long disputed between themselves and the Arabs. Once freed of the menace of Isis, non-Kurdish Iraqis will want these territories back.
In Syria, there is an even more complicated three-cornered fight between the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian Kurds and Turkey for the areas from which Isis is retreating. Turkish troops and their local proxies have just taken al-Bab, northeast of Aleppo, from Isis after a hard fought siege, and have started attacking the town of Manbij nearby, which was taken from Isis after a long battle late last year by the Syrian Kurdish People’s Mobilisation Units (YPG) and its Arab allies. As Isis is driven out, the YPG and Turkish-backed forces are left facing each other in what might be the beginning of a new Kurdish-Turkish war waged across northern Syria.
Even those familiar with the complexities and shifting alliances of the Syrian civil war are baffled by the likely outcome as the different players in Syria position themselves to take advantage of a likely attack on Raqqa, the de facto Syrian capital of Isis. Will the US continue to use the devastating firepower of its air force to support a YPG-led ground offensive? Or could the US administration under Trump take a more pro-Turkish stance and, if it did so, would the Syrian Kurds look for an alternative military alliance with Assad and his Russian backers?
War Against Isis: US Strategy in Tatters as Militants March on
American-led air attacks are failing. Jihadis are close to taking Kobani, in Syria – and in Iraq western Baghdad is now under serious threat
BY PATRICK COCKBURN • OCTOBER 12, 2014
The Siege Of Kobani: Obama’s Syrian Fiasco In Motion
by David Stockman • October 5, 2014
So then why doesn’t Turkey put some infantry and spotters on the ground—-highly trained “boots” that are literally positioned a few kilometers away on its side of the border?
Well, Turkish President Erdogan just explained his government’s reluctance quite succinctly, as reported by Bloomberg on Saturday:
For us, ISIL and the (Kurdish) PKK are the same,” Erdogan said in televised remarks today in Istanbul.
And that’s literally true because from Turkey’s vantage point the Kobani showdown is a case of terrorist-on-terrorist. The Kurdish fighters in Kobani are linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK. The latter has waged a separatist campaign of armed insurrection and terror inside and around Turkey for 30-years and has long been considered Turkey’s top security threat. In fact, Turkey has received untold amounts of US aid, equipment and intelligence over the years to help suppress this uprising. That’s the reason that PKK is officially classified as a “terrorist” group by the U.S. and the government in Ankara.
And, no, the Syrian and Turkish Kurds so classified as terrorists are not some black sheep cousins of the “good guy” Kurds in Erbil and northeastern Iraq that CNN parades every night as America’s heroic ally on the ground. They are all part of the greater Kurdish nation of some 30 million who inhabit southeastern Turkey, northeastern Syria and Iraq and western Iran. Taken together, these Kurdish enclaves comprise the single largest ethnic population in the Middle East that does not have its own state, and which has been a source of irredentist conflict and instability for decades.
The Imponderable Will To Fight in Iraq
By Robert Bruce Ware
October 1, 2014
America’s new war in Syria is a total disaster
Ryan Cooper | September 24, 2014
The idea that we can successfully arm and train “moderate” Syrian rebels is simply ludicrous. As Ross Douthat points out, we just tried that with the Iraqi army, for eight years, and it was an utter failure. Everything about Syria suggests that such an effort will be more difficult than before, not less.
It has been barely a year since we came within a hair’s breadth of supporting ISIS and other Syrian rebels in their quest to topple the dictator Bashar al-Assad. Now, as Glenn Greenwald points out, we’re tipping off Assad in advance about coming airstrikes. All our quagmire alarms should go off when a civil war is so chaotic that the target of intervention shifts 180 degrees in a single year.
There is also a fundamental disconnect between means and ends here. President Obama says we must eventually destroy ISIS. Airstrikes alone almost certainly won’t accomplish this. We’ve been bombing ISIS in Iraq now for weeks and it has barely dented their territory. Setting an objective without the means to achieve it is a great way to get national credibility invested in yet more escalation that ends in ground troops and a doomed-to-fail occupation.
Is Obama misleading the world to war? Depends how you define ‘misleading’
When it comes to military strikes against Isis in Syria, his administration’s strategy relies on what the meaning of ‘is’ is
To translate: “imminent” can mean a lot of things … including “not imminent”.
Finally, there’s the prospect of ground troops in Iraq or Syria – or, as the White House would like the public to believe, the idea that there is no prospect for ground troops in Iraq or Syria. By any layman’s definition, there are already combat troops on the ground in Iraq.
As the New York Times’s Mark Landler detailed over the weekend, White House has “an extremely narrow definition of combat … a definition rejected by virtually every military expert.” According to the Obama administration, the 1600 “military advisers” that have steadily been flowing in Iraq fall outside this definition, despite the fact that “military advisers” can be: embedded with Iraqi troops; carry weapons; fire their weapons if fired upon; and call in airstrikes. In the bizarro dictionary of war employed by this White House, none of that qualifies as “combat”.
So when you hear the words “imminent attack”, “civilians”, militants” or “ground troops” from now on, be careful: if the government says they’re not misleading you, it might only be because they’ve secretly changed the definition of “misleading”.
6 Ways Obama Contradicts Himself in Waging War on ISIS
The president’s confused and confusing explanation of his new military campaign
Jacob Sullum | September 24, 2014
According to the president, then, acceptable outcomes of this war range from making ISIS less of a factor (whatever that might mean) to wiping it from the face of the planet. As additional insurance against failure, the administration says this effort will take at least three years, so seeing it through will be the responsibility of Obama’s successor. Don’t blame Obama if things go south after 2016!
And what about that awful Assad regime, the one Obama said must go? The arming of “appropriately vetted” Syrian rebels, according to the legislation approving it, is aimed at “promoting the conditions for a negotiated settlement to end the conflict in Syria.”
It would be terribly confusing if Assad had a place at that table, especially if he were joined by a degraded-but-not-destroyed ISIS. It is hard to believe something like that could happen—unless Obama promises that it won’t.
The Tower Of Babel Comes To Paris: The Folly Of Obama’s “War” On ISIS
by David Stockman • September 20, 2014
One way or another, however, 200 million Turks, Iranians, Iraqis, Jordanians, Syrians and Saudis, along with their leaders, will find ways to contain and ultimately eliminate a few thousand medievalist butchers. In the interim, America can remain vigilant at home—which is the only way to deal with the threat of terrorism anyway. Certainly, the confused disciple of Curtis LeMay currently occupying the Oval Office should put his bombs away at the very earliest opportunity.
Don’t arm the Syrian rebels
The McKeon Amendment – A Lend-Lease Act for Terrorists
by Justin Raimondo, September 17, 2014
Obama Lays Out Broad Strategy for Years of War Against ISIS
White House Denies ‘Mission Creep’ as War Expands – Sept. 9th, 2014
ISIS/Iraq/Syria/Mid-East and Ukraine – September 2014
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