Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Iraq / Syria War Theatre Updates ( August 26 , 2014 ) --Assad: No US Airstrikes Without Syrian Coordination Syria Eager for Aid, But Not Unilateral US Attacks ........ US, British Special Forces on the Ground in Iraq Trying to Find ISIS Leaders Not Much Known About ISIS Leadership ...... Bombers Return to Baghdad; 212 Killed, 184 Wounded ........ UN Slams ISIS for Mass Executing Prisoners, Mum on Iraq Doing It Ethnic Cleansing When ISIS Does It, But Not When Iraq Does?

Late Day / Evening Tweets....


 Retweeted by 
gov't formation negotiations: Sunni bloc presents 18 demands, Shia bloc MPs say demands "almost impossible" Ar

I think could be storming Samarra...

Cellular networks cut off in Samarra.

Being informed about a massive offensive by in is going on.. Wont speak about it for security reasons & till is confirmed.

Unconfirmed reports hundreds of militants supported by heavy arms are now mobilizing towards airport.

Unconfirmed reports hundreds of militants supported by heavy arms are now mobilizing towards airport.

insurgents recapture Fallujah dam in Anbar

Centcom says it conducted 2 airstrikes today on armed vehicles near . Since Aug.8, it conducted a total of 98 airstrikes in

 Retweeted by Vivian Salama
Always candid president Barzani says was first to send military equipment to forces in fight against IS.

Seven European states to arm Kurds in Iraq: US

 Retweeted by Liz Sly

"Analysts say that would be the most effective place for the U.S. to strike "


( FWIW - However , the claims made by the Syria Government should either be admitted as true or denied as false by the UN. Was Foley killed a year ago ? )


Fresh doubt thrown on veracity of beheading video
Syrian Government: James Foley Killed a Year Ago
Image Credits: ISIS

Fresh doubt has been thrown on the narrative behind the James Foley beheading video after a Syrian government spokesperson claimed that the American journalist was killed by ISIS militants a year ago.
Following the release of a video last week which purported to show the murder of Foley, top forensic experts concluded that the footage was staged using “camera trickery and slick post-production techniques,” concurring with Infowars’ analysis that the video was highly dubious given that it was immediately used as justification for military strikes on Syria.
Official Syrian government spokesperson Bouthaina Shaaban has now complicated matters further by asserting that Foley was in fact murdered by Islamic State militants a year ago.
“James Foley was first arrested by the Free Syrian Army and he was sold to ISIS [an earlier name for the IS]. You can check with the UN…James Foley was killed a year ago, not now, they only released the pictures now, but he was killed a year ago. We have definite information, the UN has the information,” said Shaaban.
The claim contradicts the narrative that Foley’s family received a letter on August 12 from ISIS militants threatening to execute the journalist if Barack Obama gave the green light for air strikes on Islamic State militants in Iraq.
The Foley beheading video has been used as a poster child for accomplishing what Washington failed to do in the aftermath of last year’s chemical weapons attack in Ghouta – build a consensus for a military assault on Syria. Officials and lawmakers have cited the video as providing a “new context” which legitimizes an expansion of U.S. military activity in the middle east.
Although the air strikes will ostensibly target ISIS fighters and not Syrian government positions, Assad has repeatedly asserted that any U.S. military action in Syria will be seen as an act of war, threatening to enflame the entire region.
According to reports today, Obama has ordered US spy planes to start patrolling the country with a view to launching a military assault, “a step that would plunge the U.S. into a country already ravaged by an intractable civil war,” reports the Daily Mail.


IS withdrawal strategy calls for creation of local defense forces

During the weeks that followed the incursion of the Islamic State (IS) into Mosul and its expansion toward other Iraqi cities, which resulted in the withdrawal of Iraqi security and military forces as well as the Kurdish peshmerga, talks about “tactical withdrawal” prevailed. Every party, namely the Iraqi forces, the Kurdish peshmerga and IS, claimed to have tactically withdrawn from Anah in western Iraq.
Iraqi and peshmerga forces did not exert real effort in the fight to win back the territories they lost up until the US intervention on Aug. 8. Similarly, IS militants did not fiercely fight to control the cities and villages they entered.
Cities fell under IS rule within a few hours with no real resistance on the part of the military forces. Over the last few weeks, media outlets received official army statements about the deaths of hundreds and maybe thousands of IS militants, countered by other statements issued by IS about the deaths of thousands of army and peshmerga troops.
As to military equipment, some vehicles were destroyed by the withdrawing forces. However, the large amount of equipment and heavy weapons that IS seized provide further proof that no real act of resistance took place.
It is important to understand that IS retreats from certain areas where it knows the army is unable to maintain its control, and then returns at a later stage. This is the reason it usually resorts to a smooth withdrawal from the sites it controls if it encounters heavy attacks. Such withdrawal is indeed tactical, because it is based on the hypothesis that the Iraqi army will not be able to control the land upon entering.


Controlling the land has always been related to the stance of the locals. It has become clear that the Iraqi forces, which are aided by Shiite militias, will not be able to control any Sunni cities for more than a few hours. IS will, as usual, withdraw after the advancement of the army and bet on the residents’ fears of retaliatory attacks, thus gaining their support.
Atheel al-Nujaifi, governor of Mosul, told Al-Monitor in a phone interview that the Iraqi army and even the peshmerga forces could not liberate the Sunni cities from the control of IS due to the residents' fear. What is needed is to establish Sunni forces that are well trusted by residents to take on this task and exterminate IS, according to Nujaifi.
Nujaifi said negotiations were taking place to establish forces made up of residents of Mosul, Salahuddin, Anbar, Diyala and Kirkuk. These forces would consist of tribesmen and groups opposed to IS and would be supported by the Iraqi army and the peshmerga forces, with the US military providing cover. They would work under the auspices of the state, and not independently, to completely liberate Sunni cities.
Nujaifi added that the future of governance in post-IS Iraq was related to acknowledging these forces and transforming them into state forces by making each governorate a federal state, in such a way that allows it to defend itself and govern its own affairs, as is the case in Iraqi Kurdistan with the peshmerga.
Announcing the formation of these forces will take time, and time is sometimes in the Islamic State’s favor. IS, however, has become less capable of threatening Baghdad, and is now in a defensive mode after the peshmerga forces, with the support of the United States, succeeded in regaining control of the towns they previously lost and imposing control over such a vital facility as the Mosul Dam.



The 'Sunni Turn' Against The 'Shiite Crescent': How The Strategic Stupidity Of Washington (And Its Allies) Created ISIS

Tyler Durden's picture

The Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) is being touted as the newest “threat” to the American homelandhysterics have pointed to Chicago as the locus of their interest, and we are told by everyone from the President on down that if we don’t attack them – i.e. go back into Iraq (and even venture into Syria) to root them out – they’ll soon show up on American shores.
How is this supposed to work? Well, you see, that monster who beheaded James Foley had a British accent, and there are reports ofmore than a few Brits (and Americans) traveling to Syria to fight on behalf of ISIS. So these jihadi “internationalists” could always just fly back to either Britain or the US, where another 9/11 would shortly be in the works.
Let’s put aside the FBI statement that, while Americans abroad may be in some unspecified degree of danger, ISIS represents “no credible threat” to the continental United States. If we take the ISIS-threatens-us-at-home war propaganda seriously we have to believe Western law enforcement agencies, with all the tools at their command – including near total surveillance of online and telephonic communications worldwide – have no idea what dubious characters have traveled to Syria via, say, New York or London, and would in any case be powerless to prevent their return.
In short, we have to invade yet another country (or two) because our own post-9/11 security arrangements are virtually nonexistent – in spite of having spent untold billions on building them up.
Can that really be true?
If we step back from the hysteria generated by the beheading of US journalist James Foley, what’s clear is that this new bogeyman is the creation of the United States and its allies in the region.
ISIS didn’t just arise out of the earth like some Islamist variation on the fabled Myrmidons: they needed money, weapons, logistics, propaganda facilities, and international connections to reach the relatively high level of organization and lethality they seem to have achieved in such a short period of time. Where did they get these assets?
None of this is any secret: Saudi ArabiaQatar, and the rest of the oil-rich Gulf states have been backing them all the way. PrinceBandar al-Sultanuntil recently the head of the Kingdom’s intelligence agency – and still the chief of its National Security Council – has been among their biggest backers. Qatar and the Gulf states have also been generous in their support for the Syrian jihadists who were too radical for the US to openly back. Although pressure from Washington – only recently exerted – has reportedly forced them to cut off the aid, ISIS is now an accomplished fact – and how can anyone say that support has entirely evaporated instead of merely going underground?
Washington’s responsibility for the success of ISIS is less direct, but no less damning.
The US was in a de facto alliance with the groups that merged to form ISIS ever since President Barack Obama declared Syria’s Bashar al-Assad “must go” – and Washington started funding Syrian rebel groups whose composition and leadership kept changing. By funding the Free Syrian Army (FSA), our “vetted” Syrian Islamists, this administration has actively worked to defeat the only forces capable of rooting out ISIS from its Syrian nest – Assad’s Ba’athist government. Millions of dollars in overt aid – and who knows how much covertly? – were pumped into the FSA. How much of thatseeped into the coffers of ISIS when constantly forming and re-forming chameleon-like rebel groups defected from the FSA? These defectors didn’t just go away: they joined up with more radical – and militarily effective – Islamist militias, some of which undoubtedly found their way to ISIS.
How many ISIS cadres who started out in the FSA were trained and equipped by American “advisors” in neighboring Jordan?We’ll never know the exact answer to that question, but the number is very likely not zero – and this Mother Jones piece shows that, at least under the Clinton-Petraeus duo, the “vetting” process was a joke. Furthermore, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) may well have been on to something when he confronted Hillary with the contention that some of the arms looted from Gaddafi’s arsenals may well have reached the Syrian rebels. There was, after all, the question of where that mysterious “charity ship,” the Al Entisar, carrying “humanitarian aid” to the Syrian rebels headquartered in Turkey, sailed from.
Secondly, the open backing by the US of particular Syrian rebel groups no doubt discredited them in the eyes of most Islamist types, driving them away from the FSA and into the arms of ISIS.When it became clear Washington wasn’t going to provide air support for rebel actions on the ground, these guys left the FSA in droves – and swelled the ranks of groups that eventually coalesced into ISIS.
Thirdly, the one silent partner in all this has been the state of Israel. While there is no evidence of direct Israeli backing, the public statements of some top Israeli officials lead one to believe Tel Aviv has little interest in stopping the ISIS threat – except, of course, to urge Washington to step deeper into the Syrian quagmire.
In a recent public event held at the Aspen Institute, former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren bluntly stated that in any struggle between the Sunni jihadists and their Iranian Shi’ite enemies, the former are the “lesser evil.” They’re all “bad guys,” says Oren, but “we always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” Last year, Sima Shine, Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs, declared:
"The alternative, whereby [Assad falls and] Jihadists flock to Syria, is not good. We have no good options in Syria. But Assad remaining along with the Iranians is worse. His ouster would exert immense pressure on Iran.”
None of this should come as much of a surprise to anyone who has been following Israel’s machinations in the region. It has long been known that the Israelis have been standing very close to the sidelines of the Syrian civil war, gloating and hoping for “no outcome,” as thisNew York Times piece put it.
Israel’s goal in the region has been to gin up as much conflict and chaos as possible, keeping its Islamic enemies divided, making it impossible for any credible challenge to arise among its Arab neighbors – and aiming the main blow at Tehran. As Ambassador Oren so brazenly asserted – while paying lip service to the awfulness of ISIS and al-Qaeda – their quarrel isn’t really with the Arabs, anyway – it’s with the Persians, whom they fear and loathe, and whose destruction has been their number one objective since the days of Ariel Sharon.
Why anyone is shocked that our Middle Eastern allies have been building up Sunni radicals in the region is beyond me – because this has also been de facto US policy since the Bush administration, which began recruiting American assets in the Sunni region as the linchpin of the Iraqi “surge.” This was part and parcel of the so-called “Sunni turn,” or “redirection,” in Seymour Hersh’s phrase, which, as I warned in 2006, would become Washington’s chosen strategy for dealing with what they called the “Shia crescent” – the crescent-shaped territory spanning Iran, Iraq, Syria, and parts of Lebanon under Hezbollah’s control, which the neocons began pointing to as the Big New Threat shortly after Saddam Hussein’s defeat.
The pro-Sunni orientation of US policymakers wasn’t reversed with the change of administrations: instead, it went into overdrive, especially after the much-vaunted Arab Spring. Both Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, and David Petraeus, who had yet to disgrace himself and was still CIA director, lobbied intensivelyfor more support to the Syrian rebels. The Sunni Turn took a fateful turn when the Three Harpies of the Apocalypse – Hillary, Susan Rice, and now UN ambassador Samantha Power – hectored Obama into pursuing regime change in Libya. In this case the US and its NATO allies acted as the Islamist militia’s air force while supplying them with arms on the ground and diplomatic support internationally.
Yet even as Libya was imploding from the effects of its “liberation,” the neocons and their “liberal” interventionist allies in the Democratic party – and in the highest reaches of the Obama administration – were building support for yet another fateful “Sunni turn,” this time in Syria. Caving to this pressure, the Obama administration decidedto act on accusations of poison gas supposedly used by Assad against the rebels to directly intervene with a bombing campaign modeled along Libyan lines. Only a huge public outcry stopped them.
ISIS could never have been consolidated in the form it has now taken without the strategic disaster of Washington’s “Sunni turn.” While the US may have reason to regret this harebrained strategy, it’s far too late for that – and it looks to me like our “allies” in the region, including Israel, aren’t about to turn on a dime at Obama’s command.
Last year around this time Vladimir Putin very publicly warnedagainst the scenario we are seeing unfold in the Middle East:
“If Assad goes today, a political vacuum emerges – who will fill it? Maybe those terrorist organizations. Nobody wants this – but how can it be avoided? After all, they are armed and aggressive.”
Now that Putin’s prediction has come to pass, we’re too busyconfronting him in Ukraine – and dreaming of the day we can do to him what we did to Assad – to acknowledge it. But you can hear the gears of our policymaking machine screaming in protest as Washington does an abrupt about-face and starts cooperating with Assad – previously denounced as the latest edition of Adolph Hitler – by sharing intelligence enabling the Syrian army to target ISIS positions.
We have always been at war with Eurasia. Or is that Eastasia? I forget.
The lesson of all this?
What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to intervene. And deceive – this administration has not only been lying to the American people about the nature of the Syrian “liberators” we’ve been funding with their tax dollars, they also been deceiving themselves. The Sunni Turn has turned on them, and with a vengeance.
The ancient Greeks had a word for the particular sin committed by our political class: they called it hubris– a mindset generated by the belief that humankind can defy the gods and get away with it. Yet the divine pantheon of Olympus had a way of giving these malefactors their comeuppance: they sent the goddess Nemesis to avenge such sacrilege – and she was relentless in her pursuit. The word nemesishas come down to us to mean “the inescapable agent of someone’s or something’s downfall” – and that is as succinct an explanation of the origins of ISIS as we are likely to come across.
Okay, so the anti-interventionists told us so – but now what? What should the United States do about ISIS now that they’ve taken over half of Syria and a third of Iraq?
The answer is: let Assad, the Iranians, the Turks, and, yes, the Russians take care of it, since they are the states directly threatened by the growth of the so-called Islamic State. Why should we fight their war for them?
Contrary to the War Party’s hebephrenic appeals to intervene,inaction on our part is key to the destruction of ISIS. The Grand Caliph of the Islamic State would like nothing more than to be able to portray ISIS as the valiant opponent of a US reentry into the region. It would be a tremendous propaganda victory for them to be able to frame their cause in this context because the result would be a successful international recruiting drive that would fill the ranks of the Islamic State’s army even as hundreds are killed by US drones and missile strikes.
By letting nature take its course and permitting Iraq’s predatory neighbors to gobble up the charred remains of the Iraqi state wedestroyed, we can solve a problem we created in the first place, albeit not without incurring the inevitable cost of our initial error – which was invading Iraq in the first place.
ISIS has made a big deal out of declaring the end of the Sykes-Picot agreement, which divided the region between British and French interests at the end of World War I. Having declared their “Islamic State,” ISIS claims to have destroyed the status quo by militarily – and, to much notice, symbolically – erasing the border between Syria and Iraq. The claim is laughable: a ragtag”army” of perhaps 17,000 fighters couldn’t have achieved that without some significant outside help, not only from the Saudis and the Qataris but, decisively, from Washington.
We abolished Sykes-Picot by effectively putting an end to Iraqi statehood. The process was completed when Washington subsequently allied with Iraq’s Sunni tribesmen in a vain hope to avoid the break up of Iraq and drive Al Qaeda out of the country. What happened, instead, was that the Sunni tribesmen’s brothers across the by-then-virtually-nonexistent border were drawn into the Iraqi arena, where they took up the fight against Baghdad – and their American backers.
ISIS didn’t blast Sykes-Picot to pieces: we did, and now we must live with the consequences. Nemesis has taken her pound of flesh.
The best course now is to learn the lesson every child has to absorb before he can attain adulthood in more than merely a physical sense:actions have consequences. Applied to the Middle East, this lesson can only have one meaning: stay out and keep out.

Anti War....

Assad: No US Airstrikes Without Syrian Coordination

Syria Eager for Aid, But Not Unilateral US Attacks

by Jason Ditz, August 25, 2014
The US has put itself in a difficult position, having for days hyped the idea that they need to expand the current Iraq air war into neighboring Syria, but now facing the difficulty of Syria’s government having a mind of its own.
The Assad government, which only a year ago the US was preparing to invade Syria to remove, has said they welcomeany coordination with the US on their ongoing war with ISIS.
The problem is, they want that coordination to all be on the up-and-up, and the foreign ministry has said they would not accept unilateral US attacks outside of a coordination deal, and would view them as an act of aggression.
That’s the standard the US has set for its intervention in Iraq, portraying the support of the Maliki government as proof they aren’t the aggressors in the war. Making a public spectacle of themselves with a rapprochement with Assad, however, isn’t something officials are prepared to do.
The US faced this problem on a smaller scale going into Iraq this time, as Iran was already backing the Iraqi government, and the US has refused to coordinate with Iran, even though they both have the exact same agenda, simply on the grounds that Iran is an official “enemy.”
The problem in Syria is dramatically bigger, as the US expansion of the war into Syria is going to inevitably require a reckoning with the Assad government, and even though rapprochement would give the US everything it wants, including an Iraq-style pretext to intervene in aid of the existing government, the embarrassment that would come from changing their official tone on Syria means they’re going to need to find another excuse.
In the meantime, the US will continue to secretly send targeting intelligence to the Assad government to aid it in the ISIS war, and continue to do everything in making itself an Assad ally, short of publicly admitting it.

US, British Special Forces on the Ground in Iraq Trying to Find ISIS Leaders

Not Much Known About ISIS Leadership

by Jason Ditz, August 25, 2014
US and British special forces are on the ground in Iraq, according to new reports, with an eye particularly on identifying the so-called Jihadi John who beheaded James Foley.
British Ambassador to the US Sir Peter Westmacott claimed the nations are “close” to identifying the man, believed to be a British citizen, and there has been considerable speculation that he is Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, though this is not confirmed.
The most interesting part of this operation is that, including the unidentified Jihadi John, the US and Britain haven’t really conclusively identified many ISIS leaders, and don’t really have much understanding of how the group works.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the “caliph” of ISIS, is the leader. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess. The speculation seems to be coming primarily out of the various ISIS recruitment videos, with the assumption that anyone who makes a lot of appearances is probably a “leader.”
This guessing about the leadership makes the US plans to start assassinating ISIS leaders in airstrikes dicey, at best, and seems likely to lead to a lot of claims of “top leaders” killed who were at best tangentially linked to the organization.

Bombers Return to Baghdad; 212 Killed, 184 Wounded
by , August 25, 2014
Baghdad and two cities south of the capital suffered from a number of bombs targeting civilians. Across the country, at least 212 people and 184 more were wounded.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister-Designate Haider al-Abadi cautioned militias to stop acting independently. The warning comes three days after Shi’ite militias purportedly shot up a Sunni mosque in Imam Weis.
In Baghdad, a suicide bomber killed 15 people during noon prayers in the Baghdad al-Jadida district and wounded at least 32 more. A roadside bomb targeting police inDoura instead killed three civilians and wounded 11 more. Also in Doura, a sticky bomb killed a civilianTwo people were killed and 10 were wounded during a blast inShabb. Bombs in the Kadhimiya and Utifiya neighborhoods killed three people and wounded 15 more.
Another car bomb killed 11 people and wounded 26 more in Hilla.
In Mosulthree dead women were found.
Three dumped bodies were found in Kirkuk.
Militants beheaded three policemen in Qayara.
In Mahmoudiya, a roadside bomb wounded three civilians.
A bomb injured a shepherd who was tending to his sheep in Iskandariya.
In Falluja45 militants were killed and dozens more were injured during airstrikes. Security forces on the ground killed three more.
Ten militants were killed during airstrikes in Suleiman Bek.
In Garma, airstrikes killed 10 militants, including their leader.
Airstrikes in Khalidiya and Albu Bali left 43 militants dead.
More than 20 militants were killed during airstrikes in Duluiya.
In Jalawla, a militant leader and two aides were killed during an airstrike.
A clash in Himreen left two militants dead.
An operation in Haditha left many militant dead.
Airstrikes were implemented in Daquq, and in Baiji.

UN Slams ISIS for Mass Executing Prisoners, Mum on Iraq Doing It

Ethnic Cleansing When ISIS Does It, But Not When Iraq Does?

by Jason Ditz, August 25, 2014
Navi Pillay, the UN High Commission for human rights, today pointed out “horrific human rights violations” are being committed by ISIS on a daily basis. That’s certainly not in dispute, but the focus on mass execution of Shi’ite prisoners is telling.
The puzzling aspect of this is that the Iraqi government has repeatedly done the exact same thing, with policeroutinely mass executing Sunni prisoners instead of bothering to transport them away from combat zones, on the grounds that as Sunnis they’re liable to join ISIS.
The Iraqi prison convoy executions have all followed the same narrative, a false claim of a “convoy attack” which is later admitted to have been a pretext for the executions. To the extent the ISIS killings are different, it is that they were honest about executing detainees on the basis of religious affiliation from the start, instead of trying to sugarcoat the massacres.
Yet it must be the policy, and not the pretense which counts, and if the UN is determined to probe “ethnic cleansing” over the ISIS executions, there is no good reason to see why Iraq’s government shouldn’t be facing a similar probe.

Tweets of the Morning ! 

surveillance planes fly over : AP sources

Car bomb kills 10 at busy intersection: officials

President says, "Mosul dam is under the effective control of Peshmerga" refutes rumours to the contrary.

How could take back without a fight? Under the watch of fighter jets and drones? The news is not true.

 Retweeted by Joel Wing

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