Monday, September 8, 2014

Iraq / Syria Regional War Updates ( September 8 , 2014 ) -- US Expands Air War Into Iraq’s Anbar Province Latest Airstrikes Focus on Haditha Dam ........ US Contractors Will Replace ‘Boots on the Ground’ in Iraq Pentagon Notice Asks for Contractors Willing to Work Long-Term in Iraq ........ Iraqi PM-Designate Proposes New Cabinet, But Vote Uncertain Kurdish Officials Say Negotiations Faltering ...... Obama Address to Lay Out Plans to Widen War on ISIS President Desperate to Insist It Isn't a New Iraq War ....... Tweets of the day focusing on news from the political front and he battlefield

ISIS Now Has A Navy, Launches Gunboat Attack Near Baghdad

Tyler Durden's picture

First it was UN and US military hardware and artillery, second it was hijacked Syrian fighter jets, and now ISIS has 'commandeered' a Navy.As Reuters reportsIslamic State fighters attacked a riverside town north of Baghdad on Monday with gunboats and a car bomb, killing 17 people and wounding 54, a security source said.

By land...

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AlQaeda affiliated Nusra Front driving around with a UN vehicle. Thats their flag on the car (v @BSyria @akhbar) Pic

And air....

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URGENT Video: ISIS threatens Russian President Putin with seized Russian fighter jets 

And now water...

The source said the attack on Dhuluiya, around 70 km (45 miles) from the capital, was carried out before dawn and continued for two hours before the militants were pushed back.

Among the dead in the attack, the largest of its kind in the area, were civilians and Iraqi forces. Most of the casualties were caused by the car bomb, which struck a market, the source said.

Dhuluiya is part of a belt of Sunni Muslim towns north of Baghdad where the hardline Sunni Muslim Islamic State has managed to wrestle some control, often aligning with local militia who distrust the Shi'ite-led government.
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We anxiously await President Obama's Wednesday unveiling of the strategy to 'defeat' The Islamic State on land, and air, and now water...

Anti War......

Iraq Parliament OKs Unity Govt, Kurdish Participation Conditional

Defense, Interior Ministry Spots to Be Filled Next Week

by Jason Ditz, September 08, 2014
Iraq’s parliament managed to beat the September 10 deadline for approving a new cabinet today, formalizing Hayder Abadi’s position as Iraq’s new prime minister, replacing Nouri al-Maliki, who will now be one of the vice presidents.
The cabinet is only a partial one, with the positions of Defense Minister and Interior Minister as yet undecided, and expected to be resolved by next week, with Abadi saying he’d take either the consensus parliament choices or appoint his own. There were no previous Interior and Defense Ministers, as Maliki held both positions for years.
As a “unity government,” Abadi appears to have done a good job spreading out the cabinet positions among the various parties. In addition to Maliki, the Vice Presidents will be Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi and former parliament speaker Osama Nujaifi. Thedeputy PMs will be Iraqiya’s top Sunni Arab, Saleh al-Mutlaq, and the Kurdish block’s Heshyar Zebari, along with Sadrist Trend leader Baha Araji.
Beyond that, Iraqi National Alliance figure Ibrahim al-Jaafari will replace Zebari as the Foreign Minister, while Kurdistan’s Roz Nouri Shawes replaces Iraqiya’s Rafi Essawi as the Finance Minister. The powerful Oil Ministry will be run by Adel Abdulmahdi of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, replacing State of Law’s Abdul Luaibi.
In addition to getting the deputy PM and finance ministry spots, Kurdish participation is conditional on the resolution of outstanding disputes over oil revenue sharing as well as territorial ownership of Kirkuk and other areas surrounding the original KRG territory, which Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have taken in recent months.
The unfilled ministries remain hugely important, and are likely to be hotly debated among the various factions in the week to come, though expect Abadi to keep the two spots, particularly the Defense Ministry spot, within the Shi’ite ruling bloc.

US Officials: New War on ISIS Will Take Years

Pentagon Envisions 'Minimum 36 Months' Military Campaign

by Jason Ditz, September 07, 2014
Even though US officials still don’t really have an idea of how they will actually defeat ISIS, they do seem to at least agree that wiping the group out in both Iraq and Syria is going to take a very long time.
President Obama had qualified the war as not a question of “weeks” early on, though officials are now saying that it’s going to be more like years, and likely not just a couple of those.
The Pentagon planners areenvisioning a “minimum” commitment of 36 months, which in keeping with their usual grossly optimistic estimates, could mean far, far longer.
The war is going to involve going into Syria, at some point, though officials continue to insist the focus right now is on Iraq. That built-in plan to escalate into another nation, with an underlying plan for regime change there as well, makes this truly an open-ended war with no specific number of years really a credible estimate right now.

US Expands Air War Into Iraq’s Anbar Province

Latest Airstrikes Focus on Haditha Dam

by Jason Ditz, September 07, 2014
In mid-August, Anbar Province Governor Ahmed Khalaf al-Dulaimi announced a deal with the United States that would involve the US expanding its war on ISIS into that province.
Today, the expansion began, with the first US airstrikes launched in the area around Haditha Dam, and Pentagon officials saying the strikes are aimed at assuring government control of the significant hydroelectric dam.
ISIS has seized most of Anbar Province since January, and has attacked the areas around Haditha Dam, without successfully taking the dam itself yet. The Iraqi military islaunching a ground offensiveto coincide with the US strikes.
Iraq’s largest province, Sunni-dominated Anbar’s major cities were in more or less full revolt before ISIS even started amassing territory there, angered by the Maliki government’s crackdowns.
Haditha dam is on the outskirts of Haditha, the city that was the site of the 2005 Haditha massacre, in which US Marines killed 24 Iraqi civilians. The governor’s reports of a planned US return, both with airstrikes and eventually a potential ground operation, has needless to say been met with trepidation by locals.
The strikes in Anbar are the first time the US air war has focused on territory primarily sought by the Iraqi military, as previous strikes had centered on the Kurdish frontier, and territory sought primarily by Peshmerga fighters. Iraqi officials had pushed for this, claiming it was unfair that the US war had so far focused on the Kurds.

US Contractors Will Replace ‘Boots on the Ground’ in Iraq

Pentagon Notice Asks for Contractors Willing to Work Long-Term in Iraq

by Jason Ditz, September 07, 2014
Keeping the size of the official military deployment into Iraq to a relative minimum appears to be a goal that the Pentagon has in mind, with the Obama Administration adding troops in small numbers but continuing to insist there isn’t going to be a ground war, or that at the very least US troops won’t be fighting in it.
Still, that doesn’t mean the war itself is going to be heavily impacted, but rather means the Pentagon will be focusing on mustering an army of contractors for the ISIS conflict.
During the last Iraq War, theUS at times had over 100,000military contractors on the ground there. The exact figures haven’t always been easy to come by, but the message that contractors don’t count as real troops on the ground in omnipresent.
The Pentagon is already sending out feelers for assembling this new unofficial army, posting a notice seeking contractors who are willing to work long-term in Iraq, with a minimum 12-month “initial” contract to be followed by extensions.
The US continues to have over 100,000 contractors in Afghanistan, a number that officials say is likely to remain high even as the military presence there continues to draw down.
Exactly how many contractors were already in Iraq at the start of this latest war is unclear, but some estimates have put the figure above 10,000. That’s likely a drop in the bucket, as America moves headlong into a new Iraq War in everything but name.
Though over 1,000 ground troops have already been sent to Iraq, the administration maintains they aren’t to be engaged in “combat,” and the primary focus of the US military operation in Iraq will be airstrikes, at least for now.
Those contractors, whose numbers and movements are rarely all that well reported on, could escalate the war in all sorts of ways without the administration having to worry about a public backlash in the lead-up to mid-term elections.

Iraqi PM-Designate Proposes New Cabinet, But Vote Uncertain

Kurdish Officials Say Negotiations Faltering

by Jason Ditz, September 07, 2014
Iraqi PM-Designate Haider al-Abadi has submitted his proposed cabinet to the parliament, beating the September 10 deadline for submitting such a list as required under Iraqi law.
The cabinet list has not been made public, but is expected to include both Sunni Arabs and Kurds, in an attempt to try to form a “unity government.” Whether he’s actually got the support of either the Sunni Arabs or the Kurds remains totally unclear.
So while some reportssuggested a “tentative” plan to hold a vote as early as Monday on the cabinet, the date of the vote could easily slip to allow Abadi to try to assemble more support.
Most of the details of the negotiations, as with the assembling of the cabinet itself, have been conducted in private, and that makes it hard to tell exactly where everyone is at on the plan. Kurdish officials, however, made clear that their part of the negotiations have effectively stalled.
In addition to disputes over oil revenue sharing dating back to Abadi’s term as finance committee chairman, the Kurdish parties are also seeking assurances on their territorial claims outside of the original Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) region, including the major city of Kirkuk.
The Kurds want a written agreement on the intention of settling of the boundary dispute, having seized a number of those cities during the chaotic June ISIS invasion of Mosul. Some Kurdish officials are said to be pushing a “pre-1975″ boundary that would include large chunks of additional territory as well.

Obama Address to Lay Out Plans to Widen War on ISIS

President Desperate to Insist It Isn't a New Iraq War

by Jason Ditz, September 07, 2014
President Obama is planning a major address to the nation on Wednesday in which he will be lay out what he is calling his “game plan” for the new war against ISIS, including plans to significantly widen the war.
Obama offered some glimpses into the plan’s goal of “defeating” ISIS, but once again gave no indication exactly how that would be achieved, beyond “going on the offensive.”
In laying out plans for this massive new war in Iraq, and likely eventually Syria, President Obama is expected to take great pains to try to convince the public that it doesn’t amount to a new Iraq War, even though it’s a war in Iraq against materially the same opponent the US fought during much of the last occupation.
The renaming of the opponent from al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) to ISIS has allowed the administration to paint this as a whole new war, instead of just the resumption of the last, failed conflict. He is also continuing to insist that ground troops won’t be used.
That continues to be a main talking point, despite increased numbers of US ground troops already sent to Iraq, and indications that the Pentagon is in the process of assembling a new army of contractors to fight a protracted war in Iraq.

Tweets of the morning......

Syrian airstrikes on positions kill 60 civilians

village asks refugees to evacuate camp in 48 hours

to meet on participating in the Iraqi cabinet

Iraqi officials say suicide bomber strikes tribal gathering north of , killing 16 people — AP.

warplanes wipe out militants positioned nearby Haditha dam — five airstrikes were carried out,...

IS militants launched a land & river-borne assault on Dhuluiya this morning, killing 17+ & wounding 54.