Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Iraq / Syria Regional War Updates ( October 30 , 2014 ) -- Despite hundreds of Air Strikes in both Iraq and Syria since the bombing campaigns began this past summer , ISIS still causing havoc in both countries..... Tweets of the day covering hard news on Iraq and Syria....
Across Iraq on Wednesday at least 350 people were killed. Most of them were Islamic State militants, but the militants also executed several dozen men in Anbar province. At least 67 were wounded in bombings and shelling.
The U.S. Army and Navy separately announced that the government would improve the monitoring of troops exposed to chemical weapons in Iraq. The New York Times discovered that the troops were inadequately treated and their exposure was even kept secret. The revelations have caused the government to publicly review the handling of the matter and to make necessary changes.
Iraqi forces say they have edged closer to the Baiji refinery and a crucial highway that connects Baghdad with Mosul.
US officials say that the September attack on “Khorasan,” a US-invented term for a faction within Jabhat al-Nusra, failed even worse than previously reported, and the leaders previously reported killed actually survived.
Though officials claimed to be tracking Khorasan for a long time, experts believe the term was primarily invented to sell the attacks as something other than on Nusra, which in addition to being al-Qaeda is also a close ally of the “moderate” rebels the US always hypes in Syria.
The group’s leaders, such as they are, were al-Qaeda members previously claimed as leaders of other dubious plots, such as the “al-Qaeda in Iran” wing that was so popularly hyped during the Iraq War.
Now, officials say the leaders were in league with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemeni faction, and were learning bomb-making from the people who brought you the failed underwear bomber. That is the primary basis on which they’re being dubbed an “imminent threat,” and one that is actively plotting against the US. And if they weren’t plotting before, they certainly are after the failed attacks on them.
Rebel leaders say that the ISIS battle for Kobani (Ayn al-Arab in Arabic) is going better than the Kurds were claiming, and that the Islamists now control roughly half of the key Syrian border town.
The first Peshmerga fighters are arriving in Kobani, with 150 troops bringing anti-tank weapons to join the other Kurdish fighters. They arrived through Turkey, having been given passage by the Turkish government.
The decision of the Kurdistan Regional government (KRG) to send the Peshmerga at all is controversial among Iraqi officials, with key State of Law MP Ali Adib saying the deployment of Peshmerga abroad is a violation of the Iraqi constitution, which forbids involvement in overseas operations without government approval.
Adib also doubted that the 150 troops were going to make a serious difference in a battle that has raged for weeks, an assessment which seems much less controversial. Though some are welcoming the arrival as a potential game-changer in Iraqi-Syrian Kurdish relations, it is hard to imagine them turning the tide of battle.