Saturday 1st of November 2014

what to do about islamic state in syria and iraq...?

the war that isn't...

US' Iraq strategy: The operation with no name
Too limited, vague and open to mission creep. Barack Obama's strategy in Iraq has been criticized from all sides. DW tracks the twists and turns of an operation with no name - one that looks to be expanding.

On the evening of August 7, Barack Obama entered the State Dining Room at the White House and told the American people:

"Today I authorized two operations in Iraq - targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death."

Obama gave no evocative name to the operations. He set out a limited mission: "stopping the advance" of the Islamic State (IS) on the Kurdish city of Irbil, site of a US consulate, and preventing a feared genocide against thousands of Yazidis stranded on Mount Sinjar.

No new war

Absent was any talk of "destroying" IS, and Obama was emphatic that he would not involve US combat forces: "I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq."

 

read more: http://www.dw.de/us-iraq-strategy-the-operation-with-no-name/a-17874145

 

more refugees...

Almost everyone has a tale of family members desperate to escape to Australia.

Admoun Anwiya is hoping to get a visa for his brother, who he says was wounded by IS militants in Mosul.

"My brother, he's a doctor and he's a specialist," he said.

"And [Islamic State] attack him in his surgery and shoot him in his head ... only because he's a Christian."


4,000 visas does not meet demand: Assyrian Resource Centre

Many at the Assyrian Resource Centre say even the well-established Christian community in Baghdad is under siege.

Ilvin Warda says her sister's family are now virtual prisoners in their home.

"Every day I will cry," she said.

"At night they phone me, 'save our Christians'. I don't know how I [can] help them."

The Government says it has freed up 4,000 places for special humanitarian visas - many for applicants from Iraq and Syria - but those are not new.

They come from the already existing quota of 13,750, reduced from 20,000 this year.

Carmen Lazar of the Assyrian Resource Centre says while her community appreciates everything the Australian Government has done in the past, this time it is not enough.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-24/refugees-fleeing-islamic-state-for-australia-may-miss-out/5690788

coordinating operation flip-flop squishy...

 

Syria's foreign minister has offered to help the US fight the Islamic State (IS) militant group, which has seized swathes of land in Iraq and Syria.

Walid Muallem said Syria was "the centre of the international coalition to fight Islamic State".

The US has already bombed IS fighters in Iraq and has hinted it would be willing to take action in Syria.

Western powers generally shun Syria's government, accusing it of carrying out atrocities in its three-year civil war.

But Mr Muallem warned that the US must co-ordinate with the Syrian government before launching any air strikes on its territory.

"Anything outside this is considered aggression," he said.

Mr Muallem's comments are one of the first public statements from the regime on IS.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28927246

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Now, I believe the "Isis" is now called "ISIL", or is my old age showing, as I get confused? Hard to keep up with all the bizos and gismos and thingies...

 

the CIA is unable to read tea leaves...

 

The US was "caught off guard" by air strikes against Islamist militia in Libya, a senior official has told the BBC.

The attacks on militia positions around Tripoli airport were reportedly carried out by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from bases in Egypt.

Egypt has denied any involvement and the UAE has not commented.

A militia alliance recently captured the capital's international airport after a battle lasting nearly a month.

The official told the BBC that the US had not been consulted about the air strikes and that it was concerned that US weapons may have been used, violating agreements under which they were sold.

The unidentified war planes attacked twice in the past week during a battle for Tripoli's airport between Islamist and nationalist militias.

A report in The New York Times on Monday said the UAE had provided the military aircraft, aerial refuelling planes and crews while Egypt gave access to its air bases.

read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28933070

decision, decision...

Barack Obama was due to announce a significant expansion of the military campaign against Islamic State militants on Tuesday, authorising air strikes against targets in Syria for the first time.

 

In a televised address to air at 9pm ET, Obama announced an aggressive offensive to defeat the group, which has been responsible for the beheading of two American citizens in the past month.

He compared the campaign to those waged against al-Qaida in Yemen and Somalia, where US drones, cruise missiles and special-operations raids have battered local affiliates, yet without notably improving the stability of either country nor dealing decisive blows to al-Qaida there.

Obama was also expected to announce the deployment of additional personnel to Iraq who will help Iraqi army forces combat Isis insurgents and also expand existing US air strikes there.

“With a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat,” Obama willl say, according to excerpts provided by the White House.

read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/10/obama-speech-authorise-air-strikes-against-isis-syria

 

See toon at top....

 

and what about us?

A Syrian government minister has warned that any foreign intervention in the country would be an act of aggression unless it is approved by Damascus, after the United States said it was prepared to strike against Islamic State fighters in the country.

Syria has repeatedly warned that any action on its soil needs its approval and has said it is willing to work with any country to tackle IS fighters who have captured large areas of Syria and neighbouring Iraq.

"Any action of any type without the approval of Syrian government is an aggression against Syria," Ali Haidar, minister of national reconciliation affairs, told reporters in Damascus on Thursday.

"There must be cooperation with Syria and coordination with Syria and there must be a Syrian approval of any action whether it is military or not."

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/09/syria-islamic-state-201491114243147712.html

stretching the strategy...

 

A week ago, President Obama stood before the American people and promised that the expanding fight against the Islamic State — a vicious Sunni militant group known as ISIS or ISIL that is terrorizing parts of Iraq and Syria — would not mean a commitment of American ground troops. “As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission,” he said.

On Tuesday, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had a very different message when he testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. “If we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I’ll recommend that to the president,” he said, citing a potential attempt to retake the strategic important Iraqi city of Mosul as an example.

There is no way to read this other than as a reversal from the firm commitment Mr. Obama made not to immerse the country in another endless ground war in the Middle East.

Even though General Dempsey’s remarks were conditional, the Obama administration has turned on a dime in record time and opened the door to deeper, more costly American involvement even before the strategy is fully sketched out. And this is happening without Congress ever giving Mr. Obama the authority to wage war.

read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/17/opinion/is-us-policy-on-fighting-isis-already-changing.html?_r=0

 

 

The first part of the strategy would be to DEMAND that Saudi Arabia fight the Isis mess, by itself after having asked permission to help Iraq. Then we need to keep an eye on Saudi Arabia not doing the dirty on Iraq. 


Second part of the strategy, should the first part not executed properly: Bomb Saudi Arabia, because there is a good chance (99.889 per cent) that Isis is the product of Saudi's own religious Wahhabi intolerance. The Saudis have beheaded far more people than Isis and we said "houik" which in pigsty language means "zero"

 

panetta's pancake...

Peter Beinart ridicules Panetta’s recent use of the discredited “credibility” argument in an interview:

But like most other Obama critics, Panetta’s argument for why the U.S. should have bombed Assad has little to do with conditions on the ground in Syria. It’s all about American credibility. As Panetta told USA Today, “There’s [now] a little question mark [among America’s allies] as to, is the United States going to stick this out? Is the United States going to be there when we need them?”

The credibility argument was always a stretch.

It would be generous to call it a stretch. The argument that Panetta is making here has no merit, and “credibility” arguments of this kind are worthless. It is an argument that sounds plausible only so long as you don’t give it much thought. “Credibility” in the sense that Panetta means it doesn’t matter, and appearing to “lose” it doesn’t have the effects that he claims.

Other major powers don’t assume that U.S. guarantees to its treaty allies in their region are less valid because the U.S. didn’t bomb a regime in a different part of the world. U.S. allies and clients don’t decide their involvement in later military interventions based on whether the U.S. has followed through on previous threats. They determine whether the specific intervention is one that they think they are in some way obliged to join or support. Likewise, U.S. allies don’t equate security guarantees that Washington makes to them with a president’s off-the-cuff warning to a minor dictator. Opting not to bomb Syria didn’t make U.S. allies any less confident of U.S. backing, nor does it appear to have made them any less inclined to join new U.S.-led military interventions.

read more: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/panetta-and-the-zombie-credibility-argument/

the kurdish conundrum...

Just a few years ago, the idea of the West working together with the Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan would have been preposterous. Over the past three decades, PKK has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of Turkish civilians, providing the US and the European Union ample reason to keep the group on its lists of terrorist organizations. For many in the West, however, these former outlaws have become solitary heroes in the fight to save the Middle East from IS. With an estimated size of 15,000 fighters, PKK is the strongest fighting force in the region and the only one that seems willing and able to put up a fight against Islamic State. They are disciplined and efficient in addition to being pro-Western and secular.

The West would have preferred to rely on the PKK's Kurdish rivals, the 100,000-strong Peshmerga force of the northern Iraq autonomous region. But Peshmerga was overpowered by Islamic State. Furthermore, they have little combat experience, a dearth of modern weaponry, insufficient training and no central command. It isn't really even a true army, merely a hodgepodge of extracurricular clubs, partisan troops and special units. In August, they ceded the Sinjar Mountains to IS virtually without a fight, forcing thousands of Kurdish Yazidis to flee. The Peshmerga retreated elsewhere too in the face of IS advances.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party of Massoud Barzani, the president of northern Iraq, is essentially a family-run business with an associated small state, as corrupt as it is conservative. The PKK, and its Syrian counterpart YPG, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. The tightly run cadre isn't democratic, but neither is it corrupt -- and in Kobani, they are giving their all in the fight against Islamic State. Indeed, it was the PKK that succeeded in establishing a protective corridor in Sinjar that enabled tens of thousands of Yazidis to flee. It was also PKK that defended the cities of Makhmour and Kirkuk in Iraq against Islamic State militias.

The US Air Force is now air-dropping weapons for YPG fighters in Kobani, while the German military is delivering bazookas to the Peshmerga -- and not to Kobani where they are far more urgently needed. Everyone is assuring that these weapons won't fall into the hands of the PKK. Meanwhile, Turkey has acquiesced to allowing Peshmerga fighters to join the fray in Kobani and politicians in Europe and the United States are timidly considering removing PKK from their lists of terrorist organizations. To many, it seems like a necessary step when establishing a partnership with the PKK, even if it would mean conflict with Turkey.

 

read more: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/kurdish-fight-against-islamic-state-could-fundamentally-change-region-a-999538.html

fighting the sexist western MMMM (mediocre mass media)...

 

A young Kurdish woman called "Rehana" has garnered a great deal of media attention over the past few days, after reports emerged claiming that she had killed more than a hundred ISIL fighters - single-handedly. A picture of the smiling beauty, wearing combat gear and toting a rifle, is still making the rounds of social media. Even as Rehana's circumstances remain uncorroborated, the overabundance of attention she has received raises several important questions. It adds to the plethora of reports out there glamorising the all-female Kurdish battalions taking on ISIL fighters, with little attention to the politics of these brave women.

Preoccupied with attempts to sensationalise the ways in which these women defy preconceived notions of eastern women as oppressed victims, these mainstream caricaturisations erroneously present Kurdish women fighters as a novel phenomenon. They cheapen a legitimate struggle by projecting their bizarre orientalist fantasies on it - and oversimplify the reasons motivating Kurdish women to join the fight. Nowadays, it seems to be appealing to portray women as sympathetic enemies of ISIL without raising questions about their ideologies and political aims.

At the same time, critics have accused the Kurdish leadership of exploiting these women for PR purposes - in an attempt to win over western public opinion. While there may be an element of truth to such charges in some cases, those same critics fail to appreciate the different political cultures that exist among the Kurdish people as a whole, scattered across Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and Iran. They also ignore the fact that Kurdish women have been engaging in armed resistance for decades without anyone's notice.

'Badass' Amazons

Typical of western media's myopia, instead of considering the implications of women taking up arms in what is essentially a patriarchal society - especially against a group that rapes and sells women as sex-slaves - even fashion magazines appropriate the struggle of Kurdish women for their own sensationalist purposes. Reporters often pick the most "attractive" fighters for interviews and exoticise them as "badass" Amazons.

The truth is, no matter how fascinating it is - from an orientalist perspective - to discover a women's revolution among Kurds, my generation grew up recognising women fighters as a natural element of our identity. Although there is still a long way to go, what some now ignorantly call "tokenism", has in fact shaped the consciousness of millions of Kurds.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/10/western-fascination-with-badas-2014102112410527736.html