International Intrigue

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Re: International Intrigue

Postby Mad Max » Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:58 pm

Insurgents in northern Iraq seize key cities, advance toward Baghdad

IRBIL, Iraq — Insurgents inspired by al-Qaeda rapidly pressed toward Baghdad on Wednesday, confronting little resistance from Iraq’s collapsing security forces and expanding an arc of control that now includes a wide swath of the country.

By nightfall, the militants had reached the flash-point city of Samarra, just 70 miles outside Baghdad, after having first seized Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s home town, and other cities while pressing southward from Mosul.

The stunning speed with which the rout has unfolded in northern Iraq has raised deep doubts about the capacity of U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces, and it has also kindled fears about the government’s grip on the capital.

In a country already fraught with sectarian tension, with parts of western Iraq already in Sunni militant hands, the latest gains by insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria prompted cries of alarm from leaders of Iraq’s Shiite Muslim majority.

It appeared that the militants were facing more robust resistance as they moved south, where Iraq’s Shiites have a stronger presence. But several experts said it would be wrong to assume that heavily fortified Baghdad, with its large Shiite population and concentration of elite forces, could easily fend off an ISIS attack.

On Thursday, the militant group vowed to march on to Baghdad . A spokesman for the Islamic State of Iran and the Levant says the group has old scores to settle with the Shiite-led government in Baghdad, the Associated Press reported.

The spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, also threatened that ISIL fighters will take the southern Iraqi Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf, which hold two of the holiest shrines for Shiite Muslims. The statement, which could not be independently verified, came in an audio posting Thursday on militant Web sites commonly used by the group, the AP said.

Baghdad is “definitely vulnerable,” said Raoul Alcala, a former U.S. adviser to Iraq’s national security council who has spent most of the past decade in Iraq. “There are more troops in Baghdad, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t porous.’’

A separate analysis posted on the Web site of the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said insurgents advancing from the north could link up with counterparts on the city’s perimeter to pose a real threat to the capital.

The Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, insisted for a second straight day that security forces were capable of reversing the militants’ gains. In a televised address to the nation, he pledged that Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq, which fell to insurgents early Tuesday, would soon be back in government hands.

“This is just the latest round of fighting against ISIS, and it won’t be the last,” he said.

In Washington, the State Department said the United States is “expediting” the delivery of critical weaponry to the Maliki government but gave few details. “You can expect that we will provide additional assistance to the Iraqi government to combat the threat,” said Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman.

Among those caught up in the fighting were dozens of Turkish citizens, including some diplomats, who were detained by militants during attacks in Mosul that included a strike on the Turkish Consulate there.

The conflict in the city, which began Monday evening, has sent hundreds of thousands of civilians fleeing, many to the safety of the semiautonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. Civilians fleeing Mosul gave insight into why ISIS has been able to gain such a strong foothold in the Sunni-majority city, where anti-government sentiment is high.

Katheer Saeed, a 48-year-old truck driver, had left Mosul with his five children. He said he had been “excited” as he heard that the army had put down arms in the face of the ISIS advance.

He said he was fleeing because he feared a government air offensive rather than ISIS.

In western Iraq, the army has been accused of indiscriminate shelling and even using barrel bombs in its attempts to wrest back control of the city of Fallujah since it fell to insurgents in January.

Abu Mohammed, 50, agreed, saying he had left Mosul only because his father was sick. “ISIS just want to free the country from the unfair, sectarian government,” he said.

If the fighting reaches Baghdad, it is hard to see how a full-scale sectarian war can be avoided.

Among the worrisome signs to emerge Wednesday was a call by Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, leader of the now largely inactive Mahdi Army militia, to create a new security force to protect Shiite holy sites. Sadr accused the government of standing on the sidelines “shocked and silent” as the country fell between the “jaws of terrorism and extremism.”

A Western resident of Baghdad said fears were rising that the capital also could be vulnerable, and some foreign companies evacuated their personnel as a precaution Wednesday.

Iraqis also said they were frightened. “I want to take my family and leave, but I don’t know where to go,” said Nadeem Majeed, a Baghdad resident and father of two. “The road to Kurdistan isn’t safe, and Syria isn’t safe.”

Even in Sunni-dominated Mosul, it remained unclear how the militants had managed to achieve such a swift victory over government forces. By Wednesday, residents said, the city was festooned with banners declaring the creation of an Islamic emirate, while militants drove around the city once home to some 1.5 million people, announcing that life should continue as normal and that workers should return to their offices.

At a checkpoint seven miles outside Irbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region, a 33-year-old soldier who gave his name as Abu Sultan unzipped a bag to show his uniform, which he said he was not sure he would wear again, after nine years in the military.

He said that when his base south of Mosul came under fire Monday night, officers ordered the men to “leave everything and run away.”

“The leadership collapsed,” he said. “We left in our military vehicles, just with our AK-47s and handguns.”

Speaking at a news conference, Atheel al-Nujaifi, the governor of Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital, said army commanders had given assurances about their capabilities “only an hour before they got on a plane, leaving their weapons and fleeing.”

“This caused a total collapse of the security in the city of Mosul,” he said.

Oil companies said that so far the fighting had not affected Iraq’s 3.3 million barrels a day of oil production. To the south are the biggest oil fields — where Exxon Mobil, BP, the Chinese National Petroleum Corp. and others are working to boost production to pre-Hussein-era levels.

Other oil fields are located in the Kurdish-controlled area slightly east and north of the route the militants are taking toward Baghdad.

Despite the fighting, crude oil prices remained relatively flat on international markets. The price of Brent crude, the international benchmark, rose 43 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $109.95 a barrel.

“While the military is likely to redeploy part of its forces from the south, we do not anticipate a sharp deterioration in the security environment in these more stable provinces that would materially impact Iraq’s oil export volumes,” said Ayham Kamel, director for the Middle East and Africa at the Eurasia Group, a consulting firm.

A senior U.S. adviser on Iraq, Brett McGurk, was on the ground in Baghdad for emergency talks with senior government officials. Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, described the situation as “very fluid’’ but said that Iraq’s largest oil refinery, in the northern Iraqi city of Baiji, remained in government hands.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/insurgents-in-northern-iraq-push-toward-major-oil-installations/2014/06/11/3983dd22-f162-11e3-914c-1fbd0614e2d4_story.html


How many decades before we forget the lessons of unintended consequences all over again.
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Re: International Intrigue

Postby Amadeus » Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:37 am

Mad Max wrote:How many decades before we forget the lessons of unintended consequences all over again.


Can't forget what we haven't learned in the first place.

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2014 ... q-war-iii/

The regional war many of us predicted would be the inevitable result of the Iraq invasion is now upon us. A group expelled from Al Qaeda known as the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant," or ISIS, has mysteriously arisen, fully armed, like a Muslim Minerva from the head of Allah. Now in possession of Iraq’s second largest city – Mosul, population 2 million – ISIS controls roughly the western third of the country. And they’re marching eastward, taking Tikrit and converging on Karbala and Najaf – the sites of Shi’ite shrines, which the Sunni militants of ISIS are intent on destroying.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is asking the White House for air strikes: Obama is saying "all options are on the table" – including, one presumes, troops on the ground. John McCain is already demanding it, and the outcry from the War Party is getting louder by the moment: Obama, they aver, must "do something." The Iraqi "army" we spent billions training and arming is useless: discarding their uniforms in the street, they can’t run away fast enough. Who will stop ISIS as they converge on the ultimate prize, Baghdad?

The answer is: Iran. Tehran has already answered Maliki’s call to arms, with the elite Quds force taking up positions in the country, including in Tikrit, where they are reportedly retaking the province on the Iraqi government’s behalf. They are also stationed in Karbala and Najaf, guarding those two symbols of Shi’ite power.

When the US invaded Iraq, and destroyed the secular Ba’athist regime, Washington effectively delivered the country to the Iranians. Indeed, Ahmed Chalabi, and his fellow "heroes in error" – who along with his neocon sponsors lied us into war – turned out to be Iranian agents: remember those US raids on his various Iraqi compounds? Tehran was the main beneficiary of the neocons’ war, and now they are moving to claim their prize – before it is ripped out of their hands by ISIS.

This augurs a perfect storm of regional rivalries, one that sets every religious and political faction in the ‘Middle East’ up for a war of all against all. The second phase of the Iraq War has begun: the only question remaining is how big a role will the US play in it?
“We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?” Phil Jones, 2005
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Re: International Intrigue

Postby frank - up in grand blanc » Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:04 am

Mad Max wrote:How many decades before we forget the lessons of unintended consequences all over again.

Yeah, but what aspect of policy ever is free from unintended consequences? Taking out Nazi Germany cleared a path for an ascendant USSR and then the cold war. Disarming Japan meant how many billions in additional defense spending for us? And closer to home the Great Society was well-intended but I'm confident in laying many of today's societal problems at its feet. Should the Bush administration have better thought through what they were unleashing? We probably all can agree that we wish that it had, but I remain with the belief that every policy eventually generates unintended outcomes.
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Re: International Intrigue

Postby Mad Max » Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:14 pm

frank - up in grand blanc wrote:
Mad Max wrote:How many decades before we forget the lessons of unintended consequences all over again.

Yeah, but what aspect of policy ever is free from unintended consequences? Taking out Nazi Germany cleared a path for an ascendant USSR and then the cold war. Disarming Japan meant how many billions in additional defense spending for us? And closer to home the Great Society was well-intended but I'm confident in laying many of today's societal problems at its feet. Should the Bush administration have better thought through what they were unleashing? We probably all can agree that we wish that it had, but I remain with the belief that every policy eventually generates unintended outcomes.


I think something like 75% of Germany's causalities were suffered against the USSR, so how much credit do we deserve for the fall of Nazism? I'm not sure where I'm going with that, I just like talking about WW2 history...

There's no good options now. Iran will probably get involved because they don't want the Shia regime in Baghdad to fall. Then what? Maybe we should just help out the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north, and let the rest kill each other.
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Re: International Intrigue

Postby Amadeus » Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:25 pm

Mad Max wrote:
frank - up in grand blanc wrote:
Mad Max wrote:How many decades before we forget the lessons of unintended consequences all over again.

Yeah, but what aspect of policy ever is free from unintended consequences? Taking out Nazi Germany cleared a path for an ascendant USSR and then the cold war. Disarming Japan meant how many billions in additional defense spending for us? And closer to home the Great Society was well-intended but I'm confident in laying many of today's societal problems at its feet. Should the Bush administration have better thought through what they were unleashing? We probably all can agree that we wish that it had, but I remain with the belief that every policy eventually generates unintended outcomes.


I think something like 75% of Germany's causalities were suffered against the USSR, so how much credit do we deserve for the fall of Nazism? I'm not sure where I'm going with that, I just like talking about WW2 history...

There's no good options now. Iran will probably get involved because they don't want the Shia regime in Baghdad to fall. Then what? Maybe we should just help out the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north, and let the rest kill each other.


I vote for finally recognizing that there is no historical basis for a country called "Iraq" and allowing those who live in the region to decide where the map lines should be drawn.
“We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?” Phil Jones, 2005
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Re: International Intrigue

Postby frank - up in grand blanc » Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:38 pm

Amadeus wrote:
Mad Max wrote:
frank - up in grand blanc wrote:
Mad Max wrote:How many decades before we forget the lessons of unintended consequences all over again.

Yeah, but what aspect of policy ever is free from unintended consequences? Taking out Nazi Germany cleared a path for an ascendant USSR and then the cold war. Disarming Japan meant how many billions in additional defense spending for us? And closer to home the Great Society was well-intended but I'm confident in laying many of today's societal problems at its feet. Should the Bush administration have better thought through what they were unleashing? We probably all can agree that we wish that it had, but I remain with the belief that every policy eventually generates unintended outcomes.


I think something like 75% of Germany's causalities were suffered against the USSR, so how much credit do we deserve for the fall of Nazism? I'm not sure where I'm going with that, I just like talking about WW2 history...

There's no good options now. Iran will probably get involved because they don't want the Shia regime in Baghdad to fall. Then what? Maybe we should just help out the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north, and let the rest kill each other.


I vote for finally recognizing that there is no historical basis for a country called "Iraq" and allowing those who live in the region to decide where the map lines should be drawn.

Just about evey damn country out there could be split apart for similar reasons. Think of the claimed grievances here and tell me where that theres not enough for multiple independent states. North and south. Black, hispanic and white. East n west. Outside of Greenland and some places in the Pacific tbe nation state is only a dream.
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Re: International Intrigue

Postby frank - up in grand blanc » Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:45 pm

Mad Max wrote:
frank - up in grand blanc wrote:
Mad Max wrote:How many decades before we forget the lessons of unintended consequences all over again.

Yeah, but what aspect of policy ever is free from unintended consequences? Taking out Nazi Germany cleared a path for an ascendant USSR and then the cold war. Disarming Japan meant how many billions in additional defense spending for us? And closer to home the Great Society was well-intended but I'm confident in laying many of today's societal problems at its feet. Should the Bush administration have better thought through what they were unleashing? We probably all can agree that we wish that it had, but I remain with the belief that every policy eventually generates unintended outcomes.


I think something like 75% of Germany's causalities were suffered against the USSR, so how much credit do we deserve for the fall of Nazism? I'm not sure where I'm going with that, I just like talking about WW2 history...

There's no good options now. Iran will probably get involved because they don't want the Shia regime in Baghdad to fall. Then what? Maybe we should just help out the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north, and let the rest kill each other.

The war used to be ahobby of mine, too. Russian. Army rolled on American trucks fueled with refined texas oil. Without us the Germans would have steamrolled the reds in '42. If you're nerd enough to care about references to this point then I'm also probaby nerd enough to have them, somewhere on the shelf. Think Murmansk convoys and the Tehran rail routes.
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Re: International Intrigue

Postby frank - up in grand blanc » Sat Jun 14, 2014 1:43 pm

I'm correcting myself: '42/43 is when US logistical support kicked in. Russians did mist of the dying for the allied side, but they'd have been immobile without western trucks. Their big advances and beet-flavored version of blitzkrieg would havr moved at foot-pace behind the range of a single fuel-tank ride of the red army armor w/out thise Fords and Chevys.
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Re: International Intrigue

Postby The Suburban Avenger » Sat Jun 14, 2014 4:02 pm

frank - up in grand blanc wrote:
Mad Max wrote:How many decades before we forget the lessons of unintended consequences all over again.

Yeah, but what aspect of policy ever is free from unintended consequences? Taking out Nazi Germany cleared a path for an ascendant USSR and then the cold war. Disarming Japan meant how many billions in additional defense spending for us? And closer to home the Great Society was well-intended but I'm confident in laying many of today's societal problems at its feet. Should the Bush administration have better thought through what they were unleashing? We probably all can agree that we wish that it had, but I remain with the belief that every policy eventually generates unintended outcomes.


Indeed, there are unanticipated consequences with most any action, but many of those consequences can be identified before you go in shooting.
Many middle eastern countries have spent generations under the rule of a strongman or royal family and believing upsetting the status quo there in favor of "freedom" is folly. All it really does is open the door to myriad folks who were bitter under the old regime and have spent years itching to show everyone how they'd do it better.
Arrogantly giving people "freedom" and disregarding the fact they've never had it is stupid, stupid, stupid. We've been involved in that movie before and it never works.
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Re: International Intrigue

Postby Amadeus » Sat Jun 14, 2014 4:24 pm

frank - up in grand blanc wrote:Just about evey damn country out there could be split apart for similar reasons. Think of the claimed grievances here and tell me where that theres not enough for multiple independent states. North and south. Black, hispanic and white. East n west. Outside of Greenland and some places in the Pacific tbe nation state is only a dream.


How about 50 independent states here? It's called the republican form of government.

But the difference between the US and Iraq is that here, the two sides of the line agreed where it would be. (Leaving aside the military skirmish between Michigan and Ohio.) The lines throughout the Middle East weren't wholly the creation of the residents there. They were largely drawn by the British after WWI.

The former Yugoslavia broke apart for the same reason. "Yugoslavian" was as much a real thing as "Iraqi" is today.
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Re: International Intrigue

Postby Mad Max » Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:18 pm

Amadeus wrote:
frank - up in grand blanc wrote:Just about evey damn country out there could be split apart for similar reasons. Think of the claimed grievances here and tell me where that theres not enough for multiple independent states. North and south. Black, hispanic and white. East n west. Outside of Greenland and some places in the Pacific tbe nation state is only a dream.


How about 50 independent states here? It's called the republican form of government.

But the difference between the US and Iraq is that here, the two sides of the line agreed where it would be. (Leaving aside the military skirmish between Michigan and Ohio.) The lines throughout the Middle East weren't wholly the creation of the residents there. They were largely drawn by the British after WWI.

The former Yugoslavia broke apart for the same reason. "Yugoslavian" was as much a real thing as "Iraqi" is today.


In hindsight, maybe we got off easy with our interventions in the Balkans in the 90's.
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Re: International Intrigue

Postby meme » Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:27 pm

Mad Max wrote:
Amadeus wrote:
frank - up in grand blanc wrote:Just about evey damn country out there could be split apart for similar reasons. Think of the claimed grievances here and tell me where that theres not enough for multiple independent states. North and south. Black, hispanic and white. East n west. Outside of Greenland and some places in the Pacific tbe nation state is only a dream.


How about 50 independent states here? It's called the republican form of government.

But the difference between the US and Iraq is that here, the two sides of the line agreed where it would be. (Leaving aside the military skirmish between Michigan and Ohio.) The lines throughout the Middle East weren't wholly the creation of the residents there. They were largely drawn by the British after WWI.

The former Yugoslavia broke apart for the same reason. "Yugoslavian" was as much a real thing as "Iraqi" is today.


In hindsight, maybe we got off easy with our interventions in the Balkans in the 90's.


Did you know that we still have troops stationed there as part of the Nato peacekeeping force? Around 800 or so.
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Re: International Intrigue

Postby The Beav » Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:42 am

I figured out screwing around in the Middle East was stupid the first time I saw Lawrence of Arabia. It got me thinking about the area, doing research and such. Not much has changed since Old Testament times as far as the Arab nations.
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Re: International Intrigue

Postby higgs1634 » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:54 am

meme wrote:
Mad Max wrote:
Amadeus wrote:
frank - up in grand blanc wrote:Just about evey damn country out there could be split apart for similar reasons. Think of the claimed grievances here and tell me where that theres not enough for multiple independent states. North and south. Black, hispanic and white. East n west. Outside of Greenland and some places in the Pacific tbe nation state is only a dream.


How about 50 independent states here? It's called the republican form of government.

But the difference between the US and Iraq is that here, the two sides of the line agreed where it would be. (Leaving aside the military skirmish between Michigan and Ohio.) The lines throughout the Middle East weren't wholly the creation of the residents there. They were largely drawn by the British after WWI.

The former Yugoslavia broke apart for the same reason. "Yugoslavian" was as much a real thing as "Iraqi" is today.


In hindsight, maybe we got off easy with our interventions in the Balkans in the 90's.


Did you know that we still have troops stationed there as part of the Nato peacekeeping force? Around 800 or so.


speaking of did you know about where we have people... Did you know that at our embassy in Iraq we have about 5500 State department folks stationed there and another 10,000 working there as security contractors and in other support roles, it cost about a billion to build and several hundred million a year to run, and is about the size of Vatican city? Further, the State Department originally planned for 1000 at each consulate in Iraq (plus all the attendant support and security) So when anyone talks about "leaving" iraq... we never are.
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Re: International Intrigue

Postby Shark » Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:40 pm

President Obama asked Congress on Thursday for $500 million to train and equip "appropriately vetted" rebel groups in Syria. The funding, if approved, would mark the United States' first substantial involvement in the three year-long Syrian civil war, which has now spilled into Iraq.


Fuck that shit.
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