Lebanon, Syria

Allies and Opponents of the Islamic State

The Wikipedia page for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has a sidebar displaying the group’s banner, coat of arms, force strength, and a list of its allies and opponents.

Among ISIL’s many enemies are included the following powers and their own enemies:

  • The Syrian Armed Forces and the Syrian Opposition
  • The Saudi Armed Forces and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard
  • The United States, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda
  • The Iraqi Shi’a militias, the Kurdish Peshmerga, and virtually every other fighting force in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS-allies-opponents2

Given the impressive consensus of antipathy this group has generated over the past couple of years, one wonders whether a common, tacitly coordinated response to its actions will emerge among its opponents.

Today, ISIL is expelling Christians from Mosul, besieging Yazidis in Sinjar, destroying Muslim shrines all over Iraq, and fighting the armies of three different Arab states all at the same time. What has the response been? A few hundred US military advisers in Baghdad, a billion dollars in aid to the Lebanese army, a few clashes here and there…

The reality is that the graphic above tells only a small part of the story. At various moments, ISIL has: (a) been openly allied with many of the groups on the opponent list such as the Islamic Front, Jabhat al-Nusra, and Al-Qaeda; (b) benefited financially and logistically from other groups such as Saudia Arabia’s intelligence services and armed forces; (c) benefited obliquely from mutually-beneficial arrangements, such as selling oil and electricity to the Syrian government; (d) and benefited from the simple fact of its strategic value to the US-backed Sunni Arab powers’ fight against the Assad regime, Hizbullah, and Iran.

If anyone wants to cook up a graphic that reflects this reality, I’ll add it to this post. In the meantime, the comment section is open to a discussion of what kind of military/diplomatic response, if any, is in the works, and what else might be done in the meantime.

Discussion

119 thoughts on “Allies and Opponents of the Islamic State

  1. I think it is wrong to look at this in a binary manner … I prefer to plot all these actors and forces according to how much they are really doing to help (directly or indirectly … knowingly or through delusional ignorance) … and how much they are FIGHTING …

    The Syrian army is the top enemy of ISIS and anything similar under different bands …
    Ironically … other Islamist Syrian rebels are also enemies of ISIS (competition)
    and Kurdish militias are defending their limited territories

    The rest (including the Saudis) are into the gray area of making public statements and some scattered commitments to fighting ISIS … but allowing their society to strongly support ISIS and others not too different.

    We need to be frank and forget the labels and the public statements.

    ISIS true enemies are

    1) Those who are defending their country, people, parents, and cities against the barbaric invasion.
    2) Those who are competing with ISIS for leadership of the Islamist rebel forces in the region.

    Posted by Camille Otrakji | August 7, 2014, 2:04 pm
  2. There could be some merit that ISIS/ISIL/IS is a fully backed and Saudi operated intelligence strategy/operation following the Saudis’ mis-calculation of US backing of their project in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

    Nothing else can explain the incredible advances this group has made in so short a time.

    Note the internal changes that occurred within Saudi Arabia’s intelligence bureau (what was it, a mere two months ago?) with Prince Bandar opting out of it to take on an advisory position.

    Posted by Ray | August 7, 2014, 2:27 pm
  3. Nobody really knows who ISIS is and how it is backed and anybody who says otherwise is clueless, however, here are some of my observations:

    – The Syrian Army did not fight or bomb using planes ISIS territories, and if it did, it wasn’t with the same ferocity it fought the Syrian Free Army, the Nusra Front or the Islamic Front.
    – The media is so clueless that it names ISIS deliberately, it also names normal anti-Assad rebels or anti-Assad activists ISIS.
    – If you read the political landscape clearly, ISIS accelerated the rapprochement of the US and Iran to the benefit of Iran of course and the demise of Saudi Arabia. Iran has now an extra card on the negotiation table.
    – People (like you and me) don’t know to what extent ISIS’ influence actually is, we’re at the mercy of highly opinionated, subjective and ridiculously polarized media. This always happens when many foreign intelligence are on the ground.
    – Some Syrian activists have been telling me that many of the Syrian rebels aren’t educated (Thanks to Hafez Assad), they will follow anyone or any party that will fund them, feed their families (Yes, Assad has been using hunger) or give them weapons to fight for their cause. The day the west will decide to fund the moderate and hopefully-still-majority-hopefully-still-moderate Free Syrian Army, many of the ISIS fighters will be back under the umbrella of revolution. Remember, it took (was it 4-5 years?) for the NATO to intervene in in the Balkans.

    Today, ISIS is a terrorist organization, there’s no denial, but it doesn’t mean we the people are informed rightfully, we simply have no idea what’s going on.

    Posted by Haytham Elkhoja | August 7, 2014, 2:28 pm
  4. Flipping the coin of the Fertile Crescent, you see the following images emerging from the dungeons of the most seasoned war criminal of this century,

    http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/photo-gallery/syria-army-defectors-photos

    http://www.opposingviews.com/i/politics/syrian-defector-shows-graphic-photos-depicting-torture-possible-war-crimes

    So “what kind of military/diplomatic response, if any, is in the works, and what else might be done in the meantime” to deal with THE URGENT task of SQUASHING ASSAD.

    P.S.
    Q.N. the photos in the above link are most appropriate graphics to add to your speedily cooked Wikipedia sourced article as you requested. :X

    Posted by Mustap | August 7, 2014, 2:43 pm
  5. Theoretically, the IS poses a real threat to the Saudi hegemony over Sunni Islam.

    Unless, they are fully in control of it.

    Posted by Ray | August 7, 2014, 2:54 pm
  6. No Churches, no Synagogues, no Shi’ite shrines.

    IS=Saudi Arabia ?

    Posted by Ray | August 7, 2014, 3:01 pm
  7. The wisely ruled Kingdom’s supremacy can never be contested presently or in the future.

    It has wise sages ruling over it, and citizens who can pluck out the hearts of those who wish it evil before their eyelashes can move.

    Posted by Mustap | August 7, 2014, 3:39 pm
  8. I think the lesson of this week is that literally everyone seems to have underestimated ISIS. The Syrian government was happy to see a faction of rebels who were mostly fighting other rebels (hence the oil sales). Maliki thought he could ignore everyone outside his constituency without repercussions. Iraq Shiite militias were sending thousands of men to fight in Syria while ISIS controlled Fallujah in their own country (remember they’ve held that since January). The Iraqi Kurds were probably right to seize Kurdish and ethnically mixed areas, but they seemed to think that they could hold their own and had no need of the Iraqi government’s money, heavy weapons, and international legitimacy. Turkey viewed a few Kurdish enclaves in Syria as a bigger threat than the radical Islamists. Former Baathists and Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq viewed ISIS as a useful bunch of brigands who would put them in charge. No one tried to stop the present situation from happening because it seemed so implausible.

    I can imagine the United States aiding the Kurds with weapons or air strikes, there is still a lot of good will toward them after the last Iraq war and an ISIS conquest of the Kurdish region would be a humanitarian disaster. I have no idea how ISIS could be dislodged from Mosul or Anbar though. What I’m unclear on is why the ISIS “Caliphate” doesn’t literally starve. These have to be food deficit areas, and normal trade is undoubtedly hindered by war. Thus wonder if the ISIS state could survive on a scale of months or years without collapse, but maybe I’m one of the under-estimators here too.

    Haytham and Mustap, whatever lousy things Assad has done, it’s very hard to imagine any coalition of rebels building a stable state in Syria at this point. It’s easy to say “overthrow Assad” or whatever, but how does that play out to anything but anarchy?

    Posted by Rotsapsky | August 7, 2014, 4:23 pm
  9. Do you not find your use of the term ‘lousy’ to describe Assad’s actions to be an understatement and a gross and shameful disregard to the victims? ROTSAPSKY

    There’s no stable state in Syria anyway. So what’s your point? Just another disingenuous comment from an observer?

    Why do you (and QN) cry me a river over few thousand displaced Christians in Mosul and brush Assad’s HORRIBLE behaviour as merely LOUSY? SO DISINGENUOUS!

    Such callousness from the international community is the best ally of ISIS. After all so-called Caliph told Maliki exactly that when he swept through Iraq: You had your chance to rule Iraq and now you lost it.

    Posted by Mustap | August 7, 2014, 4:39 pm
  10. “The Syrian army is the top enemy of ISIS and anything similar under different bands”

    Camille, are you being serious? there is no “Syrian army”. It is sectarian band assisted with Shiites from Lebanon (HA) and the brigades from Iran.Is it just a coincidence that the leaders of the ISIS?IL?IS were released from Syrian jails by the mukhabarat (ala Nahr Bared band of brothers of Shaker Absi); or a coincidence the barrel bombs or fighter jets avoid bombing Raqqa or other IS positions? Is it not a fact that the oil deal between The Alawite militia and IS is ongoing?

    Please stop portraying the monster Assad as a fighter of extremism…The IS savages are still guided by the wise king to annoy the US; since they feel like the jilted lover after being dumped by Obama for Iran. Again look at this picture from Israeli prism. It helps to fragment the whole region by fratricide.

    KSA against IS? Now that takes the cake!

    Posted by danny | August 7, 2014, 8:16 pm
  11. Whomever is funding ISIS, we can confidently state that the ISIS phenomena has altered the political landscape of the ME in favour of the “mumanaa” camp and has injected legitimacy in the Iran/Syria/HA narrative.
    Surely the CIA and the Saudis would not have propped up this lot as the conspiracy theorists have it. Why would the Americans fund/create ISIS to destroy Iraq when they spent billions of dollars, American lives, world scrutiny, in the last 10 years trying to make something out of the country. It’s not logical.
    And in Syria, they have strengthened Assad’s position and Iran’s negotiating power.
    Ask the Russian chess player what the move is called when you create a common enemy.

    Posted by Maverick | August 7, 2014, 8:55 pm
  12. The ‘mumanaa’ mouthpiece (al-akhbar) is very unhappy with the way things developed in Arsal and is voicing its displeasure loud and clear.

    Apparently, the ‘mumanaa’ camp in Lebanon was disappointed in not being able to capitalize on the latest events to draw Lebanon deeper into the Qalamoun debacle which the ‘mumanaa’ finds itself embroiled in, and allowing its most hallowed Hassoun to enjoy endless joyous days of streaming bridegrooms to so-called martyrdom. During the escalation, the ‘mumanaa’ worked tooth and nail to hamper any efforts to de-escalate hoping that a blood bath will ensue allowing it to step in as vigilantes under the guise of supporting the army. During periods of ceasefire the ‘mumanaa’ would resort to long range shellings targeting in particular areas where refugees are camped in town. There are over 100000 refugees camped in Arsal. Over 1800 of them are again made homeless by the ‘mumanaa’ shelling.

    On the other hand the Arsalis turned back all the trucks carrying so-called relief supplies sent by the clueless idiot of so-called leader you guessed who ……,, Harrrrrrriri. Had HA known that the Arsalis will refuse the aid, they could have avoided the media embarrassment of blocking it for several hours in nearby Labwe.

    Posted by Mustap | August 7, 2014, 11:49 pm
  13. “The reality is that the graphic above tells only a small part of the story.” Yes. For instance, where is Russia?

    Posted by samadamsthedog | August 8, 2014, 12:25 am
  14. Maverick and Danny are spot on.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 8, 2014, 12:35 am
  15. Rotsapsky,

    The hope is Assad is gone, and the second step is delivering Syria from the jihadi. Mission Impossible, but there is no other mission.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 8, 2014, 12:40 am
  16. Mustap,

    Fair is fair, Assad is horrible, not just lousy. I can see why you and many others would find it emotionally satisfying if he were dragged from a gutter in Damascus and hanged. Unfortunately, I don’t think it would make the world a better place.

    From your posting history you seem to blame Assad for expelling millions, but I don’t think that’s quite correct. Of the nine million Syrian refugees, six million are internally displaced within Syria, the overwhelming majority having fled from rebel or contested areas into government controlled areas. They didn’t flee Assad, they fled the fighting. If Assad recaptured all of Syria, most refugees would return home. If the rebels won, unless they created a stable government quickly (zero chance), all of those IDPs would be forced into other countries along with a lot of other people. I have no natural allegiance to Assad or his backers, I just see an Assad victory as the outcome that produces the fewest deaths and refugees. If you can persuade me otherwise, I’m game.

    As for the expulsion of Christians from Mosul (and Shiites, and Yazidi . . .), they were explicitly expelled and will never be able to return. It’s clear that ISIS victory in any territory means mass killings, mass expulsion and genocide. Furthermore, ISIS has no end-goal, it doesn’t respect borders and will continue attempting to conquer until it is destroyed or contained. Saying we shouldn’t stop it is like saying we shouldn’t arrest a serial killer because he has committed fewer murders than Assad.

    Posted by Rotsapsky | August 8, 2014, 1:48 am
  17. Watch this video carefully, if necessary watch it twice and you will understand everything about ISIS and Obama’s choice of who are his allies and who are his enemies. If you don’t, watch a third time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l39Cvj8iUZg

    Posted by Nadim Shehadi | August 8, 2014, 3:25 am
  18. Rotsapsky,

    All your assertions about the refugees, internally or externally displaced, are baseless. The simple fact that Assad started the shooting is what forced the refugees to move out of their homes. The rebels are not shooting at the civilians. None of them is involved in the deliberate destruction of whole civilian neighborhoods. They’re not dropping barrel bombs on houses, markets and high rises. None of them has an airforce. And your claim that any of these refugees may go back to their homes in case of an Assad victory is hogwash. Where are the homes they’ll go back to?

    So what about the externally displaced refugees? Are you saying they will not go back to their so-called homes if and when Assad wins?

    Your logic about Assad winning will produce the least number of deaths and refugees is like saying Hitler should have been allowed to keep western Europe in 1939. That’s pathetic.

    Assad will not win and he knows that. Actually, he already lost militarily and the fight now is with Hezbolla and not with him. He’ll just continue the killing and the destruction until the last bullet in his possession, and will continue to use whichever militia Iran provides him with until they get tired of him.

    It is obvious that your analysis of Syria’s civil war is nothing but naive regardless of where your allegiances are.

    So tell me exactly what are you expecting others to do to help those displaced in Iraq so that they can go back to their homes? Drop few aid boxes from the air? Bomb few phantom ISIS targets from the air? Really? That makes the world feels good about doing its so-called honorable civic duties?

    Posted by Mustap | August 8, 2014, 4:22 am
  19. Nadim

    فسرلنا لو سمحت

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 8, 2014, 4:48 am
  20. We heard over a year ago that Assad was poised to win, but he hasn’t. We heard months ago that the Syrian rebels were defeated on the border with Lebanon, but as we can see, that hasn’t happened. The point that I am trying to make is that it is impossible for Assad to put the rabbit back in the hat. A military victory by Assad’s troops and their foreign allies is just not possible. His forces are too weak, and thus too reliant on foreign forces, to be able to effectively mount major offensives to take back most of the country. He must conserve as much troop strength as possible, and in a long drawn out campaign of attrition, he will surely lose. By the same token, an outright military victory by the anti-Assad forces is hard to imagine for the moment, but just like the changes and different phases that occurred during the 15 year Lebanese civil war, there may come a time when these forces may prevail. Thus, for the meantime I don’t see anyone winning a military victory, but in the final analysis a victory by the anti-Assad forces seems more likely than the opposite.

    In Iraq, the illusion of a Shia centred government in Baghdad ruling the whole country has fallen apart. It is highly improbable that getting rid of Nouri Al-Malki will put the country back together again. Kurdistan is heading towards independence at a date sooner rather than later, and the Sunni population centers have realised that they are in a position to reject anything that doesn’t bring back some semblence of Sunni power.

    In short, the project as espoused by Qassem Suleimani, of Shia power stretching from Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, has been smashed. It was foolish for him and his masters in the clergy in Iran to actually think that they could successfully execute such a project, because the basic numbers are against them. Sunnis make up an overwhelming majority of Muslims in the world, there are many rich Sunni countries, and every single Sunni country in the world, less for Syria, is a nominal or de facto ally of the West. The fact that Hezbollah has given Saad Hariri a security guarantee to come back to Lebanon shows you the extent to which this axis has been smashed: Hezbollah now knows that it can’t militarily beat the Syrian rebels, and that even with the collusion of the Lebanese Army, can’t contain the Sunni street if it explodes. So the blame for all the carnage, destruction, death, injury, and displacement lies on Qassem Slumeni and Iran’s shoulders, who thought they could crush Sunni power in the Middle East. What we are witnessing now is a Sunni backlash in various forms, but in the end, once the Shia project for dominance in the Middle East has been crushed, there will be a battle between moderate and extremist Sunni factions, which the moderates will win. Im sorry to be speaking in such a sectarian way, but this is the truth of the matter, so there is no point in sugar coating it.

    Posted by B | August 8, 2014, 6:08 am
  21. QN with pleasure: The Obama administration including current and past senior officials are plenty confused about whether Iran and Assad are their allies in the fight against ISIS or are they their enemies. Your question is to the point. The video clip is from the film ‘The Usual Suspects’ (1994) where the roundup of people in the room are confronted by Mr Kabayachi and explains to them that things are never what they seem, that they were working for the arch-villain Mr Keyser Soze without even being aware of it, that many operations they did were for him, that you have to follow his orders etc…

    Keyser Soze in our story, i.e the story of ISIS, is Brigadier General Hajj Qassem Suleimani who in collaboration with the Assad regime, have worked to oppose the US in the region since the early 1980s by playing many classic tricks which the US always falls for. One of these tricks is creating the fire and then selling the water. This is now clearly the situation in the early 80s when Syrian/Iranian proxies took western hostages in Beirut and they were released in Damascus giving the Reagan administration the impression that Syria can resolve problems in Lebanon. The same happened in 2008.

    ISIS is a combination of the products and graduates of Assad’s Sidnaya jail and Maliki’s Abu Ghoraib prison. They broke away or were gradually released since 2011. We all know the Syrian opposition’s claims that they are infiltrated and manipulated by the regime. Could we witness a similar scene with ISIS? Kaiser Soze/Qassem Suleimani telling the various Emirs and Imams how they fulfilled their missions without knowing what it was for and who they were working with? If the ultimate result here is that Iran and Assad are seen as the allies in fighting a monster of their own creation, is this a deja-vu?

    The scene is really brilliant also because Soze is presented as this chap who is traumatized by an incident with Hungarian gangsters and the myth about Suleimani is that he is on a revenge mission related to the Iran-Iraq war and is portrayed as this man nobody really knows but who is cold and calculating and running the show in many theatres. I suppose Imad Moghniyya is a similar figure in Lebanon. Many well respected academics denied that Moghniya ever existed or had relations with Hizballah, until 2008 when he was acknowledged by Hizballah itself.

    In one of the scenes we are told that Keyser Soze is the Devil and the Devil’s greatest trick is to convince everybody that he does not really exist.

    Posted by Nadim Shehadi | August 8, 2014, 9:30 am
  22. No coordinated response will emerge.
    1) Assad – cannot hold back ISIS in Raqqa, what use is he in the fight and why take the political risk of coordinating with him by his opponents?
    2) Iran – The Iranians just are not capable of fielding and deploying the army required to quash ISIS. The Iranian economy cannot handle this plus the military result is unclear while it will certainly galvanize many Sunnis around ISIS. So why would anybody coordinate with them, especially Sunni and Western forces?
    4) The Iraqi government – enough said, they are responsible for all this mess and are useless allies
    5) The Gulfies – they will just watch the Iranians and Syrians squirm. They are especially enjoying watching Malaki suffer.
    6) The Kurds – They will try to consolidate their positions and hold off ISIS, nothing more. They are not going to bleed for the Iraqi Shias while alienating the Sunnis.
    7) The US – Obama is completely reactive, he will not attempt to do anything or show any leadership except protect the Kurds. And even if he did, he would get eaten alive by opposition at home for even suggesting an alliance with Iran while most probably also failing to accomplish anything.

    For all the players involved, the incentives for doing anything are very low relative to the cost.

    Posted by AIG | August 8, 2014, 9:58 am
  23. “5) The Gulfies – they will just watch the Iranians and Syrians squirm. They are especially enjoying watching Malaki suffer.”

    Really? How do you know?

    My readings tell me that we still have to wait for Afghanistan chapter III ala today’s Iraq in a year or so. wasn’t there few days ago a two star US general who got shot along with 7 other blues in a green on blue attack in what’s considered to be Afghanistan’s West Point? A two star general gets forgotten so easily and slips out of the radar and very few notice him? What a shame?

    What were you GWB thinking dragging your boys to the cemetery of empires? The Talis are lurking not too far off to undo with another shock and awe the ‘the evil works of the infidels’. These are not the kind of people who get eaten as flesh and thrown as bones. Remember the Soviets?

    Posted by Mustap | August 8, 2014, 10:58 am
  24. AIG,

    Good summary. We all get CEUs.

    Everyone is on their own. No alliances. No rules. Just like at Outback steakhouse. The UN will be weaker than flavored seltzer water.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 8, 2014, 12:24 pm
  25. Interesting synopsis Nadim.

    By that assumption, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah has sacrificed members of his troops in Syria to suit the Machiavellian needs of The Greater Cause?

    Does that mean that Iran alone is arming and financing the IS?

    Posted by Ray | August 8, 2014, 4:43 pm
  26. @Nadim,
    Nasrallah isn’t fighting (he’s actually cowardly hiding, but that’s another story), Hezbollah isn’t fighting ISIS, they’re fighting Al Nusra Front, the Islamic Front and most of all the Free Syrian Army.

    There are no records of fights between Hezbollah and the Syrian regime against ISIS, and that’s more than suspicious.

    Posted by Haytham Elkhoja | August 8, 2014, 6:01 pm
  27. By Nadim, i meant Ray, sorry about that

    Posted by Haytham Elkhoja | August 8, 2014, 6:02 pm
  28. Nadim, are you saying that the Shi’ites and the Assads have released the virus they have been saying they have been containing, back into the region/atmosphere from their confinements (i.e. Jails)?

    If that is the case, why has the Western world been applying sanctions on the very people that have been actually trying to curtail this Sunni extremist virus?

    More deeply, would that actually mean that 9/11 was actually a false flag operation carried out by the very same people you are mentioning?

    Posted by Ray | August 8, 2014, 6:51 pm
  29. Please see the video below for a little evidence of the fight between ISIS and the Syrian Regime. Should you want some more, you’ll find plenty on liveleak with more decapitated heads Syrian soldiers than you probably care to see

    Sunni Extremists were not JUST created in a vacuum in Assads and Maliki’s dungeons. I agree it is very plausible that, Syria/Iran did release these kooks, in order to support their narrative, of fighting sunni extremism.

    But one must not forget that early on in this conflict most of these terrorists easily crossed the “porous” Turkish borders. There is plenty of evidence that affirms that majority of these jihadi lunatics came to Syria, with Emperor Erdogan’s/Gulf countries approval and encouragement, point is Turkey et. al also helped create this monster, in their hopes of crushing the Syrian regime.

    The FSA were never even remotely close to toppling the Syrian regime, as they have admitted themselves. We can’t ignore the outcry from the Syrian National Council, when the United States declared Al Nusra a terrorist organization in Morocco in 2012. Al Nusra/Qaeda was defended so profusely by Khatib because he wanted a piggy back ride to “democracy” on the back of Al Qaeda inspired groups.

    Everyone wanted to play the role of Soze by trying to manipulate Al Qaeda/ISIS and both have failed—> see mosul / raqaa for proof of the failure.

    Posted by tamer k | August 9, 2014, 4:12 am
  30. Saudi was also not exactly proactive in preventing their released inmates from going to Syria for martyrdom and virgins

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/01/21/saudi-inmates-fight-syria-commute-death-sentences/1852629/

    They designated Nusra/ISIS a terrorist organization a little too late, after early complicity in the groups success.

    https://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/the-saudi-foreign-fighter-presence-in-syria

    Posted by tamer k | August 9, 2014, 4:28 am
  31. Destroying Assad, his militias and the followers of the Iranians particularly HA and the few others in Iraq are the highest priority and take precedence. There is no bigger evil.

    Posted by Mustap | August 9, 2014, 4:32 am
  32. Whatever and whoever the IS is, this interview makes it clear what the US under Obama will not do.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/09/opinion/president-obama-thomas-l-friedman-iraq-and-world-affairs.html?_r=2

    Posted by Ray | August 9, 2014, 9:57 am
  33. My advise on whom Obama should send to Iran as US Ambassadors:

    The Kardashians !

    Posted by Ray | August 9, 2014, 12:04 pm
  34. Thomas Freedman and Barack Obama, a marriage made in heaven. A world where everyone is right and no one is wrong; where words are the only ammunition to defeat whoever the bad guys are.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 9, 2014, 12:10 pm
  35. Mustap,

    Enough Said

    Posted by tamer k | August 9, 2014, 1:59 pm
  36. Nadim, read this article, it makes a lot more sense than the Keyser Soze story. Sorry I couldn’t link directly to the article, you’d need an account to read it. But here it is anyway.

    The kingdom spews out the corrosive poison that helps fuel religion-based fanaticism

    “When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the jihadi leader whose blackshirts over-ran swaths of northern and central Iraq in June, gave his Ramadan rant last month after proclaiming himself caliph, he had it translated into English, French, German, Turkish, Russian – and Albanian. Why did his Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (known as Isis), which now styles itself narcissistically as the Islamic State, take the trouble?
    Since the end of the cold war and after the wars of the Yugoslav succession, the western Balkans – in particular Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia, Macedonia and even bits of Bulgaria – have been carpeted with Saudi-financed Wahhabi mosques and madrassas. This is moving local Muslim culture away from Turkic-oriented, Sufi Islam towards the radical bigotry of Wahhabi absolutism, which groups such as Isis have taken to its logical conclusion. This is fertilised ground for jihadi ambition.
    Saudi Arabia not only exports oil, but tanker-loads of quasi-totalitarian religious dogma and pipelines of jihadi volunteers, even as it struggles to insulate itself from the blowback; and King Abdullah, in his end of Ramadan address, warns against the “devilish” extremism of “these deviant forces”. Jihadi extremism does present a threat to the kingdom. But in doctrinal terms it is hard to see in what way it “deviates” from Wahhabi orthodoxy, with its literalist and exclusivist rendering of Sunni Islam. Its extreme interpretation of monotheism anathematises other beliefs, in particular the “idolatrous” practices of Christians and Shia Muslims, as infidel or apostate. That can be read as limitless sanction for jihad. The modern jihadi is a Wahhabi on steroids. His main grievance with the House of Saud is that it deviates: its profligate deeds do not match its Wahhabi words.

    The late King Fahd, Abdullah’s predecessor, for example, acquired a reputation as a playboy and gambler in his youth. Yet during his reign he built 1,359 mosques abroad, together with 202 colleges, 210 Islamic centres and more than 2,000 schools, according to official Saudi data. There seem to be no figures for Wahhabi “outreach” under Abdullah, a more austere and ecumenical figure. Anecdotal evidence says Saudi mosque-building is powering ahead wherever believers are found, especially in south, central and southeast Asia, home to about 1bn of the world’s 1.6bn Muslims.

    The House of Saud, facing a potentially wrenching succession to the ailing Abdullah at a time of upheaval across the Arab world, is in a delicate position. As custodian of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, it is the closest modern equivalent to the old Islamic caliphate. It thus abominates the violent presumption of Isis as much as it abhors the rival brand of pan-Islamic fundamentalism of the Muslim Brotherhood. Yet the kingdom still spews out the corrosive poison that helps fuel religion-based fanaticism. The Isis rampage of destruction of shrines and mosques, for instance, continues the two centuries-old record of Wahhabi iconoclasm. Nor should it be forgotten that the House of Saud used Wahhabi zealots as its shock troops in the last century to unite by force most of the religiously diverse Arabian peninsula – won by the sword in 52 battles over 30 years. There are no churches in Saudi Arabia, and permits to build Shia mosques are rarer than desert rain.
    Saudi Arabia is not solely responsible for the result; resurgent jihadism amid the virulent battle within Islam between the majority Sunni and minority Shia is playing out across the Levant, down into the Gulf and across to the Indian subcontinent. But it is a primary source of doctrinal bigotry, as Saudi schoolbooks enjoining believers to shun all but their own well attest.

    The worldwide surge in Wahhabi mosques began in response to Iran’s attempts to export the Shia radicalism of its 1979 revolution. The Anglo-American overthrow of Iraq’s minority Sunni regime in the 2003 invasion of Iraq – which installed a Shia majority and ignited sectarian carnage – and the west’s failure to support the rebellion of the Sunni majority in Syria, have fed Sunni grievances, sharpened by the Iran-backed Shia axis across the region. It is uncertain whether the Saudi state and its Gulf allies finance groups such as Isis, but their citizens do, encouraged by the Sunni supremacist discourse and tactical promiscuity of their rulers, fearful of being outflanked from the religious right.
    Saudi Arabia’s position as the world’s leading oil exporter, a leading purchaser of western arms and a counterweight to Iran in the Gulf has shielded it from criticism. In the current turmoil in the Middle East – characterised by an absence of state and institutions, a loss of shared national narrative in mosaic countries such as Syria and Iraq, and the feebleness of previously influential big powers – there is a lack of mainstream Sunni leadership.
    The petrodollar theocracy of Saudi Arabia, in its contest with the petrodollar theocracy of Iran, has smothered Sunni space – except for the vacuum in which Isis is building its (also oil-rich) cross-border caliphate, now striking east into Kurdistan and west into Lebanon.
    Previous generations of mainstream Sunni Arabs gave their allegiance to pan-Arab nationalists such as Gamal Abdel Nasser, tarnished paladins of a dead-end ideology. The potential disaster now facing the Arabs demands a new generation of Sunni leaders, able to defeat extremism within their own camp. That is something Saudi Arabia, whose Wahhabi absolutism is part of the genetic code of groups such as Isis, cannot do.”

    David Gardner
    FT.com

    Posted by Vulcan | August 9, 2014, 2:01 pm
  37. Tamer

    Thanks for posting the clip. I’d missed it.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 9, 2014, 2:16 pm
  38. Tamer K.

    Our enemies are HA, Assad and his cronies, and the Iranian supported thugs.

    Enough said.

    Posted by Mustap | August 9, 2014, 2:42 pm
  39. The wise course taken by the wise leadership of the wisely ruled kingdom since its establishment by the great leader King Abdul Azeez Ibn Saud in the early twentieth century has now been vindicated by the utter and complete total failure of so-called Arab Nationalism. Many wise kings of the guarded kingdom have warned the Arabs, to no avail, of such false ideology begining with King Faysal and onward. The first vindication of the wisdom of the choices made by the Saudis came in the form of the utter defeat suffered by Nasser in 1967. Any sane Arab would have discerned right there and then that the choices of the Arab Nationalists would only lead to future defeats, frustrations and embarassments. Thanks to Sadat, Egypt was blessed with a saviour who veered it away from such foolish empty nationalist ideology, incubated during the rise of fascism, nationalsm and nazism of Europe which Europe itself later abandoned as a false god to be demolished. Nationalist idiots further up north in the Mashreq persisted in their foolishness until they became completely bankrupt both morally and financially and as such were proven by facts, events and history as moronic failed despots and nothing less.

    There are no shrortages in the House of Saud of qualified, wise and capable successors to the wise King who is widely popular and loved among his subjects. The course which the wise king has started will be maintained, namely, further development of the kingdom, both in human terms as well as in economic and scietific terms. The kingdom will continue to lead the Muslims and champion their causes anywhere they exist on this planet. This is a sacred duty which the kingdom will never abandon or allow others, be it Turk, Ajam or Arab to misconstrue the true message of Islam which has blessed this sacred part of the world by none other than the Almighty Creator of Mankind.

    Those who spread venom against the Great Kingdom will have only one end in sight: to perish of their self inflicted sicknesses which will devour their own hearts.

    Posted by Mustap | August 9, 2014, 3:16 pm
  40. https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/commentaryanalysis/559341-falling-for-it

    good piece by Michael Young. there is no great puppet master pulling the strings of IS, no wizard of OZ.

    I disagree with his analysis in regards to America though, this country has its problems but is not in decline. As for Obama being the worst President in recent history, how can we forget Dick and W, we are still picking up their pieces.

    Posted by tamer k | August 9, 2014, 5:26 pm
  41. Tamer K.,

    You aren’t picking up anything from Dick and GWB. No one misses Saddam and his killing machine. If you want to blame anyone, blame the Iranians and insurgents who tore apart and killed many more innocent Iraqis and the Iraqi government who was given everything they needed to protect themselves.

    Obama looks silly bombing Iraq after his foreign policy was to cut and run.

    From my vantage point, the ME is failing because no one is willing to confront Islamic fundamentalism either sunni or shia.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 9, 2014, 6:26 pm
  42. Unfortunately, this is only available in Arabic. I have no time to translate. Try Google Translate for all its worth,

    https://now.mmedia.me/lb/ar/analysisar/559441-صدمة-حزب-الله—عون

    Posted by Mustap | August 9, 2014, 6:37 pm
  43. AP,

    We are just getting out of the economic disaster that we inherited from the Bush Administration. aside from middle eastern politics.

    I agree, The Iraqi government squandered a great opportunity to have a SOF agreement. Instead they chose retribution and sectarianism. Nevertheless, under Dick and W, we invaded a sovereign country, we weren’t only the liberating power, we become the occupying power and we are partly culpable for the chaos because of our illegal invasion under the pretext of WMDs.

    AP we must not forget that Obama was elected on the platform of cutting and running from the cesspool that is the middle east. I applaud him for that, The Iraqi government was foolish not to sign a SOF agreement, and they can suffer the consequences and have Iran bail them out.

    Mistakes aside, Obama, does not get the credit he deserves for keeping America out of another debacle in Syria, deescalating the “nuclear threat” from Iran, and tightening the noose around Putin.

    He is quick to learn from his mistakes and adjust. He was riding the wave of his nobel peace prize and he thought he could bring piece to Israel/Palestine. Thankfully he realized that was a lost cause.

    Hopefully history will be kinder to him, and we’ll appreciate the good that came out of his presidency, despite being hampered from a deranged tea party hell bent on opposing any bipartisan legislation.

    Posted by tamer k | August 9, 2014, 6:57 pm
  44. Tamer K,

    Thanks for the response. I see you have a different slant on the GWB response and your opinion is shared by everyone here.

    But you have exaggerated the story. The operation to conduct regime change was totally LEGAL, unanimously passed in the UNSC, totally addressed and discussed and voted upon in both the UN and in Congress to the tune of 17 UNSC resolutions and a large international coalition.

    I am very disappointed the Iraqis squandered an opportunity to change the face of the ME. IMHO, the US provided HOPE that when given the opportunity to depose an arab dictator, the ME could produce a working democracy. I guess we were wrong. The lesson learned is that the ME can NOT produce a democratic state. And I don’t blame the US or any coalition partner for trying.

    Sorry you like Obama. The worst US president in history next to Jimmy Carter.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 9, 2014, 9:01 pm
  45. An honor killing by stoning to death apparently may have sparked the recent upheavals in northern Iraq,

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoning_of_Du'a_Khalil_Aswad

    Posted by Mustap | August 9, 2014, 11:48 pm
  46. So, what’s the extent of involvement of the former MeKterrorists aka Mujahideen-e Khalq with ISIS?

    Sophisticated production of media messaging? Those ex-cons superman warriors are also acknowledged masters for their fine crafting of tightly shaped charges aimed at their targeted audiences. So familiar to one who has grown up surrounded by a plethora of cults perfecting their trade of recruiting, command and control.

    They are in this mix and have lots of “influencers” on their roster.

    And hatehatehate Iran more than all the rest do.

    Posted by lally | August 10, 2014, 12:37 am
  47. Mustap is an obvious Saudi apologist, so why do you take him so seriously?

    Posted by Marion Mourtada | August 10, 2014, 2:04 am
  48. The Saudis don’t need anyone to apologize on their behalf, Marion. I just provide the anti-venom for the venom that so many, such as yourself and few others, are so keen on propagating.

    Posted by Mustap | August 10, 2014, 5:11 am
  49. The humor of the day (I could not resist it):

    “On the other hand the Arsalis turned back all the trucks carrying so-called relief supplies sent by the clueless idiot of so-called leader you guessed who ……,, Harrrrrrriri”

    I guess the wahabi wise king is not so wise after all entrusting the so called leader with $1 billion dollars lol…

    I guess the old man is just losing it!!

    Posted by danny | August 10, 2014, 11:26 am
  50. You didn’t get it yet with the billion dollar.

    The Wise King just got rid of the fly by giving it the money so it can get the hell out of the kingdom where many in the entourage are complaining about an outsider behaving like a royal. Just a commemoration for his dad. The billion dollars is just meant to float the fly’s own deteriorating personal finances. None of it will end up in the army’s budget. Did’t you read? The fly is entrusted with the disbursement of it.

    And what is a billion dollar for a country with liquid cash estimated at a trillion dollar floating around the world financial market Small price to pay to get rid of a nuisance?

    Posted by Mustap | August 10, 2014, 12:02 pm
  51. Marion,

    Could you please ask your mentors in Beirut about why suicide cases jumped 13% in Iran in the last 3 months by using what is called rice tablets used in rice plantations to get rid of insects?

    Posted by Mustap | August 10, 2014, 1:02 pm
  52. Drunk History – Lebanon – Volume 1 – Episode 1

    It all started with the extraordinary discovery that modern war could not be fought and won without the steady supply of … oil.

    Posted by Ray | August 10, 2014, 4:40 pm
  53. It would be interesting to hear/read on this blog what the Lebanon should be to itself and the World and how that can be preserved?

    Posted by Ray | August 10, 2014, 5:27 pm
  54. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/losing-iraq/

    Great frontline documentary for a lazy sunday

    Posted by tamer k | August 10, 2014, 6:50 pm
  55. Tamer K,

    Just remember, PS is a left-of-center, government funded enterprise. You will NEVER find an opinion supporting the American right from these clowns.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 10, 2014, 6:58 pm
  56. PBS…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 10, 2014, 6:58 pm
  57. Excellent and very insightful, Tamer.K.

    i.e. Your link

    Posted by Mustap | August 10, 2014, 7:14 pm
  58. AKBAR PALACE,

    While PBS might be ‘a left-of-center, government funded enterprise’, the characters interviewed are mostly from the ‘American right’.
    The program does a very good presentation as to why Iraq turned out to be what it is today. The ‘American right’ were in the driver seat and they and there ‘selected’ passengers messed it up.

    Best

    Posted by FreeSoldier | August 10, 2014, 7:18 pm
  59. Freesoldier,

    The coalition, in the end and with the “surge” succeeded in creating a democracy in Iraq. It is clear from recent history that BO was one of the few Senators who was against regime change in Iraq and that he had to scuttle our success there to prove himself right.

    His bombs against Iraq this week ring hollow. We gave Iraq the opportunity, and they squandered it. Lastly, the excuse about faulting the US for the crimes of Saddam, thugs, insurgents, Iran and Islamic Fundamentalists is typical anti-american hogwash.

    Good luck.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 10, 2014, 7:55 pm
  60. Akbar Palace,

    If you truly believe that we can create a ‘democracy’ during 10 years of turmoil, if not civil war to say the least, by removing a one man/one party system then I guess we live on different planets. No need to argue.

    Building a democracy in a country that have no independent institutions requires 2 generations span at least.
    Our last successfull attempts were in Germany and Japan (and we are still physically present there). Everything else since then has been utter failure.

    Good night.

    Posted by FreeSoldier | August 10, 2014, 8:11 pm
  61. Thank you FreeSoldier.

    I argued similar to what you just said couple months ago.

    ……….

    Now.

    My conclusions after carefully watching Tamer’s linked documentary are the following.

    I’m not going to say the US should have never gone to Iraq in 2003, because that’s already been highlighted at the beginning of the documentary by the experienced and knoweldgeable brass of the military. It goes without saying.

    What I’m going to say is since the US already went in and removed the dictator, then everything went sideways at the very same moment. The reason for that is very simple: naive, inexperienced, inefficient and irresponsible people were put in charge of the war beginning from the top political tier all the way down to the generals.

    I blame more than anyone else General Franks for running away and abandoning his sworn oath as a soldier to protect the US against all enemies foreign and domestic, and for doing that so early in the war.

    His responsibility at the time he was overruled by Bremer was to rid the US of its domestic enemies beginning with Bremer himself then all the White House staff including the President, because they were the domestic enemies that the US needed to be rid off because of their naivete, their irresponsible behaviour and their being unfit to lead a country like the US in such a war which was unnecessay to begin with.

    What followed G. Franks’ resignation was a failure after failure caused by the delibrate appointments of unqualified generals and diplomats to take responsibility of such an undertaking. It was as if the political leadership intended to have pawns in the field who would only say Yes Sir and nothing else and even without being equiped with the necessay experience to match the tasks expected of them.

    It remains the responsibility of the US military up to the present time to round up all the hawks of the Republican party as well as the few among the Democrats and quarantine them in a secluded prison somewhere in the Mojav desert in order to rid America of the evil within once and for all.

    The US military is the only hope for America to recreate itself as it was envisioned by its founders and as its people deserve and expect.

    America has no credible enemies abroad considering the amount of firepower that is at its disposal. Its enemy is within.

    Posted by Mustap | August 10, 2014, 9:25 pm
  62. Mustap,

    General Pitraeus had regulated the violence and the insurgency in 07-08 by reaching out to the ‘reconciliatory’ Sunnis. This proved successful and had US policy follow this trajectory, there might have been long term stability. It was Obamas instant withdrawal and Malikis sectarianism that allowed the insurgency to gain momentum and henceforth the rise of ISIS.
    Would ISIS have been this successful if Sunni political representation was honoured in Baghdad?
    The rise of ISIS should be credited to a number of parties that had their hands in shaping the destiny of Iraq, not the least Maliki’s sectarianism spurred by the Iranian Shiite project, US naivety in both administrations, and the proliferation of Wahhabi extremism fuelled by Sunni victim hood and Sunni states’ power politics with Iran.

    Posted by Maverick | August 10, 2014, 9:46 pm
  63. Maverick,

    Please watch the documentary one more time carefully.

    I agree Petraeus was the only choice made by the administration who was up to the task. But that was too little too late, and he was cut short by Bush himself when it came to Maliki who was determined by almost everyone in the administration to be the problem. Petraeus’ BAND AID solution which he devised on his own and even without seeking approval from Bush to spend 400 million dollars was only meant to deliver on what he was expected to accomplish and give the US a seemingly honorable exit. That he did. But did he accomplish what everyone argues about what was expected to be the outcome in Iraq?

    The answer is obvious.

    Posted by Mustap | August 10, 2014, 9:57 pm
  64. Mustap,

    you have some solid points, and yes in some ways the war was lost the second we entered Iraq in 2003, but Mavericks analysis and the questions he raises are valid.

    Obama’s hands off approach, his attitude that Iraq be treated as a “sovereign” country, freeing control of Maliki and allowing Iran to wrest control, if anything, accelerated the chaos that we are seeing in Iraq today that has spread to Lebanon.

    Obama’s attitude and policies are partly to blame for ISIS controlling 1/3 of Iraq, Maliki is a sectarian despot, but at least Bush had him under control, to a degree.

    Posted by tamer k | August 10, 2014, 10:31 pm
  65. Maverick,

    Thanks. The whole Iraq thing is a huge disappointment for me, the US, the soldiers who fought and died there, and probably also for the average Iraqi.

    At least WE TRIED.

    Now me and others (like AIG) want arab “moderates” to fix their own societies instead of holding out tin cups and writing intelligent articles.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 10, 2014, 10:32 pm
  66. Tamer,

    I believe I answered Maverick’s question which as you is valid but it doesn’t make any difference.

    To be honest with you I’ve never been a fan of Obama especially when it came to his flip flops over Syria. And it can also be argued that his inactions in Syria may have brought ISIS to what it is now, but, I’m now beginning to see the validity of his hands off approach. There’s not much he can do escpecially when you look at the type of political landscape he has to deal with. Extremism has also become a US internal problem. Watch his interview with Freedmann and pay special attention to his complaint about maximalist politics which is plaguing the US. This is a sure sign of the end of days and the behinning of the collapse of the temple for the US as everyone knows it. Its very existence is as a political establishment is as much as at stake as is Iraq and for the very same reasons that have different terminologies in either country. Just replace Sunni extemism with Republican neo-cons or Shiite extremism with the corresponding hawkish democrats and you get the same types of animals acting under seemingly different banners.

    I

    Posted by Mustap | August 10, 2014, 10:54 pm
  67. ….which as you said…

    Up above.

    Posted by Mustap | August 10, 2014, 10:55 pm
  68. What if the strategy from the beginning was to actualy “fail” Iraq? Remove Saddam, tip the sectarian balance in the ME, whithold support for moderate Sunni rebels in Syria and Wala! Perfect recipe for Muslims to get busy for the coming 100 years. It will be a long shot before anyone finds the time to fly planes into NY buildings.

    Posted by Vulcan | August 11, 2014, 4:39 am
  69. Vulcan,

    Don’t credit US planners with that much foresight.

    Posted by Jim Reilly | August 11, 2014, 7:15 am
  70. Yes Vulcan,

    Please blame all the murders, market bombs, and deaths on the US. That seems to be the plan.

    And while you at it, please erase the image of purple fingers the US coalition made possible from your fragile memory. 😉

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 11, 2014, 8:42 am
  71. Dr Reilly, au contrair, I wouldn’t underestimate our planers. Debaathification, disbanding the Iraqi army, modeling the new Iraqi constitution (some of it plagiarized from the Lebanese one) etc. Back then, many decisions flew against common reason, but it all make sense to me now.

    AP,
    I’m not blaming anyone for anything, people are what they are, we all know that. I think introducing the purple fingers had the effect that was hoped for, a period of re-arrangement of borders and areas of influence, that will keep them busy for quite a while. Its a possible theory if you look at it on a macro level, the details and ferocity of actions are just as Condie described it, Birth Pangs?

    Posted by Vulcan | August 11, 2014, 9:46 am
  72. Vulcan, et al,

    The US can’t do it all, and what the US did was fairly remarkable (to me anyway). Having several multi-party elections and getting rid of a murderous thug family was all one could ask for, including billions in relief and weaponry.

    What the Iraqis did with this gift…well, that’s the kicker.

    Now BO wants to get rid of Maliki. As if Assad was any better. Too many holes in the dike.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 11, 2014, 10:06 am
  73. OK, so let’s now say to this brilliant theorist WTFU. W here stands for ‘wake’ (not ‘what’) as opposed to shut in STFU, because now we need you to be on full alert as opposed to go to sleep.

    You need to make up your mind, once again. What is it exactly the ‘genius planners’ had in mind? Birth Pangs or 100 years of internecine wars? These irreconcilable objectives it seems to any one with minimal amount of reasoning. I would say as minimal as a 16 year old would have acquired by that age.

    Can we say that Ahmed Chalabi had the ears of people who were in the decision making process within the range of his whispering mouth during those years where all the things you imply were deliberately implemented? But this is deja vu and every one knows it so where were you? Hence, WTFU again.

    But it is always easy to construct theories in retrospect. Ya shatter inta you bou 3yoon milwiyyi.

    Posted by Mustap | August 11, 2014, 10:08 am
  74. ….These are irreconcilable objectives…

    Up above

    Posted by Mustap | August 11, 2014, 10:11 am
  75. What is it between the Saudis and the Iranians?

    Posted by Ray | August 11, 2014, 11:18 am
  76. It’s good to do business with the Saudis …. because?

    Posted by Ray | August 11, 2014, 11:54 am
  77. Comment removed by moderator

    Posted by Vulcan | August 11, 2014, 3:35 pm
  78. Comment removed by moderator

    Posted by Mustap | August 11, 2014, 3:52 pm
  79. Mustap and Vulcan

    Please take a break for a week.

    Thanks,
    QN

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 11, 2014, 6:44 pm
  80. I quit! And don’t beg me to comeback, it’s final.

    Posted by Vulcan | August 11, 2014, 7:09 pm
  81. I am surprised that no one has reflected on the exceptional nature of “zones of influence” of ISIL and its connection to pre-state forms of “occupation”. Obviously, ISIL is functioning not as a centralized form of government with an army and garrisons but as an exploratory military force that conquers through alliances and allegiancies. The fortuitous acquisition of massive amounts of cash and advanced weaponry made the “success” of ISIL possible in terms of paying off client tribes or cities or threatening unwilling ones. The only reason one can talk of “success” is the chaos and decentralization proper to Syria and Sunni regions of Iraq. In the absence of a state, ISIL can peddle its influence but it is not a formidable or a lasting threat unless the conditions of its operation persist. Iraq is moving to consolidate its control once it integrates Sunnis in the governing structures of its state and will probably accommodate non-Shia sections of its military apparatus. Syria may not be able to consolidate itself as easily without a change in the government.

    So ISIL is in many ways a contingent and temporary product of chaotic conditions and an available force of discontents subscribed to an ideology of refusal of the present–but not to the acceptance of the religious ideology of a fanatic core that will be powerless withiut alliances and daliances. I hope that makes sense.

    Posted by Parrhesia | August 11, 2014, 7:16 pm
  82. On the lighter side of things, anyone care to explain to me why the Indonesian Armed Forces are on the light of enemies to IS?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | August 11, 2014, 8:16 pm
  83. Vulcan, please come back, in a week.

    W alla, biz3al minnak.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 11, 2014, 8:24 pm
  84. Why the deletions and time-outs? I must have missed what was so objectionable in those posts that triggered the response.

    Vulcan…I beg you to come back sooner.

    Your speculation here:

    “What if the strategy from the beginning was to actualy “fail” Iraq? Remove Saddam, tip the sectarian balance in the ME, whithold support for moderate Sunni rebels in Syria”

    Presumes a sectarian motivation for not up-arming the “moderates” when it’s actually a matter of the alignment of US and Israeli policies vis a vis maintaining Israel’s QME. We Americans are bound to respect our agreement and it’s hardly a stretch to imagine that weaponry capable of taking out IAF aircraft supplied to unreliable hands is a big nono for bibi and his security team (for good damn reasons):

    @AnshelPfeffer

    If Obama hadn’t ignored the bloodshed in #Syria 3yrs ago ISIS would never have flourished. Netanyahu was also against arming moderate rebels

    RETWEETS60 FAVORITES33
    6:23 AM – 8 Aug 2014

    Posted by lally | August 11, 2014, 10:02 pm
  85. Denial isn’t just a river in Baghdad

    Define “fail”. Sheesh, what a bunch of conspiracy pros. As if no humble arab speaking tyrant ruined his own country.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 11, 2014, 10:22 pm
  86. I thought ISIS was a Zionist movement founded by a Jew trained by the CIA to outdo Bin Laden’s way with the Arab tongue.

    Posted by Gabriel | August 11, 2014, 11:12 pm
  87. Since this thread started, there’s been some big changes happening. Twice before, the U.S. has basically provided an air force to a much weaker ground power (the KLA in Kosovo 1999, and the Libyan opposition in 2011). Now the U.S. has become the air force for the Peshmerga, and if Maliki is successfully replaced, the U.S. might serve the same function for the Iraqi army and/or any anti-ISIS Sunni force that can be thrown together. The American air force can’t storm a town, but it can make it very difficult for ISIS to move its forces around or launch focused attacks. The heavy equipment it captured will be slowly destroyed the way Gaddafi’s stuff was. Initiative will return to the anti-ISIS forces.

    Admittedly there are a couple obvious differences from the previous cases. ISIS can return to guerrilla warfare and/or eastern Syria. Still, the tripartite partition of Iraq looks less likely than it did a week ago.

    Akbar Palace,
    I will quote Weber at you:

    “You may demonstrate to a convinced syndicalist, believing in an ethic of ultimate ends, that his action will result in increasing the opportunities of reaction, in increasing the oppression of his class, and obstructing its ascent–and you will not make the slightest impression upon him. If an action of good intent leads to bad results, then, in the actor’s eyes, not he but the world, or the stupidity of other men, or God’s will who made them thus, is responsible for the evil. However a man who believes in an ethic of responsibility takes account of precisely the average deficiencies of people; as Fichte has correctly said, he does not even have the right to presuppose their goodness and perfection.”

    In other words, “America did a great job in Iraq and Iraq messed it up” is a poor defense of the invasion. Policies have to be judged on their real life outcomes, not on how they would have turned out had the intended beneficiaries behaved as intended.

    Posted by Rotsapsky | August 11, 2014, 11:47 pm
  88. Is Hamas / IDF ≟ Taliban / Nato

    Posted by Badr | August 12, 2014, 3:04 am
  89. Ok, I couldn’t resist Lally’s pleading ;)) I will try to be back earlier, but I am actualy heading over to Baghdad.

    It seems we have a major escalation now, if Maliki decides to contest the new appointment of Abadi, things may get ugly the coming few days.

    Posted by Vulcan | August 12, 2014, 4:04 am
  90. Isn’t creating the Islamic State also a key ingredient of the “Perfect recipe for Muslims to get busy for the coming 100 years”!

    Posted by Badr | August 12, 2014, 4:20 am
  91. ISIS is the creation of Arab societies and regimes, such movements cannot be sustained without the ideological motivation, no matter howmuch money and weapons you throw at it.

    What I suggested earlier isn’t about conspiracy, it was a strategic shift, the US abandoning it’s dual containment policy by removing Saddam and opening the flood gates to the conflict we are now witnessing. Of course, I maybe wrong.

    Posted by Vulcan | August 12, 2014, 4:39 am
  92. I’m so happy we still have Vulcan even before the week is over. I couldn’t do without him and neither would QN.

    Posted by Mustap | August 12, 2014, 5:01 am
  93. I would like now to imagine a scenario in which the ‘genius planners’ of the Bush era, in other words perle, wolfowitz, rumsfeld and the rest of the neo-zios, put forward for implementation instead of the half-cooked one implemented ad hoc as it turned out to be.

    As everyone knows these geniuses sprang out of the transformation of the world into a mono-pole after the ‘graceful’ exit of the Soviets, which gave these super patriots the incentive to become starry-eyed about the imminent birth (which could also be accompanied with pangs.of course) of the American century (or even millenia if you like).

    Of course such train of thought implies embarking on a campaign of conquest in order to build the American Empire.

    Let’s say that instead of sending the marines just to the dusty roads of Baghdad and having them later on getting hunted down one by one, the planners had their sights on another city to capture once Baghdad has fallen, which as everyone knows took only few days. The next city would be Damascus in this case. In other words, what if the marines cotinued their march to Damascus and done away with Assad? Militarily it was doable. The Russians and the Chinese would bark for a week or so, the Iranians would have cowered down to take cover and that’s about it. No one would dare do more than that when the American Might is on marching orders. The whole dynamics of world politics would be very different and will have to adjust to the new order.

    How would the world be different than it is today?

    Posted by Mustap | August 12, 2014, 5:50 am
  94. Rotsapsky said:

    In other words, “America did a great job in Iraq and Iraq messed it up” is a poor defense of the invasion. Policies have to be judged on their real life outcomes, not on how they would have turned out had the intended beneficiaries behaved as intended.

    “Banned for 1 week Only” Vulcan said:

    What I suggested earlier isn’t about conspiracy, it was a strategic shift, the US abandoning it’s dual containment policy by removing Saddam and opening the flood gates to the conflict we are now witnessing. Of course, I maybe wrong.

    Fellas,

    You can blame the US for making lots of mistakes, in a region where “mistakes” are the norm, however, the fact of the matter is, the US gave Iraq several legitimate elections, a democracy, money and arms to get out of the ME quicksand.

    From my vantage point, most arabs refuse to find fault with themselves for the failures we see across the ME. Lilly is a perfect example of such thinking. Vulcan is the exception.

    Some here believe Saddam and Bashar and Sisi are a good thing, because their brutality keep their countries “stable”.

    The bottom line is the arab people (generally) are intolerant and extreme, and they need to be educated into the 21 century if they are going to live in peace with each other. The problem isn’t “Foggybottom” or the inept Mossad.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 12, 2014, 8:51 am
  95. Bottom line neo-zios planned and their plan was a defective dream hatched by a bunch of amateurish zealots no different than the roaming ISISers except with the nice suits and ties with which they are covered. Neo-zios had one shot, they fired and they missed by miles. It’s as simple as that.

    Poor Obama, he not only has to cover the GOP asses bankrupting the nation with amateurish military campaigns, but also now has to deal with his own piggy-backing at his expense. It’ll be intriguing to watch the Clintons and the Obamas partying together tonight. I guess it doesn’t matter for him. It’s all good for the party if she eventually wins.

    Posted by Mustap | August 12, 2014, 9:30 am
  96. The new battle facing Assad on the coast:

    “الكرسي إلك والتابوت لولادنا”

    “You get to sit on the chair and our kids get sent in coffins”

    You could follow this campaign on social media where Assad disenchanted supporters within his clan are active. You could also find statistics of the fallen. Flyers with the above message have also been distributed in coastal towns and cities.

    These guys seem to be far less eager to enter the coffins as martyrs than our own HA recruits. But, it could be just a matter of time lag.

    Posted by Mustap | August 12, 2014, 10:50 am
  97. So, the Golden Child is back in Lebanon with a Billion Dollars.

    Let’s see what Aoun has to say about that. It’s Tuesday 🙂

    Posted by Ray | August 12, 2014, 11:30 am
  98. It’s good for devout Lebanese Christians to do business with … ?

    Posted by Ray | August 12, 2014, 12:08 pm
  99. Take care in Baghdad, Vulcan.

    Posted by lally | August 12, 2014, 1:24 pm
  100. I think Vulcan is a covert operative going there to kick the wise king’s disciples in the nuts!

    Lally, sweetie I will try to fill the trekkie’s void with you. 😀

    BTW; I am in total agreement with the concept that most Arab rulers are stupid and the street delirious. Looking from an Israeli prism; this is the best outcome…Let the savages of different sects eat each others’ hearts out!

    I do not blame the Israelis/Jews in pushing these idiots of the “wise” bunch (IS) as well as Allah’s heroes( HA) to tear into each other till the messiah and Moses make an early entrance to the scene!

    Posted by danny | August 12, 2014, 6:39 pm
  101. Finally, we see signs of late love blooming.

    It just had to disguise itself for a while for the sake of appearances, and to avoid the blushes when it was first called out.

    But better late than never.

    Looks like Geagea finally discovered he has no stake in the billion dollar jackpot/i>.

    Posted by Mustap | August 12, 2014, 7:43 pm
  102. Pfft! Echoes of a depressed Robin!

    Posted by danny | August 12, 2014, 7:49 pm
  103. Robin? trekkies? jackpots? I can’t keep up.)

    Danny. Some Israelis are happy to have HA kick IS bums; others are more nervous over what the real war experience that HA is gaining means in terms of facing them on the battlefield again.

    Posted by lally | August 12, 2014, 8:34 pm
  104. …,Some Israelis are happy to have HA kick IS bums; others are more nervous over what the real war experience ….

    Looks like Hassouna is more worried about his bum getting whipped,

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/syrias-allies-are-stretched-by-widening-war-1405383402

    http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=67103

    http://middle-east-online.com/?id=177615

    He can hide his predicament for a short while longer. But for how long?

    happy to be nervous about Hassouna’s legions of coffned martyrs.

    …….

    Posted by Mustap | August 12, 2014, 11:27 pm
  105. Lally,

    HA has not much to learn from fighting against IS. Their tactics mirror each other. On the contrary; it has been reported that the yellow Jackets were so surprised that the IS/Nusra were adopting the same guerrilla tactics they had mastered. In the end HA will lose their “experienced” fighters to join the rest of the “wise” bunch in hell looking for spoiled virgins.

    Posted by danny | August 13, 2014, 7:11 am
  106. Where does one begin,
    To tell the story
    Of how grateful love can be,
    The sweet love story
    That is older than the sea,
    That sings the truth about the love she brings to me …

    Khalil Gibran Khalil

    Posted by Ray | August 13, 2014, 10:45 am
  107. Food for Thought

    I wonder if Khalil Gibran Khalil would ever speak out and demonstrate against the atrocities of ISIS like the BDS crowd does against Israel?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 13, 2014, 11:20 am
  108. Danny. Are you calling the Israeli analysts liars? Their judgements, not mine.

    Posted by lally | August 13, 2014, 11:33 am
  109. This is not the time for love except as observed above: A Geagea-Zio true mating love a-blooming made in heaven.

    Here’s what Gibran recommends for these times:


    In order to secure their power and rest at
    heart’s ease they have armed the Durzi to
    fight the Arab;
    Have incited the Shi’i against the Sunni;
    Have incited the Kurd to slaughter the Bedouin;
    Have encouraged the Mohammadan to fight
    the Christian —
    How long is a brother to fight his brother on the
    breast of the mother?
    How long is a neighbor to threaten his neighbor
    near the tomb of the beloved?
    How long are the Cross and the Crescent to
    remain apart before the eyes of God?

    Please, stop this sentimental nonsense about Love is the answer

    I object to Gibran’s use of the word Mohammadan. I also object to his use of symbolism implying Muslims worship the Crescent. He is a Zio in disguise 🙂

    Posted by Mustap | August 13, 2014, 12:40 pm
  110. I’m calling the Israeli analysts opportunists and misguided bullshitters!

    Posted by danny | August 13, 2014, 12:41 pm
  111. If you guys want the name of a good analyst, let me know.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 13, 2014, 1:07 pm
  112. While this does not justify what ISIS is doing, here is an account of what went on in Iraq under US watch from 2006-2007

    http://www.juancole.com/2014/08/cruel-american-humanitarian.html

    So Baghdad Sunni population was reduced from 45% to 15%, either by killing or forced displacement by Iranian supported death squads, while the US was policing the town.

    So, the US can play the humanitarian in front of the eyes of the world and it may get away with it, but it will have a very difficult time to convince the Iraqi Sunnis of the sincerity of its motives not to mention the Syrian ones.

    Conclusion:, the US is the most important ally of ISIS.

    Posted by Mustap | August 13, 2014, 1:48 pm
  113. Danny?….silliness is another branch of de Nile.)

    Posted by lally | August 13, 2014, 3:08 pm
  114. “…silliness is another branch of de Nile.)”

    Fully agree.

    Hassoun is a branch of the river.
    Hassoun is silly lilly.

    Posted by Mustap | August 13, 2014, 3:20 pm
  115. oops…

    Hassoun is not a branch of the river.

    He is THE river

    Posted by Mustap | August 13, 2014, 3:31 pm
  116. It’s so annoying to have an ankle biter hover around!!! Pathetic!

    Posted by danny | August 13, 2014, 3:39 pm

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