Sunday, April 10, 2016


The administration keeps talking of the 'gains' being made in Iraq.  Those 'gains'?

Arwa Damon and Hamdi Alkhshali (CNN) report:

But that momentum doesn't necessarily mean success.
The Iraqis managed to capture most of al-Nasr the day we watched their operations -- but a moment of battlefield confusion resulted in their inadvertent withdrawal just as they were attempting to regroup.
ISIS took advantage and moved back in.
Now the Iraqis are holding on to the little terrain that they did grab -- keeping defensive positions in the northern part of the village and throughout Nineveh province as they wait for reinforcements to arrive.

And are we not supposed to notice the Mosul effort is struggling and on hold?

Mosul, for those not paying attention, was seized by the Islamic State in June of 2014.

Nearly two years later, they continue to hold Mosul.

What if Mosul is liberated?

Then what?

It's an outcome Joshua Rovner and Caitlin Talmdge (LAWFARE BLOG) explore:

Obviously, U.S. leaders would welcome such an outcome, but maintaining peace and order would still be tricky. Mosul is a Sunni Arab city. Many, perhaps most, of its residents are deeply skeptical about the government in Baghdad, which they believe is trying to institutionalize Shi’a dominance. Recall the wave of anti-government protests in Mosul and elsewhere that occurred before the ISIS invasion in 2014: there is deep and abiding distrust of the post-Saddam state and what it represents. The Sunni may despise life under ISIS rule, but they are not enthusiastic about life under what they fear is a repressive, sectarian government either. And while they might welcome Iraqi army units for a while, their distrust of the institutions of the state may soon translate into hostility toward what look like occupying forces, especially if those forces are largely Shi’a and possibly proxies for Iran.
As discussed above, if the Kurds end up doing some of the most dangerous fighting, they, too, are likely to want a reward for their efforts. Giving the Kurds a lasting role in Mosul may sit poorly with the local Sunni Arab and newly arrived Shi’a forces, however. Similar tensions already have arisen across the border, where Syrian Kurdish forces have taken territory from ISIS but refused to return it to Arabs afterwards and even razed Arab villages.

Finally, U.S. forces likely have been trying to get intelligence from Sunni Arab tribes in and around Mosul. Such “intelligence preparation of the battlespace” is normal, and the U.S. experience in the Iraq surge (2007-2008) may be seen as a precedent for similar joint actions against a common radical foe. If this is true, then the United States may have promised them a stake in post-battle reconstruction and governance. Failing to make good on such a promise would undermine the peace, given Sunni fears of another status reversal. But following through might alienate the Kurds and Shi’a and prove unacceptable to Baghdad.  

Barack's had almost two years now to work on the issues above.  He's had more than two years to demand Sunni inclusion in Iraqi politics.

And he's done nothing.

He's managed to bomb for nearly two years.

That's about all he's done.

And those bombings continued today with the US Defense Dept announcing:

Strikes in Syria
Attack aircraft conducted one strike in Syria:

-- Near Raqqah, a strike destroyed two ISIL oil pump jacks.
Strikes in Iraq
Fighter, ground attack and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 24 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Huwayjah, a strike destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun.

-- Near Albu Hayat, two strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle and three ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Fallujah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Haditha, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Hit, two strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed nine ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL mortar system and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Kirkuk, four strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL heavy machine guns, an ISIL fighting position, five ISIL assembly areas and an ISIL supply cache.

-- Near Mosul, eight strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and five ISIL communication facilities and destroyed two ISIL vehicles and an ISIL boat.

-- Near Qayyarah, three strikes destroyed two ISIL boats and an ISIL vehicle and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Sinjar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL assembly area.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, two strikes destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

Two years of bombings and no years of diplomacy?

Looks like Barack was caught unaware yet again.

 I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4498 (plus 10 in Operation Inherent Resolve which includes at least 1 Iraq War fatality).

Kat's "Kat's Korner: Graham Nash Breaks Your Heart Again" went up earlier and the following community sites updated:

The e-mail address for this site is