Archives for category: Middle East

 

Even though Assad is evil, I would much prefer this evil than the one from Daesh or the FSA.  While they are running around killing people and then blaming the West for all their problem, Assad is Opening a Women’s fair in Aleppo. You tell me which would you prefer? Living under a secular dictatorship or with a bunch of bearded guys that would shop off your head for wearing a dress, or listening to music, or smoking a cigarette after iftar during Ramadan? If you picked the bearded guys then by all means move to Raqqa and I hope that you get a nice present from above with special delivery from the USAF, the Russian Aerospace Forces, or the Syrian Air Force.


The following video from a tweet shows Russian, Syrian government, and Syrian Kurds dancing together near Manbij.  Soldiers laughing and dancing while a few miles away the Turkish army and their FSA puppets are figuring out how to attack Manbij while not getting shot at by the United States, Russia, Syria and the Kurds at the same time. Good luck Erdogan! I think your Turkey is cooked.

 


It is time to say goodbye to President Obama. I vote you and I had a lot of hope and aspiration when you came in to power. I like most Americans believe that you a good guy and did a descent job but still feel let down. We feel that you didn’t keep up your end of the deal. What happened to the Wall Street vultures that came inches from destroying the entire economic system? What happened to ending the wars? What happened to helping the middle class? What happened to closing Guantanamo Bay? What happened to our civil liberties (no he did not role back Bush’s spying on America he expanded it)? What happened to immigration reform (no the dream act kids is not a reform just a deportation list for Trump)?

At the end frankly, what we elected you for, you did not deliver. Sure you gave healthcare to millions that will now lose it or not be able to afford it anymore. Personally, I think that he didn’t go far enough on healthcare. Without universal public healthcare, cost will never be put under control.  He did get u out of Iraq just to put us back in and in Syria, Libya, and Yemen.  Instead of a  reset with Russia, we got a resurgent Russia. Instead of democratic Middle East we got an ISIS spring that rolled over much of northern Iraq, eastern Syria, parts of Libya, and Afghanistan.

We disliked Bush and his repeal of civil liberties and rights but you did as much if not more. Snowden, Chelsea Manning proved to us that our civil liberties are still being trampled. President Obama did not support whistle blowers, and journalists.  The President last act was to give Intel agencies unprecedented access to raw NSA data without scrubbing information that is from American citizens. he gave the Intel agencies free reign to spy on all Americans using data collected on servers located overseas (yes your yahoo account, google email, Facebook account, etc could well be sitting on a server overseas).

I will commend you for standing up against the Intel agencies when it came to Syria. Thank you for fighting back and not getting involved in Syria.  But at the same time that was your fault. You let Hillary Clinton and her gang in and therefore their hawkish policies. In 40 years the world will find out that she and the CIA armed groups in Syria with weapons from Libya and aided the Saudis in buying arms in Eastern Europe and smuggled it all thru Turkey while giving a nice kickback to the Erdogan and his family. We will find out that the arms were not given solely to the FSA but the Islamist groups with ties to Al Queda and ISIS. We will find out the reason why ISIS was able to rise so rapidly was because of Saudi and Qatari money and protection with full knowledge and endorsement of the CIA and the State department.

Yeah you saved the economy but did you? You gave the same guys that lost billions, trillions. So the rich got richer an the middle class shrunk some more. Millions lost their jobs and homes but the hedge fund managers are more rich today than in 2008. Yes Wall street is sitting pretty at over 19500 but main street is worse off.  You got unemployment is down to 5% which on the face of it sounds great but is it how the number is calculated or hidden the reality that many have given up, have lower paying jobs, pay has not kept up, or barely surviving in the sharing economy driving for Uber or Lyft with no benefits no upward mobility? Could the number reflect that baby boomers are retiring and more people on staying longer in school and going to college and graduate school? Maybe that is why the labor participation rate is at a all time low. How will this impact social security, medicare/aid, tax policy and spending in the future?

So at the end I would like to go out for a beer with you Mr. President because I like you as a person but as a President I feel disappointed. You promised us more, you made us believe that yes we could but at the end you fell well short. I wish you the best in your retirement.


The CIA is claiming that the Russians have hacked the election and interfered in the US election but should we believe them (they are the CIA so they do lie – heck its their job). So how did they influence the election? Fake news.

Yes fake news or better know as don’t always believe what you read on the internet. The media has jumped on this story with major embarrassment. The Washington Post came out with a story about fake news that turned out to be fake news itself. The Washington Post on a McCarthy which hunt used the information from a so called group of experts, PROPORNOT, that named over 200 sites and blogs Russian propaganda without showing any proof or explanation. This article was of such low journalistic integrity that the Washington Post after growing pressure and law suits was forced to add a lengthy editor’s note to the story with the following section of particular interest:

“THE POST, WHICH DID NOT NAME ANY OF THE SITES, DOES NOT ITSELF VOUCH FOR THE VALIDITY OF PROPORNOT’S FINDINGS REGARDING ANY INDIVIDUAL MEDIA OUTLET, NOR DID THE ARTICLE PURPORT TO DO SO. “

What the Post is saying is that we didn’t check anything, we didn’t call anyone to verify the information nor did we call the sites to get a quote. They basically abdicated they journalistic ethics for a fake story. There has been a widespread abandonment of press responsibilities in the United States which has been going on for decades. Gone are the days of Walter Cronkite that will tell the people the truth and present the facts no matter where it would lead. These days I never believe anything they say anymore. I verify the facts that are presented which usually  is the official narrative from the government, special interest groups, or their corporate sponsors. The official text is regurgitated and differs very little from State controlled media in many other countries that we criticize.

Fake stories are not new and this idea that Russia was behind it is just ridiculous. Since the birth of internet, wackos, conspiracy buffs, alternative viewpoints have always been there. All of a sudden, these same people that have had a voice online for years are considered FSB sleeper agents. The main press has always ignored them and ridiculed them and now jump at every word they write calling it proof of a grander Russian conspiracy.

If the CIA report is true (which very difficult to prove) than the Russian are brilliant masters of propaganda that we should just surrender to them since they got their mole into the White House.  These journalists and pundits are threatening our democracy by creating the fake news that President Trump is a Russian spy or a best a lackey.  This is in my view treason because 0 and I mean 0 evidence exists that the Russian hacked into the voting machines or bought votes or manipulated votes in anyway. By repeating this narrative day after day is only undermining the presidency of the United States. By repeating this narrative (repeat a lie enough and it becomes true) while at the same time giving credence to protesters and recount efforts is undermining the peaceful transition of power that we have enjoyed for over 200 years. If you didn’t like the outcome of the election that is understandable but to advocate for new elections line former CIA Officer turned CNN intelligence analyst Bob Baer is dangerous.

I fear the CIA is so obsessed with helping Jihadists in Syria that they are willing to undermine our democracy to the point of rebellion instead of accepting that the American people have voted for someone that will not seek idiotic adventures overseas and will pull out of Syria.  The CIA has had in the last 60 years close ties to Islamic fundamentalists and has always viewed Jihadist as tools to be used to combat communism and Arab nationalism. The entire idea was to use the Muslim populations in the southern central Asian to turn against the Soviet Union and to turn the Muslim brotherhood against Abdel Nasser of Egypt and nationalists in Syria and across the middle east. This policy has been re-purposed to overthrow regimes in Libya and in Syria but just with Afghanistan in the 80s, Jihadists are difficult to control. mutate and tend to turn against the hand that feeds them.

 

The most ironic thing is that the CIA report is basically whining about Russian hacking that revealed the interference and collusion by the DNC, large corporations, the rich, lobby groups and establishment players in trying to influence the American people in voting for Hillary Clinton. They pushed from day one that her victory was a “fait accompli” and we should all fall in line. Where are the calls for an investigation in media and DNC collusion? Where are the calls for an investigation of the DNC for doing everything possible to sabotage Bernie Sanders to include espionage a la Watergate?

At the end, if the Russians tried to influence our election I would not be surprised. We tried to influence their elections especially in 2011 (Putin was furious at Hillary Clinton) and we shouldn’t cry about it like babies when they do a better job of it. We have influenced elections, bought off dictators and overthrown regimes for over two centuries so when someone else tries to do the same to us we should be a little more sportsman like since it is all a great game.


OPEC has agreed to a cut but that is not what will trust oil prices over $100 a barrel.  A much more important and potentially devastation scenario will push oil upward if it occurs. I say if but the chances are very high. I am talking of a political event and crisis that no one is talking about but should.

I am talking about the potential downfall of the Saudi Royal family. The current situation in Saudi Arabia is getting more and more dangerous and will lead to a coup that will oust the current king and his son at best. The father and son duo have in a relatively short amount of time created:

  • The Yemen war which has been a disaster militarily as well as politically with the Houthis still holding on with no sign or weakening. Near the Saudi Yemen border, the Saudi border guards and Amy have been getting a beating with many towns abandoned instead of being defended.
  • Doubled down in Syria but Russia has decided enough is enough and is and will crush the Saudi/Qatari/Turkish backed Jihadist. With Assad still in power and potential able to retake most of Western and Central Syria it is another Saudi failure and humiliation.
  • The Saudi Economy is in shambles after the devastating policies to drive oil prices down and gain market share.
  • Accepting Iranian and Iraqi terms for an oil production curb deal was at best politically embarrassing for Saudi Arabia and an acceptance that Salman’s strategy failed.

King’s Salman reign has been nothing but one failure after another. Worse of all there has been a major internal shake up when he took power.  He named Muhammad bin Nayef the crown prince end then stripped him of most of his powers and transfered nearly everything to his son Mohammed Bin Salman. Neither by the way are the sons of Muhammad Ibn Saud the founder of the Kingdom and where all other kings that followed received legitimacy from including Salman. So we have foreign adventures that are in shambles, an oil strategy that is now recognized as a failure and a future change in succession that has never been tried. So what could go wrong?

Well how about the young deputy crown prince creating more and more enemies at home by accumulating powers and sending the Kingdom down one failed venture after another and running the economy literally into the sand. Mohammed Bin Salman basically runs (King Salman is reported to be senile) the show and he reminds of one of those young consultants out of graduate school full of text book ideas but with 0 experience and worse yet is a cocky son of a bitch. What happens? Dumb idea after dumb idea is put into place which leads to  foreign workers not being paid, unemployment for young people between ages 16 and 29 is 29%, government contractors are not getting paid and the coffers are getting empty.

His reforms are also are pushing aside religious hardliners. He recently stripped the religious police of arresting powers called for education reform and for a less strict . His new Vision 2030, a plan to change Saudi Arabia is promoting phased reduction of most subsidies to the people, increase private sector employment when the government is responsible for 70% of jobs, and calling for less bureaucratic appointments a long time bread and butter for princes.

If you want to commit suicide in Saudi Arabia is it pretty simple:

  1. go after the princes money  Check
  2. cut the peoples money Check
  3. take the power away from the religious fanatics Check

Saudi Arabia’s Royal family initially an still today gets its power from the allegiance of the tribes and the religious conservatives. The Royal family also derides allegiance in the form of a social control with the people of Saudi Arabia which is basically “You don’t work and we pay you and you let us do what we like”.

Is your stomach getting a little queasy? Well it should. The economy is failing, Russian and Iranian influence on the rise in the Middle East, reforms making many traditional power players angry, and a internal battle for succession are all creating the right situation for a coup within the palace but that would be good news. So a coup is good news so what is the bad news?

Bad news is if a coup doesn’t happen and things get worse politically and economically then the thousands of Saudi Jihadists that will be returning home from Syria and already feeling betrayed by the Royal family might decide to do something about it.  The hardliners and the tribes might just side with them and we have a major problem.  We have a powder cage that could go off at any time and no one and I mean no one is talking about it. A coup a we get oil at $100 a barrel the later and we get $150+. So when that happens don’t be shocked because I told you so and it will happen and soon.


The Syrian regime of Assad with Russian air support and his regional allies Hezbollah and Iran  have in the last week made substantial gains in the city of Aleppo. They have as of today taking back over 75% of rebel held part of the city with stunning success and speed. Using massing artillery and air support and putting pressure on multiple fronts they have overwhelmed the rebels (mostly Al Queda) and for once have decided not to agree to any ceasefires or relent in their attack.

What we have seen is thousands of civilians flee and some of their stories are coming out and they are not favorable to the rebels. They speak of rebels stealing all the food aid, shooting civilians in the back when fleeing to government controlled areas. What many forget is that despite the war, Assad has maintained payments to all Syrians even if they are located in rebel controlled areas. This has maintained the living conditions of hundreds of thousands of Syrians in besieged areas that are and lets be frank mostly hostages. They are are being used as human shields or their corpses as anti-government propaganda.

To the anti Assad groups calling this a massacre what is worse? Prolonging the war and suffering of the Syrian people or getting this over quickly and reduce the number of casualties.  The Assad regime has over and over called for the rebels to lay down their arms and be moved by bus to Idlib. For weeks they refused and called repeatedly pleaded with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States to force a cease fire. What they don’t realize is that Russia has had it with cease fires and negotiations. For a year the Russians negotiated with the United States to get the so called FSA to distance itself from extremist groups.  The United States wanted to keep trying to topple Assad and let the Gulf states assist terrorists rather than give a political legitimacy and a win to Russia.

So as my earlier article, Russia does not need the United States to settle the problem in  Syria. What the United States, Saudi Arabia and Western Europe need is Russia to kill as many if not all the jihadist because they will go back and create havoc back home. Saudi Arabia luxurious jihadi reeducation hotels are not going to work. Europe and Saudi Arabia will face thousands of them and will have a very hard time containing them. I predict that there will be running gun battles on the street of Riyadh within the years to come and oil price at 100+.

PS Many of the fighters in  Aleppo are asking to go to the Turkish FSA controlled areas including Al Qaeda links groups rather than going to Idlib. Maybe they know the situation there will be lost as well in the near future.  The Syrian Army has cleared most of the rebels near Damascus and after Aleppo and with that will be able to concentrate men, air power and armor on the wide open areas of Idlib.


Since the fall of the Berlin wall, NATO and the United States has been undermine Russia. The United States has not missed an occasion to humiliate Russian from negotiating a troop withdraw from Eastern Europe and former republics, refusing to bail the rubble out, privatization to the Russian mob,making Yeltsin swallow losing Sevastopol, NATO’s bombing of Serbia and all those movies about with actors with tick russian accents drinking vodka and trying to sell nuclear weapons.

What people don’t understand is that this the same type of idiot behavior that lead to the Third Reich. France and to some degree the United Kingdom treatment of post WWI Germany lead to resentment and then nationalism and eventually Hitlers rise. I am not saying that President Putin is Hitler but the situation has lead to a resurgence of Russia very much like in Germany in the 30’s. Using corruption, crime and NATO’s perceived aggression as the banners to rally the people under one man. It has modernized its military, learned from its lessons in Chechnya and Georgia.

On February 9 1990, Secretary of State James Baker made a deal to with Russia not to expand into eastern Europe in exchange for Gorbachev’s backing of the reunification of Germany.  The idea that NATO would add East Germany and stop there. It didn’t.  Poland, the Baltic states, Bulgaria, Romania, Check Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, and Croatia. 11 countries later it found itself at the doorstep of Russia with Ukraine.

Ukraine’s historical, economic, and military importance to Russia was the last straw.  After the 2008 Georgia fiasco, the Russians were in no mood to play games with the United States and a clear signal had to be sent.   All signs pointed to a high probability of direct involvement in Ukraine.  The night that Viktor Yanukovych fled his opulent presidential palace, I said to my wife watch President Putin take Crimea within weeks or months and eastern Ukraine within a year.  Crimea would be taken because Russia could not trust Ukraine or NATO to abide by the 99 year lease that Clinton made Yeltsin accept (he threatened walking out of negotiations several times over Crimea). Crimea is not just an important Naval base but a symbol of Russia.  It has major historical significance from the defeat of the Ottoman Empire and the Tatars, the Crimean War all the way to its heroic resistance to the Nazis. Crimea and Sevastopol is Russia. To lose it would mean losing Pearl Harbor for the United States. Russia would of wiped out the Ukrainian Army and gladly accepted sanctions if it was necessary. Luckily, Putin acted fast while Kiev was in disorder which resulted in no loses on either side.  An impressive feat to say the least.  President Putin had 4 objectives:

1.Take Crimea to safeguard the black sea fleet and any future the Navy would have in the Mediterranean

2. Make sure that Ukraine never joins NATO since the later would not accept a country which has a territorial dispute with Russia

3. Warn Ukraine that it could break with Russia but Russia would never break with Ukraine

4. Send a clear signal to NATO that it’s march east is over

With the Crimean situation under control, Putin could now turn to undermining the Kiev government with impunity. Seeing that NATO, the US, the UN and Ukraine was powerless to intervene it could now set about making sure the new government would be stuck in perpetual crisis and potentially collapse. In order to do that it needed to undermine the authority of the state and nothing is better for that than secession. The FSB pushed and bombarded Russian speaking Eastern Ukraine with propaganda to entice a move toward secession. Taking over a few towns was just enough to get a reaction from Kiev. Instead of calling for calm and reassuring the Russian speaking east, Kiev opted to send its underfunded,  untrained, and clueless Army to the Donetsk region to crack down. The result  was a disaster still unfolding. The current government of President Petro Poroshenko is in shambles and near collapse (corruption, economy in ruins, and Donetsk firmly under Russian control)  leaving Russia in a better position to pull the strings with the next government that will take over (a very good chance that the government collapses and new elections are called within a year).

After successes in Ukraine and hesitations from the UK and the United States to not bomb Syria after the staged WMD attack, Russia saw an opening there. The idea that the Russians were going in for a little unused naval base was embarrassing reason when brought up by some pundits and experts in the media. The Russians saw Syria as vital to protect its natural gas market, eliminate Chechen mercenaries, and use the conflict as a bargaining chip with the US and Europe for lifting sanctions.  Using ISIS as cover, Russia set about to change the situation on the ground to gain a negotiating advantage. It offer repeated proposals and offers of cease fires to get all parties at the table. The US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey repeatedly refused. Now with the Syrian regime in a offensive posture it has decided that Aleppo will fall and the so called FSA and Al-Nusra will be  defeated there and sent back to the country side. It waited until after the election to commence its offensive which they hope the city can be taken before President Elect Trump takes over. This will change the  facts on the ground and more than likely tie the hands of the next administration to cooperate with Russia and Syria.

Russia is in a good position and would welcome lifting of sanctions but is ready for the long game.  President Elect Trump will have a difficult task of reigning in the CIA, the Republican establishment and allies to accept that Russia will be able to negotiate on its term a final peace in Syria and in Ukraine. I truly believe that US-Russian ties will defrost but slowly and with much resistance from regional allies. The fact is that without arming Al-Nusra more directly and with more sophisticated weapons (MANPADS, 3rd generations ATGM) the facts on the ground look grim.  I hope that some in the new administration will be reminded that the last time we went to bed with AL-Queda it did not turn out so well.  So lets just suck it up, swallow our pride and look at our long term interests. We can negotiate with President Putin but not with Al-Queda.


Trump won and won big with not only swing states like Florida, Ohio, North Carolina but in the rust belt as well.  Why? The economy stupid. The entire election was based on how people feel about the economy and their future. The result was bigger than I expected. I taught he would pick up Ohio, North Carolina, Arizona, and Michigan based on how well Sanders did there. Wisconsin was a surprise and Pennsylvania was a bigger win then I expected. So what should we learn from this?

Pollster can get it wrong just like Brexit. They give too much importance to incumbents and to establishment big players.  They tend to drink their own cool aid like the press. I have been saying for months,  Trump can win it because the same ailments that fell upon Brits after 2008 can be seen in America.  People gave President Obama 2 mandates and I was always mad that he squandered it on health care that honestly was a big issue in this campaign even if the press never covered it. He said we would disengage from the Middle East and that never happened (Libya. Yemen and Syria are in ruin, Al Qaeda is stronger then ever, Iran is a big player, and we still losing lives in Afghanistan). He talk a lot of about Wall Street but his entire administration was jam packed with Clinton’s Citi Group surrogates. No one was blamed or held accountable for the 2008 and we are basically back where we started with too big to fail banks, derivatives, over emphasis on Wall Street versus main street.  I vote for Obama but like many feel disappointed with his lack of achievements.  Yeah yeah the Republicans obstructionism didn’t help but the first 2 years he had no excuse to jam a real and effective economic plan. Instead he filled the pockets of hedge fund managers with free Fed money.

Trump spoke to the grievance of the middle class just like Nigel Farage in the UK for Brexit and Obama in 2008. But now people don’t want just talk they want real change that will benefit them.  Trump has, with this election, a clear and unparalleled mandate not seen since Nixon in 1972. The Republicans owe him for  taking the Senate and the House without giving him any support (More like stabbing him at every turn) and the Democrats in disarray and demoralized. It is up to him to use it or squander it. I expect that he will be more of a doer (tax cuts, big infrastructure bill, repeal of Obamacare) but don’t expect him to be perfect. He is still Donald Trump so expect some WTF did he just say?

So the lesson is?  The economy stupid always was always will.

The good news is that in this election big money didn’t win. Clinton and surrogates raised over $1.3 billion while Trump did it on the cheap a little over $700 million and really only $250 million because the rest really wasn’t spent on him but more on Senate/House Elections.

 


We managing to shoot ourselves in the foot at every turn in Syria.  Turkey and their FSA puppets in the north have launched an offensive not against Daesh but against the YPG and the SDF (Allies of the US against Daesh). The YPG and the SDF have basically been abandoned and betrayed by the United States and will eventually run to the welcoming arms of Assad and the Russians. Several villages around Marea in northern Syria have been bombed and attacked by the Turkish Air Force and by the FSA.

The United States was either out foxed by President Erdogan of Turkey or, as many have said privately and Russia publicly, that the United States no longer has any control over Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. This leaves the entire Syrian conflict in the hands of Russia to do what ever it wants.  Russia can now point to US inconsistent policy in one day fighting Daesh and on another allowing Turkey to bomb the YPG which Washington has called the only effective force against Daesh.   If anyone was still considering the FSA as legitimate then this campaign makes it clear that they are nothing more than mercenaries for Ankara, Doha and Riyadh.

At the end, Russia will now be viewed as the more reliable ally on the ground. The US has flipped flopped so many times that its word means nothing to the Syrians, the Kurds and even the Iraqis. In all my years, I have never seen a complete collapse of US foreign policy on this scale since the Iraq invasion. At least in Iraq, the Neocons made the decision and then manufactured the evidence to get support. It was an American decision and no one or no fact was going to change the decision.  In Syria, America is no longer making any decisions and we look like amateurs that have been fooled not once, not twice but multiple times by even our own so called Allies.  It seems that the old guard at the State Department, CIA, and the Pentagon have all retired and left the reigns to a bunch of incompetent morons that would have a hard time of even point out Aleppo on a map.

PS Secretary Clinton, Mosul is not on the Syrian border far from it.

 


The battle for Mosul has started and will last months if Daesh puts up a fight. Some are trying to avert the bloodshed but not for the reasons you believe. The Saudis have been hard at work trying to broker a deal to move thousands of Daesh fighters out of Mosul and into to Syria to fight Assad.  This according to some has already been agreed upon  and that up to 9,000 Daesh terrorists have or will be given safe passage out.

The Saudis and the Qataris would like to see these terrorist live to fight another day and especially against Assad. This is another one of those times when you can say that not only does history repeats itself but stupidity too.  Short term thinking just like in Afghanistan in the 80’s  will lead to more terrorism and more attacks around the world.  In the 80’s the Saudis and the US government supplies arms and recruited tens of thousands of Jihadist to fight communism in Afghanistan. This idea was probably perceived as being brilliant and no one around the table raised their hand to ask what happens after?  Where will they go after? Will they turn against us? Well they did and Al-Qaeda was born and you know the rest of that story.

Now we have John Kerry and the Saudis trying their best to help a sworn enemy of both and loyal affiliate of Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra (refuse to use new brand name) to be saved from Russian and Syrian airstrikes. The excuse is that the remaining surviving moderate (BS) opposition are fighting, sleeping and eating with Al-Nusra and cannot be easily separated. After more than 6 months of trying to so called separate the moderates from the extremists it is clear that either this a ploy to shield and legitimize Al-Nusra or the US and Saudis have no real control over the rebels. You pick but either one is bad. Either way the Russian should just go ahead and bomb the hell of them.

Yes, yes in Aleppo we hear about atrocities, but the Russian’s are striking legitimate terrorists. No one refutes the facts that Al-Nusra is a terrorist group and that their fighters are in Aleppo. On the flip side no one talks of the daily shelling of government controlled areas or that 3x more people live in those areas versus rebel controlled. No one talks about maybe the people living in rebel Aleppo might actually be nothing more than hostages at this point.  If a bunch of terrorists are in a house, you bomb the house. Collateral damage will occur and no one denies that but let us be honest, we coined that term for a reason.  No one in the West questioned the heavy bombing of Lebanon by the IDF in 2006. Heavy civilian loses occurred and everyone blamed Hezbollah for firing rockets near or in civilian areas. Or how about the thousands of civilians killed in Yemen by bad intelligence provided by the CIA and the Pentagon and bombed by poorly trained Saudi pilots. No uproar there.

The US, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, France and the UK once again believe that they can control these groups and have them do their bidding in Syria (Weaken Iran/Hezbollah, remove Assad is just tool to that end). They believe that in the worse case scenario they can keep this war going and hope it never ends (which it will later rather than sooner)  because they know that when it will end the thousands of trained heavily armed professional Jihadists will go somewhere else. You can guess where.  This time a war in Chechnya, the Balkans, and in Algeria will not occupy them like it did in the 90’s.  That is the only reason we didn’t have a 911 in 90’s and only had a World Trade bombing and the embassy bombing in Dar El Salaam.

I hope that in Mosul no deal will be given and that all parties will actually work with each other after taking the city.  The Kurds, Sunni militias, Shia Militias, Turks, Americans and the Iraqi government all have different agendas and makes keeping the peace there very difficult at best and that is whole other story.

PS no general here but I would have taken all the towns on the Iraqi-Syrian border first cutting off supply, and  communication lines.  You can’t win a war if they can just cross back over the border (example: Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, Colombia, Kashmir).

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