Re: Guest Post - ISIS


I am disturbed by the typographical decision not to render ISIS in allcaps. Other than that, everything she says seems pretty sensible. And apparently the treatment she's getting in Leavenworth hasn't driven her mad, so, that's good to know.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 11:39 AM
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I thought this by Matt Stoller is way better.

Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 11:40 AM
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That was surprisingly reasonable. But this:

The Islamic State's center of gravity is, in many ways, the United States, the United Kingdom and those aligned with them in the region. When it comes to regional insurgency with global implications, Isis leaders are canny strategists. It's clear to me that they have a solid and complete understanding of the strengths and, more importantly, the weaknesses of the west.

is almost certainly wrong. N.b., I know almost nothing about ISIS, but still.

Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 11:52 AM
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What I want to know is: will Archer make any changes to accommodate the new-found relevance of the name ISIS?

Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 12:10 PM
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I am disturbed by the typographical decision not to render ISIS in allcaps.

This seems to be a British thing, or maybe just a British press style thing.

Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 12:12 PM
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Do they do "ABBA" or "Abba"?

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 12:13 PM
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4: Repeating myself from another place, but I would hope not as they benefit from the hard-to-pin-down, intermittently anachronistic setting.

"What year do you think this is?"
" I, uh-- yeah, exactly. Good question."

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 12:23 PM
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Oh my goodness

Well, here's Matt Stoller over at Naked Capitalism yesterday. Saudi Arabia mostly.

New Regime Change Plan - Attack Damascus From the South Moon of Alabama, 9/15

or...the near term in bullet points, leaving out much else geopolitical (titanium!)

Richard Steven Hack said...

Let me explain the Syria crisis:

People are missing the point of this "crisis".

1) Iran cannot be attacked by Israel Or the US until the threat to Israel of the Syrian and Lebanese Hizballah missiles arsenals are eliminated or at at least degraded.

2) To do that, Israel has to attack Hizballah via the Bekaa Valley, as Colonel Patrick Lang pointed out after the 2006 attempt.

3) To do that, Israel has to cross into Syria and thus engage the Syrian military. While Israel could do that, it would not be an optimum strategy.

4) BUT IF Syria were ALREADY under attack by the US and NATO a la Libya (as well as by internal insurgents), Israel could do it.

5) Russia and China have blocked repeated attempts by the US to get Chapter 7 language in UN Syrian resolutions.

6) In response, Turkey and the insurgents have attempted to drag Turkey in by firing mortars into Turkey, so the West can bypass the UN by using a NATO Chapter 5 resolution to initiate a foreign military intervention.

7) But Assad has been careful not to provoke Turkey enough to justify this - so far.

8) Then Israel and the insurgents are tried to provoke Israel into responding to alleged Syrian "accidents". That Failed, too.

9) Then we had the "chemical weapons" false flag operation which almost worked until Putin outmaneuvered Obama by getting Assad to give up his chemical weapons.

10) So now the "justification" is the old "we have to fight them there so we don't have to fight them here" ploy, previously used to "justify" the US presence in Iraq for ten years. This time the US is using a terrorist group which THE US CREATED (by arming so-called "Syrian moderates" and allowing Saudi Arabia and Qatar to arm them as well) as the excuse. The US is blaming ASSAD for the creation of ISIS, and using this as an excuse to get into military conflict with the Syrian military.

The goal is not necessarily just to oust Assad, but to degrade Syria's military - and then Hizballah in Lebanon - so they are not effective actors in an Iran war.

There is no way the insurgents can beat the Syrian military - or degrade Syria's missile capability - without foreign military intervention. There is no way Assad can win as long as the insurgents have massive external support.

Therefore there MUST BE a foreign military intervention. This will be followed by an Israeli attack on Lebanon. And then an Israeli attack on Iran which will enable the US to "justify" a war with Iran.

This has been the plan from Day One. In fact, since at least 2006, when Israel failed to dislodge Hizballah in southern Lebanon. The plan really took off when the "Arab Spring" led someone to think of using insurgencies to destabilize Middle Eastern countries, and then when Libya enabled them to overthrow a regime under the "responsibility to protect" doctrine.

This would have happened to Syria already except for Russia and China vetoing the Chapter 7 UNSC Resolutions.

The end goal is a ten-year war with Iran in order to keep that $100 billion war windfall coming to the US/EU military-industrial complex.
bob again

News yesterday was that Nasrallah (sp?) head of Hezbullah committed to moving major forces into the Golan Heights. Hez knows their existential war has begun

ISIS is just a tool

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 12:28 PM
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I got to go with Manning over Halford in 3. ISIS leaders know full well that picking a fight with the US is key to keeping the money flowing from their donors. And, with the beheading videos, they've done exactly that. They've called the West out into the street, and now they've got themselves a huge, external, bumbling enemy they can rally against.

Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 12:34 PM
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Chelsea Manning not only sounds sane, but considerably saner than Richard Steven Hack.

Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 12:45 PM
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One of the biggest disappointments of my political life has been the shallow analysis and reaction to the geopolitical events (Ukraine, Levant, MENA) of the last year+ in the liberal blogosphere. After Iraq, I had supposed that a fierce skepticism about US Gov't sources, their minions overseas, their media lackeys had become automatic. But you still pay attention to the same fuckers that start and fight the wars, an the people who throw chaff around them. Look at fucking Libya fer gawds sake.

I don't think it is as much about Obama-Powers and "people-more-like-us" as it is probably just fatigue.

Yeah, it is still about Assad/Syria. Did you think the Neocons gave up? Then Hezbollah, then Iran, then Russia, then China (not war in all cases, just submission) to achieve "Full Spectrum Dominance*" and a military/economic situation where there is no possibility of a challenger to US hegemony ever arising.

* there's a book by that title

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 12:57 PM
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I really don't like the fact that the acronym for the group is the name of a goddess.

Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 1:11 PM
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I'm down with the rope for ISIL strategy, but would support very aggressive measures (not airstrikes!) on the folks funding it.

Stoller is exactly right about classification.

I guess I shouldn't be annoyed by his description of our 80s Afghan policy as 'supporting the Taliban' but this is one of those anachronisms that leads people a little bit astray.

Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 1:20 PM
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It's Islamic State of Iraq and "al-Sham"

Bilad al-Sham there's a map:Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, I/P and I think part of Turkey. "Levant" works

al-Sham is also "Land of the Left Hand" with implications abounding

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 1:42 PM
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That's why the lefty scissors have green handles.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 1:44 PM
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The LA Times calls them Islamic State, which sounds NCAAish.

Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 2:02 PM
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16: THE Islamic State.

Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 2:03 PM
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In headlines, at least, the definite article drops off, bolstering the resemblance.

Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 2:17 PM
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Juan Cole is not entirely useless, but does tend toward a counter-productive optimism

Sept 7 Top Five Signs the US is Defacto Allied with Iran Versus ISIL (you can read the other stuff below if you follow this link)

Sept 18 "Coalition Of One: Iran Leads Own Fight Against Islamic State"

"U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on September 12 that "it would not be appropriate" for Tehran to be in the international coalition "given the many issues...with respect to their engagement in Syria and elsewhere."

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed after the international coalition was announced on September 15 that Tehran had rejected a request by Washington to cooperate, a claim Kerry later told the press he would not get into a "back and forth" with Iran about.

Iran was not invited to the international conference in Paris on September 15 to discuss the threat posed by Islamic State and persuade countries to join it."

Sept 18 "Shiite Militias of Iraq Reject US Return, Threaten to Attack US Forces"

There are Iraqi/Iranian Shiites in Syria fighting alongside Assad.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 2:17 PM
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17 was great.

Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 2:40 PM
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This is the medical equivalent of the Kids for Cash case in PA: a doctor intentionally misdiagnoses cancer so he can profit by giving chemo to a healthy patient.

This is what happens when you bring for-profit companies into a field that should be a government service. You get unheard of corruption.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 2:46 PM
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17 was funny, but for laughing at it, karma had OSU call me ask for money just now. If it wasn't for caller ID, I would have had to make a bad excuse.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 2:48 PM
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21 is on topic because the bad guy was originally from Lebanon.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 2:49 PM
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I'd run over to the UM store and get a maroon Beat State tshirt, if anyone thinks it'll help. I think they have 'em with grizzly claw slashes.

Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 2:56 PM
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22 is on topic because OSU has always insisted on its name being rendered with the definite article. Just like that other place I attended does. Must be some affinity.

Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 3:00 PM
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I'm gonna head over to standpipe's blog now.

Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 3:41 PM
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12. That annoys me as well, especially since that goddess was about as negative-of-Muslim-opinions as a goddess could be.

"The Islamic State" : "The Ohio State University."

IS/ISIL does appear to be producing graduates; c.f. Australia.

Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 4:23 PM
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Pwned by 25 before I read it. (Note to self: too fscking lazy.)

Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 4:24 PM
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I have serious doubts about the Australia terror plot turning out to be the thing it's claimed.

Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 6:05 PM
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Yeah, it just sounds a little....... convenient.

Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-18-14 6:15 PM
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At the very least, I wish some other country would appoint themselves coalition builder and we would not.
Well, the cheese eating surrender monkies have just bombed the shit out of one of ISIS' main depots, if that's any help.

Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-19-14 4:07 AM
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Behold, the story of the rise of ISIS. Basically it's Erdogan's offspring now, just as the Taliban was Pakistan's.

Internal to Turkey, the AKP and Erdogan have been riding the wave of a politics of ressentiment of secular nationalists by formerly disenfranchised religious people that has yet to crest. And there's neo-Ottoman nostalgia which has been transmuting into an actual political vision.

Erdogan sees two obstacles to his eternal sultanate. One is the bursting of the construction-driven bubble run by his cronies. The other is the Kurdish question. To solve both of these at once, a by now named and known set of Qatari billionares - the same ones who funded and harbored Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood - and various Saudis dealt with Erdogan, seeing him as sympathetic, giving him a vast amount of money on the condition that he promote their interests in Ankara (or rather Istanbul) with regard to real estate, etc, AND, most importantly, help the jihadists that they were already funding in Syria. These forces could fight Syria's YPG Kurds, who are part of the PKK umbrella, for Erdogan. This money is now visible as $36 billion "error term" on the Turkish govt's budget.

This dynamic took its own life, as these things tend to do. The "international-Sunni" ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and their Qatari funders seems to have really convinced Erdogan, reinforced his Ottoman fantasies, and made Turkey into a genuinely sectarian political power and a fighter for Sunnism on its borders (i.e., against Assad, against the Iraqi government, against the PKK/Syrian Kurds who are half-Shi'i and a protect the Yezidis, against even the Shi'i Turkmen who valiantly fought ISIS). So ISIS arose and became the perfect vessel for Erdogan's largesse.

This is an open secret in Turkey now and the Islamists don't even try to argue that what I'm saying is a conspiracy theory any more. Countless are the testimonies of men and guns crossing the essentially open southern border. A border town's election was openly rigged to keep it in AKP hands; wounded ISIS are openly treated in Turkish state hospitals; in July or August there was meeting of ISIS leaders in Istanbul's suburbs, filmed; yesterday I saw a Youtube video of some ISIS guys wearing ISIS flag shirts riding the Istanbul metro; the single largest contingent of ISIS troops is now Turkish; a poll of Erdogan's party showed that only 60% consider ISIS to be "a terrorist group".

It is by now obvious that the so-called "hostages" taken in the Turkish consulate in Mosul in June are Erdogan's gift to ISIS, by which he has an excuse to refrain from fighting them (these hostages were mainly Turkish special forces who surrendered without a fight, even as Barzani offered to evacuate them beforehand). This came to pass recently when Erdogan gave this exact excuse for not taking part in Obama's new coalition. The Turkish flag still flies from the Mosul consulate which is now the ISIS operational headquarters in Iraq.

Without Erdogan, they wouldn't exist. The key is ending his support of them; recently Qatar seems to have had a quarrel with him, but I don't know how far reaching its effects will be.

I'm (an American) in Turkey and every day things feel more and more sinister and my anti-Erdogan friends more morose. And some day, all of these ISIS guys are going to come back to Istanbul and Ankara...

Posted by: Presidant Dalia Grybauskaite | Link to this comment | 09-19-14 4:43 AM
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Thanks. I didn't know any of that.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-19-14 5:03 AM
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Hey, is there any credibility to the rumor that the 2013 sarin gas attacks were a Turkish false-flag operation?

Posted by: President Don't Want to be a Rumor Monger | Link to this comment | 09-19-14 6:42 AM
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32. Thanks for this!

the single largest contingent of ISIS troops is now Turkish; Hadn't read this anywhere-- what are good newspapers to read for picking up this kind of news-- actually, any reports on this particular point?

Also, I had only read the Qataris funding ISIS described as anonymous-- any pointers to the list?

Do you know if there's NATO pushback against Erdogan for any of this? How's Beyoglu, still nice I hope?

Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-19-14 7:57 AM
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The Caliphate is now a goal rather than a pipedream, although there is as always a competition for the role of Caliph.

I doubt that a third of ISIL is Turkish, though it is possible. Those who really fear and expect a long-term push to the Caliphate do bank on massive discontent among Sunni and Arab youth providing tens of thousands of ground troops. Which is why I doubt so many Turks, there are too many eager others.

Turkey and Erdogan aren't off Empire's reservation here, although Europe is being edged out of Empire.
A lot of people ask how will Empire take Damascus? With what Army to be supported by death from the air?

The Army is Erdogan's army, Bandar Bush's SA army, Israel's Army, and Obama's ISIL. will have their excuse for carpet bombing.

That ISIL is a little bit rogue is a feature, not a bug. After ISIL takes Damascus there will be a genocidal slaughter and Obama/Empire will have their excuse for carpet bombing.

Meanwhile...what will Russia do? Iran?

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-19-14 8:12 AM
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And a huge part of all this is that damn NG pipeline from Qatar to the Turkish coast, partly for money, but mostly to damage Russia's gas exports to Europe. Oops, I mean lessen Europe's dependency on Russian gas.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-19-14 8:18 AM
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34: All I know about that is from the Seymour Hersh article, but it seems credible to me. Around when that article came out, members of Fethullah Gulen's pro-US religious brotherhood published wiretaps in which could be heard the director of the intelligence agency and foreign minister and several other bigshots talking about staging a false flag attack on the tomb of Suleyman Shah which is a tiny enclave of Turkey in N Syria. They decided against it, but still.

35.1: This came from an interview (in a Turkish newspaper I think) with a Turkish journalist who had been captured by ISIS and then released - admittedly it's anecdotal, but he said most of his captors were Turks. Otherwise there's a recent Newsweek article that implies the same point, and the recent very brief NYTimes one. Beyond Turkish leftist newspapers (which are brave and conscientious but not so good at the international dimension) a fun thing to read is

35.2: I'll try to dig up some of those names, my understanding was that the MB-connected Qataris were identified.

35.3: I think there has been NATO pushback. A former US Ambassador fiercely criticized Erdogan for this, and I feel that some behind the scenes pressure, maybe exerted at the NATO summit, is what just spurred Erdogan to start calling both American media and American financial institutions, "masters of lies." I do wonder what will make him bend.

Beyoglu is still nice, if a little different than years past. This city would have to fall a long, long way to lose what it is that makes it great.

36: Iran and Turkey have a relationship that is, to me, completely opaque. They are proxy fighting in Syria and now Iraq, but in December the Gulenists revealed that Erdogan's friends were illegally buying gold from Iran, flying in like a billion or two dollars of gold ingots; his son was even involved in this. Rouhani was all smiles when he went to Ankara a few months ago, too.

Anyway, treat me as a rumormonger and not an expert. I learn things from tipsy leftists and Turkish newspapers' comment sections.

Posted by: Presidant Dalia Grybauskaite | Link to this comment | 09-19-14 11:04 AM
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38, 32 -- thanks, that's great. Also nice to get some mild support for my not very well thought out emotional attachment to Kemalism, one of the most Halfordismo of regimes.

Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-19-14 11:28 AM
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39. Wait, isn't Erdogan the anti-Kemal, except for wanting to be a semi-benevolent autocrat?

Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09-19-14 12:02 PM
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Right, the anti-Kemalist is the ISIS-supporting badguy, making the Kemalists look good, at least in my barel- informed emotionally-driven Middle East psychodrama.

Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-19-14 12:06 PM
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barely-informed, or informed by a barrel of whisky.

Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-19-14 12:07 PM
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I don't know what's going on here, but the photo is pretty amusing.

Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-19-14 2:19 PM
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People in Turkey who want to protest Erdogan put up pictures of Kemal.

Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-19-14 2:23 PM
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I assume there are four anvils just above frame.

Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-19-14 2:23 PM
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32. Quod erat demonstrandum.

Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-20-14 5:47 AM
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Shit, never mind the Islamists, Turkey obviously needs to start worrying about the Mysterons. THEY'RE RIGHT THERE OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE!

Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-20-14 9:14 AM
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Somehow I never looked up what "Mysterons" are, despite hearing the Portishead song by that name a thousand times. I guess I thought Portishead made up the word.

Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-20-14 9:53 AM
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"I assume there are four anvils just above frame."

That's it... just a rittle to the reft...

Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-20-14 10:19 AM
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