Discussion in 'world politics, current affairs and news' started by brogdale, Aug 15, 2014.
On Al Monitor Congress threatens to cut payments to Iraqi Kurds if they break with Baghdad
That's despite an awful lot of lobbying by the KDP in Washington for partition. Sowell's right Barzani's referendum is just political theatre. None of the neighbours want the KRG to secede. The KRG is skint, a vassal of Turkey and politically very divided. Post-IS it's more likely to break up than become independent. Barzani's already lost the Yazidi part of Sinjar. Irbil actually needs to get closer to Baghdad to ween itself off Ankara's tit. Someday KRG independence may happen but it seems much less likely now than in 2014.
On Musings On Iraq Mosul Campaign Day 255 Jun 28 2017
From The CTC The Fight Goes On: The Islamic State’s Continuing Military Efforts in Liberated Cities
Note the contrast between Iraq and Syria. The bulk of the conventional battles against IS have happened in Iraq but IS's terrorist activity in liberated areas of Iraq is really much more intense than in Syria. IS is deeply rooted in Iraqi's Sunni Arab population and this is the sort of savage, sectarian terrorist war AQI fought. It's much less active in Kurdish dominated areas once it's been expelled from them. It strikes the Syrian regime very little though this may change as large chunks of the Caliphate are taken by loyalist forces that often include a preference target: Shia forces. Likewise IS terrorist operations in Arab dominated in Syria taken by the SDF may increase. I think IS simply isn't as invested in the Syrian territory it grabbed opportunistically in the chaos of the revolt. It's left behind intelligence networks are probably much weaker in Syria.
On IRIN News Disturbing civilian death trends in Iraq-Syria air war: A researcher’s view
Fella from AirWars particularly concerned about civilians in Raqqa.
On Terrorism Analysts A Pedigree of Terror: The Myth of the Ba’athist Influence in the Islamic State Movement
Has IS's cultural origins more in highly sectarian underground Iraqi Salafi networks leveraging some Baathist technocrats. Figures from the wider Salafi-Jihadi milieu are more crucial. Much of their skill set simply evolves.
In The NYRB Iraq: The Battle to Come
Unfortunately Baghdad-Irbil relations and the Disputed Areas is more about which politician gets to pocket a large part of the profits from oil resources.
What ISIL really thinks about the future
On Musings On Iraq Mosul Campaign Day 260 Jul 3 2017
Wing notes government issued maps are not well aligned and this one may be optimistic.
what will happen to the Iraqi army once the operation is finished? will a lot of them be sent home? this must be costing a shitload of money. i'd love to know how much the US has spent on equipping the Iraqi army. bet Iran has spent a fair bit too. billions and billions.
I would imagine that there's going to be a fair few with mental health issues after this what with all they've seen and some of them have done. I wonder if there'll be money for that if/when this is all over?
Baghdad has about 190K men under arms. The ISF which includes the army is a standing, volunteer force. It's half the size it was in 09. A third smaller than it was before the fall of Mosul and has retention and recruitment problems. It won't stand down as IS won't be going away and isn't the only terrorist group in Iraq.
The Hashd militias are also supported by state funds. Some are Iranian backed. Those fighting in Syria are mostly paid by the Iranians. Some are loyal to Najaf which raised a Fatwa for Iraqs to mobilise against IS when the ISF collapsed. The Fatwa may be withdrawn and the latter may stand down eventually.
The KRG's Pesh militias's are also paid for by it's government in Irbil, they're about 110K strong.
The US perhaps spent $20 billion on setting up the ISF after it disbanded the old army. So a bit less than cost of Trump's border wall. For some time the ISF has been mainly financed by the Iraqi government. The Iraqi's are spending 20% of their budget (~$85 billion) on defence that's about $17 billion. They are running a deficit of $27 billion. There is still aid from the US, $1.3 billion from 2014-17, $77 million of which was from the Pentagon. That dwarfs contributions from other nations but this is in total a drop in the bucket. Some of Iraq's Sunni cities are wrecks. Estimates of the costs of rebuilding just Anbar's capital Ramadi run to over $10 billion. Just for scale Egypt gets about $1.3 billion in military aid from the US PA. In 2016 the US pledged to give wealthy Israel $38 billion in military aid over the next ten years. It does make you wonder about US priorities and for that matter wealthy European nations in a tizzy about refugees a large tranche of which are Iraqi.
On TDB U.S. Commandos Running Out of ISIS Targets
Goes on to say how wonderful Obama's plan was. When I'd say it was really just short sighted, reactive, tactical stumbling with serious strategic flaws. This hasn't changed under Trump as the plan's the work of the same Pentagon planners and just unfolding with some added stunts and a more liberal use of resources. It's just become even more one dimensionally military and overly focused on rapid territorial gains against IS.
On Musings On Iraq Mosul Campaign Day 263 Jul 6 2017
Meanwhile China is pumping a 100 billion into building new trade networks, but that's probably another thread.
On Al Monitor Planning minister: Iraq needs $100 billion for post-IS reconstruction
Speaking of $100 billion. He explains that's spread over a decade. I think the US spent about $20 billion on civil reconstruction after the invasion. Note the damage is greater from this round of the civil war than the first.
On Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi's Blog After the Caliphate: Interview with Omar Fawaz
Dawla organization=IS. Interview with a former IS supporter who previously advocated for an autonomous Sunni region in Iraq. Interestingly he thinks IS's popularity in Mosul went into decline declined after salaries stopped being paid in 2015 but he obviously blames their oppressive techniques as well. Ended up being tortured on suspicion of espionage which would put you off a group.
On Musings On Iraq 3,230 Dead, 1,128 Wounded In Iraq June 2017
IS regrouped in Badr ruled Diyala.
On Defense One What the Largest Battle of the Decade Says About the Future of War
Excellent piece on Mosul giving some idea of the scale of a battle that actually took longer than Stalingrad
The far bigger Siege of Basra in 8 January-26 February 1987 occurs to me as a comparison point. Now that was a real war: half a million men in the field, nearly 90K casualties, two million IDPs. I recall a piece at the start of the Mosul buildup about two veteran Iraqi tankies three decades later still driving an old T-series that they'd fought the Iranians in. It's really not so long ago.
On Musings On Iraq Mosul Campaign Day 265 Jul 8 2017
Now comes the tricky bit.
On ISW ISIS Sanctuary: July 10, 2017
With the usual spidery map.
On Musings On Iraq Reviewing The Battle Of Mosul, Interview With Ret Col David M Witty
That's an important insight. CTS reports directly to the PMs office. It's by far the most capable force facing IS but Abadi was also in a hurry. Witty notes ERD and the Federal Police under the Interior Ministry tended to use artillery indiscriminately. The Interior Ministry has been the main bastion of Iranian influence since 08. It's forces often have a dark record.
I'd note chucking fire at enemy turf regardless of civilians is the regional way. The ISF gets accused of that, the SAA routinely does it, Turkish backed Syrian rebels using mortars without even securing the base plates was reported up by al Bab not so long ago. Barrel bombs get a lot of publicity but extensive use of indiscriminate artillery by both sides has killed an awful lot of people in Syria.
On Musings on Iraq Mosul Campaign Day 266 Jul 9 2017
The KDP have really screwed that up.
On Reuters Syrian Observatory says it has 'confirmed information' that Islamic State chief is dead
On Musings On Iraq Post Mosul Liberation Day 1 Jul 11 2017
Well sort of, probably a few more days of combat.
On Syria Comment Resolving Article 140: Settling the Issue of Iraq’s Disputed Territories Ahead of an Independence Referendum for Kurdistan
Mathew Barber on the Disputed Territories, a lingering problem from our invasion and a big post-IS issue. He think this needs UN mediation. lots of international support and even peacekeepers on the ground to stop a war breaking out. Admits this is unlikely given the Trump administrations aversion to multilateralism and reconstruction.
If more was invested in stability operations and diplomatic involvement like this by the US the Pentagon might find itself playing very expensive Whackamole with terrorists a little less often.
From The Washington Institute The Caliphate Project in Iraq Post-Mosul
Note the need for a joint Iraq-Syria operation for Wilayat al-Furat.
read that this morning, fascinating Twitter account
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