Syria’s Civil War Could Stabilize Its Region

by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
February 26, 2015

Population shifts resulting from Syria’s four-year long civil war have profoundly changed Syria and its three Arabic-speaking neighbors: Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Turkey and Israel have changed too, but less so.) Ironically, amid tragedy and horror, as populations adapt to the brutal imperatives of modern nationalism, all four countries are becoming a bit more stable. That’s because the fighting has pushed peoples to move from ethnic minority status to ethnic majority status, encouraging like to live with like.

Before looking at each country, some background:

First, along with the Balkans, the Middle East contains the most complex and unsettled ethnic, religious, linguistic, and national mix in the world. It’s a place where cross-border alliances deeply complicate local politics. If the Balkans set off World War I, the Middle East might well spark World War III.

Second, historic tensions between the two main Muslim sects, Sunni and Shi’i, had largely subsided before Ayatollah Khomeini’s rise to power in 1979. Driven by Tehran’s aggression, they have since flared anew.


The brutal 8-year war, 1980-88 between Iran and Iraq did much to exacerbate Sunni-Shi’i hostility.

Third, the imperialist European powers nearly ignored the identity of the peoples living in the Middle East as they defined most of the region’s borders. Instead, they focused on rivers, ports, and other resources that served their economic interests. Today’s jumble of somewhat randomly-defined countries (e.g., Jordan) is the result.

Finally, Kurds were the major losers a century ago; lacking intellectuals to make their case, they found themselves divided among four different states and persecuted in them all. Today, they are organized for independence.

Returning to Syria and its Arab neighbors (and drawing on Pinhas Inbari’s “Demographic Upheaval: How the Syrian War is Reshaping the Region“):

Syria and Iraq have undergone strikingly similar developments. After the demise of monstrous dictators in 2000 and 2003, each has broken into the same three ethnic units – Shi’i Arab, Sunni Arab, and Kurd. Tehran dominates both Shi’i-oriented regimes, while several Sunni-majority states (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar) back the Sunni rebels. The Kurds have withdrawn from the Arab civil wars to build their own autonomous areas. Once-ambitious dictatorships barely sustain functioning foreign policies. Also, the century-old boundary separating Syria and Iraq has largely vanished.

Syria: The part of Syria still ruled by Bashar al-Assad is becoming more Shi’i. An estimated half of the pre-war Syrian population of 22 million has been driven from its homes; of them, the 3 million refugees, mostly Sunni, who fled the country are unlikely to return both because of the continuing civil war and the Assad regime’s revocation of their citizenship. The regime appears also to have intentionally reduced its control over the area near the border with Jordan to encourage Sunnis to flee Syria. In another ploy to increase the Shi’i population, reports indicate it has welcomed and re-settled about 500,000 Iraqi Shi’is, conferring Syrian citizenship on some.


Bashar al-Assad must have been a better ophthalmologist than dictator.

Iraq: The Syrian civil war provided the Islamic State (or ISIS/ISIL) with an opportunity to move into Iraq, seizing such cities as Fallujah and Mosul, leading to an exodus of non-Sunnis (especially Shi’is and Yazidis), and remaking Iraq along ethnic lines. Given the country’s intermingled population, especially in the Baghdad area, it will be years – perhaps decades – before the sides sort themselves out. But the process appears inexorable.

Lebanon: Sunnis are growing more powerful, beating back the Iranian influence. The million new Sunni refugees from Syria now constitute 20 percent of the country’s population, roughly doubling the Sunni community. Also, Hizbullah, the dominant Shi’i organization in Lebanon, is neglecting its own constituency and losing influence domestically by fighting on behalf of the Assad regime in Syria.


Hizbullah militiamen in Syria reduces the group’s influence in its home country, Lebanon.

Jordan: The recent influx of Syrian refugees follows an earlier wave of approximately one million Iraqi refugees. Together, the two groups have lowered the percentage of Palestinians in Jordan to the point that the latter probably no longer constitute a majority of the country’s population, a shift with major political implications. For one, it reduces the potential Palestinian threat to the Hashemite monarchy; for another, it undermines the Jordan-is-Palestine argument championed by some Israelis.

In brief, Iraq and Syria are devolving into their constituent religious and ethnic parts, Lebanon is becoming more Sunni, and Jordan less Palestinian. However gruesome the human cost of the Syrian civil war, its long-term impact potentially renders the Middle East a less combustible place, one less likely to trigger World War III.

ISIS Shaping Operations Against IA Blunts Mosul OP Before it Starts

The Iraqi Army (IA) has begun clearing Khan al-Baghdadi earlier this week. LTG James Terry, the senior US commander of the “Coalition of the Reluctantly Willing, is playing down the Islamic State’s (IS) seizure of large chunks of the town and claims the following: My assessment is (Islamic State) is halted, on the defensive, and really forced-exposed themselves in order to achieve gains.” With all do respect sir, that is incorrect and will submit to you that IS’ move into Kahn al-Baghdadi was part of a much broader overall effort force the IA into reallocating from the planned Mosul operation to Retaking places like Khan al-Baghdadi, Bayji and Tikrit. Furthermore, IS has already reinforced the town with fighters dispatched from Ar Rutbah and Syria that will later be used for the main assault on al-Asad Airbase. Perhaps your staff neglected to tell you what’s truly happening on the ground? Kahn al-Baghdadi is a true test to gauge how well the Mosul operation will turn out – and the evidence doesn’t suggest there will be a happy ending. In fact, we’re willing to bet that IS will not only disrupt the IA effort to relieve the pressure being placed on al-Asad Airbase, we will put money on attacks picking up in Ramadi.

Iraq moving to retake town from Islamic State: U.S. officer

IA Struggling to Avoid Collapse on Multiple Fronts -Mosul OP in Danger of Failing

ISIS Launches First Wave of Attacks Against al-Asad Airbase as Kirkuk Heats Up

Iraqi Checkpoint Station

The IA will be hard-pressed to drive IS out of Anbar

Below is a video of the IA rolling out to Khan al-Baghdadi (which doesn’t inspire much confidence):


As the IA continues to throw more resources into the Anbar line of Operations, IS has already begun harassing Peshmerga units West of Kirkuk and appear to be massing fighters in Hawijah for a larger attack that will likely be a multi-pronged effort targeting the isolated IA forces in Bayji along with Kirkuk and the Peshmerga lines of communication (LOC) that run to the Northeast outskirts of Mosul. The IRGC-Qods Force Ramazan Corps appears to be making moves to attempt an operation geared towards purging the areas South of Kirkuk going into Saladin Province. Our sources in the country have reported that the Qods Force intent is for this operation to push all the way into Bayji and Tikrit in a bid to secure the main LOC linking Mosul to Baghdad. We assess that the Ramazan Corps will run into significant problems due Mosul being so far away from their main support hub of Baghdad. This is important because the amount of support that the Ramazan Corps provides to the Mosul operation will be dependent on how well this effort to retake Tikrit, Bayji and clear the Zaab Triangle is, along with the Anbar effort. Still, we assess they will have personnel on the ground acting as “advisors” and performing specialized missions such as demolitions and targeted raids on IS leadership. We will also likely see an increase in weaponized UAV operations conducted by the IRGC-Qods Force with Samarra used as the primary staging-area. With that said, we assess the Ramazan Corps and Shia Militias’ probability of success in these areas (which have much higher concentrations of Sunnis than Jalula or Amerli) to be LOW. In fact, we’re already seeing indicators of this effort going far less smoothly than they anticipated with IS having already abducted 100 pro-GOI tribesmen before the Tikrit operation’s kickoff. Those pro-GOI tribal forces are supposed to be one of the major contributors to the overall joint strategy, essentially becoming a replay of what happened to the Albu Nimr tribe in Anbar. Definitely not off to a good start.

Islamic State seize 100 Iraqi tribesmen before battle for Tikrit

More than 5,000 fighters arrive in Tikrit in preparation for zero hour

Iraqi forces prepare for Tikrit offensive

Qods Force UAV OPs Part II

Qods Force UAV OPs in Iraq

The Main Act: ISIS Tightens its Grip in Anbar Province, Preps to Retake al-Asad Airbase

albu nimr44

Those 100 tribesmen will likely meet a fate similar to that of their Albu Nimr counterparts

The worst-case scenario is for IS to suck the joint-IA/Qods Force/Shia Militia force conducting the clearing operation into Bayji and cut them off as they attempt to surround the city. This would be accomplished with the IS fighters massing in Hawijah and other areas within the Zaab Triangle that the Peshmerga thus far have not been able to clear. Should IS pull this off, it would isolate the forward forces, completely cutting them off from any hope of reinforcements as the Kurds attempt to address the increased pressure being placed on Irbil and Kirkuk. This is the driving force behind Qods Force commander GEN Suleimani’s decision to launch the clearing operation moving from the areas South of Kirkuk down to Tikrit and Bayji.

ISIS: Regained the Initiative in Northern Iraq

suleimani samarra

GEN Suleimani: The man with the plan
Source: The Long War Journal

As we first stated in our 20 JUL 14 article “State of the Iraqi Air Force and Special Operations” and followed up in “IA Preps to Take Mosul as Kings Rage Continues,” Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) capabilities and readiness are in steady decline. However, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense (MoD) has been able to delay the organization’s complete collapse with rapid recruitment in the later part of last summer, although the degradation has only slowed – not stopped. This was due to recruits being selected right off the streets instead of the usual selection process through MoD, opting to go with “quantity” over “quality.” To offset the growing demand as capabilities decline, the IA has become increasingly reliant on the Qods Force-backed Shia militias. Despite the Shia militias doing more of the heavy lifting, ISOF still experienced 30% casualties during the DEC 14 Bayji operation. What’s worst is that despite the ISOF being in its continued state of decline, the overall IA can’t function without them and the militias being the lead element in their operations. These significant deficiencies will be come much more apparent for the public once they begin to experience the heavy resistance in Tikrit, Bayji and Anbar Province that we assess to be in the IA’s future.

The GOI thinks they had “great victories” in Jalula and Amerli, but the ugly truth of the matter is that IS never intended to stand and fight there like they do in the heavily-Sunni populated cities of Tikrit, Bayji, Fallujah, Ramadi and Mosul. The increased use of Shia militias – who have been depopulating Sunni areas – will only galvanize the locals to oppose what is widely viewed as an “Iranian puppet regime.” Most damning of all, however, is the fact that the majority of the IA personnel being used to augment the forces pulled from other areas to field the force tasked with retaking Mosul are all currently being trained by US military personnel. This means the backbone of the main effort will be filled primarily of green recruits who likely have never fired a weapon in anger, much less operated as a cohesive unit in a do or die situation. Of course the Obama administration announced this publicly with the GOI in the hopes that Mosul would be a ghost town by the time the IA rolls in. Unfortunately, its looking increasingly doubtful that will happen with reporting from our sources indicating that if anything IS fighters are digging in for a long, bloody fight with more weapons and personnel coming in from Syria. With the stakes being as high as they are, we just don’t see this as being the recipe for success. We hope to God we’re wrong.

– Oh, and keep an eye on Baghdad, because IS has been sustaining their current OP-tempo and will continue to increase their attacks in the capital as we get closer to when the Mosul operation is supposed to be kicked off…

State of the Iraqi Air Force and Special Operations Forces

IA Preps to Take Mosul as Kings Rage Continues

GOI Has Big Plans to Retake the Country From ISIS – But Can They Pull it Off???

Other Related Articles:

Iraqi Army Facing Heavy Resistance in Anbar: Counter-Offensive Stalls

Pro-Government Tribal Forces in Anbar Province Running Out of Steam

ISIS Burns Iraqis Alive to Send Message to US – Government Remains Oblivious

Islamic State Seizes Town of Khan al-Baghdadi – Threatens US Marines at Ayn al-Asad

ISOF’s Admiration of their IRGC-Qods Force Embeds


Published on Feb 26, 2015 by EnGlobal News World

Can Kurds in Iraq and Syria keep up fight against ISIS? Dr. Anwar Anaid and Dr. Henri Barkey explain the latest regional developments

Fred Fleitz: ISIS may be planning a series of atrocities ahead of a possible offensive to take back Mosul

Fleitz: “We should arm the Kurds and friendly Sunni militias and step up our air campaign…if we inflicted real harm on ISIS and gave the perception that it was losing it would not be able to grab the news cycle”

Published on Feb 25, 2015 by EnGlobal News World

Also see:

ISIS Hammers Christian Towns in Syria for Third Day



Breitbart, by Katie Gorka, Feb. 25, 2015:

Today marks the third day in ISIS’ latest offensive against a string of Christian towns and villages in northeast Syria. According to Aziz Mirza, with the Syriac Cultural Association, speaking from Qamishli by phone today, ISIS is continuing to push forward in trying to take control of this predominantly Assyrian Christian region.

Mirza said an estimated 350-400 people are missing from 12 different villages, but it has been very difficult to confirm those numbers because all cell phones appear to be confiscated. When relatives have tried calling, members of ISIS answer the phones, Mirza said.

Kurdish and Christian fighters have been working together for the past year and half to protect this area from ISIS. The Christian fighters, who operate as the Syriac Military Council, had forces in 3 villages: Tel Hormizd, at the southern end of the Khabur valley, Tel Shamiram, at the northern end, and Tel Tawil on the northeast flank. The SMC and Kurdish (YPG) forces had been there since Feb 7, but with the pre-dawn attack that was launched on February 23rd, ISIS has now retaken control. So far, the Syriac Military Council has lost four fighters with another 12 deaths suspected but not yet confirmed.

ISIS is currently focusing its efforts on the town of Tel Tamar, which is the regional center. Yesterday, ISIS set off three car bombs just outside the barricades protecting Tel Tamar, near where the Syriac Military Council forces and Kurdish forces are headquartered. There were no casualties. Mirza also said that fighting ebbed somewhat on Tuesday because of heavy rains, but today, February 25, it was back at full force.

In a separate phone call, Sewerios Malke from the Syriac Military Council confirmed that ISIS is still trying to take control of the region and that they are trying to cross the Khabur river. The Kurdish and Syriac forces have been able to hold them back so far but it is uncertain how much longer that can last. He estimates the number of ISIS fighters at several thousand.

According to a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release, U.S. and coalition military forces have carried out airstrikes in the Khabur River region where this fighting is going on. Between 8 a.m. yesterday (Feb 24) and 8 a.m. today (Feb 25), local time, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted nine airstrikes in Syria:

  • Near Hasakah, three airstrikes struck an ISIL vehicle.
  • Near Kobani, six airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units, an ISIL fighting position and destroyed six ISIL fighting positions.
AINA Media

AINA Media

However, both Malke and Mirza asserted that there were no airstrikes in the Khabur region, only further south, 22 kilometers below Qamishli. The stark contrast between the stories of hundreds or even thousands of ISIS fighters attacking villages, taking as many as 400 hostages, and three U.S. airstrikes in the same region that struck only one vehicle, suggests the U.S. may be missing the target.

Some have argued that without troops, or at least advisors, on the ground, there is insufficient intelligence to guide airstrikes. In addition, representatives of the Syriac forces have been making the case in Washington for the past several years that their location in Syria made them particularly vulnerable to attack by ISIS and they could be key players in the fight against ISIS. They were therefore lobbying to be included in the equipping and training of opposition forces in Syria. The State Department has confirmed that the Syriac forces were not included in the first round of training.

Katie Gorka is the president of the Council on Global Security. @katharinegorka.

Also see:

Revoke US Citizenship from Americans Who Join ISIS

A bus en route from Sofia to Istanbul goes through passport control on the Turkish side of the border at Kapikule. PHOTO: DANIELLA ZALCMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

A bus en route from Sofia to Istanbul goes through passport control on the Turkish side of the border at Kapikule. PHOTO: DANIELLA ZALCMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

CSP, by Fred Fleitz, Feb. 23, 2015:

The French and Australian governments have taken aggressive steps to protect its citizens from so-called home grown terrorists who travel to the Middle East to fight for ISIS.  It is time for the United States to implement similar measures.

Over the weekend, the French government for the first time seized the passports of six French citizens who allegedly were planning to travel to Syria to join ISIS and banned 40 more from leaving the country.

France’s top court ruled late last month that the government could strip French citizenship from naturalized French citizens convicted of terrorism charges.  This decision will allow the government to withdraw French citizenship and passports from dual nationality jihadists who immigrated to France from north Africa and the Middle East.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott plans to strip Australian citizenship from dual nationals who return to his country after fighting for ISIS.   The Australian government may also suspend or withdraw citizenship from natural-born Australians who fought for ISIS.  Canada and the UK have laws on the books to do this but reportedly have not used them yet.

An estimated 20,000 foreigners have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS.  3,400 of them are Europeans; about 100 are Americans.  The Wall Street Journal reported today that European ISIS recruits are beginning to take steps to evade stepped-up security measures to prevent them from travelling to the Middle East by traveling by road and pretending to take trips to visit relatives or go on holiday to hide their final destinations.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Congressman Steve King (R-IA) believe the United States must crack down on U.S citizens who join ISIS.  That’s why last month they proposed the Expatriate Terrorists Act.  If passed, this bill would revoke U.S. citizenship from anyone fighting for or supporting ISIS.  The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Joe Manchin (R-WV).

Democrats blocked an earlier version of this bill submitted by Cruz last fall because they claimed it was vague and would affect the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens.  The White House did not take a public position on Cruz’s bill but is believed to oppose it.

Congressman Steve King explained the urgency for passing the Expatriate Terrorist Act when he said, “I believe these American terrorists have voluntarily renounced their citizenship upon taking an oath to a foreign terrorist organization.”

Senator Cruz, Congressman King and officials in France and Australia understand the seriousness of their citizens traveling to Syria and Iraq to fight for ISIS and returning home to commit acts of terror.  The Cruz/King bill would send a powerful message that America is prepared to do whatever it takes to defeat ISIS and Americans who join terrorists groups will pay a high price.

‘Telegraphing’ of plan to retake Mosul not unprecedented, may be strategic

Published on Feb 20, 2015 by EnGlobal News World

Fox News, By Conor Powell, February 21, 2015:

Within hours of the announcement by an unnamed U.S. military official that plans were underway to retake the key Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS, the criticism began.

“That is pretty amazing that that information’s out there,” retired Gen. Jack Keane, former Army vice chief of staff and a Fox News military analyst, said Friday. Top Republican senators also demanded answers, saying the disclosure has put the mission at risk.

“Never in our memory can we recall an instance in which our military has knowingly briefed our own war plans to our enemies,” Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in a letter to President Obama.

But the deliberate publicizing of an upcoming military assault is not unprecedented, and some military experts note it is very much in keeping with U.S. military planning and strategy in recent years for large-scale offensives.

U.S. Marines publically declared their intentions months in advance to retake the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2004. The announcement allowed insurgents to “escape” and prepare for one of the deadliest operations of the Iraq War.

In weeks leading up to the American and Afghan invasion of the Taliban stronghold of Marjah in 2010, coalition commanders all but announced the time and date of the invasion.

“It’s no secret we’re going there,” Marine Gen. Larry Nicholson told Reuters two months before the assault began. “There’s an inevitability that there’s a date with destiny with Marjah and we’re moving toward that.”

Leaflets were dropped by helicopter all over the remote Afghan city warning civilians and insurgents that an offensive was coming, while Afghan and ISAF officials were quoted in Western newspapers and on Afghan TV and radio saying an operation involving thousands of U.S., British and Afghan troops was imminent.

In 2010, like today, U.S. military commanders explain that modern communications make it all but impossible to hide or keep undercover large military operations. As a practical matter, the effort to conceal what insurgents already expect may not be  worth the effort, they say. And perhaps more importantly, some U.S. military planners believe the publicity for the offensive outweighs the secrecy. In a day and age where protecting non-combatants is paramount, telegraphing an assault provides civilians an opportunity to flee.

There is also a tactical reason for giving your enemy a heads up. Like in Marjah, the U.S. led-coalition wants to keep ISIS fighters in a “defensive crouch.” The hope is the relatively few and outgunned ISIS insurgents will have exhausted themselves spending every minute thinking and worrying about the coming encounter with 25,000 well-armed Iraqi troops.

Whether or not this strategy of “telegraphing” the operation is smart or not is very much up for debate but its precedence is not.

Conor Powell is a foreign correspondent for Fox News Channel
Conor Powell joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 2009 and serves as a Jerusalem-based foreign correspondent.


Published on Feb 20, 2015 EnGlobal News World


Also see:

The answer: The Pentagon and Iraqi military commanders are hoping to avoid a massive, bloody battle in Iraq’s second largest city. “We want Mosul to look a lot more like the liberation of Paris than Stalingrad or Fallujah,” said a senior military official familiar with the planning. In other words, U.S. and Iraqi commanders are hoping that they can convince most of the Islamic State fighters to leave the city before the big battle

IA Struggling to Avoid Collapse on Multiple Fronts – Mosul OP in Danger of Failing

February 20, 2015 / /

In our recent article titled “ISIS Launches First Wave of Attacks Against al-Asad Airbase as Kirkuk Heats Up,” we discussed how the Islamic State (IS) had launched their current offensives against Kirkuk and Anbar Province’s al-Asad Airbase to force the IA into reallocating resources and manpower from their planned operation to retake Mosul. As we predicted, the IA has dispatched reinforcements to bolster the beleaguered joint-IA/Shia militia force that’s struggling to hang on in the province. To do that, these reinforcements have been tasked with retaking the town of Khan al-Baghdadi. With only around 3,000 IA troops freed up to conduct offensive operations (which isn’t nearly enough to hold real estate as big as Fallujah, Bayji, Tikrit or Mosul) we see the scenario playing out that was discussed in “GOI Has Big Plans to Retake The Country From ISIS – But Can They Pull it Off???” In that piece, we stated that it would take tens of thousands of troops to secure Ramadi, Fallujah, Tikrit and Mosul – all of which the IA have been tasked with retaking this spring.

Baghdad sends army to recapture Anbar town from ISIS

ISIS Launches First Wave of Attacks Against al-Asad Airbase as Kirkuk Heats Up

GOI Has Big Plans to Retake The Country From ISIS – But Can They Pull it Off???

Islamic State Seizes Town of Khan al-Baghdadi, Threatens US Marines at Ayn al-Asad

anbar cp

Iraqi Security Forces manning a checkpoint on the outskirts of Anbar Province
Source: Reuters

By now most of our readers have already heard about CENTCOM announcing that approximately 20,000 – 25,000 IA troops (about half of the total IA) will be dedicated to retaking Mosul in the APR-MAY timeframe. That’s what they announced, but the truth is a lot of this force will be consisting of KRG Peshmerga, pro-government tribal fighters and Shia militias – basically using the same formula that was used to retake Jalula and Amerli. Mosul is no Jalula or Amerli, which were used to draw out government forces. IS never intended to stand and fight in either location. Mosul is very different in that its a large population center that IS has set up a defense network consisting of tank trenches, tunnels, fighting positions, even heavy weapons and armored assets brought in from Syria. This was discussed in our piece titled “IA Preps to Take Mosul as Kings Rage Continues” (which also lays out what the IS defense of Mosul may look like) in addition to how IS would likely increase their OP-tempo against places like Baghdad, al-Asad Airbase etc. The Obama administration is fully aware of all this too, so don’t believe their statements of being “shocked” when the Mosul operation doesn’t go anywhere near as smoothly its being hyped.

IA Preps to Take Mosul as Kings Rage Continues

CENTCOM Outlines Battle for Mosul, Doubles Estimate for IS Dead

Iraq-Kurdish force of 25,000 ‘to retake Mosul from IS’

Known Terrorists Among the Beneficiaries of US Assistance in Iraq

Siege of Amerli Finally Broken

The Siege of Amerli

Jalula Update as of 24 NOV 14

Joint Counter-Offensive Launched to Drive ISIS From Jalula, Iraq

ISIS mosul

IS has brought in heavy weapons and additional armored assets to reinforce what they confiscated from the IA when it collapsed last summer
Source: ISIS Study Group

The GOI now appears willing to accept the risks involved in reallocating IA personnel dedicated to static defense to bolster the Mosul effort. They’ve already been scrapping what they had from other efforts as seen in the IA decision to have Shia militias take responsibility of locations in Northern Iraq to free up additional personnel for the Mosul effort. However, the reality on the ground has forced the IA to send personnel to reinforce the defenders of al-Asad Airbase which has caused a delay to the plans to clear Bayji (which according to our in-country sources has been pushed to 26 FEB). A particular concern we have with this Mosul plan is the fact that Bayji and the Zaab Triangle (Hawijah especially) both need to be secured prior to the start of the operation. Why? One of the things that IS will likely due is stage attacks targeting the supply lines utilizing the main Mosul to Baghdad route, meaning the entrenched IS presence in the Bayji-area and Zaab Triangle between Kirkuk and Mosul are equally as important. Targeting the supply routes has the very real potential of cutting off the forces participating in the Mosul operation, allowing IS fighters based in Bayji, Tikrit and Hawijah to block any attempt by the GOI to send reinforcements. Those reinforcements would likely come from dipping into IA units tasked with maintaining a static defense posture or requesting more Shia militia personnel to be deployed, neither of which would be a winning proposition.

With the Peshmerga focusing on a defensive posture due to increased attacks in Irbil and Kirkuk, the likelihood of of an offensive to clear out (and hold) the Zaab Triangle is assessed to be LOW. This will also have an effect on how much manpower the Peshmerga will provide to the Mosul effort. Again, this is all reactionary to what is really an IS-initiated shaping-operation to force the coalition to divert much-needed resources away from the Mosul effort. The GOI is aware of this too, but is hoping the gamble will pay off and that the Mosul offensive will still be a success. However, the success of the operation is completely dependent on the level of US air support the assault force receives and the ability of the IA to alleviate the pressure being applied to al-Asad Airbase. Regarding US air support, the Obama administration needs to authorize the military to increase the amount of airstrikes being conducted and without the current restrictive ROE. If that doesn’t happen and the air support for the operation is the same as the bare minimum that’s already being provided, the operation will result in failure. As much as we hope to be wrong on this, the indicators suggest otherwise.

ISIS Attacks Near Erbil, Iraq, Repelled by Peshmerga: Kurds

An armed Shi'ite volunteer from the Mehdi Army clashes with Islamic State militants outside the city of Tikrit

Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) militia member engaging IS personnel in the outskirts of Tikrit
Source: Reuters

Other Related Articles:

ISIS: Regained the Initiative in Northern Iraq

Iraqi Army Facing Heavy Resistance in Anbar: Counter-Offensive Stalls

Shia Militias Sent to Reinforce al-Asad Airbase – IA on Verge of Collapse

Boykin: Marines at al-Asad air base should be reinforced and unleashed


CSP, February 19, 2015:

LTG William Jerry Boykin (Ret.) comments on the US shameful withdrawal from the Yemen embassy and what to do about the 300 Marines under threat from ISIS near al-Baghdadi, Iraq.


ISIS attacks Iraq air base; 300 Marines could be trapped; Pentagon says no big deal by Allen West:

If you are a student of ancient military history — or actually an action movie buff — you know the significance of the number 300. It is a number associated with a brave stand made by Spartan warriors led by their king, Leonidas. They stood against a numerically superior force but wrought much violence and death against the invading Persian Army of Xerxes, until they were betrayed. Could it be a modern day episode of the brave 300 playing out before our eyes?


There are 300 Marines with boots on the ground who are going to be engaged in ground combat operations — and knowing Marines, they’re not going to sit back on defense, they will go on offense. The Pentagon continues to maintain that the Marines are safe. For now.

So what should the commander-in-chief do to prevent what could be a catastrophic event? Well, he should order immediate close air support to reduce the ISIS threat in al-Baghdadi in order to relieve pressure on al-Asad base.

There should be a 24-hour combat air patrol (CAP) over the al-Baghdadi area that precludes any ISIS reinforcement. When the conditions are set, then a ground combat offensive must be launched to destroy every single ISIS member within a 50-mile radius of al-Baghdadi. Right now a real commander-in-chief would be meeting with the generals and have contingency plans drawn up for approval to facilitate execution within 24 hours — of course the immediate bombing of al-Baghdadi and CAP should already have been established.

We need to have true close air support platforms like F22 Raptors, AV-1B Harriers, and A-10s covering al-Asad and should be deploying available attack helicopters all under the control of the troops on the ground, the brave 300 Marines.

Ladies and gents, this could be one of our finest moments and a time when we send a clear message to ISIS that could begin a major counter-offensive to commence the defeat of ISIS.

Now, ask yourself as you have read this, will any of this happen?

And to those progressive socialists who think this can be done without troops on the ground — too doggone late, they’re already there. Will y’all willingly play the role of traitor to the brave 300?


And Allen West has a whole lot to say about the way we left the embassy in Yemen:

Bombshell: State Dept. emails show panic and chaos during Yemen evacuation [VIDEO]

Secure the Border!

aisis-426x350Frontpage, February 19, 2015 by Raymond Ibrahim:

Originally published by PJ Media.

In a move reminiscent of “ancient history,” Saudi Arabia is building a 600-mile-long “Great Wall”  –  a combined fence and ditch  –  to separate itself from the Islamic State to the north in Iraq:

Plans for the 600-mile wall and ditch Saudi Arabia will build with Iraq in an effort to insulate itself from the chaos engulfing its neighbors.

Much of the area on the Iraqi side is now controlled by Isil [the Islamic State], which regards the ultimate capture of Saudi Arabia, home to the “Two Holy Mosques” of Mecca and Medina, as a key goal….

The irony here is that those Muslims that Saudi Arabia is trying to keep out are the very same Muslims most nurtured and influenced by a Saudi — or “Wahabbi,” or “Salafi” — worldview.

Put differently, Saudi Arabia is again appreciating how jihad is a volatile instrument of war that can easily backfire on those who support it.  “Holy war” is hardly limited to fighting and subjugating “infidels” — whether the West in general, Israel in particular, or the millions of non-Muslim minorities under Islam — but also justifies fighting “apostates,” that is, Muslims accused of not being Islamic enough.

Indeed, the first grand jihad was against Muslim “apostates” — the Ridda [“apostasy”] Wars.  After Muhammad died in 632, many Arab tribes were willing to remain Muslim but without paying zakat (“charity”) money to the first caliph, Abu Bakr.  That was enough to declare jihad on them as apostates; tens of thousands of Arabs were burned, beheaded, dismembered, or crucified, according to Islamic history.

Accordingly, the Islamic State justifies burning people alive, such as the Jordanian pilot, precisely because the first caliph and his Muslim lieutenants burned apostates alive, and is even on record saying that “false Muslims” are its first target, then Israel.

This is the problem all Muslim nations and rulers risk: no one — not even Sharia-advocating Islamist leaders — are immune to the all-accusing sword tip of the jihad.  If non-Muslims are, as “infidels,” de facto enemies, any Muslim can be accused of “apostasy,” instantly becoming an enemy of Allah and his prophet.

A saying attributed to the Muslim prophet Muhammad validates this perspective: “This umma [Islamic nation] of mine will split into seventy-three sects; one will be in paradise and seventy-two will be in hell.”  When asked which sect was the true one, the prophet replied, “al-jama‘a,” that is, the group which most literally follows the example or “sunna” of Muhammad.

This saying perfectly sums up the history of Islam: to be deemed legitimate, authorities must uphold the teachings of Islam — including jihad; but it is never long before another claimant accuses existing leadership of not being “Islamic enough.”

Enter the Saudi/Islamic State relationship. From the start, the Arabian kingdom has been a supporter of the Islamic State.  It was not long, however, before IS made clear that Saudi Arabia was one of its primary targets, calling on its allies and supporters in the kingdom to kill and drive out the Saud tribe.

Nor is this the first time the Saudis see those whom they nurtured — ideologically and logistically — turn on them.  Back in the 1980s, the Saudis were chief supporters of the jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan and helped create al-Qaeda.

But once the “distant” infidel was subdued, al-Qaeda and its Saudi-born leader Osama bin Laden came home to roost, doing the inevitable: pointing the accusatory finger at the Saudi monarchy for not being Islamic enough, including for its reliance on the great American infidel during the First Gulf War.

Moreover, Saudi Arabia is not only a chief disseminator and supporter of the Salafi ideology most associated with jihad, but the Arabian kingdom itself was forged in large measure by articulating and calling for holy war in the 19th and -20th centuries, including against Turks and fellow Arab tribes (both Muslim).

The Saudi argument then was the very same argument now being made by the Islamic State — that the rulers of Islam’s holiest mosques in Mecca and Medina (in this case, the Ottoman Turks) were not “Islamic” enough.

Such is the double-edged sword of jihad.   All Islamic governments, regimes, and kingdoms must always try to direct this potent instrument of war against enemies or neutral targets — preferably ones far away from their borders (Afghanistan, America, etc.). For they know that the longer the jihad waxes in strength and goes uncontained, the more it becomes like an all-consuming fire indiscriminately scorching all in its path.

And this explains why Saudi Arabia is a chief funder and supporter of external jihads: to send its own zealots out of its borders to fight distant infidels (a “better them than me” mentality).  It also explains why nations like Saudi Arabia, which were forged by the jihad, continually find themselves threatened by the jihad — or, to paraphrase a young Jewish rabbi: “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.”

Cultural Suicide: Why Allowing Syrian War Refugees to Enter Western Countries is a Pandora’s Box to More Attacks

February 19, 2015 / /

In its infinite wisdom the Obama administration announced plans to dramatically increase the number of Syrian War refugees being accepted into the confines of our borders. As of this writing, the largest concentrations of resettled refugees are in California, Illinois and Texas. As one would guess, there some serious concerns with the very real (and likely) possibility of terrorists associated with the Islamic State (IS) entering our country under the “refugee” label. DoS claims that “only the small minority who are in the most dire need, including the very young, ailing and elderly, and people who have been persecuted by their government” will be resettled in our country. The problem with that is the “very young” tend to have parents and siblings who tend to follow them – but the Obama administration conveniently leaves out those inconvenient details. DoS also makes the claim that they’re actually going to “screen” applicants, but how well they screened the Boston Bombers (the Russians had warned us about those two) doesn’t inspire much confidence from our staff. Its also worth noting that the Obama administration has been saying that the screening process is more “rigorous” since 2009 – so when was the Boston Bombing again?

U.S. to accept Syrian refugees in greater numbers after slow start

US Officials Admit Concern Over Syrian Refugee Effort


Coming soon to a neighborhood near you…
Source: The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Remember, this is the same Obama administration via DHS that lost track of over 6,000 foreigners last year who overstayed their visas. As much as the Obama administration would like for you to believe, the ugly truth is the US government doesn’t have any real checks and balances nor does it have the political will to properly enforce the current immigration laws on the books. People applying for visas of any kind, refugee status/political asylum from countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Algeria, Libya, Syria, Iraq – places where most of the populations despise us – red-flags should immediately be raised that should result in the application being promptly rejected. Unfortunately, people working in immigration and customs tend to simply push them along no questions asked – and that’s not even getting into the Pandora’s Box that allowing more Syrian refugees into our country would open.

DHS Loses 6,000

If you want to get a glimpse into America’s future all one needs to do is to look at Europe. As we discussed in our recent piece titled “The Jews: Europe’s Canary in the Mine on the Growing Jihadist Threat,” we laid out how years of political correctness and failed social experimentation has led to serious problems bubbling to the surface in Europe. Specifically, we showed how the EU members’ refusal to confront the jihadist threat has led to an increase in terror attacks with Denmark used as a case-study. Countries like Denmark, France, Germany, Belgium and the UK have been extremely generous in taking in Syrian War refugees and immigrants from other nations with large jihadist populations. Common sense says that Gulf nations refusing to take in refugees should be a huge red-flag to the US and its European counterparts. Unfortunately it isn’t. We just had a series of attacks in France from DEC 14 – JAN 15 and two more shootings in Denmark over the weekend, yet Europe continues to live with the delusional concept of “multiculturalism.”

A prime example of this is the threat that people just now realized exists from Libya on the other side of the Mediterranean. IS clearly sees the many vulnerabilities inside Europe in terms of how easy it is to gain access to member nations, as demonstrated by calls from the terror organization to infiltrate the continent posing as migrants. Indeed, Libya is a “gateway” to Europe but so are Turkey and Cyprus. Due to EU members being so inviting, the US also runs the risk of failing to notice individuals of Middle Eastern/North African origins who obtained dual-citizenship who attempt to enter our country on a European passport. If these people wanted to truly integrate they wouldn’t be trying to push the issue with “Sharia Enforcement Zones” and forcing everybody to bend over to their cultural demands. The truth is most of the people coming from the above-mentioned countries have no desire to integrate into western society despite being all too happy to receive those welfare checks (like a certain Anjem Choudray). Europe is dying, only the European people and the naive politicians they elected to office don’t yet realize it. If America isn’t careful, our fate will be similar to their’s – and it will happen much sooner than you think. It may sound cold, but allowing these people into our country isn’t worth the risk…

The Jews: Europe’s Canary in the Mine on the Growing Jihadist Threat

Islamic State ‘planning to use Libya as gateway to Europe’

Attack in Paris, France Kills 12

Islamic State: The French Connection

ISIS Attack Plot Thwarted in Belgium – A Sign of Things to Come?

Obama ISIS Map

The world burns while President Obama exhibits Nero-like characteristics – just substitute the golf clubs for a fiddle.
Source: The ISIS Study Group


Also see Refugee Resettlement Watch archives on Syrian Refugees:

ISIS Burns Iraqis Alive in Message to US – Government Remains Oblivious

February 18, 2015 / /

The Islamic State (IS) burned alive 45 Iraqis in the town of Khan al-Baghdadi on Tuesday. It remains unclear who the victims were, but its likely they were a combination of IA personnel and pro-government tribal fighters who were cut off and isolated when the rest of the town’s garrison fled in panic. We also hear that some of the families of security personnel may be among the victims, although that remains unconfirmed at this time. The location of the executions isn’t a coincidence as Khan al-Baghdadi is only 5 miles from al-Asad Airbase. The message IS sent to the Obama administration is clear: “We’re doing this right in front of your American military and there’s nothing they can do about it. In fact, they’re too scared to do anything.” This act throws more fuel on the propaganda fire and it also fuels the whole “Flames of War” theme they’ve been going with these days.

ISIS militants reportedly burn to death 45 people in western Iraqi town

Islamic State militants ‘burn to death 45 in Iraq’

ISIS Launches First Wave of Attacks Against al-Asad Airbase as Kirkuk Heats Up

Islamic state Seizes Town of Khan al-Baghdadi, Threaten US Marines at Ayn al-Asad

Pro-Government Tribal Forces in Anbar Running Out of Steam


Source: al-Hayat Media Center

Every six months we’ve seen an exponential growth for IS. We have about two more years of President Obama’s weak responses and complete lack of understanding the problem that could allow IS to grow somewhere between 4-8 times larger than it is now by the time he leaves office. If one were to overlay the areas AQI/IS controlled during OIF the thing that would be noticed is they controlled very little areas in Iraq such as safe-houses and maybe some specific neighborhoods and desert areas in 2008. From late-2010 you’d begin to see the end of IS’ decline (ISI during this time), overlay that around OCT 12, OCT 13 through OCT 14 and you will see the startling growth pattern. In two more years of limited airstrikes it will control a sizable chunk of Libya, parts of Egypt, Most of Syria and the Kurds of Iraq will be hanging by a thread. By then we’ll probably see Western Pakistan and Eastern Afghanistan carved up between IS and the Taliban/AQ. In Nigeria, Mali, Morocco, Algeria and other Maghreb nations we may see open conflict by the later part of this time frame. Some of them are already in open conflict and others are seeing latent-incipient stages of conflict. What we do know is that Islamic State has been sending cadre of seasoned commanders to organize groups like Boko Haram, which if you look at their strength and growth you will see it gaining momentum in tandem with the Islamic State over the past 12 months. These cadre from Islamic State are likely natives of the lands they are sent to organize already existing movements. Islamic State has also attracted military professionals from some of the 90 plus countries it has been able to recruit from. Some people will look at this with great skepticism, but 5 years ago the Islamic State was a skeleton compared to what it is now. This is something that we here at the ISIS Study Group have been talking about since we started posting articles about the Islamic State in the summer of 2014. The US needs to begin an aggressive campaign to regain the initiative to include providing more material support to Arab allies such as Egypt and Jordan. The United States and indeed the rest of the world cannot afford to have a President Buchanan type in the White House right now which is exactly what Barack Obama is doing. He is doing the minimum hoping to run out the presidential clock without a major incident and pass this problem off to the next president where it could be exponentially worse as we’ve stated.

UAE Strikes ISIS in Iraq – Jordan Masses Troops to Prevent Retaliatory Attacks

Egypt Strikes ISIS Positions in Libya – Moderate Muslims Rise Up Against Terror

Jordan Steps Up Airstrikes Against ISIS, Egypt Launches New Sinai Offensive

ISIS: Still Going Strong Despite Coalition Efforts

Unfortunately, the Obama administration remains oblivious to the threat. Just recently DoS spokeswoman Marie Harf got on TV and said that “we can’t kill our way to victory” and then said that the root cause of the threat is all jihadists really want are “jobs” – just like what the delusional Danish government thinks. Ms. Harf is a reflection of the incompetence that’s endemic throughout the Obama administration’s DoS and National Security Council. Its highly unlikely that she even understands any of the things she gets told to say on TV. Meanwhile, other members of the administration are either downplaying the threat to our 300 Marines stationed at al-Asad Airbase or they’re puffing out their chests claiming how “easy” it will be to “kill more IS fighters because they’ll all be in one place.” However, IS has proven to be extremely resilient and are adapting to US airstrikes and our overly restrictive ROE – which they’re exploiting to the fullest. Yes, al-Asad is a large base and yes, it will take a sizable force – and time – to completely secure it. As the fall of the Syrian Army’s 17th Division and Taqba Airbase have demonstrated, IS has quickly applied lessons learned to refine their TTPs for follow-on operations. The current siege of al-Asad Airbase has already demonstrated several of these lessons. Unless aggressive action is taken now, our troops will be in even greater risk than they are now in the coming days. Ms. Harf and the rest of the Obama administration doesn’t understand this because they’ve never served a day in the lives in the military. If they did, they would know that this enemy can’t be reasoned with, they can’t be bargained with and they absolutely will not stop until they’ve eradicate the world of all “nonbelievers” or “Kufar.” This is how Baghdadi and his followers think – jobs or a free phone is nowhere on their list of priorities. They also only respect strength through instilling fear, which is a common theme with everything they do. Until the Obama administration – and its European counterparts – comes to terms with this, IS will continue to expand and threaten the civilized world.

Harf Truths and Whole Lies


State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf has become the butt of jokes like this one and worse on a near daily basis. This is the only job DoS Spokeswoman Marie Harf is qualified to do
Source: @exjon (twitter)

Other Related Links:

The Main Act: ISIS Tightens its Grip on Anbar Province, Preps to Take al-Asad Airbase

Shia Militias Sent to Reinforce al-Asad Airbase: IA on Verge of Collapse

Obama’s ISIS Strategy: Failed Before it Started

Another Reason Obama’s ISIS Strategy Failed

Interview With Surviving Member of Syrian Army 17th Division

Inside the Islamic State (2nd Installment From Vice News)

Syrian Army 17th Division Barracks Overrun by Islamic State

Syrian Doctors: ISIS Jihadists ‘Demanding Viagra,’ Lingerie for Wives and Slaves

Islamic State Videos

Islamic State Videos

Breitbart, by DR. PHYLLIS CHESLER, 17 Feb 2015:

ISIS fighters are “buying their wives kinky underwear,” demanding Viagra to better their performance, and subjecting their wives, concubines, and sex slaves to sadistic sexual practices, according to Syrian doctors forced to treat jihadists in conquered territories.

The Daily Mail reports that doctors have been able to relay their witness testimonies through the advocacy group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. Their eyewitness accounts of being forced to treat Islamic State terrorists echo reports from the Iraqi city of Mosul, where doctors are often forced to treat wounded jihadists returning from the front lines.

These men are living day-to-day in an almost post-Holocaust desert of their own making, and yet—perhaps therefore–they are obsessed with sex, frilly underwear, their own impotence, and an insatiable desire to have as many orgasms as possible.

There are their captive brides, beaten for failing to cover even their eyes, prohibited from attending school, shrouded in black ambulatory body bags, and expected to act the part of prostitutes in order to please their brutal and demanding husbands or masters. The women subjected to such tortures range from the hundreds of known Yazidi girls and women forced to live as sex slaves because of their ethnic and religious identity to Western Muslim converts traveling to Syria and Iraq to fulfill the work of a “jihad bride.”

Jihadists from Bin Laden on have developed a reputation for being known pornography addicts. ISIS fighters may be learning some additionally savage tricks from pornography. The proliferation of both child porn and sadistic adult porn has essentially mainstreamed prostitution, as has the popularity of depicting increasingly young women in revealing clothing outside of pornography.

Now, a devil’s host of angry men, losers, porn addicts, ex-convicts, have an outlet to express their sadism towards women. Fighters may be flocking to join the ranks of ISIS not only to bring about a potential Caliphate or to express their hatred towards infidel ways, but also to achieve Paradise Now. Instead of having to become human homicide bombs in order to merit 72 eternal, heavenly virgins, ISIS fighters can have an endless number of virgins right here on earth.

They can treat the Madonna as the Magadalen as a form of revenge against Christianity. They can treat tender virgin Muslim girls as whores—and no one can stop them. They have paid good money for their Muslim brides. They have no roots in the neighborhood and thus, there is no extended family with whom the bride’s family can negotiate.

Joining ISIS might be the best deal in town for sexually starved, sexually ignorant, sexually repressed, unemployed, unemployable, and impoverished men.

All praise to President Al-Sisi for bombing ISIS on behalf of the 21 be-headed Egyptian Christians. All praise to the Gulf States who are involved in doing “something.” All shame is America’s, whose President is still “leading from behind” and refusing to admit that the Islamic State (ISIS) has anything to do with Islam.

Judge Jeanine “Mr. President You Need To Get Serious About What’s Going On In The Middle East”

Published on Feb 14, 2015 by News Crashers

Judge Jeanine from 2-14-2015 On Fox News talks about the events happening in Iraq with ISIS/ISIL closing in on a base where 300 American Marines are at.


ISIS Launches First Wave of Attacks Against al-Asad Airbase as Kirkuk Heats Up

Published on Feb 14, 2015 by Military Today

Islamic State insurgents took control on Thursday of most of the western Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi, threatening an air base where U.S. Marines are training Iraqi troops, officials said.

February 14, 2015 / /

Earlier on Friday the Islamic State (IS) launched the first wave of attacks against Iraqi Army’s (IA) al-Asad Airbase with an attempt involving eight fighters armed with small-arms and SVESTs. Although they managed to breach the perimeter and enter the base, all eight were neutralized by the IA. They were not able to penetrate into the base itself and the 300 US military personnel stationed at the installation were not near the firefight. The area of the base that the suicide bombers gained access was likely part of added security measures emplaced to prevent access to the main facility where the US military personnel were located. An example of this would be such measures as we took at a location where we expanded the perimeter of the installation in question that encompassed a larger area once that security perimeter was pushed out. The area in-between was not the actual “base,” but to a reporter it may have seemed that it was. This is likely what the attackers had gained access to and nothing more.

Bombers make it onto Iraq base used by U.S. troops

U.S.: Iraqi forces repel attack on al-Asad air base

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 5.46.34 PM

Source: The Washington Post

US Army Apaches have been seeing heavy use in the battle of Khan al-Baghdadi that resulted in the last remnants of the IA presence around al-Asad Airbase collapsing. Despite DoD’s efforts to put the best possible spin on this attack, the truth is this was only the opening shots of a slow yet methodical effort to overrun the base. The installation itself is enormous that would likely take months to completely secure much like last year’s siege of the Syrian Army 17th Division’s Garrison north of Raqqa. IS has chosen to completely surround and isolate al-Asad Airbase from by seizing all of the surrounding towns and villages. al-Baghdadi was the last of a series of defensive positions the IA was desperately trying to hold in the immediate area.

Apache participates in fighting ISIL in Anbar

Islamic State Seizes Town of Khan al-Baghdadi, Threatens US Marines at Ayn al-Asad

Syrian Army 17th Division Barracks Overrun by Islamic State

Interview With a Surviving Member of the Syrian Army’s 17th Division

Inside the Islamic State (2nd Installment from Vice News)


Locals in Khan al-Baghdadi after the IA was driven out of the town.
Source: Associated Press

IS has been systematically driving out the IA from the areas in the surrounding towns and villages near al-Asad for over the past year. What the IA didn’t lose from casualties it lost in mass desertions. The IP has had it even worse. Perhaps the most significant developments to occur in the province is the seizing of Fallujah (with the locals welcoming IS with open arms), the deployment of Shia militias to reinforce the garrison at al-Asad Airbase and the fall of Camp Saqlawiyah. In the case of Camp Saqlawiyah, IS fighters used confiscated IA vehicles, uniforms and radios to pass as reinforcements for the beleaguered base defenders. Thinking the IS column were IA reinforcements, they were granted entry into the base at which time one of the Humvees that was converted into a VBIED detonated along with some of the fighters who were wearing body armor converted into SVESTS. The al-Asad attackers were wearing IA uniforms and probably were able to fool some of the security checkpoints in the outer perimeter into thinking they were returning from a presence patrol. We assess IS was testing response times and security posture in and around the base. As we stated above, this latest attack was only the beginning. Key indicators of IS preparing to launch the main assault on al-Asad Airbase are movements of heavy weapons and armor from Aleppo into Western Iraq. In fact the recent interdiction of such heavy weapons earlier – vehicles in particular – in al-Qaim suggests that such efforts may already be underway.

Islamic State Flips Script: Irregular Warefare Redux

Shia Militias Sent to Reinforce al-Asad Airbase – IA on Verge of Collapse

U.S.-led forces launch 26 air strikes in Syria, Iraq: U.S. military;_ylt=AwrBEiT47d5UMyMA7ofQtDMD

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 6.18.53 PM

IS fighters with confiscated armor courtesy of the IA
Source: al-Anbar News

Meanwhile in Northern Iraq, IS launched an offensive targeting Kirkuk and the surrounding areas last month. The offensive is multi-pronged and even seized the Khabbaz Gas and Oil Separation Plant, although temporarily. As it stands, the KRG Peshmerga lack the manpower to drive IS from the Zaab Triangle or its stronghold Hawijah that serves as the major support hub for the attacks targeting Peshmerga forces in Kirkuk. The Peshmerga are also heavily dependent on US close-air support and currently lack the armor assets to counter the heavy weaponry that IS has confiscated from the IA and Syrian Army. So far, the Kurds are able to maintain a hold on their positions but they’re going to need a lot more support from the US (or Iran, who has been stepping up air shipments of weapons and ammo) to gain an edge. Since the collapse of the IA in Northern Iraq, the KRG Peshmerga have been in control of Kirkuk and have set up a network of defensive positions, trenches and tank tank ditches to make up for their limited armored assets and personnel. As good as the Peshmerga are, however, they can only hold out for so long.

In Iraq, Kirkuk Remains a Question Mark

Kurdish fighters battle equipment woes as well as ISIS in northern Iraq

ISIS launches attack on oil-rich northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk

Iran Begins Arming KRG Peshmerga

KRG Peshmerga on the Defensive

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 9.17.44 PM

KRG Peshmerga manning positions along the outer-perimeter of Kirkuk
Source: World Crunch

If you thought that the current IS offensives targeting Kirkuk and al-Asad Airbase – two of the most critical pieces of real estate for allied forces – wasn’t a coincidence, then you thought right. Both locations must be defended at all costs, and that is precisely why IS has chosen now as the time to make the push to seize them. We’ve seen more reporting of additional personnel arrive from Raqqa to reinforce Mosul and we’re seeing indicators of more heavy weapons being brought in. Applying additional pressure on these two locations will have a profound impact on the elements who will play the biggest role in the upcoming offensive to retake Mosul – the GOI and the KRG. As we’ve discussed in previous articles, the IA doesn’t have enough troops freed up to support the planned offensives to retake Tikrit, Fallujah, Ramadi or Mosul since most IA units are being kept in defensive positions in and around Baghdad. Reallocating additional units to support any of these operations or reinforce al-Asad will create more vulnerabilities to Baghdad that IS will most certainly exploit. Regarding Baghdad, the sleeper cells will be increasing their attacks against the security forces, Shia militias, Shia neighborhoods and the Green Zone. We also discussed how IS would likely launch additional attacks on al-Asad, Kirkuk, Also keep in mind that al-Asad is the last major IA base in Anbar and the last thing standing in IS’ way to massing for an offensive on the capital itself, although it will take a few months to completely control the airbase. As we get closer to MAR, we will likely see the attacks on al-Asad begin to increase in intensity and frequency against the base and Kirkuk. The likelihood of a repeat of the Camp Saqlawiyah attack is assessed to be HIGH as of this writing. As the Blue Forces at al-Asad, we have units in position to respond if given the green light – the question is whether the President (through his Secretary of Defense) will allow it. The handling of the attack of our consulate in Benghazi doesn’t inspire much confidence. Those combat troops that “aren’t combat troops” who most certainly do have “boots on the ground” and will likely find themselves engaging the enemy. Soon.

IA Preps to Take Mosul as Kings Rage Continues

GOI Has Big Plans to Retake The Country From ISIS – Can They Pull it Off???

Other Related Articles:

Iraqi Army Facing Heavy Resistance in Anbar: Counter-Offensive Stalls

ISIS: Regained the Initiative in Northern Iraq

Pro-Government Tribal Forces in Anbar Province Running Out of Steam

ISIS: Still Going Strong Despite Coalition Efforts

ISIS Increases Pressure on Baghdad’s Green Zone – Is the US Government Taking Notice?

US Begins Using AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopters Against ISIS Northeast of Fallujah

Update on the Baghdad and Kobane Fronts

Fortress Baghdad 4

Fortress Baghdad III

Fortress Baghdad II

Fortress Baghdad

Gohmert on ISIS Threat & Foreign Policy

Published on Feb 13, 2015 by GohmertTX01

Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01) talked to Dana Loesch on The Blaze TV about the ISIS threat overseas and the recent news that they are threatening an air base where U.S. Marines are training Iraqi troops. He also talked about immigration and the effect that Obama’s executive order will have on Americans.