Iraq

“At Least She Isn’t Trump”

Watching Trump speak all I kept thinking is his lack of a foreign policy is still less George W Bush-like than Hillary Clinton. The Democrat. Who “sensible” people will vote for. Literally wants to repeat the Iraq War in Syria. Still. Even after ISIS. Still wants to overthrow the secular government. Still wants to surround Russia and place more missiles in Eastern Europe.

Stay Home America 2016

In Case You Missed It: 16 Articles That Expose How They Lied Us Into War In Iraq

Last week the anniversary of Iraq War 2. In memory, Scott Horton of Antiwar.com put together a nice list of 16 articles written over the past decade and a half detailing the lies told at the time by the administration, media, foreign intelligence (Israel) and even the supposed “source” proving Saddam had a connection with Bin Laden. I suggest you take the time over morning coffee and read every word. The wild scene taking place in Middle East makes a lot more sense when you know all the planning that went into the shit-storm was based on lies and false intelligence.

Dan Sanchez of the Mises Academy and Medium.com compiled the list here.

Thomas Friedman Asks, Why Not Arm ISIS?

Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist who has more interest in selling the American people on Israeli policy than keeping them safe, suggested that we discuss the following question. Why should America fight another war for Iran in Iraq?

Now I despise ISIS as much as anyone, but let me just toss out a different question: Should we be arming ISIS? Or let me ask that differently: Why are we, for the third time since 9/11, fighting a war on behalf of Iran?

In 2002, we destroyed Iran’s main Sunni foe in Afghanistan (the Taliban regime). In 2003, we destroyed Iran’s main Sunni foe in the Arab world (Saddam Hussein). But because we failed to erect a self-sustaining pluralistic order, which could have been a durable counterbalance to Iran, we created a vacuum in both Iraq and the wider Sunni Arab world. That is why Tehran’s proxies now indirectly dominate four Arab capitals: Beirut, Damascus, Sana and Baghdad.

ISIS, with all its awfulness, emerged as the homegrown Sunni Arab response to this crushing defeat of Sunni Arabism — mixing old pro-Saddam Baathists with medieval Sunni religious fanatics with a collection of ideologues, misfits and adventure-seekers from around the Sunni Muslim world. Obviously, I abhor ISIS and don’t want to see it spread or take over Iraq. I simply raise this question rhetorically because no one else is: Why is it in our interest to destroy the last Sunni bulwark to a total Iranian takeover of Iraq? Because the Shiite militias now leading the fight against ISIS will rule better? Really?

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Simple answer to this is, America shouldn’t.

But Friedman doesn’t want to NOT fight a war, he just fears Shite Iran running Iraq. Why? Because this is what the Israel state fears. Instead, like major players in Israel, Mr. Friedman wants us to ponder the idea of supplying ISIS (Al Qeada) with weapons to fight against the Shites. Israel is already providing medical aid to Syrian rebel fighters sworn to Jaba Al Nusra, Al Qeada’s wing in Syria. The lesser of two evils for Israel is having unorganized Sunni groups running rough-shot over the countryside. Thomas Friedman thinks you should agree.

Even ISIS Understands What “Fiat Currency” Does to an Economy

SIS wants to introduce its own currency and plans to bring back solid gold and silver dinar coins, it has emerged.

The Middle East terror group apparently wants to introduce its own Islamic currency as part of its attempts to solidify its makeshift caliphate.

Militants are said to want to bring back the original dinar, which is an ancient currency from early Islam, and religious figures in Mosul and Iraq’s Nineveh province have apparently announced its return in mosques.

ISIS apparently wants to introduce its own currency and plans to bring back gold and silver dinar coins (above)

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American Troops Back in Harms Way in Iraq: Helicopters Return to Combat

Mitchell Prothero and Jonathan Landay break the story over at McClatchy Newspapers. Obama and most Americans believe that American troops won’t need to go back to Iraq to defeat ISIS. That’s why public support is high for intervention in Iraq; because the majority of Americans believed that drones and “aid” to the Iraq army would be the extent of our involvement.

This escalation exposes that myth, and makes the cause for non-intervention. There is no solution. You can’t defeat a insurgency that grows with every bomb dropped on a Sunni village. The only way to bring “control” to Iraq is to re-invade. And for what? What does that accomplish? It didn’t work the first time. It wasn’t until the Sunni tribal leaders turned their backs on Al Qaeda In Iraq that some semblance of order returned to the Northern Iraq. The country will still never be the same.

So what does our government do? The predictable thing. It puts American troops back in harms way. These Apache helicopters can be shot down from the ground. Unlike the F-15s & drones. ISIS has already produced a booklet on how to shoot them down! What happens when a pilot is taken hostage and beheaded? You know what will happen. Not one American will blame the sociopaths in the Pentagon for sending troops back into a lawless piece of sand that has no national interest to America. Please read the full scoop below:

— The United States sent attack helicopters into combat against Islamic State targets west of Baghdad on Sunday, the first time low-flying Army aircraft have been committed to fighting in an engagement that the Obama administration has promised would not include “boots on the ground.”

The U.S. Central Command, in a statement about U.S. activities against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, provided few specifics about the helicopters. But they were likely AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, which were deployed to Baghdad International Airport in June to provide protection for U.S. military and diplomatic facilities.

Until Sunday, U.S. airstrikes in Iraq have been limited to fast-moving Air Force and Navy fighter aircraft and drones. But the use of the relatively slow-flying helicopters represents an escalation of American military involvement and is a sign that the security situation in Iraq’s Anbar province is deteriorating. Last week, the Islamic State militants overran numerous Iraqi bases and towns and were becoming a widespread presence in Abu Ghraib, the last major town outside of Baghdad’s western suburbs.

Jeffrey White, a former senior Defense Intelligence Agency analyst who closely follows developments in Iraq, said the use of helicopter gunships by the United States means that U.S. troops effectively are now directly involved in ground battles.

“It’s definitely boots in the air. This is combat, assuming U.S. Army guys were flying the helicopters,” said White, a defense fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a center-right policy institute. “Using helicopter gunships in combat operations means those forces are in combat.”

Moreover, the Obama administration’s decision to authorize the use of U.S. helicopter gunships indicates that nearly two months of U.S.-led airstrikes by fixed-wing fighters and bombers have failed to stop the Islamic State from massing ground troops and launching offensive operations, he said.

“It means however we were applying air power previously didn’t work to stop them from putting together offensive actions. One of the hopes was that using air power would impede them from using offensive operations,” White said. “But apparently, they have been successful in doing that despite the airstrikes.”

At the time the Apache squadron was deployed to Iraq, Pentagon officials said the aircraft would be used to protect American military and diplomatic facilities at the airport and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

But the advance by the Islamic State into the Abu Ghraib area just outside the airport complex threatens to put the militants within rocket and artillery range of the facility, which houses hundreds of U.S. military advisers and a joint operations center. Any sustained shelling would likely force a closure of the airport, posing a hazard not only for American troops working in the joint operations center, but for plans to evacuate U.S. diplomatic personnel.

Although the administration has repeatedly said that no “ground forces” would be used in the fight against the Islamic State, the use of the AH-64 represents a blurring of that promise.

The helicopters carry a two-man crew and with their missiles and powerful canon, increase the amount and accuracy of the firepower that the U.S. military can bring to bear against the Islamic State in support of Iraqi ground troops. But because helicopters fly relatively “low and slow,” the Obama administration is taking on greater risk in terms of exposing U.S. forces to casualties, White said.

“The Iraqi air force just lost a brand new Russian helicopter (to Islamic State ground fire). So it’s significantly higher risk for whoever is flying the mission,” said White. “It’s certainly crossing another threshold. The U.S. is conducting strikes that are directly involved in combat.”

In its announcement, Central Command said the U.S. had employed “bomber, fighter and helicopter aircraft” to attack six targets northeast of Fallujah and southeast of Hit, both Islamic State-occupied towns in Anbar. It also said an Islamic State Humvee had been destroyed northeast of Sinjar, in northern Iraq.

In Syria, the Central Command said, U.S. aircraft struck Islamic State positions described as northwest of Mayadin and northwest of Raqqa. The targets included “a large ISIL unit” and “six ISIL firing positions,” the Central Command said.

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What Happened to the “Khorasan” Threat?

I guess the Pentagon got it’s airstrikes in Syria and now the “threat” used as pretext for them isn’t needed anymore:

“As the Obama Administration prepared to bomb Syria without congressional or U.N. authorization, it faced two problems. The first was the difficulty of sustaining public support for a new years-long war against ISIS, a group that clearly posed no imminent threat to the “homeland.” A second was the lack of legal justification for launching a new bombing campaign with no viable claim of self-defense or U.N. approval.

The solution to both problems was found in the wholesale concoction of a brand new terror threat that was branded “The Khorasan Group.” After spending weeks depicting ISIS as an unprecedented threat — too radical even for Al Qaeda! — administration officials suddenly began spoon-feeding their favorite media organizations and national security journalists tales of a secret group that was even scarier and more threatening than ISIS, one that posed a direct and immediate threat to the American Homeland. Seemingly out of nowhere, a new terror group was created in media lore.”

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Same can be said about the “Save the Yezidis” campaign that crashed and burned once it was revealed that:

1) There weren’t hundreds of thousands of Yezidis stuck on a mountain.

2) They didn’t want to leave. They lived there.

3) It wasn’t ISIS, but their Sunni neighbors that were attacking them.

None of this means the campaign didn’t do it’s job. The majority of the American people saw the headlines on CNN and that was enough to convince them (along with a beheading) that America HAD to come to the aid of the poor Yezidis. This is one of the ethnic groups which only found themselves in danger once the 2003 invasion took place and any stability in the country was aborted.

US Already Talking “Boots on the Ground” in Iraq is Air strikes Ineffective

From The Guardian:

The Pentagon leadership suggested to a Senate panel on Tuesday that US ground troops may directly join Iraqi forces in combat against the Islamic State (Isis), despite US president Barack Obama’s repeated public assurances against US ground combat in the latest Middle Eastern war.

A day after US warplanes expanded the war south-west of Baghdad, Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate armed services committee that he could see himself recommending the use of some US military forces now in Iraq to embed within Iraqi and Kurdish units to take territory away from Isis.

“If we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific [Isis] targets, I will recommend that to the president,” Dempsey said, preferring the term “close combat advising”.

Grayson Asks Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Other Nations for Multilateral Forces to Fight ISIS

House Foreign Affairs Committee Member Congressman Alan Grayson (FL-09) wants to know if any of Iraq’s regional neighbors would be willing each to commit 5,000 soldiers or more to a multilateral force, in an effort to fight and defeat ISIS in Iraq. Grayson sent inquiries to the U.S. Ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Oman, Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Algeria, and Morocco today.

“Right now, there is no clear plan that would lead to the military defeat of ISIS in Iraq,” Grayson explained. “I think that some plan is better than no plan, particularly if it means that we could avoid U.S. military intervention. If these nations band together to create a multinational force, they could defeat ISIS, and they could do it without U.S. military intervention. This plan would put troops in the field who share the same religion as the local population, can (in most cases) speak the same language, and understand the local culture, rather than troops that would be perceived as a hostile occupying force.”

Grayson’s letter, which requests a response by Wednesday, September 10th, reads, in-part:

“I would like to know whether your nation would be willing to contribute a substantial military force of at least 5,000 soldiers to a multilateral, regional force to fight and defeat ISIS forces within Iraq, subject to the consent of the Government of Iraq.”

Grayson also wrote Iraqi Ambassador and asked whether the country would accept or reject such soldiers to fight ISIS. Congressman Alan Grayson represents Florida’s 9th Congressional District, which includes Osceola County, as well as parts of Orange and Polk counties. He previously served as the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 8th Congressional District in the 111th Congress.

 

Click here to view the letter.

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Memo to Angela Merkel From Veteran Intelligence Officers to Avoid All-out Ukraine War

Via AntiWar and ConsortiumNews

 

MEMORANDUM FOR: Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Ukraine and NATO

 

We the undersigned are longtime veterans of U.S. intelligence. We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on September 4-5.

 

You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian “invasion” of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the “intelligence” seems to be of the same dubious, politically “fixed” kind used 12 years ago to “justify” the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then; we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now. Twelve years ago, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, mindful of the flimsiness of the evidence on Iraqi WMD, refused to join in the attack on Iraq. In our view, you should be appropriately suspicions of charges made by the US State Department and NATO officials alleging a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

 

President Barack Obama tried yesterday to cool the rhetoric of his own senior diplomats and the corporate media, when he publicly described recent activity in the Ukraine, as “a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now … it’s not really a shift.”

 

Obama, however, has only tenuous control over the policymakers in his administration – who, sadly, lack much sense of history, know little of war, and substitute anti-Russian invective for a policy. One year ago, hawkish State Department officials and their friends in the media very nearly got Mr. Obama to launch a major attack on Syria based, once again, on “intelligence” that was dubious, at best.

 

Largely because of the growing prominence of, and apparent reliance on, intelligence we believe to be spurious, we think the possibility of hostilities escalating beyond the borders of Ukraine has increased significantly over the past several days. More important, we believe that this likelihood can be avoided, depending on the degree of judicious skepticism you and other European leaders bring to the NATO summit next week.

 

Experience With Untruth

 

Hopefully, your advisers have reminded you of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s checkered record for credibility. It appears to us that Rasmussen’s speeches continue to be drafted by Washington. This was abundantly clear on the day before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq when, as Danish Prime Minister, he told his Parliament: “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. This is not something we just believe. We know.”

 

Photos can be worth a thousand words; they can also deceive. We have considerable experience collecting, analyzing, and reporting on all kinds of satellite and other imagery, as well as other kinds of intelligence. Suffice it to say that the images released by NATO on August 28 provide a very flimsy basis on which to charge Russia with invading Ukraine. Sadly, they bear a strong resemblance to the images shown by Colin Powell at the UN on February 5, 2003 that, likewise, proved nothing.

 

That same day, we warned President Bush that our former colleague analysts were “increasingly distressed at the politicization of intelligence” and told him flatly, “Powell’s presentation does not come close” to justifying war. We urged Mr. Bush to “widen the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”

 

Consider Iraq today. Worse than catastrophic. Although President Vladimir Putin has until now showed considerable reserve on the conflict in the Ukraine, it behooves us to remember that Russia, too, can “shock and awe.” In our view, if there is the slightest chance of that kind of thing eventually happening to Europe because of Ukraine, sober-minded leaders need to think this through very carefully.

 

If the photos that NATO and the US have released represent the best available “proof” of an invasion from Russia, our suspicions increase that a major effort is under way to fortify arguments for the NATO summit to approve actions that Russia is sure to regard as provocative. Caveat emptor is an expression with which you are no doubt familiar. Suffice it to add that one should be very cautious regarding what Mr. Rasmussen, or even Secretary of State John Kerry, are peddling.

 

We trust that your advisers have kept you informed regarding the crisis in Ukraine from the beginning of 2014, and how the possibility that Ukraine would become a member of NATO is anathema to the Kremlin. According to a February 1, 2008 cable (published by WikiLeaks) from the US embassy in Moscow to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, US Ambassador William Burns was called in by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who explained Russia’s strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine.

 

Lavrov warned pointedly of “fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene.” Burns gave his cable the unusual title, “NYET MEANS NYET: RUSSIA’S NATO ENLARGEMENT REDLINES,” and sent it off to Washington with IMMEDIATE precedence. Two months later, at their summit in Bucharest NATO leaders issued a formal declaration that “Georgia and Ukraine will be in NATO.”

 

Just yesterday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk used his Facebook page to claim that, with the approval of Parliament that he has requested, the path to NATO membership is open. Yatsenyuk, of course, was Washington’s favorite pick to become prime minister after the February 22 coup d’etat in Kiev. “Yats is the guy,” said Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland a few weeks before the coup, in an intercepted telephone conversation with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. You may recall that this is the same conversation in which Nuland said, “Fuck the EU.”

 

Timing of the Russian “Invasion”

 

The conventional wisdom promoted by Kiev just a few weeks ago was that Ukrainian forces had the upper hand in fighting the anti-coup federalists in southeastern Ukraine, in what was largely portrayed as a mop-up operation. But that picture of the offensive originated almost solely from official government sources in Kiev. There were very few reports coming from the ground in southeastern Ukraine. There was one, however, quoting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, that raised doubt about the reliability of the government’s portrayal.

 

According to the “press service of the President of Ukraine” on August 18, Poroshenko called for a “regrouping of Ukrainian military units involved in the operation of power in the East of the country. … Today we need to do the rearrangement of forces that will defend our territory and continued army offensives,” said Poroshenko, adding, “we need to consider a new military operation in the new circumstances.”

 

If the “new circumstances” meant successful advances by Ukrainian government forces, why would it be necessary to “regroup,” to “rearrange” the forces? At about this time, sources on the ground began to report a string of successful attacks by the anti-coup federalists against government forces. According to these sources, it was the government army that was starting to take heavy casualties and lose ground, largely because of ineptitude and poor leadership.

Ten days later, as they became encircled and/or retreated, a ready-made excuse for this was to be found in the “Russian invasion.” That is precisely when the fuzzy photos were released by NATO and reporters like the New York Times’ Michael Gordon were set loose to spread the word that “the Russians are coming.” (Michael Gordon was one of the most egregious propagandists promoting the war on Iraq.)

 

No Invasion – But Plenty Other Russian Support

 

The anti-coup federalists in southeastern Ukraine enjoy considerable local support, partly as a result of government artillery strikes on major population centers. And we believe that Russian support probably has been pouring across the border and includes, significantly, excellent battlefield intelligence. But it is far from clear that this support includes tanks and artillery at this point – mostly because the federalists have been better led and surprisingly successful in pinning down government forces.

 

At the same time, we have little doubt that, if and when the federalists need them, the Russian tanks will come.

 

This is precisely why the situation demands a concerted effort for a ceasefire, which you know Kiev has so far been delaying. What is to be done at this point? In our view, Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk need to be told flat-out that membership in NATO is not in the cards – and that NATO has no intention of waging a proxy war with Russia – and especially not in support of the ragtag army of Ukraine. Other members of NATO need to be told the same thing.

 

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

  •     William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

  •     David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

  •     Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

  •     Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East (ret.)

  •     Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (Ret.)

  •     Coleen Rowley, Division Counsel & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)

  •     Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (resigned)