Chuck Spinney: Gary Leupp on Washington’s Ignorance About the Sunni-Shia Divide — PLUS Sunni-Shia Graphic and ISIS RECAP

Chuck Spinney

Chuck Spinney

ISIS and Washington’s Ignorance About the Sunni-Shia Divide

“Most Americans Don’t Have a Clue”

by GARY LEUPP

Counterpunch, SEPTEMBER 15, 2014

EXTRACTS

Patrick Cockburn reports that Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to Washington (1983-2005), once told  M16 head Sir Richard Dearlove: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will literally be ‘God help the Shia.’ More than a billion Sunni have simply had enough of them.”

There are thus deep animosities within Islam, as there have been, historically, within Christianity.

There was a time when Protestants viewed Roman Catholics as idolatrous heretics and bloody wars of religion ravaged Europe. ISIL is now fighting such a war against Shiites, Christians, Yezidis, secularists, and others it sees as unbelievers and as stooges of the west. But its primary target is the Shiites.

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Sep 17

Patrick Cockburn: Letter from Arabia — ISIS is the Lesser of All Evils — And Most Certainly Less Evil Than an Invading Occupying USA…

Patrick Cockburn

Patrick Cockburn

The Impossible War

Isis cannot be beaten as long as there is civil war in Syria

BY PATRICK COCKBURN

CounterPunch • SEPTEMBER 11, 2014

A letter printed at the bottom of this article was emailed by a friend soon after her neighbourhood in Mosul was hit by Iraqi airforce bombers. This was some hours before President Barack Obama explained his plan to weaken and ultimately destroy Isis, which calls itself Islamic State, by a series of measures including air attacks. The letter illustrates graphically one of the most important reasons why American air power may be less effective than many imagine.

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Sep 15

SchwartzReport: Why Obama Will Lose to ISIS — Indeed, How He Will Empower and Enlarge ISIS…

Stephan A. Schwartz

Stephan A. Schwartz

I started out today writing a short essay on my views about this new war, then came across this, with which I agree. It makes my main point: You would think after 11 years of war in the Islamic world, we would learn something about the culture and how to work with it. Apparently not. I think one really has to ask now: Cui bono? Who benefits?

Why Obama Will Lose His Endless War in Syria and Iraq
STEVE WEISSMAN – Reader Supported News

Never bet on another man’s game,” my father loved to say. It’s a lesson Barack Obama never learned, especially in his military strikes against Islamic State.

Islamic State, or ISIL, has only one way to keep the support of Iraq’s Sunni tribesmen and former Baathist supporters of Saddam Hussein. The blood-thirsty ‘fools of God” need to be seen defending their people against a Western invasion, which is precisely what Obama gives them.

He plays the role they purposely provoked with their brutal beheadings, summary executions, and sickening use of mass rape to keep their fighters happy. He becomes the foreign, Christian crusader defiling a Muslim land, and he does it in company with Iranian as well as Iraqi Shiites, whom Islamic State despises as heretics, and with the blessing of Sunni Arab leaders it correctly sees as outrageously corrupt.

In other words, the more jihadis Obama kills, the more Sunnis that Obama recruits to their ranks. Not a winning strategy.

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Sep 15

Edward Luce: From England with Sanity — STOP on ISIS!

Edward Luce

Edward Luce

America’s perpetual war on terror by any other name

If you embark on something with your eyes half-open, you are likely to lose sight of reality

Financial Times, 14 September 2014

EXTRACT

The reality is the US war on terror has succeeded where it was supposed to. Mr Bush’s biggest innovation was to set up the Department of Homeland Security. If you chart domestic terror attempts in the US since September 11 2001, they have become increasingly low-tech and ineffectual. From the foiled Detroit airliner attack in Mr Obama’s first year to the Boston marathon bombings in his fifth, each attempt has been more amateur than the last. The same is true of America’s allies. There has been no significant attack in Europe since London’s July 7 bombings nine years ago. Western publics have acclimatised to an era of tighter security.

If this is the balance sheet of the US war on terror, why lose sleep? Chiefly because it understates the costs. The biggest of these is the damage an undeclared war is doing to the west’s grasp on reality. Myopic thinking leads to bad decisions. Mr Obama pointedly avoided using the word “war” last week. Although there are more than 1,000 US military personnel in Iraq, and more than 160 US air strikes in the past month, he insisted on calling his plan to destroy Isis a “campaign”. Likewise, the US uniforms are those of “advisers” and “trainers”. These kinds of euphemism lead to mission creep. If you embark on something with your eyes half-open, you are likelier to lose your way.

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Sep 14

Nafeez Ahmed: How the West Created the Islamic State (ISIS) — Jordan Hosts the Command Center — Chalabi and NeoCons Ride Again…

Nafeez Ahmed

Nafeez Ahmed

How the West Created the Islamic State

Follow the Money, Follow the Oil

Nafeez Ahmed

Counter-Punch, 12-14 September 2014

EXTRACTS

Missing from the chorus of outrage, however, has been any acknowledgement of the integral role of covert US and British regional military intelligence strategy in empowering and even directly sponsoring the very same virulent Islamist militants in Iraq, Syria and beyond, that went on to break away from al-Qaeda and form ‘ISIS’, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or now simply, the Islamic State (IS).

. . . . . . .

In other words, US forces will pursue public legitimacy through conventional social welfare while simultaneously delegitimising local enemies by escalating intra-insurgent violence, knowing full-well that doing so will in turn escalate the number of innocent civilians “caught in the crossfire.” The idea is that violence covertly calibrated by US special operations will not only weaken enemies through in-fighting but turn the population against them.

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Sep 14

Berto Jongman: Another ISIS Beheading Likely Fraud — US Should WITHDRAW from the Middle East

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

-This 3rd video is following the same script and format as the previous two

-Again it was first reported by SITE Intelligence

-Again the actual beheading is not shown

-The result of the beheading is shown in a still

-This video is specifically directed at the allies of the US, the UK in particular

-Again this video ends with the warning that another ISIS hostage will be beheaded in the next video

ISIS David Haines Video (Actual Beheading NOT Shown)

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Sep 13

Steven Aftergood: US Intelligence Budget Data — PBI: Understated but on the Record

Steven Aftergood

Steven Aftergood

Intelligence Budget Data

On March 4, 2014, the Administration submitted its Fiscal Year 2015 budget request, including a base funding request of $45.6 billion for the National Intelligence Program (NIP), and a base funding request of $13.3 billion for the Military Intelligence Program (MIP). On June 30, the DNI submitted an updated FY2015 budget request of $49.4 billion for the NIP including funding for overseas contingency operations. An updated budget request figure for the MIP has not yet been disclosed.

Phi Beta Iota: We consider these figures to be severely deceptive and roughly 70% of the actual combined total budget for green and black intelligence capabilities that are secret, toxic, and a mix of benignly worthless (standing armies of ignorant analysts, collection that is not processed) and pathologically dangerous (drones, renditions, covert operations, subsidies to foreign intelligence services). Our best guess of the actual total US secret intelligence budget remains US$100 billion per year, inclusive of thousands of private sector “intelligence” capabilities (many of them “open source” and extremely mediocre) that are embedded within acquisition and other contracts, all out of control and of dubious value.

IC Budget Table Cropped

Click on Table to Enlarge

Click to access Office of the Director of National Intelligence Budget Justifications

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Sep 11

Owl: Religion is Not to Blame for “Terrorism”

Who?  Who?

Who? Who?

Atheists have It Wrong on Religious Causes of Terrorism and Suicide Bombing

This article dispels all illusions based on the belief that terrorism done by Muslim extremists is to be blamed on their religion, a view much favored by well-known atheist critics of religion such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.

One of the implied back stories to this insightful article is that big-time atheist writers such as Harris and Christopher Hitchens (who is not mentioned), in blaming religion on terrorism perpetuated by Muslims and others, also happen to favor policies that perpetuate mass killing by larger western governments of large number of civilians in countries where Muslims live. That observation alone is worthy of an article all by itself.

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Sep 8

Marcus Aurelius: General Robert Scales on Defeating ISIS – Comment by Robert Steele

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius

MG(R) Scales, a former Commandant of the Army War College, is nothing if not a controversial character.  I don’t necessarily disagree with his assertion, but I have a couple of practical questions:

  • Where are we going to get adequate numbers of personnel of the quality required to implement the McChrystal method on the scale proposed by MG(R) Scales?
  • If the McChrystal-method units suck up the quality people they will need, what will be left to execute other special operations requirement?

The only way to defeat the Islamic State – The Washington Post

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Sep 8

Yoda: Ukraine = China Wins, Central Asia Arms

Got Crowd? BE the Force!

Got Crowd? BE the Force!

Interesting.

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

By

By Mike Eckel

Thousands of miles away from the Ukrainian battlefields of Donetsk and Novoazovsk sits the country that may end up being the largest beneficiary of the turmoil along Russia’s southwest border: China.

With Russian President Vladimir Putin rewriting the playbook on security in post-Cold War Europe, Beijing has watched warily 3,700 miles to the east, though without protest or interference.

Its abstention from a U.N. Security Council resolution vote in March that condemned Russia’s annexation of Crimea was unusual, given Beijing’s traditional stance on such votes, but it comes as bilateral ties have been on the upswing for years now.

Two generations ago, ties between Leonid Brezhnev’s Russia and Mao Zedong’s China were fraught. The two fought small-scale skirmishes in 1969 along the Ussuri River border (the Wusuli in Chinese) that almost resulted in war.

That’s a distant memory now.

“China may win out” from the Ukraine crisis? asked Martha Brill Olcott, a longtime scholar of Russia and Central Asian politics. “I think the word is ‘will.’ China ‘will’ absolutely benefit.”

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Sep 3