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With all this Holiday distraction here is a piece about what we have on the back burner waiting for us.  It’s a piece from Hot Air, not by any means a “right wing” site. It has several links in the article to other points of view on the situation.  A little something for everyone.

Are we underestimating ISIS?

posted at 9:31 am on December 26, 2014 by Noah Rothman

Following the news that Islamic State fighters had successfully downed a Jordanian warplane and captured its pilot, U.S. Central Command claimed that there was no evidence that ISIS was responsible for shooting that aircraft out of the sky. In a statement, CENTCOM offered glowing praise for America’s freshly demoralized regional ally and offered no alternative theory for why that aircraft was lost. Take that as you will.

For all the talk of ISIS’s military prowess, or lack thereof as the case above may be, there has until recently been a dearth of substantive discussion about the state of affairs in the areas occupied by ISIS. The dangerous campaign being waged by coalition forces on the fringes of the so-called Islamic State has only just begun, and it is already claiming American and coalition assets and lives. Eventually, that campaign will need to press on into the state’s interior.

But “eventually” seems farther and farther off as the weeks go by. A disheartening dispatch via David Ignatius leaves a reader with the impression that the campaign to dislodge ISIS from the territory it controls in Iraq and Syria has been a secondary consideration for Western leaders.

“Watching events unfold in Iraq this year has been like viewing a slow-motion train wreck,” Ignatius opened his column in The Washington Post. “Iraqi tribal leaders have been warning since spring about the rise of the terrorist Islamic State and pleading for American help. But after months of slaughter, the United States is only now beginning to build an effective tribal-assistance program.”

His column noted the critical role the coalition hopes its skittish Arab allies will play in Iraq:

A step toward needed Jordanian-Iraqi cooperation came this week, as Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi announced that Jordan would train and arm Sunni tribal units. This unusual Amman-Baghdad project followed a visit by Abadi to the United Arab Emirates, which pledged support for arming and training Anbar’s sheiks. The Kuwaitis have also pledged weapons and ammunition for this Sunni “national guard.”

The plight of the Albu Nimr and other tribes is suggested by e-mails sent over the past few months as the Islamic State terrorized Anbar.

“Today, we have a small window of opportunity to recruit fighters from Sunni tribes because they are mad about losing their livelihoods and their relatives have been killed,” wrote one Albu Nimr leader in a Nov. 18 e-mail, after the Hit massacre, to a retired Marine major who had served in Anbar.

This situation brought to mind recent comments from Juergen Todenhoefer, a journalist who recently toured areas under Islamic State control. In an interview following his return from ISIS-controlled areas, the intrepid reporter wondered if Western leaders were not seriously underestimating the danger posed by ISIS’s brutish militants.

In an interview with CNN, Todenhoefer told familiar tales of the horrors of child soldiers, systematic beheadings, and foreign fighters with an unshakable loyalty to ISIS’s cause for whom the word “zealotry” seems an insufficient description. He also told, however, of the status of the “state” aspects of the Islamic State. Perhaps Todenhoefer’s most terrifying revelation was his claim that a sense of routine is beginning to take hold amongst the remaining residents of the cities flying an ISIS banner.

But how is that possible, we ask ourselves? How can a people endure the daily horrors of life under ISIS, not to mention the minor irritation and inconveniences, and remain docile?

It is difficult to read a thorough and illuminating report via The Post’s Liz Sly on ISIS’s deteriorating ability to function as a municipal service provider without noting subtle elements of Western chauvinism.

Services are collapsing, prices are soaring, and medicines are scarce in towns and cities across the “caliphate” proclaimed in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State, residents say, belying the group’s boasts that it is delivering a model form of governance for Muslims.

Slick Islamic State videos depicting functioning government offices and the distribution of aid do not match the reality of growing deprivation and disorganized, erratic leadership, the residents say. A trumpeted Islamic State currency has not materialized, nor have the passports the group promised. Schools barely function, doctors are few, and disease is on the rise.

In the Iraqi city of Mosul, the water has become undrinkable because supplies of chlorine have dried up, said a journalist living there, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his safety. Hepatitis is spreading, and flour is becoming scarce, he said. “Life in the city is nearly dead, and it is as though we are living in a giant prison,” he said.

In the Syrian city of Raqqa, the group’s self-styled capital, water and electricity are available for no more than three or four hours a day, garbage piles up uncollected, and the city’s poor scavenge for scraps on streets crowded with sellers hawking anything they can find, residents say.

So, the Islamic State is terrible at being a state. That’s a condition that will cause its residents great discomfort, but do not expect an insurrection among the region’s terrified inhabitants. Those who remain in the Iraqi city of Mosul watched 130,000 of their Christian neighbors evicted and their property repossessed. Other religious minorities were enslaved or slaughtered before the eyes of the city’s residents. All the potable water distribution issues in the world will not prompt a people to rise if their masters are brutal enough.

Dismissing the prowess of a ragtag militia in minting currency and providing residents with passports also justifies an outlook which maintains that the Islamic State is unequal to the task of war with the world’s civilized powers. It is, therefore, unnecessary to treat ISIS as a worthy combatant.

While the West congratulates itself on its superiority over ISIS on both a military and a civic level, it is worth asking if we are comforting ourselves in a notion that will ultimately inhibit the West from engaging in a comprehensive effort to destroy this cancerous and false state. “I think the Islamic State is a lot more dangerous than Western leaders realize,” Todenhoefer’s interview with CNN concluded. He’s probably right.

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21 thoughts on “Missing the News?

  1. The west will do its best to destroy ISIS, not because it gives a fig for the vast slaughter in Iraq or Syria, but because it needs to chop off the head of the snake before it gets a foothold in western countries. How long before we suffer an ISIS spectacular in London or New York? All bets will be off when that happens.

  2. How long before we suffer an ISIS spectacular in London or New York?

    Indeed. If ISIS can move plumbers’ trucks from Texas to Syria unbeknownst to US/UK intelligence, how long before they smuggle a bomb into London or New York, ina plumber’s truck? They seem able to evade all airborne and electronic surveillance – drones miss them and monitoring of mobile phones/electronic equipment reveals nothing. They are our greatest threat, apart from North Korea:


  3. They are our greatest threat, apart from North Korea.

    Oops – I might not be entirely correct there:


    LOS ANGELES — Cybersecurity experts are questioning the FBI’s claim that North Korea is responsible for the hack that crippled Sony Pictures. Kurt Stammberger, a senior vice president with cybersecurity firm Norse, told CBS News his company has data that doubts some of the FBI’s findings.

    “Sony was not just hacked, this is a company that was essentially nuked from the inside,” said Stammberger.

  4. Was it the Joos wot hacked Sony?

    Possibly, but it wasn’t the North Koreans, as I exclusively revealed on ATW five minutes after Obama blamed the North Koreans.

    On what evidence did I base my conclusion? That Obama blamed the North Koreans, which is a flashing red light to anyone with the simple sense to not believe anything government ever says, particularly Washington, which is unmatched for lies.

    Since then very many cyber security experts have said that North Korea did not do it, but they’re slow to the mark because they missed the most obvious evidence in the first place.

  5. On what evidence did I base my conclusion? That Obama blamed the North Koreans, which is a flashing red light to anyone with the simple sense to not believe anything government ever says, particularly Washington, which is unmatched for lies.

    Whereas North Korea never lies. I see that Putin has chosen this week to invite the Dear Leader to Moscow. Birds of a feather and all that.

  6. Was it the Joos wot hacked Sony?

    Peter – the joos own Sony so I’m not sure that they would hack it to do irreversible harm. But it might be a way of generating interest in a crap film. However, I can agree with Pete that it wasn’t NK now that cyber-security experts outside the bubble are questioning whether a country with a backward IT sector could hack a sophisticated corporation like Sony. But for you, Peter, there is obviously no doubt – because that’s what you’ve been told.

  7. Mairin pointed out glaring holes that existed in Sony’s cyber security procedures, imcluding posting passwords, unprotected, in the web, in a file called ” passwords ”

    And the hacked emalls showed Sony Pictures management in a horrendous light.

    It is unlikely that they would let the world show themselves in such a light.

    I’m not sure that it was N Korea. But I sure doubt that it was Sony itself in some ” false flag ” nonsense.

  8. Allan

    I hope your pal in NK gets the vindication that he deserves. Thanks to you and Pete Moore, we all know that Kim and his new pal Putin are the good guys. Staunch warriers against The Great Satan and its lapdogs in NATO.

  9. Phantom

    The NK junta called Obama a monkey in the jungle today, but I guess that’s just fine with Allan.

  10. Peter, on December 28th, 2014 at 1:15 AM Said:

    The NK junta called Obama a monkey in the jungle today, but I guess that’s just fine with Allan.

    I don’t think that the NK junta is too far of the mark. One of the pieces of Darwin’s evolutionary theory which caused him most difficulty was the absence of intermediaries between the species which must exist as one evolves from the other. For example, if man evolved from the simian then there would be intermediate species. Man has sub-components of his genes called alleles and some of these are also present in apes. However,when one breaks down ‘man’ to find which race has these overlapping markers with the apes, there is only one race which has them – the sub-Saharan African. The sub-Saharan African is the intermediate species between man and ape.


    In Table 6 one sees indicated groups of human populations such as SA (Samoan), DG (German) and SO (Sokotho from Nigeria) Also included are chimpanzees (CH). Looking along the line from CH, one sees the genetic distance between the chimp and the human groups. The distance between SO and CH is noticeably smaller than for all other groups. This shows that Nigerians are more closely related to chimps than are any other human populations.

  11. Phantom, on December 28th, 2014 at 1:43 AM Said:
    Do you think that you are more intelligent than Obama?

    Yes – and by some distance. Even you are more intelligent than Obama.

  12. Phantom – do you think that NK is dangerous to the US? If so, should it be wiped off the map as the Israeli ambassador has stated?

  13. Obama is not my choice for president, but he is intelligent

    NK is the worst government in the world. It starves its own population, and is a threat to the region. Even its benefactor China is sick of it now.

    Nothing should be off the table but I don’t call for war at present, esp in a region where the Koreas hate one another, where both hate Japan, and where China is playing a game of territorial expansion vs weak neighbors.

  14. //have been warning since spring about the rise of the terrorist Islamic State//

    Does anyone else find it funny that the West’s best hope, its only hope, of stopping this Islamic terrorist group is another Islamic terrorist group?

    How is that “War on Terror” coming along, anybody know?

  15. Phantom, on December 28th, 2014 at 1:59 AM Said:
    Obama is not my choice for president, but he is intelligent

    He is intelligent enough to read, and can read a teleprompter very well – but what happens when the teleprompter malfunctions?

    How is that “War on Terror” coming along, anybody know?

    It’s going along very nicely

  16. Americas participation in the War on Terror ended on Jan 15th 2009.

    What have your nations done since then? Which of them has picked up the ball?

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