US … Bombed ISIS Convoy Heading From Qalamoun To Deir Ezzor Province … SF


"Few moments ago, the US-led coalition air power bombed  an ISIS convoy moving from the Qalamoun area to the Syrian province of Deir Ezzor under the deal with Lebanese security forces, according to local sources.

No confirmed reports about the possible casualties are available.

About 300 ISIS members and 300-500 civilians withdrew from the Qalamoun area at the Syrian-Lebanese area after the deal had been reached with the support of Hezbollah.

Earlier today, the US-led coalition threatened to bomb the convoy.  "  South Front


Well pilgrims, this ought to have some effect on the America haters who insist that the US created and runs IS for treacherous and nefarious secret purposes having to do with guano deposits in Kurdistan or some such thing.  But, it won't affect their nonsense at all.  A suitable rationalization will be found for the continuation of their lunacy.

Unfortunately, there will have been a lot of killed and wounded in this attack and some of them were probably Syrian bus drivers.  pl

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75 Responses to US … Bombed ISIS Convoy Heading From Qalamoun To Deir Ezzor Province … SF

  1. Annem says:

    What about the famous “deconfliction” process between the US and Russia. Did this deal not come under that agreement?

  2. turcopolier says:

    The de-confliction process exists to prevent engagements between US side and Russian forces. I would expect that this would have gone through that process. pl

  3. anobserver says:

    The convoy was moving on Syrian territory under an agreement with Syrian and Lebanese governmental parties.
    It is straightforward to interpret the bombing as an attempt to sabotage any agreement that is made independently from the USA. The message to the Syrians and Lebanese: “You make no deal without us — even regarding territories that we do not control”. The message to ISIS: “If you want to make a deal, you must ultimately make it with us — even in territories where we are not present”. The message to other parties: “Do not even think about sidelining us in any deal — whichever territory it may concern”.

  4. mike says:

    Colonel –
    My understanding is that the Coalition cut the road that the buses would have had to take to get to al Bukamal. There was consideration of striking the buses but it was ruled out due to potential civilian casualties.
    There is widespread anger in Iraq that the Hezbollah/Lebanese/Daesh deal would put those Daeshis right smack on the Iraqi border across from al Qaim. Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi spoke out against it as well as many others. Saying Iraq would never export terrorist to another country’s border.

  5. JJackson says:

    The NYT report claims the convoy was not hit, just blocked. I did not see where all this is supposed to have occurred – anyone here know?
    The US obviously does not view agreements made by other parties as binding which is going to make it difficult for the R+6 to continue its policy of separating jihadis, from less radical tribals, which has been working well at regaining territory and concentrating diehard jihadis where they can be exterminated without too much collateral damage.
    pl – I have posted this as a reply to your comment only because typepad is not giving the post or preview buttons if try posting as an original comment.

  6. turcopolier says:

    Are those actual quotations or are you just pulling them out of the air? Do I understand that you think IS is a US puppet and the US is screwing them to demonstrate its authority? If so, then you prove my point that the facts will be tortured enough to make existing illusions continue. pl

  7. turcopolier says:

    I am told that there are 17 buses and that the number of people given in the press is about right. The US says that we have not yet struck the buses themselves, but the convoy is stuck out in the desert and CENTCOM has no idea what to do about it. pl

  8. b says:

    The U.S.did not bomb the convoy but a small bridge in its way. The convoy reached its target. The convoy included 308 ISIS fighters and some 500 civilians including small children.
    The deal was made with Lebanon, Hizbullah and Syria on one sided and ISIS central(!) on the other. Iraq and Russia were informed. The deal was made on behest of the Lebanese army and government. Within it the corpse of killed Lebanese soldiers were recovered. A further fight for the Lebanese army was avoided. Last time I looked the Lebanese were a U.S. ally and the army supplied by it.
    The U.S. has MANY times let corridors open for ISIS to escape towards Syria. Fallujah and Mosul are only two examples. In Raqqa it let ISIS intentionally escape towards Palmyra. Russia officially protested. In Manbij (August 2016) the U.S. made a deal with ISIS and let some 200 ISIS and additional civilians retreat towards Turkey.
    To now come up against this deal has obviously NOTHING to do with the U.S. being averse to such deals or its willingness to fight ISIS. It has ALL to do with playing up its own role to justify its further presence in Syria.
    One sentence in the CentCom statement makes that clear: “This is just further evidence of why Coalition military action is necessary to defeat ISIS in Syria.”
    From the Syrian military standpoint it is logical to concentrate ISIS in the Deir Ezzor desert. This will free up troops currently bound around small opposition and ISIS areas around the country. ISIS concentrated in one area will make it much easier to fight, especially from the air. The same logic applies to al-Qaeda in Idleb.

  9. mike says:

    I thought they were stranded in town of Hamimah and had not yet been handed over to Daesh escorts?
    Anger continues in Iraq about this deal. Great satire about the event from Iraqi artist Ahmed Falah. Shows two buses, one wrapped as a gift to Daesh, the other draped in an Iraqi flag similar to a flag draped on a coffin. The cartoon is titled “Eidiyah”, reportedly meaning the tradition of exchanging gifts during Eid.

  10. turcopolier says:

    To the person who wrote to give me a sermon about “my country right or wrong.” My record of public opposition to the Iraq War speaks for itself. What I object to in this is the moronic idea that the US created and operates IS as a proxy force. That notion is just stupid and born of hating America. pl

  11. Les says:

    They didn’t bomb the convoy, only the road they were taking to Deir Ezzor. In effect, they prevented them from being subject to air attacks at their destination.

  12. mike says:

    b –
    There has been some Arab components within the SDF that made deals with local tribal elders in Manbij and elsewhere to release men that had been forcibly conscripted by Daesh.
    On the other hand the Coalition has never a party to that and they have never made a deal with Daesh. Any BS to the contrary is more agitprop.

  13. The Porkchop Express says:

    The buses are sitting in the desert while drones and jets circling.

  14. Greco says:

    The US did tacitly support Islamic State. I wouldn’t go so far to suggest they directed and outright created ISIS; however, it’s clear the US had a relative tolerance for ISIS as an ally in the fight against Assad. Moreover, the US played a significant role in creating the basis that allowed IS to come about. I concur with General Flynn, it was a willful decision to allow a group like IS into being. And I wouldn’t begrudge anyone if they held suspicions that there are those in the US who advance interests that don’t put American and/or moral interests first.

  15. turcopolier says:

    I thought you were one of the sane people here. Is it the Greek mentality that inclines you to conspircy theories. It is true that US ineptitude in Iraq created the conditions that made the rise of IS possible but no more than that. We never made cpommon cause with IS against Assad, AQ yes, but not IS.”It’s clear?” How is it clear? Is there anything other than your fevered imagination that makes it clear? Flynn did not say, as you imply, that the Obama Administration wifully allowed IS to come into existence. He told them that they were no doing enough to stop its rise. There is a big difference. pl

  16. turcopolier says:

    PE and b
    “The buses are sitting in the desert while drones and jets circling” Thank you. I guess they did not reach their destination as b thought. pl

  17. mike says:

    JJackson –
    Road was cut on this road near T2. Buses still at Humayah:

  18. elaine says:

    What’s next? Are the nihilistic barbarians going to blow themselves up?

  19. Peter in Toronto says:

    I find it disappointing that the Syrians and Lebanese even agreed to such an arrangement, rather than spending a few more days and destroying them in their nests.
    It’s a shame the US showed this much restraint and did not engage the buses directly.
    IMO, the only way to deal with the Jihadist mentality is to wage total war against anyone carrying such thoughts. Destroy the combatants and their families, IMO.
    Trump’s Pentagon is showing some encouraging signs, for a change.

  20. paul says:

    sorry, but “What I object to in this is the moronic idea that the US created and operates IS as a proxy force.” is just as much a falacy.
    there is alot of evidence that the united states was not very troubled by the rise and spread of ISIS and that its existence did serve goals of the united states, and that the main supporters and (the source of all their preachers) are close us allies.
    there is a big difference between saying ISIS was woven out of whole cloth by the united states, and saying it was US policy that created the conditions necessary for it, and then US policy was decidedly lookwarm at best in their desire to see them defeated(and at least some portion of the us governement see saw them as a benefit).
    ““We have recently seen an attack on Iran, and the Iranian government, the mullahs, believe that Sunni forces have attacked them. This may signal a ratcheting up of certain commitments by the United States of America. As far as I’m concerned, I just want to make this point and see what you think, isn’t it a good thing for us to have the United States finally backing up Sunnis who will attack Hezbollah and the Shiite threat to us? Isn’t that a good thing? And if so, maybe this is a Trump — maybe it’s a Trump strategy of actually supporting one group against another, considering that you have two terrorist organizations.””
    Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) June 2017

  21. turcopolier says:

    “there is alot of evidence that the united states was not very troubled by the rise and spread of ISIS and that its existence did serve goals of the united states,” No, there is not a lot of evidence and you have produced none. The Saudis and Qataris supported IS. Yes, they probably did. do you think they take orders from Washington?
    It is true that abolishing the old Iraqi Army, thereby throwing a lot of officers penniless out on the street. When many of them joined the resistance to occupation some ended up in Camp Bucca where in a massive display of ignorance of the local culture the camp authorities send Baghdadi around to preach in the different sub-camps in the stupid belief that this would make the inmates “calmer.” Some of the ex-officers saw in his preaching a way to acquire another army and joined as soon as released.
    I have tried to explain here that ineptitude an ignorance are much more likely causes of historical disaster than any kind of conspiracy but the message does not resonate.
    Rohrbacker is a dumbbell and know nothing. pl

  22. walter says:

    The satellite photos of the caravan of ISIS oil tanker trucks lined up to sell their oil to Turkey that the Russians eventually bombed to smithereens that the USA did not publicize or bomb or prevent in any way is proof enough for me that USA wanted ISIS to do their dirty work in Syria….and when ISIS started to get their ass kicked by Russia, USA turned-tail, didnt want to get too embarassed/exposed and started to turn on ISIS.
    Just like Al Quida, we support them when we need them, then kill them when we don’t.

  23. turcopolier says:

    Now this is the first intelligent and telling point made about this. I will ask if there is a good explanation and let you know. As I recall, the argument made at the time was that the US did not want to destroy Iraq ad Syria’s oil infrastructure and that it too a while to figure out how much oil Erdogan was being allowed sold through Turkey. pl

  24. Peter in Toronto,
    “It’s a shame the US showed this much restraint and did not engage the buses directly.”
    If anyone under my command every tried to do such a thing, I would have them locked in irons. I’ve done a lot worse to atrocity committers in my youth. Wrong is wrong, my friend, and it can never be tolerated.

  25. drifter says:

    My recollection is that the Defense Department said that the USAF couldn’t bomb the ISIL oil tanker trucks because they were being driven by civilians.

  26. mike says:

    Peter –
    It was a deal negotiated by Hezbollah. Lebanon wanted their eight soldiers back, or their bodies. Hezbollah was looking for influence in the next Lebanese elections. Although thought they had a ton of influence already. Syria was in no position to say no to one of their best and oldest ally, the Hez. What did they care? They knew that Deir ez-Zor Province was going to be turned into a killing field for Daesh by both R+6 and the Coalition.
    But why did the Syrians agree to let them be bussed to al-Bukamal, which sits directly on the border of another ally, Iraq? Agreeing to al-Bukamal antagonized Iraqis, many of whom saw it as a provocation. Why not Madaan or Mayadin or al-Busayrah in DeZ province further back from the border? But Iran will play peacemaker and sooth Iraqi ruffled feathers. That effort is already underway.

  27. alaric says:

    I wonder if Bibi is behind this. Anything that keeps pressure on Hezbollah gains his support and his apoplectic fit about Iran’s influence in Syria had to get him something from Trump. Clearing Lebanon’s border is something Bibi is definitely against. Who knows but US attempts to derail such actions have to be seen as an attempt to prolong the conflict in Syria since moving all Jihadists to Idlib and where ever the Syrian gov sends ISIS effectively clears up other parts of the country.

  28. b says:

    The SDF is under U.S. command. The U.S. intensively watched over the Manbij deal passing and did not intervene. Why does it now?
    The 100 to 200 fighters left the city of Manbij last Friday under watch of coalition drones to ensure the militants didn’t regroup and try to return to the city.

    Associated Press reported US military officials said some of the IS fighters had already made their way into Turkey, and many were still in Syria.
    As for “never made a deal”:
    Obama, in a statement delivered at the White House late Thursday, said that strikes would be launched against extremist convoys “should they move toward” the Kurdish capital of Irbil, where the United States maintains a consulate and a joint operations center with the Iraqi military.
    “We intend to take action if they threaten our facilities anywhere in Iraq . . . including Irbil and Baghdad,” he said.
    Notice the IF? “We will fight you IF you do X (but not if you only do A to W or Y or Z).”
    That wasn’t a deal, Mike?

  29. walter says:

    Col, thank u for addressing this point which has bugged me for a while and I would love to know more about if possible…

  30. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree, he is an ignorant man.

  31. b says:

    Additionally to Obama’s Erbil statement which told ISIS to just keep going he (and Kerry) are on the record saying that the U.S. watched ISIS rise (at a minimum) without lifting a finger because it fitted its purpose.
    “The reason, the president added, “that we did not just start taking a bunch of airstrikes all across Iraq as soon as ISIL came in was because that would have taken the pressure off of [Prime Minister Nuri Kamal] al-Maliki.
    video at 25:50
    “And we know that this was growing, we were watching, we saw that DAESH was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened” Kerry told the Syrians. “(We) thought, however,” he continued. “we could probably manage that Assad might then negotiate. But instead of negotiating he got Putin to support him.”

  32. b says:

    There was a G-20 meeting in Antalya. Obama lamented about the bad, bad Syrian government and a bit about ISIS.
    Putin went around the table and showed all participants Russian satellite pictures of the very large tanker columns waiting for ISIS oil. The very next day the U.S. started to bomb the tankers for the very first time.
    It wasn’t about “not destroying oil infrastructure”. It was about Obama having be caught and exposed as the hypocrite he is.

  33. optimax says:

    Col and walter
    That’s correct that Obama didn’t want to damage the oil infrastructures and some said he didn’t want to create a an environmental catastrophe. I agree with both reasons. He didn’t bomb the oil convoys traveling to Turkey until after Russia did so because he didn’t want to kill the drivers who he considered innocent, paid or forced, employees. His decision was either politics, compassion or a combination pf both. Obama micromanaged the military. Trump has unleashed them.

  34. Yeah, Right says:

    I’m struggling to understand what the US is hoping to achieve with this.
    OK, fine, it doesn’t like the deal that Lebanon and Syria struck with ISIS.
    I get that bit.
    And it makes perfect sense to me that the USA would complain long and hard about deals being struck that it doesn’t like.
    I get that bit.
    But this…? What is the point of this?
    If the equation is that the buses couldn’t be blown sky-high because of the 300/500 jihadi/civilian ratio then that equation isn’t going to change merely because the USAF struck down a bridge that is in their path.
    There are still going to be civvies on those buses regardless of wether they are on the move or stationary, correct? So those buses are still going to be immune to bombing. Correct?
    Sooner or later they are going to find another route to get them where they are going, and the USAF still isn’t going to be able to bomb those buses.
    So why do this, other than as a foot-stomping display of immature petulance from the US military?
    Honestly, I don’t understand the thinking.

  35. LondonBob says:

    Crimes of omission rather than commission, the cock up part would be not anticipating the spectacular advance ISIS would make in Iraq. Anyway, no surprise now that the C in C does actually just want to bomb the crap out of ISIS that they have collapsed almost as spectacularly. Even the advances made under Obama I credit to Trump as his electoral campaign, and Russian efforts, put pressure on him to act more decisively against ISIS.

  36. Peter Reichard says:

    The rise of ISIS was an unexpected gift from the god Mars to the interventionist wing of US foreign policy. It is not as if we run it through behavior modified Manchurian Candidates straight out of Camp Bucca and controlled from a secret basement headquarters in Langley but that we committed a sin of omission not commission, cynically allowing it to temporarily metastasize by putting no pressure on or even publicly admonishing KSA, Qatar and Turkey while they financed, armed and provided safe passage for fighters into the pseudo-caliphate.
    Doing nothing was in the interests of the bipartisan War Party as this 1) rebooted flagging public support for the “war on terror” and in Middle East military intervention, 2) in Syria furthered our obsession with the overthrow of Assad and 3) in Iraq its success led to the almost immediate replacement of Maliki with a more compliant PM, advanced the cause of an independent Iraqi Kurdistan and above all led to the reintroduction of US forces there, all major US policy objectives. By what other means could we have achieved these goals?
    The mission was accomplished not by the creation of a proxy force but by dumb luck and deliberate inaction and having outlived its usefulness ISIS was quickly slated for destruction first in Iraq and now even in Syria as it appears we have reluctantly accepted the survival of Assad.

  37. Peter AU says:

    The Global coalition fighting Amaq
    The Global Coalition‏Verified account @coalition Aug 25
    #Daesh release claims that are untrue and exaggerated #dontretweet #Amaq

  38. anobserver says:

    “Are those actual quotations or are you just pulling them out of the air?”
    These are a rendering of official statements by a Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the US-led coalition in Iraq and Syria (quotes):
    “We are not party to this agreement between Lebanon, Hezbollah and ISIS.”
    “ISIS is a global threat, and relocating terrorists from one place to another is not a lasting solution.”
    “We will take action where necessary; those would be absolutely lucrative targets,”
    “So if we do identify and find ISIS fighters who have weapons — and like I said, we can discriminate between civilians and ISIS fighters — we will strike when we can. If we are able to do so, we will.”
    Just as I stated: the USA do not like the deal, do not care whether this concerns territories they do not control (and have legally no authority to intervene in), and will act without regard to what other parties decide. With the implied message that next time, they must get approval of the USA for any deal regarding jihadists.
    “Do I understand that you think IS is a US puppet and the US is screwing them to demonstrate its authority?”
    You misunderstood. I interpret the attitude of the USA not as a “protection” of ISIS fighters (how exactly bombing them is supposed to be treating them as puppets escapes me), but as a rough attempt to (re)assert the pre-eminence of the USA role in the Syrian mess by screwing _the Lebanese and Syrians_ through a sabotage of the deal they made with Daesh. As a consequence, in the future jihadists may well be reluctant to conclude any agreement with Syrians, Lebanese, Iranians, etc if the USA is not on board.
    I hope I have been clearer.

  39. Peter AU says:

    From what I can make of it, the Amaq site is hosted by cloudflare on a server in Hong Kong
    Cloudflare, Inc. is a U.S. company that provides a content delivery network, Internet security services and distributed domain name server services, sitting between the visitor and the Cloudflare user’s hosting provider, acting as a reverse proxy for websites. Cloudflare’s headquarters are in San Francisco, California, with additional offices in London, Singapore, Champaign, Austin, Boston and Washington, D.C..[2][3]
    When they were with wordpress I had the site bookmarked. Didn’t bother to look it up again after it changed sites mid 2016. Out of curiosity I ran an exhausting 30 second search to locate it again.
    All this while officialdom rattles on about cutting extremist funding and propaganda.

  40. turcopolier says:
    Surely you can come up with a simple moniker that does not have your name in it. Surely. Kerry’s statement makes it clear to me that the Obama administration hoped that the existence of IS was something that they hoped would help them to pressure assad and Maliki but it does not mean that the BHO admin created IS except by ineptitude not that they supplied IS. AQ linked groups are another matter as I have stated. pl

  41. turcopolier says:
    What you have done is to claim that every failure of US operations is “proof” of US complicity with IS and that the US government lies about everything, all the time. pl

  42. turcopolier says:
    “visible from outer space?” How do you know that? i doubt that many people with actual intelligence experience would agree with that. pl

  43. turcopolier says:
    i have a blog so that I don’t have to talk to you off-line and personally. I agree with you that the Obama Administration badly mis-calculated the seriousness of the growing IS threat and thought ,as someone else pointed out, that this phenomenon could be used to pressure local governments. That does not amount to sponsorship. It is also true that the Obama Administration should have brought the Gulfie dogs to heel as should the the Bush Administration Administration before them, but clear policy formulation is difficult with regard to the Gulf countries when the Israelis and their penetration agents of influence are howling at you continuously about Iran and the Gulfies are obvious allies against Iran. Your satellite comments are absurd. The kind of resolution you are talking about exists in spy movies. All the BS about being able to recognize people from space is silly. and why would a lot of traffic on these roads have meant anything in particular to anyone and what would we have been able to do about it at that point. the Iraqi military had a large force in northern Iraq and they fell to pieces. What could we have done about that at the time? “It may seem unpatriotic to you.” This is a contemptible attempt to create a straw man named Pat Lang, a “my country right or wrong” sort of guy. Is that part of your tasking? Much more of that and you won’t be here. pl

  44. turcopolier says:

    The SDF IS NOT under US command. We learned long ago that it is rarely possible to achieve command of non-US forces unless we are talking about foreign national armed forces linked by treaty to the US as in NATO during the Cold War. This is especially true when speaking of non-state actors. We rely instead on charm, supply of materiel and other such things to achieve a modicum of influence. pl

  45. mike says:

    Convoy has been turned around and is being rerouted to Suknah. From there it can take the M20 hiway towards Dez city or other Daesh spots along the Euphrates.
    Coalition will be watching and waiting. Hopefully they can take out more Daesh who try to link up with the bus convoy as escorts. And they may well crater the M20 to stop the busses or take out a bridge. I can already hear the sniveling and agitprop from Damascus and by many here in the states claiming falsely that the US is deliberately aiding Daesh by blocking SAA from using the M20 to relieve the siege of DeZ city. There has been paranoia in Syria for several months that the SDF and the coalition want to win a race with SAA to get to DeZ first.
    Also noted in the article linked above is that some factions of Daesh in DeZ province did NOT want to allow the bus convoy to proceed. Reason given was they were some sort of surrender monkeys not fit to associate with real Daesh. Or perhaps they do not want them eating up limited resources.
    I had wondered about that previously. Why would this group be the first ever Daesh group to agree to a deal. Sure, there have been many other jihadi groups that did, but never Daesh until now. Makes you wonder, were they real Daesh or just locals who changed allegiance. They had maybe heard of the situation in Idlib and did not want to go there. But maybe they were not knowledgeable on DeZ province being turned into a Daesh cemetery?

  46. DH says:

    No. 35
    “3) in Iraq its success led to the almost immediate replacement of Maliki with a more compliant PM, advanced the cause of an independent Iraqi Kurdistan and above all led to the reintroduction of US forces there…”
    Brilliant. I would like to see the Colonel or a committee member create a post about the application of Realpolitik in the region.

  47. divadab says:

    Col Lang,
    Just as the assassination of Gaddafi was assisted by US bombing blocking his escape convoy, allowing other actors to catch up and kill, is it possible this is the expected outcome of US blocking IS fighters’ escape?

  48. Larry Mitchell says:

    Maybe this will help with the planks on the deck problem.
    But the folks at Google Earth remind us that you’re not zooming in on just one picture. You’re actually going through a succession – seamlessly – of closer and closer shots, making the transition from a NASA shuttle shot to a satellite shot to a photograph made from an airplane. So that’s how they get such good close-up resolution

  49. Hamilcar says:

    I’m sure you’re familiar with the proverb:
    “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.”
    I suggest that Palmerston omitted the words “or enemies”, but that this must also be true (if we accept the first premise). I would expand Palmerston’s quote to point out that there is no such thing as an altruistic nation (or a “good”, or “moral” one).
    Like you, I don’t accept the assertion that the US was actively involved in the creation of IS, or that it has directly sponsored it.
    That said, neither do I accept that the US’ sole interests in Syria concerns the defeat of IS. The US establishment openly identifies the Russian Federation as its adversary; Iran as its enemy; and Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
    The US clearly believes it to be in its interest to weaken/contain/defeat these groups at some point. I have to assume that the US (Borg included) also sees the eventual defeat of IS to be in its interest. So, all we’re left with is a consideration of which adversary/enemy constitutes the most serious threat to US interests, and over what timescale. I suggest that 1) IS is at the bottom of that list on every time-scale, and 2) a prolonged conflict between these parties is in the US interest (as well as that of its close ally, Israel), provided that the cost to the US is minimal.
    One has to ask: Why should IS or other militant groups entreat with the R+6 in future, when the R+6 cannot guarantee safe passage? Why leave their current positions when they potentially face even greater jeopardy should they retreat? Would it not be better to stand their ground; to die facing their enemies, gun in hand? This action by the US appears to have weakened the prospects of similar such deals being made between opposing parties without the acquiescence of the US.
    Then we should consider the legitimate anger felt in Iraq towards this deal; so intense that I’m sure certain Iraqis would have greatly appreciated this outcome, if not suggested it themselves. I surmise that the US position in Iraq has been/is on shaky ground, not due to any notional support of ISIS, nor due to its ‘turning a blind-eye’ to some extent* (I think this is partly true, but its significance is overstated), but due to its relationship with the Kurds. This action against IS has probably served US interests in Iraq quite well.
    In short, this action appears to have damaged the interests of all of the US’ adversaries in the region, while positively affecting its interests in Iraq – all at virtually no cost. It was a good move, from a US perspective.
    What I object to, and I think you and I will agree to this extent, is the suggestion by some that the US is the only player in the game; as if it were somehow responsible for the game existing in the first place; in other words, that the US is, somehow, “uniquely evil”. I’ve chosen those words deliberately, because the anti-US sentiment I come across at times reminds me very much of antisemitism.
    The US does what every other country does: It exercises the powers available to it to further its own national interests. The only difference between the US and most others is that the US wields substantially more power than the rest.
    If “the Jews” died off tomorrow, there wouldn’t be a single long-term vacant position in any of the power-structures supposedly controlled by their so-called ‘ZOG’ or whatever else the loons on the right want to call the object of their conspiracy: Every position would quickly be filled by a highly enthusiastic non-Jew who would, in all probability, exhibit exactly the same personality traits as his or her predecessor. Humanity produces an abundance of these personality types, of every size, shape, and color, and our particular form of capitalism nurtures and encourages them. (A more taboo insight is that academia – psychiatrists, evolutionary biologists/psychologists – is now asking whether they – certain psychopathic traits – are a fundamental and necessary component of successful social structures – consider the “trolley problem”.)
    A similar thing would be true if the US were to disappear overnight, only I’m quite sure that I’d like the current alternatives a lot less. To those who don’t think that the other players in the region are capable practitioners of similar (or worse) feats of rationale, I have a boat to sell you.
    That said, Sir, I’d also argue that any suggestion that the US is guided solely by a spirit of benevolence, or by a sense of moral responsibility to the world, is similarly risible. I certainly hope its not guided by those things, otherwise I suggest we all start learning Mandarin or start preparing our children for a life of relative poverty, because our adversaries will beat us in the end.
    My contention would be that the US is far from perfect (very far), but Churchill might as well have been speaking about it when he gave his thoughts on democracy being the least-worst outcome available to us.

  50. Hamilcar says:

    Just to follow up on the point I marked with an asterisk…
    “due to its ‘turning a blind-eye’ to some extent*”
    I don’t recall any significant political figure in Iraq publicly asking for US support against IS when it first rose to prominence and surged towards Baghdad. Maybe I’m wrong, but I have no memory of it, nor of the public protests that would have inevitably followed it.
    I remember that most Iraqi’s (the plebs, if not the patricians) wanted the US out, yesterday. I remember a very strained relationship between the US and Maliki. Why those things were true is less significant than that they were at the time.
    I’d ask those who make this argument: What could the US have done? Mobilized a large expeditionary force? How would that not have been interpreted as a new invasion force? How contrived would it have looked if the US suddenly re-occupied Iraq to defeat this ‘convenient’ new enemy, just as it was having difficulties getting the Iraqi PM to see its pov and apparently ‘losing its grip’ on the country?
    I’m not saying that people are wrong when they suggest that Obama et al saw the ISIS threat as a potential opportunity: But that isn’t the same thing at all as creating IS in the first place; nor does it mean that they could easily have done something about it from the start. The political situation was/is far more complex than that, and the options were far more limited than some suggest.

  51. turcopolier says:

    Very little realpolitk has been applied to the region since the British and French left. The US is too unsophisticated for it and the locals are obsessed with personal and tribal ambition, religious sect and ultra-nationalism. pl

  52. lally says:

    The deals done with Daesh and AQ were coordinated with Damascus (Nasrallah visit w/Assad) and the official Lebanese security services LAF and ISF plus the key political figures including President ret General Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Hariri.
    The takfiri forces basically surrendered and negotiations were commmenced with the PoG’s primary focus in gaining information on the fate of the missing LAF troops whose fate was an open sore festering within Lebanon. Nasrallah’s calculus was that wiping out the enemy forces would eliminate any chances of retrieving intel on their recovery. Upon receipt of actionable intelligence, the information was relayed to the LAF to effect their return by that entity.
    To kill the enemy in situ was an option but as HSN recently stated to the Iraqi complainers, the locale chosen was done so deliberately as HA forces were awaiting them there in order to finish the job.
    AFAIK, HA has long negotiated surrenders beginning with the Israeli proxy SLA who were granted grace instead of retaliation for their traitorous actions through various operations within Syria. It appears to be a PoG military MO. Within the larger context of Lebanon, ever-shifting alliances and deals are the default.
    Woe unto those outsiders who have imagined they could order an outcome tailor-made to their own foreign interests.

  53. Greco says:

    Here are two comments Gen. Flynn made in an interview with al-Jazeera that will help illustrate where I’m coming from on this issue:
    FLYNN: “Before there was a decision to pull out of Iraq in 2011… I mean it was very clear what we were going to face. Very clear what we were going to face.”
    FLYNN: “I don’t know if [the Obama administration] turned a blind-eye. I think it was a decision–a willful decision [….] to do what they’re doing, which you have to ask the President what is it that he actually is doing.”
    Gen. Flynn was cautious with some of his phrasing, but he nevertheless makes it apparent enough that the Obama admin understood the cost of removing Assad from power. That cost meant tolerating the clear and obvious emergence of a sort of neo-Islamic caliphate. And I think there were those, mostly allies in the region, but also those in the US with sympathies that extend beyond American interests, who preferred a Sunni one to a Shiite one. Those allies, in combating Iranian influence, had long fueled the Sunni fundamentalists. The end product was the emergence of Islamic State.
    I don’t know to what extent Obama and his team were cognizant of how dangerous and evil a threat IS would prove to be. He was rather dismissive of them. For example, he once referred to IS as if they were the equivalent of a junior varsity basketball team. Perhaps they imagined an IS that would have been more benign rather than one that served as a command base for global jihad. In any case, it does seem that they have underestimated IS in that sense and they also underestimated how quickly a force in the region IS would soon become. Even though they may not have anticipated all that, they nevertheless calculus was that the price of having something along the lines of IS emerging, even if only for a temporary period, was worth the price if it meant taking Assad down.
    There was tacit support, not outright or overt in nature, but no less support in allowing them in the region in preference to Assad or Iranian-backed forces, at least before it became evident IS really was an evil force in the world that was less tolerable than Assad or the Iranians even.
    The Obama administration and Senators like McCain may have meant well. Obama rode the political headwinds on an electorate that wanted to reverse course in Iraq, but he stayed committed to the Beltway cause of globalism, which meant more regime change. He didn’t want to commit American soldiers into unpopular wars, so the result meant backing Islamic diehards in lieu.
    My conclusions are that the Obama administration tolerated IS, and in that sense supported them, until it blew up in their faces. That isn’t to say the US is a big bad wolf in the world or that Obama is a secret Muslim who hates America, but there are unpleasant realities to some of the costs that come with these interventions and this was one of those ugly realities of American foreign intervention.

  54. mike says:

    Hamilcar –
    If I recall correctly the US returned to Iraq in mid June 2014 at the request of then PM Maliki. That was after Mosul fell. But Daesh had six months prior to that taken most of Anbar. He was in a major bind with his own parliament, and from his own DAWA party, and also from clerics like Sistani. He had earlier in the year requested help from Iran, they sent the IRGC but could not stop Daesh any better than the Iraqi Army. So Maliki did not have too many other choices.

  55. blowback says:

    It hasn’t turned tail, it’s still turning a very blind eye to the activities of its proxies according to Sputnik News:
    US-Backed Rebels Sell Guns to Daesh – Former Security Head of Base in Syria
    The base he’s talking about is the one at Al-tanf, the one that the Syrians wanted to capture but which the Americans so nobly defended. Now we know why because the weapons they were delivering to the base were being forwarded to ISIS.
    “Hidden support was provided by selling weapons to the Daesh. When we found out about this, we told the Americans about it. However they started to support the commander they placed above us [Mugannat Attalia, the leader of Mahavir as-Saura group] even more. [Militants] sold US-made weapons, vehicles, antitank grenade launchers, M-16 rifles, a large number of them. After the United States carried out the latest revision, they found that 4,700 rifles were missing,” Muhammad Assalam said.
    The United States might not have created ISIS but it has certainly used it and that it’s still delivering weapons that end up with ISIS at the same time it’s whining about the Lebanese/Hezbollah/Syrians transferring ISIS to Deir Ez-zor is an act of gross hypocrisy.
    BTW, Sputnik may be making this up, something American mainstream media does all too often, but it makes sense. If the Al-tanf base had been shut down, it would have been far harder and far more visible for the United States to deliver weapons via its proxies to ISIS. If this is not the case, then since there appears to be no other reason for the Al-Tanf base being there, the United States should evacuate it immediately and shut it down for good.

  56. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree largely.
    I would add that the US policy was to wound Iran through Syria.
    IS made the name of Islam mud.

  57. Kooshy says:

    Mike, wishful history ( one’ own history) is not any better than fake news, Daesh didn’t and couldn’t and wouldn’t stop if it wasn’t for Ayatollah Sistani’s Fatwa to mobilize the Iraqis, and his support for the Iraqi government, just on first day some 100000 volunteered to go to front. Every Iraqi or non-Iraqi, politician or not knows this, except the Americans. Iraqi American trained forces had gave up and collapsed. FYI, historically, in Shia majority countries clerics have the last word, because, they have the support of the majority whom are willing to give up life for his word.

  58. mike says:

    The office of the Iraqi Prime Minister has denied that they were aware of the deal struck between Lebanese Hezbollah militias, Syrian Army and ISIS militants that aimed to secure the transfer of hundreds of ISIS fighters from the Syrian-Lebanese border to the Iraqi-Syrian border over the weekend.
    The statement that was released Friday morning read that it was in response to “false news” carried by an Iranian news agency and a Lebanese TV channel that suggested Iraq had prior knowledge of the deal.
    “We affirm that Iraq did not have knowledge regarding this deal, that we were not informed about it, that the Iraqi government was not consulted about it, and it happened entirely out of our sight,”.

  59. turcopolier says:

    Once you transfer arms and ammunition to any foreign force you lose any ability to control what use is made of them. You cannot order an inventory. All you have demonstrated with your argument is that the Obama administration’s policy of allowing the arming the FSA was as foolish as his personal policy of not bombing IS crude oil exports. Fortunately Trump has at long last ended the policy of supporting the FSA. I suppose that you will not accept that answer because like a lot of conspiracy theorists you probably think that all American administrations follow the same policy which is dictated by a civil service conspiracy, tje MIC and the Zioinists. If you think that you are wrong. pl

  60. Babak Makkinejad says:

    And Sistani is an Iranian citizen.

  61. mike says:

    Kooshi –
    I have a great deal of respect for Sistani. His Fatwa of June 2014 certainly saved Baghdad, Najaf and Karbala from the Daeshis.
    Seems to me he that ten years ago or so Sistani was the only moderate voice speaking out against neighbor-on-neighbor sectarian revenge killings and kidnappings in Iraq. He was hated by the Saudis and Gulf States, but also by some Shia. It was a Shia sect that tried to assassinate him, also ten years ago.
    Sistani was an early promoter of democracy, urging the vote. He even encouraged women to get out and vote in violation of their husbands’ wishes.
    Sistani should have gotten the Nobel. May he live forever is my wish.
    But still, it was Sistani’s (and others) pressure on Maliki that brought the Coalition into Iraq which has led to the liberation of millions of Iraqis from the tyranny of a takfiri caliphate. Maliki and the Hashd could never have accomplished that even in their wildest dreams.

  62. Kooshy says:

    Ayatollah Sistani ( as well as all other grand ayatollahs) has an office and a representative in city of Qum ( as well as all other major hozehs) his rep.’ name is ayatollah Sharestani (Sistani’ son in law) I don’t think he only is there to discuss and review Fegh (theology). I believe many other issues and relations are coordinated through this offices including security, specially security issues that relates to Sunni Shia relations like the recent deal in Lebanon. I believe important grand ayatollahs in Iran and Iraq were pre informed and approved.
    Now, for the Iraqi PMs like Maliki, Ebadi or any other, if not approved by Sistani (and Hozehs) my guess is that they can last in office for almost five minute. IMO Ebadi’ disapproval is for American consumption

  63. Kooshy says:

    Yes, Sistani, Maliki, and everybody in between knew US is looking for a reason and ways to come back and have a military presence in Iraq, so the decision ( in Shia clergy) was is better to have them come in invited, and in some way under Iraqi control rather than they illegally invade like they did in Syria claiming (their international right) for fighting terrorism. That’s the truth and IMO was a correct decision confronting a bully state, that is, since this way might be easier to ask them leave when time comes.

  64. Kooshy says:

    IMO from what I have told, these people they don’t see themselves as Iranian or Iraqi or else for security reasons they see need for larger unification of thier minority sect,

  65. mike says:

    Kooshy –
    I believe Sistani is a lot smarter and a lot less opinionated than you make him out to be.

  66. Kooshy says:

    With regard to greater intersect unity a good example is Iran itself, when ayatollah Khomeini took power Iran was a weak / powerless protected state internationally and regionally, the reigional and internatiinal power Iran possesses today, a lot has to do with her across the region Shia alliances around greater middle east, which ayatollah Khomeini was aware of and had reqougnized and took position of it. That power today expands the entire Western Asia today, but IMO, is not concentrated in one person or one country it includes the entire Shia communities as they attend Friday prayers in Najaf, Karbala, And across the regio.

  67. mike says:

    Iraqi intelligence officials say they are monitoring a convoy of ISIS militants moving through Syria towards the Al Bukamal border crossing and Baghdad believes there are more militants than initial estimates.
    A special operation center has been set up to monitor the movement of these ISIS militants transferred to Al Bukamal, Abu Ali Basri, the general manager of intelligence and counter-terrorism within Iraq’s Interior Ministry, has told Iraqi Al Sabah newspaper.
    Basri added in the statement that presence of these militants is dangerous and the number of the transferred militants was larger than what was initially reported — without specifying or estimating the number.

  68. mike says:

    In other news the anti-Daesh coalition is looking for a solution in order to end the “suffering” of women and children in the ISIS convoy stuck in the Syrian desert.
    A coalition statement said they had delivered a message to Damascus, via the regime’s ally Russia, suggesting a “course of action to save the women and children from any further suffering”. But that they will not allow the fighters to move closer to the Iraqi border.

  69. Red Cloud says:

    The US has no business trying to strike anything on the M20 at all. The R+6 is obviously going to reach Deir Ezzor just fine without any “assistance”. It wouldn’t take a conspiracy theorist to know that any hypothetical strike that took out a bridge could be nothing other than an attempt to stall the SAA. There would be no other logical explanation at this point.

  70. turcopolier says:

    Red Cloud
    I might be impressed if I did not know that the US military is without guidance from above as to what to do about the convoy and is confused. pl

  71. mike says:

    I am not stumping for anyone to cut the M20. But if the coalition did, so? It would not in any way slow down the SAA move towards DeZ. They have tracked vehicles, 4X4s, plus 6X6 and 8X8 trucks and they manage to get around roadless very well throughout the Badia steppe. The only thing unable to get thru would be those tour busses. What the Syrian regime would get if that road is cut would be another propaganda coup.
    In a more perfect world Assad would give those Daeshis an extended acquaintance with the walls of Sednaya prison. And perhaps send the women and children to Riyadh to taste Saudi hospitality.

  72. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You have to ask them how they see themselves. The small group of men around Ayatullah Khomeini, together with him, considered themselves Muslims first, Shia second, and only distantly and accidentally Iranians.

  73. Babak Makkinejad says:

    War was brought to Shia communities by idiots; Arab Nationalist and Sunni Arab Traditionalists in 1980, by Isrealis in 1982, by Sunni Pakistani since 1980, and most recently in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan. It is just like Kindergarten: “They started it first.” Which caused the rise of the Party of Ali.

  74. Christian Chuba says:

    Good God Babak, that’s the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I have to take a sabbatical from FOX News. Not that this is the most idiotic story that FOX has posted, but I have had enough of their nonsense. Can they really be that stupid, this is pure Neocon porn, all of their favorite villains are packed into one paragraph.
    If they just thought about it for a few seconds they would at least be suspicious about it. 1. Iran mines their own uranium, 2. given the limits of the JCPOA, Iran doesn’t need that much uranium, 3. the risk of getting caught smuggling uranium from Africa (let alone Al Qaeda) would be catastrophic for them.
    FOX is currently on a tear creating all of these imaginary links between Iran and N. Korea, you would think that Iran detonated the two stage thermonuclear weapon. To the best of my knowledge, the last contact Iran had w/N. Korea was the purchase of an intermediate ballistic missile, about 10yrs ago, that they reverse engineered into the Sahab-3. This is hardly the diabolical partnership that they depict.

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