War against ISIS

BLACKEAGLE

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Smoke and flames rise over a hill near the Syrian town of Kobani after an airstrike, as seen from the Mursitpinar crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, October 23, 2014.


Credit: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach


(Reuters) - U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq have killed three of the militant group's top leaders but not senior commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

Among those killed was Abd al Basit, whom the officials described as the group's military 'emir,' and Haji Mutazz, a deputy to Baghdadi. Those strikes took place between Dec. 3 and Dec. 9, they said.

They also confirmed last month's killing of Radwan Taleb al-Hamdouni, whom local medical sources had described to Reuters at the time as the radical militant group's leader in the northern city of Mosul.

News of the killings, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, came the same day the top U.S. commander of coalition efforts against the Islamic State, Lieutenant General James Terry, hailed the impact of four months of air strikes in Iraq.

"We've made significant progress in halting that (militant) offensive," Terry told reporters.

He pointed to successful air strikes this week around Iraq's Sinjar Mountain and Zumar. Those strikes helped Kurdish peshmerga fighters fight their way to Sinjar mountain and, according to a Kurdish leader, free hundreds of people trapped there by Islamic State fighters.

At the same time, Terry outlined a long fight ahead, cautioning it would take several years to build necessary capabilities of Iraqi forces, who crumbled during the Islamic State's offensive this summer.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart and David Alexander; Editing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bill Trott)

Three top Islamic State leaders killed in air strikes: U.S. officials| Reuters
 

Legend

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Earlier this week, ISIS captured a Jordanian pilot part of the U.S. led coalition against the militant group. My heart goes out to his family, and to all the thousands of people brutally victimized by ISIS. The U.S. and the Jordanian government insist that his downed plane and was not shot down by ISIS.

The U.S./Jordanian denial is important to retain the morale of the coalition and to demean the military capacity of ISIS, but it does not make a difference to ISIS fighters, supporters and sympathizers. As far as those groups are concerned this is an indicator of the power of ISIS, and they may even see it as a turning point in the coalition’s recent successful air campaigns.

As far as ISIS is concerned, 2014 is ending with a small victory for them – even though the group does not recognize the Gregorian calendar’s New Year and only recognizes Hijri celebrations and milestones. There’s another small victory for ISIS, which is the absence of unanimous sympathy for the pilot since there are many in the region against the coalition strikes on Syria and Iraq. As much as those people hate ISIS, they hate the U.S. more. They also hold the U.S. accountable for the breakdown of order in Iraq which provided the right conditions for the inception and mushrooming of ISIS.

We must fight them, eradicate them and confront their ideology

Abdullah Hamidaddin
This is not to mention the high number of people who actually see ISIS as a legitimate entity that may be going a bit too far in some of its practices; some even say that the brutal practices of ISIS are a natural phase in the evolution of a movement with a legitimate purpose that seeks to become a state – they even compare it the violence in the American and French revolutions.

So as the new year begins we still have a movement with enough military and financial capacity to retain much of its gains and a growing sentiment against American interventionism. In light of this where will ISIS be this time next year?

I will not try to predict where ISIS will be, but I can say with confidence that it will not evolve into a true state and that the borders of Syria and Iraq will not change (except if the Kurds gain independence).

This is because those borders are a product of a world order which ISIS cannot yet change and those borders have become to the vast majority of the region a reality. Much has been said about the coming end of the Sykes-Picot era, and about the un-natural borders which were drawn by the colonialists, but that is just empty talk. The borders are here to stay for the foreseeable future and neither ISIS nor any other militant movement can change that.

Another thing I can predict is that ‘ISISism’ will not end soon. ISIS in the final analysis is a product of power vacuums, local disorder, and widespread popular frustration due to the political and social injustices widespread in our region. If and when ISIS ends, others will come, and their tactics and violence will primarily depend on the power of the state which confronts them. I am pessimistic about the future of terrorism because a region susceptible to terrorism needs a long time before it regains its health and develops into one which repels terrorism.

I am also pessimistic because I do not have confidence in the capacity of this region to overcome its major societal and political challenges soon. This is not a call to surrender to the terrorists. We must fight them, eradicate them and confront their ideology. But we also need to be patient and focus on crisis management and crisis resolution strategies.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/vie.../Where-will-ISIS-be-this-time-next-year-.html
 
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In the absence of statistics one needs to rely on guestimates of ISIS’s revenue streams, which range between $1 million and $5 million per day. Oil is probably the most important one followed by various forms of looting, local taxation, extortion and ransom. Foreign inflows have also played a role, but have not been as dominant as often assumed.
 

Legend

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T-55 Tanks


T-72

Humvees


(AK-47S)

(M79 Osa)

(RBG-6)


RBG-7S


Howitzer towed artillery (M198)



Type 59-1



anti-aircrafttwin-barreled autocannon (ZU-23-2)


Surface to Air missile (FIM-92 Stinger MANPAD)


(SA-16)

Anti-Tanks (HJ-8)

(DShK 1938)

MIG
 
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Looks like someone has left behind a lot of lethal weapons in the hands of people who abandon the weapons at the slightest sign of danger. Or did the ISIS buy those weapons?
 

Legend

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Looks like someone has left behind a lot of lethal weapons in the hands of people who abandon the weapons at the slightest sign of danger. Or did the ISIS buy those weapons?
Yes, a lot of weapons were left behind by the Iraqi army and also by the thugs of Assad. Lets not forget that ISIS have some oil fields under their control which means that they have a lot of cash in hand to buy weapons especially surface to air missiles.
 
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That's an impressive arsenal they have and I've heard that as well, the Iraqi army left being the weapons the US have left for them to defend themselves. Sure, with a lot of money they can get all the weapons they want.
 

Legend

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That's an impressive arsenal they have and I've heard that as well, the Iraqi army left being the weapons the US have left for them to defend themselves. Sure, with a lot of money they can get all the weapons they want.
Not only that but the US has also air dropped some weapons that ended up in ISIS hands.|0|

Not sure if that was by mistake or deliberate.
 
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Come on, it had to be by mistake, I can't believe that they are selling weapons to the IS and at the same time fighting against them... that would be just too weird!
 

KSA

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There is a scene in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass in which Alice meets the White Knight who is wearing full armour and riding a horse off which he keeps falling.

Alice expresses curiosity about why he has placed spiked metal anklets on his horse's legs just above the hoofs. "To guard against the bites of sharks," he explains, and proudly shows her other ingenious devices attached to himself and his horse.

Alice notices that the knight has a mouse trap fastened to his saddle. "I was wondering what the mouse trap was for," says Alice. "It isn't very likely there would be any mice on the horse's back." "Not very likely, perhaps," says the Knight, "but if they do come, I don't choose to have them running all about." It's as well "to be provided for everything", adds the Knight. As he explains his plans for countering these supposed dangers, he continues to tumble off his horse.

The White Knight's approach to military procurement is very similar to that of the American and British military establishments. They drain their budgets to purchase vastly expensive equipment to meet threats that may never exist, much like the sharks and mice that menace Alice's acquaintance. Thus the Pentagon spends $400bn (£257bn) on developing the F-35 fighter (Britain is buying planes at a cost of £100m each) to gain air superiority over Russia and China in the event of a war with either power.

Meanwhile, equipment needed to fight real wars is neglected, even though no answer has been found to old-fashioned weapons such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that caused two-thirds of the US-led coalition's casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A strange aspect of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is that there has been so little criticism of the failure of expensively equipped Western armies to defeat lightly armed and self-trained insurgents. This is in sharp contrast to the aftermath of the US Army's failure to win the war in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s. The question is of more than historic interest because the US, UK and other allies are re-entering the wars in Iraq and Syria where they are seeking to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis).

Perhaps the military are not being blamed for lack of success in Iraq and Afghanistan because the failure there is seen as political, rather than military. There is some truth in this, but it is also true that army commanders have been agile in avoiding responsibility for what went wrong. A senior US diplomat asked me in exasperation in Baghdad five or six years ago: "Whatever happened to the healthy belief the American public had after Vietnam that our generals seldom tell the truth?"

Iraq this year has seen a more grotesque and wide-ranging failure than the inability to cope with IEDs. The Iraqi Army was created and trained by the US at great expense, but this summer it was defeated by a far smaller and less well-armed force of insurgents led by Isis. It was one of the most shameful routs in history, as Iraqi Army commanders abandoned their men, jumped into helicopters and fled. The new Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, admits that 50,000 "ghost soldiers" in the Iraqi Army had never existed and their salaries fraudulently diverted into their officers' pockets.

The Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police Service, some 350,000 soldiers and 650,000 police, had been built by the US at a cost of $26bn since 2003, according to the recent report of the US Special Investigator General for Iraq Reconstruction. It is a fascinating document that demands answers to many questions, such as how did $9.4bn get spent on training, staffing and supplying the Iraqi police, though this force is notorious for its corruption and incompetence. Another $3.4bn went on supplying the Iraqi Army with tanks, aircraft, boats, armoured personnel carriers and other equipment, much of which was later captured by Isis. Curiously, Isis was immediately able to find crews for the tanks and artillerymen for the guns without any lengthy and expensive training programmes.

The 3,000 American soldiers President Obama has sent back into Iraq are to start training the remaining 26 brigades of the Iraqi Army all over again, without anybody asking what went wrong between 2003 and 2014. Why is it that Isis recruits can fight effectively after two weeks' military training and two weeks' religious instruction, but the Iraqi Army cannot? Maybe the very fact of being foreign-trained delegitimises them in their own eyes and that of their people.



The Iraqi Army now consists of some 350,000 soldiers (AFP/Getty)

Renewed foreign military intervention in Iraq and Syria is primarily in the form of air strikes of which there have been more than 1,000 since bombing started in Iraq on 8 August. What is striking about these figures is that there have been so few compared to the 48,224 air strikes during the 43 days of bombing against Saddam Hussein's army in 1991. A reason for this is that Isis is a guerrilla force that can be dispersed, so only about 10 per cent of missions flown actually lead to air strikes against targets on the ground.

Only against the Isis forces besieging the Syrian-Kurdish town of Kobani in northern Syria is the US Air Force able to inflict heavy casualties. It is not clear why Isis continues with a battle where it is most vulnerable to air power, but the probable reason is that it wants to prove it can win another divinely inspired victory, despite heavy air attacks.

In more than 10 years of war in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, it is the insurgents and not those in charge of Western military policy and procurement who have developed the most effective cocktail of military tactics and methods of attack suited to local circumstances. These include various types of IEDs supplemented by booby traps that make those few areas reconquered from Isis dangerous for soldiers and uninhabitable for civilians.

IS has turned suicide bombing by individuals or by vehicles packed with explosives into an integral part of their fighting repertoire, enabling them to make devastating use of untrained but fanatical foreign volunteers. Isis deploys well-trained snipers and mortar teams, but its most effective weapon is spreading terror by publicising its atrocities through the internet.

Gruesome though these tactics are, they are much more effective than anything developed by Western armies in these same conflicts. Worse, Western training encourages an appetite on the part of its allies for helicopters, tanks and artillery that only have limited success in Iraqi conditions, although bombing does have an impact in preventing Isis using a good road system for attacks by several hundred fighters in convoys of pick-up trucks and captured Humvees.

While Isis may be suffering more casualties, it is in a position to recruit tens of thousands fighters from the population of at least five or six million that it controls. Six months after the Islamic State was declared, it has not grown smaller. As with the White Knight, the US and its allies are not undertaking the measures necessary to fight their real enemy.

As of Dec. 11, 2014, the total cost of operations related to ISIL since kinetic operations started on Aug. 8, 2014 is $1.02 billion and the average daily cost is $8.1 million.

War with Isis: Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter the militants' gruesome tactics
 
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#13
Come on, it had to be by mistake, I can't believe that they are selling weapons to the IS and at the same time fighting against them... that would be just too weird!
That does sound off the wall but on the other hand, nothing would surprise me these days!
 
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Not only that but the US has also air dropped some weapons that ended up in ISIS hands.|0|

Not sure if that was my mistake or deliberate.
That seems like a pretty stupid thing to do. I mean you have important weaponry going into enemy hands and endangering your own troops.
 
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The problem with ISIS is that none of their troops will be afraid to die for their cause, making them quite more feared. The optimist in me says that they will no longer be a threat, but I really have no idea what 2015 will bring.