Corporate MSM have gone on this past week trying to perpetrate a fantasy that the Jihaidist raiders in Iraq are fierce Soldiers of Allah. Also, despite that they haven't won a battle in two months, the MSM view of these guys remains that they are all conquering and fearsome, the purest of religious fanatics.
Allah's gift to Perpetual War.
No one is to notice that mainly this story line supports military budgets.
After the first wave of attacks that took Sunni Mosul with local assistance, the Jihadists have had their back sides handed to them. That includes going at Tikrit and Samarra and losing two large attack groups including all their weapons and vehicles.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.I love Carl Sagan... but not for every aphorism, every time around.
-- Carl Sagan
Consider Tikrit. The New York Times today says this: "ISIS Displaying A Deft Command of Varied Media" on its front page today. Well, Tikrit is the perfect example.
When ISIS got to Tikrit in the second week of June, 2014, their attack group threw 500 raiders down Route # 1 from Mosul and went in to the west side of the city with little opposition. The locals had started running out of the area using everything from school buses to delivery trucks. ISIS got there without a street map and drove right by Tikrit University. Apparently they had no plan, other than winging it.
At maximum expansion, ISIS controlled 40% of western and southern Tikrit. We have that from Iraqis who stayed in the center of town. The phone system and short wave radio worked just fine. ISIS never got near Saddam's Palace. Never took the military hospital. Never even made a try at taking Tikrit Dam. Yet ISIS set about claiming that they had taken over Tikrit, much like their roll over at Mosul. And they scammed Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Herald and many others.
Corporate MSM reported that ISIS took Tikrit. With no evidence. Not one pic of ISIS raiders at the main Tikrit landmarks. No video from the city. Nothing but going into the Tikrit Teaching Hospital (right next to Route # 1) where they took 43 Indian nurses hostage -- thankfully released as "good" Muslims. The one piece of savagery came with capture of Air Force cadets from up north by the air force base. Dozens were murdered with video running.
In fact, absence of evidence can be your best practical proof that something is absent. Here if the city had been taken by Jihadists, you would see their raiders riding around in pickup trucks, firing AKs in the air, yelling taunts at defeated enemies.
They loot banks. Burn down palaces. Dynamite Shi'ia mosques and shrines. Kill enemies by the thousands. And record as much as they can with video cameras... which they will post ASAP on their web sites.
But what do we have for the big attacks on Tikrit Dam and for the city of Tikrit and for Samarra ???
Nothing. Nothing but absence of evidence.
A Black vs. White Religious War
The current phase of this war in Iraq pits the Sunni Salafi Jihadists against Shi'ia Arabs and largely Sunni Kurds. The latter Shi'ia Arabs and the Sunni Kurds have help on the ground from the professional army units of Iran's Shi'ia Persians.
The Jihadists see the Sunni Kurds as apostates. As bad as Shi'ia. Or Christians. Or Hindu.
So far it is all-out religious war. There has been talk, talk, and more talk about Baghdad putting together a mixed Shi'ia-Sunni government. At that point the regular Sunnis are supposed to come over in units of Sunni militias and fight against the Jihadists. Good luck with that.
For now this remains all-out religious war.
As a note: With the Sunni Salafi Jihadists, we are following what was Al Qaeda in Iraq, then Islamic State of Syria and al-Sham, then ISIL, and now the Islamic State. Their pretensions increase with the seasons. On the other hand they know next to nothing about running an army.
Since the fall of Mosul back in early June, the Jihadists have sent their attack groups at four targets in north-central Iraq:
-- City of Tikrit
-- Al-Sahra air base
-- City of Samarra
-- Tikrit Dam
Altogether ISIS lost close to 1,000 raiders and equipment. Unlike the Kurds, the big Shia army operating out of Samarra take care to surround ISIS raiders and soften them up with artillery barrages. They make feints to locate ISIS assets. This goes on prior to ground assaults. Instead of running off the raiders and killing a few like the Kurds, who did take down 170 of them over two days, these Shia kill them all.
The counterattack at Tikrit surrounded the city mid-July then used artillery followed by a professional ground attack. 300 dead for ISIS with the rest of their force cleaned out over the next month.
Now our corporate MSM are reporting that the Iraqi Army is moving to recapture Tikrit.
All of which is good for John McCain. Maybe he can write it up as a coloring book.