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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.

It's Hokum

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.

-- Carl Sagan

I love Carl Sagan... but not for every aphorism, every time around.

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.

Jihadist Incompetence

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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That quote was ruined for me (3+ / 0-)

    Thanks, Rumsfeld. /snark

    The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, or vice versa.

    Their cause must be our cause too. Because it's not just Negroes, but really it's all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome. -- Lyndon B. Johnson

    by AllTheWayWithLBJ85 on Sun Aug 31, 2014 at 08:02:34 PM PDT

  •  Thanks, again, as always (3+ / 0-)

    for filling in the glaring blanks that exist in the vast majority of the coverage we get in this country about the full situation on the ground there. All we hear about here is "oh, the USA, the USA, what should the USA do?", but I've always had full confidence that the Iranians, in particular, are not taking this situation lying down and are fully capable of stiffening their clients' backbones against these demented desert raiders.

    "[T]he preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks is of more importance to the public than all the property of all the rich men in the country." - John Adams, A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law. (1765)

    by AnacharsisClootz on Sun Aug 31, 2014 at 08:24:29 PM PDT

  •  maps with this would help visualize what is (2+ / 0-)

    going on.  Many readers, even those who served in the area, would have no idea of the relative placement of many of the place names or their significance in controlling the geography of the region

    •  How's this ? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      T Maysle, DavidMS

      Considering ISIS has lost every big fight since Mosul, the media fiction about their military situation is a bad joke.

      My guess: the Shia army lets their air force rip the pickup trucks till later this month then rams north to Raqqa and the Turkish border.

      General Suleimani learned war in the 1980s. He smashed the same bunch at al-Qusayr in Syria. The trick is to surround them and kill 'em all.

      When they know they're trapped, they panic.

      "The illiteracy of our children are appalling." #43

      by waterstreet2008 on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 05:30:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If ISIS is Defeated in Iraq (2+ / 0-)

    does that mean they will be defeated in Syria?

    But U.S., Western European, Saudi, and Arab Gulf policy is to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, which happens to be the policy of ISIS and other jihadis in Syria. If Assad goes, then ISIS will be the beneficiary, since it is either defeating or absorbing the rest of the Syrian armed opposition. There is a pretense in Washington and elsewhere that there exists a “moderate” Syrian opposition being helped by the U.S., Qatar, Turkey, and the Saudis.  It is, however, weak and getting more so by the day. Soon the new caliphate may stretch from the Iranian border to the Mediterranean and the only force that can possibly stop this from happening is the Syrian army.

    "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

    by Superpole on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 08:06:04 AM PDT

    •  The game plan is to continue to allow ISIS to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      weaken Assad and Assad to weaken ISIS.

      For the last 2 1/2 years, funding and arming the Syrian jihadists was kept at a level that ensured the conflict in Syria would continue on a low boil so as to damage both sides through attrition. The use of the term moderate for the 'rebels' was a canard. The world knew the more radical Salafist-takfiri were a much more potent fighting force and were getting the bulk of the armaments and funding.

      It's a win-win situation for the US, UK and Gulf allies as long as the conflict can be contained within the Shia Crescent.

      It's a dangerous game that is being played here. But the US has never backed away from playing dangerous games in foreign nations. The willingness to do so comes from the hubris of being the world's preeminent super power.

      •  "It's a dangerous game"... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        If this is indeed the strategy, it's hard to believe congress and the Obama administration didn't pay more attention to what has been going on in Iraq since we left.

        I don't see how the strategy works with a weak Iraq, with ISIS readily able to cross the border and take Iraqi towns and territory.

        "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

        by Superpole on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 09:20:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Have you read this diary? It's point is that ISIS (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          T Maysle, waterstreet2008

          can hit and run but does not have sufficient power to occupy a city or region too far from it's base in Syria.

          the Obama administration didn't pay more attention to what has been going on in Iraq since we left.
          You can be confident the Pentagon has been following events in Syria VERY closely since the US pulled it's troops. The State Department has maintained a very large footprint in the country.
          5,500 Mercs to Protect U.S. Fortresses in Iraq

          During a Senate hearing today, John Kerry, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, urged the top U.S. civilian and military officials in Iraq to “be careful” about “replacing a military presence with a private mercenary presence.” A report that the committee released yesterday and announced today explained why: the State Department plans to field 5,500 private security contractors to protect up to 17,000 civilians working for the American government in Iraq.

          The report barely goes into the composition of the emerging mercenary army, but since State has been so tight-lipped about its plans, it sheds new light on how diplomats will be protected after the military leaves Iraq at the end of the year. A force of 3,650 private security guards will be stationed at the huge Baghdad embassy. (The security firm SOC Inc. has a contract for protecting that embassy worth as much as $974 million.) It’ll be supplemented with mercs at four satellite installations: 600 in the Kurdish capitol of Irbil; 575 in Basra (the report says Baghdad, but it appears to be a misprint); and 335 each at Mosul and Kirkuk.

          I don't see how the strategy works with a weak Iraq, with ISIS readily able to cross the border and take Iraqi towns and territory.
          The end game is a weak Syria and a weak Iraq. As long as the game can be contained within Syria and Western Iraq, there is no threat to US interests in the region. Anbar province remains highly anti-American so strikes in that region will only be on the peripheral to protect Baghdad and other important assets such as the Haditha dam. The Pentagon would like to see another Sunni Awakening in the area and let them battle it out on their own.

          Watch where and when the US selectively uses it's air power to manage the battle.

        •  Bush gave Iraq to Iran. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          And now the keys are in the hands of Major General Qassim Suleimani.

          His people need big pits for the ISIS bodies.

          "The illiteracy of our children are appalling." #43

          by waterstreet2008 on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 02:44:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Don't expect ISIS to be put down anytime soon (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They haven't finished their original work in Syria yet. As long as they don't directly target an American ally or interest in any substantial way they will be left relatively unscathed by US firepower.

    ISIL executes 250 Syrian soldiers in Raqqah [Graphic]  

    The ISIL terrorists have executed over 250 Syrian soldiers they took hostages at an airbase in Raqqah province.

    The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which supports Syria's foreign-backed opposition, said the soldiers were trying to escape from the Tabqa airbase when they were captured. The militants on Sunday stormed the base after days of clashes with government troops. Hundreds of militants and dozens of Syrian forces were killed in the fighting there. The ISIL is notorious for its summary execution of its hostages in Syria and Iraq, no matter if they are military personnel or civilians.


    •  America is irrelevant. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Not useless, but irrelevant to the outcomes in 2014/2015.

      The Shi'ia army is going to be larger than what Eisenhower brought ashore at Normandy.

      On the ISIS side running around in Toyota Task Force pickups looks cute for videos. But the Shi'ia army is bringing artillery, two air forces, tanks with trained crews, and a well blooded officer corps.

      So far in battles the Shi'ia army has killed 830 ISIS raiders. Taking fewer than 50 dead, half from suicide bombings after the first phase of retaking western Tikrit had ended.

      Pros vs. amateurs.

      "The illiteracy of our children are appalling." #43

      by waterstreet2008 on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 02:31:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  More about Suleimani (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    T Maysle, waterstreet2008, DavidMS

    and his record of killing Americans and expanding Iranian military involvement, hegemony, and terrorism here:

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