ISIS Now Heads East Towards Haditha Dam

ISIS has taken over two more border crossings in Western Iraq, Turaibil (with Jordan) and al-Waleed (with Syria).

It now moves on to Haditha and its dam, which has a major hydroelectric power plant. It may also try to take Al-Asad, a large Iraqi air force base and the nearby town of Hit, before moving on to Baghdad.

Obama, in an interview Friday with Face the Nation that was aired today, says the U.S. military can't play "whack a mole" with every new terrorist threat that pops up. [More...]

'And as I said yesterday, what we can't do is think that we're just going to play whack-a-mole and send US troops occupying various countries wherever these organizations pop up.

'We're going to have to have a more focused, more targeted strategy and we're going to have to partner and train local law enforcement and military to do their jobs as well.'

While the Bajji oil refinery battle has been fairly quiet today, it's probably because the Iraqi forces are trapped inside with no way out. Since ISIS controls the roads to the refinery, there is also no way in to save them. It's just a matter of waiting until their supplies are gone.

ISIS is not going to try and take the Moon and Mars. They want a unified caliphate state with no borders in Iraq and the area they call al Sham (Levant in the west) which is also known as Greater Syria. It extends to the Antakya region of Turkey, through Syria, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, Jordan, and round to the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Some also include Cyprus.

How long can Malaki hold on? From Newsweek:

The fall of the key western city of Fallujah to ISIS in January should have been a loud alarm call. Instead of redoubling efforts to reach out to disaffected Sunni leaders, Maliki continued to pursue his own brand of Shia supremacism, monopolizing power and alienating Sunni and Kurd alike. This explains why Iraqi forces dissolved in the largely Sunni north as ISIS stormed into Mosul and south towards Baghdad. Maliki’s failure even to get parliament to declare a state of emergency after ISIS gains in northern Iraq speaks volumes for the contempt with which he is held in Iraq.

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    We need to do "something!" (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 09:57:08 AM EST
    Yes, we need to do something--take a deep breath and try to ascertain the real situation and what real solutions there might be for the US.   By this time, after Gulf of Tonkins, throwing babies out of Kuwaiti incubators, Saddam tanks racing to the Saudi border, vials of white powder,  aluminum tubes, yellow cake from Niger--we would want to know more, especially when what appears to be, a campaign for US re-entry to Iraq and fulfillment of the neocon dream of entering Syria.  

    ISIS is "al-Qaeda-style," coming out of a seeming nowhere to take major parts of Iraq and Syria borders.  However, ISIS is estimated to be between 7,000 and 10,000 in number augmented by a propaganda campaign.  ISIS, it is claimed by Senator Rand Paul, to be funded by our allies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and, by the US as the "good anti-Assad" rebels.  Is this a proxy fight between Saudi Arabia and Iran--Sunni v Shia influence in Iraq?     For now, ISIS is likely to consolidate gains, and protect the Shia areas.  Holding territory is different from gaining it.  And, the coalition of ISIS and other Sunni groups is just that, a coalition of Sunnis with an anti-Shia, anti-Maliki fervor--each thinking they are using each other at the moment, only to settle up later.  

    As reported in the NYT by Michael Gordon,  there is a "consensus" that the Iraqi army is hopeless, as is the cause.  This may be, but once again, look at the reporter: Michael Gordon, the co-author of those 2002 articles with Judith Miller, the disgraced journalist who received information from Cheney, and then Cheney quoted the articles as authoritative.  All part of the orchestrated drum beat for war.   Despite Gordon being complicit, he is still senior military correspondent.  

    Al Asad is in the middle of the Sunni Triangle (none / 0) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:30:59 PM EST
    Sunni stronghold, who knows who would choose to fight ISIS.

    Haditha damn is very strategic if they could take it, I'm thinking that's going to be a big fight.

    42% (none / 0) (#10)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 09:12:34 AM EST
    Just woke up and watching tv news.  I see that 42% of those polled think the US should "do something".
    This drives me nuts.  This is exactly what I remember hearing in the run up to war in Iraq.  "We need to do something about Saddam"
    Why, I would ask.  Glazed expression face to face or talking points on line.  Once it was established in their washed brains that we needed to do something, why or what was irreverent as long as we did something.
    This whole "do something" meme is the legacy of the Bush administration.  Mission accomplished.

    They need more information (none / 0) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 10:38:15 AM EST
    About what is happening and why

    If they wanted it (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 11:13:00 AM EST
    They have the same access as me.  IMO many  people don't want information.  They want bumper stickers

    Laziness :) (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 12:55:14 PM EST
    That for sure (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 01:02:48 PM EST
    But more than that in many cases.  There is  the irrational bigotry and ignorance always associated with that part of the world.  You don't need to look beyond these threads to find it.

    Newsweek blubber (none / 0) (#2)
    by koshembos on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 10:09:06 PM EST
    The assumption that ISIS can be stopped by Malaki treating the Sunni better is baseless and misleading.

    ISIS has 15 minutes of fame with its Caliphate. True, history has many surprises. But is this one of them? I fail to see it. No one want ISIS to succeed. They failed in Syria and went the way of less resistance to the Sunni Triangle. The Iranian support Assad and will support Shia Iraq.

    ISIS has no air force, heavy artillery or tanks. That's the reason Assad recovered, Jordan will likely do well and even Shia Iraq will survive.

    Isis has plenty of tanks (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 10:57:42 PM EST
    and heavy artillery and is using them. They have been stealing the ones we supplied to Iraq. There's a ton of photos in both the mainstream media and from them on Twitter showing them using them. It's fine to have a different opinion, but don't misstate reality.

    All of the media has reported the widespread opposition to Malaki. He has been terrible to the Sunnis. No one thinks he has done a good job.

    There are militants all over the world supporting ISIs. Check out #AllEyesOnISIS and check the the kudos coming from Indonesia, Belgium and a lot of other countries.

    If ISIS gets stopped tomorrow, it will still have a permanent place in the history books -- it's not just a 15 minute thing.


    I am not so sure how long (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by MKS on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 08:59:13 AM EST
    ISIS can operate the tanks and artillery....It takes a lot of maintenance--particularly with desert sand getting n the gears, etc.

    Without spare parts and high tech know-how, those tanks become just pieces of steel.


    You do t think the (none / 0) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 11:14:28 AM EST
    Richest terror organization in the world can afford tank maintenance?

    My guess is that (none / 0) (#18)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 12:36:43 PM EST
    all US military vehicles are "marked" with GPS tracking devices- to identify locations.   If so, drones could find and destroy any ISIS held US military vehicles.  If, that is our goal.  

    So far (none / 0) (#19)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 12:49:55 PM EST
    They have seemed pretty good at what they do.  I would think gos devices could be disabled or removed.  

    GPS devices of course. (none / 0) (#20)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 12:51:45 PM EST
    I hate to agree with Millers buddy but it's looking pretty bad for the status quo right now.

    If they did have GPS it won't be hard (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 01:07:15 PM EST
    To get rid of that :). We tend to not sell or give equipment to nations though with all the bells and whistles enhancements on it because we could have to fight them in the future and we do not want them to understand our full capabilities.  Also, when something we made goes elsewhere we lose control of our worst enemies showing up with dollars to study our capabilities.

    We didn't leave our top of the line fully outfitted anything for Iran to study :)


    We left them with M1s (none / 0) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 01:02:27 PM EST
    I don't know if we trained anyone in maintenance for them or if we were providing contractor maintenance.  If we trained someone to maintain they can always take them prisoner, I suppose they could a contractor as well.....or....

    Guess where we put an M1 manufacturing facility in the ME?  Egypt!  Hmmmmm....ISIS has money to pay good wages, would anyone with connections to the plant in Egypt be interested in a very high paying job?  :)


    I think you got it. (none / 0) (#25)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 01:06:48 PM EST
    I called them the worlds richest terror organization.  That was a bit snarky.  They probably see us the same way and in fact the have become more than that.  They are well funded media savvy and brutally efficient.  Starts to sound like government.

    ISIS has been quoted (none / 0) (#28)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 01:12:00 PM EST
    as saying they expect the US to honor the warranties.  A sense of humor abounds with these guys.  

    Ha ha ha ha ha (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 01:14:24 PM EST
    If there IS GPS on anything, that warranty might self destruct :)

    In time (none / 0) (#22)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 12:56:59 PM EST
    They have awhile.  The photos that I saw, the vehicles are all on trailers, they look like they just came out of storage.  

    I had heard that the sand (none / 0) (#39)
    by MKS on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:32:13 PM EST
    was really a problem for the tanks and the Army had to come up with workarounds....

    I don't know about the tanks (none / 0) (#49)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 09:15:05 PM EST
    But it was devastating to the aircraft we originally showed up with.  They were refurbishing them in Germany, and making upgrades.  That led to airframes being gutted and completely refitted inside.  I think they developed new designs and technology to help with dealing with the sand.

    They aren't fitted for a long term war using the confiscated equipment, but they are outfitted for today.


    I have read Russian (none / 0) (#53)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 09:47:20 PM EST
    Stuff is much more durable in the desert.  Tanks and planes.  Don't know if they have any but how hard can it be if you have the cash?

    My husband can go on for hours (none / 0) (#54)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 09:54:51 PM EST
    About how Russian military tech outdoes ours too easily.  We keep up but costs us billions more, and change is usually slow.  He says it is because Russia doesn't have any middlemen involved with costly change order schemes looking for a way to drag this out for billions more.  Russian engineers are mostly concerned with doing a great job because it is what they do, it is their passion...they don't have Harvard MBAs to feed and keep employed.

    Sunnis have organized now (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 12:44:39 AM EST
    Behind and with ISIS, I am with you Jeralyn, I don't think the affects of what has taken place can be undone.  Even if they remove the ISIS leadership you can't undo that the Sunnis are uniting and the border between Syria and Iraq doesn't really exist except in our imaginations.

    It had a difficult time existing when my husband flew that border daily in 2003. They were trying to prevent fighters from joining the Sunni in the triangle.  They didn't have enough aircraft, manpower, or fuel to even do a halfway decent job, the area is the size of Wyoming.  It is also covered in mini ravines like the badlands in the US and individuals crossing back and forth easily hid in them as they were flying over.   Also, if you don't mind drinking sandy water you only have to dig a few feet down through the sand.


    The perception (none / 0) (#5)
    by lentinel on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 06:06:10 AM EST
    is now, for some, that Obama bungled things. We got out too soon.


    The fact is, as I see it, that Bush got us into an untenable situation.
    Having learned nothing from the experience of Vietnam  -interfering in a civil war and attempting to prop up a government in our own image - Bush got everyone to go along with yet another deadly nightmare.

    I would like for the President to articulate that.
    That we should never have gone in, and that Bush is an idiot and a lousy painter as well. And Cheney should be in some Super Max in Turkey or somewhere.

    But, it looks as if he's stuck with trying to fix things. As if they can be fixed. We destroyed the Iraqi Army. Everybody seems to hate Nouri al-Maliki - our choice and now someone we would be happy to see thrown into the garbage bin.

    So we will bomb, send in advisors to troops who do not wish to be advised by us, protect our enormous embassy if indeed it can be protected... make lots of enemies, kill a lot of people and have a dismal and uncertain future.

    The option of acknowledging a mistake - of clearly stating that the administration of Bush and Cheney - including Saint Powell and the piano playing shoe shopping Ms. Rice - were an unmitigated bunch of scoundrels - the option of getting the hell out and letting the Iraqis sort things out as best they can after what we did to them... that seems unimaginable.

    The problem is Obama (none / 0) (#30)
    by Slado on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 02:06:15 PM EST
    A very interesting exchange occurred on Face the Nation yesterday.

    Former CIA director Mike Morrell went to great pains to state clearly that the rise of ISIS was not an "Intelligence Failure".

    The CIA has been informing congress and the president that ISIS was building it's strength and inaction would lead to bad outcomes.

    That has come to pass.

    Yes Bush screwed up Iraq.  

    But Obama ran and took credit for cleaning it up and getting out.   The only problem was he didn't clean it up and getting out left a huge power vacuum.

    What's worse is even if we didn't leave any troops there we completely stopped engaging with the new government and let ISIS fill the void we left behind.

    This was a policy choice by this president.  It's too late to blame Bush for creating the mess.   Yes he created the mess but Obama has piled more failure on top of it.

    He owns this crisis and frankly like Syria the time to act has passed.  

    Our president thinks the power of his words and his rhetoric can change the world.   He has consistently proven wrong and the many things we see happening in foreign policy are a direct result of his failure to do anything other then talk.


    It's hard for me to imagine (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 02:54:02 PM EST
    Why getting our military out of what can only be described as a civil war as quickly as possible is any thing but good.  We never should have been there in e first place the sooner out the better.  What useful purpose could american soldiers serve there except targets?

    Do tell (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Yman on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 06:35:47 PM EST
    How was Obama supposed to stay in Iraq when Bush had already signed a SOFA indicating the withdrawal schedule and the government of Iraq wanted us out?  Not to mention that the American people wanted out.  Not to mention that the vacuum was created by GWB's removal of Saddam, roundly cheered as a worthy objective in-and-of-itself by conservatives.

    How is President Obama supposed (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 02:15:15 PM EST
    To clean up what Bush broke?  Kill every Sunni in the Middle East?

    MT, I still don't understand your clear (none / 0) (#35)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:11:56 PM EST
    bias in favor of Sunnis.

    Switch it then - kill every Shia? (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:47:45 PM EST
    Either idea is absurd.

    I still don't understand (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Yman on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 06:33:15 PM EST
    ... why you keep making these silly claims about MT and Sunnis.

    Of course. (none / 0) (#44)
    by lentinel on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 05:52:58 PM EST
    getting out leaves a power vacuum.

    That's because we essentially killed Hussein and disbanded the Iraqi Army. We left the country in a terrible mess - with a puppet in charge who did not have the respect of the Iraqi people.

    But the same was true in Vietnam.

    After all the destruction we caused, the dictators we supported or installed, we had to get out. There was a power vacuum, and it was filled by Vietnamese nationals.

    We can and should do the same in Iraq - get out - and let the vacuum be filled by Iraqi nationals.

    But Obama is stuck in the Bush mindset. That is his downfall.

    This is not a situation in which we can prevail. We are foreigners. We have killed 100s of thousands of Iraqis. Don't you think that they know that?

    So Obama will be cowed into being a "man" and will order bombing. Kerry has already said so. (He looks terrible.) And it will accomplish nothing. And we will have to leave - maybe under a future administration - and let the Iraqis fill the power vacuum.

    The more we try to fix things - what's the expression... put lipstick on a pig... all we will accomplish is more slaughter of the innocent - more hatred of the US with the attendant dangers implicit in that.

    The only thing Obama ever said about the war in Iraq that made sense was that it was a "dumb" war. It still is a dumb war - and trying to make it otherwise is dumber and dumber.


    Netanyahu (none / 0) (#7)
    by MKS on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 09:01:37 AM EST
    basically said yesterday on MTP that we should just let them kill each other--but make sure Iran does not get nukes.

    Israel, or at least Netanyahu, does not care much about ISIS.

    I wouldn't pay attention to what he says (none / 0) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 09:08:21 AM EST

    Unlike Obama he is too smart to tell his enemies what he is going to do.


    Yes. (none / 0) (#12)
    by lentinel on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 09:57:56 AM EST
    Obama was elected to fix problems, but he has fallen into the trap of identifying with the failed policies of his pathetic, horribly corrupt predecessor.

    So he can't fix a bloody thing.

    That is the problem.

    Well, you're getting close (none / 0) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 11:28:58 AM EST
    Come on, say it

    "He is the problem."


    the comment you are replying to (none / 0) (#33)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:03:36 PM EST
    was deleted for the commenter stating his anti-Obama claims as fact. Opinions should be stated as such.

    Your comment (none / 0) (#17)
    by lentinel on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 11:33:34 AM EST
    is a veritable crock.

    Obama was handed a used car, without a motor, with flat tires, without keys, all rusted, with the windows broken.

    His attempt to "fix" it, was to put it in the junkyard where it belongs.

    But all you conservative yappers have him feeling as if he owes it to someone to try to fix it up.

    So, he'll send some advisors and maybe bomb a little - because he is fundamentally somewhat clueless - his critics on the right - relics like McCain - will quiet down a little - and the car will still fall apart.

    I get the impression that you think that Bush was something other than the lying piece of dreck that he was and is.

    Criticizing Obama is one thing.
    I generally don't have a problem with that.

    But excusing the idiocy and evil of Bush, Cheney and the rest of that criminal gang is something only a rabid partisan could do.
    And there is no way to communicate with a rabid partisan.

    Bush (none / 0) (#27)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 01:07:19 PM EST
    is Jesus to Jim and he can't take any criticism of him. Once you realize that it all makes sense.

    GA, I have criticized Bush numerous times over (none / 0) (#37)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:20:56 PM EST
    his decision to nation build rather than do what armies are good at.

    And you know that.

    So please quit making things up.


    If you (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by lentinel on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 04:28:31 PM EST
    acknowledge that Bush was out to "nation build", you are defacto acknowledging that he was lying about going into Iraq to rid the place of WMD.

    There is no one I know, or knew at the time, that bought that line of tripe from Bush, Powell and the rest of that sorry lot.

    But, apparently, you did.


    please avoid (none / 0) (#34)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:07:43 PM EST
    name calling. "Dreck" is uncalled for. Your point is well made without it.

    OK. (none / 0) (#42)
    by lentinel on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 04:24:08 PM EST
    Point taken.

    I agree... (none / 0) (#55)
    by unitron on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 10:48:50 PM EST
    ...that "dreck" is uncalled for.

    But you can't use any of the words that are.

    : - )


    Sigh.... So it is only conservatives (none / 0) (#36)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:18:09 PM EST
    who recognize that this is just another battle in a continuing war in which we can either win or lose???

    Well, this social liberal disagrees. Any one should be able to understand that we can't do business with these people and the alternative is to surrender or kill them. And the sooner we start the easier the battle will be.

    You have no proof that Bush lied. OTOH hand we have proof that Obama lied repeatedly.

    I think Bush did what any President should do when faced with a similar situation.

    You, being an isolationist do not.


    We have (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:32:08 PM EST
    shown you numerous times that Bush lied but you refuse to believe it. I know it's because Jesus would never lie and since Bush is Jesus you simply can't believe that he withheld the information that showed Sadaam had no connections to Al Queda.

    But then 67% of Bushies think we actually found WMDs in Iraq. You just can't face the fact that Bush was a miserable failure at everything he tried to do. Of course, he pretty much was a miserable failure his entire life. So why should the presidency be any different?


    Oh (5.00 / 4) (#40)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:33:54 PM EST
    And now you'll say where are the links? And if you put up links you won't read them.

    But here it is condensed not that you'll read it but  anyway

    Lie by Lie


    Define "them" (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by Yman on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 06:40:37 PM EST
    Your solution is to "kill them".


    Since we can't just ask all the Al Qaeda members to raise their hands upon request, how do you propose we do that?  Are you signing up for combat duty?


    He wants (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 08:21:06 PM EST
    a Holy War between Christianity and Islam. The one Osama Bin Laden wanted too.

    Why is the US so Afraid of ISIS? (none / 0) (#50)
    by RickyJim on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 09:22:41 PM EST
    1. Will they refuse to sell the US oil?  Who will buy it then?
    2. Are they really capable of setting up and running a government by themselves?
    3. What is the great US national interest in having the huge embassy in Baghdad?  
    4. Are they out to do more harm to the US than to China and Russia, say?
    5. Will they make Iran more or less a threat to US interests than the latter country is now?
    6. Is it possible that the Iraqi people can overthrow them if they turn out to be worse than the current government?

    All good questions (none / 0) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 09:43:36 PM EST
    I've gotten the impression (none / 0) (#52)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 09:45:03 PM EST
    That many in power are very skittish about the idea of redrawing borders by force.   I think it's mostly about that. Kerry said something like that.  Once you start allowing borders to be redrawn by force where does it stop.  

    I'm not making or supporting the argument just answering your question.


    I Think There is a Difference (none / 0) (#56)
    by RickyJim on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 08:52:12 AM EST
    between a bully redrawing borders with a weaker neighbor (Iraq-Kuwait, Russia-Ukraine) and a popular movement within countries doing it.  Who can disprove that the current situation might resolve in the US's favor if it just kept it's hands off?  It's track record of getting favorable results when it tries militarily to steer the outcome isn't very good.

    I don't disagree (none / 0) (#57)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 08:54:05 AM EST