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Toxn

Islamic State: Canny, patient operators or death-obsessed yahoos?

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ISIS is going to lose(ground) eventually. It just depends how long the US, Russia, etc. allow Assad's Syria to continue to fall into chaos. 

 

This map shows how the Syrian Kurds gaining ground around Kobani. 

Koban%C3%AA1.jpg

 

This doesn't mean ISIS won't get new fighters or have new attacks. It just means that the Caliphate is nothing more than Abu's wet dream.

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Turkey is the main problem for the Kurds.  Turkey has a love / hate relationship with Isis.  Turkish special forces and the US butted heads numerous times as US teams hunting AQI operatives discovered those AQI people having coffee or tea with Turkish soldiers out of uniform in Iraq.  And when Syria went mad, AQI became Isis and Turkey supported their efforts in Syria as long as they also fought the Kurds.

 

Turkey routinely denies supplies to the Kurdish fighters and arrests fighters moving into the region from Iraq.  Isis supplies and fighters often move unimpeded.  Although 60% of the Turkish people hate Isis and religious extremism, the current government quotes passages from the Protocols and talks over coffee about the return of the empire.  Kurdish chances are better elsewhere. 

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You know, there are some days when I wonder if things wouldn't have been better if the Germans, Austrians and Ottomans won World War 1 by 1916 or 1917. If the Turks want to recreate the borders of the Ottoman Empire, I'd almost let them.

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Oh, I know. The only reason it lasted as long as it did was because the Brits (and several other European states) needed the Ottomans as a bulwark to keep the Russkies from breaking into Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean.

 

Still. I don't remember anyone calling No-Givesies-Backsies.

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You know, there are some days when I wonder if things wouldn't have been better if the Germans, Austrians and Ottomans won World War 1 by 1916 or 1917. If the Turks want to recreate the borders of the Ottoman Empire, I'd almost let them.

 

The problem there is that from all accounts I've seen the Germans would have made the same mess of the post-war period as the Entente.

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I'll be honest, I haven't really ever had a chance to read much alt-history or academic theories on what-if the Kaiser won? A lot of it is obviously predicated on what year they "won" and how.

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I'll be honest, I haven't really ever had a chance to read much alt-history or academic theories on what-if the Kaiser won? A lot of it is obviously predicated on what year they "won" and how.

 

By the time the war got serious and incredibly costly both sides were angling for war terms that started at ruinous and worked their way up from there.

 

I kind of wonder if the Marne had gotten botched if we couldn't have gotten through the war relatively quickly and relatively cleanly but that has serious ramifications for the likelihood of later wars (although 2 may be on the worse end of the scale there anyway because Nazis were such idiots).

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Kurds are starting to get some interesting help.

 

https://medium.com/war-is-boring/private-surveillance-drones-take-flight-over-iraq-811d0f5f2a8f

 

It's kinda disappointing to me that there are so many issues with helping the Kurds properly.  They've been a pretty strong ally over there for a while.

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By the time the war got serious and incredibly costly both sides were angling for war terms that started at ruinous and worked their way up from there.

 

I kind of wonder if the Marne had gotten botched if we couldn't have gotten through the war relatively quickly and relatively cleanly but that has serious ramifications for the likelihood of later wars (although 2 may be on the worse end of the scale there anyway because Nazis were such idiots).

There's this idea of WWI being a sort of strange historical anomaly: 10 years earlier and it would have been a mobile war that ground into a stalemate only towards the end due to trains, telephones and artillery. Ten years later and it would have been a mobile war based around horse logistics, aerial reconnaissance, radio communication and armoured cavalry, probably resulting in the belated development of the tank only when armoured cars hit terrain they have trouble with.

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Kurds are starting to get some interesting help.

 

https://medium.com/war-is-boring/private-surveillance-drones-take-flight-over-iraq-811d0f5f2a8f

 

It's kinda disappointing to me that there are so many issues with helping the Kurds properly.  They've been a pretty strong ally over there for a while.

 

 

The Turks absolutely HATE the Kurds.  They supported Isis for a while as a better alternative!  The Turkish SF soldiers who were captured by the US were running around aiding AQI (now Isis) - which put them into a place and time to be mistaken as nefarious people.  

 

The Turkish people are some of the most admirable in the world.  They are tough, interesting, and cultured.  The current Turkish government and some of the people pulling the propaganda strings are pretty nefarious themselves though, and Turkey - who could be a real mover and shaker in the region, plays so many games that they end up handing victories to their enemies anyway. 

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There's this idea of WWI being a sort of strange historical anomaly: 10 years earlier and it would have been a mobile war that ground into a stalemate only towards the end due to trains, telephones and artillery. Ten years later and it would have been a mobile war based around horse logistics, aerial reconnaissance, radio communication and armoured cavalry, probably resulting in the belated development of the tank only when armoured cars hit terrain they have trouble with.

 

If we consider the French to be the #1 Allied power, then ten years before would place them out of the tragic reliance on élan vitale and Germany into an era of cumbersome set-piece battles that they lacked the force structure to carry out.  The next guy after Joffre was not a savior, but he was a socialist who believed in using bullets to save lives, and was in favor of heavier artillery and "mechanized warfare" (although he did not mean tanks and trucks - he meant actually machine guns and cannons).  

 

The Ottomans and the A/H Empire were on their last legs.  10 years and they might not have existed.  Russia likewise was in a race to find a modern bases for being or blowing itself apart.  So they are the wild cards.  

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There's this idea of WWI being a sort of strange historical anomaly: 10 years earlier and it would have been a mobile war that ground into a stalemate only towards the end due to trains, telephones and artillery. Ten years later and it would have been a mobile war based around horse logistics, aerial reconnaissance, radio communication and armoured cavalry, probably resulting in the belated development of the tank only when armoured cars hit terrain they have trouble with.

 

For the 10 years later thing, horse logistics aren't going to make the railheads move any faster to keep up with an advance. For earlier, the biggest difference between 1914 and 1904 as they happened that meant the Japanese could eventually bull their way through any position wasn't essentially tied to chronology as much as geography. Europe by that point is a similar position in both decades with great transport in countries' own territory but bad transport when advancing into enemy territory. I think more than anything that disparity between the advance speed of the fastest unit on the attack and the average unit on the defense and the continually dwindling ability to resupply troops as they advance is going to compel a stationary horrorshow unless one side totally collapses in the opening stages, and I don't think that is too likely by that point. Even Imperial Russia lasted a while.

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The Turks absolutely HATE the Kurds.  They supported Isis for a while as a better alternative!  The Turkish SF soldiers who were captured by the US were running around aiding AQI (now Isis) - which put them into a place and time to be mistaken as nefarious people. 

 

They hate the Kurds, and more specifically the PPK, because they're marxists (of thier own brand apparently), acknowledge the Armenian genocide, have seeked and obtained rapproachment with the Armenians, and have for the last 20(?) years or so fought a guerilla war against the Turkish who branded them as terrorists - I've even had a fellow American argue that the Kurds will be a worse threat to US security because of those reasons. I can't wrap my head around that when the Kurds are literally more hardcore RahRah USA than we are.

 

I personally support the Kurds and the recent easing of tensions with Iran. I think Iran would be okay with a Kurdistan compared to Turkey IF that Kurdistan was mostly limited to the area in Iraq, and IF they get favorable terms W/R/T peace in Syria and influence in Iraq; you'll never even get to the IF part with Turkey. Also, Iran is actually way more moderate than Saudi Arabia and honestly I'd rather pick the more sane group of people to cooperate with in the region (yes, even with all the "fuck Israel" noise).

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Israel has always treated the US as a coalition partner at best, not an ally, I hardly think they've got grounds to complain if the US returns the favor.

 

Iran has a legitimate grievance with Israel, it's way more than mere antisemitism at this point. Also Israel treats the US no different than Turkey does, and it gets worse when even legit criticism of Israel gets their rightwing in a howling rage about antisemitism. In that kind of atmosphere, any relationship will sour, and it makes it difficult for real self-relfection. Israel is about to make it's support a partisan issue, which is dumb, dumb, dumb.

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Iran has a legitimate grievance with Israel, it's way more than mere antisemitism at this point. Also Israel treats the US no different than Turkey does, and it gets worse when even legit criticism of Israel gets their rightwing in a howling rage about antisemitism. In that kind of atmosphere, any relationship will sour, and it makes it difficult for real self-relfection. Israel is about to make it's support a partisan issue, which is dumb, dumb, dumb.

 

It's fantastically stupid considering how great the treatment they've gotten has been compared to what they've earned in the relationship. If you're using a nation and they're letting you, you don't shake things up.

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Kurdistan is one of the entities that I see as a natural for the region.  

 

Israel, despite the crescendo of stupidity on the subject, has a degree of legitimacy - there were Jews living in Palestine for thousands of years.  In 1948 none of the big Arab powers were talking about an independent Palestine, but instead talking about which chunk they could take for themselves.  In 1949 there were 900,000 Jews in displaced person camps and 900,000 Arabs.  Israel resettled its refugees in a decade without a dime of recompensation from the countries who expelled them.  The Arabs are still in their camps to this day.  From 1948 to 1967 no one in the Arab world who controlled the West Bank or Gaza was all hot to form a nation even though they could.  And for two decades the Arabs could have had the West Bank and Gaza back for peace and recognition.  So from an existential point of view I am in favor of the existence of Israel, and think that if you attack someone and get your but handed you repeatedly then loosing a little land is the least you should pay for the pain.  

 

And Eban is right when he said, "The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."  

 

However, as an American who is a Republican it makes my stomach churn that Israel has stuck its nose in our politics.  Now support for Israel is political, and someday the political football will be in the hands of a quarter back who won't keep VETO of SC resolutions.  Eban also said "If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions."  In that situation do you really want to bait one of your allies?

 

So if we support Israel, then a Kurdistan is a no brainer.  Like the Jewish state there is land which is lived on by Kurds, they have a cultural identity, and they are a despised minority in many countries where that can lead to genocide.  And since Isis or Syria are the alternative government models that we have been shown, I think Kurdistan is a no brainer.

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Isn't Israel still the single biggest recipient of American foreign aid money? That sounds like a pretty easy lever to use to change attitudes in Tel Aviv.

 

 

Israeli aid is called a fifth rail because it is untouchable in the political scheme.  Or was.

 

US support for Israel was always based on a number of factors.  Anti-semitism is relatively low in the United States - it existed, and certainly cannot be condoned - Ford of FMC was after all one of the progenitors of the Protocols, but it was really had to make it go - Americans never really cared enough.  American's first real exposure to anti-semitism was a shock. My uncle Walter was housed in Bergen Belsen after his escape of IIIA, Uncle Robert rescued slave laborers in Italy with the 168th Infantry Regiment, and supposedly Uncle McKeeby (Gerald - his father, my Great Uncle, was the model for the painting American Gothic)  had something to do with the camps but never spoke of it or his service, and he died when I was still in high school.  So in my family alone, all from Iowa who had pretty much, as far as I can gather, never met anyone Jewish in their lives, three patriarchs were immensely effected by the genocide and inclined to support for Israel.  

 

A second factor is education.  Until just this last generation American education in history was second to none in terms of fair and even-handed discussion of world affairs.  You still got nuggets such as my own textbook in Florida that had an entire chapter in it on the advantages of slavery, but by and large the US look at the rest of the world was surprisingly even handed.  It is amazing to consider this when the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or Judaism Without Embellishment was listed on required reading lists for eight Eastern European nations until the middle 1980s - and educated Americans traveling abroad are often shocked to discover nuggets from these works winding up in table conversations held up as "proof" of Jewish perfidy.  

 

So there is a distaste for the anti-semitic rhetoric that often comes with tirades about Israel on the world stage, and certainly there is a dislike of the evil Israel bombast that fills official media from many countries, it is too close to the evil US rhetoric that you put up with when you travel.  You often loose American audiences as soon as you throw nonsensical racist diatribe into logical arguments, even if many Americans are racist themselves.

 

Finally, the modern narratives of Israel are often hard for the US to wrap their heads around.  Rachel Corrie lays down in front of a tractor and gets squashed may look like good press, but polling shows most Americans are not too put out by a privileged college girl who decides to do something really stupid.  Millions of dollars were spent by four major PR agencies in the US pushing that story and it just did not resonate.  Three Israeli kids are murdered and Hamas lists their killers on its wall of heroes, while the Jewish murderer of Palestinian kids gets a stiff jail sentence.  It calls into question a lot of other events where Israel really should have a nice heaping of blame.  

 

And then there is Leon Klinghoffer.  That story still resonates and last year a poll found 40% of Americans remember his name.  You want to Americans hate you and support your opponent no matter how bad they are, kill a 70-year old guy in a wheel chair.  My friends over in Sociology call this the Cowboy narrative in American social mythology.  Everyone - even if they have no grandfather, resonates with the image of the kindly old man who has wisdom but need protection.  I participated in a manhunt for a man who mugged and tortured and elderly gentleman that lasted weeks.  And the US never forgot Klinghoffer.  They hunted Muhammad Zaidan for years, and when they caught him they treated him in ways I would not treat a NAZI concentration camp guard, and there was simply no sympathy for this guy - even the major prisoner aid groups in the US refused to intervene on him despite his recanting the Achille Lauro.  The story goes - and may be apocryphal, that three people stood by as he had a heart attack and died, which I find reprehensible, but which the average American would see as cowboy justice.  

 

So Israel has a big bank of goodwill, and their enemies are perceived as much worse than them despite multi-million dollar PR efforts.  That said, I think that Israel has finally started taking its first steps to alienating the US.  Bibi used US internal politics once too often and it looks smart - Republicans would invite Pol Pot to dinner if it pissed off Obama, but that sort of thing turns around on you a la Jane Fonda.

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I must be a stereotypical American, because I have never understood antisemitism. I'm not chest-thumping about how Not Racist I am, I just really don't get it. Hutus and Tutsis I get - it's retarded, but it's the sort of fraternal spat that's common. Antisemitism? Especially among people who may have never seen a Jew in their life?

Nope, I don't understand that.

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Kurdistan is one of the entities that I see as a natural for the region.  

 

Israel, despite the crescendo of stupidity on the subject, has a degree of legitimacy - there were Jews living in Palestine for thousands of years.  In 1948 none of the big Arab powers were talking about an independent Palestine, but instead talking about which chunk they could take for themselves.  In 1949 there were 900,000 Jews in displaced person camps and 900,000 Arabs.  Israel resettled its refugees in a decade without a dime of recompensation from the countries who expelled them.  The Arabs are still in their camps to this day.  From 1948 to 1967 no one in the Arab world who controlled the West Bank or Gaza was all hot to form a nation even though they could.  And for two decades the Arabs could have had the West Bank and Gaza back for peace and recognition.  So from an existential point of view I am in favor of the existence of Israel, and think that if you attack someone and get your but handed you repeatedly then loosing a little land is the least you should pay for the pain. 

 

It's not like people don't publicly praise Baruch Goldstein and make pilgrimages to his grave (although to their credit the first one got bulldozed and they did acknowledge that he was a terrorist).

 

I wouldn't necessarily use other nations' poor treatment of Arabs in displaced person camps to justify even worse treatment either.

 

At the end of the day though I'd much rather have an end to the killing than an outcome that makes outsiders feel like fairness has been achieved, and given the massive disparity in how much the two sides can hurt each other, the ball is firmly in Israel's court to ratchet things down because they have a much greater capability to play defensively and take it, and a government that is much less locked down by belligerent parties. Otherwise it's just going to circle the drain where both side's extremists cement control by portraying the other side as an existential threat that only they're tough enough to damage (and thereby play into the other side's hardliners' narrative and propagating the whole thing).

 

 

I must be a stereotypical American, because I have never understood antisemitism. I'm not chest-thumping about how Not Racist I am, I just really don't get it. Hutus and Tutsis I get - it's retarded, but it's the sort of fraternal spat that's common. Antisemitism? Especially among people who may have never seen a Jew in their life?

Nope, I don't understand that.

 

The stereotypes got made in places where Jews were an obvious other outside the mainstream society and Jews were overrepresented in positions where all sorts of classist hate got added to it. In countries where they were more assimilated, such as Italy, a lot of the animus wasn't there, and as a result very few Italian Jews died compared to other countries during WWII.

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