Thursday, January 9, 2014

Global SITREP B11-13: Psalm 83 and AQ in Iraq

Update 09 January 2014: In the past 48 hours Iraqi government sent a relatively light force of combined security and military units on a mission to enter and recapture Fallujah from Al Qaeda's forces. These Iraqi government forces were easily repulsed by the several thousand members of the Al Qaeda ISIS brigade holding Falluja.

It has been revealed that Iraqi government heavy-handedness against local tribesmen involved in a protest of their grievances against the pro-Shi'a government in Baghdad was the cause of a revolt by the citizens of Falluja on 30th of December. Al Qaeda seized upon this situation to turn it into a full-fledged reconquest of the city previously taken by US military forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom and handed over rebuilt to the government in Baghdad just two years ago. The Al Qaeda forces were buttressed by several hundred of their own which had been freed from Iraqi government prisons at Abu Ghraib and Al-Taji in major military-style jailbreak operations during the summer of 2012. Senior Al Qaeda leaders and hundreds of combat-hardened fighters were released in the twin operations.

The loss of the main junction of Highways 10, 11 and 12 west of Baghdad now not only threatens the stability of the current Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki, but it also represents a significant strategic blow to Iran. Those highways are a direct link from Baghdad and the International Airport to Syria and Damascus, and they had been an important overland pipeline for Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps troop support to Bashar al-Assad in Syria.  Now the Islamic Republic of Iran is offering Iraq the use of those troops to retake this strategic corridor. One can just image the reaction of the local Sunni tribes and family clans in Anbar province to the notion of Iranian troops being used against them by their own government. We'll keep an eye on this for sure.

4 January 2014: The Shi'a led government of Iraq and its premier 7th and 1st army divisions have been handed an utterly crushing military defeat at the hands of the Sunni-led Al-Qaeda forces (ISIS) in Iraq's expansive and westernmost Anbar Province.  Yesterday the combined jihadists forces of ISIS/ISIL raised Al-Qaeda's black flag over the city of Falluja on the Euphrates River, approximately 20 miles from Baghdad International Airport and the city of Baghdad itself.

Further to the west these same Sunni jihadist forces are literally on the verge of capturing the city of Ramadi. Remnants of both the 7th and 1st armies were last seen retreating in complete disarray towards Baghdad, leaving vast amounts of heavy weapons abandoned in their wake. At this point virtually nothing except the 300-some odd miles of open desert expanse stands between these Sunni jihadist forces and Damascus, Syria. Only an air bridge now connects Iran with its Syrian and Hezbollah allies.

The Sunni-Shi'a War is now synonymous with the three formerly distinct civil wars going on in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, or literally, from Baghdad to Beirut. There is no question that more intense land warfare will engulf the region. This is the net result of the incompetent policy of the rapidly imploding Obama Administration known as "Operation New Dawn" in 2010.

30 December 2013: As noted in the 24 December portion of this article, more than half of Iraq's territory is today Al-Qaeda's (i.e. Sunni Jihadist Islam) playground, as Iraq's 7th Division commanding general learned the hard way and the Iraqi Defense Minister nearly did a week ago. Sunni Iraqis have zero love for the Shi'a-led government in Baghdad, so they view the Al-Qaeda insurgents either with indifference or as a buffer between themselves and the Shi'a. 

Lessons were recently learned despite the Iraqi military's rampant ineptitude, logistical incompetence and combat ineffectiveness. Accordingly, Iraq has requested and will receive from the US inventory at some point in 2014 or 2015, due to the aforementioned incompetent logistics, a total of 10 each ScanEagle and 48 each RQ-11 Raven UAV drones with which they hope to keep an eye on the movements of insurgent AQ fighters. Last week Iraq received 75 brand new AGM-114 Hellfire missiles which have been adapted to the Iraqi Air Force's 5-year old militarized Hawker-Beechcraft King Air-350ER twin-turbo prop attack aircraft. The Iraqi King Air-350ERs did successfully strike four different AQ camps on the Syrian-Iraqi border with the Hellfire missiles in recent days. How much damage was done to those camps is the subject of some debate.

The US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) is to provide the current government of Iraq with $4 billion in hardware and other war materiel in contract sales announced in July of this year. Half of that figure is for a total of 40 Avenger truck-mounted anti-air systems which fire Stinger missiles (nearly 700 Stinger missiles are part of the sale) and 3 Hawk anti-air missile batteries with over 200 Hawk missiles. This begs the question: Has Al-Qaeda recently acquired an air force in Iraq or are the air forces of friendly governments in neighboring Syria and Iran now posing a significant threat to Iraq? 

The other materiel going to Iraq in this sale includes: 50 General-Dynamics Nuclear, Chemical and Biological (NBC) weapon detection vehicles based on the Stryker combat vehicle platform along with a 5-year maintenance contract that will include additional maintenance services for M88A1 and M88A2 Hercules armored and main battle tank recovery vehicles, M113 Personnel Carriers, assorted Howitzers and general purpose Humvees. Iraq will also begin taking delivery of F-16 strike aircraft in late 2014-early 2015 according to the current schedule.

Again, this begs a question: Is this the type of American military inventory that the Shiite-led, Iran-friendly current government of Iraq needs to kill off Al-Qaeda. Of course this assumes the current government of Iraq survives the threat Al-Qaeda poses in over-running Iraqi government forces.  Nevertheless, and whatever the case may be in the near future, it sure seems to me that this type of heavy hardware would be far better suited for utility in the Psalm 83 scenario, particularly as detailed in verse 8.

24 December 2013: In the news from the still very active battlegrounds of Iraq is a powerful reminder in support of my interpretation on the identity of those named in verse 8 of Psalm 83: "Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot," and how they will constitute the ideological, political and military strength (Heb: H2220 zĕrowa`) provided to the modern-day Jordanians (Ammonites and Moabites) in the ultimate fulfillment of this prophetic psalm. This region of modern-day Iraq seen in all of the salmon-colored and striped-shaded areas of the map above was the central and original homeland of ancient Assur circa the psalmist Asaph's time 3000 years ago. Today it is a region of Iraq that is fully controlled by the Islamic jihadists of Al Qaeda, or as they refer to themselves, ISIS or "Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (Syria)." 

Here we have the ignominious net result of President Barack Obama's incompetent, hasty and ill-advised order for the total disengagement of US combat forces in 2010 through "Operation New Dawn" prior to a truly stable Iraq being realized in the aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom. These Sunni jihadist forces also comprise the preeminent armed opposition fighting the Ba'athist regime of Bashar al-Assad to the west in Syria. Note that when US and Coalition forces were engaged with these Sunni jihadists they were referred to as "insurgents."  Now this same force of Sunni jihadists fighting in both Iraq and in Syria are referred to merely as "rebels" and have received considerable assistance from the United States during Barack Obama's tenure as president - be they engaged against the regime of Muammar Khadafi in the Libyan civil war of 2011 or the current Syrian civil war of 2013. Obviously, the Obama Administration's "Operation New Dawn" was an abject failure as far as military operations go, ceding a country the size of England and Wales combined to the enemy.


In Iraq's western province of Anbar, in its western city of Ar Rutbah, the gateway to Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia from central Iraq, and the last Iraqi hub of the now defunct Mosul-Haifa oil pipeline (image above), Gen. Ahmed al-Kurwi, the commanding general of Iraq's newly-minted 7th Division, his staff and several senior Iraqi Army officers were ambushed by a trio of ISIS bombers in the midst of an inspection tour following what they had believed was a successful operation against ISIS.  More details can be found here at "The Long War Journal.Org" daily blog. Nearly at the same time AQ attempted an ambush assassination of Iraqi Defense Minister Saadun al-Dukaimi's convoy between Falluja and Ramadi. Al-Dukaimi escaped the attempt on his life but his security escorts were not so fortunate. We will be watching as this situation continues to develop with the final group of the Psalm 83 confederacy now firmly identified. I also have the expectation that the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 17 will cause a major divergence in the course of the ongoing Sunni-Shi'a inter-Islamic war; a divergence that would unite for the Psalm 83 purpose of destroying Israel the inner-ring nations of the Arab League with the Shi'a-Hezbollah of Lebanon. "Wars and rumors of wars" continue apace; these things "must take place."

11 comments:

mark3210 said...

Sean,
I did notice that Debka also has Iraq as their top story dated 12/29 with the headline, "US and Iran’s First Joint Military Venture: Fighting al Qaeda in Iraq"

I don't know what the hell's going on over there anymore! Does Obama think it's any better to have Iran & Hezbollah control Iraq than Al Qaeda? It feels like our president has made a deal with the devil!

Sean Osborne said...

Mark,

Yup, I saw that DEBKA report the day it was posted and saw for the nonsense that it was.

A day later I discussed it with a former US military field intelligence officer when he brought the subject up in an email he sent to me.

We agreed that the DEBKA report is nonsense in that it FALSELY portrays the US military and Iran's Qods Force as fighting side-by-side in Iraq against AQ.

I expressed my view of the DEBKA report to him like this:

"My first reaction was that DEBKA had taken up chewing Qat. The US and Qods Force fighting jointly in Iraq is just plain insane reporting.

But then I read it deeper. The report does not say that US combat forces are involved, just that we've given (i.e. sold) the Iraqi Army some Hellfire missiles.

This here was the first strong indication that DEBKA is either making this stuff up or that the writer knows jack-diddley-squat of what he/she has written about and was just plain winging it.

Contrary to DEBKA's report...

The AGM-114 Hellfire are not "surface to air missiles." They are, as the nomenclature clearly indicates, Air to Ground Missiles. (Unless, of course, al-Nusra and AQ have taken to floating their camps along the Iraqi-Syrian border in giant, armored stealth Zeppelins. LOL!) AGM-114 Hellfire's are primarily used by American fixed or rotary wing attack aircraft against armor (MBTs, IFVs, APCs or HVTs in Toyota or Mitsubishi SUVs or pickup trucks.

Secondly, the AGM-114's are entirely too massive to be fired from the tiny ScanEagle drones. They are fired from Predator, Reaper and Grey Eagle combat drones or other fixed wing/rotary wing combat aircraft.

So what's the truth? Is DEBKA just chock full of it?

The truth is that DEBKA is just plain winging it with a minuscule amount valid OSINT information. In winging it they got a whole lot of stuff wrong and just plain took a SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess) at the rest of it.
"

The update I posted and you just read contains the facts of the matter along with other pertinent details DEBKA did not bother to do their due diligence on before posting their report.

mark3210 said...

Sean,
I'm not going to ask you for any more Iran predictions in 2014 (so many deadlines have passed that it feels pointless now), but I really hope 2014 is finally the year Iran is dealt with.

It will be really bad if we are flipping our calendars to 2015 and Iran is still a nuclear threshold state.

Sean Osborne said...

Mark,

Even if Iran is "dealt with" in 2014, it also has an additional future date for the reckoning it receives as a part of the Magog military confederation of Ezekiel 38/39.

So what ever happens in the short-term does not totally eliminate Iran as a military power, it just reduces them to a much inferior military status (akin to Libya and Sudan) than they presently have.

Also, I don't accept that Iran is a "nuclear threshold state." That designation is one given to it by the secular world and the IAEA.

Since 19 March 2005 my assessment has been that Iran is a bona fide nuclear weapons state exactly as North Korea is a nuclear weapons state by virtue of the three (3) nuclear tests conducted in North Korea. All three (3) nuclear tests conducted in North Korea were de facto Iranian nuclear tests in my view. The first test occurred in 2004. A fourth nuclear test could occur at any time in North Korea. All nuclear tests conducted in North Korea have had a yield powerful enough to destroy any city on the earth; the two most recent (May 2009 and February 2013) had yields of 20kT and 40kT, respectively.

Additionally, Iran took possession of a dozen or so 1,864 mile range, extremely accurate (CEP is within 25 feet of the target) cruise missile delivery systems (ex-Soviet KH-55SM) via the Ukraine between 1999 and 2001. These delivery systems were designed to carry 200kt nuclear warheads. The sale of these delivery systems was confirmed in 2005 by the former pro-Western Ukrainian government of President Viktor Yushchenko and a former Colonel in the Ukrainian State Secret Service Bureau (SBU), Hryhoriy Omelchenko.

Iran's current nuclear capability seems pretty academic to me. I have no idea what Bibi is waiting for; perhaps an invitation?

mark3210 said...

Sean,
I can't help but laugh at this CNN headline:

"US: Deal to implement Iran nuclear deal near"

I guess that sums up diplomacy in the Obama era. What's next, a deal to implement the deal to implement the deal?

Sean Osborne said...

Mark,

Precisely. It used to be that negotiations with terrorists was a no-no, big-time taboo. Especially Muslim terrorists because they're the worst of the worst of the world's pathological liars; it's a religious duty for them to lie because their god is the father of lies.

hartdawg said...

Sean, I doubt that you will believe this but here in the very liberal Seattle area, there are actually people so deceived that they think this mess is bush's fault for going in there in the first place and we should have just stayed out of Iraq altogether. have you ever encountered such insanity? hard to believe isn't it. how do you respond to such nonsense?

Sean Osborne said...

hartdawg,

Those thoroughly doped-up Seattle libs know absolutely nothing about the history of America and Sunni Islam (Saudi Arabia is the heart of Sunni Islam). Zip, nada, nothing.

They are utterly oblivious to the fact that a Christian missionary doctor, Dr. Peter Harrison, of the Dutch Reformed Church got America, above all other nations of the earth, into the front tent flap with the House of Al-Saud because he personally saved the life of Ibn Saud, the King of Nejd and Hijaz as Saudi Arabia was known prior to 1932, from a severe case of facial cellulitis in 1923. he was invited to perform this treatment after having saved the lives of several of his soldiers due to gunshot wounds suffered in a skirmish on the Persian Gulf. Thereafter Ibn Saud trusted Americans more than he did the British.

These non-partisan, apolitical American Christian actions opened the door and eventually led to the face-to-face meeting between Democrat President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia onboard the USS Quincy on 14 February 1945. This meeting between a Democrat US president and Ibn Saud laid the basis for US-Saudi relations that continued unchanged until the recent actions of radical Leftist Democrat Barack Hussein Obama.

mark3210 said...

Sean,
Back in October 2011, Debka reported that Iran had 30,000 Al Qods fighters in Iraq.

At the time it seemed insane to me that we were abandoning the country while Iran was present in such large numbers.

Do you have an idea how many thousands of Al Qaeda fighters are in Iraq? Is it more or less than the Iranians have?

Sean Osborne said...

Mark,

As illustrated here many times, especially in recent weeks, one cannot accept what DEBKAfile reports at face value. They are notorious for occasionally and blatantly publishing disinformation directed at a particular target audience.

The item you are referring to about the alleged numbers of Quds Force (Jerusalem Force) being deployed into Iraq was one of those disinformation items. In this case the target audience, as it often times is, was the US military command structure (POTUS, Pentagon and the many OIF field commanders).

According to Iranian sources, there are approximately and only 15,000 individuals assigned to the Quds Force. 30,000 is an extreme, almost nonsensical number to publish. 15,000 members is the total approved manpower that was assigned back in January 2006 for Quds Force. There has been no approved or published increase in Quds Force manpower since then.

Simply stated, it is not possible that 2/3rds of the entire Quds Force was deployed into Iraq as US forces were in the midst of 'Operation New Dawn' drawdown. Such a deployment would have immediately halted if not completely reversed the drawdown.

That was the assively overblown mpoint of the DEBKAfile report about the insane nature of the precipitous and inherent danger in the US withdrawal. Everybody, except Obama and Jarrett, knew it was a ridiculous and foolhardy drawdwon; the results were simple to forecast, and they were forecast quite loudly by our commanders in-theater.

The way the Quds Force operates, particularly in its assigned primary AOR in Iraq, is to deploy a relatively small number of operators in a team. That team will link up with one of the many Iraqi Shi'a militias around the eastern Shi'a populated part of the country for whatever operation the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, the IRGC or General Soleimani has assigned to them.

When DEBKAfile publishes an article stating that 30,000 members of the Quds Force have deployed to Gaza and the West Bank, watch how fast the IDF kicks in their doors and pulls the plug on DEBKAfile's occasional yet notoriously rogue internet operations.

Sean Osborne said...

To answer your questions, without question there are literally several thousand more Al Qaeda fighters in Iraq than there are Iranian military forces.

However, the ratio of potential Sunni militia fighters versus Shi'a militia fighters is even greater, and is probably somewhere on the order of a 4:1 advantage in favor of the Sunni militias.