consultants are sandburs

Monday, May 18, 2015

What I read on the Internet is sometimes confusing, and contradictory threads abound.

The above screen capture is from here, and if you click that thumbnail you can read what I now see as a puzzling part of the entire item.

Defense Attache Service
U.S. Embasy - Baku
Assume for the sake of argument, that "... to be called the Iraq State of Islam, something like that. And I'm sorry, I don't have the official name ..." was confusing to the person speaking because the official name might have been set as the IS, the ISIL, or the ISIS, each acronym being for the same intended operation. That statement is noted in the screen capture to have been made in 2007; well before Syrian engagement into chaotic war.

Then who would be "they" mentioned by Bachmann per the screenshot? Iranians, US Intelligence, others? ("... already an agreement made ..." requires more than Iran alone, to "agree.")

"They" gave her that shirt? My foggy recollection from back then, Bachmann had some near or distant kin in government service, possibly stationed then in Baku, or the shirt might have been from a Congressional visit. Who knows what to infer?

Next note that the Islamic State leader was released from detention in Iraq, while held in custody there by US forces, with the date uncertain, some saying 2009 [Obama time] with the weight of the evidence concluded to make it more likely 2004 [Bush time].

So, in 2007, Bachmann either channels nonsense or is talking beyond Intelligence Committee authority, as to possibly classified 2007 information. Again for the sake of argument, presume the IS leader was released as early as 2004 after US detention under US authories' belief he represented no harm to our nation's future -- or was possibly viewed in a shroud of secrecy to have a specific tasking or expectation, on release.

How do you read that other than a partition of Iraq was foreseen, and that an IS was planned by somebody, possibly the Saudis if not others, years before Syria fell into civil war, and now IS is claimed in news coverage to be generally regarded as a major regional threat with no benefit to the West - indeed a major regional target of US air strikes. If viewed as not a threat when released, than "not a threat" to what exactly; oil supply and demand, or more or less? To regional stability? The unfolding of a current civil war de facto partitioning of Iraq, along the lines Bachmann vaguely opined, is troublesome in terms of possible implications. Including that Bachmann's subsequent disavowal of her earlier comment might have been pressured as a secrecy matter, whatever the national security reach of Bachmann's comments actually were, given reliability evidenced by Bachmann's looseness with facts as elastic things to fit an occasion.

Where is Alex Jones when you need him? Forming an elaborated explanation for "biker mayhem," in Texas, during or overlapping the military's conducting its Operation Jade Helm 15? Jones should get into the what did Bachmann know and when did she know it speculation the above links entail.

And, again who would be the "they" Bachmann mentioned, given that Iran is on the eastern side of Iraq, not the western side, and that Iraqi Shia are in the east while the west is Sunni? However, she only named Iran. In the context of these confusing things, what is the soundest interpretation of the Shia military troops shedding uniforms and leaving Mosul in western Iraq at the opening appearance of IS forces; leaving without a fight; see, e.g., here, here and here. That last item in particular further confuses me, stating:

June 15, 2014

Some of the 30,000 Iraqi soldiers who retreated as a much smaller force of Sunni militants overran Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul last week told VICE News that they fled after being "abandoned" by their commanders.

Many sought refuge in the Iraqi Kurdistan capital of Erbil 50 miles east.

There, in a cheap hotel, which is now full of soldiers, Kamel, a corporal in his late 40s said that that senior officers at his station around 10 miles outside Mosul disappeared before the rank and file even knew the city was under attack.

As a result, when the troops in his company heard that key positions in Mosul had fallen to the militant force, which is headed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), they fled along with thousands of civilians to Erbil.

Iraqi security forces personnel across the city did the same. It was not an orderly retreat.

Police and soldiers stripped out of their uniforms and abandoned their equipment on the road as they fled.

Evidence of this hurried disrobing is strewn around a checkpoint marking the beginning of Iraqi Kurdistan on the highway to Erbil. Camouflaged fatigues, body armor, berets, US-issue boots and even standard pattern underwear are piled in the dust around some breeze block ruins and a broken down truck.

Akram, a junior officer with the Kurdish Peshmerga militia, was on duty at the checkpoint when the retreating Iraqis arrived and told VICE News that the first of what ended up being around 180 Iraqi security forces vehicles appeared at around midnight on June 9.

Its occupants warned the Kurdish fighters that ISIS was coming, and suggested that they should run too.

“We could see in their faces that they were scared,” Akram said. Undeterred, he and the 12 others holding the Peshmerga position stayed put.

The Iraqis then handed the Kurds their guns, changed into civilian clothing and abandoned any and everything army-issue, he added: “They gave us their weapons too, they just wanted to go.”

The complete collapse of Iraqi forces in Mosul came as a shock to many observers, particularly as it was apparently at the hands of less than a thousand gunmen and they, along with the rest of the country's military had benefited from $25 billion worth of training and equipment provided by the US before it withdrew from Iraq at the end of 2011.

Colonel Mahmoud Ahmed Hussein, who heads the Kurdish fighters on the front between Erbil and Mosul, told VICE News that according to the information he had access to, the Sunni militant force numbered just 500 when it took the city.

“ISIS is not that powerful, the weakness is the Iraqi army… which couldn’t fight for more than an hour before they left and they even left their weapons,” he said, adding that it is likely stronger after local supporters joined up.

Retelling the story, the Kurds couldn’t hide their amusement at what they described as the Iraqi troops running without even having seen their enemy, despite such overwhelming odds in their favor.

But why did the Iraqi army retreat so easily?

External observers pointed to deep-seated discipline issues, low morale and poor training, despite the US investment.

Iraqi soldiers, however, said they were betrayed by some their commanders in the area, who they accused of abandoning their posts and leaving troops without proper support or leadership.

The Iraqi Ministry of Defense did not respond to request for comment from VICE News.

Ahmed Abdul Khadir, 34, a corporal with the formerly Mosul-based Second Division sporting a clipped moustache growing out into stubble, told VICE News that his company of around 200 men had battled ISIS for three days while the militants attempted to advance on the city.

There were 200 vehicles-worth of fighters, he said, and all were well equipped and fought hard.

Eventually, the Iraqi men ran low on supplies, and then, on bullets.

Nearby, Saad Ahmed Ali, 46, an officer also in the Second Division who had fought alongside Khadir but now exchanged his uniform for a suit and freshly pressed shirt, told VICE News that while they were battling ISIS, he and his comrades had requested airstrikes and logistical support from their superiors.

Commanders told them help was incoming, he said, but it never arrived.

The commanders themselves, he added, quickly went from barely present to completely absent.

“I don’t understand why, they didn’t even fight for an hour. It was only low ranking troops left at the end,” Ali said.

[...] Ali describes ISIS as a terrorist group and maintains that it was not lack of will to fight or discipline that caused the Iraqi army retreat, but treacherous leadership.

“We were well trained by the US and proud of it. But this wasn’t a problem of equipment or training, it was a problem of betrayal by leaders,” he said.

[...] Neither of the soldiers claim to know exactly why their commanders bolted, but they, and many others, suspect that it is because many are Baathists, remnants of the Hussein-era who remain in military command positions but oppose Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s government.

They have heard rumors that the Baathist officers sabotaged the defense of Mosul before joining up with anti-government militias.

The allegations correspond with a New York Times report which said Baathist elements had joined in a coalition of ISIS-led Sunni militant groups aiming to topple Maliki.

Many of the troops are bitter about this perceived double-cross.

"We believe we’ve been sold out, but we don’t know how... our leaders betrayed the army and betrayed us,” said Kamel, relaxing on a sofa in the corner of the Erbil hotel.

And were there Turkish hostages, or not? Was a hostage worry real, or a non-intervention excuse?

Most recently, the IS has taken Ramadi. So, you tell me, are we seeing an agreed pull-back with the press being fed and buying a line of disinformation, or is Islamic State so fearful a force that Shia areas need worry? And, who benefits from Iraqi oil production being war torn? Azerbaijan (can you say, Baku) and/or other former Soviet republics, the Saudis, who?

I hope, and would bet, the back of the Baku Embassy shirt Bachmann wears in the photo is blank fabric. Without any listing printed to it. I would give Bachmann that much credit, wouldn't you? Her beliefs and prior track record aside, she's more of a sense of style and appearances, than to be that crass.

__________FURTHER UPDATE___________
Another confusion I admit to is being uncertain whether anything documented here is a factor in viewing Iran as an evil to one-world New World Order stability and smoothness of function; see also, here. It is interesting that Obama talks of negotiation with Iran, mentioning nuclear dimensions, only; so that we are uncertain whether pricing oil in dollars is at all a factor. That Wikipedia item on the Iranian oil bourse notes:

The three current oil markers are all US dollar denominated: North America's West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI), North Sea Brent Crude, and the UAE Dubai Crude. The two major oil bourses are the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) in New York City and the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in London & Atlanta. As the Oil Bourse in Kish is developed through successive stages, the plan is to establish a Petrobourse as a fourth oil market, denominated by the Iranian rial, the euro and other major currencies.

Iran sits on some of the largest oil and gas reserves in the world. The bourse will offer 40 kinds of oil products. Iran produces over 25 percent of the total output of petrochemical products in the Middle East. At least 30 domestic companies and 20 foreign firms are active in the oil and petrochemical industries on Kish Island.

[omitting links and footnotes in the original item]

This Google? This? More confusion.

__________FURTHER UPDATE___________
As a thought experiment in anticipation of a host of GOP candidates for president debating one another, do you think any debate antics concerning Iran will involve mention of "oil," as a word, or only "sanctions," and "nuclear?"

Can you imagine sincere people such as Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum, or Carly Fiorina going that way, saying the "O-word" in discussions of Iran? Frequently? At all?

One bet I'd make, on the other side, the current Clinton in the race repeating, "It's the economy, stupid." Somewhere. Some how. Look for it. Altered to a new fit, not necessarily one size fits all same as last time, but with reference back to Sept. 2008.

___________ FINAL UPDATE__________
Wikileaks has posted purported TPP text: This Google.

Two caveats apply; first, have they obtained the actual true documents or have they found disinformation: Second, presuming drafting is in flux, are they posting most current versions?

Clearly, we do not have answers because it is a secret text.

I have not read any of the Wikileaks postings, largely because of the above stated doubts. However, a thought experiment and/or a research task some readers might like to pursue; in what Wikileaks has posted, what does it say about agreements as to currency in which signing nations will buy oil and refined petro products? Has TPP terms and clauses about which commodity bourses to use or to shun, and does it have ways and means for signing nation solidarity regarding criteria and methods for imposing and enforcing sanctions against a non-signing nation? (Such as Iran?) Indeed, would sanctions per TPP be something to be arbitrated in some super-national and secret proceeding, with the U.S. or any other nation surrendering to the collective TPP partnership national sovereign rights to impose and/or participate in sanctions?

Last, has any reader found any mainstream media asking and trying to find answers to such basic and fairly apparent questions? If not, another thought experiment,

Why Not?

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