Over the last few years, I have written many posts and provided consultation on the situation I predicted would materialize in the Middle East and North Africa as a result of US policy blunders. In short, I predicted that our policies would lead to the creation of an even greater Islamist enemy that would destabilize the entire region and likely lead to a multi-front regional war for hegemonic dominance between Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. I predicted we would be forced to recognize the Kurds, that Iraq would breakup and return to sectarian violence, that we would support false flag chemical attacks in Syria to try and ignite a war, and that our proxy army in Syria would back fire and become our worst enemy. Further, I detailed how this conflict would continue to increase in intensity until it no longer was proxy war, but a direct full-fledged war between the belligerents with global implications. As my previous analyses have come to pass and been proven accurate by current events down to the most specific details, it is time to expand and update what one can expect respective of the impact of Islamic extremism.
To begin, let’s recap the current state of affairs pertaining to just a few major on-going crises in our region of focus. First, the terrorist organization called ISIL come ISIS come IS has repeatedly made headlines since seizing large sections of Iraq, establishing the first terrorist state, and most recently beheading a captive American reporter. The speed and violence of ISIL’s ascendance has made President Obama, who now infamously stated that ISIL was a “JV” organization, appear to be lying to cover his policy failures and/or completely incompetent. Making matters worse, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest signed President Obama up for another major embarrassment while trying to justify Obama’s statements respective of defeating Al Qaeda when he stated “…the Al Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan, has been decimated and defeated in Afghanistan- there’s no question about that. And that is the result of the many decisions that were made by the president.” http://freebeacon.com/national-security/acosta-to-wh-does-obama-still-think-isil-is-a-jv-team/ Contrary to Mr. Earnest’s statement, Al Qaeda and the Taliban are more alive and well today in Pakistan and Afghanistan than they were in 2001 with their original leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri still living well and in firm control of the organization. I am pretty sure the White House would rather Americans forget Al-Zawahiri even exists because his existence after over a decade of war means we utterly failed to kill or capture the ideological leader of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Further, Earnest completely ignores the fact that as the US military retreats in strategic defeat from Afghanistan, the Taliban are retaking entire regions of Afghanistan making it only a short period of time before most of Afghanistan is again firmly in the control of Islamic extremists. However, Mr. Earnest is correct in inadvertently linking the policies that have led to the strategic US failure in Afghanistan to President Obama.
The White House claims it was caught off guard by ISIL’s development and has blamed the intelligence community for this failure. However, as my previous posts have clearly shown, not only did the White House have intimate knowledge of the development of ISIL, but it was integral in ISIL’s development. Specifically, President Obama signed off on covert action in Syria to arm, train, equip, fund, and advise what was originally called the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Jordan, Syria, and Turkey. This was done with extensive support from Saudi Arabia and Qatar even though most analysts warned this was a bad idea and would blow back on the US. In fact, back in 2013, I posted a detailed warning the week Islamists used a literal decapitation strike against FSA leadership in what I termed the most important coup that no one heard about http://www.blackboxwire.com/2013/09/09/media-missed-the-biggest-coup-in-the-middle-east-and-it-wasnt-in-egypt/. In that post, I explicitly stated this meant the FSA was no longer a viable ally against Assad and was now firmly an Islamic terrorist organization. Now that all hell has broken loose in the Middle East and North Africa as a direct result of the amateur policy making at the White House, President Obama and his inner circle are scrambling to contain the mess they created. However, they have painted themselves into a corner that almost certainly must lead to greater violence and bloodshed as I previously predicted in intimate detail to include even writing that Washington would be forced to join forces with the Kurds http://www.blackboxwire.com/2014/06/16/the-disintegration-of-iraq-us-military-action-in-iraq-neither-wise-nor-suitable/.
Not to break with a pattern of being wrong, President Obama was also completely wrong about Libya. President Obama and his gang of amateurs to include Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and Hillary Clinton crafted a Libya policy that amounted in practice to a “how to guide” on creating a failed state run by Islamic extremists hell bent on the death and destruction of the Christian West. Not only did their policies lead to the death of a US Ambassador, but a total retreat of the US from Libya early in July as we closed our embassy doors in Tripoli and fled the country with little more than our lives as local tribes poured across the walls of our recently renovated 400 million dollar embassy. The collapse of Libya also led to the massive proliferation of military grade weapons to extremists throughout the region to include up to 20,000 advanced surface to air missiles that are still not all recovered. The loss of these missiles most likely led to the shoot down of the Algerian Airline’s Flight AH5017 in July by Tuareg Rebels even though the official story is still that it crashed in bad weather. The millions of other Libyan weapons and munitions that were looted and sold have super charged Islamic factions across Africa from Somalia and Sudan to Nigeria fueling a new outbreak of warfare and violence. These weapons have even made it to Syria, Yemen, and Palestine. On that note, the Palestinian conflict is no closer to resolution, Yemen is still a hot bed of extremism, and Syria’s civil war is a blood bath.
If you are now utterly depressed with the global chaos created by President Obama’s incompetence, you should probably stop reading because what comes next is even worse. To simplify the analysis, let’s say the White House has proved unable to understand and manage the current events as they stand so you can safely predict they will be completely unable to handle what comes next as the situation deteriorates on all fronts and spirals out of control. This makes for knee jerk policy decisions, which are admittedly difficult to predict. However, because the policy decisions have been so bad, they have forced the US into corners on most fronts, which means some outcomes and actions are nearly foregone. With this in mind, I will outline what will most likely transpire over the next 12 months in Iraq.
To begin, the breakup of Iraq along sectarian lines will be complete; however, the lines between Sunni and Shia Arab lands will continue to be violently contested. Iranian backed Shia forces will continue to battle Saudi backed Sunni forces and ISIL. ISIL will not be going away as they are the proxy army of Saudi Arabia and Qatar built to fight Iran. The loss of ISIL means a strategic defeat for Saudi Arabia that they will not occur without far greater bloodshed. The US Embassy Baghdad will also become untenable as both Shia and Sunni forces see the US as the bigger problem fueling the conflict. These forces will launch direct attacks against American diplomats and military personnel currently holding the US compounds if they venture beyond the gates and begin to launch rockets and artillery into the embassy compound, which will force the evacuation and surrender of our BILLION DOLLAR embassy.
ISIL will be used to justify increasing military action in Iraq and soon become the flash point for the Third Iraq War, which Obama with his Nobel Peace Prize will own. However, even in spite of the White House’s lies about not putting boots on the ground in Iraq, the White House will be forced to increase our military presence in Iraq to counter ISIL. This will prove ineffective and force Obama to justify a greater number of overt military strikes and boots on the ground. The number of strikes will ultimately reach a point that the humanitarian arguments will fade and it will simply be a new war. This war’s front will quickly shift to Syria where Obama’s inner circle has long pushed for an unjustifiable war against Syria’s President Assad. The US is currently using unmanned drones and soon will conduct limited strikes to test Syrian air defense responses and then will move to manned airstrikes inside Syria. Although it is a complete violation of Syrian airspace and sovereignty, as long as the targets attacked are only ISIL concentrations, Assad knows this is to his benefit and will allow it. However, if Obama allows these attacks to go after Assad and his government forces, it will become a very dangerous situation and a military disaster for the US. Not only will Hezbollah turn to attack US interests, but both Iran and Russia will be forced to directly intervene in much greater capacities to include providing Assad with advance air defense systems capable of shooting down US jets. This situation must be avoided or the potential for an all-out regional war with the potential to become a world war becomes a real, yet, horrific possibility.
As ISIL suffers some tactical defeats, but gains global media attention, it will gain momentum as extremists from around the globe swell their ranks. This will allow them to retake ground lost to the Iraqi military. Even as the Iraqi military, supported clandestinely by US “boots on the ground” and US airstrikes, also retake some captured key terrain, ISIL will out maneuver the unwieldy Iraqi military forces and hold onto historically Sunni areas such as Mosul, which the US military was unable to pacify even at the height of the war. Further, ISIL will adapt to the threat of US airstrikes and begin to blend with the local population making it nearly impossible to target ISIL concentrations from the air without inflicting large scale civilian casualties and major collateral damage. They will acquire and use man portable surface to air missile systems such as the US made (and provided) Stinger Missile for low altitude air defense against jets, drones, and helicopters. As we are forced to increase our airstrikes, you can expect to see ISIL to begin using human shields to screen their convoys and offensives. As ISIL obtains greater technical knowhow, they will also begin to more effectively employ advanced military weapon systems such as artillery, tanks, air defense systems, and even aircraft, but perhaps in asymmetric ways. For example, ISIL may use captured fighter jets as guided missiles to take out civilian jetliners or key buildings like the US Embassy in Baghdad. ISIL may also use tanks to deliver massive payloads of explosives into areas generally considered hardened against vehicle borne explosives. They also have the capability to launch chemical attacks with mortars and rockets outfitted with nerve gas canisters as demonstrated in Syria. ISIL fighters will also infiltrate into civilian regions and conduct guerilla warfare to include assassination of key officials and sabotage of key infrastructure. What is certain is that we have underestimated ISIL and have not given the degree of thought to the enemy we face. This dereliction sets the stage for us to be surprised in another attack and virtually assures our limited bombing campaign will be ineffective and suck us deeper into the conflict.
Any intervention on our part, short of total war, will not decisively change the ground situation in Iraq. In fact, it will only prolong and worsen the rebalancing of power in the Middle East. We have bombed Iraq for a quarter century and to think a few more tons of explosives will change things decisively is just plain stupidity. Nonetheless, we will solidify Kurdish lines for at least the next 6 months to a year because contrary to our weak humanitarian arguments and claims of threats to our extremely small consulate in Erbil (that could be evacuated in less than an hour via the adjacent international airport), Exxon Mobile and other US oil companies have heavily invested in Kurdish oil fields and cannot afford to have those fields overrun. Although cliché, it is big oil’s fears of a massive loss in investment funds that forced Obama’s hand behind the scenes to launch very limited strikes against ISIL. Nonetheless, the intervention was a blunder and will draw the US deeper into the conflict in Iraq because a few strikes simply will not be enough to stop ISIL. In fact, only the regional actors will be capable of stopping ISIL because US forces can and will only enflame the situation short of a total war of annihilation it is clear President Obama is unwilling to wage. As such, Obama will continue to quietly bomb while trying to come up with a new justification for why we are now at war again in Iraq. If Kirkuk and big oil’s investment is lost, it is possible Obama will pull the plug on the entire operation, but to date, it appears oil lobbyists have cornered the White House into justifying the US involvement in another unnecessary, undeclared war for special interests against an enemy the White House created.
In summary, I expect escalation of the fighting in and around Iraq over the next 12 months. This will gradually draw the deeper into the conflict with dire strategic results for US interests. Obama’s undeclared Third Iraq War will be used as a pretext to finally justify the original war with Syria, which will bring both the Iranians and Russians into the fight in a much greater capacity if the US turns its bombs on Syrian President Assad’s forces instead of ISIL fighters. Inside Iraq proper, expect to see the proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia reach new levels of violence with both sides continuing to support their factions with more advanced military hardware. With this will come the use of advanced military weapons in asymmetric ways by ISIL. These attacks could include using rockets and mortars to launch chemical attacks against the US Embassy and captured Iraqi military jets as guided missiles to take down passenger airliners and government buildings. Ultimately, Iraq will not be stabilized this year and as I previously predicted, simply become the main battle ground for a regional proxy war being fought between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
By Guiles Hendrik
August 30, 2014
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