The Future of ISIS and the Sectarian Response: ISIS has Picked a Fight it Cannot Win

The Future of ISIS in Iraq and the Sectarian Response – by Joshua Landis


ISIS Mass killing Iraq

ISIS purportedly conducting a mass execution of captured Shiite Iraqi army soldiers

ISIS mass killing Shiites in Iraq

A Washington policy analyst asked me what chances I gave to the possibility that Prime Minister Maliki will try to divide Sunnis and isolate ISIS by teaming up with moderate Sunnis. He raised the possibility of Maliki creating a government of national unity with greater power sharing.

My answer:

1. I doubt ISIS will get a foothold in Baghdad. Already, Shiite mobilization in the face of the ISIS advances are fierce and panicky.  I think Shiite religious mobilization now taking place in Iraq will mean very bad things for Sunnis in general. ISIS has picked a fight it can’t win and unleashed the inner Shi’a in their adversary. And it’s not as though Maliki, like Assad, lacks powerful friends with a serious stake in the outcome of the battle.

Rather than Maliki teaming up with “moderate” Sunnis, such as the US did in arming the tribes and cultivating the Sahwa, Iraq’s Prime Minister is likely to respond by using religion as his prime mobilizer. Of course, he will not abandon “Iraq” or nationalism, just as Assad has not.  But just as Sistani has used the sanctity of Shiite shrines as his primary “national” motivator, Maliki is likely to follow suit. He will largely define the nation in sectarian terms. That is what ISIS has done, as well. Sunnis have scared the pants off of Shiites. The photos of mass shootings of Shiite young men dooms a non-sectarian response, I would imagine. What is more, the gathering storm of sectarian mobilization has already reached furious levels in the entire region. The demonization of Shiites as “rejectors” and “Majous” or pagans who are considered both non-Muslim and non-Arab, has spread to such an extent that it has taken on a life of its own. The counter demonization of Sunnis, within the Shiite world, as terrorists, takfiris, and Wahhabi inspired agents is well entrenched.

2. I would not be shocked to see significant ethnic cleansing of Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad should ISIS attack and give the Iraqi Army a run for its money. After all, the Iraqi army is large, has helicopters, sophisticated intelligence capabilities, tanks, artillery and all the rest. They were caught napping and without esprit de corps, much as the Syrian army was. But capable officers will emerge who will strip down the “power-sharing” fat that the US built and rebuild it based on loyalty to Maliki and Shiism, if most of that has not been done already. This is what happened in Syria, when we saw the Syrian Army unravel at the base during the first year of the Sunni uprising. The Syrian military was quickly rebuilt along sectarian and regional lines to make it much stronger and more loyal, with locally recruited Iranian style National Defense Forces modeled on the Islamic Guard. If Sunnis choose to form such local militias and ally with the Shiite regime, so much the better. If they do not and choose to lay low until they figure out whether ISIS can win in their regions, the Shiites will go it alone and assume all Sunnis are a fifth column. That is how the Turks dealt with the Christians during WWI and the war with the Greeks. The 20% Christians in Anatolia of 1914 were cleansed. Jews in Palestine dealt with Muslims in a manner not altogether dissimilar. It didn’t turn out well for Christians in Anatolia or Muslims in Palestine.

3. We are not witnessing power-sharing or the emergence of a particularly destructive brand of religious nationalism in the region. We are witnessing the breakdown of the territorial nationalism that was implied by the borders drawn by Europeans at the end of WWI. The new nationalism, largely defined by religious affiliation, is apparent in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. Palestine is a bit of an exception with the new coalition government, but not much of one.

My advice to Obama would be to lay low. This sectarian-nationalist process has been boiling up for a more than a century. It should be seen as part of the breakdown of the Ottoman order and emergence of nationalism. I compare what is going on in the Levant today to Central Europe during WWII. In Central Europe, the great powers drew national borders after WWI, carving up the lands of the defeated empires without rearranging the peoples to fit them. Thus Poland was only 64% Polish before WWII. Czechoslovakia was made up of close to 25% minorities. WWII was the “great sorting out.” (Read: ) Over the war years, the peoples of central Europe were rearranged according to the WWI borders. By the end of WWII, Poland and Czechoslovakia had been reduced to their core Polish and Czechoslovak peoples. They got rid of their unwanted (Jews) or guilty (think the 12 million Germans of central Europe) minorities, along with many others. It was a nasty and brutal nation-building process.

Of course, in the Middle East, the emergence of national identities is bedeviled by competing religious identities, which seem to be stronger than both “Arabism” or “Iraqism.”

I doubt we will see high degrees of Shiite-Sunni cooperation in the coming months. If the U.S. sticks its long oar into this mess, the U.S. will end up with a broken oar. It seems possible that within the next two years, ISIS will largely be destroyed by the concerted action of both Iraqi and Syrian forces with help from Iran and possibly the U.S.  Sunni Arabs will not be pacified so long as they receive scant justice and minimal political representation in both Syria and Iraq, but ISIS cannot represent their needs. It is an expression of sectarianism run amok.

Comments (71)

ALAN said:

the value comment from the same blog QN
The Clean Break Neocon/ Zionist plan, with Netanyahu as a partner in crime, to secure the realm for Zionist Israel and more than likely it’s Wahabi patron, has been put into action in the region …look up Project for the New American Century…any discussion of what is going on has to be put in this context…your friend Mr. Joshua must be an apologist for it….

June 15th, 2014, 6:42 pm


Ghufran said:

I agree that Isis and Islamist terrorists can not win for the long run but they can cause a lot of damage and their biggest victim will be the Sunnis themselves. Some idiot on a western media outlet suggested that Iran will be the biggest loser, most people with an average IQ know that this is not true , Iran’s influence in the region is likely to increase not decrease, the biggest losers will be the Iraqis especially Iraqi Sunni.
Notice that western press is starting to use terrorism and sunnism interchangeably, and that needs to change but the only people who can do it are the Sunnis themselves.
What helped terrorists recruitment since the 80s was NATO policies
( especially the occupation of Iraq), Israel oppression and aggression against the Palestinians and Lebanon, GCC regimes alliance with Wahhabi sheikhs, soviet occupation of Afghanistan and corrupt and brutal dictatorships in most of the Arab world. The emergence of the new Iran, hizbullah and Assad monopoly on presidency were secondary factors that added fuel to the fire. I do not think I will see a stable Middle East in my lifetime because the conditions that feed terrorism and conflict will take years or decades to treat, if this treatment ever comes.

June 15th, 2014, 6:46 pm


Aboud Dandachi said:

” ISIS will largely be destroyed by the concerted action of both Iraqi and Syrian forces”

Highly doubtful, considering the rout of Iraqi forces we saw in Mosul, and Assad’s less than awe-inspiring performance against the much more disparate and badly-equipped Syrian rebels. Assad’s favorite tactic of barrel bombing towns and neighborhoods counts for nothing against ISIS.

June 15th, 2014, 6:48 pm


James said:

Countless studies would suggest military alone can’t defeat jihadi terrorism. Hence why the salafi jihadi strand of terrorism is such a threat 13 years after 9/11, despite countless military operations.

I take your point about the likely sectarian response, but fear the implications of this may be monumental for Syria, Iraq and the wider-region.

June 15th, 2014, 7:14 pm


Ghufran said:

Jihad maqdisi’s take on a possible exit from the Syrian crisis:

١- رفض تقسيم سورية ( الدولة تقاتل اليوم على معظم الأرض السورية و تدفع رواتب للموظفين بكل مكان و علناً ترفض التقسيم ، على جانب التنظيمات المعارضة و النصوص التأسيسية لكياناتها و هيئاتها و بياناتهم السياسية لا يوجد أي كلمة عن التقسيم كهدف سياسي .

٢- الإيمان بضرورة الحفاظ على ما تبقى من مؤسسات للدولة و ذلك بضوء التوافق المشترك على هيكلة ما يلزم فيها بما يحفظ الثوابت الوطنية .

٣- الاجماع الشعبي لدى جمهور الطرفين حول ضرورة إنهاء الحرب في سورية أو تحقيق وقف مستدام لإطلاق النار (يتوسع تدريجياً) و هذا يمثل نبض الناس بغض النظر عن نوايا السياسيين أو أفعال المتضررين.

٤- ارتياح المجتمع المدني للعفو الذي يؤدي لإطلاق كل “معتقل رأي” فهذا يعزز الثقة بعقلانية و جدية التعاطي السياسي مع المظالم .

٥- الرفض و الاستياء الشعبي من انفلات المواجهة العسكرية بطريقة استهداف البنى التحتية و مرافق استراتيجية و الحياة اليومية للناس….و بالتالي هناك أمور يمكن نقاشها لبناء الثقة بالاتفاق على جوانب يتفق الطرفان على توصيفها إرهاباً لتحييدها بالصراع .

٦- تشكيل وفد قنصلي سوري جوال …يلتقي بلجان تمثل قاطني مخيمات اللاجئين السوريين- و إن بمكاتب الامم المتحدة – للوقوف على الجوانب القنصلية التي يمكن تقديمها للناس (تسجيل الولادات- تجديد وثائق السفر ) بغض النظر عن اللون السياسي و بالطبع لمن ليس هناك ضده أية أمور قضائية مع الدولة.

٧- إجماع لدى الطرفين (بتصريحاتهم على اعلى مستوى ) بعدم العودة لما قبل أذار ٢٠١١.

٨- نضج وعي الناس بما يتعلق بفهمهم لأحداث الربيع العربي و بات واضحاً الاجماع المتزايد بأن الربيع المطلوب هو : ربيع المواطنة قبل أي ربيع أخر .
Ending military operations from all sides
Addressing refugees needs and demands
Avoiding any attacks on infrastructure
The release of all political prisoners
Agreeing on keeping Syria in one piece
Focusing on creating a citizenship spring instead of the one we tried

Comment: no mention of assad’s fate or how to confront Islamists.This makes maqdisi’s piece pretty in design but very hard to construct. To his credit, he started by confessing that a political solution is very difficult to reach. Whether the current condition was carefully created by the regime or not, Assad and the regime he heads succeeded in changing the headlines from a regime change to a war against terrorism.

June 15th, 2014, 7:25 pm



Mr. Landis

After reading your valuable article for many times.

I have few questions

Do you mean that Shiites will defeat Sunnis in Iraq and achieve a total victory over them all over Iraq ???? or is it that Shiites will defeat the Sunnis in the center , the capital Baghdad and the south where they constitute the majority and clean these areas from Sunnis resulting in the formation of new fragmented Iraq (Shiite Iraq , Sunni Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan) and regarding Syria do you think Assad will defeat the Sunni uprising or is it a new divided Syria based on religion (Sunni , Alawite ) and Syrian Kurdistan ??

Appreciating your patience and concern

June 15th, 2014, 7:29 pm


Joshua said:

I agree with all of you. Sunnis will find a way to protest their unjust conditions so long as they are oppressed. But ISIS cannot speak for them in the long run.

June 15th, 2014, 7:34 pm


ALAN said:

Ridiculous! Terrorism (Al Qaeda), as Clinton said is making of the United States and its allies! Today they want an excuse to use it for doing their aggression! Do you want to sell us the sweetness Mr. Landis?

June 15th, 2014, 7:57 pm


Matthew Barber said:

Oh yes, do sell us some sweetness from your trove of excess!

June 15th, 2014, 8:10 pm


Passerby said:

Sure seems to me it’s the Saddam Regime. That’s what Al-Nusra says. Lots of Saddam generals involved, lots of the video show people with military bearing, not jihadis.

After all, Saddam created “Al-Qaeda in Iraq” to plant in the no-fly zone to torment us. “See what happens when you have a no-fly zone?”.

And the Assad/ISIS collusion, that’s crystal clear. What does Assad care about Eastern Syria? Starts getting close to a majority without it and the refugees. Granted, not winning points with Iran, which might explain heavy Assad attacks on ISIS lately.

Yeah, sitting back and letting it sort itself out is attractive. But it won’t stay there.

And consider the possibility that those that line the roads with crucified and beheaded bodies won’t play nice in their attack on Baghdad. Cut off the water, electricity, sewer. Bomb populations. Butcher some and post videos of what happens to those that don’t leave. Massed suicide attacks at the time time and place, etc. etc. and the millions flood into the countryside, all our problem to keep alive.

Does the Saddam Regime know how to deal with Shiite militias? You think? Can they actually control the entire country of Iraq, including the Shiites parts?

Well, look on the bright side, the Saddam Regime will probably be more “responsible” with the WMD than the mad dogs of ISIS they control.

June 15th, 2014, 8:30 pm


Passerby said:

We can rather quickly militarily defeat ISIS, with very few if any US casualties. Air Power requires spotters etc, so there has to be a few boots, and some may die. Some airplanes may crash.

But to do it, we have to toss off all the special interests. All the strings that restrain us. And most difficult, our politicians have to admit they have made mistakes and/or the situation has changed and change course immediately.

But if we don’t have the stomach for boots on the ground, we can’t be picky about who we find to do it for us.

An Al-Qaeda/Saddam Regime (It’s the Saddam Regime as much as Al-Qaeda if not more) with their own country, with that attitude, is an existential threat to the women and children of America. So, we need to ask ourselves, are these special interests more important than the survival of the women and children of America? Well?

1. Support Assad and the Alawites – Give ‘em air support, modern weapons, support in the UN. Cut a deal, get something in return, like somewhat civilized behavior in some respect etc. Yeah, too bad there are thugs in the Middle East, so it goes. But they have won the war, dragging it out now doesn’t help the Syrian people. There may or may not have been do-gooders at one time, but there’s nothing left not except Assad, Al-Qaeda/Al-Nusra, ISIS and some guys in Turkey with shiny shoes. Yep, it will infuriate the Saudis and other Gulf States. Are they more important than the women and children of America, just because they bribe our politicians? Where the heck do we think ISIS is getting the money? And it puts a horrific war to an end, come on.

2. Support the Kurds – They have been fighting ISIS since the old no-fly zone. Saddam created ISIS/Al-Qaeda in Iraq to place in the no-fly zone to torment the UN. “See what happens when you do a no-fly zone?” But they were always supplied by Saddam, would come to Baghdad for medical care, etc. And they were always in a bitter, to the death, no quarter asked or given with ISIS, and have been fighting them the same way in Syria. There’s a reason ISIS turned south, the Kurds would have crushed them, defending their homeland. We need to drench the Kurds with the best weapons money can buy, and flood their COUNTRY with tough US kids with laser and radios and make the sky black with the United States Air Force. They will lay down their lives, to defend our special forces guys with the lasers. Turkey and Iran won’t like it? The IRAQIS won’t like it? Is THAT more important than the women and children of America? Iran we can deal with, see below, And Turkey? Who cares.

3. Support the Iranians – There’s your boots on the ground. Together with the Shiites. ISIS said today, any Shiite that doesn’t convert, gets their throat slit. They are betting us to team up with them, they are on their knees. We can cut a deal here. You never know, we fight by their side, a vain fool’s hope, but you never know, maybe, at some point, we can cut a deal where we all survive on the planet together. In the meantime, of course, Saudi Arabia and the other fellow Wahhabis like ISIS, will go totally ballistic. Did I mention the women and children of America? I’ll switch sides, no problem there. Saudi Arabia said it was “going to go its own path” because we wouldn’t help ISIS defeat Assad? Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Women in Iran and Syria drive cars and go to college.

Lots of details, like the deal we cut with Assad/Iran etc, certain rules after he victory on the battlefield, inclusion of Sunnis, including right now, and so on. Kurds get their own country, period. Get used to it.

ISIS would have three very formidable enemies, with lots of practice fighting them, with boots on the ground, attacking it at the same time, with US air power and anything else we have that makes sense.

June 15th, 2014, 9:52 pm


Juergen said:

Syria frees horse rider who rivalled Assad brother

“Syria has freed after 21 years in jail an ex-horse rider known to have been an equestrian rival of one of President Bashar al-Assad’s late brothers, reports said Sunday.

The release of Adnan Qassar is part of a wide-reaching amnesty that Assad decreed last week, and has seen some 1,500 people freed from the war-ravaged country’s prisons, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.”

June 16th, 2014, 12:23 am


Aboud Dandachi said:

“But ISIS cannot speak for them in the long run.”

ISIS is the worst thing to happen to the Middle East since the Mongol invasions, but there is one man who bears more responsibility than anyone else for its ability to organize and flourish, and that person is the very-conspicuous-by-his-absence Bashar. The man should be hung just for allowing ISIS a safe haven in Raqqa all this time.

June 16th, 2014, 2:25 am


Juergen said:

So much about the avancement of Assad forces, lately in Jobar:

June 16th, 2014, 3:21 am


Jasmine said:

No thanks for Bush and Blair for their failed adventure in Iraq.
What is happening now is the end results of regime change inflicted on this country,this is going to push it more towards Iran and this certainly make Saddam now looks like an angel.

June 16th, 2014, 5:26 am


mjabali said:

ISIS was on the run in Eastern Syria when they staged this stunt in al-Musel in coordination with other IRAQI groups. ISIS’ leadership is mostly Iraqis.

ISIS was losing in al-Bukamal and Deir al-Zur and around it. al-Nusra and the Syrian groups (Tribes and Islamic groups like al-Ahrar) were kicking ISIS’ ass slowly out of Syria. This explains why ISIS brought weapons into Syria right away after taking it from the Iraqi Army.

ISIS took al-Musel with no battles, the same they did in Tikrit. They did not even have their signature move: Send a suicide bomber…they did not even have to send a suicide bomber. al-Musel was under the control of anti Maliki Sunnis for a long time. The top Iraqi generals that were appointed by al-Maliki were Sunnis.

There was no battle in Tikrit when the Sunnis took the 2500 air force cadets prisoners to execute the 1700 Shias amongst them.

ISIS and its allies in Iraq won a media war more than what they really won on the ground.

The ease the Iraqi Army in the last few days defeating the Sunni militants is an indicative of the big miscalculation by many…

June 16th, 2014, 6:40 am


AIG said:


Yes, ISIS picked a fight it cannot win, but it is also a fight it cannot lose. If the Americans with tens of thousands of boots on the ground could only put the Islamists into remission in Iraq, the Shia forces will not be able to do that. Perhaps ISIS will morph and become another organization, but the ideology behind the organization is not going away.

I would use the Hezbollah template here. When founded they were extremely radical, but over time they “mellowed”. This will happen with ISIS especially if what you predict happens. If Sunni are cleansed from their neighborhoods and towns, where will they go to for protection? Under your scenario, which I find very plausible, the Shia will push them into ISIS hands because of lack of alternative. ISIS will come to an understanding with the Sunni tribal leaders just like the Taliban did in Afghansitan. They will find a modus vivendi because they have no other choice.

June 16th, 2014, 9:48 am


Mina said:

Details of the ISIS/ISIL + Saddam’s old guard collusion

June 16th, 2014, 10:58 am


Xenophon said:

Great piece and much more insightful than the dross that is passing for analysis in the MSM at the moment. I have to echo Ayhab Alatrach’s question: Do you envision a Shia juggernaut grinding north and retaking Mosel in the next few weeks/months?

June 16th, 2014, 11:49 am


habib said:

So where are all the ridiculous “Assad controls ISIl” theorists now?

June 16th, 2014, 12:59 pm


Passerby said:

Well, looks like it’s only me and Al-Nusra that thinks ISIS is controlled by the Saddam Regime, not just working with them.

Gotta’ be a closely held secret, for the jihadi zombies not to catch on. Evidence will be hard to come by, but if indisputable, that right there would badly hurt ISIS without firing a bullet.

June 16th, 2014, 1:08 pm


Uzair8 said:

Shaykh Yaqoubi tweeted on 14th June:

أمريكا تغري إيران بالتدخل في العراق وستدعها تفعل في الخليج مثل ما فعل صدام بالكويت ليكون ذلك عذرا لضربها. فتكون قد دمرت المنطقة بالكامل.

Google translate: America entice Iran of meddling in Iraq and in the Gulf Stdaha do like what Saddam did in Kuwait to be an excuse to hit her. And you’ve destroyed the entire region.

June 16th, 2014, 1:32 pm


Mina said:


Who do you think pay for his tickets between Jordan, Morocco etc?

June 16th, 2014, 2:12 pm


Joshua said:

AIG – What? Are we actually agreeing on something! Sunnis cannot be defeated, as you say. But ISIS? I don’t think the Sunni world will embrace it as the Shiite world has embraced Hizbullah. I am not sure the analogy is entirely useful – a little useful, I agree, but Hizb is not as bloody minded as ISIS and never slaughtered hundreds of Sunnis for being Sunni. They did kill Jews and Israelis, which is very bad, but only gets them in hot water in the West but not within their own world. Of course, they are killing Sunnis now and are widely cursed as Hizb al-Shaytan, so they are on their way.

It is possible that ISIS could “mellow” to the point that the US could deal with them as it does Hizbullah in Lebanon, but we are far from that point today.

June 16th, 2014, 4:57 pm


Passerby said:

Anything is possible, as the Quantum Theory and Incompleteness Theorem testify, but ISIS mellowing enough for the US to deal with them is as likely as a camel passing through the eye of a needle.

They won’t be around long enough in their present form for that to happen, for one thing. They started admitting today that Special Forces are on the ground. As if they would be moderate or even consider talking.

The 50 Nobel Prize Winners in science of the FAS, hardly neo-cons said Saddam could make industrial quantities of even the more difficult stuff in weeks to months. How long will it take ISIS/Saddam Regime with their billions if they are just permitted to sit there holding land? Yeah, I know we are supposed to pretend they don’t exist.

One way or the other, so much is about to happen, undoubtedly bad, it just won’t happen. ISIS’s time holding land is about to come to an end.

June 16th, 2014, 8:57 pm


AIG said:


It will take a long time, if at all for ISIS to be “mellow” enough for the US. The question is though, can they be “mellow” enough for the Sunnis in Iraq and Syria? I think yes. It will be a marriage of convenience, not love, just like many Afghan tribes learned to live with the Taliban. If ISIS does not overreach and accepts power sharing with tribal leaders, there is enough oil and Gulf money to make everyone happy. ISIS cut oil deals with Assad, so they are flexible enough to reach an accommodation when it suits their interests. And there is the hated Shia enemy to unite against. In any case, the Sunnis in Iraq will not fight ISIS until they are sure Malaki is contained. They will not repeat the mistakes of the opposition in Syria whose infighting only helped the regime.

I believe ISIS will not seriously attempt to take Baghdad. They will consolidate their gains and establish the de-facto partition of Iraq.

June 17th, 2014, 1:06 am



Stating the obvious “ISIS can’t speak for them in the long run” is cute and sentimental but it is worthless. ISIS doesn’t give a damn about speaking for anyone. It does not even pretend to speak for sunnis as it sees the majoring of them in the “infidel” class.

As for AIG’s assertion that they will mellow, i doubt that. AIG again makes the same mistake many others made, which is to think on behalf of the locals and to ascribe a rational behavior, over the long-run to the terrorism-tourism industry. Taliban cut many deals, and yet they are yet to mellow. Power in these deformed entities is always for the most radical, and once mellowing, a gang leader loses credibility, and someone else will be able to mobilize the crazed terrorism-tourists flocking from all over the world.

ISIS is thriving not only on sunni anger but on a strategic error of the original Sykes-Picot accord, and on the amplification of that error by the baathists in Syria and Iraq and by the dumb ass Paul Bremer

As for nus-lira gang mellowing, ask their countless victims in Syria if they see them as mellow. To the contrary, at the first challenge to their sectarian agent-of-iran position, they retreated to their ugly sectarian roots in ways far worst than when they were founded.

Iran is the root of sectarian hatred in the region. Want things done right, light up the place under the feet of the mullas.

I would agree with AIG on ISIS’s near-term attempt to establish de-facto partition of Iraq. But that will only happen with a great blood price. Next step for ISIS would be to eliminate all possible competition. Only that way it can keep control of the region with its “terror” police of highly committed crazed maniacs. If it does not success it getting weapons out of the hand of its competitors, it will be toast very soon and its members will be massacred in ways not different from the they they massacre others.

The tribes of Iraq are different from their counterparts in Syria.

June 17th, 2014, 1:55 am



And yes, the founding of ISIS was greatly supported by dog-poop and its allies in Iraq. It is no different from “alqaida”….. booomerang. The theories of the dumb “country-specialists” who keep telling policy makers that to succeed in this region, they have to play the religion card believing that only religion can move the “backward” people. What you get is Alqaida, ISIS, and dirty shit like that. Had these “specialists” paid any attention to the civilian start of the Syrian revolution instead of shrieking “sectarian war” at the first time their favorite western-married dick-tator was challenged, much of this shit could have been avoided. CONGRATS, mission accomplished.

June 17th, 2014, 2:12 am


Mina said:

ERBIL-Hewlêr, Kurdistan region ‘Iraq’,— Kurds will not help Iraqi forces to fend off Sunni insurgents, a senior official of the Kurdistan regional government said Monday, indicating Kurdish Peshmerga military forces will give priority to defending their region.
The Peshmerga fighters “had played an important role in protecting Kurdistan,” Falah Mustafa Bakir, head of the foreign relations department of the regional government, said in an interview with Kyodo News.
“We will not join (Iraqi forces) because there is no army (in Iraq),” he said.
He said the Iraqi forces have “collapsed.”
“They have the most sophisticated weapons, but they did not have morale — they did not have loyalty and they did not believe in the cause, therefore they collapsed,” he said.

Baghdad’s military retreated from northern Iraq under the insurgents’ assault last week.
“As far as I am concerned, we are going to stay in these areas,” Bakir said, hinting at the possibility that the Kurds will continue their effective control of the Kirkuk oil field.
The Peshmerga took control of Kirkuk after the withdrawal of Iraqi forces. Bakir said Baghdad has asked the regional to secure security in the area.
He said the foothold of the insurgents is next to Kurdistan and that “(our) neighbor is no longer the Iraqi government.”

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency,

June 17th, 2014, 3:27 am


Mina said:

Same conclusion here “Iraq didn’t have an army”
US taxpayers will love that one.
Emptying the people’s pockets is that ultraliberalism does best, full point.

June 17th, 2014, 7:58 am


Passerby said:

Dead in the hundreds of thousands in Syria, severe suffering of millions and even spraying the Sunnis with bug spray, and what Sunnis show up to defend them?

Al-Qaeda in Iraq/ISIS, and their ilk.

Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia and all the other rich and powerful Sunni countries didn’t and don’t have the stomach to put one boot on the ground, one airplane in the skies.

And they are going to show up for some sectarian war in Iraq, to defend ISIS?

They said they are coming to New York, they are an existential threat to America, and the media is preparing the American people as we speak to deal with it.

June 17th, 2014, 10:14 am


AIG said:

Syrian Hamster,

How do you explain the Taliban’s ability to stay in power and why would the ISIS case be different?

The reason I am ascribing a longer term rational behavior to ISIS is because of the Hamas, Hezbollah and Taliban examples. Don’t take the “mellow” word literally. Perhaps a better way to say this is that they become a little less ideological and more pragmatic. Why can’t that happen in the case of ISIS?

June 17th, 2014, 10:14 am


Passerby said:

The Taliban, Hezbollah and Hamas aren’t an existential threat to America. (Or at least, aren’t perceived that way by those that make that decision.)

The change in the US media in the last 72 hours is striking. Those that have advocated just bailing out in Iraq and Afghanistan right now, some real dogmatic types, such as the talking heads on Morning Joe, now are discussing sending the troops back in. Joe himself, bailer in chief, is saying we have to do whatever it takes to defeat them, period. Breathtakingly, they are even admitting it was a mistake to just bail out. Still saying it’s all Bush’s fault, but that just leaving like that was a terrible mistake.

You don’t hear that about Hezbollah, Hamas and the Taliban.

June 17th, 2014, 11:05 am


ALAN said:

Kwack Kwack Kwack !
Spectacle played poorly as the face of Kerry and Obama!

U.S. Sacrificing Iraq To Al-Qaeda To Reignite Failed War In Syria

June 17th, 2014, 11:20 am


Harvey said:

The Jews did not do ethnic cleansing as you imply the Arabs left of their own volition. How can you compare what’s going on now to 1948 your bias is showing and it ain’t pretty! One less follower

June 17th, 2014, 11:23 am


Akbar Palace said:

I think Professor Josh hit a “homerun” with this article. To the point, and plausible.

My POV: Iraq has become another Syria, and another Iran/Saudi Arabia proxy war. The difference: In this case, it will affect oil prices.

The US should be on the sidelines, and the West has to implement tougher TSA and passport restrictions. These groups will want to pull the US in with another 9-11 type kamikazee operation.

Let Saudi Arabia and Iran fix it this time.

June 17th, 2014, 11:32 am


ALAN said:

Syrian military boots as always will clean the entire territory of Syria from the zombies of Zionist Islam

Israel is using the United States to destabilize the Middle East with the ultimate goal of ensuring the regime’s survival

“That is the single biggest factor that is driving the US to become the enemies of the people of the region, because the moment the people of the region are empowered and prosperous and peaceful and democratic and stable, that is the end of the Zionist regime [of Israel],” Barrett stated.

June 17th, 2014, 11:40 am


ALAN said:

Everything seems to indicate that the Turkish army has changed its strategy and withdrew its support to the Contras following the foray of the Islamic Emirate of Iraq and the Levant (IEIL) into Iraq. A victory of the mercenaries in Iraq would lead to the partition of the country into three independent states, including a Kurdistan which will inevitable extend into the current Turkey.

June 17th, 2014, 11:49 am


AIG said:

ISIS located between Assad and Iran/Shia forces is an asset to the US, not an existential threat. Of course, no administration is going to admit it. ISIS is a much, much greater problem for Iran than for the US. Iran and ISIS will keep each other occupied for a long time, just like the Iran/Iraq war. The US is going to talk a lot and do nothing about ISIS, leaving Iran to handle this hot potato.

June 17th, 2014, 11:54 am


Akbar Palace said:

Miss Me Yet? NewZ

The US is going to talk a lot and do nothing…

Yes, and this is what Obama is good at.

June 17th, 2014, 11:58 am


ALAN said:

/These groups will want to pull the US in with another 9-11 type kamikazee operation/
Do not you let it slip? accidentally? how could you sell so cheap secrets of their co-religionists?

June 17th, 2014, 11:59 am


Akbar Palace said:


Veterans Today is the last bastion for anti-semites, retards and losers. Kevin Barrett is one of them.

June 17th, 2014, 1:14 pm


Passerby said:

Well yes, AIG, the US is certainly capable of ignoring ISIS, they’ve been ignoring it, on and off, since the original no-fly zone in Iraq. Including the rather dramatic last 6 months. Fallujah didn’t cause a ripple.

Different now, the drums of war are beating in the media. Kinda’ hare to get folks to admit just leaving was a disaster, and then send the troops back, kinda’ like swallowing a fork sideways, but it’s happening. Marching orders today for those that are kinda’ impartial is not to blame those that wanted to leave, it makes it harder for them to change to do what needs to be done. That’s the drift.

June 17th, 2014, 1:37 pm


ALAN said:

another one !!!!Kristol Clear ! any comment?
Kristol Clear

June 17th, 2014, 3:29 pm


Passerby said:

I’ll comment.

The United States of America could break the back of the International Oil Cartel, that funds Israel’s enemies, in an afternoon with the stroke of a pen.

So, if the Jews run America, how come we stuff all that money down the throats of Israel’s worst enemies?

Kinda’ demonstrates it’s false, would be my comment.

June 17th, 2014, 4:01 pm


Akbar Palace said:


If you were smart like Alan, you would hang out at Veterans Today and learn how the joos control everyone including islamo-jihadists. We have some sort of mind control machine that works in the terahertz range and can’t be detected.

I don’t think anyone can break up the oil cartels, but I think the time is ripe to be one energy independent. Pipeline Mr. Obama!

June 17th, 2014, 6:06 pm


ALAN said:

Can you summarize the United States of America so? The timing is interesting now. Special interests in the West seeking resources to prop up economic armageddon!!!!

June 17th, 2014, 5:25 pm



1. Taliban was recognized by several “islamic” countries and did have diplomatic missions in these countries.

2. Taliban, ISIS and their types don’t need to be loved by the locals. Remember, they are “terrorists” and their first victims are the locals not those thousands of miles away.

Finally, you can’t compare Hamas to any other entity, not because they are better, but because the price for not being more pragmatic is too heavy both for them and for their base of power. Same thing for nus-lira gangs (but only with respect to Israel). This is why since 2006, ooops, sorry, i meant the divine victory of nu-lira over Israel, Israel had enjoyed a relative peace of mind from its northern border. Was it you who once described them as cowards or was it Akbar? It doesn’t matter with whom I agree on this description.

By the way, today, Iraq’s wings of Da’esh (داعش) slaughtered 49 fighters including an important Emir of the mellowed!!!! Syrian wing of Da’esh.

June 17th, 2014, 6:41 pm


ALAN said:

“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

June 18th, 2014, 12:52 am


Passerby said:

Now the White House is leaking to the media, wholesale, that airstrikes are off the table, for now. Such as…

Seems Maliki is driving a hard deal on the sectarian thing, is my guess.

History says we can’t underestimate the incompetence of both in this game of chicken.


They can’t take Baghdad? Get ready for the lights and water to shut off for the 6,000,000 Shiite residents of Baghdad. How hard is that? Suicide bombers, artillery, whatever. Ponder the ramifications of that, and other things normal civilized people don’t do in wars lately to kill and terrorize civilian populations.

They don’t need to take and “hold” it for now, just make it a severe liability for their enemy, not an asset.

June 18th, 2014, 1:24 am


Matthew Barber said:


Alan, you do realize that in Syria that would refer to Bashar al-Assad, right?

June 18th, 2014, 3:11 am


ALAN said:

Measure to yourself! to your own regime! engage in self-criticism! leave our regime for us! mind your own regime! It seems that your regime is seeking to Armageddon

June 18th, 2014, 5:37 am


Passerby said:

Hi Alan,

I can’t see where that link addresses my question,

“The United States of America could break the back of the International Oil Cartel, that funds Israel’s enemies, in an afternoon with the stroke of a pen.

So, if the Jews run America, how come we stuff all that money down the throats of Israel’s worst enemies?”

Can you summarize how it refutes that? General claims about some grand conspiracy on some link aren’t convincing.

June 18th, 2014, 11:52 am


Passerby said:

Yeah, that’s what’s going on, a game of chicken. No help unless Maliki is replaced. Pretending he will be nice to the Sunnis just won’t cut it.

U.S. Signals Iraq’s Maliki Should Go

…A growing number of U.S. lawmakers and Arab allies, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are pressing the White House to pull its support for Mr. Maliki. Some of them are pushing for change in exchange for providing their help in stabilizing Iraq, say U.S. and Arab diplomats.

The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) told a congressional hearing Wednesday: “The Maliki government, candidly, has got to go if you want any reconciliation.”

Senior administration officials have become increasingly critical of Mr. Maliki in their public statements and question whether he is committed to mending ties with Sunnis…

We’re headed to the edge of the cliff, and don’t underestimate their capacity for even greater incompetence. Look at their history.

Well, may be the best thing, Maliki is a guaranteed loser, but ISIS is the big winner with stalling, and this idea that they have reached their limit or whatever is delusional.

It’s the Saddam Regime running ISIS like a headless zombie after they killed off their leadership. It explains everything, the in cahoots with Assad, the predatory strange behavior towards other radical groups with the same beliefs, the surprising sophistication, the importance of Baghdad, the Hannibal Lector insane cruelty without even Al-Qaeda’s peculiar morality, etc. And Saddam did the human shields, he lit oil wells on fire, he emptied oil in the Gulf, on and on, and ISIS will do the same thing. They don’t have to take Baghdad or the Shiite areas, they just have to make them a liability, not an asset for their enemies. Man, there are a host of ways to do that, much easier to destroy than create, entropy.

There may be less time than the fools think, particularly since Samarra is about surrounded and the cities on the last road have all been attacked. About all they control north of Baghdad now. We know what happened last time.

June 19th, 2014, 12:24 am


Matthew Barber said:


Actually Alan, I can criticize my government/president/leaders—even insult them, in fact, or print ridicule of them in public media, all without worrying that secret police will come and arrest me, destroy my business, torture me, harm the people I love, etc.

In Syria, on the other hand, every citizen and foreign guest alike quickly learns to continually look over their shoulder out of fear of who might be listening.

In Syria, we all know who we can’t criticize.

June 19th, 2014, 2:57 am


Reality Check said:

Some years back the Mukhtar of Majdal Shams in the Golan hosted a Western Ambassador. As they were talking the subject moved to the subject of your comments and the Mukhtar turned to his guest and said “I will explain to you the difference between a dictatorship and a democracy. We have here a deep valley that separates the Israeli side of the Golan from the Syrian side and the border separates families. Once a week the families come to the valley and call out to each other but to do so they have to shout out loud. On the Syrian side each family member is accompanied by a member of the Muhabarat (Secret Service) who writes down every word uttered or shouted to them. On this side nobody else is there, no one is interested in what is shouted. In a dictatorship every word you say is noted and analysed. In a democracy you can scream your head off and nobody will be bothered with what you have to say”.

June 19th, 2014, 4:44 pm


Passerby said:

The funny part is the morons saying it can’t be “used safely”. Entertain the idea that ISIS doesn’t care about safety.

The irony, the WMD that are supposed to never exist seized by the Al-Qaeda in Iraq that was supposed to never exist.

Well, that should empty out Baghdad.

June 19th, 2014, 8:39 pm


Passerby said:

It’s Saddam’s primary WMD production facility. Mustard Gas, Sarin, VX and Bioweapons.

Seems there are several huge bunkers with damaged munitions, leaking storage barrels, etc. A nasty witches brew that’s so lethal, they just left it there and locked the door.

In addition to all the chemicals, it also has the actual bombs in various stages of completion.

Can the Saddam Regime/ISIS make use of it with their thousands of scientists, including probably the people originally in charge of it and the people that made it? Of course, but then, when on it’s feet, the Saddam Regime can make industrial quantities in weeks to months any time it feels like it.

But seems if you have the guys that made it and ran the site and hordes of ISIS zombies willing to commit suicide, you could dominate the battlefield. Talk about the Iraqi army running away.

June 19th, 2014, 9:09 pm


ALAN said:

From Iraq to Syria: How to transport men and weapons without really trying
The much touted fall of Mosul and the alleged capture of US military equipment have been in the making for a long time. It is therefore important to have some institutional knowledge of where these events began, and how a ragtag corporal in the Georgian army, sick and disillusioned, has suddenly become the poster boy for America’s war on terrorism in Iraq.

The corporal concerned is al-Shishani, AKA, Umar Gorgashvili, whose birth name is TARKHAN BATIRASHVILI. He is leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS) insurgents who have been seen, very conveniently, transporting US-supplied Humvees across the border into war-torn Syria after the capture of Mosul.

Often reported as killed, al-Shishani nevertheless always turns up at the right time and right place for a photo opportunity, all part of the subterfuge. Umar Gorgashvili goes by many different names, but most of these are known only to those that have trained and have worked with him. There are (actually were, some of them have been murdered) four chechens operating in the region, thus named “al shishani”: Omar al-Shishani, Saifullah al-Shishani, Amir Muslim and Salahudeen al-Shishani……

June 20th, 2014, 5:18 am


ALAN said:

thanks for the story of a magical surreal terms of Mossad! be able to defend a thesis on dreams!

June 20th, 2014, 5:30 am



By controlling all main terrorists webs in the Middle East and by creating with Iran and Russia the ISIL Milicia, in an excellent cover up operation, the dictator Assad and Russia hace proven to be the masters of the Middle East.

June 20th, 2014, 6:02 am



Americans are idiots. Always failed everywhere. winning war doesn’t mean winning people. Americans failed to understand true nature of middle east islam. Better if they find out other reliable sources of oil and take off interest in this region. Fratricide is islamic quality. Leave everything to the mercy of their own, these middle east arabs will kill each other & will be finished, No need to intervene.

June 21st, 2014, 10:50 am


David said:

To all you naive politically correct politicians, news outlets and Liberals. ISIS is coming to a town near you … to enrich you with their culture!
You’d better “Convert or …” they’ll be offended!

August 17th, 2014, 4:05 pm


whitewolf60 said:

Let’s see…

U.S. interference in Afghanistan gave rise to al-Qaeda (not to mention our direct funding and cooperation in opium trafficking), and now our interference in Iraq and Syria give rise to ISIS.

Sounds like a plan…

We executed Saddam (at a cost of how many trillions?) for “killing his own people”, now we’re killing those very same people. ISIS would not be operating in Iraq if we had just stayed home.

If our interference in Afghanistan was to “roll back” communism, why does McCain hob-nob with the Vietnamese and Chinese communists now? Besides trying to get one of his wife’s beer factories constructed? Why didn’t we just build the beer factories back in the 60s?

Why? Because war is very expensive for Americans who mind their own business and work for a living, but obscenely profitable for the Internationalist Scum who have bought out the whores in Washington D.C.

I’m just not sure if McCain is an Internationalist Scum, a whore, or both.

August 26th, 2014, 11:28 am


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