Small Wars Journal

New US Military Command Established for Iraq and Syria Operations

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 11:28pm

New US Military Command Established for Iraq and Syria Operations by Dan Lamothe, Washington Post

The U.S. military has established a new command that will oversee operations in both Iraq and Syria, military officials said Friday.

Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve has taken charge of the mission in both countries. It is led by Army Lt. Gen. James L. Terry, the commanding general of U.S. Army Central. That organization oversees Army operations across the Middle East, including in Iraq…

Read on.


A/the possible bottom line re: this new military command:

It appears that we have learned that:

a. Whether we use military force to overthrow a regime (Iraq and Afghanistan).

b. Or simply stand to the side and, in some other manner, support members of the local population in their efforts to overthrow a regime (Egypt, Libya, Syria, etc.)

In both and indeed in all these cases, we are likely to have to deal with -- militarily -- the negative "fallout" and chaos that results from these such actions.

Thus, not from the standpoint of "globalization" do we have to deal with these matters militarily,

But, rather, from the standpoint of our efforts -- military or otherwise -- to transform, via regime change, outlying states and societies more along along modern western lines.

And given that this cat is already out of the bag, then the non-use of the military to deal with the consequences of American-induced/inspired regime change (or attempts thereof); this seems to be an option that we, in fact, just do not have.


Tue, 12/09/2014 - 8:29pm

In reply to by Bill M.

I never said the report should have been released or it was helpful in Syria. I do find it troubling the CIA apparently mislead the Bush administration over the activities and scale of what they were doing. If those issues aren't going to be worked out in a public debate, at the very least they should be accurately reported to the person the public elects. That said, I don't think the report is helpful in achieving a number of strategic goals. The Senate disagreed and decided transparency was more important in a democratic society. But that is the nature of a democratic state. Different interests will be weighted and judgements will be made. National security concerns will not always override other interests.

However, I did state the report doesn't change or alter what we are trying to do nor do I think actions in Syria are optics. For many reasons you mentioned, it is a logical and coherent strategy in Syria. You say the FSA "can't solve this". Depends on the timeframe. There are many possiable futures and it is possible for the FSA to build the capacity and capabilities to displace ISIL among the Sunni Syrian population. We will certainly enable them with training, equipment, airpower, and other capablities. But, from our prospective, we need something besides ISIL to engage the Assad regime. The report doesn't change the underlying strategy or the logic behind it.

With all that said, in the Syrian case, I don't see where it will have a huge effect. ISIL is already leveraging propaganda that says we are in bed with Assad. I don't see how a report that doesn't name Syria or Assad directly will change much in what the average Syrian believes or doesn't believe. The only way that perception changes or doesn't change is knowledge of support for the FSA.

Bill M.

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 7:39pm

In reply to by Bwilliams

You just touched on the issue that makes this a wicked problem by definition. If we force Assad out the minority Alawites, Christians, Kurds, and other minorities will not be protected. Assuming we force Assad out, and the government institutions basically collapse, we will at least in part be responsible for what follows. If Assad isn't forced out, the only option for Syrians being oppressed by Assad is increasingly becoming ISIL. The longer we target ISIL and leave Assad alone the more we are perceived as aligning with Assad, which will significantly decrease our influence in a post-Assad Syria, assuming it remains a viable state at all. In fact, ISIL could be the next power in Syria if Assad falls. Our principle short-term interests are protecting the homeland and securing WMD. ISIL presents the greatest threat. Several complex problems to be worked through, and they will require regional and global solutions, the U.S. can't solve this. The FSA can't solve this. The best we can do in the near term is attempt to protect ourselves by disrupting attacks on U.S. interests. Longer term is our partners continue to support us in the region we can contribute the gradual defeat of ISIL, or at least significantly reducing its size and capability. That is "if" our regional partners continue to support the effort, and that is where Outlaw's comment comes into play in my opinion.

We'll see how it plays out, but I think Outlaw's point is valid. The release of torture report will be leveraged effectively within extremist ranks in a way that will result in set backs for our regional strategy, not to mention endanger Americans everywhere just as we approach the Christmas holiday season. I think governments in the region could be convinced by their people to not get too close to the U.S. because of the report. Again we'll have to wait to see how it plays out. It may produce a ripple or it may produce a Tsunami (short duration or enduring).

On a separate note, if this results in a major backlash and American casualties there are politicians who need to be held accountable for both letting the events happen in the first place, and then releasing this report. What good will come out of it?


Tue, 12/09/2014 - 7:21pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

No, it isn't a perception. Nor does the report really affect our goal and our strategy. I don't think anyone thinks the regime is going to be totally forced from power here. Assad may or may not be forced out. But we don't want to totally destroy the power structure. Could be very bad for the minority communities in the country. One wants to get to some sort of power sharing agreement and have a political process that is acceptable to the Sunni process.

Outlaw 09

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 3:59pm

In reply to by Bwilliams

But since the release of the CIA torture report this is the following problem---it is as everything is in Iraq and Syria---all about perception.

Am assuming that in fact many Sunni Syrians do in fact see a connection between Assad and the US and that contact is close.…

This is why it is virtually impossible for this administration to even formulate a strategy.


Tue, 12/09/2014 - 10:50am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

In Syria, I would assume it is to build the capabilities and capacity of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces to displace ISIS as the primary legitimate authority for Syrian Sunnis. From there, we would like a negotiated peace to end the Syrian War and start a normal political process. Air Power and other US capabilities are being used in to enable this end.

But I would assume that is basically what we are trying to do.

Outlaw 09

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 10:35am

When it is all said and done and after one reads the following tweets from the Sec of State--just again what is the strategy?

So we know:
1. Assad is a tyrant
2. the population should not have to choose
3. there has to be a middle way forward

First yes we will support the SFA and then train/send arms and then we did neither and again we are back to the FSA?

So does anyone see a strategy in those generic actions/statements?

U.S. Embassy Syria ✔ @USEmbassySyria

.@JohnKerry: Syrians should not have to choose between a tyrant and the terrorists. Those are both dead ends. #Syria

#SecKerry: Asad’s ruthless reign has fueled #ISIL’s rise & enabled terrorists to portray themselves as the only alternative to the dictator.

.@JohnKerry: We favor a third option – the moderate Syrian opposition who are fighting both extremists and Assad every day. #Syria

A question for the more-knowledgeable and more-informed:

Given the West's overriding/overarching strategic objective: To gain greater power, influence and control in the Middle East; this, to be achieved by having the populations of the Middle East come to embrace modern western political, economic and social ideas and norms.

Given (1) this objective and (2) this approach,

Then which group -- Shia or Sunni -- is, in fact, more-progressively inclined and, thus, more likely to become our "natural ally" via its embrace of such western-like reforms?

Likewise, which group (Shia or Sunni) is most likely to dig in its heals; resist "modernizing/modernization" along modern western political, economic and social lines and, instead, seek to gain (or retain) alternative ways of life and alternative ways of governance?

The U.S./the West, thus, and re: its perceived nation interests, to best be served by:

a. Allying itself with the group (Shia or Sunni) most likely to embrace western reforms and by

b. Standing against the group (Shia or Sunni) who is less likely to do so.

(Or, within these Shia and Sunni communities, are there, in fact: (a) equal and opposed numbers of reformers, defenders of the status quo and/or proponents of the status quo anti and, therefore, (b) really no "natural ally" for the United States to choose over the other, to work with against the other?)

Attempting now to come full circle re: this thread:

If we do have one group (Shia or Sunni) that is more western-reform oriented/inclined, then could the establishment of a new U.S. military command in the Middle East be seen in the light that I have offered above, to wit: As a means/method to work with this more-pro-western reform group (Shia or Sunni), and against the other, in the pursuit of our nation's interests (as outlined in my second paragraph above)?

Bill C.

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 12:04pm

In reply to by Bill M.

"If we're attempting to transform Syria into a more Western like state we would have targeted Assad's regime."


The Assad regime was -- and still is -- our (the United States') main mission and main objective. We want him gone.

Herein, ISIS to be seen as simply some unexpected negative "fall out" that we have encountered/incurred along the way. This, due specifically to our:

a. Attempts to unseat Assad. And our

b. Successful unseating of Saddam.

(Both such activities undertaken in the name of state and societal transformation -- more along modern western lines.)

So: We will need to deal with this negative and unexpected fallout (ISIS, PO'd Sunnis, etc.), before we can get back to our main missions (Assad and transformation).

This, unless we are smart enough -- and or agile enough -- to roll these matters into one (defeat ISIS; remove Assad; transform Syria and Iraq more along modern western lines). And, thus, are able to achieve these objectives via a common strategy and in a more contemporaneous manner.


I suggest that the transformation of outlying states and societies is still the name of the game. And that, accordingly, uncooperative/entrenched rulers are still the main obstacle (and, thus, are still the main targets -- for convincing, coercing, compelling or getting rid of and replacing).

And, while we may have wanted not to use force anymore to achieve our such objectives, due to the various unexpected "fallout" that we have now encountered, we have determined that this (the use of force) may, at least to some degree, be unavoidable.

These such determinations to be seen as the reason why the President -- and we -- seem to be putting our gear back on, establishing a new military command and moving forward instead of backward.

Thus, a somewhat news-worthy turn of events indeed?

Bill M.

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 8:38pm

In reply to by Bill C.


You really take this argument too far at times. If we attempting to transform Syria into a more Western like state we would have targeted Assad's regime. We're targeting AQ/IS because they are destabilizing the entire region and threatening U.S. persons and potentially the homeland. We are also targeting them because their atrocities have crossed the line of tolerance. The former Iraq before Desert Storm, and to some extent the former Syria prior to the Civil War were more along Western lines than most other countries in the Middle East. Religious extremism was suppressed, and at least in Iraq there was somewhat of an educated middle class. Our sanctions and Saddam's reaction to them (not what we wanted) destroyed much of that. Sometimes we do things out of perceived interests,and not conspiracy theories to transform the world into our image.

George Bush and Bill Clinton are out of office, so for now the transforming societies by force policy is not on the table.

Bill C.

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 12:42pm

In reply to by Bwilliams

I suggest we are "on" in Syria for much the same reason we have been -- and now again are -- "on" in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere; this being:

a. To transform these states and their societies more along modern western political, economic and social lines and to

b. Stand against, marginalize and/or eliminate those entities (AQ, ISIS, the Taliban, Malaki, Assad, disruptive Sunnis, disruptive Shia, etc., etc., etc.) that stand in our way.

It is in this regard -- and toward these very ends I believe -- that we must:

1. See President Obama stepping back into his LBE, drawing his weapon and ordering the advance.

2. Look to the standing up of this new military command. And, therefore,

3. Understand why such events might make the news/be news-worthy.


Sun, 12/07/2014 - 9:47pm

In reply to by Madhu (not verified)

We are at least in Syria by trying to build a proxy force and use of air power. That has been widely reported. We have been "on" in Syria for a while now.

Madhu (not verified)

Sun, 12/07/2014 - 9:39pm

In reply to by Bwilliams

I'm worried it means we are on to Syria. Really worried. (As in regime change, or something like it).


Sun, 12/07/2014 - 9:38pm

In reply to by Dave Maxwell

Its the fact that this does mean sustained military operations makes it news. Its news in the same way it is news when Sec. Kerry said operations would take years. For the Washington Post, that is why it makes it as a story.

Outlaw 09

Sun, 12/07/2014 - 5:26am

In reply to by Dave Maxwell

Dave---would tend to agree since we established one for Libya before handing off to NATO and then remaining as a participant under NATO command.

A CJTF though and this is the though constitutes a civilian leadership decision to "stay for the long haul" as there was not defined end state made public that I have seen and or read.

It also is the prelude to eventually handing off to NATO just as it was in Libya---another sign of US pull back from the region or has anyone missed the major NATO involvement in the planning and carrying out of joint plans?

By the way a side note: for Libya even NATO had to come up with a similar concept of a CJTF as there was not one available under doctrine within NATO at that time--especially on the targeting side of the house.

In some ways though I bitterly disagree with Putin's assessment of why he went into the Crimea and eastern Ukraine---he will and does view NATO in Syria and Iraq as just another extension of their military/political influence directed by the US and another nail in his coffin of "NATO expansionism".

Staying the course a second time around will get us in this region no further than we were when we left it in 2010---therein lies the core problem.

Remember we preached for months and a few years actually about high losses of civilian lives under Assad bombings and barrel bombs and the high number of women and children being targeted in those attacks not to mention continued use which has been verified of chemical attacks via barrel bombs?

Have I missed something on the US doing anything to protect civilian lives ie no fly zones--no not really. We established a NFZ for Iraq once but we cannot do it again for Sunni civilians--guess one has to be Kurdish to get a NFZ these days?

Hear anything lately about the civilian disaster ongoing in Syria? Right now there are approximately 3-4M refugees in the surrounding countries or internally displaced--does anyone talk about their returning? AND a majority of those are Sunni not Shia.

What the world sees is a video of a US Pred/Reaper flying approximately two miles apart from an ongoing Assad barrel bombing attack on civilians.

Does that make for good "messaging" for this region?

Just the same "messaging" we saw when the Iranians launched their F4 bombing attacks---and there is no de facto joint cooperation? By the way the US "attempted" to push back on that "messaging" and it went under like a piece of lead.

It took Jane's to confirm the F4 does that make sense? Every VN vet knows the image of an F4.

Even an Iraqi Sunni sheepherder somehwere in the AOR with 50 sheep can see the direction of the "messaging".

Is that the "messaging" that we are sending to the entire Sunni population of the ME---ie we support openly Shia attacks on you regardless of the form---and we state publicly we are trying to unseat Assad?

Again indicators of a total lack of a strategic strategy for this part of the world.

That is my heartburn with this CJTF---you are right most do not know what a CJTF is, but the only one we deployed in an active combat zone and offshore to Libya did not end well nor will this one long term.

OR is it a backdoor for a rather long term military engagement in the Iraq/Syria/Iran regions that cannot normally be "sold" to the US population---notice Congress jumped right onboard with funding---just show videos of black flag waving radical Islamists killing Americans and it is like a dog whistle.

Dave Maxwell

Sat, 12/06/2014 - 9:07pm

All comments about our foreign policy and strategy (or lack thereof) aside.

A combined joint task force? Why wouldn't one be established? If we are going to conduct sustained military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan we should establish a proper headquarters.

We ought to offer the press the opportunity to read some doctrinal manuals so they would know what are normal military operations and procedures (any member of the press can download any joint doctrine publication from the Joint Electronic Library at this link: Move along, nothing really new or unusual to see here.


Sat, 12/06/2014 - 11:22am

In reply to by bing west

Al-Maliki is still PM and he is certainly not in a ceromional VP position position screaming about the Iraqi government and Kurds just making a deal to share oil revenue. Iran clearly has all the leverage in Iraq.

bing west

Sat, 12/06/2014 - 10:20am

The end state of Inherent Resolve is an inherent alliance with Iran. Our "advisers" must stay isolated on bases far from front lines. Iranian soldiers, advisers, generals and pilots are on the front lines with Iraqi army and Shiite militias and in the ops centers in Baghdad. All US aid is delivered through the Shiite government. All Iraqi officers know we are temporary help, certain to leave and unable to persuade the State Dept to issue visas to any Iraqis who want to leave with us. So we have no leverage, no inside information except elint and no credible mission, unless one believes advisers who cannot go on the battlefield are listened to.

Our policy of aligning as a subordinate rear echelon to Iran makes sense only if helps to lead to an ambiguous nuclear deal that the administration will advertise as its singular foreign policy achievement - at the undisclosed price of alienating all Sunni governments. Why the JCS are setting up a senior command to facilitate this masquerade is puzzling. - Bing West

Outlaw 09

Sat, 12/06/2014 - 12:06pm

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill---a simple question---do we have at all a strategy for Iraq and Syria?

Al-Qaeda's Al-Nusra Front Gains Against Rebels In Syria Preempt America’s Strategy


Sun, 12/07/2014 - 9:32pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

It just seems like you are weaving the narrative you want to weave when hard facts stand in the way. Yes, we didn't enforce the red line, but that is easy to explain. No President is bombing anyone when domestic political opinion is about 80 percent against it. Moreover, it might not be lack of action on the Ukraine. Just action you don't agree with.

With that said, we have expanded military action to more places under this Administration. This administration has performed bout 500 drone attack versus about 50 under Bush. He has expanded action in Yemen, Philippines, and numbers other places. Plus he has signed some pretty major international agreements. The recent agreement with China on climate change comes to mind. And the upcoming the Trans-Pacific Partnership also comes to mind.

Perhaps you disagree how this administration is engaging the world. But to call it "neb-isolationism" seems totally detached from the meaning of the word Isolation".

Outlaw 09

Sun, 12/07/2014 - 12:18pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

And this is why I say the US is in a neo isolationism phase--meaning if one states "soft power" is the way forward then actually enforcing a agreement that one has signed and which in 1994 indicated it would be enforced will potentially cause a decision for war makes it easier to now full understand this White Houses moves in the Ukraine.

There are some that know Russia and Putin well who openly state without a firm show of determinedness on the part of the US Russia will continue on the path that Putin envisions.

Problem is Putin knows that the White House is pulling back into fortress US and will not force the issue thus he continues-and if one looks at the above he is totally correct.

.@larthallor @BrookingsInst I was in the negotiation. There was clear understanding that US would act if Russia violated its commitments.

Outlaw 09

Sat, 12/06/2014 - 3:00pm

In reply to by Bwilliams

Where to begin----first this then I will get into the examples--but do not focus on your listed examples---pay intensive attention to the words that come from the US.

"The United States isn’t France. It is the sole superpower democracy and when it abandons its principles abroad the world has a tendency to unravel. That not only hurts the U.S. economy. It will also involve us in conflicts that are not yet on our radar and we won’t be able to ignore no matter how much we’d like to. The return of foreign policy to the front burner of American politics should be the beginning of a process that has not been there before."

By the way reread all recent Putin speeches, news conferences, and his Duma speech---he is in a massive attack on US values in general, and yet nothing, nichts, nada in push back by the US--ever wonder why?

If we look at say the last six years we see the following;

1. early departure from Iraq when in fact there was the possibility to get acceptance for immunity which the State Dept suddenly yesterday stated exists for the current "none troops on the ground"
2. involvement initially in Libya using the AF and then totally pulled out and handed over to NATO providing only support and intel---and now no plan and or strategy for what is ongoing there as well
3.redline in Syria not held to on chemical weapons in the face that chemical weapons are still being used--verified
4. constant comments on Assad needing to be removed then nothing
5. ignoring of IS even though there were constant warnings coming inbound
6. ignored the Sunni unrest which was building and clearly identified
7. stating withdrawal date for AFG without conversations with DoD
8. has allowed relations with both Israel and the KSA to degrade
9. has not been able to reach any form of nuclear settlement and probably will not reach agreement with the Iran
10 has not formulated a strategy for Syria and Iraq after a press conference stating there was one
11. has formulated no strategy for Russian expansionism based on political warfare and UW although all indications were there starting 2008
12. has formulated no real assistance concept for the Ukraine
13. allowed German to fully block the Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova from joining NATO and is still blocking them
14. made the so called Asian pivot but no real strategy
15. pulling back from several UN orgs due to funding arguments
16. de facto acceptance of joint air strikes together with the Iranian AF
17. de fact acceptance of Hezbollah and Iranian forces inside Iraq
18. continued downsizing of US forces in Europe until the Ukraine stopped it
19. no strategy at all for AQI and it's global affiliates
20. allowed massive cuts on defense budget to go through with no veto threats during government shutdown sessions and has allowed the cuts to go further in 2015 again with no veto threat
21. check the recent Sec of State Kerry's comments in general on the Ukraine--sometimes they actually run counter to what Europe is doing and closer to Russian comments
22. the internal debate on the words "incursion" vs "invasion" within the US civilian leadership around the non use of the term "invasion".
23. no strategy on the Arab Springs---and a complete turnaround on Egypt and Muslim Brotherhood
24. extensive discussions around the term "soft power"

And all in all a lot of talk centered around the terms "we cannot police the entire world and or no longer be the world's policeman" and we need to have our allies step up where and when they can support us then we work together then providing no clear guidance to NATO and the EU as to Us intentions.

Pullback fully on the Budapest 1994 Memorandum and placing blame for failure on Russia and excluding US signatures.

Pullback in challenging Russian violations on INF, two OSCE treaties for disarmament of armored vehicles, violation of the Helsinki Agreements and to a degree the Russian NATO Basic Agreements.

Press statement yesterday in Kyiv from the US Asst Dept of State indicating that Ukraine had to give up their nuclear weapons otherwise there would be no security--and it was necessary in order to go on to get further nuclear agreements with Russia.

But note this from today:
To clarify, the contrast in 2018 will be 1500 deployed Russian ICBM & SLBM warheads vs 44 US missile defense interceptors.

And that is not a pullback?

You will notice that the US is massively refraining from any lethal aid support to the Ukraine--why they are afraid it will "rock the boat with Russia" blocking future nuclear deals and an Iranian deal and in their eyes the Ukraine is not worth that "rocking".

By the way there has been strong rumint here in Europe of a de facto stand still by the US in the Ukraine in exchange for Russian support on Iran and Syria-denied by US but not adamantly denied.

Currently after a number of serious nuclear attack threats issued by Putin and leading Russian politicians, numerous simulated airborne nuclear strike exercises against the US and NATO--not a single push back by the US.

Reference TTIP---while economically it makes sense as it allows the US to expand economically it allows the US to maintain high side oversight into EU/NATO affairs from the East Coast not from say Paris or Berlin but right now no one is allowing the documents to be read until signed.

What one should be watching is the following---no major comments are being made by US senior leaders at any press confernce at the WH level---the only one carrying any messaging is Breedlove the US NATO commander---ever wonder why?


Sat, 12/06/2014 - 12:13pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

This is where you lose me. The Obama administration is anything but "Neo isolationism". We have seen a vast expansion of the use of military force globally (…) and we have seen numerous efforts to make international trade deals or other types of international agreements. I really don't grasp how anyone can perceive this administration as "Neo isolationist." Could you explain?

Outlaw 09

Sat, 12/06/2014 - 11:38am

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill---here is my response and it will be an interesting one for me.

If you look at the US foreign policy trend with the exception of the Bush years in Iraq the current administration is heck bent on a neo isolationism course ie we are "no longer the world's policeman mindset" or we cannot "afford" it which in some ways was already drifting out of the Clinton years.

Right now we are seeing an interesting "battle" between a large country and a smaller country and the inherent security question--can small countries live inside the shadows of a large country and prosper, can a small country institute the rule of law and good governance as determined by their own population without inviting open warfare by it's neighbor who feels threatened by the combination.

We in the US do not hear much from our own media about the responsibilities of this government in attempting and or not attempting to assist the Ukraine defend it's territorial integrity which was suppose to be the basis of the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 signed by no other than Clinton.

Yes they had the third largest number of nuclear weapons but Russia held the "keys" so to speak but they did have the nuclear materials that went into them.

NOTE: do not think for a moment the Iranians are not watching this game and realizing that giving up potential nuclear weapons in exchange for "guarantees" might not be exactly a great thing as they now have an example of what does happen when one does sign disarmament agreements and one superpower does "not hold to them". Would you Iran trust the superpowers as a smaller country?

In the last few days there have be some comments coming out of the Ukrainians that were involved in those days ie their first President who stated yesterday the US had applied strong pressure on the Ukraine to sign.

Then yesterday up pops the Asst Sec of State who did the 1994 negotiations and held a press conference in Kyiv.

If you take the time to thoroughly read her statement---she bluntly stated that nuclear weapons bring no security and actually increases instability and that actually the agreement was needed in order to get further nuclear deals with Russia ---so my question is was the "Ukraine sacrificed" in the name of US "security"?

So was the 1994 Memorandum a dual edged sword on behalf of both superpowers to reign in the Ukrainians from the perspective needs of each of the superpowers?

When the Maidan occurred ---what the Russians "claimed was a coup" but really the old President simply left out of fear he was going to be arrested for corruption thus not really a coup--the Russians decided to step up and take the Ukraine which they felt was theirs since the 1994 agreement and the lack of interest by the US in central Europe.

Now the Russians will argue multiple different ways and have voiced at least 15 different reasons from NATO expansion to "humiliation" but at heart they claim the central Europe, the Baltics and now the Balkans as part and parcel of their old Soviet empire.

They claim they "need an area of influence" to protect their security ---and now we shift back to the concept I previously mentioned "can smaller countries live in the shadows of large countries in a peaceful fashion"?

So just how does a larger country invade and control a smaller country without going to war?

Thus the Russia new military doctrine for UW or what some are now calling "hybrid warfare".

I question I keep raising is--- does this current US civilian leadership "see" exactly what I just mentioned and they seem to not have as they are totally focused on a bunch of black flag wavers who in the end have no direct strategic impact on the US as does what is currently going on in central Europe and regardless of what the US media says---it is in fact a "war".

Back to the US drift towards "neo isolationism" by this administration --it is strong enough to keep the US from sending lethal aid to support the Ukrainians and what I hear the US is shying away from that as the WH is afraid such aid would trigger a Russian "invasion" and worse---but wait are not Russian troops and heavy weapons already inside the Ukraine?

Even worse--again if you read the press interview yesterday previously mentioned she also stated that the US and Russia are still dealing on the nuclear disarmament front and will hold to the New START agreements--that would again also explain the massive foot dragging by the US in calling Russia's hand on their violations on the INF.

There are also comments coming out of Kyiv that the US and Germany have applied strong pressure on the Ukraine to hold to the ceasefire even though it is costing them killed/wounded troops everyday out of fear again that it would "trigger" Russia to invade and or worse--but again is not Russian troops and weapons already in the Ukraine?

If you currently look at the reactions of Poland, the Baltics, Georgia, Moldova--they sense the game of large and small and are moving closer to each other for mutual protection even if they are inside NATO as they feel NATO will not "trigger Article 5" for a bunch of rebel rousing Russian speakers inside their own countries if Russia decided to move on them as them have done in the Ukraine.

Bill C.

Sat, 12/06/2014 - 10:01am


Re: your recognition of:

a. Our rather significant action re: the "black flag wavers" (for example, our establishment of a new US military command for Iraq and Syria),

b. And, in comparison, our significant lack of action re: Putin,

What do you think is the cause and/or reasoning behind such a lack of action in, shall we say, Europe?

Might we suggest -- exactly by our lack of rhetoric and action re: Putin -- that we are signaling to the Europeans that (1) this is now their area of responsibility and their AO and that, accordingly, they (not the U.S.) need to step up to the plate accordingly?

Or do we -- and the Europeans -- both believe that, in fact, the best course of action, re: Putin, is to simply let him blow off steam -- and, indeed, let him blow himself out of the water (by, for example, overreaching and overspending, in a time of significantly shrinking funds/resources) -- this, given fact that Putin, in this regard, does seem to be his own best adversary/enemy?

(Napoleon: "If the enemy is defeating himself, make damn sure you do not get in his way." [Or words to that effect.])

Outlaw 09

Sat, 12/06/2014 - 4:23am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

As a good comparison to our seemingly total attention to only one part of the world that has us totally distracted by a bunch of black flag waving radical Islamists that many Muslims would say are not Muslims.

While we are so focused on this problem we are in fact drifting in another critical area of the world that does in fact directly impact the US.

Notice in this taken from a just released article by the Swedish Defense Research Agency and the Swedes are definitely not "warmongers" the sentence that Russia is prepared to expand their empire by military force if need be.

The black flag wavers do not have nuclear weapons, do not seem to be interested in attacking Des Moines, Iowa, and seem to be only interested in establishing a Caliphate in the ME --not on the shores of the US preaching/spreading Shar'ia law.

So what do we do on the historical date of the signing of the Budapest Memorandum where we committed to support the territorial integrity of the Ukraine---we send the same US State Department official responsible for the Memorandum to the Ukraine yesterday to give "supporting" words all the while Russia is still shelling and killing Ukrainians.

Notice while our civilian leadership can immediately find aggressive tones and words for the IS actions and send immediately troops, bombers, and weapons into the region WE on the other hand cannot figure out if it is an "incursion" and or an "invasion".

Does that make sense?

Again to the Swedish article---check the last paragraph.

From the annual address, and not least the Valdai speech,
a few things are clear. Putin’s view on global affairs is one of
competing interests and recognized areas of interests, i.e. a
classic geopolitical, realist view where small states have no
rights. As Putin recently expressed it in an interview: ‘We
are stronger, because we are right’.

Putin’s address continues Russia’s trajectory of inventing
ever-new institutions to replace the constitutional ones
that have become incapacitated by the introduction of
an authoritarian system. Instead of economic incentives,
Russia’s citizens are offered patriotism, and images of an
enemy, as reasons for working more. The Russian people are
asked to put a shoulder to the wheel, while their political
leadership will not put in the arduous work that the much needed
reforms require.

One thing is evident as 2014 draws to a close. Russia
is prepared to use military means to achieve its foreign
policy goals—and to re-draw the map of Europe in the
process. This is a severe challenge to the entire European
security system.

AND is a threat not far more serious than a bunch of black flag wavers who in the end will fall apart due to the internal dissonance of Islam.

Outlaw 09

Sat, 12/06/2014 - 1:24am

Does anyone else get the same feeling we have been down this road in 2003.

1. over 3000 none boots on the ground
2. air bombing campaign
3. new military command

Still no apparent national level strategy, thousands of refugees still on the move who we once declared was a serious problem, Assad still dropping bombs and barrel bombs on civilians while we fly drones next to his air strikes, joint air operations now with the Iranian AF, and the "allowed" use of Shia militia against Sunni civilians with massive "overreach".

And just what did we learn from our lessons learned on Iraq?---apparently nothing.

All the while a far more dangerous situation that has a nuclear button staring us in the face ---is allowed to just drift gently in the wind after not even attempting to enforce an "agreement" we signed with great fanfare.

Can honestly understand why many countries "mistrust" the US since 2003---would you?

#StraightTalk from @GeneralClark Putin the most dangerous Russian leader since Stalin