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Surprise, Surprise ... Air Strikes are Not Working Against ISIS

LEANING RIGHT-Surprise, Surprise - Air Strikes Against ISIS Are Not Working. Watch Out Here Comes ISIS! 

Does this surprise anybody?  The Pentagon advised against air strikes but who are they to challenge the wisdom of a preside

nt who ran a store front in Chicago. 

Air strikes against Isis targets in northern Syria have failed to stop the militants from advancing towards the center of the city of Kobani, Kurds have said, in the latest indication that aerial power alone may not defeat the jihadists. 

Fighting between the Islamist militants and Syrian Kurds continued unabated despite another volley of coalition air strikes in and around the Kobani enclave, Idris Nassan, Kobani’s “foreign affairs minister”, pointed out. 

“There are fierce clashes between Isis and YPG [People’s Defense Corps] fighters, at the moment mainly to the south-east of the city. ISIS now stands at two kilos from the city center,” Nassan said by phone. “I can hear the bombs and shells here.” 

According to Nassan, the situation was “under control for now”, but he underlined that air strikes had not deterred a further ISIS advance. 

“Air strikes alone are really not enough to defeat ISIS in Kobani,” he stressed. “They are besieging the city on three sides, and fighter jets simply cannot hit each and every ISIS fighter on the ground.” 

He said ISIS had adapted their tactics to military strikes from the air. “Each time a jet approaches they leave their open positions, they scatter and hide. What we really need is ground support. We need heavy weapons and ammunition in order to fend them off and defeat them.” 

In Washington, the Pentagon listed the latest batch of air strikes unleashed on targets in Syria and Iraq, but made no mention of any attacks in or around Kobani. US firepower was concentrated on fighters near al-Mayadin, hundreds of miles to the south-east, and Raqqa, 70 miles east of Kobani. 

In Washington, military hawks continue to argue for an escalation of the war in Syria and Iraq with the deployment of US ground troops – a move that Barack Obama has repeatedly ruled out. 

“The strategy of aerial bombardment is not going to work to destroy ISIS,” the South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham told CNN. “At the end of the day, you cannot destroy ISIS without a ground component.” He argued that training the inexperienced fighters of the Free Syrian Army in Saudi Arabia was “militarily unsound” and “will lead to their slaughter”. 

His words were echoed in London by the former chief of the defence staff general Sir David Richards. 

“Air power alone will not win a campaign like this,” he told the Andrew Marr Show. “It isn’t actually a counter-terrorist operation. This is a conventional enemy in that it has armor, tanks, artillery, it is quite wealthy, it holds ground and it is going fight. So therefore you have to view it as a conventional military campaign.” 

Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, disagreed. “How you respond is not quite as straightforward as David Richards, much as I respect him, suggests,” he said. “I don’t think it is a question of simply ramping up conventional armed forces again as if we were fighting state to state conflicts.” 

Kobani has emerged as the most important flashpoint between Kurds and jihadists in Syria, because of the strategic importance of the city and the sheer numbers of Kurds who sought refuge there in recent months. More than 100,000 have fled to Turkey in the face of the ISIS advance, sharply aggravating historic tensions between Turks and Kurds. On Sunday, a stray shell hit a village on the Turkish side of the border, injuring five people. 

Several MPs and representatives of Kurdish groups in Turkey arrived at the border to show solidarity with Syrian Kurds and to form a “human chain” stretching along villages bordering Kobani. 

Meanwhile, Saleh Muslim, co-chair of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union party (PYD), went to Ankara this weekend to hold meetings with Turkish security officials to discuss possible Turkish assistance in defending Kobani against Isis. Turkey’s government has vowed it will not sit idly by and let Kobani fall. 

Turkish media reported that security officials in Ankara urged Muslim to convince the YPG, the armed wing of the PYD that is currently battling Isis in Kobani, to join the ranks of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and to “take an open stance against the Syrian regime” of Bashar al-Assad. 

“We are calling on the international community to help us defend Kobani,” said Nassan. “Mr Muslim’s trip to Ankara is part of that call. Since Turkey agreed to join the international coalition to fight Isis, we ask them to help us, too.” 


 

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He said the exact outcome of the meetings remained unclear, but hinted that Muslim had asked Ankara to allow for the PYD, the Syrian Kurdish affiliate of the better-known Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), to receive arms from outside of Syria. 

“If Isis takes Kobani, they will be right on the border with Turkey. This concerns not only us, but Turkey, too.” 

Why even ask whether ISIS will take Kobani. Why not ask when ISIS takes Kobani. 

ISIS popped on the global radar in June with its attack on Mosul. 

And in the span of just two months has created its own black market for Iraqi crude. 

Oil is something very dear to Los Angeles and Southern California. 

"The scale is actually sizable in that they are able to export up to $3 million a day of oil,” said Theodore Karasik of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis. 

Now this may be a small sum by global standards but if left unchecked ISIS could earn more than $1 billion a year from its oil operations in Iraq. It made that charge on June 10 into Mosul and now has four oil facilities in Mosul. And if you go down into Kirkuk which has big oil deposits but smaller operations, it has a total of 80,000 barrels of capacity per day. 

What ISIS lacks is refining capacity, unable to wrestle control of the strategic Baiji refinery south of Mosul. 

Energy strategists say ISIS is selling Iraqi oil at $25 to $60 a barrel, a deep discount on the global benchmark of about $100 a barrel. 

But black market distribution, even for basic crude, in this part of the world is well-established. 

"In northern Iraq people have been stealing oil, taping oil from pipelines for years in small volumes so there is already that infrastructure and those middle men who know how to trade this stuff,” said Robin Mills, a Middle East energy analyst. 

Islamic militants plied their energy trade in eastern Syria, seizing oil and gas assets for the past few years. In early June under the banner of ISIS, they took control of Syria's biggest field in Deir Ezzour province. 

Opposition Turkish parliamentarian Ali Ediboglu, based in the country's south bordering Syria, claims "$800 million worth of oil that ISIS obtained ... is being sold in Turkey.” 

With U.S. military intervention, strategists say the Kurds have kept ISIS out of Kirkuk's super oil field, capping for now the group's new found wealth. 

The admonition once again is that the US should develop our oil resources, which are more than the rest of the world combined, and kiss the Middle East Good Bye. 

Just wait until tomorrow and watch out.

 

(Kay Martin is an author and a CityWatch contributor. His new book, Along for the Ride, is now available. He can be reached at  kaymartin@hotmail.com This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

-cw

 

 

 

 

CityWatch

Vol 12 Issue 81

Pub: Oct 7, 2014