Re: Here's what I mentioned
Got it. Hit send too soon. Meant to say Syria elements are vexing. On Aug 19, 2014 9:17 AM, "John Podesta" <firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>> wrote: I think we are headed down this path in Iraq, but the Syria elements are On Aug 17, 2014 3:50 PM, "H" <firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>> wrote: Note: Sources include Western intelligence, US intelligence and sources in the region. Yes and interesting but not for this channel. On Aug 19, 2014 9:22 AM, "H" <firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>> wrote:Agree but there may be opportunities as the Iraqi piece improves. Also, any idea whose fighters attacked Islamist positions in Tripoli, Libya? Worth analyzing for future purposes.
1. With all of its tragic aspects, the advance of ISIL through Iraq gives the U.S. Government an opportunity to change the way it deals with the chaotic security situation in North Africa and the Middle East. The most important factor in this matter is to make use of intelligence resources and Special Operations troops in an aggressive manner, while avoiding the old school solution, which calls for more traditional military operations. In Iraq it is important that we engage ISIL using the resources of the Peshmerga fighters of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), and what, if any, reliable units exist in the Iraqi Army. The Peshmerga commanders are aggressive hard fighting troops, who have long standing relationships with CIA officers and Special Forces operators. However, they will need the continued commitment of U.S. personnel to work with them as advisors and strategic planners, the new generation of Peshmerga commanders being largely untested in traditional combat. That said, with this U.S. aid the Kurdish troops can inflict a real defeat on ISIL.
2. It is important that once we engage ISIL, as we have now done in a limited manner, we and our allies should carry on until they are driven back suffering a tangible defeat. Anything short of this will be seen by other fighters in the region, Libya, Lebanon, and even Jordan, as an American defeat. However, if we provide advisors and planners, as well as increased close air support for the Peshmerga, these soldiers can defeat ISIL. They will give the new Iraqi Government a chance to organize itself, and restructure the Sunni resistance in Syria, moving the center of power toward moderate forces like the Free Syrian Army (FSA). In addition to air support, the Peshmerga also need artillery and armored vehicles to deal with the tanks and other heavy equipment captured from the Iraqi army by ISIL.
3. In the past the USG, in an agreement with the Turkish General Staff, did not provide such heavy weapons to the Peshmerga, out of a concern that they would end up in the hands of Kurdish rebels inside of Turkey. The current situation in Iraq, not to mention the political environment in Turkey, makes this policy obsolete. Also this equipment can now be airlifted directly into the KRG zone.
4. Armed with proper equipment, and working with U.S. advisors, the Peshmerga can attack the ISIL with a coordinated assault supported from the air. This effort will come as a surprise to the ISIL, whose leaders believe we will always stop with targeted bombing, and weaken them both in Iraq and inside of Syria. At the same time we should return to plans to provide the FSA, or some group of moderate forces, with equipment that will allow them to deal with a weakened ISIL, and stepped up operations against the Syrian regime. This entire effort should be done with a low profile, avoiding the massive traditional military operations that are at best temporary solutions. While this military/para-military operation is moving forward, we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region. This effort will be enhanced by the stepped up commitment in the KRG. The Qataris and Saudis will be put in a position of balancing policy between their ongoing competition to dominate the Sunni world and the consequences of serious U.S. pressure. By the same token, the threat of similar, realistic U.S. operations will serve to assist moderate forces in Libya, Lebanon, and even Jordan, where insurgents are increasingly fascinated by the ISIL success in Iraq.
6. In the end the situation in Iraq is merely the latest and most dangerous example of the regional restructuring that is taking place across North Africa, all the way to the Turkish border. These developments are important to the U.S. for reasons that often differ from country to country: energy and moral commitment to Iraq, energy issues in Libya, and strategic commitments in Jordan. At the same time, as Turkey moves toward a new, more serious Islamic reality, it will be important for them to realize that we are willing to take serious actions, which can be sustained to protect our national interests. This course of action offers the potential for success, as opposed to large scale, traditional military campaigns, that are too expensive and awkward to maintain over time.
7. (Note: A source in Tripoli stated in confidence that when the U.S. Embassy was evacuated, the presence of two U.S. Navy jet fighters over the city brought all fighting to a halt for several hours, as Islamist forces were not certain that these aircraft would not also provide close ground support for moderate government forces.)
8. If we do not take the changes needed to make our security policy in the region more realistic, there is a real danger of ISIL veterans moving on to other countries to facilitate operations by Islamist forces. This is already happening in Libya and Egypt, where fighters are returning from Syria to work with local forces. ISIL is only the latest and most violent example of this process. If we don’t act to defeat them in Iraq something even more violent and dangerous will develop. Successful military operations against these very irregular but determined forces can only be accomplished by making proper use of clandestine/special operations resources, in coordination with airpower, and established local allies. There is, unfortunately, a narrow window of opportunity on this issue, as we need to act before an ISIL state becomes better organized and reaches into Lebanon and Jordan.
9. (Note: It is important to keep in mind that as a result of this policy there probably will be concern in the Sunni regions of Iraq and the Central Government regarding the possible expansion of KRG controlled territory. With advisors in the Peshmerga command we can reassure the concerned parties that, in return for increase autonomy, the KRG will not exclude the Iraqi Government from participation in the management of the oil fields around Kirkuk, and the Mosel Dam hydroelectric facility. At the same time we will be able to work with the Peshmerga as they pursue ISIL into disputed areas of Eastern Syria, coordinating with FSA troops who can move against ISIL from the North. This will make certain Basher al Assad does not gain an advantage from these operations. Finally, as it now appears the U.S. is considering a plan to offer contractors as advisors to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, we will be in a position to coordinate more effectively between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi Army.)