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Washington and London Ignored Warnings about the ISIS Offensive in Iraq
Daily Beast ^ | 6-24-14 | Jamie Dettmer

Posted on 06/24/2014 11:32:52 AM PDT by Mount Athos

For months before the fall of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, Washington and London were getting detailed warnings about jihadist plans to exploit Sunni resentment toward Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and launch an ambitious takeover of northern and western Iraq.

Kurdish military sources say the strategy of the ultra-radical Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) was telegraphed long in advance. The Kurds, who have their own autonomous region in northern Iraq and their own armed forces, monitored developing ties between the jihadists and tribal leaders as well as growing contacts with former Iraqi military officers.

The Kurds became especially alarmed at signs that ISIS had already formed a shadow government in Mosul, weeks before initiating the carefully planned takeover of the city 10 days ago. According to the same Kurdish military sources it was accomplished with ease and without serious fighting after local Iraqi commanders agreed to withdraw.

The prime minister of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, Nechirvan Barzani, says he warned Baghdad and the United States months ago about the threat ISIS posed to Iraq and the group’s plan to launch an insurgency across Iraq. The Kurds even offered to participate in a joint military operation with Baghdad against the jihadists.

Washington didn’t respond—a claim that will fuel Republican charges that the Obama administration has been dangerously disengaged from the Middle East. Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki dismissed the warnings, saying everything was under control.

The Kurds’ intelligence head, Lahur Talabani, says he handed Washington and London detailed reports about the unfolding threat. The warnings “fell on deaf ears,” he says.

Several British parliamentary delegations to Kurdistan in recent months also were warned by Kurdish politicians that Sunni resentment was boiling over and that ISIS was forming alliances apace with Sunni tribal leaders and members of the late dictator Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party.

ISIS operates in both Iraq and Syria, and has ambitions to take ever more territory, regardless of borders, in the region it calls al-Sham. The group grew out of the savage jihadist movement created by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq after the American invasion in 2003. After 2006, when Zarqawi was tracked down and killed by U.S. forces, and “the surge,” in which the Americans enlisted the aid of Sunni tribal leaders, the group was badly weakened in Iraq. But during the insurgency against the regime of Bashar Assad in neighboring Syria, which began in 2011, the organization began to gain strength at the expense of more moderate rebel groups that hoped for support form the West, which never materialized.

As the Syrian civil war intensified, the Assad regime that ISIS was supposed to be fighting adopted a strategy that actually helped spur the group’s extraordinary rise. When ISIS started gaining strength—along with a reputation for beheadings, crucifixion and other barbarities—the manipulative Assad was careful not to target it. ISIS also turned its guns on other less radical rebel groups.

Meanwhile, indirect assistance from the Assad regime came in many forms—from buying oil from ISIS-controlled wells in eastern Syria to relatively mild air strikes against ISIS compounds in contrast to the pounding other rebels suffered.

At the start of the uprising against his regime, Assad released hundreds of jihadist detainees from Syrian jails, a move that has prompted moderate Syrian insurgents to charge that ISIS is in league with Damascus and that the terrorist organization was “regime-made” and “inserted into the body of the revolution,” all part of an effort to poison the insurgency and allow Assad to argue he was fighting extremists.

The moderate Syrian Coalition has argued that the dark alliance between ISIS and Assad has included operational coordination, although no evidence of that has been provided.

Brian Fishman, a fellow with the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, sees the tie-up as being more indirect and byzantine, noting there is a difference between “an explicit partnership or an implicit alignment of interests.” And he maintains that the moderates have themselves to blame, too, when they made the “strategic blunder” of embracing jihadists at first—a move that handed Assad the opportunity to paint the whole uprising against his regime as an extremist revolt as opposed to a popular broad-based revolution.

The West fell deeper into the trap benefiting both ISIS and Assad by refraining from assisting the moderates “even when the latter confronted the increasingly powerful ISIS on the battlefield,” argues Murhaf Jouejati, a Mideast expert at the National Defense University.

On Monday, President Obama told CBS there is no link between withholding arms from moderate rebel forces in Syria and the meteoric rise of ISIS.

“When you get farmers, dentists and folks who have never fought before going up against a ruthless opposition in Assad,” he said, “the notion that they were in a position to suddenly overturn not only Assad but also ruthless, highly trained jihadists if we just sent a few arms is a fantasy.”

His comments sparked a sharp retort from Louay Safi, spokesman for the Syrian Coalition, who said the U.S. president is seeking “to cover up the inability of his administration to prevent the deterioration of the political and humanitarian situation in the Levant.” He added: “Had the Obama administration heeded the advice of the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton we would not have had the current situation in Syria or in the region as a whole.”

In her book Hard Choices, published this month, the former secretary of state says she was convinced that arming and training moderate rebel groups early in the civil war in Syria was the best way to turn the tide against Syria’s Assad but she was overruled by Obama. “The risks of both action and inaction were high, [but] the president’s inclination was to stay the present course and not take the significant further step of arming rebels,” she wrote.

Obama administration officials say at the root of that decision was a fear that advanced weaponry would leak to jihadists and be turned against the West.

When Mosul fell, ISIS took over an arsenal’s worth of weapons from the evanescing Iraqi army.

But there’s one more twist in this convoluted tale of cynical plots. Now the increasingly confident ISIS forces are saying they will move on the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, which are sacred not only to Iraqi Shiites, but to the Iranians who have been vital supporters of Assad in Syria, so his game of cultivating the most extreme of his enemies may be drawing to a close. Recently, Assad’s air force has started targeting ISIS with a vengeance.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; United Kingdom; War on Terror
KEYWORDS:
Is US policy driven too much by what Qatar & Saudi Arabia want?
1 posted on 06/24/2014 11:32:52 AM PDT by Mount Athos
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To: Mount Athos

What scares me is how many more incipient disasters are being missed.


2 posted on 06/24/2014 11:34:34 AM PDT by AU72
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To: AU72

[What scares me is how many more incipient disasters are being missed.]

What scares me more is we don’t know which ones are being missed via incompetence vs. the ones intentionally ignored.


3 posted on 06/24/2014 11:38:02 AM PDT by GraceG
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To: AU72

What scares me is how many more incipient disasters are being missed.”

They are not being missed. They are being ignored, on purpose IMO. Lerner’s emails aren’t the only things which have been erased.


4 posted on 06/24/2014 11:40:07 AM PDT by Grams A (The Sun will rise in the East in the morning and God is still on his throne.)
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To: Mount Athos

obama has done more to aid and abet al queda / ISIS-ISIL AND TERRORISM globally becasue he is ONE OF THEM. How else do you explain his conspiring with the muslim brotherhood in egypt to take out Mubarak, a loyal ally. How else do you explain his conspiring with al queda in east lybia to take out Khadaffy, who was providing incredible assistance and intel in fighting al queda AND WHO VOLUNTEERED TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY IF GUARANTEED SAFE PASSAGE WHICH OBAMA DENIED. Lybia was the LARGEST supplier of jihadis in iraq. how else do you explain the USA training and funding ISIS in Jordan, Qatar and funding and shipping arms via Qatar and Turkey. How else do you explain his releasing 5 al queda leaders in exchange for a TRTAITOR. How else do you explain his abandonment of the 65 people in Benghazi relsuting in the death of 4 and injuries to 35 others, followed by threat of loss of pensions and imprisonment and forcing to sign non disclosure agreements and constant polygraphs... IT THEY TOLD THE TRUTH. Who is tracking and controlling the manpads obamasent to ISIS in Syria. Why else refuse to attaack the columns of ISIS enroute to Mosul. Why else pull out of Iraq without a SOF agreement. Why else conspire with guatemala and Honduras to ship hundreds of thousands of CHILDREN to the USA. Why els wouldl you disarm the Border Patrol and allow an open border when 10-15% entering are from other than Mexico including Afghanistan, Iran , Iraq , Ayria, Lybia... KINDLY EXPLAIN. Obama is a TRAITOR, THE SECOND BENEDICT ARNOLD...


5 posted on 06/24/2014 11:48:20 AM PDT by zzwhale
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To: Mount Athos

I doubt this was ignored... like the invasion on the southern U.S. border, I’m betting this was not ignored, but ABETTED by this administration.


6 posted on 06/24/2014 11:51:44 AM PDT by ScottinVA (If it doesn't include border security, it isn't "reform." It's called "amnesty.")
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To: Mount Athos

Wait. This is out of the Daily Beast? This is good reporting. Did journalism on the left come back into vogue since I went to sleep last night?


7 posted on 06/24/2014 12:03:20 PM PDT by lulu16 (May the Good Lord take a liking to you!)
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To: ScottinVA

Couldn’t agree more.


8 posted on 06/24/2014 12:04:03 PM PDT by originalbuckeye (Moderation in temper is always a virtue; moderation in principle is always a vice. Paine)
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To: Mount Athos

I may be alone but I just don’t buy the “Obama is disengaged” line. The CIA and NSA aren’t disengaged. They would have the ISIS data. They are passing on that data to Obama and his staff. It is just not being acted upon. For some reason.

My theory: The rise of the the Sunnis and ISIS is simply going per The Plan. Egypt was just a glitch that will eventually be corrected. Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan are moving along just fine.


9 posted on 06/24/2014 12:04:13 PM PDT by InterceptPoint
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To: InterceptPoint

Obama Admin is spending all it’s time and resources on Scandals


10 posted on 06/24/2014 12:10:18 PM PDT by molson209 (Blank)
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To: InterceptPoint

I’m afraid you’re right


11 posted on 06/24/2014 12:10:37 PM PDT by Mount Athos (A Giant luxury mega-mansion for Gore, a Government Green EcoShack made of poo for you)
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To: Mount Athos
I call BS. We CREATED the ISIS offensive by providing weapons and training to these scum. Hasn't anyone noticed that since Assad refused to back down in Syria, these same jihadis turned their attention eastward? They will come back at Assad when they've conquered Iraq with our blessings.

Once there is a completed caliphate across the Middle East, the U.S. (regardless of who is president) will be shocked, SHOCKED I TELL YOU!, that these jihadis are murderous monsters. Maybe there will be a nice big jihadi attack on America in order to enrage us into supporting World War 3 against this terrible menace (that we created).

We're being played like a Stradivarius.

12 posted on 06/24/2014 12:33:55 PM PDT by Dr. Thorne ("Don't be afraid. Just believe." - Mark 5:36)
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To: Mount Athos

Always the smartest guy in the room, Obama doesn’t listen to anyone else. If they disagree with him, they are shown the door.

We know this from Obamacare, which was drawn up, solidified, and passed into law without any consultation with hospital administrators or physicians.

This is his pattern over his five years in office.

He may listen to the Muslim brotherhood, but he sure doesn’t listen to us.


13 posted on 06/24/2014 12:46:17 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: Mount Athos

Both country’s governments are infiltrated by islamists.


14 posted on 06/24/2014 12:53:45 PM PDT by subterfuge (Hey NSA snoop, get a real job you idiot!)
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