Introduction — Nov 8, 2018
Russian air strikes are estimated to have killed more than 86,000 militants since it first entered the Syrian conflict in September 2015. Readers will note that by contrast the U.S. has been a little more vague about the numbers of militants its forces have actually killed. With civilians often bearing the brunt of casualties wrought by U.S. firepower.
Why this discrepancy in casualties inflicted? Are the Russians more determined fighters?
In this particular conflict they may indeed be. Readers will recall images from the conflict of long convoys of ISIS pick-up trucks stretching across the desert sands. They would have made ideal targets but for some strange reason we never heard of Western air strikes on them.
Even though the militant convoys were travelling in broad daylight they seemed completely unconcerned about the possibility of air strikes.
Russia’s intervention changed that. So we no longer see long convoys of militant pickups and four-wheel drive vehicles snaking across desert roads.
Put that together with reports that the Western powers “allowed” ISIS commanders to escape and it begins to look like the West is colluding with the Sunni militants.
How else does one explain the fact that ISIS continued to advance into 2014, even though U.S. forces were in the region ostensibly to fight the militants?
So now we get reports like the following from the New York Times, which effectively provides a cover story to conceal what amounts to complicity between the U.S. and its ISIS proxies. Because that’s what they are. The U.S., Israel and their gulf allies are using the Sunni militants to do their dirty work.
First they were used in an attempt to oust President Assad, which very nearly succeeded, until Russia intervened.
The West hasn’t dispensed with its Sunni militants proxies just yet, however. So now, according to the New York Times, the U.S. backed advance on the militants stronghold appears to have inexplicably stalled. Giving the militants time to regroup, rearm and even rest a little too. So that the NYT can now confidently report that ISIS is,
a still-potent threat as it pivots from its battlefield losses in Iraq and Syria to directing guerrilla insurgencies in the Middle East and beyond
In other words, the NYT like the rest of the corporate media, is helping to sustain the illusion that the U.S. and its allies are actually fighting the militants. When in reality they are using them as proxies to wreak destruction against any regime the West chooses. Ed.
Fight Against Last Vestige of ISIS in Syria Stalls, to Dismay of U.S.
Eric Schmitt — New York Times Nov 6, 2018
An American-backed military offensive has stalled against the Islamic State’s last vestige in eastern Syria.
Booby traps, land mines and a militant counterstrike during a fierce sandstorm after the campaign began in September have knocked the coalition back on its heels.
And last week, the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-led militia that is fighting the Islamic State with American help, suspended operations after Kurdish positions farther north were shelled by Turkey — not far from United States advisers.
American diplomats and generals rushed to ease tensions with the Turks, who consider Kurdish fighters terrorists despite their partnership with the United States.
But the episode underscores the shifting nature of the fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, a still-potent threat as it pivots from its battlefield losses in Iraq and Syria to directing guerrilla insurgencies in the Middle East and beyond.
“Although ISIS’s safe haven in Iraq and Syria has largely collapsed, its global enterprise of almost two dozen branches and networks, each numbering in the hundreds to thousands of members, remains robust,” Russell Travers, the acting head of the National Counterterrorism Center, told senators in Washington last month
Last week, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack on buses carrying Coptic Christians to a monastery in Egypt, which killed seven people and wounded 19 others. Dutch officials said in late September that they foiled a large, multisite terrorist Islamic State attack there.
In Jordan, state intelligence officials said they had worked closely with the C.I.A. to thwart more than a dozen terrorist plots in the past several months in the Middle East and Europe.
A classified American military program in Jordan, called Operation Gallant Phoenix, is scooping up data collected in commando raids in Syria and Iraq and funneling it to law enforcement agencies in Europe and Southeast Asia, according to United States military and intelligence officials who described details of the initiative on condition of anonymity because of its secretive nature.
In Afghanistan, the Islamic State’s local branch has conducted a spate of high-profile attacks against civilian and government targets in Kabul while carving out a sanctuary in the country’s east, Mr Travers said. Other Islamic State affiliates in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Libya, Yemen and western Africa continue to mobilize fighters and execute attacks against local governments and group rivals, fomenting and leveraging instability in these already beleaguered areas.
“ISIS remains an adaptive and dangerous adversary, and is already tailoring its strategy to sustain operations amid mounting losses,” he said.