Local media outlet Rudaw reported Sunday that witnesses had pointed out one of the graves to officials the day before. The witnesses told them the grave, near the Sinjar Technical Institute, contained the remains of 78 women between the ages of 40 and 80 years old.
The gruesome discovery was followed by the finding of another grave Sunday 10 miles west of Sinjar believed to contain the bodies of about 50 men. Both graves have yet to be excavated.
Continue reading Kurds retake town of Sinjar from Islamic State, find mass graves.
Ah, sorry: ‘conflict.’ That’s what we call wars when we don’t want to call them wars. It’s sort of a tradition, for Democrats: see Korea, Vietnam, and Serbia. At any rate: …and so it begins.
The White House will announce Friday that a small number of U.S. special operations forces will be sent into Syria, according to a senior U.S. official.
The senior U.S. official said that the forces will be stationed in northern Syria and work alongside groups with a proven track record of fighting ISIS. The move will be described as a “shift” but not a “change” in U.S. strategy against ISIS, the official added.
Continue reading Welcome to Barack Obama’s Syrian War.
So, last week we and the Kurds and the Iraqis – or the Kurds and the Iraqis and us – went and did a hostage rescue mission in Islamic State (IS) territory. It was, by all accounts, a highly successful mission: hostages were freed, the base the hostages were in was then obliterated by the US Air Force, and ‘we*’ lost only one man to combat (Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler). As combat raids in a war zone go, this one ended very well.
Assuming, of course, you’re allowed to call it ‘combat,’ and you’re allowed to call it a ‘war.’ Which is to say: you’re not a member of the Obama administration. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, courtesy of Andrew Malcolm: Continue reading Why the Obama administration can’t admit that we’re at war in Iraq and Syria.
FIND OUT WHO LEAKED THIS, AND HAVE HIM OR HER ARRESTED. I am not joking.
Last weekend, the White House announced that the U.S. had dropped 50 tons of ammunition to Syrian Arabs fighting the Islamic State. Some officials now say that the new Arab coalition was a front and that Kurdish groups received most of the weapons — as the U.S. intended.
One senior administration official who works on the issue told us that the White House knew that the coalition was likely to pass on most if not all of the weapons to the Kurds.
Continue reading Some idiot Obama administration official opened his/her pie-hole on arming Syrian Kurds.
As in, last month. The AP article mentioned at the link suggests that the gas – used, of course, by Islamic State, because death cults would find the thought of poison gas congenial – is either left over from the Saddam era (BECAUSE SOME JACKASS IN THE OVAL OFFICE LET ISLAMIC STATE OVERRUN SYRIA), or else was made recently in Mosul (BECAUSE SOME JACKASS IN THE OVAL OFFICE LET ISLAMIC STATE OVERRUN PARTS OF KURDISTAN). I will leave it to my readers to decide which is the more alarming scenario.
By the way: what is going on in Iraq and Syria right now under Barack Obama is what the antiwar movement pretended had happened in Iraq under George W Bush. Personally, I would have preferred that we never actually got to see what all of that would have looked like for real. Then again, I also would have preferred that the Democrats had elected somebody who knew how to properly fight a war.
Alternative title: So, we may be about to see a constitutional crisis in Turkey.
Short version: the ruling government in Turkey didn’t have that great an election night.
Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has suffered his biggest setback in 13 years of amassing power as voters denied his ruling party a parliamentary majority for the first time since 2002 and gave the country’s large Kurdish minority its biggest voice ever in national politics.
[snip] Continue reading Recep Erdogan receives electoral rebuke in Turkish parliamentary elections.
Operating from the Chromebook, so I only *believe* that Ted Cruz here is calling for us to arm the Ukranians and the Kurds:
…but if Ted Cruz didn’t, he really should have. This is getting ridiculous: and, the Democratic party’s fond memories to the contrary, abandoning South Vietnam to the forces of evil was not a good idea. Certainly it’s not something to emulate now…
Basically, the situation is as follows: the Kurds are advancing into Islamic State territory, now that the USAF has resumed its customary role of ‘stand-in for Old Testament angels*.’ Kurdish forces have just retaken a strategic mountain that gives them an excellent position to strike at Mosul. And what is Mosul?
Mosul is a mainly Sunni city which Kurdish forces say they do not intend to recapture on their own.
‘Intend.’ Useful word, that. Because it’s also a city that the Kurds more or less still considers ‘theirs.’
*Refresh your memory on that. As many people have noted, there’s a reason why the first words out of an angel’s mouth have traditionally been Fear not.
When this came out, it was a ‘question’ who was doing it….
The Obama administration has begun directly providing weapons to Kurdish forces who have started to make gains against Islamic militants in northern Iraq, senior U.S. officials said today.
Previously, the U.S. had insisted on only selling arms to the Iraqi government in Baghdad, but the Kurdish peshmerga fighters had been losing ground to Islamic State (IS) fighters in recent weeks.
U.S. air strikes have been key to redressing the balance over weekend, allowing Kurdish forces to retake two towns yesterday in one of their first victories since the uprising began in June.
Continue reading CIA now directly arming Kurds.
Ross Douthat makes a decent case for formalizing the Kurds’ status as an American client state* – basically, he’s arguing that the combination of supporting an existing relationship dovetails neatly with our instinctive dislike of seeing people being eaten by monsters** – but there’s a practical reason for doing so as well. Basically, if we don’t do it, somebody else will. Most likely, Turkey.
And Turkey is… a special situation right now. The guy running it is a bit… well. Erm. He’s the kind of guy that, if he was running the place back when I was a kid, the best that we*** could have said about him would have been Well, at least Edrogan’s not a Commie. I don’t think that we want him to be the Kurds’ quartermaster. It would be… contraindicated. Continue reading Best to grab the Kurds as our client-state *now*, what-what?