• The Example of Kobane

    October 22, 2014

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Iraq, Syria


    Only last week, when Turkey refused to assist Kurdish fighters in the Syrian city of Kobane, even as those Kurds were losing ground to ISIS fighters, and the U.S. was directing its airstrikes against far-away targets in Iraq, Secretary of State John Kerry said while the U.S. was deeply concerned about the tragedy in Kobane, Kobane did not define the strategy for the coalition with regard to ISIS.

    Shifting Perspectives
    As the U.S. sensed Kobane would fall, it tried then to distance itself from the failure. However, after domestic media and opinion started to criticise what appeared to be a failure of the Obama plan for Iraq and Syria, air resources were suddenly shifted away from Iraq and onto Kobane. ISIS seemed to have pulled back, the Kurds seemed to have moved forward, and the U.S. began hinting at victory.

    Part of the U.S. strategy has been to resupply the Kurds from the air, necessary because Turkey will not allow resupply overland across its border. Such supply drops don’t always go right, and ISIS fighters seized at least one cache of weapons airdropped by U.S.-led coalition forces that were meant to supply Kurdish militiamen. The cache of weapons included hand grenades, ammunition and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

    On Tuesday, Islamic State loyalists on social media posted sarcastic thank you notes to the United States, including one image that said, “Team USA.”

    And So What?
    The badly-aimed weapons drop can be seen as more of a small embarrassment than any great strategic loss. True enough, but looking too closely at a single failed airdrop obscures the larger picture.

    Though small in scale, the weapons ISIS received from the United States underscore that the group’s most sophisticated arms, and deadliest weapons, come from the U.S. Unless and until America can get control of the weapons it is pushing into battle (it can’t), the reality of Americans and their allies being killed by their own tools of war is not something to ignore.

    Destroy Kobane to Save It
    “Winning” in Kobane accomplishes nothing really. The city is nearly destroyed, reminding one of the Vietnam war-era remark that it was necessary to destroy the village of Ben Tre to “save it.” Over 200,000 refugees have left the city, with questions about how they can ever return to resume their lives given such devastation. The decision not to intervene by the Turks exposed the fragility of the hastily assembled U.S. coalition, setting up future confrontations among allies with very different goals and agendas for this war.

    Meanwhile, as attention and limited resources are tied up in a battle of questionable strategic import, ISIS launched fifteen near-simultaneous attacks on Kurdish forces in northern Iraq on Monday in what Kurdish government officials said was a fierce and renewed push for territory. ISIS also launched attacks against Mosul Dam, a strategic prize, and also renewed its offensive on the Sinjar mountain range in northern Iraq. This is an organization aware of broader goals, and not focused on symbolic “victories.”

    So be suspect if at some future date the U.S. declares Kobane a victory, an example of how ISIS can be beat. The city may very well end up as an example from this war, though perhaps not the one the U.S. intends it to be.

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  • Recent Comments

    • teri said...


      Let’s not mince words here. The fact that the US is air-dropping (AIR-DROPPING FUCKING PALLETS OF THESE WEAPONS. FUCKING AIR-DROPPING THEM LIKE THEY WERE MRE’S! DO YOU GET WHAT I AM SAYING HERE?) arms all over the Middle East, just dropping weaponry hither and yon, is a dead give-away to what this is. We want the ME in complete chaos, we want ISIS armed so we can continue forever in this all-war-all-the-time, arm-everyone policy. That is clearly the intent. This is not the act of an intelligent Army belonging to an intelligent country at any time in history anywhere on the planet. You think Attila left weapons behind as he moved forward? Did Alexander ship swords ahead of his army addressed to “Friends of Greece” and a notation “To only be opened by a Macedonian ally: the rest of you better not touch this package or else”? Shit, even Hitler was willing to blow up his own country before letting the infrastructure and Nazi Army equipment fall to the Allies. We are simply dropping arms out of planes now, in the hopes that someone will come along and use them to blow someone else up. And do NOT tell me that we had no idea this shit was dropped near the ISIS forces instead of the Kurd guys – we have satellites and intelligence drones running 24 hours a day gathering information. We have “advisors” on the ground. We knew where ISIS was, I guarantee you. And that is exactly why we dropped them where we did.

      I refuse to call this an “error”, a “bad decision” or even a “fiasco”, because it is so stupid it is simply unbelievable as a “mistake” someone made. (“Gosh darn that Billy Bob, he’s always leaving grenades around.”) The people running this country are not stupid. Unspeakably evil, twisted, rapacious bullshitters, but not stupid. This was done deliberately. None of this will end well, and it is not supposed to; at least not for most of us.

      Going to make a hell of a lot of jack for Raytheon, though.

      Bottom line is that our economy is hanging by a thread and the only thing they can figure out to do is start as many wars as possible. Boosts the old GDP.

      10/22/14 7:53 PM | Comment Link

    • Linda J said...


      I have to agree with teri. Put yourself in the place of the people who were living in that town and the ones who are now dying there. Raytheon profits are waaaaaay more important to the powers that be than you or your kids lives.

      Remember Gaza.

      10/23/14 4:33 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      quote”We want the ME in complete chaos, we want ISIS armed so we can continue forever in this all-war-all-the-time, arm-everyone policy. That is clearly the intent.”unquote

      ummm, with all due respect teri.. “we” is a mistake. WE, as in “We the People” don’t have a goddamned thing to say about it. If “we” did, every last soldier would be home, our infrastructure would be repaired, our economy would improve by leaps and bounds, and all the “defense” industries would be walking on eggshells, notwithstanding a Plutocracy shaking in it’s boots for fear of being tarred and feathered. In reality, Eisenhower was dead on. The Military/Industrial complex, while reaping the rewards of owning the Congress, merely follows the orders of the Corporatacracy. See the history of the Dulles brothers/CIA/United Fruit for living proof.

      quote”This is not the act of an intelligent Army belonging to an intelligent country at any time in history anywhere on the planet.”unquote

      Exactly what the Oligarchy had in mind. Meanwhile, they’re clinking glasses of $1k per bottle champagne at the top of the Burj Kahlifa while toasting to their “Mission Accomplished”!!

      10/23/14 2:59 PM | Comment Link

    • teri said...


      I only used “we” to distinguish the US from other countries, Pitch. I don’t mean “we, the American people”. Although, I must say that based on the amount of military worship and patriotic America-number-one bullcrap I see in comments about this whole ISIS shit-fest, an awful lot of “we, the American people” seem to think we ought to be dropping bombs in more places than we already are and killing more people than we already do. “We” are still signing up for the military or joining mercenary groups like Academi in pretty high numbers, and almost all of “us” worship our “warriors” without any thought about what they are actually doing around the globe. Shit, I just read an article about a veteran who was riding coach on a commercial plane; the attendant wouldn’t let him hang his uniform in the First Class closet and suggested he fold it and put it in his overhead compartment. She was later forced to issue a public apology to the brave warrior for this slight. 1600 comments attached to this article and ALL of them agreed that “disrespecting the uniform” is the same as “disrespecting the armed services” and that the attendant should have been fired for the mere suggestion that he rumple his uniform. Doesn’t matter that it is only the army personnel who have some mandate to “respect” their uniforms and that it is not a civilian duty to “respect” the armed services. Or worship their clothing. Dumb-ass Americans act like a soldier’s uniform is some holy relic, the Shroud of Turin or something.

      Also, given that an inordinate number of “us” are getting ready to vote even more Republicans, Tea-baggers, and fake Democrats into Congress than ever, I would say that repairing infrastructure, improving the economy, and decreasing Pentagon spending is not uppermost on “our” minds. If these things were important to “us”, “we” wouldn’t have tolerated all the treasonous acts that these thugs and grifters have perpetrated since 9/11; acts against the population that have vastly increased in number and magnitude since ’08. I’d like to think that the majority disagree with what the US as a nation has come to, but I don’t think they do. I rather think most of us would actually give up our social security, etc. and allow the continued selling-off of our assets in blind support of global US hegemony. (Most of us, in fact, would only argue that the veterans shouldn’t face the same austerity the rest of us do.) The number of people who want what you think they want is actually very small, I’m sorry to say. Almost 70 % of Americans now support the idea of bombing Syria and Iraq (again) to “get” ISIS. It does not dawn on them that there may be another way, that we are broke-ass broke, and that they will have to pay for this one way or the other.

      People are stupid, Pitch. Americans are, by and large, REALLY stupid.

      10/23/14 4:06 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      “Americans are, by and large, REALLY stupid.”

      You know…morons.

      PS: The term on this site is TDCOTP(TM.

      10/23/14 10:51 PM | Comment Link

    • teri said...



      What’s that mean?

      10/24/14 1:07 PM | Comment Link

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