What’s the best way to win a war? The answer: Make it impossible for your enemies to know what’s really happening. Yesterday Saudi Arabia announced the formation of an Islamic coalition to fight terrorism.
Today some people are gloating that it’s “already collapsed.”
Saudi Arabia’s coalition of Islamic countries against terrorism is starting to look like a paper tiger.
A day after the kingdom announced with great fanfare that it would lead the 34-member alliance, a few of those so-called members announced that they weren’t necessarily part of it.
“I think it’s a blunder on their part,” said William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. “They assumed that if they called the tune other countries would fall in line.”
And so on and so forth.
Well, on April 1, 2015, the Pakistanis said that they’d sent troops to Saudi Arabia, but they were not combatants.
In reality, they were engineer commandos.
That’s about as combatant as you can get. These guys are special forces who can also blow up everything they encounter. They underwent a month of training in mountain and unconventional warfare.
On April 10, 2015, Pakistan voted to not participate in the Yemen war. The next day—April 11—the Pakistanis said that the troops they’d sent to Saudi Arabia were to protect holy sites. This announcement was made by Mushahidullah Khan, Minister for…Climate Change. How many news outlets even bothered to report what he said? At least Pakistan admitted that these were combatants after all, since guards need to have weapons and know how to use them.
Still, you don’t use engineer commandos to guard anything. They’re assault troops. That’s why they brought these purely offensive weapons.
There’s politics, and then there’s Islamic politics, which can turn deadly in an instant. Every single Islamic government that fights Islamic terrorism is walking a tightrope.
What about Malaysia?
Malaysian Armed Forces have arrived in Saudi Arabia to facilitate the evacuation of remaining Malaysians in Yemen, dismissing reports that it had joined the Saudi-led coalition to fight the rebels in the middle east country.
“As the Malaysian Chief of Defence Force, I would like to inform that the sole mission of our troops in Saudi Arabia is to facilitate the safe and smooth evacuation of the remaining Malaysian citizens in Yemen,” said Gen Tan Sri Dr Zulkefli Mohd Zin in a statement, Monday.
Fair enough. But why did the Malaysian Air Force just order Augusta Westland AW109 helicopters with a distinctive paint job?
The new helicopters (bottom) have been painted for desert combat. They’re also gunships. You don’t use them to evacuate nonexistent Malaysian nationals.
So when the Pakistanis and Malaysians sing, “They tried to put me in a coalition, but I said, ‘No! No! No!’” you need to take it with a boulder-sized grain of salt.
Islamic anti-terrorism coalition both real and imaginary
I can’t tell you what’s happening. More importantly, neither can anyone else. But I can say one thing with absolute certainty: The Saudis are neither clowns nor arch-villains trying to pull the wool over the world’s eyes. The Yemeni peace talks in Switzerland don’t involve the Saudis or any member of the Coalition. What the Saudis have said since March 26, 2015, is that they went into Yemen because of the Iranian threat. The Coalition air and ground campaigns have eliminated the immediate Iranian threat.
Now it’s up to the Yemenis to try and find a political solution. The Coalition is not “bogged down”; the reality is precisely the opposite. Although I have no active-duty contacts in any armed force on earth, other people tell me things. The Iranians and Hezbollah lost a lot of personnel in Yemen. They were targeted with every modern form of technology that exists.
Today someone sent me a link to an appearance that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu made at the behest of the think tank the American Enterprise Institute. Netanyahu’s remarks are very helpful in figuring out what’s going on.
In Syria, I do not see a simple concept. Because you choose here between a horrible secular dictatorship, or the two other prospects, that would be buttressed by Iran, that would have Iran run Syria – a horrible prospect for us – or Daesh, which is also there touching on our borders in Golan. When two of your enemies are fighting each other, I don’t say strengthen one or the other, I say weaken both, or at least don’t intervene – which is what I’ve done. I have not intervened.
He’s talking specifically about intervening to help either Assad or the people fighting him. However…
We will not allow Iran to set up a second front in the Golan. And we will act forcefully, and have acted forcefully, to prevent that. We will not allow the use of Syrian territory, from which we would be attacked by the Syrian army or anyone else, and we have acted forcefully against that. And third, we will not allow the use of Syrian territory for the transfer of game changing weapons into Lebanon into Hezbollah’s hands, and we have acted forcefully on that.We have very clear policy demands in Syria. We keep them and we’ll continue to keep them. The defense of Israel is what concerns me in Syria, first and and foremost, and on that we will continue to act forcefully.
I believe that this is an admission that the Israelis are the ones who’ve killed virtually every top Iranian and Hezbollah commander in Syria. Even Qassem Suleimani—the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force—is now out of the picture.
What everybody’s doing is putting out conflicting statements in order to keep Iran and the Islamic State off balance.
US Secretary of State John F. Kerry: We now agree with Russia. Bashar al-Assad can stay.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power: The US position hasn’t changed. Bashar al-Assad must go.
Although the US says that the Sunni Arab nations aren’t doing enough to fight the Islamic State, this is disinformation meant to keep the crazy Arab man on the street from going weapons-grade crazy. I’m “exposing” it because I believe that the war is already won, and the enemies of civilization have figured out that they’ve been had. They already know what I’m about to say. And the crazy Arab man on the street can blow it out his thawb.
This is what I think is happening.
The Israelis and the Arab League killed the top commanders of the Iranian Quds Force and Hezbollah, shaping the battlefield for a future (or present-day?) war. Iran was tricked into launching a massive offensive in northwestern Syria on October 7, 2015; I say “tricked” because the Russians said they’d provide air support, and the rebels had been loudly complaining that they were receiving no weapons from the US or the Arab League.
Problem One for Iran: Russian bombers use off-the-shelf, hand-held, consumer-grade GPS devices strapped in place with rubber bands.
Problem Two for Iran: The US and Saudi Arabia had given multiple rebel groups thousands of BGM-71 TOW antitank guided missiles (ATGMs).
Prior to the Iranian-Syrian offensives, the number of TOW missiles shipped to the rebels was increased by 900 percent. This was a trap that the US and the Saudis set for Iran.
For militias, the TOW is a defensive weapon. It has to be set up on a tripod, and the gunner has to manually guide the missile to its target. It can also be mounted on a vehicle such as a Humvee. The US and the Arab League wanted these rebels to be able to withstand a Syrian-Iranian offensive, but even though elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have been vetted, they can’t be trusted with sophisticated offensive weaponry.
Because the Russians can’t hit their targets, and due to the huge numbers of TOW missiles, the offensives that began on October 7 have been disastrous for Assad, Iran, Hezbollah, and Iraqi militias. Reports of “tank massacres” indicate that those ATGMs have made a difference. It may have been too much for Iran.
Iran is beginning to withdraw its elite fighters from the Russian-led military campaign in Syria, according to U.S. and other Western military officials, suggesting a fissure in what President Barack Obama derided last month as a “coalition of two.”
U.S. officials tell me they are seeing significant numbers of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps troops retreat from the Syrian combat zone in recent weeks, following the deaths and wounding of some of top officers in a campaign to retake Idlib Province and other areas lost this year to opposition forces supported by the West and Gulf Arab States. As a result, the Russian-initiated offensive that was launched in September seems to be losing an important ally…
On Friday at the Saban Forum at the Brookings Institution, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that Russia’s initial plan was to take back Idlib and other cities that had fallen under rebel control within three months. “It’s not going to happen because of the military difficulties,” he said, adding that the campaign to date looked to be a “failure.” He cited the “incompetence” of Syria’s army as well as “the lack of determination of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.”
If Israel says that Iran has failed, you can take it to the bank.
On October 10, 2015, a new organization called the Syrian Democratic Forces (QSD) was formed. Two weeks later they carried out an amazingly successful series of offenses in northern and northeastern Syria, targeting the Islamic State. Comprised of Kurds, Muslim Arabs, Syriac Christians, and Turkmens from thirteen militias and rebel groups, the QSD undoubtedly includes a large number of Arab special operators. Such a disparate group had to have had help from professional warriors in order to engage in trench warfare, demining, and the capture of oil facilities and weapons factories intact.
From October 31 to today, the QSD has routed the Islamic State in every battle. They’ve captured two booby-trapped dams, among the most difficult missions that infantry can undertake. Oil fields, a military base, factories, granaries, weapons depots—all have fallen intact into the hands of the QSD.
An interview with spokesman Colonel Talal Silo explains why the identify of the special forces helping the QSD is a secret.
We will not respond to every accusation leveled against us. Our policy is clear and explicit: It revolves around combating terrorism and liberating land from IS. It is premature to talk about self-rule, which we have not even considered, yet accusations are made.
In the Middle East, such accusations can be lethal. The stormy ocean of tribal, ethnic, religious, and national loyalties is nearly impossible to navigate.
IS has suffered great losses in Syria, particularly in areas where Syrian Democratic Forces waged campaigns against it.
Actually the Islamic State is being slaughtered. So far about 3000 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces have done what 36,000 Iraqi troops armed with tanks, helicopter gunships, and fighter aircraft were unable to do. The only answer is that extremely skilled special forces are in this fight. They aren’t Americans or Israelis, and I don’t think the Europeans would offer up more than a handful, due to pressures at home.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states are discussing sending special forces to Syria as part of U.S.-led efforts to fight Islamic State, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Tuesday.
“There are discussions, countries that are currently part of the coalition (like) Saudi Arabia, the (United Arab) Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain about sending in some special forces into Syria, and those discussions are ongoing. It’s not excluded,” Adel al-Jubeir told reporters.
Al-Jubeir is playing necessary politics. Arab special operators have already been sent to Syria in force. Don’t tell me that Muslims aren’t doing enough to fight the Islamic State. In two months Muslims have accomplished more than we have in a year and a half. It’s because we finally stopped with our bizarre academicians’ twaddle and let men and women of action take over.