April 18, 2015: the post below bothered me overnight. In "fairness," I really think the drop in the stock market yesterday was simply an opportunity to take profits, and once the market began to drop, the computers took over. Most likely it was the Greek and the Chinese economy story that drove the market in the first place, but the Mideast is certainly heating up.
This morning I see that ISIS claims bombing in "Iraqi haven" of Erbil. This city lies a short distance southeast of Mosul, just north of Kirkuk. According to Wiki:
The Kirkuk oil field has ever since [its discovery in 1927] remained the most important part of northern Iraqi oil production with over 10 billion barrels (1.6 billion cubic metres) of proven remaining oil reserves in 1998. After about seven decades of operation, Kirkuk still produces up to 1 million barrels per day (160,000 cubic metres per day), almost half of all Iraqi oil exports.So, that's to the north where Iraqi forces re-took the city of Mosul after a heavy investment of resources, men, materiel, and cooperation of the allies.
Much closer to Baghdad is the news coming out of Ramadi, see below.
Another story in today's WSJ is an example of how far the terrorists have come in re-drawing maps in the mideast. It turns out that terrorist groups are now in control of another provincial capital in Syria:
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad blamed Turkey in remarks published Friday for the fall last month of Syria’s northwestern city of Idlib to Islamic fighters, saying Ankara provided “huge support”—logistic and military—that played the key role in the defeat of his forces.
Idlib’s fall was a major blow to Assad’s government. The city was captured by opposition fighters led by al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, the Nusra Front, and the ultra-conservative Ahrar al-Sham group.
It was the second provincial capital to fall to militants during Syria’s civil war. The city of Raqqa fell in 2013 and is now in the hands of Islamic State militants.So now we have al-Qaida (a resurgence it seems), al-Sham (new boys on the block), and ISIS.
And, of course, no update on Yemen and the Iranian "armada" that is headed there to support the rebels.
Now this story. The Washington Post is reporting that thousands of Iraqis are fleeing towards Baghdad as ISIS makes inroads --
Thousands of families fleeing Iraq’s western city of Ramadi choked checkpoints leading to Baghdad on Friday, after an Islamic State advance spread panic and left security forces clinging to control.
A column of traffic several vehicles wide snaked for miles at a checkpoint in Sadr al-Yusufiyah, on the edge of Baghdad province, as minibuses, cars and trucks picked up families who crossed by foot carrying their possessions in bags and wheelbarrows.
Suhaib al-Rawi, the governor of Anbar province, of which Ramadi is the capital, described it as a human disaster on a scale the city has never witnessed.
U.S. and Iraqi officials have warned that the city is at risk of falling to the Islamic State despite seven months of airstrikes by U.S. planes in Anbar. Such a loss would be a serious blow to Iraq’s government, which recently announced a military campaign for the province after retaking the militant stronghold of Tikrit, and to the international effort to push back the militant group, whose gains in Ramadi have demonstrated an ability to create chaos even while under pressure.Seven months of airstrikes. Something tells me the colonels at Air War College are hearing from their US Army colleagues about "boots on ground."
Time to look at the map again.
So, this is pretty much where we stand at the moment in the Mideast --
- Iraq is no longer functioning as a "state" -- US assessment
- ISIS is moving towards Baghdad
- Iran is sending an "armada" of 7 to 9 ships to assist the rebels in Yemen
- Obama promised a few days ago to expedite weapons/ammunition requested by Saudi Arabia
- Obama's one-sided agreement with Iran provided the opening Putin needed to send missiles to Iran