[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“]
“My greatest of amusements, reading” – Thomas Jefferson
DOUBLE-TOP BILLING!!!!! Special Iraq Edition…..
#1 Intelwire (J.M. Berger) Gambling on the Caliphate
….In the statement, ISIS claimed that it had fulfilled all the legal requirements for the caliphate and that all existing jihadi groups and indeed all Muslims around the world were religiously obligated to swear loyalty to the new Caliph Ibrahim (using the name provided by ISIS in the course of proving that Baghdadi has the required lineage for the title).
Prior to this pronouncement, my assessment was that there was almost no way ISIS could exit June in worse shape than it entered the month, and that still holds, but July is beginning to look like an open question. ISIS, an al Qaeda breakaway group, had made a bold move to seize territory in Iraq that had resulted in tremendous gains in both equipment and money. Even if it lost all of the territory it gained in June, it would still retain many of those spoils, with new clout, status and physical assets to compete with the other jihadi groups operating in Syria and near the Iraq border.
The declaration of the caliphate is a massive gamble that puts many of these gains at risk, although the potential benefits are also substantial. Here’s a quick rundown of the moving parts:
# 2 War on the Rocks (Peter J. Munson) – Iraq and the City of Man
….The story, vastly simplified, is that Iraq is a cobbled-together country, like Germany, Italy, France and Spain. Despite all the discussion of Iraq’s seams, it really is not all that unique. For a time, the pieces of the country were relatively cohesive and the various peoples coexisted and even prospered in the urban centers.
But bad governance turned to disastrous governance. Saddam Hussein and his henchmen played groups against each other, using patronage, tribalism and even a re-Islamization campaign to shore up support, while brutalizing the Kurds and Shia who could not be bought. This supercharged atmosphere of terror and mistrust ignited quickly in the wake of the 2003 invasion.
Once-routine, even cordial sectarian intermixing quickly fell apart as the extreme violence of a minority forced segregation and xenophobia. From 2004 through 2008, Iraq descended into chaos, even as over 100,000 American and coalition troops fanned out into the cities to keep the peace and kill the killers. When a fragile calm began to return, some imagined that eventually things would turn out livable.
This is what we all hoped for. Closure. Validation. Peace. Sanctity. Humans reach for the City of God, but it is not to be had here on Earth. AsAugustine wrote, “the earthly city is generally divided against itself by litigation, by wars, by battles, by the pursuit of victories that bring death with them or at best are doomed to death.” The city of man
Eeben Barlow – Carving up the Continent
As a continent, Africa remains under the constant threat of destabilisation along with numerous internal, intractable crises aimed at fuelling suspicion and exploiting differences amongst the populace. These threats are aimed at creating fractious states that will be ripe for foreign intervention and ultimately the division of countries.As a general guideline, the development of tensions along with destabilisation and revolution follows a predictable pattern in resource-rich countries:
S. Anthony Iannarino – How to Spend Time Thinking
….Thinking takes more time than you think.
Unless you schedule time to think, to really do nothing else but think, you won’t do it. You make time to exercise your body so that it stays strong, healthy, and so that it serves you well. You have to do the same thing for your mind.
Schedule time when you can be alone to do nothing but think. This isn’t time to plan your next week, even though you might have ideas about what you need to put on your agenda. It isn’t time to work on a project, even though you may generate ideas about those projects. Just block the time to be alone with absolutely no agenda but thinking.
If you want to make this time more powerful and more productive, do it first thing in the morning.
Chuck Spinney – Maneuver Warfare: German Experiences in WWII
….Expanding beyond the close support theme, the remainder of this series of very important historical interviews was conceived and organized by Captain Ratley and Col. Dilger, then executed by the team of Col. Richard Hallock and Pierre Sprey. The following reports list of reports are links to the cumulative product of their efforts. Special thanks goes to LTC Greg Wilcox (U.S. Army Ret.), also a reformer, for making these unique historical documents widely accessible in electronic format. Maneuver Warfare in WW II from a German perspective with emphasis on operational and tactical employment levels on the Eastern Front.