Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Breedlove comment on false narrative creation

... One of the first aspects of the hybrid war is to attack credibility and to try to separate a nation from its support mechanisms, the general said.
“Informationally, this is probably the most impressive new part of this hybrid war, all of the different tools to create a false narrative,” he said. “We begin to talk about the speed and the power of a lie, how to get a false narrative out, and then how to sustain that false narrative through all of the new tools that are out there.”
Military tools remain relatively unchanged, he said. “But how they are used or how they are hidden in their use, is the new part of this hybrid war,” the general said. “How do we recognize, how do we characterize and then how do we attribute this new employment of the military in a way that is built to bring about ambiguity?”...http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/nato-commander-breedlove-discusses-implications-of-hybrid-war

bth: The Small Wars Journal is worth reading and this article in full.  My surprise given Breedlove's recent battering he took from the German Foreign Minister and Der Spiegel is:
1. If you want to maintain credibility your narrative needs to stay close to the truth.
2. NATO must actually release credible and verifiable information about Russian troop movements into Ukraine.  Unfortunately the world isn't willing to take Breedlove's word on the matter. 
3. Breedlove's discussion is focused on new methods of distribution, namely Russian planting of false stories in the news, creation of credible but propaganda blogs supporting the Russian storyline and use of a large number of trolls that hit major news stories and blogs bombarding them with alternate narratives and conspiracy theories almost on queue. No doubt his plan is to pay some US defense contractor like Booz Allen to create its own army of drone minded contractors and sergeant level PR guys.  The modern technical methods of using the internet being used so effectively by the Russians were refined by the Israelis a couple of years go, 
4. And the basic principals of false narratives and big lies are easily traced to WWII Germany and really back at least to Napoleon.
5. Breedlove's proposed response seems locked in a military mindset.
6. Sadly the biggest problem is that the 'truth' about Russian involvement in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine is very scary and people will find all kinds of reasons not to confront this reality.  It is very hard to wake a man who pretends to be asleep.

Here is another article on the subject that makes the point, modern methods allow separation of the source of the false narrative from its actual source. http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/international/europe/2015/03/18/nato-allies-brace-for-russias-hybrid-warfare/24979545/

Here also is an article which is compelling from RT where the Russians are already outing and bashing to NATO proposal with frankly some logical and effective arguments. http://rt.com/op-edge/243237-eu-russia-propaganda-counter-war/ The general thrust of their evolving narrative is that NATO and specifically the US are the ones pushing Russia and Europe into war.  Given the lose of credibility the US encountered with Iraq, it is not surprising that this narrative would have traction.

Islamic State revenue stream March 2015

Islamic State’s revenue stream:
  • $500 million: Seizing state-owned banks in Iraq
  • More than $300 million: Skimming government employee paychecks
  • $100 million: Oil trafficking
  • $25 million to $45 million: Kidnapping for ransom
  • Revenue Unknown: Human trafficking
  • Revenue Unknown: Agriculture theft
  • Revenue Unknown: Artifact smuggling
Sources: Financial Action Task Force and WSJ reporting


bth: the linked article from WSJ is very good at describing the process of IS taking its 30% cut of salaries given to government employees in Mosul.  Worth a full read.

Baghdad has lost $4b in two months from war and lost oil fields - Rudaw

... He said that in the last two months security problems in Iraq and the government’s loss of some oil fields to the militants decreased oil production and exports, causing “Baghdad $4 billion in financial losses.”

Speaking of a larger budget deficit in Iraq, Eghabi said: “the Ministry of Oil needs to ramp up oil production to 3.3 million barrel per day in order to deal with the budget deficit that Iraq is facing from local financial problems and falling oil prices.”

International oil prices have dropped by nearly 60 percent, reflected in Iraq’s 2015 budget with an estimated 22 billion of deficit.

In a statement released on Sunday, the IMF announced that Iraq’s 2015 budget deficit is expected to be much larger than officials had anticipatet.

In January, Iraq's parliament approved a budget worth 119 trillion Iraqi dinars ($105 billion), revised to lower the forecast for oil to $56 a barrel from $70 as originally assumed. It came with a deficit of 25 trillion dinars ($22 billion dollars).


ISIS moving Mosul cement factories to Syria - Rudaw

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The Islamic State has begun moving cement factories in Mosul to Syria, allegedly in advance of the impending attack on the ISIS-held city, an Iraqi lawmaker has told Rudaw.

Yunadem Kana, head of the National Rafidain party in Iraqi parliament said on Tuesday the Sunni militants have relocated at least three huge cement factories in Mosul’s western towns of Badosh, Shangal and Awir to neighboring Syria, where the group is still in control of large swathes of territory.

Islamic State militants in their self-proclaimed capital Mosul have been reportedly preparing for a prolonged battle that Iraqi military officials, the coalition forces and Kurdish Peshmerga have been planning for months.  Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, fell to the militants in June 2014.

Other reports have emerged of ISIS creating vast defenses, including trenches and other fortifications, and laying landmines along roadways leading to the city. 
-bth: One presumes that IS thinks will lose these cement plants so it is relocating them to safer ground in Syria.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Changing configuration of leadership and attacking forces around Tikrit

So various news reports and interviews of Badr commanders and Iraqi Army leadership would suggest a change in command is occurring within forces besieging Tikrit.

This AFP article says that Iranian general and spy master Qassam Solaimani has left the area and returned to his headquarters. http://news.yahoo.com/iran-general-iraq-whenever-says-militia-chief-131726510.html

This article/interview has Shia commanders calling the Iraqi Army weak for not directly attacking Tikrit proper without American air or armor support. http://news.yahoo.com/iraq-militia-chief-slams-army-weaklings-over-tikrit-142811365.html

This article says that the Iraqi Army cannot advance without support from the air and against IEDs which one estimate puts at 10,000 around Tikrit.  http://news.yahoo.com/iraq-army-says-coalition-strikes-needed-tikrit-140147364.html

This article says that there has been no request from the Iraqi government for American support in the Tikrit operation. http://news.yahoo.com/no-iraq-request-coalition-air-support-tikrit-campaign-122903962.html

So it is not clear who is in charge of the Tikrit operation at this point.  It would suggest that a rotation of control has occurred between Iranian backed Shia forces and the regular Iraqi Army perhaps with American support from the air.  Whatever the case, a large number of casualties are expected as the center of Tikrit and key Saddam palacing are apparently laced with IEDs placed there over the last 8 months. Solaimani is a shrewd man and my guess he has decided to leave the scene to avoid being held responsible for large casualties and to let the Americans take the blame for bombing Tikrit should we choose to assist Iraqi Army which may or may not have actually made a request for assistance.

Updated List of Daesch Leaders Feb 2015 - Sajad Jiyad

Following airstrikes and operations that have successfully killed several of the mid and high level leadership of daesh the new replacement appointments have been made quietly. Information gleaned from intelligence has revealed the names of the new leaders and this list is correct as of early February. Non-Iraqis are identified and the list is not exhaustive.
  1. Ibrahim Awad al-Badri AKA Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – Caliph
  2. Mustafa Abdul Rahman al-Khatuni AKA Haji Iman and Abu Alaa – Deputy Caliph and head of the Military Council
  3. Taha Sobhi Falaha AKA Abu Muhammad al-Adnani – Spokesman [Syrian]
  4. Dr. Wael al-Rawi – Head of Media
  5. Turki bin Mubarak bin Abdullah al-Binali AKA Abu Sufyan al-Silmi and Abu Dhurgham – Chief Shari’i (cleric) [Bahraini]
  6. Muhammad Yusuf AKA Abu Bakr al-Khatuni – Head of Shura Council for Iraq emirate
  7. Bakr Hadi AKA Dr. Salah Abu Jafar – Wali of Baghdad
  8. Ayad Bashar al-Mohamadi AKA Abu Anas – Wali of Forat region
  9. Mahmud al-Dulaimi AKA Abu Mansur and Abu Muawiya – Wali of Diyala region
  10. Fadhil al-Ithawi AKA Haji Arif – Wali of Southern region
  11. Yunus Salim Hussain al-Jibouri AKA Abu Hamza – Wali of Nineveh region
  12. Saad al-Obaidi AKA Abu Abdul Salam – Wali of Anbar region
  13. Ayub Sheehan al-Samri – Wali of border region
  14. Haji Kamil al-Isoodi – Wali of Salahudin region
  15. Hamid Shakir Mahmud al-Badri – Head of Security for Syrian emirate
  16. Bandar al-Shaalan – Head of Media in Syria [Saudi]
  17. Amer al-Rafdan – Wali of Deir Ezzour [Syrian]
  18. Saddam al-Jamal – Wali of Albu Kamal [Syrian]
  19. Tarkhan Batirashvili AKA Abu Omar al-Shishani – Head of the Mujahideen Army [Georgian]
  20. Walid al-Jilani – Head of Al-Battar Brigade in Libya [Libyan]
  21. Abu Anas al-Shaalan – Member of the Military Council
  22. Khalid Wajdi al-Inazi AKA Khalid al-Rusi – Member of the Military Council
  23. Amr al-Absi AKA Abu al-Athir – Wali of Aleppo [Saudi born Jordanian]
  24. Bakr bin Abdul Aziz AKA Abu Humam al-Athri – Member of the Media Board [Bahraini]
  25. Ali Musa al-Shawwakh AKA Abu Luqman – Wali of Raqqa [Syrian]
  26. Khalaf al-Dhiyab al-Halus AKA Abu Musaab – Member of the Military Council [Syrian]
  27. Tariq al-Jibouri AKA Abu Jalal – Member of the Military Council
  28. Abu Omar Qirdash AKA Abu Jasim al-Iraqi – Head of suicide bombers force
  29. Abu Omar al-Jibouri – Head of car bombing unit
Several names in the list are rumoured to have been killed in the past few weeks without a confirmation or denial by daesh so remain on the list for now. The Iraqi members of the list make up the majority and every single one of them was either in Saddam’s armed forces or security services.

Digging and dismantling IEDs in Tikrit