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The luckiest man in Iraq


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Actually executing POWs right after capture is a very ineffecient practice, even if their deaths are wanted by the leadership. It decreases the enemys will to surrender and thus puts a higher strain on your own forces. For example Germany, wich during the early stages of Barbarossa in 1941 faced a similar situation, ordered its troops to avoid executions of soviet soldiers right after capture because if they knew they were going to die anyways they would keep on fighting and causing casualties in situations where they would otherwise surrender.

Anyways, i cant say i am shedding a single tear at anything that hurts ISIS. After watching this video i kinda find it good to know that at this very moment there are brave people out there who are fighting ISIS with all their means.

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Like all other wars, this one is about Power and Money, ideology is just a tool.

All conflicts in general are always about power. Whether you discuss with your girlfriend where you are going to spend your holydays togather or whether a 5 year old steals a red plastic shovel from another 5 year old in the kindergartens sand pit, those conflicts are both as much about power as the conflict currently going in Iraq. 'A' wants to do something that 'B' doesnt want to happen, so 'B' trys to stop 'A' from doing it. The one who has more power gets what he wants. Of course this power doesnt always directly translate to the application of physical force. If you love your girlfriend and shes begs you really badly to go with her to a location you dont really like, you might still do it because you want to do her a favour. In this example she is applying power by using your emotions for her to get what she wants. In his book "Tödliche Konflikte. Zur Selbstorganisation privater und öffentlicher Kriege" (litterally: "Deadly conflicts. How privat and public wars organize themselves"), german author Fritz B. Simon defines power as "one systems/persons/societs ability to control the environments relevant to another system/person/society". So after all, the only difference between the two 5 year olds fighting for the shovel in the sand pit and the currently ongoing fighting in Iraq are the means the participating factions are willing and able to apply.

EDIT: By the way, here is one of my favorite quotes concerning war and money: "Nervos belli, peamiam infinitum" (Cicero: 'The sinews of war, infinite money")

Trouble is that we don't really know if this is anti-ISIS propaganda or for real. These days it is very hard to tell what's really true... I mean, is this a "Germans bayonetting babies in WW1" story (except these days a lot more sophisticated) etc??

Oh, just go and watch the pro-ISIS proaganda videos the jihadists release themselves. They are executing people by the truckloads and they are proud of it. I tend to believe the story, but actually it doesnt matter weather or not this man is really a survivor of a massacre or just an actor. The important thing is that those massacres are happening and that ISIS are pretty much the islamic version of the Nazis: conquer the world and kill those who dont share your own believes. And their relatives. And their friends. And their friends relatives. Google for the ISIS propaganda video 'salil as sawarim 4' (literally "clashing of the swords 4") and you will find a full hour of gore and public executions, accompanied by radical islamic music.

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There are a lot of 'Sunnis' around the globe that loathe IS. Like all other wars, this one is about Power and Money, ideology is just a tool.

Mostly agree, but I think we in the west miss a lot of the underlying struggles within the Islamic movement. In particular a distinct misunderstanding of wahabism and it's roots in the Saudi kingdom. This article is pretty good in laying out some of the historical aspects of the movement and a misplaced faith in western thought that somehow it could be used to our benefit. The question of power is important in understanding exactly who is ISIS contending with. In western news there is little beyond discussion of the founding of a "caliphate" to provide us with an understanding of who is threatened by that concept beyond simply a geographical position and conflict in Syria and Iraq. I think this is about the only article I have seen that expresses that ISIS is fundamentally a challenge to the Saudi monarchy's legitimacy. Defeating them on the battlefield in Iraq or Syria is not the end game here. At root, wahabism as a movement will not go away, it lives at the heart of the regime most at risk from it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/isis-aim-saudi-arabia_b_5748744.html

It isn't just us either, Turkey has had a similar issue of not understanding the risk.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/as-turkey-turned-blind-eye-isis-took-advantage/

ISIS isn't just another face of Sunni extremism nor necessarily just a resurgence of Al Qaeda politics. Al Qaeda didn't really confront the Saudi leadership, it mostly lives with their tacit approval. ISIS however seems to be much more clearly focused on challenging the monarchy.

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agusto: I do agree with you. Probably this is one problem that we could use nukes on. However, I am on principle always suspicious of propaganda.

And I agree with sburke: We need the Arab states that are threatened by the ISIS and similar movements to get off their camel-limos and do some of the heavy lifting instead of getting the west to do their dirty work while they then pretend to condemn us so they can placate their own rebellious populations.

And as for Ukraine, I reckon it will be %^$^ed by the west/NATO and everyone knows it. Poland and Czechoslavakia all over again.

My own family's Baltic States... tricky. Putin has a real opportunity to completely unravel NATO.

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And as for Ukraine, I reckon it will be %^$^ed by the west/NATO and everyone knows it. Poland and Czechoslavakia all over again.

My own family's Baltic States... tricky. Putin has a real opportunity to completely unravel NATO.

I agree about how slow the west has reacted regarding the Ukraine however I think Putin has already over stepped his capabilities and I think that unfortunately is partly why the west is so slow to respond. They don't truly feel threatened by a Russia that despite Putin's dreams is nowhere near the threat the USSR was. This is not 1939. The relative state of readiness for war is not the same. If anything the US and a good part of NATO have had far more experience in combat and much more faith in training and doctrine. NATO also has had the opportunity to see several large "exercises" by Russia and I expect our early warning capability to understand Russian troop movements has been greatly aided by Putin's little dance. That is part of his problem right now, we are gaining a ton of intel on how the Russian military prepares large scale maneuvers.

Economically and militarily the west is fully capable of a real smack down. If Putin were to threaten a NATO state, the US would not wait on the EU. We would fulfill our NATO obligations and face it, the US is the bulk of NATO's power. As it stands the cost of this venture has a real possibility of undermining the Putin regime from within. The west intervening would only provide the bogeyman that Putin needs. So far though the Ukraine has been put on a defensive stance, the overall integrity of the Ukrainian nation is not at risk. The west can afford to financially stabilize that state and thanks to Putin's heavy handed behavior it is firmly in the western camp and asking to join NATO. End result, Russia lost and Putin has to start dealing with the fallout - further economic decline in Russia, a financial burden acquiring the Crimea, political fallout as the extent of the cost of his adventurism in human lives, money and the freedoms that your average Russian is likely going to start regretting having lost starts becoming more apparent. Russia has proven incapable of controlling the flow of information at all to the degree China does. None of it bodes well long term for Russia not to mention the rancor spilled in the Duma towards other nationalities within Russia is going to carry some cost as well. Russia is facing a difficult time ahead and I fully expect they will look back on this period as a huge mistake in policy and a watershed moment where they had a chance to recognize how bad it was going and didn't make the effort to correct course.

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"We would fulfill our NATO obligations and face it, the US is the bulk of NATO's power. As it stands the cost of this venture has a real possibility of undermining the Putin regime from within."

I hope so. But, it's easier for us living thousands of miles away (as it was for the US in WW1 and WW2). However, family I know in the countries that would be right in the firing line are freaking out.

When Hitler marched into the Rhineland he could have easily been embarrassed and possibly deposed there and then - ditto for Czechoslovakia and Poland. A year later it was too late. I don't think Putin is Hitler. He's probably a very nice chap in person and a wonderful dinner companion. (And I look forward to dinner in the Kremlin when next in Moscow.) But, I do believe he is about holding onto, and expanding his power. And am not sure who is behind him and what their strategic interests are.

The threat of confiscation of all the Russian money etc. held in foreign banks (and deportation of their families living abroad including their kids in foreign boarding schools) is probably the largest stick the west can realistically use - and the most humane (vs war).

But, we have made our own financial sectors (am looking at you, UK) a party to the massive money laundering of illicitly obtained Russian booty. Our own capitalists' greed stands in the way.

Jon: Very interesting article and viewpoint. Although not clear why the problem is now than (say) during Tsarist times or the "Great Terror".

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