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I think it is essential to view the various conflicts spanning from North Africa to Afghanistan as a series of interrelated struggles given that the various combatants are essentially allied to a greater or lesser extent.

 

From West to East;-

 

Libya - Assorted groups, 'governments' and militias supported variously by IS, AQ, Saudi, Turkey, Qatar, Egypt, the US, EU, Algeria, Tunisia & Morocco

Mali - Loosely tied to Libyan conflict, this involves IS, AQ, Libyan factions, France, the EU, Chad etc.

Egypt - Saudi backed Sisi government vs IS and Muslim Bortherhood (supported by Qatar & Turkey. Heavy fighting in Sinai.

Gaza - Hamas (backed by Iran) vs Israel and a little IS.

Lebanon - Hezbollah fighting FSA, IS and in tenuous cooperation w. Lebanese Army (backed by US, Saudi etc.)

Syria - Many cornered fight with 5 main factions;- Assad government (Iran, Russia) vs. FSA (GCC, US, EU) vs. al Nusra (GCC, Turkey) vs. IS (Qatar, Turkey) vs. YPG (US, KRG, PKK, EU)

Iraq - Baghdad Govt. (US, Iran) w. Hashid Shaabi (Iran), loosely allied to KRG (US, EU) vs. IS (Turkey, Qatar)

Yemen - Hadi gov. (Saudi, GCC, Egypt, US) vs. Houthi + Salleh (Iran, ?) -

Afghanistan is loosely linked to this war, in part through Afghan mercenaries being raised for operations in Iraq.

 

It's a real top quality mess.

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If escalation can hold off for two weeks - I will then be home. Wife, good basement, full refridgerator, wide TV

 

Priorities of a true Austrian! ^_^

 

Am Irish - have just had the place renovated and want to check it out

Edited by WRW
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Gaza - Hamas (backed by Iran)

 

They lost that when they came out for the Sunni side in Syria. Unless they have made up lately; I thought their HQ was still in Qatar after they moved out of Damascus, but now I find they went on to Turkey early this year when Qatar's ties with the Saudis tightened.

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I think it is essential to view the various conflicts spanning from North Africa to Afghanistan as a series of interrelated struggles given that the various combatants are essentially allied to a greater or lesser extent.

 

From West to East;-

 

Libya - Assorted groups, 'governments' and militias supported variously by IS, AQ, Saudi, Turkey, Qatar, Egypt, the US, EU, Algeria, Tunisia & Morocco

Mali - Loosely tied to Libyan conflict, this involves IS, AQ, Libyan factions, France, the EU, Chad etc.

Egypt - Saudi backed Sisi government vs IS and Muslim Bortherhood (supported by Qatar & Turkey. Heavy fighting in Sinai.

Gaza - Hamas (backed by Iran) vs Israel and a little IS.

Lebanon - Hezbollah fighting FSA, IS and in tenuous cooperation w. Lebanese Army (backed by US, Saudi etc.)

Syria - Many cornered fight with 5 main factions;- Assad government (Iran, Russia) vs. FSA (GCC, US, EU) vs. al Nusra (GCC, Turkey) vs. IS (Qatar, Turkey) vs. YPG (US, KRG, PKK, EU)

Iraq - Baghdad Govt. (US, Iran) w. Hashid Shaabi (Iran), loosely allied to KRG (US, EU) vs. IS (Turkey, Qatar)

Yemen - Hadi gov. (Saudi, GCC, Egypt, US) vs. Houthi + Salleh (Iran, ?) -

Afghanistan is loosely linked to this war, in part through Afghan mercenaries being raised for operations in Iraq.

 

It's a real top quality mess.

 

You forgot Algeria where much of this started back in the day. They are unlikely to be related in anything but "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"

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I think it is essential to view the various conflicts spanning from North Africa to Afghanistan as a series of interrelated struggles given that the various combatants are essentially allied to a greater or lesser extent.

 

From West to East;-

 

Libya - Assorted groups, 'governments' and militias supported variously by IS, AQ, Saudi, Turkey, Qatar, Egypt, the US, EU, Algeria, Tunisia & Morocco

Mali - Loosely tied to Libyan conflict, this involves IS, AQ, Libyan factions, France, the EU, Chad etc.

Egypt - Saudi backed Sisi government vs IS and Muslim Bortherhood (supported by Qatar & Turkey. Heavy fighting in Sinai.

Gaza - Hamas (backed by Iran) vs Israel and a little IS.

Lebanon - Hezbollah fighting FSA, IS and in tenuous cooperation w. Lebanese Army (backed by US, Saudi etc.)

Syria - Many cornered fight with 5 main factions;- Assad government (Iran, Russia) vs. FSA (GCC, US, EU) vs. al Nusra (GCC, Turkey) vs. IS (Qatar, Turkey) vs. YPG (US, KRG, PKK, EU)

Iraq - Baghdad Govt. (US, Iran) w. Hashid Shaabi (Iran), loosely allied to KRG (US, EU) vs. IS (Turkey, Qatar)

Yemen - Hadi gov. (Saudi, GCC, Egypt, US) vs. Houthi + Salleh (Iran, ?) -

Afghanistan is loosely linked to this war, in part through Afghan mercenaries being raised for operations in Iraq.

 

It's a real top quality mess.

 

And just about every single one of those countries hates the other one just as much, if not more, than the Great Satan. It sure is a mess, but there's very little chance of any of these groups actually uniting and bringing about a regional revolution.

 

Let's put it this way...the number of foreign fighters who have joined ISIS number in the low tens of thousands. Sounds like a lot...except that there are nearly 150 million plus Arabs living in that region, and about one billion number of Sunni Muslims in total. So the number of folks who are causing trouble is quite small in comparison to the rest of the population, and even smaller since many of these groups are more interested in seizing power in their own territory and can give a s*it about what happens across the border.

 

If you ask me, it's just what many countries in Africa went through in the 80s and 90s.

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..... It's a real top quality mess.

 

And just about every single one of those countries hates the other one just as much, if not more, than the Great Satan. It sure is a mess, but there's very little chance of any of these groups actually uniting and bringing about a regional revolution. ...... If you ask me, it's just what many countries in Africa went through in the 80s and 90s.

 

How about ..... Ottoman Empire 2.0 ..... except that the great majority of modern Turks would probably recoil in horror at the very thought of being assigned responsibility for putting their region of the Middle East back together again under a Turkish-dominated central authority. (In other words, 'Good luck with that, Erdogan the Magnificent.')

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How about ..... Ottoman Empire 2.0 .....

 

Erdogan is actually trying for that, hence support for quite questionable types in Syria.

And do you really think that solution are same guys that have huge share of responsibility for current mess?

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I'll settle for anyone who wants to jump on that grenade. Though from a really horrible, cynical Western perspective, having every fighting age male engage in grinding combat for the next decade isn't without its benefits.

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How about ..... Ottoman Empire 2.0 .....

 

Erdogan is actually trying for that, hence support for quite questionable types in Syria.

And do you really think that solution are same guys that have huge share of responsibility for current mess?

 

 

The moniker "Ottoman Empire 2.0" as used above implies a fundamental question ..... Are Erdogan and the Turks willing to unilaterally send a large ground force into Syria, topple the Assad regime, eject ISIS from Syria, disarm the various other rebel factions in Syria, and then administer the country until some semblance of a civilized society and an effective civil government is reestablished there?

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The moniker "Ottoman Empire 2.0" as used above implies a fundamental question ..... Are Erdogan and the Turks willing to unilaterally send a large ground force into Syria, topple the Assad regime, eject ISIS from Syria, disarm the various other rebel factions in Syria, and then administer the country until some semblance of a civilized society and an effective civil government is reestablished there?

 

No. He wants to be recognized as a big stick in the region without having any of the overhead, which would be wildly unpopular in his country even without his recent reversals.

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World | Wed Jul 1, 2015 3:48pm BST Related: WORLD

Islamic State attack in Egypt's North Sinai kills 50
ISMAILIA, EGYPT/CAIRO | BY YUSRI MOHAMED AND AHMED HASSAN
Islamic State militants launched a wide-scale coordinated assault on several military checkpoints in Egypt's North Sinai on Wednesday in which 50 people were killed, security sources said, the largest attack yet in the insurgency-hit province.
The onslaught marked a significant escalation in violence in the Sinai Peninsula, located between Israel, the Gaza Strip and the Suez Canal, and raised questions about the government's ability to contain an insurgency that has already killed hundreds of police and soldiers.
It was the second high-profile attack in Egypt this week. On Monday, the prosecutor-general was killed in a car bombing in Cairo.
Islamic State's Egyptian affiliate, Sinai Province, claimed responsibility for the Sinai attacks in a Twitter statement.
The army said five checkpoints were attacked by about 70 militants and that soldiers had destroyed three landcruisers fitted with anti-aircraft guns.
The fighting, which raged for more than eight hours, was the biggest onslaught yet in the insurgency. One security source put the number of militants at about 300, armed with heavy weapons and anti-aircraft weaponry.
Security sources said the militants had planned to lay siege to Sheikh Zuweid town, where most of the fighting has been concentrated, by hitting all army checkpoints simultaneously.
"But we have dealt with them and broke the siege on Sheikh Zuweid," one of the sources said.
Army F-16 jets and Apache helicopters strafed the region.
[...]
Security sources said militants had surrounded a police station in Sheikh Zuweid and had planted bombs around it to prevent forces from leaving.
The militants also planted bombs along a road between Sheikh Zuweid and al-Zuhour army camp to prevent the movement of any army supplies or reinforcements. They also seized two armoured vehicles, weapons and ammunition, the sources said.
"We are not allowed to leave our homes. Clashes are ongoing. A short while ago I saw five Landcruisers with masked gunmen waving black flags," said Suleiman al-Sayed, a 49-year-old Sheikh Zuweid resident.
Ambulance medic Yousef Abdelsalam said he was at the entrance to Sheikh Zuweid but could not enter because of warnings that the road was rigged with bombs.
Witnesses and security sources also reported hearing two explosions in the nearby town of Rafah, which borders Gaza. The sources said all roads leading to Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid were shut down and residents were staying in their homes.
Sinai Province said in Wednesday's statement that it had attacked more than 15 security sites and carried out three suicide bombings.
"It is a sharp reminder that despite the intensive counter terrorism military campaign in the Sinai over the past 6 months, the IS ranks are not decreasing - if anything they are increasing in numbers as well as sophistication, training and daring," Aimen Dean, a former al Qaeda insider who now runs a Gulf-based security consultancy, said in a note.
In Cairo, security forces stormed an apartment in a western suburb and killed nine men whom they said were armed, security sources said.
The sources said authorities had received information the group was planning to carry out an attack. Among those dead was Nasser al-Hafi, a prominent lawyer for the Muslim Brotherhood and a former lawmaker.
STUBBORN INSURGENCY
Islamic State had urged its followers to escalate attacks during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan which started in mid-June, though it did not specify Egypt as a target. In April, the army extended by three months a state of emergency imposed in parts of Sinai.
The army has taken several measures to crush the insurgency. Besides bombardments in the region, they have destroyed tunnels into the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip and created a security buffer zone in northern Sinai. The army is also digging a trench along the border with Gaza in an effort to prevent smuggling.
Under the terms of Egypt's 1979 peace accord with Israel, the Sinai is largely demilitarized. But Israel has regularly agreed to Egypt bringing in reinforcements to tackle the Sinai insurgency, and one Israeli official signalled there could be further such deployments following Wednesday's attacks.
"This incident is a game-changer," an official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

 

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/07/01/uk-egypt-security-sinai-idUKKCN0PB3QM20150701

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At least 68 dead by last count, and probably will increase. That's a huge black eye for Egyptian military and security services. We may be looking at the start of Syrian-style civil war in Egypt. While there is no Sunni-Shiite divide to exploit, the large number of MB supporters provides a large pool of latent recruits for ISIS. And I don't see Egyptian military as being any more adept than Syrian one in containing an ISIS insurgency - especially considering Libya will probably fall to ISIS in 6-12 months.

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Gaza - Hamas (backed by Iran)

 

They lost that when they came out for the Sunni side in Syria. Unless they have made up lately; I thought their HQ was still in Qatar after they moved out of Damascus, but now I find they went on to Turkey early this year when Qatar's ties with the Saudis tightened.

 

ISIS next target > Gaza

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/01/isis-hamas-gaza_n_7704360.html?utm_hp_ref=canada&ir=Canada&ncid=canada-webmail21

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I read an interesting analysis yesterday which tried to make the point that Assad may yet fall due to coalition dynamics among his enemies. Having predicted three years ago that he was unlikely to survive another 18 months myself, I'm not so sure about that, but thought said dynamics were well-depicted.

 

Southern Front: Coalition of 58 groups, both Islamic and secular, formed in February and headquartered in Amman. Supported by Western and Gulf states, and to some degree also by Israel. Declared to no longer cooperate with Al-Nusra in April as long as the latter retains their affiliation with al-Quaeda, but still coordinate on the battlefield. Greatest recent success was taking the last government-held border crossing to Jordania at Nasib on 1 April, which previously permitted most of the trade with other Arab states.

 

Jaish al-Fatah: Two dozen groups with a total of 10,000 fighters headed by al-Nusra but also including other Islamist militia, the moderate Islamic Front and ten Free Syrian Army formations, headquartered in the nortwestern Syrian province of Idlib, most of which they have taken. Formed in late March after the Saudis on one hand and Turkey and Qatar on the other overcame their quarreling over support of the Muslim Brothers. Qatar in particular is said to try turning al-Nusra into a presentable option; in two al-Jazeera interviews in late May/early June their leader Abu Mohammad al-Julani promised that no revenge would be exacted against Alawis and other minorities after victory, that they would be "heard" before establishment of an Islamic order, and that al-Nusra would attack no Western targets, but did not distance himself from al-Qaeda as expected by some. However, in the northwest al-Nusra is considered too strong to be excluded.

 

On 25 June, the Southern Front, al-Nusra and Ahrar ash-Sham, the principal group in the Islamic Front, started an offensive onto the provincial capital of Dara'a. Jaish al-Fatah is expected to attack the Alawi areas on the coast and Aleppo, supported by a Turkish-created buffer zone also directed against the Syrian Kurds. In the mid-term there could be a joint attack by the Southern Front and Jaish al-Fatah against Damascus along with local groups there. On top of that, the IS has announced plans to advance onto Damascus too, though that might be PR. However, the government position has been weakened after Iranian Revolutionary Guard and even Hisbollah units were redeployed from Syria to Iraq after the IS took Tikrit and Mossul last summer. Hisbollah also has to fight rebel incursions into Lebanon in the Kalamun Mountains.

 

Government forces themselves have suffered heavy losses in the recent fighting against the IS, Southern Front and Jaish al-Fatah. Volunteers have been recruited with high payments to compensate, including 7,000 Shi'ites from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan to reinforce Damascus, but the reduction of the Syrian GDP by 50 percent and devaluation of currency by 80 percent since 2011 make for increased material difficulties. Iran is thought ready to increase its engagement, but open military deployment might lead to a response by the Saudis and Israel. For the moment Assad has been shortening his lines, withdrawing from loyal regions like the majority Druse as-Suwaida in the South to protect the Alawi core areas. Another 8,000 volunteers were deployed on the coast, along with the auxiliary "Coast Shield Brigade" militia.

 

Unlike at Kobane, the US did not stop the IS advance onto Palmyra by airstrikes, possibly to demonstrate Assad's weakness and possible catastrophic results to his principal supporters Russia and Iran. The American aim is said to be an interim government of representatives of the current regime, minus Assad, and the rebels, minus the IS and preferrably al-Nusra. Russia might be bought off with a guarantee for the naval base at Tartus, and losening of sanctions over Ukraine, Iran with concessions over Iraq; Turkish President Erdogan recently said something like that Putin would surely see the wisdom in dropping Assad if things became desparate, which might be wishful thinking or based upon the rather friendly relations between the Sultan and the Czar.

 

Obviously there are several incertitudes here though; among the bigger is the al-Nusra-IS relationship which has been hostile since 2014, though local commanders sometimes cooperate like in the Kalamun Mountains and Yarmuk. But a rapprochement in the Islamist camp could make for a whole new dynamic, and personally I see an intended exclusion of both groups from an interim government as a possible catalyst. Of course counting on the stability of any coalition of such diverse groups is precarious in Afghani dimensions.

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