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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 11-Jun-2014
11-Jun-14 World View -- Iraq in major crisis after catastrophic fall of Mosul to ISIS

Web Log - June, 2014

11-Jun-14 World View -- Iraq in major crisis after catastrophic fall of Mosul to ISIS

Thailand's military junta uses sexy 'army girls' to change minds

This morning's key headlines from

Thailand's military junta uses sexy 'army girls' to change minds

Thailand junta's 'army girls' pose for a photo
Thailand junta's 'army girls' pose for a photo

The coup d’état by Thailand's army on May 22 overthrew the government of Yingluck Shinawatra but did not, as feared, lead to massive street protests. Nonetheless, for 2/3rds of the population that supported Yingluck, Thailand is no longer the stereotypical "land of smiles."

But the military junta is hoping to bring back some smiles by adopting a public relations campaign led by sexy "army girls," wearing short camouflage-style dresses and ammunition belt-style dog collars. The girls will sing and dance, and will host street parties with free food and music.

Thailand has imposed martial law, and anyone opposing junta rule risks being jailed. But whether playing to one Bangkok stereotype, the "sex capital of the world" will bring about a return to the other stereotype, "land of smiles," remains to be seen. Bangkok Post and Telegraph (London)

Iraq in major crisis after catastrophic fall of Mosul to ISIS

The jihadist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has taken control of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, after Baghdad. Some 1300 ISIS fighters besieged the city, and took control of it in four days, as members of Iraq's army dropped their weapons and fled. The opened the jails and freed 2,400 prisoners.

Mosul is a major strategic prize for ISIS, being on the main export route for Iraqi oil, and a sophisticated center for transportation and commerce. Mosul is the second large city to fall to ISIS, the first being Fallujah in January. ISIS now controls a wide swath of land extending deep into Syria to the west and deep into Iraq to the east. Al-Qaeda has been trying for years to take control of an entire country, to mimic Iran's Great Islamic Revolution that created a hardline Shia Muslim state. Al-Qaeda has tried to create a hardline Sunni Muslim state in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Mali and others, but they've never succeeded. But now ISIS is succeeding where al-Qaeda has failed, by creating an as-yet unnamed Islamic state straddling Syria and Iraq. (ISIS is not part of al-Qaeda, from which it was ejected for not following orders in Syria.) CNN and Reuters

Iraq's president Nouri Al-Maliki declares state of emergency

In a move of desperation, Iraq's president Nouri al-Maliki declared a national state of emergency on Tuesday, after the fall of Mosul, and granted himself dictatorial powers.

Nouri al-Maliki has been president of Iraq since 2006, but has seen Iraq fall apart since the Americans withdrew in December 2011. The Shia leader practically declared war on the Sunnis immediately after the withdrawal. He ordered the arrest of 13 of the bodyguards of Sunni vice president Tareq al-Hashemi, leading several Sunni blocs in the parliament to boycott the government, causing the government to be destabilized.. Al-Maliki continually isolated the Sunnis, who are a minority in the population, and now he's paying the price for it. There were new elections held a couple of months ago, but a new government has not yet been formed because of the political chaos.

There are so many terrorist bombings in Iraq on an almost daily basis that they often don't even make the news outside of Iraq. But in fact, the number of deaths has been increasing almost every month since the Americans' withdrawal. In May alone, about 800 people were killed in terrorist bombings.

During the Iraq war under President George Bush, the American army pressed very hard to pacify the Sunni tribal chiefs and populations. President Bush's surge succeeded not just because additional troops were being sent in, but because the entire surge program was geared towards getting the Sunnis in Anbar province to expel Al-Qaeda in Iraq. (See "Iraqi Sunnis are turning against al-Qaeda in Iraq" from April, 2007.)

Before he became president Barack Obama bitterly opposed the surge that led to victory in Iraq. After he became president, his only policy was to withdraw as quickly as possibly, with no concern for a relationship with the Sunnis, or with getting al-Maliki to develop a relationship with the Sunnis.

So it's not surprising today that there are many reports that the disaffected Sunnis in Anbar Province, the same ones that drove jihadists out in 2007, are now joining with the jihadists to oppose al-Maliki's government. This has been a major factor in the growing strength of ISIS in Anbar Province, on the border with Syria.

The other major factor in the growth of ISIS is the war in Syria. With no leadership from American to stop them, and especially with the major flip-flop after the chemical weapons "red line" was crossed last year, many Sunnis in Syria have come to believe that their only hope is to join ISIS in fighting Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. As I've written many times, Syria has become a magnet for jihadists around the world, and is now the world's biggest training ground for jihadists.

(The news this week is that Hillary Clinton says that as Secretary of State she favored helping the opposition rebels, in the beginning, before ISIS had a chance to form. I've always said that Clinton would have been a much better president than Obama, because she knows something about what's going on in the world, while Obama doesn't have a clue. And John Kerry, the current Secretary of State, is as dumb as a doorknob.)

All the Mideast trends I've been talking about for years are coming together. From Pakistan to Syria, we see the growth of Sunni militias, and possibly armies, while we see Shia militias grow in Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Syria. ISIS is continuing to spread and gain strength, and a number of analysts believe Jordan will be its next target. BBC and Bloomberg and CS Monitor

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 11-Jun-14 World View -- Iraq in major crisis after catastrophic fall of Mosul to ISIS thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (11-Jun-2014) Permanent Link
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