The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Get ready for the next Islamic State to be declared….In North Africa

We have been translating a number of pieces over the last few months that focus on the emerging debate by sunni jihadists in the Maghreb/North Africa about whether to declare and join ISIS or whether a separate caliphate should be declared.

The bottom line as this excellent Al-Akhbar article makes clear: 1) It is only a matter of time before there is such a declaration, 2) it will ONLY buttress the chaos, contingency and far-flung danger that was originally spawned by the disasterous decision by the Obama administration to allow our allies to militarize the Syria conflict in mid 2011 and, 3) Tunisia will likely come under sustained attack from three sides, west, east and south, 4) Algeria’s insurgency will grow and both Egypt and Morocco will likely feel increased pressure from the insurgency/New IS on the eastern and westn sides of this IS formation.

Very bad news in the offing seems likely for north africa, leading to a greater sense in the US especially that MORE intervention is necessary – which will only accelerate a wider collapse of the tenuous existing security architecture.

Time to partition Syria on de facto lines with the non-ISIS forces and thereby stabilize a deal with the murderous Bashar who gets to “stay” (in this formula, Turkey would stand to gain a number of objectives while losing the main one: Bashar out)…. force a KSA-Iran rapprochment (we do have leverage with KSA and can force/lubricate a deal, especially if yeman stabilization is a part of that carrot for KSA) and allow for a post US election, nuclear deal with Iran to come into effect one way or another – with or without the US senate as is possible to a great extent.

Once these high level sources of conflict are mitigated, then and ONLY then can ISIS be effectively countered.. now also possibly in North Africa as well!

Written by nickbiddlenoe

October 23, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Iraqis, Turks and even Kurds said to be selling ISIS oil, in exchange for trucks, at cut-rate prices

Translated by our For a free trial email

The original in arabic is at:

On October 17, Shirzad Shikhani wrote the following report in the Saudi-owned Elaph website: “At a time when the Kurdish fighters of Syria are carrying out acts of heroism in Kobani against the fiercest terrorist group on earth…, and at a time where the simple Peshmerga forces are still standing at the fighting lines in fronts extending over more than 1,000 kilometers inside the Iraqi Kurdistan without food and water and paying their blood to protect their nation, the local Kurdish media carried reports indicating that a number of Iraqi traders (Arab, Kurds, and Turkmen) have been trading oil with the ISIL organization, which are in control of oil and gas fields. The reports also indicated that some Peshmerga leaders are involved in this trade…

“Local newspapers issued two days ago indicated that some Kurdish traders have equipped ISIL with more than 2,000 pick-up trucks in return for obtaining crude oil from ISIL and smuggling it in trucks to Turkey and Iran at the price of 8-15 dollars per barrel while the price of one barrel at the international markets amounts to more than 100 dollars…

“If these pieces of information are correct, they constitute a national disaster and a major treason… Each dollar that lands in the pockets of the ISIL fighters coming from the oil trade will be later on used to purchase bombs and bullets that will be fired against the Kurdish people on the fighting fronts. For 23 years following its liberation from the dictatorship of Saddam, the Kurdish people remained silent vis-à-vis the corruption in the territory and the fact that the two parties in power monopolized all the wealth of Kurdistan and distributed it to their aids…in addition to the millions of dollars spent on gambling tables and dancers in Ukraine, Georgia and Lebanon…. But in light of the present events now, the people must speak up today. Some leaders won’t hesitate to sell the land of Kurdistan in return for a price from the regional countries such as Turkey…

“The silent president of the territory must mobilize the political forces in order to confront the ISIL threat and he must interfere firmly in this matter rather than delay things like he did in Senjar. The commanders of his Peshmerga had abandoned Senjar and offered it as a gift to ISIL without any resistance. Today, liberating the city is quasi impossible… The time has come for the head of the territory to revisit his erroneous calculations that turned Kurdistan into an ignited front… The head of the territory must deal with the present situation of the Peshmerga leaders who are trading with the people’s honor and he must take severe measures against anyone who tries to deal with the ISIL low lives…”


Written by nickbiddlenoe

October 18, 2014 at 12:36 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Old Iraqi WMDs: “weapons were designed in the United States…and assembled in production lines built in Iraq by Western firms”

From the NYT:

“In 2004, when a multinational Iraq Survey Group concluded that Iraq had not, in fact, had an active chemical weapons program for a decade, the group noted that American troops had turned up some old ordnance and predicted that more would be found. There was, moreover, this important fact: The weapons were designed in the United States, manufactured in Europe and assembled in production lines built in Iraq by Western firms. So there should have been a way for the American government to warn its troops of what might be out there….”

Written by nickbiddlenoe

October 16, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Main foriegn jihadists fighting in Syria come from Tunisia, the only “success story” of Arab revolts

As some of us having been warning for at least three years, the main bulk of foreign fighters in the Syrian Pandoras Box which we’ve created with our allies are coming from peaceful, “no history of political violence” Tunisia. This will eventually have major blowback in Tunisia which has essentially no standing army, no weapons in civilian hands and TWO borders where there are active insurgencies and strategic depth/safe zones.

Very sadly for tunisia, it seems like “just a matter of time.” Of course a number of violent sunni jihadist groups have also said publicly that Tunisia is a MAIN target given that it is the only success story in the arab revolts – and its ostensible “birthplace.”

Remember Mona Yaccoubian’s idea of a “controlled collapse” of the syria regime in the fall of 2011? And Peter Harling’s version of this which he started proffering so early – not to mention his statement in the fall of 2011 that there was “little” the international community could do to bring a political settlement in the fall of 2011 – and that, famously, the regime was in “SLOW MOTION SUICIDE…”





Written by nickbiddlenoe

October 16, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

IDF’s Yaalon says Nasrallah was right about “Spider Web” analysis-back then

Very interesting that the IDF head Yaalon says Nasrallah was correct in his analysis of Israeli society – but in the 1990s and not the 2000s i.e. now, he argues. The problem is that Yaalon makes no convincing case as to why Israeli society is better prepared now as against the spider web thesis: He fails to omit the 2006 war with Hezbollah totally and he only mentions the ineffective hamas conflicts which of course never tested the thesis militarily or otherwise in an significant way, even on the level of the 2006 war which we all know will look like a parade compared to the next conflict.

He also talks extensively and angrily about the internal divisions – which he terms unprecedented…. isn’t this a main component of potential weakness going forward to the next conflict? He does not seem to make the connection and I am left unconvinced that he is sure about his rebut to the Spider web line.


First of all, that the ‘spider web’ issue is no longer valid,” Ya’alon says, referring to a speech delivered by Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah in May 2000 in Bint Jbeil, Lebanon, two days after the IDF withdrew from South Lebanon. Nasrallah claimed at the time that Israeli society “is weaker than a spider web.” The defense minister says that the speech summed up the 1990s, but things have changed. “Before Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 and followed by the campaigns in Gaza and finally Operation Protective Edge, there’s a different attitude and different determination.”

He isn’t happy about the fact that the battle lasted 50 days. But Ya’alon says the Arabs learned that Israel, as opposed to some of their theories, is also capable of withstanding attrition. Its spirit doesn’t break and its economy doesn’t crash. It defends itself and exacts a heavy price from its rivals.

Written by nickbiddlenoe

October 15, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Former French Interior Minister admits the obvious: The Russian track in 2011 was stupidly discarded

If this quote is accurate, it well summarizes the approach that should have been tried in 2011 vis-a-vis syria. Yes it would have meant a delay for democracy in Syria, but there would have been millions less dead and wounded and destroyed… on NO ISIS, and no bleeding heart of the middle east which was the KEY reason why Iraq’s tenuous path forward was severely disrupted.

“Former French Interior Minister and Secretary of the Presidency under Sarkozy Claude Gueant says that the way Juppe had dealt with Russia was a grave mistake, stressing that Russia should not have been marginalized, but rather benefited from. He added, “If we had set aside selfishness, prestige, and fondness of power, and told the Russians you were the most capable party to help find a solution in Syria, they would have welcomed it and participated positively. They alone were able to do something.”

Written by nickbiddlenoe

October 13, 2014 at 11:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

What will Tony Badran do after Joe Biden’s comments, slew of bad global press against Gulf support for extremists

Originally posted on The Mideastwire Blog:

I won’t soon forget how Tony and so many on the extreme right bizarrely defend violent sunni extremists now well associated with some of our best allies in the mideast. It really is worthy of a PhD: I know they do it because they think Iran, Assad and Hizbullah are the most dangerous vis-a-vis US and Israeli interests, but when that axis manifestly takes a back seat as a direct threat to US and now Israeli interests, you would think they could take the gas off the pedal a bit and shift their focus a bit. But this kind of ideological hangup is what has long spoiled their otherwise rigorous approach.

Its too bad.

View original

Written by nickbiddlenoe

October 7, 2014 at 3:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized


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