The Council Has Spoken!! Our Watcher’s Council Results

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The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match up.

“So we want an Islamic state where Islamic law is not just in the books but enforced, and enforced with determination. There is no space and no room for democratic consultation. The Shariah is set and fixed, so why do we need to discuss it anymore? Just implement it! – ISIS Leader Abu Bakar Bashir

“We’re definitely not losing in Iraq” – Barack Obama

“In a very short time the Islamic State has become the most compelling and attractive organisation for Muslim fighters around the world, more so than al-Qaeda ever was” – Sunny Hundal, Al Jazeera

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This week’s winning essay,Joshuapundit’s Ramadi Falls To ISIS In A Major Victory – And Why It’s Important is pretty much about what the title implies it is…an analysis of how and why ISIS won a huge victory in Ramadi, Iraq and what it means. Here’s a slice:

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On Sunday, Islamic State forces captured Ramadi, routing the Iraqi army, many of whom literally fled from the scene, those that could. Over 500 Iraqi soldiers died in the assault, and the debacle came so quickly that substantial pockets of Iraqi troops were trapped there after taking heavy casualties. They aren’t expected to hold out very long and I’ve already received reports that some of them have already been captured and executed by ISIS.

Hundreds of civilians fled along with the Iraqi troops.

ISIS is using some fairly innovative tactics against fixed defensive points like Ramadi. First they seek to control the ingress and egress via outlying areas, to prevent or delay reinforcement and resupply. The next step in Ramadi was to break the defensive line using car and truck bombs, after which ISIS fighters stormed into the breach.

Many Americans may recall hearing the name Ramadi before, and some might recall that quite a few American lives were spent in securing it. Here’s why Ramadi matters.

Look at the map above. Ramadi controls all of the traffic on the Euphrates River. It is only 68 miles (110 Kilometers) from Baghdad and opens the road to that city from the west, just as Fallujah, which ISIS also holds does from the east paving the way for a two-pronged assault. Also, ISIS captured the town of Jubbah in this new offensive, next door to Iraq’s biggest air base at Al-Ansar. That’s where US soldiers, AKA advisers are trying to train Iraqi troops to fight ISIS, which so far hasn’t been particularly successful.

ISIS has also surrounded the oil-producing town of Baiji near Ramadi, where a small Iraqi army force of a few hundred soldiers is trying to hold out. It’s probably only a matter of tie until they’re forced to surrender or are wiped out.

Our Secretary of State John Kerry announced from a news conference in Seoul, South Korea that as far as he was concerned Ramadi was ” a target of opportunity” for ISIS rather than a carefully planed strategic offensive.

“I am convinced that as the forces are redeployed and as the days flow in the weeks ahead that’s going to change, as overall (they) have been driven back … I am absolutely confident in the days ahead that will be reversed.”

Let’s examine that.

Exactly what forces is Secretary Kerry talking about? True, the Iraqi government announced that “major military reinforcements” were being deployed to halt the advance of ISIS. The problem is that between Ramadi, the recent ‘victory’ in Tikrit (about which more later) and an attempted counterattack on Fallujah that went horribly wrong, the Iraqi army has very little strength to ‘deploy’ between ISIS and Baghdad right now. They’re a badly defeated army that is incapable of an offensive against Islamic State right now. The only thing keeping ISIS away from Baghdad is a series of 19 U.S, airstrikes near Ramadi over the past 48 hours.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Sultan Knishwith De-Islamization Is The Only Way To Fight ISIS submitted by Joshuapundit

Here are this week’s full results. only the Right Planet was unable to vote this week,but was not subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty :

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!

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Frustrated Pilots Speak Out Against Obama’s Fubar Air War in Iraq

Members of the US Air Force are grumbling because their Commander in Chief’s “no-boots-on-the-ground” pledge is keeping them from fighting an effective air campaign against Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

Within the U.S. Air Force, there’s mounting frustration that the air campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq is moving far more slowly than expected. Instead of a fast-moving operation with hundreds of sorties flown in a single day—the kind favored by many in the air service—American warplanes are hitting small numbers of targets after a painstaking and cumbersome process.

The single biggest problem, current and former Air Force officers say, is the so-called kill-chain of properly identifying and making sure the right target is being attacked. At the moment, that process is very complicated and painfully slow. “The kill-chain is very convoluted,” one combat-experienced Air Force A-10 Warthog pilot told The Daily Beast. “Nobody really has the control in the tactical environment.”

That story was posted at the Daily Beast back in October of 2014 – and the situation hasn’t improved one iota in 7 & 1/2 months. Can you imagine the frustration of these pilots?
Here’s Fox News 5/28/2015:

U.S. military pilots carrying out the air war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are voicing growing discontent over what they say are heavy-handed rules of engagement hindering them from striking targets. They blame a bureaucracy that does not allow for quick decision-making. One Navy F-18 pilot who has flown missions against ISIS voiced his frustration to Fox News, saying: “There were times I had groups of ISIS fighters in my sights, but couldn’t get clearance to engage.” He added, “They probably killed innocent people and spread evil because of my inability to kill them. It was frustrating.”

This crap has been going on for nearly a year, and they’ve been forced to watch Daesh slaughter their way through Iraq from the sidelines – only allowed to bomb one or two jihadis at a time.

Sources close to the air war against ISIS told Fox News that strike missions take, on average, just under an hour, from a pilot requesting permission to strike an ISIS target to a weapon leaving the wing. A spokesman for the U.S. Air Force’s Central Command pushed back: “We refute the idea that close air support strikes take ‘an hour on average’. Depending on the how complex the target environment is, a strike could take place in less than 10 minutes or it could take much longer. “As our leaders have said, this is a long-term fight, and we will not alienate civilians, the Iraqi government or our coalition partners by striking targets indiscriminately.”

 A former U.S. Air Force general who led air campaigns over Iraq and Afghanistan also said today’s pilots are being “micromanaged,” and the process for ordering strikes is slow — squandering valuable minutes and making it possible for the enemy to escape.

“You’re talking about hours in some cases, which by that time the particular tactical target left the area and or the aircraft has run out of fuel. These are excessive procedures that are handing our adversary an advantage,” said retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, a former director of the Combined Air Operations Center in Afghanistan in 2001.

Deptula placed the blame squarely on the community organizer in the White House.

“The ultimate guidance rests in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” he said. “We have been applying air power like a rain shower or a drizzle — for it to be effective, it needs to be applied like a thunderstorm.”

Of course this is his doing. He wants to be the anti-Bush – and Bush was hammered by the left for the (highly inflated) civilian casualties during the Iraq War.

“But wait,” you say – there are many more civilian casualties as a result of us doing nothing. ISIS is slaughtering, torturing, enslaving hundreds of people at a time – in the most heinous and gruesome ways!

But of course Obama doesn’t care about any of that. He just doesn’t want to get blamed for it.. And he knows, that by taking this dovish, hesitant, womanly stance, he keeps his anti-war base happy. And that’s really all that matters.

They will continue to gain ground, strength and power because President Fubar refuses to deal with them. But it’s okay – this cluster-F won’t reach critical mass until he’s left office (he’s hoping.)

 Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., recently complained that 75 percent of pilots are returning without dropping any ordnance, due to delays in decision-making up the chain of command. A senior defense official at the Pentagon pushed back on the comparisons between the air war against ISIS and past air campaigns. “The Gulf War and Kosovo are not reasonable comparisons. In those instances, we were fighting conventional forces. Today, we are supporting a fight against terrorists who blend into the civilian population,” he said. “Our threshold for civilian casualties and collateral damage is low. We don’t want to own this fight. We have reliable partners on the ground.”

Riiiight – here they are “blending in” near Rutbah a couple of weeks ago after the fall of Ramadi:

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