Quasi-state problems: Politics hampering ISIS’s blitz across Iraq?

posted at 12:31 pm on June 22, 2014 by Noah Rothman

The Islamic fundamentalist group ISIS continued its rampages across Iraq on Saturday and captured several key towns in that country’s Western Anbar province, officials said. Security authorities told CNN this weekend that ISIS controls 70 percent of Anbar and had seized key towns which operate border crossings with Syria and Jordan.

Among the reasons why ISIS has been able to take over so much of the country in so little time is the Sunni population’s embrace of ISIS as that minority population welcomes an alternative to the exclusionary and repressive administration run by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. ISIS has, in turn, endeavored to fill the vacuum left by retreating Iraqi administrators by providing the services expected of a state.

Last week, the global affairs columnist Michael Weiss explained the lengths to which ISIS is going in order to create the impression that it is a state-like entity:

No one expects a marauding guerrilla group to adjudicate petty disputes between competing local leaders or to maintain failing local infrastructure, but they do expect that of a state. One report in the Emirates-based publication The National filed out of Iraq’s Nineveh Province suggests that ISIS is being stalled slightly by that ancient nemesis of all rampaging revolutionary armies: politics.

Ideological differences among the various militant groups who make up the ISIS coalition are beginning to put a serious strain on that army’s operational capability, The National reported.

The first signs of a split emerged on Saturday, with reports of fighting between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Naqshbandi Army, formed by officers from the former dictator Saddam Hussein’s military, that left 17 people dead.

“[W]itnesses said the two sides clashed over who would take control of fuel tankers in the area,” the report read.

The ISIS alliance is supported primarily by Sunni tribal leaders and the former members of Saddam Hussein’s outlawed Ba’ath Party. While both these groups are hostile toward the al-Maliki’s Shiite dominated government in Baghdad, they “agree on little else,” The National report read.

“This friction may be compounded by public frustration over power outages and fuel shortages in captured territory,” it continued.

What’s more, ISIS may be alienating those locals who initially welcomed the militant group. “When ISIL first came to those areas, they seemed to be trying to reach out the local population,” said Bashar Mahmoud, the head of a provincial council in Mosul before that city fell to ISIS fighters. “But then they started killing members of these tribes and that has infuriated their leaders.”

If ISIS alienates both local tribal leaders and The Naqshbandi Army, the pro-Ba’athist force behind its early success in the North of Iraq, ISIS’s stunning early momentum may be stalling.


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Chalabi,
Irony

Schadenfreude on June 22, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Schadenfreude on June 22, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Should have strafed them.

Bmore on June 22, 2014 at 12:43 PM

In your dreams Noah.

Nothing a gun and a bullet won’t solve.

No Chop Charlie on June 22, 2014 at 12:46 PM

obama gave his bros many green lights and they took them.

Under obama terrorism is not on the run; it’s on the march.

Hillary’s legal adviser provided further detail:

“During their phone call, Bill started playing with various doomsday scenarios, up to and including the idea that Hillary consider resigning as secretary of state over the issue. But both he and Hillary quickly agreed that resigning wasn’t a realistic option. If her resignation hurt Obama’s chances of winning re-election, her fellow Democrats would never forgive her. Hillary was already thinking of running for president in 2016, and her political future, as well as Obama’s, hung in the balance.”

She MUST be punished for helping obama to deceive the entire world, just to win re-elect. I hope she burns like he will.

Should have strafed them.

Bmore on June 22, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Always, but it’s too late now. obama enabled them and let them advance. It’s very late, too late, indeed.

Baghdad is their big prize and they aim to get it.

Schadenfreude on June 22, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Nothing will hamper them much, just delay the inevitable occasionally.

Nothing is a bigger drug than the smell of blood. They smell it, and how.

They won’t stay in the ME either.

1. Establish caliphate, done

2. Get Baghdad, not far away

3. Kill Westerners, and infidels, everywhere, they will

4. Destroy Israel…they plan in terms of centuries and we do in terms of Idol/Dancing with the stars cycles.

Schadenfreude on June 22, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Chalabi,
Irony

Schadenfreude on June 22, 2014 at 12:33 PM

I’ll go with a nice Chianti and sit back and watch. I agree with Bmore though in saying that we should have strafed much more. Not too late to start!

VegasRick on June 22, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Their caliphate will include parts of Iran and Afghanistan/Pakistan…it’ll spread way wide/far, due to obama.

Without obama it might still have spread, but much later.

Send him thank you notes.

Schadenfreude on June 22, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Not too late to start!

VegasRick on June 22, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Yes, it is. They were convoys of 60 Toyotas and more/less.

Now they spread out, with locals and children to cover for them. They are way smarter than obama…wait, he’s with them.

Schadenfreude on June 22, 2014 at 12:51 PM

OT – keep this front/center and spread the word to all your acquaintances in Miss. Knock the bad ones out…not only there.

Schadenfreude on June 22, 2014 at 12:54 PM

OT, but very important

Schadenfreude on June 22, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Schadenfreude on June 22, 2014 at 12:58 PM

I’m thinking McDaniels will take it. You?

Bmore on June 22, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Yes, it is. They were convoys of 60 Toyotas and more/less.

Now they spread out, with locals and children to cover for them. They are way smarter than obama…wait, he’s with them.

Schadenfreude on June 22, 2014 at 12:51 PM

I agree 100% that we should have been doing that from day one but with the pos in office he had to dither, campaign and play golf instead. It will have to be done sooner or later and yes there will be collateral damage as a result but we have no choice if we hope to survive as a nation.

VegasRick on June 22, 2014 at 1:02 PM

The IRS canceled their strategy backup service right as they started having computer problems…

viking01 on June 22, 2014 at 1:03 PM

At some point, China is gonna either jump in or bail on their oil in Iraq. If they jump in, all bet’s are off.

can_con on June 22, 2014 at 1:07 PM

All Arab nations have just met in Qatar have issued a declaration of war upon these people. They are appalled by all this senseless bloodshed in the name of Allah./s

SC.Charlie on June 22, 2014 at 1:10 PM

At some point, China is gonna either jump in or bail on their oil in Iraq. If they jump in, all bet’s are off. – can_con on June 22, 2014 at 1:07 PM

And, just how in the heck are they going to get there? Oh, I forgot they have one aircraft carrier that is under construction.

SC.Charlie on June 22, 2014 at 1:12 PM

The IRS canceled their strategy backup service right as they started having computer problems…viking01 on June 22, 2014 at 1:03 PM

I can’t understand the tax code. So I herewith will no longer pay any income taxes. Frankly, we all need to revolt, have a mass rally on the Mall in Washington over this issue.

SC.Charlie on June 22, 2014 at 1:15 PM

<blockquoteSC.Charlie
At some point, China is gonna either jump in or bail on their oil in Iraq. If they jump in, all bet’s are off. – can_con on June 22, 2014 at 1:07 PM
And, just how in the heck are they going to get there? Oh, I forgot they have one aircraft carrier that is under construction.

I was thinking more of exercising their power through the rmb, political persuasions,although I doubt they would get many objections from either Jordan or Kuwait if they needed stationing.

can_con on June 22, 2014 at 1:17 PM

If ISIS takes Baghdad, good luck with governing. They may break it, but that’s all they’re equipped to do. They still own it. Fasten yer seat belts, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

vnvet on June 22, 2014 at 1:18 PM

They executed the judge who sentenced Saddam.

Blake on June 22, 2014 at 1:20 PM

And, just how in the heck are they going to get there? Oh, I forgot they have one aircraft carrier that is under construction.

SC.Charlie on June 22, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Do you seriously think the United States would start a war with China?

sharrukin on June 22, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Quasi-state problems:

Will be handled by our Quisling State Department.

Flange on June 22, 2014 at 1:29 PM

If China attacks us our embarrassing treasury bonds yields would plummet further screwing them further.

I guess that’s the advantage to being owned by your enemy.

/S

viking01 on June 22, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Do you seriously think the United States would start a war with China? – sharrukin on June 22, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Where does this question come from, out of the blue yonder? The Chinese just don’t have the capability to enter into this conflict with Chinese Air Power or with boots on the ground. I am fairly sure that they would love to destroy ISIS. What they do want is a steady flow of oil to all the world’s economies, especially their own.

SC.Charlie on June 22, 2014 at 1:39 PM

No one expects a marauding guerrilla group to adjudicate petty disputes between competing local leaders or to maintain failing local infrastructure

…they need a ‘community organizer’!

JugEarsButtHurt on June 22, 2014 at 1:39 PM

As Charlie noted, they kill all their problems.

formwiz on June 22, 2014 at 1:40 PM

As long as they are killing each other over there, they aren’t killing us here.

rbj on June 22, 2014 at 1:41 PM

I was not saying China would go to war with the United States (make no mistake, they already are in many non military ways). They have already offered Maliki assistance. They are the big buyers of Iraqi oil. They don’t take too kindly to terrorists holding their oil ransom.

At some point they are in or they bail and start sucking up oil from other regions further bumping up pricing. They are already building huge reserves.

can_con on June 22, 2014 at 1:42 PM

What? Al Qaeda has taken over part of Iraq?

Who did this?

faraway on June 22, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Where does this question come from, out of the blue yonder? The Chinese just don’t have the capability to enter into this conflict with Chinese Air Power or with boots on the ground.

SC.Charlie on June 22, 2014 at 1:39 PM

They have plenty of ships and transports for all of that.

So what would stop them from moving troops and aircraft via Iran, or in support of the Shia Iraqi government through the port of Basra?

They don’t need an aircraft carrier for any of that unless a naval power tries to stop them. The US, or perhaps India, is the only one that could…hence the question.

sharrukin on June 22, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Let these savages kill themselves by the millions.

pat on June 22, 2014 at 1:52 PM

If ISIS alienates both local tribal leaders and The Naqshbandi Army, the pro-Ba’athist force behind its early success in the North of Iraq, ISIS’s stunning early momentum may be stalling.

did you pet the unicorn while singing kumbya today?

dmacleo on June 22, 2014 at 2:11 PM

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2014/06/report-judge-who-sentenced-saddam-hussein-to-death-captured-executed-by-isis/

There were reports of the execution of Iraqi judge, Raouf Abdel-Rahman, who sentenced Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to death, according to confirmed the pages on the social networking site, without official confirmation from the Iraqi government.

The pages on social networking sites, including Page MP Jordanian Khalil Attieh on the site “Facebook” to “revolutionaries Iraqis arrested him and sentenced him to death in retaliation for the death of the martyr Saddam Hussein,” he said, adding that Rauf tried to escape from Baghdad after wearing uniforms dancers. She page Izzat al-Douri, vice-president Saddam Hussein, the “Facebook” to the rebels Iraqis were able to arrest the Kurdish judge Rauf Rashid, who issued a death sentence against the former Iraqi leader, which is currently in the “grip of the soldiers of the Islamic State and the men of the Baath Party.”

yup they are burning out fast…..

dmacleo on June 22, 2014 at 2:26 PM

I was not saying China would go to war with the United States (make no mistake, they already are in many non military ways). They have already offered Maliki assistance. They are the big buyers of Iraqi oil. They don’t take too kindly to terrorists holding their oil ransom.

At some point they are in or they bail and start sucking up oil from other regions further bumping up pricing. They are already building huge reserves.

can_con on June 22, 2014 at 1:42 PM

We’ll know “for sure” who’s side ISIS is on if and when they take Basra and control the Strait of Hormuz.

Not only does that give them control of Iraq’s oil exports, it would give them control of Iran’s as well, because most of theirs still moves from Bandar Khomeini, etc., by tanker.

Even without a working navy, ISIS could still interdict the Strait by the old Boghammer/anti-ship missile technique the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was so fond of twenty years or so ago. “Tanker War 2″, anyone? The Iranian Navy is probably unable to cope with this sort of maritime guerrilla campaign.

This would be the point at which I would expect PRC intervention, if any. In the form of PLAN littoral-warfare ships acting to protect traffic through the Strait, much as U.S., etc. naval assets did before.

If it doesn’t happen at all, it’s a sign that Iran has been backing ISIS all along. If it does happen and the PLAN does nothing, it means their “force projection” capability is less than they claim.

The joker in the deck? If ISIS tries to play in the Strait and the Indian Navy takes them on. At that point, Pakistan may get interested. possibly ending in a modern-day version of The Glorious First of June in the Gulf of Oman.

clear ether

eon

eon on June 22, 2014 at 2:33 PM

Even without a working navy, ISIS could still interdict the Strait by the old Boghammer/anti-ship missile technique the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was so fond of twenty years or so ago. “Tanker War 2″, anyone? The Iranian Navy is probably unable to cope with this sort of maritime guerrilla campaign.

I had forgotten about that, I need to refresh my memory on that.

dmacleo on June 22, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Wow, there are sectarian divisions among a Sunni alliance, that’s stunning news! Who would have guessed that could happen? Quick, the United States needs to cooperate with Iran and support the Maliki/Shia faction in order to exploit this fortuitous and unanticipated conflict, in order to combat the terrorists who at this very moment are planning to destroy Western civilization!

Of course, no one with any sense is expecting this alliance to hold together. The trick is to keep them together until they wipe out the reconstituted Mahdi Army, and then push them to turn on each other.

There is no Iraqi government or prime minister. There is an Shia government headed by an Iranian stooge and propped up by the might of Shiite militias also backed by Iran. The Shia, brutally repressed by Saddam Hussein’s Baathist government, were unleashed by the Americans in the hope that they could lead an inclusive national government. They failed miserably, and now must be pushed back into the mud.

Joseph K on June 22, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Muslim gang fight!

Time for the Obama, the community organizer, to send in his Muslim Brotherhood buddies to smooth things out.

Obama

the Muslim Brotherhood.

albill on June 22, 2014 at 3:02 PM

No stalling, from captain obvious

Schadenfreude on June 22, 2014 at 3:06 PM

A “state”? They might like to *establish a state, but the ability to pay for services does not qualify them to be one.

Their propensity to kill their own population tends to be a little problematic as well.

Our problem with state entities lies in Iran and Iraq uniting to extend the shi’ite version of a Caliphate, which Obama hasn’t done anything to prevent during his term – not the Weiss version ISIS’ delusions of grandeur.

It was in our best interest to remain in place and in communication in Iraq to prevent Maliki from gaining Shi’ite dominance and a strong partnership with Iran.

Now we have to walk an impossible tightrope between somehow weakening their alliance, destroying ISIS, avoiding another fullout war and keeping our own people safe, which is pretty difficult when Obama sends too few into an area in which both trust and contacts have evaporated to assist an imploded military, whose ranks are currently being expanded by a militia we a) fought and disbanded, b) absolutely hates us, and c) would be more than happy to kill them at the first available opportunity.

He absolutely BLOWS as a POTUS and a CiC, he really does.

Recon5 on June 22, 2014 at 4:05 PM

The pages on social networking sites, including Page MP Jordanian Khalil Attieh on the site “Facebook” to “revolutionaries Iraqis arrested him and sentenced him to death in retaliation for the death of the martyr Saddam Hussein,” he said[.]

dmacleo on June 22, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Where’s Just the Facts?

Hello? I have a question.

Why would Wahabbist terrorists consider Saddam Hussein a martyr? You insisted that Saddam was their “deadly enemy.”

Could it be that your entire worldview is not fact based after all?

A Chair of Some Kind on June 22, 2014 at 4:32 PM

ISIS is a sideshow. The danger is a nuclearized Shia kimgdom, Iran, with ICBM capability. That is the near future and from there terror will be able to act throughout the world with impunity as an offensive weapon of the caliphate. The US fleet will not have access to the Gulf given the new vulnerabilities to attack, including nuclear, and the apoclyptic vison of Shia. Israel will be even further marginalized, or worse. Europe will be hostage to terrorism and the US will also see graver and ever increasing frequency and effectiveness of terror attacks through our open borders. And, with a nuclearized Iran, we will be able to do next to nothing. Welcome to barky’s new world order.

cthemfly on June 22, 2014 at 7:23 PM