OBAMA Overstates Gains Against ISIS (Ezekiel 17)

Republicans say officials overstated U.S.success against the Islamic State

Tom Vanden Brook | USA TODAY1 day ago

WASHINGTON – Military officials in command of the war against the Islamic State skewed analysis of battlefield intelligence to paint a rosy picture of the U.S.-led offensive to counter the militant group, according to a report from congressional Republicans released on Thursday.

A joint task force of Republicans on the House Armed Services and Intelligence committees issued interim findings showing that the leadership of U.S. Central Command “typically provided a more positive depiction of U.S. anti-terrorism efforts than warranted by facts on the ground and were consistently more positive than analysis produced by other elements of the intelligence community.” CENTCOM is responsible for the fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS.

Bad analysis of battlefield intelligence carries enormous potential consequences. Flawed intelligence about Iraq’s nuclear and chemical weapons was used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Because the Pentagon Inspector General is also investigating the allegations of skewed intelligence at CENTCOM, Defense Department officials cannot comment on the task force findings, Navy Lt. Cdr. Patrick Evans, a Pentagon spokesman, said Thursday. However, Evans pointed out that senior military leaders consider intelligence reports from sources other than CENTCOM’s analysts when assessing the security situation in Iraq and Syria.

The congressional task force found that senior CENTCOM leaders in 2014 and 2015 “softened” the reports of their own intelligence analysts to create a more positive image of progress in training Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led air campaign against fighters from the Islamic State.

ISIL stormed through Iraq and Syria in the summer of 2014, overrunning key cities, including Mosul, Iraq’s second largest. Iraqi forces put up minimal resistance before fleeing. U.S. warplanes began striking ISIL targets in Iraq in August 2014 and expanded their attacks to Syria a month later.
More than 50,000 air raids, most of them conducted by U.S. pilots, have taken place, Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, the top commander in Baghdad, told reporters on Wednesday. They have killed as many as 45,000 ISIL fighters and helped drive them from 40% of the territory they occupied at their peak.

The report highlighted congressional testimony, statements and press releases from early 2015 that were “significantly more positive than actual events.” Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, CENTCOM commander at the time, told congress that ISIL was in a “defensive crouch.” In the spring of 2015, another CENTCOM commander echoed Austin, saying that ISIL was “losing ground”; a week later, ISIL fighters — despite being outnumbered 10-to-1 — overran the western Iraqi city of Ramadi.
“After months of investigation, this much is very clear: from the middle of 2014 to the middle of 2015, the United States Central Command’s most senior intelligence leaders manipulated the command’s intelligence products to downplay the threat from ISIS in Iraq,” Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., said in a statement. “The result: consumers of those intelligence products were provided a consistently ‘rosy’ view of U.S. operational success against ISIS. That may well have resulted in putting American troops at risk as policymakers relied on this intelligence when formulating policy and allocating resources for the fight.”

House Democrats examined whistleblower allegations of intelligence manipulation at CENTCOM separately and found that “an overly insular process” for assessing intelligence had failed to sufficiently consider dissenting views and damaged morale among analysts.
“However, we found no evidence of politicization of intelligence in this case,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, said in a statement.

It Is All Part Of The Prophecy (Daniel 8)

We’re letting Iran and ISIS carve up Iraq

The good news: The Iraqi army, backed by Kurdish and Shiite militias, has captured parts of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown, from the Islamic State after weeks of bitter fighting.

It may take several more weeks of bitter house-to-house fighting before IS retreats toward its heartland of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqah in Syria, but the army of the self-styled caliph has already experienced its biggest battlefield defeats.

The bad news: Iran is the biggest winner in the Tikrit fight — and IS is gaining elsewhere. 

The two are dancing toward a de facto partition of Iraq between them.

While IS was retreating on the Tikrit front north of Baghdad, its forces were making major gains east of the Iraqi capital with the aim of capturing Ramadi, Iraq’s fourth-largest Arab Sunni city.

In fact, IS (aka ISIS, or Daesh in Arabic) still controls the largest chunk of territory that any terrorist group ever has. It also continues to attract large numbers of volunteer jihadists, from Western Europe and even from China, the Philippines and Japan.

In propaganda terms, IS has also scored new gains by securing pledges of loyalty from other jihadi movements in Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Algeria and Mali. The latest came from Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the general perception in Baghdad and elsewhere is that the real winners of the (as yet incomplete) victory in Tikrit were Shiite militias backed and even led by military advisers from the Quds Corps of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has tried to claim the victory for his forces, but Iran’s propaganda machine is in full gear awarding credit to the military genius of Gen. Qassem Suleimani, the celebrity Quds Corps commander.

Some Iranian officials even claim a new Persian empire is taking shape across most of the Middle East.

“Today, Baghdad is the capital of our culture and identity, and Iraq is geopolitically inseparable from Iran” says Ayatollah Ali Yunessi, special adviser to President Hassan Rouhani. “Having fought together, we must become one.”

Such talk is a propaganda boost to IS, which bases part of its claim to legitimacy on its “resistance against Iranian plots to conquer Arab lands and force Sunnis to convert to Shiism.”

Meanwhile, Iran seems to be applying the recipe it’s used in Lebanon and Yemen to beleaguered Iraq. They key ingredient: creating a parallel army that, in time, can outgrow the national army of the “host” nation.

This is just what Iran achieved with the branch of Hezbollah (Party of God) it set up in Lebanon and its sister organization, Ansar-Allah (Helpers of God), which last month seized power in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

Iran is using the same recipe in Syria, creating the parallel army Haras al-Qowmi (Ethnic Guard) with the help of the Lebanese Hezbollah.

The Iraqi version, Hashad al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization), is modeled on Iran’s Baseej Mustazafeen (Mobilization of the Downtrodden). At its core are four Shiite militias theoretically disbanded under ex-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki: the Badr (Full Moon), Jaish al-Mahdi (The Mahdi Army), the Iraqi Hezbollah and Jund al-Shuhada (Army of Martyrs).

The Iranian regime knows it lacks the military power and the political support needed to seize direct control in any Arab state, least of all Iraq. This is why it plans to create a state-within-a-state situation — where the formal government in Baghdad, like the formal governments in Beirut or Damascus, will be an empty shell, with real power exercised by heavily armed and well-funded groups linked to Tehran.

These Iranian-controlled groups would command chunks of territory while letting Sunni jihadists set up shop in their own neck of the woods.

In other words, Iran is not aiming to defeat IS, let alone destroy it. All Tehran wants is to create a safe corridor through Iraqi territory to Syria and thence to Lebanon.

And IS seems to be preparing for just such an outcome by diverting resources to its eastern and southeastern fronts — with the ultimate aim of threatening Jordan and, later, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The deadly dance of IS and the Quds Corps is facilitated by President Obama’s inability or unwillingness to define his war aims, let alone develop a credible strategy for preventing IS and Iran from dividing the Levant between them.

Debating Obama’s demand for a war authorization to deal with the situation in Iraq, Congress must start by asking the president to clearly define what he intends to do and how he intends on doing it.
If the answer is to continue with Obama’s current policy and posture, don’t expect anything good to come out it — for either the United States or Iraq.

Pakistan Gains Nuclear Advantage (Daniel 8:8)

Sound bytes: ‘ Pakistan is engaged in nuclear competition’

Saudi nuclear weapons 'on order' from Pakistan: Report