Posts by Russell Brown

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19338 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war,

    From Bloomberg:

    Shiite militias are backing up police and army soldiers, according to state-run al-Iraqiyah television. Qassem Suleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, arrived two days ago to “review and advise” Iraqi field commanders, the Fars news agency reported on Monday.

    And:

    There’s been no air cover because “the Iraqis haven’t requested any,” Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters Monday. Major General Emad al-Zahiri, commander of Samarra military operations for the Iraqi army, said by phone that the defense ministry or army command were responsible for deciding whether to ask for air support.

    Naim al-Aboudi, a spokesman for the Iranian-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, one of the main forces fighting around Tikrit, said that “the U.S.-led coalition has never decisively ended any battle.”

    “We don’t trust the coalition and we don’t need their help,” he said by phone.

    There's no way all this could bow up in anyone's face, is there?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19338 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war, in reply to Alex Coleman,

    It’s just surreal right?

    It's crazy. And remember, there is no Status of Forces Agreement for our troops. There's so much wrong here, and that's just what we can see from the other side of the world.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19338 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war, in reply to BenWilson,

    I wouldn’t call anything with even 5% support “immensely popular”

    To put it in context, it's considerably less popular than Al Qaeda has generally been in those countries.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19338 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war,

    Uh, this isn't a really good environment to be entering, is it?

    The Iraqi military launched a major campaign to take back a key city from the self-proclaimed Islamic State over the weekend—a move that caught the U.S. “by surprise,” in the words of one American government official.

    The U.S.-led coalition forces that have conducted seven months of airstrikes on Iraq’s behalf did not participate in the attack, defense officials told The Daily Beast, and the American military has no plans to chip in.

    Instead, embedded Iranian advisors and Iranian-backed Shiite militias are taking part in the offensive on the largely Sunni town, raising the prospect that the fight to beat back ISIS could become a sectarian war.

    The news is the latest indication that not all is well with the American effort against the terror group. On Friday, U.S. defense officials told The Daily Beast that a planned offensive against the ISIS stronghold of Mosul had been indefinitely postponed. Over the weekend, an American-backed rebel group in Syria announced that it was dissolving, and joining an Islamist faction.

    Then there was the unexpected battle for Tikrit. Over the weekend, a reported 30,000 troops and militiamen—mostly Shiites —stormed the Sunni dominated city of Tikrit, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s hometown and the symbolic birthplace of his three decades of repressive practices against the majority Shiite population.

    U.S. officials were largely left in the dark of the planning and timing of the operation, defense officials said. The Pentagon said Monday it was not conducting airstrikes in support of the Tikrit offensive because the Iraqi government did not ask for such help.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19338 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war, in reply to James George,

    Take IS whose popularity (and despite the bulldust the hacks around here push these guys are immensely popular throughout the Arab speaking nations)

    Really?

    The Islamic State group has substantially less support in Arab nations than it does in European countries, including Britain, according to a new report into attitudes towards the brutal jihadist group.

    The Syria and Iraq-based group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, enjoys practically no popularity in Egypt, Lebanon, or Saudi Arabia, according to research by the Washington Institute. Saudi Arabia is one of five Arab nations which joined the US in airstrikes on Islamic State (IS) targets in Syria.

    Just 3% of Egyptian expressed a positive opinion of the IS, only 5% of Saudis, and under 1% of Lebanese respondents showed any support for the group. It does not mean, the researchers point out, that there is absolutely no support for IS in those countries as the small percentages add up to around 1.5 million people in Egypt, 500,000 in Saudi Arabia, and a few thousand in Lebanon.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19338 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday (Thursday) Music:…, in reply to llew40,

    Our teenagers were totally enthralled by Tinashe. Not quite my thing, but they were all completely buzzing and grinning from ear to ear after spending the whole gig right up against the front barrier.

    I wish I'd seen her! Heard lots of good things.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19338 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday (Thursday) Music:…, in reply to llew40,

    Also enjoyed Earl Gateshead’s banter “heavy yeah yeah, this one is warrior reggae, but dont see too many warriors out there”

    His rewind style was a laugh -- just push the needle back across the record to roughly where that "amazing" bit was.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19338 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday (Thursday) Music:…, in reply to Samuel Scott,

    It was pretty cool swimming in the ocean with Mr Scruff playing tunes through a giant PA on the beach. Great festival.

    It was a shame our little public conversation couldn't go ahead, but apart from that, Sunday was a sunny, happy day for me.

    Cat Empire were terrible!

    What even are they? I don't get it.

    Trinity Roots were great, the new lineup with Ben Woods taking over the drums and Ed Zuccollo adding extra keys works great.

    Gah. And I missed them ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19338 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war,

    Someone with armed forces insight has pointed out to me that New Zealand will be going in with no Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqis. And without a SOFA, you don’t know what your Rules of Engagement are.

    I gather there are a few people troubled by this.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19338 posts Report Reply

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