Thomas Wictor

Apocalypse? Hardly. This is called “mopping up”

Apocalypse? Hardly. This is called “mopping up”

Nothing annoys me more than people who are seduced by fear. As an investor, I’m personally impacted when blubbering, weak-kneed, gutless poseurs run screeching for the doors every three days. They make me sick. So do those who warn that the Apocalypse is about to start in the Middle East.

I’m fifty-three; every damn day of my life, people have warned of impending Apocalypse. In reality, the Apocalypse has been postponed indefinitely. Leaders far more more courageous than our own have already won the many wars being fought. There’s plenty of combat ahead, but the outcome is guaranteed.

Apocalypse not now

On February 8, 2016, the first step toward formalizing the By No Means An Apocalypse was announced.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Monday held out the possibility of sending Saudi special forces into Syria as part of a U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State.

“There is a discussion with regard to a ground force contingent, or a special forces contingent, to operate in Syria by this international U.S.-led coalition against ISIS and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has expressed its readiness to provide special forces to such operations should they occur,” he said.

Then on February 10, the offer was accepted.

The US defence secretary has refused to rule out Saudi Arabia sending ground troops into Syria, but added that it was just one option and there were other ways the Saudis could contribute to the fight against Islamic State.

Ash Carter was speaking on the eve of a meeting of defence ministers from 49 countries at Nato headquarters to discuss how to step up efforts against Isis in Syria and Iraq.

He said the meeting was important “because we do need to accelerate the campaign and we have a very clear operational picture of how to do it. Now we just need the resources and the forces to fall in behind it.”

The Saudi overture had one condition.

What we said is that if the international coalition against Daesh, which we are a part of and have been since the very beginning, decides that it will introduce ground troops to Syria in addition to the current air campaign, we have said that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is prepared to contribute special forces to this effort.

Therefore the US provided what the Saudis requested: the appearance of an international flavor to ground operations in Syria.

[US Defense Secretary Ashton] Carter disclosed on Monday that the so-called “expeditionary targeting force,” or ETF, was already operating on the ground.

“The ETF is in position, it is having an effect and operating, and I expect it to be a very effective part of our acceleration campaign,” he said, without elaborating.

Its deployment represents increased U.S. military activity on the ground against Islamic State, exposing American forces to greater risk - something President Barack Obama has done only sparingly.

The [200-man] force follows another deployment last year of up to 50 U.S. special operations troops in Syria to coordinate on the ground with U.S.-backed forces battling Islamic State.

Well, actually…

Apocalypse Zero Risk

Here’s how Americans are fighting in Syria.

U.S. special forces advisors are within miles of rebels who they are helping to capture the strategic Syrian town of al-Shadadi from Islamic State but are away from the front lines, a U.S. military spokesman said on Friday.

The U.S. forces were not on the ground with the Syrian rebels, and were also not so close that they could see the front lines, [Colonel Christopher] Garver said, but were within miles of the battle.

“They operate at the next higher headquarters,” he said. “They are not down on the ground with the fighters or in the lower echelon headquarters.”

Here’s how Arab League, African, Asian, and Central Asian special forces are fighting in Syria.

This is what the Syrian Democratic Forces said about the taking of al-Shaddadi, Syria, on February 19, 2016.

Western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on Friday midnight the liberation of Shaddadi city in Hasakah province from the Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants.

After months of battles with ISIS, the SDF has regained control of Shaddadi city –ISIS last bastion in Syria’s northeastern Hasakah province.

ISIS militants have evacuated their headquarters in Shaddadi under heavy bombardment by the Kurdish-Arab alliance of the SDF.

“More than 50 Daesh militant fighters were killed in Fridays’ battle for Shaddadi,” a spokesman for the SDF told ARA News, using an acronym for ISIS.

The source added that eight SDF fighters were killed and 11 others injured, before the U.S.-backed alliance was able to expel the extremist group from the area.

“The U.S.-led coalition’s air cover has facilitated the SDF progress on the ground. Hasakah province is now free of Daesh terrorists,” he said.

Behold al-Shaddadi.

It’s over 30 miles (48 kilometers) from al-Hasakah. If you look at the press releases from Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve dating February 13 to February 19, 2016, there’s no mention of air strikes on al-Shaddadi. The closest we have is “near al-Hasakah.”

The Syrian Democratic Forces (QSD) are approximately 60 percent Kurdish, and most of those fighters belong to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) militia, the Peoples’ Protective Units (YPG). Turkey has demanded that the US not directly support the YPG. Therefore I think it was the Arab League and its allies who contributed air support and special operators during the battle for al-Shaddadi.

Apocalypse Over

The Kurds have released video that shows al-Shaddadi before and after the battle. Below you can see men on dirt bikes racing into the city.

Those are special operators.

Below is such a great shot. Four dirt bikes (red arrows), an all-terrain vehicle (green arrow), a white flag to show the operators who’s friendly (blue arrow), and civilian spectators (violet arrows).

IT WAS A DAYLIGHT RAID! They gave people enough advance notice that they could put up white flags. Yet the Islamic State was still defeated. I hope you can appreciate the skill and humaneness of the men who carried out the operation.

Here’s another Kurdish video of al-Shaddadi. It shows how the QSD uses front-end loaders to quickly create earthen berms that protect the fighters.

Did you see what I saw?

Masked, very pale skinned, fair haired, and the only person in the entire video wearing body armor. He’s a professional. A European. Like the fifty American Special Forces miles from the front line, he’s there to fulfill the Saudi requirement of an international ground force.

Iceland contributed to Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) in 2003. Here’s half the troops that the country sent.

Yup. Two Coast Guard Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians, almost immediately reduced to one.

There’s a difference between MNF-I and the Muslim Coalition that has infiltrated strategic special operators into Syria: The Saudis don’t care what anybody thinks. They correctly view the UN as a giant waste of time.

“Work mechanisms and double-standards on the Security Council prevent it from carrying out its duties and assuming its responsibilities in keeping world peace,” the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Therefore Saudi Arabia… has no other option but to turn down Security Council membership until it is reformed and given the means to accomplish its duties and assume its responsibilities in preserving the world’s peace and security,” it added.

One Security Council diplomat, quoted by AFP, said the announcement was “totally unexpected” and without precedent.

The Saudis asked for token American and European ground troops in Syria so that the intervention could now be done in the open. Arab League special operators have actually been in the country since October of 2014 at the latest. What the Pentagon did throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom was issue a continuous stream of press releases and infographics in an effort to convince the world that intervening in Iraq was legitimate and…nice.

Saudi Arabia and her allies, on the other hand, are fighting in near-total secrecy. They’ll continue to do so even after they acknowledge that they’re in Syria. Clandestine fighting is smart fighting. The Saudis are indifferent to your opinion, as they should be. Everything that Brigadier General Ahmed Assiri says below is true.

I came to all the same conclusions independently by simply examining photos, videos, and troop movements. Assiri would never admit this, but the Yemen war was the most successful deception operation in human history. The Saudis barely defended themselves against false accusations of war crimes. The reason is that they wanted all outraged eyes focused on Yemen while they took care of business in Syria.

Yes, I’m an unabashed supporter of the Saudi military. I have to be, because like their allies the Israelis, the Saudis shed almost no blood. Like the Israelis, they’re such amazing soldiers that they win even after giving the enemy days of warning.

But I would never lie for the Saudis. If they were committing mass war crimes or engaging in nefarious activity, I’d tell you. The QSD is credited with capturing the al-Jabseh Gas Field at al-Shaddadi intact. Below you can see just what a nightmarish, Orwellian world the Islamic State would create.

Kurds fight bravely, yes.

But professionals took that gas field intact. They hit the main office first, coming through the window on the left and firing a flash-bang grenade that scorched the carpet (red arrow).

They captured the gas emir alive. Note the scattered jackets and boot prints.

The terrorists were caught. That’s why they seemed to have left all their records behind. They didn’t flee; they were NABBED!

Apocalypse for the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Assad, Hezbollah, and the Iranian mullahs, yes. But not for the rest of us.

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