Thomas Wictor

Experts and their opinions are becoming more and more unreliable

Experts and their opinions are becoming more and more unreliable

If you feel lost when it comes to figuring out what’s happening in the Middle East, don’t feel bad. Although I don’t feel lost, it’s because I’m insane. Wait: Did I write that or just think that? At any rate, most of the experts are worthless. I’ll explain why in a moment.

First, here’s an interesting angle that I haven’t seen anywhere else.

In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to help the Kurds consolidate their territorial gains in northern Syria by linking the Kurdish-held town of Kobane with Afrin. That could feasibly be accomplished if the Kurds were able to advance west across the Euphrates — Turkey’s “red line” for the YPG — and seize the rebel-held Azaz…

“Earlier this month, Moscow delivered weapons to the 5,000 Kurdish fighters in Afrin, while Russian aircraft bombed a convoy of trucks that crossed the Turkish border into Syria at Bab al-Salam,” the Washington Institute’s Fabrice Balanche wrote last weekend in an analysis of the Azaz corridor’s strategic importance.

“Rebel positions north of Aleppo were struck as well, preparing the ground for an offensive by the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG), the PYD’s main militia.”

Is it true? I don’t know. Probably. The YPG didn’t begin fighting Assad until December 23, 2015.

Russians love intrigue. They love complicated relationships that would drive westerners out of their minds. Here’s just the Kurdish side of the current war against the Islamic State.


The Kurds are anything but monolithic. Can’t we say that about everybody? Are Sunni Arabs monolithic?

On October 11, 2015, the Syrian Democratic Forces (QSD) announced their formation at a press conference in the Syrian city of Al Hasakah.


Experts immediately wrote things like this.

[T]he dominant role of Kurdish fighters in the alliance is a concern for majority Sunni Arab factions and their regional backers, raising questions about the group’s future role in a broader political context in Syria.

The coalition, which focuses on fighting the Islamic State, already faces opposition from other groups fighting to topple President Bashar Assad because those groups widely distrust the Kurds.

And while the coalition has been capturing territory steadily in northern Syria from the extremists, it is hampered greatly by its inability to retake areas with a majority Sunni Arab population.

As of January 3, 2016, here’s where the QSD is. That we know of.


Now, I’m not one of the experts, but it looks to me that most of those towns are Sunni Arab.


The Turks said, “NO KURDS WEST OF THE EUPHRATES! IT’S A RED LINE!” But look at this.

Subsequent to fierce clashes with militants of al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) recaptured the village of Keshtaar in Aleppo countryside, military sources reported on Sunday.

Keshtaar village, located in the suburb of Tel Rafaat city, has been constantly used by Nusra militants and allied Islamists as a base from which they used to attack the Kurdish region of Afrin northwest of Aleppo…

On Friday, the SDF seized control of the villages of Tat Mrash and Tanab in the vicinity of Azaz city north of Aleppo after clashes with militant fighters of al-Nusra Front and the Islamic Movement of Ahrar al-Sham.

Two locales that are quite westy. The Euphrates is the blue river on the right of the map below.


Multiple experts pronounced, “The Kurds are a liability for every reason you can think of.” They wouldn’t fight for anything except Syrian Kurdistan, the Arabs would hate them, the Turks would fire themselves into the sky on jets of explosive rage-diarrhea…

Has any of this come true?

Experts never have to be right

I have my theory on what’s happening, but it’s one thing to sit here jawboning. It’s quite another thing to accidentally expose things that are better kept secret, so I’m going to speak in generalities from now on. At least about the QSD. I don’t know who’s firing special, long-range BGM-71 TOW missiles in Syria; therefore I can blather about who I think it is. The QSD is a specific organization walking a geopolitical and religious tightrope. It would be wrong to say anything that could jeopardize its chances for success.

Someone asked me who’s in command of the QSD. Here’s your answer.

The main goal revolves around fighting [the Islamic State]. Other objectives shall be decided by the seven-member general command of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is authorized to adopt all current and future objectives.

There are seven commanders. We don’t know who they are, which is good. As I wrote last night, western methods don’t work in the Middle East. I think the Vietnam War made the western press and military think that they had to cooperate at all times. Well, the people fighting Assad and jihadists in Syria are lying their heads off to the press. But I’m not going to tell you what they’re lying about. This is MILDEC (military deception).

Why are experts so wrong about the current conflict? Because they omit one crucial factor: the advances made in weaponry and tactics.

I had a conversation on Twitter with a poor fellow who opposes war against Iran because he says that “the people” should rise up and…talk their savage dictatorship out of power, I guess. I was giving him specifics, and he was doggedly plowing ahead with one airy-fairy slogan after another. Iran can be trusted with nuclear weapons, he said, because they’re not crazy. The mullahs just want nukes because they’re afraid.


Once they have nuclear weapons, they’ll feel secure, and then they’ll be nice. And the Iranian people won’t allow the mullahs to use nuclear weapons for nefarious purposes.


“Don’t you even think about it, Mister Man!”

The guy on Twitter said that attacking Iran would start World War III. I asked him which global powers would take up arms in defense of Iran. He ignored the question.

Then he wailed, “WAR AT WHAT COST?!”

Well, at the cost of killing the most evil people on earth. As for civilians, not much of a cost at all. It’s likely that the war against Iran—the kinetic phase, I mean—has already begun. Look at the population density of Iran.


How would the Iranians know if a completely unpredictable foe with incredible military skills were in their country? We have no idea whatsoever what’s actually happening in Syria. The only thing we can say for sure is that the QSD suddenly appeared and began mopping the earth with everybody.

I vastly underestimated both the technological capabilities of the Arab League and its strategic planning. And no, it’s not because they’re Arabs. It’s because nobody’s ever fought wars this way. As my brother Tim said today, the Arab commanders must’ve studied every single conflict in the Middle East, probably going back to World War I. They’ve become experts on what not to do.

A brilliant piece of deception is to let the world screech about Yemen. Everyone’s been duped, as journalists unwittingly admit.

The United States on Tuesday sponsored a United Nations Security Council session intended to draw attention to the dire consequences of the war in Yemen, but the meeting also raised questions about potential crimes committed by a Saudi-led military offensive that the Pentagon actively supports.

[D]uring the session on Tuesday, the United Nations’ top human rights official said that the Saudi-led coalition bore the greatest responsibility for the civilian carnage. The official, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the high commissioner for human rights, said that while both sides in the conflict had engaged in attacks on civilians, “a disproportionate amount appeared to be the result of airstrikes carried out by coalition forces.”

All that has placed the United States in an awkward diplomatic tangle. But the fact that American officials invited Mr. al-Hussein to brief the Council on Tuesday was an indication that cracks in the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia are beginning to show.

Then Somini Sengupta (and so little time) writes this.

[T]he Obama administration has not blocked a $1.29 billion weapons deal with Saudi Arabia. It has also not suggested that it would withdraw its support for the Saudi-led operations, nor said that it would conduct its own investigations into military airstrikes that might amount to serious crimes.

Yup. The Yemen war has put so much strain on the US relationship with Saudi Arabia that we’re going to keep on supplying them with weapons and supporting their operations.

The Security Council session was this.

High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein is the son of Prince Ra’ad bin Zeid, Lord Chamberlain of the Hashemite Court of Jordan. One of the nations bombing Yemen is…Jordan!

You know what I’m starting to think? The Saudis are planting the war-crimes stories themselves. Westerners are satisfied with having meetings. We’ve become little kids who like to put on costumes and playact.

The fate of Ireland’s mission in the Golan Heights is hanging in the balance this weekend, as Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan bluntly declared he did not want our UN troops sucked into “a Syrian civil war”.

The Sunday Independent has now established from senior sources that Irish soldiers would have been killed or taken hostage by Islamist extremists if it wasn’t for the military intervention of the Israeli army during last week’s battle to save besieged UN soldiers.

But, despite deepening worries over troop safety, Mr Flanagan ruled out a unilateral Irish withdrawal.

“Support for the UN is a cornerstone of Irish foreign policy and any decision will be made in partnership with them,” he said.

So did the Irish send more beekeepers to sit in the Golan Heights, piously refusing to intervene while depending on Israel to save them? Drum roll, please.

IRISH TROOPS WILL remain in the Golan Heights as part of a UN peacekeeping mission.

Defence Minister Simon Coveney informed the Dáil of his decision this evening.


There was some uncertainty as to whether or not troops would return to the disputed territory, located on the border between Israel and Syria, following increased turmoil in the region.

Some 130 Irish soldiers are currently deployed there as part of the UNDOF (UN Disengagement Observer Force). A troop rotation is due to take place next month.

Speaking in the Dáil, Coveney said he was “satisfied that we can continue to contribute to the [UNDOF] mission”.

Undof!” went the old Jew-hating drunk when kicked in the guts by a donkey.

Did Ireland ever thank the IDF for saving its beekeepers? No. But here’s what Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said to the UN two months later.

I want to pay particular tribute here to the heroic role of UNRWA and its brave and dedicated staff in Gaza, 11 of whom tragically lost their lives during the recent horrific conflict.

UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) in Gaza is an arm of Hamas, and the UN and Ireland know it.

Israel said Sunday that the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) supports Hamas and demanded the UN investigate the agency and its head, Peter Hansen.

Hansen said he believes there are Hamas members on UNRWA’s payroll, but they have to follow UN rules on remaining neutral.

“Oh I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll and I don’t see that as a crime. Hamas as a political organization does not mean that every member is a militant and we do not do political vetting and exclude people from one persuasion as against another,” Hanson told CBC TV.

“We demand of our staff, whatever their political persuasion is, that they behave in accordance with UN standards and norms for neutrality,” he said.

The UN and the Irish have their priorities.

So do Israel’s silent, secretive, incredibly deadly partners. Behold an unsuccessful Houthi ambush on Saudi special operators. At 0:29 you hear the death rattle of one of the terrorists.

The Irish can have the UN. I’ll stick with Israel and those who’ve made peace with her.