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Late Night: The State of Play

To bring us all up to speed on current events in the Levant:

— Despite recent parliamentary moves expressing verbal support for stopping ISIS, Turkey apparently sees ISIS as an ally and a way to keep the Kurds from getting what Turkey fears the most: A homeland. Why? Because the Kurds have claimed a large chunk of Turkey for it. That’s why Turkey’s trying to stop Kurds in Turkey from crossing the border into Syria to defend the Kurdish town of Kobani (see below).

— Speaking of ISIS and the Kurds, Gary Brecher asks the question no major US media will consider: Why hasn’t All-Mighty ISIS managed to take a Kurdish town only twenty-five kilometers away from its “emirate” headquarters in Jarabulus, or until very recently even get within fourteen kilometers of it for more than a few hours at a time, even though they’re now better-equipped than the Kurds in the area (thanks in part to the Turks as well as to fleeing Iraqi Shiite army personnel) and have had nearly a year and a half to take it? (Even the recent CNN report that ISIS had allegedly invaded Kobani’s southwest corner had to admit that this report is contradicted by at least one other report: “However, there were conflicting reports. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based monitoring group, said it did not believe that ISIS was in the city itself based on information from more than a dozen sources in Kobani.”)

— There’s not an awful lot of difference between the “moderate Syrian rebels” and their fellow Saudi-backed Sunni jihadists in ISIS. (It was “moderate Syrian rebels” who sold Sotloff to ISIS, after all.) It’s why these “moderate Syrian rebels” would much rather we bombed Assad’s strongholds (or any place in Iran) rather than attack their fellow anti-Assad fighters in ISIS. The main differences sprang from ISIS’ trying to muscle in on and take over the anti-Assad fight like they were the Pros from Dover, and the local anti-Assadite groups resenting this.

— Meanwhile, speaking of entities who would rather we bombed Assad’s strongholds (or anything in Iran) instead of going after ISIS: Why does the IDF tolerate (to the point of not so much as lobbing a damp squib at) the several Sunni jihadist groups camped out in the lands just east of the Golan Heights, Israel’s most sensitive strategic spot? Groups that include members of ISIS, and which moved in right after the Syrians pulled out in June because they were tired of being shelled on their own land by the IDF?

— And why is ISIS’ failure to make any sort of headway in the Sunni-filled western suburbs near Baghdad being flipped on its head as “proof” of ISIS’ inexorable advance? These newly-Sunni suburbs got that way very recently, when the Shiites controlling the Iraqi government did some ethnic cleansing in Baghdad that went without much notice in the US media, and so you’d expect them to be very eager to help out anyone fighting to retake Baghdad, a formerly Sunni-majority city. But noooo: ISIS has been stuck at the same spot seventy kilometers west of Baghdad for several months now, with no real sign of being able to progress any closer.

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