Monday, December 29, 2014

We found the Khorasan Group!

Remember that mysterious group which the Pentagon was proclaiming it was targeting in its bombing raids on northern Syria but no one else had heard of, and it actually seemed to be Al Nusra Front, which spends most of its time fighting Bashar al-Assad?

Well, the good news is that the general skepticism about there being a group called Khorasan was unjustified.

The bad news is that the group actually has nothing to do with Syrian rebels and if anything is part of the coalition against ISIS. This comes via am in-depth Reuters report, which also raises broader questions about the point of a US strategy to hold together a country, Iraq, which is falling apart --

In a house on the outskirts of Baghdad, a Shi'ite tribal leader sat and imagined his world as "a dark tunnel with no light" at its end. "Iraq is not a country now," he said. "It was before Mosul." The sheikh, who spoke on condition of anonymity, would like to see his country reunited but suspects Abadi is too weak to counter the many forces working against him. Now the Shi'ite militias and Iran, whom the sheikh fought in the 1980s, are his protectors. It is a situation he accepts with a grim inevitability. "We are like a sinking ship. Whoever gives you a hand lifting you from the sea whether enemy or friend, you take it without seeing his face because he is there." 

Iranian-advised paramilitaries now visit his house regularly. He has come to enjoy the Iranian commander of a branch of the Khorasani Brigades, a group named for a region in northeastern Iran. The commander likes to joke, speaks good Arabic and has an easy way, while other fighters speak only Persian, the sheikh said. He expresses appreciation for their defense of his relatives in the Shi'ite town of Balad, which is under assault from the Islamic State.