The “Fog of War” has arrived early -Various

Standard

Once a war starts, sifting through the spin, propaganda and general confusion becomes a daunting task. The war on IS is only just beginning, and the “fog of war” is already setting in. Here are a few of the conflicting reports coming out of Iraq and Syria:

According to one source, the US already needs a new, more ambitious strategy:
“Critics will call this strategy too costly, alleging that it will push the United States down a “slippery slope” into another ground war. But while this approach will undoubtedly incur greater financial cost and higher risk of casualties, the present minimalist strategy has scant chance of success and risks backfiring — the Islamic State’s prestige will be enhanced if it withstands half-hearted U.S. airstrikes. Left unchecked, the Islamic State could expand into Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey or Saudi Arabia, making a major ground war involving U.S. troops more likely.” See The U.S. strategy against the Islamic State must be retooled. Here’s how.”, http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-us-strategy-against-the-islamic-state-must-be-retooled-heres-how/2014/11/14/7972e50c-6b8a-11e4-a31c-77759fc1eacc_story.html

According to another the war is going fine, and IS is nothing but “a bunch of midgets running around with a really radical ideology”. See “Battle turning against IS, says US Gen Martin Dempsey”, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30067485

And, according to Kurdish sources there are a lot more of those radical “midgets” than we originally thought, perhaps “seven to eight times more than Western intelligence estimates”, numbering as many as 200,000. see “IS seven times bigger than Western estimates: Kurds claim”, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/IS-seven-times-bigger-than-Western-estimates-Kurds-claim/articleshow/45165857.cms

There have also been reports that the US bombing campaign in Syria is driving the previously fragmented Islamist groups back together in a broad anti-western Salafi/Jihadi alliance. This analysis suggests these reports are unreliable: The Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra: A Looming Grand Jihadi Alliance?, http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/islamic-state-jabhat-al-nusra-looming-grand-jihadi-alliance/

Finally, if you still had any faith in YouTube, see “#BBCTrending: Syrian ‘hero boy’ video faked by Norwegian director”, http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-30057401