* Records gathered by the Pentagon and analyzed by RAND show how Iraqi extremists withstood U.S. anti-terror efforts. Sustained funding is a top predictor of a guerrilla/terrorist movement’s long-term viability.
* Senator John McCain [R-AZ, SASC] may be isolated, but that doesn’t necessarily make him wrong:
“You’ve got a territory larger than the state of Indiana patrolled by radical extremists funded by hundreds of millions of dollars, and with tens of thousands of foreign fighters who are dedicated to extending their fight into the United States.”
* The US expects to complete the delivery of 500 Hellfire missiles to Iraq within the next 3 weeks, and more troops are sent to protect the US embassy in Baghdad. But the White House’s website section about Iraq is suspended in a surreal state of denial and stuck to the 2009-2011 timeline. Yet the deadly insurgency in Iraq has been surging for more than a year. As the Daily Beast puts it:
“So the real issue is not whether Iraq had been successfully stabilized, but why Obama would order a precipitous withdrawal of all U.S. troops and military advisers from such a fragile experiment in self-government. After all, the United States kept tens of thousands of troops in Germany, Japan, and Korea long after those wars ended.”
* Meanwhile 2013 was a record year for opium production in Afghanistan. The Taliban reverted their strong stance against drugs and are now happy to tap that revenue stream.
* Like the Obama administration, David Petraeus blames the current situation on the sectarian behavior of Iraq’s government under prime minister Maliki. Sure, but who in their right mind was expecting Iraq to function as an inclusive democracy from Saddam to Sweden overnight? The former architect of the surge notes how observers could see things coming as ISIL was gathering significant resources in Syria and explicitly setting its sights from Iraq to Lebanon.
* The Pentagon released a document [PDF] about its strategy for countering WMDs, which states among its priority objectives: “Manage WMD risks emanating from hostile, fragile, or failed states and safe havens.” Maybe start by not letting weak countries where you had troops fall back into the hands of avowed hardcore terrorists?
In Other Insurgency News…
* Israeli searchers found the bodies of the 3 teens kidnapped last month. PM Netanyahu was succinct: “Hamas Is Responsible and Hamas Will Pay.” Recall that the entire 2006 War in Lebanon was launched by events along these lines. Now that Hamas are part of a Palestinian “unity” government, the stakes expand. Just to ratchet up the stakes, Israeli sources have fingered Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri as the plot leader – he lives in Turkey.
* President Poroshenko recognized that his cease fire had failed as fighting intensified in eastern Ukraine.
US Legal Framework
* The US Federal Aviation Administration published its interpretation of how regulations should be applied to UAVs and model aircraft flown near airports, which they want to be prohibited without permission. You can submit comments until July 25.
* The CSIS think tank held an event to discuss the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) tech demonstration, in the video below. US Army program director Dan Bailey was there, as well as representatives of the contractors bidding for the project: