For John, BLUF: Fighting ISIL will be up hill for a while. Nothing to see here; just move along.
From Night Watch early this morning, we have this:
Reaction to the US President's speech. The so-called moderate Syrian Islamists announced that they are allied to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). That destroys any expectations that moderate Muslims would work with the US effort.The ISIL count from CIA is not such a big deal for me. The disappearance of a moderate Syrian opposition means we have NO base to build on in Syria. Having Turkey say no means it will cost us more to conduct air operations against ISIL. And building alliances requires high diplomatic skill.
Turkey announced that the US cannot use any of its bases or resources in fighting ISIL Turkey also will permit no US soldiers in Turkey for the purpose of fighting ISIL.
CIA announced that the upper limit of ISIL fighting strength is 31,500. This number is significantly higher than the number used earlier in the week. The nature of the fight continues to escalate.
Regards — Cliff