Playing Checkers When the Enemy Plays Chess

We stood by as a nation and mourned while Parisians were attacked in their own streets. We sadly watched the aftermath of a Russian plane crash of vacationers on their way home. We recognized the all too familiar feelings of being unable to help, but also a mix of anger and sadness. Then we waited.

We waited to see how the countries would react to violence against their citizens. We waited to see what the investigators would piece together. We waited for the response. As Americans, we have felt this before. September 11, 2001 is still a part of our national identity. When an American is killed through an act of terrorism, we feel it. Parisians and Russians feel the same way towards their people.

An act of violence against one is an act of violence against all. A country united in anger is one which should not be underestimated. The French President has declared that “France is at war.” and responded by launching bombing runs against ISIS sites in Raqqa, Syria. This is to be expected; if one pushes hard enough, one should expect to be pushed back eventually. The French are highly effective at doing it. The Russians have continued to bomb ISIS training camps and sites across Syria at an unprecedented rate.

So what is the end game for ISIS? What was their intent? Arguably the purpose of terror is to create a lack of trust in the systems to protect the citizenry and to incite fear in the people. This undermines the governmental institutions and acknowledges that a people far separated from war can be affected by it just the same. Therefore, it would seem the purpose of ISIS is to do to France what the 2004 train bombings did to Spain.

ISIS Al-Qaeda Militants Fighting Syrian Civil WarThe government of Jose Aznar and the conservative People’s Party looked to be ready to secure its third reelection when the bombings occurred. The government immediately was blamed that mass arrests of terrorist groups caused Spain to become a target itself. Within two days, the Socialist party took power in a surprise shift and promised to bring its troops home from Iraq.

France has been participating in the coalition attacks against ISIS. The goal would seem to desire to draw them away from the coalition. The opposite can be said to be true at the same time. By encouraging xenophobia, and causing the resulting backlash against foreigners across the country, ISIS could be hoping to use the attack as a recruiting tool. At roughly the same time as the attack in Paris, a refugee camp housing predominantly Syrians was lit ablaze in a fire that demolished more than 40 shelters.

Those seeking shelter would likely respond to this seemingly violent action by siding with extremists more than they do today, which creates a larger pool of applicants to conduct more attacks in France. The problem with expected responses is that they can be played into. Just like a judo expert will use an enemy’s momentum against them, it is entirely conceivable that ISIS is performing this exact action.

The last few months have been filled with stories of refugees being blocked from entering countries through police action, walls, fences, and arrests. It is possible to believe that everything is one giant chess board, and each side is making moves and counter-moves. The winner is the one that can see the bigger picture, recognize their own strengths, and take advantage of the enemy’s weaknesses. Let us hope at the end of the day that we are in fact the ones playing chess, while our enemy’s play checkers.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Kyle Soler

Kyle Soler is an active duty Infantry Officer serving in the US Army. He has served in the military for more than 10 years, working his way from an Infantry Squad Leader to a Company Commander with multiple combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan in between. Kyle earned his bachelor’s degree in History from Willamette University, and three Master degrees from Jones International University in Information Security Management, Health Care Management, and International Business. He also holds certifications in Six Sigma Lean and Six Sigma Lean Black Belt. His primary focus is realigning organizational priorities to get the most out of the time available in terms of training and development. Prior to entering military service, he worked as a fire fighter and an EMT. His areas of knowledge include military, training, leadership, disaster and continuity planning.
Kyle Soler

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