Plenty of media talking heads have been predicting that the ISIS extremists in Syria and Iraq would self-destruct. It’s not a stable government, they argue. It doesn’t have popular support. They can’t make a government work. Unfortunately, every one of these media experts is dead wrong. As a government, ISIS does work. It’s unspeakably brutal and most of the people under their rule are quietly wishing they’d just go away, but the fanatics have strong points too. They’re a lot more financially savvy than their medieval savagery suggests. They’re experts at manipulating public opinion among less educated, or more messed up, Muslims. They have just enough real popular support to prevent a major uprising against their rule. The ISIS regime works. And that’s awkward, because it can’t be allowed to exist.
Right now, ISIS dominates most or northern Iraq and large chunks of Syria. It’s not impossible they could capture Baghdad, and that would put them within striking distance of the southern oilfields around Basrah. Beyond Basrah lies Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. ISIS have to be stopped, rolled back and destroyed, but there’s no appetite for a major western ground operation to do it. That operation might eventually be necessary, but if it can be avoided US and European leaders will avoid it gratefully. So, what can we do without actually re-invading?
Iraq’s government has been asking for more intelligence, and this is an area where something might be done. There are limits though. The Iraqi government is a mess, and nobody in their right mind is going to trust them with really high quality intelligence – the risk of sources being compromised is just too high. Deliveries of equipment doesn’t look like a great idea either, because much of what we’ve delivered so far is already in ISIS hands; reports suggest they’ve captured over 2,000 HMMWVs from the Iraqi army and a load of other weapons and gear.
There’s a solution though, which is to scale up some of the other support we’re already providing to the Kurds and other anti-ISIS militias. If we massively increase the number of air strikes flown against the jihadis, and widen the target sets being hit, that could decisively tilt the balance. So could expanding Special Forces operations in aid of those same militias. The Kurds and Shia can fight well enough; as light infantry, they’re easily the equal of ISIS. There’s no need to commit US and NATO troops when there are friendlies already on the ground. What they need is the spec ops expertise, technology and massive firepower that the west can bring to bear. Given that, they can succeed. It worked before, after all; that’s exactly the strategy that toppled the Taliban.
There’s no point in worrying that hammering ISIS will “radicalize” young Muslims; anyone who’d feel even the slightest solidarity with them is radical enough already. What we need to be worrying about is the innocent people trapped under ISIS’s functional but hideous regime, and the threat to our own civilizations. It’s not going away unless we make it go away.
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.