THE THREE FACES OF ISIS

Posted: October 2, 2016 in Uncategorized
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I started writing this column about four years ago.  One of my earliest writings addressed the mid-east revolutions referred to as the Arab Spring.  Arab countries were throwing off the yoke of dictatorship and attempted to install some semblance of democracy.  America’s failing to mentor these countries and provide leadership to the fledgling democracies is one of the major foreign policies of our great nation.  Another failing was our inept ability to diagnose and act on what was taking place in Syria during the early days of the Syrian revolution has assisted in the growth of the world’s greatest cancer, ISIS.

Just as what had happened in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and attempts in other Arab countries, Syria had an uprising to overthrow a terrible dictatorship, the Assad family.  With countries collapsing around Syria it would have taken little encouragement from the United States and Europe to have Assad flee Syria.  I had said that we had a plumb to pick and not only encourage democracy in Syria but provide an opportunity for a moderate regime to promote peace with our staunchest ally, Israel.  At the time there had been about two hundred and fifty civilian casualties.  We did nothing and in the midst of revolution, confusion and external pressures; ISIS had a chance to be born.  This was the first phase, the formation of ISIS.  America became so nonchalant about this formation that we referred to ISIS as a junior varsity team.  The seed was planted and grew very quickly.   Modern technology such as social media plus financial support from abroad coupled with brilliant leadership and filling a niche for impressionable youth around the world led to a steep growth of this despicable organization known as ISIS.

By the time the full reality of ISIS was realized, the organization was spreading like wildfire across the mid-east.  Images of captured American tanks, trucks and other pieces of armament were shown around the world.  It takes a large maintenance staff to keep a tank running and this was apparently in place as the vehicles were kept rolling.  It also takes a huge supply system to keep an army moving and this level of sophistication was in place and shows that outside training and support was pouring into Syria and Iraq.  At the early days of this second phase, active military development and execution, Iraq requested drones from America to help thwart the spread.  America declined and very little military support was provided.  ISIS continued it spread and used brutal tactics to cause Iraqi and Syrian troops to run when the mere suggestion of ISIS approaching was spread through the troops.  Beheadings, mass executions, rapes and pillaging terrified a civilian populace waiting for the West to come to their rescue.  During this time Russia entered the revolution in Syria on the side of the Assad family and America sat back and watched as Vladimir Putin took a lead in the mid-east that it had lost in the early 1990s.   The West did eventually step up a bombing campaign that has led to significant gains by Iraqi and Syrian forces in their fight against ISIS.  Unfortunately, the Syrian government is still in power and will likely remain even after ISIS is destroyed.

ISIS has now moved into a third phase and for the United States and Europe it is the most dangerous phase to date.  This phase is to not take the fight to the enemy in a traditional manner.  Don’t mass tanks and soldiers dressed in uniforms and pit them in a large battle against a foe.  Instead use true terrorist tactics and attack from within using the civilians to carry on the war.  While ISIS is finally losing ground in Syria and Iraq, multi millions of refugees are pouring across borders fleeing the ISIS scourge.  The great masses do not want to leave, they are being forced to leave their homes and villages and seek some place to feel safe.  The Wests greatest failure is not providing a place for the refugees to flee, the greatest failure is allowing the mid-east to get to a situation that it is in today that has caused the refugee crisis.  We have a real mess on our hands and as I wrote a couple of years ago, ISIS will attempt to spread across Europe and America with the hope of world domination.  The difference in World War II and defeating the Nazis and Japanese and what we are up against today is that today command and control can be provided from a remote area in real time.  Technology allows despots such as ISIS to influence the youth of the world and launch attacks with little effort that garnishes huge headlines.

For this third phase it is hoped that the leadership of the free world understand what they are up against and provide a direction that can defeat ISIS on their own terms.  I only hope that some form of a fourth phase never materializes.  Make no mistake, ISIS is smart, well organized and will morph itself to fit a changing war environment.

 

 

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