Comments on: Under assault by U.S.-led coalition, Islamic State may shift tactics Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: Butch_from_PA Mon, 20 Oct 2014 03:15:58 +0000 The fate of ISIS is in the hands of the local communities. ISIS will try to fade into the woodwork in the next couple of weeks as they get pounded into the ground. If the locals do not take ownership and interview/question who are you? – to strangers – then they are doomed to die many times over.

If they take ownership – ISIS has nowhere to hide and the hormone ridden leftovers of ISIS will be on trial and hung.

By: hometown Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:41:25 +0000 Canyonliveoak: you said: “How on earth can it lead to anything other than chaos, wasted money, wasted life, and increased resentment towards the United?”

You didn’t make any suggestions to correct our course. Executives always appreciate learning the problem; yet, also, learning your suggested solution to the problem (plus any competing solutions you may be aware of, and, the benefits of your solution over those).

By: MaskOfZero Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:37:37 +0000 I don’t agree with the author’s assessment.

The early success of ISIS in Iraq was due to fighting Sunni’s in the Iraq army who had no motivation to fight for a Shia dominated government–so they deserted in droves.

The only advantage ISIS has is that they are fanatical enough to be fearless in battle. Fearless does not mean competent.

Thus far, the news media and Western politicians have extolled the fighting prowess of ISIS based upon their success against unmotivated or unprofessional opponents.

When ISIS encountered the Kurds in Kobane, suddenly they did not seem so invincible–despite the Kurds lack of heavy weaponry.

When ISIS fights like an army, they must concentrate their forces, and move on the ground–which means they are vulnerable to air-power and drones. In Kobane, ISIS has lost hundreds of fighters. This is true anywhere in Syria or Iraq. If ISIS concentrates their forces (which they must for conventional battles) then they will be exterminated like cockroaches.

The other option is for ISIS to wage a guerilla war. In order for this to be possible, they must blend with the Sunni population in Iraq or Syria. This implies a certain level of cooperation among Sunni civilians.

In Iraq, Al Qaeda attempted this–but they were not welcomed by the indigenous Sunnis. The only reason they were tolerated is because the local Sunnis felt they needed allies–even bad ones, in order to fight the Shias and the US.

The US made a deal with the Sunnis, who assisted the US in eradicating Al Qaeda fighters in Iraq.

My point is that if ISIS fights like an army–they are doomed. If they try to blend into the Sunni population, they will be unsuccessful long-term since they are unpopular with locals and they upset the local Sunni tribal hierarchy–so if local Sunnis are given a way to power and autonomy without ISIS, they will assist in the eradication of ISIS.

ISIS is an overblown bogey-man, and accounts of their threat and skill in battle are overblown.

By: HJSchoonhoven Sun, 19 Oct 2014 23:39:05 +0000 It will be interesting to see whether ISIS can blend into the civilian population when next year’s harvest fails as it probably will.

By: SA_NYC Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:51:29 +0000 Lots of detailed analysis (and well-researched and written, kudos for that) to arrive at a pretty basic conclusion: these IS maniacs can’t stand up to any sort of traditional military battle (against a western force), so they’ll be guerrilla fighters instead, as they have no choice. Nothing surprising here, and let’s not breathlessly make this seem more than it is.

There’s a reason IS has been acting for the past couple of months as a more traditional army: it’s far more effective. As pauldhouston notes in his comment, being a guerrilla force means no territory held, which mean no caliphate. Of course it’s still not ideal to have a pack of homicidal maniacs running around bombing and killing, but it’s a lot more manageable than than the caliphate alternative. Sorry, IS, but your moment in the sun is passed and now you’re just another pack of insurgent losers. Enjoy the rest of your lives, spent underground, running and hiding from our air power. We look forward to seeing you when you pop your pathetic heads up for some air.

By: pauldhouston Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:18:11 +0000 But then they lose their Caliphate, which is their stated goal. To establish that, they have to have a functioning “regular” army, otherwise they can’t protect their territory. Going back to being a mob terrorist group would be a blow to ISIS.

By: rikfre Wed, 15 Oct 2014 19:57:28 +0000 they will do what they all do….hide behind civilians…

By: evilhippo Wed, 15 Oct 2014 11:17:28 +0000 “Allah is murdering his own adherents. Kudos to him.”

Really? You do know the Alawites, Yezedis and Chaldeans are not muslims, right? Not to mention the largely secular YPG and their Syrian government enemy…

By: averym Wed, 15 Oct 2014 06:36:12 +0000 It’s no fair that jihadist warriors have figured out that they should start a foreign campaign in an election year. They’ve figured out our greatest weakness!

By: CanyonLiveOak Wed, 15 Oct 2014 02:05:37 +0000 I have been presented with the simplest of tasks: teach basic arithmetic to a room of Arab children aged 11-12. The government education council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has asked me to take on this role. I am an American who is open minded, with no ill will towards Islam, nor any allegiance to it. This task is well defined. I know the kids have learned their arithmetic when they get their answers correct on a consistent basis. Finally, Math is not a controversial topic in that most people accept that children should know how to count, add, multiply and divide. How does this relate to fighting Isis?

Even in a task as simple and measurable as teaching arithmetic to children, I encounter on a daily basis, cultural patterns that are beyond my understanding at this time, and misunderstood or poorly described by previous so called authorities on Arab culture. I am an army of one, with a chain of command that is completely self contained in my head; the media does not follow my actions, and there are no corporations that stand to profit whether or not the children learn their arithmetic. Finally, and most importantly, I am on the ground here, attempting to live in this foreign nation with open arms to the culture so that I can deepen my understanding and complete my task. To date, success has eluded me for the most part.

Now consider the complexity of a war against ISIS. The people with the power to make decisions are not here in the middle east. They rely on a huge chain of command, where politics, economics, media, and other complex forces are in play. They are taking on a controversial task and in all likelihood cannot describe a measurable outcome for success. How on earth can it lead to anything other than chaos, wasted money, wasted life, and increased resentment towards the United States and those other nations that choose to involve themselves?