Obliterating Islamic State (ISIS) - Page 39




 
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Boots
 
March 8th, 2017  
Tuan
 
 
Where Do ISIS Fighters Go When the Caliphate Falls?
https://www.theatlantic.com/internat...utm_source=fbb

Quote:
The “hardcore fighters,” especially the foreign ones within the inner circle of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his top commanders, will likely remain in Iraq and Syria, and look to join the underground resistance of an “ISIS, 2.0.” In all likelihood, these guerrilla insurgent shards of ISIS will congeal into a clandestine terrorist organization. Besides conducting sporadic raids, ambushes, and, perhaps, spectacular attacks using suicide tactics, these ISIS fighters will rest, rearm, and recuperate.

During this time, the militants may switch their allegiances between a smattering of groups on the ground, including ISIS, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, and Ahrar al-Sham (already a loose coalition of Islamist and Salafist units), and will actively seek out ungoverned areas still beyond the writ of either Syrian or Iraqi government forces and their allies. As the terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman has suggested, if the fortunes of ISIS continue to decline, there may be a group of jihadists that see rapprochement with al-Qaeda as the only option to continue their struggle. Interviews with some Western ISIS fighters suggest that the ideological differences between al-Qaeda and ISIS are too significant to be bridged quickly, but this may change over time.

A second group of fighters are those potential “free agents” or mercenaries who are prevented from returning to their home countries. They can be expected to form a cohort of stateless jihadists who will travel abroad in search of the the next jihadi theater—Yemen, Libya, West Africa, or Afghanistan—to protect, sustain, and expand the boundaries of the so-called caliphate. These are the militant progeny of the original mujahideen, or transnational jihadists that once filled the ranks of al-Qaeda and fought in Afghanistan against the Soviets, and in Chechnya and the Balkans. ISIS affiliates and local Sunni jihadists in these places would likely welcome an influx of battle-hardened comrades.

And then there is the third group of foreign fighters: “the returnees.” This is the cohort that most concerns those in counterterrorism circles. These fighters may attempt to return to their countries of origin, like Tunisia or Saudi Arabia, or go further afield to Europe, Asia, or North America. States with more robust national defense structures—well-trained border police, world-class intelligence services—stand a better chance of blunting their impact. But all Western security services are not created equal: Some will inevitably have a tougher time containing this threat than others. Further complicating the issue is the inability among nation-states, especially those within the European Union, to even agree on the definition of “foreign fighter.”
March 10th, 2017  
Tuan
 
 
Islamic State leader Baghdadi abandons Mosul fight to field commanders, U.S. and Iraqi sources say

Quote:
ISOLATED

At the height of its power two years ago, Islamic State ruled over millions of people in territory running from northern Syria through towns and villages along the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys to the outskirts of Baghdad in Iraq.

U.S.-backed Iraqi forces began an operation five months ago to recapture Mosul, a city at least four times the size of any other the group has held. The biggest battle in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, it has been slow going, in part because hundreds of thousands of civilians remain in harm's way.

The 100,000-strong Iraqi force fully captured the eastern half of Mosul in January, and commanders began an operation to cross the Tigris and take the western half last month. Progress has since been steady and the coalition says its victory is now inevitable, which would dismantle the caliphate in Iraq.

The intelligence sources point to a sharp drop in Islamic State postings on social media as evidence that Baghdadi and his circle have become increasingly isolated.

Baghdadi himself has not released a recorded speech since early November, two weeks after the start of the Mosul battle, when he called on his followers to fight the "unbelievers" and "make their blood flow as rivers."

Since then, sporadic Islamic State statements mention attacks carried out by suicide bombers at various locations in Iraq and Syria, but place no particular emphasis on Mosul, despite the city being the main center of fighting.

Neither Baghdadi nor any of his close aides released any comment on the fall of the eastern part of the city in January.

The group's presence on Telegram, a social media network that had become its main platform for announcements and speeches, has tapered off. The coalition estimates that Islamic State activity on Twitter has fallen by 45 percent since 2014, with 360,000 of the group's Twitter accounts suspended so far and new ones usually shut down within two days.

"GAME IS UP"

In what is likely to be a major symbolic victory for the U.S.-backed Iraqi forces, they are now closing in on the area around Mosul's Great Mosque on the western bank of the Tigris, where Baghdadi proclaimed his caliphate.

More than half of the 6,000 jihadists left to defend the city have been killed, according to Hisham al-Hashimi, the author of the book "World of Daesh", who also advises the Iraqi government. Daesh is an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

U.S. commanders sound upbeat and say the battle for the city is now in a late stage.

"The game is up," U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Matthew Isler told Reuters at the Qayyara West Airfield south of Mosul, adding that some of Islamic State's foreign fighters are trying to leave the city.

Those left behind to fight, mostly Iraqis, are putting up a "very hard fight" on the tactical level but they are no longer an integrated force, as coalition air strikes took out command and control centers, car bombs and weapon caches, he said.

"They have lost this fight and what you're seeing is a delaying action," he said.

Although the loss of Mosul would effectively end Islamic State's territorial rule in Iraq, U.S. and Iraqi officials are preparing for the group to go underground and fight an insurgency like the one that followed the U.S.-led invasion.

The "caliphate" as a state structure would end with the capture of Raqqa, its de facto capital in Syria, possibly later this year.

Raqqa is far smaller than Mosul, but mounting operations against Islamic State in Syria has been trickier than in Iraq, because the group's many Syrian enemies have mostly been pre-occupied fighting among themselves in a civil war since 2011.

Nevertheless, Islamic State has faced setbacks in Syria over the past year against three main foes: U.S.-backed Kurdish and Arab militias, the Russian-backed Syrian army, and mainly Sunni Muslim Syrian rebels backed by Turkey.

"The inevitability of their destruction just becomes really a matter of time," said Major General Rupert Jones, deputy commander for the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition, adding that the group's leadership was now focused on little more than survival.

The last official report about Baghdadi was from the Iraqi military on Feb. 13. Iraqi F-16s carried out a strike on a house where he was thought to be meeting other commanders, in western Iraq, near the Syrian border, it said.

Baghdadi, an Iraqi whose real name is Ibrahim al-Samarrai, is moving in a remote, mostly-desert stretch populated exclusively by Sunni Arab tribes north of the Euphrates river, according to Hashimi.

The area stretches from the town of Baaj, in northwestern Iraq, to the Syrian border town of Albu Kamal on the Euphrates.

"It's their historic region, they know the people there and the terrain; food, water and gasoline are easy to get, spies are easier to spot" than in crowded areas, he said.

The U.S. government has had a joint task force to track down Baghdadi which includes special operations forces, the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies as well as spy satellites of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

But Baghdadi seems to have learnt the lessons from the 2011 capture and killing of Osama bin Ladin, and relies on multiple couriers and not just one, unlike the al Qaeda founder, say U.S. intelligence sources.

He also switches cars during trips, a lesson learnt from the 2011 drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an al Qaeda figure in Yemen.

Baghdadi has not publicly appointed a successor, but Iyad al-Obaidi, also known as Fadel Haifa, a security officer under former dictator Saddam Hussein, is known to be the de facto deputy, according to Iraqi intelligence sources.

More than 40 leading members of the group have been killed in coalition air strikes, but the insurgency is likely to continue even if Mosul is captured and Baghdadi and his aides are killed, according to Iraqi security experts.

"There will be other commanders rising because the structure of the organization remains," said Fadhil Abu Ragheef, an Iraqi security expert specialized in IS affairs.
March 11th, 2017  
MontyB
 
 
But in the end what does it matter if ISIS are defeated as once they are weakened to the point of ineffectiveness they will be replaced by the next group of lunatics who will be twice as homicidal.

This is a constant cycle because not only do we do nothing to resolve the issues that facilitate the rise of these groups it is fairly obvious that those in power see value in a destabilised Middle East.
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Boots
March 11th, 2017  
Tuan
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
But in the end what does it matter if ISIS are defeated as once they are weakened to the point of ineffectiveness they will be replaced by the next group of lunatics who will be twice as homicidal.

This is a constant cycle because not only do we do nothing to resolve the issues that facilitate the rise of these groups it is fairly obvious that those in power see value in a destabilised Middle East.
Good point, like I said here many times, inequality is a major driver of Middle Eastern terrorism, and Western nations have themselves largely to blame for that inequality. Let me repeat once again.

Quote:
In my opinion, if you see the bigger picture, much of the Global South, which includes the poor countries of the world that are largely located in Asia, South America, and Africa. This part of the world is home to roughly five billion people, who are living in extreme poverty, and as such, relationships around the world are not balanced (Shah, 2009). Income inequality and poverty involve powerlessness and invisibility, including a lack of money, basic nutrition, health care, education, freedom, personal autonomy. In fact, 80% of global resources are consumed by only one billion who live in the Global North that includes the wealthy industrialized countries of Western Europe, Canada, the United States, Australia, and Japan (World Bank Group, 2010). While most of the industrialized countries are located in the North, there are exceptions; for example, both Australia and New Zealand are wealthy countries located in the South. As a rule, states in the Global North are democratic and technologically advanced, have a high standard of living, and experience very low population growth (Ravelli & Webber, 2015). Is it fair or justifiable that developing countries must try to survive on only 20% of the world’s resources? No! Because terrorism that is rooted in inequality of a grieved man is best combated politically, diplomatically, economically, socially, culturally, religiously, and educationally rather than militarily alone, by uniting the whole global community as one system.
https://www.academia.edu/31329846/Re...gh_Smart_Power
March 11th, 2017  
Tuan
 
 
Yet another article here on US Middle Eastern policy.

For U.S., Many Options but No Clear Path in Middle East

Quote:
For the past 30 years, the Middle East has been the theater of most American military engagements — a timeline that covers the bombing of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli, the first Gulf War, the missile attacks on al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the invasion of Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq, the renewal of American military operations in Iraq and the recent bombing of the ISIS command center in Syria.

In the eyes of many Americans, involvement in the region's seemingly endless quarrels has brought the country nothing but grief.

President Trump inherited the current wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan from President Obama, who inherited them from President George W. Bush. Decisions will soon need to be made that will give the new administration ownership of the ongoing campaigns.

The violence in Afghanistan has intensified, and the commander of American forces there says he needs more troops. With U.S. combat support, Iraqi forces, Kurdish fighters and Shiite militias may in the coming months recapture Mosul in Iraq, but the U.S. commander of the campaign against ISIS recommends against withdrawal at that time. How Trump responds will set policy.

The fall of ISIS strongholds in Iraq and Syria will not end the war.
Four (or eight) years from now, Trump may in turn pass these military campaigns on to his successor. The fall of ISIS strongholds in Iraq and Syria will not end the war. ISIS will go underground and continue the fight through insurgencies and terrorism. The Taliban has not left the battlefield. And there are still ISIS and al Qaeda affiliates spread across Africa, the Middle East and western Asia.

In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on Feb. 14, three authorities on terrorism variously spoke of the struggle going on for anywhere from another 15 to 40 years — another two generations.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is likely preparing options for Trump to escalate the fight against ISIS. Although a review of U.S. actions is appropriate, it is not likely to find a solution that has thus far eluded the government. There are no easy options.

Some suggest attacking the root causes driving the terrorist campaigns while reducing the ungoverned spaces where terrorists find sanctuary. This would require addressing chronic grievances, resolving ongoing conflicts, creating stability, ensuring better governance (if not democracy), and providing the security that will permit social and economic development. All of these are difficult to accomplish, and the United States is at the margin of its influence. They would require major investments and take many years to achieve.

Meanwhile, the terrorist threat will continue.

Negotiations, even with terrorists, should never be off the table. Conceivably, deals with more-pragmatic Taliban factions might be possible. Negotiations with al Qaeda or ISIS leaders, who see the conflict as a life-and-death struggle mandated by God, are hard to envision, although some lower-level commanders might be persuaded to cut a deal. And not all of the groups allied with al Qaeda or ISIS may share their partner's determination to fight to the death.

It may be more realistic to think in terms of interim arrangements aimed at lowering the level of violence rather than war-ending agreements.
It may be more realistic to think in terms of interim arrangements aimed merely at lowering the level of violence: seeking local accommodations rather than war-ending agreements.

Can the timeline be shortened and the jihadists defeated more quickly through escalation?

The Pentagon no doubt can offer a detailed list of options. Suggestions may begin with reinforcing the 6,000 or 7,000 U.S. service personnel currently working with the Iraqi army and irregular forces in Syria to increase their effectiveness. Without personnel on the ground to target and coordinate operations, airpower is largely ineffective over the long run. This would be a useful step, but not a quick solution.

Some have argued for relaxing the rules of engagement to allow a less-constrained use of airpower. But targets are limited, and bombing errors can lead to backlash and erode international cooperation in the fight against terrorism, a post-9/11 success story that provides vital intelligence.

Others have argued for American combat forces to be redeployed. Putting American boots on the ground raises questions of what exactly they would do and how the move would affect the war. More troops might more quickly capture Raqqa, Syria, but then what?

Deploying American troops also runs the risk of changing the dynamics of the contest while fueling the jihadist narrative and assisting terrorist recruiting. Sending in combat troops might be a popular course of action, especially in the immediate wake of a major terrorist incident in the United States, but whatever initial domestic political support exists for using American ground forces could quickly evaporate.

Partnering with the Russians to destroy ISIS also has been mentioned as a strategy, but it comes with high political cost and offers the U.S. little military benefit. America has enough airplanes and know-how to bomb targets, but associating the U.S. with the kind of ruthless military operations Russia conducted in Syria would cause deep concern in the American military, repel allies and could undercut U.S counterterrorist efforts.

Many U.S. military successes have been achieved by working with allies, including local governments and irregular forces. This was the case in Afghanistan in 2001, with the Sunni tribes in Iraq's Anbar Province in 2006 and, most notably, with the Kurds in the current conflict in Syria and Iraq.

Early U.S. attempts to field carefully vetted, U.S.-trained rebel formations in Syria achieved less success. Those failures merit more analysis and suggest that it is not enough to train guerrillas and drop them onto the battlefield. Their reliability and effectiveness depend on continued engagement — having Americans with them — and direct combat support.

The United States also may be able to do more with state partners in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia recently formed an alliance of Muslim states to fight Islamic extremists. The initiative, however, was not embraced in Washington.

Many Americans are uncomfortable with the Saudis. Some see Saudi financial support for the spread of the intolerant ideology of Wahhabist Islam as a major source of jihadist radicalization worldwide, while others are critical of Saudi Arabia's record on human rights. Some in the Obama administration saw a close relationship with Saudi Arabia as an obstacle to what they hoped would presage a more friendly relationship with Iran — a relationship that has yet to happen.

These objections notwithstanding — that few allies will meet our strict standards — pursuing local alliances makes sense. Politically, local forces are more effective than American combat units. They also have certain operational advantages. And they don't always have to be crack combat units — in some cases, they need only to out-recruit their opponents.

Finally, the U.S. could consider the idea of creating an international force, locally recruited but trained, paid and led by experienced military commanders from the region and beyond. This option may be the only one available for areas where no government or government forces exist.

Should the United States then avoid the costs and tribulations of further military involvement by withdrawing from the region, leaving local belligerents to sort things out by themselves?

Doing so seemingly would get the United States out of a costly mess and enable the country to focus on rebuilding its own economy, which is far more important to U.S. long-term strategic goals. It would also enable the armed forces to rebuild to meet threats that endanger the republic more than errant jihadists, which law enforcement has mostly contained.

This course of action has great appeal, but few have defined precisely what “getting out” means. Withdrawing all American forces from Afghanistan? Ending military support for Iraq's forces? Halting the bombing in Syria? Ending American support for the Kurds and allied Arab formations? Would the United States continue drone strikes and special operations as part of its counterterrorist campaign? Should the United States continue to support the Saudi-led fight in Yemen? Should it continue to provide training and other forms of military assistance to willing allies in the region?

Withdrawal also comes with risks. The United States has achieved what seemed to be a measure of success on several occasions — in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Yemen — only to see things fall apart when it pulled out or turned its attention to other fronts.

Many in the United States would say it's not our fight: What are the downsides of withdrawal to the United States?

What are the downsides of withdrawal to the United States?

Well, a U.S. withdrawal could result in further destabilization of surrounding countries. It would leave ungoverned spaces not unlike those in pre-9/11 Afghanistan, which allowed al Qaeda to flourish. The withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq in 2011 is sometimes cited as a contributing factor to the rise of ISIS. American withdrawal would alter political calculations in Iraq, and it would leave Iran in a commanding position in the region. It could prompt further and more significant military action against the Kurds by Turkey.
March 12th, 2017  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuan
Good point, like I said here many times, inequality is a major driver of Middle Eastern terrorism, and Western nations have themselves largely to blame for that inequality. Let me repeat once again.



https://www.academia.edu/31329846/Re...gh_Smart_Power
Let's not forget that Western nations are also suffering massive inequality if you assume that 80% of the wealth and resources of the world are consumed by the west and that 80% of the west's wealth and resources are consumed by 1 or 2 % of them then you can only draw a rather bad conclusion.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuan
Yet another article here on US Middle Eastern policy.

For U.S., Many Options but No Clear Path in Middle East
I think there is a path, a rather difficult one but not an impossible one and that is we pack our bags and leave the Middle East, South America, Africa and Asia alone to sort out their own problems, there will be humanitarian crises and wholesale slaughter but to a large degree I think it has to happen to enable these countries to find a better way forward, one that suits them rather than this constant attempt to westernise the world we have at the moment.
March 13th, 2017  
Tuan
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
Let's not forget that Western nations are also suffering massive inequality if you assume that 80% of the wealth and resources of the world are consumed by the west and that 80% of the west's wealth and resources are consumed by 1 or 2 % of them then you can only draw a rather bad conclusion.

I think there is a path, a rather difficult one but not an impossible one and that is we pack our bags and leave the Middle East, South America, Africa and Asia alone to sort out their own problems, there will be humanitarian crises and wholesale slaughter but to a large degree I think it has to happen to enable these countries to find a better way forward, one that suits them rather than this constant attempt to westernise the world we have at the moment.
I agree with you that 1-2% of the population control the wealth in the West. However the quality of life overall in western countries are way better than that of countries in Global South. For instance, people in continents like Africa, South America and Asia are in urgent need of clean water, food, medicine, sanitary, which are basic needs. I recently watched a documentary on Sudan, where people are dying of starvation.

Secondly, in the absence of the West, especially if the global hegemony of the US declined, Russia and China will be happily taking over the world, in which we will witness more and more of the “Melian Dialogue”.....please read Fareed Zakaria's bestselling book, The Post-American World.
March 13th, 2017  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuan
I agree with you that 1-2% of the population control the wealth in the West. However the quality of life overall in western countries are way better than that of countries in Global South. For instance, people in continents like Africa, South America and Asia are in urgent need of clean water, food, medicine, sanitary, which are basic needs. I recently watched a documentary on Sudan, where people are dying of starvation.

Secondly, in the absence of the West, especially if the global hegemony of the US declined, Russia and China will be happily taking over the world, in which we will witness more and more of the “Melian Dialogue”.....please read Fareed Zakaria's bestselling book, The Post-American World.
The only outcome from that would be a bankrupt Russia and China as there isn't enough money on earth to satisfy the corruption and greed driving African countries alone.

There is no doubt that many countries need basic infrastructure to sort out some of their issues, however I would point out that many of the nations that need the most help are nations that are oil, diamond and gold-rich nations all of whom are so busy slaughtering each other for power and wealth they could not care less about their own people, many of the others could support themselves if it wasn't for warlords and corrupt politicians (Zimbabwe, for example, should be one of the wealthiest nations in the world).

You will never solve Africa's problems with money, South/Central America and parts of Asia are no different they need stable and competent government yet can never get it because if it is too left the Americans bring it down and if it is too right the Russians do it.
March 24th, 2017  
lljadw
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuan
Good point, like I said here many times, inequality is a major driver of Middle Eastern terrorism, and Western nations have themselves largely to blame for that inequality. Let me repeat once again.



https://www.academia.edu/31329846/Re...gh_Smart_Power

Old marxist theory who has been proved to be wrong ,the truth is that muslim terrorism is not caused by inequality,but by Islam .
March 25th, 2017  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lljadw
Old marxist theory who has been proved to be wrong ,the truth is that muslim terrorism is not caused by inequality,but by Islam .
But that is just an ideological response driven more by greed and cowardice than an understanding of the problem.

Terrorism, in general, is not driven by any one particular cause, I would bet my last dollar that there are few kids out there who grow up with a career in suicide bombing in mind and there are fewer parents who would be recommending it as a profession.

However, people are drawn to terrorist groups for their own reasons and they are not all the same but I am prepared to bet that a large proportion of them is due to a feeling (perceived or otherwise) of hopelessness or injustice which has reached a point where they latch on to a cause and one (not all) of the things that drive those feelings is equality.

I doubt there is anyone out there who does not accept that we could reduce (not stop as that is impossible) terrorism greatly by simply resolving social issues.
 


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