September 26, 2014

The Five Biggest Flaws Of President Obama's Anti-ISIS Strategy

"Fellow delegates, we come together as United Nations with a choice to make. We can renew the international system that has enabled so much progress, or allow ourselves to be pulled back by an undertow of instability. We can reaffirm our collective responsibility to confront global problems, or be swamped by more and more outbreaks of instability. For America, the choice is clear. We choose hope over fear. We see the future not as something out of our control, but as something we can shape for the better through concerted and collective effort. We reject fatalism or cynicism when it comes to human affairs; we choose to work for the world as it should be, as our children deserve it to be." - President Barack Obama, United Nations General Assembly speech, September 24, 2014.
1. The Free Syrian Army, a key component of President Obama's anti-ISIS strategy in Syria, doesn't exist in real life.

President Obama has conducted airstrikes against ISIS in Syria without officially partnering with the logical participants on the ground who can be of much-needed assistance and who have been fighting the barbaric terrorist group for over three years.

They are the Syrian army led by Bashar al-Assad, and the YPG, a popular Kurdish militia that is connected to the PKK, a Turkish-based Kurdish group which is designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization for no other reason than because Turkey remains a NATO member and a top U.S. ally in the region.

There are also other local militias in Syria that represent other minorities and have partnered with the YPG in some battles, but they do not view themselves as part of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The FSA (Fictitious Syrian Army) is a fig leaf, and no amount wishful thinking and propaganda will bring it into existence.

2. The Iraqi Government is neither inclusive nor united, and it will expire before ISIS does.

The much-touted post-Maliki government is not an ally that can be counted on in the regional fight against ISIS. It is a regime that was built on shaky foundations in the aftermath of the invasion in 2003. We know its army is useless, and we also know its politicians are worse.

What is the Iraqi government, really? The Shiite militias are the real muscle of the government, the Kurds were forced into joining the circus in Baghdad by the U.S. and UN, and the Sunnis who revolted weren't satisfied with Maliki's decision to voluntarily step down in the face of international and regional pressure. This only made them more ambitious.

Sunnis won't settle for anything less than the retaking of Baghdad, which is to be the capital of a new Caliphate, and they will do everything to realize this dream. So the whole "united, inclusive Iraqi government" rhetoric belongs in the dustbin of history. President Obama sounds like a fool every time he repeats this BS.

3. None of the Persian Gulf partners in President Obama's anti-ISIS coalition in Syria have the political credibility to rebuke ISIS's narrative, and prevent the radical group from winning the hearts and minds of alienated young Sunni Muslims.

Let's leave aside the fact that ISIS is a vile, intolerant, discriminatory, and barbaric terrorist group.  The reality is that it has received a lot of traction and support because of its successful military operations in Iraq and Syria, its sleek propaganda, its hostility towards Iran, Shiites, the corrupt Arab monarchies, and Israel, and its vitriolic rhetoric against America and the West.

Those are all popular positions in the Sunni Muslim world. And there are enough stupid, bloodthirsty, unemployed, angry, ambitious, and bored young Sunnis in the Middle East and the world who can be deceived by the group's attractive propaganda and join it with total commitment to the group's cause, regardless of the methods that they use.

Former National Security Council member Flynt Leverett says:
"Obama can declare all he wants that the Islamic State isn’t Islamic.  But the fact is—as evidenced in polls, in social media across the Sunni Arab world—is that this movement has a lot of sympathy and support, even among constituencies that don’t like some of its tactics, don’t like prisoner beheadings.  By launching this military campaign against them, the United States is basically—in the eyes of a lot of Sunni Muslims—it is basically re-launching a post-9/11 war against Islam.  And the one thing we know, over thirteen years since 9/11, is that that drives jihadi recruitment more than anything.  It is going to make the problem vastly worse. 
4.  President Obama has ruled out using the U.S. military in the fight on the ground, and barring a spectacular false flag terrorist attack on U.S. soil to be blamed on ISIS to galvanize public opinion in support of a ground operation, it most likely won't commit U.S. troops to the anti-ISIS coalition.

There are currently no ground forces in Washington's anti-ISIS coalition. So it is a little hard to beat an army when your side lacks one, it makes the whole "war" thing a one-sided affair. This joke of a coalition relies on air-power to their own detriment. They have already given half of the victory to ISIS and the war has barely begun.

But even the use of U.S. soldiers won't make a difference in the fight because the Washington-led anti-ISIS coalition lacks the political credibility and the moral authority to beat ISIS. No one questions the professionalism, expertise, and will to fight of American soldiers. The one thing that America does right is train soldiers to be tough and not cut and run, a trait that the Iraqi army clearly does not have. But it hurts their reputation when President Obama says the U.S. military captured and killed Bin Laden in Pakistan, when in reality that never happened, and everyone knows it is a lie. This false event has been used as a trophy and a template. But it takes away from the very real successes of the U.S. military when false stories are held up as glorious victories.

5. The biggest military victories against ISIS have been achieved by Washington's enemies, and groups it deems "terrorists" for political reasons.

The Syrian army, Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite militias, Hezbollah, and the PKK all share two things in common. 1) They have been the most successful fighting forces against ISIS on the battlefield, and 2) they are all labeled as enemies of the U.S. The latter two, specifically, are listed as terrorist groups for political reasons.

The U.S. relationships to Turkey and Israel, who are supporting ISIS/Daesh in Syria, one from the North, and the other from the South, are more important than "degrading and destroying" Daesh.

If the U.S. was genuinely interested in "degrading and destroying" Daesh then it would take Hezbollah and PKK of its terrorist list before tomorrow morning, and arm them by the afternoon. But that will never happen. Let's face facts. The U.S. terrorist list is meaningless, and the U.S. government is not really serious about "degrading and destroying" Daesh.