Sunday, June 14, 2015

ISIS Undeterred By Weak US Strategy

A Strategy To Stop ISIS Is Lacking
Eight months ago President Obama began a war against ISIS and recent claims of a recent victory against ISIS when a rare U.S. Army commando ground attack took place deep into Syria seemed more of a distraction to take our eyes off defeats elsewhere. A team of Delta Force commandos slipped across the border from Iraq under cover of darkness on May 16th  aboard Black Hawk helicopters and V-22 Osprey aircraft killing a man described as the Islamic State's head of oil operations, capturing his wife and rescuing a woman whom American officials said was enslaved. On Sunday morning talk shows this was touted as a milestone in our fight but does little to offset the fact we lack a comprehensive or effective strategy in the Middle East.

Glaring examples of our failures are presented in an article such as the May 23 Washington Post story that paints a picture of total chaos and mayhem garnered from the accounts of fighters in the city of Ramadi that recently fell to ISIS. They said its fall was owed as much to the weakness of Iraq’s forces and holes in U.S. strategy as much as it had to do with the Islamic State’s strength. The soldiers described the confusion and a lack of coordination between branches of the security forces as chains of command broke down. Even Iraq’s Golden Division, a special U.S. trained special-forces unit the most capable in the country ran and deserted its positions. In an effort to explain away their defeat Iraqi military officials said the U.S. led coalition bombed the edges of Ramadi, but there simply weren’t enough airstrikes. Bottom-line is the Iraqi's remain conflicted and ununited, this makes them unreliable as a fighting force. No amount of money or training will solve this problem.

A key weapon used by ISIS is fear, this is heaped upon us through gruesome propaganda videos they produce and released over the internet. This has worked well for them and enhanced their reputation as a no-nonsense force. With surrender, not an option, it is no surprise that Iraqi soldiers and police often strip off their uniforms and run away. Especially ugly and disturbing are the reports of violence that continue to flow out of the Middle East, these are well-documented reports of the blood-thirsty jihadists carrying out summary executions on civilians, Iraqi soldiers, and police officers. Following the fall of Ramadi, Islamic State fighters crowed about their victory on social media, releasing images of the seized. U.S. supplied military equipment worth millions of dollars that was left behind. This included dozens of tanks, armored vehicles, weapons, and crate loads of ammunition

 Adding to the ugly situation and reports from the Middle East was the fact that Islamic State militants seized control of the majority of the Syrian city of Palmyra as Ramadi fell. This made it the second significant strategic gain for the group in a week and leaving one of the region’s most renowned archaeological sites in peril. Reports from activists and Syrian state media said pro-government forces had withdrawn from the city northeast of Damascus after a week-long assault by the militants. The advance is more proof by the Islamic State of its ability to continue taking territory, despite recent assertions by American officials that it remains largely on the defensive after 10 months of U.S. led airstrikes.

Reasons exist to be concerned over how the ideology being spread by ISIS can manifest itself in acts of terror throughout the world. These might come as attacks on either infrastructure or on innocent people. The Middle-east countries and parts of Europe are particularly vulnerable to these violent assaults. I still marvel at how the White House has made a point to always call the group ISIL as a way to distance themselves after they originally backed the group in the beginning. Since that time we've had the misfortune of watching ISIS a group originally funded, trained, and equipped by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and other Persian Gulf allies, turn on us and morph into an aggressive force with an extreme agenda that has reeked havoc in the area. As to how quickly ISIS can spread, clashes began in Mosul, Iraq's second city, late on June 9, 2014, and Iraqi forces lost it the following day to ISIS. The group has spearheaded an offensive that has not stopped after it overran much of the country's Sunni Arab heartland.

Here in America, we have those interested in becoming the next President weighing in with their take and putting out their opinions on how to proceed. Recently, Jeb Bush ventured forth during an interview on, Face The Nation, about how we must commit to further training and aid for Iraq. This might be a tough sell to Americans at a time when news is surfacing about all the equipment lost to ISIS when Iraqi soldiers fled their approaching forces in the northern city of Mosul. AFP reports Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in an interview that Iraqi security forces lost 2,300 Humvee armored vehicles when ISIS overran Mosul. Last year, the State Department approved a possible sale to Iraq of 1,000 Humvees with increased armor, machine guns, grenade launchers, other gear and support that was estimated to cost $579 million depending on how they are armored and equipped. It is, therefore, safe to say the 2,300 Humvees abandoned would represent well over $1 billion of American taxpayers poorly spent.

Footnote; A scenario that must be considered is that before long we will see an attack against the heavily defended the U.S. embassy and the Green Zone. The article below explores what ISIS may view as its most important objectives.

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