You know we hear daily about the measures being used to destroy ISIS….or we hear just how important it is that Assad be relieved of his command of Syria…..both are really good and important topics but with that said has anyone considered what the Middle east would look like with either of the position were actually achieved?
Then in the news came word that ISIS was losing fighters…….
ISIS is steadily losing territory in Iraq and Syria, and a lot of foreign fighters are apparently having second thoughts about fighting to the death for it. The Guardian reports that officials in Turkey and Europe say large numbers of foreign fighters are abandoning the group and trying to flee, especially now that an offensive is closing in on Raqqa, Syria, where many foreigners who joined the “caliphate” were based. Officials believe those fleeing include foreign fighters who have renounced the group, people who weren’t fighters but found themselves living in ISIS territory, and hardcore militants suspected of planning terrorist attacks in their homelands.
Sources tell the Guardian that the latest foreigners to surrender to Turkish border police include a British couple and US citizen Kary Paul Kleman. A Turkish official confirmed to CNN that Kleman, a former Florida resident, was detained after arriving at the border with his Syrian wife and their three children. Authorities believe he “was compelled to escape the conflict zone following airstrikes and military operations against ISIS,” the official says. Kleman’s family says he converted to Islam after moving to the Middle East in 2011. They say he went to Syria in 2015 to help with humanitarian efforts but soon realized it was a “scam” and started trying to escape the country.
Is this good news or just news?
To answer my own questions…..the best answer is…..not really.
First of all, the most press worthy topic…..Assad is thrown out of Syria…..
A new study from IHS Jane’s is cautioning that moves to undermine and ultimately oust the Assad government in Syria would greatly benefit ISIS, since a large portion of ISIS’ fighting in Syria is against the Syrian government and its allies.
Though Western officials have long downplayed the amount of fighting between ISIS and Assad, and Western-backed rebels have even claimed at time the two are in league with one another, Jane’s study showed that 42% of all ISIS fighting in Syria was against Assad-backing forces, with just 17% against the Kurdish YPG, and the rest against rival rebel factions, including the Turkish-backed rebels and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.
The US has been keen to oust Assad for years, with CIA officials arguing that the war against ISIS would be enhanced by imposing regime change first and hoping a more “stable” government assumes control. The Jane’s study seems to indicate that a shift in the US war to imposing regime change would free up a lot more ISIS forces, who have been fighting the Assad government, to recover lost ground.
Jane’s termed it an “inconvenient reality” that any US actions against the Assad government would necessarily benefit ISIS as well. The big question remains whether or not this will be sufficient to deter the US from carrying out more attacks against Assad, as the Trump Administration has been keen to threaten more action against them in recent weeks.
Just maybe the “planners” at the Pentagon should look beyond next year…..there is a lot at stake.
Second point….the defeat of ISIS…..
In June 2014, ISIL seemingly came out of nowhere and has now grown to become a major force in the Middle East, more specifically in Iraq and Syria. The organization became especially prominent following its lightning-swift military advance over northern Iraq, where it encountered an abysmally low level of government resistance (Terrill 2014). With that being said, ISIL’s hold on the region has recently been on the decline with territorial losses mounting in key areas along the Euphrates River Valley, the Tigris River Valley, and Northern Syria, with current operations threatening their capitals in both Raqqah and Mosul. Up to this point in time, the predominance of research and analysis has been carried out to figure out how to degrade and ultimately defeat the Islamic State. Governments of the 50+ Coalition nations from around the world that are participating in Operation INHERENT RESOLVE have seemingly put an infinite amount of time, money, and effort in the overall strategy of how to beat ISIL…which is, if you follow the news, still a plan very much so in the works.
Is it just me or does our leadership at the Pentagon need a little reality injected into their midst?