Will ISIS Rest In Peace?

Just yesterday our beloved Supreme Leader issued a proclamation that ISIS will be gone in 24 hours……

ISIS is down to its last scrap of territory and it will be “gone by tonight,” President Trump declared Wednesday, showing reporters at the White House two maps of Syria and Iraq. “I brought this out for you—this is a map of everything in the red, this was on election night, in 2016, everything red is ISIS,” he said, pointing to a map with large areas in red. Pointing to a second map, he said: “When I took it over it was a mess, now on the bottom it’s the exact same. There is no red,” he said, ABC reports. “In fact there is a tiny spot which will be gone by tonight.” At a tank factory in Ohio later in the day, Trump brought the maps out again, saying the “caliphate is gone as of tonight,” the AP reports.

Trump has announced the imminent defeat of ISIS before, but the battle for the tiny enclave of Baghouz has dragged on for weeks longer than expected. Authorities say the offensive was slowed down when an unexpectedly large number of civilians fled the village—up to 30,000, most of them believed to be the families of militants. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have now taken control of the village, though some fighters are still believed to be holed up with women and children in a sliver of land by a river. With that area still controlled by ISIS, “it would be weird to expect an announcement in the next day,” an SDF official tells the New York Times.

Since most Americans have the info retention of a goldfish maybe I should refresh some memories……

 

ISIL began as an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq, which in 2006 became known as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). The movement, led by key al-Qaeda figures, played a major role in driving the sectarian conflict that followed the US invasion in 2003.

ISI carried out deadly attacks in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, during this period, targeting Western-allied tribal leaders and US army posts before eventually being pushed out.

Undeterred, it soon pitched up in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, which it then used as a hub to continue its attacks.

In 2010, the group’s current leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was named ISI chief. Two years later, he mandated ISI affiliates to set up an offshoot in Syria – a country that had been forced to contend with its own civil war.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/anatomy-caliphate-rise-fall-isil-190320140536453.html

There has been lots written here in the West about Islamic Extremism….but just what does that entail?


The Islamist worldview is in direct opposition to contemporary Western ideas about government, society, and the role of religion in everyday life.  Despite this opposition, or possibly because of it, the Islamist movement is gaining popularity around the globe.  The apparent failure of Western ideologies, unequal distribution of wealth for natural resources exacerbated by globalization, and on-going conflict between Israelis and Palestinians have contributed to Muslim masses to seeking solutions from more traditionally-minded leaders who promise a return to Islamic Golden Ages via rejection of secularism in favor of Islamic fundamentalist ideologies.  This, however, sets many on a path of conflict with the West.  Examples of radical Islamist organizations abound: Al Qaeda, Afghan Taliban, ISIS, and Hezbollah.  Such organizations fill Western minds, as well as Middle Eastern governments, with great concern if not outright fear, but what exactly is an Islamist worldview?  Does it inherently include violence?  What are its origins and targets of critique?  How has it evolved in the twentieth century and why do its tenants appeal to so many in the Muslim world today?  This article will briefly look at each of these questions in order to provide a perspective on contemporary Islamism and facilitate a better understanding of the phenomenon as a whole, thus providing some insight into the recent wave of unrest across the Middle East.  Ultimately, Islamism is a unique and diverse collection of ideologies and doctrines that range from the progressive to the radical.  It is my assessment that one must not make the mistake of lumping all Islamist ideologies, movements, and organizations into a singularly narrow, one size fits all category, nor should one automatically consider Islamism a threat in the Muslim world or beyond.  Rather, Islamism is simply another ideological option that must be weighed in terms of its effectiveness and appeal, while recognizing that there is a potential for extremism similar to that manifested in other secular and sacred movements.  Because of this, it is imperative for Western nations to open lines of communication with leaders of the protest groups and insurgents in such places as Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain in order to develop an understanding of their motivations, ideologies, and their goals for the Middle East.

https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/overview-islamic-fundamentalism-primer-understanding-extremist-islam

Now that I have filled in as many blanks as I could the question remains…..Is The Islamic State defeated?


President Trump has insisted in recent months that the United States has defeated the Islamic State. “We just took over 100 percent caliphate,” he told reporters on Feb. 28. “That means the area of the land. We have 100 percent.” He has made similar claims for months, tweeting in December, “We have defeated ISIS in Syria.” Others, including senior government officials, have disagreed with this characterization. In January, former presidential special envoy for the Counter-ISIS Coalition Brett McGurk said that “ISIS is not defeated” and that the administration’s new policy of reducing U.S. troop presence in Syria would give the group “new life.” Citing the terrorist attacks committed in the Islamic State’s name, most analysts argue that the group has not been entirely eliminated and cannot be considered defeated.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/islamic-state-defeated

It, ISIS, will rear its ugly head again…….and there is thoughts on that as well…….http://iswresearch.blogspot.com/2018/10/isiss-second-resurgence.html

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Managing War

I am an antiwar person and I have studied conflicts, management and resolution….my hatred for war came from my 2 and half years in Vietnam in the late 60s early 70s…..

I look at the institution of war….and yes it is an institution especially now when we are fighting the same war for 18 years……

War is controlled (managed) by several ways……a quick look at the parts of the management……

Military commanders and their staffs rely on a variety of conceptual models to assist in their planning for and conduct of operations. Civilian defence thinkers and academics also employ the same tools to help illustrate their ideas. Among the those used are the Phases of Operations and the Spectrum of Conflict. While there is no standard design for each, they do have a certain style. In the U.S. system, the phases of battle model generally begins at Phase 0, which represents the period of shaping for the coming campaign, and ends at Phase 5, which covers enabling civil authority. Visual depictions of the Spectrum of Conflict usually place non-warfighting operations on one side and progress through increasing graduations of levels of violence and risk to the other side, culminating with nuclear war. Between these two extremes, war can be divided into a multitude of categories.

 
The problem is that our generals in their education at the War College are taught Clausewitz, the Master of War……this is a Prussian from the 19th century…and war has moved well,beyond the days of cavalry charges and massive troop encounters….
 
A couple of things of Clausewitz……
 
Clausewitz book, On War, is the bible of warfare instruction…..we need to stop teaching his theories and start thinking in 21st century tactics…..
 

I am not insisting that Clausewitz does not provide valuable lessons. But by focusing on Clausewitz we miss important discussion that should be brought to military education. This leads me to the purpose of this article, for which I have two primary goals. First, to point out specific things which Clausewitz got wrong and reasons why we should stop teaching On War. Think of it like moving from a devotional reading of The Bible to a historical critical examination of it. Second, to identify what we should start teaching more of in all military education.

Let’s first look at what Clausewitz got wrong.

https://taskandpurpose.com/just-say-no-to-clausewitz

What got me to thinking about this was so,ething I read in The American Conservative……

The most curious thing about our four defeats in Fourth Generation War—Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan—is the utter silence in the American officer corps. Defeat in Vietnam bred a generation of military reformers, men such as Col. John Boyd USAF, Col. Mike Wyly USMC, and Col. Huba Wass de Czege USA, each of whom led a major effort to reorient his service. Today, the landscape is barren. Not a military voice is heard calling for thoughtful, substantive change. Just more money, please.

Such a moral and intellectual collapse of the officer corps is one of the worst disasters that can afflict a military because it means it cannot adapt to new realities. It is on its way to history’s wastebasket. The situation brings to mind an anecdote an Air Force friend, now a military historian, liked to tell some years ago. Every military, he said, occasionally craps in its own mess kit. The Prussians did it in 1806, after which they designed and put into service a much improved new model messkit, through the Scharnhorst military reforms. The French did it in 1870, after which they took down from the shelf an old-model messkit—the mass, draft army of the First Republic—and put it back in service. The Japanese did it in 1945, after which they threw their mess kit away, swearing they would never eat again. And we did it in Korea, in Vietnam, and now in four new wars. So far, we’ve had the only military that’s just kept on eating.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/an-officer-corps-that-cant-score/

All in all the US is working on outdated instruction….the education of our military people is as bad as the education of our citizens.

Waiting For ISIS To Die

The barbarous group known as ISIS is cornered in a small village in Eastern Syria…..they are being pounded by the Kurds and the SDF and yet they hang on to life and fight back viciously….

As we sit and wait for ISIS to die there are a few thoughts that we need to consider…..

The U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched an operation March 1 backed by U.S. artillery and air support in an effort to defeat the remnant core fighters of the Islamic State in the last sliver of the militant group’s self-declared “caliphate,” the term it used to describe the territory in Syria and Iraq it conquered and governed under its austere interpretation of Sharia. With the destruction of the so-called caliphate imminent, many have begun to wonder if the jihadist group could ever recover. But this is the wrong question. Instead of asking whether the Islamic State core can recover as many — including Stratfor — did when the group was on the ropes in Iraq in 2010, the proper question is whether the Islamic State core will be permitted to recover again. The difference between these two questions is subtle, but vitally important

 
The West has fought this extremism but is it possible we may have gotten somethings wrong?
 
The ‘clash of civilizations’ thesis has become fashionably outdated but still shapes the way we understand the connection between Islam, terrorism and the Middle East.  In 2019, it is time to ‘forget the Middle East’ and change the way we perceive Islam.  Vera Mironova, in ‘The New Face of Terrorism’, claims that the way Westerners think about ‘Islamist terrorism has grown dangerously outdated’, and the terrorist attacks at Western targets have been increasingly coming from militants of the former Soviet Union, not the Middle East. Following on these insights, I argue that it is time not only to ‘forget the Middle East’ but also stop essentializing Islam in the Middle East.
 
 
They, ISIS, may be suffering staggering losses in Syria and could possibly be defeated (not destroyed) but they will raise their ugly head once again in Southeast Asia….
 

Across the islands of the southern Philippines, the black flag of the Islamic State is flying over what the group considers its East Asia province.

Men in the jungle, two oceans away from the arid birthplace of the Islamic State, are taking the terrorist brand name into new battles.

As worshipers gathered in January for Sunday Mass at a Catholic cathedral, two bombs ripped through the church compound, killing 23 people. The Islamic State claimed a pair of its suicide bombers had caused the carnage.

The lesson we should learn is one that is being overlooked with all the glad handing for victory…..we cannot defeat an idea and ISIS will rise again to continue their push for extremism…..

The “Good War”

Closing Thought–18Mar19

Our “greatest generation” was the generation that fought and won the wars of Europe and the Pacific…..the “Good War” (WW2)…..but hiw accurate is the title?

‘‘NO ENGLISH SOLDIER who rode with the tanks into liberated Belgium or saw the German murder camps at Dachau or Buchenwald could doubt that the war had been a noble crusade.’’ Forty years ago the historian A.J.P. Taylor eloquently expressed what has become a universal belief. Other wars are looked back on with horror for their futile slaughter, but the conflict that ended in Europe in May 1945 is today seen as what Studs Terkel called his famous oral history of it: ‘‘The Good War.’’

In one way it will always remain so. A revisionist case, that defeating Hitler was a mistake, would be not only perverse and offensive, but simply absurd. And yet we have all been sustained since V-E Day, 60 years ago today, by what Giovanni Giolitti, the Italian prime minister of a century ago, once called ‘‘beautiful national legends.’’ By ‘‘we’’ I mean the countries that ended the war on the winning side (the Germans and Japanese have some national legends of their own).

Some of these legends are more obvious than others. The French suffered a catastrophic defeat in 1940, and the compromises many Frenchmen made with their conquerors thereafter ranged from the pitiful to the wicked. More Frenchmen collaborated than resisted, and during the course of the war more Frenchmen bore arms on the Axis than on the Allied side. Against those grim truths, Charles de Gaulle consciously and brilliantly constructed a nourishing myth of Free France and Resistance that helped heal wounds and rebuild the country.

http://archive.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2005/05/08/how_good_was_the_good_war

The Marshall Plan at the end of WW2 will be covered at a later date….a separate post is needed.

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

War Dogs

Most of my readers know that I am a dog person…..I have two canine companions……but I would like to talk about the history behind the US Army’s K-9 Corps…..

Dogs have been associated with the United States Army since its inception, but their role has been primarily that of a mascot or in some other unofficial capacity. Not until World War II did the Army make the connection official. In January 1942, members of the American Kennel Club and other dog lovers formed a civilian organization called Dogs for Defense. They intended to train dogs to perform sentry duty for the army along the coast of the United States. Aware of this effort, Lieutenant Colonel Clifford C. Smith, chief of the Plant Protection Branch, Inspection Division, Quartermaster Corps, met with his commander, Major General Edmund B. Gregory, and suggested that the Army use the sentry dogs at supply depots. Gregory gave his approval to an experimental program, and on March 13, 1942, Under Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson approved Gregory’s application and created the K-9 Corps.

Beginning in August 1942, the Quartermaster Corps established dog training centers at Front Royal, VA; Fort Robinson, NE; Cat Island (Gulfport), MS; Camp Rimini (Helena), MT; and San Carlos CA. The K-9 Corps initially accepted for training thirty-two breeds of dogs. By 1944, however, that list had been reduced to seven: German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Belgian Sheep Dogs, Siberian huskies, farm collies, Eskimo dogs, and Malamutes. Approximately 18,000 dogs reached training centers after examinations by Dogs for Defense. Almost 8,000 of those animals failed exams given at the centers. Reasons for dismissal included excitability when exposed to noise or gunfire, disease, poor sense of smell, and unsuitable temperament.

The Quartermaster Corps trained dog handlers as well as the dogs themselves. Technical Manual 10-396 (1 July 1943) outlined the doctrine to be followed in the training. Normal training time for a dog was eight to twelve weeks. First the animals went through what might be called “basic training” to become accustomed to life in the military. Then the dogs received assignment to a specialized training program–sentry dogs, scout or patrol dogs, messenger dogs, or mine dogs. The Quartermaster Corps established war dog platoons in March 1944 to assist American military forces conducting offensive operations in Europe and the Pacific. Of the fifteen such platoons organized, seven served in Europe and eight in the Pacific. It has been said that, in the latter theater, the Japanese never ambushed or made a surprise attack on a patrol led by one of the war dogs. The Quartermaster Corps also experimented with training dogs to locate casualties on the battlefield. Dogs were first tested for this at Carlisle Barracks on May 4, 1944. Ultimately, the Army abandoned this program because the dogs did not or could not make a distinction between men not wounded, men who had received wounds, or men who had died.

After World War II, the Military Police Corps took over responsibility for training military dogs. They have continued to serve with distinction in other conflicts. It is estimated that the Army employed 1,500 dogs during the Korean War and 4,000 in the Vietnam War. Currently, the Army has 578 dog teams which have seen service in Iraq and Afghanistan. The courage and loyalty of these dogs have continued to save lives and prevent injuries since creation of the K-9 Corps.

WE had scout dogs in Vietnam…they were very helpful in tracking “bad guys” in the bush……

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

Hampton Roads

This sounds a bit like some tourist trap in the making, right?  Or maybe one of those romantic dramas on the Hallmark Channel, right?

As a history buff I am always trying to learn more about American history….the stuff that was seldom taught in schools for various reasons…..

We all learn in school about the surrender of the Confederate forces at Appomattox in 1865…..but how many know of the peace conference before that?

Civil War historians have dismissed the Hampton Roads Peace Conference of February 3, 1865, in which President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward met with Southern representatives or “commissioners,” as a fruitless and relatively unimportant episode occurring two months prior to the surrender of the Confederate armies. [1] One prominent scholar in his history of the Lincoln presidency has completely ignored the meeting. [2] Other historians cite the results of the conference as additional proof of Lincoln’s “strategy of unconditional surrender” in the war. [3] David Donald in his magisterial biography of Lincoln asserts that the president did not expect to achieve any real results at Hampton Roads. According to Donald, Lincoln’s purpose in meeting with the rebel commissioners was not peacemaking; it was “to undermine the Jefferson Davis administration” by appealing to the discontented Southern masses’ longing for peace. “He wanted to raise their hopes, if necessary through a campaign of misinformation,” including the prospect “that at least the remnants of their ‘peculiar institution’ could still be saved.” [4]

Historians are probably correct in concluding that an end of the conflict based on Abraham Lincoln’s terms—the restoration of the Union and the destruction of slavery—was not possible until the surrender of Confederate armies in April. At Hampton Roads, Southern representatives, on instructions from Jefferson Davis, rejected out of hand any peace that failed to recognize Confederate independence or provide for a cease-fire. Though the Hampton Roads Conference did not produce peace, it was more important than historians have judged, particularly in regard to Lincoln’s purposes and concerns during the last few months of the war and the Northern reaction to his peace effort. Furthermore, a history of the conference can provide insights into Lincoln’s late-war leadership, his emancipation and reconstruction policies, and his standing among contemporaries before his apotheosis as an American icon.

https://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jala/2629860.0021.104/–hampton-roads-peace-conference-a-final-test-of-lincolns?rgn=main;view=fulltext

Granted the conference was unsuccessful but that should not preclude the teaching of the attempt to reach a peace before the actual signing of the surrender.

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

2020 And Foreign Policy

This is not a prediction but rather a question to the Dems that will be running for the nomination.

Will the candidates run on any foreign policy chops?

After two years in office, President Trump finally made his first trip to visit U.S. forces in the field in Iraq. Having announced the withdrawal of American troops from Syria and a drawdown in Afghanistan, going to Iraq—where he is likely to maintain a U.S. military presence—probably made political sense. But, by visiting troops, what he plans to bring home is also a politically astute move, a fact that likely will not be lost on Trump’s challengers in 2020.

Indeed, the future of the United States’ role in Afghanistan—now America’s longest war at 17 years and still counting—will likely be a major issue in the 2020 Presidential campaign. By now dragging on 10 years longer than our second longest war in Vietnam, it appears to have come to a similarly inconclusive stalemate: Our adversaries (the Taliban) cannot win while American troops are on the ground, but our efforts to Afghanize the war and rebuild the Afghan government and nation have also come to naught.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/01/10/in_2020_will_candidates_campaign_on_foreign_policy_114094.html

So far the only candidate that has shown any interest in foreign policy is Tulsi Gabbard…..