02.18.2015 12:10 PM

ISIS’ plans

This report is consistent with this analysis.

Both are highly disturbing, and both suggest that we are at the beginning of a very long struggle. I won’t even bother to add that restricting ourselves to a humanitarian role is foolhardy, because sensible folks know that already.

28 Comments

  1. davie says:

    Certainly, keeping gangs of vandals and murderers out of one’s country are important. Seems like police would be the answer, but, if military, so be it. Why anyone in Libya would want to hurt anyone in Europe escapes me…until I think back a couple of years.
    A disconnect for me is that if this threat from the caliphate is so globally endangering, why is it that 5 dozen countries, including Canada, have committed so little to defeating this movement?

    The interview cites a number of over 8 000 Iraqi people who have been slain by these 8th Century caliphate wannabes. How does that number look next to the daily death toll in Baghdad the past few years? The number of slain in Syria since 2011? The numbers of displaced people in both Iraq and Syria, the countries we are bombing (Iraqis, we have been bombing off and on for over two dozen years)? The slain and displaced in Libya since we took out that regime?

    Egypt apparently bombed Libya in response to a video. Jordan’s king headed up the increased Jordanian air attacks in response to a video. Now we have some group named Quilliam(our groups and names pop up as often as new tv shows) claiming letters from…and so on.

    I might be the only one who is skeptical because we have acted on lies before, because we constantly, and deliberately, leave out oil, gas and pipeline routes in these calls to make more war against ‘them.’
    And spinning a drug addict with a 7 shot hunting rifle into a tactic in a world conquest effort just when secret police legislation is going through doesn’t reduce my skepticism much.

    (Don’t pay attention to me, I am still trying to figure out how that third trade tower came down so cleanly.)

    • Steve T says:

      Unless you are joking about the third trade tower conspiracy theory, that comment pretty much obliterates any possibility of the rest of your post being taken seriously.

      • davie says:

        My favourite conspiracy theory joke is the one about the multi millionaire Saudi contractor who chose to live in a cave in wildest Afghanistan, where, because he hated America’s freedom, he came up with a pan to destroy that freedom.

        From his cave in Afghanistan, where he made selfie videos of his plan, he recruited some young, mostly secular Arab fellows studying engineering tech in Germany and had them deepen their faith so much that they were willing, one and all, to commit suicide to carry out the plan of that same Saudi multi millionaire living in a cave in Afghanistan.

        The young fellows entered the United States, and in various locations, learned to fly piper cubs.
        Then they received schedules and tickets for passenger jet flights from three different airports, along with instructions to carry out, based on their piper cub flying training, highjackings of those passenger planes, re routing of those same huge planes, and guiding them to crash into precise buildings in New York City and Washington.

        Prior to their day of highjacking these planes and committing suicide 5 of these fellows whose faith in Islam and its tenets were so strong, gathered in a cocktail bar to drink alcohol and discuss their coming suicide missions.

        I New York City, those fellows put their piper cub training to good use by guiding the planes to their specific targets, so that with just two planes, they knocked down three buildings.
        In Washington they crashed the pane into the part of a building exactly where a meeting on military funding was taking place.

        The USA military, knowing for over half and hour that a 4th plane had been highjacked and headed for Washington, allowed the passengers on that plane to handle things. Those passengers took the plane back, avoided the populated areas of Ohio and Pennsylvania, and of Maryland closer to Washington, and crashed the pane just short of Camp David, in a remote area. Their timing was excellent.

        Before the day was over, politicians, the media, the world audience, knew that the Saudi multi millionaire hiding in a cave in Afghanistan was behind the whole thing.

  2. MC says:

    It’s no time for naivete in Ottawa. If I had no other reasons for being disinclined to support Trudeau, this one might be sufficient.

  3. Kelly says:

    The last line from the NP piece…

    Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the Egyptian president, called for an international coalition to defeat ISIS in Libya, saying, “We will not allow them to cut the heads of our children.”

    No…but we’re fine with overthrowing a democratically elected government and engaging in mass executions of political opponents.

    Al Sisi has no credibility and a very large percentage of his country knows it.

    As for us, again we have no reason to intervene in Iraq as we did not illegally invade Iraq and help create ISIS. One could argue we are directly responsible for the mess in Libya as we bombed it and created the chaos there (ironic since armed forces recruitment ads invite recruits to fight chaos but all we do these says is create it.) but we should be part of a large UN force that secures all of Libya and not just fight ISIS. Libya has no government to speak of. We wrecked that country. But that is what neo-conservatives to.

    As for the mighty ISIS navy being a threat to Europe, what a laughable bit of hysteria. Radical Islamicists — of all kinds are already fully capable of wreaking havoc in Europe as we’ve seen. No need to listen to the warmongers at the National Post.

    I’m sure ISIS is laughing at our panic.

    As for Mr. Wood’s analysis in The Atlantic, here is another article, also in The Atlantic that takes a more level headed point of view

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/02/on-the-impossibility-of-fighting-isis/385530/

    • Bill MacLeod says:

      “No…but we’re fine with overthrowing a democratically elected government and engaging in mass executions of political opponents.”

      I’m fine with that, under certain circumstances. I would rather have overthrown Hitler and NSDAP, after it gained power with 33 per cent of the vote in November 1932 through a coalition with Franz von Papen, than have had to endure the subsequent 12 years of madness.

      I’m also fine with the end of Morsi, he of the “unlimited powers” to “protect” Egyptians from the old regime. There was nothing democratic about that fellow.

      Cheers,

      Bill

  4. wsam says:

    The Wood article is a good start. It is important to familiarize yourself with the context you are advocating bombing from 25,000 feet. But, the National Post recycling some utterly predictable pap from the Daily Telegraph isn’t really interesting and I wouldn’t dignify it as a ‘report’.

    An Islamic State victory in Libya is far from certain. The terror group moved across Iraq and Syria with ease. The path to take Libya is much more difficult. In today’s Financial Post Kate Brannen and Keith Johnson write: “The Islamic State’s success in Iraq and Syria was fueled in part by its control of some of the region’s richest oil fields, but the group will be hard-pressed to turn Libya’s oil reserves into a steady source of financing.”

    Libya also lacks the kind of sectarian, Shia-Sunni divide that fuelled its violence in Syria and Iraq.

    The true test will be how well ISIL in Libya manages to burrow into Libyan politics and factional fighting. As former CIA officer Patrick Skinner recently told Foreign Policy magazine, “the Islamic State’s presence in Libya ‘has great potential to blow up into a security nightmare, but [is] also one that is a football used by many competing sides.'”

    The question now is “how much traction do they get in the slippery soil of Libyan conflict and politics?”

    But. How did Libya get to the point where ISIL can even consider establishing itself there?

    Was it an ill-considered bombing campaign?

    What is the plan? I notice Syrian dictator and madman Assad seems to be inching back into the friend column?

  5. Christian says:

    Yep. And if Trudeau’s folks are “sensible” (which thanks to the Eve Adams fiasco I know they aren’t) they’ll start having their guy walking back and “re-evaluating” his position.

  6. Steven says:

    Lamentably, we broke Libya and now we’re going to have to pay for it.

    That being said, we should heed what Robert Fowler warned back in October 2014, namely that half-measures against ISIS will not be enough.

    It will be interesting to see which sons and daughters of the PM and of others in Government will be volunteering to fight the battles to come.

    • Peter says:

      “I believe that we need to talk to Hamas to educate them and we need to let them know what’s going on,” he said. “But we cannot make a workshop, we cannot offer a Nescafé or cappuccino for any one of them. It’s considered as materialistic support … can you imagine it? You cannot offer them a coffee!”

      Is this Fisk parodying Fisk? I hear ISIS’s tastes run to low-fat soy mocacchinos.

  7. doconnor says:

    The Atlantic article specifically says attacks in the West aren’t a priority for Islamic State. Their focus is on the Middle East and they expect the End Days to come before they get around to occupying Europe.

    The article also discourages large scale Western intervention.

  8. Luke says:

    I usually fancy myself rather against war. However, ISIS is so horrifying that I would get behind ambitious, expensive, internationally united military intervention. Youtube-ing the beheadings of dozens of innocent people begs for ISIS to be crushed, and swiftly. I shudder to think of what they will do next, as the shock value of their broadcast beheadings diminishes. Probably there will be videos of drawn-out, unthinkably brutal torture. Just a matter of time.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents. I would welcome contributions from every nation on Earth that doesn’t support cutting people’s heads off and using child rape as a currency.

    I also wonder about how terrible things are in less geopolitically important parts of the world. I’ve heard in passing that things are equally terrible in the Congo, but I’m not aware of much coverage or international outrage.

    • davie says:

      One of the things that puzzles me is that I read, from time to time, that Islamic State has a sophisticated pr branch.
      If so, I cannot figure out what the thinking is behind publishing these videos, knowing full well that the videos would excite the citizens of Western Nations to support military attacks on Islamic State. It seems like putting out maps with x’s on them and saying ‘Bomb us here.’

    • edward nuff says:

      but we do know what’s coming next. they will feed Christians to real lions for the whole world to watch. Oh wait that’s been done, not the watching but the doing and then it will all play out like the best movie ever made “Network.”

  9. Ian Howard says:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/what-isis-really-wants/384980/

    In order to stem the flow of recruits joining ISIS they must be crippled as a functioning military unit. If Wood and others are correct it is an apocalyptic vision that drives them. They expect to be defeated but while doing so fulfill prophecy.

  10. John Daly says:

    Did anyone read the attached piece? These folks are (literally) part of a death cult. Their mission is to goad their “enemies” (and that list is growing exponentially) into a final battle in some one-camel town over there. So sending soldiers and bombs is EXACTLY what they want. They cannot be eradicated with violent actions. Their ideology wants defeating and we can start by discussing EXACTLY what that ideology is. Discussing it repeatedly as “Islam” is a mistake. It is an extreme fantastic end-of-times way off the charts interpretation of the Koran. Read the damn piece Warren attached!

  11. wsam says:

    I read it. It is interesting. Wood did his homework. I do not think the two articles together imply what

    Some Shia also anticipate the end-of-times, 12vers fixate on the return of the 12th “hidden” imam. Interesting that Sunnis would make this their own (or maybe I don`t know as much as I think I do).

    Muqtadā al-Ṣadr and Iran`s last president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, were both Twelvers and believed the apocalypse was imminent. Ahmadinejad was defeated electorally and al-Sadr recently announced his retirement from politics.

  12. wsam says:

    Endless super-scary newspapers stories about what el Qeada wanted to achieve (Bin Laden felt duty-bound to reconquer Spain since it had once been Muslim, for example) helped pave the way to the original invasion of Iraq. We allowed ourselves to be scared into believing extreme, unprecedented measures needed to be taken. This is no different.

    We need to fight smart. Stop making the same mistakes over and over again.

    Like not getting our knickers in a twist over ISIL being in Libya.

    Ibrahim al-Jathran managed to load an oil tanker last spring with what the Libyan and U.S. governments considered stolen oil. The tanker was almost immediately intercepted by two dozen U.S. Navy SEALs, while still in the Mediterranean. That militia, with strong local roots in Libya, has so far been unable to export big volumes of Libyan crude. Things won’t be easier for ISIL.

    If you cannot get your product to market it isn`t worth very much. We already helped break Libya and then left. Let`s not make things worse.

  13. Depressed realist says:

    If it’s not already obvious, we can’t win a war with ISIS fighting according to the standards that we currently have with regard to war and morality. Attempting to do so would lead to the equivalent of Iraq 3.0 and Afghanistan 2.0, and is just plain foolish.

    To win, what we would need to do is be willing to terrorise, target civilians, and commit war crimes (just as we did in the previous world wars) — but I don’t think Westerners are ready yet to justify that. Anything other than real war, however, is not going to lead to victory, so I think we’re kidding ourselves if we claim that is our objective. Continuing to arm both proxies and then the enemies of those proxies (to keep the various groups busy slaughtering each other) is probably our best bet given our sensibilities, honestly — and that’s exactly what we have been doing and what we will probably continue to do.

  14. Russ says:

    Excellent piece of journalism in the Atlantic. National Post, not so much. The strategy choices are not either / or. Counter insurgency is always more nuanced. And the conflicts always long and bloody. The death cult act of this one will make it especially so.

  15. davie says:

    If any of you missed it, you can watch the interview with the young German ISIS member from Mosul(I think). From mid January. It’s about 15 minutes. Scroll down to half through the article.

    “www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/16/german-isis-interview-n-6482516.html”

    (The video is on some other sites, as well.)

  16. patrick says:

    Battling ISIS with an army is like calling in a tank to chase a serial killer through a crowd. Massive destruction results, much collateral damage, outrage and fury result and the tank gets stuck in a narrow alley as the killer disappears in the distance.

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