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Author Topic: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)  (Read 4176 times)

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Offline Euron Greyjoy

Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #50 on: July 25, 2014, 11:35:05 PM »
Like    Chulanowa and I said, ISIS are taking advantage of the chaos in Iraq and Syria. In Iraq most soldiers ran away rather than fight, but when ISIS attacked the Kurds they were pushed back. The problem Iraq faces besides an obviously inefficient government, is its lack of supplies which doesn't help when ISIS is looting equipment from them. If ISIS were to try what there doing in Iran, Turkey, or Saudi Arabia they'd get their noses bloody.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #51 on: July 26, 2014, 01:36:26 AM »
Like    Chulanowa and I said, ISIS are taking advantage of the chaos in Iraq and Syria. In Iraq most soldiers ran away rather than fight, but when ISIS attacked the Kurds they were pushed back. The problem Iraq faces besides an obviously inefficient government, is its lack of supplies which doesn't help when ISIS is looting equipment from them. If ISIS were to try what there doing in Iran, Turkey, or Saudi Arabia they'd get their noses bloody.

Today, tomorrow and next month...perhaps but if they continue their nonconventional approach to conquest, I wouldn't bet on it being as clear cut as you think years down the road. Add in a 'ain't our problem' I'm still seeing in western politics and you can see a problem. After they eat Syria, I can see the Russians HAPPILY selling them arms.

Offline Neysha

Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #52 on: July 26, 2014, 10:04:22 PM »
The main thing is that the Islamic State can consolidate its power in Eastern Syria and Northern and Western Iraq which sits astride or adjacent to significant oil reserves as well as key power and water production and transportation infrastructure. Not to mention things like refineries and cultural sites and the like. What ISIS seems to have been doing as of late is using its lucrative success and largesse of supplies in Iraq to help consolidate their conquests in Eastern Syria, securing the remaining government and rival Rebel holdouts. Just in the past twenty four hours or so, they captured another major Syrian military base, the home of the 121st Artillery Regiment and captured a significant trove of towed, rocket and self propelled artillery, as well as significant amounts of ammunition and heavier munitions.

The main saving grace for any expansion is that the Islamic State would have a tough time expanding beyond most of Syria and Iraq, since their main base is Sunni Muslims. Not Druze, or Shia, or anything like that. Meanwhile in regards to the Druze and Alawites in Syria, they should be somewhat safe because the bit of Western Syria hugging the coast is largely Alawite and Druze, and significantly mountainous so it should be easier to defend. Likewise the northern portions of Iraqi Kurdistan are similarly mountainous. What's interesting is seeing how Iraqi Kurdistan is dealing with its own refugee crisis, as well as the fact they are suffering from water and power shortages in some areas due to Islamic State interference. The Kurdish peshmerga are also suffering due to a lack of financing, as the Maliki government hasn't given the Kurds its share of the central budget for years now, nor has it authorized or allowed the Kurds to officially purchase arms or sell oil. (all of which has to be done on the black market) So the Kurdish peshmerga by and large hasn't been paid in months and finds itself compelled to defend a six hundred mile border with the Islamic State, despite the overall peshmerga numbers outnumbering the total number of Islamic State fighters several times over.

The Islamic State has forced the current Iraqi government into an interesting quandary. If the Kurds push for more independence, it'll hasten the collapse of the Iraqi central government and state by and large, and that is something the Islamic State wants and desires.

Offline Neysha

Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #53 on: July 27, 2014, 08:17:15 PM »

Offline Alsheriam

Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #54 on: July 31, 2014, 01:16:16 AM »
I've been saying this RE: Syria ever since I joined the International Institute for Strategic Studies and I will say this again:

Obama and the rest of the West is at fault for this mess.

Why?

Remember NATO intervention in Libya and all that hubbub about R2P (Responsibility to Protect)? Bullshit. Ideals played no part in this. NATO eagerly went in because it was brain-dead easy for the military to pull it off. The theater was basically a single highway hugging the coastline, and the terrain is flat and easy to bomb: ideal for aerial bombardment. Easy.

So, whatever happened to R2P and all that fuss about the "protection of civilians" in Syria? That was all conveniently forgotten once the West remembered that Assad's regime is well-supplied with Russian weapons and all of Assad's territory is blanketed by sophisticated anti-air weapon systems. Remember that SA-11 Gadfly which shot down MH17? That was just one vehicle, and it was deployed under suboptimal conditions because the SA-11 is usually supported and supplemented by a full suite of radar systems. Now take that fully-supported SA-11 vehicle, multiply that capability by the magnitude of 40. Nobody in NATO wanted to risk losing hundreds of millions in shiny military hardware for the sake of some shithole that didn't bear much geopolitical significance to begin with.

Now, take that hype surrounding R2P in Libya, and imagine how excited the Syrian opposition movement - back then in 2011 very much widely influenced and led by the secular and liberal Syrian National council - must have been when they heard the Westerners were taking a tangible interest in helping the Arab Spring along? They must have been counting the days till it was their turn, but it never came. Obama's administration was given the recommendation by dozens of think-tanks and advisers to start sending weapons and SF personnel to train the rebels, but he refused to do because of rising isolationist sentiment in the American public.

It was thanks to Western neglect that out of pure desperation, the Syrian opposition movement ran into the eager, welcoming hands of Islamists and jihadist groups like al-Qaeda. By 2013, groups like the Islamist al-Nusra Front and ISIS began to rise, and the rest is history.

My impression is that the Syrians didn't want to side with jihadists at first, because they knew how introducing Islamist influence would split them up and result in infighting (which did happen). The Western world had a golden opportunity to make some positive change in the Middle East for a very long time (since Syria had people who had the desire to fight, as opposed to Iraq/Afghanistan where the locals didn't give a damn and let ISAF do all the fighting for them), and the West blew it. Any talk of sending assistance to the Syrians at this time is pointless.

Offline Neysha

Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #55 on: July 31, 2014, 10:30:10 AM »
I have to agree, Obama has shown a discernible lack of will when it comes to foreign policy affairs, even after earning his second term in office.

His Syrian policy has been mind numbing in it's impotence.

First he alienates Assad by repeatedly denouncing him for his brutal suppression of largely peaceful protests and demonstrations. That's fine, I agree with that. Assad is a bad person and we should be supporting the largely secular anti-Assad opposition. But this means... essentially... that Assad working with the US in any practical manner is no longer an option.

So what does Obama do next? Nothing. Even as the Civil War ramps up, he refuses to give the Syrian Rebels anything but backpacks, band aids and bread and even that is in small amounts. He talks a lot about how bad Assad is, but doesn't do anything tangible. Why? Because Obama is afraid that if we send anti-tank weapons and the like to the Free Syrian Army, it may end up in the hands of radical Rebels! So while the Free Syrian Army is begging for help... guess who answers the call primarily? Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.

Guess what? Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States don't want to supply the secular, pro-Western Free Syrian Army elements. They want to fund the more Islamist organizations. The Islamic Front. Al-Nusra. The more Islamized factions of the FSA. Suddenly we see a proliferation of weapons primarily in the Islamist, radical, fundamentalist elements of the Rebel movement, because they are the only ones getting significant amounts of weapons, training and munitions. This entire time Obama is dithering, not supplying any of the Syrian Rebels because he's afraid of radicals getting weapons while still permitting the Gulf States and the Saudis to supply the already radical Syrian Rebels with those very same weapons.

Then shockingly, after the Chemical Warfare attacks on civilians and crossing Obama's red line, Obama restrains his response as many voice the fears that they could be supporting Islamists in the Syrian Rebels. Well you see, by not doing anything, we've already been supporting the Syrian Islamists in the Rebel ranks. We left arming and supplying of the Syrian Rebels to the paragons of tolerance and secularism and moderation like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.

Now we're wringing our hands over how Islamists have grown more powerful in the region when the West allowed this to happen by ignoring the problem, out of a fear that the Islamists would grow to powerful... ::)


Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #56 on: July 31, 2014, 11:17:10 AM »
I'd agree with both of you. Obama's record on Syria (or on the Near East in general) hasn't been impressive at all, not after the Arab Spring began anyway, and there's a visible lack of long-term strategy and will. IMO it comes down both to the economic troubles of America - no one wants another expensive war effort, even if it were to be short and that might not be the case in Syria, it just spells overstretching and a weight on the economy - and the gridlock of congressional politics: both Obama and some key people in Congress seem unable to strike deals with each other. If the U.S. had been in a better position economically, there would have been some serious assistance to the Syrian opposition back in 2012 and perhaps even some Nato/US boots in the ground last year.

The prospect of having Syria and ISIS (and Afghanistan and West Africa?) essentially left alone right up to January 2017 because no one in Washington has the political space, the money and the resources to do anything decisive about them is abysmal. No heavyweights in Europe are going to want to take a remotely leading role on those either: both Cameron and Hollande are going to be too busy with other things and Germany taking on that kind of role in something that smacks of military power projection is a no-no... - Unfortunately Obama seems to have become almost a lame duck as for foreign politics and being able to drive serious reforms, at this point - and there won't be much let-up on that until he leaves the White House because everyone has their own electioneering motives tucked into the mix.

Check it out!

Mosul shops must now have their mannequins wear veils...




*sighs* I can't help thinking of women about to be hanged for resisting whomever...
« Last Edit: July 31, 2014, 11:43:54 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #57 on: August 09, 2014, 09:24:30 AM »
So the US has finally been pushed to engage formally with the wave of ISIS advance, if only to avert having Chaldean Christians and others killed in cold blood and getting it on the tv news, and to protect U S. military interests.

Dianne Feinstein (Dem) comments, "It takes an army to defeat an army" and I think she seriously has a point. A couple of air strikes alone won't drive back ISIS for real, not even if they are repeated over time. To eliminate them as a first-rank player in Iraq and Syria (and to protect the Kurds and Christians, among other things, and avoid a free-for-all) would take an army effort at some point over the next year or so. Which is another big headache of course.

Offline kylie

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Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #58 on: August 09, 2014, 09:54:57 AM »
      They're only supposed to have about 50,000 troops I think it was, and many of those pressed into service under some duress.  If it weren't for so many urban areas involved, it might be almost the sort of situation where Rumsfeld's opening Afghan type of strategy might have a shot (primarily local ground and some bought off forces, plus US air and special ops with some lighter divisions on the ground).  As it is, I'm not sure just how far that would go.  But I don't see them fending off any serious ground force that also owns the air, for control of the roads.  Unless (ahem just saying what if) Russia wanted to get very dirty with SAM shipments...  One just has to wonder a little, these days.

      It seems the eventual problem could be more, how much of a blow would that deal the organization itself and what exactly would keep them at bay afterward.  Or would there be more nasty factional fighting in the South again, now that the central government has lost whatever front of control it had previously managed.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 09:58:21 AM by kylie »

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #59 on: August 09, 2014, 11:34:42 AM »
      They're only supposed to have about 50,000 troops I think it was, and many of those pressed into service under some duress.  If it weren't for so many urban areas involved, it might be almost the sort of situation where Rumsfeld's opening Afghan type of strategy might have a shot (primarily local ground and some bought off forces, plus US air and special ops with some lighter divisions on the ground).  As it is, I'm not sure just how far that would go.  But I don't see them fending off any serious ground force that also owns the air, for control of the roads.  Unless (ahem just saying what if) Russia wanted to get very dirty with SAM shipments...  One just has to wonder a little, these days.

      It seems the eventual problem could be more, how much of a blow would that deal the organization itself and what exactly would keep them at bay afterward.  Or would there be more nasty factional fighting in the South again, now that the central government has lost whatever front of control it had previously managed.


Yep, I'm not that far from your assessment but I think ISIS (and whatever groups might spin off from them) are clearly a latent long-term threat, even if they would be pushed back out of central Iraq. And as for strength: how many trained soldiers/fighters did the Taliban actually have at any given time in Afghanistan and NW Pakistan? Estimates seem to be in the range of 50-60.000 men and that would have been in 2001 and the years just after, by 2008/10 it had dropped - it still enabled them to maintain a steady presence, control of parts of both countries - up till a kind of comeback in the last two years or so, a dozen years later, when some observers think they simply cannot be counted out of any long-term deal over the future of Afghanistan.

Offline Neysha

Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #60 on: August 10, 2014, 08:26:26 AM »
Defending Irbil is one thing, but to actually retake territory, I'm not sure what can be done in such a limited fashion. The recent operations around Mosul, southwest of Irbil and in the Sinjar region seem to show that despite their vaunted reputation, the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga, for various reasons including lack of equipment and pay, just aren't up to par with the Islamic State fighters, sometimes not even on their own or non-Sunni territory. The way the peshmerga fled from Sinjar was in fact quite galling, considering they had set up that place as a safe haven for refugees but when the Islamic State applied pressure to the area, the Peshmerga literally fled just as effectively as the ISF forces did. It was kind of a sobering display of a lack of martial prowess or will.

In order to turn this around, the US will have to move beyond just pinpoint strikes. They're going to have to invest heavily in air corridors to allow aid and supplies and munitions to arrive to supply the Peshmerga Army, regardless of what the Iraqi Central Government desires. The Iraqi government was supposed to share a significant portion of its budget to the Kurdish North and furthermore when the US left, the Kurdish segments of the Army were supposed to receive 200 million dollars worth of American equipment which again the Iraqi Central Government refused to release to them. The peshmerga as they are, seem completely incapable of an effective offensive action as of late, and have trouble even holding territory. At a minimum they're going to need lots of small arms, ammunition, rocket launchers, and artillery to defend themselves, and likely a fair number of vehicles to begin any sort of offensive action. They also need to be able to sell their oil on the market, circumventing the Iraqi Central Government, so that they can actually pay their peshmerga fighters. The Kurds don't want to sacrifice themselves to save other people solely fueled and funded by goodwill after all.

The airstrikes will likely have to be expanded too, and bring in more FAC's and other advisers to help coordinate airstrikes and the Peshmerga forces. I mean airstrikes without actual eyes on the ground are going to be of limited value against forces like ISIS. And that's just a truth of warfare. The air campaign against the Taliban back in 2001 was negligible to the point of being mock worthy until Green Berets and other Special Forces embedded with Northern Alliance fighters were able to directly target enemy forces with airstrikes.

The downside of supporting the Peshmerga is that it will help cement what is likely already over, which is the borderlines of the state of Iraq as we know it now. If this crisis ends with the Kurds more formidable and they attempt to become more independent of the Iraqi Central Government, the US fears are that the Shia governed portion of Iraq will be pushed further into the Iranian camp. But the Iraqi governments recalcitrance seems to have compelled the US to either largely ignore the crisis, or support the peshmerga in lieu of a lack of any other practical options.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2014, 08:39:18 AM by Neysha »

Offline kylie

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Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #61 on: August 10, 2014, 11:16:59 AM »
Defending Irbil is one thing, but to actually retake territory, I'm not sure what can be done in such a limited fashion. The recent operations around Mosul, southwest of Irbil and in the Sinjar region seem to show that despite their vaunted reputation, the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga, for various reasons including lack of equipment and pay, just aren't up to par with the Islamic State fighters...

         Yes, I've read that they have been withdrawing a bit too, to some watchers' apparent surprise. 

          Seems people are pretty weak at analyzing the strength or will of some groups over there...  Though maybe that can swing both ways.  I could be wrong, but I'm doubtful that the bulk of ISIS -- at least, the bulk of the current form of ISIS within Iraq -- is as committed or as established as the Taliban were in Afghanistan.  In Afghanistan, they had been going at it within the same territory for a decade.  More of the country is extremely rugged terrain and there was even less example of secular government to think about.  In Iraq, many of the ranks have just recently been teased out or joined under duress from the current situation.

Quote
The airstrikes will likely have to be expanded too, and bring in more FAC's and other advisers to help coordinate airstrikes and the Peshmerga forces. I mean airstrikes without actual eyes on the ground are going to be of limited value against forces like ISIS. And that's just a truth of warfare. The air campaign against the Taliban back in 2001 was negligible to the point of being mock worthy until Green Berets and other Special Forces embedded with Northern Alliance fighters were able to directly target enemy forces with airstrikes.

        Yeah, I kind of figured they would.  Actually a little surprised some of it wasn't done already.  But it's been a while since 2001, and I don't recall exactly how long it took them to get set up.  There was a lot of mulling around picking local leadership of various factions and getting them on board enough to be minimally coordinated for a broader offensive, too.  Though I'd hope that's maybe a little harder in the terrain of Afghanistan than it should be in Iraq...  Then again, we don't get a lot of news about local (barely, even about regional) Iraqi politics.  That is something that's been super scarce in regular media, despite the very long war.

Quote
The downside of supporting the Peshmerga is that it will help cement what is likely already over, which is the borderlines of the state of Iraq as we know it now. If this crisis ends with the Kurds more formidable and they attempt to become more independent of the Iraqi Central Government, the US fears are that the Shia governed portion of Iraq will be pushed further into the Iranian camp. But the Iraqi governments recalcitrance seems to have compelled the US to either largely ignore the crisis, or support the peshmerga in lieu of a lack of any other practical options.
     
           Well, apart from sending in some heavier divisions, I don't see how else it's going to get done.  The Baghdad government has lost a great deal of credibility and at least in terms of what little we hear, the Kurds seem to have a smoother history of dealing with the US.  Iran is already pretty well inserting itself into a significant part of Southern matters anyway.  I don't see that being prevented regardless.

             I'm just not sure whether or not a fight could be done without big, heavy divisions being shipped around.  They can take a long time getting there.  Though it appears Obama has hinted this may just need to go on for a long time in any case.  The question is, go on just how.
 
« Last Edit: August 10, 2014, 11:19:23 AM by kylie »

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #62 on: August 10, 2014, 06:08:27 PM »
Apparently there's a standoff unfolding right now between the Iraqi PM and President, and Iraqi and Kurdish militias in Baghdad have taken up positions in support of PM al-Malaki. He could be said to be fighting for his life, politically.

Dun dun dun....doesn't make the weather any less inviting for an ISIS attempt on Baghdad in the near future.

Offline Neysha

Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #63 on: August 11, 2014, 12:03:17 PM »
Apparently there's a standoff unfolding right now between the Iraqi PM and President, and Iraqi and Kurdish militias in Baghdad have taken up positions in support of PM al-Malaki. He could be said to be fighting for his life, politically.

Dun dun dun....doesn't make the weather any less inviting for an ISIS attempt on Baghdad in the near future.

Whatever could make you think that?



;)

Offline Formless

Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #64 on: August 11, 2014, 12:27:07 PM »
Yeah ... Its funny how they went ' artistic ' with their logo to the point where they can be easily depicted as apostates themselves.

I'm sorry but I cannot take the ISIS seriously. They're just a bunch of desperate warmongers running out of options.

Offline kylie

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Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #65 on: August 12, 2014, 09:36:44 PM »
           The Guardian seems to be saying that the peshmergas' problem with ISIS is perhaps as much captured US-supplied equipment, as any difference in training (though there may be some of the latter too).

Quote
A flush of weapons delivered by the US on Monday has eased immediate fears of light arms shortages. But the new rifles and bullets are no match for the heavy weaponry carried by Isis, most of which was also supplied by the US to the Iraqi military during the nine-year occupation.

Much of those heavy weapons, including tanks, humvees, troop carriers and artillery pieces were seized by Isis when the Iraqi Army abandoned all its bases in the Arab north of the country in mid-June.

The enormous arsenal has given Isis an added potency that continues to startle the Kurds and expose the limitations of their military and political power.

            I was actually a little surprised by this.  Not that I'm any driver or technician but...  Not surprised that they would take the equipment off the state where they could.  But are tanks and APC's all so similar that just anyone can oeprate them within a few days?  I imagine ISIS would have lots of experience with Russian and some Euro- supplied vehicles in Syria...  And probably some of what the Iraqi army got were rather aged US models. 

             But how effectively can they really use this stuff?  Or again on the other side, are these peshmerga all really have just nothing but light infantry and mostly on foot plus whatever incorporated utility vehicles?  That might be it.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #66 on: August 13, 2014, 11:30:50 AM »
           The Guardian seems to be saying that the peshmergas' problem with ISIS is perhaps as much captured US-supplied equipment, as any difference in training (though there may be some of the latter too).

            I was actually a little surprised by this.  Not that I'm any driver or technician but...  Not surprised that they would take the equipment off the state where they could.  But are tanks and APC's all so similar that just anyone can oeprate them within a few days?  I imagine ISIS would have lots of experience with Russian and some Euro- supplied vehicles in Syria...  And probably some of what the Iraqi army got were rather aged US models. 

             But how effectively can they really use this stuff?  Or again on the other side, are these peshmerga all really have just nothing but light infantry and mostly on foot plus whatever incorporated utility vehicles?  That might be it.

Part of the problem is no one wanted to supply the Kurds with anything. Period. For fear they would try to create a separate Kurdistan out of chunks of several countries. As soon as the US left Iraq, they got cut off of the materials they were SUPPOSED to get for regional defense as well as anything else the PM could get away with. Hence they are under armed and underdeveloped compared to other regions.

Offline Aiden

Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #67 on: August 19, 2014, 06:45:39 PM »
http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/19/world/meast/isis-james-foley/

This stuff with Isis is just...well, I have no words. I am glad I didn't see the video that is circulating.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #68 on: August 19, 2014, 07:01:36 PM »
*nods* There were reports fairly early on that ISIS had resorted to crucifixion of captives, even women. That kind of barbarity is what really made me notice them, and it's designed to spread terror and fear of course.

Offline Question Mark

Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #69 on: August 19, 2014, 11:15:46 PM »
I've been too busy to closely follow the ISIS situation.  Could someone better informed tell me how likely it is that ISIS will eventually reach a stalemate/peace and become a sovereign, independent state?

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Offline Aiden

Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #71 on: August 20, 2014, 10:24:08 AM »
They are getting desperate and trying to provoke the US into a bigger war (other than airstrikes). Use that as propaganda to recruit more to their cause. At least that is what I believe is happening.


Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #72 on: August 20, 2014, 11:53:57 AM »
I've been too busy to closely follow the ISIS situation.  Could someone better informed tell me how likely it is that ISIS will eventually reach a stalemate/peace and become a sovereign, independent state?

Only if they  the only remaining country on earth. As far as I can tell their manifesto is intrinsically expansionic. They are, depending on how you read things, claiming any lands ever held by any Islamic force.

Offline Neysha

Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #73 on: August 22, 2014, 11:19:18 PM »
Yeah ISIS has the will and desire to keep expanding until they reach a hard stop, but only due to practical reasons, not due to a lack of ambition and zeal. They're even more medieval then the Taliban were in their dreams of an Islamic Caliphate.



Their desire to create slave markets in Mosul, the banning of the teaching of philosophy and the sciences and countless other primitive nonsense.

The main thing is that the Islamic State has largely been focusing on moving most of its captured heavy equipment back to Syria, and has been doing that ever since the June Northern Iraq Offensive in an effort to solidify their hold on Eastern Syria. They've mauled the al-Nusra front and other Rebel groups and since June have seized five important Assad military bases with Tabqa Airbase being the sixth about to fall. 
« Last Edit: August 22, 2014, 11:33:15 PM by Neysha »

Offline consortium11

Re: ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria/Levant)
« Reply #74 on: August 23, 2014, 06:00:23 AM »
I've been too busy to closely follow the ISIS situation.  Could someone better informed tell me how likely it is that ISIS will eventually reach a stalemate/peace

Unlikely. The basic philosophical frame-work is one of unending war until the whole world falls under their caliphate. Practicalities may mean that they don't always engage in conventional war but they are going to be pushing for it as long as they exist.

and become a sovereign, independent state?

In some ways they already are. The borders may be flexible but they are enacting laws, have a system of governance, have a court system, receive taxes etc etc

The main thing is that the Islamic State has largely been focusing on moving most of its captured heavy equipment back to Syria, and has been doing that ever since the June Northern Iraq Offensive in an effort to solidify their hold on Eastern Syria. They've mauled the al-Nusra front and other Rebel groups and since June have seized five important Assad military bases with Tabqa Airbase being the sixth about to fall.

I think this is a point that many people aren't giving enough significance to.

As tragic as it is, what is happening in Iraq is largely a sideshow to the Islamic State as things stand. Their big focus remains Syria... and looked at with strategic glasses that is very sensible decision for them.

Iraq has allowed them to procure significant amounts of equipment etc but right now it's simply not practical to hold it. The West would inevitably get involved. Political considerations mean that troops are unlikely to put boots on the ground but air-power will certainly be relied upon... and while that alone is not enough to dislodge them from cities it is enough to blunt any military offensives and to hold them in place while the rest of the Iraqi forces start to finally get their act together.

Syria on the other hand?

If the West had gone in hard when they first mooted the prospect then none of this may have happened. Yes, we'd have been fighting on the same side as the then ISIS in opposing Assad, but our presence would have considerably strengthened the liberal and secular elements of the resistance and prevented ISIS from being any more than a fringe element of the fringe element. If we'd done a complete 180 and supported Assad we'd have nipped ISIS in the bud.

But now?

Now we're in the situation where opposing the Islamic State is Syria means we'd be fighting alongside Assad; a man the West has threatened to bomb, called a war criminal and generally been extremely opposed to. Even for the more real-politique minded amongst us that's generally seen as a step too far. Because of that the Islamic State forces in Syria can operate largely unmolested, especially in the East where they essentially already rule. What's going in Iraq is largely an optimistic land grab... what's happening in Syria is the main event, which is why the majority of the captured equipment is being sent there.