Funny joke that's going around Tunisia: the only difference between Essebsi and Sisi is a dot.
Essebsi = السبسي
al-Sisi = السيسي
b = بـ
e (i) = يـ
Edited by ethanm - 11/23/14 at 7:34am
If by disease of IS you mean salafism and jihad then no, I am not aware of any strategies to contain it. The access to children that IS has is particularly troubling and something that hasn't really had to be dealt with before. In the 80's in Hama where the Muslim Brothers were indoctrinating children and building insurgent forces, Hafiz al-Asad, but more his brother Rifa'at, put the insurgency down by indiscriminately leveling the city. No doubt this is the basis of Basher's strategy, which has failed spectacularly. No, the world is going to be dealing with the seeds of IS salafist takfiri jihad for a long time. The onyl way, in my opinion, to deal with it is to devote a lot of time and money, in the form of massive rebuilding, beautification, and services, to the Sunni heartland of Iraq and Syria. I think that this has to be a joint effort between Iraq and Syria way down the line.
As far is the airstrikes, I would not argue that they haven't put a dent in IS. I think they have been as effective as you could hope for given the weakness of the ground forces. In Syria, Kobane surely would have fallen if the Coalition didn't come in and halt the IS advance, expose IS staging areas, and take out a lot of their guns and armor. Also in Syria a lot of the oil producing capabilities in IS land have been crippled, particularly Der Azzor. Outside of IS though in Syria we are also bombing Nusra (AQ) which is alienating a lot of Syrians who are okay with the salafism of AQ (mostly because they are less inclined to declare takfir on Syrians) and see them as brothers in arms against the Regime. You have to understand that the Syrian opposition outside of IS is still mostly Sunni and even Western backed rebels throw around slurs like Rafidah (Shia) and talk about eliminating the Nusayri ('Alawi). Which brings us back to the Kurds and Kobane, secular and leftist but not extremely so, being the only fighting force the West can support. So as far as Syria goes, the Coalition is extremely limited in what it can do because of an almost total lack of ground forces it trusts.
In Iraq the dynamics are a little different. The West has two ground forces it's committed to supporting, the Kurds and the ISF. In the case of the Kurds, they can only do so much. Baghdad is wary of allowing the Peshmerga to advance too far outside of the Kurdistan region because, as the Kurds have said as much, that any territory they enter and liberate is territory they expect to keep. In the case of the ISF, they were totally crippled by the advance of IS over the Summer and without a significant, strong military it's impossible to make real gains. The gains that have been made, and don't be mistaken that there haven't been, have come about under the direction of Iran's Qassem Soleimani and the ISF backed by Iranian funded Shia militias. On Sunday IS launched a siege on Ramadi under a low cloud ceiling and rain underscoring the need for solid ground forces when air power is nullified.
Back to the brainwashing and sectarianism, the situation in Iraq is going to be very delicate moving into the Spring and Summer fighting seasons. The Shia militias are loathe to most Sunnis for their own ruthless tactics. Much like a lot of the Sunni jihadis, the Shia militias are sect first, nation second. It's going to be important to build up the ISF and phase out almost all usage of the militias moving deeper into Anbar. The Sunnis there are going to need to be won back from IS with inclusion and, I think, preferential treatment after the war. You don't bring people back into the fold by punishing them.
Over in Syria the sectarian issues are similar and there is a lot of resentment for Shias stemming from the 'Alawi regime and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Unfortunately, I think the US strategy is to push IS out of Iraq, which will choke it of much of its oil revenue, and let them whither in Syria. The issue here is that this will sow even more resentment for the Coalition in Syria and who knows what happens after that. I've heard from a lot of Syrians things like we saw what happened in Libya and we waited for it here but it never came. In addition to resentment among most Syrians, Nusra has established themselves even more firmly and have undertaken a lot of rebuilding activities and have made their own court called Dar al-Qadaa. I heard from some Idlib people that conditions have markedly improved since Nusra took over, which doesn't bode well for the Coalition.
This has been kind of rambling but the point is the jihad isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
For all the bluster from IS and from their fanboys remember that the threat of aircraft that you can't shoot at dropping laser guided bombs on your head is absolutely terrifying and demoralizing.
IS cuts off all mobile phone networks in Mosul for fear of agents feeding target information to the coalition: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/11/27/Mosul-residents-ISIS-group-cuts-phones-in-Iraq-city.html
Pretty much everything here is false. The SAA is mostly leaving IS alone, the bombings in ar-Raqqa this week killed 120+ civilians and I haven't seen any reports of IS dead. There are plenty of "good" people still fighting in Syria but you only hear about Nusra, IS, and Ahrar because they are the strongest. And lastly, Ba'athists hate us more than the FSA. The US has a long history of pissing off Syria and right now we are actively involved in supporting the rebels looking to overthrow the regime. The only reason Asad is still in power is because he is backed by Russia and Iran otherwise he would have gone the way of Gaddafi a long time ago. That regime, in my opinion, is more heinous than IS in its crimes. IS is just more exhibitionist about it.
Scahill is a hack. Is there blowback? Sure. Did JSOC create Sunni extremism? Absolutely not.
There are two big reasons for the resurgance of the jihad: secular pan-Arab regimes and the Salafism exported from Saudi. Remember, Zawahiri's al-Jihad started in Egypt in response to the pan-Arabism and secularism of Anwar Sadat and Nasser before him. Zawahiri became radicalized in the prisons of Egypt after he was arrested for collusion in the assassination of Sadat. bin Laden wasn't a product of an pan-Arab or Ba'athist government but he was appalled by the secular behavior of the royal family, which is what drove him to Afghanistan in the 80s. When these two jackfucks got together it's when their takfiri rationale took off. Takfirism wasn't really around until the 90s when al-Qaeda decided that all Shia and any Sunni who didn't adhere to their strict interpretation of Islam were kufaar (disbelievers, infidels), which gave them an ideological license to kill. This is the genesis of IS's takfirism. Saudi has done a great deal to spread their Salafism by placing Suadi clerics around the Arab world as well. In Syria, it was the secular Hafiz al-Asad regime that flattened Hama to put down the Muslim Brotherhood and it's the son's regime now that is flattening the whlole country. Not to mention to contribution Saddam Hussein had in oppressing the Iraqi Sunni population when he was still around. And today foreign fighters pour in from everywhere but most notably the Caucasus, who have been under the thumb of Russia.
It's easy to blame the West, to blame JSOC or the CIA or whoever but the truth is this is a problem created primarily by Arabs.