By WILLIAM MAYER
May 16, 2016 – San Francisco, CA – PipeLinenews.org – Amidst the general disintegration of the West as a cultural and military powerhouse, a myth is being pushed by a group of national security professionals that ISIS will soon be history.
Some have gone so far as to predict the group will cease to exist past this year…but where are the fireworks?
These assertions draw upon the fact that ISIS has indeed suffered some losses across its caliphate, and it is from this that the DC centric “readers of goat entrails” have deduced that the world’s most well known and feared terror entity is on its last legs.
We say not so fast…because it seems undeniable that that there’s a self-serving element of this mindset, allowing one to [metaphorically] exhale briefly, concluding that things aren’t really as dire as they seem when it comes to Western relations with the Muslim world.
At its core, ISIS is a terrorist army, though one which has proven professional enough over the last year to have been able to take and hold large swaths of real estate in Iraq and Syria from where the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi then boldly proclaimed the Islamic State [Caliphate] of Iraq and Syria, ISIS.
This was an achievement of some consequence since the last such institution – the Ottoman Empire – died an ugly death a hundred years ago, post World War I.
If the analyst concentrates on Iraq and Syria alone and contrasts net territory held by ISIS now compared to that pre its loss of the Syrian city of Palmyra then indeed it’s perfectly logical to draw the assumption that ISIS is in decline.
The problem with this approach is that it’s myopic and thus fails to address the big picture which remains increasingly troubling. Looking at things in this manner is really employing the fuzzy logic that President Obama clung to for so long, conflating the battle against al-Qaeda with the far larger conflict with jihadism. This allowed him to say that since the head of the enemy [AQ] had been removed, it was time to move along, there being nothing to see here…”Islam is the religion of peace.”
The entire weight of history speaks against drawing any such conclusion, as jihadism will continue, most likely on an ascending scale, regardless of the health, or lack thereof of ISIS…because the group is merely a symptom of the cancer - normative Islam.
It’s the classic case of whack-a-mole, seemingly vanquished only to pop up in another location or guise. So in that sense the narrow argument regarding ISIS is almost entirely academic, in the long run it will make little difference because nothing has been done to damage the ideology of revolutionary Islam.
The fact remains that ISIS is adapting rapidly to conditions within an ever changing battle-space, in light of a slight increase in offensive military operations by the United States, but it is still making progress, however perhaps not in such a spectacular manner as previously…the long ISIS caravans are gone…
But since those were mainly for propaganda purposes their absence now isn’t as significant as one might think, and besides those victorious images have already been burned deep into the psyche of potential mujaheed world-wide.
Below from a very recent ISW dispatch:
“[the] Islamic State advances in Homs Province against pro-regime forces. IS advanced into the Maher Gas Field in Eastern Homs Province on May 6 after seizing the nearby Sha’er Gas Field on May 5. IS also seized an abandoned artillery battalion and two checkpoints near the T4 (Tiyas) Airbase on May 10 following clashes with pro-regime forces. IS claimed to down a regime helicopter during the fighting [ Syria Sitrep May 6-13, Institute for the Study of War]
This is only one example but we conclude that ISIS is now concentrating its power in its more secure areas and is therefore hardly dead in Iraq and Syria.
Per the Daily Beast:
“The terror group has suffered a series of defeats in Syria, but…there is debate about just how much. The self-proclaimed Islamic State has lost at least three Syrian cities and towns in the past six weeks, including The terror group has suffered a series of defeats in Syria, but while the prevailing Pentagon view may be that ISIS has weakened, there is debate about just how much.” [source, Daily Beast]
Concentrating on its original power base Iraq/Syria muddies the picture because we must keep in mind that ISIS over its very short history has tremendously expanded its theater of operations. It’s now able to project force on a global basis either from the core element or from proxies/franchises/”lone wolves” via ideological influence peddling largely through a very sophisticated Internet PR operation.
Forget for the moment Iraq and Syria, ISIS is also active in probably a dozen territories including Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Gaza and Nigeria. It struck with deadly terror in Paris, San Bernardino, California and according to FBI sources; there are currently ISIS investigations underway in all 50 states.
So the entire nature of the conflict has changed, a new generation of jihadis are being created daily.
“At least 37 people have been killed following a suicide bombing in the port city of Mukalla in Yemen, according to AFP. Terrorist group Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted police recruits at a security compound.” [source, RT, At least 37 killed, ISIS targets recruits at Yemeni security compound – reports]
“ISIS terrorist groups have recently stepped up power channeled to target Tunisia from within its Libya centered headquarters, West sources warned. The sources confirmed that the last attack on Ben Gardane, a commune and coastal town in south eastern Tunisia near borders with Libya, proves evident drawback and permeability of the security status in Tunisia.” [source, Kamal Ben Younes, ISIS Sets Eye on Tunisia…Ben Gardane, Tunisia to Replace Raqqa, Syria ]
“The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, said Friday that members of the Islamic State group have recently entered the Gaza Strip through tunnels from Egypt to undergo military training in the Hamas-ruled enclave.” [source, Jack Khoury, ISIS Fighters Entered Gaza Through Tunnels From Egypt to Train, Israeli General Says, Haaretz]
“BAGHDAD — The Islamic State group launched a coordinated assault on a natural gas plant north of Baghdad that killed at least 14 people, while a string of other bomb attacks in or close to the capital killed 15 others, Iraqi officials said.” [source, Sinan Salaheddin, ISIS attack and bombings leave 29 dead across Iraq , Military Times]
Item - alongside administration “reports” that ISIS is in total disarray, come the following, from Syria and Northern Iraq.
“[ISIS]…fighters staged a 'major offensive' on the southwestern edge of Deir al-Zor on Saturday, storming the Assad Hospital and cutting the supply route between the a Syrian army base and the airport…Deir al-Zor province links Islamic State's de facto capital in the Syrian city of Raqqa with territory controlled by the militant group in neighbouring Iraq. Islamic State also said it had taken control of a checkpoint, a fire station, university accommodation, grain silos and some territory near the al-Tayyam oil fields, in the vicinity of the state-held military airport on the city's southern edge. [source, “Panicking” ISIS declares state of emergency fearing their capital Raqqa is about to come under siege , UK Daily Mail]
So arguments regarding the relative strength/weakness of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are all well and good, as well as being valuable in their own right.
However, that said…the powers that be must acknowledge some terrible truths:
1. Normative Islam is entirely incompatible with the West.
2. Dr. Huntington was ENTIRELY correct regarding his “Clash of Civilizations” thesis.
3. Unless the civilized world, which can only enjoy freedom and liberty from the bosom of liberal democracies, takes some very bold action soon - even if ISIS simply disappeared tomorrow - our children’s future will remain bleak beyond all measure.
©2016 PipeLineNews.org. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.