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05 September 2014

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eakens

Lift all sanctions on Iran, cut off all aid to Israel, impose sanctions on SA and Qatar.

Norbert M Salamon

Not being a military or political expert, I will opine the following, based on personal views:
1.,Leave Hamas alone, they are defending their home turf against illegal occupation.
2., Sanction Israel, for continuous [since 1948/9] actions contrary to international law.
3., Leave Hezbollah alone, for they act to the benefit of Lebanese people vs. neocon/R2P/Israel cohort
4., IS and Nusra Front quit arming and training them through covert means, lift Sanctions vs. Iran to enable her to act against the two [and the related many], arm any group which is willing to fight them.
5., Pressure Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Quarter [and the various other Gulf nations] to forced away from financing the terrorist groups.
6., Taliban - leave Afghanistan and quit drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
7., Neo-nazis in Ukraine - cut all assistance to these animals.

Marcy C.

Eakens,

A good idea. But...can Iran buy enough American weapons to make up for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states not buying them? Less arms sales overall means decent American jobs with decent salaries and benefits will be at stake, and there is an election on the horizon.

William R. Cumminh

Declassify the secret pages of the 9/11 Commission Report allegedly concerning background and financing of the 19 Saudis participating in the attack.

Aka

Does Hizbullah and Hamas (to a certain extent) falls in to the category of IS or Nusra Front?

If someone can somehow cut funding for these groups by Arab kingdoms, then it would slow them down.

On the other hand the Taliban, Nusra and IS seems to follow ideas that are not really sustainable.

Using new things will "corrupt" their version of the "ideal islamic" society or they will have to renounce all new things and stay in the 8th century.

ex-PFC Chuck

The USA needs to rethink what the underlying purposes of our country are. The place to start is to is to articulate what those purposes currently are based on what we do, not on what we say they are. There is a wide gap between the two and I believe that the hidden agenda (insofar as it is articulated at all even within the inner sanctums of the PTB) that has informed our actions since at least as far back as the implosion of the USSR is the primary underlying cause not only of the rise of the likes of al Qaeda and ISIS, but also the devolution of the effectiveness of our supposedly democratic instutions and the quality of life in the USA of all but the very wealthy. Until this rethink takes place and the agenda is brought to the surface and refocused, whatever we do in response to ISIS and other similar threats will more than likely be band aids on a sucking chest wound.

pbj

I don't think there's an easy answer anymore.

Bring Iran in from the cold. That is obvious.

Try to restore Syria as a centralized government.

Force Israel to make a genuine compromise with their Arab population. Otherwise we have no choice but to play the part of the bad guy.

Respect theocracies as genuine centers of power. Do NOT respond to them by destabilization strategies -- that just results in EXTREMIST theocracies.

In general, try to improve our image in the region. Considering the history, this will be a generation-long process.

Openly and honestly consider whether repeated cycles of deliberate destabilization as a tool to punish uncooperative countries, have resulted in the current mess.

Openly and honestly consider which is more important to us: having control over the region, or eliminating extremists.

Fred

Col.,

Replace the national security advisor and the ambassador to the UN. Have General Dempsey provide a briefing and advice. Then invite President Putin to Camp David to discuss what can be jointly agreed to. That would take care of IS.

TomG

The options as I see them are
1. A regional conference to combat IS. The problems being that Turkey won't fight them. Saudi may not support it, and it would have to involve working with Syria and Iran which Israel would frown upon along with many politicians in the US (and would further complicate things for Turkey and KSA).

2. Direct US intervention. Problems being that it would change things from IS being the aggressor in spreading its version of Islam, to IS being the defender. Thus leading to more support for it from the Sunnis.

3. Containment and undermining. Send a heavy brigade to Jordan, a few to Saudi, a Stryker brigade and maybe an airborne brigade to Kurdistan. Use these as "firebrigades" to support the local armies if they need it. Provide covert assistance to SAR in whatever ways are possible, and try to get the less zealous Sunni Iraqis to give IS the boot in exchange for recognizing their independence from Baghdad. Provide support to them as needed.

The problem being that the second part of that may not work in Iraq.

I have probably missed something fundamental in all this but these are the options I see.

Thaumaturgist

I just think that if you pull Bandar's nuts out of the fire too soon, he won't learn anything. Same goes for the Turks and the Emirates. They all need to out some real skin in this game. They won't do that if we put American skin the the game. After all, the hazard for us is indirect and contingent.

Dave Schuler

Don't you need to identify the objectives before discussing strategy?

b

Immediate action:

1. Bomb and destroy all heavy weapons and ammunition IS seized from the Iraqi (and Syrian) army - tanks, armored trucks, artillery.

2. Disable the oil and gas field IS has seized and which are financing a big part of its budget.

3. Stop financing, training, providing for the FSA. Cooperate with Syrian intelligence to help with integrating useable parts of the FSA into the Syrian force that will take up IS on the ground.

4. Read the riot act to Erdogan to close his border and stop all IS support. If he does not follow up start openly cooperating with the YPK/PPK against IS including on Turkish ground.

5. Help Syria and Iraq with weapons and intelligence.

6. Medium term - switch from the Jihadi Sunni side to the "resistance" side. Shun Israel, arrange for anti-Wahhabi (military) coups in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

7. Long term - leave the Middle East.

Medicine Man

I think the best approach for dealing with ISIS is a three-pronged approach -- nothing fancy:

1) Quietly reach an understanding with Syria and Iran. All efforts to undermine or destabilize either regime should stop and the US should share whatever SigInt that will be helpful in dealing with jihadis in Syrian territory (targeting data, etc.).

2) Tacitly accept that Iraq as it was in the past is gone and commit to arming the Kurds; mortars, mines, AT weapons, artillery, and ammunition for all of the above. Turn a blind eye to whatever support Iran provides to the Shia government in Iraq. Insert US Special Forces (or possibly their French/UK equivalents) into Northern Iraq to instruct the Peshmerga in the proper use/maintenance of their new heavy weapons.

3) Diplomatically pressure the government of Turkey to restrict the movement of jihadis entering the levant/fertile crescent through their territory.

Stopping the current dick-waving contest with Russia would also be helpful, if only to stop diverting resources and attention away from the middle east.

georgeg

It is really that simple! Need say no more.

different clue

Hizbullah and Hamas would be rather anti-IS/Nusra Front, I should think.

Hamas would like to create a 21st century Islamism and therefor considers IS/Nusra's 8th century Islamism a plain embarrassment and a threat of hijacking the Gaza resistance if Hamas continues to have nothing to show. Hizbullah understands the deadly threat that IS/Nusra wishes to pose to Hizabullah's constituents.

Anything which keeps Hamas and Hizbullah strong or at least standing forces IS/Nusra to at least pay ongoing attention to Hamas/Hizbullah, thereby drawing off a little time and mental energy which IS/Nusra could otherwise spend toward conquest.

Samuel Burke

Offer a Middle East reset.

I will tend to go along with the idea that our Gov't in Warshington should articulate a clear policy of non-intervention in the political affairs of sovereign nations in the Middle East. I would deploy a "force majeure" of the best most qualified Arabist diplomats into that part of the world to work with whatever governments are in place and make it their assignment to work on behalf of our strategic interests and how those countries could benefit from mutually beneficial relations with the "Great Satan". Offer to serve as mediator to help resolve conflicts and eliminate as much as possible the deaths of any more innocent citizens who more than likely just wish to live life and raise their offspring.

Trying to tilt the table in our favor has failed terribly and engendered deep resentment among the oppressed minorities in those nations. Their complicated tribal and religious based differences are none of our business to a large degree and i do not support trying to impose our "enlightened views" upon them

different clue

Medicine Man,

You have said better what I was thinking of trying to say sort of. I would just add, working with Assad and Iran (and its Shia Iraq allies) and arming/training the Kurds as much as physically possible would shrink and/or contain IS on the East/North/West/Southwest. It would have no where to physically expand except towards Jordan (which we should give Jordan all requested assistance against), and toward the Petro Gulfies.
We should let IS expand toward the Petro Gulfies until the Petro Gulfies decide they have an existential decision to make . . . stop supporting IS and start opposing it or be conquered by it. That might be the sort of pressure the Saudists and the Gulfists could understand.

different clue

Dave Schuler,

Wouldn't the long-range objective be to defeat IS entirely and end its posession of territory and governing ability?

Whether the pursuit and killing of every single pro-IS fighter is worth making an objective I don't know. It depends on how much dangerous knowledge any survivors might possess and how much damage they could case in revenge for the loss of their ISistan.

The beaver

Fred,

You are forgetting a third one, a major one: Jeffrey Feltman as USG of Political Affairs at the UN (a position that goes automatically to the US of A).
There is a reason he requested that post after the UNGA voted overwhelmingly to accord Palestine the status of "non-Member Observer State" in the UN. Guess who spoke in lieu of Ban Ki-Moon on August 28th when a UNSC meeting was called wrt Ukraine.

Carl O.

This whole thing reminds me of the old saw, when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you should do is stop digging. We've been digging ourselves deeper and deeper since at least 9/11 and nothing being proposed out of the administration changes that. I agree wholeheartedly that the 28 pages of the Congressional 9/11 inquiry dealing with Saudi involvement needs to be released ASAP. Secondly, ditch the regime change policy. Once those two changes are made, then a rational--and truthful!--policy dealing with ISIS can be developed, and I'm sure that such a policy will include some of the suggestions already made here.

J

Colonel,

U.S.-Russia-China-India formal alliance to destroy IS and any of its backers who get in our way.

We need to tell the Europeans to shut their traps on the Crimea situation, so we the U.S. can mend fences with Russia in order to form the needed alliance with Russia to deal effectively with the IS problem.

The alliance would focus on the all encompassing approach. Shut all doors in and out of IS, as they can't eat their IS oil and IS sand, as they don't produce enough IS goats to live on.

There are ways to neutralize and neuter IS if all parties (U.S.-Russia-China-India formal alliance) have the will for it.

If the big boys will act like big boys, then the puny punks like IS will crawl back in their roach dens.

And I agree with the first poster eakins who said "Lift all sanctions on Iran, cut off all aid to Israel, impose sanctions on SA and Qatar."

ex-PFC Chuck

Carl O.,
In the draft of my comment above I included that old saw in closing but ultimately deleted it for brevity's sake. It is very apropos.

Babak Makkinejad

All:

Overt & strategic cooperation with Iran (and Syria) by the United States (primarily) against ISIS is a bridge too far; in my opinion.

For it would mean that US would be cooperating with minority sects of Islam (some would say Heretical) against an organization/entity whose Sunni Muslim Bona-Fides have never been be seriously challenged by Sunni Orthodoxy.

That is on the US side.

As Col. Lang has observed, ISIS is a threat to all states in the Middle East except Israel & Iran.

I do not see any overwhelming reason for Iran to overtly cooperate with US - the Great Satan - against ISIS; it would tarnish the Islamic Bona-Fides of Iranians....

Covert cooperation within Syria and Iraq and perhaps Lebanon are possible, in my opinion, but Turkey and others have to fight ISIS on their own.

Babak Makkinejad

All:

ISIS is a threat also to both Pakistan and India if the Caliphate endures. If 1% of (Sunni) Muslim population of India becomes enamored of ISIS, India will be plunging into decades of instability and dissension.

Norbert M Salamon

Mary C:
According to Civil Engineers there is a need to spend trillions on infrastructure, which was neglected due to the War on Terror. Perhaps part of the armament industry [which is money waster for the taxpayer] should be transformed for Bridge Construction, etc., which also have oodles of high paying jobs., Never forgetting that the electrical backbone also has to be rebuilt. Perhaps all the machinists welders, riveters, et al can be retrained to work on bridges, transmission lines, defences against rising sea levels, and many more measures to bring USA up to stndards.

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