« Some Reactions to Woods' Article on ISIS | Main | Follow Up: A Note on the Dabiq Prophecy »

18 February 2015


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The Beaver


The latest from Ambassador Ford:

Ford said the time had come for U.S. officials and their allies to have a serious talk about “boots on the ground,” though he was quick to add that the fighters didn’t need to be American. He said a professional ground force was the only way to wrest Syria from the jihadists.

Read more here:


Charles I

Will that await some ISIS consolidation and planning allowing for few strikes to occur in Italy, or will the cats only be herded after some more western casualties? MSM reporting Yemen going from strength to to strength of shite, resurgence of AQAP reach to Europe etc.

W/r/t to war with ISIL, better be the Powell Doctrine and a subsequent Marshall Plan, hopefully rented and implemented by locals we agree to leave in charge - hello Bashir! - so long as they don't wake us up, or it'll just go on forever. Do we really believe we can stand up Iraq in a coherent, effective and enduring manner?

Prior to reading the Atlantic article, I'd cynically be ready to let the locals sort out Sykes-Picot and call us when they are able and wish to engage, but its apparent these pricks are going to metastasize and fester anywhere there is not sufficient civil society to keep them down to background noise.

Ex 11B

OBL counted on us loosing our minds and over-reaching after 911. I think ISIL is counting on the same thing. Really don't see anyway out. The Iraq invasion was the point of no return. I hope JR's need to show Poppy that real men go to Baghdad was worth it.

And I hope the Neo-cons burn in hell.

The Moar You Know

"Imagine what will happen when they capture US soldiers. Imagine."

No thanks. I'm sure it will be similar to what the Comanche and Apaches unleashed upon the white and Mexican invaders they encountered. Such reading is not for the squeamish.

I think Kipling's advice to the British soldiers of his day still applies:

"When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier."

I don't think the US can afford direct intervention. The inevitable video of a soldier caught alive by IS would result in the prompt impeachment and removal of any government that sent him there.

As to your final point:

Libya is ungovernable save under the fist of a strongman like Kaddafi. But that's proving to be true of the entire Middle East, is it not? They seem to view democracy as a mere transitory stage on the path to establish totalitarian theocracy. If I'm missing something let me know.

Charles I

Elsewhere on the horizon, another very interesting analysis of the war mongering and Eastern understanding of the true foundations of war in Ukraine over at the Saker.


João Carlos

"Libya has proven itself incapable of self stabilization. IMO there will be no choice but for a UN sponsored force to occupy Libya."

IMHO, Russia had some interest on Libya, but while they and China will vote for an intervention, they will not put boots on the ground. Egypt probably cannot occupy Libya and maintain stability inside and IMHO Turkey will not fight IS (well, they supply them at Syria). So, the task will go to US and Europe forces.

The thing is that for Russia the best strategy is let the US and Europe send the boots, because they want see the US and Europe forces bleed a few. It is not a good time for make enemies and US and Europe worked hard for make Russia unfriendly.


Col. Lang and All

I disagree that there is no choice other than for a U.N. sponsored force to occupy Libya.

The better choice is simply to do nothing. The Jihadis will self-destruct on their own, all by themselves.

As a part of my education delivered to my by this site, I was directed to William K. Polk's works. With respect to this topic, Polk's article "Sayyid Qutub’s Fundamentalism and Abu Bakr Naji’s Jihadism" that may be downloaded from http://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/appendix-a.rtf is quite relevant.

The fundamentalists are active and successful in delivering vexation and savagery throughout the Middle East and now even Europe and the U.S. The reactions being experienced all over are exactly the responses intentionally elicited. The group that seems to act organically and without any central direction other than direction statically implanted in the movement's ideology is causing the West to act irrationally. We in the West have within our ideology a strong ethic of helping and protecting the weak the world over. The tactic of vexation and savagery are directly targeted at our helping-caring ethic with the expectation that, acting on that ethic, the West will intervene into the decrepit MENA lands where that ethic is seemingly absent. The push to cause us to intervene is based upon the sound assumption that the interventions will inevitably fail and cause the indirect destruction of our societal values. (i.e. the NSA and the TSA that have so eroded our personal rights imposed upon us by our fears of the fundamentalists vexations.) We simply hasten our own demise when we intervene into the alien Islamic world.

Unfortunately, in the face of vexation and savagery, humanitarianism cannot function in the MENA because humanitarianism requires an environment where the humanitarians can act humanely without being murdered, burned, or crucified. Since the MENA environment cannot harbor the humanitarians, the only other means of action available to act is military power. Without boots on the ground, no military power can have any societal organizational effect.

However, boots on the ground is exactly what the jihadis want, because when the boots are on the ground, the jihadis have superior political-military effectiveness as was proven so clearly in the American occupation of Iraq. Very cheap munitions trump expensive western munitions by many fold and return thousands of dead an maimed back to us without any real benefit or gain for the West or any significant benefit to the society we hope to "save". Military peace-keeping forces simply are ineffective against the processes William Polk has so accurately described. Boots on the ground only cause more instability and it is chaos that is the haven of the fundamentalists. Chaos prevents anyone from organizing against them in the local chaotic society. Hence, since they are able to fulfill Origin's first principle of polity (The most ruthless usually win.)they are able to prosper and succeed when the more kind hearted and humane are simply paralyzed or even better from the jihadi perspective, bankrupted.

A mentor of mine once said that the best sign of a competent person is whether the person know what the person cannot do. Here, by falling for the administration of vexation and savagery in Libya, the West (UN financed by US) would be attempting to do the very thing it is not competent to do--to create a civil society in Libya from chaos caused by the West's fundamental mistake of deposing Khadafy. Humpty-dumpty is broken and there is no way we can put the pieces back together.

Instead of falling into the trap envisioned by Sayyid Qutub, the West should just let the sun dry up the mess and just let the Libyans sort out their own destiny. If we do anything, it should be to sow our on vexations against the ones we see as most malignant by targeted air strikes and drone killings, leaving the unfortunate Libyans to their own devices.

By falling for the Sayyid Qutub traps and continuing our ineffective and unwise interventions, we just weaken our own societies and waste our resources trying to perform Quixotic rescues that cannot succeed. If there is ever going to be a civil society in MENA again, it must grow out of the Ulema and an Islamic consensus.

The U.S. and the West should never send in peace keepers into Libya. While the wisest and most effective course is to do nothing to "save" the Libyans, if we do anything, instead, we should impose our own vexations and savagery by remote and robotic means without risking any western lives.

Our own most powerful weapon is to supply lots of bullets to the factions in the hopes they will kill each other off faster.

The West at this time in history simply does not have the means to fix the MENA of today to make it more humane. Islam must heal itself. We cannot do that.

The fires now burning the MENA can best be damped by letting them burn-out and extinguish themselves through their own contradictions and weaknesses.

Adam L Silverman


I think both the ISIS behavior in the Middle East, and the actions in Paris and Denmark are intended to do just what you've identified: cause a reaction/overreaction that can be used for recruitment purposes. Juan Cole has written a couple of excellent posts on this matter:

In many ways this was part of the playbook that the Chechens used against the Russians. Try to create as big an overreaction as possible in order to create the opportunity for recruitment and support. Given that a fair amount of al Qaeda (classic) training was designed for the Chechens and other separatist groups in order to foment insurgencies, civil wars, and other forms of low intensity warfare, it is not surprising to see it repurposed.



I do not agree that this form of jihadism will "self destruct." I think they will simply go from strength to strength within the confines of the framework of their own view of the universe. . "Our own most powerful weapon is to supply lots of bullets to the factions in the hopes they will kill each other off faster." Sorry, but you have already departed the values of Western civilization as we try to know it today. Shall we send them the equivalent of the mythical smallpox infected blankets. Sisi understands that if the MB and the like are allowed political participation, they will inevitably gain control of Egypt. The same is true of many of the countries of the ME and North Africa. The only people who think that is not true are the equivalent of the Western naifs who thought that the Egyptian Revolution would result in a liberal democracy. pl pl

Babak Makkinejad

I think Libya will go the way of Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

I also do not think there will be any intervention by anyone - neither NATO states, nor the Arab League, nor the OIC has the wherewithal or the interest of fighting in Libya and remaining there for more than 20 years to administer that territory.

I agree that "Doing Nothing" is at times a very good strategy.

May be this is one of such cases.


Babak and Origin

Well, if you fellows have your way we will simply write off much of the world, ceding it to medieval barbarism. I realize we created this situation by destabilizing the ME. That is why I opposed intervention in Iraq. pl

Babak Makkinejad

If you look at what Italians did in Libya to pacify it - Omar Mokhtar and all of that, I find it very difficult to envision that an occupying NATO force will be Libya, fighting to restore order and remain there for 20 years - all the while reprising the colonial past.

No Muslim country has the wherewithal of carrying that burden either - Turkey? I do not think so. They are not going to fight fellow Muslims there; they are supplying ISIS in Syria and in Iraq.

The Egyptians; I thought their Army was a giant graft machine with almost no care for the enlisted me.

The Algerians? Will they be so willing to fight an insurgency in Libya when they themselves waged an insurgency against the French?

The Gulfie Arabs? They cannot assemble an infantry force without worrying that it would overthrow the sheikhs and other potentates.

An International Muslim Army? Who is going to lead it and who is going to pay for it?

Pakistanis? Who are fighting an insurgency inside Pakistan are not going to commit the bulk of their troops to Libya- leaving them exposed to India.

Will US go and occupy Libya and stay there for 20 years? I seriously doubt it.

How about Australia and Canada; the two countries that have been raring to go to war in the Middle East for a while now on behalf of Israel?

Sometimes things get broken and they can no longer be put together.

different clue

The Beaver,

I didn't read Ford as saying we should switch sides and back Assad in wiping out the rebellion. Doesn't he still want the whole SAG entirely overthrown and merely feels the time has come for a major outside force to do it because the rebels can't?

Babak Makkinejad


I am in agreement with Col. Lang here that this form of Jihadism of ISIS as well as by like-minded people in Pakistan, Nigeria, East Africa, Mali and North Africa will not self-destruct.

When Muawiya (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muawiyah_I) rebelled against the legitimate Khalif - Imam Ali - and was on the verge of defeat, he told his soldiers to raise copies of the Quran on the tip of their spears - shouting "Muslim brothers we should not fight each other."

That trick neutralized Imam Ali's army and the rest is a damned history from the point of view of Shia.

I expect ISIS and other Jihadists to also restore to such tricks.

Imam Ali was assassinated during prayer by another Muslim who had decided that himself and his associates were the only True Muslims.

Shia Tradition has it that in Aleppo, the seat of Muawiya, the news of the assassination of Imam Ali was received with incredulity: "Ali was praying; he was a Muslim?"

So it was that the first man to become a Muslim, the cousin of the Prophet, was murdered by another Muslim in the name of Islamic purity.


"I realize we created this situation by destabilizing the ME. That is why I opposed intervention in Iraq. pl"

Exactly, Col. Lang, you've been warning about the consequences of the american policies in the Middle East for years and that's why I was surprised by your Dwek Nawsha post. You have done your lot against the emergence of IS. As a public figure you pay a heavy price for speaking the truth and that is sacrifice enough. Let those who advocated for the Iraq war ask the young americans in uniform if they are willing to go to the Middle-east and receive the promised flowers, now from the hands of the IS crowd.

"the conduct of IS is so far outside the scope of even 'normal' jihadism..."

Lets wait a bit more and when they start running buldozers over young girls send them to be conscripts in the IDF. They may not be normal for jihadism, but are almost depraved enough for zionism. Wait yet more and they will become fit to join Piotr in his nuclear armageddon project.


I was going to suggest to Walrus that if he wanted a farm life american style he should get some goats and and a cell phone with automatic yiddish word corrector (I do grasp the authentic aspects of a culture from a few hints) but when Tyler started speaking "tongue in cheek" about cannibalism to Fred I thought some jokers are better left uneaten and deleted this paragraph... or so I hope I've done.


I am in no way answerable to you for any position I take or any inconsistencies there may be in my positions. Whatever ideology I may have has nothing to do with public policy. I agree with Emerson that "consistency is a virtue of small minds."

1- Foreign Christian volunteers for a Christian militia intended to defend Christian villages are not reflective of US policy. I admire what these individuals are doing and hope that they have nothing to do with groups like the PKK.

2- Your comments about IS and the IDF revealthe nature of your bias in the Palestinian/Israeli struggle. Unfortunately the depth of that bias lessens the value of your comments.

I actually don't need you here with your phony E-mail address. what are you hiding from? pl


Babak, Australia is a cheerleader for war against Islam precisely because it is militarily impotent to carry out such a venture.


I don't have a solution just 2 stop-gap suggestions:

Arm the Kurds & send ships to intercept the refugees
streaming into Italy & Greece & send them to China
to be temporarily sheltered in some of those big, new,
empty cities the Chinese have built.

And what if the Chinese don't want them? Let them
turn them away. It's way past time the Chinese shoulder
some humanitarian responsibility in return for reaping all those juicy resource contracts. Plus I think the Chinese
are better suited to deal with the refugees than the Europeans should the refugees decide to start acting up.
BTW, I don't think all those refugees are just refugees.

FB Ali


"We in the West have within our ideology a strong ethic of helping and protecting the weak the world over......the West will intervene into the decrepit MENA lands where that ethic is seemingly absent".

Was it this ethic that caused the West to take over a large part of the world that remained under colonial rule for a couple of centuries?

Was it this ethic that caused Bush to invade Iraq?



It is not my intent that we should cede much of the world to barbarism.

Large portions of the Muslim world lives in peace and moderation. As for the portion of the MENA beset by the jihads, we Westerners simply do not have the power to purge the jihadist sentiment. Since we do not have the possession of that part of the world, we cannot abandon it. If it is ceded to barbarism, it is ceded by the Muslim world, not us.

It seems to me that the fundamental problem flows from a flaw in Islam itself: the central precept that the Koran is the last, final, and perfected prophesy of God. Any act to interpret or to revise it is shirk and an apostasy. The closure of prophesy means that literalists are always imprisoned in the seventh century by their very act of Islamic submission to their vision of God as he revealed himself to a primitive herding culture.

Since the ethic is to follow the example of the Prophet, a caravan raider, killer, crucifier,and enslaver of women, the barbarism is inherent in the religion and cannot be purged.

It is folly for us in the West to think we can change the fundamental tenets of Islam to purge it from its foundational tenets of culture and belief. Unless Islam can somehow reopen the prophetic link to discover some moderating beliefs, the fundamentalists will still continue the act of Islam within their age old barbaric traditions modeled by the Prophet.

The citizens of the affected countries are the only ones who can force the demise of the barbarism. I am an optimist and believe that, over time, they will find a way to enter modernity. The struggle has been ongoing for half a millennium; someday it may happen. Someday, God may act to convince them that the prophetic channel leading to moderation is still open so they can move on from the Koran and the Hadiths and the stories forming the example of the Prophet. Until they do, barbarism will reign and there is little the West can do to stop it.

You were right to oppose intervention in Iraq. I I think I am right to oppose further intervention in Libya beyond use of air power to kill the worst of the jihadist and I am no sure if that helps because the collateral deaths and destruction creates more recruitment propaganda.


Is not the West sending infested blankets when it arms the Syrian fictional moderate rebels who regularly join the jihadist factions? The more jihadists who go to paradise, the larger the ratio of moderates to radicals and more the likelihood moderates have some chance to promote modernity in the region. The current level of violence is unsustainable and it is not in Western interests for any single faction to gain the upper hand. It is better for the West to have many fighting factions than to have a single on in control that can grow like a cancer.


I don't think ISIS's plan was to bait the United States into a conflict.

ISIS is having a more difficult time advancing and holding on to previously conquered territory since the US got back into the conflict. Concurrently, ISIS did not start the new round of publicized Western hostage beheadings until after the US airstrikes started.



The government of Iraq had not attacked the US and the purpose of the neocon led invasion was specifically to destabilize the ME in the belief that such destabilization would result in the destruction of local culture to include the Islamic religion The result has been what you see now all over the region. I foresaw that and for that reason opposed the invasion and occupation. The present IS/Nusra phenomenon is quite different. It can hardly contain itself over the joy of the idea of eventually attacking the US. This phenomenon has deep roots in parts of Sunni Islam. Babak is quite right about that. The movement has a great deal of appeal all over the Islamic World and it will NOT implode. Do you really want this beast to follow us home? pl



I don't think US bombing has had any significant effect on IS. The little bits of ground that have been retaken mean nothing. It will take ground troops.pl

Sunni by Birth

Bang on, the longer you wait, the more this spreads and gains strength. Most of the existing middle eastern govt. are fighting internal elements as well, They can't afford to go for overseas adventure with boots on the ground. At the end, if America goes there, it has leave Russia alone. Other option is to let SAG have a free hand. Even that will be limited in geographical spread. You have to build an indegenous moderate Sunni force under a strongman. Don't need American boots, just spend a large amount of money. The ruthlessness you see is a regional characteristic, not a regional one, just observe Israel conducts.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad