Thursday, August 07, 2014

The Genius Of ISIS

ISIS is running a brilliant campaign. They are waging a war of extermination which is causing all kinds of problems for everyone else. Here are a few.
  • The West is psychologically unequipped to deal with this. You can hear the total confusion in the Obama Administration's response: "We urge all parties to the conflict to allow safe access to the United Nations and its partners so they can deliver lifesaving humanitarian assistance."
  • They are capturing territory, but not people. By killing or driving out all opposition, they make a guerrilla campaign almost impossible. There's no opposition left for us to arm.
  • Refugees make troop movements difficult. Roads are clogged, cities overwhelmed, transportation assets oversubscribed, etc. If you want to move a mechanized brigade from Point A to Point B and the roads are full of desperate refugees, good luck with that.
  • Refugees tax you, not them. ISIS is left with resources made for a much larger population once they finish killing a bunch and driving out the rest. Supply problems for ISIS? I don't think so.
  • ISIS is looting every place they capture and using that to fund the next offensive.
  • Without uniforms, ISIS has neutralized air power. Just what are you going to bomb? Since there are no opponents left alive behind their lines, you have no hope of recruiting spotters to guide your air strikes.
  • ISIS is quite simply more fearlessly brutal than everyone else and their opponents can't deal with it.
Dig this video from the fall of France in 1940. Fast forward to 5:30 to see troops mingling with refugees. Add a couple of car bombs and snipers in your imagination to get some real excitement.

At the same time, ISIS has made the solution trivially simple. Since there are no friendlies left in ISIS-held territories, everything is now a target. No rules of engagement needed, simply obliterate everything and kill everyone in ISIS territory.

Anyone want to take some bets on whether or not the West has the stomach for that kind of war?

1 comment:

B-Daddy said...

What is necessary is what is politically unpalatable, hence the term asymmetric advantage.

The correct counter is to employ surrogates to fight in the same manner. Arm the Kurds and Shiites the Sunnis (ISIS) back to within the borders that you desire.

In the long run, this was inevitable, because we attempted to maintain borders that ignore history, ethnicity and religion. A negotiated settlement that broke up Iraq after Saddam might have worked. Now, the most violent and daring group will succeed in the vacuum left by America's withdrawal.