Posts Tagged ‘ISIS’

ISIS Can Be Beaten – But Not This Week

November 16, 2015


16 November 2015


ISIS is beatable.  It is not a mystical zealotry wielding an Islamist excalibur. It is not invincible.

ISIS is not a supremely organised and state supported military organisation

ISAS is in military terms terrorist organisation that could not withstand a 21st century centrally command-led  onslaught from, say, the United States and the Global Coalition.

ISAS has very little natural support in the Middle East.  Most governments and people of all Islamic persuasion want ISIS put down.

That is the message that the G20 leaders meeting in Turkey should be giving out and then backing that up with all their military and most importantly political resources. They have to agree what they are going after, when they are doing that and those without major military roles should support diplomatically, financially and territorially those that have.

They should be making it clear that today starts new planning to re-establish a joint service military command to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. There will be  subordinate commands to do the same in the ISIS diaspora in Afghanistan, Gaza,  (more powerful by the day), Libya and sub-Saharan Africa.

This is not let’s-get-’em redneck reactionary rhetoric.

Compared with the political and economic authority of the major nations against ISIS and most certainly the military assets of those same powers (ISIS does not have, an air force, a drone capability, satellite intelligence, elint etc) ISIS’s only advantage is that  coalition powers are relying mostly on air attacks and Kurdish ground forces.  Even now an apparent success against ISIS in reality means fast withdrawal having raped and wasted the town they then leave behind the booby traps and images of misery because the locals assume they will return.  This means that something has to come out of Turkey that will lead not only to chasing ISIS out of town but then going in hot pursuit.

But that does not make ISIS unbeatable.

The International Syria Support Group who will be in Turkey insist that ISIS will be turned back and then talks on both sides to bring peace to Syria can proceed.  Maybe.  Maybe not.

The anti-Assad rebels will not agree to an election and anyway you cannot have an election in rubbled homeland.  All the time there is that condition then ISIS will be there until the high table in Turkey or wherever next they meet take a decision to go beyond a handful of nations with bombings and drone attacks.

A single command system with a four star general and five star resources must be established. It should have regional and UN plus domestic legal authority to throw electronic, satellite, human and special forces intelligence systems into locating and then applying the military hardware in unrelenting bitterness and purpose against ISIS. It must too have a follow-on plan what to do in regions where ISIS is defeated and the resentment of its followers festers.

None of this is a job for the week, next week or long weeks after that. Wars do not work that way.  But the near truth is that with all the advantages of scattered and sleeping anonymity ISIS has not been so successful.

If the suicide bombers had got into the Stade de France on Friday, then the dead list would be even more gruesome and the mood and shock nationally depressing.  But the bombers did not get in. There too is the fact that although 132 deaths occurred on Friday, that is not a big number.

That number is killed on a daily basis in the Middle East.  Now we may appreciate that – for the moment.

So put in perspective the Global Coalition with hugely superior intelligence gathering and firepower can defeat ISIS.  Whether or not it has the political will (the Paris atrocity will quickly lose its effect) is another matter.

Iraq, Chilcot, IS – Why Blair Is Still On The Run

October 25, 2015


26 October 2015


If Iraq had not happened I wonder how Tony Blair would have rated today? But it did happen and now Mr Blair is having to explain his case all over again – this time on a CNN TV show.

He says to go into Iraq after Saddam Hussein was the toughest decision he had to make. Wrong Mr Blair.

The then US President George W Bush was already going into Iraq.  Mr Blair went along for the ride to glory being overwhelmed by the aura surrounding true power. He would have enjoyed being a US President.

He says he was sorry that the Intelligence that swung his decision to go get Saddam was not so good.  Wrong Mr Blair.

The Intelligence at all levels was enough to tell us that the military threat was non-existent.  Weapons of Mass Disappearance.

He says if they had not gone after Saddam then Iraq would have become the same as Syria is today. Wrong Mr Blair.

Syrians started the Damascus demos because the Arab Spring was running and Syria joined in and Assad had a second rate security operation.

There was no revolution brewing in the Middle East in 2003 and Saddam ran the tightest Sunni security operation anyone had seen.  Only a dead man walking would have tried a demo in Saddam’s Iraq that year.

He says that just maybe IS or Daesh or ISIS may have emerged because of the war in Iraq.  Wrong Mr Blair.

IS emerged not because there was a war but because the coalition pulled out far too soon leaving a state convulsed by revenge politics and no military and security apparatus capable of identifying extremism.  Above all, IS started in Syria, not Iraq.

So what is this all about? It is about the forthcoming preliminary publication of the Chilcot inquiry set up to  look at the who did what and why of the Iraq war. Mr Blair gave evidence and did a good job.  Others who also gave evidence – but contradicted Mr Blair.  That they gave their evidence in a way to protect there own skins is neither here nor there now. Mr Blair is an easy and not much a moving target.

The point is that Mr Blair has already read the Chilcot paragraphs about himself.  He knows the criticisms and by having his people go through the transcripts (the evidence text is on line for anyone to read) he also knows that the general public impression is that the war was bad news and his part in it is condemned by his own people.  That is not Chilcot’s fault.  Most people believed that anyway.

So Mr Blair is going public with his defence anticipating reaction to Chilcot.  Simple as that. It matters not what Chilcot says. In fact most people will never read it. Anyone left who cares wants the Blair Guilty headlines.  We have had them so many times that except for insiders, Chilcot matters not.

You may think Mr Blair is cutting a sad enough figure; then again you may be among those who say he has become a multi millionaire so what’s the problem.  The truth is somewhat deeper.

It is hard to remember sometimes that Mr Blair was not just Iraq.  For example he made his Party electable and since he left office it has never again been so. Tony Blair’s supreme achievement was not teaming up with George W Bush but being a main figure in bringing about a peace settlement in Northern Ireland. There was a string of successes for PM Blair and but for one thing he could today even be on some one’s list of a future Prime Minister returning to rescue a Party that has descended to almost nothing without him. A grand old man of politics. A world statesman.

Instead? Forever in British eyes: Tony Blair is on the run.