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Monday, February 1, 2016

ISIS and its Global Strategy

Since The start of the new year, the world seems to be paying less attention to ISIS.  So many of us were sitting on pins and needles during the various New Year's celebrations in New York, Paris, London, and other great cities around the globe, hoping not to hear any breaking news stories about terrorist attacks.  We made it through the new year basically unscathed, and I think that with a huge sigh of relief, many of us went back to "business as usual" before the October 2015 Paris attacks and the December 2015 shootings in San Bernardino.  The fact that the mainstream press in the United States seems intent on pushing the narrative that ISIS is being beaten on the battlefield, so its OK to do non-stop new stories about Donald Trump and the circus that has become the Republican nomination process (the Republicans are the circus, even though the Democrats are going to nominate a potential felon in Hillary Clinton or an outright lunatic in Bernie Sanders).  Why is the press so intent on downplaying the threat by ISIS?  Because Barack Obama told us that the threat was being exaggerated.  The press always responds in a defensive posture to everything Barack Obama does.  No doubt if he farted at a State Funeral, the press would blame the White House Chef.  So Obama says that we aren't headed to World War III, and that ISIS is not a threat to the United States.  I assume that the family members of U.S. citizens killed in San Bernardino, California, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, by persons claiming allegiance to ISIS would disagree; I know I do.  ISIS has a series of strategies, each one going into effect after the previous has been accomplished (or altered by events).  ISIS has reviewed the current state of the battlefield, which has it in possession of one-third of Iraq and one-half of Syria, and decided that the time is ripe to exploit its surprisingly successful international outreach efforts.  The monsters making the decisions at the top of this organization are no dummies, nor will they put their equities at risk for ideology's sake (are you listening, President Obama?)  We are entering a new phase in the battle with ISIS, and it includes the introduction of a new strategy.

ISIS believes that the key to successfully expand its brand of worldwide-revolution is to dedicate resources to its budding operations in nations with strong Islamic traditions.  This includes all the nations of North Africa, and it includes Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia.  Most of these nations are in no military position to fight off a serious ISIS invasion, at least not without assistance in the form of "troops on the ground".  ISIS rakes in an incredible amount of money on a daily basis.  Why the Obama Administration has not been able to dent this flow of financial assistance is a mystery to me, because so many pundits in the media seem to know the various sources of this support.  Regardless, ISIS is intent on spreading the conflict outside of the borders of Syria and Iraq.  It has been testing its ability to project itself with operations in Libya, West Africa, and Indonesia, and results have been encouraging.  ISIS knows that any attention drawn to Southeast Asia or North Africa, will draw the enemy away from the battlefields of Iraq and Syria.  So by increasing recruitment and eventually, attacks in Tunisia, Libya, and Pakistan, ISIS will be not only spreading the Caliphate revolution, but also forcing the United States and its lock-step European partners to devote resources and attention to other allies and battlefields.  I'm still not sure where Russia fits into the picture; with all the hubbub and hardware that Putin brought to his Syria adventure, I expected much more in the way of battlefield victories by now.  Assad's internal opposition will eventually disappear completely under the weight of daily Russian attacks, and Putin will be obliged to either leave Syria or attack ISIS.

Obama must be aware that ISIS is expanding all over the globe, and yet he still makes public claims diminishing the threat that ISIS actually poses.  If they are so "insignificant", Mr. President, then why haven't we been able to defeat them?  True, we haven't really tried.  What a joke this Administration's entire Syria policy has been.  We still don't know what became of the millions of taxpayer dollars and the "Free Syrian Army" we were training in Jordan to take the place of U.S. infantry.  Obama still has one more year in office; no doubt it will be dedicated to domestic politics.  We all know that an Executive Order of some sort will be in place before the November election.  The uproar this will cause will certainly distract us all from the activities of ISIS in North Africa and Southeast Asia, but what a mess it will leave for his predecessor.

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