Fighting ISIS: Resolute Leadership From Other Countries

Despite the U.S.-led coalition air raids against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the brutal group continues to thrive and is in fact spreading to other countries. Many warned President Obama when he began his campaign against ISIS in August last year that his approach was weak, half-fast, and would do little to diminish the capabilities of ISIS in the near-term. Time and time again Obama has shown that he lacks the resolve to meaningfully degrade ISIS and has beat around the bush when discussing it. On the other hand, strong leadership against ISIS has been found in the capitals of Jordan and Egypt recently. Both countries appalled at recent ISIS actions against their citizens have responded in a manner which few ever imagined they would take. Obama should watch and take notes of King Abdullah of Jordan and President al-Sissi of Egypt. They have shown what strong, determined leadership looks like in the face of a barbaric enemy.


In early February, ISIS released a horrific video of the execution of a Jordanian air force pilot who had been shot down in Syria in late December. In it, Jordanian pilot Muadh al Kasasbeh was placed in a cage and burned alive all the while being filmed in what was presented as an elaborate, and professional video. The world was appalled and shared in Jordan's grief. Prior to this many in Jordan questioned the airstrikes the country was carrying out as a member of the coalition but this grotesque execution changed everything. In a mass rally, Jordanians in the capital of Amman and elsewhere mourned the loss of their pilot while demanding revenge. King Abdullah, long an American ally promised a swift and brutal response to this barbaric act.

The Jordanians who had been contributing four F-16 multirole fighters to the campaign against ISIS within a day boosted that number to over 20 aircraft and greatly increased the frequency of their air raids. Additionally two terrorist prisoners were immediately executed in retaliation. Jordanian special forces (among the best in the Middle East) were also alerted for possible future action against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq. The response of Jordan was immediate and strong with King Abdullah as leader. Where Obama signals his intent to "degrade" ISIS, King Abdullah vows a "relentless war" against ISIS. The Jordanian were even able to convince the UAE to rejoin in coalition airstrikes which they have, something the U.S. failed to do.

Meanwhile Egypt has ratcheted up its contribution to the war on ISIS following the release of another brutal ISIS execution. In this case, ISIS unveiled a video showing the beheading of 21 Coptic Egyptians (Egyptian Catholics) in Libya by ISIS fighters. President al-Sissi called the acts an "abhorrent act of terrorism" and vowed to "avenge the criminal killings" and shortly after followed through on his threat. Egyptian aircraft along with planes from one of the Libyan governments carried out several airstrikes in Libya against ISIS facilities including arms depots. Egypt in this instance has shown an extreme willingness to avenge the murder of its citizens in actions outside of its borders.

Unfortunately the U.S. response to Egypt engaging ISIS targets outside of its borders hasn't been met with support but rather alarm. Last August Egyptian aircraft along with several from the UAE carried out airstrikes in Libya without warning the U.S., an action which caught the White House off guard; the same is true of the most recent strikes. Unfortunately the White House is wary of other countries taking action in their own national interest against terrorist forces operating outside of their borders. Remind me how what Egypt and the UAE did is any different from what the U.S. does around the world.

In the case of Jordan and Egypt, swift and direct action was taken in less than a week against ISIS. These governments were not afraid to call them brutal terrorists and used language calling for their absolute destruction rather than the politically correct language that emanates from the White House. Since the U.S. began conducting airstrikes on ISIS last August, I've yet to feel that Obama has much heart in the fight against them, rather he is doing it because logic dictates he has to. Regardless, the leadership shown and actions taken by by King Abdullah and President al-Sissi are what is necessary in the fight against ISIS. I only wish Obama would show some of the same backbone.

Posted by SPBrooker at February 19, 2015 3:51 PM
Comments
Comment #389252

So what you’re saying is you want “The Prez” to act more like these guys, without mentioning that they can do anything they damn well please, anytime they want to with no repercussions.

One word;

Dictatorship.

You guys out there on the fringes bitch and whine that, on one hand, acts too much like a tyrant, and yet on the other hand he is too weak.

Which is it this week?

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at February 19, 2015 7:21 PM
Comment #389268

Yes, these conservatives are the same people who were asleep at the wheel and let 9/11 happen. These are the people who pushed for an invasion of Afghanistan and then let Bin Laden get away, and never did catch him. These conservatives are the ones who pushed for an invasion of Iraq based on lies, and for the next six years or so, they declared we were “winning” the war every single year- dozens of times per year. These are the same people, these conservatives, who could not come up with a plan to deal with Libya and chemical weapons in Syria and the changes in Tunisia and Egypt, other than to oppose the president and our good allies.

So now we are supposed to listen to them re ISIS? Really? They have no plan. NO plan. Just look at this article by SPBooker. Zero. Zip. Nada. No substance. Just bitching about Obama. Apparently we are supposed to admire the Egyptians, who did not get around to doing much until some Coptic Christians were executed in Libya, and we are supposed to admire the Jordanians, who helped some prior to the execution of their pilot, but now are pissed enough to get really active for several days. We should admire the lead of the Saudis? Don’t even get me started.

Meanwhile, the US has conducted THOUSANDS of raids against ISIS, but that’s not enough. Bitch bitch bitch. The conservative plan? Nope. Not there. Unless bitching counts.

Well, I suppose there is a plan. It is the same one they use for illegal immigrants and Ebola. The plan? Fear. Be afraid. No American has ever been killed on US soil by ISIS, but nevertheless. Be afraid!

Posted by: phx8 at February 19, 2015 9:59 PM
Comment #389285

ISIS is not invincible. A relatively small and lightly armed group of Syrian Kurdish militia (YPG/YPJ) with US air support heroically defended and finally routed ISIS in Kobane. ISIS is retreating from the entire region after suffering very large manpower and heavy equipment loses. http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/crniderate griyacks-in-isis-are-showing/article_bb88b245-ce2d-527f-bf1f-b1a8f400f402.html

The key to their victory was their willingness to fight to the death for their homes and their pluralistic values. They are Muslim, by the way. but not followers of the radical Wahhabism. Our support was useful because we had a partner in the battle that we could trust,

An additional positive aspect of the Kobane siege was the was that Free Syruab Arny units joined the local militias in the battle against ISIS. It is a buiding block for a larger and better equipped force to resist ISIS

The model is clear. We must find groups in that region willing to stand up for their land from ISIS.

The key to implementing that strategy is political reform of the central Iraqi government.


If we can get political cooperation from the Iraqis, there is a very good chance that a army of resistance could be formed to kick IS out of Iraq entirely.

We could then do what we do best: high tech air support, intelligence and supply logistics. But, we cannot do it on the ground for them. They must take the initiative otherwise it will be another go around of 2003 resulting in another occupation fueling the al-Qaeda types. Remeber, ISIS energed from the ocupation and resulting insurgency of the Sunni areas of Iraq.

We can help but we need to tread carefully. Its a complicated set of circumstances and the risk for a major blunder is high.

Posted by: Rich at February 20, 2015 1:15 AM
Comment #389328

ISIS presents an interesting challenge to the region just by proclaiming themselves the “Islamic State” and a Caliphate. It’s probably best that the U.S. not tip its hand right now and to resolve to not be so resolved. If that looks weak than so be it.

The article in the Atlantic by Graeme Wood was really an eye opener. For these guys to be successful they have to be nearly annihilated and looks like they are trying to antagonize most anyone in to doing it to them. This includes the West (Rome to them), the current “leaders with borders” in the region, the Shiites, the Islamic apologists and reformists, Al Qaeda, and Israel (this all ends in Jerusalem). These guys are doing whatever they can to be killed and defeated so that they can win their ultimate prize: the end of days.

ISIS is a much lesser threat to us right now then they are to these other apostates and it might be best to look uninterested for a bit. In the end it will be us that eventually kills them (according to their prophecy)so why hurry things up?

Posted by: George in SC at February 20, 2015 9:07 AM
Comment #389334

This is from last August:

http://havacuppahemlock1.blogspot.com/2014/08/isis-vows-to-destroy-mecca-and-kill.html

Posted by: George in SC at February 20, 2015 9:33 AM
Comment #389482

So…

It seems that the response from our friends out there on the fringes is limited.

Are we forgetting that those “boots on the ground” have real life humans attached to them?

Congress has asked for and has received an “AUMF” request from the White House. Apparently there are those in that august body that don’t think it goes nearly far enough. Congressman Ed Royce, who chairs the House Foreign Relations Committee suggested in an interview with Hugh Hewitt that Iran, who BTW can put an estimated 6 million of their own boots on the ground, should be added to the request.

Frankly, I think that unless we are willing to go all in with every weapon at our disposal, including re-instating the draft, this is the lamest idea ever.

America went into the “War on Terror” without actually asking Americans to join the war effort. Instead we were asked to go shopping. We were then told by Rumsfeld “you go to war with the army you have, not the army you want”. We’ve been sold this sphincter clutching hysteria for far to long. IMHO it’s high time to step back, take a deep breath and examine what our goals actually are.

When you’re neck deep in the crap is not the time to do so.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at February 21, 2015 11:13 AM
Comment #389484

Rocky,
Agreed about re-instating the draft. It was way too easy for all those faux patriots to favor sending American troops to Iraq as long as it was not their own kids and as long as they did not have to pay more in taxes. We offered bonuses and employment to high school graduates who had graduated at the bottom and had no jobs, and then the faux patriots gassed about how these kids were heroes and the best of America. Just a bunch of chicken hawk propaganda. (As some people have already pointed out, Rudy Giuliani took six deferments to avoid Viet Nam).

Send troops to Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS? No. It’s a dumb idea. Did we learn nothing from Iraq? We can send 150,000 troops and keep them there for a few decades, but nothing will change the fact that the Sunnis do not share our culture or language, nor do they want to.

We can ally with the Shias- Iran, Jordan, Hezbollah, the Syrian government- and if fact, we already have done so. That does not change the fact that the Sunnis won’t accept Shia rule. That is why the Sunnis in the Iraqi army switched sides and joined ISIS.

Eventually we will have to come to terms with a Sunni government in western Iraq and Syria. We can call it something other than ISIS and try to guide the outcome to something less radical, but there is no happy ending to this one.

Posted by: phx8 at February 21, 2015 12:24 PM
Comment #389487

phx8,

“Send troops to Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS? No. It’s a dumb idea.”

That’s exactly my point.

We’ve already seen this movie, and it wasn’t very good the first time.

We will never go all in so why are we saber rattling?

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at February 21, 2015 12:59 PM
Comment #389492

“We will never go all in so why are we saber rattling?”

Fear. It is all about fear. ISIS wants to create fear by terrorizing people. It causes polarization. Only a few people will respond to that kind of propaganda, but it does not take large numbers to drive war and change, since the vast majority of people would rather do nothing.

As it turns out, fear and being terrorized fit perfectly into the conservative agenda. It worked very well in the 2014 midterms, when virtually the only national message of the GOP was ‘be afraid’- fear ISIS, fear Ebola, fear illegal immigrants. Conservatives want polarization. The various leaders, whether it is Limbaugh or Hannity or legislators such as Cruz, and governors such as Jindal, seek to impose an ideology and destroy compromise.

Posted by: phx8 at February 21, 2015 1:22 PM
Comment #389496

In the immortal words of George W Bush;

“Fool me once shame on me, fool me twice, won’t be fooled again.”

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at February 21, 2015 2:28 PM
Comment #389731

If you guys believe the desire to properly address terrorism, contagious diseases and criminal trespass, is based solely on unfounded fears, then you are only fooling yourselves.

Facts, not fear, is what “worked very well in the 2014 midterms.” Shame you still refuse to understand that.

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