Third Party & Independents Archives

ISIS and James Foley

What do you say to John and Diane Foley, the parents of James Foley, who was decapitated in a barbaric, and sickening ritual by a crazed terrorist who happens to be a member of ISIS? How do you bring justice to bear on a terrorist act like this? Kidnappings for ransom money, large amounts of ransom money, have become a staple of Al-Qaeda and now of ISIS as well. The Europeans - with the exception of the British - have been only too happy to oblige, to the tune of $125 million according to some estimates. ISIS wanted to catch up to that total in a hurry with James Foley - they also hold other hostages. They purportedly asked for $100 million in ransom money. Needless to say, no ransom was paid.

When dealing with absolute terrorists how do you negotiate the non-negotiable? That's the question posed by Hayes, Kraminski, and Beres in a study of new tactics the US government has had to adopt in dealing with fanatics like those in ISIS who carried out this war crime. According to them these new strategies involves three approaches: negotiating with the state sponsors of terrorism with the threat of force in the case of non-compliance; offering financial rewards to isolate the most violent of the terrorists; and using international intelligence to disrupt terrorist networks. One must assume all three approaches were tried - presumably on separate but coordinated tracks. It did not work in James Foley's case. Maybe the threat of retaliation with clear and convincing force was not great enough, given what was involved was likely a small cell that held the photo-journalist captive for months before executing him.

What can be done with ISIS and islamic radical terrorism? Does the threat of retaliation have to be raised significantly even if that makes it a blunt instrument? Should the US declare war with ISIS? The House of Representatives voted against increasing the military presence in Iraq to that required for a "sustained combat role." In other words, the people's representatives do not want US troops waging full scale war in Iraq. Should terror be fought with terror? Forget about rebuilding Iraq and punish ISIS and especially it's leaders in the most brutal way possible. Or is a low-key but intense multi-pronged effort that results in literally decapitating ISIS at some point in the future the only way forward? That decision is being made right now at various locations in the DC area and elsewhere, if it hasn't already been made. ISIS is not just a problem for this administration and any journalist or soldier unlucky enough to be captured by them. ISIS, as much or even more than Al-Qaeda, is a problem for the western world. Any lasting solution would be welcome and the willingness and unity necessary to impose any solution would also be welcome.

Posted by AllardK at August 22, 2014 6:08 PM
Comment #382273

“ISIS, as much or even more than Al-Qaeda, is a problem for the western world.”

And much more of a problem for the Middle East. Does Saudi Arabia want this ISIL caliphate ruling their kingdom? Does Iran want to allow a Sunni fundamentalist regime ruling a majority of the territory of the Middle East? What about Jordan, Egypt and Israel?

I think that Obama has been on the right track by insisting that the only solution is for the nations directly threatened by ISIL get their political act together before we provide assistance.

Now, the killing of a US citizen in a deliberately grotesque manner threatens that approach. Is Obama going to strike out of revenge regardless of the status of nations in the region? Was this killing a calculated effort to get the US to strike unilaterally and trap us in a long war like Iraq?

The question is where are the Saudis, the Iranians, the Jordanians, the Egyptians, the Israelis? They have much more to lose than the US. I hope that this is a wake up call for all the Middle East.

Posted by: Rich at August 22, 2014 7:49 PM
Comment #382297

Hindsight is 20/20. The Administration should have acted to remove Maliki before it hit the fan. ISIS would not have been able to get traction if the US had left some thousands in the area for a year or so to keep a check on things, provide intel and so on - - -

I don’t see it possible to imbed with the Iraqi army again as now there would be too many backshooters amongst them. A few well guarded US officers around the main command center and a few special ops troops operating independently is the best we can do as far as having US troops onsite.

But, that is sufficient to chase these ISIS loons back into the cities and out of the war zone. Best we could do is something like send some army/police into open areas held by ISIS in an attempt to get ISIS to pool some troops in areas where we could hit them with air. Only get a few chances to do that. Ultimately, ISIS will fade into populated areas and continue to harass by weaponizing one person here and there.

ISIS needs to be dealt with now. Impossible to do by trying to get troops from surrounding countries involved on short notice. A good number of them would be backshooters.

ISIS could serve as an opportunity to arm the original Syrian rebel faction if they are willing to take on ISIS.

I don’t believe ISIS could effectively use much of the US equipment they captured. I would think the bigger weapons such as tanks have factory installed kill switches embedded in software.

In the end it will be up to the Iraqi’s to subdue ISIS types, make it worth their effort to go to church on Sunday, become good soccer dads and so on - -

Posted by: roy ellis at August 22, 2014 9:11 PM
Comment #382386

Rich & Roy,
Well said. That is the whole problem with using our military against ISIS: what happens if we eliminate them? Then what? It is extremely frustrating to watch this situation, and the urge for revenge is hard to resist. In addition, the humanitarian situation practically begs us to intervene.

But as frustrating as it is, Obama is doing the right thing. There needs to be a political solution, and that is not really up to us. The people of the region need to get their act together.

We don’t like to talk about it, but when those 7-10 thousand ISIS troops invaded Iraq, and those 30,000 Iraqi Army soldiers deserted, a large number of the Iraqis Sunnis joined ISIS. All those weapons we provided to the Iraqi Army were handed over to ISIS. That was an absolute disaster. It just goes to show- giving arms to our allies is problematic, because there is such a good chance the weapons will end up in the hands of our enemies, and in that part of the world, allies can change allegiances on short notice.

Posted by: phx8 at August 23, 2014 11:05 AM
Comment #382429

” giving arms to our allies is problematic, because there is such a good chance the weapons will end up in the hands of our enemies, and in that part of the world, allies can change allegiances on short notice.”

Agree phx8. The collapse of the Iraqi army was stunning. We now find ourselves in the ironic position of taking out our own armored vehicles and heavy weapons.

Posted by: Rich at August 23, 2014 9:28 PM
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