Washington’s plan to defeat ISIS is flawed and doomed to fail, Israeli intelligence experts warn.
Research Conducted by the Intelligence and Terror Information Center (ITIC), an Israeli-based research group with close ties to the Israel Defense Forces, shows that the Obama Administration’s offensive campaign against the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) terror group in Syria and Iraq is deeply flawed and doomed to fail.
Three Years of U.S. Neglect
ITIC begins with chronicling U.S. neglect of ISIS during the first three years of the Syrian civil war. The US did not attach great significance to ISIS and tended to regard it as part of the general chaos in Syria and Iraq after the ruling regimes in both countries disintegrated.
The change in American policy began in the summer of 2014 with ISIS’ capture of Mosul’s oil fields in Iraq, the declaration of the Islamic Caliphate and the significant increase in the number of foreign fighters. The widely publicized ISIS atrocities and beheadings horrified and enraged American and Western public opinion and further contributed to the change in American policy.
The U.S. then altered its policy from underestimating ISIS to demonizing it and representing it as a significant regional and international threat.
The Obama Administration responded by first providing military support to local forces fighting ISIS, “however, it quickly became clear that pinpointed responses were ineffective and did not provide a satisfactory answer to the challenges to American interests posed by the successes of ISIS,” the report shows.
America then declared war on ISIS – fighting only from the air, with “no American boots on the ground” in order to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS, as President Obama put it.
To implement this strategy in a relatively short period of time the U.S. established an international coalition of Western and Arab countries.
American Strategy Suffers from a Number of Weaknesses
In ITIC’s assessment, the current American strategy suffers from a number of weaknesses and flaws.
The primary flaw is that its political objectives, which are to fight an extreme Muslim ideology and replace it with a Western version of government, seem unrealistic to ITIC. “It is extremely difficult to destroy an organization with a Salafist-jihadi ideology such as ISIS; there are limits to what military force can achieve against jihad organizations in general and ISIS in particular,” ITIC states.
Furthermore, the local forces in Syria and Iraq that America is counting on are weak, and the international coalition is heterogeneous, composed of countries with different interests and internal constraints that are liable to make it difficult for them to provide the U.S. with effective support.
The ITIC further asserts that the situation in Syria and Iraq is volatile and constantly fluctuating, and cannot be fundamentally changed through military action.
ISIS and other Salafist-jihadi terrorist organizations arose from the chaos and upheaval in the region.
“Iraq and Syria are a swamp in which ISIS and other jihadi organizations thrive. Rooting out ISIS will be impossible until the swamp has been drained,” meaning that the region needs stability, “and that is currently not on the horizon,” experts at the ITIC write.
The ITIC recommends that the U.S. learn to exploit ISIS’s weaknesses.
“The American-led military, economic and political campaign, if continued with determination, may eventually weaken (although not destroy) ISIS; its advance throughout Syria and Iraq may be halted; the Iraqi army and local militias within Syria and Iraq hostile to ISIS can be strengthened.”
Tell us in the comments below: Do YOU think the West is taking the Islamic State’s threats seriously enough? How should the West respond to these attacks and threats?
Author: United with Israel Staff
(With files from ITIC)