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Welcome to the era of ISIS - and pop-up terror

Al-Qa'eda in Iraq faded away. ISIS may well do too. But don't you dare say 'mission accomplished'...

21 June 2014

9:00 AM

21 June 2014

9:00 AM

Jihadist banners flying. Victorious extremists on camera slapping and then executing dehydrated and pleading Shia members of the Iraqi security forces. Dark reports of mass slaughter. City charters released in captured territory heralding the implementation of an extreme version of Islamic law. We’ve seen it all before, but it remains shocking — and the latest advance by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is arguably the most disturbing development in Iraq’s already horrifying recent history.

ISIS has surprised everyone by seizing a number of cities, but its success also raises the question: how long can the group sustain these gains? Media commentators have compared the situation now to the gains made by al-Qa’eda in the Islamic Maghreb, which in 2012 became the dominant force in northern Mali, and was able to enforce harsh religious rule over a broad stretch of territory, about 300,000 square miles. But that group eventually overplayed its hand. When it began to push out from Mali’s borders in January last year, that got everybody’s attention: France, supported by an alliance of West African states, mounted an intervention that dislodged the jihadists and forced many of them into hiding.

Several commentators have noted that ISIS is at risk of a similar overreach. It’s now fighting a multi-front war, across a large expanse of territory, with a limited number of fighters. And ISIS has now triggered a response not only from local players but from the international community too. As Ariel Ahram, an international relations professor at Virginia Tech University, puts it, ISIS’s advance will provoke ‘a re-alignment of political coalitions to resist or even crush it’.

Now, ISIS may not experience reversals as quickly as observers believe — it exhibited impressive staying power after its lightning offensive in January captured large parts of Fallujah and Ramadi — but they’re probably right to say that the group won’t sustain its territorial gains. ISIS has taken on some characteristics of a state — it boasts of being able to provide administrative services to the areas it takes over and of being able to control its troops — yet it doesn’t have a professional military such as many nation-states enjoy. Despite the fearsome rhetoric, ISIS is in no position to capture Baghdad from an Iraqi military that is reinforced by highly trained and heavily armed Shia militias.

It’s tempting to celebrate the failings of these fanatical armies. But it would be a mistake to stop asking what comes next. An examination of what might follow the jihadist groups’ inevitable setbacks shows a disturbing trend.

ISIS is far from the only Islamic extremist movement to control territory and implement a strict version of sharia. Looking at groups that have done so, a clear pattern emerges in which the extremist group gains ground, announces the imposition of sharia, and governs territory. This alarms nearby states, and often those that are further away as well.

So the extremist group’s enemies strike. They topple it from power rather quickly. Although non-state militants are formidable, they have no real response to their enemies’ air-power advantage, and haven’t been able to hold territory against the advance of professional militaries. The extremist group does its best to melt away rather than face a decisive battlefield defeat. It regroups with the intention of coming back stronger than before.

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The disturbing thing is the frequency with which militant groups are able to succeed in mounting this comeback.

The first example of an Islamic extremist group seizing and holding most of a country (in the wake of the Afghan-Soviet war, a conflict that forever transformed the jihadist movement) is the Taleban in Afghanistan. The Taleban emerged from the chaos of the civil war that gripped the country after the Soviet-sponsored regime of Mohammad Najibullah collapsed. With Pakistan’s backing, the group came to control about 90 per cent of Afghanistan.

The Taleban became an international concern due to its brutal rule, but ended up in the US’s crosshairs because of its insistence on providing a safe haven for Osama bin Laden and al-Qa’eda. Following the 9/11 attacks, the US quickly dislodged the Taleban through a military campaign. American forces liaised with a local partner, tens of thousands of fighters from the opposition Northern Alliance.

By the end of 2002, many policymakers believed that the Taleban was out for the count — a view that helped prompt the US’s disastrous invasion of Iraq. But after 13 years of costly war in Afghanistan, it’s now widely believed that the Taleban will remain one of the country’s most important players, and it is poised to retake territory in various regions.

Iraq’s jihadist groups are now showing a similar ability to re-emerge stronger after defeat. ISIS’s predecessor, al-Qa’eda in Iraq, was able to exploit the country’s sectarian conflict in 2006-07 to become the dominant force in Anbar province and establish a significant presence elsewhere. (Al-Qa’eda in Iraq bore a great deal of responsibility for the country’s sectarian revenge killings, as its destruction of the al-Askari mosque’s golden dome, a Shia holy site, in February 2006 triggered massive Shia reprisals against Iraq’s Sunnis.)

AQI overplayed its hand in Anbar, prompting an uprising against its influence in the form of the Sahwa (Awakening) movement. The US then deployed its famous ‘surge’, increasing its military commitment and adapting its military strategy. The US moved out of the large forward operating bases where its troops had hunkered down and engaged in counterinsurgency. These converging factors were, at least temporarily, successful in undermining al-Qa’eda’s position, and one can still hear cable news talking heads stating that the group was effectively beaten by late 2008 or 2009.

But claims of victory were premature. Concerns that al-Qa’eda in Iraq could mount a comeback steadily grew in the years that followed. As US forces withdrew from Iraq at the end of 2011, American and Iraqi officials expressed concern that al-Qa’eda was in a good position to mount ‘a deadly resurgence’. As is now clear, these warnings were, if anything, understated.

 

How have these groups been able to stage such impressive comebacks? Part of the answer lies in the structure of the groups themselves. Many violent non-state actors have sought to ensure their survival by taking on the form of ‘clandestine cellular networks’: clandestine in that they are designed to be out of sight, cellular in that they are compartmentalised to minimise damage when the enemy succeeds in destroying some portion of the network. It is thus difficult to count out a militant group after a state-led offensive forces it to retreat. They are never utterly routed.

Today this pattern — of a militant group’s seizure of territory, followed by a state-led counteroffensive, and militants’ efforts to regroup — is repeating itself in several places. Al-Shabaab, the al-Qa’eda affiliate that once controlled most of southern Somalia, lost its last major urban stronghold of Kismayo to advancing African Union forces in October 2012. Though it hasn’t regained the strength it once enjoyed, Shabaab’s attacks are becoming more sophisticated, most significantly its assault last September on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall that killed 67 and injured at least 175. In late May, the group executed a suicide bombing in Djibouti, and on 15 June it slaughtered at least 48 in a gruesome attack on a coastal Kenyan town, only to strike another coastal town the following day and claim 15 more lives.

Even in Mali, which some see as a classic example of jihadist overreach, there are signs that al-Qa’eda in the Islamic Maghreb is making a comeback. There have been an increasing number of terror attacks carried out on members of the peacekeeping mission in the country. And this pattern may be repeating itself in Yemen, Egypt’s Sinai, and the Caucasus region.

ISIS is not about to consolidate its gains and march onward to capture Baghdad, though it may strike at the capital with a less conventional battle plan. And though ISIS might succeed in holding a handful of cities for an extended period, it is likely to experience a reversal of some sort.

If recent history is any guide, ISIS’s retreat will not mean the group’s death, and we may well see another cycle of retreat-regroup-new offensive. The problem is that this cycle is being repeated in an increasing number of locations, far more than was the case a decade ago. The net effect is growing circles of instability, and an increasingly dangerous world.

Western countries and their regional partners should work together to prevent extremist groups like ISIS from establishing long-lasting states. But they also need to recognise this growing boom-and-bust pattern of instability, and work to address it. Not claiming victory too soon might be a start.

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies.

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Show comments
  • zanzamander

    You are conveniently forgetting the part US played in the rise of Islamists, call them Taliban, Mujahedin, al-Quaida or whatever. It was US that armed, trained and funded these barbarians in Afghanistan to kick out the Commies. Not knowing anything about the virulent Jihadi ideology they were deaaling with (and still don’t), US ploughed head first into the mire, began pouring in billions and used Pakistan as proxy – benefiting both Pakistanis and Islamists at the complete determent of regional peace and ended up sponsoring worldwide terrorism.

    And as soon as Jihadis kicked out the Reds from Afghanistan, they turned their attention on the decadent (and by now very weak) West.

    Pakistan, for whom Islamic terrorism soon became a goose that kept laying plenty of golden eggs began milking US for every last penny and completely gave up on developing their own country and instead, thanks to US, became an uber terror sponsoring state – still creating mischief in the region and the world.

    Also, may I also say that these Islamists have some very powerful supporters in Saudi Arabia and powerful lobbies in West that include media, academia and politicians.

    Remember, Jihadis will never run out of excuses: Israel, Kashmir, our decadence, the Sunni – Shia divisions, you name it. And the longer we allow them to play on their excuses, they will come back emboldened and meaner.

    And why wouldn’t they? After all, they are getting their own way.

    • Bonkim

      We should also resolve the excuses. Otherwise White man speaks with forked tongue!

    • Peter Stroud

      Thank you. You have made some excellent points.

    • Bob339

      You omitted to mention the jewish occupation of Palestine and their atrocities which sparked off the entire ballgame.

      • Augustus

        Balderdash! There was never any design by Israel to occupy in order to displace by dispossession the Palestinian Arabs. Had their leaders, and their counterparts in the neighbouring Arab states, accepted the UN resolution of 1947, which called for the establishment of two states in Palestine, there would have been no 1948 Arab-Israeli war and no dislocation in the first place. Israel has long been an oasis of sanity in the Middle East, in contrast to the region’s other nations.

        • Bob339

          The UN resolution that was bought by rich jews bribing Africans? Oh right! That one!

          • Augustus

            How convenient to portray the historic conflicts in the ME in terms of Palestinians seeking national independence from their Israeli ‘occupiers’. The fact that the Palestinians were offered 95 per cent of the territories over the Green Line and spurned statehood on numerous occasions underlines their true aspiration, which is not real estate but the elimination of Jewish sovereignty. Surely the behaviour of the Sunni jihadists in the capture of Mosul, in which hundreds, if not thousands, of soldiers and policemen were decapitated and their heads placed on display should have served as a wake-up call. The whole region is a scorpions den of barbaric activity. And the Shiites are equally brutal towards the Sunnis when they are in control. The jihadists, Sunnis and Shiites alike, are barbaric monsters. The reality is that today, Islamic fundamentalism is stronger than ever. In fact, unless firmly repulsed in the near future Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan and a number of other regional hotspots could well establish caliphates which will emerge as launching pads for exporting terror throughout the world the likes of which it has not even begun to imagine.

          • Kennybhoy

            Actually Augustus the concept of “linkage”, that all of the Middle East’s issues relate to Israel, only dates back to Sadam’s invasion of Kuwait and the consequent Gulf War. The notion was vehemently rejected by Palestinian spokesmen at that time but found a receptive audience among the anti-Israeli and antisemitic left-liberal bien pensants in the west. From them it was transplanted back into the Middle East..

          • Tom M

            Ah something I haven’t heard before. Can you elaborate on that please?

          • Read some history

            He can’t because he made it up.

            It is the minds of ‘bob339’ types that are occupied, and nothing else.

          • jjjj

            ‘Bob339’ is either a troll or a Nazi. Read his comments just from the last two weeks.

          • Kennybhoy

            Does it have to be either/or? 🙂

          • Bob339

            This website will tell you all you need to know:

            http://www.1948.org.uk/un-resolution-181/

          • Read some history

            No it does not. All it tells us is that you subscribe to propaganda websites rife with conspiracy theories, and supported by the usual alliance of islamists and leftist misanthropes.

          • Tom M

            Written by the Palestinian side was it not?

          • jjjj

            Bob, why are you recommending your own posts?

          • Read some history

            Because no one else can?

          • Kennybhoy

            lol

          • Bob339

            Because I agree with me.

          • Read some history

            Does that make two of you?

          • Bob339

            No. Silly girl..

          • Read some history

            Yes, an apt desription of yourself.

          • sarah_13

            The PA has had 25 times the amount of the marshall plan in money to build a state and done nothing. The NRA acts as a defecto government with over £2Billion in handouts to the region absolving the so called government of responsibility for the people they purport to represent. The european union who went to audit and monitor the money give by them to the PA for the first time in 2012 found £2Billion unaccounted for.

            Abbas is a millionaire 100 times over, like Arafat who was a billionaire, they use the “cause” for their own ends unlike like the israeli democratically elected government. They are shameless and abuse the palestinian people whose fate s also disregarded by every neighbouring country who even after 65 yrs do no allow palestinians still refugee camps any human or civil rights. You display a deliberate lack of knowledge and care for the people you purport to defend. Christians who were in the majority in places like nazareth prior to the israeli withdrawal from the west bank are now in the minority, they are terrorised into submission and of course have almost entirely left Gaza. Israel is not and never has been the problem.

          • testerini5

            Bob339
            I agree with you .. The demography of Israel have been changed by importing jews all over the world and looted lands of poor Palestinians

          • global city

            Whilst you are keeping your eyes peeled on the horizon for these nasty Jews who are after your baby’s blood, your true enemy will have a free run at the back of your neck.

            What a fool!

        • jjjj

          Augustus, of course you are right but there is no reasoning with ‘Bob339’. You see, a cursory review of his previous posts shows that he is a neo-Nazi.

          • Read some history

            If you look below, you’ll find he also promotes islamist/leftist websites.

        • Read some history

          Hamas Minister of the Interior and of National Security Fathi Hammad has informed us that palestinian Arabs are all immigrants from egypt, yemen, saudi arabia or elsewhere.
          http://www.memri.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3389.htm

          Which means that there were two sets of immigrants to that part of the world over the last century:
          1. 850,000 Jews who were ethnically cleansed from the surrounding Arab countries; and Holocaust survivors from Europe.
          2. Arab immigrants from egypt, yemen, saudi arabia or elsewhere.

          Of course there were some Jews and Arabs living there during the Ottoman era, but the numbers rose exponentially afterwards. The difference is this: Jews do not conceal the fact that they migrated in recent times, while Arabs do.

      • zanzamander

        You mean the land that was invaded by Islamic invaders, ethnically cleansed it of Jews and Christians, burnt down Judeo-Christian religious buildings, libraries etc., built a huge mosque atop a hilltop and claimed that all this belongs to Allah? That “Jewish occupation”?

      • La Fold

        Well the Taliban, either the Afghani or the Pakistani one, never really make much noise about the Palestinian cause, any they have done is merely lip service in recent times. Many Mujahideen were more concerned with becoming warlords advancing their personal or tribal aims in the wake of the soviet withdrawal than to give a monkeys about the Palestinians. Al Queada are Salafists who are more concerned with establishing a global caliphate under wahabbist sharia law and killing or converting Shi’ites/ kafirs than helping Palestinians. In fact they only turned against the USA after the Saudis allowed US troops onto Saudi soil during the first gulf war. ISrael is really just a rallying cry and a whipping boy inbetween bouts of sectarian murder.

      • Tom M

        The Jews haven’t occupied Palestine as far as I know. The area is in dispute since the arabs declined to agree the division plan UN 181 in 1947. It is undecided as to whom the area belongs. If the arabs had agreed borders at that time then you could be correct with your statement. But they didn’t did they?

        • Bob339
          • Tom M

            Hardly an internationally binding agreement at the UN on all parties is it. Just some bloke with his idea.

          • Read some history

            And not just any bloke, but a self-identifying ‘peace-activist’; that’s code for far-left misanthropes.

      • Treebrain

        This article about ISIS has nothing to do with Israel.

        After all, when events in Iraq or Iran are to be considered, Israel is both impotent and irrelevant.

        That is why the views of Israel or even Saudi Arabia are not even considered when the P5+1 negotiations are being conducted.

  • zanzamander

    If you give in to a child who is crying because you don’t give him/her sweets, will cry even louder the next time you try to put your foot down. Thus the crying and sweet giving escalates.

  • Peter Stroud

    We suffered more than a generation of terror, due to PIRA and other republican extremists in N Ireland. But they never contemplated suicide when carrying out their bombings and shootings. Now we have the most dangerous form of terrorism: the spontaneous suicide bomber. No warning, just a desire to kill, and die in the attempt. This is a very difficult scenario to use in training special forces, or EOD units. And the thought of hundreds of home grown fanatical jihadists rearing after fight inning with ISIS in Syria and Iraq is truly terrifying. The Security Service must be strengthened, with even more funding, and personnel. Somehow these vile people must be locked up until they pose no risk.

    • Treebrain

      Peter Stroud,

      These ‘vile people’ will never, ever be defeated by mechanical methods such as invading and locking them up. After all, how successful has Guantanamo Bay been?

      They will only ever defeated by ‘hearts and minds’ campaign.

      An excellent start would be fore the West to stop invading Afghanistan, Iraq and introducing ‘regime change’ in places like Libya.

      Abandon the concept, arrogance and conceit of being ‘the policeman of the world’, give up ‘gunboat diplomacy’, respect national sovereignty and leave these states and countries to determine their own destiny.

      • global city

        If the west does this, then would you be happy for the west to respond to any ‘provocation’, for example yet another suicide bomber or terrorist atrocity, by lobbing in a nuclear missile or two?

      • Jerry S

        You’re assuming Radical Muslims actually possess “hearts and minds.”

        • thomasaikenhead

          Yes because all humans do!

          Demonising radical Muslims is not very helpful.

    • Jerry S

      The Security Service must be strengthened? No, the Government merely needs to open their “Politically correct” clouded eyes and see the enemy for who he is.

  • Tayloao

    When you live in a country with a high level of corruption and inneficiency, change is better. The ultimate ideological change is religion because it not only offers a change from the current but also offers a sense of morality (even if said morality is only from your own perspective). Religion offers a unifying force unlike any other ideology and in the case of Islam it also offers a judicial and legislative structure. Because of this radical Islam becomes a viable alternative to the corrupt and often secular and inefficient government structures.

    There is also the success rate. Palestine is a perfect example. From a Western perspective, Palestinian terrorism has been a failure. A couple of generations have passed and yet the economic conditions are terrible, they have no territorialy independant country, they are still ruled by Israel, and many of them live in refugee camps. But from an Islamic perspective it has been an astounding success. Teh country of Israel has never been able to live in peace and security because they are under constant threat. The Palestinians have never had to quit thier goals. And the people struggling to obtain thier goals, even if they are unobtainable, become religious marters and heroes in the eyes of thier community. It’s not about the ability to succeed in the goal, it’s about the struggle for God. With the right religious scholar you can even twist the religous rules to fit your goals. Suicide is forbidden? Not if it’s to blow up the enemy. Alcohol is forbidden? Not if it’s to blend in to the enemys culture so you can kill them. Etc.

    And then of course there’s the alliance aspect. When you live in a country that has a terrible government, there’s always a third country willing to fund, train, or support you for at least awhile because the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The US certainly does this. The USSR did it. Everyone does it. It’s not a matter or perspective of whether they are a Freedom Fighter or Terrorist, it’s more of the fact that they’ve always been terrorists but are they terrorizing the right people.

    • jjjj

      RE your comment on Israel and the Islamic perspective: Surely this proves the bankruptcy of the Islamic movement here. Israel is prosperous and thriving even in a state of war. It has peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. Assad is neutralised and Hizbullah have no stomach for another fight (even though they inflicted harm on Israel. I’m not denying this). In the meantime, instead of taking the offers on the table from Barak in Camp David, through Olmert to now, the Palestinians just sit back and continue a status quo.

      By the way, your comments about the use of language by their scholars is similar to the one I made on the other thread to Abu. Nice to see you agree.

  • Graeme S

    Has anyone thought about the ISIS raid into Iraq and what where really the intentions of the leaders …. this has been without doubt the biggest bank robbery in History netting close to 400 million in cash and 200 million in bullion. These savages can cause a whole lot of trouble with this sort of money sloshing about

    • jjjj

      Ron Burgundy, yeah! But seriously, a nuke or two can be purchased. Then we’ll have to have Tony back to warn of WMD.

    • Treebrain

      Graeme S,

      ISIS are far removed from being savages as their mastery of social media over the last few years makes clear!

      • Jerry S

        Social media mastery does not turn you into a civilized person.

        • thomasaikenhead

          Social media mastery shows owe that ISIS are certainly not ‘savages’.

          Never underestimate the enemy is the first rule of combat.

          Conflicts in the region are littered with examples of pride coming before a fall when a superior military force was defeated by a supposedly smaller and weaker enemy.

          Just look how the arrogance and hubris of the IDF led to their rout by Hezbollah in the Lebanon War of 2006.

          To their great credit, the Israeli government recognised the failure of both political and military leaders at the time an ordered a thorough investigation.

          The resultant Winograd Commission reports paint a devastating picture of negligence and incompetence at the highs levels of both groups!

          ISIS in turn were ignored and underestimated by both the Iraqis and those in the West despite providing masses of evidence of their aims, objectives, capabilities and success for several years.

  • Gergiev

    How did a few hundred men manage to defeat 30,000 Iraqi troops equipped with modern American kit? OK the few hundred were battle-hardened and super-ruthless, but nevertheless… wasn’t the whole thing a conspiracy by some high Shias in Iraq to provide money and top class weaponry as well as territory and equipment to their co-fearsome religionists?

    • Kennybhoy

      I hear you man but you would be amazed how big a role morale and ruthless will can paly in combat…

      • Gergiev

        Very frightening. How will our legalistically constrained fighters be able to combat these guys once they start operations in Europe?

        • Kennybhoy

          If, God forbid, such a dreadful day comes, then you should weep for our enemies and those who would betray us…

          • Gergiev

            I’m not saying they’re going to be taking towns and cities in europe anytime soon, but surely they’ll be launching Mumbai/Kenyan-style attacks in western countries before too long; hoping no doubt to create the backlash against local Muslim populations that will begin the stirrings of civil war in the heartlands of the infidel.

          • Kennybhoy

            Monsters from the Id… 🙁

    • Treebrain

      Gergiev,

      ISIS were never only a few hundred men, and as has been explained in The Financial Times, they have been conducting an extremely sophisticated operation using social media for many years.

  • Treebrain

    Daveed,

    Just face the facts, Western intervention in such regions has been a toto failure and the blood and treasure expended was totally wasted.

    Invading Iraq has made Iran a regional super-power.

    There is nothing shocking or even surprising about ISIS, the Sunni/Shia conflict has been going on for over a thousand years, so why do you remain ignorant about it?

    Is it really ignorance, or just merely denial on your part?

  • boonteetan

    ISIS or ISIL, does it really matter? Whatever the name is, heinous slaughters keep perpetrating, with seemingly no end to it.

    It is perplexing. 1.4 billion Muslims (almost 80% Sunnis, 20% Shiites and others) do not wish to share the values of 5.7 billion non-Muslims (Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, and minor religious groups).

    Yet Sunnis and Shiites have been at odds for 14 centuries. They appear to be deliberately trying to exterminate each other, intensifying the killing in the past decade. Why? In what way could the rest of the world help?

    • cromwell

      Turn the clock back 500 years to catholics and protestants killing each other, a quarter of the population of Europe died in those religious wars. Fortunately we had the enlightenment and dont really believe in big daddy in the sky anymore, Muslims need to catch up.

      • Thomtids

        Muslims don’t perceive their God in the same way those who believe do. To trivialise it a bit. Muslims seem to view Allah as a fairly straightforward random binary switch. So much is in the “hands of Allah” that is a 50/50 outcome; the traffic lights ignored on the premise that if one survives then it was Allah’s will. The bomb fuse that does or does not function.
        At least with the “All-seeing and all-knowing” variety of Deity, believers know that “God will get ’em” and no two ways about it!

    • Jerry S

      “Not claiming victory too soon might be a start,” claims the author of this article.

      Allow me to propose a better start: Kicking the Radical Muslims out of your own country might be a better start.
      Prosecuting those who let them in while stuffing Multi-cult’ism down your
      collective throats thus endangering the indigenous population – would be
      step 2.
      Only then, can you begin to address the threat’s from abroad.

  • http://www.landoverbaptist.org/ Team Red vs. Team Blue

    Religious nuts worshipping Imaginary Friend A are slaughtering religious nuts worshipping Imaginary Friend B. Ain’t religion special?

    Once A and B decimate each other, they will turn their attention to the worshippers of Imaginary Friend C. Will we be ready?

  • Augustus

    Newspapers are now reporting that the terrorists have now taken control of Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons facilities. Funny that, as wasn’t he supposed not to have had any WMDs? Can we now expect comments such as ‘they’re too old to be useful,’ as if that would make a difference to the fact they existed.

  • cromwell

    “Why Iraq’s jihadists just keep on coming back meaner” Because our leaders love em, gives them the excuse to scare us and give our hard earned money to the military-industrial complex.

  • mark dury

    I came across a very refreshing analysis of islamism as ideology by psycho-analyst Peter Rombald on http://www.comparativetheology.net. This is not so much about the politics as the mindset. Instructive.

  • sam a cohen

    The trouble we are having is the result of our lack of concern for the interests of the Arabs as human beings wanting freedom and dignity. All we are interested in is their oil and the safety of Israel. What we should be doing is minding our own business: becoming less dependent on Arab oil and leave Israel to send for itself. We have many problems back home needing out attention and resources. Sam A. Cohen

  • sam gold

    Go ISIS go Iraq is yours for the taking.
    G W BUSH got the USA on a new VIETNAM

    • Augustus

      Congress, including Hillary Clinton, voted to authorize Bush’s actions before he did anything about Iraq. And the sudden rise of the ISIS movement isn’t just the latest outburst of violence in Iraq. There’s a religious conflict being waged which threatens to take the whole of the Middle East hostage.

  • sam gold

    Mission Accomplished GW BUSH what a joke
    BUSH arrogant ignorant selfish lier

  • sam gold

    Saddam Hussain was better for IRAQ than BUSH

    • La Fold

      Tell that to the Kurds you mook!

  • Poe Gromms

    Each of us should recognize that, in the fight for liberty, knowledge is our most potent weapon. Arm yourself: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0094KY878

  • cromwell

    These savages only gained credence through the actions of other religious nutters Blair and Bush. Having said that Islam is the 3rd manifestation of the hateful Abraham based religions whose core philosophy is, I’m right your wrong therefore I have to kill you otherwise god will damn me to hell. The thing is Jews and Christians have for the most part been beneficiaries of the enlightenment and no longer believe in literal interpretations of the crap written by misogynous bitter old men millennium ago, unlike most Muslims who accept the crap Mohamed supposedly heard from an angel in a cave as the meaning of life, what a load of rubbish.

  • cromwell

    Time for a European Reconquista to save us from these savages.

  • Jerry S

    “Not claiming victory too soon might be a start.”

    Kicking the Radical Muslims out of your own country might be a better start.

    Prosecuting those who let them in while stuffing Multi-cult’ism down your collective throats thus endangering the indigenous population – would be step 2.

    Only then, should you begin to address the threat’s from abroad.

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