Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Monday, September 1, 2014
Iraq / Syria Regional War Updates ( September 1 , 2014 ) --ISIS adaptation makes air strikes more complicated and less useful.......... Even as fighting in Iraq morphs due to the US air strikes , the battles in Syria rage on and Lebanon seems likely to be drawn into the conflict ......
The US war in Iraq continues to get more complex as easily foreseeable situations emerge and the Pentagon has no answers for them. The latest problem is that ISIS targets, which were mostly conspicuous at the start of the war, are starting to blend in with the local population.
Since ISIS got its start as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), it was pretty obvious that they were experienced in insurgent-style tactics in addition to the recent dalliances with behaving like a traditional army, and when airstrikes started picking up it was only a matter of time before they’d vanish.
Launching intermittent airstrikes against targets of opportunity wasn’t exactly a strategy to begin with, and now that those targets are behaving more discreetly, the policy is even less effective.
The Sunday news show circuit centered on hawkspushing even more aggressive airstrikes, even though it’s getting harder and harder to come up with targets for those strikes.
The problem is that there simply is no strategy for victory, and that the war itself was launched on the notion of “doing something” without any clear idea how to accomplish anything.
Having dragged the country into this war, the administration is now faced with the reality that it isn’t working, and growing calls from hawkish rivals to double down, because if doing something doesn’t work, they figure the answer is to do it even more.
With the administration still trying to claim credit for “successes” that didn’t really happen, like “rescuing” people who weren’t really trapped on Mount Sinjar, the notion that they can expand on that success will continue to linger among policy makers.
So far, President Obama seems to have recognized his own narrative for the nonsense it is, and resisted runaway escalation of the conflict. How long that lasts remains to be seen, as officials are liable to mistake phony victories for the unachievable real ones, or at any rate to figure that one sells as good to the public as the other.
Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra has finally issued demands related to the 44 Fijian UN troops they captured late last week in the Syrian Golan Heights, saying they’re willing to free them in return for humanitarian aid to be delivered to one of their remaining territorial possessions, a suburb of Damascus called Ruta.
The Syrian military has mostly expelled Nusra and other rebels from the areas around Damascus, and has conducted protracted sieges on the remaining suburbs to try to force the rebels out of the areas surrounding the capital city.
Nusra captured the Fijian troops on Friday, following their seizing of the Golan crossing between Israel and Syria. The UN has troops in the region to observe a ceasefire that’s been in place since 1974.
In addition to the Fiji troops, Nusra attacked Philippines troops yesterday, though they managed to escape into Israel without being captured. The UN says they remain unsure of the location or the fate of the Fijian troops.
Several days of fighting over Arsal, along the border with Syria, began with the capture of an Islamist commander in the area, and led to a protracted battle over control of the local jail.
After the beheading video, ISIS released a secondary video showing several other of the captured soldiers pleading for their lives, and admonished their families to petition the Lebanese government to accept a prisoner exchange for their release.
ISIS is seeking the release of not only ISIS-affiliated fighters, but of other Islamist factions’ fighters as well, an attempt to try to underscore their self-proclaimed position as the leaders of the worldwide Islamist movement.
Lebanon has not responded to the calls for a prisoner exchange in the past, though the latest videos are bound to add pressure to them to at least recognize that the offer was made.