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Middle Eastern Conflict [General]


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I can't help but think that if the rest of the international community had intervened properly at an earlier state in the conflict then fewer foreign fighters would have joined the war, the secular elements of the FSA would have been bolstered and we probably wouldn't have had IS trying to invade Iraq.

 

They're worse than Assad IMO but the issue now is that we can't be seen to make peace with Assad, as in the eyes of the extremists that will be interpreted as a clear suggestion that we're actively anti-Islamic and therefore a legitimate target in their war for a caliphate.

 

Fine mess.

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I can't help but think that if the rest of the international community had intervened properly at an earlier state in the conflict then fewer foreign fighters would have joined the war, the secular elements of the FSA would have been bolstered and we probably wouldn't have had IS trying to invade Iraq.

 

They're worse than Assad IMO but the issue now is that we can't be seen to make peace with Assad, as in the eyes of the extremists that will be interpreted as a clear suggestion that we're actively anti-Islamic and therefore a legitimate target in their war for a caliphate.

 

Fine mess.

 

It's more complicated than that. Firstly, we have to assume that arming the FSA won't simply devolve into a political spat between Russia and the US. Secondly, we have to assume that arming the FSA is in our best interests. On the one hand, an FSA victory may be beneficial for the West because it isolates Iran in the Middle East and paves the way for a new government to sort out a final peace deal with Israel (because Syria is still technically at war with Israel over the Golan Heights). Assuming of course the FSA or Syrians want to negotiate with Israel anyway. On the other hand, a victory by Assad's forces would ensure at least some stability in the country after the conflict has ended as well as ensuring government protection of religious minorities in Syria so they won't suffer the same fate that religious minorities in Iraq are suffering at the hands of ISIS.

 

The negatives of both sides winning is that with the FSA, they would still have to deal with ISIS and would probably have factions that launch reprisal attacks against Shia and Christian minorities in Syria. They would also have the question of what to do with Hezbollah. An Assad victory would likely result in government reprisals against political opponents plus the return of better equipped and experienced Hezbollah fighters back into Lebanon and the subsequent destabilization of Lebanon and yet another war with Israel. Either way, the slaughter will likely continue and result in at least one or more countries being destabilized and new conflicts opening up outside of Syria.

 

Of course, no one could have predicted that ISIS would form let alone gain the power that it has now. There's no point looking back and saying "we should have done this" because the end result in an alternate universe would have been the exact same result but another minority being persecuted elsewhere. Plus, one would have thought that spending billions on equipping and training the Iraqi Security Forces that they would be able to actually conduct military operations in a coordinated and timely fashion.

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I can't help but think that if the rest of the international community had intervened properly at an earlier state in the conflict then fewer foreign fighters would have joined the war, the secular elements of the FSA would have been bolstered and we probably wouldn't have had IS trying to invade Iraq.

 

They're worse than Assad IMO but the issue now is that we can't be seen to make peace with Assad, as in the eyes of the extremists that will be interpreted as a clear suggestion that we're actively anti-Islamic and therefore a legitimate target in their war for a caliphate.

 

Fine mess.

 

It's more complicated than that. Firstly, we have to assume that arming the FSA won't simply devolve into a political spat between Russia and the US. Secondly, we have to assume that arming the FSA is in our best interests. On the one hand, an FSA victory may be beneficial for the West because it isolates Iran in the Middle East and paves the way for a new government to sort out a final peace deal with Israel (because Syria is still technically at war with Israel over the Golan Heights). Assuming of course the FSA or Syrians want to negotiate with Israel anyway. On the other hand, a victory by Assad's forces would ensure at least some stability in the country after the conflict has ended as well as ensuring government protection of religious minorities in Syria so they won't suffer the same fate that religious minorities in Iraq are suffering at the hands of ISIS.

 

The negatives of both sides winning is that with the FSA, they would still have to deal with ISIS and would probably have factions that launch reprisal attacks against Shia and Christian minorities in Syria. They would also have the question of what to do with Hezbollah. An Assad victory would likely result in government reprisals against political opponents plus the return of better equipped and experienced Hezbollah fighters back into Lebanon and the subsequent destabilization of Lebanon and yet another war with Israel. Either way, the slaughter will likely continue and result in at least one or more countries being destabilized and new conflicts opening up outside of Syria.

 

Of course, no one could have predicted that ISIS would form let alone gain the power that it has now. There's no point looking back and saying "we should have done this" because the end result in an alternate universe would have been the exact same result but another minority being persecuted elsewhere. Plus, one would have thought that spending billions on equipping and training the Iraqi Security Forces that they would be able to actually conduct military operations in a coordinated and timely fashion.

 

 

Good analysis. There's another negative side to arming the FSA. It's a fairly loosely defined group and it seems prone to infiltration. I think even if you manage to isolate the "good" parts and arm them, and they achieve military gains against Assad or the IS, many IS members would probably try to join the FSA. They would switch factions but keep their ideology. I think arming pretty much anybody at this point comes with a great risk of becoming another catastrophically failed attempt at influencing the region by arming favorable factions. Unfortunately, there is very little the international community can do because any military strategy comes with huge negatives. I think the situation is pretty hopeless. All factions have foreign allies who are not willing to fight among themselves directly, so the fighting is done by proxy armies in Syria and Iraq. There are too many conflicting foreign interests for the international community to take a cohesive approach. Western intervention came very close once when chemical weapons were used, but Russia brokered a deal between the US and Assad where he would give up his chemical weapons and the US would not launch air strikes. I don't think air strikes against Assad's army back then would have made the current situation much better though.

 

As for Iraq being expected to be able to fight off the IS itself, that is a bit problematic given the enemy that they face. I think they are much more difficult to fight than the enemy the US fought in Iraq. The US dealt with a decimated terrorist insurgency trying to retake some control. Iraq now deals with an incredibly well-funded, well-armed and battlehardened enemy that built up nextdoor and then came back. It is true that many of the Iraqi forces fled their posts, but that seems likely to happen when you're as overwhelmed as the Iraqi army was. They were trained under the situation as it was when the Americans were there, what they faced in the IS advance was much worse. It is quite ironic if you think about it. The US comes in, overthrows Saddam Hussein, fights an insurgency for a decade, gets out and leaves behind tons of weaponry, then almost immediately a third of the country is taken over and American weapons seized by effectively the same enemy it fought for a decade. If there ever was a failed war by the US, it is this. It is starting to make the Vietnam war look like a great success. Trillions (yes, trillions) were spent on the war in Iraq, and the country is in a much worse shape than it was before the US attacked.

 

Ideally I would hope to see all foreign countries to gradually stop supplying arms to any factions in Iraq and Syria. Pretty much every fighting faction is guilty of war crimes and none of them are politically credible, except maybe the Kurds. What needs to happen is that the fighting sides run out of weapons and ammunition. Unfortunately that is almost impossible. But as long as foreign countries are shipping over an infinite supply of weapons and ammunition to conflicting factions, fighting is going to be very intense and we won't see many clear defeats.

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I can't help but think that if the rest of the international community had intervened properly at an earlier state in the conflict then fewer foreign fighters would have joined the war, the secular elements of the FSA would have been bolstered and we probably wouldn't have had IS trying to invade Iraq.

 

They're worse than Assad IMO but the issue now is that we can't be seen to make peace with Assad, as in the eyes of the extremists that will be interpreted as a clear suggestion that we're actively anti-Islamic and therefore a legitimate target in their war for a caliphate.

 

Fine mess.

I completely agree. There was a clear correlation between the drying up of Western support to the initially overtly very pro-West FSA and it turning slowly away from the West and the rise of groups like Jabhat al-Nusra and the IS.

I guess another factor might have been that the people in Syria, as well as the rebels, were just so desperate that they'd suck up to anyone who'd help rid them of the Assad regime.

 

 

 

I can't help but think that if the rest of the international community had intervened properly at an earlier state in the conflict then fewer foreign fighters would have joined the war, the secular elements of the FSA would have been bolstered and we probably wouldn't have had IS trying to invade Iraq.

 

They're worse than Assad IMO but the issue now is that we can't be seen to make peace with Assad, as in the eyes of the extremists that will be interpreted as a clear suggestion that we're actively anti-Islamic and therefore a legitimate target in their war for a caliphate.

 

Fine mess.

 

It's more complicated than that. Firstly, we have to assume that arming the FSA won't simply devolve into a political spat between Russia and the US. Secondly, we have to assume that arming the FSA is in our best interests. On the one hand, an FSA victory may be beneficial for the West because it isolates Iran in the Middle East and paves the way for a new government to sort out a final peace deal with Israel (because Syria is still technically at war with Israel over the Golan Heights). Assuming of course the FSA or Syrians want to negotiate with Israel anyway. On the other hand, a victory by Assad's forces would ensure at least some stability in the country after the conflict has ended as well as ensuring government protection of religious minorities in Syria so they won't suffer the same fate that religious minorities in Iraq are suffering at the hands of ISIS.

 

The negatives of both sides winning is that with the FSA, they would still have to deal with ISIS and would probably have factions that launch reprisal attacks against Shia and Christian minorities in Syria. They would also have the question of what to do with Hezbollah. An Assad victory would likely result in government reprisals against political opponents plus the return of better equipped and experienced Hezbollah fighters back into Lebanon and the subsequent destabilization of Lebanon and yet another war with Israel. Either way, the slaughter will likely continue and result in at least one or more countries being destabilized and new conflicts opening up outside of Syria.

 

Of course, no one could have predicted that ISIS would form let alone gain the power that it has now. There's no point looking back and saying "we should have done this" because the end result in an alternate universe would have been the exact same result but another minority being persecuted elsewhere. Plus, one would have thought that spending billions on equipping and training the Iraqi Security Forces that they would be able to actually conduct military operations in a coordinated and timely fashion.

 

 

Good analysis. There's another negative side to arming the FSA. It's a fairly loosely defined group and it seems prone to infiltration. I think even if you manage to isolate the "good" parts and arm them, and they achieve military gains against Assad or the IS, many IS members would probably try to join the FSA. They would switch factions but keep their ideology. I think arming pretty much anybody at this point comes with a great risk of becoming another catastrophically failed attempt at influencing the region by arming favorable factions. Unfortunately, there is very little the international community can do because any military strategy comes with huge negatives. I think the situation is pretty hopeless. All factions have foreign allies who are not willing to fight among themselves directly, so the fighting is done by proxy armies in Syria and Iraq. There are too many conflicting foreign interests for the international community to take a cohesive approach. Western intervention came very close once when chemical weapons were used, but Russia brokered a deal between the US and Assad where he would give up his chemical weapons and the US would not launch air strikes. I don't think air strikes against Assad's army back then would have made the current situation much better though.

 

As for Iraq being expected to be able to fight off the IS itself, that is a bit problematic given the enemy that they face. I think they are much more difficult to fight than the enemy the US fought in Iraq. The US dealt with a decimated terrorist insurgency trying to retake some control. Iraq now deals with an incredibly well-funded, well-armed and battlehardened enemy that built up nextdoor and then came back. It is true that many of the Iraqi forces fled their posts, but that seems likely to happen when you're as overwhelmed as the Iraqi army was. They were trained under the situation as it was when the Americans were there, what they faced in the IS advance was much worse. It is quite ironic if you think about it. The US comes in, overthrows Saddam Hussein, fights an insurgency for a decade, gets out and leaves behind tons of weaponry, then almost immediately a third of the country is taken over and American weapons seized by effectively the same enemy it fought for a decade. If there ever was a failed war by the US, it is this. It is starting to make the Vietnam war look like a great success. Trillions (yes, trillions) were spent on the war in Iraq, and the country is in a much worse shape than it was before the US attacked.

 

Ideally I would hope to see all foreign countries to gradually stop supplying arms to any factions in Iraq and Syria. Pretty much every fighting faction is guilty of war crimes and none of them are politically credible, except maybe the Kurds. What needs to happen is that the fighting sides run out of weapons and ammunition. Unfortunately that is almost impossible. But as long as foreign countries are shipping over an infinite supply of weapons and ammunition to conflicting factions, fighting is going to be very intense and we won't see many clear defeats.

 

What you say about the FSA (and Syrian resistance as a whole) being a very loosely defined and full of infiltrations (which often reached the highest levels) is very true. To complicate matters further, on the whole they were very fluid. Fighters and entire groups would very often change their allegiances and ideologies, so you saw groups popping up out of nowhere, while others disbanded at the drop of a hat. There was a far larger ideological battle within the resistance to win support than against the Assad regime.

While the West arming the secularist and more moderate/mainstream Islamist rebels strengthened them physically, it ideologically played into the hands of the anti-West Wahhabis by substantiating there "Crusaders vs. Islam" narrative. This would mean that some within these secularist or mainstream Islamist factions would starts sympathising with Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) or the IS, transfering (often the majority and the best) weapons, equipment and funding to them - without any planned JN or IS infiltrations. That's why I think later on, the West started supporting rebels through Saudi Arabia, who transfered money and funding to the Wahhabi Islamic Front. Though it seems the IS still became more powerful than those too.

 

Personally, I think the current air-strikes against the IS are the best option in fighting them. While it certainly does play into their narrative, gaining them great amounts of support with locals with any civilian casualties, the amount by which it weakens them is far greater.

Also as mentioned above in reply to sivipacem, a lot of tolerance and even support stems from the fact that thay are so powerful - people sucking upto them. Now that they are weakened, expect local tribal and various other Sunni militants to start rising up against them.

Though that would hardly solve anything in Iraq. You'd see a continuation of the Sunni rebellion against the government that preceded the IS takeover of Iraq, except now the government forces would likely be stronger and commit even worse atrocities aaginst the Sunnis. Prior to the IS takeover, over 500,000 in Anbar were driven out of their homes into the harsh deserts by government forces and militias, yet this didn't recieve nearly as much media coverage (outside the BBC) and international condemnation as when one tenth the number of Yezidis were driven from their homes by the IS.

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To be honest, the more and more I read what the conspiracy wackos have to say about this execution, the more I'm inclined to believe they may actually be correct. I've always questioned why no blood appears despite Foley's neck being slashed six times before the footage cuts to black, and the above article may prove to be the explanation. If so, at least his death may not have been as suffering as we're initially led to believe. Because, you know, f*ck having your head hacked off.

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Well, beheading someone with a knife is not as easy as it looks. An axe, a guillotine, a chainsaw, a machete... would probably work better.

A knife would require a lot of strength and cold blood.

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Whether or not it's easy to do, I'm fairly certain a few lacerations to the neck is going to produce a lot of blood. Are we suggesting Mr Foley was made of wood or something?

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To be honest I spared myself from watching the video so far. I had read there was something wrong with it but I preferred not to watch it.

I didn't watch it exactly cause the perpetrators wanted us to watch it. I consciously passed.

Anyway, the way they killed him and if it was staged or not doesn't really change the outcome. He died.

The less importance we give to the clip the better is for all of us imo.

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True, but shouldn't we at least be told the facts of how this man died? I mean, I'm not saying 100% that James Foley wasn't decapitated whilst still alive, but I really don't believe the brief footage of his "execution" was actually his execution. If we don't establish the true circumstances as to how Mr Foley perished, aren't these savages getting the desired effect of fear through their brutality?

 

E. I really, really hate using my phone for this forum.

Edited by Lucchese
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What you say about the FSA (and Syrian resistance as a whole) being a very loosely defined and full of infiltrations (which often reached the highest levels) is very true. To complicate matters further, on the whole they were very fluid. Fighters and entire groups would very often change their allegiances and ideologies, so you saw groups popping up out of nowhere, while others disbanded at the drop of a hat. There was a far larger ideological battle within the resistance to win support than against the Assad regime.

While the West arming the secularist and more moderate/mainstream Islamist rebels strengthened them physically, it ideologically played into the hands of the anti-West Wahhabis by substantiating there "Crusaders vs. Islam" narrative. This would mean that some within these secularist or mainstream Islamist factions would starts sympathising with Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) or the IS, transfering (often the majority and the best) weapons, equipment and funding to them - without any planned JN or IS infiltrations. That's why I think later on, the West started supporting rebels through Saudi Arabia, who transfered money and funding to the Wahhabi Islamic Front. Though it seems the IS still became more powerful than those too.

 

Personally, I think the current air-strikes against the IS are the best option in fighting them. While it certainly does play into their narrative, gaining them great amounts of support with locals with any civilian casualties, the amount by which it weakens them is far greater.

Also as mentioned above in reply to sivipacem, a lot of tolerance and even support stems from the fact that thay are so powerful - people sucking upto them. Now that they are weakened, expect local tribal and various other Sunni militants to start rising up against them.

Though that would hardly solve anything in Iraq. You'd see a continuation of the Sunni rebellion against the government that preceded the IS takeover of Iraq, except now the government forces would likely be stronger and commit even worse atrocities aaginst the Sunnis. Prior to the IS takeover, over 500,000 in Anbar were driven out of their homes into the harsh deserts by government forces and militias, yet this didn't recieve nearly as much media coverage (outside the BBC) and international condemnation as when one tenth the number of Yezidis were driven from their homes by the IS.

I was watching the news today and saw that the Syrian government would accept US airstrikes on IS in Syria if the Syrian government is consulted and agrees. It made me remember that I forgot to reply to you, my apologies. I think it's (unfortunately) true that airstrikes by the US and hopefully regional powers are currently the best way to fight IS. Especially since the Iraqi government clearly agrees to it and it seems that the Syrian government is starting to do the same. It's hardly a violation of sovereignty anymore. Although Assad is definately not someone the US would be eager to work together with, and the same should have been true for al-Malaki when he was in power. But this conflict won't be resolved anytime soon anyway and it's now worth it to look a little stupid if it means the IS and other extremist groups can be dealt a big blow. I think the statement by the Syrian government that it could possibly allow US airstrikes on its territory is a sign of weakness and desperation. I think it gives the US some leverage over Assad, they could agree to it only if Assad agrees to step down and hold elections as soon as worst of the threat from extremist groups is gone. Of course this is filled with uncertainties but it might be a step in the right direction. I know it's somewhat of a fallacy to go with the lesser of two evils, but right now I think that is Assad and al-Abadi and they have a lower priority than the IS to be dealt with. They can be reasoned with at least to some degree, unlike the IS which is almost completely estranged to modern politics. I can't say that I know much about al-Abdadi. Mainstream news says he is likely to behave more inclusively than al-Malaki, but he is a member of the same Shia party as al-Malaki so I don't know how to interpret that. Even if he does behave more inclusively, winning over the trust of the Sunnis is a hell of a job in this situation.

 

As bad or cliché as it may sound, I think the threats and violence against Yezidis got such a big response in the west is simply because they are Christian. Well, not only because of that but I think it was almost certainly a big contributing factor. To be fair, it was a very direct threat with the IS having surrounded the mountain with no way for the Yezidis to escape. Normally you see lots of refugees fleeing the violence, that was not an option here. The IS killed many people, but never 50,000 in one operation (if that number is accurate, which I've heard conflicting reports about). But there have been many crises where muslims were on the recieving end that got a disproportionally smaller response.

 

I don't see what difference it makes.

they appear to have removed his head from his body.

 

how exactly they did it is pretty f*cking trite if you ask me.

 

The only difference it makes is that the IS might lose some support from a few retarded extremists who insist on cutting people's heads off while they're still alive.

 

So if I understand correctly there is no video of the actual beheading, and the executioner cuts his throat a few times before the screen goes to black? I've seen that video with a picture of the body and the severed head at the end and decided that was enough so I didn't look for the video of the beheading, but I thought it existed. I didn't pay attention to how much blood came out. You guys are saying that he appears to slash his throat several times and no blood comes out? That is very weird but the human body can do strange things sometimes. But I don't see any reason why they would pretend to cut his head off on video, and then really do it off-camera.

Edited by CenMan
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I can't help but think that if the rest of the international community had intervened properly at an earlier state in the conflict then fewer foreign fighters would have joined the war, the secular elements of the FSA would have been bolstered and we probably wouldn't have had IS trying to invade Iraq.

 

They're worse than Assad IMO but the issue now is that we can't be seen to make peace with Assad, as in the eyes of the extremists that will be interpreted as a clear suggestion that we're actively anti-Islamic and therefore a legitimate target in their war for a caliphate.

 

Fine mess.

No matter which way you look at it, we are a legitimate target for the extremists. They hate us and everything about us. It doesn't matter if we support Assad or were best buddies with Muhammad, ISIS and other terrorists would love to see us dead.

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That is nonsense. Islamic terrorism in the west is causally linked to foreign interventions in the Middle East. The threat especially boomed after the Iraq war. That is what makes it so ironic that they called that and the Afghanistan war the war on terror. Before the war in Iraq there was barely any jihadism in Iraq. Look at Iraq now. It should've been called the war for terror.

If you listen to these ISIS guys in interviews, what they all say is, if the wests minds their own business and stays away, they'll focus on their own political situation in islamic countries. But if we strike them they'll strike back. Too bad though that stricking ISIS has become the only possible option now. If the United States would've helped Syria protect the border then they wouldn't have spilled into Iraq at al, but the US was fighting a pr battle over Assad's use of chemical weapons that was far too important I guess.

And apart from that, they had no incentive to help the Shia government in Iraq with increasing Iran ties, which is why they only stepped in after their own base in north Iraq became threatened. After the US failed obtaining the oil contracts in Iraq it seems they just chose to leave the mess they created behind.

Edited by gtaxpert
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That is nonsense.

Whilst it certainly isn't as simple as ddyoung says, the basic principle behind his comment is anything but nonsense. It's not a "hatred" of the Wester per se but an intense distrust and hostility towards Western political, economic and cultural influence. It runs much deeper than just "stay away from the lands we want to establish our caliphate in and we'll leave you alone"- especially when you look at the various Islamist organisations whose end-game is the establishment of a global caliphate.

 

If Western intervention was a primary cause of Islamic terrorism, then you'd expect to see the West facing the brunt of it, and it being focused solely on nations who had been involved in those interventions. When in reality, the primary targets are usually other social and societal groups in the states in which these organisations operate, and most Western countries have been home to plots or attempted attacks regardless of any direct or indirect involvement in interventions in the Middle East (and both North and sub-Saharan Africa, which people often seem to ignore when discussing Islamist terrorism yet until recently were probably a bigger breeding ground for it than the Middle East, but I digress). The real boon for organisations like these of Western interventionism is that it helps to mobilise disenfranchised individuals at home and acts as a self-fulfilling recruiting tool basically.

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It's not a "hatred" of the Wester per se but an intense distrust and hostility towards Western political, economic and cultural influence.

 

Which considering the long history of mainly British but also French imperialist influence in the region, and the US influence since after the second world war, is completely legitimate. There is a big difference between the stance of leaders in the Middle East towards the US and populations towards the US though. All polls show that according to Middle East populations the greatest threat in the region are the United States and Israel. They even go as far as that it would be good for regional stability if Iran had a nuclear weapon.. Much of these populations are led by governments allied with the US and Israel though. http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/reports/2010/8/05%20arab%20opinion%20poll%20telhami/0805_arabic_opinion_poll_telhami.pdf

The real boon for organisations like these of Western interventionism is that it helps to mobilise disenfranchised individuals at home and acts as a self-fulfilling recruiting tool basically.

 

true

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What you say about the FSA (and Syrian resistance as a whole) being a very loosely defined and full of infiltrations (which often reached the highest levels) is very true. To complicate matters further, on the whole they were very fluid. Fighters and entire groups would very often change their allegiances and ideologies, so you saw groups popping up out of nowhere, while others disbanded at the drop of a hat. There was a far larger ideological battle within the resistance to win support than against the Assad regime.

While the West arming the secularist and more moderate/mainstream Islamist rebels strengthened them physically, it ideologically played into the hands of the anti-West Wahhabis by substantiating there "Crusaders vs. Islam" narrative. This would mean that some within these secularist or mainstream Islamist factions would starts sympathising with Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) or the IS, transfering (often the majority and the best) weapons, equipment and funding to them - without any planned JN or IS infiltrations. That's why I think later on, the West started supporting rebels through Saudi Arabia, who transfered money and funding to the Wahhabi Islamic Front. Though it seems the IS still became more powerful than those too.

 

Personally, I think the current air-strikes against the IS are the best option in fighting them. While it certainly does play into their narrative, gaining them great amounts of support with locals with any civilian casualties, the amount by which it weakens them is far greater.

Also as mentioned above in reply to sivipacem, a lot of tolerance and even support stems from the fact that thay are so powerful - people sucking upto them. Now that they are weakened, expect local tribal and various other Sunni militants to start rising up against them.

Though that would hardly solve anything in Iraq. You'd see a continuation of the Sunni rebellion against the government that preceded the IS takeover of Iraq, except now the government forces would likely be stronger and commit even worse atrocities aaginst the Sunnis. Prior to the IS takeover, over 500,000 in Anbar were driven out of their homes into the harsh deserts by government forces and militias, yet this didn't recieve nearly as much media coverage (outside the BBC) and international condemnation as when one tenth the number of Yezidis were driven from their homes by the IS.

I was watching the news today and saw that the Syrian government would accept US airstrikes on IS in Syria if the Syrian government is consulted and agrees. It made me remember that I forgot to reply to you, my apologies. I think it's (unfortunately) true that airstrikes by the US and hopefully regional powers are currently the best way to fight IS. Especially since the Iraqi government clearly agrees to it and it seems that the Syrian government is starting to do the same. It's hardly a violation of sovereignty anymore. Although Assad is definately not someone the US would be eager to work together with, and the same should have been true for al-Malaki when he was in power. But this conflict won't be resolved anytime soon anyway and it's now worth it to look a little stupid if it means the IS and other extremist groups can be dealt a big blow. I think the statement by the Syrian government that it could possibly allow US airstrikes on its territory is a sign of weakness and desperation. I think it gives the US some leverage over Assad, they could agree to it only if Assad agrees to step down and hold elections as soon as worst of the threat from extremist groups is gone. Of course this is filled with uncertainties but it might be a step in the right direction. I know it's somewhat of a fallacy to go with the lesser of two evils, but right now I think that is Assad and al-Abadi and they have a lower priority than the IS to be dealt with. They can be reasoned with at least to some degree, unlike the IS which is almost completely estranged to modern politics. I can't say that I know much about al-Abdadi. Mainstream news says he is likely to behave more inclusively than al-Malaki, but he is a member of the same Shia party as al-Malaki so I don't know how to interpret that. Even if he does behave more inclusively, winning over the trust of the Sunnis is a hell of a job in this situation.

 

As bad or cliché as it may sound, I think the threats and violence against Yezidis got such a big response in the west is simply because they are Christian. Well, not only because of that but I think it was almost certainly a big contributing factor. To be fair, it was a very direct threat with the IS having surrounded the mountain with no way for the Yezidis to escape. Normally you see lots of refugees fleeing the violence, that was not an option here. The IS killed many people, but never 50,000 in one operation (if that number is accurate, which I've heard conflicting reports about). But there have been many crises where muslims were on the recieving end that got a disproportionally smaller response.

Thanks for the reply bro. I completely agree with you regarding the IS not willing to compromise. In fact, that characteristic is what's losing them support from across the political spectrum, from fellow Wahhabis like Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, to the Bedouin Arab tribes in Iraq and Syria, to the secular Arabist General Mlitary Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries in Iraq (GMCIR).

In terms of atrocities and war-crimes, I geniunely cannot see the IS being any worse than the old Maliki regime and it's Iranian-controlled death squads, whom recenty killed 68 in Diyala. After all, it was the sectarian oppression of the old Maliki regime which drove many Sunnis to initially tolerate, and even help the IS in Iraq.

 

I also completely agree with you about Abadi. The dual facts that he's from the same Dawa party as Maliki, and the fact that Iran - perhaps the largest instigators of sectarianism in Iraq - has approved of his ascension don't show much promise of an end to institutional sectarianism in Iraq. Though chances are, he will still be significantly better than Maliki - I just doubt enough to stop armed rebellion.

 

With regards to the Yezidis, I think their religion is actually a mixture of Islam and Christianity, but it is very secretive.

The Sunnis escaping the various forces under Maliki where making very similar claims about being besieged and without basic supplies, yet recieved very little political and media attention. Either case might have been desperate refugees over-exaggerating the gravity of their situation,or it could have been the truth, but the reports from the people in either case were similar.

 

That is nonsense. Islamic terrorism in the west is causally linked to foreign interventions in the Middle East. The threat especially boomed after the Iraq war. That is what makes it so ironic that they called that and the Afghanistan war the war on terror. Before the war in Iraq there was barely any jihadism in Iraq. Look at Iraq now. It should've been called the war for terror.

 

If you listen to these ISIS guys in interviews, what they all say is, if the wests minds their own business and stays away, they'll focus on their own political situation in islamic countries. But if we strike them they'll strike back. Too bad though that stricking ISIS has become the only possible option now. If the United States would've helped Syria protect the border then they wouldn't have spilled into Iraq at al, but the US was fighting a pr battle over Assad's use of chemical weapons that was far too important I guess.

 

And apart from that, they had no incentive to help the Shia government in Iraq with increasing Iran ties, which is why they only stepped in after their own base in north Iraq became threatened. After the US failed obtaining the oil contracts in Iraq it seems they just chose to leave the mess they created behind.

 

 

That is nonsense.

Whilst it certainly isn't as simple as ddyoung says, the basic principle behind his comment is anything but nonsense. It's not a "hatred" of the Wester per se but an intense distrust and hostility towards Western political, economic and cultural influence. It runs much deeper than just "stay away from the lands we want to establish our caliphate in and we'll leave you alone"- especially when you look at the various Islamist organisations whose end-game is the establishment of a global caliphate.

 

If Western intervention was a primary cause of Islamic terrorism, then you'd expect to see the West facing the brunt of it, and it being focused solely on nations who had been involved in those interventions. When in reality, the primary targets are usually other social and societal groups in the states in which these organisations operate, and most Western countries have been home to plots or attempted attacks regardless of any direct or indirect involvement in interventions in the Middle East (and both North and sub-Saharan Africa, which people often seem to ignore when discussing Islamist terrorism yet until recently were probably a bigger breeding ground for it than the Middle East, but I digress). The real boon for organisations like these of Western interventionism is that it helps to mobilise disenfranchised individuals at home and acts as a self-fulfilling recruiting tool basically.

 

I actually agree with both of you here. Unless I misunderstood somewhere, I don't see much conflict.

Like sivipacem said, Jihadist groups do have an agenda to spread globally to oppose Western political and cultural influences.

These ideologies were formed to oppose Western neo-colonialism in the early- to mid-twentieth centuries (i.e. Qutbism), and they rely heavily on the exploitation of local contempt for Western interventionism for recruitment and support (though oppression from Islamic sectarianism and relatively secular undemocratic local governments are also greatly exploited now).

As it stands now, they are trying, with various degrees of success, to gain power and support in Muslim-majority countries, competing against other political players in the region - whether local (e.g. tribal militias), regional (e.g. Iran and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)), or global (NATO and Russia). Propaganda in which these Islamist militants talk about hoisting their flags on the White House are thus just laughable bravado, or completely dillusional pipe-dreams. Any attacks on Western soil - whether organised by Western sympathisers, or centrally-planned - will therefore most likely be retaliation for Western opposition rather than any serious attempts at expansion there, as gtaxpert suggests.

Edited by D- Ice
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Yeah I guess that is quite funny.. On one hand ISIS terrorists always say "stay away with western intervention and we'll refrain from jihadi terrorism to westerners and countries in the west", but then a few sentences later they come with "caliphate in the white house"... That is quite curious, but you explained it well.

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Thanks. I doubt any of the leadership of the likes of the IS or al-Qaeda take any of the claims to invade the West seriously. Those claims are more bravado or pipe-dreams than imminent threats. They also have far more to worry about gaining or consolidating power in the Muslim countries they are in than to set up their versions of Caliphates anywhere in the West.

However, like you suggested, it is likely that either they, or Western sympathisers, will carry out bombings, or similar attacks, in the West as retaliation for the West fighting them overseas.

It's really not all that different than any other war.

Edited by D- Ice
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Well said. Though I do wonder to what extent this caliphate (or caliphates) would engage in aggression against not just Western (or foreign more generally) interests in their geographical region but more widely. Several groups have shown a keenness in conducting attacks against nations that don't directly exert influence on their intended spheres of operation. Jemaah Islamiyah spring to mind with their attempts to attack Australia.

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Thanks bro.

That's a very good observation, and to be honest, I also find it perplexing.

I had to Wikipedia Jemaah Islamiyah since I haven't heard of them before. The page talks about an attack on the Australian Embassy, is that what you meant? They also seemed to attack many Western hotel companies, and were responsible for the infamous Bali Bombing.

IMO those seem to be them trying to remove Western influences - no matter how apolitical - from the places they are based in. Past a few wackos in segregated societies who are quickly dealt with, I doubt they'd try anythng similar in the West.

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I meant more the various home-grown individuals like Willie Brigitte, the Benbrika Group and Sydney Five who had operational links with groups like JI and LeT. And the Holsworthy barracks plotters who were affiliated with al-Shabaab. But Andrew Zammit amongst others has discussed actual JI cells operating directly in Australia before 9/11. http://andrewzammit.org/2012/10/07/the-development-of-jemaah-islamiyah-and-its-australian-branch/

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Thanks for the article mate, it made for some great reading.

Could it be that they simply labelled Australia as part of "the West", and therefore a legitimate target for retaliation any grievances? I'd imagine that such groups/cells have very limitted intelligence capabilities in fnding targets, so they end up attacking whatever's most relevant/convenient to wherever they have a cell.

Or do you think there was a more sinister expansionist agenda for them there?

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It's a definite possibility. There's also the additional influencing factor of Australia's involvement in East Timor and supporting the Indonesian government forces against Islamist fighters which I forgot about. Still, I'm not entirely sure there's much of a practical distinction between attacking a country because of the perception they're part of the West regardless of their culpability in actions against the perceived interests of the organisation, and attacking a country because you wish to extend your sphere of influence there.

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Apparently they (IS) were planning to build a biological ICBM to spread a virus or some sh*t.

 

 

Not to mention they want to kill the pope as well.

 

 

Edited by Vishnu1111
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It's a definite possibility. There's also the additional influencing factor of Australia's involvement in East Timor and supporting the Indonesian government forces against Islamist fighters which I forgot about. Still, I'm not entirely sure there's much of a practical distinction between attacking a country because of the perception they're part of the West regardless of their culpability in actions against the perceived interests of the organisation, and attacking a country because you wish to extend your sphere of influence there.

Thanks for the info. I guess it does make more sense if Australia was somehow involved in Indonesia.

I completely agree with you regarding there not being any practical distnction - maybe except Western governments can step up security measures shortly after intervention in such areas, in preparation for attacks. But then again, these groups are highly opportunist and patient, not attacking during times of heightened security. 9/11 was carried out years (if not decades) after the Western support for Israel and 1991 Gulf War that bin Laden claimed it was revenge for, so I think it'll makes very little difference as you said.

 

Apparently they (IS) were planning to build a biological ICBM to spread a virus or some sh*t.

 

 

Not to mention they want to kill the pope as well.

 

 

The ICBM and Pope assassination claims seem very unreliable, likely spread by factions fghting the IS desperate for Western support. They are also completely inconsistent with the facts on the ground - the IS is now busy trying (and IMO probably failing) to defend against the US air-force-supported ISF and Peshmarga offensives to retake land from them. Even before that, their expansionist agenda was limited solely to Iraq and Syria.

 

However, they have displayed plans to reactivate and use captured SCUD and other long-range (but not inter-continental) ballistics missiles, perhaps even producing biological warheads, most probably against pro-Assad or pro-Iraqi government forces.

The likelihood that they'll use these missiles (if existant) against the West is highly unlikely. With current direct US involvement in fighting them, there might be an increased chance that'll carry out bombing or other attacks on the US and its allies, though I'm not sure just how likely that will be now.

Edited by D- Ice
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Behold!!

 

 

laptop_cover2crop.jpg

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/08/28/found_the_islamic_state_terror_laptop_of_doom_bubonic_plague_weapons_of_mass_destruction_exclusive

 

THE "LAPTOP OF DOOM"!!!

The most diabolical laptop on the planet!

 

(I know this some serious shyt but when I saw that headline on CNN it made me LOL)

 

apperantly it's ISIS's laptop that has all their master terror plans of mass destruction and terrorist field manuals....like a jihadist cookbook.

Edited by Lil ski
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The ICBM and Pope assassination claims seem very unreliable, likely spread by factions fghting the IS desperate for Western support. They are also completely inconsistent with the facts on the ground - the IS is now busy trying (and IMO probably failing) to defend against the US air-force-supported ISF and Peshmarga offensives to retake land from them. Even before that, their expansionist agenda was limited solely to Iraq and Syria.

They don't seem to let geographical distances stop them from making threats to America and the White house. So why is it so far fetched to see them threaten the Pope? His location changes depending on what country he visits which could possibly work in their favor. Plus, he's seen as the top guy of western religion which is everything they are against. If anything, you'd expect him to be higher on the list than America.

 

Fighting guys like this is tough. There is no end, there is no bargaining, no compromise. They want us (the west) dead and will fight to the death. What other choice do they give us besides completely annihilating them? What makes someone who joins this "army" think that they are going to succeed in the long run?

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The ICBM and Pope assassination claims seem very unreliable, likely spread by factions fghting the IS desperate for Western support. They are also completely inconsistent with the facts on the ground - the IS is now busy trying (and IMO probably failing) to defend against the US air-force-supported ISF and Peshmarga offensives to retake land from them. Even before that, their expansionist agenda was limited solely to Iraq and Syria.

They don't seem to let geographical distances stop them from making threats to America and the White house.

I never really denied the likelihood of attacks on the West - I suggest you re-read my post. My point was in regards to ideological expansionism. And with that, it certainly isn't just a matter of distance as you incorrectly assume - the increased resistance, lack of instability and desperation, andless desperate people willing to tolerate the IS against a larger percieved evil will all certainly get in the way of expansionism to the West.

 

So why is it so far fetched to see them threaten the Pope?

Simply because he is not a direct threat to the IS, and they know that full well. They aren't quite the illogical madmen who'll blindly attack anyone different like you very oddly seem to assume. Otherwise they wouldn't have achieved a fraction of what they have, would they?

 

His location changes depending on what country he visits which could possibly work in their favor. Plus, he's seen as the top guy of western religion which is everything they are against. If anything, you'd expect him to be higher on the list than America.

Yes, he can be made an easier target during international visits, and he is a major enemy based on the IS' warped narrative of modern-day Crusades. However, they (alongside virtually all hardline anti-West Islamists) have long proven that they are pragmatic enough to only assign significant resources to practical targets. As such, the Pope won't be making any of their lists - unless he makes blatant anti-Islamic comments, and they're desperate to win some quick popularity with some disenfranchised Muslims, which is highly unlikely.

 

Fighting guys like this is tough. There is no end, there is no bargaining, no compromise.

With the IS, that certainly holds true - infact it is what makes them infamous and unique amongst other similar groups. However, it certainly isn't the case with other groups, including al-Qaeda, who have shown a willingness to work and compromise with states. Al-Qaeda worked with the Pakistani ISI and the CIA during the 1980s, and more recently lost a lot of Sunni support in Iraq during the post-invasion civil war/sectarian violence by working with Iran and not retaliating against Shia sectarian attacks - instead only working against the coalition forces.

 

They want us (the west) dead and will fight to the death. What other choice do they give us besides completely annihilating them? What makes someone who joins this "army" think that they are going to succeed in the long run?

That is complete rubbish - claims that they want to annhialate the West just becase it is different are frankly laughable.

Their aim, as their name suggests, is currently to set up a "Caliphate" in the areas they control, based on their interpretation of Wahhabi Islam (in fact, right now they are just trying to keep their "Caliphate" together). Any possible attacks on the West are retaliatory for directly opposing their agenda in the Middle-East, or helping other factions who oppose them.

 

And it will be near-impossible to extenally annhialate them - they will likely just go underground, and reform at the next opportunity, as they did once the Anbar tribes and Sahwa defeated them at around 2006.

Even if, as an organistion, they're destroyed, more similar organisations will pop-up to replace them. Remember, these organisations feed of peoples' discontent at Western intervention in the Middle-East, the attempts to completely annihilate them that you propose being a prime examples of. They also feed on a percieved Western opposition to Islam, which is common with the existance of (relatively) secular pro-Western dictatorships and the undemocratic overthrow of populist Islamist governments. So all-out fighting against them would lead to continuous fighting and attacks on Western interests.

The situation there is far more complex than you'd expect.

 

What makes the people join and fight in that organsation is a desire to end their suffering, which they blame on Western interventionism and lack of a hardline Islamic society. Most recruits to the IS actually aren't as hardlne as the organisation, but are slowly brainwashed to their way of thinking.

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Wow, all that for my post. I was simply saying they don't mind making threats that will never come to fruition. It's emboldens their own followers.

 

 

claims that they want to annhialate the West just becase it is different are frankly laughable. Their aim, as their name suggests, is currently to set up a "Caliphate" in the areas they control, based on their interpretation of Wahhabi Islam

Al-Qaeda's former leader, Osama bin Laden, called for Muslims to "establish the righteous caliphate of our umma". And yet was also responsible for the 9/11 attack. Their goals and views are pretty much the same.

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