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There may be more strategy than meets the eye

Reader comment on item: How Much Should Israel Fear ISIS?
in response to reader comment: ISIS strategy

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Jul 15, 2016 at 15:49

Hello, Daniel

You made a profound point, in saying that ISIS does not appear to act strategically. I'm struggling to absorb that thought:

First of all, ISIS has in the past acted very strategically. For a long time, they held off from attacking Turkey -- which, basically, was keeping from biting the hand that fed them. Starting about a year ago, they did carry out some bombings; but those were against Kurds in Turkey; and the Turks obliged ISIS by blaming the blasts on the Kurds and starting a war with them. As the Kurds advanced on ISIS positions in Syria, then, the Turks attacked the Kurds in their rear with artillery and airstrikes. The US (Obama) then put pressure on the Turks, to not attack the people (namely, the Syrian Kurds) who were America's chief ally in the area. It seems that the Turks then bowed to America's pressure, and ISIS then went after the Turks with a vengeance.

That seems like strategic thinking, even though all we are able to see on the big scale, is ISIS seeming to attack even close friends.

There is another factor, which might have some bearing: that the ISIS fighters are a gang of meth addicts. That would cause the FIGHTERS to boldly attack anyone their suppliers told them to; but it does not explain why their leaders are behaving as they are.

It's possible, that ISIS, realizing that they are trapped in Libya and the Levant by the Russians and NATO, are doing a full-court press with their remaining resources to put on a show of strength while they quietly regroup and consolidate their strength in other locales -- places such as Afghanistan, Niger and Central Asia. This comes out of "The Thought of Chairman Mao Tse Tung", which I used to read in my hippie days. (Mao said that when you are weak, you need to concentrate your forces). Whatever book they got this from, it is strategic thinking.

Note that Mao ultimately won, with the world's most populous country as his prize.


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