This War On The Islamic State Won’t Work For A Long Time

Posted on Sun 11/22/2015 by

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Bolt New 01By Andrew Bolt ~

A good assessment of what’s needed to defeat the Islamic State militarily. The bad news is that it will take a long time, and much more resolve than shown so far:

For military planners, destroying the terrorist group’s headquarters and crippling its fighting force is a relatively simple assignment, say strategists: It would require about 40,000 troops, air support and two months of fighting… With the recent experience of Afghanistan and Iraq, that is a job no Western leader wants.

PP_IslamicStateofIraqandLevantISIL_2014-01-07-38db02f6Many officials, especially in Europe, believe a full-scale military response would help Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, by broadcasting an image of Westerners seizing Arab lands…

The options short of a ground invasion are limited. After fighting Islamic State for more than a year through air strikes in Iraq and Syria, military officers, diplomats and analysts agree there is no easy formula for victory…

The US also is considering creation of a base in Iraq to launch raids on Islamic State leaders; tripling the number of special operation forces working in Syria; and expanding the list of Islamic State targets by risking additional civilian casualties in more aggressive air strikes…

Much of Islamic State’s strength comes from controlling vast areas of territory in Syria and Iraq, enabling a flow of taxes, oil profits and extortion money….

Last year, the US Treasury Department estimated Islamic State earned as much as $US1 million ($1.38 million) a day selling oil, which is smuggled to Turkey’s black market or sold locally to domestic refineries…

The Pentagon, defence officials said, had by design struck oil facilities to damage, not destroy them. The US had hoped to expel Islamic State without laying waste to the economic infrastructure of Syria and Iraq… Officials are now weighing more damaging attacks…

US and European officials say the West hasn’t been effective in countering Islamic State propaganda because, in part, it lacks the credibility and immediacy of messages relayed by friends and relatives connected to Islamic State. One way might be to have defectors tell their stories, scholars say…

Some commentators have raised the prospect of using cyberattacks to cut off Islamic State from the internet… The US military is wary of deploying cyberweapons because once they are used, the Chinese and Russian military would get a good look and develop countermeasures, military officials have said…

After conversations with their French counterparts, some US officials believe France would be willing to contribute some special forces, particularly if troops can be freed from Africa — a decision perhaps more difficult after Friday’s attack in Mali…

Currently, jets in the US-led coalition won’t drop a bomb if the military believes there is any risk of accidentally killing civilians.

Easing this policy would open up more Islamic State targets for attack, officials said. But many military leaders believe it would alienate the very population the West needs to win to their side…

“There is only one thing that is going to beat these guys and that is a ground army,” a military official said. “And there are only two ways to do that: provide one yourself or rely on someone else’s. It is either invade Syria or do what we are doing.”

UPDATE

How many lives have been lost through Obama’s timidity?

It is mind-boggling that the secretary of defense is only now considering loosening the rules of engagement. How many civilians have died because of the unnecessary political constraints that have allowed ISIL fighters to live on unmolested and wreak havoc upon the helpless? Let’s not forget that the law of war prohibits only “excessive” civilian casualties in relation to the military advantage anticipated; it doesn’t require “zero” civilian losses.

Andrew Bolt is a journalist and columnist writing for The Herald Sun in Melbourne Victoria Australia.

Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book  Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.

Read more excellent articles from Andrew Bolt’s Blog . http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/