Why the US war on ISIS will fail

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Yet another global war was announced by the US. The US has not really ever taken a break from declaring global wars since the end of World War II. Its war on communism was more than that: it was a global war on feminism, secularism, socialism, and even liberalism around the world. It was a war for the imposition of a right-wing reactionary order in developing countries, and for the forceful and undemocratic prevention of free elections in Western Europe. We now know that the US used its financial wherewithal and dirty tricks to prevent the electoral victory of socialists and communists.

The end of the Cold War did not put an end to US propensity to declare global wars. The theory that Barrington Moore Jr. applied to Stalinist Russia (to the effect that the Soviet leader needed to whip up fear and hostility toward external enemies to secure his rule at home) surely applies to the US Empire. This is an empire that does not take breaks and has to constantly find external enemies not only to keep the military-industrial complex in business, but also to maintain the state of military readiness for its armed forces. Furthermore, the US government needs to heighten the sense of fear and anxiety among the American population. A populace in fear is far more likely to be obedient: that is true of Stalinist Russia and is true of American democracy.

Soon after the end of the Cold War the US decided on Islam as the next global danger. It was not ironic that the declaration first came out of NATO headquarters in Europe. But it was after September 11, and after the release of the National Security Strategy of the US in September 2002 that the US settled on a vision of global supremacy and aggressive realism. Obama did not deviate from the National Security Strategy of the Bush administration; he merely managed it differently with greater reliance on drones and mobile special forces (incidentally, that was the preferred method of Donald Rumsfeld).

After more than a decade of a war on “terrorism,” and the war on al-Qa’idah – was it the same or did the “war on terrorism” also include other political enemies of the US and Israel? – the mission does not seem complete. Al-Qa’idah suffered greatly from the invasion of Afghanistan and the subcontracting of US war in Pakistan, but also from the assassination of Bin Laden. The movement was never a mass movement and its decapitation was almost achieved. But the movement produced copycats which may prove, or have already proven, that they are far more deadly and dangerous than al-Qa’idah. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a mass movement while al-Qa’idah was an elite terrorist organization with little, if any, mass appeal.

But the US war on ISIS is unlikely to succeed for many reasons:

1) The US is relying on allies, like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who share the very ideology of ISIS.

2) The US is relying on Arab and Muslim allies who have very bad standing among their own local populace.

3) The US has an established track record: it usually replaces a bad monster with an even worse monster in the Middle East.

4) US wars always victimize innocent civilians and push their relatives to join the enemies of the US.

5) The US refuses to draw the right and logical conclusion: that the ideology of ISIS and al-Qa’idah is that of its close ally, the Saudi regime.

6) The US is relying in its military effort on a combination of sectarian militias and local armies noted for their abysmal performance.

7) The US military has a special role for the Saudi army which was humiliated on the battlefield by a band of ill-equipped Houthi rebels in Yemen.

8) The US plan has no timetable and no political objective: it is very much akin to George W. Bush’s vaguely titled “war on terrorism.”

9) The Obama administration has formulated the plan largely in response to public opinion and congressional grumblings.

10) The claim by the US that it stands against sectarian marginalization flies against its own policies in Iraq and in Bahrain, among other places where it has aligned itself with sectarian regimes.

11) Western governments have little credibility among Muslims to try to sway Muslim public opinion in the direction of US foreign policy orientations.

12) Someone in the Saudi government convinced the US government that the Saudi clerical establishment has the credentials and credibility to fight ISIS theologically, when that establishment has a hard-won reputation of being a mere tool of the Saudi royal family.

13) It is not clear what the American objectives are in the war on ISIS: how and when will victory be declared – if achieved?

14) The US often leaves one battle scene in the region to go to the next one without finishing a mission it had announced with great fanfare.

15) The US is in a bizarre position: aiming to defeat one enemy while unwittingly coming to the aid of another enemy.

Dr. As’ad AbuKhalil is a Professor of Political Science at California State University, Stanislaus, a lecturer and the author of The Angry Arab News Service. He tweets @asadabukhalil.


The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world - but was that mummy dearest or the nanny.
The children will always remember the nanny because mummy dearest was hardly there.

Is policy of the worlds nations being run by Security Services Inc & Public Servants .....as the P.M.'s of the world creep amongst the shadows paralyzed with fear ?
It is the easiest thing in the world to wind a mind to fear it's own shadow.

Professor :-

SECURITY : is the degree of resistance to, or protection from harm.
It applies to any vulnerable & valuable asset, such as a person..............................
"a form of protection is created between the assets and the threat"

A high ranking official is being driven home on a busy highway, one evening, by her security driver. He looks in to the rear vision mirror, an expression of concern comes over his face. " Ma'm, I don't want you to be concerned, but I think we are being followed."

What role does self preservation play in the duty of care & protection on the part of the security driver.
On a busy highway, I wonder specifically which car was following them ?

Who is running whom do you think ?

This article feels more like a rant than a studied and well composed opinion piece. The author merely states points and assumptions and leaves it at that. The opinions stated are too general and need explanation. Also, the author repeats himself (point 8 and 13 are the same idea). Truly this is a terrible piece of writing. Keep in mind this comment is about the quality of writing and not the opinions expressed.

Sure, the facts mean nothing to anon, but anon could not refute them either. So, anon pretends that it all is about "the quality of writing". USA Zionists repeating what Saudi puppets tell them are sure much better. Prof Cole who states that IS is not Wahhabi is better too, I suppose.

The writing and the points expressed are garbage. Apparently the United States has been declaring wars non stop? Declaring a cold war? This author doesn't even know what the cold war was, and if he did he would have never said that the cold war was declared, nor would he say that the United States attacks liberalism. This is just in the first 3 sentences. It's so painful to read this mindless filth, that I couldn't go further. Hopefully the author learns to thoroughly investigate an issue in the future before writing about it.

I agree with all that has been said. Can anyone tell how ISIS should be fought ? Can Syria, Iran, and Lebanon confront ISIS ? Or better said, what is the coalition that should be formed as an alternative to the imperialist coalition ?

ISIL/AQ etc. can't be defeated militarily because they are an ideology with growing support. Totalitarian Marxism survives in a. Few relics,but its ideology.defeatt is total.
Great-great grandbabies, yet unborn, will fight this war. Let's Roll!
Pres Obama's policies have allowed this problem to metastisize into IS,
And the anti-war Obambi doesn't want to admit that we're at war.

Many of As'ad's points about the problems we face are spot on,
But we'll be back in 2017, and our ultimate goal in ME policy never changes.
::: Regime Change in the IRI.

The fan of the most stupid prez in USA history - no mean feat - wants us to know that
1) IS is not a result of USA imperialist wars in the ME, including by the most stupid prez in USA history - no mean feat, and of Saudi royals aka USA best friends money and so on
2) That Iran - which is a foe of IS and did NOTHING to bring it forward, very unlike the most stupid prez in USA history - no mean feat, and of Saudi royals aka USA best friends - should be invaded and Iranians mass-murdered - with the same brilliant results as the most stupid prez' in USA history - no mean feat - in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Obama's the imperialist war criminals - in Libya and Syria.

ISIS is Wahhabi+

U.S. has no intention of destroying ISIS because Wahhabis and Salafis are fighting the enemies of Israel; The Resistance. In fact, it was the U.S. and its allies who founded, armed and created the ISIS and similar groups, precisely to keep The Resistance bogged down in Syria and Iraq, so The Resistance would not be able to focus on Israel. The ISIS and similar groups, in reality, are NATO's Secret Armies also known as Operation Gladio. U.S. used NATO's Secret Armies throughout the Cold War against the Communists. Now, NATO is using its new Secret Armies against The Resistance. I would call it Operation Gladio II.

America and everyone else should stay out of it and let the jerks kill each other as they always have done. Any westerner who goes over there and gets beheaded has only their stupid self to blame.

USA imperialism had CREATED and supported islamist fanatics for its imperialist goals. So, USA should be kept accountable for its crimes.

Germain Greer 29 January 1939
Australian theorist, academic & journalist
Was a major feminist voice of the mid- 20th century
She had a nice life, wrote a lot of rubbish & did not have a clue.

I have a copy of Principal of Internal Medicine
& a Medical Dictionary
I purchased them secondhand - every house should have one really.
An A grade student top of my year - I topped over 200 students - I left school at the age of 15 year because in those days it was a waste of money to educate girls.
But my brain did not die & who knows, if I had continued at school they may have brain washed me to the level of ignorant.
Where were the educated fems to speak out as they enslaved us?

#9 is false - foreign policy is driven by weapons/oil/zionism industries, against public opinion.
#13 is clear to me: to sustain wars no matter what, and to destroy countries Israel hates while diverting attention from the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
#15 is bizarre, yes, but it works to keep war sustainable.

Does it work ?
You are sure ?
Because you see it seems that pretty much all over the planet there is an outcry

I suppose As'ad meant in #9 the wording of Obama, not the real reason.

Just to let you know - prof Cole stated "ISIL is not Wahhabi" (in comments here http://www.juancole.com/2014/09/things-fight-against.html)
He has no shame
and, by the way, Stalin was ruling from 1933 till 1953. Was it not a time when there were very real threats against USSR? Had Stalin to invent reasons to fear?

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