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comment by goobster

    Then Russia came in and essentially stopped us from entering war with Syria through diplomacy and made Obama look really stupid.

This is a very ... odd ... interpretation of events.

The short version: ISIS believes that they are building the next Third Reich in Caliphate form, as foretold in their mythology. The central component of this belief is the prophecy that the Final Battle will be waged in a very specific location, against a very specific enemy. Their victory in this battle will be the sign that the prophecy has come true, and Muslims worldwide will flock to them to live in the new Caliphate.

The location? Mosul. (Roughly.)

The enemy? Christians.

So what ISIS did was wage a ridiculous one-front war where they drove headlong towards Mosul, leaving their flank completely uncovered, until they got to Mosul, and then dug in.

They then began a terror campaign of ever-escalating horrors to try and bait the "Christians" (aka Not ISIS) into coming into Mosul and starting their glorious Final Battle.

We (the US and our Allies) talked about this a lot, and decided not to fall for the bait. A door-to-door war in a city full of civilians only has one result: nobody wins.

So ISIS beheaded people. Then more people.

Then they started setting people on fire in the public squares. And throwing them off buildings.

And waging a MASSIVE and effective social media campaign to get people worked up, and push their (christian) governments to action.

We didn't take the bait.

We had them completely surrounded, starving without supplies, their supply lines and sources of income (oil fields) cut off, and we settled down for a long siege like people hadn't seen since Sarajevo.

Then dipshit Vlad Putin comes riding in on his white horse and fucked it all up.

He gave ISIS exactly what they wanted: a war on their own territory and terms.

Now every single fighter to die in Mosul is a hero of the Caliphate, a Martyr, and a champion to be celebrated in the great battle against the Christian aggressors. New ISIS recruits flock in every day to die as heroes and enshrine their family name in history. Proud images of the dead fighters and their names are traded like baseball cards amongst the young, disaffected, unemployed, radicalized Muslim youth who see no other future for themselves, so they die for their families.

THAT is why we didn't put boots on the ground.

And THAT is why Putin has ensured this will be the next Afghanistan, because there is no winning strategy when you fight radicalism - a belief system - with bullets. The only way to beat a radical is to have them renounce their beliefs....

... which they would have after another month of having to eat their belts and shoes, walled up inside Mosul, before Putin came in and fucked it all up and turned it into his favorite thing to lose: A ground war.

So yeah... "made Obama look really stupid" shows a fantastically ill-informed view of the situation. The only one that looked stupid - and continues to do so to this day, in Syria - is Putin.




yellowoftops  ·  51 days ago  ·  link  ·  

If we knew how to reliably beat radicals we wouldn't be facing terrorism across the globe. Radicalism comes from the dramatic speed of globalization and the clashes that forces with the disenfranchised that are created in the stuggle.

Russia came in after the first chemical attack, negotiated the forfeiture of the chemical weapons (ostensibly), and stopped the US from drastically changing the course of the war. Assad was on the ropes back then, and our support of the rebels, groups who we had no real cohesive description of, could well have ended the war, created another vacuum of power, and given wide swaths of land to someone else.

ISIS has since become a larger threat than they were at the time because of the last power vacuum we created in Iraq. I have no desire to simply repeat the mistakes of the past by casually interfering in the affairs of foreign countries.

PS. Have a degree in middle eastern studies and did a lot of time over there fighting terrorism. Probably not as ill informes as you think.

goobster  ·  49 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Sure, and I don't disagree with anything you said.

As you well know, at this point you can make pretty much ANY declarative statement about Syria, and it will have been true at some point in the last 10 years.

The point is that ISIS has a stated goal to have a land war between the "christians" and ISIS, at that specific location, according to prophecy.

So... walking into that situation with boots on the ground and guns blazing sure ain't the way to stop that from becoming the biggest radical Islamist recruiting tool ever invented by man.

The scariest thing is that Syria probably winds up getting partitioned up once Assad is assassinated and ISIS is squished like a bug, since there is nobody else with the strength to take over a tribal country with no infrastructure and no clear majority. Which then puts the entire eastern coastline of the Mediterranean in some serious shit like they have never seen before...

Syria is a Big Fucking Problem. And everything Putin has done has only made the problem worse.

Do you agree?

yellowoftops  ·  48 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I don't know that Syria is actually a big problem for me, or for US National Security. I mean sure, you can rightfully argue that ISIS will breed new terrorists, but I'm not convinced that they are any better or worse than Al-Qaeda. One of the major reasons that they were able to conquest over so much land in the first place thruogh Iraq was because there was a huge amount of American military equipment that the Iraqi 'Army' left behind after we had given it to them to fight Al-Qaeda.

I'm not worried about the Madhi prophecy because most people just see it as a weird religious sect, and not a real prophecy. Nor do I believe that most ISIS fighters actually believe in that cause or any cause in particular other than, "We've been getting fucked over by everyone from the West to the Russians to our own 'Leaders' and we are sick of it." Many fighters simply believe it is the best paying job in the area. Happens with the Taliban all the time where guys from the ANP just switch over depending on who is in the territory at the time.

But the main reason I'm not worried about ISIS is that they don't pose a real threat to me. Sure they can kill people with a truck in France and England, and that could definitely happen here. San Bernadino happened here even and there was also this other thing that happen in September but I can never remember what day. And even after all of that, the losses and money spent on fighting that, ineffectively and counter-productively, has been far greater than any loss of life and property lost to terrorism.

So I don't know what will happen if Assad falls (and I don't think he will at this point), but I also don't want the responsibility of caring for it. Europe isn't doing it, China isn't doing it, South America and Africa don't even play on the world stage. Israel isn't doing it. Why is the US the only country that sees this danger as an existential threat? I feel like it's more of a child throwing a temper tantrum and we just let them get tired and fall asleep.

kleinbl00  ·  51 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I remember a political cartoon from the '80s that had a boardgame-style spinner with "Send Troops to" written across the top and in the pie wedges, "Grenada" "Beirut" "El Salvador" and a few other countries. It was captioned "Reagan's Policy Distraction Device" or something like that.

Putin is in Syria because ISIS is a great distraction for the west, and because he can look tough without having to do much, and because he's got a policy spinner of his own to deal with his domestic economy issues. I'm skeptical that the Russians have any long-term intentions in Syria; other than getting the West bogged down in the Middle East and a short-term distraction from domestic affairs, there's little upside to their presence.

I guess Lindsay Graham is ready to march. Not personally, of course. Other people's kids, as per usual.

goobster  ·  49 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Fighting in the Middle East also allows Putin to stage heavy military presence in his illegally overtaken lands in the Crimea and Chechnya.

"Eets zo much eezier, and much shorter of flight, to get to Syria from bases in glorious new Russian republicstans!"

ThatFanficGuy  ·  50 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think you've just got yourself barred from Russia.