The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is ultimately a theocratic dictatorship, and like almost all dictatorships past and present, the security of its rulers is insured by an elite military force lavished with resources and chosen for its loyalty. In the case of ISIS, this is an elite brigade of about 4,000 troops called the “Shield of Islam” which is heavy with foreign fighters of whom the Chechens are particularly feared.
Apparently, the behind the scenes strategy of the U.S. and many of its allies in the air power and special forces oriented fight against ISIS is to destroy the Shield of Islam on the theory that if this unit that plays a central role in securing the authority and power base of the regime is destroyed or experiences major desertions, that the regime too will soon fall.
This may or may not work, but it is the most sensible strategy I’ve heard yet.
But, it does have one serious problem. What if it succeeds?
We still have no back up plan for when the regime collapses. And, we still can offer the people now ruled by ISIS no alternative regime to offer them but the rump regimes of non-Kurdish, non-Sunni Iraq, and loyalist Syria which perpetrates horrors on its own citizens in a truly gruesome civil war that has displaced half of the nation’s population. Given those choices, people now ruled by ISIS may be willing to tolerate the abominations imposed by ISIS on that theory that the ISIS regime, like the theocracy in Iran, may eventually moderate itself, and that ISIS at least offers them a nation-state and some measure of self-determination, rather what appears to them to involve perpetual subordination to factions that hate them in a multi-ethnic state.
* * * *
As an aside another truly remarkable development related to the Chechens has taken place.
Russia went to the mat in a brutal counterinsurgency against Chechen rebels not so long ago. But, rather than decapitate the Chechen insurgency, they identified one of the strongest rebel sympathizing moderate political leaders and cut a deal with him. In exchange for loyalty to Russian and to Vladamir Putin personally, they could get autonomy and earn respect as the Russian leader’s bulldogs in disputes foreign (such as the “covert” Russian war in Eastern Ukraine), and domestic (e.g. assassinating and intimidating political opponents). As a result, one of the most powerful internal military adversaries of Russia has been transformed almost overnight into one of Russia’s most loyal forces.
This is arguably the biggest military about face since the Emperor of Japan signed the Treaty ending World War II and irrevocably shifted his countries alliances from the World War II axis powers to the World War II allied powers, particularly, the United States.
Arguably, Vladamir Putin’s strategy to deal with the Chechen rebels is exactly the opposite of the one that rumor has it (as reported earlier in this post) the U.S. and its allies are employing against ISIS. Rather than trying to sever its head, which might lead anarchy, Russia’s military suppressed every other aspect of the Chechen rebel organization while leaving a leader of their movement strong enough to negotiate a peace treaty that would work on terms tolerable to each side.
from Wash Park Prophet http://ift.tt/1LEDipk
via Denver News