ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc.

Obama’s IS Strategy (part 2)

A few military and Republican leaders are criticizing Obama for saying that “American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission.” But he and the American public are right to draw this line, and they are right strategically as well. If he had said, “Well we just might have to go back in,” that would give the military another option, but it would also send a signal to Baghdad that, if they keep screwing up, we’ll come dig them out. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee should be able to figure this out.

America is not responsible for Iraq, but it does have in interest in stopping the spread of terrorist Muslims. They wreaked havoc on 9/11, and the recent plot in Australia along with recruitment of US nationals shows they would do it again if they could. A stable base of operations—which they had for 9/11—would certainly up their chances.

Obama’s ISIS Strategy

 It is now clear why Obama recently said he had no ISIS strategy. Ten Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia just announced they would join the US in a strategy to destroy ISIS. It’s much harder to bring players like that on board if you announce that you’ve decided everything and just want them to join you and do what you’ve decided needs doing. So in fact he had a much more subtle strategy than the hard left and hard right could imagine, and the first step was to gain crucial support from the Arabs.

In fact, those complaining about his strategy understand little about war or about strategy in any competitive game. You don’t announce your strategy, that only helps your opponent. And in politics is makes no sense to announce that you have a great strategy, but you’re not telling what it is. So the only course is to play your cards close to your vest.

The Saudis

  We know that 19 out of 20 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, as was bin Laden, but consider this: “We know from WikiLeaks that the US government regards the Saudi monarchy as a “critical financial support base” for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and other terrorist groups.” (NYRB xlnk.gif)