Let’s try this model . . . .
We, including Muslims, have before us the archaic manifestation of a legacy in religion owned by about 1.6 billion souls. Some, and for reasons ranging from how they were raised to the possession of the adolescent messianic narcissism known to dictators, would place themselves somewhere beneath the Muslim Botherhood (intentional) umbrella.
Wouldn’t the moderate and peaceful, truly peaceful, want the hotheads and the improvident to get up and go where they might be seen and subjected to the horrors of their own dreams?
As I have argued elsewhere (any may feel welcome to ask), the incubating of the al-Qaeda types, including ISIS, in Syria appears to have been designed as political theater — a theater of the very real — to both blackmail and goad the west into concessions before the Assad regime. It was a good KGB-style plan, and, please note, Russia got to channel the worst of its own Chechnya rebels to the fighting (and it slipped in a few spies as well); however, update: NATO may sting post-Soviet neo-feudal Russia and its alignments (Damascus, Tehran) with its own wasps.
While ISIS has been growing or distilling out of other populations those most prone to join the fight as 7th Century barbarians in Syria, the greater world has been witness to the we’re-not-those-Muslims Muslim repudiation of the al-Qaeda types, the common use of the terms “Islamist” and “jihadist” and such to separate the same from the greater Ummah going forward, and, of late, the appearance reform-minded discussions (e.g., New Age Islam) and organizations (e.g., Muslim Reform Movement). Expect traction to take some time.
There are other facets . . . like that of getting the Iraqi military to hold itself together against not only ISIS, from whom it has been wresting territory this past month, but also from Khamenei’s aggression through Iraq’s more “fiery” Shiite militia, long infested with Revolutionary Guard officers.
Archaic | Feudal-Toward-Modern Main Body | Cultural Avant Garde –>
Quite possibly for the public accustomed to ironic simplifications, what Moscow, Damascus, and Tehran have developed in Syria looks a little like the mirror image of CIA’s support for the Taliban in association with Zia Haq’s own conservative Islamism pitched against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In today’s Syrian Tragedy, it’s Moscow, essentially, that appears to manipulate the Sunni-aligned jihadists munching away on the landscape (and enriching itself with oil sales by way of whoever hands over the cash for it).
Be that as it may, it’s looking like the west has been neither blackmailed nor goaded by “Assad vs The Terrorists” has instead absorbed the fallout in finger-wagging (for not intervening) and refugee migration, and may well stick Moscow (Damascus and Tehran) with “The Terrorists”. It may be toward that purpose that the Russian military has strengthened it presence in Syria.
The inspiration for the response: claim that ISIS had been strengthened under the Obama Administration in relation to the Administration weak response to terrorism.
BackChannels counterpoint: the strategy to move the medieval world (and the representatives of political absolute power) toward the modern one (and distributed, checked, and representative power) has a slow track, and in relation to the Islamic Small Wars involves making the feudal world sufficiently visible for fighting. IF that idea works, THEN the post-Soviet axis (Moscow-Damascus-Tehran) has done a right thing for the wrong reasons: intending to get at the west, it has helped produce an enemy in space that can be addressed with conventional forces from every side opposed to it.
BackChannels. “Syria — ‘Assad vs The Terrorists’ — How ISIS Defends Assad.” October 2, 2015.
BCC. “Syria conflict: IS ‘destroyed helicopters’ at Russian base.” May 24, 2016 — (breaking story today, May 25, and still frequently updated).
Bender, Jeremy. “Russia’s war against terrorism isn’t what it seems.” Business Insider, August 24, 2015.
Berlinger, Joshua. “Did ISIS attack Russian military equipment at key Syrian base?” CNN World, May 25, 2016.
Fox News. “ISIS claims female Russian spy infiltrated terror network.” May 9, 2016.
Martinez, Michael. “ISIS video claims to show boy executing two men accused of being Russian spies.” CNN, January 15, 2015.
McInnis, J. Matthew. “Is Iran’s Iraq policy coming apart?” American Enterprise Institute, May 17, 2016.
Osborn, Andrew. “Putin ally says Chechen spies infiltrate Islamic State in Syria.” Reuters, February 8, 2016.
Pleitgen, Frederik. “Russia’s military in Syria: Bigger than you think and not going anywhere.” CNN World, May 9, 2016.
Sanchez, Raf. “Iran-backed Shia militia says it will fight US Marines deployed to Iraq.” The Telegraph, March 21, 2016.
Vice News and Reuters. “Notorious Iranian General Makes Cameo as Iraqis Push to Retake Fallujah From the Islamic State.” May 24, 2016.
Weiss, Caleb. “Iranian Qods Force leader reportedly in Fallujah.” Threat Matrix, The Long War Journal, May 23, 2016.
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