To begin, he tells us why ISIS is ultimately doomed...they've created too many enemies. The list includes not just the U.S. but moderate Sunnis, the Arab oil sheiks, all Shiites, Iraq, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorists groups - including al Qaeda. Its hard to imagine a more disparate group. And so...
ISIS, then, faces two major military threats: other terrorist groups and the possibility of a Sunni uprising in areas under its control, driven by popular revulsion among the Muslims that these jihadists consider traitors to Islam. The group faces enemies in all directions and eventually, no matter how many weapons it holds, no matter how much money it has, ISIS will fall when confronted by those terrorists or those Muslims.Eichenwald points out that the only thing that could get it the way of their defeat is over-reach by the U.S.
As one terrorism expert told me, ISIS is hoping America will go too far in response, launch attacks that kill lots of innocent Muslims in an attempt to wipe out the jihadists. That would not destroy ISIS, but would derail the Islamic threat to the group. For no matter how hated ISIS is among the other jihadists and Middle Eastern Muslims, the United States is despised more. A new American strategic blunder on par with the Iraq War would distract ISIS’s Islamic enemies and turn the battle, once again, toward the U.S. If ISIS is to survive, it needs America to strike out rashly and harshly against it.This reminded me of how the world came together following the 9/11 attacks in support of the U.S. We lost all of that good will by invading Iraq based on lies cooked up by the Bush administration.
That is exactly what President Obama is working to avoid by building a coalition (read: partnership) with all the groups ISIS has alienated...to defeat them. There is only one way to ensure that happens:
The U.S. can soften up ISIS with strategic bombing to aid the Islamic fighters taking them on. But it cannot beat them by rolling the Humvees back into Iraq or Syria. ISIS will be defeated by its own brutality against the people who might otherwise be their allies.That's some brilliant analysis to absorb prior to listening to the President outline his strategy.