SMALL WARS COUNCIL
Go Back   Small Wars Council > Conflicts -- Current & Future > Global & General > Global Issues & Threats

Global Issues & Threats Trans-national issues and actors. Culture and the Clash of Civilizations.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-21-2015   #221
Bill Moore
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,995
Default

Quote:
How well ISIL fights is actually a clear metric of the inherent legitimacy they possess. We would do well to ponder on that thought.
That uncomfortable thought is certainly part of the reason. I would add that a unifying ideology is critical to bring together civilians (in this case from around the world) and turn them into a disciplined fighting force. And of course, a statement of the obvious, they must have excellent trainers. It also appears they're a learning organization.

A lot of folks we train around the world don't believe in their cause (probably most, thus the value of the legitimacy argument), they have weak and dishonest leaders they don't trust, and they're not learning organizations capable of adapting (based on poor leadership). There are a lot of intangibles involved in unit effectiveness that will undermine our tangible capacity to train and equip.
Bill Moore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2015   #222
tequila
Council Member
 
tequila's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 1,665
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
Video of Islamic State capabilities impresses military experts

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/04/2...abilities.html



Much more in the report, well worth the read. It is an honest assessment from folks on the ground who are not spinning a narrative. It raises important questions on why ISIS is producing more competent foot soldiers than Iraq. I suspect the answers will make us uncomfortable, which normally results in an organizational state of denial.
After watching the propaganda video in question, I'm not sure what the experts are seeing that I'm not (the video is accessible through a link in the story itself).

All you really see is a couple of ranger files of guys walking towards Bayji carrying bottled water. Proper spacing is hard to figure out, but it's not like these guys are doing a squad assault. Then there's about 2:30 of closeups of jihadis firing full auto. Some are firing from the shoulder, a few are doing controlled bursts. But the vast majority are just doing Rambo-style jihadi-cool full auto at something vague in the distance - a few are firing from the hip and aiming at the clouds. Most of these are likely posed.

I agree that ISIS has shown it can outfight the ISF - but I think that's because the ISF has degenerated from an already parlous state, not because ISIS is any good in a stand-up fight.
tequila is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2015   #223
Bill Moore
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,995
Default

Thanks for sharing the link to the video, this is the fourth video I have seen of ISIS in combat, and it only adds to the assessment of the analysts quoted in the article. Again we're assessing relative combat effectiveness, so I disagree with you that they couldn't stand up to a real Arab Army anywhere in the Middle East. The Syrian Army is quite good relatively for the region, and ISIS does moderately well in stand-up battles against them.

0:55 the automated command, control, computers, communications, and intelligence (supported by a drone) is relatively impressive. Probably something we'll see more of around the world due to the availability of this technology.

starting around 1:35 the use of mostly conventional crew served weapons is impressive. Acquiring them in battle is one thing, employing them effectively is another. They have done both. Results starting around 6:40, with numerous IA vehicles destroyed including at least one tank.

I tried to find it, but I suspect it was removed from the internet , there is one video that is impressive showing ISIL storming an occupying building. They took some hits in the way in, but in a disciplined manner persisted with the attack until they were successful.

People much less well trained and equipped made life difficult for our guys in Fallujah, so I wouldn't underestimate the challenge. No doubt we can defeat them, but at times it would be become a slug fest.
Bill Moore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2015   #224
tequila
Council Member
 
tequila's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 1,665
Default

Bill - agreed with all your main points. They've showed they can defeat their adversaries, and that's what counts. Short of the fall of Baghdad, a MEU or a US armored division is not coming over the horizon.

I think that one of the main things that requires research is ISIL's ability to maintain C4IR and logistics across a very large battlespace in the face of US airpower. Right now I don't think anyone outside of ISIL's command structure itself and maybe the US Gov really knows just how autonomous the different emirs or regions are, or how ISIL's internal supply network works. That they managed to sustain combat in Kobane as long as they did in the face of crippling strikes was pretty impressive to me, even if they did retreat in the end.

That ISIL shows the sort of internal cohesion and leadership to outmatch the Iraqi government, as feeble as that task may be, shows just how important those two qualities are in the face of billions of dollars in aid and equipment.

I think Iraq is in the process of forming a genuine national identity that can command real loyalty to a nation irrespective of governmental identity. Unfortunately this appears to have an exclusively Shia Arab phenomenon at the moment. Not sure where this goes in the end - probably not towards the sort of Iraq we wanted in 2003.
tequila is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2015   #225
Bob's World
Council Member
 
Bob's World's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,706
Default

Key phrase being "...what we wanted."

Some day we will learn that we are far better served by what we need (a partner with a government possessed of local popular legitimacy - regardless of the form that government might take), than we are by a government we want that is inherently lacking in popular legitimacy by all but those who have sold out to the US to gain power under our protection.

Every time we have adopted a strategy of building a military to defend such a government it has been an abysmal failure. In order, Philippines pre-WWII, South Vietnam, Iraq and (collapsing as soon as we leave) Afghanistan.

I used to think our approach of not controlling such forces was far superior to the British model of recruiting units from such places to serve Britain, rather than their born homelands. But the British model has a legitimacy all of it's own. Those men join to serve Great Britain. We train units to serve government who are created by us. My apologies to Brits who I have chided in the past on this matter.

Better still are units serving a national government possessed of broad popular legitimacy, but that is not something we can create. We often support such partners and allies, but to attempt to create is to render them fatally flawed from inception.
__________________
Robert C. Jones
Intellectus Supra Scientia
(Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
Bob's World is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2015   #226
Bill Moore
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,995
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Key phrase being "...what we wanted."

Some day we will learn that we are far better served by what we need (a partner with a government possessed of local popular legitimacy - regardless of the form that government might take), than we are by a government we want that is inherently lacking in popular legitimacy by all but those who have sold out to the US to gain power under our protection.

Every time we have adopted a strategy of building a military to defend such a government it has been an abysmal failure. In order, Philippines pre-WWII, South Vietnam, Iraq and (collapsing as soon as we leave) Afghanistan.

I used to think our approach of not controlling such forces was far superior to the British model of recruiting units from such places to serve Britain, rather than their born homelands. But the British model has a legitimacy all of it's own. Those men join to serve Great Britain. We train units to serve government who are created by us. My apologies to Brits who I have chided in the past on this matter.

Better still are units serving a national government possessed of broad popular legitimacy, but that is not something we can create. We often support such partners and allies, but to attempt to create is to render them fatally flawed from inception.
A lot of factors need to be aligned for capacity building to work, both tangible and intangible. We focus too much on the tangible things we can count and convince ourselves we're making progress. Heck, we have stats to prove it
Bill Moore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2015   #227
Bob's World
Council Member
 
Bob's World's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,706
Default

Frame for failure, and failure is inevitable. Frame for success, and success is possible.

We have always been so sure of our rightness, that we tend to assume that will overcome the shades of wrongness we impose upon others to ensure our own interests. It doesn't.

Or said another way, we are too quick to rationalize why it is ok to deny for others the very things we demand for ourselves. 100 years ago one could sort of still get away with that. Today it is an impossibility.

If we swapped our current NSS for Washington's farewell address we would be far better served as a nation. Partners grown overly dependent would quibble, as would the neocon hawks, but it would lead to approaches much better suited for the world we live in today.
__________________
Robert C. Jones
Intellectus Supra Scientia
(Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
Bob's World is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2015   #228
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 11,344
Default How Isis crippled al-Qaida: a long read

A long newspaper article to read in The Guardian, which on the first read covers many points and links on SWC. The key feature appears to be access to two Jihadist clerics, Abu Muhammed al-Maqdisi and Abu Qatada, now both resident in Jordan:http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...pled-al-qaida?

Here is a taster:
Quote:
Now the man US terrorism analysts call “the most influential living jihadi theorist” has turned his ire toward Isis – and emerged, in the last year, as one of the group’s most powerful critics. ..... Maqdisi released a long tract castigating Isis as ignorant and misguided, accusing them of subverting the “Islamic project” that he has long nurtured.

As Qatada poured tea into small glass tumblers, he began reeling off images to better communicate the depth of his loathing for Isis. He likes speaking in metaphors. The group, he said, was “like a bad smell” that has polluted the radical Islamic environment. No, they were better described as a “cancerous growth” within the jihadi movement – or, he continued, like the diseased branch of a fig tree that needs to be pruned before it kills the entire organism.
Violent groups often reject their mentors IIRC. Now whether the two clerics can influence how ISIS develops is a moot point. At a minimum it may restrain those jihadists who have read their tracts not to go to join ISIS.
__________________
davidbfpo
davidbfpo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2015   #229
omarali50
Council Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 841
Default

Pinker has an article in the Guardian about decline in violence that triggered the following blog post. Tangentially related to this thread

http://brownpundits.blogspot.com/201....html?spref=fb

relevant extract:
Quote:
by the way: I think the US has caused state failure in Iraq and contributed to it in Syria (and now has a supporting role in the attempted state failure in Yemen; in Yemen I think the Saudis are the prime movers of the idiocy. There is no reason to accept the Eurocentric Metropolitan Racist view that only White people have agency. The Subaltern may speak )
Why has the US caused these state failures? I dont think it was deliberate. But I do think it shows you that it is not just the SJWs/Postmarxist academics who don't appreciate how important the state is; even the decision makers of the most powerful state in the world don't seem to get it. Or rather, they don't seem to have sufficient grasp of where the asabiya or legitimacy of a state comes from: it comes from genuine fellow feeling, or it comes from colonial structures that happened to be this way and within which the necessary fellow feeling builds over time. EITHER can work. Both together are even better. But remove both, and the #### will hit the fan...
Which is also why groups like the Kurds can fight better than any fake army put together by US advisers alone. US advisers PLUS genuine national feeling (Afghanistan, if the US had not allowed us to mess it up) can work though

Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-12-2015 at 09:13 AM. Reason: Cited text in quotes
omarali50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2015   #230
SWJ Blog
Council Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 10,866
Default A Global Strategy for Combating al Qaeda and the Islamic State

A Global Strategy for Combating al Qaeda and the Islamic State

Entry Excerpt:



--------
Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.
SWJ Blog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2016   #231
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 11,344
Default IS -v- AQ: The War within

Hat tip to WoTR for this long article:http://warontherocks.com/2016/01/the-islamic-state-vs-al-qaeda-the-war-within-the-jihadist-movement/?

Taster:
Quote:
The Islamic State’s rise has reshaped the global jihadist landscape, which for nearly two decades was dominated by al-Qaeda. With the Islamic State seizing the world’s attention, the age of unipolarity within the jihadist movement is over, replaced by intense internal conflict. Each group is firm in the belief that its organizational model is superior to that of its opponent.
__________________
davidbfpo
davidbfpo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2016   #232
Bill Moore
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,995
Default

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/ar...n-afghanistan/

Pentagon Given New Authority to Target ISIS in Afghanistan

Quote:
The White House has granted the Pentagon new authority to target ISIS and its affiliates in Afghanistan, a decision that for the first time expands the military’s legal authorization to carry out offensive operations against the group beyond Iraq and Syria.
While this is good news, it also points to the dysfunction of the U.S. approach to strategy. Two brief points, first ISIS (or ISIL) is a transnational movement that has a presence in many locations around the world beyond Iraq and Syria. This is recognized by policy makers, so why did our policy wonks ignore this challenge until it became a crisis in Afghanistan, Libya, and elsewhere? For Afghanistan, it would seem logical that any combatant that challenges the government we're partnering with would be fair game since they're part of the collective challenge to the security and stability we are assisting the Government of Afghanistan pursue. Our repeated efforts to provide support to countries to go after a small part of a larger problem fails us repeatedly.

Last edited by Bill Moore; 01-24-2016 at 10:47 PM.
Bill Moore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2016   #233
Bill Moore
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,995
Default

A so-so article that suggests ISIL is gaining support in SE Asia because Al-Qaeda's support for the region has not been persistent.

http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/a...852b8-62731673

ISIS vs. Al-Qaida: How Do Affiliates Choose?

Quote:
The few al-Qaida-affiliated emissaries and financiers active in Southeast Asia since 9/11 and the 2002 Bali bombings have been widely disrupted by counterterrorism efforts. When emissaries and financiers can no longer travel and are prevented from interaction, and when attention, support and financing languishes, the ground for switching allegiances is laid, particularly for those groups that have not developed or retained a strong ideological link to al-Qaida.

Last edited by Bill Moore; 02-01-2016 at 03:14 PM. Reason: Missing word
Bill Moore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2016   #234
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 11,344
Default Three from Brookings

Catching up the output from Brookings, three recent articles (two by Will McCants and one is a Q&A with Clint Watts):

http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/marka...elsohn-mccants

http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/marka...oKpS2M.twitter

http://www.brookings.edu/research/pa...alqaida-lister



__________________
davidbfpo
davidbfpo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2016   #235
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 11,344
Default AQ or ISIS: the threat from

Jason Burke, of The Guardian, returns to the fray with an overview 'A more dangerous long-term threat': Al-Qaida grows as Isis retreats':https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...-isis-retreats
__________________
davidbfpo
davidbfpo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2017   #236
SWJ Blog
Council Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 10,866
Default Panel to HASC: Fighting Islamic State, Al Qaeda Could Take 15 More Years

Panel to HASC: Fighting Islamic State, Al Qaeda Could Take 15 More Years

Entry Excerpt:



--------
Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.
SWJ Blog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2017   #237
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 11,344
Default How Al-Qaeda survived drones, uprisings and the Islamic State

A 124pgs WINEP report 'How Al-Qaeda survived drones, uprisings and the Islamic State', reflecting a one day workshop in March 2017 and with a very strong American content. From the introduction:
Quote:
The event was organized thematically around four topics: (1) al-Qaeda’s strength from an international and domestic perspective; (2) al-Qaeda’s strongest branch in Syria, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham); (3) al-Qaeda’s major branches outside Syria (AQAP, AQIM, al-Shabab, and AQIS); and (4) al-Qaeda’s financial structure. This provided a rich portrait of al-Qaeda’s current stature and the nature of the threat it poses in the broader Middle East as well as in Western countries, including the United States.
Link:http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/u...s153-Zelin.pdf
__________________
davidbfpo
davidbfpo is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
afghanistan, al qaeda, al-qaeda, al-qaida, al-queda, al-quida, aqap, aqap. aqea, aqim, canada, counter insurgency, counter terrorism, future threats, gwot, pakistan, prevention, radicalisation, state building, strategy, terrorims, terrorism, threat, usa, yemen

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Matters Blackwater (Merged thread) SWJED PMCs and Entrepreneurs 317 04-04-2017 07:17 PM
The David Kilcullen Collection (merged thread) Fabius Maximus Doctrine & TTPs 451 03-31-2016 04:23 PM
Water Scarcity: merged thread Surferbeetle Global Issues & Threats 14 08-19-2014 07:41 PM
After the Bin Laden op, what is the impact? Not on terrorism. Merged thread Ray Global Issues & Threats 69 05-23-2012 12:51 PM
The future with Karzai: a debate (merged thread with new title) slapout9 OEF - Afghanistan 62 06-24-2010 08:21 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 09:06 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9. ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Registered Users are solely responsible for their messages.
Operated by, and site design © 2005-2009, Small Wars Foundation