We can’t keep ignoring ISIS and hoping that the situation sorts itself out.
When I fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, I don’t remember a feeling of being there to serve a political purpose. I was surrounded by my colleagues from Britain, Fiji, Jamaica, South Africa and the rest of the Commonwealth, and we were there for each other. It does sound pretty clichéd, but we were following orders and any political allegiances and thoughts we might have had were quickly forgotten about.
The first thing I realized about the Middle East was that it was bloody hot. If you go on a summer tour, expect 50 degree heat and sand and dehydration. As a Londoner with Irish blood it took me a while to get used to it. The second thing I realized was that life in this part of the world can be extremely cheap; a fact illustrated by Afghanistan police executing Taliban suspects when they ran out of cells in the jail. Whilst there, I felt we were doing a good job; a worthwhile job in liberating people from an oppressive regime and whilst that might sound like the sort of lingo spoken by politicians, I felt it to be accurate.
Whatever the reasons, whatever the circumstances, ISIS was born from the chaos of war in the Middle East. The rest of the world has looked on in horror as ISIS, the terrorists in black dresses, carve a path of destruction through the region. With the US and Britain still reeling from their ventures into Iraq and Afghanistan, public opinion seems to be against ground action in the region. Even as we watch videos of beheadings, public executions and general chaos, we are reluctant to act. Where would we start? It’s not just a case of us against the ISIS scum. We also have the Kurds who are on our side, who are fighting the Turks, The Turks bomb the Kurds who are fighting our enemy, but they are also our ‘allies’ and who knows where we stand with Assad and Syria. Russia has supported Assad, but the US and NATO can’t be seen to help Assad or they lose face. Throw in Hezbollah, Saudi Arabia and everyone else who has an interest and you start to understand that it’s one big clusterfuck; so how do we fix it?
A sustained ground campaign
Public opinion is against this, and the desired outcome is far from guaranteed, but 200,000 troops on the ground could destroy ISIS. What would be left is a huge void that we would need to fill with teachers, doctors and infrastructure. With the world’s economy teetering on the brink of another global recession, could we handle it?
“Air power alone will not win a campaign like this. It isn’t actually a counter-terrorist operation. This is a conventional enemy in that it has armor, tanks, artillery, it is quite wealthy, it holds ground and it is going to fight. So therefore you have to view it as a conventional military campaign.”
The former chief of the defense staff, General Lord Dave Richards
Support the Assad regime
Russia has already done this, but after the US and NATO publicly insulted Assad and supported the rebels against him, we would look pretty silly if we did this. British, French and US governments are opposed to supporting Assad although it might create some stability in the region. After Syria is stabilized and the decade long civil war is over, we could then concentrate allied efforts on ISIS in Iraq.
Go for their money
ISIS relies heavily on its income from oil. It draws foreign fighters on promises of a life of luxury in Raqqa and its other occupied cities, where a little bit of fighting gets you a harem full of women and a palace. The reality is very different, but if we work out a way to cut their funds, they won’t be able to tempt foreign fighters and purchase the heavy weaponry they have been using.
“Bombing is not the solution. I can’t see British and French and American soldiers invading Syria and starting another debacle. So the only solution is to ‘starve’ Isis. What does it mean to ‘starve’ them? To hit them where it hurts: in the pocket. The only way to do that is by tackling Saudi Arabia and the emirates that are supporting them.”
Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis
Trust in Trump
You might think I’m clutching at straws now, but hear me out. Trump could well win the US election this year and whatever you think of him, you have to hand it to him at how he dispatched his adversaries so far. He told the media he had a foolproof plan to beat ISIS and he recently revealed part of it:
“Once you go over and take back that oil, they have nothing. You bomb the hell out of them, and then you encircle it, and then you go in. And you let Mobil go in, and you let our great oil companies go in. Once you take that oil, they have nothing left.”
He might have a point; we could use the money from oil to create clean energy businesses and other opportunities, instead of seeing the funds syphoned off to groups that would use the money for other means.
The hacking group, Anonymous recently declared a cyber-war on ISIS and started by taking down their social media pages. That is obviously not going to stop a terrorist organization, but what if the government takes it further? What if they hire the best hackers in the world and empty all the ISIS bank accounts, close down ALL of their recruitment sites and infiltrates all of their technology. We could seriously do some damage if we had a full scale technological war against them.
Or, there is always the Gay Bomb. Yes, that is a real thing. Scientists have invented a chemical weapon that is non-lethal and makes fighters seem irresitible to each other. Can you imagine how quickly ISIS morale will crumble if all the fighters are too busy getting randy?
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