The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS, as an organized military force in Iraq and Syria, is losing — even losing badly. This does not mean the end of ISIS, and we may see organized (as in Libya and Afghanistan) and unorganized (as in Paris and San Bernardino) bands carrying the ISIS label and banner for some time yet.
But these will be a mere echo (and perhaps even a mockery) of the force that carried out the shocking seizure of terrain in Iraq, threatening even Baghdad, a year and a half ago. However, the end of ISIS does not mean the end of Islamic extremism, and we should expect to see a resurgence of al Qaeda and its affiliates, as its splinter rival begins its death spiral.… Seguir leyendo »
Military transformations can be hard to detect. They generally occur over decades, sometimes over generations. Soldiers are usually the first to recognize them, but for the perceptive, the signs of a sea change developing on today’s battlefields are there. Look carefully at media images of ground fighting across the Middle East, and you will notice that the bad guys are fighting differently than they have in the past.
In the immediate aftermath of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the West confronted terrorists who acted like, well, terrorists. In Iraq and Afghanistan, al-Qaeda and other militant groups relied on ambushes, roadside bombings, sniper fire and the occasional “fire and run” mortar or rocket attack to inflict casualties on U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
There is not one war in Afghanistan. There are three.
First, there is the fight against al-Qaeda and related terrorist groups. Second is the war to protect and support the fledgling Afghan government against the Taliban insurgency. The third war is the least understood but the most enduring: the internal social and cultural battle between the urban modernizers of Afghanistan, mostly based in Kabul, and the rural, tribal, anti-modern peoples who live in the country’s inaccessible mountain regions.
In eastern Afghanistan’s Konar province, particularly in the Pech Valley, these three wars have intermingled, revealing the limits and possibilities of U.S. strategy.… Seguir leyendo »