http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/10/fact-sheet-strategy-counter-islamic-state-iraq-and-levant-isil >> I guess this strategy could be viewed as short term tactics designed to confront and eliminate the imminent ISIS threat to US interests and reputation in the world rather than a Long term one to comprehensively Counter Terrorism “CT”. It resembles a strategy in the main pillars and code to be followed to corner ISIS strategically and logistically by paralyzing its finance and manpower recruiting capabilities. From my point of view, for the aforementioned strategy to be comprehensive it requires to incorporate global procedures and protocols in combating all forms of terrorism worldwide incorporating other terrorism groups such as Muslim Brotherhood “MB” and their allies. This point and many others were stated in http://www.mfa.gov.eg/Arabic/Ministry/News/Pages/NewsDetails.aspx?Source=1d5b0202-c337-4794-ab10-342893d069e1&newsID=d391cf60-7701-4f31-80c8-4edbc85ccc89 ,Hon. Egyptian FAM Sameh Shoukry speech at Jeddah meeting yesterday, where I join forces with what his excellency mentioned.
That being said, I think this strategy was crafted to avoid the strategic and tactical mistakes committed by US and its allies mainly the NATO, while handling and tackling the Libyan case and its associated international interference back in 2011, which lead to today’s incredible and unbearable mess occurring on the Libyan soil, ultimately transforming it into a quasi-failed state full of struggling militias and terrorist groups financed and supported by some of the regional and international countries. Now, the A/M strategy is trying to fix such strategic error by incorporating different coalitions composed of the key and major Arab countries aside from the NATO European group members, nevertheless I guess the A/M strategy is imitating the same mistake and not avoiding it as planned by simply crafting an inadequate partial strategy that skipped confronting the terrorism situation in Libya through mentioning and applying same CT standards and protocols on terrorist groups there. In addition, the strategy is vague by not clearly answering a vital question of “what after eliminating ISIS?”. Meaning, what we are seeing here is more or less a repetition of the Afghanistan scenario in the 80’s, where US and allies trained and occupied militias to combat and fight the Soviets on Afghanistan Soil during cold war era and post war ending, those groups that were thought to be moderate turned out to be violent forming Al Qaeeda and OBL and ultimately harming US and allies interests.
Now, hope this strategy and coalition will not form new AQ and OBL post eliminating ISIS threat. I mean, inspired from the Afghanistan historical learned lessons, the strategy needs to answer some vital questions post eliminating ISIS such as: what are the guarantees that those “moderate rebels”, as mentioned in the strategy, are truly moderate?? What will be the future arrangements regarding Syria land integrity and its people interests?? What will be the future situation of Kurdistan army trained to confront ISIS, will it be operating under the umbrella of the Iraqi official military forces or will it act as an independent army?? I assumed the strategy would have answered these questions and many more.
Evaluating the A/M strategy from a SWOT analysis point of view, I guess its weakness mainly lies in missing a comprehensive CT strategy whereby tackling all forms of terrorism and avoiding double measure standards while applying its definitions and procedures. Meaning, all forms of terrorism in the region and worldwide should be condemned by regional powers especially those in the contemplated coalition as it was awkward from Turkey yesterday not to concur to Jeddah meeting resolution and conclusion, thus raising high doubts about Turkey true position and so confirming the rumors about its ISIS financing. Another weakness lies in the strategy bypassing and negligence of Russia and China international efforts and cooperation in combating terrorism especially through their regional partners that could assist in eliminating ISIS, where ISIS is considered by those countries as common threat and enemy as well. So if the target was only to eliminate ISIS, why Russia, China and their allies efforts were not called upon to join yesterday’s coalition??
Regarding Syria, my position is consistent with the formal Egyptian solid commitment and bias to Syrian people choices and Syria land unification, not biased neither to regime nor opposition. Thus, I highly think this strategy will impose a threat rather than a remedy if it turned out that the true coalition goal was twisted to repeat the Libyan scenario of 2011 in Syria by overthrowing the Syrian regime by force and ultimately jeopardizing the Syrian people safety and Syria land integrity and sovereignty by implanting ISIS or misusing counter ISIS strategy as a Trojan Horse to facilitate doing so. This caution is stemmed from the fact that tangling Syria in the middle of a proxy quasi cold war between Russia and US, will ultimately harm the whole region and may escalate the cold struggle into a blunt confrontation between both countries and their allies. In addition this eventually will harm and threaten US interests in ME and many regional powers National Security “NS”.
Bottom line and to recap, while implementing the counter ISIS strategy short term tactics, US, its allies and coalitions should make sure not to form another AQ nor trigger a third world war nor shooting their feet while combating and eliminating terrorism which we all should condemn.