(…as the US and Turkey just tiptoe further into the fray with only band-aid support…)

The ISIS/ISIL wildfire continues to rage with little or no containment, much less any real signs of it possibly being put out, all because myopic national agendas are blocking effective strategic efforts which could accomplish that.

For its part the US isn’t doing anything more than necessary beyond what its air strikes are able to do to marginally contain that ISIS/ISIL wildfire…until the political imperatives of its mid-term elections are over. As for Turkey, besides having a president with an obvious Moslem Brotherhood bias (one that is essentially supportive of ISIS’ ideology), its near paranoid perspectives about anything related to the Kurds, prevents it from doing more to help contain and limit that wildfire (even though that conflagration is now, literally, at its doorstep).

Without a broad strategic approach, the ISIS/ISIL wildfire will continue to consume everything in its path. Unfortunately no one, including the US and Turkey, seems either able or willing to consider implementing such a strategic approach to resolve the situation. Instead, all that’s being applied is more of the same incremental, mission-creep, piecemeal approach that created the situation in the first place.

What might the components of an effective strategic counter to ISIS/ISIL be?

  1. As previously outlined, establishing a no-fly/no-fire buffer zone within Syria, inside which the Free Syrian groups would be protected against BOTH Assad regime and ISIS/ISIL forces. Such a zone to run from the Mediterranean to the Syria/Iraq border, all along the Syrian/Turkish border area. Such an approach is not new. We did it in Iraq for nearly ten years to protect the Kurds from Saddam. It was also done in Libya against Kadaffi (although the end results were not as positive there as with the Kurds, but for other reasons). All of which raises an interesting question: why not with Syria as well? The answer seems to be…it’s against a US agenda of disengagement from the Middle East, driven by political motivations.
  2. But, such a buffer zone would provide appropriate support so those Free Syrian groups could consolidate and organize themselves into a viable alternative to both the Assad regime and ISIS/ISIL. Such support to include training and equipment to create a Syrian boots-on-the-ground force better able to face down both the Assad regime and ISIS/ISIL.
  3. Make a major effort to arbitrate a formal Kurd/Turkish “entente” between them, by appealing to their mutual self-interest. That is, for the Turks, present it as an opportunity to convert former adversaries from being a threat to their national security, into becoming strong and reliable allies, against the ISIS/ISIL chaos. For the Kurds, the same in reverse, with the eventuality of possible Turkish support for a truly independent “Kurdistan”, closely allied with it as a major power of the Middle East, with NATO connections, thus making them both an economic and military combination strong enough to face down any Arab or Iranian attempts at hegemony in the region.
  4. Rather than continue with the State Department’s clutzy Facebook and Twitter feeds to counter ISIS/ISIL propaganda and recruiting posts, gather as many Islamic clerics of whatever sects to pitch the following message instead:
    1. The ISIS/ISIL ideology is a blasphemous perversion of Islam, and defames it.
    2. Thus, all those who join with it, or support it in any way, are subject to –FATWAH- and all real Muslims should therefore reject them and expel them from their communities.
    3. All Islamic clerics of whatever sect are further called upon to publicly denounce ISIS/ISIL from their pulpits at Friday prayers, as being an international criminal organization using religion as camouflage to justify their criminal activities, the most heinous of these being the abuse and murder of fellow Muslims.
  5. Call upon all members of the Coalition to declare that any of their citizens who join ISIS/ISIL will have their citizenships revoked, and, if apprehended, tried for treason.
  6. Deploy all available drone assets, including idle “gunships” from previous conflicts to:

    a) Patrol the no-fly/no-fire line on a 24/7 basis.

    b) Apply the same assets to seek and destroy any and all ISIS/ISIL elements wherever they appear in the field, even down to only individual fighters, maintaining a continuous and unrelenting assault on these, so that they have little rest or any kind of safe haven. The ultimate objective of that being to destroy their will to engage in any kind of action.

    c) Maintain conventional air strikes on their major units, heavy weapons elements, etc. wherever feasible, while avoiding collateral civilian casualties as much as possible.

  7. Offer significant bounties for any ISIS/ISIL leadership, dead or alive.
  8. Conduct and maintain diplomatic pressures on all Middle East governments for stronger efforts on their parts to combat ISIS/ISIL.

These are some of the key elements that might eventually not only contain, but eliminate this extremist threat to the world community.