- ISIS may seem to be in the military ascendency now, but that's largely because it's opponents on the ground are either unwilling (like Asad's regime in Damascus) or unable (like the Iraqi Government) to confront them. They failed to take Baghdad, and can't overrun Erbil (in no small part due to American air power) and so they've kind of reached their limit.
- They are basically screwed externally. Yes ISIS is a monster, from selling prepubescent girls into sexual slavery to massacring religious minorities to massacring everyone else they are like something out of a Clive Barker novel. But at the same time step back and look at a map. They are a landlocked wannabe state surrounded by enemies. They are armed to the teeth for now because of looting Syrian and later Iraqi military bases, but they have no means of resupply for the things like tanks, APCs, and artillery that have given them an edge so far. Every vehicle they lose is one they can't replace, especially now that Turkey has bellied up to the bar and is willing to confront this Frankenstein.
- Al-Qaeda is old news. According to some news reports I've read even the Bin-Laden Boys think ISIS is behaving in an immoral fashion. It shouldn't surprise us, after all Albert Spear was all for the Nazi Party, but when Hitler ordered him to destroy Germany because the Master Race hadn't lived up Hitler's expectations, well Spear balked at that. Hopefully this means Al-Qaeda will just sort of fade away, as ISIS is the new ticket to sign onto. That is if your some sort of lunatic Islamic extremist.
- The big political point everyone is missing here is that ISIS will never work in the long term. Their political ideology is at it's core fundamentally flawed. Basically they believe in a world of Islamic political ideals as a means of replacing our system of Democracy and individualism and respect for human rights. As Adam Curtis explained it, "It said that those who had become involved with western style politics and power had entered into a state of barbarism or "Jahiliyyah" and that this meant they were no longer Muslims. That, in turn, could be interpreted as meaning that they were impious, or "takfir" - and that meant you could kill them. The danger was that there was no objective way of defining who was impious or not."
- And that's the problem right there right? If I can be grandiose this system of politics is doomed. The ideal, that is the pursuit of the perfect and rejection of anything that isn't the perfect, is not something that belongs in politics. And don't take my word for it, read Ardent, read Machiavelli, read Saint Thomas Aquinas, Read Plato. Hell watch Game of Thrones and tell me how Ned's focus on politics driver by a sense of personal honor ended up.
- In conclusion ISIS can style themselves all fancy right now, but it's not going to last. This isn't our nadir, this is the opposite. They are doomed, and it already appears to be slipping away from them.
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Some Thoughts About ISIS
Or ISIL or IS or whatever you want to call it. A lot of other smart people out there can talk about this sort of stuff in a far more informed manner than me, but I still have some thoughts so lets go bullet point style: