ISIS is losing

mentalfloss
#1
...but how will we keep everyone scared now!?!?


EBOLA


ISIS is losing

To understand what's happening in the Middle East today, you need to appreciate one fundamental fact: ISIS is losing its war for the Middle East.

This may seem hard to believe: in Iraq and Syria, the group still holds a stretch of territory larger than the United Kingdom, manned by a steady stream of foreign fighters. Fighters pledging themselves to ISIS recently executed 21 Christians in Libya.

It's certainly true that ISIS remains a terrible and urgent threat to the Middle East. The group is not on the verge of defeat, nor is its total destruction guaranteed. But, after months of ISIS expansion and victories, the group is now being beaten back. It is losing territory in the places that matter. Coalition airstrikes have hamstrung its ability to wage offensive war, and it has no friends to turn to for help. Its governance model is unsustainable and risks collapse in the long run.

Unless ISIS starts adapting, there's a very good chance its so-called caliphate is going to fall apart.

Believe it or not, Iraq is looking better than anyone could have hoped six months ago

Control of territory in Iraq as of February 2, 2015. (Institute for the Study of War/Sinan Adnan)

One year ago, ISIS was soon to launch the offensive in Iraq that, in June, would sweep across northern Iraq and conquer the country's second-largest city, Mosul. Today, the Iraqi government is prepping a counter-offensive aimed at seizing Mosul back, which the US believes will launch in April.

In that year, the situation has changed dramatically. After ISIS's seemingly unstoppable rampage from June to August of 2014, the Iraqi government and its allies have turned the tide. Slowly, unevenly, but surely, ISIS is being pushed back.

"There's really nowhere where [ISIS] has momentum," Kirk Sowell, the principal at Uticensis Risk Services and an expert on Iraqi politics, told me in late January.

"There are a significant string of [Iraqi] victories all along the northern river valley, up through Diyala and Salahuddin [two central Iraqi provinces]," Doug Ollivant, National Security Council Director for Iraq from 2008-2009 and current managing partner at Mantid International, explained.

"The Islamic State ... will lose its battle to hold territory in Iraq"

In northern Iraq, Kurdish forces are threatening to cut off a highway that serves as ISIS's main supply line between Iraq and Syria. They took the town of Sinjar, which sits on the highway, in December; by late January, they had taken a longer stretch of the highway near a town called Kiske.

Ollivant describes much of the Kurdish progress in the north as a "circling around Mosul." Though the Kurds won't attempt to retake the city on their own, a joint Iraqi-Kurdish force is now poised to do so. Re-taking Mosul would be a major blow to ISIS.

To be clear, ISIS isn't on the retreat everywhere. "The news in [western province] Anbar is more mixed," Ollivant says. "Things are shifting, but not to anyone's particular advantage. The Iraqi government gains ground here, and loses ground there." In February, an ISIS offensive in Anbar threatened al-Asad airbase, where US troops are training Iraqi soldiers.

Still, ISIS is falling back in most places where it's facing a serious push. And Iraq watchers are starting to see ISIS's struggles as harbingers of a larger collapse.

"The Islamic State ... will lose its battle to hold territory in Iraq," Ollivant writes in War on the Rocks. "The outcome in Iraq is now clear to most serious analysts."

Sowell agrees. "There is no Islamic 'State' in Iraq. They're basically operating as an insurgency/mafia," he says. "They just don't have the ability, the wherewithal in Iraq to set up Sharia courts, patrol, and really govern a state."


ISIS is losing - Vox
 
relic
Free Thinker
+1
#2
So, because the bad guys mentioned the West Edmonton Mall, that's interpreted as a declaration of war ? What's next, steve going to give good torys a grant to build bunkers ? steve sure wasn't kidding when he said he was going to **** the country up. Good thing for him there are lots of walters in the country, you know ignorant morons that believe everything that comes out of the pmo.
 
WLDB
No Party Affiliation
+1
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalfloss View Post

...but how will we keep everyone scared now!?!?

I was never scared of them. Even when the shooting happened ten blocks from my apartment in October. A bunch of nutjobs on the other side of the world cant and wont really affect my life even though they say they will every few weeks in a threatening video. Im still waiting for them to make good on making me scared in my bedroom. I suspect that will never happen.
 
Locutus
+1
#4
let's hope that if ever a few radicalized spastics run through square one mall hacking people with machetes or randomly cutting them down with AK's that simple-minded hipsters and their spawn are kept safe by authorities responding to the incident. because this would never happen in Canada to up the terrorist exposure and shock value and meetings virgins 'up there'...just sayin'.

god bless and keep the hipsters
 
Cliffy
Free Thinker
+1
#5
Yes, that is so unsophisticated. Much better to use drones and fighter jets to strafe and bomb the hell out of their women and children like we do.
 
Locutus
#6
if I were ISIS akbar I'd be looking for panache, to better my linkedIn views...gotta go with the higher profile CN tower...light security, gobs of tourists. take your hostages up to the edgewalk level...chuck some hostages down to the ground. livestream, instagram.

I mean, if I wanted to be 'seen', noticed and receive the fickle finger of fate trophy before I suicide-vested myself.

that sort of thing. think big.

malls, tunnels...meh, childsplay.

yeah.
 
mentalfloss
#7
ISIS Is Losing Its Greatest Weapon: Momentum

There was a time when the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria appeared unstoppable. In September and October, as the jihadist group captured territory through a major offensive in Iraq’s Anbar province, culminating in the fall of the town of Hit on October 13, observers feared that even Baghdad was in danger of being overrun. ISIS is now in the midst of another major military movement in Anbar, but the always-overblown fears about the organization’s advance are now receding—and the group’s decline has grown increasingly apparent.

ISIS’s signature attributes, ferocity and unpredictability, have raised the group’s profile and inspired a spate of lone-wolf attackers. But the organization has also made several strategic errors along the way. The Islamic State’s lifeblood is partially money and territory, but primarily momentum against weak and ill-prepared enemies. And that momentum, which peaked in early August, has stalled.

Where has ISIS overplayed its hand? The group already had an impressive array of foes when a June blitzkrieg extended its reach into Iraq—enemies that included the Iraqi government, the Iranian regime, and even other jihadist groups like the Nusra Front, with whom it frequently skirmished in Syria. This offensive wasn’t solely the work of ISIS, which fought alongside a coalition of Sunni insurgent groups that included former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party. The offensive was also widely backed by Iraq’s disaffected Sunni elite.

But once its initial gains were secured, ISIS quickly betrayed the very groups that had aided its advance. Most prominently, ISIS declared the reestablishment of the caliphate, with the group’s spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani claiming that “the legality of all emirates, groups, states, and organizations, becomes null by the expansion of the khilafah’s authority.” The statement clearly signaled that ISIS believed it had usurped the authority of its allies; indeed, in early July it rounded up ex-Baathist leaders in Mosul (doing so proved particularly problematic for ISIS because the ex-Baathists were also managing the actual governance and administration of the northern Iraqi city, and their arrest hastened the rapid disintegration of basic services).

ISIS committed a more damaging error at the beginning of August, when it launched a surprise incursion into Iraq’s Kurdish territory and promptly engaged in a campaign of genocidal slaughter and enslavement against the Yazidi minority sect. The moves were pointless from a military perspective, since the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Peshmerga forces weren’t fighting ISIS and the Yazidis didn’t pose a threat to the incipient caliphate. These decisions, along with the beheading of the American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, helped draw even more enemies into the theater, including the United States and an international coalition backing U.S. military action.

The most obvious sign of ISIS’s decline is that the group is no longer conquering territory, seizing no major towns or cities since Hit (and this hasn’t been for lack of effort on its part). ISIS continues to capture villages from time to time; for example, on December 27 it gained control of 14 villages in Anbar after Iraqi security forces withdrew from the area. But those villages aren’t equivalent to a major urban area and had been taken from ISIS by Iraqi forces just two days earlier. In October, ISIS advanced ominously on the Syrian city of Kobane; the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy declared in The New Republic that “Kobane will fall. In a matter of hours.” It has yet to fall, and Kurdish forces now appear to have the advantage, though the town remains contested. ISIS has even been losing ground, albeit unevenly. In December, the group pulled its forces from Iraq’s Sinjar district, home to one of ISIS’s main resupply routes from Syria into Iraq (the other being Tal Afar). This has threatened to isolate ISIS-held Mosul.

ISIS’s brutality has also proven isolating. Local opposition against the group, including by Sunnis, is mounting in Mosul and Anbar, although ISIS did recently succeed in suppressing a revolt against it in Syria’s Dayr al-Zawr. These uprisings are certain to grow if ISIS weakens. Meanwhile, the group’s leaders seem increasingly paranoid, reportedly executing many of their own fighters in Mosul and elsewhere. In December, for example, Muammar Tawhlah, ISIS’s top official in Mosul, was killed by firing squad for suspected espionage. And ISIS’s bureaucratic mismanagement has alienated local populations, leaving them with a lack of job opportunities and essential services. As a resident of Mosul told the Financial Times, “When I was seven years old the war against Iran started. Since then, we’ve been at war. We’ve endured international sanctions, poverty, injustice. But it was never worse than it is now.”

ISIS’s financial and military resources have also shrunk as U.S. airstrikes have destroyed the group’s materiel and capacity to refine oil. The Islamic State is still able to sell unrefined oil on the black market, but the difference between the price it can set for unrefined versus refined oil is significant. Reports this week indicated that ISIS expects a $250-million surplus in its $2-billion budget, but these figures are entirely self-reported: Accountants aren’t exactly lining up to get into ISIS-controlled territory and perform an outside audit.

ISIS, moreover, lacks an industrial base capable of sustaining its military efforts (Ninawa and Salahaddin governorates have a number of factories, but the group has a shortage of qualified technical personnel to man and supply them). It cannot build its own heavy armor, armored personnel carriers, Humvees, anti-tank weapons, surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft weapons, or radar stations. Only through military raids can the organization capture the equipment it needs for battle, and the last time it did this successfully was in August.

All of these setbacks seriously threaten ISIS because of its reliance on momentum—a dependency articulated in a recent issue of the group’s English-language magazine Dabiq. An article carrying the byline of the British journalist John Cantlie, ISIS’s forcefully conscripted propagandist, noted that “as an entity enjoys success, it attracts more to its fold, thereby causing expansion and breeding more success until it achieves some sort of critical mass, the point at which it becomes self-perpetuating, self-sustaining.” ISIS is not yet self-sustaining. Drawing a steady flow of zealous recruits remains a necessity for the group, not a luxury.

Nevertheless, to borrow President Obama’s words, the United States and its allies are far closer to degrading ISIS than destroying it. The Islamic State is currently positioning itself to attack the Al-Asad airbase in Anbar province, where U.S. military advisors are now located, and such an assault could amplify calls in the United States for an American withdrawal from the region. ISIS could conceivably launch a major cross-border attack against Jordan or move into Suwayda, the only majority-Druze province in Syria, carrying out massacres comparable to those that the group committed in Sinjar or Hit. In the latter scenario, the Islamic State would be goading the U.S. to intervene militarily on what could be seen as the side of Bashar al-Assad’s supporters. ISIS could yet seize the Iraqi cities of Ramadi or Haditha, which would represent powerful symbolic gains for the group and disasters in terms of lives lost, but would do little to improve the Islamic State’s overall strategic position. Even if ISIS lost all its Iraq holdings (which won’t happen anytime soon), the organization would simply be back to where it started before the June offensive, hunkered down in its stronghold of Raqqa, Syria. Even if its “caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is killed, and even if large portions of the organization subsequently reconcile with—and return to—al-Qaeda, a core is likely to persist for a long time under the ISIS label.

None of these developments, however, would necessarily reverse the Islamic State’s noticeable decline. Indeed, ISIS’s jihadist rivals have been gaining ground. The Nusra Front, which Syria watchers once considered a spent force, has in recent weeks made major gains in Idlib, Hama, and Daraa, and its growing strength has effectively marginalized the “moderate” Syrian opposition. It’s a clear sign that jihadism will bedevil Iraq and Syria for some time to come—and that this problem is much broader than ISIS.

The Decline of ISIS Has Already Begun - Atlantic Mobile
 
WLDB
No Party Affiliation
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by Locutus View Post

let's hope that if ever a few radicalized spastics run through square one mall hacking people with machetes or randomly cutting them down with AK's that simple-minded hipsters and their spawn are kept safe by authorities responding to the incident. because this would never happen in Canada to up the terrorist exposure and shock value and meetings virgins 'up there'...just sayin'.

So far every plot theyve had resembling something like that here has been foiled before it could happen. Id say we're doing alright.
 
DaSleeper
#9
Maybe just dumb luck?
 
B00Mer
Republican
#10
The OP is full of Sh*t and wishful thinking.. sorta like fairyland.

Is ISIS really losing ground? - CBS News
 
mentalfloss
+1
#11
Captain fear mongerer himself.
 
DaSleeper
+3
#12
More to fear from ladders heh?
 
mentalfloss
#13
And I would guess from lightning strikes and plane crashes as well.
 
DaSleeper
#14
So, we shouldn't bother with security rules fo ladders or airplane either.....
 
Locutus
+2
#15
he's an idiot
 
mentalfloss
#16
Who's an idiot and why again?
 
petros
+1
#17
You.
 
mentalfloss
#18
Why?
 
petros
#19
Think about it.
 
mentalfloss
+1
#20
Let's say you own a farm.

You should be very afraid.
 
petros
+1
#21
You didn't think did you?
 
damngrumpy
No Party Affiliation
+2
#22
I am in favor of hammering the hell out of them over there rather than have
more problems here. Most preferred to fight in Europe than in America in
WWII as well but the fear here was just as great.
We have more to fear from Ebola unchecked than we do ISIS unchecked but
both are a serious problem and we need to understand that.
ISIS is dangerous more from a head space than a weapons one fighting an
ideology is different from front lines. We should have been more prepared
on the internet than we are messages are the ultimate weapon in an ideological
war. ISIS will be a problem for some time its going to be a generation before
this dies I am afraid
 
mentalfloss
+1
#23
ISIS isn't a problem.
 
petros
+3
#24
That's the problem. No clue unless someone tosses you one.
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
+3
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalfloss View Post

ISIS isn't a problem.

Not until they chop YOUR head off.
 
EagleSmack
+1
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by damngrumpy View Post

I am in favor of hammering the hell out of them over there rather than have
more problems here. Most preferred to fight in Europe than in America in
WWII as well but the fear here was just as great.
We have more to fear from Ebola unchecked than we do ISIS unchecked but
both are a serious problem and we need to understand that.
ISIS is dangerous more from a head space than a weapons one fighting an
ideology is different from front lines. We should have been more prepared
on the internet than we are messages are the ultimate weapon in an ideological
war. ISIS will be a problem for some time its going to be a generation before
this dies I am afraid

How very Conservative.
 
petros
#27
When IShole blood has soaked the landscape will another group take a crack at it or will they think about things?
 
MHz
#28
Must be getting a bit panicky if NATO has to go and rescue it's own terrorists.

IS Jihadists Kidnap 90 Christians in Syria — Naharnet
Turkey has now officially proven that Israel and the United States are not the only nations that can brazenly violate the sovereignty of other countries, Syria in particular, without fear of reprisal due to NATO support and a blatant culture of aggression.

The Turkish invasion of Syrian soil on February 22 under the guise of protecting and securing the tomb of Sulayman Shah is case in point.

The tomb is largely recognized as a Turkish exclave since the early 1920s when, in 1921, it was agreed in the Treaty of Ankara that the Turks would be allowed to raise the Turkish flag over the tomb and place a small number of Turkish guards around the mausoleum given that Sulayman Shah bears such significance to Turkish history. The tomb is located about 23 miles from Turkey itself and thus is located inside Syrian territory.

According to mainstream Western press like CNN, the Turks were forced to evacuate the tomb and its contents due to the escalating violence in the area. CNN also reports that the evacuation was led and conducted with the 40 guards stationed around the tomb.

However, the reality is that the tomb evacuation was actually a relatively large military operation involving about 600 Turkish soldiers, 100 tanks, and APCs.

The Turkish military apparently entered Syria via Kobane (Ayn al-Arab).

Yet, while ISIS presence in towns and cities surrounding the tomb was cited as the reason for the evacuation, it should be noted that ISIS, so close to the tomb, never fired one shot at the Turkish military as it conducted its operations. Since, if Western press reports are to be believed, ISIS is the absolute worst strategist when it comes to avoiding unnecessary conflict with nations not necessarily engaged in combat against it, the fact that ISIS forces would allow the Turkish forces to enter its “territory” without so much as even the threat of violence is questionable to say the least.


What is much more believable, however, is that the Turkish forces acted in coordination with ISIS forces so as to justify an essential invasion of Syria and establish a foothold there as the Israelis direct ISIS forces and bomb Syrian territory from the Southwest and Jordan facilitates terrorism from the South. Of course, the U.S., NATO, and its proxy forces in the eastern portions of Syria simultaneously push toward the same center of the country at the same time.

Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

When IShole blood has soaked the landscape will another group take a crack at it or will they think about things?

I don't thing the US will be getting any members for any proxy army after ISIS kicks the bucket.

Your forget to bump your Russian propaganda thread?
 
Cliffy
Free Thinker
#29
Only idiots call other people idiots. If you guys understood how the human mind processes information you might understand why people exposed to the same information come to different conclusions. But that might require some thought, Heaven forbid.
 
petros
+1
#30
A jaded mind like yours doesn't process jack sh¡t.
 

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