Patrick Bahzad's FOCUS: modus operandi of ISIS on the tactical level explains much about the success of the forces of the neo-caliphate. Our takeaway from his post is that whoever is running ISIS, mama didn't raise no fool. To quote,
One of the most important things to stress about ISIS is that this is an organisation that has learnt to fight and survive – despite heavy losses – in an environment where they were totally outmatched technologically and under the constant threat of US air-power. The other decisive aspect to their military capabilities is the input of former military and intelligence personnel from the Saddam era.
In its early days, "Al Qaeda in Iraq" lacked the military, logistical and organisational skills of the former Iraqi military and it had a hard time surviving the US led "Surge". However, what was left of AQI in 2009 had merged with the ex-Baathist element and had gradually morphed into a structure that had learnt its lessons the hard way. Renamed "Islamic State in Iraq", it was led by a group of people skilled enough to seize any chance to expand and consolidate their organisation.
I remember from back in the day Hannity or someone local waxing poetic about how they had an election and democracy had taken root or something. Well, Sunni Iraq lives and even if we come back with a few divisions, they will probably go to ground and wait us out and Monsieur Bahzad can write this column again.
Of course, we are not probably going back with a huge footprint. That is what the other Pat dealt with in TheBorg is Screwing the Pooch in the ME. At the beginning of the post is the painting of a crusader knight fending off besiegers, but not for long. Colonel Lang draws the not so subtle analogy that we are not serious about our ME strategy and uses the words of General Dempsey to make the point.
He notes the general says we'll fight on even if the government falls from the network of hedgehogs.
When pressed Dempsey said that if the Iraq government collapses we (the US Armed Forces) will fight on from our "network" of Hedgehogs assisting whoever wants help and without regard to the wishes of "the government."
Col. Lang mentions Dien Bien Phu and maybe we are in danger of that outcome. Were I a Sunni or even a Shia, I would not believe or support anything the US did there. I remember how we supported a revolt during Gulf War Uno and then left the people dangling. The Colonel has mentioned the Awakening several times. We are not all that trustworthy.
Good luck with those lilypads.