What has recent surprise operational successes in Iraq by the militant Islamic group known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/Sham taught us?
One is that the organisation is without a doubt a mix of the old Baathist Special Republican Forces with excellent military knowledge and skills who somehow ‘became Islamized’ or ‘radicalised into extremist Islam’ with elements of Islamist Jihadists as a result of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq by foreign western forces.
Secondly, the recent operations should not be viewed as a mere isolated ‘’sectarian operational and strategic thinking’’ on the group’s approach but rather as a refined military thinking that is shifting pressure from one battleground – Syria – into another – Iraq – by expanding operations onto multiple battlefields. In other words, in order to regain the lost Syria momentum and thus stop Assad and his Iranian-Hezbollah allies recent seemingly irreversible successes the organisation, ISIS, has decided to expand its Holy War into Iraq and thus expand the battlefield so to stretch – the hidden and seemingly missed logic behind recent activities – the Shiite alliance and be able, thus, to extend the war with a hope for victory through protraction/exhaustion and alliances-breaking as well inspiring new recruits, new affiliations and new expansion phases of their holy war insurgency.
My argument thus is this new phase of the holy war (or to called as well liked within the media-driven jargon, sectarian, which seemed to have impacted on strategic policy thoughts) is not a mere sectarian conflict to be limited within the old ‘sham’ borders – of Iraq and Syria – but appears to have the strategic military modelling of a grand operational – at theatrical level – thinking that seek to expand the war deeper into the greater region. The question, of course, now is who is next? I will bet on Lebanon or Kuwait.
As for the implications on both the regional and international security is without the doubt a massive seismic effect and thus requires equally a bold commitment by western leaders and nations to oversee their commitment in halting these new dangerous developments. These actions must come in the form of overt and stern response of heavy military support and one based away from another well-supported calls for so-called US-Iranian alliance against Sunni extremists; for many reasons, I call for this as for one, it will look like taking side within a well-publicized ‘sectarian war’ – on Shiites side against Sunnis – and secondly, will undoubtedly work in favour of the Iranians and their regional hegemonic goals and so forth. Let not worry of criticisms to come and remember the issue is within the realms of serious politics (remember the opening words of Sun Tzu ‘war is the serious business…’) and does not require pedalling on popular policies mainly shaped by ill-informed media craze. Take this serious as this analysis comes from an individual who is always against any use of western force against others.