Friday, November 28, 2014

Damned and Damner

I've mentioned that getting Sunni Arabs to rise up against ISIL control will be difficult in Iraq and that it will only be safe for them to revolt when Iraqi combat forces are advancing into their areas. In Syria it will be even worse since there aren't even people who remember the last Awakening we had in Iraq when we had 170,000 troops to help them fight al Qaeda. Let's review the difficulties.

Life under ISIL control is difficult:

The Islamic State group is employing multiple tactics to subdue the Sunni Muslim tribes in Syria and Iraq under its rule, wooing some with gifts — everything from cars to feed for their animals — while brutally suppressing those that resist with mass killings.

The result is that the extremists face little immediate threat of an uprising by the tribes, which are traditionally the most powerful social institution in the large areas of eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq controlled by the group. Any U.S. drive to try to turn tribesmen against the militants, as the Americans did with Sunnis during the Iraq war, faces an uphill battle.

Yes. Uphill, indeed. We simply can't count on uprisings to do the job for our air power (directed by somebody on the ground even if it isn't our uniformed personnel) and our Iraqi and Kurdish ground allies in Iraq.

And in Syria, the job is even more difficult, as I noted. We aren't helping to make it easier, as this article noting recent rebel advances in the south reveals:

Rebels in the south say they hope the new push will be just enough to pressure Assad to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Jbawi said the international support for the assault "is not enough to let the rebels win the battle militarily. They are backing (us) to pressure Bashar Assad's regime to bring him to the negotiating table."

"Enough to pressure Assad to negotiate!"

This level of "pressure" nonsense is straight out of our State Department.

It's like these rebels have Marie Harf as their spokesperson.

Imagine the rebel ranks in this Southern Front we've created--"Join us and we shall pressure Assad to negotiate some restraint on his powers!"

Not exactly, "Then we shall fight in the shade," is it?

Is it any wonder that rebels who wish to defeat Assad defect to the jihadis?

Rebel uprisings by Sunni Arabs will not be a magic bullet that solves our ISIL problem. Or our Assad or Iran problems, for that matter.