Saturday, November 22, 2014

Kill Them All

It looks like the Kurds will deny ISIL a victory at Kobani. Will the Turks help turn it into a significant ISIL defeat?

While I've felt that putting priority on Iraq in the fight against ISIL is proper, given the importance of keeping Kurds in Iraq and Syria on our side, and the need to deny ISIL a propaganda victory, making sure we intervened and won at Kobani was very important,

We seem to have achieved the initial objective of denying ISIL a big victory:

The more than 270 airstrikes in and around Kobani by the U.S. and its allies since Sept. 23 are far more than have been carried out on any other target in Syria or Iraq, according to the U.S. Central Command. The area around the Mosul Dam in Iraq is a distant second, with 156 airstrikes since Aug. 8.

Allen [Note: the retired US Marine general who is the "envoy" of the anti-ISIL coalition] said the air attacks have killed "well over 600" IS fighters — a casualty figure believed to be the group's biggest losses in Syria or Iraq.

"At what point do they decide that it has cost them too much? If they pull out, this is going to be a real indicator that the march to victory of ISIL has finally hit its high watermark," Allen said in the interview.

We shouldn't just want ISIL to pull out. We should want to annihilate them.

Waterloo is a poor analogy for this battle. Waterloo was a last-gasp attempt by Napoleon to retrieve defeat. It was hardly his high water mark.

As I've noted, this could be ISIL's Stalingrad--the high water mark of the German invasion of the USSR in World War II. That's a far better potential analogy. And one with a second part after the Germans failed to take all of that city.

What is really needed to cement this battle as a real defeat for ISIL rather than an end to their string of victories is a counter-attack that bags a lot of the ISIL attackers while they are focused on Kobani:

If the Turks use their mechanized forces to drive into Syria to cut off the jihadi forces focused on an image battle for Kobani, the Turks could replicate the Russian offensive around Stalingrad, a city which Hitler viewed as a decisive objective that he had to conquer for his image.

In a war where we worry about jihadis scattering to live and fight among civilian shields, cutting off the jihadis close to Turkey with Kurds holding the core and Turks holding the outer ring, this could be a hammer and anvil operation that turns into a battle of ISIL annihilation under an umbrella of Coalition air power.

I know the Turks disagree with our lack of focus on making sure Assad is defeated, too, but I hope that our vice president has some influence on Turkey's actions during his visit there,