Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Killing Jihadis Really Does Help

I know that many on the left think that killing jihadis just makes more jihadis and is futile given their love of death. I've long held that if you kill enough and defeat them, that all but the most committed martyrs will give up and rethink that whole glorious caliphate notion.


Foreign fighters are leaving the Islamic State in droves, with many surrendering to or being caught by Turkish border police over the last few weeks, The Guardian reports.

People who sympathized with the terrorist group are also fleeing, as ISIS loses ground in its stronghold of Raqqa, Syria.

Yeah, dying for a losing cause isn't as glorious.

Trying to persuade jihadis to abandon the jihad with clever online propaganda should never be more than a supporting tactic to killing jihadis and putting the fear of a futile death into them.

Indeed, I addressed this long before this blog, in a draft manuscript on the Iran-Iraq War (from the online summary):

Perhaps 20,000 Iranians died in the battle. Iraq's casualties were about half of Iran's. Iraq's performance is notable in that Iraq withstood and won the kind of brutal bloodletting that supposedly only Iran could endure. Observers at the time saw only that Iran had launched yet another in a seemingly endless series of big offensives. They speculated about how many more of these attacks Iraq could endure. Actually, Iran broke at Karbala Five. It would be many months before observers began to wonder what was wrong with Iran when no further attacks were begun, yet it was true that the "Islamic Revolution bled to death in Karbala V."

I really should do something with that. But I digress. (As I can!)

Killing jihadis just buys time for the Islamic world to defeat Islamists in their civil war over who will define Islam. But killing jihadis (while avoiding killing non-jihadis) is absolutely necessary to win the Long War.

Not that the fight is easy now:

Western-backed Iraqi forces are capturing some Islamic State fighters as they fight to liberate Mosul and Raqqa but the vast majority of foreign fighters are "fighting to the death", the US-led coalition for the fight against IS said.

Colonel John Dorrian, the spokesperson for the global coalition against IS said just 1000 remain in Mosul, Iraq while between 3000-4000 are still fighting in Raqqa.

Of course, a lot of the less-than-eager-to-die have fled already. And many more simply didn't travel to Syria or Iraq in the first place. Recall that at one time ISIL had 30,000 or so fighters. While there are others scattered around Iraq and Syria, the 4-5,000 in Raqqa and Mosul are the main bodies left.

And we might not have hit the core of the hard-core jihadis. While it is possible that the Mosul pocket has shrunk enough to represent the dead-enders, is Raqqa vulnerable to desertion?

The Raqqa number of troops is a bit surprising given that I read the jihadis are transferring their capital to Dayr az Zawr.