U.S. should consider change on ISIS strategy, even if they won't

The U.S isn’t going to be changing its strategy on ISIS in light of the attacks in Paris. Obama deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told Fox News Sunday the only major change is probably going to be increasing airstrikes.


“We do not believe that there is a solution to the challenge in Syria or Iraq that involves significant numbers of U.S. combat troops going in. I think what you are going to see is continued intensification of the air campaign.”

Some Republicans are obviously calling for more involvement in Syria and Iraq. Arizona Senator John McCain thinks it’s an act of war and must be treated as an attack on America.

“The horrific attacks in Paris must be a wake-up call for America and our government. Just weeks ago we saw a civilian airliner likely blown up by ISIL in Egypt, killing all aboard. Now we see the coordinated attacks in Paris that have killed more than 100 innocent people. There should be no doubt that ISIL poses a direct threat to the United States.

“This threat has been allowed to grow and gather strength in Iraq and Syria for nearly five years. As a result, ISIL and its adherents are expanding across the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia and radicalizing aspiring terrorists in Europe and America. This growing threat is a failure of U.S. foreign policy, and if the Administration does not get more serious about combatting it, our nation and our people will pay a grave price.”

The problem is France’s policy involving the Syrian Civil War led to the awful Friday attacks. ISIS said the attacks were over Syria and both AFP and BFMTV reported one gunman yelled “It’s for Syria” and “Allah Akbar” at one of the sites of the attacks. The French had been getting more involved in attacks on ISIS in Syria, including blowing up a training camp in September. From Reuters.


“France struck in Syria this morning an Islamic State training camp which threatened the security of our country,” French President Francois Hollande told reporters on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

He said six fighter jets had destroyed their targets near Deir ez-Zor and that more operations could take place in coming weeks to protect France and Syrian civilians.

France had feared strikes in Syria could be counter-productive and could strengthen President Bashar al-Assad, who has been fighting a rebellion against his rule since 2011.

However, France was shaken by a series of deadly attacks by Islamist militants this year, including the killing of 12 people at the office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in January.
In addition, Paris has become alarmed by Islamic State gains in northern Syria and the possibility of France being sidelined in negotiations to reach a political solution in Syria.

A French diplomatic source said Paris needed to be one of the “hitters” in Syria — those taking direct military action — to legitimately take part in any negotiations for a political solution to the conflict.

France’s reasons for getting more involved in Syria? Self-defense, although French officials never said why. It could be in response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January or some other threat France isn’t talking about. It looks like this attack has been planned for a while. BuzzFeed reported back in January that ISIS was smuggling operatives into Europe through hordes of refugees who flocked into Europe (emphasis mine).


The operative, a Syrian in his thirties with a close-cropped black beard, said ISIS is sending covert fighters to Europe — as did two smugglers who said they have helped. He smuggles them from Turkey in small groups, he said, hidden in cargo ships filled with hundreds of refugees. He said the fighters intend to fulfill ISIS’s threat to stage attacks in the West. He views this as retaliation for U.S.-led airstrikes against the group that began in Iraq last summer and Syria last fall. “If someone attacks me,” he said, speaking with BuzzFeed News on condition of anonymity, “then for sure I will attack them back.”…

Two refugee-smugglers in Turkey said they helped ISIS send fighters to Europe in this way. One put more than 10 of them on his ships, then got cold feet when asked to send more, he told BuzzFeed News last fall. Another said he’d been sending ISIS fighters for months and continues to do so. “I’m sending some fighters who want to go and visit their families,” he said in an interview in southern Turkey, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Others just go to Europe to be ready.”

So if ISIS says the attack was over France’s policy in Syria, then maybe the U.S. should consider a change in policy by getting out of Syria and Iraq. ISIS isn’t a U.S. problem, even if the immediate reaction to what happened in Paris is to call for war. Think about it. Russia gets more involved in Syria and the airliner gets shot down. France increases operations, including sending their only aircraft carrier to the Gulf, and around 130 innocent lives have been taken away. ISIS is goading the world to attack them so they can foment more hatred and rancor to get more admiration and approval from Muslims who might be on the fence. ISIS wants a religious war and if the world plays into ISIS’ hands they’re going to get it. Even if a country decided to drop a nuke between Iraq and Syria there would still be ISIS operatives who’d probably strike back. This is why the U.S. government should just get the military out and not be involved at all. It isn’t sticking our head in the sand; it’s acknowledging there are certain things “Team America: World Police” can’t solve. This might all become moot if France invokes Article V of the NATO treaty because then the U.S. has to respond, which might be what ISIS wanted all along.


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