Well-reasoned discourse only works on reasonable people. If you cannot honestly debate or communicate with integrity, you cannot have a conversation between equals.
I have made some bold statements about how to deal with ISIS and the Middle East and a common response to my articles is that no one can cause a fanatic to fear enough to ameliorate their behavior. Every time I hear that I think of a name, Timur known as Tamerlane in Europe. Timur translates to Iron.
When dealing with barbaric behavior, you must become a barbarian yourself. Otherwise the message will not be properly received.
First and foremost, anyone who says that fear and terror are not effective weapons is a fool. Terrorist such as ISIS have world attention because they are using terror and fear so I am not sure where anyone can factually claim it is not effective is coming from. You might not espouse violence as an answer but there are many types of violence and not all of them are physical.
Angry words and negative comments are violence. Depending upon the audience, the verbal ridicule is just as painful and in many cases worse that the physical damage. There are a lot of ‘nonviolent’ hypocrites out there.
Humans learn through fear. A child learns to stay away from hot things from the fear that being burned again provides. That is simple psychology. So please do not tell me that we cannot teach ISIS or anyone else to fear. It may require a ruthlessness that you do not have, but do not assume that it is lacking in everyone else.
And if you don’t subscribe to that ruthlessness, at least be grateful that there are those who will be civilized when dealing with civilized people and who are willing to unleash their inner barbarian when dealing with those who only understand bloody minded ruthlessness.
The United States failed to understand the Bedouin tribal nature of the Arab. And because of that failure, we have essentially aided and abetted the formation of ISIS because we did not adequately deal with their predecessors.
Our Rules of Engagement, our Western attitude of compassionate behavior, our desire to improve the lot of other people, all those things work against us in the Middle East because they only fear what can destroy them and anything else is weakness on the part of their enemies i.e. us.
Someone attempting to reason with an Arab has lost before they opened their mouths unless they are reasoning with barely veiled force and impending violence. Anything given to them, in Arab culture, is their just due and a bribe. Not a bribe against their behavior but for forgiveness of yours.
In the Arab Tribal culture “If there is a confrontation, families face families, lineage faces lineage, clan faces clan, tribe faces tribe, confederacy faces confederacy, sect faces sect, and the Islamic community faces the infidels.” That last part should help you see the danger of ISIS.
In the West, our very individuality makes it difficult to understand the concept. As an example, in the Arab world, it is acceptable to rape a female member of an enemy tribe to cast humiliation upon her family for failing to protect her. Of course the counter is that the humiliated tribe will kill the female to regain some of their honor. That is Arab tribal way.
In the West, should a female family member be raped, it is a crime against that person, not an assault against the honor of the family. Even should someone try to avenge the attack, they do not kill the girl, they go after the attacker. This is a fundamental difference between Western and Arabic culture.
Arabs will fight for their idea of honor long past the time that someone in the West would have given up and called it a day. But they don’t stand toe to toe if they don’t have too. In the conflict between the Arabs and the Jews, it is the conflict between “the Islamic community faces the infidels” of their culture. The entirety of the Arab people is offended by the continuing humiliation visited upon them by Israel.
Look to ISIS and you see a facet of the Islamic community where they have victory. That pride in the restoration of honor will draw more and more Arabs to that facet because they want to bask in the honor as well. The brutality that ISIS is using appeals to the Arabs who feel that they have been oppressed for centuries and are finally able to not only redress that oppression, but are doing Allah’s will at the same time.
That creates fanatics who are very hard to stop and in many cases they only stop when dead. There are those in the Anti-Terrorism field who believe that ISIS is slowing down, given the potential magnitude of this threat and the fact that even if they eventually fail, they may well spawn other sects who keep trying, this is not the time to side with the cause of peace and tranquility.
We are in the situation we face right now because everyone was patting themselves on the back over the “success” in Iraq. I am not one to believe that things are over. They have nothing to lose but their lives and most would give those willingly.
In order to break ISIS, and they can be broken, we must ruthlessly apply the same viciousness that they apply to anyone in their path. ISIS is one facet of the Islamic tribe and that facet is growing and will become a world threat not just a regional one unless they are stopped.
We don’t have to become them. We simply have to kill them without hesitation, mercy, or the belief that with a little sympathy and compassion they will change.
We must apply the same logic and choice they apply, convert or die. That is the option they are giving to any who cross them.
I think that while they may not have achieved all their immediate goals, they are in a consolidation phase after their initial burst onto the scene. They have been seen to be victorious by the Muslim world and they are gaining followers that no one even considered as radical who want to join them.
ISIS is in territory that no other group on the terror front has occupied and there is no yard stick to adequately measure them. Libya is not a good example. For one thing, no one in Libya has had a concrete victory. ISIS has had recognizable victories against four different groups in the Islamic world.
They have told Al Qaeda to shove it, beaten the Syrian Army, the Iraqi Army, and the Peshmerga. Without the involvement of the United States, the Mosul Dam might have been lost. But however valiant the American SOF ‘advisors’ on the ground or the Navy pilots in the air, we are defending against them, not attacking them.
A coalition of nations is not going to work if that coalition includes the Russians and the Iranians. Either one would cause problems just by being there and should and incident occur such as friendly fire, we could very well find ourselves at war with our coalition partners and ISIS could engineer the cause themselves.
We either sit back and let the Russians and Iranians deal with it or we go it alone. But the bottom line, we must deal with ISIS effectively, powerfully, and finally.
© 2014 The Havok Journal