Why ISIS has humiliated the West – and why it matters
By Shlomo Maital
ISIS (Islamic State, known as Da’esh in Arabic) is a radical Islamic organization whose goal is to establish a Caliphate in Syria, Iraq and the rest of the Mideast, based on Islamic law. ISIS seeks to do this through a tiny well-organized and well-funded military force that at its peak comprised some 25,000 fighters. After ISIS gained control of a huge swatch of land in Syria and Iraq, some 56,000 sq. kms. (about 16,000 sq. miles), three times the size of Israel (’67 borders), a coalition of some 60 (!) mainly Western nations organized to attack ISIS, mostly from the air.
Here are 21 countries of this 60-nation coalition, whose representatives met on Thursday Jan. 22 in London to take stock of the results of their joint action against ISIS:
Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. And of course, the United States, represented by Secretary of State John Kerry.
Here is the total result to date. The U.S. claims that 6,000 ISIS fighters were killed, a casualty rate of about 25 per cent. Mainly Iraqi Army forces have taken back one percent (that’s 1 %) of the land captured by ISIS.
And that’s it. That’s the whole result of the whole operation. President Obama, in his State of the Union address, said the 60-nation operation has “halted Islamic State’s advance”.
If I were a taxpayer in any of these 60 nations, I would demand my money back. If this is the best the West can do against a small murderous band of terrorists who claim to act in the name of their religion, who slaughter hostages and civilians brutally and challenge Western culture — to “halt the advance”, with aircraft carriers, F-16’s, drones, smart bombs, and all the rest of the West’s technology —
I’m reminded of the first Rocky film, starring and written by Sylvester Stallone. The main achievement of underdog Rocky was simply to last 12 rounds against the world champion Apollo Creed. Simply by staying in the fight, and holding the vast armoury of the West to a stalemate, ISIS will find an almost infinite number of recruits worldwide among impressionist young people, who see it as “Rocky”. By letting ISIS fight it to a stalemate, the West is handing victory to ISIS, and the price in future will be extremely heavy. Recruits worldwide will flock to ISIS to be part of the modern “Rocky” story, and already have.
It leads one to wonder whether the soft fat West is able to defend itself against the barbarians at its gates, or whether it will fall as Rome did in rather similar circumstances.
A report just issued report claims (unverified) that one of the two Japanese hostages held by ISIS has been executed.