Writing at the Weekly Standard, Frederick Kagan and Kimberly Kagan assert that, during President Obama’s announcement of his plan to bring a counter-terrorism strategy to an insurgency fight, he said two things that are not true.
Observing that ISIL is not a state, in part because the international community has not recognized it, Obama said, “ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.”
“Neither of those sentences, unfortunately, is true,” the authors write. “ISIL is an insurgent group that controls enormous territory in Iraq and Syria that it governs.”
However, because Obama relies more on the input of the “international community,” which often seeks to demote the United States, than on America’s own experts on the Islamic State, his assessment of the situation is skewed and distorted.
Additionally, ISIS, Kagan and Kagan argue, “maneuvers conventional light infantry forces supported by vehicles mounting machine guns and occasionally armored personnel carriers against the regular forces of the Iraqi Army and the Kurdish Peshmerga – and wins.”
Perhaps, once again, Obama is revealing his lack of knowledge of the Islamic State and believes that by describing ISIS in overly simplistic terms – as a terrorist organization that is evil – he will appear to be more masterful and in control of the situation. Optics have always prevailed with this president. The reality, however, cannot be ignored.
As Kagan and Kagan describe, ISIL has articulated a clear vision of overtaking all the territory of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories. In addition, it plans to eliminate the countries’ boundaries and redraw them “according to a new structure of governance suitable to its hateful version of an old Islamic heresy.”
“It’s awfully hard to develop a sound strategy when you start by misdiagnosing the problem so profoundly,” the authors write. “That’s why the ‘strategy’ the president just announced has no chance of success.”