President Obama delivered some overdue tough and frank talk today at the UN.
He vowed to fight the ISIS “Network of Death” and urged Muslims to resist the call to Jihad. He backed his words up with another round of air attacks on ISIS assets. This came on the heels of attacks against the Khorasan group, a very small band of hardened terrorists virtually publicly unheard of until recently.
However, despite his hardened tone, the President may have over-delivered on his ambitions to destroy and degrade these perverse criminals.
ISIS is the closest thing to a terrorist nation in the world. It has a functional leadership hierarchy, infrastructure, an organized fighting force and money. Unlike other terrorist movements, it is a political and geographic entity which is in the business to secure territory and expand its control both psychologically and physically. It is not one content with operating out of caves and remote areas as al-Qaeda is.
This makes the current round of aerial assaults a viable tactic. Today, an oil refinery under the control of ISIS was hit, taking a bite out of the group’s revenue stream and fuel supply chain. It hasn’t been since World War 2 that an enemy’s industrial facilities have been primary targets.
But what happens after we have hit the brick and mortar assets?
Well, it is likely, then, ISIS will adopt the Khorasan model and operate out of small, but dangerously effective, cells. There is no shortage of suicidal lunatics willing to execute the most heinous attacks against people of goodwill.
With or without intervention of US ground troops, both ISIS and Khorasan will continue to operate with near impunity.
What Obama needed to say….no, demand….was that the Arab nations take the lead in relentlessly attacking every follower, every cell associated with these deranged fundamentalists. The destruction must come from within the region to be even somewhat effective.
More importantly, Arab governments need to emerge from the Dark Ages and introduce basic freedoms in their societies. Otherwise, there will always be willing recruits for new and deadly movements.