Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory.

Al Qaeda is emerging victorious by force of arms in Iraq:

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an al-Qaeda affiliated front of Muslims, have followed up their lightning seizure of Mosul by taking Tikrit, the former stronghold of Saddam Hussein.
In Mosul and surrounding areas, more than 150,000 troops fled their posts as the militants advanced, leaving behind thousands of weapons, including tanks and helicopters, that are now in ISIL’s possession, said Jabbar Yawer, a spokesman for ethnic Kurdish armed forces in Erbil.
The speed with which ISIL and its allies have advanced after their seizure on Tuesday of Mosul – a city of two million people – has sent alarm bells ringing not only in Baghdad but in western capitals.
The Tweets tell of a monumental collapse.  ”Jesus. “30,000 men – simply turned and ran in the face of the assault by an insurgent force of just 800 fighters … Surreal scenes in #Mosul, #Iraq as US trained troops leave behind their uniforms and flee from #ISIS to #Kurdistan. ”
Michael Yon Tweets: “Mosul: Iraq Crumbling before our eyes”. The Internet is rife with pictures of al-Qaeda triumphantly inspecting millions, perhaps billions of dollars worth of captured, American made military equipment.  It’s like Vietnam all over again, except this time the NVA are continuing the attack all the way to New York.
Unless the rot is stopped, ISIS will soon be at Baghdad’s gates and al-Qaeda’s affiliates will soon possess one, perhaps two major Middle Eastern countries plus trillions of dollars in oil resources. Libya, Iraq, perhaps Syria. They will be on the border of Saudi Arabia, able to credibly menace the energy lifeline of the Western world, a fact that can only play to Putin’s advantage.

Richard Fernandez predicted this in 2010:

To jump from the correct idea that defeating the forces which ‘attacked American on 9/11″ were an existential threat to the idea that ergo Afghanistan was a war of necessity was a huge non sequitur. Afghanistan happened to be the place from which Osama Bin launched his attack on September 11.  Admiral Nagumo launched his infamous attack on Pearl Harbor from a nameless patch of ocean 200 miles North of Oahu. But Admiral King had the sense to understand that the location itself had little significance. It was the Kido Butai, the ten carriers which made up the Japanese Fast Carrier force which momentarily occupied that ocean waste that he had to destroy. While the Kido Butai existed it could move across the vast spaces and attack at a point of its choosing. While it survived every patch of ocean was dangerous. Once it had been neutralized all the oceans of the world were potentially safe.  As John Adams in his book If Mahan Ran the Great Pacific War wrote: “sink ten ships and win the naval war”. Both the Nihon Kaigun and the CINCPAC understood this. The entire purpose of subsequent American naval operations was to find and sink these ten ships; and the Nihon Kaigun’s subsequent efforts revolved around their attempt to preserve them.
But today only one side — the forces behind al-Qaeda –  have a clear strategic conception of the war they are waging. The President seems determined to misunderstand it. He is waging existential war against tribesmen at the end of the world while denying that the Kido Butai even exists. He may succeed on narrow terms, but al-Qaeda, the modern Kido Butai, will simply move elsewhere: to Yemen, Birmingham or Detroit and the menace will remain unabated. Ralph Peters writing in the NY Post, catches the disconnection between the strategic significance of Afghanistan and the means being applied to mis-attain it. Peters complained that America isn’t fighting the forces which attacked it. It is trying to Westernize the piece of land from which the attack was launched. One is not obviously related to the other, but never mind. Like the Southwest Pacific campaign of long ago, it has taken on a political life of its own.

1 comment:

John Kasaian said...

This must be what it felt like in the mid to late-1930's listening over the radio as major cities in other parts of the world are being attacked and over run.

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