June 29, 2016


How Erdogan went to sleep with dogs, woke up with beasts (AVI ISSACHAROFF June 29, 2016, Times of Israel)

[I]S's capacity to function as a state is eroding.

In the military sphere, it is enduring veritable fiascoes, losing territory by the week in Syria and in Iraq. Sometimes it is the Kurds who inflict these defeats, sometimes the Iraqi army along with Shiite militias, and sometimes one or more rebel groups. It has been forced to withdraw, with its tail between its legs, from major cities it had controlled for two years.

Beyond the loss of territory, IS's ability to run state institutions is also diminishing.

Then there is the blow suffered in recent months to IS finances. Its reserves are depleted; it can no longer pay its fighters as well as in the past, which has affected the number of volunteers joining its ranks.

The decrease in revenues is a result of the campaign by the US and its allies against the group's cash holdings, its oil fields and the convoys of smugglers who somehow managed to sell tens of millions of dollars worth of its oil each month to countries in the region.

And here is where Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Turkey enters the picture.

The president and his government for years ignored the stream of fighters that traveled through their country to territories controlled by the Islamic State. They preferred to concentrate their military efforts against the Kurds. They preferred to cooperate with IS, the Nusra Front and others by looking the other way, hoping to weaken their other enemy - Bashar Assad, the president of what is left of Syria.

More recently, however, US pressure bore fruit, and Erdogan instructed Turkish intelligence to try to stop the flow of IS volunteers from Turkey, and to tackle the black market for IS oil.

That's how Erdogan, an Islamist from the Muslim Brotherhood ilk, an overt supporter of the Hamas terror group, became the man who went to sleep with dogs and woke up with beasts, how he became the enemy of Islamic State.

By ourselves we can easily keep them from ever having a state.  Statehood just makes target acquisition easier.

But it is the Islamists who pose the existential threat.  Unlike the old world of secular authoritarians, an Islamic world increasingly governed by popular Islamic parties provides infertile ground for radicalism.

The war has transitioned from its Far War phase to the Near War  : Islamicism vs. Islamism.

Posted by at June 29, 2016 4:09 PM