Tuesday, May 16, 2017

ISIS 'fighters' abandoning their overlords as the caliphate collapses

Because sometimes the gig just doesn't work out.

ISIS 'fighters' abandoning their overlords as the caliphate collapses

Remember when it appeared that, contra a certain U.S. president and his “JV team” talk, ISIS was going to overrun the entire Middle East with virtually no resistance? Remember the harrowing stories of Iraqis gathering on a mountaintop waiting for someone to come and rescue them before ISIS showed up and set them on fire or committed some other murderous atrocity?
We all saw that horrific videos of ISIS beheading, burning and drowning people. These evil sadistic monsters clearly observed no lines of decency and respected only sheer, brute force. Anyone who did not qualify as sufficiently Islamic in their eyes deserved not just death, but the painful, brutal, horrible death. And ISIS would see to it that no one in the region was spared.

ISIS is in trouble now, and the foreign fighters they recruited are running for the tall grass

Against this force, the best Barack Obama could bring himself to do was to “lead from behind” and provide occasional air support while far inferior regional armies were made to do all the fighting.
Donald Trump has not actually put any boots on the ground, but he’s clearly signaled that he will not be bound by the limits Obama placed on himself. And while it has not been the sole factor, it has helped to embolden others tasked with defeating these beasts to further grab the initiative and put ISIS on the defensive. The result, per this graphic from ISW/Natural Earth, has been a dramatic decline in ISIS’s power and influence in the region:

Now let’s give credit where due: When you look at all that territory ISIS has lost since August 2015, you have to recognize that most of those losses happened before Trump took office. The decline of ISIS has been the result of many nations and many committed fighters (and a few pigs too), but one person who surely can’t take much credit for it is Barack Obama - who didn’t even want to have this fight and did very little to help win it.
Either way, ISIS is in trouble now, and the foreign fighters they recruited are running for the tall grass:
Large numbers of foreign fighters and sympathizers are abandoning Islamic State and trying to enter Turkey, with at least two British nationals and a US citizen joining an exodus that is depleting the ranks of the terror group.
Stefan Aristidou, from Enfield in north London, his British wife and Kary Paul Kleman, from Florida, last week surrendered to Turkish border police after more than two years in areas controlled by Isis, sources have confirmed to the Guardian.
Dozens more foreigners have fled in recent weeks, most caught as they tried to cross the frontier, as Isis’s capacity to hold ground in Syria and Iraq collapses. Some – it is not known how many – are thought to have evaded capture and made it across the border into Turkey.
For all the talk of ISIS forming a caliphate to overrun the Middle East, it’s not a nation state. It has no real laws. It’s not like it can ask Turkey to extradite these guys so they can face charges of desertion. I suppose ISIS could try to hunt them down and burn them alive or something along those lines, but given how quickly the caliphate is collapsing, I’d say ISIS has bigger problems to deal with.
This doesn’t mean we should no longer take the ISIS threat seriously. They have shown they can’t capture and hold land over a long period of time, but they can still commit horrific atrocities against individuals. One potential downside of ISIS failure as a regional power could be that it would revert to more such atrocities as a way of trying to stay relevant. But we’ve seen these thugs in action for a few years now and we know their weaknesses. If the United States is serious at all about stopping ISIS, we know how to do it. At this point there’s no excuse not to.

Dan Calabrese -- Bio and Archives | Click to view 2 CommentsDan Calabrese’s column is distributed by CainTV, which can be found at caintv.com
A new edition of Dan’s book “Powers and Principalities” is now available in hard copy and e-book editions. Follow all of Dan’s work, including his series of Christian spiritual warfare novels, by liking his page on Facebook.

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