US Intel Wrong as Usual. ISIS Is Too Weak to Take Advantage of US Withdrawl

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
By Paul Martin

Even if the US pulls out of Syria, ISIS cannot reclaim what it held at the height of its power

Elijah J. Magnier

The US Intelligence community claims that the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) will return within twelve months of any US withdrawal from Syria and will be able to control a wide sweep of territory. In 2014 ISIS occupied an area the size of Great Britain– analysts claim that ISIS would soon be able to control half this much territory. At the same time US President Donald Trump is correctly announcing that ISIS is almost defeated, Pentagon sources claim there are still 20,000 to 30,000 ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria.

These unfounded statements and predictions are made by analysts whose bread and butter is to keep the fear of ISIS alive. The reality on the ground is different. Indeed, Kurdish forces in Syria are overwhelmed not by attacks, but by the hundreds of ISIS surrendering to its forces, unwilling to continue and preferring prison to death. What is more, the families (women and children) of ISIS militants of various nationalities are flocking into the deserted area under Kurdish control east of the Euphrates and surrendering themselves. They are hungry and humiliated, and they loudly express their the trap they were drawn into years ago to by the so-called Islamic State. Coalition forces and Iraqi artillery have been bombing ISIS’s last strongholds in Arqub, BaghuzFoqani and BaghuzTahtani, within 7 km of the Syrian-Iraqi borders east of the Euphrates.

German ISIS terrorist Martin Lemke and his wife have been captured alive by Kurdish-led SDF in Deir EzZor.

These professional analysts are ignoring the fact that any war needs financing to ensure its success. The former Qatar foreign minister Hamad Bin Jassem claims his country $137bn to topple Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad; the amount Saudi Arabia spent for the same purpose is unknown but surely comparable. But today the countries most responsible for financing regime change efforts in Syria are no longer interested in Syrian events. They have lost the war, they have no trust in their proxies, and have abandoned them to their fate under Turkey’s wing. Not only this: many Arab and non-Arab countries are preparing to reopen their embassies in Damascus and some have already done so despite US pressure to slow down the process.

Moreover, the US and Europe have organised themselves to establish tight controls on money flow and transfers from donors, banks and private institutions that used to find their way into al-Qaeda and ISIS hands in Syria and Iraq. Many transfers, in fact, were meant to finance terrorism and dispatch military equipment to topple the Syrian government and divide Iraq.

Furthermore, ISIS and al-Qaeda had unrestricted access to social media platforms for years. ISIS used these platforms to disseminate propaganda material and recruit foreign volunteers from all over the world. International media played into ISIS’s hands by promoting “regime change”, publishing online staged photos of atrocities of which many were falsely attributed to the Syrian government and broadcasting ISIS propaganda worldwide. These images attracted foreign fighters, who found all borders open for them to reach the Levant and Mesopotamia. Today, Twitter and Facebook are exercising censorship on jihadists (and also on non-jihadists), closing down tens of thousands of accounts belonging to ISIS and their supporters. The latest technology is no longer at ISIS’s service as it was in 2013-16.

Iraq and Syria take seriously the threat from ISIS and the effects of foreign intervention and support for the terror group, having experienced the destruction of most of their respective countries. Iraqis and Syrians who lived under ISIS saw what “Dawla” (“the State” as ISIS used to be called by inhabitants under its control) was capable of, how it lied to people living under its rule and also to the Muhajireen (foreign fighters) who came to Syria and Iraq. The minimum a “state” should offer is stability and security to its inhabitants, essential elements ISIS was not able to provide. It lost all its territories in the space of a couple of years.

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