Michael Weiss writes: The Obama administration is being slammed from all sides for its failing strategy against ISIS — and rightly so. But amid all the scorn, one question has yet to be asked about the resiliency of the terror army, which, actually goes to the heart of its decade-old war doctrine. Namely: does ISIS actually win even when it loses?
This isn’t an academic issue. America’s allies in the ISIS war are gearing up for a major counteroffensive against the extremist group. That assault that could very well play right into ISIS’ hands.
Having superimposed its self-styled “caliphate” over a good third of Iraq’s territory, in control of two provincial capitals, ISIS is today in strongest position it has ever been for fomenting the kind of sectarian conflagration its founding father, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, envisioned as far back as 2004.
Zarqawi’s end-game was simple: by waging merciless atrocities against Iraq’s Shia majority population (and any Sunnis seen to be conspiring with it), Zarqawi’s jihadists would have only to stand back and watch as radicalized Shia militias, many of whose members also served in various Iraqi government and security roles, conducted their own retaliatory campaigns against the country’s Sunni minority. Internecine conflict would have the knock-on effect of driving Sunnis desperately into the jihadist fold, whether or not they sympathized with the ideology of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Zarqawi’s franchise and the earliest incarnation of what we now call the Islamic State. [Continue reading…]