Leaving No Escape Route For ISIS: Obama - The Widespread Perception Of Being Weak And Indecisive
13 October 2014
By Alon Ben-Meir - Oct 9, 2014
The gruesome and tragic beheadings of innocent US and
UK citizens is excruciatingly painful, especially for
the families of the victims. Other than making supreme
efforts to free current prisoners held by ISIS by any
means available, no compromises can ever be made with
this extremist group. The nature of ISIS' menace
necessitates an inexorable, merciless, and
overwhelming military campaign to eliminate every
trace of this horrid movement in and outside the
theater of war.
As long as ISIS exists, it will continue to behead
innocent people and summarily execute thousands of
others. They glorify death, as they see martyrdom as a
fulfillment of God's sacred mission to which they have
ISIS is a movement driven by religious fanaticism that
rejects any other brand of Islam and defies any limits
or constraints to achieve their perverse objective to
establish a Caliphate encompassing Iraq, Syria,
Jordan, Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, and Kuwait.
Thus, they will fight to the last warrior in the name
of God as they see themselves as having been ordained
by God to wage their battles against non-believers and
even those Muslims who do not conform to their twisted
They will remain relentless, fearing nothing thrown at
them. They are determined to spread their reign of
terror, through which they believe they can realize
their messianic mission to dominate the Arab states
and ultimately make Islam the singular global
No one should underestimate ISIS' strategy, which
entails the use of brutal force, spreading terror and
awe to intimidate their opponents, having no
compunction of using civilians as human shields, using
a formidable public relations campaign to attract
foreign fighters and local recruits, and being quick
to adapt to any situation.
ISIS governs the territory it controls as a state with
courts, internal security, prisons, and medical
institutions. They provide social services and
schooling, indoctrinating the young with extremist
interpretations of the Quran.
They are selective in choosing Quranic verses to
justify their atrocities. In Surah 2:190, Muslims are
instructed to "Fight in the cause of Allah those who
fight you," but they conveniently ignore the second
part of the verse that says, "But do not transgress
limits; For Allah loveth not transgressors."
Such a group cannot be deterred or degraded—they must
be crushed. The battle against ISIS cannot be carried
out incrementally; it must be overwhelming from the
ground, sea and air, forcing them to be on the run and
preventing them from regrouping to fight another day.
ISIS is akin to cancer, because even if a small
remnant is left behind, it will be certain to rise
For these reasons, the US and its allies must have a
strategy to crush ISIS and be prepared for a long and
protracted fight. The Obama administration has
inadvertently contributed to the rise of ISIS by doing
next to nothing to help stem the civil war in Syria
President Obama should have heeded the unanimous call
of his national security team more than two years ago
to supply the Syrian rebels with all the aid necessary
to accelerate Assad's fall. He should have also made
good on his vow to punish Assad if he crossed the "red
line" of using chemical weapons against civilians.
At this juncture, the President must come to fully
understand the responsibility of American power and
indispensability in dealing with international crises.
Although President Obama has ruled out sending
American ground troops, he must make it clear that
this option is on the table. Moreover, he must seek
wide bipartisan Congressional support to convey the
message that the country is united behind him and will
stop short of nothing to defeat ISIS.
The coalition assembled by the Obama administration to
fight ISIS, with the exception of a few Western
powers, is not up to the task but rather a mere facade
to obscure the reality. The majority of these
countries provide little more than lip service to this
unprecedented military campaign not seen since the end
of World War II.
Relying on Iraqi troops and training 5,000 Syrians
rebels (or even ten times that) will not suffice.
However awesome America's and its Western allies' air
power may be, the US must make it abundantly clear to
the Arab states that this is their fight, they cannot
be allowed to shirk their responsibility, and America
is ready to lend them all the support they need.
As many military experts have said, this war cannot be
won from the air alone, and the Arab states,
especially Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, cannot
buy their salvation with money alone.
In addition to Iraqi ground troops and some Syrian
rebels, the Obama administration should pressure Saudi
Arabia and other Gulf states, along with Jordan, all
under Egyptian leadership, to shoulder this
responsibility and take the fight to the territory
that ISIS controls.
Saudi Arabia is the custodian of Sunni Islam, and
precisely because of that, the Saudi government must
not allow Sunni Islam to be defamed and desecrated by
the savagery of ISIS, and must therefore be in the
forefront of this fight.
President Sisi has already shown his willingness and
ability to crack down on Islamic extremism; for Egypt,
fighting ISIS is even more critical than fighting the
Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt has formidable military
power and regardless of how sensitive the domestic
political environment may be, Egypt has to lead.
In connection, the US should not give Turkey a free
ride by avoiding public exposure of President
Erdogan's mischievous behavior. Allowing Muslim
volunteers from all over Europe and the US to cross
Turkish borders on the way to Syria to fight shoulder
to shoulder with ISIS is nothing short of a travesty.
Adding insult to injury, Turkish forces are standing
idle while ISIS wages a deadly battle against the
Kurdish city of Kobani, which is within sight of the
Turkish forces stationed along the border with Syria.
Erdogan must chose which side he stands on. Instead of
hallucinating about restoring the "glory" of the
Ottoman Empire, he must fully support the campaign
against ISIS by providing military and other material
Iran should be kept out of the coalition, and even
though the fight against ISIS will still benefit Iran,
Tehran's gains will be much less if excluded.
Iran has and continues to support Syria's President
Assad with weapons, money, materials, trainers, and
advisors, and finances terrorists throughout the
Middle East. The presence of Iranian troops in Syria
will only consolidate Tehran's position in the
country, embolden Hezbollah, demoralize the moderate
rebels, and give Assad a much longer lease on life.
The United States must learn from the bitter lessons
of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which unfortunately
paralyzed President Obama as he pledged not to involve
America in another war, especially in an Arab country.
We are now paying for this paralysis.
Although President Obama was forced to finally
intervene to battle ISIS, he knows that winning this
war will be costly and wearing on America. He also
knows that the longer it lasts, the greater the cost
and sacrifices will be, and the more intractable it
For this reason, the US with its allies must be
resolute and rain hell on ISIS at a speed and with
such firepower that will shatter ISIS in every
This may well be Obama's last chance to change the
widespread perception of being weak and indecisive,
and restore America's image as the indispensable
global leader because only the US can lead the battle
against ISIS to a successful conclusion.