European views on ISIL

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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by David H on Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:50 pm

I think it's pretty obvious (to me anyway) that any real solution in the Middle East is going to involve Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, and Israel putting aside their smaller differences and working together towards their common interests. If that were to happen, the ragged margins in which the loony jihadi's thrive would quickly shrink and the problem would become a local one.

Edit; But I'm not holding my breath. Rolling Eyes


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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by Eldorion on Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:52 pm

And is there any evidence of these sleeper cells?  Silly question, they'd be secret and hidden from the general public, I know.  But given the extent of mass surveillance carried out by the US, they would almost certainly know.

Not to mention that refugees and illegal immigrants tend to be poor and destitute, while terrorists tend to be middle class and well-educated.
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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:55 pm

oh I think you are very mistaken if you think they dont want to conquer the West and they will stick to Killing other Muslims. We are next. Its a bit like saying to Hitler 'you can have Poland cos we dont want it, its far too far away to bother about' little did Clement Attlee think that Hitler wanted us as well.


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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by Eldorion on Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:57 pm

David H wrote:I think it's pretty obvious (to me anyway) that any real solution in the Middle East is going to involve Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, and Israel putting aside their smaller differences and working together towards their common interests. If that were to happen, the ragged margins in which the loony jihadi's thrive would quickly shrink and the problem would be come a local one.

There has already been some indication that Saudi Arabia is less willing to turn a blind eye towards Sunni extremism.  The real test is whether or not that they (and the smaller Gulf states) will try to prevent the flow of money leaving their countries into such groups' coffers.  Turkey is softening on the Kurds to some extent and probably views IS as a greater threat, which is an encouraging sign.  And Maliki in Iraq actually stepped down, so there is even some cause for hope that Iraq might see a more unity-friendly government.

But I think the more immediate risk to IS is going to be from within.  They are at or near the limits of where they can easily expand to.  They're not just going to be able to steamroll through the Kurdish or Shia heartlands in Iraq because military forces there will have a reason to fight back, unlike the army in northern Iraq earlier this year.  The greater potential for expansion is probably in Syria due to the chaos there, so it will be very interesting and important to see which countries (if any) step up to increase military aid there and to which groups they direct it. If IS can't keep gobbling up territory, it's not going to be able to attract as much support (in terms of recruits or tacit support from the wider Sunni population).
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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by David H on Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:59 pm

Mrs Figg wrote:oh I think you are very mistaken if you think they dont want to conquer the West and they will stick to Killing other Muslims. We are next.

That's what I'm hearing from our Muslim community, who are admittedly mostly students and academics, worried about family back home. You're probably talking to different Muslims.

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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by Eldorion on Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:02 pm

Mrs Figg wrote:oh I think you are very mistaken if you think they dont want to conquer the West and they will stick to Killing other Muslims. We are next. Its a bit like saying to Hitler 'you can have Poland cos we dont want it, its far too far away to bother about' little did Clement Attlee think that Hitler wanted us as well.

Who is saying that we should stand by and let IS take over countries?
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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:03 pm

Eldorion wrote:And is there any evidence of these sleeper cells?  Silly question, they'd be secret and hidden from the general public, I know.  But given the extent of mass surveillance carried out by the US, they would almost certainly know.

Not to mention that refugees and illegal immigrants tend to be poor and destitute, while terrorists tend to be middle class and well-educated.

The majority of isis fighters come from poor destitute origins thats what makes isis so attractive, it gives them meaning in life. Where do you get terrorists are middle class? some are, but the foot soldiers are not.
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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by David H on Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:08 pm

Eldorion wrote:
There has already been some indication that Saudi Arabia is less willing to turn a blind eye towards Sunni extremism.  The real test is whether or not that they (and the smaller Gulf states) will try to prevent the flow of money leaving their countries into such groups' coffers.  Turkey is softening on the Kurds to some extent and probably views IS as a greater threat, which is an encouraging sign.  And Maliki in Iraq actually stepped down, so there is even some cause for hope that Iraq might see a more unity-friendly government.

That's a start, but Iran is really one of the most progressive countries in the region. They need a seat at the table. Until that happens, there will be instability, and when there's instability, there's a breading ground for militias.

But I think the more immediate risk to IS is going to be from within.  They are at or near the limits of where they can easily expand to.  They're not just going to be able to steamroll through the Kurdish or Shia heartlands in Iraq because military forces there will have a reason to fight back, unlike the army in northern Iraq earlier this year.  The greater potential for expansion is probably in Syria due to the chaos there, so it will be very interesting and important to see which countries (if any) step up to increase military aid there and to which groups they direct it.  If IS can't keep gobbling up territory, it's not going to be able to attract as much support (in terms of recruits or tacit support from the wider Sunni population).

Possibly. There are certainly limits, both geographical and financial, to what they can sustain. But that doesn't solve the larger issue of instability, and what will inevitably replace them when and if they fail. I'm betting it won't be hippies and love-children.

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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by Eldorion on Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:11 pm

Mrs Figg wrote:The majority of isis fighters come from poor destitute origins thats what makes isis so attractive, it gives them meaning in life. Where do you get terrorists are middle class? some are, but the foot soldiers are not.

I can't believe I'm quoting the Daily Mail of all things on this but they were one of the first results on Google.  It's pretty widely known though; poke around and you'll find lots more results.  Read up on the 9/11 hijackers; two-thirds on them went to college and several had Master's degrees.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2049646/The-middle-class-terrorists-More-60pc-suspects-educated-comfortable-backgrounds-says-secret-M15-file.html

Fake edit: a lengthy but worthwhile read here too.

http://www.american.com/archive/2007/november-december-magazine-contents/what-makes-a-terrorist
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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by Eldorion on Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:14 pm

David H wrote:That's a start, but Iran is really one of the most progressive countries in the region. They need a seat at the table. Until that happens, there will be instability, and when there's instability, there's a breading ground for militias.

Definitely. Iran is already involved in fighting against IS, of course, but I am hopeful that the West and Western-aligned countries will prove open to working with Iran on this problem. I wouldn't be surprised if the US does its best to build some sort of coalition of everyone but Iran, though.

Possibly. There are certainly limits, both geographical and financial, to what they can sustain. But that doesn't solve the larger issue of instability, and what will inevitably replace them when and if they fail. I'm betting it won't be hippies and love-children.

Agreed. Some people have been arguing that we should let Assad take back control of Syria in exchange for cooperating in the fight against IS. While I don't agree with that viewpoint, there really isn't a clear alternative right now. The "moderate" rebels who everyone is so fond of have a ton of Islamists in their ranks, including some with histories of involvement with al-Qaeda. It will be interesting to see if the old partition of Iraq ideas gets resurrected, too. At the very least, there have been an increase in cries for Kurdish independence.
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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by halfwise on Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:23 pm

I'm not afraid of invasion (which I agree is a silly idea) so much as having a virtual state that grew out of al Qaeda and is so extreme even al Qaeda rejected them...and it's growing. To imply they are not interested in attacking the west via constant terrorism is insupportable. They will attack the west via terrorism, it's almost a founding principle.

Yes, I think if the middle east established countries could pull their shit together IS would dry up, but I just don't see that happening. If they did, then maybe IS would be worth it in the long run to bring the middle east together at long last.

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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by Eldorion on Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:27 pm

halfwise wrote:I'm not afraid of invasion (which I agree is a silly idea) so much as having a virtual state that grew out of al Qaeda and is so extreme even al Qaeda rejected them...and it's growing.  To imply they are not interested in attacking the west via constant terrorism is insupportable.  They will attack the west via terrorism, it's almost a founding principle.

Yes, I think if the middle east established countries could pull their shit together IS would dry up, but I just don't see that happening.  If they did, then maybe IS would be worth it in the long run to bring the middle east together at long last.

They weren't kicked out of al-Qaeda for being "too extreme", they were kicked out for refusing to obey the boss of al-Qaeda (Ayman al-Zawahiri) when he told them to do something they didn't like.  And while IS used to be the official al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq, there has been a big difference between the central al-Qaeda organization and its affiliates for quite some time, in part because most of those affiliates have much more regional aims.  Not to mention that, with the exception of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), it's been quite a while since any of the groups under that umbrella have even attempted a large-scale attack on the US.  The focus of the conflict shifted a long time ago, and by holding territory and trying to state-build in Syria and Iraq, IS have moved even further from the '90s-era AQ way of doing things.

And again, as I mentioned before, we already have a lot of countermeasures in place to guard against attacks on Western countries (though the morality of some of those is dubious, including mass surveillance, racial profiling, and what could be considered entrapment).  All in all we've gotten pretty good at blocking direct attacks.  IS' rampage through the Middle East doesn't bring them closer to striking against the West. Probably the biggest potential thread is Western passport-carrying IS fighters, but they're actually easier to pick out than homegrown terrorists who stayed at home and lay low.

Remember the warnings about constant terrorist attacks in 2001?  That was a lot more likely of a scenario back then, but look what ultimately came of it.  Quite a few senseless deaths, but nothing near the doomsday scenarios.  I'm not trying to be an asshole here, but grossly over-estimating your opponent is a really good way to make major mistakes when trying to fight them.
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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by halfwise on Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:35 pm

True about Iraq refocusing the terrorist groups. But do note that Al Qaeda has been making noises towards them about moderating their extremism to avoid alienating the Muslim base. They wouldn't have stayed in the al Qaeda fold for long.

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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by Eldorion on Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:36 pm

halfwise wrote:True about Iraq refocusing the terrorist groups.   But do note that Al Qaeda has been making noises towards them about moderating their extremism to avoid alienating the Muslim base.  They wouldn't have stayed in the al Qaeda fold for long.

They stayed in the al-Qaeda fold for a decade, and only left when AQ central tried to curb their power.  Zawahiri first told off IS' predecessor organization for being too violent towards Muslim civilians way back in 2005.  It that was the decisive factor, than the groups would have parted ways years ago.
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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:47 pm

I'm not afraid of invasion (which I agree is a silly idea) Halfy

of course you are not. Rolling Eyes  The US is a long long way away. You can see Libya from Sicily on a clear day. Suspect
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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:57 pm

Eldorion wrote:
Mrs Figg wrote:oh I think you are very mistaken if you think they dont want to conquer the West and they will stick to Killing other Muslims. We are next. Its a bit like saying to Hitler 'you can have Poland cos we dont want it, its far too far away to bother about' little did Clement Attlee think that Hitler wanted us as well.

Who is saying that we should stand by and let IS take over countries?

we are standing by while isis is taking over Syria, Iraq. Obama doesnt have the stomach for it, he promised no more troops in Iraq, the West is silent, its already happened.
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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by Eldorion on Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:05 pm

Mrs Figg wrote:we are standing by while isis is taking over Syria, Iraq. Obama doesnt have the stomach for it, he promised no more troops in Iraq, the West is silent, its already happened.

We're bombing IS positions in Iraq, funneling weapons to the Kurds, and sending military advisers (aka US soldiers) to help the Iraqi Army. Other countries, including France, are also helping provide modern weaponry to IS' opponents. The West is hardly silent here.
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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:14 pm

We are helping through the back door. The UK sent the SAS to free journalists, but it seems like no one is standing up in any unified strong way to say enoughs enough lets end this. Cameron couldnt even be bothered to cut short his holidays.
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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by Eldorion on Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:30 pm

A full-scale ground invasion has the potential to cause a major backlash among moderates and potentially result in increased support for IS, so I think that taking a background role is the wiser option at this point. Fortunately there are a number of capable militaries in the region, but the question is (as Dave brought up earlier) whether they can cooperate well enough to defeat IS in their home territory, not just contain them.
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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:39 pm

what about Boko Haram? they have given their allegiance to isis.
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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by Eldorion on Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:56 pm

It's pretty unclear from Boko Haram's statement whether they consider themselves to be followers of IS, coequal brothers in a larger struggle, or simply two groups who happened to have both declared Caliphates at the same time.  IS almost certainly inspired the Boko Haram announcement, but we don't know much more than that.  Even if they do agree to an official alliance of sorts, the two groups are too far apart geographically to have much impact on each other.  IS was until 2013 part of the global network al-Qaeda affiliates, but like the other affiliates (which include Boko Haram), it operated independently. Even if Boko Haram switches allegiance from AQ to IS, it's unlikely to change much on the ground.


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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by David H on Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:56 pm

What we can't afford to do is engage in war in the region that invented chess without first having a strategic end-game in mind. Don't sell them short. There are several leaders in the region who are thinking 5 or 6 moves ahead, and we need to do the same if we want to play on their chessboard.

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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by halfwise on Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:41 am

There's a mastermind in Iran, Quessem Suilimani, who basically has been pulling the strings in Syria and Iraq outside of IS. If America could link up with him (unlikely) then we'd have something. I get the idea he considers most people to be pinheads for his manipulation, doubt he'd see any reason to collaborate except as a smoke screen to pull a fast one on us.

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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by Eldorion on Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:42 am

halfwise wrote:There's a mastermind in Iran, Quessem Suilimani, who basically has been pulling the strings in Syria and Iraq outside of IS. If America could link up with him (unlikely) then we'd have something.  I get the idea he considers most people to be pinheads for his manipulation, doubt he'd see any reason to collaborate except as a smoke screen to pull a fast one on us.

That's less of a supervillain trait (as Western media are fond of portraying Suleimani) and more of a fairly typical attitude for an intelligence/special forces officer.

Obviously Iran and the United States would not work with each other unless they both thought they had something to gain and that the risks of not cooperating outweighed the concessions they'd have to grant and the political danger of being seen as soft. That's not because Middle Eastern leaders are some special brand of evil genius, it's basic realpolitik.


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Re: European views on ISIL

Post by halfwise on Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:44 am

Oh, I meant it with respect. We've got nobody to match him.

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