Gary Brecher legt het nog eens uit:
ISIS is a sectarian Sunni militia—that’s all. A big one, as militias go, with something like 10,000 fighters. Most of them are Iraqi, a few are Syrian, and a few hundred are those famous “European jihadis” who draw press attention out of all relation to their negligible combat value. The real strength of ISIS comes from its Chechen fighters, up to a thousand of them. A thousand Chechens is a serious force, and a terrifying one if they’re bearing down on your neighborhood. Chechens are the scariest fighters, pound-for-pound, in the world.
But we’re still talking about a conventional military force smaller than a division. That’s a real but very limited amount of combat power. What this means is that, no matter how many scare headlines you read, ISIS will never take Baghdad, let alone Shia cities to the south like Karbala. It won’t be able to dent the Kurds’ territory to the north, either. All it can do—all it has been doing, by moving into Sunni cities like Mosul and Tikrit—is to complete the partition of Iraq begun by our dear ex-president Bush in 2003.
Brecher maakt ook duidelijk waarom ISIS opeens het werkterrein van Syrië naar Irak verlegde:
ISIS is a physics demonstration in guerrilla form. It began as a Jordanian insurgent group. Jordan was too tough to crack, and the group was under deadly strain until Bush and Cheney gave it new life with the 2003 invasion. It moved into Iraq, first to the north, in Kurdistan, and then, as the pressure grew up there, to the south and west, landing in Anbar. And when a new low-pressure system opened up to the west in Syria, ISIS flowed into it like a rain cloud […]
Maar toen kreeg ISIS te veel pretenties:
ISI(S) felt entitled to lead the jihad. Syria, Iraq—what was the difference? […]
ISIS replied with a program of assassinations directed at dissenting jihadis, starting in January 2014. When they killed al-Suri (“The Syrian”), Zawahiri’s envoy sent to settle the dispute, in February 2014, it was flat-out war between ISIS and every other faction in Syria. More than 2,000 casualties later, that feud is still simmering.
But as the pressure ramped up in Syria, a new low-pressure area was opening up to the east in Iraq.
Het hele stuk is overigens alleszins de moeite waard.
En datzelfde geldt voor Brechers uitleg over (Europese) jihadi’s.