We are now promised that President Obama will address the nation on Wednesday regarding the issue of IS and what he plans to do about it. Sounds serious right? Presidents do not normally address the nation unless it is highly significant and of national importance.

So here is my prediction, writing this blog two days prior to the promised address.

The speech (by the way the second on this matter as I promised in my first blog in this series of three) will be long on bombastic statements such “destroy,” “demolish,” “will not tolerate,” “will never forget,” “will beat them,” “make no mistake,” etc.

It will be short on real action—no boots on the ground and no serious air campaign in Syria (please understand that doing 150 air sorties in Iraq in the last 30 days is as painful a pin prick), in short no real substance.

It will be full of qualifiers such as “long-term,” “international coalition,” “regional partners,” “political solution,” etc.

The bottom line is this: It will be a whole lot of smoke for very little fire; all sound and fury but no substance.

Here is what a strategy to defeat IS should look like:

  • The goal: One has got to have a clearly defined goal. In this case, it is to eradicate IS, to hand them a mortal blow, and to make sure they do not grow again under another name somewhere else. Establish a Western-style democratic country in Syria guided LONG TERM by the presence of a Western peace-keeping force after the end of the campaign.
  • The means: Overwhelming force. No half ways, no air strikes only, no pin pricks of a few bombing raids a day. Thousands of air sorties is just a start. Use OVERWHELMING FORCE.
  • Where: Everywhere—Iraq, Syria, and everywhere else. No geographical bounds.
  • When: NOW. Right now. Yesterday it should have already started and please, again do not sell me on the one month ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY air strikes that administration officials keep referencing with loud and passionate voices. It is a stupid joke. Israel hit Hamas, both smaller than the USA and IS respectively, with excess of hundreds of bombing runs every day for 50 consecutive days before they gave up.
  • Targets: This will be one of the big traps of this campaign. Contrary to many other places in the world, in the Middle East your enemy’s enemy is simply just your enemy. He is NOT your friend. The campaign should be launched against IS, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, AND ASSAD, and NO involvement of Iran. Clear them all, otherwise they will just pop up again in another guise.
  • Who: The big question is who will do all that. The USA MUST lead, initiate, and start it. But they can get many regional countries to help. Egypt should be recruited to provide “boots on the ground,” Jordan similarly and Saudi and the emirates to fund the effort and send some air support. More than all, Israel should be invited to get involved with air force (they have the strongest one in the Middle East), boots on the ground (the best and most trained special forces) and ground support and logistics (given its border with Syria). The U.S. should provide air power, intelligence, logistical support, etc. but the rest can be done by the locals. Of course, the Kurds and the Free Syrian Army should contribute too but that will be more symbolic (but still of importance) than for real military muscle.
  • What is it? It is a WAR!

That is my strategy and if this is adopted this war can be over in less than 6 months. Maybe less than 6 weeks.


The next stop will be Iran’s nuclear ambitions but that is for another day and another blog.