WASHINGTON — The Islamic State has lost 45 percent of the territory it once held in Iraq and 20 percent of areas it controlled in Syria, according to new estimates by a U.S.-led coalition combating the extremist group.
Those slow but steady battlefield losses in Iraq are prompting the Islamic State to strike back against civilians with terrorist bombings, the latest killing dozens in Baghdad on Tuesday.
The territory seized by Iraqi forces, aided by coalition airstrikes and advisers, is up from 40 percent announced earlier this year, according to the latest estimates, which had not been made public before. The percentages are based on areas the militants controlled at their peak strength after they swept into Iraq in 2014.
This is probably why ISIS created a ‘kill list’ of civilian Americans, and it’s probably why their minion struck the gay community in Orlando – they’re losing their war and they’re striking back, in the only way that imperialistic, megalomaniacal assholes with few military skills can fight back – by going after ‘soft targets’.
ISIS are losers and, unfortunately, the US is forgetting how to be a good winner.
A major deficiency in America’s history of involvement with armed conflict overseas has been inattention to whatever would follow defeat of the bête noire of the moment. The outstanding example is, of course, the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, with the promoters of that war being irresponsibly negligent in not seriously considering that the aftermath of deposing the Iraqi regime would be anything other than a stable and democratic polity. A similar deficiency occurred when the United States followed a European lead in deposing Muammar Qadhafi in Libya. When disorder and continued conflict ensue, the wider consequences are invariably bad for U.S. interests and international security. This includes in particular providing fertile ground for extremism and terrorism, as the invasion of Iraq did in giving birth to the group we now know as ISIS.
Some time before 9/11, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi ambassador and former head of Saudi intelligence said to the head of British Secret Intelligence Service: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.”
Since then, Saudi-sponsored jihadists have been waging a war against the with Shia and against the rest of the world. They target Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, Communists, Democrats, Republicans, etc, hitting soft targets to prove that they’re the ‘strong horse’.
The Russians and the United States believe that we’re fighting our trade wars indirectly through proxies like Iran and Saudi Arabia, just like we fought through proxies in Asia and South America. We’ve become so accustomed to our status as ‘superpowers’, so averse to direct confrontation, that our superior intelligence has become no match for their puny weapons.
In this war, we’re the proxies. They’re the puppeteers. We’re the puppets.
Once we learn to face that reality, we can start to move forward.