I lived many years in the Middle East, and my father was very involved in the behind the scenes politics of the entire region first as CIA and later as a private advisor on what makes the people tick. In all that time, there is one thing I learned. Trust every group to eventually shoot themselves in the foot. That goes for all the Arab groups as well as the Israeli. Religion, tribalism, race or clan all play a part far beyond our understanding as Americans. And let's face it; such notions are not based on science, but emotion so bound to be fraught with a certain amount of suspension of reality and even a kind of insanity. Mix in the feeling of being discriminated against which both the Israelis and Arabs share in a long history and there is always a role in search of an actor.
The latest actor is ISIS or ISIL. And trust me, after all is said and done they will prove just another group in a long line of groups who adopt a philosophy that may win in the short term, but shoot themselves in the foot planting their seed of destruction in the long term. It is interesting to see just how fast ISIS has made the transition so now even the US is out to attack them militarily. The beheading of enemies, even children, wild statements about killing everyone may scare the locals but soon it comes back to bite them. When they get to areas that now know what will absolutely happen if they surrender, resistance will grow dramatically.
If ISIS is to be truly feared, their PR will be more about inclusiveness especially in a region where there are so many different ethnic and religious groups. They could have taken much greater advantage of the animosity against Shia-dominated governments of Iraq and Syria. After all ISIL does not enjoy the homogeneous makeup of Germany that Hitler used to glue a nation together and make it a tool for his bidding.
ISIS may be on a roll at the moment militarily but soon will make mistakes and loose. Once that happens they have set themselves up for the bubble to burst. They have stupidly made too many people have a vested interest AND excuse to set out to destroy them. Every new beheading and outrageous statement is another nail in their coffin
Meanwhile, we in America need to understand an important lesson that we should have learned from what happened in Yugoslavia when Tito died and later when Sadam Hussein was deposed, and even in Libya after Gadhafi. The lesson is this: remove the glue that holds a nation together, especially if it is a repressive glue in a country with mixed tribal and ethnic makeup, and you are sure to have the whole place fall apart.
When I hear people who should know better like Senator McCain and political commentators in the news today lay blame on the US for NOT aiding the rebels in Syria, I wonder how they could have missed this lesson so blindly. The Assad regime was what kept Syria glued together and relatively peaceful. It is secular and treats the minorities better than most regimes in the area. If anything, we should have seen what was coming if he lost his grip and done everything we could to stop the rebels gaining any foothold. If we were smart, we would secretly aid him as Assad is the only military force that has a chance to block the ISIS advance in Syria. If he beats them there that will help our efforts in Iraq as well as help the Kurds.
I can say without a shadow of a doubt that if we had honestly gone in to help the rebels ISIL would be in a far greater position than they are now, and the so-called "moderate rebels" would be dead. ISIL by its own admission has no use for moderates. They oppose Assad who is within the Shia sect so automatically an enemy just on religious grounds. ISIL are Sunni. At the moment, the only thing keeping ISIL from taking more of Syria and becoming a greater threat is the Assad regime. And who is helping him? Iran, Russia and the Hezbollah.
In World War II we worked with the USSR and its brutal leader Stalin. It was a marriage of convenience based on the idea that enemy of my enemy is my friend. We should think about this for the current situation in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, we can count on ISIL to have paved the way for its own destruction and given President Obama a perfect excuse to use military force. They are helping the President look tough for the upcoming US election. If the Turks get jolted to get off their ass, with their tough army, and the Kurds are supplied with weaponry to take on these crazies AND Assad can be helped to attack Northwards and pressure the Western flank of ISIL it will not be long before their current mystique evaporates, and they fade into history. Hopefully, all the pundits and political commentators will then go back to their history books and learn, so they don't all sound just as stupid as ISIL.