The threat of the Islamic State goes beyond what is being currently reported. It only takes an iota of sound reason and logic to make such a determination. The Obama Administration has made a dire miscalculation regarding the Islamic State -by reason of act or omission. Insomuch, the Islamic State has been allowed to make substantial territorial and strategic gains. Moreover, the Islamic State has had ample time to establish intelligence, counterintelligence, communications, and logistical networks. Unfortunately, this makes combating their forces extremely difficult.
Currently, the Islamic State controls large swaths of land inside Iraq and Syria. In Iraq, the Islamic State controls most major cities along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers southward up to Bagdad. Additionally, they control Al-Qaim along the Syrian-Iraqi border, the Haditha Dam, and portions of major supply routes within Iraq and Syria. Within Syria, the Islamic State controls many cities along the Euphrates River. They also are nearing the Mediterranean Sea, within approximately 100 miles from the coast. The Islamic State is attempting to surround Bagdad and has established an eastern front aligned to hold the Kurdistan Regional Government forces at bay. If Bagdad falls, Bashra will be next. We cannot allow the Islamic State to accomplish such a feat.
Unfortunately, the United States policy regarding the Islamic State is inept at best. Airstrikes to date are far too limited in scope to provide substantial gains. This scourge will need more than limited airstrikes, given the current strategic outlook. If the Islamic State is not defeated quickly, Al-Qaeda’s base of operations in Afghanistan will pale in comparison as to that of the Islamic State. If the Obama Administration does not engage in an extensive and unrelenting air campaign, arm the Kurds with updated weaponry, and coordinate military actions with both Bagdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government, Iraq will fall. Moreover, the Islamic State cannot be allowed to exist with any operational area under its control whatsoever.
Establishing an Islamic Caliphate, is only the first goal of the Islamic State. If the Islamic State is allowed to exist, the United States, Western Europe, Northern Africa, and Israel all become easy targets. It is not a matter of if, rather a matter of when, the Islamic State will strike the United States, Western Europe, or Israel. Furthermore, it is self-evident that the Islamic State intends to expand its territory to encompass Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon The only element preventing this right now are the Kurds in northern Iraq. The Islamic State understands that the Kurds are the best fighting force in Iraq. If they are to take Iraq, they must defeat the Kurds. If the Islamic State is able to accomplish this, Syria will likely fall soon after, followed by Jordan and Lebanon. The Israeli government and its people will not allow this to happen, and will take whatever measures are needed to ensure its people survive. This, of course would end up being a conflict that goes beyond southwest Asia. Another possibility is an assault on Saudi oil infrastructure, which has been a goal of Al Qaeda. It is well understood by the Jihadists that the strength of western power relies greatly on a strong robust economy. Major damage to the Saudi (or Kuwaiti) oil infrastructure would be detrimental to an already anemic world economy.
We could argue that it was the Obama Administration’s fault for the rise of the Islamic State, which would be correct. Unfortunately, right now the focus should be on destroying Islamic State. We must arm the Kurds with updated weaponry, as well as the traditional Iraqi forces (as over arming one faction shall inevitably raise concerns from another faction). An unrelenting coordinated air campaign, in conjunction with a massive Iraqi and Kurdish ground offensive, is what we must engage in. Our actions must be to completely decimate the enemy and remove their will to fight. The only possible way, if at all, to remove their will to fight is an offensive that brings such destruction to their ranks that to even consider standing against the United State of America will instill fear of our swift, unrelenting, unremorseful, and destructive response.
As a matter of personal experience, I fought the Jihadists in Iraq. They will not surrender, they will not capitulate, and they will not cease seeking out the realization of their goals –the destruction of the United States of America and the destruction of Israel. The only way they can be stopped is by a swift military action to decimate their ranks. This must be followed up with a long-term national security initiatives in combating extremist elements. I fear, however, that under the current administration this will not be the case. Unfortunately, the United States, Europe, and Israel cannot afford to allow the Islamic State to exist until the next election. If the Islamic State is not destroyed now, the subsequent war with them will be extremely costly in every conceivable way. Many Americans are screaming, both military and civilian, about the threat that the Islamic State poses and how it must be destroyed. Once again, it falls upon many deaf ears in Washington D.C.