Архив метки: ИГИЛ

Joining the New Caravan: ISIS and the Regeneration of Terrorism in Southeast Asia

Dr. Zachary Abuza

June 25, 2015

Источник: http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/index.cfm/articles/joining-the-new-caravan/2015/06/25


Since early-2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has made gradual inroads into Southeast Asia. There are an estimated 500 Southeast Asians, not including family and kin, in Iraq and Syria fighting for ISIS, as well as al-Nusra, which at first attracted far more Southeast Asians. Since August 2014, there has been a company of Bahasa-speaking Southeast Asians, Katibah Nusantara,within ISIS. The numbers have remained low only because of proactive policies from regional security forces, who are determined not to repeat the mistakes of the 1990s when they turned a blind eye to returning veterans of the Afghan mujahideen. As an Indonesian counter-terrorism official put it, “We have experience [of those who committed terrorist acts in Indonesia] after going to Afghanistan and the Philippines and we don’t want ISIS alumni to do the same.”1Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore have all detained people for involvement in ISIS or prevented them from traveling abroad. Jihadists from around the region, including the co-founder of the al-Qaeda affiliated Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), Abu Bakar Ba’asyir,2 as well as Philippine groups such as the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, have pledged bai’at to the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) caliphate. There have been a number of children of JI members to join IS, including the sons of Bali bombers Imam Samudra and Mukhlas, while the sons of senior JI members, Mukhliansyah and Abu Jibril, have joined al-Nusra.

Southeast Asians comprise only a small fraction of the estimated 12,000-16,000 foreigners in ISIS. While their numbers are small, and will remain relatively low, they will have disproportionate influence at home. They include Malaysia’s first suicide bomber and members who have been featured in ISIS beheading videos. They are creating new hagiographies and will be put upon a pedestal back home as the vanguard of the next generation of Salafi militants. Importantly, their ability to recruit through social media has broadened their base and sped up the process of radicalization and recruitment. While some have ties to the former network of JI, many have no ties; ISIS is reaching entirely new demographics, including women. Recruits represent the entire socioeconomic spectrum; there is no single profile of recruits. While JI’s splinters have debated the utility of targeting the “near enemy” or “far enemy,” ISIS has focused on violent sectarianism and attacks what it deems “apostate” regimes; many JI splinters have come to the conclusion that targeting the “far enemy” was very counterproductive. ISIS has reinvigorated social welfare organizations and transnational networks across Southeast Asia. While most JI attacks had organizational backing, ISIS has inspired “lone wolf” attacks that perhaps are less lethal but almost impossible to prevent.

In sum, ISIS has rekindled terrorism in Southeast Asia after years of decline. In the years following the October 2002 Bali bombing, over 500 members of JI, including many of its leaders, were arrested across Southeast Asia. Although JI was able to perpetrate major attacks between 2002 and 2005, it was unable to stage major attacks from that time until 2007. Attacks since then have been relatively small scale. JI was riddled with factionalism and was seriously divided over strategy and tactics. There were two chief camps: There were advocates of the al-Qaeda line who established a new organization, al-Qaeda in Indonesia, under the leadership of Noordin Mohammad Top. On the other side werepeople who argued that targeting the west had little impact on the movement’s objectives and led to government crackdowns, and who articulated a strategy based on waging sectarian conflict in Sulawesi, the outer islands, in order to create pure communities governed by Shariah from which JI could emanate without provoking heavy-handed government responses.

The problem was, neither strategy worked particularly well. The pro al-Qaeda group did stage suicide bombings in Jakarta in 2009, but that was it. Elite Indonesian counterterrorism forces replaced the clumsy and thuggish Brimob forces in Central Sulawesi, helping to neutralize the advocates of sectarian violence. Other members of JI threw in the towel and established nominally nonviolent organizations such as Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT). In 2009-10, there was an attempt to reunify these divisions: JI leaders who had been hiding in Mindanao returned to Indonesia and established a large training camp in Aceh. This cell, which called itself “al Qaeda on the Veranda of Mecca” (a Koranic reference to Aceh), was influenced by the Lashkar e-Taiba’s 2008 takeover of the hotel in Mumbai and wanted to replicate the bold but low cost operation in Jakarta. This cell was broken up and more than 125 members were found. A senior member of this cell, Umar Patek, was arrested in Abottabad, Pakistan, shortly before Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy Seals. Patek was there to solicit al-Qaeda support and funding. After 2010, JI was severely crippled and could only stage small-scale attacks. JAT was also hurt in the follow-up as its leader, Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, was imprisoned for 15 years for his role in funding the camp. Other splinters emerged, but they were that, simply splinters. Yet, the emergence and success of ISIS has reinvigorated JI’s successor organizations.

The Numbers.

Southeast Asians comprise a fraction of the Soufan’s Group’s estimated 12,000 foreign fighters, or the U.S. State Department’s estimated 16,000 fighters who have joined ISIS since 2012.3 More recent estimates put the number at 20,000.4 There are over 500 Southeast Asians in Iraq or Syria, including family members of militants. Were it not for very proactive policing, the numbers would be far higher. Many Southeast Asians have fought with al-Nusra, which brought in Southeast Asians through the JI network early on because of its al-Qaeda affiliation. But the rate of recruitment into ISIS has grown faster, perhaps because of the group’s battlefield success in 2014.5

Indonesian counterterrorism officials believe that there have only been 159 Indonesians who have served as ISIS combatants, up from their mid-2014 estimate of 56.6 There are estimates of over 514 Indonesians. Though some suggest that figure includes family members, Indonesian counterterrorism officials suggest otherwise. Of the 159, 11 are confirmed dead, though there are estimates of higher casualty rates, while 11 have returned to Indonesia.7 Yet, the number of Indonesians alone going to fight in Syria and Iraq has already surpassed the number that went to Afghanistan between 1985 and 1994.

Malaysian officials have confirmed the involvement of only 67. Although that does not include family members, it, too, is up from their mid-2014 estimate of 30.8 As of March 2015, Malaysia had arrested or detained over 120 people for involvement in ISIS.9 Counterterrorism officials have confirmed 11 Malaysians have been killed, including six suicide bombers.10

Nine Singaporean nationals are also believed to have joined ISIS.11 In addition, Singapore has detained one individual under the Internal Security Act, while two more were under “Restriction Orders.” At least one Cambodian Cham, according to one British jihadist who appeared in a video, “There’s No Life Without Jihad,” is also there.12

While there are no confirmed reports of anyone from the southern Philippines traveling to join ISIS, two fringe militant organizations, the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, have pledged bai’at to the self-proclaimed IS caliphate.13 I view this largely as publicity stunts. For example, the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) linked their threatened beheading of two German hostages to changes in international policy towards ISIS. Despite one of the hostages being photographed sitting in his own grave in front of an ISIS flag, those demands were dropped with the payment of $1.35 million in ransom but with no concession by the Germans on ending their participation in the campaign in Syria.14 But one can never discount the possibility that some of their members will join. A Singaporean JI member, known as Muawiyah, and a handful of Malaysians that have been active in recruiting for ISIS are believed to be with the Abu Sayyaf today. Should the Philippine peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front completely unravel, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Front will be the main beneficiary. Their ties—however tenuous—to ISIS may herald a more sectarian strategy.

What we do know is that there are enough Bahasa speaking Southeast Asians to establish a company within ISIS, Katibah Nusantara, that has been at the forefront of the fighting against Kurdish Peshmurga. Katibah Nusantara came together in August 2014, when a core of at least 22 Indonesians and Malaysians in the town of Al-Shadadi, Hasaka province, Syria, pledged allegiance to ISIS.15Katibah Nusantara has recently renamed itself Majmu’ah al-Arkhabiliy.16Moreover, a critical mass of their families have joined them so as to establish a Bahasa language school, the Abdullah Azzam Academy, where children are indoctrinated in ISIS ideology and given military training.17 This is not new for ISIS, which recently released images of its Camp Farouk military training facility in Raqqa where children (“cubs of the caliphate”) are being prepared to be the next generation of fighters, practicing beheadings and fighting.18

Right now it is the logistical backlog and trouble of getting out of Malaysia and Indonesia that is keeping the numbers at current levels. Indonesian officials state that there is a backlog. Indonesian recruiters actually do a fair bit of vetting because the logjam is so great. Malaysian authorities are confident that they have effectively blocked the use of the country as a transit point for Southeast Asian jihadis traveling to join ISIS. A recruiter in Syria for the militant group just posted a warning on the ISIS website urging Indonesians not to transit in Malaysia, saying that to do so would be “suicidal.”19 Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said, “We are glad our efforts are showing results and are preventing militants from joining IS through Malaysia. We will continue our vigilance at all exit and entry points to ensure no one slips through our net.”20 In December 2014, they returned 12 Indonesians, including nine women and children, who were en route to Turkey.21 The governments of Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia have all prevented people from traveling to Iraq and Syria. Most recently, Turkish authorities arrested 16 Indonesians trying to cross into Syria and are searching for an additional group of 16, prompting calls for greater intelligence sharing between the two countries.

There is clearly intense pressure being brought on ISIS supporters at home. In August 2014, the head of the ISIS support group in Indonesia publicly quit ISIS under very obvious police pressure.22

Who Are They?

The recruits to JI were a fairly narrow profile: young male students from a network of madrassahs, centering on Al Mukmin in Yogyakarta, with affiliated institutions in West Java, East Kalimantan, and Johor state in Malaysia. JI also included a large number of technically educated elites, including faculty and students from schools such as Universiti Tecknologi Malaysia. The profile of ISIS supporters and recruits is much larger and represents a cross section of society: from 14-year old girls who were prevented from traveling overseas to former JI combatants. However, it includes people from beyond the JI social milieux. Indeed, of all the Malaysians who have joined ISIS, only six had previously been detained for being involved in JI according to the Minister of Home Affairs.23

In Malaysia and Singapore, most participants have been young, urban, and concentrated within networks in the state of Selangor, notably Shah Alam. The group is a mix of professionals, doctors, lawyers, university lecturers, and factory workers, as well as unemployed youth, mostly recruited through social media, especially Facebook. Malaysian authorities reveal that 10 of the detainees were currently civil servants.24 Security personnel have also been recruited: In June 2014, Malaysian police investigated a navy person for links to ISIS, while former Indonesian army personnel have appeared in ISIS videos. In March 2015, Indonesian counterterrorism officials announced that a policeman had gone “absent without leave” and likely joined ISIS.25 Most other Indonesian recruits are small shop or stall owners or madrassah students, people on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum.

What I find most interesting is the number of women involved. In the case of JI, women played roles in the social networks, and the core of JI was around 150 intermarried families. But beyond that and socializing their children, women played very passive roles. Because ISIS is truly a social media phenomenon, women are at the forefront of ISIS recruitment, proselytization, and indoctrination. While we do have cases of 14-year-old girls trying to join ISIS, media and reports have vividly described Malaysian women who have joined as brides and taken out loans to fund their travel. The role of women is much more important in terms of building the group’s institutional base. In each cell that gets broken up in Malaysia, the core recruiters are women. In May 2014, Malaysia’s first major group of arrests of ISIS supporters included Azizah Md Yusof, a 55-year-old housewife who was using two Facebook pages to recruit and “support terrorist activities.”26 One of the most well-read blogs was that of an ISIS member who claimed to be a 26-year-old female doctor from Malaysia that traveled to Syria to volunteer her medical training and married an ISIS combatant.27 In October 2014, another 14-person cell was detained that included a recent returnee from Syria and two women described as “top recruiters.28Another housewife (aged 29) was arrested in March 2015 for her online recruiting activities.29 Women have never been as empowered to take a proactive place within a jihadist movement.

Why Are They Going?

Southeast Asia should be infertile ground for ISIS. First, Southeast Asian Muslims are mostly moderate and tolerant, though clearly less secular than in the past. Second, terrorism has been largely discredited in the region, as most of the victims of JI’s reign of terror in Indonesia were fellow Muslims. Third, Southeast Asia is outside of ISIS’ own map of the caliphate, though that, too, has expanded with their acceptance of groups such as Boko Haram.30 Yet, they are taking great risks to go. Why?

This is not the first time Southeast Asians have traveled abroad to gain experience and credibility. Between 120 and 150 Malaysians, Indonesians, southern Philippine Muslims, and Southern Thai Pattani went to Pakistan and Afghanistan to join the mujahideen in the 1990s. Many of these individuals returned to Southeast Asia, where they established madrassahs and indoctrinated a generation of Salafi jihadists and went on to lead militant organizations around the region, including Jemaah Islamiyah, the long-defunctLaskar Jihad, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the ASG, and Gerakan Mujideen Islamliya Pattani (GMIP). The influence of the Afghan veterans cannot be overstated. They returned from Afghanistan and were put on pedestals in their communities. Their hagiographies were embellished as they constructed a narrative that, if motivated jihadists could topple a super power, then regional secular and authoritarian regimes could also be defeated. Unchecked, they formed the leadership of the most important militant organizations in the region and established a network of madrassahs that served as ideological incubators.

JI has been largely decimated; its last major attack against a western target occurred in 2009. What is left has splintered into many small factions and organizations, including Jamaah Ansharusy Syariah (JAS), Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT), Komite Aksi Penanggulangan Akibat Krisis (“Crisis Management/Prevention Committee [KOMPAK]), Qoidah Aminah, and Mujahideen Indonesia Timor (MIT). MIT is by far the most lethal and organized, but it is geographically contained in Sulawesi and other pockets in Eastern Indonesia.

I do not have a single answer as to why the organizations have not regrouped. There are some ideological differences (i.e., JAS split from JAT over ISIS31). There are differences over targeting (i.e., the near enemy vs. the far enemy). Most groups contend that targeting the West has been highly counterproductive and advocate a return to sectarian attacks and targeting Indonesian security forces. This has been particularly true with MIT. In some ways, it is just hard to reconstitute in the face of an intense security dragnet. Finally, there is ego involved; all see themselves as the spiritual heirs of JI and want to assume the mantle of leadership.

This is an opportunity to gain military experience, to develop their bonafides and haiographies as global jihadists. Their presence alone in Syria and Iraq gives them jihadi credibility. This is the first step to rebuilding their campaign in Southeast Asia. Governments have been proactive at trying to counter them, more than in the 1990s, but there is still a degree of tolerance for activities abroad, far less so than if they were engaged in militancy at home.

It is also an opportunity to develop sources of funds to rebuild their network. “ISIS is the wealthiest jihadi organization on the planet now, and Indonesian jihadis are looking for funding and experience,” said Taufik Andrie, a leading scholar of JI.32 Indonesian National Counterterrorism Agency officials speak of the infrastructure that has been put in place to facilitate the movement of recruits, which includes recruitment, preparing their travel documents, providing allowances of $1,500 for accommodations and transportation via Malaysia, and the offer of housing and education for their children.33 On August 8, 2014, Indonesian counterterrorism police arrested a key financier from the JAT who was funding ISIS recruitment.34 On March 20, 2015, Indonesian counterterrorism police arrested a six-person cell, including a man thought to be a top recruiter for ISIS, who had funded the trips of at least 16 individuals.35 Yet the infrastructure is multilayered enough to withstand these few arrests. Several Indonesians who returned from Syria complaining that the benefits promised by ISIS never materialized. These benefits included salaries, housing, and the payment of debts.36 Yet, Malaysian and Indonesian counterterrorism (CT) officials spoke of the established pipeline that got them into training camps in Syria.

The brutality of ISIS makes us often overlook the fact that it is “very Islamic.” Graeme Woods argues very persuasively that “the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.”37

Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, ‘the Prophetic Methodology,’ which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail.

As the leading authority on ISIS ideology, Bernard Haykel put it, “There is an assiduous, obsessive seriousness” about the group’s dedication to Koranic text.38This is very attractive to Southeast Asians who feel that they are confined to the Islamic periphery and often viewed condescendingly by their coreligionists in the Middle East and South Asia.

But to be fair, there is an indication that the militants from Southeast Asia have no plans to return soon. Many are bringing their entire families and appear to be setting down roots and educating their children. This may be a very long-term strategy that is hinged on the success of ISIS in establishing an Islamic state.

Why Their Presence Matters.

Southeast Asians offer little to ISIS other than propaganda value. They are such a small percentage of the foreign fighters that they have little in the way of battlefield efficacy. But ISIS does offer many things, beyond their potential to help regenerate terrorist cells and organizations across Southeast Asia that will impact regional security.

It is the spread of a horrifically virulent ideology. But its spread via social media is ubiquitous in Southeast Asia. Internet penetration in the region is very high, 67 percent in Malaysia. Although it is only 16 percent in Indonesia, it is far higher in the regions from which ISIS is recruiting.39 Indonesia has some of the highest rates of Twitter and Facebook use in the world, while Malaysia’s are not that far behind. Although the governments have been trying to block social media and websites, the work-arounds are too easy, and there are too many mirror sites. Attempts to block ISIS propaganda is doomed to failure.40

Because so much of the recruitment is done online, the rate of recruitment has never been higher.41 For example, recruitment into JI was a gradual process based on personal ties (kinship, friendship, madrassah, and mosque). Recruitment into ISIS is quick and does not require personal connections. The barriers to entry are lower. As one Malaysian counterterrorism official put it, “With JI, it took 1 year to be recruited. This group, in 1 or 2 days, they will take an oath.”42 Malaysian officials have been alarmed at their success using social media: “They are using an organised, steady infusion of propaganda videos and call-to-action messages circulated via social media platforms, such as blogs, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.”43

These platforms now include Malaysia’s first six suicide bombers.44 In October 2014, an Indonesian martyred himself at an airbase in Iraq. He was the third Indonesian shaheed.45 Every time this happens, the psychological threshold diminishes.

There is a well-founded fear that the spectacle of violence demonstrated by ISIS will take root. Two Malaysians were identified as taking part in a grisly ISIS beheading video.46 It is not that this has not been done in the past. The ASG has beheaded over 20 people, southern Thai insurgents have beheaded almost 40, JI and MIT have both beheaded victims in the past; but it is still regarded as beyond the pale among Southeast Asians. Southeast Asian jihadists have never video-taped the act of decapitation or glorified it. As ISIS videos are viewed and celebrated, the threshold lowers, and their base of support no longer finds it to be anathema to Southeast Asian culture. Moreover, such extreme violence will force security services to react and—most likely—overreact, which is what the militants try to provoke.

Media platforms are frequently used in ISIS propaganda, in part to recruit other Southeast Asians, but also to demonstrate ISIS’ global appeal and reach. The propaganda is very well made, well edited, and has far higher production value than the ham-fisted response of governments. It is broadcast across multiple media platforms, especially with the proliferation of 4G smart phones. ISIS has proved extremely adept at exploiting social media, controlling their message, recruiting, and indoctrinating.

    • Indeed, one of ISIS’ biggest online boosters has been the 29-year-old Australian convert to Islam, Musa Cerantonio, who was based in the Philippines until his arrest on July 11 and his extradition to Australia.47According to British researchers, he was one of the most influential boosters of ISIS in the world, with a massive following in social media.48
    • Malaysia first posted videos for recruitment showing members already in Syria, including Ustadz Mohd Lotfi Ariffin, one of the most renowned Malaysian jihadists and a former JI member.49 Lotfi was constantly engaging his followers on social media and, at the time of his death, had over 20,000 followers on Facebook. This video was of very low production quality, but video quality would quickly improve.
    • In June 2014, two videos featuring Indonesians appeared online. In a mixture of Bahasa and Arabic, the four men represented a cross-selection of society. A former soldier, university student, businessman, and a youth implored their compatriots: “Let us fight in the path of Allah because it is our duty to do jihad in the path of Allah . . . especially here in Sham [the Syrian region] . . . and because, God willing, it will be to this country that our families will do the holy migration.” Another said, “Brothers in Indonesia, don’t be afraid because fear is the temptation of Satan.” A third—the former Indonesian soldier—attacked Indonesia’s official secular ideology of Pancasila.50
    • In July 2014, the ISIS propaganda wing al-Hayat Media Centre released a recruitment video entitled “Join the Ranks” that featured Abu Muhammad al-Indonesi.51 The 8:27-minute video features an impassioned sermon/appeal by Bahrumsyah, flanked by seven followers, in which he goads and cajoles fellow Southeast Asians to join ISIS, rejecting excuses they have and emphasizing their Koranic obligation. He offers the hope of the ISIS and then presents it as a case of “defensive jihad,” fighting enemies of Islam that are trying to roll back the caliphate.
    • In another example, a group of Southeast Asians were featured on the last page of the October edition of ISIS’ glossy magazine, Dabiq.
    • In a December 24, 2014, video entitled “Ancaman wahabi terhadap Polisi, TNI dan Densus 88, Banser” (Wahabi threat against the Police, TNI and Densus, Banser),52 an Indonesian national, Salim Mubarok Attamimi (Abu Jandal), warns the country’s security forces that the Islamic State would “slaughter” them “one by one” as part of its attempt to implementShariah.

We’ve heard that you want to help the coalition forces, to eliminate the Caliphate. But know that we are truly happy to hear this. Because this means that, God willing, the meeting between you and us will be expedited by God. . . . And if you don’t come to us, we will come to you. We will come back to Indonesia . . . to implement the Shariah of God. The implementation of the Shariah of God starts with waging a war on you—with slaughtering you one by one—the [Indonesian] military, the National Police, Densus [88] and Banser.53

  • In March 2015, a video entitled “Cahaya Tarbiyah di Bumi Khilafah” (“The Light of Education on the Caliphate’s Earth”) shows Southeast Asian children, all under the age of 15, being indoctrinated, praying, eating, and receiving training with assault rifles. The video, which is a little over 2-minutes long, was produced by Alazzam Media, which claims to be the Malay language media division of the Islamic caliphate. If this is true, this suggests investments are being made to further propagandize and recruit in Southeast Asia.
  • Local websites and social media platforms quickly translate and distribute ISIS propaganda and materials. The Indonesian pro-jihadi websitewww.al-mustaqbal.net is a one-stop shop for all things ISIS.

Radical anti-Shia-ism and sectarianism of ISIS bodes ill for Southeast Asia. In many ways, the Shia are more reviled by Salafis than non-Muslims. Though there are few Shia in Southeast Asia, antipathy towards them is high, but the region’s recent history of sectarian conflict makes it fertile ground for ISIS’ virulent practice of takfir.54 ISIS’ brutal attacks against the Shia are inspiring similar attacks in Indonesia, where there is a similar desire to “cleanse” their religion. The Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace has reported a three-fold increase in the number of attacks on Shia between 2012 and 2013. This is coupled with a surge in attacks against the Ahmadiyah sect in recent years, including a brutal attack in February 2011 in which three Ahmadis were beaten to death while Indonesian police stood by.55 In June 2008, the government banned the Ahmadiyah, despite the constitutional protection of freedom of religion.56 According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, between 2008-13, some 62 Ahmadiyah mosques were attacked or destroyed, 45 of which were forcibly closed, and more than 100 people were displaced after their village in Lombok was attacked.57 There have been further attacks on Suffis. The government’s 2008 Decree on Deviant Sects has been seen as a green light for groups like the Friends Provident International to engage in sectarian violence.58 In Malaysia, the government’s narrow view of faith has encouraged takfiri, or accusing other Muslims of apostasy. The Shia in Malaysia have been especially targeted for their beliefs, often openly by the government’s religious authorities. The government has broadly encouraged religious extremist views by funding organizations that promote intolerance and exclusion, and it has sent mixed signals in its interventions over religious hatred.59

In the next 2 years, more than 200 JI members will be freed from prisons in Indonesia, which have become the key breeding grounds for ISIS.60 Abu Bakar Ba’asyir has actively been calling on inmates to pledge allegiance to the movement.61 Aman Abdurrahman, an influential Islamist cleric, is Indonesia’s main translator for ISIS and has been able to disseminate information online from inside a maximum-security prison, including the group’s recent call on Muslims to kill Westerners indiscriminately.62 Indonesian prison officials have warned of a budgetary shortfall for counter-radicalization, and their program was always woefully underfunded compared to those of Malaysia and Singapore.63In Malaysia, too, most of the people that have been detained will be freed without charge.

But it is not just Abu Bakar Ba’asyir. The most violent and active of all the JI splinters that has given Indonesian counterterrorism forces the greatest cause for alarm, the MIT, pledged bai’at to al-Baghdadi in an audio recording uploaded to YouTube in June 2014. These videos have shown training conducted in front of ISIS flags.64 ISIS, meanwhile, has found support among other Indonesian radical groups such as the Forum of Activists for Islamic Syariah (Faksi) and Islam Reform Movement (Garis).65 It has likewise found support from other fringe groups in Malaysia and Indonesia, including 19 groups in Indonesia and five in Malaysia, meaning it is not solely relying on the old JI/Darul Islam network on which the al-Qaeda affiliate had been built.66 ISIS has been able to broaden its base of support.

Malaysian foreign ministry officials, in particular, are concerned about ISIS-encouraged lone wolf terrorism. “A person armed merely with a knife who starts stabbing people in a mall is enough to disrupt safety and security,” said a senior Special Branch Counter Terrorism official. “Anyone who is pro-IS can carry out the attack at any moment. That is our biggest fear.”67 ISIS has inspired lone wolf attacks in Europe and Australia, which are almost impossible to prevent. Indeed, Malaysia, which was spared all the terrorist attacks during JI’s decade-long reign of terror, had its closest brush from ISIS-loyal terrorists in mid-2014. In August 2014, a 19-man cell purchased bomb-making material, including aluminum powder, to bomb a Carlsberg brewery. Though they were still at the “discussion” stage,” as one counterterrorism (CT) official put it, “In terms of ideology and intention it was very clear. It would have been carried out.”68

On April 26, Malaysian police arrested 12 members of ISIS and seized a cache of explosives, 20 kilograms of ammonium nitrate, a similar amount of potassium nitrate, remote control devices, and other bomb-making materials being readied to attack the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, held in Kuala Lumpur from April 26-28, 2015. Never has Malaysia been closer to a major terrorist attack.69

But attacks will be problematic in Indonesia, as well. In February 2015, a small improvised explosive device (IED) that failed to detonate properly in a Jakarta mall raised the specter of increased lethality, as the bomb was comprised of chlorine.70 Though often used by ISIS,71 this is the first time that chlorine was used in an IED in Southeast Asia.

ISIS has reactivated several charities linked to militant groups in Southeast Asia. JI never fully adopted the “inverse triangle” model of Hamas or Hezbollah, in which most of a group’s activities are overt, such as charitable work and the provision of social services, while only a small component of the organization remains a clandestine and violent terrorist cell.72 This violence has always been a weakness of JI as it diminishes their societal resiliency since those overt activities make them long-lived, unrootable, and able to fully penetrate a society. But several JI-linked charities have made ISIS central to their recent operations. These include the Hilal Ahmar Society, which has supported the recruitment and travel of JI members to travel to Syria for military training since 2013.73

There is also a concern about the development of transnational networks, especially within Southeast Asia. The lesson of the 1990s Afghan mujahideen was that returnees operated across international boundaries, exploiting loopholes and taking advantage of different security environments so that no one security service had a clear picture of their operations. This is all the more true today and potentially on a much larger scale. For example, in July 2014, Malaysian officials announced that five suspects with ties to ISIS and the Abu Sayyaf were hiding in Mindanao. This cell was responsible for dispatching the first five Malaysians, including the first suicide bomber, to Syria in March 2014.74 The transnational networks are more than just the traditional intra-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); they now include China. In September 2014, Indonesian authorities arrested seven people, including four Uighurs in Poso, who had been liaising with MIT.75

The insurgency in southern Thailand is now in its 12th year. Although the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) is in it for merdeka (independence) and eschews the caliphate of ISIS, we cannot rule out the presence of people from southern Thailand fighting with ISIS; they are indistinguishable from Malaysians. Second, they will not turn away ISIS supporters that have crossed over from Malaysia. The BRN and those in its social network might not share ISIS ideology 100 percent, but they both have mistrust of the Malaysian government. There is a legitimate concern that ISIS is becoming an attractive model as the BRN appears to be winning, or certainly has enjoyed rapid gains in 2014, while ISIS has plateaued. For now, the threat is of transit and sanctuary. In the BRN-dominated villages, dreams are of merdeka, but sadly, ISIS propaganda and Malaysian discussion forums are starting to be discussed in social media among urban youth and more radicalized university students.

Government Countermeasures.

Indonesian and Malaysian officials have been very proactive about the threat of ISIS and have gone to great lengths to stop people from traveling to Iraq and Syria to join them. Were it not for those efforts, the number of Southeast Asians in ISIS ranks would swell. Intelligence and police cooperation with international partners is more important than ever, and states have really overcome their mistrust and reluctance to share intelligence. They are reaching out and forging new partnerships, such as with Turkey.

But ISIS’ slick propaganda and their effective use of social media, compared with the moribund response from the governments, means that ISIS will continue to attract recruits, and not just from traditional jihadist networks in Southeast Asia; they are reaching new demographics. Their virulent and violent ideology is appealing to some in the region. This will serve to rebuild terrorist networks that have been decimated after years of successful police and intelligence operations; ISIS will be the new vanguard. They have refocused efforts against the “near enemy” and worked to glorify gratuitous violence in the region.

Police work and intelligence gathering will not be enough. Indonesia and Malaysia have both found that charging people for merely supporting ISIS has been a dismal failure.76 Simply trying to block certain social media sites or YouTube videos is an act of futility. Indeed, on April 1, 2015, Indonesia’s Ministry of Communications and Information reversed course and stopped blocking 22 extremist websites due to freedom of speech concerns.77 And even if they hadn’t, the information would have migrated to other sites one step ahead of law enforcement.

Both Malaysia and Indonesia have drafted a host of new counterterrorism legislation. These will not achieve their desired goals, other than expanding their powers. The Malaysian government tabled two new counterterrorism bills: the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and the Special Measures Against Terrorism in Foreign Countries Bill (Foreign Fighters Bill). The latter would allow authorities to suspend or revoke passports of both Malaysians and foreigners if they are suspected of engaging in or supporting terrorism while abroad. POTA would allow Malaysian authorities to hold a suspected terrorist for 2 years without trial, harkening back to the draconian 1960 Internal Security Act, scrapped in 2012.78 One provision of the bill effectively gives investigating officers unchecked powers, even possible torture, to gain evidence.79 The bill does not allow for any judicial review by any court. Indonesian authorities are similarly debating a new counterterrorism law to replace their existing 2003 legislation that was passed in the immediate aftermath of the October 2002 Bali bombing.80 Indonesian National Police Inspector-General Tito Karnavian said, “Our legislation today is not sufficient to cover and to prevent and to investigate those supporting ISIS.”81

Indonesian President Joko Widodo is also considering issuing an interim emergency government regulation (a perppu) to deter Indonesians from joining IS. Although a final decision has not been made, it could include a provision to revoke citizenship for people who travel to join IS. The perppu includes bans on verbal support for IS, traveling overseas to support terrorist groups, engaging in terrorist activity abroad, and propagating terrorist ideology, loosely defined.82

Real concerns exist about the abuse of these laws. They offer little in the way of oversights and protections. They also can be misused for political ends. Malaysia’s disturbing spate of arrests under the controversial Sedition Act illustrates the costs of laws that are used to silence opponents rather than genuinely protect national security. Taken with the incredible politicization of its Special Branch, there are serious concerns for the abuse of such powers.83Neither Malaysia nor Indonesia has provided adequate justifications of why these measures are necessary or addressed the potential human rights problems that may arise from the abuse of these laws. Neither country has adequately justified why existing laws, such as Indonesia’s 2003 legislation or Malaysia’s Security Offences (Special Measures) Act of 2012, are inadequate.84

But to no surprise, the governments continue to play up the threats. As the Malaysian Bar Association joined opposition and governing coalition opposition to the new POTA bill, Malaysian authorities announced the arrest of 17, including two recent returnees from Syria. The government stated that those arrested were actively plotting terrorist acts in Kuala Lumpur but offered no evidence.85 States are going to inoculate themselves of this virus through mere increases in funding for security forces or new counterterrorism legislation or stripping people of citizenship.

Combating ISIS requires social resiliency. And, importantly, it means that governments are going to have to stop creating the conditions where ISIS will be able to plant roots. A more productive holistic approach is necessary. A key starting point is to undercut the recruitment efforts at their source. As ISIS is a social media phenomenon, it has to be confronted in this way. Its recruitment videos and marketing are slick, offering far higher production value across every conceivable media platform than any ham-fisted government counternarrative. Simply blocking websites or demanding YouTube take down videos is doomed to failure; there are too many easy technical work-arounds. Reducing appeal involves taking on the narrative head-on, using the very same mediums.

In March 2015, Indonesia arrested a disillusioned returnee from ISIS. The 31-year-old JAT member was promised a high salary, his debts paid off, and jihadist glory. He was poorly paid, saddled with debts to cover his travel to Syria (RP20 million), and rarely engaged in combat.86 After 6 months, he returned home, fully disillusioned. Rather than arrest him, Indonesia should actively promote him in discussion forums and social media, as well as allow him to lecture at mosques and prisons.

The governments also need to confront growing religious intolerance within their own societies and the policies that create the context for ISIS to be so appealing. The region’s growing religious intolerance makes it fertile ground for the virulent ISIS practice of takfir. The radical anti-Shia-ism and sectarianism of IS resonates across Southeast Asia. Brutal attacks against the Shia are inspiring attacks where there is a similar desire to “cleanse” their religion. The governments’ declaration of sects as “deviant,” as in Indonesia’s 2008 decree, has provided carte blanche to fuel hatred. The Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace has reported a three-fold increase in the number of attacks on Shia between 2012 and 2013 in the region. Malaysia’s record is not much better, with the country ranked as “highly restrictive” on religious freedom by the Pew Center, and institutionalized bans on Shia are well established.

There has been little done to change mindsets of intolerance. A new survey of high school students in Jakarta found low levels of support for ISIS (7 percent), though awareness of the group was growing. More disturbing was increased intolerance of sects like Shia and the Amadiyah; 43.8 percent said that they should be banned. Ironically, the religious institutions used to “treat” members of these deviant sects are the same ones charged with disengaging militants.87Part of this problem lies with the embedded intolerance within religious authorities, who are promoting division rather than dignity. Even Malaysia’s Special Branch has acknowledged that religious authorities are sympathetic to ISIS, highlighting that the problem lies less with the laws than with changing the attitudes of those implementing them.

The support of mainstream Muslim organizations in Indonesia such as the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Mohammidiyah, who have rejected ISIS and the establishment of the caliphate by force, is critical. But we need to expose the growing intolerence of some other organizations such as the Indonesian Ulama’s Council (MUI), which has issued appallingly shrill fatwahs on secularism. Most recently, it stated that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activities would be punished by stoning, while the Islamist political party in Malaysia, PAS, is pushing through its hudud bill that includes stonings and beheadings.

Targeted action is required. The governments should devote more resources for disengagement programs in prison, which are some of ISIS’ most fertile recruiting grounds. Indonesia’s program has long been underfunded, but it is at a critical juncture today, especially as some 200 members of JI are due to be released in the coming few years. Malaysia’s prisons do not meet international standards and similarly serve as breeding grounds of anger. Governments will have to invest more in disengagement programs, especially in prisons.

The threat of ISIS is real. Governments already have significant powers and tools at their disposal for effective law enforcement. Simply giving security forces more powers that can be abused while ignoring the context of ISIS’ recruitment and sources of appeal will do little to stem the movement. In fact, the new laws will create a false sense of security.


1. “Indonesia Prepares for Backlash from Returning Jihadis,” Financial Times, 2014, available from www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/e2dc2b12-22c3-11e4-9dc4-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3AGuuDIqi.

2. Jet Damazo-Santos, “Support ISIS, Jailed Indonesian Terror Leader Tells Followers,” Rappler.com, July 14, 2014, available fromwww.rappler.com/world/regions/asia-pacific/indonesia/63281- support-isis-jailed-indonesian-terror-leader.

3. Richard Barrett, “Foreign Fighters in Syria,” The Soufan Group, June 2014, available from soufangroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/TSG-Foreign-Fighters-in-Syria.pdf. Their June 2014 report cites official government estimates from Indonesia as 30-60, one from Singapore, and no official estimates from Malaysia and the Philippines.

4. “More than 20,000 foreign Fighters Have Joined ISIS,” The Washington Post, available from knowmore.washingtonpost.com/2015/01/27/more-than-20000-foreign-fighters-have-joined-isis/.

5. There is a likelihood that al-Nusra will continue to attract Southeast Asians as ISIS is targeted and overextended. Bassem Mroue, “Nusra Front Quietly Rises in Syria as Islamic State Targeted,” The Jakarta Post, March 24, 2015, available from m.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/03/24/ nusra-front-quietly-rises-syria-islamic-state-targeted.html.

6. Stuart Grudgings and Aubrey Belford, “Southeast Asia Fears Militant Fallout as Mideast Conflict Widens,” Reuters, June 2014, available fromwww.reuters.com/article/2014/06/25/us-iraq-security- southeastasia-idUSKBN0F02V620140625.

7. Sara Schonhardt, “Indonesian Official Calls for More Authority to Combat Lure of ISIS,” The Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2015, available fromblogs.wsj.com/indonesiarealtime/2015/03/26/indonesian-official-calls-for-more-authority-to-combat-lure-of-isis/.

8. Not all are with ISIS. An estimated 22 are fighting with Ajnad al-Sham Islamic Union; others are with al-Nusra. “Malaysia Arrests 17 Over Terror Plot,”news.com.au, April 6, 2015, available from www.news.com.au/world/breaking-news/malaysia-detains-17-terror-suspects/story-e6frfkui-1227293202488; Akil Yunus, “Freelance Jihadist Fights for His Cause,” The Star, Vol. 77, July 2014, available from www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/07/07/Freelance-jihadist-fights-for-his-cause-I-am-on-my-own-and-not-linked-to-any-terror-cells-says-Malay/.

9. “Two Malaysians in ISIS Beheading Video Identified, Says Report,” The Malaysian Insider, March 4, 2015, available fromwww.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/two-malaysians-in-isis- beheading-video-identified-says-report#sthash.iikTxcQQ.dpuf; “Malaysia Arrests 17 Over Terror Plot.”

10. In May 2014, the Syrian representative to the UN disclosed that 15 Malaysians had been killed in fighting. He offered little in the way of evidence, and I assume he was including Indonesians. Adie Suri Zulkefli, “Police Trying to Establish if any Militants Killed in Syria Were Malaysians,” New Straits Times, June 25, 2014; “11 Malaysian Members of Isis Dead,» The Malaysian Insider, May 11, 2015, available fromwww.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/11-malaysian-menbers-of-isis-dead.

11. Imelda Saad, “‘Handful’ of Singaporeans Went to Syria to Join Conflict: DPM Teo,” Today Online, July 9, 2014, available fromwww.todayonline.com/singapore/handful-singaporeans-went-syria-join-conflict-dpm-teo.

12. Alice Cuddy, “Cambodian Jihadists among Us: ISIS Video,” The Phnom Penh Post, June 23, 2014, available fromwww.phnompenhpost.com/national/cambodian-jihadists-among-us-isis-video.

13. Maria Ressa, “Senior Abu Sayyaf Leader Swears Oath to ISIS,”Rappler.com, August 4, 2014, available from www.rappler.com/nation/65199-abu-sayyaf-leader-oath-isis.

14. “Abu Sayyaf Open to Negotiate with DFA over German Captives’ Release,”The Philippine Star, October 15, 2014, available fromwww.philstar.com/headlines/2014/10/15/1380541/abu-sayyaf-open-negotiate-dfa-over-german-captives-release; Carmela Fonbuena, “2 Days before ‘Deadline,’ Abu Sayyaf Steps Up Pressure on German Hostages,” Rappler.com, October 15, 2015, available from www.rappler.com/nation/72028-abu-sayyaf-german-hostage-media; “Philippine Islamist Militants Free German Hostages-Militant Spokesman,” Reuters, October 17, 2014, available fromnwww.trust.org/item/20141017133312-mfqfl/?source=shtw.

15. “Indonesians Posing as Malaysians for Security Measure, Says Study,” The Star, January 13, 2015, available fromwww.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2015/01/13/Indonesians-posing-as-Msians-for-security-measure-says-study/.

16. “New IS Militant Wing for Malaysians, Indonesians Uncovered,” The Star, March 4, 2015, available fromwww.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/new-is-militant-wing-for-malaysians-indonesians-uncovered.

17. Michael Bachelard, “Children with Assault Rifles Attend Islamic State School,” The Sydney Morning Herald, March 19, 2015, available fromwww.smh.com.au/world/children-with-assault-rifles- attend-islamic-state-school-20150319-1m30eb.html; Ezra Sihite, “Authorities Scramble to Take Down Indonesian Language IS Video,” The Jakarta Globe, March 17, 2015, available from thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/authorities-scramble-take-indonesian-language-video.

18. Mia Bloom, “Why ISIS Is Increasingly Using Kids As ‘’Cubs of the Caliphate’,” The Huffington Post, March 23, 2015, available fromwww.huffingtonpost.com/mia-bloom/isis-kids-cubs-caliphate_b_6903638.html.

19. Farik Zolkepli, “Malaysia Cuts Off Route Used by Militants to Join IS in Syria,” The Star, January 13, 2015, available fromwww.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2015/01/13/No-longer-a-viable-transit-Malaysia-cuts-off-route-used-by-militants-to-join-IS-in-Syria/.

20. Ibid.

21. Farouk Arnaz, “Fate of Three Alleged Islamic State Supporters to Be Decided Today,” The Jakarta Globe, December 22, 2014, available fromthejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/fate-three-alleged-islamic-state-supporters-decided-today/.

22. “ISIS Indonesia Head Quits as Police Close In,” The Jakarta Globe, August 18, 2014, available fromthejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/multimedia/tv/indonesia-highlights/isis-indonesia-head-quits-police-close/.

23. “Zahid: Six ex-ISA Detainees Involved with Militant Groups,” The Star, March 31, 2015, available fromwww.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2015/03/31/Zahid-ISA-detainees-in-militant-activities/.

24. “Malaysia Arrests 17 over Terror Plot.”

25. ”Navy Officer Suspected of Militancy Freed,” The Star, July 11, 2014, available from www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/07/11/navy-officer-suspect-in-militant-activities-freed/; John Afrizal, “Police Officer Believed to Have Left Duty to Join IS,” The Jakarta Post, March 24, 2015, available fromwww.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/03/24/police-officer-believed-have-left-duty-join-is.html.

26. Farik Zolkepli, “IGP: Militant Group Believed to Have Ties in Syria and Southern Philippines,” The Star, May 3, 2014, available fromwww.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/05/03/CFrime-IGP-Militant-group/; Li Leen Chan, “Muamar Gadaffi Charged with Providing Militant Training in Perak,” The Star, July 11, 2014, available fromwww.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/07/11/Plantation-worker- charged-with-providing-militant-training/.

27. Shi-Ian Lee, “Malaysian Militants for ISIS Recruited through Social Media, Says Source,” The Malaysian Insider, September 22, 2014, available from www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/malaysian-militants-for-isis-recruited-through-social-media-says-source#sthash.0sxkWpD5.dpuf; “Woman Doc among 22 Malaysians with IS, Cops Confirm,” The Star, October 5, 2015, available from www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/10/05/Woman-doc-among-22-Malaysians-with-IS-cops-confirm/.

28. Farik Zolkepli, “14 Suspected Militants Held,” The Star, October 16, 2014, available from www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/10/16/14-suspected-militants-held/.

29. “Housewife Said to Be ISIS Recruiter among Latest Terror Suspects to Be Nabbed in Malaysia,” The Straits Times, March 3, 2015, available fromwww.straitstimes.com/news/asia/south-east-asia/story/housewife-said-be-isis-recruiter-among-latest-terror-suspects-be-nab.

30. Richard A. Nielsen, “Does the Islamic State Believe in Sovereignty?” The Washington Post, February 6, 2015, available fromwww.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/02/06/does-the-islamic-state-believe-in-sovereignty/ .

31. Dyah Ayu Pitaloka and Tunggadewa Mattangkilang, “Islamists Are Split Over Support for ISIS,” The Jakarta Globe, August 9, 2015, available fromwww.thejakartaglobe.com/news/islamists-split-support-isis/; Rendi A. Witular, “Sons, Top Aides Abandon Ba’asyir over ISIL, Form New Jihadist Group,” The Jakarta Post, August 13, 2014, available fromwww.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/08/13/sons-top-aides-abandon-ba-asyir-over-isil-form-new-jihadist-group.html.

32. “Indonesia Prepares for Backlash from Returning Jihadis,” Financial Times, 2014, available from www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/e2dc2b12-22c3-11e4-9dc4-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3AGuuDIqi.

33. Fatiyah Wardah, “Indonesia Battles Islamic State Recruitment,” Voice of America, November 25, 2014, available fromwww.voanews.com/content/indonesia-battles-islamic-state-recruitment/2534253.html; Bachelard.

34. Haeril Halim, “National Police Arrest Terrorism Suspects in Face of ISIL Threat,” The Jakarta Post, August 11, 2014, available fromwww.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/08/11/national-police-arrest-terrorism-suspects-face-isil-threat.html; Sri Lestari, “Does Islamic State Ideology Threaten Indonesia?” The British Broadcasting Corporation, August 11, 2014, available from www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28700983.

35. “Densus 88 Arrests Six People over Islamic State Recruitment,” The Jakarta Globe, March 22, 2015, available fromthejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/densus-88-arrests-six-suspected-islamic-state-recruiters/.

36. Nani Afrida, “Indonesian Gets No Incentives as Promised, Leaves IS, Syria,” The Jakarta Post, March 27, 2015, available fromwww.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/03/27/indonesian-gets-no- incentives-promised-leaves-is-syria.html#sthash.mvEtmukc.dpuf; Fedina S. Sundaryani, “IS Not Worth Joining: Returnee,” The Jakarta Post, April 1, 2015, available from www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/04/01/is-not-worth-joining-returnee.html.

37. Graeme Woods, “What ISIS Really Wants,” The Atlantic Monthly, March 2015, available from www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/what-isis-really-wants/384980/.

38. Ibid.

39. Freedom House, Freedom on the Net, 2014, available fromhttps://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net/freedom-net-2014#.VQsBDlw-Bo7.

40. For example, in August 2014, Indonesian officials blocked seven sites, to little avail. Ezra Sihite and Tunggadewa Mattangkilang, “Comms Minister Tifatul Blocks Access to ISIS-Related Websites,” The Jakarta Globe, August 6, 2014, available from www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/comms-minister-tifatul-blocks-access-to-isis-related-websites/.

41. Shi-Ian Lee.

42. Stewart Grudgings and Trinna Leong, “Malaysian Militants Bought Bomb Material for Planned Attack—Official,” Reuters, August 21, 2014, available fromwww.reuters.com/article/2014/08/21/malaysia-islamicstate-idUSL2N0QQ0BI20140821.

43. Shi-Ian Lee.

44. “11 Malaysian Members of Isis Dead.”

45. The other two Indonesian suicide bombers were 19-year-old Wildan Mukhallad and Riza Fardi. Fardi had attended the infamous al Mukmin (Ngruki) Islamic boarding school in Solo, Indonesia, founded by Abu Bakar Ba’asyir and also attended by the Bali bombers. “Hanzhalah Al-Indunisi, Amaliyah Istisyhadiyah Mujahidin Daulah Islamiyah Asal Indonesia Tewaskan Puluhan Tentara Syiah” (“Hanzalah Al-Indunisi, a Member of Mujahidin Indonesia Daulah Islamiyah, Martyred Himself, Killing Dozens of Shiite (or Shia) Troops),Panji Mas, October 12, 2014, available frompanjimas.com/news/2014/10/12/hanzhalah-al-indunisi-mujahidin-daulah-islamiyah-asal-indonesia-syahid/.

46. Mohd Faris Anwar, “20 from Kedah,” and Muhamad Wandy Muhamad Jedi, “26 from Malacca,” were featured in an ISIS video of mass beheadings released on February 20, 2015. “Men in IS beheading video identified as Malaysians,” The Malay Mail, March 4, 2015, available fromwww.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/duo-in-is-beheading-video-identified-as- malaysians#sthash.cWRZY7VR.QdYjR66y.dpuf.

47. Maria Ressa, “ISIS Online Cheerleader Musa Cerantonio Spotted in PH,”Rappler.com, June 21, 2014, available from www.rappler.com/nation/61200-isis-online-cheerleader-musa-cerantonio-ph; Bea Cupin, “Australian ISIS Supporter Nabbed in Cebu,” Rappler.com, July 11, 2014, available fromwww.rappler.com/nation/63041-australian-isis-cerantonio-philippines;Lindsay Murdoch, “Australian Islamic Preacher Musa Cerantonio Arrested in the Philippines,” The Sydney Morning Herald, July 11, 2014, available fromwww.smh.com.au/national/australian-islamic-preacher-musa-cerantonio-arrested-in-the-philippines-20140711-zt4zy.html; and Woods.

48. Joseph A. Carter, Shiraz Maher, and Peter R. Neumann, “#Greenbirds: Measuring Importance and Influence in Syrian Foreign Fighter Networks,” London, UK: International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Violence, 2014, esp. pp. 25-28, available from icsr.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/ICSR-Report-Greenbirds-Measuring-Importance-and-Infleunce-in-Syrian-Foreign-Fighter-Networks.pdf.

49. “M’sian Militant Does It the Talk Show Way,” The Star, June 27, 2014, available from www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/06/27/Msian-militant-does-it-the-talk-show-way/.

50. Vita Busyra, “ISIS-Trained Indonesians Ring Alarm Bells,” The Jakarta Globe, June 20, 2014, available from thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/isis-trained-indonesians-ring-alarm-bells/.

51. The video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxsPR-_fYnk or jihadology.net/2014/07/22/al-?ayat-media-center-presents-a-new-video-message-from-the-islamic-state-join-the-ranks/?utm_content=buffer1f24d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer.

52. Farouk Arnaz, “Indonesian IS Fighter Warns TNI Chief: Soldiers of God Are Waiting for You,” The Jakarta Globe, December 26, 2014, available fromthejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/indonesian- fighter-warns-tni-chief-soldiers-god-waiting/.

53. Ibid.

54. Woods.

55. Video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQrOhaH9ekw.

56. “Indonesia Pressured over Ahmadiyah Muslim Sect Killings,” BBC, February 8, 2011, available from www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-12389097.

57. Annual Report 2014, Washington, DC: US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), 2014, available fromwww.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/USCIRF%202014%20Annual%20Report%20PDF.pdf.

58. Because of the erosion of religious freedoms, protection of minority rights, changing policies, and sectarian attacks, the USCIRF has designated Indonesian as a Tier II country since 2009. Ibid.

59. Bridget Welsh and Zachary Abuza, “Malaysia’s ISIS Problem,” The Edge Review, March 6-12, 2015.

60. Support for “Islamic State” in Indonesian Prisons, Jakarta, Indonesia: Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, January 19, 2015, available fromwww.understandingconflict.org/conflict/read/34/Support-for-Islamic-State-in-Indonesian-Prisons.

61. Agence France Presse, “Indonesia’s Released Militants Feared to Join ISIS Forces, Straitstimes, October 8, 2014, available fromwww.straitstimes.com/news/asia/south-east-asia/story/indonesias-released-militants-feared-join-isis-forces-20141008; Kennial Caroline Laia, and Dyah Ayu Pitaloka, “Jailed Terrorist Convict Ba’asyir Pledges Oath With ISIS on the Rise,” The Jakarta Globe, August 4, 2014, available fromwww.thejakartaglobe.com/news/jailed-terrorist-convict-baasyir-pledges-oath-isis-rise/#.U-AxrM4-Evc.twitter; Jet Damazo-Santos, “Support ISIS, Jailed Indonesian Terror Leader Tells Followers,” Rappler.com, July 14, 2014, available from www.rappler.com/world/regions/asia-pacific/indonesia/63281-support-isis-jailed-indonesian-terror-leader.

62. Support for “Islamic State” in Indonesian Prisons.

63. Novianti Setuningsih, “Prisons Chief Warns of Budget Shortfall to Fight Radicalism,” The Jakarta Globe, August 5, 2014, available fromthejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/prisons-chief-warns-budget-shortfall-fight-radicalism/; Abuza, “The Rehabilitation of Jemaah Islamiyah Detainees in Southeast Asia.»

64. Video can be found at youtu.be/I7xvzvUx_As.

65. “Indonesian Hardliners Drum Up Support for ISIS,” The Straits Times, July 17, 2014, available from www.straitstimes.com/the-big-story/asia-report/indonesia/story/indonesian-hardliners-drum-support-isis-20140717#sthash.t4zmtL9U.dpuf.

66. Fedina S. Sundaryani and Haeril Halim, “IS Groups in RI Get Cash from Oz,” The Jakarta Post, March 23, 2015, available fromwww.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/03/24/is-groups-ri-get-cash-oz.html.

67. Farik Zulkepli, «It takes only one pro-Islamic State person to create chaos, says anti-terror cop,» The Star, October 15, 2014, available fromthestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/10/15/Police-fear-lone-wolf-attacks-here/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter.

68. Quotes in the paragraph are from Stewart Grudgings and Trinna Leong, “Malaysian Militants Bought Bomb Material for Planned Attack—Official,”Reuters, August 21, 2014, available fromwww.reuters.com/article/2014/08/21/malaysia-islamicstate-idUSL2N0QQ0BI20140821.

69. Lindsay Murdoch, “ASEAN Summit Bombing Averted: Malaysia Police,”The Age, April 27, 2015, available from www.theage.com.au/world/asean-summit-bombing-averted-malaysia-police-20150427-1mtzl0.html?stb=twt.

70. “Tiga Fakta Ledakan Bom di ITC Depok” (“Three Facts about the Bomb at the ITC in Depok”), Tempo, February 24, 2015, available fromwww.tempo.co/read/news/2015/02/24/064644792/Tiga-Fakta-Ledakan-Bom-di-ITC-Depok.

71. Video is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsZhf2OnMKQ&t=12.

72. Zachary Abuza, “Hezbollah’s Model Spreads to Southeast Asia,” Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2009.

73. Reuters, “US Imposes Financial Sanctions on Islamist Fighters, Including One Indonesian Group,” The Jakarta Globe, September 25, 2014, available fromwww.thejakartaglobe.com/news/us-imposes-financial-sanctions-islamist-fighters-including-one-indonesian-group/.

74. The five were identified as Dr. Mahmud Ahmad, Mohd Najib Husen, Muhammad Joraimee Awang Raimee, Mohd Amin Baco, and Jeknal Adil. Nestor Corrales, “Int’l Terrorists Hiding in Mindanao—Report,” The Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 3, 2014, available fromglobalnation.inquirer.net/107532/intl-terrorists-hiding-in-mindanao-re.

75. First described as Turks, they were later listed as Uighurs (Turkic). The four traveled to Cambodia, then Thailand, where they procured fake Turkish passports, then traveled to Malaysia and then Indonesia. The Four Uighurs arrested by Indonesia over their alleged links to ISIS will be put on trial in Jakarta and then returned to China.

They will be prosecuted. Once the indictment is completed, they will be returned to China. After that, it’s up to the Chinese government whether they want to detain them, sentence them to death, or free them. It depends on the laws in force there.

Agus Salim Suhana and Neil Chatterjee, “Indonesia Nabs Suspected Foreign Militants on Fake Passports,” Bloomberg, September 15, 2014, available fromwww.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-15/indonesia-nabs-suspected-islamic-militants-using-fake-passports.html; Keith Zhai and Chris Brummitt, “China’s Secret Plan to Track Militants and Bring Them Home,” Bloomberg, March 17, 2015, available from www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-17/china-hunts-terrorism-suspects-in-stealth-campaign-around-globe; Aditya Surya and Zahara Tiba, “Uyghurs Arrested in Indonesia to be Tried, Sent to China,” Benar News, March 19, 2015, available fromwww.benarnews.org/english_benar/news/indonesian/indonesia-uyghurs-trial-03192015173141.html.

76. Farouk Arnaz, “Despite Ban, Police Have Few Options in Dealing With ISIS Sympathizers,” The Jakarta Globe, August 6, 2014, available fromwww.thejakartaglobe.com/news/despite-ban-police-options-dealing-isis-sympathizers/.

77. Haeril Halim and Hans Nicholas Jong, “Govt Unblocks Radical Websites,”The Jakarta Post, April 1, 2015, available fromwww.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/04/01/govt-unblocks-radical-websites.html.

78. See the statement by the Malaysian Bar Association, available fromwww.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/malaysian-bar-calls-anti-terror-bill-shameless-revival-of-isa; andwww.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/pota-will-fail-wont-deal-with-root-cause-of-terror-says-saifuddin?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed.

79. Under the article:

An inquiry officer may for the purposes of any inquiry under this act: (a) procure and receive all such evidence, in any form and whether the evidence be admissible or not under any written law for the time being in force relating to evidence or criminal procedure, which he may think necessary or desirable.

80. Ina Parlina and Margareth S. Aritonang, “Government, House to Amend Terror Law,” The Jakarta Post, April 2, 2015, available fromwww.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/04/02/government-house-amend-terror-law.html#sthash.PUexLeKe.dpuf.

81. Sara Schonhardt, “Indonesian Official Calls for More Authority to Combat Lure of ISIS,” The Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2015, available fromblogs.wsj.com/indonesiarealtime/2015/03/26/indonesian-official-calls-for-more-authority-to-combat-lure-of-isis/; “ISIS Prompts Ministry to Consult on Revision of Anti-Terror Law,” The Jakarta Globe, March 27, 2015, available fromthejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/anti-terrorism-law-to-be-revised-to-help-scrutinize-suspicious-travel-abroad/.

82. Ezra Sihite and Yustina Pat, “New Rules Proposed to Stem Outflow to Islamic State,” The Jakarta Globe, March 20, 2015, available fromthejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/new-rules-proposed-stem-outflow-islamic-state/; Ezra Sihite, “In Fight Against Islamic State, Indonesia to Intensify Surveillance,” The Jakarta Globe,” September 15, 2014, available fromwww.thejakartaglobe.com/news/fight-islamic-state-indonesia-intensify-surveillance/; Ezra Sihite, “Jokowi Still Mulling Revoking Citizenship of Indonesians Joining IS,” The Jakarta Globe, March 20, 2015, available fromthejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/jokowi-not-time-yet-to-revoke-citizenship-of-indonesians-joining-is.

83. See www.malaysiakini.com/news/294372.

84. See www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/pota-will-fail-wont-deal-with-root-cause-of-terror-says-saifuddin?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed.

85. See www.news.com.au/world/breaking-news/malaysia-detains-17-terror-suspects/story-e6frfkui-1227293202488.

86. Sundaryani, “IS Not Worth Joining: Returnee.”

87. Zachary Abuza, “The Rehabilitation of Jemaah Islamiyah Detainees in Southeast Asia: A Preliminary Assessment,” in Tore Bjørgo and John Horgan, eds., Leaving Terrorism Behind: Individual and Collective Disengagement, New York: Routledge, December 2008.

Saving Afghanistan: More Than Just Troops

by S. Rebecca Zimmerman

November 5, 2015

Источник: http://warontherocks.com/2015/11/saving-afghanistan-more-than-just-troops/

President Obama recently revealed two changes to Afghanistan troop commitments. He also made another, vaguer commitment has received far less attention. But it is this commitment — to “continue to support President Ashraf Ghani and the national unity government as they pursue critical reforms” — that will determine whether the U.S. troop commitment to Afghanistan has any value.

Obama’s intention to slow the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2016 and to preserve a force of 5,500 in the country thereafter comes with no change of mission for America’s military. Troops will continue to conduct two tasks: countering terrorist threats and advising Afghan security forces on development and operations. The truth, though, is that these two missions alone cannot save Afghanistan from an unfortunate future.

Terrorist threats in the region are growing: The Islamic State in Khorasan Province, the group’s affiliate in the region, is making strides in parts of eastern and southern Afghanistan. Last week, U.S. and Afghan forces conducted an intense operation to destroy two Islamic State training camps in the south. In addition, the Taliban takeover of Kunduz was a show of strength by that organization’s new leader, seemingly designed to demonstrate his ability to lead his forces to victory. The Taliban campaign in Kunduz is still not over, though Afghan forces have largely beaten back the opposition. Elsewhere in the country, government control is tenuous and, according to United Nations reports, the Taliban now holds greater sway than it has since 2001.

To a significant degree, insecurity in the provinces is exacerbated by confusion in the capital. Afghanistan’s government exists in a state of sustained constitutional crisis, due to the power-sharing agreement that followed its stalemated and contested election. Every decision the government makes provokes concerns that it will upset the delicate balance of forces at the nation’s center, resulting for example, in the failure to name a defense minister able to receive parliamentary confirmation. In a government already burdened with patronage and corruption, jockeying for power and attention in the government takes an inordinate amount of attention and distracts from the business of governing. As a result, the Afghan people often express frustration with the government’s inability to respond to popular needs.

With the central government in crisis, the influence of sub-national power brokers is on the rise. To some extent, this has been sanctioned by the government, as has the use of factional militias reconstituted largely along old ethnic and partisan lines. But these forces are extremely difficult for the government to control, and with scores to settle amongst themselves, the militias often complicate the security picture at the local level by switching sides or pursuing their own agendas. As the government struggles to exert its influence, these actors often fill the vacuum.

The U.S. troop presence cannot halt the devolution of authority in Afghanistan, should it continue on that path, but it can have a dampening effect on any consequent insecurity. There is no point to that effort, though, unless the other half of Obama’s promise — to support real reform of the Afghan government — also materializes. There are four areas where the U.S. government can provide key contributions to stabilize the Afghan central government and secure its writ in the country’s periphery.

First, the United States can support efforts to resolve questions related to the structure and future of the national unity government. The present arrangement is not provided for in the constitution. Responsibilities are informally allocated and the future of this arrangement is unclear. The process of changing the constitution to formalize the procedures of the unity government is challenging and contentious, but there must be some push for legitimization of these high-level relationships.

Next, the United States must work to accelerate the Afghan government’s timeline for reforming electoral processes. Parliamentary elections have been indefinitely delayed because of the poor performance of electoral institutions in the presidential elections. But while badly managed parliamentary elections would sap confidence in government, so too will continued failure to hold them at all. Without solid provincial representation at the national level, informal provincial leadership will be strengthened.

Third, the United States ought to work with Afghanistan to clarify the increasingly murky relationships between sub-national power players and the central government. As sub-national actors are gaining in influence, their tendency to look to the center for legitimacy and direction may be on the wane. Particularly because so many of these powerful actors and their armed affiliates have re-formed along old ethnic and partisan lines, there is strong potential for them to reactivate old rivalries with each other, complicating the security and governance picture. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to such an endeavor, but the United States can help the Afghans to extend and enforce conditions that could help keep these actors engaged with the central government.

Finally, the Afghan government has placed a high priority on peace negotiations with the Taliban and the United States should work to support this outcome while being wary of the risks associated with negotiating peace. Few insurgencies conclude with a grand bargain, and it is unlikely that the Taliban will conclude such an agreement while the international community retains forces in Afghanistan. In fact, the Taliban might prefer to make local bargains with increasingly powerful sub-national actors from whom they could be able to extract the kind of concessions about an Islamist legal code that the central government would be unlikely to allow. The United States can best contain the risks of negotiation in two ways. First, it should seek to foster conditions under which the central government can better influence who militias are fighting, in order to maintain maximum clarity between pro- and anti-government actors and reduce the possibility of sidebar alliances with the Taliban. Second, it should synchronize negotiations with military operations so as not to allow for splintering of the Taliban into factions, limiting the utility of an agreement, weakening the government, and prolonging conflict. If adequate pressure can be kept on Islamic State affiliates and other groups opposed to reconciliation, then they cannot use a Taliban peace to take on the mantle of conflict as their own.

President Obama’s decision to preserve troop strength in Afghanistan is a major step in the right direction for U.S. policy there. These forces maintain flexibility to respond to a range of scenarios, demonstrate confidence in the Afghan government, and stake a claim for American interests in the region. But the ultimate success of these endeavors rests upon Obama’s commitment to continue to encourage reforms in the Afghan government. Without smart policies to stabilize the center and maintain participation from the periphery, no amount of troops can be the solution.

Any Review of Syria and Iraq Strategy Needs Realistic Reappraisal

by Brian Michael Jenkins

September 28, 2015

Источник: http://www.rand.org/blog/2015/09/any-review-of-syria-and-iraq-strategy-needs-realistic.html

As the fighting continues and refugees flood Europe, many in Washington are calling for a fundamental review of U.S. strategy in Syria and Iraq. That must begin with a realistic appreciation of the situation.

The continued fighting has seen the diminishing strength of Syria’s secular rebels and the ascent of its most extreme jihadist component, represented by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Since the American-led coalition bombing campaign began a year ago, ISIS has suffered some military setbacks and lost territory, but it also has been able to capture several more key cities in Iraq and Syria, and, despite the bombing, continues to attract a large number of foreign fighters. The threat they pose — along with ISIS’s continued exhortations to supporters abroad to carry out terrorist attacks — has security officials in Europe and America on edge.

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq seem to be at a stalemate. Towns may fall or be recaptured, but “front lines” move marginally. Insurgents in Syria and Iraq will likely not be able to overthrow the governments in Damascus and Baghdad, but neither will the Syrian nor Iraqi governments be likely to restore their authority throughout their national territories.

National armies in both countries have failed. Power has shifted to militias capable of defending ethnic and sectarian enclaves but limited in their ability to conduct strategic operations beyond their home ground. This shift will, in turn, weaken future central government authority.

Syria and Iraq are now effectively partitioned. These partitions are likely to persist. With U.S. backing, ethnic Kurds have been effective fighters against ISIS and have consolidated their traditional territory in northern Syria and Iraq. Turkey worries that the Kurds are laying the foundation for a future independent state, although no such intention has been announced. Although the Kurds fight forcefully when supported by coalition bombing, they are unlikely to advance into traditional Sunni areas.

The Syrian government has largely abandoned the Sunni areas of the country and is increasingly devoted to defending Damascus and its sectarian bastion in western Syria. Baghdad’s Shiite-dominated government has not been able to win over many of Iraq’s Sunnis, and that will impede its ability to recapture the cities and towns now held by ISIS.

It remains to be seen whether ISIS, despite the bombing campaign, will be able to consolidate its Islamic State and make it the primary political expression of Sunnis in Syria and Iraq. Alternatively, we could instead see the emergence of a Sunni badlands where warfare between armed rivals continues indefinitely.

Easier to forecast is that the fighting is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Sectarian and ethnic divisions are now driving the conflicts, making the contest more existential for its participants. Yearnings for peace may be universal, but none of the belligerents appears able to imagine surviving under rule by their foes.

Foreign powers in the region and beyond have significant stakes in the conflicts. This is now complicated by the military intervention of both Turkey and Russia, but absent large-scale direct military investments, which can easily backfire, none of the foreign powers can guarantee the triumph of their local allies or ensure the defeat of their foes. Moreover, the interests of the external powers compete with, rather than complement, each other.

Foreign fighters continue to head for Syria to join jihadist fronts, mainly ISIS, which recruits by advertising the opportunity to build a so-called “authentic” Islamic State and opportunities for unlimited violence. Foreign fighters will continue to pose an additional layer of threat to neighboring states and their countries of origin. The volume of individuals wanting to join ISIS or returning from Syria and Iraq is overwhelming authorities in Europe.

The conflict in Syria has produced millions of refugees on a scale approaching that of Europe during World War II. As long as the fighting continues — which is likely — these refugees will not be able to go home, nor can so many be absorbed by the surrounding countries. They are the new Palestinians and will remain an international burden and a source of regional instability.

Although these stark conclusions hardly sound controversial, they are antithetical to American policy. The very idea of a military stalemate lasting years — or decades — defies America’s sense of progress. Secular, democratic governance and religious tolerance are deeply held American values. The United States operates on the presumption that the sectarian and ethnic divisions can be bridged; that Iraq’s national army can be rebuilt into an effective fighting force; that the Bashar Assad regime in Syria can be replaced by a more inclusive government; that the Sunnis can be won over and the jihadists can be isolated, contained and defeated; that peace and national unity can be restored, enabling the refugees to return; and that this can be achieved without the commitment of large numbers of combat forces or even with the commitment of American combat forces.

Unquestionably, these are noble aims, and diplomats are required to be optimists. Nonetheless, national objectives must be based upon realistic assessments of the situation. Here, the distance between presumed aspiration and reality seems great.

The Terrorism Threat to the United States and Implications for Refugees

by Seth G. Jones

Testimony presented before the House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence on June 24, 2015.

Источник: http://www.rand.org/pubs/testimonies/CT433.html

Скачать полный текст

The Enemy You Know and the Ally You Don’t

Sunni tribal fighters stand guard near a school used as a shelter for displaced people in the city of Ramadi

by Benjamin Bahney, Patrick B. Johnston, Patrick Ryan

April 11, 2015

Источник: http://www.rand.org/blog/2015/06/the-enemy-you-know-and-the-ally-you-dont.html

In the weeks since the Islamic State captured the Iraqi city of Ramadi, a loud and diverse chorus of voices, including the New York Times editorial board, has called for the Iraqi government and the United States to arm Sunni militias to fight the extremist group’s advance. The administration increased the number of U.S. trainers last week, adding an additional 450 as early as this summer to the 3,100 American troops already in Iraq. Regardless, current political and military dynamics on the ground may merit giving arms to Sunni fighters if the Islamic State can’t be pushed back soon.

But the decision to hand weapons over to the Sunni militias also poses risks. Before directly arming more ethnic- or sectarian-aligned militias, both U.S. policymakers and the public should have a deeper understanding of our potential allies’ past and their possible future interests. And what the unintended consequences of arming these Sunni militias might be.

Newly declassified documents from the Islamic State’s predecessor, captured during a U.S.-Iraqi raid in 2010 and published by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, suggest that some of Iraq’s most prominent Sunni politicians collaborated with the Islamic State’s predecessor in 2009, when the group faced its darkest hour. Some of these senior figures may have worked with the Islamic State to benefit themselves, some to benefit the Sunnis, and some to weaken the hand of the Kurds in Iraq’s ethnically mixed areas in the country’s north. While the threat of the Islamic State has moved these dynamics to the back burner today, they will likely reemerge if and when the security environment improves. And now some of these same politicians are lobbying the United States to send money and weapons to the militias from their territories.

While most of the U.S. public hadn’t heard of the Islamic State before its breakout last summer, the group declared an “Islamic State of Iraq” back in 2006 and maintained a presence in the northern city of Mosul through the U.S. military’s withdrawal in 2011. Conventional wisdom says that the Islamic State’s place in Iraq’s sectarian political strife rose out of the disarray that followed the U.S. withdrawal. It was at that moment that Iraq’s Sunnis were left to fend for themselves against the domineering, Shiite-oriented central government. The Islamic State’s resurgence in Iraq in 2013 and 2014 came at a time when the country’s Sunni minority was ripe to accept the group as a bulwark against political marginalization and crackdowns at the hands of then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government.

In this telling, which has dominated U.S. media and policy circles, Maliki and his Shiite allies in the Iraqi government bear the brunt of the blame for inciting the renewed sectarian tensions that enabled the Islamic State to reemerge and unleash the brutal campaign that has arrested the world’s attention.

The new documents published by the CTC suggest the need to approach this conventional wisdom with caution. They have important implications for understanding Iraq’s sectarian schism and for informing the ongoing policy debate on how to stabilize the war-torn country.

A key document sent to Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, who preceded Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the group’s leader, suggests that the Islamic State established cooperative relationships with key Sunni politicians by 2009 that gave it access to extortion opportunities, kickbacks, and other revenue-generating activities in and around Mosul. Assuming the document is authentic — for the moment, there is no evidence to suggest it is not — these revelations should give pause to those recommending that the Iraqis train and equip local Sunni forces under the auspices of the provincial governments in Nineveh and Anbar. Reporting from Mosul indicates that similarities between Sunni government officials and the Islamic State likely continued after U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq, and Maliki’s government began to intensify its repression of Sunni political leaders.

It is impossible to know the specific motivations of these officials — Sunni politicians may simply have been buying themselves protection in an environment where no other party was able or willing to provide it. But what is clear is this: For the Islamic State, these relationships enabled the group to access tens of millions of dollars to finance its operations in 2009 and after, some of which may have been diverted from Western reconstruction aid through political favors and phony contracts. The Islamic State likely used these funds to expand its extortion and intimidation networks in Mosul even prior to the 2011 U.S. withdrawal. This would go far in explaining how it had become so rich, even before it seized over $400 million from Mosul’s bank vaults last June.

One document dated August 2009 — when the Islamic State was regrouping in Mosul following military defeats in Anbar and Baghdad — sent from a senior Islamic State operative known as “Hatim” to Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, provides evidence that the group remained active in Mosul throughout the period by financing itself through project-skimming and extortion of contractors. In one example of these arrangements, the Islamic State claimed a $4 million profit from a construction contract in east Mosul. The expected revenues from these deals ranged from $7 to $34 million each.

The operative’s report on this special project describes how Islamic State agents established relationships with the Iraqi central government and with high-level Sunni politicians in Nineveh province, which forms the northern tip of the so-called Sunni triangle. Several Sunni politicians, according to the operative, had agreed to give the group access to lucrative contracting and extortion opportunities. As the author describes it, the Islamic State sought to “infiltrate the infidel government administratively, for the purpose of directing some of the economic and financial decisions issued by the apostates … also to benefit from the possibility of recruiting individuals from the infidel government as sources of information.”

These opportunities would have been a significant boon to the Islamic State during a period after senior U.S. intelligence officials declared the group “essentially defeated.”

To be sure, some uncertainty remains about how far the Islamic State went toward exploiting these opportunities. The author of the key document, likely a high-level Islamic State operative in Iraq, was making a direct entreaty to the Islamic State’s top leaders to allow the group to move forward with more deals after many months of internal bureaucratic bungling, inertia, and poor communication. It is possible that the Islamic State cut these deals short to avoid being a party to Sunni politics — the group’s radical version of Islam views democratic politics as idolatrous — but this raises the question of why the group’s third-in-command, a Swedish extremist of Moroccan descent called Abu Qaswarah, purportedly directed these activities in the first place.

These arrangements could have also affected the course of Iraq’s sectarian politics by increasing mistrust of the Sunnis by Iraq’s Shiites and Kurds and contributing to sectarian political conflict, which further marginalized Iraq’s Sunnis. The Islamic State operative’s report names several individuals, including some of Iraq’s most prominent Sunni politicians: Atheel al-Nujaifi, the former governor of Nineveh; Dildar al-Zibari, the former deputy chairman of the Nineveh Provincial Council; Faruq Abd al-Qadir, the former Iraqi minister of communications; and Hajj Riyad, the director of the office of then-deputy Prime Minister (and later Minister of Finance) Rafi al-Issawi.

At least two of these figures, Qadir and Zibari, wittingly aided the Islamic State, according to the report. Qadir had reportedly placed two Islamic State operatives in official government positions in the Ministry of Communications. Other officials were reportedly more reluctant to collaborate, but eventually capitulated. Hajj Riyad and Qadir, who was also head of the Nineveh Reconstruction Council at the time, had initial hesitations about collaborating with the Islamic State but buckled under additional pressure, according to the documents.

Fast forward to today: Several figures described in the document remain key players in Iraq’s Sunni political landscape. Atheel al-Nujaifi, governor in absentia of Nineveh and the brother of Iraqi Vice President Usama al-Nujaifi, continues to try to build a 3,000-man local security force to fight the Islamic State after he was sacked in May, when a majority of Iraqi MPs voted to fire him for corruption and complicity in the fall of Mosul to the Islamic State. Even if such a security force ostensibly fell under Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s National Guard, Nujaifi has indicated that he would continue to “work as a politician in the governorate and will be a fighter in the liberation process.”

In September of last year, Nujaifi paid (PDF) $300,000 of his own money to a Washington consulting firm to help rally support among influential foreign-policy elites and policymakers in the United States for his plan to arm a state militia for Nineveh. This May, Nujaifi and Issawi met with key players in Washington’s foreign-policy circles and gave a talk at the Brookings Institution. In the talk, Issawi emphasized the dire security situation and pleaded for help, arguing that the Shiite militias are nearly an equal threat to the stability of Iraq as the Islamic State is. Issawi also noted that he and Nujaifi were two of the few Sunnis to participate in politics since the beginning of the new Iraqi state, as others boycotted politics for years. The sidelining of such key Sunni politicians diminishes the chances that successful political reconciliation between Iraq’s Sunni and Shiite groups will occur.

If members of Iraq’s Sunni leadership indeed had ties to the Islamic State, it raises serious questions about these figures as reliable long-term partners and as stewards of their own security forces. The U.S. strategy in Iraq hinges on putting in place a power-sharing agreement based on a willingness by all parties to set aside narrow sectarian agendas. However, none of the major political blocs — Sunni, Shiite, or Kurd — appear likely to change their zero-sum calculus. Political leaders on all sides have demonstrated a willingness to do whatever it takes to advance their sectarian agendas. And in the case of Sunni leaders, this has likely included direct cooperation with the Islamic State.

These sectarian gambits have failed everyone involved — except for the Islamic State. On the Sunni side, Issawi and Nujaifi fled the Islamic State’s military onslaught last year for exile in Iraqi Kurdistan. On the Shiite side, the Islamic State’s 2014 breakout cost Maliki his position as prime minister. Meanwhile, the Islamic State’s organization gained significant military capability, financial resources, and popular support within Iraq.

The Islamic State’s recent victories against government troops in Syria and against Iraqi security forces in Anbar are alarming signs of its growing power and influence. In this context, proposals to arm and support Sunni-led provincial forces are compelling. But policymakers also must consider the prospects for eventual demobilization. Arming provincial militias will increase the power of Iraq’s governors, which would complicate eventual disarmament and could even spark new fighting among Iraq’s factions. Disarming tribal militias would prove easier, but the tribes have been weakened in the years since they joined U.S. forces to fight al Qaeda, and some now openly back the Islamic State. If Iraq needs more security forces, the United States should help to reform and strengthen the troops Iraq already has. Going around them is only asking for trouble.

Tunisia in the Crosshairs

by Michael D. Rich and K. Jack Riley

June 22, 2015

Источник: http://www.rand.org/blog/2015/06/tunisia-in-the-crosshairs.html

Muslims around the world have been warned: “Do not fly with Tunisair from June 3rd.” The warning came in late May from Ifrikia Media, the “official voice” of the Islamic State group in Tunisia. The implication is that the Islamic State group is going to target the airline at some time in the indefinite future — and that the Islamic State group has done its part to spare Muslims the carnage. Tunisair has thus been put on notice of a continuing threat, which can hardly be good for the economic health of the airline or its owner, the Tunisian government.

It should come as no surprise that the Islamic State group would have Tunisia firmly in its crosshairs. Many nations across the Arab world have failed to live up to the promises of the Arab Spring, leaving power vacuums that attract extremist groups such as the Islamic State group. Tunisia, which gave birth to the Arab Spring more than four years ago, stands out as a notable exception, making it an inviting target for threats from the Islamic State group.

About a week before the Islamic State group issued its threat, we stood on the steps of the Tunisian Parliament in the capital city of Tunis, in the same spot where a Tunisian soldier had provided cover for tourists fleeing the terrorist attack at the adjacent Bardo National Museum on March 18. Standing on those steps, after two days of meetings with Tunisian executive branch officials, civil society leaders and business leaders and before another series of meetings with Tunisian legislative leaders, it was impossible not to reflect on the potential long-term consequences of the March attack, let alone those that could soon follow.

Prior to the Bardo museum attack, Tunisia has been on a trajectory to democracy, political stability, economic openness and social tolerance. Virtually alone in the Islamic world, Tunisia has successfully integrated moderate Islamic leaders into its government, led the Arab world in supporting the rights of women and navigated the security challenges associated with being sandwiched between two larger, and substantially less secure, neighbors (Algeria and Libya). The museum attack had the potential to derail all of this progress and more by scaring away tourists, siphoning off resources and diverting the attention of leaders.

Instead, throughout our meetings, including the final ones with parliamentary leaders, we heard strong commitments to political reform, to the development of human capital and to domestic security. On the security front, there were especially strong pledges to improve border security, confront the Islamic State group, engage youth and divert them from the path of radicalization.

These commitments and pledges will have to be pursued in an austere budget environment in Tunisia and in the United States, as both countries juggle other claims and demands. Nevertheless, there is a compelling justification to make Tunisia and its security a strategic U.S. priority. Tunisia sits at Africa’s northernmost point, potentially offering the United States strategic access to an increasingly troubled region that is now sending tens if not hundreds of thousands of refugees a year, mostly via Libya, to Europe. Equally important is to help Tunisia retain its role as a beacon for its neighbors as a stable, peaceful, pluralistic and democratic Arab state.

The Obama administration understands the importance of Tunisia. On May 21, President Barack Obama met in Washington with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsito assure him that more U.S. aid was on its way to protect Tunisia’s gains and to help sustain its fledgling democracy. Obama also designated Tunisia a “major non-NATO ally,” which clears the way for Tunisia to receive more military aid and other upgraded security arrangements.

Just four days later, however, another security incident caused alarm in Tunis. Seven Tunisian soldiers were killed and 10 wounded when one of their fellow soldiers opened fire inside the central army barracks. The gunman was killed in the resulting exchange of fire. It was a stark reminder that the path to success in Tunisia will be long and winding and perhaps never assured. Meanwhile, up to 3,000 Tunisian citizens have joined the fight in Iraq and Syria, most joining the Islamic State group, which has targeted Tunisia’s vulnerable disenfranchised youth.

Which brings us back to the threat on Tunisair. The mere threat to the airline, amplified by the advance warning to Muslims, constitutes an economic attack against Tunisia, whether or not there is a physical attack. The open-ended nature of the threat suggests that the Islamic State group intends to target Tunisia for the long haul. The United States should do the Islamic State group one better, countering the threats against Tunisia with steadfast and sustained cooperation and assistance.

Expanding the Caliphate

by Seth G. Jones

June 11, 2015

Источник: http://www.rand.org/blog/2015/06/expanding-the-caliphate.html

For over a year, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has been attempting to expand into South Asia. ISIS has developed a loose organizational structure in Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided money to local groups, and adopted a confrontational approach to the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda—all on al Qaeda’s home turf, no less. Its goal is straightforward: to co-opt disaffected local militants in an effort to build influence and power in the region.

ISIS in South Asia, which it calls the Islamic State of Khorasan, is larger than most recognize, boasting between several hundred and several thousand fighters. And its push into the subcontinent has led to numerous skirmishes with the Afghan Taliban, the largest and best-organized militant group in Afghanistan. In early June, for example, ISIS and Taliban fighters engaged in pitched battles in Shinwar, Achin, and other districts in Nangarhar province.

Despite these developments, some analysts have dismissed the presence of ISIS in Afghanistan and Pakistan as fictitious at worst or grossly exaggerated at best. In a May article in Al Jazeera, for example, Aimal Faizi, a journalist and former spokesperson for Hamid Karzai, argued that ISIS’ presence in Afghanistan is largely a “manufactured myth,” used by Afghan and U.S. officials for political purposes.

There may be a kernel of truth to his assertion. Some Afghan officials, for instance, have likely exaggerated the presence of ISIS in Afghanistan as a way to pressure Washington to keep U.S. forces in the country or to blame Pakistan for meddling in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. Local authorities have certainly exploited concerns about ISIS to their own advantage: Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that officials in Afghanistan’s Ghazni Province had manufactured a story about ISIS beheadings in an attempt to draw military support from Kabul in 2014.

To be sure, it will be difficult for ISIS’ South Asia branch to dominate the other extremist groups in the region. A variety of competing jihadist organizations already exist there and ISIS’ ideology does not have strong local roots.

Even so, ISIS’ recruitment strategy in the region has already met with some success. As the group gains a toehold among Afghan and Pakistani militants, the region could be in store for more conflict, including between militant groups.

Setting Up Shop

In the spring of 2014, as ISIS was consolidating its hold on the city of Raqqa in Syria and expanding into Iraq’s Anbar Province, the group’s leaders contacted militants in South Asia. ISIS apparently hoped to gauge the possibility of expanding its influence in the region and recruiting fighters to come to Iraq and Syria.

ISIS had just been kicked out of al Qaeda following a series of personal, ideological, and command-and-control disputes. Yet its plan for expansion into Afghanistan and Pakistan followed a strategy its former ally had perfected: try to co-opt local militants. Al Qaeda had done so to great effect in Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and North Africa, and had thereby avoided the inefficient, labor-intensive process of building foreign affiliates from scratch.

As ISIS leaders began a series of discussions with groups in Egypt (including Ansar Beit al-Maqdis), Libya (including factions of Ansar al-Sharia), and later in Nigeria (including Boko Haram), they also began to contact militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan. South Asia seemed promising for ISIS. The region had a long history of nurturing jihadist groups, dating back to the anti-Soviet wars in the 1980s; relatively weak governments, which provided the opportunity to secure safe havens in areas under limited state control; and ongoing wars against “infidel” regimes and their Western backers.

As they eyed expansion into the region, ISIS leaders also concluded that there were serious problems with the ideologies and strategic visions of several local groups, including al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban. In the December 2014 edition of its online magazine, Dabiq, the group’s propagandists published a blistering cover article (PDF) that outlined those concerns. The author accused al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban of selling out Islam by supporting tribal law over sharia, failing to effectively conquer and control territory, neglecting to target Shiite populations, and erroneously recognizing international borders. The article also brazenly criticized Mullah Muhammad Omar, the leader of the Afghan Taliban, for practicing and preaching a bankrupt, distorted version of Islam.

One of the few groups to escape ISIS’ excoriation was the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), formed in December 2007 as an umbrella organization of various militant groups in the region. The TTP “were upon great good,” the Dabiq article concluded. “They carry the Salafi creed and hope and strive to establish the laws of Islam in their region.” ISIS had matched its words with deeds. Around September 2014, ISIS sent representatives to Pakistan to meet with local militants, including some TTP leaders, following several months of discussions. Around the same time, Pakistani officials began receiving reports of pro-ISIS leaflets in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

By January, Hafiz Saeed Khan, the former chief of the TTP’s Orakzai branch in Pakistan’s tribal areas, had been named leader of ISIS’ South Asia branch. His deputy was Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadim, an Alizai tribesman and former Taliban commander from Helmand Province who rose to prominence after his 2007 release from the U.S. facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Saeed and Khadim’s established networks would become crucial to ISIS’ recruitment efforts. Saeed was particularly helpful in expanding the terrorist group’s footprint in Pakistan’s tribal areas and in the Afghan border provinces of Kunar and Nangarhar, where some TTP operatives had fled following Pakistani military operations. Khadim, on the other hand, helped develop ISIS’ network in Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province and in the Afghan provinces of Helmand and Farah.

By late 2014, U.S. and Afghan officials had become sufficiently alarmed about Khadim’s activity and threat to U.S. forces that they began to consider a strike against him. On February 9, 2015, a U.S. drone locked onto Khadim’s vehicle in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province and fired a missile at it, killing Khadim and several others.

Over the following months, ISIS focused on co-opting more fighters and expanding its networks in eastern, southern, and western Afghanistan, and in Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province and tribal areas.

Everyone Loves a Winner

ISIS’ expansion strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan includes three main components. First, ISIS has attempted to attract new members by exploiting personal and factional grievances within established jihadist networks. Indeed, the earliest leaders of the South Asian branch joined up following disputes within their former organizations. In Pakistan, Saeed had grown disenchanted with the TTP after he was passed over for the organization’s top spot, following the death of several leaders, including Hakimullah Mehsud, in 2013. In southern Afghanistan, Khadim had taken issue with what he claimed was an unbalanced tribal representation in the Taliban’s inner shura, or consultative council, according to interviews with his aide conducted by theAfghanistan Analysts Network. Khadim and other Afghan Taliban commanders had also grown disillusioned with Mullah Omar, whose unknown status and whereabouts has led to speculation about whether he is still alive.

Second, ISIS doled out money to encourage defections. ISIS was flush thanks to smuggling oil, selling stolen goods, kidnapping and extortion, seizing bank accounts, and smuggling antiquities in Iraq and Syria, among other activities. Its leaders were willing to spend money—perhaps as much as several hundred thousand dollars—to build networks in South Asia.

Third, ISIS used its victories in Iraq and Syria to attract some recruits. The group continues to hold substantial territory in the Middle East following its 2014 blitzkrieg campaign. “Some locals appear to be attracted to their battlefield success in Iraq and Syria,” a senior U.S. military official in Afghanistan said. “And everyone loves a winner.” ISIS has been quick to exploit these victories through a sophisticated social media campaign.

A Crowded Neighborhood

Despite these developments, ISIS leaders in Iraq and Syria do not appear to exercise operational or tactical control over commanders in Afghanistan and Pakistan. For now, ISIS in South Asia is closer to a loose affiliate than a direct arm of the organization.

What’s more, ISIS faces substantial hurdles in the region because of a crowded field of jihadist groups and its lack of an ideology with strong local roots. Populist militant groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan have generally latched on to extreme interpretations of locally established strains of radicalism, such as Deobandism. But ISIS’ ideas remain imports—and not necessarily popular ones.

Still, ISIS could benefit from progress on reconciliation discussions between the Afghan government and the Taliban. There are some Taliban factions that would almost certainly defect to groups like ISIS in the event of a peace deal. But if ISIS wants to expand in South Asia, it will likely need to recruit a more charismatic leader in Afghanistan who can attract more fighters and funding. ISIS commanders have expressed interest in Mullah Abdul Qayum Zakir, a hard-line former military commander of the Afghan Taliban who stepped down last year after an internal power struggle. ISIS will also need to continue co-opting local militants. In this respect, the allegiance of fighters of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a group traditionally tied to the Taliban, could provide additional momentum.

Finally, ISIS will have to fight other groups, particularly the Afghan Taliban, to expand its market share. In early June, ISIS apparently suffered heavy losses during clashes with the Taliban in the western province of Farah, suggesting that it will be an uphill battle. Fighting the Taliban may be its most difficult challenge, and one that could have profound implications for violence in the region.

Iran’s Role in Iraq

Room for Cooperation?

by Alireza Nader

Источник: http://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PE151.html

Скачать полный текст

The rise of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has led to arguments in favor of U.S.-Iran cooperation in combating the group, as immediate American and Iranian interests in Iraq are very similar: Both countries view ISIL and the broader Sunni jihadi movement as major threats to their national interests. American and Iranian military forces in Iraq are fighting the same enemy and, on the surface, U.S. air power seems to complement Iran’s on-the-ground presence in Iraq. While the United States and Iran ultimately have divergent long-term goals for Iraq, and face disagreements on many other issues, limited tactical cooperation in weakening ISIL in Iraq may be possible.

This paper examines Iranian objectives and influence in Iraq in light of ISIL’s ascendance. In particular, the paper focuses on Iran’s ties with Iraqi Shi’a parties and militias and the implications of Iran’s sectarian policies for U.S. interests. In addition, the paper examines the role of specific Iranian actors in Iraq, especially the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, in addition to the clergy and the Rouhani government. Finally, the paper concludes with policy recommendations for the United States.

Key Findings

Explicit U.S. cooperation with Iran in Iraq may help weaken ISIL, but it is unlikely to solve the region’s increasing insecurity, which is due in part to Iran’s sectarian politics.

Beyond tactical cooperation in the fight against ISIL, it is difficult to see a fundamental shift of behavior in Tehran that could lead to long-lasting U.S.-Iran cooperation.

  • For now, Iran’s fight against ISIL has short-term tactical benefits, but Washington should not expect a broader détente between the two countries as a result of common interests in fighting ISIL.


  • U.S. efforts to find a political solution to the multiple crises roiling the region must take Iranian influence into account. While the United States may find broad cooperation with Iran to be problematic, it nevertheless should explore discreet political agreements with Iran. Such agreements should be aimed not to fundamentally change the relationship with Iran, but help find ways to defuse and deescalate sectarian-driven warfare in Iraq, Syria, and the wider Middle East.
  • U.S. policy toward Iran should not be based on normalization of relations or alliance-building, as the two countries are likely to remain rivals for years, but instead should focus on finding spaces in which the two countries can tolerate each other’s respective influence while striving for some modicum of regional stability.


The Syrian Refugee Crisis and U.S. National Security

by Seth G. Jones

Testimony presented before the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security on November 19, 2015

Источник: http://www.rand.org/pubs/testimonies/CT444.html

Скачать полный текст

Deconstructing Syria: Towards a regionalized strategy for a confederal country

By: Michael E. O’Hanlon

June 23, 2015

Источник: http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2015/06/23-syria-strategy-ohanlon

Скачать полный текст

U.S. policy towards Syria since the Arab spring uprisings of 2011 has been a litany of miscalculation, frustration, and tragedy for the people of that ill-fated land. The ascendance of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as the major element of the opposition to the Bashar al-Assad regime may not amount to an imminent threat to American security; indeed, very few Americans have died to date at the hands of ISIL or affiliates. But ISIL’s rise does place at much greater risk the security of Iraq, the future of Syria itself, and the stability of Lebanon and Jordan. It could jeopardize the safety of American citizens as well, given the possibility of attacks by “lone wolves” inspired in their western home by ISIL propaganda, or by westerners returning from the Syrian jihad to carry out attacks at home. Massacres on a par with the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, or worse, could easily occur in the United States. The potency of the al-Nusra organization, al Qaeda’s loyal affiliate, within the Syrian opposition is also of considerable concern.

This paper makes a case for a new approach to Syria that attempts to bring ends and means more realistically into balance. It also seeks to end the Hobson’s choice currently confronting American policymakers, whereby they can neither attempt to unseat President Assad in any concerted way (because doing so would clear the path for ISIL), nor tolerate him as a future leader of the country (because of the abominations he has committed, and because any such policy would bring the United States into direct disagreement with almost all of its regional allies). The new approach would seek to break the problem down in a number of localized components of the country, pursuing regional stopgap solutions while envisioning ultimately a more confederal Syria made up of autonomous zones rather than being ruled by a strong central government. It also proposes a path to an intensified train and equip program. Once that program had generated a critical mass of fighters in training locations abroad, it would move to a next stage. Coupled with a U.S. willingness, in collaboration with regional partners, to help defend local safe areas using American airpower as well as special forces support once circumstances are conducive, the Syrian opposition fighters would then establish safe zones in Syria that they would seek to expand and solidify. The safe zones would also be used to accelerate recruiting and training of additional opposition fighters who could live in, and help protect, their communities while going through basic training. They would, in addition, be locations where humanitarian relief could be provided to needy populations, and local governance structures developed.

The strategy would begin by establishing one or two zones in relatively promising locations, such as the Kurdish northeast and perhaps in the country’s south near Jordan, to see how well the concept could work and how fast momentum could be built up. Over time, more might be created, if possible. Ultimately, and ideally, some of the safe zones might merge together as key elements in a future confederal arrangement for the Syrian state. Assad, ISIL, and al-Nusra could have no role in such a future state, but for now, American policymakers could otherwise remain agnostic about the future character and governing structures of such an entity.

Rethinking the Wars Against ISIS and the U.S. Strategy for Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency

By Anthony H. Cordesman

Sep 28, 2015

Источник: http://csis.org/publication/rethinking-wars-against-isis-and-us-strategy-counter-terrorism-and-counter-insurgency

By the time a new President takes office, the United States will have been at war for roughly a decade and a half. What began as a limited war against terrorism has become a major counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq and Afghanistan, and U.S. military involvement in Syria and Yemen, while the United States largely stands by after having played a major role in the defeat of Gaddafi in Libya.

Violent Islamic extremism is a serious threat in all five cases, as it is more broadly throughout much of the Islamic world. At the same time, in every case, the nation involved has been the equivalent of a failed state. The insurgency did not come from some foreign source and the country had a long history of violent politics, failed governance, and failed economic development.

The rise of extremism came after the failure of secularism, and because of deep religious, ethnic, regional, and other internal tensions and violence. The result was not simply insurgency, but civil war. These conflicts were sometimes triggered and fed by the actions of outside states, including the U.S. and former Soviet Union, but they escalated because of massive civil failures as well as growing violent incidents and military clashes.

The Burke Chair in Strategy has recently updated a series of reports that show the linkages between the escalation of violence and the level of failed politics, governance, and economic development in Iraq and Syria. These reports show that the civil causes of violence are so deep that no defeat of extremist movements alone can hope to bring any lasting form of security and stability.

They also raise fundamental questions about the way in which the United States has approached the struggle against major terrorist movements and fought counterinsurgency campaigns. They suggest that the fundamental threat in each case where the United States has found itself involved in long conflicts has not been the terrorist or extremist movement, but the failure of the host country government to create a political structure, level of governance, and progress toward economic stability that could win and sustain popular support, and develop effective host country security forces.

In practice, the four threats that allow extremism to create serious insurgencies, and lead to what are really lasting civil wars, have the following priority:

• Host Country Government and Security Forces : Authoritarianism, failure to cope with internal divisions, poor governance and corruption, failed economic development and equity, population pressure and youth bulge, repression and violence by internal security forces, traditional and corrupt military.

• The Overt “Threat”: Moderate and peaceful beginnings shift to extreme and violent movements that feed on the civil-military divisions and failures of the host country governments.

• The U.S. Threat to the United States: Relearn counterinsurgency yet again. Separate military (tactical) and civil (project-oriented development) efforts. Threat oriented and downplay Host Country problems. No meaningful overall civil-military plan or net assessment. Rapid rotations with limited expertise. Cycle of denial, flood resources, rush to generate Host country forces, then leave too soon. “Take note” of lessons, then ignore.

• Other Nations: Allied, Neutral, Hostile: Allied limits to engagement, national caveats, demands; neutral interference for competing national interests, hostile action because anti-United States., support overt threat, opposing national interests.

They also suggest that no amount of tactical success can end civil conflict, and bring lasting stability and security. “Nation building” may have become an unpopular term, and it may well be impossible to accomplish unless the host country develops a level of improvement in its politics and governance that allows outside aid to be effective. It is probably a grim reality that no nation that is torn by massive civil violence today can end that violence unless its own leaders and people take responsibility for massive reform and change.

At the same time, the United States must take a far more realistic look at what is really happening in its present wars, and in how it deals with the broad patterns of unrest and conflict emerging in the Islamic and developing worlds. Other studies by the Burke Chair suggest that the “revolution in military affairs” that focuses on the changes that technology and new tactics and strategy could bring to conventional conflicts have been matched – if not superseded by a “revolution in civil-military affairs”

It also seems all too clear if one looks at the patterns in the various metrics on Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan – as well as the overviews of the same patterns in Libya and Yemen – that all of these countries will face years of continued civil fighting and tension – or revert to authoritarian control – even if today’s Islamist extremists are defeated. It also seems likely that the United States will not succeed even in creating effective host country forces, and the basis for a meaningful rule of law and civil security, unless it creates a far more effective civil-military strategy for helping each host country.

Obama the Carpenter

The President’s national security legacy

Michael O’Hanlon, May 2015

The Brookings Institution

Источник: http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports2/2015/05/obama-carpenter-national-security-legacy-ohanlon

By the standards he has set out for himself, President Barack Obama’s foreign policy has fallen considerably short of expectations and aspirations. By the standards of his critics, of course, the performance has been even worse—with the American commander-in-chief now accused of fecklessness and irresoluteness as global crises multiply on his watch. Even two of his former secretaries of defense have written fairly harsh verdicts on what they saw while serving in his administration.

Gauged by more reasonable and normal standards, however, Mr. Obama has in fact done acceptably well. Both his critics and his defenders tend to use unrealistic benchmarks in grading his presidency. If we use the kinds of standards that are applied to most American leaders, things look quite different.

I do not mean to overstate. Obama’s presidency will not go down as a hugely positive watershed period in American foreign policy. He ran for election in 2007 and 2008 promising to mend the West’s breach with the Islamic world, repair the nation’s image abroad, reset relations with Russia, move toward a world free of nuclear weapons, avoid «stupid wars» while winning the «right war,» combat climate change, and do all of this with a post-partisan style of leadership that brought Americans themselves together in the process.[i] He ran for reelection in 2012 with the additional pledges of ending the nation’s wars and completing the decimation of al Qaeda. Six years into his presidency, almost none of these lofty aspirations has been achieved.[ii] There has not been, and likely will not be, any durable Obama doctrine of particular positive note. The recent progress toward a nuclear deal with Iran, while preferable to any alternative if it actually happens, is probably too limited in duration and overall effect to count as a historic breakthrough (even if Obama shares a second Nobel Prize as a result).

But the harsh verdict of many of the president’s critics as well as his supporters goes too far. Most of today’s problems were not Obama’s creations. Others were mishandled, but generally in ways that could have been far worse. He also managed to avoid a second great recession.[iii]

Most of all, Obama has been judicious on most key crises of the day. His caution and care have been notable—and underrated. He has sometimes taken the notion of strategic restraint too far, as with a premature U.S. military departure from Iraq, excessive nervousness about any entanglement in Syria’s civil war, and ongoing plans for a complete military withdrawal from Afghanistan next year. But Obama’s discipline has often been quite wise and quite beneficial to the nation, especially in regard to Russia, China, and Iran. As his presidency begins to wind down, the country’s fundamentals of national power as measured by economic growth, high-technology, industrial entrepreneurship and productivity, fiscal and trade deficits, and military power are generally no worse and in some cases modestly better than when he entered the White House.

A more thorough assessment of Obama’s foreign policy legacy requires an issue-by-issue examination of the most important foreign policy matters of the day, a task to which I turn below.

Obama’s no-drama strategy

The lofty goals have proved elusive. Barack Obama may not be able to heal the planet, rid the Earth of nuclear weapons, or stop the oceans’ rise as his signature legacies.

But, in fact, there is a strategy, even if it is often implied more than accurately stated, and even if it falls short of the president’s own preferences of what writers and historians might say about his two terms in office. It is more mundane but nonetheless important. Obama is attempting to be strategic in the most literal and relevant senses of the word—defining priorities and holding to them, even when that makes him appear indifferent or indecisive in response to certain types of crises or challenges. Yet he has shown himself willing to employ significant amounts of force when persuaded that there is no alternative. Often, he has made mistakes along the way—not least in his non-intervention in Syria, his premature departure from Iraq, his plans to pull entirely out of Afghanistan, and his failure to help piece Libya back together after the 2011 NATO-catalyzed conflict that overthrew Moammar Gadhafi. But the basic effort to be patient and careful in the employment of American national power, especially military power, has been quite reasonable.

Consider especially the big issues, where by my count he is doing reasonably well on three of the top four:

The Asia-Pacific rebalance

The so-called pivot or rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, a centerpiece of President Obama’s first-term foreign policy in particular, has been generally very sound. Indeed, it enjoys a remarkable degree of bipartisan support. Obama’s theory of the case here is that a reaffirmation of America’s enduring commitment to Asia is strategically wise—especially in light of China’s rise, but also considering India’s dynamism, other countries’ economic progress, and North Korea’s dangerous ways. The fact that it is a long-term, patient policy designed to shape a key region rather than respond to a specific crisis means it often fails to make headlines. But that fact does not lessen its importance.[iv]

There is a «Where’s the beef?» question associated with the rebalance. It is modest in most of its characteristics. Thus, it does not deserve the other name occasionally given to it—the pivot. The military centerpiece of the rebalance is a plan for the U.S. Navy to devote 60 percent of its fleet to the broader region by 2020, rather than the historic norm of 50 percent. But that is 60 percent of what is now a smaller Navy than before. So the overall net increase in capacity for the region is quite modest (indeed, some of those ships may wind up deploying to the Persian Gulf rather than to the Asia-Pacific). The economic centerpiece of the rebalance, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, is now being actively pursued by the Obama administration—but it may or may not prove achievable at home or abroad.

That said, the rebalance is a smart way to reassert U.S. interests in the region, reassure allies, recognize the importance of new players like India, and remind China and North Korea that Washington is paying attention to what is happening there. It is a signal of commitment without going so far as to be needlessly provocative. It provides a welcome antidote at least rhetorically and diplomatically to what had been a sustained American obsession with the Middle East for the previous decade. And while some of his cabinet secretaries may have lost a bit of focus on the region, Obama himself got there twice in 2014 and conducted a good summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in November of that year. China’s ongoing assertiveness, particularly in the South China Sea, is concerning. But it does not threaten vital U.S. interests severely enough to warrant a forceful American military response; Obama’s approach of monitoring, working calmly with regional allies, and making Beijing know there could be some proportionate price to pay for excessive pushiness strikes the right balance.

Russia and UkraineIn 2014, Russia invaded and annexed Crimea. It then stoked and aided an insurgency in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russia separatists that continues to this day. Putin’s goals are unclear. Is he trying to chop away gradually at Ukraine’s territory, challenge and embarrass NATO, ensure that Ukraine never joins NATO by creating a «frozen conflict» that he can always rekindle, or simply improvise in some silly game of geopolitics more evocative of the 19th century than the 21st?

Regardless, it’s hard to blame Obama for this behavior, any more than one should blame George Bush for Putin’s attack on Georgia in 2008. Neither Georgia nor Ukraine is part of the NATO alliance, whose members the United States is sworn to defend. So the failure to deter the conflict is hard to lay at Obama’s doorstep. Obama’s approach to handling the Ukraine crisis—make Putin pay an economic price for what he has done, while signaling that the United States and its allies can increase the economic costs further if need be—strikes a good balance between indifference and risky escalation over a less-than-crucial national security matter.

Obama has resisted arming Ukraine to date, recognizing that Russia enjoys escalation dominance in the region. Thus, any American move could simply elicit a greater and stronger Russian counterplay. Obama is under increasing bipartisan pressure to do more as of this writing in the spring of 2015, and if the latest ceasefire collapses, odds seem fairly high that he may rethink his current approach. But so far, the strategy has had a solid logic.

Obama’s theory of the case has been to keep the crisis in perspective, work closely with European allies, employ significant but non-military instruments of national power in response to Russia’s aggressions, and provide off-ramps for Putin at every turn. This strategy is reasonable, even if it lacks a clear endgame, and even if it remains a work in progress.


On Iran, President Obama has sought to use various “smart sanctions” and patient diplomacy to induce Tehran to agree to a deal on its nuclear programs. As of Spring 2015, he appears to have a good chance of success. Obama’s theory of the case here also begins with an appreciation of the power of economic tools of statecraft, together with an awareness of the pitfalls of the use of military force to prevent the Islamic Republic from gaining a nuclear weapon.

The Iran effort represents the culmination of a decade of applying the economic screws against Tehran—first by George Bush and then by Barack Obama—through a creative international sanctions campaign. The approach has involved traditional measures applied via U.S. law or U.N. Security Council resolution, as well as new and “smarter” sanctions against certain individuals within Iran or certain special sectors of the economy.[v]

Obama has made two key mistakes on Iran. First, he failed to give the Bush administration and Republicans in general, enough credit for the overall approach. His predecessor was the one who first opted for trying to use economic rather than military power to address Iran’s nuclear aspirations, and if the Obama administration had framed the talks as a bipartisan accomplishment, domestic support for this policy might have increased.

Second, Obama did not try hard enough to make the deal of indefinite duration. He should have tried to keep the world’s other powers aboard an approach that would make all key elements of the nuclear deal of much longer duration as a condition for comprehensive sanctions relief. That might not have worked, but should have been attempted. So the prospective nuclear deal will be only a marginal accomplishment, if it sticks, but still will be preferable to the use of force or to the continued course of gradual nuclear buildup that Iran had previously been on.

ISIL and the broader Middle East beyond IranIn regard to the rest of the Middle East beyond Iran, unfortunately, Obama’s disciplined approach has often failed him, and his critics have a stronger case. Luckily, he has begun to make amends in regard to Iraq, and one hopes that there will be further headway in his remaining year and a half in office.

On Iraq, at least, Obama has had a relatively good last year. U.S. and coalition airstrikes have limited ISIL’s progress. Washington has successfully coaxed Iraqis to replace Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki with a new leader, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Obama has overcome his allergy to Iraq and redeployed nearly 3,000 American military personnel to help rebuild and retrain the Iraqi army as it prepares a general counteroffensive.

But the ascendance of ISIL was partly a result of America’s complete military departure from Iraq in 2011—a decision that was largely Obama’s choosing, even if the Iraqis also had an important hand in the outcome.[vi]That exit deprived Washington of leverage over Maliki as he pursued an increasingly sectarian agenda. It further deprived the United States of intelligence on the state of Iraq’s military and on the preparations ISIL was making in 2013 and early 2014 to mount an attack in the country’s Sunni heartland. Moreover, for all the progress since June of 2014, the prognosis for Iraq is uncertain. ISIL’s days in control there are probably numbered, but the process of driving it out may rely so heavily on Iranian-sponsored Shia militias that the seeds will be planted for future worsening sectarian conflict.

As troubling as the situation is in Iraq, it is far worse in Syria. There, the theory of the case has failed utterly. The hands-off approach Obama chose in 2011–12, when he opted not to provide any significant military help to the opposition, has clearly fallen short. Contrary to initial expectations, Bashar al-Assad is still in power, with firm backing from Moscow, Tehran, and Lebanese Hezbollah—and Russia has shown no serious interest in helping push Assad out of office through its influence with Damascus. More than 200,000 Syrians are dead and an astronomical 12 million displaced from their homes. ISIL has become the strongest element of the anti-Assad movement. Moderate factions are largely displaced, fractured, or decimated. Or they have joined with the al-Nusra Front, an al Qaeda affiliate, out of the simple desire to survive on the battlefield (ensuring that they will not receive U.S. weapons and thereby further continuing the downward spiral).

The United States needs a serious, sustained program to strengthen the moderate factions of the Syrian insurgency. It needs to get off the fence on providing arms to groups that may have some shady members and questionable connections because, this far into the war, there are few saints left in Syria. No-fly zones and limited numbers of U.S. special forces on the ground in certain relatively safe parts of the country may prove necessary as well, in what could be viewed as an «ink spot» strategy designed to defeat ISIL while limiting Assad’s control in many other parts of the country. But Obama seems to have little appetite for this or any other new approach.

Libya has been a major disappointment, as Obama himself has conceded, even if the stakes there are much lower. The real issue in regard to Libya is not Benghazi. Four Americans were tragically killed there, and it was no one’s finest hour. But charges that the Obama administration launched a major conspiracy to cover up what had really happened simply fail to hold water. Beyond the human tragedy, the strategic consequences for the United States of that terrible night in Libya in September of 2012 were modest. The real problem, rather, is not Benghazi but the anarchy that resulted from Gadhafi’s overthrow. The country is now in chaos; there is no effective central government; ISIL and affiliates are gaining influence and control. The United States and allies need to deal with this through a much more muscular NATO effort to train and equip new Libyan security forces—though that task is now harder than it would have been in 2011 or 2012. A similar morass now confronts the United States and international community in Yemen, even if the path to that crisis has been different, and less of Obama’s direct doing.

In Egypt, there are big problems as well, though of a different type. The United States has lurched from one policy to another. And at this point, Washington’s coddling of the new strongman, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has gone too far. In the same country where Obama gave a moving and inspiring speech in June 2009 about the need, among other things, for Arab political reform, Washington has fallen back on cynicism. The United States has gotten in bed with a new autocrat, failing to convey any sense of conditionality in its aid or security cooperation with Cairo. The poor turnout in the May 2014 Egyptian presidential elections should remind Americans that, even if Sisi is a necessary and lesser evil right now, the country still badly lacks a political system that reflects the aspirations and expectations of the Egyptian people.

What to do? It is hard to say at this point. But something closer to the old Turkish model, in which the military enforced reasonable limits on political discourse and otherwise tried to stay out of the fray as much as possible, would be preferable to what Sisi appears to be doing now. American influence and aid policies need to seek to promote a more inclusive Egyptian political system in the future, not simply fall back on old habits that predate Tahrir Square.

And finally, there is Afghanistan. Although it is far removed from the Arab world in most ways, Afghanistan is still important in the broader war on terror. Here, President Obama’s plan to pull out all U.S. combat forces by the end of 2016 makes little sense. It not only introduces huge anxiety into a fragile Afghan nation that has been at war for a generation and that has just navigated a difficult democratic transition of power. But it also deprives the United States of operational bases from which to carry out possible strikes against future al Qaeda, ISIL, and other extremist targets in South Asia. There is no viable alternative location from which to monitor and if necessary attack America’s enemies throughout the Afghan-Pakistani Pashtun belt.

To his credit, Obama has gone slow on Afghanistan overall, and avoided any precipitous plan for departure. He has shown considerable commitment. But now he risks losing his cool at a crucial juncture. Obama has confused the need to limit America’s overseas military engagements—a worthy goal—with his desire to end the Afghan war next year. That latter objective is unattainable, since the war as well as terrorism’s enduring threat in the region will continue whether the United States remains or not.

American foreign policy is not in systemic crisis

Barack Obama has had a serious, strategic approach to managing American foreign policy for most of his presidency. Despite raising hopes too high for a transformation of global affairs early in his tenure, despite the distractions of huge adoring crowds, a premature Nobel Peace Prize, and the occasional Hail Mary letter to an Iranian leader, Mr. Obama has maintained discipline in his conduct of U.S. foreign affairs, keeping a clear sense of priorities and avoiding the all-powerful temptation to “do something” whenever and wherever trouble brews abroad. Yet he has been far from a peacenik. He has employed force robustly at times. He has also managed to keep the U.S. military strong, at roughly the size and the readiness standards he inherited, despite being buffeted by fiscal crises at home to go with foreign policy crises abroad.

All that said, Obama’s strategy of restraint has often been mistakenly applied. He left Iraq too soon, ignored the requirements of stabilizing post-Gadhafi Libya, and encouraged the overthrow of Assad in Syria but then unwisely placed his hopes almost exclusively in the Arab Spring and a Geneva-based peace process to achieve the task. He failed to come up with any big, bold diplomatic ideas that might have helped solve a major crisis—such as a new security architecture for Europe that might help point a path toward an ultimate resolution of the Ukraine crisis, or a vision for a confederal Syria that might be more realistic than the current U.S. approach of insisting that Assad go while doing little to achieve that objective. Obama’s promise to get all operational U.S. military units out of Afghanistan before he leaves the White House puts his own pursuit of a historical legacy ahead of the nation’s security needs.

As the presidential race of 2016 heats up, there is ample room for debate about the foreign policy legacy of Barack Obama. In the meantime, there is much that Mr. Obama himself should try to correct so as to leave the nation safer and to place his successor in a stronger position. But none of this should proceed from the premise that American foreign policy, because of the policies of Obama, is in systemic crisis. It is not.


[i] See Martin S. Indyk, Kenneth G. Lieberthal, and Michael E. O’Hanlon, Bending History: Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy (Brookings, 2012).

[ii] For a good analysis of many of the players in what became, in the second term, most of the president’s inner circle, see James Mann, The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power(Viking, 2012).

[iii] See for example, Alan S. Blinder, After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead (Penguin Press, 2013).

[iv] See for example, Jeffrey Bader, Obama and China’s Rise: An Insider’s Account of America’s Asia Strategy(Brookings, 2012).

[v] See Kenneth Katzman, “Iran Sanctions,” Congressional Research Service, Washington, D.C. (April 21, 2015), available at https://fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RS20871.pdf.

[vi] Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor, The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama (Pantheon Books, 2012), pp. 666-671.


Крестный отец Обама

Белый дом хочет защитить США, переделав мир руками незаметных бойцов

Владимир Иванов
Обозреватель «Независимого военного обозрения»


Источник: http://nvo.ng.ru/wars/2014-11-28/6_obama.html

Президент США Барак Обама в отличие от своего предшественника Джорджа Буша-младшего ориентирован на обеспечение национальной безопасности Америки и борьбы с мировым террором не путем ведения масштабных войн, а путем проведения секретных операций, что осуществляется значительно меньшими силами при существенно меньших затратах. По оценкам специалистов США, спецподразделения Пентагона практически одновременно проводят свои операции на территориях 70–120 стран, то есть Вашингтон непрерывно ведет около 100 необъявленных войн в самых различных горячих точках земли.


Успехи США в борьбе с мировым террором, как утверждают некоторые американские специалисты, зависят не столько от ведения бесконтактной войны с боевиками путем эффективного использования авиации и беспилотных летательных аппаратов (БЛА), сколько от развертывания небольших по численности подразделений Объединенного командования специальных операций (ОКСО) во всех частях света и эффективности их действий.

Все эти войны ведутся под девизами защиты национальной безопасности США и их союзников от глобального террора и ликвидации межнациональных и межгосударственных конфликтов. Вашингтон объявил себя единственным гарантом сохранения стабильности мировой обстановки. Однако на самом деле все скрытые боевые действия Америки за пределами ее континентальной части имеют чисто экономическую подоплеку. Они направлены не столько на борьбу с боевиками и сохранение мира на земле, сколько на свержение неугодных Белому дому режимов и получение практически бесконтрольного доступа к природным ресурсам стран, попавших в зависимость от США.

ОКСО было создано в 1980 году после неудачной попытки по спасению заложников, захваченных в посольстве США в Тегеране. В период правления Буша численность подразделений сил специальных операций (ССО) очень быстро росла, а после прихода к власти Барака Обамы они стали играть все более заметную роль в обеспечении нацбезопасности и в борьбе с терроризмом в тех регионах, которые до этого времени были зонами действия подразделений ЦРУ.

В прошлом десятилетии около 80% сил спецопераций были развернуты в Ираке. Но все руководители ОКСО всегда стремились к доведению до сознания парламентариев и своих вышестоящих начальников необходимости расширения географического присутствия подчиненных им войск. Они также настаивали на получении необходимых полномочий для быстрого выдвижения контингентов своих войск в потенциально опасные горячие точки планеты, без прохождения стандартного процесса получения разрешения руководства Пентагона на развертывание воинских подразделений за пределами Америки. В настоящее время в ОКСО насчитывается 66 тыс. бойцов, то есть почти в два раза больше, чем их было в 2001 году. За это время бюджет американского спецназа вырос с 4,2 млрд долл. до 10,5 млрд.

Главное отличие проведения секретных операций силами главного разведывательного и военного ведомств Америки заключается в том, что руководство ЦРУ обо всех своих действиях должно докладывать Конгрессу, а ОКСО обязано отчитываться только перед возглавляемым президентом США Советом национальной безопасности, причем только в части, касающейся проведения наиболее важных операций.

Во времена администрации Буша начальник ОКСО обо всех своих действиях непосредственно докладывал только вице-президенту Дику Чейни и это было, как в свое время писал известный американский журналист Сеймон Херш, «бесконечным кольцом убийств, повторявшимся снова, и снова, и снова». Он также отмечал, что при Буше подразделения ССО вводились в ту или иную страну, «без уведомления посла или резидента ЦРУ» об именах входящих в них военнослужащих, целях прибытия, их руководителях и сроках выезда из этих стран. «И все это вершилось от имени всех нас», – заключал журналист.

В 2005 году Чейни назвал спецназ МО «молчаливыми профессионалами», представляющими тот облик ВС, которые Вашингтон «хочет построить в будущем» и которые должны быть «малочисленны, более адаптируемы, более мобильны и смертельно опасны» для своих противников. «Ни один из нас не хочет доверить будущее человечества крошечным группам фанатиков, совершающих неразборчивые убийства и готовящих крупномасштабный террор», – без тени иронии объявил Чейни. Однако, как отмечают эксперты, подобное заявление имеет силу только до тех пор, пока эти «фанатики» не облачены в американскую военную форму. В этом случае проблема совершения «неразборчивых убийств» и «подготовки акций крупномасштабного террора» для американских политиков теряет всякую актуальность.

В годы правления Джорджа Буша начальником ОКСО, которое при Чейни и стало силами, осуществляющими «бесконечное кольцо убийств», был генерал Стэнли Маккристал. Видимо, именно по этой причине Барак Обама назначил его на пост командующего Международными силами содействия безопасности. И нет ничего удивительного в том, что подразделения ОКСО стали играть значительно большую роль в операциях, проводимых войсками союзников в Афганистане и Пакистане. В начале 2009 года новый командующий ОКСО вице-адмирал Уильям Макрейвен на две недели запретил проведение спецопераций в Афганистане. Дело было в том, что до этого приказа подчиненные ему подразделения спецназа в течение нескольких месяцев в ходе проведения рейдов в Афганистане уничтожили нескольких женщин и детей. Это вызвало большую волну протестных выступлений афганцев.

Подразделения ОКСО были также вовлечены в ведение тайной войны на территории Пакистана, начавшейся в 2006 году и быстро наращивающей свои масштабы при Обаме. Эта война ведется американским спецназом в тесной кооперации с частными охранными предприятиями, которые по своей сути являются армиями наемников. С такими, например, компаниями, как «Черная вода» (Blackwater), получившей печальную известность после проведения масштабных акций уничтожения гражданского населения Ирака, где ее деятельность была запрещена.

Основатель этой компании Эрик Принс был привлечен к сотрудничеству с ЦРУ в 2004 году. В последующие годы на контрактах с ЦРУ и Пентагоном компания заработала более 1,5 млрд долл., а некоторые отставные высокопоставленные руководители ЦРУ были введены в состав ее руководства. Сотрудники Blackwater, большинство из которых до своей отставки служили в специальных войсках, за рубежом формально выполняли функции «преторианской гвардии», то есть телохранителей представителей ЦРУ и Госдепартамента США. Они также оказывали определенную помощь подразделениям спецназа в организации, финансовом обеспечении и проведении различных операций, включая формирование ударных команд. Все эти акции проводились без всякого контроля со стороны Конгресса и общественных организаций, поскольку Blackwater является частной компанией.

ЦРУ наняло Blackwater для оказания помощи в проведении между этими мероприятиями в рамках закрытой программы физического уничтожения противников США, которая в течение семи лет реализовывалась без ведома парламентариев. Операции по этой программе проводились под руководством специалистов ЦРУ и ОКСО. С сотрудниками Blackwater были также заключены контракты на использование БЛА, размещенных на секретных базах в Афганистане и Пакистане, с помощью которых наносились удары лидерам и местам дислокации ячеек боевиков. Формальные различия между назначением подразделений ЦРУ, ОКСО и компании Blackwater за рубежом были практически стерты заявлением одного из бывших сотрудников ЦРУ, который объявил, что отношения между его ведомством и этой компанией стали очень дружественными. «Возникало такое чувство, что постепенно Blackwater становилась одним из подразделений управления», – сказал специалист.

В течение первых пяти месяцев пребывания у власти в 2009 году Обама санкционировал массированное расширение масштабов закрытых военных и разведывательных операций во всех регионах мира. При этом он дал гарантии того, что полномочия руководства региональных боевых командований Пентагона в этой сфере будут существенно расширены. Указания президента были сформулированы в директиве командующего Центральным командованием генерала Петрэуса, которая разрешала отправку спецназовцев «как в дружественные, так и во враждебные страны Ближнего Востока, Центральной Азии и Африканского Рога». Использование хорошо подготовленных профессионалов в десятках стран становилось систематизированным и долгосрочным. Они предназначались для уничтожения врагов Америки, не взирая ни на какие юридические нормы, на требования отчетности за свои действия и возможное судебное преследование. На них также возлагалась ответственность за создание необходимых условий для нанесения более масштабных ударов ВС США или НАТО. В отличие от ЦРУ ОКСО не обязано докладывать Конгрессу о таких операциях и даже получать разрешение президента на проведение таких операций. Однако на проведение крупномасштабных боевых действий оно должно было получать одобрение Совета национальной безопасности.

Новые административные установки Белого дома безо всяких демократических оговорок дали возможность командующим региональных командований и другим высокопоставленным чиновникам Пентагона руководить действиями подразделений сил специальных операций в зоне их ответственности. Эти нормы институализировали их право на отправку высокопрофессиональных бойцов в десятки стран мира для проведения тайных операций. Однако подразделения ОКСО не только проводят скрытые боевые акции в различных регионах мира, но осуществляют обучение вооруженных сил многих государств, в которых они дислоцируются, формам и методам ведения тайных войн на своих территориях в интересах «мафиозной империи США».


Один из высокопоставленных чиновников Пентагона создал целую сеть частных военных компаний, которые принимали на работу бывших спецназовцев и специалистов ЦРУ. Им вменялось в обязанность ведение разведки и участие в операциях по уничтожению боевиков. Когда сообщения о существовании такой сети появились в прессе, Пентагон объявил о начале проведения расследования деятельности таких компаний, которая была незаконной и финансировалась не в соответствии с установленными федеральными юридическими нормами. Однако следователи МО не обнаружили в их практике никаких признаков криминальности в деятельности этих компаний и через пару месяцев тайные операции с их участием были продолжены и стали, по заявлениям некоторых чиновников военного ведомства, «важным источником разведывательных сведений». Руководство сетью военных компаний, участвовавших в тайных операциях, осуществляла корпорация Локхид Мартин, являющаяся одним из крупнейших подрядчиков МО. Ее действия контролировались чиновниками ОКСО.

Президент США Барак Обама вплоть до начала 2012 года продолжал искать пути отхода от ведения крупномасштабных войн на сухопутных ТВД, подобных боевым действиям в Ираке и Афганистане. Он пришел к выводу о необходимости развертывания небольших по численности и более мобильных воинских контингентов на территориях стран Азии, Тихоокеанского бассейна и Большого Ближнего Востока. И на пресс-конференции в Пентагоне окруженный высокопоставленными представителями ОКНШ и руководителями МО заявил, что ВС США будут сокращены, но «мир должен знать, что США будут поддерживать свое военное превосходство». Приоритетными направлениями стратегии главы Белого дома должно было стать необходимое «финансирование наступательных и оборонительных акций в киберпространстве, действий сил специальных операций и подразделений разведки, наблюдения и рекогносцировки».

В феврале 2012 года адмирал Уильям Макрейвен, глава ОКСО, стал продвигать идею придания руководимым им элитным войскам, «которые традиционно действовали в темных углах американской внешней политики», большей автономности при принятии решений о размещении подразделений спецназа и их вооружений в тех регионах, где разведка и процессы, происходящие в мире, указывают на необходимость их присутствия. «Это не означает, что только командование специальных операций ведет глобальную войну против терроризма. Я не думаю, что мы готовы к этому», – заявил командующий и добавил, что речь идет только о том, что силы спецопераций могут оказать более действенную помощь региональным командованиям.

В марте того же года Макрейвен разработал планы увеличения численности ССО и превращения их в ближайшее десятилетие в предпочтительную военную силу при выборе форм и методов противодействия возникающим угрозам. Во время его пребывания на посту командующего ОКСО численность личного состава и служащих этого рода войск составляла 60 тыс. человек. В своей пояснительной записке руководству Пентагона адмирал писал, что «в обозримом будущем США придется столкнуться с различными проявлениями радикального и жестокого экстремизма». Он также отмечал, что американский спецназ, действующий в 71 стране, должен быть полностью готов к проведению долговременных операций в различных регионах мира.

Расширение зон действия подразделений спецназа было связано с возрастающими трудностями ввода крупных формирований регулярных войск США в различные регионы мира для ведения полномасштабных войн и оккупации больших пространств. Такая политика Пентагона вызывает крайне резкие протесты как со стороны американской общественности, так и со стороны правительств неблагополучных стран. В 2013 году подразделения спецназа США действовали в 92 странах мира. В связи с этим один из конгрессменов обвинил Макрейвена в стремлении «построить империю». Он также заявил, что присутствие ССО в различных странах ведет к дестабилизации ситуации в мире, особенно в таких крупных боевых регионах, как Пакистан.

В 2013 году начальник ОКСО получил новые полномочия, а бюджет командования был увеличен. Макрейвен, выступая на слушаниях комитета Сената по ВС, заявил, что в любой день текущего года американский спецназ действует на территориях 70 или даже 90 стран. Однако за год до этого сообщалось о том, что к концу 2012 года спецназ будет дислоцироваться уже в 120 странах.

В декабре 2012 года было объявлено, что военное ведомство США отправляет 4 тыс. солдат и офицеров в 35 африканских государств. Пентагон поставил им целый ряд задач, включая «интенсификацию деятельности Пентагона по подготовке этих стран для ведения боевых действий против экстремистов и создание базы для формирования контингентов боеготовых сил, которые могут быть направлены в распоряжение Африканского командования, в случае необходимости разрешения кризисных ситуаций, требующих американского военного присутствия.

К сентябрю 2013 года американские войска действовали в таких странах, как Алжир, Ангола, Бенин, Ботсвана, Буркина-Фасо, Бурунди, Камерун, Республика Кабо-Верде, Сенегал, Республика Сейшельские Острова, Того, Тунис, Уганда и Замбия. Они решали задачи по развертыванию военных баз для дислокации подразделений ВС США, развитию сотрудничества с военными структурами этих стран, проведению совместных учений, оказанию экспертной помощи военно-политическому руководству, проведению спецопераций и созданию систем МТО.

В целом можно сказать, что Обаме все-таки удалось реализовать свою стратегию ведения глобальной войны с террором, которая сегодня распространилась почти на 100 стран мира. Вашингтон фактически отошел от практики ведения крупномасштабных войн, как это было в Ираке и Афганистане. В настоящее время борьба с террористами ведется небольшими контингентами ССО. Эти подразделения проводят точечные операции по уничтожению боевиков и их лидеров, а также занимаются подготовкой и обучением репрессивных подразделений ВС в странах, управляемых диктаторскими режимами, с целью облегчения своих действий, которые они ведут от имени «всемирного крестного отца», Вашингтона, нарушая все нормы федерального и международного права и не отвечая ни перед Конгрессом, ни перед американской общественностью.


Политика Белого дома по укреплению своих позиций как лидера современного мира и прежде всего по дальнейшему беззаконному ограблению Большого Ближнего Востока, крайне богатого нефтью и другими природными ресурсами региона, привела к тому, что у Америки появился новый враг, именующий себя «Исламским государством Ирака и Леванта» (ИГИЛ), вознамерившийся создать Исламский халифат (ИХ) сначала на территории Ирака и Сирии, а затем во всем мире, и намеренный свести на нет все претензии США на мировое господство.

Вашингтон пытается уничтожить своего нового противника, во многом превзошедшего «Аль-Каиду» по своей мощи и влиянию, не путем ведения крупномасштабной войны против него, а консолидацией усилий государств, которым непосредственно угрожает ИГИЛ. Именно по этой причине лидеры Пентагона и Госдепа ездят по всему миру и пытаются убедить своих союзников и партнеров в необходимости их участия в борьбе против новых лидеров ислама.

Американские военные эксперты утверждают, что Белому дому не удастся быстро и малыми силами уничтожить своего нового глобального противника, тем более что у него появляется все большее количество приверженцев из числа граждан европейских стран. Так, например, во Франции около 4 тыс. французов, принявших ислам, поддерживают ИГИЛ, выражают готовность сражаться в рядах воинов ИГИЛ и даже берут в руки оружие. Число новообращенных мусульман быстро растет и в других странах Запада, что вызывает крайнюю озабоченность руководства многих европейских государств и сомнение в их способности в одиночку противостоять возникшей угрозе.

По мнению ряда американских и международных аналитиков, Белый дом и прочие лидеры Америки все-таки не до конца представляют себе реальные угрозы, исходящие от ИГИЛ. Они полагают, что новая организация исламских экстремистов является только временным лидером, взявшим на себя право утверждения своих принципов на планете. Эксперты полагают, что Запад в значительной мере недооценивает своих новых контрагентов. По их мнению, ИГИЛ представляет значительно большую угрозу для безопасности Америки и Европы, чем это было принято считать до сих пор.

Однако некоторые специалисты в США и за рубежом утверждают, что представления политиков и федерального руководства об истинной сущности нового явления в исламском мире полностью соответствуют действительности. В американской прессе циркулирует множество заявлений официальных лиц США и аналитиков о том, что ИГИЛ – это конгломерат безумных фанатиков, действующих крайне необдуманно и не руководствующихся рациональными соображениями.

Действительно, лидеры ИГИЛ хотят установить в мире диктат Средневековья и действуют по законам крайне жестких идеологических установок. Но их нельзя отнести к категории просто безумных фанатиков, если объективно взглянуть на их успехи в Ираке и Сирии. Новые радикалы активно реализуют свою главную цель: создать халифат, который будет управляться в соответствии крайне жесткими нормами законов ислама.

Для решения этой задачи руководители ИГИЛ разработали довольно действенную стратегию. Они воспользовались противоречиями, которые существуют между умеренными суннитами и шиитами Ирака. Сунниты крайне недовольны приходом к власти шиитов и готовы бороться за свои права. Но члены ИГИЛ не проявили «исламское безумство, а стали использовать в своей практике методы, широко применяющиеся другими вооруженными группировками приверженцев ислама. Внешне лидеры ИГИЛ вроде бы неукоснительно следуют правилам жесткого ислама и проявляют крайнюю жестокость, что не вызывают никаких чувств, кроме омерзения. А вот их демонстрация жестокости совсем не случайна. Она направлена на устрашение врагов ИГИЛ и на укрепление влияния этой группировки. Если бы ее руководство просто хотело уничтожить всех «неверных», то оно не стало бы сотрудничать с военными, поддерживавшими режим Саддама Хусейна. И нельзя не отметить тот факт, что сумасшедшие фанатики просто не стали бы заниматься организацией продажи нефти с захваченных территорий. Если бы их целью было только намерение заставить мусульман подчиняться жестким законам шариата, то они не устраивали бы детских фестивалей на контролируемых территориях Сирии и не открывали бы там лечебные учреждения. Все это не означает, что ИГИЛ гуманное, а не варварское образование. Ее руководители проводят политику геноцида представителей курдских племен езидов и жестоко преследуют христиан. Но все это делается вполне обдуманно и направлено на вселение страха в мусульманский мир и среди «неверных».

Как сообщает американская и мировая пресса, ИГИЛ пользуется определенной поддержкой отдельных суннитских объединений Ирака и Сирии. И это соответствует действительности. На основании этого некоторые аналитики заявляют, что таким образом сунниты демонстрируют готовность следовать радикальным трактовкам положений ислама, внедряемых группировкой ИГИЛ, что делает ее сильной. Но это не соответствует действительности. Сила ИГИЛ определяется не религией, а политическими мотивами и действиями ее лидеров. Все проведенные исследования показывают, что в мусульманских странах террористические исламские группировки, такие, например, как «Аль-Каида», не пользуются широкой поддержкой населения. Большая часть жертв ИГИЛ являются мусульманами, и это, как правило, сунниты. Эксперты также уверены, что взгляды руководства группировки совершенно чужды традиционному исламу.

Хотя сунниты и не разделяют идеологические установки ИГИЛ и не одобряют практикуемые ими методы, но все-таки поддерживают его. Это определяется политикой. Сирией и Ираком сегодня руководят шииты, а сунниты во власти представлены крайне мало и чувствуют себя гражданами второго сорта. Некоторые из них ошибочно считают, что под властью ИГИЛ они будут жить не хуже, чем сегодня, и не будут испытывать унижений. Лидеры ИГИЛ активно пользуются этими настроениями. Именно поэтому на захваченных территориях они открывают школы и больницы.

В настоящее время ИГИЛ вопреки многим утверждениям не является филиалом «Аль-Каиды» и не состоит из сирийских оппозиционеров. Действительно, в начале своего образования была частью этой группировки боевиков. Но в феврале, после неподчинения ряду приказов «Аль-Каиды», включая запрет насилия в отношении гражданского населения, руководство ИГИЛ объявило о выходе из нее. Заявления относительно того, что эта группировка состоит в основном из представителей сирийской оппозиции, поскольку выступает против Башара Асада, не соответствует действительности. В ее рядах действуют боевики из самых разных стран.

Но эта группировка образовалась еще до начала гражданской войны в Сирии. И хотя одной из его целей является участие в этой войне, своей главной стратегической задачей его руководство считает организацию всемирного джихада. Асад и ИГИЛ в некоторых ситуациях даже помогают друг другу. Они не являются принципиальными противниками. Не следует забывать, что ИГИЛ появился еще до начала гражданской войны в Сирии как филиал «Аль-Каиды» в Ираке. ИГИЛ не родился из сирийской войны, он просто воспользовался этой ситуацией. Можно даже говорить о том, что между ИГИЛ и Асадом существует тайное соглашение. ИГИЛ предоставляется определенная свобода действий в определенных провинциях Сирии, поскольку это ведет к ослаблению оппозиционных Асаду сил.

Американские политики и некоторые специалисты считают, что усилению ИГИЛ и его успехам в 2014 году способствовал бывший премьер-министр Ирака Нури аль-Малики. Вне всяких сомнений его политика способствовала росту популярности ИГИЛ. Премьер-министр активно использовал законы, имеющие антитеррористическую направленность для заключения в тюрьмы представителей суннитской оппозиции и проводил политику дискриминации некоторых чиновников – суннитов, работавших во властных структурах Хусейна. Им запрещалось занимать определенные государственные должности. Проводились и другие акции против этого национального меньшинства. Недальновидная политика премьера была только одним из факторов, способствующих росту популярности ИГИЛ, но совсем не основным.


Белый дом и парламентарии уверяют своих соотечественников и мировое сообщество, что Америка способна уничтожить ИГИЛ. Однако каких-то реальных способов решения этой проблемы сегодня Америка предложить не может. Хотя некоторые руководители Пентагона говорят о том, что в Ирак для борьбы с ИГИЛ необходимо ввести регулярные войска. Как показала практика, даже широкомасштабное военное вмешательство США в дела проблемных стран не дает положительных результатов, может длиться десятилетиями, может только способствовать усугублению ситуации, поскольку существование ИГИЛ в Ираке и Сирии является не военной, а политической проблемой. Проблему усиления влияния ИГИЛ в Сирии и Ираке и его разгром, как полагает ряд экспертов, невозможно решить только с помощью американской авиации. США способны остановить захваты этой группировкой новых территорий, но уничтожить ее полностью не могут.

Неверны и заявления о том, что политика лидеров ИГИЛ приведет к уничтожению этой группировки, поскольку по законам жесточайшей формы шариата, которые вводит ИГИЛ, никто не сможет жить долгое время и восстание суннитов неизбежно. Но руководство ИГИЛ извлекло уроки из поражения «Аль-Каиды» в Ираке. Хотя оно и вводит жесткие нормы шариата на контролируемых территориях, одновременно оно создает административные структуры, необходимые для функционирования государства.

Но вместе с тем не следует считать, что эта группировка непобедима. Конечно, лидеры «Исламского государства Ирака и Леванта» стали опытнее и сильнее. При поддержке курдов и американцев иракские власти могут добиться значительных успехов в борьбе с ИГИЛ. Но вот подавить его формирования на территории Сирии будет значительно сложнее. Ни войска Асада, ни умеренные оппозиционеры в ближайшее время просто не смогут предпринять активные военные действия против этой группировки. Но заставить ее отступить в Ирак и не выходить за границы определенных районов в Сирии уже можно считать победой, полагают эксперты. И только по окончании гражданской войны в Сирии главной задачей победившей стороны станет окончательное уничтожение ИГИЛ.

Iraq and Syria: The Problem of Strategy

By Anthony H. Cordesman

Jun 19, 2015

Источник: http://csis.org/publication/iraq-and-syria-problem-strategy

The United States has now been actively at war with terrorism movements since 2001. Throughout that time, it has struggled to find ways to develop some form of meaningful strategy, measure its progress, and give that progress some degree of transparency and credibility to the Congress, the American people and our strategic partners, and the media.

So far, its success has been erratic at best. On most occasions, the U.S. has issued policy statements that set broad goals, but did not really amount to a strategy. There was no real assessment of the situation and the reasons for selecting a given course of action, there was no real plan and set of milestones to measure progress by, there were no real details as to the required resources, and any supporting measures of effectiveness have often added up to little more than political justification and spin.

The United States has had particular problems in describing its counterterrorism strategy in Iraq and Syria, and members of Congress have quite correctly called for a far more explicit statement of what U.S. strategy is, its justification, and some measures of effectiveness. On June 17, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey attempted to respond by outlining the Department of Defense’s counterterrorism strategy in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee.

To put it politely, they failed. In fact, if one grades their efforts by the increasingly partisan standards of todays U.S. politics, Democrats in Congress could at best give them a D minus, Republican no higher grade than an F plus, and any mythical moderate could not go higher than an F.

The Outline of a Strategy is Not a Strategy

A summary of Secretary Carter’s testimony issued by the Department’s news service focused on nine key areas of action – most of which were little more than a paraphrasing of the same generalities the White House had issued in its fact sheet on November 7, 2014:

The United States will not let up until it has destroyed ISIL and al Qaida affiliated terrorists that pose dangers to the homeland, friends and allies in the region, the secretary said…Today, 35,000 U.S. forces are postured in the region, allowing the military to «strike ISIL and al-Qaida terrorists and check Iranian malign influence.»

U.S. core interests also assure Israel’s «continued qualitative military edge, and why we’re working with our Gulf partners to make them more capable of defending themselves against external aggression,» he added.

Those interests also are why the United States is supporting efforts for political settlements to crises throughout the region, from Yemen to Libya to Syria, the secretary said.

ISIL presents a «grave threat» to U.S. friends and allies in the Middle East and around the world, from Africa and Europe to parts of Asia…because of its «steady metastasis.» It also threatens the U.S. homeland, he added, based on its avowed intentions to strike and recruit in the United States.

President Barack Obama’s counter-ISIL strategy draws from all U.S. national security agencies to degrade and defeat ISIL…The strategy and military campaign make up a global coalition that reflects a worldwide consensus to counter the ISIL threat. The counter-ISIL strategy is based on nine lines of effort that reflect the «breadth of this challenge and the tools needed to combat it,»

  • First, the crucial political effort to build more effective, inclusive, multi-sectarian governance.
  • Second and third are the DoD-led efforts to deny ISIL safe haven and build partner capacity in Iraq and Syria. DoD, alongside coalition partners, is conducting a bombing campaign from the air, advising and assisting Iraqi security forces on the ground, and training and equipping trusted local forces.
  • Fourth is enhancing collection of intelligence on ISIL.
  • Fifth is disrupting ISIL’s finances.
  • Sixth and seventh are to counter ISIL’s messaging and disrupt the flow of foreign fighters to and from the extremists.
  • Eighth is providing humanitarian support to people displaced by or vulnerable to ISIL.
  • Ninth is protecting the homeland by disrupting terrorist threats.

As Secretary Carter testified, the “effective execution of all nine of these lines of effort by the United States and its coalition partners is plainly necessary to ensure overall success.”

In a separate DoD news report, Chairman Dempsey was quoted as saying, “The nine lines of effort should be considered in the aggregate…This campaign focuses on building partners who are taking responsibility for their own security. As I’ve said before, this is an Iraq-first strategy, enabled by the coalition, but not an Iraq-only one. And, again, certainly not a military-only one.”

The news report went on to say that, “The chairman stressed the need for patience several times in his testimony. He said the U.S. military is at the beginning -of a complex, nonlinear campaign that will require a sustained level of effort over an extended period of time to promote durable regional stability over the long term.’”

There is no indication that Dempsey explained what this broader campaign would be. If anything, the Department of Defense reporting on Dempsey’s testimony seemed to indicate that he was calling for a strategy where the critical effort consisted largely of unilateral changes in the policies and actions of regional states:

We seek a region that is inhospitable to our enemies and that promotes and protects our core national interests…It’s my military judgment that an enduring victory over ISIL can only be accomplished by those nations and stakeholders in the region who have as much and actually more to gain or lose than we do…

The U.S. military has responsibility for just two of what are a total of nine lines of effort, he noted: bombing ISIL targets in support of indigenous ground forces and training and equipping Iraqi security forces.

In all nine areas of action there seem to important areas where the U.S. still has no strategy and/or has little credible chance of effective execution of an action plan.

  1. The crucial political effort to build more effective, inclusive, multi-sectarian governance

The key problem with the “crucial political effort to build more effective, inclusive, multi-sectarian governance” is that simply setting a broad goal is not a strategy. It is not clear what action that United States. is taking to create “more effective, inclusive, multi-sectarian governance” in Iraq.

The DoD press release stated that Carter’s testimony focused on the following points,

Despite the challenges, positive signs exist, the secretary said, noting that he has met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Iraqi Kurdistan Regional President Masoud Barzani, and last week with Speaker Salim al-Jabouri of Iraq’s parliament. «They fully understand the need to empower more localized, multi-sectarian Iraqi security forces and address persistent organizational and leadership failures,» the defense secretary told the House panel.

Because a sovereign, multisectarian Iraq is more likely to seal a lasting defeat of ISIL, the United States must continue working with and through the Iraqi government in all actions, including Kurdish and Sunni tribal forces support, he said.

U.S. efforts must reinforce inclusivity and multi-sectarianism and not fuel a reversal to sectarianism, which would make the lasting defeat of ISIL harder, not easier, Carter noted.

…Syria’s battle with ISIL extremists is more complex, Carter said, citing the lack of a legitimate government partner and many competing forces in that country.» Our train-and-equip mission in Syria has been challenging…but the requirement for a capable and motivated counter-ISIL ground force there also means we must persist in our efforts.»

… Despite the challenges, positive signs exist, the secretary said, noting that he has met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Iraqi Kurdistan Regional President Masoud Barzani, and last week with Speaker Salim al-Jabouri of Iraq’s parliament. «They fully understand the need to empower more localized, multi-sectarian Iraqi security forces and address persistent organizational and leadership failures,» the defense secretary told the House panel.

Because a sovereign, multisectarian Iraq is more likely to seal a lasting defeat of ISIL, the United States must continue working with and through the Iraqi government in all actions, including Kurdish and Sunni tribal forces support, he said.

U.S. efforts must reinforce inclusivity and multi-sectarianism and not fuel a reversal to sectarianism, which would make the lasting defeat of ISIL harder, not easier, Carter noted.

Like the other statements by senior U.S. officials to date, the Carter and Dempsey testimony did not come close to presenting a comprehensive strategy for Iraq. It did not address the lack of progress in bringing Arab Sunnis back to support of the government, the tensions between Kurd and Arab, the role of Shi’ite militias and Iran, the problems Abadi and al-Jabouri face in taking effective action, the need for supporting civil and civil-military activities by the United states. and other outside states, any conditionality in U.S. aid, or any other key aspect of U.S. action.

More broadly, Carter’s testimony virtually admitted that the United States. had no strategy for Syria. Moreover, it did not address the need to deal with other terrorist and extreme groups like the Al Nusra Front. It did not address the critical issue of Iranian influence in Iraq and Syria, or discuss any aspect of U.S. cooperation with its Arab allies and other states. It did not address the problem of Russia, or deal with the growing humanitarian nightmare in Syria and Iraq and the destabilizing impacts of the fighting and refugees on neighboring states.

Dempsey largely highlighted key problems without describing a strategy or solutions:

The situation on the ground in Iraq and Syria is the result of three converging issues, Dempsey told the panel. The first, he said, is that “several governments are struggling for political legitimacy, because they are not sufficiently pluralistic or they are not sufficiently accountable to their citizens.” The Iraqi government has pledged to create a unity government, he added, but has been unable to do so yet.

“Second, the centuries old Shia-Sunni rivalry has come to the fore,” the chairman said. “Weak states are less able to assert independence amid the tug-of-war between sectarian regional powers.”

Third, there is increasing competition between religiously moderate Muslims and more radical elements, Dempsey said.

“These three challenges, as they intersect, make for an environment that will test the resolve of the region’s security forces,” the general said. “Enduring stability cannot be imposed from the outside in. Stability must be cultivated from the inside out and, importantly, owned by regional stakeholders.”

  1. and 3. DoD-led efforts to deny ISIL safe haven and build partner capacity in Iraq and Syria. DoD, alongside coalition partners, is conducting a bombing campaign from the air, advising and assisting Iraqi security forces on the ground, and training and equipping trusted local forces.

The Carter and Dempsey testimony on “DoD-led efforts to deny ISIL safe haven and build partner capacity in Iraq and Syria, the bombing campaign from the air, advising and assisting Iraqi security forces, and training and equipping trusted local forces was curiously lacking in substance and depth.

It did little more than make some vague claims about airpower, and raise serious questions about the ability to recruit adequate numbers of Iraqis for the train and assist mission. It ignored the lack of progress in the Syrian train and assist mission – an effort that had all of 90 Syrian recruits in March 2015 for a training effort with a goal of training 3,000 to 5,000 in calendar 2015, and that had at most 180 men who had stated training in June 2015 – out of some 6,000 recruits, 2,000 who had been vetted, and 1,500 who had made it through screening.

DoD’s airstrike campaigns in Iraq and Syria have «produced some clear results in limiting ISIL’s freedom of movement, constraining its ability to reinforce its fighters, and impeding command and control,» Carter said. Airstrikes also helped local forces make key achievements, such as the success of anti-ISIL forces that took the key town of Tal Abyad over the weekend…The airstrikes are also buying critical time and space required to carry out DoD’s second line of effort — developing the capacity and capabilities of legitimate local ground forces,» Carter said.

Carter said a combination of disunity, deserters and «ghost soldiers» — who are paid on the books but don’t exist — have greatly diminished the capacity of Iraq’s security forces. Given such challenges, ISIL’s lasting defeat requires local forces on the ground which…the U.S. military will continue to develop and enable.

Putting U.S. combat troops on the ground as a substitute for local forces will not produce enduring results,» he said. Both anti-ISIL campaigns in Iraq and Syria require capable, motivated, legitimate, local ground forces to seize, clear, and hold terrain for a lasting, enduring defeat, he said.

After Ramadi’s fall, DoD and White House officials determined that the existing strategic framework was still the correct approach, but enhanced training of the security forces was needed and the process to equip them was too slow, Carter said.

Essential equipment deliveries, such as anti-tank capabilities and equipment to counter improvised explosive devices have since been expedited to Iraqi security forces and Kurdish and Sunni tribal forces, he said.

…»We also determined that we could enable Iraqi security forces with more tailored advice and assistance, including critical outreach to local Sunni communities»… And based on DoD recommendations, the president authorized deployment of 450 personnel to Iraq’s Taqqadum military base in Anbar province to establish an additional site for advising and assisting the Iraqi security forces, Carter noted.

U.S. forces will also provide much-needed operational advice and planning support to the Iraqi security forces Anbar Operations Center…»We expect that this move will open a new dimension in our and Iraq’s efforts to recruit Sunnis into the fight and to help the Iraqis coordinate and plan the critical effort to roll back ISIL in Anbar province,»

…But the lack of Iraqi security forces recruits has slowed training, the secretary said, adding that while 24,000 recruits were anticipated by this fall, only 7,000 were trained, in addition to 2,000 counterterrorism service personnel…All sectors of the Iraqi government must make a greater commitment to the recruitment and training effort, he said.

Syria’s battle with ISIL extremists is more complex, Carter said, citing the lack of a legitimate government partner and many competing forces in that country.» Our train-and-equip mission in Syria has been challenging…but the requirement for a capable and motivated counter-ISIL ground force there also means we must persist in our efforts.»

Carter vowed to continue airstrikes against ISIL forces in Syria, and to work with Syrian neighbors to impede the flow of foreign fighters into and out of Syria and Iraq. «Success in this campaign can and must be assured…It will take time and require consistent effort on everyone’s part — the entire U.S. government, our entire international coalition, and most importantly, the Iraqi and Syrian peoples.»

As for Dempsey, he was quoted as saying, “We are on path to deliver that which we’ve committed to delivering, which is security forces — not just the [Iraqi security forces], but also the peshmerga and now the Sunni tribes — we are on path to deliver to them the capability to confront ISIL inside of their sovereign territory.” He did not provide any “whens,” “hows,” or “whats” to explain what this meant, or how the U.S. would\ implement this area of action.

Neither Carter nor Dempsey were reported to have provided any indication that meaningful numbers of Iraqi Sunnis could be recruited and trained. They did not show that the United States has a credible approach to limiting or reducing to the tensions between Iraqi government Shi’ite forces and Kurdish forces, or that it has a clear strategy for dealing with Iraq’s dependence on Shi’ite militias and the Iranian Al Quds force. They did not show that there was a clear plan to reequip and restructure Iraqi ground and air forces.

As for Syria, the testimony did not indicate how the United States would “persist” and do in given efforts, to a given end and over some estimate of time. There no projected cost, or indication of what Arab and other outside aid will be provided. There is no indication of what level of capability would be provided relative to what balance of ISIL, Al Nusra, and other violent extremist forces. No mention was made of Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, the Arab Gulf states, or the broader Kurdish problem in spite of the fact that United States seems to be providing air support to Syrian Kurdish forces.

Creating the Right Kind of Train and Assist Missions

As for specific problems in the U.S. strategy for the train and assist efforts, Carter and Dempsey did not address two long-standing problems. The first is the fact that the train and assist mission is now sharply limited in character and does not involve direct aid to combat troops.

This cedes a critical aspect of the mission to Iran and ensures longer-term Iraqi government dependence on Shi’ite militias and Kurdish forces. It also ignores the fact that key challenge in making the train and assist mission effective does not lie in providing Iraq with more weapons or with forward air controllers – although both steps are necessary. The U.S. needs to act upon a key lesson from Vietnam – and from all past train and assist efforts. Generating or rebuilding forces in the rear is not enough, and is an almost certain recipe for failure. New or weak forces need forward deployed teams of advisors to help them actually fight.

Insurgents cannot be allowed to have a massive intelligence advantage on the ground, to learn the weakest links in the government forces and their defense, attack them, roll-up the weaker units, expose the flanks and position of the better units, and then force them into what as best is partially organized retreat.

No one can create effective combat leaders and forces from the rear. New and weak units need to have a small, but experienced team of combat leaders embedded with them. New combat leaders and units need months of on-the-ground help in getting the essentials of combat operations right. Modern forward air control is critical, and the use of drones can make it effective far beyond the line of sight, but so are human intelligence, and the constant assessment of tactics, defensive positions, and patrol activity.

Forward deployed train and assist teams – usually Special Forces or Rangers – are necessary to spot good combat leaders and warn against weak, ineffective, or corrupt ones. They are needed to provide intelligence backwards that static or inexperienced Iraq leaders and units can’t. They are needed to be a voice for active patrolling. At the same time, they needed to be a second voice when resupply, reinforcement, regrouping, and relief are truly needed. Someone has to bypass the barriers, rigidities, and sectarian/ethnic prejudices in the chain of command and send the right signals to the top. The Iraqis can’t do this yet.

Forward deployed train and assist teams are needed to encourage effective civil-military action in cases where the Iraqi unit has a different ethnic or sectarian bias or simply thinks in tactical terms rather than how to create a local capability to hold, recover, and build at both the military and civil levels.

These teams are needed now! They have been needed in Iraq and Afghanistan from the start. The same is true of a larger and more aggressive air campaign to support them and the overall efforts in both Iraq and Syria. There are times when support from the rear is enough. Several thousand years of military history is a warning that there are no times when leading from the rear is adequate in actual combat.

Making Effective Use of Airpower

The U.S. has shown that airpower can have a critical tactical effect in some cases in both Iraq and Syria. But, it has failed show it has anything approaching a credible strategy for using air power, and the public data it is providing on the overall nature and effectiveness of its use of air strikes seems to be little more than vacuous spin.

The same DoD news article that describes the Carter and Dempsey testimony references a report on Special Report: Operation Inherent Resolve — Targeted Operations Against ISIL Terrorists .

This report presents two tangible pieces of information. One is a map that has been designed to exaggerate gains again ISIL by drawing lines based on its peak areas of advance and that shows the areas where it has actually consolidated power. As a result, it claims that, “ISIL can no longer operate freely in roughly 25 to 30 percent of populated areas of Iraqi territory where it once could. These areas translate into approximately 13,000 to 17,000 square kilometers (or 5,000 to 6,500 square miles).” The latter part borders on the ridiculous since much of the area is desert and no one controls in on a day-to-day basis because no one is there.

The second consists of damage claims as of May 8, 2015. It has no particular strategic value and does nothing to explain or justify the strategy behind the US use of airpower. It simply reports totals by category: exactly 6,278 targets damaged or destroyed, including 77 tanks, 288 HMMWVs, 427 staging areas, 1,779 buildings, 1,415 fighting positions, 152 oil infrastructure targets, and 2,140 other targets.

These numbers have often been surprising static over time, and it is far from clear what value damaging a building, staging area, or fighting position really has, much less hitting 2,140 “other targets,” which make up more than a third of the total. It has no more value than various claims by U.S. officials that U.S. airpower has killed some 10,000-12,500 ISIL and other extremist fighters—claims that raise serious question when other U.S. background briefings indicate that ISIL only had had some 20,000 to 32,000 volunteers as of March 2015.

AFCENT has separately updated its sortie data to cover the entire air campaign through May 31, 2015. These data show that the U.S. had flown a total of 16,164 strike sorties and 5,578 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sorties in Iraq and Syria since the start of the air campaign in August 2014. It had also flown 5,872 airlift and air drop sorties, and 10,701 refueling sorties. This is a total of 21,742 strike and ISR sorties, and 38,315 sorties of all kinds.

These data provide a rough picture of total activity, but say nothing about effectiveness and strategy. Moreover, only 3,837 sorties actually released a weapon. This is roughly 1 in 4 strike sorties that actually hit a target, 1 in 6 releases per strike and IS&R sorties, and 1 in 10 ten strikes per sortie of all kinds.

Peak weapons releases have varied sharply by month, but reached a peak of 2,308 in January 2015 and then dropped back to a low of 1,600 in March 2015 before rising back to 2010 in May. The unclassified data on the key targets is uncertain, but most (80 percent or more) seem to have been flown in close support of active ISIL operations in areas like Kobane, Bajii, and the Mosul Dam areas where there was little risk of killing civilians and relatively few seem to have been “strategic” in the sense they struck at ISIL directly.

To repeat points made in earlier Burke Chair studies, the end result is an air campaign whose overall strategy and effectiveness is unclear, and that is strong on total sorties flown (and cost), and weak in terms of both combat power and strategic effect.

It is not the kind of air campaign that can build Iraqi morale, deal with the collapse of weaker units, destroy key ISIL and al Nusra cadres, and cover the period in which Iraqi forces must be rebuilt or provide the kind of force necessary to support a more effective strategy in Syria. If the U.S. wants to limit Iranian influence, increase its influence in Iraq and Syria, buy time for Iraqi force development, and put real pressure on ISIL and Al Nusra, it is going to have to do more.

The U.S. also needs to rethink the steady rise in limits to its rules of engagement, and restrictions on the use of airpower. And, in its strategic communications in describing what it does. The U.S. cannot afford to make avoiding all civilian casualties a strategic objective. It ends in making human shields a constant in every form of irregular and potentially conventional war as well. It also ignores the grim realities of war.

There is nothing humanitarian about saving a small number of civilian lives and opening whole towns and cities up to prolonged occupation by threats like ISIL. There is nothing humanitarian about prolonging wars, producing far higher net casualties, and adding to the massive totals of displaced persons and refugees. The horrors of war are not shaped by a single target or moment in time, but by the cumulative impact of a conflict. There also is nothing cowardly about using force at a distance to strike at forces that butcher minorities, civilians with different religious beliefs, and prisoners of war.

  1. Enhancing collection of intelligence on ISIL

Neither Secretary Carter nor Chairman Dempsey seem to have provided any indication of a strategy for enhancing intelligence collection. Media reporting indicates that the current actual trend may be negative because of problems in maintaining the sorties rates for drones. There is no open source data on Iraqi and Syrian rebel intelligence efforts, or on others aspects of U.S. and allied intelligence efforts to explain this aspect of U.S. strategy.

It is also clear from talking to intelligence experts and officials that there is no coherent guidance to the US defense intelligence community, or the intelligence community in general, as to how to collect intelligence on the ideological efforts of ISIL and Al Qa’ida, or produce net assessments of how the efforts of extremist groups like ISIL compare to the efforts of governments and other rebel organizations and efforts. The focus remains threat oriented around actual hostile activities in a war where strategy requires as much attention to threats posed by the inadequacies and repression of local and host governments, and U.S. misperceptions of the local situation and tactical mistakes, as intelligence about actively hostile movements and forces.

  1. Disrupting ISIL’s finances

There are no open source data on the effectiveness of U.S. efforts to disrupt ISIL finances. There is limited media reporting to indicate that ISIL may have growing financing problems but the scale of any such problems is unclear and other reports indicate that ISIL and other extremist movements have found other ways of raising the =funds they need. . The overall U.S. strategy, methods, allied cooperation, and effectiveness are not addressed in the reports on the strategy hearing.

  1. Counter ISIL’s messaging

Media reports suggest that State Department efforts to counter ISIL messaging have had little effect and been disrupted by internal bureaucratic problems. Other reporting indicates that the Department of Defense has done no better. It is unclear that the U.S. has any coherent strategy or effort in this area.

Statements like the testimony of Justin Siberell – the Principal Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism in the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism: Budget, Program, and Policies – to the House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade on June 2,2015 – deserve far more attention. The current effort is at best evolving far too slowly and under-resourced.

Similarly. A statement by Undersecretary of State Richard Stengel to Secretary Kerry on June 9, 2015 – following a meeting in Paris on international cooperation — warns that fundamental changes are required in both the US effort and international cooperation,

When it comes to the external message, our narrative is being trumped by ISIL’s. We are reactive – we think about “counter-narratives,” not “our narrative.” The external message of Pairs, which was summarized in the press as “stay the course” and “the strategy is working, was not well received…We prepared a playbook going into the meeting for inter-agency use and use by the partners, which said the meeting was not going to be business as usual.” This was not reflected in the meeting itself or its outward messaging.

Once again, a policy goal is not a strategy. There is a lack of clear direction from the White House and NSC, as well as interagency coordination, cooperation, and consistency of effort. Senior intelligence officials lack a clear set of priorities to deal with the ideological threat and challenge, both inside and outside the defense intelligence community.

  1. Disrupt the flow of foreign fighters to and from the extremists.

There are no open source data on the effectiveness of U.S. efforts to reduce the flow of foreign fighters to and from the extremists. There is limited media reporting indicating that ISIL is still able to attract significant numbers of volunteers and that relatively easy transit though Turkey is still a major problem

  1. Providing humanitarian support to people displaced by or vulnerable to ISIL

The United States is a major aid donor and plays a key role in aiding Syrian civilians. It is unclear, however, that it has a strategy for dealing with the rising number of Syrian, Iraqi, Yemeni, and other internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, or for post-conflict recovering in such states. UN reporting raises questions about the overall adequacy of international aid funding and support for refugees.

  1. Protecting the homeland by disrupting terrorist threats

It is not clear that present U.S. strategy for Syria and Iraq will produce a lasting disruption of terrorist attacks. Some experts believe that U.S. military intervention in Iraq and bombings in Syria – along with UCAV strikes on the leadership of such movements — will stimulate ISIL and Al Nusra Front interest in attacks on the United States but this is unclear.

So is the extent to which U.S. operations in Syria and Iraq have reduced the present and future threat.

Iraqi Stability and the “ISIS War”

By Anthony H. Cordesman

Aug 12, 2015

Источник: http://csis.org/publication/iraqi-stability-and-isis-war

Скачать полный текст

The events in Iraq over the last month have shown that any success in Iraq requires both the Iraqi government and the United States to go far beyond the war against ISIS, and makes any partisan debate over who lost Iraq as damaging to U.S. national interests as any other aspect of America’s drift toward partisan extremism.

The war against ISIS is a critical U.S. national security interest. It not only threatens to create a major center of terrorism and extremism in a critical part of the Middle East, and one that could spread to threaten the flow of energy exports and the global economy, but could become a major center of international terrorism. It is important to understand, however, that ISIS is only one cause of instability in the region, and only one of the threats caused by spreading sectarian and ethnic violence.

Iraq is a key case in point. No defeat of ISIS can bring Iraq security or stability, or give it the unity and independent strength to resist pressure from Iran and threats based in Syria and Turkey. No military course of action can—by itself – create a stable regime and economy, and reduce the tension between Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites, and Arabs and Kurds, to workable levels. Like Syria, Libya, and Yemen, military action must be joined to political and economic action and the creation of some form of viable governance.

U.S. policy must also understand that nothing could be more damaging or pointless in serving American interests at this point than a partisan debate that focuses on whether President Bush or President Obama “lost Iraq” by mishandling the U.S. military effort.

The broader civil-military situation in Iraq is less dire than in Syria. It is all too clear, however, that Iraq cannot wait on such a “victory” to deal with its internal problems, and that any such “victory” might well make the tensions between Sunni and Shiite, and Arab and Kurd, worse if it is won in ways that do not offer Iraq’s Sunnis a clear future, and make the defeat of ISIS a real liberation rather than lead to further Shi’ite mistreatment of Sunnis, and a prelude to territory struggles over the size of the Kurdish dominated areas and the powers of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

Iraq also cannot create effective security forces or a meaningful rule of law without addressing the sectarian and ethnic divisions that are tearing apart. No form of U.S. air campaign, train and assist mission, or mix of combat advisors will have lasting success if Iraq remains divided into a Shi’ite dominated military and police, Shi’ite militias, separate Kurdish forces, and a weak mix of Sunni tribal forces that are only active in its west.

The Bush and Obama Administrations must share the blame for part of the political process that divided the country along sectarian and ethnic lines, and led Iraqis to resist continuing a limited U.S advisory and troop presence, as well as empowered Maliki in politicizing Iraq’s forces, dividing the country, bringing it to a state of low-level civil war by 2013, and creating the conditions where ISIS could successfully invade. A full history of these events, however, will show that Iraq’s problems began long before the U.S. invasion, were driven more by Iraqi divisions than U.S. mistakes, and are at least as much the product of the underlying civil causes of Iraqi instability as any fault of the U.S.

It is equally clear that only a far more stable Iraq can limit the role of Iran, create some kind of buffer against what seems likely to be continuing instability in Syria, largely decouple its Kurdish area from Turkish concerns over the Kurds, create favorable relations with the other Arab states, and end the risk of constant power struggles over the control of its petroleum resources and export revenues. Iraqis need to fully “dominate” Iraq if Iraq is ever to become a force for regional stability rather than a threat to it.

The last few weeks have also made it all too clear that the real challenge in Iraq is not to drive ISIS out of Anbar and Ninewa, but to help Iraq with some form of broader security and political and economic stability. It is critical to drive ISIS out of the Sunni areas in Western Iraq, but simply defeating ISIS will not matter if it is not part of a broader effort to find a stable political and economic relationship between Sunni and Shi’ite and Arab and Kurd, give them all security, create a structure of governance that all Iraqis feel serves their interest, and move Iraq back towards a broader economic recovery, and then towards broadly based development.

A new report by the Burke Chair at CSIS address the history that has shaped the civil-military problems that now threaten Iraq’s stability, and the list of security, governance, economic, and ethnic and sectarian issues that the Iraqi government and the U.S. must deal with. It shows just how limited the impact of any victory against ISIS will be unless Iraq adopts a far wider and more effective reform program than Prime Minister Abadi has yet proposed, and that the problems in governance, economics, and dealing with Iraq’s broader problems with its Shi’ites and Kurds are a more serious threat to both Iraq and the U.S. than ISIS.