This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Half-Heated Coalition of Amateurs

"Without a single authority responsible for prioritizing and adjudicating between different multinational civilian and military lines of effort, different actors often work at cross-purposes without intending to do so."
"Each nation is contributing to the coalition in a manner commensurate with its national interests and comparative advantage, although reporting on nonmilitary contributions tends to be sporadic."
"These coalition coordination challenges were demonstrated in recent military campaigns (and particularly in Afghanistan). Exacerbating matters, other actors in the region—some of whom are coalition partners—have different, and often conflicting, longer-term regional geopolitical interests from those of the United States or other coalition members."
"This, in turn, may lead nations participating in the coalition to advance their goals and objectives in ways that might contradict each other."
"Different participants in the coalition have different tolerances for risk, and therefore will determine ‘rules of engagement’ (ROE), or ‘caveats’ that can constrain the ability of military commanders from employing military force as they see fit. While navigable, all these factors can make it considerably more difficult to consolidate gains and achieve campaign success."
Congressional Research Service report
Fighters from the Islamic State / AP
Fighters from the Islamic State / AP
Every hour of every day, according to a recent study on violence relating to Islamist fanatics, conducted by researchers at King's College London and the BBC, seven civilian casualties occur. Over 600 jihadist attacks took place across fourteen countries during the month of November 2014 alone. And from that one-month of attacks five thousand deaths took place.

It isn't just the number of deaths that keep accumulating, but the frequency, and above all, the gruesome brutality of the atrocities leading to those deaths, by an Islamist terrorist group for whom no depth of human bestiality is too far a decline into hell-on-Earth to practise. All in the name of pure Islam, whose sacred texts justify the atrocities.

On the part of Islamic State, because their targets are heretics, ethnic and religious minorities, Yazidis, Kurds and Christians, the deaths and their grotesque means represent the contempt in which non-Muslims are held; scum whose presence is an insult to Islam. On the part of the Shia-minority Baathist Alawite government led by Bashar al-Assad, no fate culminating in death is undeserved for those who defy his authority.

Beyond the Middle East and the latest incarnation of scimitar-wielding Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, there is Boko Haram in West Africa whose atrocities against civilians have resulted in over 13,000 deaths and more than a million displaced refugees. Targeting schools since their name equates with "Western Education is a Sin", children attending schools are vulnerable.

The group specializes in kidnapping children and forcing or indoctrinating them as sex slaves, child soldiers or suicide bombers. The al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab [the 'youth'] in the Horn of Africa commits mass murder with few challenges to their atrocities. It has extended its mandate from Somalia into Kenya and other surrounding nations.

Western eyes swivel to the depredations across Iraq and Syria, seeping into Libya, making inroads in the Sinai, of Islamic State. Their skill at using videos of their atrocities-in-action as recruiting tools and propaganda aimed at those attracted to their methods is unmatched.

Their determination to exterminate minority groups from the territory they claim as their caliphate, to murder the minority Yazidi, Kurdish, Christian men and enslave the women and children, target homosexuals, forcing children to join them as child soldiers and their destruction of timeless cultural artifacts of the ancient region, set them apart as ruthless and conscienceless barbarians.
"...Others have claimed that the problems posed by [ISIL] are primarily ones of counter-terrorism, not R2P [responsibility to protect]. That view mistakes the nature of the organization's violence. It also overlooks the reality that terrorism -- understood as violence intentionally targeted against civilians - is itself often a crime against humanity In some situations, such as that caused by [ISIL], counter terrorism and R2P are simply different ways of talking about the same problem: violent attacks on civilian populations."
Alex Bellamy, Australian scholar
The United States has led 21 other nations to air attacks meant to effect a push-back of Islamic State forces in operation in Iraq. Their mission doesn't appear to have accomplished what they set out to do. It has had a positive effect in helping the Kurdish fighters to gain back some of their towns occupied by Islamic State, and to effectively defend others. But by and large the territory controlled by ISIL is slowly expanding, not diminishing.

Their ruthless, gruesome attacks on civilians are ongoing. The unending tide of refugees fleeing Bashar Assad's barrel bombs and Islamic State's mass murders continues unabated, creating the largest, most desperate horde of refugees in recent history; most comprised of Muslims escaping the threat to their very existence at the hands of alter-sectarian Muslims, in large part.

The 21-member coalition conducting airstrikes have no wish to march into direct confrontation with the terrorists.

Why the surrounding Muslim states hesitate to do any such thing, as a majority whose responsibility should be to defend and secure the geography containing their co-religionists, hasn't been sufficiently thought out. They have the financial and military means to do so. And they would be confronting with the intention of defeating a threat to their own security and defences. Instead, they look to the West to find solutions for them.

The result is the half-hearted effort to dislodge ISIL, and its half-success which has been incapable of halting its progress, while destroying some of their emplacements and materiel, and killing some of their fighters, readily replaced by foreign jihadists ready and eager to join their fray. The new report warns that a lack of coordination is undercutting the war effort on the part of those agreeing to halt the ISIL advance.

The Federation of American Scientists released the Congressional Research Service report to the public. It emphasis that ISIL continues to make gains and to solidify control over key Iraqi cities, expanding beyond the country's borders. The haphazard manner in which Operation Inherent Resolve is being committed to and led results in inefficient military action by all countries involved, leaving the success of the joint military campaign against ISIL in question.

Up until July 15, the United States Treasury is the poorer by $3.21 billion, with little to show for it. Over five thousand airstrikes destroying 7,655 'targets' have been achieved, but the figures do not disclose the abysmal lack of purposeful intent and success. Most countries that have joined the U.S.-led coalition are involved as a result of a number of United Nations Security Council resolutions authorizing force.

Nonetheless, the Congressional Research Service report stresses that some of "these fall short of explicitly authorizing the use of military force against the Islamic State", leading to a question relating to the legality of the mission.  If, however, the situation was regarded purely from the viewpoint of R2P, the purpose would be clearer and the results would be more reflective of intention.

That being to protect a population from terrorism, state-propelled against its citizens, or jihadist-conducted against civilians.

Civilians walk on rubble as they inspect a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the old city of Aleppo on July 12. Civilians walk on rubble as they inspect a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the old city of Aleppo on July 12. Photo: Reuters

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