“Can the Islamic State Survive? What Can the US Do?” by Matthias Baun Brubaker Christensen

Matthias Baun Brubaker Christensen“Can the Islamic State Survive? What Can the US Do?”
by Matthias Baun Brubaker Christensen –
July 22, 2014

Islamic state: a lion and a fox?

The Islamic State (formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham) emerged out of the ashes of two conflicts. It was born as a result of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and then used the power vacuum created by the civil war in Syria to create a base out of which it could create the foundations for an emerging state. However, how likely are they to succeed in their goal of establishing a functioning state? In answering this question, it is crucial to understand their strategy: do they only operate based on ideological fervor, or does their strategy contain elements of realism? Machiavelli taught us that a successful prince should learn to be both a fox and a lion, does IS have the ability to act as both?

Machiavelli’s recommendations for Princes

The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves. Machiavelli, The Prince.

What did Machiavelli mean in his masterpiece, which for long has been essential reading on the reading list for all first year political science students? In the animal kingdom, a lion is the symbol of ultimate strength. It is the most powerful mammal on land that is feared by all other animals. However, the lion has a weakness, it is not intelligent enough to recognize the danger of traps.

A fox is also a predator, living off preying on other animals. However, the fox is cunning and calculating. It recognizes dangers when it feels uncomfortable in a new setting. A fox does not necessarily attack if it judges that it could result in it being in danger.

A temporary alliance of convenience

Evidence from the ground in Syria shows that there is a common understanding between the Assad regime and IS that their inaction towards each other is of mutual benefit. There is enough proof for one to state that Assad is not targeting the areas controlled by ISIS, but chooses to hit more moderate opposition held areas instead. The immediate enemy of Assad and IS are the same, as Frederic C. Hof puts it “Whatever Bashar al-Assad and Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi may think of one another personally, their top tactical priority in Syria is identical: destroy the Syrian nationalist opposition to the Assad regime.“

In the meantime, the Islamic State is pushing further and further into the areas held by the anti-Assad. IS has shown itself to be a shrewd opportunist. It has developed a strategy of reaping the ripe fruits sown by other militant groups. They largely go into areas already weakened by fighting between the SA and the various groups making up the more moderate opposition. Currently in Aleppo, the Syrian Army is trying to use its most effective strategy: set up a siege around the areas held by the opposition, and starve them both materially and physically. In the meantime, IS is operating closer and closer to the suburbs of the city and the opposition fears that the two forces together might eventually lead to complete control by IS and the Syrian army.

What explains this mutual understanding? Assad’s calculation is that he is likely to win more easily against IS if he emerges as the victor against the more nationalistic opposition within the country. In many ways, he has paved the way for the more radical elements of the opposition to become empowered. In his view, IS would be an easier enemy to defeat, and the further they expand their control, the more likely it becomes that the west supports Assad. (Also read this in the NYTimes, and this in the Guardian.)

Undoubtedly, this unholy alliance is a temporary one. In the long term, if we see the more nationalist elements even further weakened, we are likely to see a permanent war between IS and the Syrian army. This week we saw evidence of this, when IS attacked and beat the Syrian Army in the most significant battle yet, leading to IS taking control of one of the most important gas production facility. This points to IS being able to operate with an understanding of realism. It acts like a fox when needed, and a lion when conditions allow for it. It has formed a quasi alliance with Assad, and this might be one its most important strategical assets, largely overlooked by observers.

IS the Lion

Overwhelmingly, IS has used brute force towards anyone who acts against it. Late last year the brutality, combined with IS’ reluctance to fight Assad, lead to a formidable coalition of anti Assad groups attacking IS, and quickly it was on the retreat in Eastern Syria.

However as the spoils of war came in from the conquests in western Iraq, the IS has reallocated vital supplies, including American made Humvees, to the Syrian front-lines. The augmented moral, combined with the new supplies largely explain IS’ recent advances in Syria.

Its strategy has also developed. As Hassan Hassan noted in a recent article, their forces increasingly use diplomacy to take over villages. As long as the inhabitants lay down their weapons and pledge allegiance to IS, the village is spared attack. This new more benevolent strategy should be seen in light of the vast territory it now controls. IS does not have the manpower to impose its strict rules in all the territory under its possession. Currently, it is therefore utilizing a policy of accommodation with the populace. Over time, and as its military conscripts increase, it is more likely to become more forceful.

This strategy is likely to become very effective. As its geopolitical achievements, coupled with its military arsenal and funds grow day by day, it will be more likely to attract public support from Syrians and Iraqis who make up the vast majority of its fighters. These young men are not necessarily believers in grandiose ideas of creating an Islamic state. But they will be much more comfortable fighting with a force that is well equipped and that wins battles. For a young Syrian, it is undoubtedly more fulfilling to ride on the back of a Humvee conquering gas fields and villages than to be bogged down in never ending skirmishes in largely destroyed buildings in Aleppo.

IS the Fox

On many occasions, the IS has shown military prowess a skillful maneuvering on the terrain. For a long time, it fought skirmishes with the US troops and its Iraqi allies. Rather than confronting their enemy head on, as they did in Fallujah, they employed hit and run operations and sieges. All very familiar to those who have read Mao’s military tactics (for more information about the theoretical links between Maoism and other secular theorists impact on radical Islamic military doctrine, see Michael Ryan: Decoding the Al-Qaeda Strategy). Contrary to popular belief, Mosul did not fall over night. The take over by IS and its allies, was the culmination of months of strangulation by cutting off the supply routes between Baghdad and the city. The take over was only a culmination of years of insurgent attacks on the city and in fact the city has for long been one of the main sources of revenue as a result of extortion of its business owners.

The geopolitical puzzle

IS is a result of the turmoil in the region. No state actor wants it to succeed in establishing a state. However, states are using it to advance their geopolitical interests. Saudi Arabia sees the benefit of an IS in order to avoid a long feared Shia Crescent forming from Lebanon to Iran. At the same time, they fear them since the group is a real threat to their own stability. If IS is able to navigate between these fears, and gain temporary allies by recognizing its limits, it is more likely to succeed in its short term mission of holding on to some territory. Here we find a paradox and also a weakness. It mobilizes ideologically on the basis of being uncompromising in its reach. However were it to challenge Jordan, Saudi Arabia and countries beyond, it is likely to quickly be confronted from all sides.

The longer the regional crisis continues, the more entrenched the new state will become. If IS develops political callous in the midst of the chaos, and evidence shows that it has, it is likely to become an increasingly formidable foe. One which could possibly become a permanent feature in the region.

Its likelihood to hold on and expand its currently held territory lies in how capable it is in operating on a foreign policy based on realism – acting as Machiavelli’s fox – rather than only utilizing brute force. There is evidence to suggest that its leaders understand this and will use the knowledge to become a significant power. All the same, like so many revolutionary movements before it, IS is propelled by its universal ambitions which will make it difficult to stop its expansion. Its leaders have dazzled their supporters through maximal goals, minimal dithering, and lightning conquests. Reining in the expectations of its fighters will be difficult.

IS has conquered vast amounts of territory, sufficient in terms of resources to create a functioning state. However its permanence rests on its ability to restrain itself and appease its followers who believe and fight for its universal reach to become a reality here and now. If it restrains itself it is likely to lose supporters, including foreign fighters, if it does not, it will be challenged by forces that are likely to put it to an end.

IS feeds on the instability, and as long as the region remains tumultuous, the more likely they are to remain. A grand bargain is often used in foreign policy debates, but that is exactly what is needed in order to avoid the strengthening of IS. The group can not be seen as being an isolated result of the mess in Iraq and Syria. In some states’ views, it operates as a balance to counter Iranian hegemony. But its success impacts negatively on everyone. Only the United States has the power and influence to create the conditions necessary for a grand bargain between Saudi Arabia, Iran, the Gulf States, Iraq, Turkey and Syria.

Ultimately, the stability of the region is of primary concern for all states. If Iraq and Syria break apart, it will undoubtedly have effects on the cohesiveness of the main regional actors: Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

The US should utilize a three track policy. The first two are aimed at solving localized conflicts, and should be aimed at reassuring disaffected Sunni’s that the US has not realigned its foreign policy to appease Iran:

  • Train and equip the more nationalistic rebels in Syria so that they are powerful enough to serve as a military counterweight to Assad. They should not be able to win, but they should be strong enough to be seen as a threat to the current regime in Damascus. If they are not a balance to Assad, no viable dialog can take place between the warring factions. A negotiated settlement should be the aim.
  • Reach out to the disaffected Sunni community in Iraq including old enemies such as the Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order. They, combined with the Military Council of the Tribes of Iraq, are powerful and secular forces currently allied with ISIS.
  • Thirdly, the US should act on a regional level:
  • Engage regional states, including Iran, in negotiations about the need for military disengagement from the conflicts. This will be anything but easy, however a redrawing of Middle Eastern borders is in no ones interest. Should IS establish itself borders will be redrawn.

Furthermore, the region is vulnerable to several actors becoming entangled in uncomfortable alliances with IS:

  • The Iraqi Kurds: if the central Iraqi government starts to battle the Kurdish regional Authority for control over Kirkuk, there could be a potential of a tacit alliance between them and IS.
  • The more nationalist Syrian rebels: if the Syrian army pushes ahead, and that the low level war between the SA and IS increases, they could become temporary allies.
  • Jordan: although Jordan fears IS (especially in light of growing support for them in the Ma’an and other parts of the country) it is for now a less of a foe than if Iraq and Syria fall completely under the control of Iranian aligned regimes.
  • Saudi Arabia: similar concerns as Jordan.

For any decision maker in Washington, it is of paramount importance that these regional weaknesses and alliances are understood and monitored. If they are not, the IS is likely to use them to their advantage.

*Matthias Baun Brubaker Christensen worked for the Danish Red Cross in Syria before and during the conflict. He earned his MSc from the University of London and is the producer of www.syrianactivists.org. He is based in Boston.

Comments (94)

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51. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

The face of Muslim occupation. The same way as it happened when the Muslims occupied the HolyLand. But this time the Jews have the means to protect their land and property.

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July 25th, 2014, 8:25 pm


52. Ghufran said:

The world knew what type of people the IDF is composed off but some people need to be reminded with the truth from time to time. Gaza war is the latest chapter in the bloody history of Israel, a state founded by terrorists and built on illegal immigration and forced occupation of land, ethnic cleansing and theft of water and resources. Israel is the Jewish version of Isis.

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July 26th, 2014, 1:26 am


53. ALAN said:

Again and again and again,: such as the cancer metastasis they are doing evil and repeat it as a favorite hobby.
Are There Any Terrorist Groups Who AREN’T Paid Foot Soldiers for the U.S. Military-Intelligence Agenda?
Its abundantly clear that just about every government on planet Earth is becoming increasingly disillusioned with the U.S. government. This isn’t going to bode well for anyone, especially the U.S.
Are there a “terror attack” (nudge nudge wink wink)? which gives the US an excuse to send troops into Syria and finish the three year effort to oust Assad?

Pentagon official: Syrian terrorism ‘probably the number one threat’ to U.S.

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July 26th, 2014, 2:20 am


54. SimoHurtta said:

46. AMIR IN TEL AVIV said:


This is Syria Comment, not Jews Comment.

I have never read something you wrote about Syria. I suggest you find yourself (besides life), a forum that will appreciate your obsession with the Jews. There are plenty of those. Ask Alan.

Well Amir from Poland don’t you know, that Palestine (sometimes nowadays called by some as Israel) is a province of Greater Syria and Jews are given by heavenly powers as a domestic helper race to the masters of Syria. Wow, I sound like a normal Israeli Rabbi, with their fabricated history interpretation and extraordinary religious nationalistic (racist) views, with this my “Syrian” comment. 🙂

Polish Amir I have written a very few comments compared to yours and Akbar’s thousands during these many past years. I do not see it very useful for me or Syrians to write such comments like you and Akbar do, full of schadenfreude, hypocritical democracy “promoting” and idiotic Zionist “peace” propaganda, of which Palestinians have had to enjoy over 60 years. You may not understand it, but your comments always “sound” to us westerns and most certainly to Syrians as convincing as when a convicted pedophile is lecturing about children’s upbringing.

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July 26th, 2014, 5:14 am


55. Observer said:

There was no exit strategy for Israel just as there was not exit strategy for the iPad retard in Syria. The modus operandi was and remains: I have the power to crush the opposition. I and my sect and my clan and my chosen people are entitled to light and the others to darkness, to life and the others to death, to freedom and the others to slavery, to water and the others to thirst, to food and the others to starvation, to education and the others to ignorance.

In both cases, Bibi and Bashar have miscalculated terribly as the wall of fear has fallen, return to the Pharaoh rule is over, the return to acquiescence is over, the preference of dying standing than dying laying down has taken root.

There is no difference between the right wing extremist Zionist ideology and that of the extremist sectarian clan based rule in Syria.

Hamas said it correctly: no cease fire so that we go back to slow death. The Syrian people said it correctly: no return to dictatorship based rule.

Moreover, there is a huge recognition in Europe and in the US that Israel and Israeli policies are at the core and root of insecurity and instability in the world. The scientific poll that was suppressed by the EU showing that Israel and Iran are the two major sources of insecurity in the world clearly shows that the ongoing conflict in conjunction with the autocratic rule of the Arab rulers will continue to lead to ever ongoing strife.

The twin pillars of the US policy in the ME have exploded on the morning of 9/11 when the twin towers fell. The twin policy of securing Israeli demands at the cost of human right and dignity of the Palestinians while at the same time securing the oil by allying with abominations of dictatorial family and clan and sectarian rule is over.

The defeat of a field army in Iraq with weapons from the Korean war era ( the same defeat in Vietnam by the way ) has seared the conscious of the US population forever. No one and I say this to the Israelis on this forum gives any longer any consideration to have a drop of blood shed for the follies and fanaticism of the right wing Israeli murderous machine or for the barbaric families that control the oil.

It is mind boggling how little consideration is given to the new realities of the world on this forum. Just one statistic: there are 90 million Egyptians of which 60% are under the age of 20 and they increase by 2 million each year and Israel and Sissi think that they can control the tiger.

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July 26th, 2014, 7:49 am


56. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

It all starts Observer, with one simple question. Do you or don’t you agree to the premise that the Jews have the right to run their political life separately. Not because they’re “chosen”, but because they wish to do so. Same way as the Kurds have the same right, the Alawis (if they wish to), and so on.

If you want to deny this (historic, moral and just) right from me and other Jews, then I will fight for this right. With no exit strategy.

So far, only the Muslims (mainly Arab) are denying this right. The rest of the world accepts it. This includes most of Asia (including China and India), both the Americas, Europe, Australia and even Antarctica. So the Muslims leave the Jews no other option, but to fight.

The minute the Muslims will agree that the Jews are running their own political life, AND have the right to continue and do so, there can be an exit strategy = peace.

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July 26th, 2014, 10:41 am


57. Ghufran said:

The short cease fire that was accepted by Hamas and Israel allowed the press to see the scale of destruction in Gaza especially in al- shujaiyya where hundred of homes were destroyed in addition to schools and mosques. More than 100 new bodies were recovered which brought thr death toll among palestinians to more than 1,000 most of whom were civilians. Israel added fuel to the fire when it killed unarmed protestors in the west bank. British press provided a more balanced view of the war while CNN and fox was feverishly trying to hide the truth and beautify the ugly face of Israel . The only thing Israel will gain from this war is more hatred and more refugees and orphans who will undoubtedly provide a new line of recruits for future forces that only believe in using force to resist Israel’s occupation.

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July 26th, 2014, 11:16 am


58. Observer said:

If the Jews want to live alone they should do so in a pure ethnic state of their choosing not in a multicultural and multiethnic entity where they impose their Jewishness on the rest of the population and insist on being considered a Jewish state by non Jewish inhabitants.
It is a secular non denominational state that is needed or two states with separate populations. Perhaps we can go back to the partition plan of 47 accepted by the Jewish people.

There is no difference between Bibi and Bashar.

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July 26th, 2014, 12:53 pm


59. amspirnational said:

The Jews certainly had a right to run their lives separately in a political fashion if only an unoccupied land could have been found for them.
The fact that it is against their historic religion notwithstanding.

However since the Palestinian land was occupied and the early Zionists were quite aware they would have to steal it, no, the Jews do not have the right to “run their political life separately” on stolen land.

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July 26th, 2014, 1:22 pm


60. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Observer #58,

“…It is a secular non denominational state that is needed or two states with separate populations. Perhaps we can go back to the partition plan of 47 accepted by the Jewish people”.

Believe it or not, I can agree with this.

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July 26th, 2014, 1:51 pm


61. none said:

the solution is a recipe to destroy what’s left of Syria and kill further hundreds of thousands, while creating thousands of international terrorist.

regardless of how strong are the rebel, who are “not allowed to win ” the government will not negotiate, on the contrary it will continue to keep the land it cann t hold under the control of any power that could export the conflict like IS. leading to stronger IS and more terror.
who is likely to scream first using this inhuman strategy ( which the US is already implementing ) is the US , EU, Turkey and others.

the only solution now is to stop the weapons and funds to rebels and terrorists ( who keep interchanging ) and let the Syrian army win.

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July 26th, 2014, 2:43 pm


62. ALAN said:

Palestinian Resistance: an icon for those who long to live free – by Susan Abulhawa

Palestinians have done it all. We choose resistance, always, in all its forms. We resist because it is our right. Because we are the indigenous people of the land and we have nowhere else to go or belong. Because our parents, grandparents, great grandparents and on and on are buried in this soil. Because we are right and our cause is just. We resist passively and actively. We resist violently and non-violently. It is our legal and moral right to resist with whatever means available to us against what has been accurately called “incremental genocide.”

Long live great Siria!

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July 26th, 2014, 5:25 pm


63. Sami said:

Inside Gaza’s Rubble: Rockets and Revenge (Dispatch Eight)

On Sunday, the Israeli military carried out the single deadliest offensive in its nearly three-week assault on Gaza, killing as many as 100 Palestinians in the neighborhood of Shejaiya. The operation — which many have called a massacre — has forced most of the remaining residents of Shejaiya to flee their homes and seek refuge in hospitals or UN schools because there is nowhere else for them to escape in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

VICE News was in Gaza to see the aftermath of the bombing of Shejaiya. We visited the central morgue in Gaza City, which holds the bodies of many who were killed. We then went to see the immediate aftermath of the shelling of yet another house in the city, and later saw another shelling site where residents were still trying to uncover family members in the rubble.


And all this is justifiable to some people because “terrorists”…

Oh and before some jump and try to claim Vice News is biased and that they are anti-Semitic, here is them covering the other side:

Life Under Israel’s Iron Dome: Rockets and Revenge


The whole series has been very informative and I would highly recommend watching the in so far 8 dispatches with more to come.

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July 26th, 2014, 5:34 pm


64. Uzair8 said:


“Now that you’ve called me by name….”
Frank – Once Upon a Time in the West

SabraNott @notgeorgesabra ·2h
Regime’s post-Qusayr winning streak is finally over; northern positions falling to Daesh + @ypgrojava, central/southern losses to rebels.


Mark @markito0171 · 5h
#Syria 1100 #Assad-forces killed in past 10 days claim “Syrian Observatory”


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July 26th, 2014, 5:51 pm


65. Uzair8 said:

Assad has a decision to make. The monster (ISIS) he helped create is actively moving against the regime.

I can’t see how Assad has any choice but to pull out isolated troops in bases far from Damascus (particularly in the north).

It’s only a matter of time before they too are inevitably wiped out.

Assad has a decision to make whilst there’s time. Time is running out. He will, in the minds of his supporters and the families of those troops, bear the responsibility of their fate…

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July 26th, 2014, 6:05 pm


66. Uzair8 said:


The scholar who’s video you posted (not that I cared to watch it), has well known pro-Assad sympathies. I believe he was also removed from his post as one of the Imams of al-Aqsa and there were demonstrations outside the mosque with burning of Hezbo flags? I don’t think the Palestinians were too happy with his syria stance.

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July 26th, 2014, 6:11 pm


67. Ghufran said:

Isis slaughtered hundreds of Syrian soldiers near raqqqa whenEtihad Airways confirmed it will buy 49% of Italy’s troubled Alitalia in what is likely to be the Abu Dhabi airline’s biggest investment in a foreign carrier to date.
it took division 17 area ( one of the largest military camps in Syria ). Isis also confiscated a large amount of weapons and a number of heavy artillery. A document posted by Isis terrorists and mentioned by assafir newspaper inducartes that commanders at Syrian army expected the attack and asked for help, that help never came. If Assad can not protect the soldiers why did he keep them trapped and isolated in hostile territory?

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July 26th, 2014, 6:31 pm


68. ghufran said:

Isis slaughtered hundreds of Syrian soldiers near raqqqa when it took division 17 area ( one of the largest military camps in Syria ). Isis also confiscated a large amount of weapons and a number of heavy artillery. A document posted by Isis terrorists and mentioned by assafir newspaper inducartes that commanders at Syrian army expected the attack and asked for help, that help never came. If Assad can not protect the soldiers why did he keep them trapped and isolated in hostile territory?
(who cares about Etihad airways and Alitalia)

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July 26th, 2014, 8:40 pm


69. Akbar Palace said:

I noticed a lot of posters are keeping a running count of the Palestinian death toll. When it’s all said and done, and the missiles stop falling, I wonder if there will be a daily count of deaths in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere across the ME.

And when Assad and his shabiha were firing live rounds into crowds of unarmed demonstrators, he wasn’t getting missiles fired at him like the Israelis are now.

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July 26th, 2014, 10:56 pm


70. Observer said:

It is clear that the regime does not think of others as human. It is clear that Bibi and Bashar think of any opposition as not worthy of being treated as humans.

As for the partition of 47 it will give 49% of the land to Palestinians and leave the Jewish population 51% in a truncated state that is even smaller than actual Israel.

If Amir is in agreement that could be done tomorrow. I guess he would like the partition plan but with current settlements and without a Palestinian state that is independent sovereign and economically viable.

As for the division 17 being left alone; I am amazed at the incredible naiveté if not stupidity of the eternal internal closet regime supporters.

They are coming after you.

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July 26th, 2014, 11:19 pm


71. Ghufran said:

Destroying Hamas would only lead to something more dangerous taking its place, a top Pentagon intelligence official warned on Saturday, as he offered a grim portrait of a period of enduring regional conflict.

The remarks by Lieutenant-General Michael Flynn, the outgoing head of the Defence Intelligence Agency, came as Israeli ministers signalled that a comprehensive deal to end the 20-day-old conflict in the Gaza Strip appeared remote.

Flynn disparaged Hamas for exhausting finite resources and know-how to build tunnels that have helped them inflict record casualties on Israelis. Still, he suggested that destroying Hamas was not the answer.

“If Hamas were destroyed and gone, we would probably end up with something much worse. The region would end up with something much worse,” Flynn said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.

“A worse threat that would come into the sort of ecosystem there something like ISIS,” he said, referring to the Islamic State, which last month declared an “Islamic caliphate” in territory it controls in Iraq and Syria.

Flynn’s comments about the conflict came during a gloomy, broader assessment of unrest across the Middle East, including in Syria and Iraq.

Flynn said bluntly: “Is there going to be a peace in the Middle East? Not in my lifetime.”

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July 27th, 2014, 12:18 am


73. ALAN said:

Israeli spokesmen have their work cut out explaining how they have killed more than 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza, most of them civilians, compared with just three civilians killed in Israel by Hamas rocket and mortar fire. But on television and radio and in newspapers, Israeli government spokesmen such as Mark Regev appear slicker and less aggressive than their predecessors, who were often visibly indifferent to how many Palestinians were killed.

There is a reason for this enhancement of the PR skills of Israeli spokesmen. Going by what they say, the playbook they are using is a professional, well-researched and confidential study on how to influence the media and public opinion in America and Europe. Written by the expert Republican pollster and political strategist Dr Frank Luntz, the study was commissioned five years ago by a group called The Israel Project, with offices in the US and Israel, for use by those “who are on the front lines of fighting the media war for Israel”.

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July 27th, 2014, 6:12 am


74. Observer said:

I agree with the Pentagon official that Ghufran quotes.

All of us remember that the PLO was anathema and a terror organization and any person talking to them was criminally investigated and now they talk with them and collaborate with them.

As long as there is oppression there will be resistance and the more and longer the oppression lasts the harder the resistance will be. If no real solutions are proposed I assure all that the coming fanaticism will be much much worse. It will engulf everybody and will hit all the rich people that think that they are immune from this.

It will also come to replace the Jordanian monarchy and the Egyptian military rule and the Lebanese fragile equilibrium.

Iraq is finished, Syria is finished, Kurdistan is rising and Bibi and the Israeli right wing fanatics and terrorists will have to live surrounded by the likes of IS that crave death and destruction.

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July 27th, 2014, 8:24 am


75. Ghufran said:

Pelosi and Hillary Clinton, among others, and our Jewish friends here are dancing around the issue : almost every war the Arab world has witnessed in modern time was the result of foreign intervention/occupation and then the creation of Israel.
Israeli occupation is the mother of all evil when it comes to problems in the levant and until this issue is addressed pelosi and Clinton can only pretend to treat the symptoms not the disease. Western support for backward “goaty” GCC Bedouinvilles and the corrupt ruling class in most of the arab world are aggravating factors that create a lot of resentment among the youth who see no hope for the future. Israel is here to stay but its survival as a Jewish state depends on the continuation of internal strides in neighboring countries and the partition of those countries along ethnic and sectarian lines which will make the racist concept of a Jewish state looks more acceptable.
There is a reason why every dictator in the region has regional and international allies, Arab dictators are essential for Israel and foreign powers, they play a key role in keeping things the same and making sure that the real enemy(ies) are never confronted.

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July 27th, 2014, 10:17 am


76. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

As long as there is resistance, or let me phrase it better, as long as this region resist the idea of Jewish sovereignty in an independent state, there will be oppression.

If the Arabs want to remove what they call ‘oppression’, they have to also remove the cause of it.

If you deny the right of a Jewish independence, you have to be prepared for the consequences and outcome of this denial.

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July 27th, 2014, 12:39 pm


77. Observer said:

And if you deny the right of Palestinians to return to their homes and to live in peace and security and to have an independent state you will continue to have resistance. There will be so much resistance that millions of Jihadists will attack Israel until life there is unbearable.

But continue on the path of apartheid as you are doing. Since 1905 with the first World Zionist Congress Zionists have been at it and they have neither peace nor security and as time goes by the ” less than human Palestinians and Arabs” learning lessons. Today Israel cannot carry the fight to the other side without suffering consequences. Imagine if this was HA, half of the cities would have been blown to bits by now with the arsenal that HA has.

Abbas is finished. His PA is finished and you have no one to collaborate with

If the Kerry truce proposal is real, Israel will have to compromise painfully.

The US will not be here forever to rescue your follies. The people in the US are sick and tired of Zionist racist apartheid policies.

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July 27th, 2014, 12:46 pm


78. ghufran said:

The names of 94 soldiers who were able to leave alive out of division 17 were published, the source indicates that there are more to come. I looked at the list and read about where those people came from, I matched that with information I received from talking to people in Syria and I am convinced that the army, and Special Forces in particular, is far more diverse than what some internet boneheads and “analysts” are saying. Today, most of the soldiers and officers who arrived at the military hospital in Latakia were from areas outside Latakia and Tartous.
The army has taken back Al-Shaer field outside Homs and surrounding areas but the biggest challenge is what to do with remote provinces where ISIS has thousands of fighters and a debatable degree of support from tribes and locals, air power seems to be the only option for now but without ground troops these areas will remain under ISIS mercy.

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July 27th, 2014, 2:35 pm


79. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

You sound very upset and distressed. You should relax. Maybe you could take a vacation in Israel, to see in your eyes that it’s quite secure and peaceful here, despite of what you see on AlJezeera.

So far the Jews are managing their defense quite skilfully. No place on earth is 100% peaceful and secure. More Jews are dying in car accidents, than by Arabs.

If Arabia turns Jihadi, the first to suffer will be the Arabs. Israelis will find the way to continue and protect our land.

And if I have to die then I will die. It will have to be over my dead body that the Arabs will reoccupy this precious Jewish land.

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July 27th, 2014, 4:08 pm


80. Ghufran said:

This is what happened in khattab village- Hama on July 8th:
200 rebels attacked the village, burned many houses and looted the village then took 12 civilians ( 8 were women) and killed them, they also beheaded the 2 soldiers.
6 residents in the village took part by guiding the terrorists.
Today in Homs, terrorists exploded a car bomb and shelled a residential area in the Armenian neighborhood according to SOHR, 7 civilians were killed, this section of Homs has a majority alawite and a small Christian presence.
طز فيكن و بالثوره تبعكن

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July 27th, 2014, 6:57 pm


81. Observer said:

Well the point is that if you let the Palestinians have their state and accept the proposal to have peace and normal relations with the rest of the people living around you no one would die.

On another point, you demonstrate that when people are desperate for a change, even death is welcome to them or if they are clearly convinced that their very way of life and identity is under immense threat; fanaticism will thrive, Jewish Christian Buddhist Secular or Muslim

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July 27th, 2014, 9:57 pm


82. Rose Damas said:

“. . . They should not be able to win, but they should be strong enough to . . .”

This confirms the perception of many Syrians that the West will never approve of any group or any national figure in the Arab/Muslim world no matter how sincere and honest this group / individual is.

The west so far likes and recommends that the Arab world be ((subdued)) by regimes like Assad’s. It’s in-action towards atrocities committed by the regime speaks to that.

I recommend that Syrians don’t fight the extremists because if they do the US will make sure that Syrians will be subdued by another “secular” regime like Assad’s.

Matthias Baun Brubaker Christensen, I believe you hate Syrians whether they are extremists or moderates or liberals.

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July 27th, 2014, 11:28 pm


83. Ghufran said:

Aksalser posted a video by Moaz alkhatib asking Syrians to unite and end the war away from the three powers that have prevented a Syrian solution to the crisis:
Iran, GCC and alqa’eda. Moaz attacked the regime and the opposition and suggested a new line of thinking that focus on what unites Syrians: keeping Syria as an indeoendent country in one piece, ending violence and allowing figures who reject the idea of the winner takes all to lead the country. The video is worth your time whether you like Moaz or not, I never doubted the sincerity of the man and his love for the motherland.

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July 28th, 2014, 1:15 am


84. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Whenever you are reasonable by expressing ideas that I can live with (“return to the partition plan of ’47 which the Arabs rejected), I will join your reasonableness.

The same way, whenever you wish me bad, war and destruction (“…if you deny the right of Palestinians to return to their homes”), You will be answered with war and destruction.

If the Arabs begin to respect the rights of the Jews in the HolyLand, the Jewish historic homeland, they will be respected X10.

Although the HolyLand is a Jewish property, it is large enough to host and accommodate the two peoples. The Jews are ready to share the place. Every opinion poll in Israel shows this.

But the Jews will share the place only with people who respect their rights.

It’s all about denial and respect. Stop denying and learn to respect, and you will have the best, most eager partners for peace.

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July 28th, 2014, 6:45 am


85. observer said:

It is a dialogue of the deaf. Respect the very basic humanity of Palestinians. Today Gaza is a modern Warsaw Ghetto imposed by Israel on 1.7 million people. It seems that the victims of the Nazis have learned the lessons of propaganda and of exclusion of the other from the masters Goebbels and Himmler.

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July 28th, 2014, 7:53 am


86. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

The Jews never wanted to destroy Germany.

If Gaza is under siege (which it doesn’t, since the Gazzans’ standard of living are lot higher than most other Arabs in the rest of Arabia), why don’t their Arab brothers and sisters in Egypt lift it? Israel doesn’t control the 40 km long border between gaza and Egypt.

Arabs lay siege on Arabs to put blame and pressure Israel?

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July 28th, 2014, 9:54 am


87. ALAN said:

Israel must attack Gaza even more mercilessly, expel the population and resettle the territory with Jews, the deputy speaker of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, has said.

Moshe Feiglin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party, makes the call in an article for the Israeli news website Arutz Sheva.

Feiglin demands that Israel launch attacks “throughout Gaza with the IDF’s [Israeli army’s] maximum force (and not a tiny fraction of it) with all the conventional means at its disposal.”

Force Gaza population out

“After the IDF completes the ‘softening’ of the targets with its firepower, the IDF will conquer the entire Gaza, using all the means necessary to minimize any harm to our soldiers, with no other considerations,” Feiglin writes in one of several calls for outright war crimes.

Following the reconquest, Israel’s army “will thoroughly eliminate all armed enemies from Gaza. The enemy population that is innocent of wrongdoing and separated itself from the armed terrorists will be treated in accordance with international law and will be allowed to leave,” Feiglin writes.

“Gaza is part of our land”

“Gaza is part of our Land and we will remain there forever,” Feiglin concludes. “Subsequent to the elimination of terror from Gaza, it will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. This will also serve to ease the housing crisis in Israel.”

Feiglin has a long history of incitement. Last week he expelled Arab members of the Knesset who dared to criticize Israel’s ongoing slaughter in Gaza and called for Israel to cut off power to dialysis patients there.

As of now, ninety percent of Gaza is without electricity, journalist Mohammed Omer reports, and most Palestinians in Gaza are getting as little as two hours of electricity per day.

Death toll climbs relentlessly

More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in the last 48 hours as Israel continues its indiscriminate attacks on Palestinians throughout the occupied Gaza Strip by land, sea and air.

By Saturday afternoon in Gaza, the thirteenth day of Israel’s current bombardment and invasion of the coastal territory, 339 people, the vast majority civilians, had been killed in total and 2,500 injured.

Tens of thousands have fled their homes, primarily in the north and east of Gaza, seeking shelter from the Israeli assault in United Nations-run schools.

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July 28th, 2014, 11:58 am


88. SimoHurtta said:

78. AMIR IN TEL AVIV said:

So far the Jews are managing their defense quite skilfully. No place on earth is 100% peaceful and secure. More Jews are dying in car accidents, than by Arabs.

If Arabia turns Jihadi, the first to suffer will be the Arabs. Israelis will find the way to continue and protect our land.

And if I have to die then I will die. It will have to be over my dead body that the Arabs will reoccupy this precious Jewish land.

Polski Amir what makes Israel the precious Jewish land? Straight answer please. A) God gave it to us or B) we lived there thousands of years ago or A+B or C) who cares, it is now ours?

Why is your religious tribe still owning lands and properties on our precious holy Christian lands? It is our Christian religious duty to kick out the Jews and hinder them of reoccupying our dare Europe and USA. Why can’t we western Christians say like that, if you Amir can say like you said in your comment? Equality and so democracy is simply impossible in a theocracy like Israel.

Amir don’t you understand with this kind garbage comments, which you have lately produced, you sound exactly the same like the Nazis in the 30’s did sound, when they tried to justify the Judenrein Gross Deutschland. Is your new book Mein jüdische Kampf already at the publisher there in Tel Aviv?

Israel’s ability to defend itself is solely in the hands of western powers mainly in USA’s. You simply do not have the industrial resources to rearm your army with all the needed high tech stuff after a couple of weeks real fighting. Nearly all weapon systems and ammunition are imported (90%). What then if the resupplying planes from USA and Europe do not arrive and the war lasts months or years? Then you have to fight against the many times larger Muslim guerrilla armies coming from all sides with equal weapons and technology. In that more equal fighting you have as much change as Hamas in Gaza has had against IDF. And your families will learn how the families in Gaza did feel when their roof was “knocked” just before they were blown to pieces.

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July 28th, 2014, 12:08 pm


89. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

“…6 This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Gaza,
even for four, I will not relent.
Because she took captive whole communities
and sold them to Edom,
7 I will send fire on the walls of Gaza
that will consume her fortresses”.

Bible book of Amos Chapter 1, v 6,7


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July 28th, 2014, 4:00 pm


90. Ghufran said:

Rebels greeted Damascenes with 11 mortar bombs that landed in 4 areas in Damascus and injured a number of people. Israel did its part by killing children in Gaza who were celebrating Eid. Not sure who is more Zionist, Islamist terrorists or the IDF terrorists

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July 28th, 2014, 8:01 pm


91. Sami said:

Why not mention the barrel bomb that killed 4 kids from one family? or any of the killing done under the banner of the “Syrian Army”? Is that excused or whitewashed away because “terrorists”…

طز فيكن و بالجيش تبعكن

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July 28th, 2014, 8:52 pm


92. Ghufran said:

The truth was from day one that for Syria to change for the better the opposition had to provide a roadmap for the future and unite most Syrians under the flag of justice and the rule of the law where citizens are judged by what they do not by their sect or political views.
War crimes were committed by all sides and we are left with Isis, a weak and divided FSA and the army, it makes sense for Syrians to unite to save what can be saved, and that can not be done if the opposition joins Isis and try to finish the army.
I understand your Tozz but I am worried about the biggest Tozz: Islamist terrorists.
There is a reason why islamists point their guns at the army and minorities but not at Israel, you do the math.

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July 29th, 2014, 12:22 am


93. Juergen said:

Today marks the 1st year of the disapperance of Abuna Paolo Dall’Oglio. He was last seen in Raqua on July 29 2013 when he was on his way to meet Sheikh Bagdadi to negotiate releases of hostages.
People around the world pray for him today.

Here is a press release of his family in Italy:

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July 29th, 2014, 1:38 am


94. Passerby said:

“…6 This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Gaza,
even for four, I will not relent.
Because she took captive whole communities
and sold them to Edom,
7 I will send fire on the walls of Gaza
that will consume her fortresses”.

Bible book of Amos Chapter 1, v 6,7

Wow! The kidnapping raids and all.

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August 2nd, 2014, 4:25 pm


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