Sunday, September 28, 2014

Islamic State (6) Military Power

President Obama thinks that he can degrade and ultimately destroy the power of the Islamic State, but he does not understand what he is up against. Military power cannot match spiritual power.

  • He has forced a change of President in Iraq. He assumes that this will unite a state that is being torn apart by conflict between Sunni and Shia Moslems. The sword of the Red Horse will prevent that from happening.

  • He plans to arm moderate Syrians to fight against the Islamic State in Syria. Unfortunately, there are not enough moderate Syrians to make that happen. The Islamic State will gain control of the Sunni part of the population. President Assad’s government may hold on in Damascus, but will become much weaker. Jeremiah describes at time when Damascus will be gripped by fear and her soldiers will be silenced.

    “Damascus has become feeble,
    she has turned to flee
    and panic has gripped her;
    anguish and pain have seized her,
    pain like that of a woman in labor.
    Why has the city of renown not been abandoned,
    the town in which I delight?
    Surely, her young men will fall in the streets;
    all her soldiers will be silenced in that day,”
    declares the Lord Almighty (Jer 49:24-26).

  • Young men have always looked for adventure overseas. A hundred years ago, young men from Australia and New Zealand were leaving home to help the British Empire invade Turkey. Thats what young men do. Modern telecommunications make the call for help easy to spread and travel is much easier now. Young men from Moslem nations all over the world will travel to Syria and Iraq to support the Islamic State.

  • In contrast, the United States is unwilling to put boots on the ground. US advisors with air strikes will be no match for Moslem sandals on the ground.

  • Air strikes do not win wars, they create enemies. I live in a city where the CBD was destroyed by an earthquakes. It is awful experience. Destroying buildings with bombs and missiles will not make the people of Syria and Iraq love America. The bombing of an oil refinery will not be seen as a blessing.

  • Obama is fighting the wrong kind of war. Military officials showed video of a missile destroying a "command and control center". This plays well to a western audience, but I doubt that the Islamic State has a "command and control center". The problem gets worse, because the the military planners will quickly run out of targets. To keep showing off their destructive power, they move on to destroying government and economic infrastructure, which produces civilian casualties. Bombing strengthens the hands of the Islamic State.

  • Jordan is an important American ally in the Levant. The Islamic State now has access to the western boundary of Jordan. It could easily gain control of this country, which is ruled by a royal family that is an outsider. The Hashemite family were installed in Jordan by Britain and France after World War 1. The Emir of Mecca had previously ruled the Hejaz (western Arabia) and supported the allies in the war, but he was betrayed in favour of the House of Saud. He was given Jordan as a consolation prize.

  • Ever since World War 2, the United States has refused to support a state for the Kurdish people who live in the area where the borders of Iraq, Iran and Turkey meet. Now the United States is arming the Kurds to fight against the Islamic State. Their independence is another nail in the coffin of a multi-ethnic Iraqi State.

  • The struggle against the Islamic State is strengthening the influence of Iran over the remnant of Iraq. It will become an even more Shia state.

  • War against the Islamic State will create instability in Turkey and Saudi Arabia. I will deal with Saudi Arabia in a separate post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's interesting (and frightening) to note how much of the world's turmoil in the last 50 years has been a result of movements intended to appeal to youth. The Cultural Revolution in China, the student movement in numerous countries in the '60s, the Taliban, the revolution in Iran, and now ISIS... Certainly the Bible promotes maturity and the wisdom that accompanies it, but the very terms and thought categories of political discourse today are largely determined by an adolescent outlook. In the US, almost every problem is addressed by a redoubled application of whatever caused it in the first place (a phenomenon known in Scripture as refusal to repent), and this is going to make an intelligent response to international challenges impossible. The international scene increasingly resembles a gang war in a great big high school.