How to stop ISIS, a group too hardline even for al-Qaida, in control of $3 Billion, 30,000 men and a lot of captured U.S. arms, with minds and hearts focused on the creation of a Sunni Fundamentalist Caliphate, is emerging as a most important topic among world leaders. The ISIS video of James Foley’s beheading is shocking in its cruelty and brutality and it seems to have ratcheted up the resolve to bring down the group and its incipient Caliphate. The question is how to do this.


Led by an Iraqi, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Isis (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – al-Sham in Arabic) has an well deserved reputation for brutality in Syria, and northern Iraq which it justifies as the will of God required of the Sunni Faithful to purge the world of heretics and infidels. The group employees mass execution, beheading, amputation, crucifixion and wide scale assassination of opposing leader and their families.

Isis has its roots in al-Qaida in Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI)’s involvement in the Syrian conflict was indirect at first but Abu Muhammad al-Joulani, an ISI member, established Jabhat al-Nusra in mid-2011, which became the main jihadi group in the Syrian war.

Baghdadi sought to gain influence over the increasingly powerful Jabhat al-Nusra but differences over ideology and strategy soon led to bitter infighting leading to a public repudiation by al-Qaida who called on Isis to leave Syria and return to Iraq.


Money. The oilfields of Syria, commandeered in 2012, funds from captured banks, the sale of Syrian antiquities, and the direct support of very wealthy sponsors in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and to a lesser extent, Jordan and Turkey. Sometimes the support comes with the tacit nod of approval from those regimes. Often it takes advantage of poor money laundering protections in those states.

“Everybody knows the money is going through Kuwait and that it’s coming from the Arab Gulf,” said Andrew Tabler, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “Kuwait’s banking system and its money changers have long been a huge problem because they are a major conduit for money to extremist groups in Syria and now Iraq.”

ISIS has been buying arms from the black market for years and it has plenty of money to do it. But, its invasion of Iraq resulted in a massive windfall of U.S. arms left behind by American force as part of its agreements with Iraq. The Iraq military abandoned huge stockpiles of weapons and ammo.

Zealotry. Baghdadi believes that the world’s Muslims should live under one Islamic state ruled by sharia law, the first step towards which is establishing a caliphate spanning Syria and Iraq. Many of those in leadership top tier are battle-hardened veterans of the insurgency against the US whose ideological purity is clear.

Charles Lister, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, Doha, wrote in a paper last month: “Isis now presents itself as an ideologically superior alternative to al-Qaida within the jihadi community and it has publicly challenged the legitimacy of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. As such it has increasingly become a transnational movement with immediate objectives far beyond Iraq and Syria.”

The Iraqis.
The failure of Iraqi military forces to stand up to ISIS forces in the north not only resulted in the seizure of lots of territory, arms and money but it gave the ISIS forces an aura of invincibility and inevitability.


The “Iraqis”. With the removal of Prime Minister Maliki there will be efforts to create a real coalition government reflecting the Shia-Sunni-Kurd-Christian makeup of the country but there is little doubt that the Kurds are acting more and more as an independent power with the approval of Baghdad. Their armed forces, urged on by Shiite religious leaders and moderate Sunni religious leaders, will be the boots on the ground.

The U.S.. America will provide air power (manned and unmanned), intelligence, training and operations expertise, and arms.

Iran, the UK, France, Germany and ?. It appears that the U.S. and other European allies have been in discussions with Iran for several months. The Wall Street Journal continues to provide update on  Washington talks with Tehran on ways to push back the militants. Whether this will extend to military coordination – US air strikes, or drone intelligence in support of Iranian Revolutionary Guards or Iraqi units – is up in the air. Iranian Revolutionary Guard were at the ready to defend Baghdad earlier in the summer and have provided tactical assistance.

Prime Minister David Cameron has noted that Britain must be prepared to ally itself with Iran to combat the “shared threat” of Sunni Islamist extremists in Iraq and Syria who want to create “a terrorist state” that could extend to “the shores of the Mediterranean.”

Germany and France have now agreed to participate in arming anti-ISIS forces and to provide other logistical support.

The Home Countries of The ISIS Funders. Pressure is mounting on the governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait to interdict the flow of cash from wealthy sympathizers and supporters to ISIS.

Islamic Religious Leadership. Ayatollah Ali Sistani of Iraq, Indonesia Ulem Council, Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam of Egypt, IUMS (the International Union of Muslim Scholars), Mehmet Gormez of Turkey and a host of others have condemned ISIS for a variety of behaviors including the destruction of mosques, shrines and threats to destroy holy cities including Mecca and Medina.

In the U.S., CAIR (The Council on America-Islamic Relations) has made its position clear: “American Muslims view the actions of ISIS as un-Islamic and morally repugnant. No religion condones the murder of civilians, the beheading of religious scholars or the desecration of houses of worship. We condemn the actions of ISIS and reject its assertion that all Muslims are required to pay allegiance to its leader. CAIR strongly urges American imams and other community leaders to continue to speak out against American Muslims traveling abroad to join extremist groups and sectarian militias. While ISIS uses romanticized imagery in its propaganda materials, its human rights abuses on the ground are well-documented.”


Cross-posted at Daily Kos, and Yabberz.

Previous articleThe Revolution Will Be Criminalized…Unless You’re White
Next articleFerguson Police Force Deployed to Iraq
Proud to be an Independent Progressive. I am a progressive- a one time Eisenhower Republican (from 1965 through 2004)who is now a Democrat. I live in a very RED STATE and am a community activist with a very BLUE AGENDA. I was a professor of history, and am now a researcher and gentleman farmer. My political positions are mixed - thus my preferred identification as a Progressive Independent. I am conservative on matters of military intervention, in regard to abortion, immigration, the public school system, gun rights, taxation, voter ID. But I am a traditional conservative, a Buckley, National Review, Eisenhower Republican..... I am a liberal on matters of health care care, funding education, taxation (yes one can be both liberal and conservative on this), civil rights, and alternative energy development/climate change.

Leave a Comment

Please Login to comment
6 Comment threads
19 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
6 Comment authors
monicaangelaKalimaNirekRSGmusicMurphTheSurf3 Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

Murph, you forgot to mention this:

The former employee at US National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Snowden, has revealed that the British and American intelligence and the Mossad worked together to create the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Snowden said intelligence services of three countries created a terrorist organisation that is able to attract all extremists of the world to one place, using a strategy called “the hornet’s nest”.

NSA documents refer to recent implementation of the hornet’s nest to protect the Zionist entity by creating religious and Islamic slogans.

According to documents released by Snowden, “The only solution for the protection of the Jewish state “is to create an enemy near its borders”.

Leaks revealed that ISIS leader and cleric Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi took intensive military training for a whole year in the hands of Mossad, besides courses in theology and the art of speech.

The diabolical relationship between the U.S. and Israel needs to be exposed. It appears the schemes of this to nations have been going on for quite some time. Check this out:


Murph, I agree that we should not be the force that does the job. To overcome the enemy the people of the region need to do it. We can assist though with air strikes.


Murph, the NY Times claims that ISIS has half the number of fighters you mention in your post, they say it is about 17,000.

That’s still a lot but a lot less to have to battle.


Constant sources I post on MB, seem to agree on about 10,000. I don’t have time to check it out now but I do link to and read current stories on a regular basis as you know.

Here is one example from June this year.


How has Isis grown so powerful and who will stop it? – Q&A

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, too hardline even for al-Qaida, is believed to control about $2bn and 10,000 men


OH Murph, brilliant article.

Nice analysis of what needs to happen to defeat Isis.

Have you every read “Dune” by frank Herbert ? If you have equate oil to melange. A spice that gives one long life and medically slows the bodies deterioration.
1 The tactic are the same gain control of the spice (oil )
2 In this case and the money that drives it.
3 Gain control of the spacing guild and the transportation of the spice ( Oil )
4 gain control of religious faction (The witches guild) Isis that controls the leaders of the Jihad. IN this case the different religions facing the area to stop the extremists.
5 The military might the emperor has in this case Isis.

They have been fighting this war for thousands of yrs. Your correct in solving the problem now.

The important thing is to maintain the government that evolves.
The winning factions can not separate to do the same thing as Isis.

This is a deviation of ” Dune ”
Suggestions as to what government that might be is a Parliament. The number of parties being at least 5. That would make them have to compromise to do the same thing. Of course the vestment of space gave each faction the own planets. In this case 5 areas to control the oil flow to world.

Now how to do the military part without putting america troops on the ground. yep the Air strikes is the first step but the rest of the world will have to make up the ground troops along with the Iraqi military that evolves.

Yes the best article yet.
I looked up prior battles of the world but to get the full plan went to science fiction to confirm your 5 steps in the present time.

I hope you enjoy the analogy.

America may drop out if we have to put troops on the ground.
This leaves England France and perhaps Saudi Arabia to do the Air strikes of your plan.

Bravo Murph.


Murph, what a fantastic overview and background on ISIS and the conflict.

It does seem that the formula to crushing ISIS isn’t so complex but it is difficult. It begins with Iraq’s new government being more inclusive and undermining anti-government support of ISIS by Iraqis. The Kurds are regrouped militarily and getting more support from the US and US air strikes have clearly been hurting ISIS. But the Arab nations supporting ISIS need to be stopped. They give legitimacy and backing that greatly strengthens them.

A real complication is that Syria and Iran are also enemies of ISIS. Will other adversaries work with them at risk of undermining our policies against them?

ISIS is an enemy of all civilized nations including most Arab nations. They have enemies in all directions, they are doomed as long as their destruction remains the focus.