Nice OP. Intelligence Analysts consider, among others, two
things when they analyze and evaluate threats or potential threats: Intentions
We probably have to give the US’ Intel Analysts a bit of
slack on whether it was possible to accurately determine the intentions of the
early ISIS groups. Islamic groups desiring a caliphate is commonplace in the
ME, so clearly determining intentions would be difficult.
The Arab Spring helped lead to Syria and Assad’s current
problems, as well as Assad’s harsh oppressive rule. Wanting to establish a
caliphate and actually being able to do so are two very different things. The
Arab/Islamic countries have tightly controlled these intentions for nearly a
century, including banning or monitoring groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood
The fall of so many Arab governments would and has obviously
provided opportunity for those with caliphate intentions. Was the US Intel community
a bit slow in identifying intentions? Possibly, but the Commander in
Chief has the ability to disagree with Intel findings. It seems Obama may have
done so, based on reports. We probably won’t know clearly until a few years
after Obama leaves office.
The capabilities of ISIS are really the issue, and these
were created by the overthrow of Saddam’s Iraq and especially by the dissolving
of his army a few years later. ISIS’ capabilities didn’t come from rag tag
collectibles from the post-Arab spring uprisings, nor did they come for the
most part from internal Syrian sources.
They came from the only battle and strategy tested and
conditioned people in the area, Saddam’s generals and military experts.
Without these men ISIS would have been a glorified version
of Al Queda, capable of terrorist attacks and disrupting a government but
completely incapable of funding, planning, and carrying out military tactics
and strategy that enabled them to both take territory inside and outside of
Syria by force and hold onto it by force.
The military and financial logistics and resources necessary
to do that are enormous. No
rag tag assemblage of Arab/Islamic militants could accomplish that. Ever.
Saddam’s military chiefs scurried to Syria like rats. They
have returned with a vengeance. They had incredible resources. Battled Tested.
Military strategists. Access to resources with a deep and extensive rolodex of
support, financial aid and how to recruit, train, equip and carry out military
objectives. Again, a few or a few thousand rebels or those desiring a caliphate
couldn’t do what ISIS has done without this leadership and knowledge. History
suggests that Hussein’s somewhat secular Baathist regime had been embracing
strict sharia and Islamic fundamentalism for some time, which is the rocket
fuel for the brutality we see in ISIS’ ‘management’ of ‘infidels’, x-tians,
hybrids and gays.