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Tags: jihad | isis | terrorism | afghanistan
OPINION

Administration Stumbles in Face of Savage ISIS Atrocities

Pete Hoekstra By Tuesday, 17 February 2015 08:30 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

The Kurdish Peshmerga and Libya are rapidly sacrificing blood and treasure in the war against the Islamic State while endlessly awaiting promised assistance from the West.

More than 1,000 Kurds and more than 1,000 Libyans have died during a conflict that they have no alternative but to confront. Such a high rate of casualties among each fighting force would proportionally equal 60,000 of America’s best and brightest, which the U.S. would view as a significantly high number.

U.S. officials call the idle response to the Kurdish and Libyan pleas for support “strategic patience” under a new national security policy. Allies view it as “running out of time and options.”

Such a lack of resolve to assist them is emboldening ISIS and encouraging further volatility in the region.

ISIS thugs recently paraded 17 captured Kurdish Peshmerga in cages through Iraq. Libya is engaged in a serious internal struggle for power among competing factions. Sunni tribal chiefs in Iraq are becoming isolated and vulnerable due to a lack of cooperation in supplying weapons and other aid through the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad.

Furthermore, Jordan acted out unilaterally after ISIS immolated one of its pilots. Israel, our staunchest ally, is involved in a much-publicized dispute with the current administration. Iranian-backed Shiite rebels have overthrown Yemen’s government.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin visited Egypt, which launched airstrikes against ISIS in Libya after it purportedly conducted a mass-beheading of Coptic Christians, as it feels increasingly marginalized by the West.

It’s palpable dysfunction in the war against radical Islamism, and illustrates the fraying of an alliance that the West has supported much more strongly in the past.

As a member and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee during the 2000s, I met with civilian and military officials in Kurdistan, Libya, Jordan, Israel, Egypt and Yemen. They shared many of the same international defense priorities as the United States. We acknowledged our differences, but we worked from where we found common ground.

I even had the opportunity to meet with the tribal chiefs from Anbar Province in Iraq before the Awakening against al-Qaida in 2006 and 2007, when they outlined their needs and demands before they would commit to eliminating the Islamists from their territory. In all these cases the U.S. government reached accords to advance a mutual security strategy.

The coalition was alive and well.

Today the U.S. has offered no effective strategy to confront, contain and defeat radical jihadists. Meanwhile, ungoverned areas in which Islamist groups thrive are growing exponentially. Previously limited to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, vast lawless regions have developed in the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Syria and Iraq where they can prepare and train to attack the West and neighboring countries.

It is of no minor concern for the West either as Libya sits only one hour away from Rome by air and only two hours from Paris.

It’s not too late to dismiss the policy of strategic indecision and address the issue head-on, however.

The Kurds and the internationally recognized government in Libya have proven their support for the U.S. and already have boots on the ground to battle the radical jihadist movement. Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq also indicate that they are once again willing to step into the breach to defeat the common enemy.

The U.S. and other allies need to provide the requested military equipment, training and humanitarian assistance, and we need to rebuild strong and positive relations. Imagine a coalition of well-trained and well-equipped fighters from Kurdistan, Libya and Sunni tribes in Iraq as the core military alliance combating ISIS with partners like Jordan continuing to provide special operations and air fortification.

It would send a clear message to others such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to devote more resources to the struggle. It would begin a more effective approach to face the real threat from ISIS and roll it back.

It would also broadcast to Iran that the U.S. is committed to a stable and secure Middle East that features a nuclear-free Islamic Republic and an end to its meddling in places like Yemen, Iraq and Syria.

There is a path forward to re-energize the once-strong alliance to defeat ISIS. All that it needs is U.S. leadership and commitment to make it happen.

Pete Hoekstra is the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and currently a senior adviser on intelligence and national security with Greenberg Traurig, LLP, in Washington, D.C. He is a registered agent on behalf of the Kurdistan Regional Government and Libya Institute for Advanced Studies and additional information is on file with the Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
 

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PeteHoekstra
The U.S. has offered no effective strategy to confront, contain, and defeat radical jihadists.
jihad, isis, terrorism, afghanistan
773
2015-30-17
Tuesday, 17 February 2015 08:30 AM
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