What Da’esh wants

_83143752_83143751“We should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria.  That’s what groups like ISIL want. They know they can’t defeat us on the battlefield.”

This columnist has a policy of referring to the group variously known as ISIL, ISIS, Islamic State or Da’esh by the latter name, mostly because it seems to annoy the terrorists concerned.
But is the speaker quoted above correct in saying that’s what Da’esh wants? It seems to contradict his third sentence that “they know they can’t defeat us on the battlefield”. In fact, the fantasists at Da’esh are making a major strategic miscalculation here. They think they can defeat the US on the battlefield and that it is inevitable that they must defeat the US on the battlefield, because they believe that is what the Koran foretells.
If it were a simple matter of sending an army to Syria, defeating them and going home again then giving Da’esh exactly what it wants would be a sensible policy. Of course (and, in fairness, the speaker quoted goes on to note this) it is the occupation afterwards which would be required to help rebuild Syrian society, that would pose the complication. This was also the case in Iraq. Donald Rumsfeld’s Defense Department was fully prepared for the field operations and completed its task in a few weeks. It was the CIA and State Department that messed up.
Is the speaker is correct that this is what Da’esh wants? The group’s fantastical belief in achieving victory over the US on the battlefield would suggest that he is. This means any attempt to set out circumstances in which the US would be prepared to do that would be send troops should be done very carefully. Perhaps it would make sense to lead them into a trap. Perhaps setting out something which would backfire on them, such as committing all their troops to the battle.

“He told the columnists that he envisioned sending significant ground forces to the Middle East only in the case of a catastrophic terrorist attack that disrupted the normal functioning of the United States.”

That doesn’t seem like much of a trap. Telling Da’esh that you will give the group exactly what it wants if it concentrates all its resources on a “catastrophic terrorist attack” seems bizarre. Da’esh is not focused on attacking the US at the moment. That is more the style of al Qaeda, which has a cell structure and a policy of launching attacks worldwide. Da’esh is concentrating on building a “state” in the areas in which it can gain control.
Taken together, these two quotes encourage terrorist attacks on the US. If the first speaker is right that sending troops is what Da’esh wants then the second speaker is a complete buffoon for telling them the red line they need to cross to get what they want. The president might be well advised to sack both these idiots.
Unfortunately, that’s not possible. Both the buffoons quoted are the same person and they are both Barack Obama. Perhaps it is a good thing that no-one takes his red lines seriously after the fiasco the previous one, which Bashar Assad crossed with impunity and no consequences.

qlQuentin Langley is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Bedfordshire Business School as well as a freelance columnist published in the UK and all parts of the US. He blogs on social media and crisis communications at brandjacknews.com

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