Wednesday, September 10, 2014

TPM: Has the World Been Bamboozled by the ISIS PR Machine?

Yes, absolutely.

The rhetoric about how ISIS presents some imminent threat to the U.S., without much in the way of actual evidence, is really remarkable. Yes, they beheaded on camera two American reporters. All that shows is their sadism and brutality. Not their actual capabilities to attack this country. Sawing off someone's head with a knife in the desert in the area where you live is a terrible cruel thing to do. But it doesn't take a whole lot of technical prowess or sophisticated equipment. It also doesn't tell us anything about the group's ability to attack a country with the world's most powerful and high-tech military in the world and is located 7 time zones away.

The whole reason that they beheaded Foley and Sotloff with a camera rolling and then uploaded the video to the internet was to make themselves look  threatening to the U.S., even though it doesn't tell us anything about how threatening the group actually is. Why is the media playing along? Why are politicians?

I know the President got slammed for his "J.V." remarks. But nothing that ISIS has done indicates that characterization was wrong--at least not if the Varsity team is a modern military like what the U.S. has.

Plus, let's face it, ISIS is in deep shit. The group is surrounded by hostile forces and has no allies aside from a few Iraqi Sunni tribespeople. Everyone hates them, including all of the governments in the region, and including governments that really don't like each other: from Israel, to Iran, to Assad's regime in Damascus, to the Iraqi government, to the Turks, the Egyptians, the Jordanians, etc., not to mention all of the countries from outside the region with military forces that have a global reach. Even the Gulf Arab states, who probably funded the group just a couple of months ago, are now feeling threatened by it. Other armed groups that are not an official government are not any more friendly. The other factions in the Syrian rebellion are already fighting ISIS, Lebanese Hezbollah is anti-ISIS, as is the Pesh Murga. And by imposing a strict Talibanesque form of Shariah on the people they rule over, they are not building much support there either. Even al Qaeda doesn't like them because they are the upstart kool kidz in the world of militant Islamic movements that is stealing all their best recruits. Really the only thing ISIS is its ability to seem like the baddest militant Jihadi outfit so it can snatch up most of the world's alienated youth with psychopathic tendencies to be their cannon fodder.

It might take a little time but eventually, ISIS is fucked. The U.S. doesn't have to go to war with it for that to happen. It doesn't have a sustainable model for its own survival.