Draft Policy for USA and its Allies in the Middle East re Islamic State

Aaron Zappaz

Note well: In this year 2017 we will not find it possible to fight on the battlefield that we wish had emerged, but will of necessity fight the enemies that are arrayed before us.

All present and future strategic and tactical moves must be made with a deep awareness of the foundational conditions: Global Warming and Environmental Degradation. Refer to the Joint Chiefs for their long-term research on these topics. Consult with UN experts on trends in migration flows as changes in fundamentals drive them more and more strongly. Consult with crisis management authorities in nations that receive refugees. Depending on current state of governmental organizations tasked with such activities as preserving arable land and managing water use, it may be possible significantly to augment their efforts at little cost to ourselves. NGOs may be well positioned to conduct these operations if they are provided with adequate funds. Investing in competent agents of change already in existence may be the best use of national resources.

Attend to the following nine directives:

1. Review procedures used after Pearl Harbor to learn how the Empire of Japan created soldiers who would chose to fight to the death and commit suicide if necessary rather than to surrender, airmen who would sacrifice their lives in kamikaze attacks on Allied naval vessels, and those who would otherwise display extreme subservience to the emperor. Collate and scrutinize existing research on the already prepared sociological and psychological research done on the typical character structures of individuals raised in the Arab societies of the Middle East, and the societies of Iran and Afghanistan. The extremes of rage, aggression, and savagery fostered by and put into operation by the Islamic State do not occur in individuals raised in other cultures, cultures with which we are much more familiar, except, perhaps, in the case of psychopathic serial killers.

2. Begin by giving informal support (perhaps through NGOs) to existing organizations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other nations in the region that work for equality of women and apply themselves to education rather than indoctrination of both males and females, and to any other organizations whose work tends to support human rights, security of person and of economic sufficiency, etc. of individuals who otherwise might succumb to IS psychological manipulation.

3. Push investigation of formative factors that tend to produce IS fighters, and integrate new findings into pilot ameliorization projects in a timely way.

4. Determine by the best available means all the current educational inputs that lead to a more resilient population in the Middle East. Consider insuring banking systems that provide small but vital loans to foster development of useful goods and services such as local industries and businesses that make life more livable in communities, large and small, in fragile, failing, or failed states. Look for other means of improving educational inputs and social controls such as educating MDs so that they may become competent to discuss mental health, child rearing, and other such issues with their patients.

5. Broaden the responsibilities of intelligence services in the region to identify and, where possible, protect and/or provide unobtrusive support to young people with leadership potential. Work toward finding a modality suitable to the region by which to school those with leadership potentials in the competencies that a similar individual in the West would have received in the family, through the educational system, through individual efforts to accept challenges in the real world, and through service in the government leading to ever greater levels of responsibility and competency. (Review the personal histories of people such as Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and also review the personal histories of the main figures in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and similar organizations.)

6. Improve Self Governance: At present there is competent leadership for the Kurds. Careful attention should be paid to Afghanistan, and the situation in Iraq should be given very close scrutiny as well. The lesson of the Nouri al-Maliki administration must be kept in mind. United States or other NATO help should not substitute for the armed forces of Iraq as the force elements that actually interact with IS or other unfriendly forces, but continued training opportunities for Iraqi troops should receive high priority.

Note Well: Currently (January, 2017 but pre-Trump) the situation in Syria is still fluid. However, it appears that Russian aid will keep Assad in power. The contending rebel forces have no very competent leadership. They will become more and more marginal if they cannot unite under one leader. Assad may decide to expunge them one-by-one before taking on the IS forces. Perhaps the worst alternative to emerge would be Assad in fairly confident control of most of the country, but with IS in firm control of a refuge for their forces that operate outside of Syria.

7. Consultations should begin immediately with NATO and/or other interested nations, rebel command staff with whom we can arrange adequate communications and/or contacts, ex-patriates and other informal sources of intelligence, etc. to examine and pursue research and intelligence findings bearing on the creation of a unified command structure by and for the rebels. Ideally, out of such a process will emerge a leader capable of securing the loyalty of other rebel leaders and gaining the allegiance of the civilian population of Syria. This process will not bear fruit in a few weeks or months. Something like it should have been initiated before the invasion of Iraq by the George W. Bush administration. However, putting it off any longer will only multiply the difficulties and the casualties of war.

8. Military leadership in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere should be tasked to review and maximize the capability of US and NATO or other allies to execute rapid reactions to break-out situations engineered by IS or other insurgent forces. It would be inappropriate for Western forces to be in the front lines for governments such as those of Afghanistan or Iraq. However, these and other nations in the region lack air power to handle such missions. The US should consider the use of bomber drones in Syria to attack large concentrations of IS forces, especially if they occur in open country.

9. Be cognizant of the long-term circumstances. A successful strategy will not likely result in a rapid dismemberment of IS forces. For that reason the US will face a long period of expenditures in the region. A politically independent organization should be tasked to cost out the various approaches the US might use for the long term in the Middle East, and these computations should be made freely available to the public for use in policy debates.

Management of states-side sequelae of this irregular war is left to a separate policy analysis.

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