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Can the US defeat Islamic State in Iraq?
Hillary Clinton in an interview in the Atlantic said that "the resilience, and expansion, of Islamist terrorism means that the US must develop an 'overarching' strategy to confront it, and she equated this struggle to the one the US waged against Soviet-led communism."

She continues, "One of the reasons why I worry about what's happening in the Middle East right now is because of the breakout capacity of jihadist groups that can affect Europe, can affect the United States."

"Jihadist groups are governing territory. They will never stay there, though. They are driven to expand. Their raison d'etre is to be against the West, against the crusaders, against the fill-in-the-blank- and we all fit into one of these categories. How do we try to contain that? I'm thinking a lot about containment, deterrence and defeat."

This is an argument of a Democrat Presidential hopeful. One can guess about what the Republicans think over the issue. There is a bipartisan concern in the US over the rise of the ISIL or the IS in Iraq. Now this should be sufficient to keep President Obama busy over Iraq. He has already conceded that under his Presidency the US will continue to fight the menace of the ISIL.

I think in all honesty that there is one big redline that President Obama would never allow to violate as far as American operations in Iraq are concerned and that is that his administration would never allow Baghdad to fall into ISIL's hands. As long as the capital city remains with the Iraqi forces, I think that Iraq would not be literally disintegrated. The capital Baghdad will remain with Iraq even if President Obama shall have to commit more US troops and assistance.

The ouster of Nouri-al-Maliki is showing positive signs with both mainstreaming Kurds and Sunnis showing some inclination towards reconciliation with the Central government in Iraq. This has been done after persistent US pressure though Iran and the Saudi Arabia also put significant and meaningful pressure on the Iraqi political elites. But still Iraq has a long way to go before achieving normalcy even from the Middle Eastern standards. I think that genuine autonomy is much required thing in Iraq but yes, with strong Center too.

The point is that American political elites are demanding outright decimation of the ISIL and not just its containment as they believe that the terrorist organization would have the capability to strike anywhere in the West if it is not fully defeated. True, but doing so would require a very huge commitment from the Federal government, something which is highly unlikely to come from the Obama administration. The fact is that President Obama fought both his elections taking strong stand against wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and no matter how urgent the situation in Iraq be, he is not going to allow American boots on the ground.

But without commitment of the US marines and other ground forces the decimation of the ISIL is simply not possible. Nonetheless, the drone strikes and US Air Force operations would continue. These are helping a lot the pesh merga and Iraqi forces fight the dreaded organization. And in all likelihood the Iraqi and Kurdish forces supported by the US air strikes would regain part of Iraqi territories held by the ISIL, may be up to the 50%, in neighboring time. Without the US military support the present Iraqi situation would end up in utter chaos. The fact is that as Ms. Clinton and many conservatives before her have said that the ISIL challenges the very existence of the West: its idea about freedom, liberty, capitalism, diversity, and pluralism. The ISIL wants to enforce the strictest form of Shariah laws in its ruled territories with literally no room for dissent and diversity.

So what could be done? Well if people support such moves there is little the US-led West can do. But then it would be stupidity to leave it to the time to deal with extremism and militarism. Now formation of sectarian enclaves is against the usual trends in the globe. 

But in the Islamic world they are quite possible. This chokes up everything: movement of capital, labor, technology, product and most importantly that of idea. This is against the spirit of globalization. But then the Islamists just cannot conform to the idea of global village where the Euro-American centric vision dominates over the local cultures.

This is the biggest strength the Islamic militants have got with themselves. In order to counter such radicalism and extremism the West needs to understand that there is no cultural replacement of Islam in the Muslim-dominated nations. The economic and other interests of the West are and in all likelihood will be subservient to political and cultural Islam.

The West can get as much space as Muslims of particular nations and regions concede because of survival instincts or selfishness or combinations of both. And fighting with the fundamentals of Islam and even Islamism would be futile.

This does not mean that the West should surrender to diktats of Islamists but should be rather adaptive and understandable in its approach towards the Islamic nations. Or else, it would have to fight a constant struggle with Islamic nations to counter their constant revolution. Such could sap up all the positive energy of the Western civilization without bringing the much desirable results. In fact, the whole world could become bitter as a consequence.

The West should not forget the growing Islamic-Sinic-Orthodox axes and friendliness among Muslims and Communists. Now as long as the West can deal with the Russian Federation and China, it can manage the axes with relative ease. But it should be firm on its ideology while dealing with the two Communist giants. Moreover, it should know it very well that the axes have the capability to expand outside its influence areas.

One thing that all Western nations and their companies need to do is to keep good shareholders-employees and producers-consumers relationships. They should not do anything to promote Left in the West and that is why they need to keep wages and prices at appropriate levels. Neither the Western leaders should do anything to promote Islamism inside their territories. 

If the West somehow is able to contain the growth of Communism and Islamism inside their territory then they can have healthy relationships with both inside their territories. The West needs to win the battle within and should keep its herd with itself. But believe it or not, such would require triumph of the good old White man.  

Also, the Western lawmakers and executives, particularly American ones, should formulate permanent policy towards the Islamic world and should have many long-term friends but very few long-term enemies there. The West should not keep sectarian views but should support those majorities which do not suppress minorities. But then there should be big anomalies and exceptions. Consistency at outer levels may not work but in its inner policy, the West should support all those nations which are friendly towards it and stand for interacting with it, other than for global peace and stability. Not too much idealism should be tried while dealing with the Islamic world.

But when it comes specifically to the ISIL, it is a heavily armed militant organization, probably deadlier than what once al-Qaeda-Taliban was. It needs to be dealt with force and maximum force. However, while dealing with the ISIL, general principles as discussed above should not be forgotten. 

Also, it should not be forgotten that pushing too hard against these militants in Iraq would push the ISIL fighters into Syria, which is a strictly no-go area for the Pentagon under the Obama administration. Such would not only worsen situation in Syria but would also give Islamists a new permanent sanctuary in the West Asia. That could destabilize the Middle East a lot.

Therefore, one should be cautious while dealing with radicalism and extremism in the Islamic world. Few things which are considered taboos in the West could be norm there and vice versa. One needs to scale the civilization properly and should have proper measures for the Islamic world. The fact is that without the US fighting a ground war against the ISIL in Iraq their decimation is a bit difficult. 

The reason being that Iraqi and Kurdish forces would be pre-tuned for segmentation and despite of the much support by the US-led West, they may not care much about possible threats emanating from such organizations to the West. Just like al-Qaeda and Taliban have morphed or may do so in immediate future into mutated adapted species so could be the ISIL. 

The morphed ISIL could fight Iraqi elections one day! Therefore, in order to kill the ISIL the US will have to commit much treasure and men but the possibility of such would not be clear until the US Presidential elections' results are announced in November 2016.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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