The pressure on ISIS builds

The war against ISIS is ramping up, following the Paris attacks.

Politico published a great article about how the French, while militarily small, definitely know how to fight. The article discusses recent wars the French have launched and how the French are not at all opposed to very risky operations.

This includes airborne operations, going in with ad hoc units even if outnumbered, and operating with insufficient water and medical supplies. Great article if you a moment: The French Way of War. Bet on it: Hollande’s counterattack against the terrorists is going to hurt them.

I also came across a great article describing how AC-130 Gunships and A-10s destroyed 116 ISIS fuel trucks over the weekend. ISIS reportedly has about 1,000 fuel trucks, so this was a serious blow for a single weekend.

From the article:

“This part of Tidal Wave II is designed to attack the distribution component of ISIL’s oil smuggling operation and degrade their capacity to fund their military operations.”- Colonel Steven H. Warren

Targeting fuel trucks used to be off limits because of the civilians operating them, but shortly after the Paris terrorist attacks the rules of engagement changed.

Interestingly, we dropped leaflets one hour prior to the strike warning the drivers to get away from the vehicles, and believe it or not, I’m more than okay with this. I think there’s a good chance many were pressured or forced into driving for ISIS. (Read the comments at the bottom of the article for some of the great pros and cons of this.

Finally, Russia pounded ISIS for perhaps the first time with a massive bombing raid. This short article shows the enormity of what Russia pulled off, and it’s nice to see them pounding ISIS instead of rebels fighting Assad.

Equally nice, they coordinated with the U.S. prior to the strikes. I’m glad to see Putin coming back into the fold some, though it could be mere connivign on his part. Only time with tell.

Regardless of the true or not-so-true implications of possible improving Russia/U.S/world relations, it seems abundantly clear that it’s been a rough few days for ISIS.

And I don’t see this changing any time soon.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

About meStan R. Mitchell writes some of the most action-packed, fast-moving gunfighter novels around. Tired of slow-paced, investigative novels that take 50 pages to excite you? Look no further! Stan is the best-selling author of 5 novels in 3 different time periods. He’s also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a former journalist who spent ten years in the newspaper business, learning how to hook the reader, cut out the filler, and just tell the story. In short, Stan is knowledgeable, he’s fast, and his books will blow you away. Don’t forget to subscribe for email alerts to this blog.

An excellent, short summary of how Syria fell into civil war

Hey guys,

I apologize for the lack of posts of late. Was buried on a book deadline and that took a couple of weeks to recover from. Then, with all the presidential primary ugliness, I found myself just sick and tired of all the politics regarding foreign policy and nearly everything else.

Have I mentioned lately how much I despise how politics so badly divide us? Or maybe it’s political parties? Or maybe it’s the media? Or maybe it’s politicians with egos that are far too big? Or maybe it’s that we all shoot off our mouths too quickly (and too sharply)?

Regardless, I get sick of it all, and when I do I go hermit mode and try to stay away from it all. And that unfortunately means I blog less.

Having said all that, I thought I’d try to get back up on the horse. With the Paris attacks just days ago, it seemed a good time to remind people how we got where we are.

I thought this was an excellent, short summary of how Syria fell into chaos and civil war.

Oh, and I noticed there were several of you who were not on my regular mailing list for my primary author site (stanrmitchell.com), so for those who don’t know, I published the third book in the Nick Woods series. It’s called Afghan Storm and you can find more info about it at the link.

Thanks, everyone! Keep your heads on a swivel and stay alert out there.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

About meStan R. Mitchell writes some of the most action-packed, fast-moving gunfighter novels around. Tired of slow-paced, investigative novels that take 300 pages to excite you? Look no further! Stan is the best-selling author of 5 novels in 3 different time periods. He’s also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a former journalist who spent ten years in the newspaper business, learning how to hook the reader, cut out the filler, and just tell the story. In short, Stan is knowledgeable, he’s fast, and his books will blow you away. Don’t forget to subscribe for email alerts to this blog.

Some good ideas for a U.S. strategy in Syria?

I really liked some of the ideas retired Army Gen. David Petraeus offered up for Syria.

With the refugee crisis, continued power of ISIS, and arrival of Russian troops, it’s time we do something.

Here were some of his ideas from the article:

In Syria, he said, the United States must commit to protect civilians and rebel forces from Syrian President Bashar Assad, explaining that Assad’s attacks on civilians have “been a principal driver of the radicalization” fueling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the current refugee crisis.

“Sunni Arabs will not be willing partners against the Islamic State unless we commit to protect them and the broader Syrian population against all enemies, not just ISIS,” he said. “We could, for example, tell Assad that the use of barrel bombs must end — and that if they continue, we will stop the Syrian air force from flying. We have that capability.”

Petraeus also called for the “establishment of enclaves” in Syria “protected by coalition airpower” where a moderate force of Sunni rebels could be supported and where displaced persons could take refuge. He called Syria a “geopolitical Chernobyl,” saying the crisis there was “spewing instability and extremism over the region and the rest of the world.”

What do you guys think? And seen any better suggestions?

Oh, and on my last post (Marines seek to keep combat jobs closed to women), you really want to read Old Gyrene’s comment, as well as the response that follows it. The two are worth a post all by themselves. (Here’s the link where it begins.)

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

About me: I write military action books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior USMC Sgt with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business — 9 of them with a newspaper that I started. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about American foreign policy, national security, and all things Marine Corps.

ISIS is winning

Politico has a great story running right now: ISIL Is Winning — Fourteen years after terror struck the U.S., our strategy to defeat terrorism is failing.

Unfortunately, it’s a pretty long article that most people will probably find too long to read. As such, I thought I’d cut and paste some key graphs from the article.

At the tenth anniversary of 9/11, it seemed like we had terrorism on the run; Osama bin Laden was dead, the Taliban was defeated and officials like CIA director Leon Panetta had proclaimed al Qaeda all but finished. But as we mark on Friday the 14th anniversary of the devastating attacks on the United States, it’s time to admit that the terrorists—at least one specific branch of terrorists—are now winning. And it’s time to admit that our response to the so-called Islamic State has been an abject failure.

Last year, fighters belonging to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a group once part of the same organization responsible for the 9/11 attacks stormed into Iraq, conquered half that country, declared itself both a state and a Caliphate and set about to slaughter and enslave thousands of Christians, Shi’a, and members of Islamic minority sects. Fifteen months later, ISIL’s influence has spread far beyond the Levant and Mesopotamia. A thousand foreign recruits converge monthly on its operational cynosure. Hailing from some fifty countries they exceed by a factor of ten the average monthly flow of foreign fighters to Iraq at even the height of the war there a decade ago.

ISIL’s international cadre has also far exceeded the number that gravitated to Afghanistan during and the 1980s and 1990s. That growth creates the same conditions—but on a far vaster magnitude—that led to al Qaeda’s rise and the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., on 9/11.

The temptation to dismiss these developments as primarily “local” phenomena—confined to the perennially violent, unstable Middle East—is further belied both by the growing number of ISIL branches or “provinces” and its continued efforts to radicalize a worldwide stable of “stay-behind” amateurs, whom the group encourages to carry out low-level, lethal attacks in their respective homelands. To date, ISIL has established bases in at least a half-dozen countries: stretching from West and North Africa to the Arabian Peninsula and from the Sinai to South Asia and the Caucasus. And, over the past year alone, ISIL-inspired homegrown attacks have occurred in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France and Belgium.

ISIL is something the world has never seen before. During the summer of 2014, for example, it launched a battalion-sized assault and defeated 30,000 U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers. As the defenders fled, they left behind approximately three military divisions’ worth of equipment, including American-made Humvees and M1 Abrams tanks, totaling tens of millions of dollars. ISIL had already seized large stockpiles of weapons, equipment and cash while fighting in Syria and has recently employed chemical weapons on several occasions. The size, weapons and tactics of ISIL forces—combined with their ability to seize and hold terrain—are arguably unique in the annals of terrorism.

We have to accept that Iraq has ceased to exist as a viable federal union and has now permanently splintered into Sunni, Shi’a and Kurdish enclaves. In these circumstances, our best option is to back the only reliable and militarily capable partners we have there—the Kurds. To date, both the Kurdish Peshmerga and YPG or People’s Protection Unit, its Syrian counterparts, are the only local forces who have demonstrated any effective ability to counter ISIL. Yet, American support of both is hamstrung by a misplaced deference to Turkey’s priorities—a NATO ally who has often proven as unhelpful in the war on terrorism in the Levant as Pakistan has been in South Asia.

I’m pretty much an eternal optimist, but even I can’t really dispute the facts of this article.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

About me:  write military action books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior USMC Sgt with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business — 9 of them with a newspaper that I started. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about American foreign policy, national security, and all things Marine Corps.