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What a resurgence of the Islamic State could mean

Syrian town of Ras al Ain
REUTERS/Murad Sezer
Smoke rising over the Syrian town of Ras al Ain, as seen from the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, in Sanliurfa province, on October 16.

Of all the problems President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from Syria might cause, the one with the clearest consequences is a resurgence of the Islamic State and the terror attacks it inspires. 

Increased Russian or Iranian influence in the region, for instance, is incremental and might be in the eye of the beholder. A terror attack on the other hand is real, immediate – and often deadly.

The Kurdish-led militia allied with the United States has been, among other things, acting as a jailer. It was guarding about 20 facilities holding roughly 10,000 suspected Islamic State members and camps for another 70,000 family members. In the chaos of Turkey’s invasion of northeast Syria, the Kurds say they’ve had to choose between fighting and guarding those camps. Some prisoners escaped, they say, and some family members were able to leave the camps.

Experts say the Islamic State already had been quietly reconstituting itself in Iraq and Syria, even while under intense military pressure, and that Turkey’s invasion is almost certain to give it a big boost.

During the debate of Democratic presidential candidates last week, former Vice President Joe Biden said Trump’s decision would lead to new terror attacks in the United States. The Islamic State is “going to come here,” he said. Trump says a resurgence of the Islamic State is not his problem – it’s Europe’s. Aside from this selfish disregard for countries that are (or used to be, before a long list of insults) America’s closest allies, Trump argues that any foreign Islamic State fighter who survived and wants to wreak havoc at home is much more likely to be a European than an American. 

This approach might appeal to Trump’s “America First” constituency, as well as those weary of spending billions to hunt for terrorists behind every tree. But it misses the point. And Biden might be missing it, too, if he was arguing that the Islamic State is going to dispatch members to attack the United States. 

If the Islamic State can even partially rebuild, it will gain prestige from having withstood a U.S.-led effort to eradicate it. Unlike al-Qaeda, directly organizing attacks never has been its main threat to the West. Instead it would inspire lone individuals or small groups to launch attacks in their own countries. Experience has shown how hard that is to stop. 

In Iraq and Syria alone, the Islamic State has plenty of blood on its hands. Its attack on the Yazidi community in northern Iraq is widely regarded as an act of genocide. It is responsible for the beheadings of Americans, French, British citizens and many others.

It also has inspired deadly attacks in many other countries, most of them in the Middle East. But in France, the group claimed responsibility for the shooting and bombing spree in Paris in November 2015 that killed 130 people, and an attack by a follower who drove a truck through a Bastille Day crowd in Nice the next year, killing 86. In Britain, it claimed responsibility for a 2017 bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester that killed 22 people, and an attack on London Bridge that killed eight.

In the United States, attacks in San Bernardino, California, which killed 14 people, and the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which killed 49, were inspired by the Islamic State.

It’s not really a coincidence that those attacks happened at least a couple of years ago. Intelligence and police work have improved, but the Islamic State also has been on the defensive. Its biggest prize, the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, fell in July 2017 after months of bitter fighting; Raqqa, its self-proclaimed capital in Syria, three months later. Its last stronghold in Syria fell six months ago.

Tens of thousands of its fighters have been killed. But thousands of others remain, and experts say they’ve regrouped to fight a rural insurgency. The International Crisis Group says the Islamic State has “taken refuge in some of Iraq’s most forbidding terrain, including mountains and caves, remote desert, orchards, river groves and islands.” Most fighters there now are Iraqis. It’s hard for foreigners to survive without an intimate knowledge of the population and landscape.

In Syria, former Defense Department officials Brian Katz and Michael Carpenter say that even before Trump’s move, the group had been carrying out guerrilla attacks, and gathering intelligence for assassinations, suicide attacks and kidnappings – “grooming the battlefield militarily, politically and psychologically so that it can go on the offensive as soon as the U.S.-led coalition withdraws.”

Groups affiliated with al-Qaeda are undergoing a similar process in western Syria in somewhat different circumstances, they say. 

It would be nearly impossible to eliminate the Islamic State entirely. With the United States out of the picture, that won’t be the main goal for anyone left in Syria. So the Islamic State will gain time and space to regroup. It will inspire followers to try to kill more innocent people in Paris, or Orlando, or another city. Maybe that’s a chance we’re willing to take; maybe not. But that’s a question we need to ask. 

Comments (82)

  1. Submitted by joe smith on 10/21/2019 - 10:23 am.

    You mean the “JV team”? 7-8 years ago only those evil conservative neo cons were concerned with the “JV” team, now it’s a problem? Wow, how things change. Taking away their Caliphate territory was important 10 years ago (Obama ignored it), Trump pushed them out in months. Keeping ISIS down is important, doing it with minimal USA troops in the region is more important. We’ve spent too many years, money and spilled too much solders blood over there. What we’ve done for 18 years has had an impact on ISIS but a new strategy is needed badly. Thank goodness a non politician is thinking outside the box.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 10/21/2019 - 11:40 am.

      So sad you don’t realize that terrorists without territory are not powerless and that there are approximately 14 to 18,000 ISIS combatants still in the area.

      • Submitted by joe smith on 10/21/2019 - 05:34 pm.

        So sad you don’t realize that their Caliphate territory was deemed as the Holy Land where the end times would take place. They lost a lot of supporters when the land was easily taken away by American troops.

        • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 10/22/2019 - 11:22 am.

          So you really believe ISIS is gone, never to be a threat again?

        • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 10/22/2019 - 11:32 am.

          “ISIS is not defeated, my friend. The biggest lie being told by the administration is that ISIS is defeated,” Senator Lindsey Graham told “Fox and Friends” in a phone call Monday. “The Caliphate is destroyed, but there’s thousands of fighters” still there.

    • Submitted by David LaPorte on 10/21/2019 - 12:21 pm.

      ISIS was the JV, but they became the varsity. Obama should have stopped them sooner. But he partnered with the Kurds in 2014. We supplied the airstrikes and the Kurds supplied the ground troops, losing 11,000 in the fighting that brought ISIS to its knees.

      Trump didn’t “push” anyone out. He simply continued Obama’s partnership. But then he convinced the Kurds to dismantle their defensive positions facing Turkey and pull back their troops from the border, leaving the Kurds far more vulnerable. The US had 50 noncombat advisors embedded with the Kurds, so the Turks could not attack. But then Trump betrayed the Kurds, withdrawing the US troops so that the Turks could execute their assault. The Kurds were given no warning. Instead, they learned of Trump’s treachery when they saw their US advisors packing their vehicles and leaving.

      The Kurds are now allied with Syria and in the Russian orbit. As ISIS becomes a renewed threat, they will not partner with us again. And Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds has our other allies wondering if we’ll do the same to them if they ever need us.

      • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 10/21/2019 - 12:45 pm.

        “Obama should have stopped them sooner.”

        They didn’t exist until Obama pulled our guys out; it was a disaster. Then Obama was forced to send the same US soldiers back to re-take ground they had already paid to take. The Kurds joined us out of self-preservation, and to further their own goals, not altruism.

        That being said, Trump’s stupid decision hasn’t resulted in a complete disaster yet; but it’s likely coming.

        • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 10/21/2019 - 02:03 pm.

          Sometimes facts are inconvenient….it started well before Obama.


          The roots of ISIS trace back to 2004, when the organization known as “al Qaeda in Iraq” formed. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was originally part of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda Network, founded this militant group.

          The U.S. invasion of Iraq began in 2003, and the aim of al Qaeda in Iraq was to remove Western occupation and replace it with a Sunni Islamist regime.

          When Zarqawi was killed during a U.S. airstrike in 2006, Egyptian Abu Ayyub al-Masri became the new leader and renamed the group “ISI,” which stood for “Islamic State of Iraq.” In 2010, Masri died in a US-Iraqi operation, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took power.

          When the civil war in Syria started, ISI fought against Syrian forces and gained ground throughout the region. In 2013, the group officially renamed themselves “ISIS,” which stands for “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” because they had expanded into Syria.

          (end quote)

        • Submitted by David LaPorte on 10/21/2019 - 02:27 pm.

          ISIS formed as Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in 1999 (look it up), long before Obama was in office. They were held in check by Saddam Hussein, until George W. Bush started the second Gulf War with no exit strategy. It was Bush who set the stage for the vacuum that ISIS would fill. We depended on the Kurds to defeat ISIS. It was a good strategy, because we committed very few ground troop and most were in noncombat roles.

          However, thanks to Trump’s betrayal, the Kurds were just a speed bump for ISIS.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/21/2019 - 12:43 pm.

      So far, “thinking outside the box” has led to the abandonment of an ally, the start of ethnic cleansing facilitated by the US, and the empowerment of an authoritarian who has now decided he is entitled to nuclear weapons.

      You may think Trump is playing 12-dimensional chess, but in reality, he’s playing Candy Land and chewing on the pieces.

      • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 10/21/2019 - 12:55 pm.

        “You may think Trump is playing 12-dimensional chess, but in reality, he’s playing Candy Land and chewing on the pieces.”

        Actually, he’s playing the same, exact game Obama played; and just as poorly, although the final cost isn’t known yet.

        • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 10/21/2019 - 02:08 pm.

          It’s always Obama, isn’t it, rather than the failed Bush years of allowing bin Ladin to roam free.

          ….”Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US”….President’s Daily Brief given to U.S. President George W. Bush on Monday, August 6, 2001

          • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 10/22/2019 - 10:07 am.

            Bush left plenty of blunders in his wake, no doubt. But his surge worked, which is why Obama continued it.

            Bush didn’t order the recall of our troops at a critical moment; Obama did that.

            • Submitted by David Lundeen on 10/22/2019 - 12:40 pm.

              Did you read the 2008 Status of Forces agreement which Bush implemented near the end of his term? The Iraqi government was unwilling to continue it, and the pullout was planned by Bush, not Obama.

              • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 10/24/2019 - 08:46 am.

                What the “Iraqi government” wanted was a moot point. They were clearly not in control of the country, and abandoning them to ISIS was a cut and dried case of malfeasance.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/24/2019 - 11:36 am.

                  That is not just wrong, it’s very wrong.

                  Staying in another country’s territory and conducting military or quasi-military activities without permission amounts to an act of war. It doesn’t matter if the government is not functioning well enough to meet anyone else’s standards.

                  Deciding that the US should have maintained a military presence because a friendly power was deemed to be in insufficient control of its own territory is Kipling-level imperialism

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/21/2019 - 02:23 pm.

          Obama did not abandon the Kurds to the tender mercies of Turkish ethnic cleansing.

        • Submitted by David LaPorte on 10/21/2019 - 02:48 pm.

          The Obama administration killed Osama bin Laden and formed an alliance with the Kurds that defeated ISIS. Obama could certainly have done better with the mess that he inherited from W, but Trump has been a disaster.

          • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 10/22/2019 - 10:11 am.

            ISIS was defeated under Trump’s watch. I do not approve of this pull out, but let’s be clear; the Kurds joined the fight to advance their own agenda, not out of a sense of altruism.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/22/2019 - 10:48 am.

              What! You mean our allies might have a sense of self preservation while deciding to align with our aims? Shocking. Should we take this to mean we only back up those who cooperate with us from some sense of worship? Exactly who would you count as an ally in that case, because I can’t think of any.

              • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 10/22/2019 - 12:21 pm.

                Why should we put their sense of self-preservation ahead of our own? Why should the Turks put the Kurds ahead of Turkey’s?

                • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/22/2019 - 11:56 pm.

                  I always preferred the simple explanation, care of Stan Lee, “With great power comes great responsibility”, but hey, such moralizing is passe for the modern conservative I suppose.

            • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 10/22/2019 - 11:30 am.

              “ISIS is not defeated, my friend. The biggest lie being told by the administration is that ISIS is defeated,” Senator Lindsey Graham told “Fox and Friends” in a phone call Monday. “The Caliphate is destroyed, but there’s thousands of fighters” still there.

      • Submitted by joe smith on 10/21/2019 - 02:20 pm.

        RB, do we stay another year, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years or 100 years? When in your opinion do we leave? We are not the worlds police force. As I stated, we’ve been in that region too long now, what is going to change in 5 more years? Please be specific.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/21/2019 - 04:39 pm.

          What is going to change now in five more years, with the abrupt US withdrawal? Do you think the situation will improve? Do you think the terrorist threat to the US will abate (never mind the threat to our allies. At the rate the Trump regime is going, we shortly may not have any).

          What is cutting and running going to accomplish? What will happen now that a Turkey with technically realistic nuclear ambitions is fixing to become the dominant power in the region? How long will it take before Russia – an ally of your bugbear Iran – moves in to exploit the power vacuum?

          Has the Very Stable Genius thought this through, or is he just acting on impulse? Think before you cheer, Mr. Smith.

          • Submitted by joe smith on 10/22/2019 - 09:05 am.

            We will not be losing money and most importantly our solders lives policing a 4 century old fight. That is what will change when we pull out,!!

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/22/2019 - 09:36 am.

              The rest of the world will be going to hell in a handbasket, but what do we care? It’s not like it could affect the US, is it?

              • Submitted by joe smith on 10/23/2019 - 08:28 am.

                Hell in a hand basket is 100’s of thousands of Syrians getting slaughtered and nobody and I mean nobody doing a thing… I’ve got news for you, this has been going on long before we stuck our nose in Mid East issues and will continue long after we are gone!

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/23/2019 - 09:06 am.

                  So we continue to do nothing but assume the problem is unsolvable.

                  I guess “pro-life” stops at the border.

                  • Submitted by joe smith on 10/23/2019 - 09:52 am.

                    Pro life?? War is killing people, not sure you understand that !

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/24/2019 - 09:50 am.

                      Stopping people from killing each other is usually regarded as a good thing, even if the people who aren’t being killed are foreigners.

                • Submitted by joe smith on 10/23/2019 - 09:08 am.

                  BTW, the Syrian slaughter took place under Obama, did you complain then? If I remember correctly the response from the Democrats during the Syrian slaughter was it’s a civil war, let’s not get involved….. Does a change in Presidency equate to a change in values?

        • Submitted by Brian Simon on 10/21/2019 - 06:34 pm.

          The thing is, we’re not “leaving.” We’re moving troops from Syria to Iraq. And not even all of them – some are staying in Syria. In other words, what Trump says he’s doing and what he’s actually doing are two different things. Thus far, there’s not a good explanation for why he’s done what he’s done. There’s bipartisan criticism of the move; even staunch Trumpist Lindsey Graham sees the Syria withdrawal as a disaster. It seems the only people who support the move are those who approve everything Trump does, consequences be damned.

        • Submitted by David LaPorte on 10/21/2019 - 07:07 pm.

          We had 1,000 troops in Syria in noncombat roles. That’s 0.1% of our military. We had 50 troops (0.005%) deployed with the Kurds. Them just being there prevented the Turks from slaughtering the Kurds, our allies who defeated ISIS.

          This was not like Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan, where thousands of American troops were fighting and dying. The troops in Syria were there for peace keeping. This was no longer a war, much less an endless war, until Trump green lite the Turkish invasion.

          Now it’s war again, we’ve lost the Kurds as allies, there’s nobody left to fight ISIS and even our former allies don’t trust us. We’re paying a much higher price than we’d have paid if Trump had left the peace keeping troops in place.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 10/21/2019 - 03:43 pm.

      Other than enriching himself, Trump doesn’t “think” about anything.

      • Submitted by joe smith on 10/23/2019 - 02:53 pm.

        Somehow he thought about the middle class who’s incomes rose $4,100 in 3 years after rising $1,000 the prior 16 years under professional politicians, Bush/Obama…. Not bad thinking!!

  2. Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 10/21/2019 - 11:05 am.

    The pullout is the first decision Trump has made that really rubs conservatives the wrong way. I’m sure many middle of the roaders are upset, too. The problem for lefties is, they have no authority to capitalize on it; none.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/21/2019 - 11:37 am.

      There is something very, very wrong in analyzing the resurgence of a global terrorist-inspiring group in terms of US domestic politics.

  3. Submitted by Paul Yochim on 10/21/2019 - 11:50 am.

    Does anyone remember the lessons learned from the Vietnam war? The Kurds are nothing more than an enemy of an enemy. They wouldn’t like us either if not for a common enemy.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/21/2019 - 12:41 pm.

      I thought the lesson was that wars are not fungible. Vietnam was not World War II, and the Middle East is not Vietnam.

    • Submitted by David Lundeen on 10/21/2019 - 08:38 pm.

      Actually, the Syrian Kurd state is a model of democracy in which the United States has much to learn from. If we really cared about human rights and democracy (across all administrations), we’d keep a small force in northern Syria. It’s a cheap price for supporting allies who actually share our values, unlike regimes like Saudi Arabia which are a drain on our economy.

  4. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/21/2019 - 12:40 pm.

    Pushing Daesh out of its remaining territory was a positive thing, but it should never have been viewed as anything more than a temporary victory. It was always a loosely constituted organization so anyone in the world could claim inspiration from it, or membership in it. The fighters in Iraq and Syria were always just going to move elsewhere; in fact, operations that claimed affiliation are operating in West Africa and are no less dangerous. People in the rest of the world, including in the Americas, will see the continuation in the face of setbacks as evidence of Daesh’s strength, and will start making the move from interested spectator to sympathizer to actor.
    Trump will soon learn that terrorism is real, and is a concern for the US as a matter of domestic policy, as well as foreign policy. Unfortunately, when he does learn that lesson, I am afraid his reflexive response will be to respond with increasingly authoritarian measures. That kind of action, accompanied by his typically blusterous, bigoted rhetoric will do little more than inflame the situation.

    • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 10/21/2019 - 12:47 pm.

      ” operations that claimed affiliation are operating in West Africa and are no less dangerous”

      Correct. But there is zero chance anyone is going back into Somalia. The best we can do is contain them in place.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/21/2019 - 12:53 pm.

        Ummm . . . I’m pretty sure Somalia in in East Africa. It was the last time I looked at my globe, anyway.

        • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 10/21/2019 - 01:34 pm.

          You’re correct. You were mistaken the first time; East Africa is the current home of al Shabob.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/21/2019 - 04:35 pm.

            West Africa is the current home of Boko Haram, ISWA, and ISGS.

            While “al Shabob [sic]” looms large in the imagination of the local right-wing, it is not the only, or the greatest, terrorist threat from Africa.

          • Submitted by Brian Nelson on 10/21/2019 - 09:21 pm.

            RB was quite correct in both instances. Boko Haram operates in West Africa.

  5. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 10/21/2019 - 02:17 pm.

    Well, the many war profiteers here in America can’t make a big windfall with all those ISIS fighters in prison.

    I thought the point of all this warmongering in Islamic countries was about keeping Islam divided and ever at war, to prevent Islam from uniting, exhausting their economies, while all those here in America with investments in war/security will have eternal growth in their profits, and to keep America’s warriors occupied outside America so they are distracted from the neo-colonial corporate/bank/billionaire plunder and pillage of America?

    War war and more war, everybody make an excuse for war war and more war….

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 10/21/2019 - 09:26 pm.

      What a stereotype–the largest portion are 1.1 billion Asian Muslims out of 1.8 billion total–where is the Western war-mongering there?

      In case you haven’t noticed, there are numerous blood-feud differences between the 70-some variants of Islam out there. Ever since Muhammad died there has been a steady diet of wars between sects–and it wasn’t the fault of Western medieval provocateurs.

      I recently had a discussion with an Indonesian (Sunni-a majority there)–and I asked about the Shia population. “Oh, they aren’t really Muslim”.

      Just like in the old days in Western religions, the differences are still fightin’ words…much of the violence is because some are entirely capable of killing a Muslim in the name of a purer Islam.

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 10/22/2019 - 10:11 am.

        Obama dropped drone bombs on at least eight muslim countries, from Asia to the Middle East to Africa. The borders of the Middle East were largely set by Westerners, with a mind to maintain hostilities among the natives. That attitude continues mostly unspoken. This “stereotype” has cost about $20trillion since 9/11, which is 20trillion in motive to keep it rolling….

        (the only reason we aren’t doing the same in Southeast Asia is, those Muslims in the Middle East sit on top of about 35% of the remaining conventional supply of oil.)

  6. Submitted by ian wade on 10/21/2019 - 03:58 pm.

    “Plenty of Turks have been killed because of conflicts on their borders. ISIS was all over the place… it was me who captured them. I’m the one who did the capturing. I’m the one who knows more about it than you people or fake pundits”

    “Thinking outside the box?” More like ranting outside the padded room.

  7. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 10/21/2019 - 10:42 pm.

    Aren’t we supposed to support all religious beliefs and be welcoming? As Pope Francis said: “Who am I to judge?”

  8. Submitted by Pat Terry on 10/22/2019 - 10:25 am.

    ISIS loves Trump. What a gift he gave them.

  9. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 10/22/2019 - 10:37 pm.

    And what of the anti-war protesters on bridges? No blood for oil? A President finally says enough (although only for 1000 American soldiers) and not a peep. What a bunch of phonies!

    • Submitted by Brian Gandt on 10/24/2019 - 12:27 pm.

      Did you not hear Trump’s comments regarding Syrian oil fields? We also are beefing up our military in SA. So, in the context of oil, nothing has changed.

  10. Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 10/24/2019 - 08:51 am.

    Well, yesterday the President of Turkey called for a permanent cease fire and pledged not to incur further into Syria.

    It didn’t cost the lives of one US soldier, or $1 of American treasure. That my friends, is a win.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/24/2019 - 09:49 am.

      Is it a win for the Kurds?

      It’s a win for Turkey, and a win for Russia, but is it a win for anyone else? Iran, perhaps?

      All that’s missing is the umbrella.

      • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 10/24/2019 - 11:49 am.

        The Kurds are not being bombed…yeah, I’d say that’s a win.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/24/2019 - 02:35 pm.

          They’re just being kicked out of their territory. Not being bombed seems like the minimum for human existence.

          • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 10/25/2019 - 09:05 am.

            “They’re just being kicked out of their territory.”

            Oh. I was unaware there had been a treaty which acknowledged an autonomous Kurdistan.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/25/2019 - 10:21 am.

              They lived where they had lived for centuries. Treaties are not the only source of international law (and it’s funny you should be so concerned about the lack of a treaty here).

              It’s easy to dismiss the lives of brown people, isn’t it?

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 10/24/2019 - 08:39 pm.

      So, how many of those $1 you want to bet that we spent that you are saying we didn’t spend? Like it costs $0 to move troops equipment etc? And those $ are not being spent today in another section of the middle east? Did the use the savings to reduce the $1.5T give away to the billionaires?

    • Submitted by Brian Gandt on 10/26/2019 - 04:12 pm.

      Better open your wallet, and prepare for possible casualties in Syria.

      Screw the Kurds, but oil is money…

      Add to that our continuing presence in other areas of the ME.

      I’d like to see us out of the ME, but it will require some thought and planning to do it right. We need to help those that have put themselves in danger by helping us, and we need to get on board with an energy plan that minimizes the shocks that occurs with oil that is priced on the world market.

      I’d like to see it done with as much integrity as possible. That will not happen with a con man that is incapable of rational thought and decency.

  11. Submitted by Jim Marshal on 10/25/2019 - 12:20 am.

    What no one seems interested in is the fact that our military occupation of Syria is completely illegal according to international laws which we agreed to decades ago. We have been and are currently engaged in an illegal war of aggression against forces that have never attacked the U.S. and pose no direct threat to our national security.

  12. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 10/25/2019 - 08:59 am.

    So some of our RW commenters bring up the issue that we should not be the worlds cop. Fair statement. However, there is also a principle (take responsibility for your actions)/(suspect there are lots of righties that were 100% behind the Iraq invasion) that if we broke it, we own it, in short its our obligation to fix it. Sorry guys you don’t get off that easy, the invasion of Iraq was not something I supported, however as a country we “broke it” and along with Iraq a lot of its neighbors, now we need to fix it, and deserting your comrades in arms is not a fix it, it is the cowards way out of shirking your responsibilities.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/25/2019 - 03:34 pm.

      Not to worry, come 2024 and the R’s pick Nikki Haley to oppose President Warren, a “muscular foreign policy” featuring our need to be the world’s cop will be front and center.

      A key element of the R campaign will be:

      “Donald???, Donald who???”

    • Submitted by Jim Marshal on 10/27/2019 - 09:30 am.

      So your ‘principled’ stance would be to continue illegally occupying and bombing countries that we illegally invaded and destroyed in order to fix them? That is some bizarre logic. I’m not sure what comrades you think ‘we’ are abandoning. There are many proxy armies that our oligarchs arm and use to achieve their nefarious goals. That doesn’t mean American citizens should be obligated to sacrifice blood and treasure for those puppet factions or refer to them as comrades in arms.

  13. Submitted by cory johnson on 10/27/2019 - 09:20 am.

    I’m sure because of Trump al-baghdadi will be a thorn in our side for decades……

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/28/2019 - 11:44 am.

      Stop congratulating Trump for killing al-Baghdadi. The Special Forces and Kurds killed al-Baghdadi. All Trump did is say O.K.

      • Submitted by cory johnson on 10/28/2019 - 12:57 pm.

        Had Bill Clinton said OK Bin Laden wouldn’t have been around to plan 9/11. I can congratulate both Trump and Obama for saying OK.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 10/28/2019 - 01:14 pm.

          CJ, word is that it was under Regan that the Afghan mujahideen (Ben Laden) came to be, Lets put credit where credit is do, it was a republican administration that is responsible for growing the monster, lets not confuse the facts. Like you saying i created the monster but it is your responsibility to take it out! Kind of looks a lot like the Trump situation today, Republicans created the monster now someone else has to deal with him and his destruction.


        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/28/2019 - 02:05 pm.

          Sorry if my attempt at irony was too subtle.

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/28/2019 - 08:15 am.

    It’s unlikely that the Islamic State we knew will “re-emerge”, so the question itself is kind of goofy. The most likely scenario is that some other entity will emerge and replace IS. Al Qaeda replaced the PLO, IS replaced Al Qaeda, and so it goes. We actually do a good job of decimating existing organizations once we find them, the problem is new ones emerge to replace them.

    I hate to say but more than likely the location and death of Al-Baghdadi probably tells us that he’d already sunk into powerless obscurity. Like Bin Laden, hold up in a hovel with loyal body guards and looking for someone to give orders to. The IS Al Baghdadi ran simply doesn’t exist anymore. This seems to be the pattern, as long as these guys are actually powerful leaders everyone’s too afraid of them to betray them… as they sink into obscurity they become vulnerable and someone eventually decides to cash in on the reward. As often as not by the time we get to these guys they’re no longer the “leaders” they were when they made the list in the first place.

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/28/2019 - 08:44 am.

    Well, all I can say is that Syria became shit-show when people decided a civil war was a good idea. Not that is it was a perfect country before the war, but clearly the lesson here is that civil wars, more often than not, are a bad idea. Civil wars rarely end “well”.

    You would have thought Americans would have learned that lesson as consequence of our own Civil War, but Trump seems think it might be an option if he loses the 2020 election… frankly that worries me far more than anything happening in Syria right now.

    The thing about THIS articular episode that strikes me is the way Fascists like Trump jumped on the ethnic cleansing wagon. Yesterday Trump was actually bragging that the Kurd’s became much more compliant after three days of brutal ethnic cleansing… funny how that works eh?

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