I'm talking as someone who had ISIS on 4 different borders. They're meant to look scary. That's part of the marketing, but when faced with an actual organized and well trained military, they crumble just like any other terrorist organization has. Their "massive gains" weren't due to some superior strategy (although they have introduced a few distinct tactics), but rather just many organizations that already held those territories jumped on the wagon and joined ISIS, thus automatically giving them control.If we're taking about the same insurgents here IS captured territory the size of England and the danger was real. Might not appear scary to you when viewed on a map in another country but let me assure you to ordinary Iraqis and to the Iranians who share a border with Iraq; it was extremely "scary"'
Russia has a huge amount of territory, but the bulk of actual Russia is in its European side (western), with the vast majority of the country very scarcely populated.
What should be measured is the portion of population of Syria and Iraq that they held. And frankly, it was never a threatening amount.
Any operation that would seek to weaken only ISIS and achieve no other goal, would not need such presence. Attack their sources of funding, attack their media, attack their lines of communication and attempt to assassinate leaders, and you've already done 90% of the job by just removing what little that made them "unique".
In the Sinai they tried to bomb Eilat. They were bombed a few times and never dared attempt such an attack again. In Syria they also refused to divert any resources to try to attack Israel. In Gaza and the West Bank they were easily crushed. The US committed very little relative to the perceived threat, and crushed them as well. What made the Iraqis and Syrians struggle against ISIS? The fact those many rebel groups, terrorists, and local gangs were now united under one roof, and that on a technological level, they were a match for them. Also, ISIS had institutional capacity for tactical innovation while the Syrians and Iraqis, with their well known incompetence, failed to adapt.
I'm not talking about history and the wars of several decades ago. I'm talking about what I'm seeing today, with how incapable they are of dealing with the simplest of tasks.It hasn't always been a history of sheer incompetence and you put it. The Arabs also have a history of making the right security related decisions when they have to.It's great to apply or reach generalistic and simplistic statements driven perhaps by prejudices or other things but doesn't enable an accurate picture.
Most glaring example is Saudi Arabia. Its forces are being crushed in Yemen, its navy is practically nowhere to be found while Iran's efforts to supply Houthis with arms were uninterrupted, and while Iran's own assault on civilian shipping in the gulf, sometimes in the Arab sea ports themselves(!) went unanswered. On the strike on Aramco, Saudi Arabia didn't even respond!
That... is what I said.As for Assad's betrayal of the Iranians if you understand or are aware of the dynamics at play and the history behind it you'll understand that any betrayal is unlikely.
That's just another word for sway. What makes you think their attempts will be anything but futile in light of the diminishing power of the Arab nations and the increasing sense of Iranian victory in their cold war? Especially since every piece of Iran's foreign policies will now be dramatically boosted by the sanctions relief.Also the intention is not to "sway"' Syria away from Iran because that would be impossible but to perhaps lessen its influence and gain further leverage over Assad.
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