Leading article

Isis is our worst possible enemy

What can be done about the jihadist death cult's growing power?

23 May 2015

9:00 AM

23 May 2015

9:00 AM

In recent months, as the country went through a general election, our focus has been on our own domestic debates. Meanwhile, the situation in Iraq has deteriorated significantly. After intense fighting, the jihadist group Isis has now taken the city of Ramadi. They already control Fallujah and Mosul. A growing body of opinion says that something must be done, before the group moves on Baghdad or organises a major terror strike over here.

But what? There are plenty of reasons not to take action. Our interventions in Iraq have not been successful, to put it mildly. Looking at the state of the world today — and the Middle East in particular — any government or people would be justified in feeling some trepidation and, in the case of Iraq, a certain fatigue with the whole subject. The British government thought that, with enough money and determination, we could, as Tony Blair said, ‘reorder this world around us’. It turns out that reordering Iraq — never mind the world — is much harder than anticipated. As we have seen there, and in Libya, if you topple a dictator, there’s no way of knowing what comes next.

We have fought in Fallujah before. In 2004, when it had become a stronghold of insurgents after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the American army fought one of its hardest battles of that war. US troops fought house to house to clear the city of insurgents. More than 100 American soldiers were killed and hundreds more injured. The battle for Ramadi, which took place at the same time, was equally gruelling and bloody.

Twelve years on, Isis’s success poses difficult questions. How many times must outside forces return? Are such cities better left alone? And why are Iraqi security forces — trained at such enormous cost to the UK, US and other allies — so incapable of standing up and fighting?

What was all that training for if the Iraqi army simply dissolves when it faces an enemy, instead of defending the civilians of Iraq? The story in Ramadi this week was the same as that in Mosul last year: of Iraqi troops abandoning their posts and their weapons. The sight of Iraq’s forces being airlifted away from the fight by helicopters is one of the most pitiful sights in a pitiful business. Elsewhere in the country, Iranian forces, which have been colluded with at such high political and diplomatic risk, turn out to be less effective than expected.

But despair is not an adequate response. As a result of this week’s gains, the fanatical death cult has control of another major city: worse than that, Ramadi is less than 70 miles from Baghdad, which means that Isis now hold a fortified position within striking distance of Iraq’s capital.

Twelve years ago the public in Britain — as in Europe and America — were bitterly divided over the wisdom of invading Iraq. It is a still suppurating wound. The argument that Saddam was not just someone who had committed genocides but a leader who would be a future threat was not believed by large sections of the public. Isis are more obviously sadistic than Saddam ever was, and they are less ambiguous about their barbarism. They glorify atrocities. When they behead Christians on the shores of the Mediterranean in Libya or in the historic epicentre of Iraqi Christianity around Nineveh, they record their acts and broadcast them to the world on social media. When they kill Shia Muslims by the roadside or burn a young Jordanian pilot alive in a cage, they want the world to know.

This campaign is effective not least in spreading fear among those who might otherwise stand up to them — a reminder that terror is a deeply effective tactic. It also means that nobody can have any illusions about what more Isis would do if they have the chance.

Yet there is a reluctance to acknowledge not so much the nature of Isis, as their reach. They used to be simply one militant group among many fighting for dominance in Syria. Now they are not only a cross-border expanding force, but an entity which considers itself a caliphate and behaves as if it were a state. Perhaps even more importantly, they have already been able to inspire imitation franchise movements across the Middle East and Africa. Last month they inspired an attack on a cartoon contest in Texas. The gunmen’s attack on the contest was meant to impress and enforce Isis’s literalist and fundamentalist version of Islam inside the borders of the United States. The significance of that — and its implications for America and Europe’s security — seems barely to have registered.

A sense of paralysis in the West is perhaps inevitable after our foreign policy failures in the last decade. Nobody is eager to commit troops to Iraq, and every government in the world must dread the consequences of putting ‘boots on the ground’. Yet at some stage, if Isis continues to surprise the world with their territorial gains, the world will have to consider a more concerted reaction.

Isis are in many ways our worst possible enemy. As they grow in size and strength, the challenge they present becomes more serious and complex. It is time for the Prime Minister to start thinking about his options.

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Show comments
  • Freeworld

    This is a truly shocking situation that bodes very badly for not only the Muslim world which seems to be unable to either understand or control it’s support for this utter barbarity. The fear in the western nations is that we will not escape this barbarity either. There is I suspect a very significant support for this group within British Muslim community and little protest from that community to reassure us infidels that this is containable. I still feel sickened by the grovelling apology of the head of the metropolitan police sitting in front of the gleeful families of those stupid girls who have gone off to become so called jihadi brides. Turns out papa holding the teddy is a known and active supporter of anjem choudar

    • will91

      Like a virus, use the mechanics of the cell they infect to bring about it’s downfall. They cling to freedom of speech/protest whilst actively plotting the collapse of our society.

      • William_Brown

        Good quote – where’s it from?

        • will91

          I think Mark Steyn said something similar in either America Alone or After America, both of which are superb works which I cannot recommend highly enough.

          • William_Brown


          • alleagra

            But Mark Steyn would have written ‘its downfall’.

    • mrs 1234

      Most people are very worried and with good reason. We are not reassured by the insistence of those who govern us that such behaviour as we see from ISIS is nothing to do with Islam when we all know that it has everything to do with Islam.

    • logdon

      What’s happened to him?

      He’s rumbled fair and square as an anti-British Islamist, lies to police and then blames them.

      And then…….nothing.

      • William_Brown

        All hushed up by MSM, as per.

        • logdon

          Some truly enterprising young journalist could do himself a great favour by actually doing some investigation on this.

          The fathers mosque for instance. Work mates. Follow the trail of associates and dig around.

          And then the family. Watch for the contradictions and obvious evasions and then press home on facts.

          Finally stand back and watch as the fireworks fly this way and hither.

          Not too hard of you have the right contacts I’d imagine.

    • Bertie

      Well you only have to look to the brutal murder of Lee Rigby for an answer to that question (Is there any significant support within the British community)

      Notice how quiet the Police,the Labour party, the establishment were over the grooming of underage WHITE GIRLS by Pakistani men. Note how the press reporting of such was nearly, without exception, as “Asian men” rather than tying it down to 1) Moslem men, 2) Pakistani men.

      If I was Chinese, for example, I’d be offended at being tarred with th same brush with regard to the “Asian reference” in the press.

  • tide1983

    I’m sorry to say this but the spectacles of hate need to be
    removed. I dare anyone on here to google Islamic research foundation and spend
    a few minutes looking at what you find. I am sure that you will find that Islam
    is a religion of peace, tolerance, justice, kindness, charity, love and
    worshiping one God.

    The prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) was verbally
    abused, ridiculed, had objects thrown at him, spat at and even beaten. He
    reacted by having mercy on people and treating them with patience and kindness
    throughout his life.

    When we differ in our opinions, we shouldn’t be abusive or
    threatening. This was not the way of the prophet Mohammed ( PBUH) with
    believers and disbelievers. Thank you.

    • Dr. Heath

      Many sites operated by Muslims contain the most appallingly offensive material imaginable. They conjure up visions of a future world where non-believers must pay taxes [or else what!?!?!] to a future caliphate tax collector as punishment for refusing to convert to what is, in an increasingly post-religious world, an absurd belief system every bit as irrational as the idea that Santa Claus, elves and a toy factory are to be found at the North Pole. While I may no longer be alive in a future United Kingdom in which, just possibly, Muslims have ‘democratically’ managed to install a functioning theocracy, the fact that many of today’s believers in this religion of peace can imagine nothing more wonderful tells me that their minds are full of everything except tolerance. You may believe in peace and love. A lot of your fellow believers thrive on hatred and violence and intolerance.

      • Infidelissima

        they’re so peaceful and tolerant, that nobody kills as many muslims as other muslims

    • Des Demona

      Fancy nipping over to Syria and spreading the message of peace and love? Or Nigeria, Libya, Iraq, Egypt, Somalia, Mali, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc etc – you’ve plenty of choice.

    • Infidelissima

      what the phack are you smoking!??

    • CC Frews

      Indeed. when Mohammed was powerless in Mecca he had no option but to put up with insults. But as soon as he got some power in Medina he had anyone who mocked him assassinated:


      But I’m sure you know that Tide. You wouldn’t be dupe us would you?

    • WFC

      CC Frews has given a list of Mohammed’s contributions to the concepts of peace, tolerance etc.

      Here is a rather longer list of some of the contributions made by his followers, in 4 continents, over the past 30 days: http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/index.html#attacks

      • logdon

        Great minds think alike.

        Beat me to it.

    • William_Brown

      …and yet the reality across the Islamic world indicates otherwise. As does its clearly stated aims for the kuffir and apostate.

    • Kennybhoy

      Twenty-three Disqus entries and all basically the same post? Either you are a consumate p*ss taker or a loon! lol 🙂

      • Infidelissima

        how about a repetitive inbred?

    • Gerschwin

      Was that before or after he molested a 9yr old girl?

    • logdon

      You jest?

      I’d rather google religionofpeace. A bit more like the truth.


    • wudyermucuss


      Like Islam’s ally Hitler said,

      “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it”

    • Cyril Sneer

      Ah another historically illiterate muzzie – I still don’t want to share a country with you no matter how much you lie.

  • blandings

    “What can be done about the jihadist death cult’s growing power?”
    Stop importing its adherents would be a start.

    • Fraser Bailey

      But The Spectator is a big supporter of importing adherents to ISIS, as you will see if you read Fraser Nelson’s article in The Telegraph today. What an idiot.

      • Fried Ch’i

        Hail Fallujah! I was hoping this topic would pop up one day.

        You see, I am really scared by what I would describe a “peasant revolt” in what is Turkey…no Iraq…no Syria…no, that should read Kurdistan.

        Will anyone ever fix that I wonder or will this artificially created ‘area’ remain the future testing ground for latest in western drone technology? Don’t answer that one, we know the answer.

    • Newton Unthank

      How will that help combat its growing power in the Middle East?

      • blandings

        It won’t, but I’m not very bothered about ISIS dominance in a the Middle East anyway – the place is a barbaric dump and only fools get involved. Are you planning to civilise the inhabitants or something?

        • Penny

          The overarching aim of IS is the global dominance of Islam. And they aren’t the only group to espouse this belief. It may not happen in my lifetime but I suspect the world beyond the ME may have to deal with that at some stage.

          • EasyStreet

            To the extent that it opens western eyes to the threat, I am as relaxed as blandings about ISIS’s progress. ISIS is exposing the true nature of the doctrine of Wahhabi salafism, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for the West to ignore it simply to maintain good relations with the Gulf states or to justify its stance on radical preachers. The best thing that can happen now is the Iran nuclear deal to be signed and the West to get the hell out of the Gulf. It is not our place to resolve ancient sectarian disputes; let them find their own peace, through whatever means necessary. We find it so hard to understand the conflict because we are trapped in the midst of it, trying to work out whether our regional allies are still allies. It’s time for a period of watching from the outside to determine ‘what next’. And maybe invest in Israeli anti-ballistic missile defence technology firms!

    • Ambientereal

      If we are lucky, they will keep killing each other until extermination. If we aren´t , then the extermination will meet us soon.

  • blandings

    “And why are Iraqi security forces — trained at such enormous cost to
    the UK, US and other allies — so incapable of standing up and fighting?”

    Why should they fight for you?

    • Infidelissima

      one question, so many answers:

      1. They would not fight ‘for us’, but their country, to protect their people, their land and their cultural heritage

      2. When they begged the west to come and save them from the evil Saddam, and the west came and did just that, suddenly we were invaders, warmongers, raping the poor Iraqis of their natural resources, and anyway, wtf were we doing there in the first place?

      3. The first question is actually very reasonable: the US trained a 1 Million men strong army in Iraq, supplied them with shiny new weapons, only to have the cowards run at the first sight of a few thousand psychopaths, leaving a region of 10 Million people open and vulnerable to attacks, genocide, sex slavery trade, and destruction. Obama leaving Iraq to a weakling lie himself, was a mistake, like everything else he has touched, which turned to turd. But nobody can deny that Muslims as a whole are cowards, incapable of dealing with their own psychopaths, and are therefor in desperate need for a Saddam, or a Gaddafi or a Mubarak to keep them in check.

      Stop treating 1.6 billion muslims like blameless children with no responsibility.
      They have the land, they have the manpower, they even have the resources. They are just useless as a collective, and would they not be coincidentally sitting on oil, they’d still be living in caves and shaqqing goats. It’s the only thing anybody ever wants from them, they produce nothing else. They don’t manufacture, they don’t invent, they do not produce talent, nor innovation, only what’s under their backsides, and their oil really can not run out soon enough. Then it’s back to your cave Abdul.

    • Fraser Bailey

      Exactly. And why should they fight for a country that only exists in the minds of the idiot colonialists that defined it, and in the minds of even bigger idiots like Blair and Bush? People in those regions are loyal to clan, family and religion – not to states defined by random lines in the sand by idiots.

  • Blindsideflanker

    “ISIS is our worst possible enemy”

    No it is the establishments worst possible enemy , for ISIS strips them of any hiding place where they sought to pretend things aren’t what they patently are, and which makes their multicultural cultural equivalence a load of BS.

    • Lord of the Manor of Tyburn

      The stablishment needs an enemy to

      a) sell more weapons, fine.
      b) make people here focus on their European western values, fine.
      c) keep the grannies busy worrying about Arabs now that black and gay people are ok, fine.

      It is kind of really boring actually. Not even funny. Just boring.

  • thetrashheap

    The problem is the west has forgotten how to fight a war against people like this.

    Just like it has forgotten with mass immigration what creates the circumstances for civil war.

    When the west gets round to dealing with Islam both at home and abroad, all our Geneva convention rules and high ideals about secular democracy will go out the window.

    These people are our worst enemy not because they can defeat us but because within the next 100 years they are going to turn us into monsters.

    • Infidelissima

      These people can not even live in peace in their own countries, amongst themselves, under their own rules, yet somehow the pacifakes think they can live in peace with us, whom they hate?

    • will91

      Precisely, the limp nature of our response is what’s most disappointing, thus far it’s limited to a handful of air-strikes. I’d presumed, wrongly, that this air campaign would involve round the clock drone strikes, AC-130s, Apache gunships…It’s pathetic.

      • Kennybhoy

        Indeed. An air campaign of the sort waged, with far less justification, against Yugoslavia combined with arms and training for our allies on the ground would have ended this.

      • Cyril Sneer

        The air campaign in Syria and Iraq against ISIS is just enough to keep the liberals mongs at bay but nowhere near enough to impede the advance of ISIS.

    • Kennybhoy

      “The problem is the west has forgotten how to fight a war against people like this.”


      “These people are our worst enemy not because they can defeat us but because within the next 100 years they are going to turn us into monsters.”

      Aye. Been sayin’ so hereabouts for years. “Monsters from the Id…”

    • Speedy

      The west had better re-learn how to fight.

      The problem is that we always have to fight with one hand tied behind our backs. Hampered as we are by assorted bien-pensants, leftists, human rights lawyers and outright traitors.

    • Jack the Smiling Racist

      We haven’t forgotten how to fight people like this, it’s just that we lack the necessary will to take the required measures. We are talking extirpation, root and branch, using nuclear weapons, biological agents, whatever is needed to carry out a final solution to the Islamic problem.

  • CC Frews

    No, our worst enemies are the stealth jihadists of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizb ut-Tahrir and their many offshoots with their peaceful (for now) sedition.

    ISIS are actually doing us a favour by revealing the authentic Islam of Mohammed and his immediate successors. Further details here:


  • Richard Eldritch

    I’m not that fussed about a Caliphate. In fact anything that encourages our home grown head bangers to bog off back to the desert can only be a good thing. At least if the Islamists have a State we can deal with them or Nuke them when the time comes. I’m sick of fighting Islamic battles for religious maniacs.

  • Sun

    The worst? I would always advise against that. There could *always* be worse. You that wonderful little thing you call imagination, k?

  • Muttley

    Isis is a threat to be sure, but not our “worst possible enemy.” I’m afraid Britain’s worst enemy is the enemy within.

    • GraveDave

      Um, that’s usually the government. Especially when it despises its own people.

      • Muttley

        Got it in one!

    • Kennybhoy

      Spot on. The long-marchers enable the jihadis who will likely enable the monsters from the European Id. But the root of the matter are the long-marchers.

  • gerronwithit

    And meanwhile we give succour, support and encouragement for the future Isis soldiers within this very country. And when they get a little tired of beheading, raping and pillaging in Syria and Iraq they can always return here to a life of benefits and mass breeding until the day they supersede the indigenous taxpayers at which point the former UK will become a medieval Caliphate itself.

  • jeffersonian

    ‘Last month they inspired an attack on a cartoon contest in Texas. The gunmen’s attack on the contest was meant to impress and enforce Isis’s literalist and fundamentalist version of Islam inside the borders of the United States. The significance of that — and its implications for America and Europe’s security — seems barely to have registered.’

    The lefty US media (led by the Huff Post, MSNBC, CNN, egged on by frothing pro-Islamist US academics) have quite successfully managed to turn it around so that the responsibility for the Texas shootings no longer lies with the Jihadi savages but with the intrepid defenders of free expression who organised the event. The moral inversion is complete. If we (and this includes the wider Anglosphere) lose this civilisational clash, those lefties will bear the guilt.

    • GraveDave

      those lefties will bear the guilt

      It’s odd to think that an armed to the teeth Bin Laden once posed with American soldiers and was cheered on by Reagan and Thatcher and the rest of the world’s right wing/ Conservative press.

      What on earth went wrong?

      • Kennybhoy

        Back then we were engaged in a truly existential struggle against the USSR. In such a struggle, witness our war time alliance with the USSR against the IIIrd Reich, just about anything goes. The threat posed by such as ISIS is not existential in the same way. The threat is that they may awaken the “Monsters from the Id”…

      • Newton Unthank

        Back then we were engaged in a wholly specious “struggle” against the demonised USSR, a “conflict” bigged up by the military-industrial complex and its useful idiots in positions of power, which saw trillions of dollars of taxpayers’ money funnelled to gigantic armaments corporations, with many a kickback to the politicians on the Right who kept the threat alive.

        • Dave Cockayne

          I guess history at school didn’t cover the 100 million dead in the 20th century at the hands of communists?

          • Newton Unthank

            I think you and history have very little acquaintance, troll boy – I was talking about the 1980s as anyone who is not a moron would have realised straight away.

          • Dave Cockayne

            The Black Book of Communism.
            You should read it some time comrade.

          • Newton Unthank

            I think one of us should read it, that’s for sure. Too many long words for you, was it?

          • Dave Cockayne

            When you scream and rage about intolerance,
            I hope you take a moment to look in the mirror.
            It is not the right that are the trolls, the right are decent, respectable people.
            You are the intolerant one.
            You are the person that responds with hatred of any other opinion but your own.
            You are the person that resorts to insults to attempt to justify your views.

          • Newton Unthank

            Sorry for being intolerant of your abysmal ignorance of history, “Dave”.

            You’re still a troll, though. Only trolls conceal their comments.

          • Dave Cockayne

            I’m not sure why you put my name in quotes, I post in my real name, I’m prepared to defend my comments in court and you hide behind a false identity.
            Who is the troll here?
            The honest man giving an honest opinion or the cowardly keyboard warrior hiding a behind a pseudonym?

          • Newton Unthank

            You’re the troll, “Dave”. What sort of “honest man” conceals his “honest opinions”?

    • Mow_the_Grass

      Go over to Gatestone for a good read on this.

  • Bonkim

    You cannot fight a nebulous idea that ISIS is. The way to fight ISIS is to motivate the regional powers Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to to take up arms against them and put manpower on the ground. Unless these Sunni lot are threatened nothing will happen.

    The West should withdraw all humanitarian aid from the region and let the two sides fight to the finish. Then bomb the winner. Neither side is a friend of Western democracies.

  • Johnny Foreigner

    Islam + muslims are not the problem, but the Liberal Progressives that run the US, the EU and one of its local councils the UK. Lying beneath the Progressives are their supporters, the general public mongs, these caring, sharing, kind, ignorant and uneducated throng are more worried about the Mediterranean Boat People, rather than look at what is happening to their own country.

    • Kennybhoy

      Spot on.

  • Gerschwin

    Seems to me the Kurds have given a pretty good example how to deal with ISIS and have very effectively burst the ISIS bubble – up against determined men, well trained or otherwise, ISIS proves to be weak. Iraqi soldiers will no more die for their leaders than Syrians ones I suspect is the issue, whereas Kurds will die, and will die horribly if they have to, for their country and their people – there is a lesson in that.

    • Kennybhoy

      “Iraqi soldiers will no more die for their leaders than Syrians …”

      The Iran-Iraq War? Emek HaBakha?

      • Gerschwin

        Good point, but I wonder did they die for Iraq in the war or out of fear of Saddam Hussein, I have no idea, I’m not qualified to answer that – just seems to me when one puts up a real fight Kurd style then ISIS are quite effectively beaten.

        • Kennybhoy

          In respect of the Iran-Iraq War there is some truth in what you say. Much less so in respect of the Golan. I have friends who fought against the Syrians in the Vale of Tears and who have the greatest respect for their courage. Although a lot can change in a people in forty odd years, Jesus just look Britain and the wider West… 🙂

          • EasyStreet

            I’m sure you know what motivated Syrian troops fighting the J… sorry, Israelis in Golan…

          • Kennybhoy

            Antisemitism? Aye it was in the mix, but it was by no means the only motivation back then…

  • Kennybhoy

    “The British government thought that, with enough money and determination, we could, as Tony Blair said, ‘reorder this world around us’. It turns out that reordering Iraq — never mind the world — is much harder than anticipated. ”

    Aye that was the rhetoric but in actual fact we tried to do it on the cheap and at, a deeper level, we as a society/culture lack the spine and the stamina for this sort of work. The current parlous situation is the result of our precipitate withdrawal not of our intervention.

  • Kennybhoy

    “Twelve years ago the public in Britain — as in Europe and America — were bitterly divided over the wisdom of invading Iraq. It is a still suppurating wound.”

    Nope. Only among the chatterati and would-be chatterati.

  • William_Brown

    Let the Caliphate prosper in the M.E. Encourage, insist even, that ISIS sympathisers leave the UK, and the rest of Europe, to join their promised land. The time of trying to accommodate, placate and pander to these people in the hope that they will become modernised and integrated has long been rendered as wishful thinking.

  • Diggery Whiggery

    We won the last world war largely because we had a leader that was capable of doing what was necessary to win however unpleasant it may have been. However, we would not have won had Chamberlain not tried to appease Hitler first. If we had tried to nip Nazi Germany in the bud and fought a war preemptively public support would would not have held up. Indeed we even lost the first skirmishes because we were defending someone else’s country and not our own. Only when we faced no other option did we manage to pull it together.

    What Blair did was try and bypass the appeasement phase where you try every other option and just attacked. That means the aggressor got to play the victim and that now we fail to see that we have no other option but to fight.

    The home front now has to be secured and that means drawing crude lines between friend and foe. The foes have to be excluded not just monitored. Only then will be able to fight this war and fight it right.

    • WFC

      The defining moment of modern western resolve and determination was Somalia. Where the American army was driven out by a third world warlord.

  • logdon

    Apparently not Obama’s


    Looks like it’s nothing to see, we’re winning, please move along.

    • WFC

      Mark Steyn has posed the question “if Obama wanted to help America’s enemies, what would he be doing differently?”.

  • I think ISIS are weak and can be broken easily. The sinister truth is – certain global powers do not want them destroyed. We need to ask why.

  • Cyril Sneer

    “What can be done about the jihadist death cult’s growing power?”

    Well we could…

    1) Get shot of Obama, you will note the ‘shot’.

    2) Stop the Saudi’s, Qatari’s and Turks from supporting the same sub-human pieces of c r a p that we were all too happy to bomb ten years previous in the now forgotten ‘war on terror’.

    3) With a nod to 2, close the Turkish border, you know that NATO member that for the last 4 years have allowed Jihadists and their weapons and ammo free movement across the Turkish border in attempt to remove a secular leader and if they succeed they will slaughter anyone who isn’t a wahabi nutcase, man women or child.

    4) Start talking about the devastating effect this support for inhuman savages has had on religious minorities (the ones that are left) throughout North Africa and the ME and how much of it is down to our support for diabolical states like Saudi Arabia.

    5) Take a good hard look at our leaders in the west and remove them in a bloody coup.

    6) Hang Blair.

    Some of these points might help to hurt ISIS whilst others just need to be done..

    • EasyStreet

      I agree with the general direction of your prescription apart from 1). If you take a very broad look at Obama’s foreign policy, his general message is ‘get out of the Middle East and focus on the Pacific’. Now obviously he can’t just do this in one abrupt stroke of the pen, he’s had to take a very nuanced and slow approach to it and has suffered some reverses along the way (e.g. through misjudging the likely outcome of the Arab Spring). Obama is not promoting Islamism, as some allege – I read his policy as a return to the hard-headed realism of Nixon and Kissinger, when they tried to set up Iran and Saudi Arabia as the two mutually-deterring guarantors of stability in the Gulf. That didn’t work because of the 1979 revolution and opened the door for Saddam to seek dominance over the region… but Obama now figures that the US’s oil resources are now such that he can leave the region to fight like rats in a sack. The US action we see today is the minimum he can get away with without appearing to be totally cynical in the Kissinger mould, IMHO.

      The true conflict that the West should be worried about is ideological, not military, and it actually helps us win that conflict if our rival protagonists expose their internal contradictions in their own backyard, beyond the reach of the debate-stifling effects of the western liberal orthodoxy.

  • Roger Hudson

    So all that talk about ‘ISIS on the back foot’ was just wishful nonsense, where are all those Syrian gas bombs when they are really needed?
    We need to commit troops now, to our borders and ISIL infiltrated towns.

    • Cyril Sneer

      “where are all those Syrian gas bombs when they are really needed?”

      Ask the rebels, they may still have some leftovers from their Ghouta chemical attack.

  • Sten vs Bren

    “Isis are in many ways our worst possible enemy. As they grow in size and strength, the challenge they present becomes more serious and complex. It is time for the Prime Minister to start thinking about his options.”

    What options are they, then?

    • WFC

      To find new and better ways of saying “nothing to do with Islam” and “Islam is a religion of peace”?

      • Sten vs Bren

        I’m not sure that will really strike terror in to the rampaging hoards.

        • Cyril Sneer


          Unless you’re saying we have a problem with collecting useless bits of tat and filling the country up with it…..

          Oh I know your comment was about immigration, now it makes sense!

          • Sten vs Bren

            Much oblijed.

  • Cyril Sneer

    With a bit of luck this could all turn against Saudi Arabia – they’re quite happy to bomb Houthi rebels in Yemen, but had no problems with ISIS/AQ to expanding in Yemen, Syria and anywhere else apart from their own backyard.

    They’re playing a dangerous game and they don’t have the strength or popularity back home should something similiar happen to them as it has done to Assad.

  • Feminister

    One option is colonising Mars. How many trips would it take to ship all the earth’s men there? Can we harness the energy from fighting and talking about it somehow to supply earth? Like a kind of testosterone conversion plant? How many calories of energy are there per ounce?

    • Cyril Sneer

      So you hate men. Is this due to you being pig ugly or that you just have absolutely nothing of worth going for you?

    • Sten vs Bren

      Obvious agent provocateur.

  • mrsjosephinehydehartley

    Our worst enemy is fear of fear,especially when we crave it, too, I think.

  • Mow_the_Grass

    Right now IS is a nice counterbalance to Iranian backed shia proxy forces ie Hezbollah led by al Quds/Basij
    As the conflict get closer to Damascus this will heat up nicely.
    At that point – time to put the popcorn on and sit back

  • Des Demona

    Anyone who wants to go and join ISIS should be allowed to go. In fact I wouldn’t object to chipping in for their travel costs – on the proviso that they are not allowed back. Stupidity of that magnitude is something the gene pool can well do without.

  • bugalugs2

    Go back, but this time with the kid gloves off …

  • Ambientereal

    A solution? there is none. Since we beheaded the dictatorships that kept islam in bounds, is has gone free and became unstoppable. The best thing we can do is watch our region to avoid more muslim immigration and keep an eye on the ones that are already in. If we are lucky, jihadists will kill each other so, that the remaining population will take years to compensate the killings. I don´t understand the inaction of Saudis and other rich islamic countries, because, after Iraq they will be the target of ISIL. Even Iran is at risk when surrounded by sunni Afgans, Pakis and Irak.

  • LittleRedRidingHood

    The simple fact is no one is prepared to do what it takes for total and utter victory.
    No one has the stomach.
    Total victory means all out war. High civilian casualties but a routed enemy that either surrenders or is totally destroyed.
    Japan and Germany experienced this in ww2. They capitulated as a result.
    The victory was total and final however unpalatable

  • English_Independence_Movement

    No no no, the Liberal Elite are our worst possible enemy.

  • Bertie

    The solution is simple – do what we should have done post WW1.

    Split Iraq into three separate parts along sectarian lines.

    Independent Kurdistan, A Shia South,Sunni North.

    Let West arm the Kurds directly with the latest weaponry as they’re the only ones with any bravery it seems who are willing to fight till the bitter end(even when out numbered,and facing an enemy with modern equipment whilst they have little)

    Let the Iranians underwrite Baghdad and the govt of Abadi – let the Saudis bankroll the Sunnis. If ISIS wants to attack Baghdad – so be it. If Abdai falls, so be it.

    A fully equipped and properly trained Army willing to actually fight(unlike the coawardly Iraqi army we currently see – trained,given the most epxensiv quipment that they leave s ofast is their retreat) is more than a match for ISIS – look what the YPG did in Kobane. Look how the Kurds have fared in comparison.

    The only reasons ISIS has made such a remarkable conquest of the region is because Iraqi disunity, and an army unwilling to fight despite having superior equipment. Foreign troops on the ground are not needed.