ISIS Success in Iraq and Syria: Strategic Ramifications

(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University) Kobi Michael and Udi Dekel - The takeover of northern and northwest Iraq by ISIS is further evidence of the growing strength of the radical jihadists. The Sunni attack has resulted in the disappearance of the Syrian-Iraqi border and has provided a tailwind for ISIS forces in Syria and strengthened their hold on the country's eastern sector. Captured U.S. weapons, especially anti-tank missiles and armored vehicles, are being moved to Syria. It is only a matter of time before ISIS gears up for an attack on southern Syria and the capital city of Damascus. Jordan is confronting a growing number of cells of jihadist organizations infiltrating the state under the guise of refugees and through assistance and supply channels to the rebels in Syria. Jordan needs a clear strategic military ally. Although it cannot admit it openly, its only such ally is apparently Israel. What is needed now is a joint U.S.-European effort (with low-profile Israeli involvement) to strengthen Jordan both economically and militarily. Israel must continue to prepare for a scenario in which recent events spill over its borders. As such, it will have to prevent the penetration of influence by Islamist-jihadist elements. The time may have come to prepare conceptually as well as practically for the formation of a new organizing principle of the Syrian-Iraqi region, whose main point would be the dissolution of existing nation states and the establishment of ethnic nations: Alawite in western Syria, Kurdish in northern Iraq and Syria, a Sunni nation in northwest Iraq and northeast Syria, and a Shiite state in central and southern Iraq. Kobi Michael served as deputy director and head of the Palestinian desk at the Israel Ministry for Strategic Affairs. Brig. Gen. (ret.) Udi Dekel served as head of the IDF Strategic Planning Division.

2014-06-25 00:00:00

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