Sunday, March 13, 2016

Islamic State

3,000 or 1,000 ISIS in Afghanistan? Most analysts say that the Islamic State has about 3,000 fighters in Afghanistan. Mostly in Nangarhar province. However, the IS has been taken some losses. The Taliban are getting after ISIS in eastern Afghanistan. The 201st Corps is taking the fight to ISIS. And, in addition, lots of drones are attacking ISIS positions from the sky. Looks like ISIS is caught between a rock and a hard place. Nice to see good things happen on the security front for a change. Outgoing Resolute Support HQs commander, General John Campbell, says that the current ISIS strength in Afghanistan is more likely 1,000. If true, that is good news.

"Follow the Money" is now "Destroy the Money". The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq had for a long time enjoyed financial success. It had installed a tax system, gained money from oil proceeds, and took control of banks with millions of dollars. Now it appears that repeated air strikes against the oil fields and ISIS controlled banks plus a plunging economic situation in Syria has made the finances of ISIS less robust. In fact, the group is now offering captured women as payment to some of its members and ensuring that these women are on birth control to ensure payments can be made on a regular basis. Read more in "The Islamic State's Money Problems", RAND Corporation Blog, March 5, 2016.

West Lacking a Strategy to Defeat ISIS. Michael W. S. Ryan of the Jamestown Foundation has penned a short article examining the Islamic States strengths and weaknesses. He says that while we have made some significant gains in the battle against ISIS we still lack a comprehensive strategy to defeat the organization and we lack a strategic narrative to stop its metastasis. Read more in "The ISIS Paradox: Strength in Weakness", The CIPHER Brief, March 10, 2016.

SOF Scoffing up Prisoners. So . . . we can't put our captured terrorists into Guantanamo anymore (because President Obama won't do it); so perhaps we keep them a while (for interrogation) and then pass them on to someone else. Well, . . .  I guess that is the plan. Read "U.S. Detentions of ISIL Members in Iraq Will be Short-Term Only"DoD News, March 9, 2016. See also "US military won't hold detainees more than 30 days", Fox News Politics, March 11, 2016.

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