Week of September 13th, 2014

Executive Summary

 

ISIS was clearly the issue of the week at the Washington think tank community looked forward to Obama’s Wednesday evening address to the nation on ISIS.  Needless to say, much of the commentary was on this subject and what each think tank thought was the most important strategy to pursue.

The Monitor Analysis looks at the speech and notes that it was more political than a cohesive plan to destroy ISIS.  Not only did the White House not consult many key allies before the speech, it was vague in specifics.  And, the specifics mentioned are unlikely to defeat ISIS by themselves.  Consequently, the speech must be seen as an attempt to fight the falling approval numbers of the president in the run up to the mid-term elections in 7 weeks.

 

Think Tanks Activity Summary

American Enterprise Institute scholars react to Obama’s speech – mostly negatively.  One scholar, Michael Rubin noted, “Nor does Obama realize that pinprick strikes are never enough. My colleague Katie Zimmerman has talked about the fallacy of the Yemen model. Somalia, too, is no example. That country is stabilizing not because of limited airstrikes, but rather because the African Union occupied the country to fight Al-Shabaab where they ate and slept.  It’s good to have a strategy. But national security should never be sacrificed upon the altar of diplomatic whimsy, political correctness, or twisted history.”

The Carnegie Endowment notes that defeating ISIS will require cooperation between Saudi Arabia.  In noting the difficulties, they say, “However, despite sharing animosity toward the Islamic State with Iran, Saudi Arabia is still concerned about what would happen if the group were eradicated as the situation in Iraq and Syria currently stands. In Syria, the Assad regime is stronger than the moderate opposition, while Iraq still has not formed a national unity government. The eradication of the Islamic State without alternatives to the Assad regime and to a Shia-dominated government in Baghdad would mean the survival of Iran’s two allies in those countries. The continuation of the political status quo in Syria and Iraq would consolidate Iran’s influence in the region.”

The Brookings Institution looks at the inconsistencies of Obama’s policy towards ISIS over the last year.  They suggest that Obama be clear on the threat posed by ISIS and realistic about the difficulty of destroying them, and explain how to prevent similar groups from emerging in the aftermath of their defeat.

The CSIS looks at the factors that govern and limit Obama’s actions against ISIS.  “They note, “Limited U.S. airpower may be able to contain the Islamic State, but it will take a far larger air campaign to defeat it in Iraq and a campaign that strikes targets in Syria to have any chance of reducing the Islamic State back to a small extremist faction with only limited support. In practice, air power must be extended well beyond targeting forward IS combat elements and strike at the entire leadership, military forces, key cadres, and key strategic political and economic centers of IS operations. This will, however, take time if the United States is to minimize civilian casualties and collateral damage. It will require creating an extremely sophisticated intelligence, targeting, and damage assessment capability. And, it can only succeed even in Iraq if the Iraqi government and Iraqi forces make the previous kinds of reform.”

The Center for American Progress looks at strategies for defeating ISIS.  Amongst their many suggestions, they mention, “A successful U.S. strategy will require reinvigorated support for Syrian opposition forces to establish a third way that is opposed to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime on one side and ISIS on the other. This reinvigorated support should include the $500 million of additional assistance that President Obama proposed in June. With 10 nations agreeing to work together against ISIS during the NATO summit in Wales and the Arab League announcing a joint commitment to fight ISIS, the foundation for such international cooperation is taking shape. These countries—including the United Kingdom, Germany, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—should match their commitment on paper with financial and material resources to complement the resources committed by the United States in the fight against ISIS.”

The Cato Institute argues for a limited strategy to defeat ISIS.  They conclude, “Simply put, a full-scale ground war with U.S. troops doing most of the fighting isn’t necessary. ISIS currently presents, at worst, a minor and manageable threat to U.S. security. The group has many enemies, and they are growing more determined to resist it by the day. If ISIS expands the territory under its control, it will acquire even more enemies. If it attempts to consolidate control in the territory it already has, it will engender resistance and opposition, as al Qaeda did in western Iraq in 2006.  There is a military mission available—targeted air strikes against ISIS extremists, and military assistance to Kurdish and Iraqi forces taking the fight to them on the ground—that can degrade ISIS’s capabilities, and complicate its now very limited ability to attack the United States. The president should focus upon that narrow mission, and resist the calls to launch the U.S. military on yet another quixotic nation-building crusade in the Middle East.”

The Foreign Policy Research Institute looks at ISIS’s sophisticated electronic media outreach.  They note, “gruesome videos are interspersed with those explaining that IS is governing for the benefit of Muslims in the areas that it controls. Scenes of food distribution, medical care, giving of alms, and devout mass prayer are common, and produced in a style reminiscent of USAID and Peace Corps documentaries extolling the virtues of United States foreign aid programs. These videos, narrated and subtitled in English, are aimed at Western professionals, and explain that it is now a duty of Muslims to emigrate to the IS to care for its people and to help build and expand the new Caliphate, which the leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, proclaimed on June 29, 2014. A sister publication, “IS Report” features English language articles about how the IS has established an office of Consumer Protection, and how it operates seminars to train imams in the Wahabi doctrines of Shaikh Ali Al-Khudair, a Saudi cleric famous for his fatwa in 2001 calling on his followers to rejoice in the 9/11 attacks. IS Report also features photos of executions for violation of Islamic law, battlefield victories, and of new recruits from around the world.”

The German Marshall Fund talks about the anti-immigrant attitude in Turkey.  As immigrants in Turkey became more visible, so did a previously hidden problem: the intolerance of Turkish citizens toward immigrants. Several surveys reveal that Turkish citizens have a less than welcoming attitude regarding immigrants, and this attitude is often fanned by politicians and the media. This policy brief explains the reasons for this and recommends actions to reverse this trend.

 

 

ANALYSIS

 

Obama Attempts to Manage ISIS Crisis

Obama’s speech addressing ISIS on Wednesday wasn’t an attempt to defeat ISIS and its threat to the Middle East as much as it was political and an attempt to manage domestic political considerations.  In fact, one column on the speech was titled, “Obama Declares War on His Bad Poll Numbers.”

After first calling ISIS a junior varsity team and then blithely telling reporters that he had no strategy to handle ISIS, Obama has seen his ratings plummet.  A Fox News poll released the day after the speech showed that voters don’t think Obama can handle foreign policy. Only 34 percent of those surveyed approve of Obama’s handling of foreign policy and 59 percent think the U.S. is less respected today than when Obama took office. Among independents, key voting groups that will swing this year’s midterm election, a full 67 percent feel the U.S. is less respected. Even 35 percent of Democrats now agree the U.S. has lost respect, compared with just 20 percent who think the U.S. is more respected.

Even worse for Obama, an increasing number of voters no longer take him seriously on foreign policy. An astonishing 55 percent of voters say they feel embarrassed that Obama hasn’t articulated a strategy to combat ISIS until now.  A Gallup poll also released on Thursday showed that only 32 percent of Americans think that Obama and the Democrats can protect America from terrorist and military threats.  55 percent think the Republicans can do a better job.

These aren’t numbers that Obama wants to see just weeks before the mid term elections that could give control of the Senate to the Republicans.

It was this political reality that forced Obama to address ISIS rather than his desire to truly defeat it.  In fact, the need for political damage control was most obvious as Obama repeatedly used the word, “strategy” in his speech in order to follow up his statement two weeks ago that, “We don’t have a strategy yet” to confront ISIS in Syria.

The domestic aspect of the speech was quickly highlighted in the hours following the speech, when Britain, Germany, and Turkey indicated that they wouldn’t participate.  In fact, Germany indicated it wasn’t even consulted.  German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told a news conference in Berlin Thursday that Germany has not been asked to take part in the air strikes and would not be participating. “To be quite clear, we have not been asked to do so and neither will we do so,” Steinmeier said.

If the speech had been a well thought out attempt to rally international support to stop ISIS, these allies would have been consulted beforehand and been “onboard” before the speech was made.  By not consulting them, the White House clearly showed that the speech was mainly for domestic political consumption.

The speech itself was broad in tone and lacking in details.  Obama said ISIS poses a threat to Iraq, Syria and the broader Middle East – including American citizens, personnel and facilities.  “If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region, including to the United States,” he said. “While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies. Our intelligence community believes that thousands of foreigners – including Europeans and some Americans – have joined them in Syria and Iraq. Trained and battle-hardened, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks.

“I know many Americans are concerned about these threats. Tonight, I want you to know that the United States of America is meeting them with strength and resolve.”

The president announced “a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy” to “degrade, and ultimately destroy,” ISIS.  “First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists,” he said. “Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense…Second, we will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground.”

Obama also pledged the U.S. would continue to draw on counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIS attacks by cutting off its funding, improving intelligence, strengthening U.S. defenses and stemming the flow of foreign fighters into and out of the Middle East.  “And in two weeks, I will chair a meeting of the U.N. Security Council to further mobilize the international community around this effort,” he added.

Lastly, Obama said the U.S. would provide humanitarian aid to civilians, including Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities who have been driven from their homes.

Will the Obama Strategy Work?

One way to judge the potential for success is to look at the reaction by America’s NATO allies.  That alone should cause worry as Britain, Germany, and Turkey have already said they will not participate in the bombing of Syria.  This indicates that contrary to the implications in the speech about a broad coalition, many nations are leery about the Obama strategy.

One problem was the lack of details on defeating ISIS and the limited effort being made by the US.  Obama did not announce any new actions, beyond sending fewer than 500 military members to Iraq, and repeated request for Congress to fund training of Syrian opposition forces. He said “I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria,” but cautioned that “it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL.”

Obama insisted that this limited involvement in the region would work and gave the examples of Somalia and Yemen as proof that this strategy would bear fruit.  The problem is that these two countries are not the best examples of America’s victory over terrorism.

Admittedly, the US has had some successes in Yemen and Somalia while limiting the monetary cost and not exposing Americans to combat situations.  However, these are not overwhelming successes that imply a future victory against ISIS.

America has successfully used drones to kill many terrorists in Yemen and Somalia, but hasn’t destroyed or even significantly degraded terrorist capabilities of the key groups in either country.  In addition, both countries are almost as unstable as they were five years ago.  Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) remains a terrorist threat. Its leader, Nasser al Wahayshi, became al Qaeda’s general manager in August 2013, in fact. Its threats caused the closure of over 20 U.S. diplomatic posts across the Middle East and North Africa at that time. Its bomb maker, Ibrahim al Asiri, was behind a threat to U.S. airlines just over six months ago. AQAP is still trying to kill Americans and continues to probe U.S. security for a chance to do so.

 

It’s hard to call that success.

In the meantime, American drone attacks that have killed civilians have cost the US dearly in the region.

Another problem with the Obama strategy is the overreliance on air power and the unwillingness to commit forces to the ground war.

It has been a military axiom since World War Two that despite modern technology like missiles, aircraft, and precision targeting, it is still the soldier who must occupy and hold the ground.  By relying on surgical air strikes, Obama is forced to rely upon frequently untrained and potentially unreliable forces to occupy the ground in Iraq and Syria.  Admittedly, nearly 500 American Special forces soldiers will go into the area to train Kurds and other militia members, but those trainees will not be ready for combat operations for many months.

The other problem with the military aspect of the new Obama strategy is that he insists on treating ISIS like a terrorist cell instead of a quasi-nation.  ISIS controls and governs enormous territory in Iraq and Syria.  It has a conventional army that though lightly armed compared to traditional Western armies, is supported by armored vehicles and has the potential to field tanks and even some military aircraft.  It has combat experience – ranging from guerrilla warfare to conventional set piece tactics.  It has also fought and defeated several regular military units from Iraq, Syria, and Kurdistan.

Not only is ISIS not a terrorist organization, its goals are more akin to those of a nation state than a group of terrorists.  ISIS has stated that it wants to conquer the territory of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan,” Israel”, and the Palestinian Territories.  This means it needs to be attacked like a country rather than a terrorist cell.

This is something that the American people understand.  According to the Fox News poll, Obama’s strategy to treat ISIS like a large terrorist organization and to combat the group using air power and surrogate forces on the ground generates some skepticism. “By nearly two-to-one, voters think it will take boots on the ground to defeat ISIS (51 percent) rather than airstrikes alone,” reports Fox News pollster Dana Blanton.

This brings us back to the original purpose of the speech – to stop Obama’s plummeting popularity.

In order for the speech to reverse Obama’s foreign policy weaknesses, he must be perceived as being serious and taking a course that will solve the problem.  However, American voters clearly think that defeating ISIS will require more action by the US than Obama is willing to take.  By that standard alone, the speech will be considered a failure.

Obama is clearly out of his depth when dealing with ISIS.  Although warned about its threat over a year ago, he ignored the problem and downplayed it when questioned about it.  He has consistently refused to take the advice of experts on dealing with the radical Islamic threat posed by the unrest in Syria and Iraq.  His actions up to this point have been purely for domestic political consumption rather than national or international security concerns.

This speech is merely the latest attempt to politically neutralize an international threat that threatens to shift the US Senate into Republican hands.

Unless ISIS starts to collapse from internal forces, the course set out by Obama this week will not guarantee their defeat.  In the end, Obama’s war on ISIS and his bad poll numbers will both be failures.

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

Nation Building Isn’t Needed to Fight ISIS

By Christopher A. Preble

Cato Institute

September 10, 2014

In his speech to the American people tonight, President Obama aims to build support for a protracted military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).  It doesn’t have to be a hard sell. A majority of Americans support a military response—though not U.S. troops on the ground. Very few are content with allowing ISIS to spread its influence with impunity, especially after the brutal killing of the American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. The group has effectively declared itself an enemy of the United States, and there is growing support for action against the group before it even attempts an attack on the U.S. homeland (something that it appears only to be aspiring to, as opposed to actively planning for).

Read more

 

 

Key Factors Shaping the President’s Islamic State Speech

By Anthony H. Cordesman

Center for Strategic and International Studies

September 9, 2014

Commentary

There are several critical aspects of the U.S. strategy in Iraq that the President may not be able to address in full. They will, however, be critical to what the United States can and cannot do in the future.  The United States Already Has a Strategy.  The real world context is important. The President is now trapped to some extent by his previous misstatement about the United States not having a strategy. Anyone who looks seriously at the timeline of U.S. action will see he is now formally announcing a strategy that the United States not only had already developed in July, but partly begun to implement after the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) first made major gains back in December 2013. At the same time, there are many good reasons the President needs to be cautious about what he says and not speak too openly about the details.

Read more

 

 

Obama’s ISIS speech: AEI scholars react

American Enterprise Institute

September 11, 2014

Let’s get one thing clear: it’s not the job of the president of the United States to determine what Islam is or is not, what Christianity is or is not, and what Judaism is or is not. Religion is what its practitioners believe it to be. That President Obama begins with a politically correct paean and only addresses the Islamic State’s ideology as a passing thought later on undercuts the seriousness of a very good speech, one that calls for the Islamic State’s defeat without any artificial timeline and recognizes that a return to Bashar Assad’s rule is no option.  The problem lies with Obama’s inability to separate theory from reality. Alliances may sound good on paper, but they can also be an Achilles’ heel: Turkey has become Pakistan on the Med, saying one thing to our diplomats while coddling the adversaries we fight behind our backs. Most jihadis transit Turkey and cross the Turkish border for the cost of a $40 bribe. Trust Saudi Arabia with running counter radicalization programs? That’s like having Bernie Madoff teach accounting.

Read more

 

 

Defeating the Islamic State Requires a Saudi-Iranian Compromise

By Lina Khatib

Carnegie Endowment

September 3, 2014

Airstrikes are intensifying on areas of Iraq held by the militant Islamic State, and the group has beheaded a second American hostage. But clear indications of a strategy to tackle the escalating Islamic State problem are hard to find. Indeed, in a statement in late August, U.S. President Barack Obama affirmed that the United States did not yet have a strategy to combat this militant threat.  The president did, however, single out further cooperation with “Sunni partners” against the Islamic State. Such regional partnerships are necessary, but putting such an emphasis on Sunni players misses a crucial component without which no strategy against the Islamic State will succeed: finding a way to appease the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

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The Islamic State’s Electronic Outreach

By Lawrence Husick

Foreign Policy Research Institute

September 2014

Over the past several months the world has witnessed a new media creation of jihadis – al Hayat (“life”) Media Center (not to be confused with the liberal pan-Arab newspaper of the same name) – and has seen a new level of sophistication in messaging and brutality in content, and of effectiveness in communication. In print through the glossy online magazine “Dabiq” and on the Internet in video bearing the al Hayat brand, the victories of the new mujahideen (holy fighters) of the “Islamic State” and their efforts to “purify” dar al Islam (the lands of Islam) are glorified and chronicled. These media efforts have effectively silenced most other jihadi channels, and have drowned out all efforts of the West to counter this Internet onslaught.

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Unwanted, Unwelcome: Anti-Immigration Attitudes in Turkey

By Emre Erdogan

German Marshall Fund

September 10, 2014

Until the spread of the Arab Spring and the conflict in Syria, Turkey was known as a “sending” country in terms of international migration. When it was founded in 1924, around 60 percent of the citizens of the young Turkish republic were either first or second-generation immigrants from the former Ottoman realms.  More recently, according to available statistics, only 2 percent of Turkey’s population immediately before the Arab Spring consisted of immigrants and the majority of those were from ex-Ottoman territories, such as Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bulgaria.  Immigrants became visible in Turkey when the direction of migration flow changed.

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Obama Changed His Mind about Syria, Now He Needs to Explain Why

By William McCants

Brookings Institution

September 10, 2014

A year ago today, President Obama addressed the American public. In his speech, the president explained why the United States should attack Syria to punish its ruler for ignoring Obama’s warning not to use chemical weapons. But a war-weary American public balked and the president ultimately decided against military action. Today, the president is again going to argue for military action inside Syria and this time the American public supports him. But instead of initiating attacks on a sovereign state, we contemplate extending a weeks-old war against an insurgent pretender to statehood.  The Islamic State has been around for a while and, despite sharing the global jihadi ideology that calls for the destruction of the United States, the president and the American public were not too worried about it previously. What changed the president’s calculations and those of the public are the Islamic State’s actions this summer. The group took over large swathes of territory in Iraq, prompting the president to launch airstrikes to halt their advance on the capital of our allies in Baghdad. When the group responded by beheading American journalists, American support for military action against them soared.

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Defeating ISIS: An Integrated Strategy to Advance Middle East Stability

By Brian Katulis, Hardin Lang, and Vikram Singh

Center for American Progress

September 10, 2014

U.S. airstrikes in Iraq against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, have been an important step to contain the rise of the extremist group, respond to immediate threats to U.S. citizens in Iraq, and prevent possible acts of genocide. These airstrikes enabled Iraqis to resist ISIS and bought time for the Iraqi government to begin building a more inclusive administration under a new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi.* But as the Center for American Progress noted in a June report, U.S. military action needs to be just one part of a long-term multinational political and security strategy in the region.  The new strategy should aim to contain and degrade ISIS and enable regional partners to continue to build the tools needed to defeat ISIS’s movement with international support. This report outlines actions to advance three core strategic goals:

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Mounzer A. Sleiman Ph.D.
Center for American and Arab Studies
Think Tanks Monitor

www.thinktankmonitor.org

C: 202 536 8984             C: 301 509 4144

التحليل 09-13-2014

:التحليل

اوباما يستنجد بداعش لانقاذ رئاسته وحزبه من السقوط

وتحضير المسرح للعدوان على سورية

سبر اغوار خطاب الرئيس اوباما

          سورية، وان غاب حضورها، هي الهدف غير المعلن في خطاب الرئيس اوباما، وجموع التكفيريين من داعش واخواتها ومشتقاتها هم الادوات التي تنوي “الاستراتيجية” الاميركية استخدامها في اعادة رسم خارطة الوطن العربي والاقليم في طبعته الجديدة. داعش مجرد ورقة او وسيلة من وسائل الضغط تستخدم عند الحاجة، وتُركن جانبا عند انتفائها. السفير والمستشار الاميركي الاسبق لأقليم كردستان العراق، بيتر غالبريث، اوضح ان “الدولة الاسلامية تخدم الجهود (الغربية) في قتال نظامين مدعومين من ايران في العراق وسورية”

          في البعد المحلي الداخلي، شكل الخطاب بعد طول انتظار محاولة لمحاكاة الاعتبارات السياسية المحلية، في ظل مناخ الانتخابات القادمة، عبرت عنه احد الصحف الكبرى بعنونة افتتاحيتها “اوباما يعلن الحرب على نتائج الاستطلاع المتردية.” وهو يفسر ايضا مغزى تكرار الرئيس اوباما استخدام مصطلح “استراتيجية” في خطابه لتعديل تصريحه السابق بأن بلاده “لا يتوفر لديها استراتيجية” واضحة المعالم للتصدي لداعش

          دأبت استطلاعات الرأي المحلية، في الآونة الاخيرة، على ابراز تدني نسبة الدعم الشعبي للرئيس اوباما سيما وان “عددا كبيرا منهم لا يأخذ تصريحاته حول السياسة الخارجية على محمل الجد .. واعربت نسبة مذهلة منهم، 55%، عن حرجهم وارتباكهم من عدم توصل الرئيس اوباما لبلورة استراتيجية للتصدي للدولة الاسلامية لحين اللحظة.” تأييد الرئيس اوباما لم يتعدى نسبة 32% من الاميركيين، عشية القائه خطابه؛ وهو يدرك بوعي تام تداعيات ذلك على نتائج الحملة الانتخابية المقبلة

          خطاب اوباما تتضمن العديد من المفردات والمفاهيم المبهمة التي ستشوش الوعي العام الاميركي، بتركيزه على المصطلحات المتعددة لتنظيم داعش وهمجيته، بينما في الحقيقة كان يرمي لحشد الدعم الشعبي بكافة اطيافه لشن “جولة” جديدة من الحروب الدموية في المنطقة، يورثها لخليفته المقبل، بالتساوق لما ورثه عن سلفه جورج بوش الابن. الاستاذ الجامعي فيجاي براشاد اوجز الخطاب بأنه “مربك جدا وانطوى على لغة خطابية متقنة تخلو من مفاهيم استراتيجية” يمكن البناء عليها. ومضى موضحا ان “الدولة الاسلامية توفر مبررا بتوقيت مريح لشن غزو دموي آخر يتبعه عدد من سنوات الاحتلال والتدجين والترويض والمقاومة”

          حذر الرئيس اوباما الشعب الاميركي والغربي عموما من خطورة عدم التصدي لداعش. “هؤلاء الارهابيون باستطاعتهم تشكيل تهديد ينمو خارج حدود تلك المنطقة – ومن ضمنها الولايات المتحدة .. لن اتردد باتخاذ ما يلزم من اجراءات ضد الدولة الاسلامية في سورية، والعراق ايضا ..” بينما في الواقع ناقضه الرأي بعض اركان ادارته، احداهن جنيفر لاسلي، ضابط استخبارات في وزارة الأمن الداخلي، قائلة ان “الدولة الاسلامية لا تشكل خطورة على الولايات المتحدة في المدى المنظور،” في شهادة ادلت بها امام اللجنة الفرعية للأمن الداخلي في مجلس النواب. المفارقة ان شهادتها وشهادات مماثلة لآخرين جاءت قبل بضع ساعات من القاء اوباما خطابه المذكور

          وعليه، يمكننا القول ان الحرب العدوانية الثالثة على العراق قد اتضحت معالمها، وانعشت مرة اخرى احلام المحافظين الجدد بنسخة اوباما، لتقسيم العراق وفق محاصصة طائفية وعرقية. ما يعزز ذلك هو افصاح اوباما واركان ادارته بأن “الحملة ضد الدولة الاسلامية” ستستغرق بضع سنين، الى ما بعد انتهاء ولايته الرئاسية. جدير بالذكر ان دوائر صنع القرار، لا سيما في المعسكر الصناعي الحربي، روجت لاحتلال العراق منذ زمن باعتباره “منصة انطلاق تكتيكية” لخدمة اهداف اعادة رسم حدود منطقة الشرق الاوسط برمتها. (في هذا الصدد يرجى مراجعة اصدارات مؤسسة راند بتاريخ 6 آب 2002)

تردد وقلق في الغرب

          روج الرئيس اوباما وكافة الوسائل الاعلامية الاميركية للتحالف الدولي المزمع انشاؤه بمشاركة دول غربية وعربية واقليمية، تُوِّج بارسال وزير الخارجية جون كيري الى الرياض لجمع شمل الحلفاء المقربين؛ وسارعت كل من المانيا وتركيا في الاعلان عن عدم مشاركتهما جهود الرئيس اوباما، ونفي بريطانيا لتصريح وزير خارجيتها بعد اعلانه عدم مشاركة بلاده؛ بل اوضحت المانيا في خطوة غير مسبوقة انه لم يتم استشارتها بهذا الخصوص. وقال وزير الخارجية الالماني، فرانك-ولتر شتاينماير، “دعوني اقول بكل وضوح، انه لم يطلب استشارتنا” في المساهمة بالغارات الجوية ضد مواقع داعش “ولن نقوم بذلك ايضا”

          “استراتيجية حلف اوباما” اوضحها الرئيس في خطابه بالقول بانها “استراتيجية شاملة ومستمرة لمكافحة الارهاب .. تنطوي اولا على شن حملة ممنهجة من الضربات الجوية .. وسنوسع نطاق جهودنا الى ابعد ما تقتضيه حماية مواطنينا (هناك) المنخرطين في عمليات الاغاثة الانسانية ..” في ذات السياق، كرس الرئيس اوباما خطة تقسيم المنطقة في خطابه الاعلامي عبر تكرار مصطلحاته ان المجتمعات العربية ما هي الا ثمة تجمعات “طائفية تشمل السنة والشيعة من المسلمين، والمسيحيين واقليات دينية اخرى ..”  وتعمد تغييب الهوية الوطنية والقومية اتساقا مع الاستراتيجية الاميركية بعيدة المدى

آفاق نجاح “استراتيجية اوباما”

          ردود فعل حلفاء اميركا في حلف الناتو أهم مؤشر على حقيقة ما يمور خلف الكواليس وظهر الى العلن، وما اعلان اهم اقطاب حلف الناتو، المانيا وبريطانيا وتركيا،ـ عن عدم مشاركتهم في حملة الغارات الجوية على الاراضي السورية الا دليل على هشاشة “استراتيجية” اوباما في اطلاق “حرب جديدة على الارهاب.” استثناء اوباما لروسيا وايران من هذه التشكيلة تدل على حقيقة اهداف اميركا والقلق من نواياها المبيتة بانها تسعى لاسقاط الدولة السورية بتوظيفها داعش اداة وذريعة لتنفيذ غارات جوية على اراضيها. وما تعيين اوباما لجنرال الحرب في افغانستان، جون آلان، للتنسيق بين القوات الخاصة والارهابيين والغارات الجوية الا دليل آخر على ان الاستراتيجية تقتضي استهداف سورية، تحت ذريعة ملاحقة داعش،ولبنان ربما الذي يروج لعمليات اغتيالات ستجري على اراضيه

          في هذا الصدد، يشير بعض المراقبين في العاصمة الاميركية الى توقيت اعلان الاستراتيجية، 11 أيلول/سبتمبر، سيما وان “الصدف” التاريخية نادرا ما اثبتت انها حقيقة صدفة. اوجه التشابه ليست من باب الترف الفكري، سيما وان 11 ايلول 2001 لا تزال تحوم حوله الشبهات بأنه منصة انطلاق اسفرت عن تكريس استفراد اميركا بالعالم ودمرت واحتلت دولا عربية عدة، من العراق الى ليبيا واليمن والصومال، الى الحروب الاخرى المناطة بالكيان الصهيوني، الى الاغتيالات بطائرات الدرونز .. الخ. الحادي عشر من ايلول اضحى اعلانا بالعدوان المفتوح غير مقيد بفترة زمنية

          شبكة فوكس نيوز اليمينية اظهرت ارتياحا مشروطا باستراتيجية اوباما استخدام سلاح الجو الاميركي بكثافة “مدعوم بقوات برية موالية،” بيد انها حذرته من نتائج استطلاعاتها للرأي التي تشير الى اعتقاد الغالبية من الشعب الاميركي، نحو الثلثين، بان نجاح الاستراتيجية ينطوي على نشر قوات اميركية برية لتحقيق هدف الحاق الهزيمة بداعش مع استمرار القصف الجوي المكثف

          تنبغي الاشارة في هذا السياق الى ما اضحى ممارسة ثابتة في الاغتيالات وثقتها وسائل الاعلام الاميركية، اذ يصغي الرئيس اوباما صباح كل يوم ثلاثاء الى تقارير رؤساء اجهزة الاستخبارات يستعرضون معه لائحة “الاغتيالات” المرشحة للمصادقة عليها وتنفيذها على الفور. من غير المستبعد ان تشمل تلك الاجراءات سورية في ظل “الاستراتيجية” الجديدة

          يحضرنا في هذه المناسبة ما سبق الاشارة اليه فيما يخص الاسلحة الليبية المتجهة الى سورية. اذ اكدت شبكة (سي ان ان) للتلفزة العام الماضي، نقلا على لسان ممثلين في الكونغرس، ان حادثة البعثة الديبلوماسية الاميركية في بنغازي، 11 ايلول / سبتمبر 2012، التي اسفرت من مصرع السفير الاميركي كريستوفر ستيفنز وعدد من ضباط الاستخبارات الاميركية، كانت “عملية اعداد سرية لنقل صواريخ مضادة للطائرات متطورة من ليبيا، عبر تركيا، وتسليمها للمجموعات السورية المسلحة.” واضافت الشبكة ان موظفي السفارة الاميركية، في طرابلس وبنغازي، تعرضوا لسلسة اختبارات لاجهزة كشف الكذب وتلقوا تعليمات صارمة بعدم البوح بأي من تلك المعلومات

اوباما يراهن على استغلال الحملة الجديدة لمكافحة ارهاب داعش ليشيع الانطباع باعادة استلام زمام المبادرة السياسية خارجيا وداخليا بعد اتهامات قاسية له بغياب القدرة القيادية الضرورية لحماية المصالح الكونية الاميركية، ويدرك ان الاسابيع القليلة القادمة قد تكون الاكثر حراجة قبل الانتخابات النصفية لانقاذ ما يمكن انقاذه من تركة للتاريخ ومن وزن مهدد لحزبه الديمقراطي

التقرير الأسبوعي 09-13-2013

:المقدمة

                    اسس خطاب الرئيس اوباما ارضية للتغطية الاعلامية، بشقيها العام واهتمامات النخب السياسية، بعد طول ترقب وانتظار لما سيترتب عليه من رؤى وخطط مستقبلية، دغدغ مشاعر الجمهور واحبط آمال معسكر الحرب الذي سعى لاطلاق فصل جديد من الحرب المعلنة ضد الدول الوطنية

          سيركز قسم التحليل الكشف عن كنه لغة الديبلوماسية والشعارات المنمقة في الخطاب، الذي رمى لتوظيف فزاعة داعش واساليبه الدموية كمدخل لاعادة تكريس احادية زعامة اميركا وتقسيم المنطقة مجددا “بايدي ابائها وتمويلهم” ايضا. سورية هي الهدف الثابت غير المعلن في الخطاب الذي بشر بحرب جديدة مفتوحة الافاق والازمنة

          توقيت الخطاب له بعد داخلي محلي، سيما وانه جاء عشية احياء ذكر “الحادي عشر من سبتمبر،” ورغبة من الرئيس تعديل ميل ميزان الرأي العام المائل ضده وضد حزبه تمهيدا لخوض الانتخابات المقبلة بعد نحو 50 يوما

ملخص دراسات ونشاطات مراكزالابحاث

خطاب “استراتيجية” اوباما

          رأى الجزء الاكبر من النخب الفكرية ان خطاب الرئيس اوباما الاخير، بخصوص داعش، ينطوي على العديد من الثغرات، اتساقا مع ساسة وقادة الحزب الجمهوري. وقال معهد المشروع الاميركي ان الرئيس “لا يدرك ان الغارات الجوية الدقيقة لن تكفي .. انظروا الى مثال اليمن. اما الصومال فما يشهده من استقرار لا يعود جراء الغارات الجوية المحدودة بل لاحتلال قوات الاتحاد الافريقي البلاد بغية مقارعة (تنظيم) الشباب في معاقلهم واماكن اقامتهم.” واضاف ان الاطراف جميعها تتطلع الى “استراتيجية متبلورة، بيد ان مسألة الأمن القومي لا ينبغي ان التضحية بها على مذبح النزوات الديبلوماسية، او صوابية الرؤيا السياسية، او تحريف التاريخ”

          حث معهد كارنيغي صناع القرار على ضرورة انخراط السعودية لتعزيز نجاح جهود التصدي لداعش “بصرف النظر عن مشاطرتها ايران عدائهما للدولة الاسلامية، اذ انها قلقة لما ستؤول اليه الامور في كل من العراق وسورية بعد القضاء على داعش،” وهاجسها الشاغل هوية ومستقبل البديل لحكومتي دمشق وبغداد اللتين “يتعزز بقاءهما بغياب بدائل اخرى. وعليه، فان استمرار الوضع الراهن في سورية والعراق من شأنه توطيد نفوذ ايران في المنطقة”

          تناول معهد كارنيغي ما اسماه “تناقضات وعدم اتساق سياساة الرئيس اوباما حيال داعش،” مناشدا البيت الابيض التزام وضوح الرؤيا حول “حقيقة التهديد الذي تمثله الدولة الاسلامية وانتهاج مقاربة واقعية للعقبات التي تعترض سبل القضاء عليها،” ويتعين عليه ايضا “مصارحة الشعب الاميركي بالخطوات التي ينوي الاقدام عليها لتلافي بروز مجموعات مشابهة في اعقاب اندحارها”

          سلط مركز الدراسات الاستراتيجية والدولية الاضواء على “القيود التي تحد الرئيس اوباما من مواجهة شاملة ضد داعش .. سيما وان الغارات الجوية لها مفعول محدود لاحتوائها، الامر الذي يستدعي القيام بحملة جوية اوسع لالحاق الهزيمة بداعش في العراق وكذلك حملة (موازية) للاغارة على اهداف في سورية .. لتقليص الدولة الاسلامية الى الحجم السابق لفصيل صغير متطرف يحظى بدعم محدود.” واوضح ان الغارات الجوية ستستغرق وقتا طويلا “عند الاخذ بعين الاعتبار ضرورة تخفيض عدد الضحايا المدنيين والاضرار الجانبية الاخرى”

          استعرض مركز التقدم الاميركي ما اسماه “الاستراتيجيات” المطلوب اعتمادها لالحاق الهزيمة بتنظيم داعش، موضحا ان احد اعمدتها الفعالة “يتطلب اعادة تنشيط سيل الدعم لقوى المعارضة السورية كي تتمكن من انشاء بديل ثالث معارض للدولة السورية من ناحية، والدولة الاسلامية من الناحية الاخرى.” واوضح ان الدعم “يجب ان يتضمن توفير 500 مليون دولار من مساعدات اضافية طالب بها الرئيس اوباما ..” واضاف انه بعد الاعلان عن تشكيل التحالف الدولي الجديد “يتعين على تلك الدول – لا سيما المملكة المتحدة والمانيا وتركيا والسعودية والامارات – اقران التزاماتهم اللفظية بتوفير موارد مالية وسبل دعم تكمّل التزامات الولايات المتحدة لمحاربة داعش”

          معهد كاتو بدوره طالب بانتهاج “استراتيجية محدودة لالحاق الهزيمة بالدولة الاسلامية .. اذ ليس من الضروري نشر قوات برية اميركية للقيام بمعظم العمليات القتالية.” فتنظيم داعش “يشكل تهديدا ثانويا في اسوأ الاحوال باستطاعة الولايات المتحدة التحكم به .. عبر غارات جوية مركزة ضد عناصره المتطرفة، وتوفير مساعدات عسكرية للقوات الكردية والعراقية لتقوم بمواجهته وتقايص قدراته.” وحث الرئيس اوباما على “اعتماد ذلك النمط المحدود من التدخل، ومعارضة الدعوات لنشر القوات العسكرية الاميركية في حملة واهمة اخرى لبناء دولة في الشرق الاوسط”

          كثيرا ما اشارت وسائل الاعلام الاميركية المتعددة للقدرات التقنية المتاحة لتنظيم داعش، تناولها معهد ابحاث السياسة الخارجية بالقول ان نشر “اشرطة الفيديو البشعة تخللتها رسائل تفيد بان الدولة الاسلامية نشأت لتحكم تلبية لمصالح المسلمين في المناطق تحت سيطرته .. تم اخراجها باسلوب يذكرنا بالافلام الوثائقية التي تنتجها وكالة التنمية الدولية الاميركية وفصائل السلام تمجد فضائل برامج المساعدات الاميركية.” واوضح ان التقنية والرسالة المتطورة لتلك الاشرطة “تروى وتترجم للانكليزية، تستهدف المهنيين في الغرب، وتحرض على هجرة المسلمين الى (مناطق) الدولة الاسلامية لتوفير الرعاية لمواطنيها والمساهمة في توسيع رقعة الخلافة الجديدة.” وبلغ رقي لغة الخطاب الى مرحلة اعلن فيها عن “انشاء هيئة لحماية المستهلكين .. وتوثيق بالصورة لمشاهد تنفيذ حكم الاعدام بالمخالفين للشريعة الاسلامية، والانجازات الميدانية، وكذلك حضور بعض المجندين الجدد حول العالم”

تركيا

          حذر معهد صندوق جيرمان مارشال من تنامي مشاعر العداء للمهاجرين في تركيا، اذ كشف تصاعد اعداد المهاجرين عن “قضية كانت خفية لوقت قريب: تعصب المواطنين الاتراك ضد المهاجرين .. توجه يعززه خطاب السياسيون والاجهزة الاعلامية.” وحث صناع القرار على ضرورة التصدي لتلك الظاهرة واتخاذ التدابير الكفيلة باحتوائها

:التحليل

اوباما يستنجد بداعش لانقاذ رئاسته وحزبه من السقوط

وتحضير المسرح للعدوان على سورية

سبر اغوار خطاب الرئيس اوباما

          سورية، وان غاب حضورها، هي الهدف غير المعلن في خطاب الرئيس اوباما، وجموع التكفيريين من داعش واخواتها ومشتقاتها هم الادوات التي تنوي “الاستراتيجية” الاميركية استخدامها في اعادة رسم خارطة الوطن العربي والاقليم في طبعته الجديدة. داعش مجرد ورقة او وسيلة من وسائل الضغط تستخدم عند الحاجة، وتُركن جانبا عند انتفائها. السفير والمستشار الاميركي الاسبق لأقليم كردستان العراق، بيتر غالبريث، اوضح ان “الدولة الاسلامية تخدم الجهود (الغربية) في قتال نظامين مدعومين من ايران في العراق وسورية”

          في البعد المحلي الداخلي، شكل الخطاب بعد طول انتظار محاولة لمحاكاة الاعتبارات السياسية المحلية، في ظل مناخ الانتخابات القادمة، عبرت عنه احد الصحف الكبرى بعنونة افتتاحيتها “اوباما يعلن الحرب على نتائج الاستطلاع المتردية.” وهو يفسر ايضا مغزى تكرار الرئيس اوباما استخدام مصطلح “استراتيجية” في خطابه لتعديل تصريحه السابق بأن بلاده “لا يتوفر لديها استراتيجية” واضحة المعالم للتصدي لداعش

          دأبت استطلاعات الرأي المحلية، في الآونة الاخيرة، على ابراز تدني نسبة الدعم الشعبي للرئيس اوباما سيما وان “عددا كبيرا منهم لا يأخذ تصريحاته حول السياسة الخارجية على محمل الجد .. واعربت نسبة مذهلة منهم، 55%، عن حرجهم وارتباكهم من عدم توصل الرئيس اوباما لبلورة استراتيجية للتصدي للدولة الاسلامية لحين اللحظة.” تأييد الرئيس اوباما لم يتعدى نسبة 32% من الاميركيين، عشية القائه خطابه؛ وهو يدرك بوعي تام تداعيات ذلك على نتائج الحملة الانتخابية المقبلة

          خطاب اوباما تتضمن العديد من المفردات والمفاهيم المبهمة التي ستشوش الوعي العام الاميركي، بتركيزه على المصطلحات المتعددة لتنظيم داعش وهمجيته، بينما في الحقيقة كان يرمي لحشد الدعم الشعبي بكافة اطيافه لشن “جولة” جديدة من الحروب الدموية في المنطقة، يورثها لخليفته المقبل، بالتساوق لما ورثه عن سلفه جورج بوش الابن. الاستاذ الجامعي فيجاي براشاد اوجز الخطاب بأنه “مربك جدا وانطوى على لغة خطابية متقنة تخلو من مفاهيم استراتيجية” يمكن البناء عليها. ومضى موضحا ان “الدولة الاسلامية توفر مبررا بتوقيت مريح لشن غزو دموي آخر يتبعه عدد من سنوات الاحتلال والتدجين والترويض والمقاومة”

          حذر الرئيس اوباما الشعب الاميركي والغربي عموما من خطورة عدم التصدي لداعش. “هؤلاء الارهابيون باستطاعتهم تشكيل تهديد ينمو خارج حدود تلك المنطقة – ومن ضمنها الولايات المتحدة .. لن اتردد باتخاذ ما يلزم من اجراءات ضد الدولة الاسلامية في سورية، والعراق ايضا ..” بينما في الواقع ناقضه الرأي بعض اركان ادارته، احداهن جنيفر لاسلي، ضابط استخبارات في وزارة الأمن الداخلي، قائلة ان “الدولة الاسلامية لا تشكل خطورة على الولايات المتحدة في المدى المنظور،” في شهادة ادلت بها امام اللجنة الفرعية للأمن الداخلي في مجلس النواب. المفارقة ان شهادتها وشهادات مماثلة لآخرين جاءت قبل بضع ساعات من القاء اوباما خطابه المذكور

          وعليه، يمكننا القول ان الحرب العدوانية الثالثة على العراق قد اتضحت معالمها، وانعشت مرة اخرى احلام المحافظين الجدد بنسخة اوباما، لتقسيم العراق وفق محاصصة طائفية وعرقية. ما يعزز ذلك هو افصاح اوباما واركان ادارته بأن “الحملة ضد الدولة الاسلامية” ستستغرق بضع سنين، الى ما بعد انتهاء ولايته الرئاسية. جدير بالذكر ان دوائر صنع القرار، لا سيما في المعسكر الصناعي الحربي، روجت لاحتلال العراق منذ زمن باعتباره “منصة انطلاق تكتيكية” لخدمة اهداف اعادة رسم حدود منطقة الشرق الاوسط برمتها. (في هذا الصدد يرجى مراجعة اصدارات مؤسسة راند بتاريخ 6 آب 2002)

تردد وقلق في الغرب

          روج الرئيس اوباما وكافة الوسائل الاعلامية الاميركية للتحالف الدولي المزمع انشاؤه بمشاركة دول غربية وعربية واقليمية، تُوِّج بارسال وزير الخارجية جون كيري الى الرياض لجمع شمل الحلفاء المقربين؛ وسارعت كل من المانيا وتركيا في الاعلان عن عدم مشاركتهما جهود الرئيس اوباما، ونفي بريطانيا لتصريح وزير خارجيتها بعد اعلانه عدم مشاركة بلاده؛ بل اوضحت المانيا في خطوة غير مسبوقة انه لم يتم استشارتها بهذا الخصوص. وقال وزير الخارجية الالماني، فرانك-ولتر شتاينماير، “دعوني اقول بكل وضوح، انه لم يطلب استشارتنا” في المساهمة بالغارات الجوية ضد مواقع داعش “ولن نقوم بذلك ايضا”

          “استراتيجية حلف اوباما” اوضحها الرئيس في خطابه بالقول بانها “استراتيجية شاملة ومستمرة لمكافحة الارهاب .. تنطوي اولا على شن حملة ممنهجة من الضربات الجوية .. وسنوسع نطاق جهودنا الى ابعد ما تقتضيه حماية مواطنينا (هناك) المنخرطين في عمليات الاغاثة الانسانية ..” في ذات السياق، كرس الرئيس اوباما خطة تقسيم المنطقة في خطابه الاعلامي عبر تكرار مصطلحاته ان المجتمعات العربية ما هي الا ثمة تجمعات “طائفية تشمل السنة والشيعة من المسلمين، والمسيحيين واقليات دينية اخرى ..”  وتعمد تغييب الهوية الوطنية والقومية اتساقا مع الاستراتيجية الاميركية بعيدة المدى

آفاق نجاح “استراتيجية اوباما”

          ردود فعل حلفاء اميركا في حلف الناتو أهم مؤشر على حقيقة ما يمور خلف الكواليس وظهر الى العلن، وما اعلان اهم اقطاب حلف الناتو، المانيا وبريطانيا وتركيا،ـ عن عدم مشاركتهم في حملة الغارات الجوية على الاراضي السورية الا دليل على هشاشة “استراتيجية” اوباما في اطلاق “حرب جديدة على الارهاب.” استثناء اوباما لروسيا وايران من هذه التشكيلة تدل على حقيقة اهداف اميركا والقلق من نواياها المبيتة بانها تسعى لاسقاط الدولة السورية بتوظيفها داعش اداة وذريعة لتنفيذ غارات جوية على اراضيها. وما تعيين اوباما لجنرال الحرب في افغانستان، جون آلان، للتنسيق بين القوات الخاصة والارهابيين والغارات الجوية الا دليل آخر على ان الاستراتيجية تقتضي استهداف سورية، تحت ذريعة ملاحقة داعش،ولبنان ربما الذي يروج لعمليات اغتيالات ستجري على اراضيه

          في هذا الصدد، يشير بعض المراقبين في العاصمة الاميركية الى توقيت اعلان الاستراتيجية، 11 أيلول/سبتمبر، سيما وان “الصدف” التاريخية نادرا ما اثبتت انها حقيقة صدفة. اوجه التشابه ليست من باب الترف الفكري، سيما وان 11 ايلول 2001 لا تزال تحوم حوله الشبهات بأنه منصة انطلاق اسفرت عن تكريس استفراد اميركا بالعالم ودمرت واحتلت دولا عربية عدة، من العراق الى ليبيا واليمن والصومال، الى الحروب الاخرى المناطة بالكيان الصهيوني، الى الاغتيالات بطائرات الدرونز .. الخ. الحادي عشر من ايلول اضحى اعلانا بالعدوان المفتوح غير مقيد بفترة زمنية

          شبكة فوكس نيوز اليمينية اظهرت ارتياحا مشروطا باستراتيجية اوباما استخدام سلاح الجو الاميركي بكثافة “مدعوم بقوات برية موالية،” بيد انها حذرته من نتائج استطلاعاتها للرأي التي تشير الى اعتقاد الغالبية من الشعب الاميركي، نحو الثلثين، بان نجاح الاستراتيجية ينطوي على نشر قوات اميركية برية لتحقيق هدف الحاق الهزيمة بداعش مع استمرار القصف الجوي المكثف

          تنبغي الاشارة في هذا السياق الى ما اضحى ممارسة ثابتة في الاغتيالات وثقتها وسائل الاعلام الاميركية، اذ يصغي الرئيس اوباما صباح كل يوم ثلاثاء الى تقارير رؤساء اجهزة الاستخبارات يستعرضون معه لائحة “الاغتيالات” المرشحة للمصادقة عليها وتنفيذها على الفور. من غير المستبعد ان تشمل تلك الاجراءات سورية في ظل “الاستراتيجية” الجديدة

          يحضرنا في هذه المناسبة ما سبق الاشارة اليه فيما يخص الاسلحة الليبية المتجهة الى سورية. اذ اكدت شبكة (سي ان ان) للتلفزة العام الماضي، نقلا على لسان ممثلين في الكونغرس، ان حادثة البعثة الديبلوماسية الاميركية في بنغازي، 11 ايلول / سبتمبر 2012، التي اسفرت من مصرع السفير الاميركي كريستوفر ستيفنز وعدد من ضباط الاستخبارات الاميركية، كانت “عملية اعداد سرية لنقل صواريخ مضادة للطائرات متطورة من ليبيا، عبر تركيا، وتسليمها للمجموعات السورية المسلحة.” واضافت الشبكة ان موظفي السفارة الاميركية، في طرابلس وبنغازي، تعرضوا لسلسة اختبارات لاجهزة كشف الكذب وتلقوا تعليمات صارمة بعدم البوح بأي من تلك المعلومات

اوباما يراهن على استغلال الحملة الجديدة لمكافحة ارهاب داعش ليشيع الانطباع باعادة استلام زمام المبادرة السياسية خارجيا وداخليا بعد اتهامات قاسية له بغياب القدرة القيادية الضرورية لحماية المصالح الكونية الاميركية، ويدرك ان الاسابيع القليلة القادمة قد تكون الاكثر حراجة قبل الانتخابات النصفية لانقاذ ما يمكن انقاذه من تركة للتاريخ ومن وزن مهدد لحزبه الديمقراطي

Analysis 09-05-2014

 

ANALYSIS

 

Obama and NATO Respond to Russia

 

Will NATO make the same mistake that the Allies did 70 years ago?

The convergences of a NATO summit meeting in Wales and renewed hostilities between Russia and the Ukraine have forced both Obama and NATO to address the deteriorating security situation in Eastern Europe and Russia’s aggressive preventive defense posture.  It has also forced both Obama and Cameron to face the growing issue of ISIS, although no specific action was mentioned.

The week of action began for Obama on Wednesday when he arrived in Estonia to talk to the leaders of the three Baltic nations, who are all members of NATO.  In a speech delivered there, he pledged additional military aircraft to patrol the Baltic region in addition to more frequent stationing of American troops on the ground.

“The defense of Tallinn and Riga and Vilnius is just as important as the defense of Berlin and Paris and London,” Obama said, invoking the founding principle of collective defense that undergirds NATO. “An attack on one is an attack on all, and so if, in such a moment, you ever ask again, ‘Who’ll come to help?’ you’ll know the answer: the NATO alliance, including the armed forces of the United States of America.”

“We’ll be here for Estonia. We’ll be here for Latvia. We’ll be here for Lithuania,” Obama said. “You lost your independence once before. With NATO, you will never lose it again.”

Obama also addressed the situation in the Ukraine.  “It is a brazen assault on the territorial integrity of Ukraine, a sovereign and independent European nation,” Obama said. “It challenges that most basic of principles of our international system — that borders cannot be redrawn at the barrel of a gun; that nations have the right to determine their own future.”

The US also announced a military exercise, Rapid Trident, to take place in the next few weeks as a show of support for Eastern NATO nations and the Ukraine.  The annual exercise takes place in Poland, near its border with the Ukraine.  The United States European Command (EUCOM) says the exercise will involve about 200 U.S. personnel as well as 1,100 others from Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Britain, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania and Spain.  It will focus on peacekeeping missions and will include command post drills, patrolling, and dealing with improvised explosive devices.

In addition to Rapid Trident, the United States is moving tanks and 600 troops to Poland and the Baltic states for joint maneuvers in October, replacing a more lightly armed force of paratroopers.

This wasn’t the only action to support beleaguered NATO nations in the east.  Several NATO nations declared that they would send forces to Eastern Europe to deter any Russian aggression.  France also announced that it was suspending delivery of two helicopter carriers to Russia.  The first one, the Vladivostok, was due to be delivered next month.  Although the helicopter carriers aren’t much of a threat to the Ukraine, they would be a problem to NATO nations with coastlines on the Black and Baltic seas.

However, the most important news that will come out of the NATO meeting will be the formation of a brigade sized rapid reaction force that can move into an area within 48 hours.  Stockpiles of heavy equipment will be stored in Eastern Europe for the reaction force to mate up with.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the NATO Secretary-General, said on Monday: “This is a time of multiple crises on several fronts. To the east, Russia is intervening overtly in Ukraine; to the south we see growing instability, with fragile states, the rise [of] extremism, and sectarian strife. These crises can erupt with little warning, move at great speed and they all affect our security in different ways.  “We will develop a spearhead within our response force. This will require reception facilities in NATO territory, pre-positioned equipment and supplies, command and control and logistics experts. So this force can travel light, but strike hard if needed.”

NATO’s current rapid reaction force would take 5 days to arrive on scene and be able to remain on scene for up to 30 days without resupply.  The NATO Response Force has only been used 6 times (The 2004 Olympic Games, the Iraqi Elections, the 2011 Libyan civil war, humanitarian relief to Afghanistan, humanitarian relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and humanitarian relief in the earthquake disaster in Pakistan).

One of the criticisms of the force is that it fields very small land contingent.  In its first deployment for the Athens Olympics in 2004, of the 9,500 personnel, about 8,500 were airmen and sailors, and only 1,000 were ground troops. Its land component included a French paratroop battalion, a Greek airmobile company, and a Belgian commando company.

Another criticism of the rapid reaction force is that its divergent nationalities make it hard to smoothly coordinate.

So, the question is if the new, proposed NATO rapid reaction force will be a credible deterrent to Russia?

Ironically, the answer may lie in history and NATO ministers may want to look at events that happened 70 years ago this month in Belgium and Holland.  Operation Market Garden (September 17 – 25,, 1944) represented the largest use of airborne forces – the rapid reaction forces of World War II.  The result was the near destruction of the British First Airborne Division at Arnhem.

Rapid reaction forces traditionally have limited capabilities, as Allied commanders discovered in Operation Market Garden.  They are light infantry – usually delivered by air – that have to rely upon light weapons and have little mobility.  Their advantage lies in the training and quality of the airborne troops, which are traditionally higher than the average soldier.  Their immobility makes them a target for heavier units

Excellent examples of such a force are the American 82nd Airborne Division and the 75th Ranger Regiment – both of whom would undoubtedly be allocated to such a NATO force at some time.  Both units have the mission of having combat troops “Wheels Up” (en route by aircraft) within 18 hours of an order to move. Both units have the capability of “Forced Entry” into a territory to seize and secure key terrain, e.g. Drop Zone (DZ), airfield or airport, to accommodate follow on forces. A good example of this was Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada. The Rangers were at the staging base in Barbados in less than 18 hours from notification followed by the 82nd Airborne Division.

But, is speed enough?  What would such a unit bring to a combat situation in Eastern Europe?

Although heavy equipment will be prepositioned in Eastern Europe, It’s very likely that these depots will be hit be Russian strikes before they can be mobilized.  In that case, NATO will have to rely upon what the force brings to the battlefield.

A situation in Eastern Europe may very well rely upon a forced entry into hostile or contested territory.  This is something the 82nd Division can do, but with limited ability to project power beyond a limited range.  The 82nd Division can land 2,000 paratroopers, armored vehicles, and 155mm howitzers over a three mile drop zone to seize and defend an airfield in order to allow reinforcements, including air mobile Stryker armored units, to land and fight their way to the objective.  However, the ability of the attack to reach its objective relies upon the reinforcements and the air superiority to allow them to land.

An example of this was seen by the 82nd Airborne in Operation Market Garden in 1944.  They had been assigned the mission of capturing the Nijmegen Bridge, but were stopped by a light German armored unit.  They didn’t achieve their objective until days later – then with the support of armored units from the ground units of the 30th Corps.  Even then, they took heavy casualties in a daylight assault across the Waal River in order to capture the northern end of the bridge.

Event proved worse for the British 1st Airborne Division.  They reached their objective, but lost their landing zone.  The result was that they ran out of ammunition and supplies and those who weren’t captured by the Germans were forced to retreat.  The story of Operation Market Garden was made into a movie titled, “A Bridge Too Far.”

So, what does this history lesson mean to a modern day NATO quick reaction force?  Rapid reaction forces are highly skilled, highly trained light infantry that may be very mobile going into battle, but are largely immobile once they land.  Man per man, they can outfight any unit, but they don’t have the logistics tail or heavy equipment to continue fighting for long, especially in heavy combat.

Operation Market Garden also highlighted the communication problems between units of different nationalities, even though the majority of the Market Garden forces were all English speaking British and Americans.  A poly-lingual NATO rapid reaction force will have even greater problems.

The success of such a rapid reaction unit will depend on how quickly it gets to the potential theater of operations.  A rapid reaction force that can move in days before any combat and link up with heavy equipment and a logistics chain can be a deterrent as its combat ability exceeds its numbers.

Should that force not enter the area of operations until just before combat, its ability is seriously degraded.  The ability of the unit to fight against superior numbers depends on supply support that probably will not be there.  Consequently, the unit may stop a Russian advance for a few days before running out of ammunition and supplies.

Should the rapid reaction force try to force an entry into hostile territory without adequate air cover, the lives of the 4,000 men would be wasted.

In reality, a NATO rapid reaction force is more of a political response than a sound military one.  Deterring Russian expansionism would be better served by permanently stationing smaller numbers of ground forces in Eastern Europe – forces that would have all their equipment and an established supply infrastructure.

Undoubtedly, Putin is aware of this.   While the uncertainty of a NATO force will cause him to pause, it will not stop him if he decides to act.

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

2014 NATO Summit: Understanding the Key Issues

By Luke Coffey and Daniel Kochis

Heritage Foundation

September 3, 2014

Issue Brief #4271

The 2014 NATO summit will be held this week in Wales. The last time the United Kingdom hosted the NATO summit was in 1990, when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, the Cold War was coming to a close, and the alliance was questioning its future role in the world. Today’s situation is not dissimilar. This will be the last summit before NATO ends its combat operations in Afghanistan and the first since Russia illegally annexed the Crimean Peninsula and brought instability to eastern Ukraine. The U.S. should use this opportunity to refocus the alliance on the core tenets of the original 1949 North Atlantic Treaty: collective security and territorial defense. In advance of the summit, The Heritage Foundation has published six Issue Briefs touching on important policy issues that President Obama and his NATO counterparts should address.

Read more

 

 

Washington Should Stop Praising Military Tyranny in Egypt

By Doug Bandow

Cato Institute

September 2, 2014

Egypt’s capital is crowded, busy, confused, and messy.  Security isn’t obvious, until you get close to a sensitive site, such as the Interior Ministry. The military has taken firm control, elevating its leader, Abdel Fata al-Sisi, to the presidency.  The army permitted dictator Hosni al-Mubarak’s ouster by street protests in 2011 because he planned to turn military rule into a family dynasty.  If ousted president Mohamed al-Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood been defeated in a future election, they would have been discredited peacefully.  However, the coup turned the movement’s members into angry victims.  In Cairo they took over Rab’a al-Adawiya and al-Nahda Squares, just as the anti-Mubarak and anti-Morsi crowds had done in Tahir Square.  The military government responded with a campaign of premeditated murder.  In a new report Human Rights Watch detailed the junta’s crimes.  From the beginning the military used deadly force with no concern for casualties.  In fact, the army began using live ammunition against protestors just two days after the coup.

Read more

 

 

The U.S. Strategic Vacuum in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia

By Anthony H. Cordesman

Center for Strategic and International Studies

September 2, 2014

Strategy does not consist of concepts, good intentions, or public statements that will not be implemented in any meaningful form. It consists of the policies and actions that are already in place and practical plans that can – and are – actually implemented. Today, the US lacks a real world strategy for dealing with Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia. It has an unworkable and under-resourced Transition plan for Afghanistan, no meaningful public strategy for Pakistan, and little more than statements of good intentions for Central Asia as it withdraws the forces that supported the war in Afghanistan. This “strategy” of good intentions is not a strategy. Yes, it would be nice to resolve the tensions and risk of conflict between India and Pakistan. It would be nice to see Afghanistan emerge as a unified, peaceful, developing democracy. It would be nice to seek Pakistan put on the same path. It would be nice to see Central Asia develop as a region, and do so in ways that are peaceful, and involve the same progress towards democracy.

Read more

 

 

Winning the Campaign Against the Islamic State: Key Strategic and Tactical Challenges

By Anthony H. Cordesman

Center for Strategic and International Studies

August 29, 2014

Commentary

The United States does not have good or quick options in dealing with the Islamic State, in part because it faces serious challenges in Iraq and Syria that cannot be separated from any efforts to weaken and destroy the Islamic State. This, however, is not a reason to stand and wait for better options that do not exist. The situation will not get better because the United States continues to dither.  The United States already has the elements of the strategy it needs and has begun to act in important ways, and if this action is taken more decisively, in an integrated form, and over enough time to be effective it may well be capable of both imploding the Islamic State and serving U.S. interests in both Iraq and Syria.

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Backdrop to an Intervention: Sources of Egyptian-Libyan Border Tension

By Frederic Wehrey, David Bishop, and Ala’ Alrababa’h

Carnegie Endowment

August 27, 2014

The airstrikes that Emirati forces with Egyptian support conducted against militia positions in Libya in late August 2014 were sparked by an anti-Islamist military campaign in eastern Libya.  The campaign, led by retired General Khalifa Hifter and a breakaway faction of the Libyan military, has profoundly altered Egyptian-Libyan relations. But the roots of Egyptian meddling in Libya run deeper than Hifter’s current operation.  Among Libya’s many afflictions, none is more threatening to Egypt than the two states’ nearly 700-mile-long shared border. Border policing in Libya has always been weak and ill-defined—even under Muammar Qaddafi—but it has suffered a catastrophic decline following the dictator’s overthrow in 2011. Oversight of borders has devolved to a constellation of eastern militias that are only tenuously connected to the government and that, in many cases, are colluding in the very smuggling they are meant to combat. The border is now North Africa’s eastern thoroughfare for weapons, fighters, illegal migrants, and illicit goods flowing into the Levant, with profoundly destabilizing effects on the Sinai, Gaza, and Syria.

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Will ISIS Strike America’s Achilles Heel?

By Frank Gaffney

Center for Security Policy

September 3, 2014

According to the indispensable government watchdog group Judicial Watch, the U.S. government has evidence that the jihadist Islamic State (IS) is present in Juarez, Mexico – across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas.  Worse yet, the Texas Department of Public Safety believes there is evidence that IS plans an imminent attack in this country. In light of the latest murderous attack by this organization against an American journalist, Steven Sotloff, among other atrocities, such threats must be taken with the utmost seriousness.  Among the targets national security professionals fear may now be in the jihadis’ crosshairs is America’s exceedingly vulnerable electric grid. A panel discussion being held at the National Press Club in Washington Wednesday afternoon will show how a spate of recent attacks involving sabotage and destruction of property at various electric substations here and elsewhere could be leading indicators of the next 9/11 – one potentially vastly more destructive than the original which occurred thirteen years ago next week.

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ISIS’s Offensive in Syria Shows that U.S. Airstrikes Have Not Blunted Momentum

By Isabel Nassief and Jennifer Cafarella

Institute for the Study of War

August 28, 2014

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told reporters that U.S. airstrikes “have stalled ISIL’s momentum” after two weeks of bombarding ISIS positions in Northern Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham has not stalled under U.S. pressure.  Rather, since the fall of Mosul and despite U.S. airstrikes, the insurgent army has continued a successful and spectacular offensive in Syria. Their gains nearly equal in scale the seizure of northern Iraq in June.  The insurgent army’s latest triumph is the capture of Assad’s Tabqa air base in Eastern Syria.  ISIS is one armed force fighting on multiple fronts in two theaters of operation, Iraq and Syria, across a border that the group does not recognize. It aims to establish and consolidate a cross-border Caliphate and has sought to fuse its lines of communication across the border region, while also seizing control of populated urban areas in both countries. ISIS has sought to expel armed forces of both states from positions within  ISIS’s desired “borders” in order to preserve the Caliphate’s territorial integrity.

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Lebanon and the ISIS Threat

By David Daoud

Washington Institute

August 28, 2014

Fikra Forum

The advance of the Islamic State of Syria and al-Sham (ISIS), currently known as the Islamic State, has focused the international spotlight on Syria and Iraq, as ISIS has taken control over huge swaths of the two countries. Although Lebanon has managed to stay off the international radar, instability and sectarianism leave the country equally vulnerable to this growing threat in the region.  The lack of national unity has been disastrous for Lebanon. The country has yet to overcome the damaging consequences of its bloody civil war (1975-1990), during which regional actors capitalized on Lebanon’s sectarian divides for their own political interests. For example, the Syrian army entered Lebanon under the initial pretext of aiding the Christian Maronites, and Iran took advantage of the disenfranchisement of Shiites and the Israeli occupation to create the Shiite militia Hezbollah. ISIS is very likely to exploit the Lebanese state’s failure to resolve the deep sectarian divides just like it did in Iraq and Syria.

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Mounzer A. Sleiman Ph.D.
Center for American and Arab Studies
Think Tanks Monitor

 

www.thinktankmonitor.org

C: 202 536 8984             C: 301 509 4144

Week of September 5th, 2014

Executive Summary

 

The American summer is officially over and the pace of think tank publications should probably pick up.

Needless to say, the upcoming NATO summit in Wales was at the forefront of conversation, especially given the unrest in the Ukraine and the ISIS murder of another journalist.

The Monitor Analysis looks at the NATO summit and the proposed rapid reaction force that will be authorized by the NATO members.  Although it will be designed to move into a theater of operations within 48 hours, we ask if it is a substantial military force or more a political Band-Aid.  In order to answer that, we look at how it will be composed and what military history tells us about light, highly mobile forces in combat.  We find this month’s 70th anniversary of Operation Market Garden particularly instructive.

 

Think Tanks Activity Summary

 

The Heritage Foundation looks at the key issues surrounding the NATO summit this week in Wales.  One of the recommendations is that the alliance< “get back to basics.”  They note, “NATO’s mission in 1949 and throughout the Cold War was to deter and (if required) defeat the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, to protect the territorial integrity of its members, and to stop the spread of communism in Europe. Although the nature of the threat might have changed, the threat itself has not gone away. NATO does not have to be everywhere in the world doing everything all the time, but it does have to be capable of defending its members’ territorial integrity. The 1949 North Atlantic Treaty is clear that NATO’s area of responsibility is “in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.” The U.S. must use the Summit as an opportunity to focus on collective defense, encourage Europeans to spend more on their militaries, and to keep NATO’s “open-door” policy alive.”

The CSIS notes that the United States does not have good or quick options in dealing with the Islamic State.  It also notes that they effort must go beyond what the US appears willing to do now by saying, “The United States needs to use airpower, weapons transfer, forward military advisors, its full range of intelligence and targeting assets, and the careful allocation of special forces and covert operations to attack the key networks, centers, foreign volunteers, and physical assets of the Islamic state with sufficient precision to avoid striking at the Sunnis who must rejoin the Iraqi government and turn against the Islamic State. But, the ideological, political, and economic aspects of the campaign are at least as critical.  The United States must work with the Iraqi government and with its Arab allies to create the political and economic conditions that will bring Iraq’s Sunnis and Kurds back into an effective government and give then real incentives to turn on the Islamic State.”

The Institute for the Study of War says the American air attacks haven’t stalled ISIS progress.  They note, “ISIS operations in Syria have centered on five main objectives: control of the Euphrates River Valley; seizure of critical oil infrastructure; freedom of maneuver through Kurdish areas of Syria; expulsion of remaining regime forces from bases in Eastern Syria; and seizure of critical supply lines along the Turkish border. ISIS thereby seeks to merge its Iraq and Syria fronts by consolidating lines of communication between the two. ISIS has continued to pursue these objectives in Syria despite U.S. airstrikes in Northern Iraq and the Syrian regime’s sustained air strikes in North-Eastern Syria.”

The Washington Institute looks at the threat ISIS poses to Lebanon.  They note, “It is unlikely that Lebanon’s Sunnis and their leaders will submit to ISIS out of true ideological conviction, but practical needs might overshadow ideology. Shortages in supplies and ammunition have pushed many Syrian rebels to switch allegiances, and others have said that their desperation on the battlefield might force them to join ISIS. Driven by despair and sectarian violence, some of Lebanon’s Sunnis might soon succumb to a similar trend. If Lebanon continues to disenfranchise Sunnis, ISIS will repeat Hezbollah’s approach to the Lebanese Shiites. It will take advantage of the absence of the Lebanese state and provide armed protection and a wide array of social services to some Sunnis in exchange for their obedience. In short, Lebanon is in grave danger of becoming the next victim of ISIS, and the clashes in Arsal were just a taste of things to come.”

The Cato Institute criticizes Washington for praising Egypt’s military run government.  They conclude, “Repression is unlikely to deliver stability.  Terrorism may be seen by more than jihadists as the only way to challenge a regime which bars peaceful dissent.  Mubarak’s jails helped turn Brotherhood member Ayman al-Zawahiri into al-Qaeda’s leader. There isn’t much the U.S. can do to change Cairo.  But the Obama administration could stop intervening constantly and maladroitly.  In fact, Washington’s influence is extremely limited…The U.S. should work with Cairo on issues of shared interest but otherwise maintain substantial distance.  In particular, the administration should stop using foreign aid to bribe Egypt’s generals.  They don’t have to be paid to keep the peace and shouldn’t be paid for anything else. Egypt appears likely to end up without liberty or stability.  Instead of pretending to be in control, Washington should step back from a crisis which it cannot resolve.”

The Carnegie Endowment looks at the air strikes carried out by Egypt and the UAE against targets in Libya.  They note, “Such a strategy is ultimately shortsighted. The airstrikes were not enough to stop Islamist-oriented Misratan forces from taking over the Tripoli airport, which had previously been controlled by Zintani militias aligned with Hifter. And no amount of Egyptian support—military or otherwise—will result in a complete diminishing of the Islamist threat to el-Sisi’s satisfaction.”

In the past, the Monitor Analysis has looked at the vulnerability of America’s electrical power grid.  Now, according to the Center for Security Policy, it appears that ISIS may be considering a terrorist attack against the US to take advantage of that weakness.  “The Texas Department of Public Safety believes there is evidence that IS plans an imminent attack in this country…Among the targets national security professionals fear may now be in the jihadis’ crosshairs is America’s exceedingly vulnerable electric grid.” A panel discussion held at the National Press Club in Washington last Wednesday showed how a spate of recent attacks involving sabotage and destruction of property at various electric substations here and elsewhere could be leading indicators of the next 9/11 – one potentially vastly more destructive than the original which occurred thirteen years ago next week.

The CSIS observes that the US lacks a strategic view for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia.  They note, “While the US does want to see peaceful and stable relations between Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan countries, it has little desire to maintain a major role in the region or make further major expenditures in aid. It does see India as a potential counterweight to China, but has not seen its efforts to build closer strategic relations produce major results or benefits. Accordingly, the US is focusing its “rebalancing to Asia” on Pacific states, and less on the Indian Ocean. To paraphrase a term from the US film “Wargames,” the best way for the US to win any new Great Game in Central and South Asia is not to play.”

 

 

ANALYSIS

 

Obama and NATO Respond to Russia

 

Will NATO make the same mistake that the Allies did 70 years ago?

The convergences of a NATO summit meeting in Wales and renewed hostilities between Russia and the Ukraine have forced both Obama and NATO to address the deteriorating security situation in Eastern Europe and Russia’s aggressive preventive defense posture.  It has also forced both Obama and Cameron to face the growing issue of ISIS, although no specific action was mentioned.

The week of action began for Obama on Wednesday when he arrived in Estonia to talk to the leaders of the three Baltic nations, who are all members of NATO.  In a speech delivered there, he pledged additional military aircraft to patrol the Baltic region in addition to more frequent stationing of American troops on the ground.

“The defense of Tallinn and Riga and Vilnius is just as important as the defense of Berlin and Paris and London,” Obama said, invoking the founding principle of collective defense that undergirds NATO. “An attack on one is an attack on all, and so if, in such a moment, you ever ask again, ‘Who’ll come to help?’ you’ll know the answer: the NATO alliance, including the armed forces of the United States of America.”

“We’ll be here for Estonia. We’ll be here for Latvia. We’ll be here for Lithuania,” Obama said. “You lost your independence once before. With NATO, you will never lose it again.”

Obama also addressed the situation in the Ukraine.  “It is a brazen assault on the territorial integrity of Ukraine, a sovereign and independent European nation,” Obama said. “It challenges that most basic of principles of our international system — that borders cannot be redrawn at the barrel of a gun; that nations have the right to determine their own future.”

The US also announced a military exercise, Rapid Trident, to take place in the next few weeks as a show of support for Eastern NATO nations and the Ukraine.  The annual exercise takes place in Poland, near its border with the Ukraine.  The United States European Command (EUCOM) says the exercise will involve about 200 U.S. personnel as well as 1,100 others from Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Britain, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania and Spain.  It will focus on peacekeeping missions and will include command post drills, patrolling, and dealing with improvised explosive devices.

In addition to Rapid Trident, the United States is moving tanks and 600 troops to Poland and the Baltic states for joint maneuvers in October, replacing a more lightly armed force of paratroopers.

This wasn’t the only action to support beleaguered NATO nations in the east.  Several NATO nations declared that they would send forces to Eastern Europe to deter any Russian aggression.  France also announced that it was suspending delivery of two helicopter carriers to Russia.  The first one, the Vladivostok, was due to be delivered next month.  Although the helicopter carriers aren’t much of a threat to the Ukraine, they would be a problem to NATO nations with coastlines on the Black and Baltic seas.

However, the most important news that will come out of the NATO meeting will be the formation of a brigade sized rapid reaction force that can move into an area within 48 hours.  Stockpiles of heavy equipment will be stored in Eastern Europe for the reaction force to mate up with.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the NATO Secretary-General, said on Monday: “This is a time of multiple crises on several fronts. To the east, Russia is intervening overtly in Ukraine; to the south we see growing instability, with fragile states, the rise [of] extremism, and sectarian strife. These crises can erupt with little warning, move at great speed and they all affect our security in different ways.  “We will develop a spearhead within our response force. This will require reception facilities in NATO territory, pre-positioned equipment and supplies, command and control and logistics experts. So this force can travel light, but strike hard if needed.”

NATO’s current rapid reaction force would take 5 days to arrive on scene and be able to remain on scene for up to 30 days without resupply.  The NATO Response Force has only been used 6 times (The 2004 Olympic Games, the Iraqi Elections, the 2011 Libyan civil war, humanitarian relief to Afghanistan, humanitarian relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and humanitarian relief in the earthquake disaster in Pakistan).

One of the criticisms of the force is that it fields very small land contingent.  In its first deployment for the Athens Olympics in 2004, of the 9,500 personnel, about 8,500 were airmen and sailors, and only 1,000 were ground troops. Its land component included a French paratroop battalion, a Greek airmobile company, and a Belgian commando company.

Another criticism of the rapid reaction force is that its divergent nationalities make it hard to smoothly coordinate.

So, the question is if the new, proposed NATO rapid reaction force will be a credible deterrent to Russia?

Ironically, the answer may lie in history and NATO ministers may want to look at events that happened 70 years ago this month in Belgium and Holland.  Operation Market Garden (September 17 – 25,, 1944) represented the largest use of airborne forces – the rapid reaction forces of World War II.  The result was the near destruction of the British First Airborne Division at Arnhem.

Rapid reaction forces traditionally have limited capabilities, as Allied commanders discovered in Operation Market Garden.  They are light infantry – usually delivered by air – that have to rely upon light weapons and have little mobility.  Their advantage lies in the training and quality of the airborne troops, which are traditionally higher than the average soldier.  Their immobility makes them a target for heavier units

Excellent examples of such a force are the American 82nd Airborne Division and the 75th Ranger Regiment – both of whom would undoubtedly be allocated to such a NATO force at some time.  Both units have the mission of having combat troops “Wheels Up” (en route by aircraft) within 18 hours of an order to move. Both units have the capability of “Forced Entry” into a territory to seize and secure key terrain, e.g. Drop Zone (DZ), airfield or airport, to accommodate follow on forces. A good example of this was Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada. The Rangers were at the staging base in Barbados in less than 18 hours from notification followed by the 82nd Airborne Division.

But, is speed enough?  What would such a unit bring to a combat situation in Eastern Europe?

Although heavy equipment will be prepositioned in Eastern Europe, It’s very likely that these depots will be hit be Russian strikes before they can be mobilized.  In that case, NATO will have to rely upon what the force brings to the battlefield.

A situation in Eastern Europe may very well rely upon a forced entry into hostile or contested territory.  This is something the 82nd Division can do, but with limited ability to project power beyond a limited range.  The 82nd Division can land 2,000 paratroopers, armored vehicles, and 155mm howitzers over a three mile drop zone to seize and defend an airfield in order to allow reinforcements, including air mobile Stryker armored units, to land and fight their way to the objective.  However, the ability of the attack to reach its objective relies upon the reinforcements and the air superiority to allow them to land.

An example of this was seen by the 82nd Airborne in Operation Market Garden in 1944.  They had been assigned the mission of capturing the Nijmegen Bridge, but were stopped by a light German armored unit.  They didn’t achieve their objective until days later – then with the support of armored units from the ground units of the 30th Corps.  Even then, they took heavy casualties in a daylight assault across the Waal River in order to capture the northern end of the bridge.

Event proved worse for the British 1st Airborne Division.  They reached their objective, but lost their landing zone.  The result was that they ran out of ammunition and supplies and those who weren’t captured by the Germans were forced to retreat.  The story of Operation Market Garden was made into a movie titled, “A Bridge Too Far.”

So, what does this history lesson mean to a modern day NATO quick reaction force?  Rapid reaction forces are highly skilled, highly trained light infantry that may be very mobile going into battle, but are largely immobile once they land.  Man per man, they can outfight any unit, but they don’t have the logistics tail or heavy equipment to continue fighting for long, especially in heavy combat.

Operation Market Garden also highlighted the communication problems between units of different nationalities, even though the majority of the Market Garden forces were all English speaking British and Americans.  A poly-lingual NATO rapid reaction force will have even greater problems.

The success of such a rapid reaction unit will depend on how quickly it gets to the potential theater of operations.  A rapid reaction force that can move in days before any combat and link up with heavy equipment and a logistics chain can be a deterrent as its combat ability exceeds its numbers.

Should that force not enter the area of operations until just before combat, its ability is seriously degraded.  The ability of the unit to fight against superior numbers depends on supply support that probably will not be there.  Consequently, the unit may stop a Russian advance for a few days before running out of ammunition and supplies.

Should the rapid reaction force try to force an entry into hostile territory without adequate air cover, the lives of the 4,000 men would be wasted.

In reality, a NATO rapid reaction force is more of a political response than a sound military one.  Deterring Russian expansionism would be better served by permanently stationing smaller numbers of ground forces in Eastern Europe – forces that would have all their equipment and an established supply infrastructure.

Undoubtedly, Putin is aware of this.   While the uncertainty of a NATO force will cause him to pause, it will not stop him if he decides to act.

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

2014 NATO Summit: Understanding the Key Issues

By Luke Coffey and Daniel Kochis

Heritage Foundation

September 3, 2014

Issue Brief #4271

The 2014 NATO summit will be held this week in Wales. The last time the United Kingdom hosted the NATO summit was in 1990, when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, the Cold War was coming to a close, and the alliance was questioning its future role in the world. Today’s situation is not dissimilar. This will be the last summit before NATO ends its combat operations in Afghanistan and the first since Russia illegally annexed the Crimean Peninsula and brought instability to eastern Ukraine. The U.S. should use this opportunity to refocus the alliance on the core tenets of the original 1949 North Atlantic Treaty: collective security and territorial defense. In advance of the summit, The Heritage Foundation has published six Issue Briefs touching on important policy issues that President Obama and his NATO counterparts should address.

Read more

 

 

Washington Should Stop Praising Military Tyranny in Egypt

By Doug Bandow

Cato Institute

September 2, 2014

Egypt’s capital is crowded, busy, confused, and messy.  Security isn’t obvious, until you get close to a sensitive site, such as the Interior Ministry. The military has taken firm control, elevating its leader, Abdel Fata al-Sisi, to the presidency.  The army permitted dictator Hosni al-Mubarak’s ouster by street protests in 2011 because he planned to turn military rule into a family dynasty.  If ousted president Mohamed al-Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood been defeated in a future election, they would have been discredited peacefully.  However, the coup turned the movement’s members into angry victims.  In Cairo they took over Rab’a al-Adawiya and al-Nahda Squares, just as the anti-Mubarak and anti-Morsi crowds had done in Tahir Square.  The military government responded with a campaign of premeditated murder.  In a new report Human Rights Watch detailed the junta’s crimes.  From the beginning the military used deadly force with no concern for casualties.  In fact, the army began using live ammunition against protestors just two days after the coup.

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The U.S. Strategic Vacuum in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia

By Anthony H. Cordesman

Center for Strategic and International Studies

September 2, 2014

Strategy does not consist of concepts, good intentions, or public statements that will not be implemented in any meaningful form. It consists of the policies and actions that are already in place and practical plans that can – and are – actually implemented. Today, the US lacks a real world strategy for dealing with Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia. It has an unworkable and under-resourced Transition plan for Afghanistan, no meaningful public strategy for Pakistan, and little more than statements of good intentions for Central Asia as it withdraws the forces that supported the war in Afghanistan. This “strategy” of good intentions is not a strategy. Yes, it would be nice to resolve the tensions and risk of conflict between India and Pakistan. It would be nice to see Afghanistan emerge as a unified, peaceful, developing democracy. It would be nice to seek Pakistan put on the same path. It would be nice to see Central Asia develop as a region, and do so in ways that are peaceful, and involve the same progress towards democracy.

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Winning the Campaign Against the Islamic State: Key Strategic and Tactical Challenges

By Anthony H. Cordesman

Center for Strategic and International Studies

August 29, 2014

Commentary

The United States does not have good or quick options in dealing with the Islamic State, in part because it faces serious challenges in Iraq and Syria that cannot be separated from any efforts to weaken and destroy the Islamic State. This, however, is not a reason to stand and wait for better options that do not exist. The situation will not get better because the United States continues to dither.  The United States already has the elements of the strategy it needs and has begun to act in important ways, and if this action is taken more decisively, in an integrated form, and over enough time to be effective it may well be capable of both imploding the Islamic State and serving U.S. interests in both Iraq and Syria.

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Backdrop to an Intervention: Sources of Egyptian-Libyan Border Tension

By Frederic Wehrey, David Bishop, and Ala’ Alrababa’h

Carnegie Endowment

August 27, 2014

The airstrikes that Emirati forces with Egyptian support conducted against militia positions in Libya in late August 2014 were sparked by an anti-Islamist military campaign in eastern Libya.  The campaign, led by retired General Khalifa Hifter and a breakaway faction of the Libyan military, has profoundly altered Egyptian-Libyan relations. But the roots of Egyptian meddling in Libya run deeper than Hifter’s current operation.  Among Libya’s many afflictions, none is more threatening to Egypt than the two states’ nearly 700-mile-long shared border. Border policing in Libya has always been weak and ill-defined—even under Muammar Qaddafi—but it has suffered a catastrophic decline following the dictator’s overthrow in 2011. Oversight of borders has devolved to a constellation of eastern militias that are only tenuously connected to the government and that, in many cases, are colluding in the very smuggling they are meant to combat. The border is now North Africa’s eastern thoroughfare for weapons, fighters, illegal migrants, and illicit goods flowing into the Levant, with profoundly destabilizing effects on the Sinai, Gaza, and Syria.

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Will ISIS Strike America’s Achilles Heel?

By Frank Gaffney

Center for Security Policy

September 3, 2014

According to the indispensable government watchdog group Judicial Watch, the U.S. government has evidence that the jihadist Islamic State (IS) is present in Juarez, Mexico – across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas.  Worse yet, the Texas Department of Public Safety believes there is evidence that IS plans an imminent attack in this country. In light of the latest murderous attack by this organization against an American journalist, Steven Sotloff, among other atrocities, such threats must be taken with the utmost seriousness.  Among the targets national security professionals fear may now be in the jihadis’ crosshairs is America’s exceedingly vulnerable electric grid. A panel discussion being held at the National Press Club in Washington Wednesday afternoon will show how a spate of recent attacks involving sabotage and destruction of property at various electric substations here and elsewhere could be leading indicators of the next 9/11 – one potentially vastly more destructive than the original which occurred thirteen years ago next week.

Read more

 

 

ISIS’s Offensive in Syria Shows that U.S. Airstrikes Have Not Blunted Momentum

By Isabel Nassief and Jennifer Cafarella

Institute for the Study of War

August 28, 2014

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told reporters that U.S. airstrikes “have stalled ISIL’s momentum” after two weeks of bombarding ISIS positions in Northern Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham has not stalled under U.S. pressure.  Rather, since the fall of Mosul and despite U.S. airstrikes, the insurgent army has continued a successful and spectacular offensive in Syria. Their gains nearly equal in scale the seizure of northern Iraq in June.  The insurgent army’s latest triumph is the capture of Assad’s Tabqa air base in Eastern Syria.  ISIS is one armed force fighting on multiple fronts in two theaters of operation, Iraq and Syria, across a border that the group does not recognize. It aims to establish and consolidate a cross-border Caliphate and has sought to fuse its lines of communication across the border region, while also seizing control of populated urban areas in both countries. ISIS has sought to expel armed forces of both states from positions within  ISIS’s desired “borders” in order to preserve the Caliphate’s territorial integrity.

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Lebanon and the ISIS Threat

By David Daoud

Washington Institute

August 28, 2014

Fikra Forum

The advance of the Islamic State of Syria and al-Sham (ISIS), currently known as the Islamic State, has focused the international spotlight on Syria and Iraq, as ISIS has taken control over huge swaths of the two countries. Although Lebanon has managed to stay off the international radar, instability and sectarianism leave the country equally vulnerable to this growing threat in the region.  The lack of national unity has been disastrous for Lebanon. The country has yet to overcome the damaging consequences of its bloody civil war (1975-1990), during which regional actors capitalized on Lebanon’s sectarian divides for their own political interests. For example, the Syrian army entered Lebanon under the initial pretext of aiding the Christian Maronites, and Iran took advantage of the disenfranchisement of Shiites and the Israeli occupation to create the Shiite militia Hezbollah. ISIS is very likely to exploit the Lebanese state’s failure to resolve the deep sectarian divides just like it did in Iraq and Syria.

Read more

 

 

Mounzer A. Sleiman Ph.D.
Center for American and Arab Studies
Think Tanks Monitor

 

www.thinktankmonitor.org

C: 202 536 8984             C: 301 509 4144

التحليل 09-05-2014

:التحليل

نفخ اوباما في عضلات الناتو لا يخيف بوتين

                 تكرار ماثل لاخطاء معسكر الحلفاء قبل 7 عقود

اوكرانيا في عين العاصفة الاميركية

          بعيدا عن اي ضجيج اعلامي، اقر بعض الاستراتيجيين الاميركيين ان الهدف الابعد للاستراتيجية الاميركية لا يتمثل في “محاصرة روسيا على حدودها ونشر بضع صواريخ هناك،” رغم أهميته المعنوية والسياسية، بل يتجاوزه لانهاكها “للحيلولة دون بروز عالم متعدد الاقطاب.” في هذا السياق، حذر وزير الخارجية الاسبق هنري كيسنجر بلاده، في شهر تموز الماضي، من مفاقمة الازمة الاوكرانية والمضي في تحريضها الاعلامي “لشيطنة (الرئيس) فلاديمير بوتين،” مطالبا صناع القرار بالجلوس مع روسيا لطاولة المفاوضات (مقالة مطولة في صحيفة واشنطن بوست). ايضا السفير الاميركي الاسبق لدى موسكو، جاك ماتلوك، حث الشعب الاميركي محذرا من عدم “تفهم المصالح الروسية .. وعدم السماح بتوسيع حلف الناتو” ليضم اوكرانيا

          امعانا في توضيح مسؤولية الغرب والولايات المتحدة بشكل خاص وحالة الاحباط من الفشل، أنّب نائب وزير الخارجية الاسبق والسفير الاميركي لدى حلف الناتو، نيكولاس بيرنز، حلفاءه الاوروبيين “لاضاعتهم فرصة تعزيز اجراءات المقاطعة ضد روسيا.” ووبخهم قائلا “يؤسفني القول ان (الرئيس) بوتين تفوق ببراعة على (حلف) الناتو” لابقائه باب الحوار مفتوح خاصة مع المستشارة الالمانية، انغيلا ميركل، والرئيس الفرنسي فرانسوا هولاند الذي تعرض لضغوط اميركية مكثفة لتعديل موقفه من موسكو يدعو التوصل لوقف اطلاق النار كأحد الشروط للمضي بتسليم حاملة طائرات مروحية “ميسترال” لروسيا قبل نهاية العام الجاري

العدد الاخير من فصلية “فورين افيرز،” الرصينة تصدره دراسة للاكاديمي المخضرم جون ميرشايمر يؤكد فيها ان “الازمة الاوكرانية هي من صنع الغرب .. الولايات المتحدة ومعظم حلفائها الاوروبيين يتحملون القسط الاوفر من مسؤولية الأزمة.” بعبارة اخرى، شهد شاهد من اهلها ان “حلف الناتو هو الطرف المعتدي” في الحالة الاوكرانية

توصيف الاوضاع الدولية الملتهبة بدقة وتحديد الاطراف المسؤولة عن اندلاع النيران هي وصفة ليست جديدة. لعل الجديد في الأمر ان التدهور يجري تحت سمع وبصر هيئة الأمم المتحدة “المنوطة بحفظ السلام العالمي،” ويؤشر على عجزها المرة تلو المرة في التخلص من تبعية قرارها للدول الغربية. كما يعزز سعي بعض الدول المتضررة، لا سيما في اميركا اللاتينية، الى انشاء منظمة دولية موازية او بديلة تمارس حقها في استقلالية القرار واداء رسالتها الرفيعة مدعومة بتوازنات جديدة تبشر بتعدد القطبية وكسر الاحتكار الجاري، في مستوياته المتعددة: سياسيا وعسكريا واقتصاديا وثقافيا .. الخ. كما لا ننسى المساعي الجارية لتفعيل وزن ودور دول البريكس

بعض اوروبا يتباعد عن اميركا

          حرص الرئيس اوباما على مشاركته الشخصية في قمة دول حلف الناتو، ويلز ببريطانيا، اتبعه بالاعلان عن زيارة يخصصها لدولة استونيا في بحر البلطيق والتزامه بارسال طائرات عسكرية للتحليق في اجواء دول البلطيق الثلاثة: ليتوانيا ولاتفيا واستونيا؛ امعانا منه في ممارسة سياسة استعراض القوة مع الرئيس الروسي بوتين، وارساء سقف سياسي للحوار المرتقب بتوسيع نطاق الحلف ليتمدد بالقرب من الاراضي الروسية، وفي محاولة مدروسة من مساعديه للرد على سيل الانتقادات لضعف قيادته في ادارة الشؤون الخارجية

          انفض لقاء قمة الناتو دون توصلها لبيان صريح وواضح بتوفير الدعم العسكري لاوكرانيا، كما روجت له حكومة كييف الموالية لواشنطن، واكتفى الحلف بالتأكيد على حق اوكرانيا استرداد كامل سيادتها على اراضيها. وسرعان ما أُعلن عن توصل الحكومة الاوكرانية والقوى المعارضة شرقي البلاد الى وقف لاطلاق النار. في هذا الصدد اجمع المراقبون للتطورات الاوكرانية ان حكومة كييف تلقت هزيمة كبيرة وستضطر لقبول شروط خصومها، او معظمها، المطالبين بصيغة سياسية كونفدرالية توفر لمناطقهم مساحة اوسع من الحكم الذاتي

          لخص معهد “ستراتفور” الاستخباري الموقف بالقول ان “حلف الناتو اخفق في توفير الدعم المطلوب لكييف .. وسيضطر (الرئيس الاوكراني) بوروشينكو الى التفاوض على حل للأزمة مع سيد الكرملين.” روسيا اوضحت موقفها مرارا بأنها تعارض بشدة تمدد حلف الناتو في حديقتها الخلفية، والتوصل الى صيغة سياسية تبقي على حياد اوكرانيا وعدم انضمامها للحلف، واعتمادها الصيغة الفيدرالية للحكم. جون ميرشايمر اوضح ايضا بقوله “ارتكبت الولايات المتحدة والقادة الاوروبيين خطأً فادحاً في توجههم لتحويل اوكرانيا الى معقل للغرب على حدود روسيا”

          يذكر ان المفكر الاستراتيجي الراحل، جورج كينان، وآخرين حذروا صناع القرار مبكرا من مغبة توسيع حلف الناتو طمعا في محاصرة روسيا، بيد ان التحذيرات ذهبت ادراج رياح الليبراليين والمحافظين الجدد، على السواء، الذين ليس بوسعهم التغافل عن ان استراتيجيتهم “اسفرت عن اطلاق صيحات بضمان الأمن لدول معظمها لا يقوى على حماية نفسه وستشكل عائقا أكبر للحلف في سعيه لنجدتها” من تهديد روسي محقق

          وصوبت يومية “فورين بوليسي” سهام انتقاداتها على تلك الفصيلة المتجانسة من “الليبراليين الجدد،” المحيطة بالرئيس اوباما وتدفعه لاتخاذ قرارات مغامرة “على شاكلة الامبراطورية البريطانية” التي اتخذت “قراراتها الحمقاء في غفلة من الزمن” باستنادهم الى “فرضية أن الضمانات المتعددة التي يعد بها الحلف لن ترى النور ابدا”

          الرئيس اوباما واعوانه، وبعض مؤيديه في الحلف “بريطانيا التابعة،” اسرفوا في التأكيد “لدول البلطيق والحلفاء في اواسط اوروبا” عن عزم حلف الناتو الهبة لنجدتهم والتسلح بنص المادة الخامسة من ميثاق الحلف التي تخول نشر قوات برية على اراضي دولة معرضة للاعتداء. وذهب اوباما للطلب من الكونغرس تخصيص مبلغ مليار دولار اضافي “لدعم مبادرة تطمين اوروبا” للانفاق على القوات الاميركية المتوجدة في الاراضي الاوروبية، والصرف على المناورات العسكرية المشتركة التي تجري دوريا مع عدد من الدول

          اميركا طالبت دول الحلف مجددا بزيادة معدلات ميزانياتها العسكرية والبدء في شراء المقاتلات الاميركية الحديثة، من طراز اف-35-ايه، ونموذجها القادر على حمل السلاح النووي تحديدا. كما تسعى الولايات المتحدة الى اعادة تثبيت قيمة اسلحتها النووية “التكتيكية،” التي تقدر بنحو 180 رأس نووي،مخزنة في خمس دول اوروبية: بلجيكا والمانيا وايطاليا وهولندا وتركيا

وفي التفاصيل، اعربت المانيا عن نيتها شراء المقاتلة بنسختها التقليدية خالية من التجهيزات والاسلحة النووية، لانها “لا ترى حاجة ماسة لتلك الاسلحة فضلا عن غياب الحماس لتحمل كلفتها الباهظة.” وثائق حلف الناتو تشير بوضوح الى اسراف الدول الاوروبية في الانفاق على التسلح بمعدل “يفوق اربعة اضعاف ما تنفقه روسيا سنويا،” وتتعرض لضغوطات شعبية واقتصادية لتخفيض الميزانيات العسكرية؛ وعلى الطرف الآخر تتعرض لضغوط اميركية مغايرة لزيادة معدلات الانفاق وهي حائرة بين الخيارين، يفاقمها الاوضاع الاقتصادية المتردية في معظم الدول وبعضها شارف على الافلاس

اغراءات اميركية في الزمن الضائع

سارعت الولايات المتحدة للاعلان عن اجراء مناورات عسكرية، الرمح الثلاثي السريع – رابيد ترايدنت- تعبيرا عن التزامها بدعم “البوابة الشرقية لحلف الناتو.” المناورات السنوية الاعتيادية تجري على اراضي بولندا، وبالقرب من الحدود المشتركة مع اوكرانيا. واضافت قيادة القوات الاميركية لاوروبا ان اميركا ستشارك بنحو 200 عنصر يعززهم نحو 1،100 من قوات الدول المشاركة: اوكرانيا، اذربيجان، بريطانيا، كندا، جورجيا، المانيا، لاتفيا، ليتوانيا، مولدوفا، النرويج، بولندا، رومانيا، واسبانيا

يضاف الى ذلك، تجهيز عربات مدرعة ونحو 600 عسكري لاتخاذ مواقعهم في بولندا ودول البلطيق للمشاركة في مناورات عسكرية مشتركة تجري في شهر تشرين الاول المقبل، في اعقاب انتهاء مناورات شاركت فيها قوات مسلحة من المظليين

روجت اميركا لتبني قمة الناتو اعلانها المسبق بتشكيل قوة عسكرية للتدخل السريع، قوامها لواء مسلح،  باستطاعته الانتشار والتمركز خلال 48 ساعة. اما ترسانة تسليحه فسيتم تخزين الاسلحة الثقيلة في دول “اوروبا الشرقية” ووضعها تحت تصرفه التام

واوضح الامين العام لحلف الناتو، اندرز فوغ راسموسن، نوايا المؤسسة بزيادة معدل البعد العسكري في مهامه بالقول ان الحلف يواجه تحديات متعددة “.. روسيا تتدخل بشكل سافر في اوكرانيا .. ازمات متعددة قد تنشب دون سابق انذار، والتحرك بسرعة فائقة تترك تداعياتها على أمننا الجماعي بطرق شتى. سنبلور قوة رأس حربة من ضمن قوة التدخل، مما يستدعي اقامة منشآت معينة في اراضي الحلف، وتخزين معدات ولوازم مسبقا، ووضع خبراء في شؤون القيادة والتحكم والاعمال اللوجستية تحت تصرفها “

قوة التدخل الحالية التابعة للحلف يستغرق تحركها نحو 5 أيام للوصول الى الميدان وباستطاعتها البقاء نحو 30 يوما دون الاضطرار للتزود بالامدادات. وقد اوكلت لها مهام التدخل 6 مرات في المدى القريب: توفير الحماية لدورة الالعاب الاولمبية  في اثينا عام 2004؛ وكذلك للانتخابات العراقية؛ المشاركة في العدوان على ليبيا عام 2011؛ الاشراف على اعمال الاغاثة الانسانية في افغانستان؛ والمشاركة ايضا في اعمال الاغاثة في اعقاب اعصار كاترينا في الولايات المتحدة؛ وتوفير الاغاثة الانسانية في اعقاب كارثة الزلزال الذي عصف بالباكستان

وعانت تلك القوة من تعدد الولاءات الوطنية لقواتها مما اضعف جهود التنسيق فيما بينها، كما شهدت عليه دورة الالعاب الاولومبية. اذ شارك فيها نحو 9،500 عنصر من كتيبة مظليين فرنسية وسرية من القوات الجوية المحمولة لليونان وسرية قوات خاصة من بلجيكا؛ توزعت غالبيتهم العظمى، 8،500، على القوات الجوية والبحرية، والمتبقي نحو 1،000 عنصر من القوات البرية

درس من التاريخ

بناء على ما تقدم، يبرز السؤال ان كان باستطاعة القوات الحديثة للحلف تشكيل قوة ردع يحسب لها حساب من قبل روسيا

الاجابة قد تقود المرء وقادة الحلف الى النظر باحداث التاريخ القريب التي جرت على اراضي بلجيكا وهولندا قبل نحو 70 عاما في مثل هذه الايام. آنذاك، شاركت قوة التدخل السريع للحلفاء اعتبرت الاكبر في حجم عمليات القوات المحمولة جوا في “عملية ماركت غاردن،” في الفترة الممتدة من 17 الى 25 أيلول 1944. كانت نتيجتها مأساوية اذ تعرضت الفرقة الجوية البريطانية الاولى المتمركزة في مدينة ارنام الهولندية الى ابادة شبه تامة

يدرك القادة العسكريون، القدامى والحاليون، القدرة المحدودة لقوات التدخل السريع لتنفيذ مهامها انطلاقا من طبيعة تشكيلها وتسليحها كقوة مشاة خفيفة الحركة، عادة ما يتم انزالها في مواقعها جواً. الميزة الاولى التي تتحلى بها تلك القوات هو برامج التدريب والتأهيل المكثفة التي تتفوق على ما يماثلها لتأهيل القوات البرية العادية

القوات الاميركية، بدورها، لديها الفرقة 82 المحمولة جوا وفوج الحرس الخامس والسبعين، واللتين من المرجح ان تنضمان لتعزيز قوة الناتو المعلن عنها، وباستطاعتهما اتخاذ مواقعهما خلال 18 ساعة من تلقي اوامر التحرك. القوتين مدربتين على مهام الاقتحام، الدخول عنوة الى اراضي الغير، والسيطرة على المرافق الحيوية. وشارك فوج الحرس المشار اليه في تأمين منصة انطلاق للجيش الاميركي في جزيرة باربادوس بالبحر الكاريبي ونجحت في مهمتها بأقل من 18 ساعة ممهدة الميدان لتعزيزات الفرقة 82 المحمولة

 مخازن الاسلحة الثابتة المعدة في اراضي دول اوروبا الشرقية ستكون هدفا للغارات الروسية لحرمان القوات الغازية من امكانياتها. وعليه، ستضطر قوة حلف الناتو الاعتماد شبه التام على ما تحمله معها من اسلحة ومعدات لتنفيذ مهامها، والتي ستتواضع انجازاتها بناء على ما لديها من امكانيات

مراهنة الحلف على الفرقة 82 المحمولة لاختراق اراضي الخصم محفوفة بمخاطر عدة. باستطاعة الفرقة انزال نحو 2،000 مظلي وعربات مدرعة ومدافع هاون من طراز 155 ملم على شريط يمتد نحو 5 كلم واستخدامه كنقطة تجمع للتعزيزات والامدادات، ومن ضمنها وحدات العربات المدرعة “سترايكر.” وينبغي على قادة حلف الناتو الاجابة الصريحة على المدى الجغرافي المنوط بقواته تأمينها بالنظر الى تواضع الاسلحة والمعدات المستخدمة

في ذلك الزمن القريب، اوكلت الفرقة 82 المحمولة مهمة السيطرة على جسر نيميغن في مدينة هولندية بذات الاسم، تقع على ضفاف نهر فال المتفرع من نهر الراين، عام 1944. وفشلت الفرقة في مهمتها على يد وحدة من المدرعات الالمانية، ولم تستطع التقدم الى ابعد من 400 متر من الجسر انجاز مهمتها الا بعد مضي بضعة ايام بدعم من القوات البرية التابعة للفيلق 30، بعدما تكبدت خسائر كبيرة

اما الشعبة الاولى البريطانية المحمولة فكانت خسائرها اعلى من نظيرتها الاميركية اذ فقدت منطقة الانزال التي سيطرت عليها سابقا، ونفذت ذخيرتها وامداداتها، ومن لم يقع في قبضة الالمان من رجالاتها فر هاربا. يذكر ان المعركة وثقتها هوليوود بفيلم  يحمل عنوان “جسر صعب المنال”

اشّرت “عملية ماركت غاردن” على عدد من الثغرات، آنذاك، والتي تجد صدى لها في الآونة الراهنة. اهمها عدم تناسق التوجيهات والاتصالات بين مجموعة غير متجانسة في اللغة والعادات، مع العلم ان القوات الاميركية والبريطانية على جسر نيميغن كانت تتكلم اللغة الانكليزية المشتركة، فما بالك ان تعددت اللغات المتداولة كما هي حال حلف الناتو لا سيما مع دول اوروبا الشرقية، ومآل مهام السيطرة المنوطة بالوحدات المختلفة في ظرف زمني قصير لا يحتمل اي فجوات او نواقص. باستطاعة قوات التدخل السريع للحلف القتال وصد هجوم روسي محتمل، لبضعة ايام، بيد انها ستواجه مخاطر نفاذ ذخيرتها وامداداتها. لعل الاهم، ما ينتظر القوات الرديفة والتعزيزات المتعددة من مهام اشد تعقيدا من القوات الخاصة في المسرح الميداني

ربما تطورت العلوم العسكرية في النظريات والتطبيقات والتكتيكات المتبعة، منذ ذلك الزمن. بيد ان الطبيعة البشرية وما تتطلبه من زمن لاستيعاب كل ما هو جديد ومتطور لا تستطيع تجاوز آفاق العقل البشري ليواكب سرعة الابتكار والتقنية

عند اقدام حلف الناتو على دخول معركة مع روسيا للسيطرة على بعض اراضيها في ظل غياب شبه تام للدعم الجوي فانه يجازف بارواح نحو 4،000 من جنوده فضلا عن الضحايا الآخرين

اذن، قوة حلف الناتو الموعودة ربما تجد مآلها في البعد السياسي كرسالة تطمين لاعضاء الحلف اكثر مما هي هي قوة حقيقية باستطاعتها تنفيذ مهام ذات طبيعة عسكرية ضمن سياق خسائر محسوبة تستطيع تعويضها. بعض التوجهات في حلف الناتو تنظر الى نشر قوات برية صغيرة الحجم بصورة دائمة في اراضي دول اوروبا الشرقية، استنادا الى توفر المعدات والامدادات المطلوبة في متناول اليد

سيد الكرملين وقادته العسكريون يدركون ذلك دون ريب. وقد يتريث قليلا لاعادة النظر بقوات حلف الناتو، لكن من المرجح ان يمضي قدما في مواجهاته دون حسابات تلجمه لتحقيق استراتيجية بلاده

التقرير الأسبوعي 09-05-2013

:المقدمة

          الازمة الاوكرانية ومواجهة الدولة الاسلامية تناصفتا اهتمامات المشهد الاعلامي والسياسي، اذ وجدت الوسائل الاميركية ضالتها في تسليط الضوء على ذبح الصحفي الاميركي الثاني، سوتلوف، لتهيأ الوعي الشعبي بضرورة التصدي عسكريا للمجموعات التكفيرية في بلد بعيد عن وطنهم

          سيستعرض قسم التحليل المتضمن التئام قمة دول حلف الناتو، في مقاطعة ويلز البريطانية، وخروجه بتوصية من الجانب الاميركي لانشاء “قوة تدخل سريع” تتبع لإمرة الحلف. سيجري بحث التوصية والقرار ببعض التفصيل والمهام المعقودة عليها لانجازها، والاستدلال بالتجارب التاريخية في اوروبا ذاتها لتصويب الجدل حولها؛ سيما على ضوء “عملية ماركت غاردن” في الحرب العالمية الثانية، ايلول 1944، والدروس التي لا زالت ماثلة امام المخططين العسكريين

ملخص دراسات ونشاطات مراكزالابحاث

مؤتمر حلف الناتو

          استهلت مؤسسة هاريتاج فرصة انعقاد قمة دول حلف الاطلسي  لتذكر الرؤساء بضرورة “العودة الى الأسس” والتمسك برسالة الحلف. وقالت ان “مهمة الحلف عند انشاؤه عام 1949 .. انصبت على ردع وهزيمة (ان تطلب الأمر) الاتحاد السوفياتي وحلف وارسو .. والحيلولة دون انتشار الشيوعية في اوروبا.” واكد المعهد ان “مبدأ التهديد لم يتلاشى .. وينبغي على دول الحلف الارتقاء الى مستوى الدفاع عن السيادة الاقليمية للاعضاء .. كما ينبغي على الولايات المتحدة استغلال مؤتمر القمة كفرصة مواتية للتركيز على (مبدأ) الدفاع لمشترك، وحث الاوروبيين على تخصيص موارد اضافية  للانفاق على القوات العسكرية، والابقاء على سياسة الباب المفتوح” لضم اعضاء جدد

الدولة الاسلامية

          نبه مركز الدراسات الاستراتيجية والدولية صناع القرار الى حصرية الخيارات المتاحة لمحاربة الدولة الاسلامية، مطالبا الولايات المتحدة استخدام اقصى ما يتوفر لديها من امكانيات مثل “القدرات النارية الجوية، والتزودبالاسلحة، ونشر مستشارين عسكريين في الخطوط الامامية، وتسخير كافة طاقاتها الاستخبارية واستهداف مواقع الخصم، والانتقاء الدقيق لعناصر القوات الخاصة لتنفيذ مهام سرية ضد المنشآت الحساسة ومراكز التجمع والمتطوعين الاجانب والاصول المادية للدولة الاسلامية وتوظيفها بدقة لتتفادى ايقاع الخسائر بين سنة العراق الذين ينبغي كسبهم في العودة والمشاركة في الحكومة العراقية والتصدي للدولة الاسلامية”

          اعتبر معهد كارنيغي ان الجهود الدولية “لهزيمة الدولة الاسلامية تتطلب تسوية سعودية – ايرانية” سيما في ظل غياب “اي مؤشرات واضحة على وجود استراتيجية (اميركية) من شأنها ان تحل مشكلة تنامي الدولة الاسلامية.” وحذر من عناصر استراتيجية اوباما التي تقصي “اللاعبين من غير السنة .. الذين من دونهم لا يمكن (تحقيق) نجاح اي استراتيجية ..” واستدرك بالقول انه رغم تشاطر السعودية وايران في عداء داعش، الا ان “السعودية لا تزال قلقة مما قد يحدث اذا تم القضاء على التنظيم ..” واعرب المعهد عن اعتقاده ان “السعودية لن تدعم عملية متعددة الجنسيات ضد الدولة الاسلامية،” كما ينادي بها اوباما ووزير خارجيته جون كيري نظرا  لقلقها من المشروع “الا اذ استطاعت ان تضمن دورا لنفسها في سورية والعراق بعد هزيمة التنظيم”

          فند معهد الدراسات الحربية فعالية “الغارات الجوية الاميركية التي لم تفلح في وقف اندفاعة داعش.” وذكر صناع القرار باهداف داعش التي تسعى للسيطرة على الموارد الطبيعية في حوض نهر الفرات “فضلا عن نيته بتوطيد خطوط اتصالاته على الجانبين العراقي والسوري .. بصرف النظر عن تعرضه للغارات الجوية الاميركية “

          دق مركز السياسة الأمنية ناقوس الخطر محذرا من امكانية لجوء داعش شن هجوم داخل الاراضي الاميركية، مستشهدا بالنتائج التي توصلت اليها دائرة السلامة العامة في ولاية تكساس التي “اعربت عن اعتقادها بتوفر دلائل تشير الى ان داعش بصدد شن هجوم وشيك” في اميركا تستهدف “تضعضع سلامة شبكة توزيع الكهرباء.” واوضح المركز ان الشبكة تعرضت لسلسة هجمات في الآونة الاخيرة والتي “ربما شكلت تدريبات ميدانية” لعمليات مقبلة

          استعرض معهد واشنطن لدراسات الشرق الادنى تهديد داعش على لبنان معربا عن خشيته من “استسلام قادة سنة لبنان امام داعش لدواعي يفرضها الواقع وتجاهل عامل الوفاق الايديولوجي معه .. سيما وان عدد من المسلحين السوريين اعربوا عن رغبتهم بالانضمام الى التنظيم نظرا لحالات الاحباط التي تعرضوا لها في الميدان.” وزعم المعهد ان النظام اللبناني “يحرم السنة” من المشاركة وان استمر في ذلك فمن شأنه ان يدفع “بالدولة الاسلامية الى تكرار تجربة حزب الله مع شيعة لبنان .. والتي ستستغل غياب السلطة المركزية اللبنانية لتوفر الحماية المسلحة وعدد من الخدمات الاجتماعية لبعض اركان السنة طمعا في ولائهم.” واستخلص بالقول ان “لبنان مهدد حقا بتحوله الى ضحية اخرى للدولة الاسلامية، وما الاشتباكات في عرسال الا بداية ما ينتظره من تطورات قادمة”

مصر

          وجه معهد كاتو نقدا لاذعا للادارة الاميركية على خلفية “اشادتها بالحكومة التي يديرها العسكر .. اذ ان الممارسات القمعية من غير المحتمل ان تؤدي الى الاستقرار.” واعرب عن تفهمه لتصرفات المجموعات الجهادية التي “ترى في ممارسة الارهاب كأحد الانوية لتحدي نظام يحرم مظاهر المعارضة السلمية.” وحث ادارة الرئيس اوباما على “وقف تدخلها الدائم والخالي من الحذق والبراعة (وتدرك) ان نفوذها محدود بشدة” لدى النظام المصري. وشدد المعهد على ضرورة “وقف الادارة استغلال برامج المساعدات المقدمة كوسيلة رشوة للضباط المصريين .. وسينتهي المطاف بمصر الى ان تجد نفسها عديمة الحرية والاستقرار “

ليبيا

          اعتبر معهد كارنيغي الغارات الجوية التي شنتها “المقاتلات الحربية المصرية بالاشتراك مع الامارات انما تنم عن استرايجية قصيرة النظر، سيما وانها لم تشكل حاجزا مانعا امام قوى مصراتة الاسلامية الطابع  وبسط سيطرتها على مطار طرابلس” الدولي. وحذر بالقول انه بصرف النظر عن “طبيعة وحجم الدعم المصري، سواء عسكري او بوسائل اخرى، فمن غير المرجح ان يسفر عن التلاشي التام لتهديد الاسلاميين لمديات تريح (الرئيس عبد الفتاح) السيسي”

آسيا الوسطى

          حذر مركز الدراسات الدولية والاستراتيجية من غياب “النظرة الاستراتيجية” لدى صناع القرار فيما يخص التطورات الجارية في “افغانستان والباكستان وآسيا الوسطى .. سيما وان حاجة الولايات المتحدة للابقاء على حضور اساسي في المنطقة لا يحظى بالاجماع، واستطرادا، لتبرير نشر موارد ونفقات اضافية.” واوضح ان أس الاستراتيجية الاميركية “لاعادة التوازن في آسيا تضع نصب اعينها دول شرقي آسيا وتراجع اهمية منطقة المحيط الهندي،” سيما وان اميركا لا زالت “ترى اهمية الهند ودورها لمراقبة وموازاة الصين، بيد انها لم تحصد نتائج كبيرة اوفوائد مرجوة”

:التحليل

نفخ اوباما في عضلات الناتو لا يخيف بوتين

                 تكرار ماثل لاخطاء معسكر الحلفاء قبل 7 عقود

اوكرانيا في عين العاصفة الاميركية

          بعيدا عن اي ضجيج اعلامي، اقر بعض الاستراتيجيين الاميركيين ان الهدف الابعد للاستراتيجية الاميركية لا يتمثل في “محاصرة روسيا على حدودها ونشر بضع صواريخ هناك،” رغم أهميته المعنوية والسياسية، بل يتجاوزه لانهاكها “للحيلولة دون بروز عالم متعدد الاقطاب.” في هذا السياق، حذر وزير الخارجية الاسبق هنري كيسنجر بلاده، في شهر تموز الماضي، من مفاقمة الازمة الاوكرانية والمضي في تحريضها الاعلامي “لشيطنة (الرئيس) فلاديمير بوتين،” مطالبا صناع القرار بالجلوس مع روسيا لطاولة المفاوضات (مقالة مطولة في صحيفة واشنطن بوست). ايضا السفير الاميركي الاسبق لدى موسكو، جاك ماتلوك، حث الشعب الاميركي محذرا من عدم “تفهم المصالح الروسية .. وعدم السماح بتوسيع حلف الناتو” ليضم اوكرانيا

          امعانا في توضيح مسؤولية الغرب والولايات المتحدة بشكل خاص وحالة الاحباط من الفشل، أنّب نائب وزير الخارجية الاسبق والسفير الاميركي لدى حلف الناتو، نيكولاس بيرنز، حلفاءه الاوروبيين “لاضاعتهم فرصة تعزيز اجراءات المقاطعة ضد روسيا.” ووبخهم قائلا “يؤسفني القول ان (الرئيس) بوتين تفوق ببراعة على (حلف) الناتو” لابقائه باب الحوار مفتوح خاصة مع المستشارة الالمانية، انغيلا ميركل، والرئيس الفرنسي فرانسوا هولاند الذي تعرض لضغوط اميركية مكثفة لتعديل موقفه من موسكو يدعو التوصل لوقف اطلاق النار كأحد الشروط للمضي بتسليم حاملة طائرات مروحية “ميسترال” لروسيا قبل نهاية العام الجاري

العدد الاخير من فصلية “فورين افيرز،” الرصينة تصدره دراسة للاكاديمي المخضرم جون ميرشايمر يؤكد فيها ان “الازمة الاوكرانية هي من صنع الغرب .. الولايات المتحدة ومعظم حلفائها الاوروبيين يتحملون القسط الاوفر من مسؤولية الأزمة.” بعبارة اخرى، شهد شاهد من اهلها ان “حلف الناتو هو الطرف المعتدي” في الحالة الاوكرانية

توصيف الاوضاع الدولية الملتهبة بدقة وتحديد الاطراف المسؤولة عن اندلاع النيران هي وصفة ليست جديدة. لعل الجديد في الأمر ان التدهور يجري تحت سمع وبصر هيئة الأمم المتحدة “المنوطة بحفظ السلام العالمي،” ويؤشر على عجزها المرة تلو المرة في التخلص من تبعية قرارها للدول الغربية. كما يعزز سعي بعض الدول المتضررة، لا سيما في اميركا اللاتينية، الى انشاء منظمة دولية موازية او بديلة تمارس حقها في استقلالية القرار واداء رسالتها الرفيعة مدعومة بتوازنات جديدة تبشر بتعدد القطبية وكسر الاحتكار الجاري، في مستوياته المتعددة: سياسيا وعسكريا واقتصاديا وثقافيا .. الخ. كما لا ننسى المساعي الجارية لتفعيل وزن ودور دول البريكس

بعض اوروبا يتباعد عن اميركا

          حرص الرئيس اوباما على مشاركته الشخصية في قمة دول حلف الناتو، ويلز ببريطانيا، اتبعه بالاعلان عن زيارة يخصصها لدولة استونيا في بحر البلطيق والتزامه بارسال طائرات عسكرية للتحليق في اجواء دول البلطيق الثلاثة: ليتوانيا ولاتفيا واستونيا؛ امعانا منه في ممارسة سياسة استعراض القوة مع الرئيس الروسي بوتين، وارساء سقف سياسي للحوار المرتقب بتوسيع نطاق الحلف ليتمدد بالقرب من الاراضي الروسية، وفي محاولة مدروسة من مساعديه للرد على سيل الانتقادات لضعف قيادته في ادارة الشؤون الخارجية

          انفض لقاء قمة الناتو دون توصلها لبيان صريح وواضح بتوفير الدعم العسكري لاوكرانيا، كما روجت له حكومة كييف الموالية لواشنطن، واكتفى الحلف بالتأكيد على حق اوكرانيا استرداد كامل سيادتها على اراضيها. وسرعان ما أُعلن عن توصل الحكومة الاوكرانية والقوى المعارضة شرقي البلاد الى وقف لاطلاق النار. في هذا الصدد اجمع المراقبون للتطورات الاوكرانية ان حكومة كييف تلقت هزيمة كبيرة وستضطر لقبول شروط خصومها، او معظمها، المطالبين بصيغة سياسية كونفدرالية توفر لمناطقهم مساحة اوسع من الحكم الذاتي

          لخص معهد “ستراتفور” الاستخباري الموقف بالقول ان “حلف الناتو اخفق في توفير الدعم المطلوب لكييف .. وسيضطر (الرئيس الاوكراني) بوروشينكو الى التفاوض على حل للأزمة مع سيد الكرملين.” روسيا اوضحت موقفها مرارا بأنها تعارض بشدة تمدد حلف الناتو في حديقتها الخلفية، والتوصل الى صيغة سياسية تبقي على حياد اوكرانيا وعدم انضمامها للحلف، واعتمادها الصيغة الفيدرالية للحكم. جون ميرشايمر اوضح ايضا بقوله “ارتكبت الولايات المتحدة والقادة الاوروبيين خطأً فادحاً في توجههم لتحويل اوكرانيا الى معقل للغرب على حدود روسيا”

          يذكر ان المفكر الاستراتيجي الراحل، جورج كينان، وآخرين حذروا صناع القرار مبكرا من مغبة توسيع حلف الناتو طمعا في محاصرة روسيا، بيد ان التحذيرات ذهبت ادراج رياح الليبراليين والمحافظين الجدد، على السواء، الذين ليس بوسعهم التغافل عن ان استراتيجيتهم “اسفرت عن اطلاق صيحات بضمان الأمن لدول معظمها لا يقوى على حماية نفسه وستشكل عائقا أكبر للحلف في سعيه لنجدتها” من تهديد روسي محقق

          وصوبت يومية “فورين بوليسي” سهام انتقاداتها على تلك الفصيلة المتجانسة من “الليبراليين الجدد،” المحيطة بالرئيس اوباما وتدفعه لاتخاذ قرارات مغامرة “على شاكلة الامبراطورية البريطانية” التي اتخذت “قراراتها الحمقاء في غفلة من الزمن” باستنادهم الى “فرضية أن الضمانات المتعددة التي يعد بها الحلف لن ترى النور ابدا”

          الرئيس اوباما واعوانه، وبعض مؤيديه في الحلف “بريطانيا التابعة،” اسرفوا في التأكيد “لدول البلطيق والحلفاء في اواسط اوروبا” عن عزم حلف الناتو الهبة لنجدتهم والتسلح بنص المادة الخامسة من ميثاق الحلف التي تخول نشر قوات برية على اراضي دولة معرضة للاعتداء. وذهب اوباما للطلب من الكونغرس تخصيص مبلغ مليار دولار اضافي “لدعم مبادرة تطمين اوروبا” للانفاق على القوات الاميركية المتوجدة في الاراضي الاوروبية، والصرف على المناورات العسكرية المشتركة التي تجري دوريا مع عدد من الدول

          اميركا طالبت دول الحلف مجددا بزيادة معدلات ميزانياتها العسكرية والبدء في شراء المقاتلات الاميركية الحديثة، من طراز اف-35-ايه، ونموذجها القادر على حمل السلاح النووي تحديدا. كما تسعى الولايات المتحدة الى اعادة تثبيت قيمة اسلحتها النووية “التكتيكية،” التي تقدر بنحو 180 رأس نووي،مخزنة في خمس دول اوروبية: بلجيكا والمانيا وايطاليا وهولندا وتركيا

وفي التفاصيل، اعربت المانيا عن نيتها شراء المقاتلة بنسختها التقليدية خالية من التجهيزات والاسلحة النووية، لانها “لا ترى حاجة ماسة لتلك الاسلحة فضلا عن غياب الحماس لتحمل كلفتها الباهظة.” وثائق حلف الناتو تشير بوضوح الى اسراف الدول الاوروبية في الانفاق على التسلح بمعدل “يفوق اربعة اضعاف ما تنفقه روسيا سنويا،” وتتعرض لضغوطات شعبية واقتصادية لتخفيض الميزانيات العسكرية؛ وعلى الطرف الآخر تتعرض لضغوط اميركية مغايرة لزيادة معدلات الانفاق وهي حائرة بين الخيارين، يفاقمها الاوضاع الاقتصادية المتردية في معظم الدول وبعضها شارف على الافلاس

اغراءات اميركية في الزمن الضائع

سارعت الولايات المتحدة للاعلان عن اجراء مناورات عسكرية، الرمح الثلاثي السريع – رابيد ترايدنت- تعبيرا عن التزامها بدعم “البوابة الشرقية لحلف الناتو.” المناورات السنوية الاعتيادية تجري على اراضي بولندا، وبالقرب من الحدود المشتركة مع اوكرانيا. واضافت قيادة القوات الاميركية لاوروبا ان اميركا ستشارك بنحو 200 عنصر يعززهم نحو 1،100 من قوات الدول المشاركة: اوكرانيا، اذربيجان، بريطانيا، كندا، جورجيا، المانيا، لاتفيا، ليتوانيا، مولدوفا، النرويج، بولندا، رومانيا، واسبانيا

يضاف الى ذلك، تجهيز عربات مدرعة ونحو 600 عسكري لاتخاذ مواقعهم في بولندا ودول البلطيق للمشاركة في مناورات عسكرية مشتركة تجري في شهر تشرين الاول المقبل، في اعقاب انتهاء مناورات شاركت فيها قوات مسلحة من المظليين

روجت اميركا لتبني قمة الناتو اعلانها المسبق بتشكيل قوة عسكرية للتدخل السريع، قوامها لواء مسلح،  باستطاعته الانتشار والتمركز خلال 48 ساعة. اما ترسانة تسليحه فسيتم تخزين الاسلحة الثقيلة في دول “اوروبا الشرقية” ووضعها تحت تصرفه التام

واوضح الامين العام لحلف الناتو، اندرز فوغ راسموسن، نوايا المؤسسة بزيادة معدل البعد العسكري في مهامه بالقول ان الحلف يواجه تحديات متعددة “.. روسيا تتدخل بشكل سافر في اوكرانيا .. ازمات متعددة قد تنشب دون سابق انذار، والتحرك بسرعة فائقة تترك تداعياتها على أمننا الجماعي بطرق شتى. سنبلور قوة رأس حربة من ضمن قوة التدخل، مما يستدعي اقامة منشآت معينة في اراضي الحلف، وتخزين معدات ولوازم مسبقا، ووضع خبراء في شؤون القيادة والتحكم والاعمال اللوجستية تحت تصرفها “

قوة التدخل الحالية التابعة للحلف يستغرق تحركها نحو 5 أيام للوصول الى الميدان وباستطاعتها البقاء نحو 30 يوما دون الاضطرار للتزود بالامدادات. وقد اوكلت لها مهام التدخل 6 مرات في المدى القريب: توفير الحماية لدورة الالعاب الاولمبية  في اثينا عام 2004؛ وكذلك للانتخابات العراقية؛ المشاركة في العدوان على ليبيا عام 2011؛ الاشراف على اعمال الاغاثة الانسانية في افغانستان؛ والمشاركة ايضا في اعمال الاغاثة في اعقاب اعصار كاترينا في الولايات المتحدة؛ وتوفير الاغاثة الانسانية في اعقاب كارثة الزلزال الذي عصف بالباكستان

وعانت تلك القوة من تعدد الولاءات الوطنية لقواتها مما اضعف جهود التنسيق فيما بينها، كما شهدت عليه دورة الالعاب الاولومبية. اذ شارك فيها نحو 9،500 عنصر من كتيبة مظليين فرنسية وسرية من القوات الجوية المحمولة لليونان وسرية قوات خاصة من بلجيكا؛ توزعت غالبيتهم العظمى، 8،500، على القوات الجوية والبحرية، والمتبقي نحو 1،000 عنصر من القوات البرية

درس من التاريخ

بناء على ما تقدم، يبرز السؤال ان كان باستطاعة القوات الحديثة للحلف تشكيل قوة ردع يحسب لها حساب من قبل روسيا

الاجابة قد تقود المرء وقادة الحلف الى النظر باحداث التاريخ القريب التي جرت على اراضي بلجيكا وهولندا قبل نحو 70 عاما في مثل هذه الايام. آنذاك، شاركت قوة التدخل السريع للحلفاء اعتبرت الاكبر في حجم عمليات القوات المحمولة جوا في “عملية ماركت غاردن،” في الفترة الممتدة من 17 الى 25 أيلول 1944. كانت نتيجتها مأساوية اذ تعرضت الفرقة الجوية البريطانية الاولى المتمركزة في مدينة ارنام الهولندية الى ابادة شبه تامة

يدرك القادة العسكريون، القدامى والحاليون، القدرة المحدودة لقوات التدخل السريع لتنفيذ مهامها انطلاقا من طبيعة تشكيلها وتسليحها كقوة مشاة خفيفة الحركة، عادة ما يتم انزالها في مواقعها جواً. الميزة الاولى التي تتحلى بها تلك القوات هو برامج التدريب والتأهيل المكثفة التي تتفوق على ما يماثلها لتأهيل القوات البرية العادية

القوات الاميركية، بدورها، لديها الفرقة 82 المحمولة جوا وفوج الحرس الخامس والسبعين، واللتين من المرجح ان تنضمان لتعزيز قوة الناتو المعلن عنها، وباستطاعتهما اتخاذ مواقعهما خلال 18 ساعة من تلقي اوامر التحرك. القوتين مدربتين على مهام الاقتحام، الدخول عنوة الى اراضي الغير، والسيطرة على المرافق الحيوية. وشارك فوج الحرس المشار اليه في تأمين منصة انطلاق للجيش الاميركي في جزيرة باربادوس بالبحر الكاريبي ونجحت في مهمتها بأقل من 18 ساعة ممهدة الميدان لتعزيزات الفرقة 82 المحمولة

 مخازن الاسلحة الثابتة المعدة في اراضي دول اوروبا الشرقية ستكون هدفا للغارات الروسية لحرمان القوات الغازية من امكانياتها. وعليه، ستضطر قوة حلف الناتو الاعتماد شبه التام على ما تحمله معها من اسلحة ومعدات لتنفيذ مهامها، والتي ستتواضع انجازاتها بناء على ما لديها من امكانيات

مراهنة الحلف على الفرقة 82 المحمولة لاختراق اراضي الخصم محفوفة بمخاطر عدة. باستطاعة الفرقة انزال نحو 2،000 مظلي وعربات مدرعة ومدافع هاون من طراز 155 ملم على شريط يمتد نحو 5 كلم واستخدامه كنقطة تجمع للتعزيزات والامدادات، ومن ضمنها وحدات العربات المدرعة “سترايكر.” وينبغي على قادة حلف الناتو الاجابة الصريحة على المدى الجغرافي المنوط بقواته تأمينها بالنظر الى تواضع الاسلحة والمعدات المستخدمة

في ذلك الزمن القريب، اوكلت الفرقة 82 المحمولة مهمة السيطرة على جسر نيميغن في مدينة هولندية بذات الاسم، تقع على ضفاف نهر فال المتفرع من نهر الراين، عام 1944. وفشلت الفرقة في مهمتها على يد وحدة من المدرعات الالمانية، ولم تستطع التقدم الى ابعد من 400 متر من الجسر انجاز مهمتها الا بعد مضي بضعة ايام بدعم من القوات البرية التابعة للفيلق 30، بعدما تكبدت خسائر كبيرة

اما الشعبة الاولى البريطانية المحمولة فكانت خسائرها اعلى من نظيرتها الاميركية اذ فقدت منطقة الانزال التي سيطرت عليها سابقا، ونفذت ذخيرتها وامداداتها، ومن لم يقع في قبضة الالمان من رجالاتها فر هاربا. يذكر ان المعركة وثقتها هوليوود بفيلم  يحمل عنوان “جسر صعب المنال”

اشّرت “عملية ماركت غاردن” على عدد من الثغرات، آنذاك، والتي تجد صدى لها في الآونة الراهنة. اهمها عدم تناسق التوجيهات والاتصالات بين مجموعة غير متجانسة في اللغة والعادات، مع العلم ان القوات الاميركية والبريطانية على جسر نيميغن كانت تتكلم اللغة الانكليزية المشتركة، فما بالك ان تعددت اللغات المتداولة كما هي حال حلف الناتو لا سيما مع دول اوروبا الشرقية، ومآل مهام السيطرة المنوطة بالوحدات المختلفة في ظرف زمني قصير لا يحتمل اي فجوات او نواقص. باستطاعة قوات التدخل السريع للحلف القتال وصد هجوم روسي محتمل، لبضعة ايام، بيد انها ستواجه مخاطر نفاذ ذخيرتها وامداداتها. لعل الاهم، ما ينتظر القوات الرديفة والتعزيزات المتعددة من مهام اشد تعقيدا من القوات الخاصة في المسرح الميداني

ربما تطورت العلوم العسكرية في النظريات والتطبيقات والتكتيكات المتبعة، منذ ذلك الزمن. بيد ان الطبيعة البشرية وما تتطلبه من زمن لاستيعاب كل ما هو جديد ومتطور لا تستطيع تجاوز آفاق العقل البشري ليواكب سرعة الابتكار والتقنية

عند اقدام حلف الناتو على دخول معركة مع روسيا للسيطرة على بعض اراضيها في ظل غياب شبه تام للدعم الجوي فانه يجازف بارواح نحو 4،000 من جنوده فضلا عن الضحايا الآخرين

اذن، قوة حلف الناتو الموعودة ربما تجد مآلها في البعد السياسي كرسالة تطمين لاعضاء الحلف اكثر مما هي هي قوة حقيقية باستطاعتها تنفيذ مهام ذات طبيعة عسكرية ضمن سياق خسائر محسوبة تستطيع تعويضها. بعض التوجهات في حلف الناتو تنظر الى نشر قوات برية صغيرة الحجم بصورة دائمة في اراضي دول اوروبا الشرقية، استنادا الى توفر المعدات والامدادات المطلوبة في متناول اليد

سيد الكرملين وقادته العسكريون يدركون ذلك دون ريب. وقد يتريث قليلا لاعادة النظر بقوات حلف الناتو، لكن من المرجح ان يمضي قدما في مواجهاته دون حسابات تلجمه لتحقيق استراتيجية بلاده

Analysis 08-31-2014

ANALYSIS

 

ISIS and the Threat to American Domestic Security

 

The ISIS threat to the US has two facets – the actual threat and the political factor.  While the threat is real, the political issues must limit the threat so as not to damage Obama, who has claimed in the past that the threat of Islamic terrorism is gone.

Apparently, right now, the Obama administration is focused on the political factor.  Soon after the Foley beheading, Obama made a brief statement denouncing it before returning to the golf course.  Some analysts said this showed Obama’s disinterest in his role as president, while others said it was his way of showing that he didn’t take the domestic ISIS threat seriously.

But, there are other voices in the Obama administration that disagree.  Although the Obama White House has until recently downplayed the threat posed by ISIS to the United States, military and intelligence sources are warning that ISIS is already in the US and is adding more personal through the porous US/Mexico border.  The result, they say, is a terrorist threat greater than that seen before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks by Al Qaeda.

Obviously, the Obama administration is trying to walk a political tightrope by highlighting the ISIS threat overseas, but trying to downplay the threat inside the US.  In 2012, Obama claimed credit for destroying Al Qaeda and lambasted his opponent Romney for claiming that Islamic terrorists still posed a threat to the US.  The result is that Obama’s homeland security network is left providing contradictory information and threat assessments.

Here’s an example of the contradictory nature of the administration’s threat assessment.  The FBI and Homeland Security Department said last Friday there are no specific or credible terror threats to the U.S. homeland from ISIS.  An intelligence bulletin, issued to state and local law enforcement, says while there’s no credible threat to the U.S. as a result of recent American airstrikes in Iraq, officials remain concerned that ISIS supporters could attack overseas targets with little warning.

But, there is a major concern that American intelligence agencies are monitoring – American Islamic radicals in Syria.  America’s Homeland Security department has been concerned by the attractiveness of Syria’s rebel groups to Islamic Americans.  This was just highlighted this week by the death of American Douglas McCain, who was fighting for ISIS in Aleppo, Syria, and the announcement of anther American as this report being prepared. Could American ISIS terrorists export terrorism from Syria to the US?

Although the US has tried to downplay the seriousness of the ISIS threat in America by calling it the “Junior Varsity,” (a term that refers to school sports teams consisting of members not good enough for the first team), there are Americans going to Syria and others allied to ISIS that have remained in the US.  The U.S. State Department says they don’t have precise numbers of Americans who have joined ISIS, but they have positively identified about12. Obviously, precise numbers are unavailable and intelligence assessments, while educated, are still estimates due to limited U.S. intelligence in Syria.  However, many in the intelligence community think the number is much higher.

In addition to ISIS, there is also a group of Americans who have linked up with al Qaeda’s affiliate al Nusra.  CBS News reports there are even a larger number of unknown Americans who have joined the Syria Free Army.

While the State Department will only admit to a relatively small number of Americans who have linked up with terror groups in Syria, American law enforcement has been frantically trying to identify other ISIS sympathizers who could bring a terrorist campaign back to United States. Because they have passports that do not require visas to travel back, they represent the potential operatives who pose the biggest threat.

This could be a larger threat that the US State Department may be willing to admit.  US intelligence estimates that about of the about 7,000 foreign fighters in Syria and about 300 American passport holders are allied with jihadist groups in Syria.  “We know that there are several hundred American passport holders running around with ISIS in Syria or Iraq,” an official told the Washington Times, offering a figure well above widespread reports of about 100 such fighters. “It’s hard to tell whether or not they’re in Syria or moved to Iraq.”

How serious is the threat?  The Pentagon says the terror group is “beyond anything we’ve seen.”   In May, a 22-year-old man from Florida carried out a suicide bombing mission in Syria.  And, last month, a Colorado woman was charged with conspiring to help a foreign terrorist organization after she told FBI agents that she planned to travel to Syria to meet a man who claimed to be fighting for ISIS.  More recently, there have been pro-ISIS social media postings that have indicated that they may in the US and be targeting locations like Chicago (Obama’s hometown) and Las Vegas.  Another sign of concern is that in the recent riots in Ferguson, there was a sign held by protestors that said, “ISIS is here.”

“This is a global crisis in need of a global solution. The Syrian conflict has turned that region into a cradle of violent extremism,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in his July speech in Oslo. “But the world cannot simply sit back and let it become a training ground from which our nationals can return and launch attacks. And we will not.”

The concern has been exacerbated by the porous nature of the US/Mexican border, where many fear that ISIS or other Islamic terrorists have already crossed.   Texas Governor Rick Perry warned that there’s a “very real possibility that terrorists from groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are illegally crossing into the United States from Mexico.”

“Certainly there a great concern that the border between the United States and Mexico is un-secure, and we don’t know who’s using that. What I will share with you is that we’ve seen historic high levels of individuals from countries with terrorist ties over the course of the last months,” Perry said during a speech at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

The same concern is being expressed in the Congress.  The ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee in the U.S. Senate warned that ISIS is trying to develop the capability of blowing up an entire American city.

The comments from Sen. Jim Inhofe, (R-Oklahoma), came in an interview with a television station in Oklahoma City.  He said the U.S. now is in “the most dangerous position we’ve ever been in.”

Responding to questions about terror and the threat facing Americans, he said: “They’re crazy out there. And they are rapidly developing a method of blowing up a major U.S. city. You just can’t believe that’s happening.”  He blamed the situation on the cuts in defense spending made by Obama.

Defense Secretary Hagel echoed the concern.  “This is beyond anything that we’ve seen,” he said during a briefing on the beheading of American journalist James Foley.  “ISIL is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen,” Hagel said. “They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded…So we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is that you take a cold, steely, hard look at it…and get ready.”

“There’s real concern that they could take what they’ve learned … come back home and conduct terror attacks,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told CNN.  “So I think (McCain) is a stark reminder of the inside threat that foreign fighters can pose.”

US Special Forces soldiers who have fought in Iraq warn that although ISIS is fanatically Islamic, that will not stop them from allying with non-fanatics in order to become a more effective fighting machine.  One retired Green Beret noted that ISIS is using much of the money from captured banks to buy non-jihadist technicians who can maintain and repair some of the technical military equipment that it has captured from Iraqi and Syrian forces.  They have also become a haven for former Iraqi Army officers who were once members of the Baath party.  This has given ISIS considerable military savvy.

 

If, as many are claiming, ISIS is in the US and is planning a terrorist attack, what is the potential target?

Many experts think that ISIS related terrorists in the US will opt for a large public gathering to maximize publicity like those terrorist attacks in India and Kenya.  These targets might be stadiums, shopping malls, airports, schools, hotels, hospitals, and churches.

This is one reason why the threat against Las Vegas is taken so seriously.  It is a major visitor location with some of America’s largest hotels.  As in Mumbai, terrorists could methodically carry out their attacks with the largest number of potential targets.

The other option is a bomb as Senator Inhofe intimated.  Some have even speculated that ISIS may try to detonate a radiological bomb, using some of the radioactive materials recently stolen from Iraqi nuclear research laboratories.

Stopping ISIS

If ISIS is a threat to the US, how can America destroy the threat?

Even at this late date, the White House refuses to take the ISIS threat too seriously.  However, there is some indication that a strategy is developing, which includes a rapprochement although indirectly with Syria’s Assad.

A regional peace and balance of power can’t be achieved by allying with Assad and leaving a political vacuum with the destruction of ISIS.  There must be some Sunni political force to fill that vacuum or there will be no peace.

The answer is crafting an alliance with other regional nations like Saudi Arabia and the GCC.  The goal is to create and support an acceptable, moderate Sunni political entity that can represent the Sunnis and have the military force to stop ISIS, Al Qaeda, Assad, and the Shiites.

Such a policy would also require stronger support of the Kurds in northern Iraq.  The US has already announced that it is shipping arms directly to the Kurds.  And, sources in Washington report that about 150 American Special Forces are already on the ground in Kurdistan training Kurds.

The Kurdish flank is critical for a holistic solution.  According to American Special Forces experts, the Kurds are highly motivated and fighters with an excellent reputation – a reputation that has only been enhanced as Kurdish forces have advanced against ISIS with the help of US air strikes.   One retired Green Beret, who trained and fought with the Kurds in 2003, has said that he has no doubts that with adequate arms, the Kurds can push ISIS back in Iraq.

According to many analysts in Washington, That leaves Syria.  It isn’t enough to push ISIS back into Syria.  It must be defeated or else it will merely return at a later date.

They are calling for a broad coalition of American, European, and Middle Eastern nations that will have to work together to solve the ISIS problem in Syria.  Allying itself with Assad or carrying out limited air strikes on ISIS targets will only delay the inevitable conquest of Syria by ISIS.

Some military experts in Washington advocating that Western intervention will also require more than air strikes and arms shipments.  Western Special Forces will be needed to act as highly trained cadres that can fight with the local established militias (like Sahawat) as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The great irony in the US is that the opposition Republicans in Congress (along with many Democrats) is more likely to support some sort of intervention in this manner than the Obama Administration.  If Obama had greater persuasive talents, he could probably get congressional approval for more aggressive action against ISIS, just as President Bush did in the 2001 – 2003 timeframe.

Although the threat posed by ISIS is great, the ability of the Western world and the majority of Middle Eastern nations to stop them exist.  Although many nations are ready and willing to act, to some observers the biggest block right now is the person residing in the White House.

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

NATO Summit 2014: Stay Committed to Afghanistan

By Luke Coffey

Heritage Foundation

August 21, 2014

Issue Brief #4266

The 2014 NATO summit will be held in September in Wales. It will be the last summit before NATO ends its combat operations in Afghanistan and begins its Resolute Support mission to train, advise, and assist the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).   The two most important issues at the summit regarding Afghanistan will be the financial funding for and size of the ANSF after 2015 and the number of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. More than 50 international leaders of those nations that are participating in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will attend the summit. This offers a unique opportunity to address these issues.

Read more

 

 

The Dead Hand of Socialism: State Ownership in the Arab World

By Dalibor Rohac

Cato Institute

August 25, 2014

Policy Analysis No. 753

Extensive government ownership in the economy is a source of inefficiency and a barrier to economic development. Although precise measures of government ownership across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are hard to come by, the governments of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Yemen all operate sizeable segments of their economies—in some cases accounting for more than two-thirds of the GDP.

International experience suggests that private ownership tends to outperform public ownership. Yet MENA countries have made only modest progress toward reducing the share of government ownership in their economies and are seen as unlikely candidates for wholesale privatization in the near future.

Read more

 

 

Egypt, Counterterrorism, and the Politics of Alienation

By Michele Dunne and Scott Williamson

Carnegie Endowment

August 20, 2014

When U.S. President Barack Obama pledged on August 18 “to pursue a long-term strategy to turn the tide” against jihadi terrorists in Iraq, “working with key partners in the region and beyond,” Egypt was probably one partner he had in mind. On the very same day, U.S. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf cited counterterrorism as an “overlapping strategic interest” between the United States and Egypt. Asked if the United States still views Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as leading a democratic transition despite human rights abuses (such as those identified in a recent Human Rights Watch report), Harf replied, “He is, he is.”  On the face of it, counterterrorism and human rights abuses might appear to be unrelated subjects. U.S. officials certainly treat them that way; they expect Sisi to be a useful ally in fighting terrorism, while occasionally bemoaning his repression and human rights abuses.

Read more

 

 

James Foley and the Battle for the Soul of the Arab and Muslim Worlds

By S. Abdallah Schleifer

Foreign Policy Research Institute

August 27, 2014

As an American Muslim and as a journalist, I am more than appalled by the murder of James Foley and the murder video. If I were King of Whatever/Wherever,  I would go to war—to wipe out these IS perverts — perverters not just of Islam but of all the decencies known to all men/women of all the traditional faiths and to all men/women of just simple decent feelings.  And not just for James Foley, brave soul that he was. But for all the victims of this atrocity that is called “The Islamic State” and known to us as ISIL or ISIS – the Christians, the Yazidis, the Shia soldiers of the Iraqi Army who surrendered and were then executed gangland style; the Sufis and any Iraqi Sunni who does not submit in public to the barbaric Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi , the False Khalifa of Islam.  Because of these criminals, who but traditional Muslims and decent Western scholars of Islam know that for Muslims the greatest litany of all, invoked at all times, in all places is Bism’Allah ar-Rahman, ar-Raheem – in the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate.

Read more

 

 

ISIS’s Offensive in Syria Shows that U.S. Airstrikes Have Not Blunted Momentum

By Isabel Nassief and Jennifer Cafarella

Institute for the Study of War

August 28, 2014

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told reporters that U.S. airstrikes “have stalled ISIL’s momentum” after two weeks of bombarding ISIS positions in Northern Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham has not stalled under U.S. pressure.  Rather, since the fall of Mosul and despite U.S. airstrikes, the insurgent army has continued a successful and spectacular offensive in Syria. Their gains nearly equal in scale the seizure of northern Iraq in June.  The insurgent army’s latest triumph is the capture of Assad’s Tabqa air base in Eastern Syria.

Read more

 

 

ISIS and the New Middle East Cold War

By F. Gregory Gause, III

Brookings Institution

August 25, 2014

The territorial gains this summer by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in both those countries have added a new element to the new Middle East cold war that I wrote about in a Brookings Doha analysis paper published earlier in the summer. ISIS rebranded itself “the Islamic State” and declared a caliphate in Mosul. It threatened both Baghdad and Irbil in Iraq while consolidating control over more of eastern Syria and taking its fight toward Aleppo. Its successes have added to its numbers, both in terms of volunteers and in terms of other fighting groups which, while perhaps not sharing its ideology, are bandwagoning with an apparent winner. Its grisly execution of American journalist James Foley riveted world attention, but its successes predated that event by months. American bombing helped to turn back some of its recent gains in northern Iraq, but no one claims that ISIS has been defeated.

Read more

 

Military Implications of the Syrian Regime’s Defeat in Raqqa

By Jeffrey White

Washington Institute

August 27, 2014

PolicyWatch 2310

Over the past two months, jihadist fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) have waged an increasingly successful campaign against Assad regime forces in Syria’s northern Raqqa province, culminating in the capture of al-Tabqa Airfield earlier this week. The defeat in Raqqa has major military implications — it represents a loss at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of war, raising questions about whether the regime or Syrian rebels can defend other, more important areas of the country against further ISIS offensives.

Read more

 

 

Mounzer A. Sleiman Ph.D.
Center for American and Arab Studies
Think Tanks Monitor

www.thinktankmonitor.org

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Week of August 31st, 2014

Executive Summary

 

Although ISIS was a major topic in the think tank community, Washington is slowing down as it heads into the Labor Day weekend, the traditional end of summer in the United States.

The Monitor Analysis looks at ISIS and its threat to cause damage in the United States through terrorist attacks.  Although the White House discounts the threat, hundreds of Americans are fighting with ISIS and many more are sympathizers.  In addition, there is a porous southern American border that is probably a potential entry of ISIS terrorists into the US right now.

We also look at ways the US could combat ISIS and noticed that an alliance with Syria’s Assad

 

Think Tanks Activity Summary

 

As the Monitor Analysis notes, American airstrikes will not be enough to defeat ISIS.  This is confirmed by this report by the Institute for the Study of War.  In noting the continuing advance in Syria, they write, “ISIS operations in Syria have centered on five main objectives: control of the Euphrates River Valley; seizure of critical oil infrastructure; freedom of maneuver through Kurdish areas of Syria; expulsion of remaining regime forces from bases in Eastern Syria; and seizure of critical supply lines along the Turkish border. ISIS thereby seeks to merge its Iraq and Syria fronts by consolidating lines of communication between the two. ISIS has continued to pursue these objectives in Syria despite U.S. airstrikes in Northern Iraq and the Syrian regime’s sustained air strikes in North-Eastern Syria. ISIS’s campaign has proceeded in Syria along four main fronts: the Euphrates River Valley in Deir ez-Zour province; Hasaka province; North-Western Aleppo province; and the Syrian regime airbase in Raqqa province.”

The Washington Institute looks at the ISIS capture of Syria’s al-Tabqa Airfield earlier this week.  They warn, “Indeed, the regime failure in Raqqa and the continuing weaknesses of other rebel forces raise the question of who will stop ISIS in Syria. The regime may be more successful in defending areas it regards as more critical, but there are no guarantees. Its pattern of letting isolated positions fall is well established, and it has little in the way of reserves or mobile forces to restore failing situations or retake lost ground. It is also fighting on other fronts against various rebel units. As a result, it will most likely lose Deir al-Zour province and then have to face ISIS much closer to its heartland. The regime’s Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite allies are already committed to critical fronts with only limited success, so it is unclear how big of a difference they could make against ISIS while still heavily engaged against other groups.”

The Brookings Institution looks at the war with ISIS as a result of the cold war in the region.  They note, “In one sense, ISIS is an outgrowth of the new Middle East cold war. The root cause of this region-wide crisis is the failure of state authorities to be able to control their borders and their territories, to provide services to their populations and, ultimately, to forge a common political identity that could be the basis of political community. This collapse of normal state authority has not only occurred in large swathes of Syria and Iraq; it is also occurring in Lebanon, Yemen, Libya and perhaps even in parts of Egypt. In the absence of central government control, local forces emerge, based on sectarian, ethnic, tribal and regional identities, to fill the gap. The Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Huthi movement in Yemen and the various sectarian militias in Syria and Iraq are, in their different ways, similar manifestations of the failure of centralized governance in these countries.”

The Carnegie Endowment looks at the Egyptian government, its counterterrorism campaign and how it is alienating its citizens.  They note, “Among the various factors that are alienating many Egyptians and making them more susceptible to radicalization, several stand out: abuses related to the massive detentions since the summer 2013 coup against then president Mohamed Morsi, lack of accountability for killings, exclusion of most Islamists from politics and public life, and brutal methods used in the marginalized Sinai region. U.S. officials should pay close attention to these problems because Egypt may well be fueling terrorism at a faster pace than fighting it.”

The Heritage Foundation looks at Afghanistan and the upcoming NATO meeting is Wales in September.  Although NATO is keen to withdraw from Afghanistan, the Heritage foundation reminds them of Russian history in thea same country a few decades ago.  They conclude, “When Russia stopped funding Mohammad Najibullah’s regime in 1992, the Afghan air force was grounded due to lack of fuel, and Afghan army desertions increased by 60 percent due to lack of pay and food shortages. This established the chaotic conditions in Afghanistan that, in part, helped to bring the Taliban to power in 1994. Today in Iraq, the consequences of full disengagement are seen in the rise of the so-called Islamic State. NATO should learn these lessons and not disengage from Afghanistan at such an important time.”

The Cato Institute argues that the economic problem in the Middle East is due to too much socialism and not enough privatization.  They note, “Three main lessons emerge from the experience of countries that have undergone large privatization pro­grams in the past. First, the form of privatization matters for its economic outcomes and for popular acceptance of the reform. Transparent privatization, using open and competitive bidding, produces significantly better results than privatization by insiders, without public scrutiny. Second, private ownership and governance of the finan­cial sector is crucial to the success of restructuring. Third, privatization needs to be a part of a broader reform pack­age that would liberalize and open MENA economies to competition.”

An American Muslim and journalist write for the Foreign Policy Research Institute about the battle for the soul of the Arab and Muslim world.  His paper concludes, “I cannot forget how Obama said — in a most condescending tone — in the earliest days of U.S. Air Force strikes against IS fighters advancing on Erbil and terrorizing the Christians of Mosul that the American jet fighters “are not the Iraqi air force.” Why not? But I also wonder: Why just the U.S. Air Force? Where are the Arab and Turkish air forces?  For the fight in Iraq is a battle for the soul of the Arab and Muslim worlds.”

 

 

ANALYSIS

 

ISIS and the Threat to American Domestic Security

The ISIS threat to the US has two facets – the actual threat and the political factor.  While the threat is real, the political issues must limit the threat so as not to damage Obama, who has claimed in the past that the threat of Islamic terrorism is gone.

Apparently, right now, the Obama administration is focused on the political factor.  Soon after the Foley beheading, Obama made a brief statement denouncing it before returning to the golf course.  Some analysts said this showed Obama’s disinterest in his role as president, while others said it was his way of showing that he didn’t take the domestic ISIS threat seriously.

But, there are other voices in the Obama administration that disagree.  Although the Obama White House has until recently downplayed the threat posed by ISIS to the United States, military and intelligence sources are warning that ISIS is already in the US and is adding more personal through the porous US/Mexico border.  The result, they say, is a terrorist threat greater than that seen before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks by Al Qaeda.

Obviously, the Obama administration is trying to walk a political tightrope by highlighting the ISIS threat overseas, but trying to downplay the threat inside the US.  In 2012, Obama claimed credit for destroying Al Qaeda and lambasted his opponent Romney for claiming that Islamic terrorists still posed a threat to the US.  The result is that Obama’s homeland security network is left providing contradictory information and threat assessments.

Here’s an example of the contradictory nature of the administration’s threat assessment.  The FBI and Homeland Security Department said last Friday there are no specific or credible terror threats to the U.S. homeland from ISIS.  An intelligence bulletin, issued to state and local law enforcement, says while there’s no credible threat to the U.S. as a result of recent American airstrikes in Iraq, officials remain concerned that ISIS supporters could attack overseas targets with little warning.

But, there is a major concern that American intelligence agencies are monitoring – American Islamic radicals in Syria.  America’s Homeland Security department has been concerned by the attractiveness of Syria’s rebel groups to Islamic Americans.  This was just highlighted this week by the death of American Douglas McCain, who was fighting for ISIS in Aleppo, Syria, and the announcement of anther American as this report being prepared. Could American ISIS terrorists export terrorism from Syria to the US?

Although the US has tried to downplay the seriousness of the ISIS threat in America by calling it the “Junior Varsity,” (a term that refers to school sports teams consisting of members not good enough for the first team), there are Americans going to Syria and others allied to ISIS that have remained in the US.  The U.S. State Department says they don’t have precise numbers of Americans who have joined ISIS, but they have positively identified about12. Obviously, precise numbers are unavailable and intelligence assessments, while educated, are still estimates due to limited U.S. intelligence in Syria.  However, many in the intelligence community think the number is much higher.

In addition to ISIS, there is also a group of Americans who have linked up with al Qaeda’s affiliate al Nusra.  CBS News reports there are even a larger number of unknown Americans who have joined the Syria Free Army.

While the State Department will only admit to a relatively small number of Americans who have linked up with terror groups in Syria, American law enforcement has been frantically trying to identify other ISIS sympathizers who could bring a terrorist campaign back to United States. Because they have passports that do not require visas to travel back, they represent the potential operatives who pose the biggest threat.

This could be a larger threat that the US State Department may be willing to admit.  US intelligence estimates that about of the about 7,000 foreign fighters in Syria and about 300 American passport holders are allied with jihadist groups in Syria.  “We know that there are several hundred American passport holders running around with ISIS in Syria or Iraq,” an official told the Washington Times, offering a figure well above widespread reports of about 100 such fighters. “It’s hard to tell whether or not they’re in Syria or moved to Iraq.”

How serious is the threat?  The Pentagon says the terror group is “beyond anything we’ve seen.”   In May, a 22-year-old man from Florida carried out a suicide bombing mission in Syria.  And, last month, a Colorado woman was charged with conspiring to help a foreign terrorist organization after she told FBI agents that she planned to travel to Syria to meet a man who claimed to be fighting for ISIS.  More recently, there have been pro-ISIS social media postings that have indicated that they may in the US and be targeting locations like Chicago (Obama’s hometown) and Las Vegas.  Another sign of concern is that in the recent riots in Ferguson, there was a sign held by protestors that said, “ISIS is here.”

“This is a global crisis in need of a global solution. The Syrian conflict has turned that region into a cradle of violent extremism,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in his July speech in Oslo. “But the world cannot simply sit back and let it become a training ground from which our nationals can return and launch attacks. And we will not.”

The concern has been exacerbated by the porous nature of the US/Mexican border, where many fear that ISIS or other Islamic terrorists have already crossed.   Texas Governor Rick Perry warned that there’s a “very real possibility that terrorists from groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are illegally crossing into the United States from Mexico.”

“Certainly there a great concern that the border between the United States and Mexico is un-secure, and we don’t know who’s using that. What I will share with you is that we’ve seen historic high levels of individuals from countries with terrorist ties over the course of the last months,” Perry said during a speech at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

The same concern is being expressed in the Congress.  The ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee in the U.S. Senate warned that ISIS is trying to develop the capability of blowing up an entire American city.

The comments from Sen. Jim Inhofe, (R-Oklahoma), came in an interview with a television station in Oklahoma City.  He said the U.S. now is in “the most dangerous position we’ve ever been in.”

Responding to questions about terror and the threat facing Americans, he said: “They’re crazy out there. And they are rapidly developing a method of blowing up a major U.S. city. You just can’t believe that’s happening.”  He blamed the situation on the cuts in defense spending made by Obama.

Defense Secretary Hagel echoed the concern.  “This is beyond anything that we’ve seen,” he said during a briefing on the beheading of American journalist James Foley.  “ISIL is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen,” Hagel said. “They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded…So we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is that you take a cold, steely, hard look at it…and get ready.”

“There’s real concern that they could take what they’ve learned … come back home and conduct terror attacks,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told CNN.  “So I think (McCain) is a stark reminder of the inside threat that foreign fighters can pose.”

US Special Forces soldiers who have fought in Iraq warn that although ISIS is fanatically Islamic, that will not stop them from allying with non-fanatics in order to become a more effective fighting machine.  One retired Green Beret noted that ISIS is using much of the money from captured banks to buy non-jihadist technicians who can maintain and repair some of the technical military equipment that it has captured from Iraqi and Syrian forces.  They have also become a haven for former Iraqi Army officers who were once members of the Baath party.  This has given ISIS considerable military savvy.

 

If, as many are claiming, ISIS is in the US and is planning a terrorist attack, what is the potential target?

Many experts think that ISIS related terrorists in the US will opt for a large public gathering to maximize publicity like those terrorist attacks in India and Kenya.  These targets might be stadiums, shopping malls, airports, schools, hotels, hospitals, and churches.

This is one reason why the threat against Las Vegas is taken so seriously.  It is a major visitor location with some of America’s largest hotels.  As in Mumbai, terrorists could methodically carry out their attacks with the largest number of potential targets.

The other option is a bomb as Senator Inhofe intimated.  Some have even speculated that ISIS may try to detonate a radiological bomb, using some of the radioactive materials recently stolen from Iraqi nuclear research laboratories.

Stopping ISIS

If ISIS is a threat to the US, how can America destroy the threat?

Even at this late date, the White House refuses to take the ISIS threat too seriously.  However, there is some indication that a strategy is developing, which includes a rapprochement although indirectly with Syria’s Assad.

A regional peace and balance of power can’t be achieved by allying with Assad and leaving a political vacuum with the destruction of ISIS.  There must be some Sunni political force to fill that vacuum or there will be no peace.

The answer is crafting an alliance with other regional nations like Saudi Arabia and the GCC.  The goal is to create and support an acceptable, moderate Sunni political entity that can represent the Sunnis and have the military force to stop ISIS, Al Qaeda, Assad, and the Shiites.

Such a policy would also require stronger support of the Kurds in northern Iraq.  The US has already announced that it is shipping arms directly to the Kurds.  And, sources in Washington report that about 150 American Special Forces are already on the ground in Kurdistan training Kurds.

The Kurdish flank is critical for a holistic solution.  According to American Special Forces experts, the Kurds are highly motivated and fighters with an excellent reputation – a reputation that has only been enhanced as Kurdish forces have advanced against ISIS with the help of US air strikes.   One retired Green Beret, who trained and fought with the Kurds in 2003, has said that he has no doubts that with adequate arms, the Kurds can push ISIS back in Iraq.

According to many analysts in Washington, That leaves Syria.  It isn’t enough to push ISIS back into Syria.  It must be defeated or else it will merely return at a later date.

They are calling for a broad coalition of American, European, and Middle Eastern nations that will have to work together to solve the ISIS problem in Syria.  Allying itself with Assad or carrying out limited air strikes on ISIS targets will only delay the inevitable conquest of Syria by ISIS.

Some military experts in Washington advocating that Western intervention will also require more than air strikes and arms shipments.  Western Special Forces will be needed to act as highly trained cadres that can fight with the local established militias (like Sahawat) as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The great irony in the US is that the opposition Republicans in Congress (along with many Democrats) is more likely to support some sort of intervention in this manner than the Obama Administration.  If Obama had greater persuasive talents, he could probably get congressional approval for more aggressive action against ISIS, just as President Bush did in the 2001 – 2003 timeframe.

Although the threat posed by ISIS is great, the ability of the Western world and the majority of Middle Eastern nations to stop them exist.  Although many nations are ready and willing to act, to some observers the biggest block right now is the person residing in the White House.

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

NATO Summit 2014: Stay Committed to Afghanistan

By Luke Coffey

Heritage Foundation

August 21, 2014

Issue Brief #4266

The 2014 NATO summit will be held in September in Wales. It will be the last summit before NATO ends its combat operations in Afghanistan and begins its Resolute Support mission to train, advise, and assist the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).   The two most important issues at the summit regarding Afghanistan will be the financial funding for and size of the ANSF after 2015 and the number of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. More than 50 international leaders of those nations that are participating in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will attend the summit. This offers a unique opportunity to address these issues.

Read more

 

 

The Dead Hand of Socialism: State Ownership in the Arab World

By Dalibor Rohac

Cato Institute

August 25, 2014

Policy Analysis No. 753

Extensive government ownership in the economy is a source of inefficiency and a barrier to economic development. Although precise measures of government ownership across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are hard to come by, the governments of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Yemen all operate sizeable segments of their economies—in some cases accounting for more than two-thirds of the GDP.

International experience suggests that private ownership tends to outperform public ownership. Yet MENA countries have made only modest progress toward reducing the share of government ownership in their economies and are seen as unlikely candidates for wholesale privatization in the near future.

Read more

 

 

Egypt, Counterterrorism, and the Politics of Alienation

By Michele Dunne and Scott Williamson

Carnegie Endowment

August 20, 2014

When U.S. President Barack Obama pledged on August 18 “to pursue a long-term strategy to turn the tide” against jihadi terrorists in Iraq, “working with key partners in the region and beyond,” Egypt was probably one partner he had in mind. On the very same day, U.S. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf cited counterterrorism as an “overlapping strategic interest” between the United States and Egypt. Asked if the United States still views Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as leading a democratic transition despite human rights abuses (such as those identified in a recent Human Rights Watch report), Harf replied, “He is, he is.”  On the face of it, counterterrorism and human rights abuses might appear to be unrelated subjects. U.S. officials certainly treat them that way; they expect Sisi to be a useful ally in fighting terrorism, while occasionally bemoaning his repression and human rights abuses.

Read more

 

 

James Foley and the Battle for the Soul of the Arab and Muslim Worlds

By S. Abdallah Schleifer

Foreign Policy Research Institute

August 27, 2014

As an American Muslim and as a journalist, I am more than appalled by the murder of James Foley and the murder video. If I were King of Whatever/Wherever,  I would go to war—to wipe out these IS perverts — perverters not just of Islam but of all the decencies known to all men/women of all the traditional faiths and to all men/women of just simple decent feelings.  And not just for James Foley, brave soul that he was. But for all the victims of this atrocity that is called “The Islamic State” and known to us as ISIL or ISIS – the Christians, the Yazidis, the Shia soldiers of the Iraqi Army who surrendered and were then executed gangland style; the Sufis and any Iraqi Sunni who does not submit in public to the barbaric Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi , the False Khalifa of Islam.  Because of these criminals, who but traditional Muslims and decent Western scholars of Islam know that for Muslims the greatest litany of all, invoked at all times, in all places is Bism’Allah ar-Rahman, ar-Raheem – in the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate.

Read more

 

 

ISIS’s Offensive in Syria Shows that U.S. Airstrikes Have Not Blunted Momentum

By Isabel Nassief and Jennifer Cafarella

Institute for the Study of War

August 28, 2014

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told reporters that U.S. airstrikes “have stalled ISIL’s momentum” after two weeks of bombarding ISIS positions in Northern Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham has not stalled under U.S. pressure.  Rather, since the fall of Mosul and despite U.S. airstrikes, the insurgent army has continued a successful and spectacular offensive in Syria. Their gains nearly equal in scale the seizure of northern Iraq in June.  The insurgent army’s latest triumph is the capture of Assad’s Tabqa air base in Eastern Syria.

Read more

 

 

ISIS and the New Middle East Cold War

By F. Gregory Gause, III

Brookings Institution

August 25, 2014

The territorial gains this summer by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in both those countries have added a new element to the new Middle East cold war that I wrote about in a Brookings Doha analysis paper published earlier in the summer. ISIS rebranded itself “the Islamic State” and declared a caliphate in Mosul. It threatened both Baghdad and Irbil in Iraq while consolidating control over more of eastern Syria and taking its fight toward Aleppo. Its successes have added to its numbers, both in terms of volunteers and in terms of other fighting groups which, while perhaps not sharing its ideology, are bandwagoning with an apparent winner. Its grisly execution of American journalist James Foley riveted world attention, but its successes predated that event by months. American bombing helped to turn back some of its recent gains in northern Iraq, but no one claims that ISIS has been defeated.

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Military Implications of the Syrian Regime’s Defeat in Raqqa

By Jeffrey White

Washington Institute

August 27, 2014

PolicyWatch 2310

Over the past two months, jihadist fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) have waged an increasingly successful campaign against Assad regime forces in Syria’s northern Raqqa province, culminating in the capture of al-Tabqa Airfield earlier this week. The defeat in Raqqa has major military implications — it represents a loss at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of war, raising questions about whether the regime or Syrian rebels can defend other, more important areas of the country against further ISIS offensives.

Read more

 

 

Mounzer A. Sleiman Ph.D.
Center for American and Arab Studies
Think Tanks Monitor

www.thinktankmonitor.org

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