After America had broken Al Qaeda’s power, IS sprang up stronger and better organized. When IS is broken, another radical Islamic group will arise to take its place — also stronger and better organized than its predecessor.
Why is the US led strategy failing?
That can be summed up in two words: intelligence failure.
As military strategists know, intelligence or propaganda, is at least equally important to winning a war as armaments. The US has a Batman level strategy: There’s a bad guy, bop him.
That tactic fails to note that the vast majority of the recruits come from the largely illiterate Arab speaking tribal areas of the Middle East. There are none from Iran (Farsi speaking) and only a handful from Islam’s most populous nation, Indonesia (Indonesian speaking).
The people in the tribal areas hear only IS’s negative hype against the West — the supposed continuing persecution of Islam in the manner of the cruel crusaders of the Middle Ages led now by the ungodly US.
Every time the US bombs a village and kills their friends and relatives; and every time the villagers see a drone circling their houses, the IS propaganda is confirmed.
While the US hails every drone kill of an IS leader as a victory, every bomb and every drone looming in the sky recruits thousands of angry, resentful fighters for the movement.
If you are a villager whose child has been killed or seriously maimed for life by a US drone, you are not going to be comforted by statistics which claim that drone strikes are 20% less harmful to civilians than fighter jet strikes were in World War II.
Sure, US politicians argue we try for their hearts and minds by building schools and hospitals. US soldiers give chocolate to the kids. But, this is a war of ideas. In this war the pen is far mightier than the bomb.
The solution is to reduce the drone bombings and missile strikes. In their place, counter the IS deceptions with facts from sources that they trust. There are enough moderate Muslims who realize that the West is tolerant of Islam, and who realize that many Muslims have found a better life here with the unrestricted opportunity to practice their faith. These can be recruited and organized to expose the IS propaganda.