Offering Services, ISIS Digs In Deeper in Seized Territories

The jihadists’ governing efforts, from inspecting food to offering perks to newlyweds, have brought a stability unavailable from national governments.

Comments: 172

  1. Saddam Hussein is looking pretty good right now. What did we think we were doing? We were told we would be welcomed as liberators in Iraq. Were there no sources, academic, or otherwise, that could have explained the vacuum that would be left by getting rid of Hussein and the chaos that would ensue? How could we have started a war and killed a country's leader without having the first clue as to how these people think and feel? Or what misery we would let them in for? America has forfeited the right to inflict our will on anyone else. We need to stay home and fix ourselves. We are literally falling apart from our roads up.

  2. Gretchen you are conveniently forgetting that Bush's "surge" (opposed by Clinton, Obama, Biden, etc.) actually secured the country: there were free elections and a functioning coalition government with a Shiite prime minister, Sunni president, and Kurdish foreign minister. Violence was down by over 90% from 2006 and 2007 levels. Obama in 2011 declared Iraq "sovereign and stable" and a "victory" for America. Biden said Iraq would be "this administration's greatest foreign policy achievement." And then in Dec. 2011 the brilliant Obama withdrew all American troops that were mid-wifing these successes -- just to fulfill a 2008 campaign promise and win reelection. It was wrong for Bush to get us in the way he did. It was an absolute disgrace for Obama to get us out the way he did.

  3. This is an example of "The Law of Unintended Consequences" where a government or leader implements a law, policy, etc. intended to have a desired effect, but which instead causes the opposite of what was intended. Also, George Bush is not a student of history. If he had been so, he would have recalled what has often happened to countries & leaders who have started wars. They thought victory would be easy, but instead lost the wars, and sometimes even lost their lives and countries.
    In this case, Iraq & Iran are historical enemies who should have been left to spend their energies fighting each other.
    Obama did not do well either - so anxious to get out of Iraq that a power vacuum was left, and now we are trickling back in, step by step.

  4. Perhaps not so black and white. The Iraqi army collapsed not because of the U.S. withdrawal, but because of the corruption of the "leaders" the U.S. had nurtured and their failure to be inclusive as well.

  5. JV, indeed!

  6. The US should leave them to their peaceful death and destruction. The Qu'ran commands Muslims to fight unbelievers, and the US should just let them do so.

    When ISIS attacks America or Americans, or threatens to do so, then the US should rightfully destroy them as a declared enemy. Until then, the US should not sacrifice its soldiers or its weapons.

  7. Wonderful. I'm sure in a couple of months the trains will run on time, too.

  8. So ISIS is providing support and services to the suffering people of the area they've captured, after our bombs and rockets destroyed it? How demonic of them!

  9. A glimpse of Saudi Arabia if it did not have oil. Minus the trappings of an oil subsidized lifestyle, one sees the fruits of the creed it follows and the ideology Saudi Arabia exports.

  10. Iraq has oil.

    This is about government, or lack of it until ISIS showed up to offer its defective version to fill the void.

  11. Wow, that's some "JV team." Good call, Obama.

  12. We are the JV team. That is the irony.

  13. Let ISIS be tracked to some 9/11 kind of plot and you will see what our JV team can do.

  14. While the US is certainly partially to blame for the mess, let's not forget that this trouble in the Middle East has been simmering for decades ever since and before the area was carved up into unnatural boundaries after WWI. The area has been run by tyrants with few long standing political traditions. Unfortunately, Islam now serves as proxy for governance. Religion as a means to govern always ends badly especially in an area fraught with religious and tribal differences. This will take probably 50 years or more to sort out.

  15. "Simmering" was not this. It wasn't millions of refugees. It wasn't thousands killed every month. THIS is because we smashed the place, not because of what it was back before it was smashed when none of this was happening. They were intermarried and living in a mixed Baghdad until we showed up and had to build walls to keep the apart.

  16. "The area has been run by tyrants with few long standing political traditions."

    There were minor problems such as local Insurrections but not such a terrible devastation under Ottomans. Although Ottoman Empire was a religious state, Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together peacefully for centuries. Mosques, Churches and Synagogues everywhere!

  17. I think it's time for the U.S. to reconsider if it can live with ISIL. So far at least they have not attacked western targets. They seem more focused on consolidating power than on terrorism towards the west.

  18. LSR: "They seem more focused on consolidating power than on terrorism towards the west". I thought that too until my spouse reminded me about the beheadings in London, UK, the bombing of Charlie Hebado, the massacre of teens in Sweden. Although they are isolated, when ISIS becomes more powerful they will strike out more at the West. There appears to be no solution.

    EW

  19. "They seem more focused on consolidating power than on terrorism towards the west."

    They have an army. An "army of terrorists" is simply an oxymoron.

  20. It would appear that ISIS is much more successful in imposing its radical rule than the West's backing of corrupt leaders and Saudi kings - and the more the West attempts to destroy ISIS, the worse it looks to the Arab people. The United States' relationship with the Middle East needs to be rethought. It looks more and more that the U.S. needs to recognize ISIS, rather than attempting to destroy it.

  21. "Arab people."

    Majority of Arabs live in Saudi Arabia. Iraq and Syria are Arabic speaking countries and not Arabs as we are an English speaking country but not English!

  22. Isis is clever. This is just what Hamas did to win over the Palestinians.

  23. Hamas too fills a gap where governance is required. It could be displaced by other more effective governance, but it cannot be displaced by ruination and failure to govern.

    The same is true of ISIS, and dooms our effort to support the current Iraqi government.

    Something worth supporting must exist before our support can actually help it.

  24. ...which the Israelis could have done, but didn't.

  25. Easy to win over somebody if you save him from drowning!

  26. Many would like to blame the U.S. for everything that went wrong in Syria and Iraq. The fact is that the parties there have a strong interest in killing each other and seizing any assets there.

    The U.S. made some mistakes and was naive, but it tried very hard and spent a great deal of money to make things better for these people. I realize that this premise is debatable, but we should all appreciate that there are two sides. It's a primitive world where to survive you have to kill. Eventually, they might find an alternative and those who troll in the papers will have to find another way of getting paid.

  27. "The U.S. made some mistakes and was naive, but it tried very hard and spent a great deal of money"

    More like Bush wasted vast amounts of money, but he was an idiot and it was for nothing.

  28. This is all about a battle between the Sunnis and the Shiites. Thanks to the Bush administration (the gift that keeps on giving) this is where we are today. THIS IS NONE OF OUR BUSINESS. The US should stop interfering and meddling and stay out of it.

  29. Good advice! To be repeated every day.

  30. It is a measure of the failure of the Bush Admin concept of government that the government it created in Iraq governs so badly that it makes the crazy ISIS look good by comparison.

    The ISIS at least provides the basics of government. While is rather like saying the fascists made the trains run on time, it is larger scale -- they make everything work when the government we set up made nothing work. This is what one might expect of the government that lost New Orleans and never fixed that.

    ISIS did not defeat US efforts. The failure, the collapse of US efforts made ISIS possible.

    That is an important distinction, in important part because it explains why "our" Iraqi Army can't fight "their" Iraqis.

    The whole puppet government was a failure. It so far failed to work that it invited something else. That something else took the form of the ISIS. That is why what we set up is losing. They are not winning so much as what we set up finally collapsing of its own weight.

    Obama never fixed what Bush did, but Bush did it. Paul Bremer -- this is your failure.

  31. It is failure of Iraqi people and Arabs. They can't get along peacefully. Stop blaming Bush or Obama.

  32. To add insult to injury to one of the greatist fiascos of the American foreign policies; Mr. Jeb Bush wants to be the next president of U.S. after Obama? This country will surly go down the drain under such management of chaos!

  33. It seems ISIS is ideologically aligned with the GOP, but with belief in good government.

  34. Not far off, Michael!

  35. This is heartbreaking and infuriating. I deplore the idea of bombing the people who have no choice but to get by. I hate to think that it will be a generation or two before ISIS is overthrown, but for it to happen, it would have to occur from within the culture.

    The Bush/Cheney cabal should be forced to answer to what they have done by destabilizing this region as they did. America can never be allowed to make this mistake again. And we can't throw our young men and women to the wolves because of the mistakes made by the most sinister leadership this country has ever known.

  36. I can't help but wonder if this article isn't an exploratory piece of PR propaganda of the government testing the waters for a regional withdrawal. I sure hope it is. Enough foreign war.

  37. These people mean business and they know exactly what they are doing. When they take over an area, they brutally kill some to show an example of what will happen to you if you don't obey. Then set up shop as rulers. A very effective strategy indeed.

    The genocide they committed was ethnic cleansing. They only want Sunni Arabs in their lands. Multiculturalism is not allowed.

    The people have suffered so much and for so long, that they welcome stability, even at the cost of individual liberty. That's our fault. We created the instability. First we killed them, then the Shia killed them, then we killed them some more and the Shia would to keep killing them if they could.

    Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator, but mostly secular. These people are even more brutal, and religious fanatics of the worst kind. They have no timetable. They have no expiration date. Their cause will not cease. Politics can change, religious zealotry will not. They seek eternal glory.

    We ruined Iraq. We created the suffering. We created the conditions for ISIS. We ignored their growth in Syria. Everything we thought was right in Iraq has turned out to be wrong. Western Iraq will become the Islamic State. Eastern Iraq will be Shiastan. Syria? Yet to be determined.

  38. "we" tried to replace saddam in the hope that these people will have a chance to live a decent life. "We" were mistaken in assuming that these people have culturally evolved to the point of living harmoniously with each other. They are in a mediveal time set where my clan and family can ONLY prosper by subdueing others.
    "we" did not create the chaos in Iraq. The chaos was there before saddam, during sad dams reign and after saddam. It is just more out in the public now.

  39. I have always said, yes we kicked a hornets' nest but it's not our fault that they are hornets.

  40. The U.S. and the U.N. are paying too little attention to the issue of ISIS, while the Islamic State not only terrorizing the occupied territories, strengthening its influence there, but also moving forward and it is only a matter of time how soon it will reach the west.

  41. It used to be the Russians who were coming to destroy us. Now the Russians are warning us that the Arabs are coming to destroy us....

  42. It looks we should still learn and practice the basic elements of humanity taught by every religion, care of compassion for the other human beings, starting at home and then those abroad. We are deluded by our technology, which is not the same thing as the civilization. Who cares and shares in this country the misery we inflicted on the peoples of Iraq and Syria? Who talks about it?

  43. Conditions will probably improve for everybody after sanctions are lifted on Iran, and they get the bomb.

  44. How long until they use the bomb? Within 10 years - greater than 50% chance.

  45. In other words, the US has a Sophie's Choice.

    We can bomb these people, which will destroy the few services they have. And then we will be blamed for bombing innocent civilians and making their lives harder. They will hate us more for taking what little they have, and turn even more towards ISIS. (please don't pretend that they will welcome us bombing them with open arms... I think we've dispensed with this logic).

    Or we can leave this be, and they will become increasingly indoctrinated and accepting of ISIS.

    Lose lose.

    We can bomb to our hearts delight. We can kill al Qaeda, and then ISIS pops up. We can kill ISIS, and then something else, likely worse, will pop up.

    The problem is that to a certain extent ISIS reflects the values of these people. They do not share our values. They do not share our world view. They do not trust us, nor do they like us. They hate us and everything we represent.

    They simply use us for weapons and money so that they can further their eternal religious and sectarian wars.

    It is time we leave these people to their destiny. If they want to live in a Caliphate, so be it.

    We lost. Now time to move forward.

    Let us wall them off from the rest of the world. Make a true "RED LINE." If the Caliphate extends beyond that line, bomb them into oblivion. Encourage all jihadists and radicalized Muslims to move to the Caliphate and out of our countries. But otherwise leave these people to do what they will.

    We lost. Time to move on

  46. It's hard to disagree with JRMW. I find myself nodding my head yes while reading. But the part about the 'red line' might be a little unrealistic in such a globalized world?

  47. It's an interesting idea--let the iSIS "caliphate" establish itself without interference from the west but within strictly-enforced geographic boundaries. Encourage extremist Muslims from around the world to emigrate to the ISIS "caliphate" on a one-way ticket with the condition that they forfeit their passports upon departure and can never return. Let the Muslim world try their experiment in a society governed by strict Sharia law and see how it goes. The hardest part will be to get ISIS to agree to, or abide by, any limits to their geographic territory. But what do we have to lose? We can not change their minds and we can not defeat them so let's see what happens if we try to contain them instead.

  48. "They hate us and everything we represent."

    Since we invaded their country, not before!

  49. It all starts with greed and it will all end with greed.
    This is what happens when very powerful people with vendettas are allowed to wage war without provocation. And yet again we are faced with the very FAMILY who is responsible for all of this, and some are truly considering letting history repeat itself.
    The Corporate war machine will lead us astray every step of the way. They own the Generals who wage war, the Congress who approves war. They will lie, cheat and steal, it has been proven.
    NYT, please educate the masses. We are NOT a war mongering people...we were once the good guys and I believe if we look at the Corporate side of this and contain them, we will once again rise to that level of decency.

    Is there a consensus of our scholars on this? Like global climate change?

  50. Person responsible for facilitating ISIS is still our president. There is consensus that rapid troop withdrawl following his election allowed ISIS to fluorish.
    We may not be war mongering people, but we are a martial nation and every american generation for the last few decades has had to spill its blood to ensure US interests are protected.
    The family you refer to has given us 2 presidents who were decent human beings, and if genetics is to be trusted, the 3rd one should be the same.

  51. We are not a warmongering people? Read up on current history (since, say, 1950).

  52. I am sorry but the core of ISIS was formed when "Helluva Job" Bremmer summarily dismissed the Iraq army without pay. One of the dumbest of many dumb actions by the Bush administration in Iraq

  53. So how can we beat these guys? What do young unemployed people in the middle east want? Money, something we in the west have lots of. Lets hire foreign mercenaries to hunt down and kill these guys. There should be an endless supply of talent willing to work for the west if the pay is right. We can beat ISIS with the same recruiting promises they make except our fee will be higher.

  54. I do not think that our government has a genuine interest in "beating" ISIS.

  55. ISIS fills a political power vacuum in the Middle East.

  56. Well since they created the damned thing, they have an interest.

  57. What a bind for parents. You can't be honest with your children for fear of what they might repeat in public. And you can't correct them for repeating what terrorists preach for fear of the same. In this way, an entire generation is being brainwashed by force and fear. It's worse than the madrassas that made the daesh leaders.

  58. There is always going to be sectarian strife in the Middle East, and no amount of US troops can change that. We should have learned that in Iraq. ISIS sounds very similar to the NAZI government under Hitler; but its also true that most governments in the Mideast have treated their own citizens horribly - that too will never change.

    Further, does anyone really think that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will ever result in peace? It cannot happen when the majority of Israelis cobbled their votes together for a coalition government that does not believe in a two state solution and builds settlements every few miles throughout the West Bank, while turning Gaza into a huge Warsaw ghetto (ironic, isn't it?)

    The US needs to honor its NATO commitments, and otherwise tone down the expense of interfering in a hot spot that never cools down, We need the money right here in America.

    ,,emf
    --ldpdfdffvvd

  59. NATO has only a small budget. They were actually broke after North Africa.
    I haven't checked lately on their present situation. They are used as a good ole boy club mostly. Remember Gen Haig used to run the thing. Kind of tells what kind of outfit it really is... Like most government creations. Once started they have a never-ending life of their own. Everyone wants the golden parachute.

  60. "ISIS sounds very similar to the NAZI government under Hitler;"

    Yes! Great and unjust harm was done to Germany with reparations in Treaty of Versailles which gave rise to Nazis who first saved Germany from ruin and coped well in the Great Depression and earned the sympathy of the German nation.

  61. How else do politicians behave in the rest of the world, if not the same as they do in the USA? Any difference is only a matter of degree.

    Interpersonal acts of physical aggression are illegal all across our nation, even road rage is illegal. It has nothing to do with the condition of our roads or our infrastructure. We need to enforce the same laws amongst our politicians and bureaucrats who would have us act out against our international neighbors.

    Wars should be banned, as I'm sure they eventually will be - it's simply a question of how much death and destruction will be generated between then and now.

    The fact that the U.S. is willing to engage in war must be changed so that such behavior is widely accepted among us to be socially unacceptable.

    It's a shame that a "just say no to war" PR campaign would fail in our own nation due to the fact that war is seen to be just so darn profitable. If we're not more careful, we'll eventually pay a much bigger price than a mere few thousand deaths.

    The next time anyone supports an act of war, they should first give a thought to what it is they're wishing for. Profit may well be a consequence of war, but so is death and destruction. Isn't it about time we all behave as grownups and accept that it's not possible to have our cake, and eat it too?

  62. Profit is not a simply a consequence of war, it is the cause. War is promoted by not only wanting our cake, but to keep our cake and eat that of others. I cannot think of a war in which profit and the grab for resources and capital were not the motive (including human capital). The Opium Wars had England attacking China to keep the opium trade going, not to stop it. It would be like Columbia attacking America to the War to assure drug sales. Well, we have attacked plenty of countries to keep sales of our products and services going and to "protect" our overseas markets and resources. as well as to gain resources? The Civil War was not fought to free the slaves, but to protect resources and control of them. As the war was dragging on, Lincoln added the Emancipation order, an order he was the first to veto earlier. It came down to a battle of whose slave system would serve the country in the future. The Southern human slaves. or the Northern machine slaves?

  63. Andy Hain.
    You have won the HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD award. Integrity is surely hard to find these days. Thank you so much.

  64. The Nazis also provided services and government. And at the beginning people and governments also made excuses for them as many comments now make excuses for ISIS, filling the void, as it were.
    All is fine as long as you are not Shiite or some other non-Sunni minority, ethnic group or religion. In that case you are dead or enslaved.
    Or as long as you don't crave a smoke, some music, some art, some culture etc. etc.
    One can get used to almost anything, unless of course you are dead.

  65. Don't you just love non-stop, continuous Wars, with their collateral damages and carpet bombings?

    25 years in Iraq now, making wars, building missile delivery systems, ignoring poppy fields, creating hatred for another 100 years or more.

  66. "The Nazis also provided services and government."

    The Nazis also invaded many countries which were not a treat to Germany,. Nazis enslaved European people to help their war effort. Nazis exterminated millions of Jews, Gypsies and Homosexuals. ISIS has long way to go to be comparable to Nazi Germany!

  67. ISIS should thank Dick Cheney. Who knows, one day they may name a city after him.

  68. If you substitute German Nazis for ISIS, then the strategy of organizing daily life out of an otherwise chaotic, humiliating existence, of purging the elite and"misfits" and of training children for the cause at the fear of turning in their own parents, then all of this sounds quite familiar.

    The people may not like the ideology, but it beats getting executed... for the moment.

  69. ISIS is a concrete example of how a political power vacuum which results from the nihilism and resignation that fear, uncertainty and doubt, invites from charlatans and crooks and opportunists with an easy smile and a feel good plan. Hopefully, the US can prevent that situation: that what we have now is as good as it can get, and so we should be happy with it, so don't rock the boat.

  70. What to do? How to defeat ISIS? How to have a learning curve after 35 years of dreadful mistakes in 'Foreverstan' (the entire middle east)? How to stop murdering thousands (ten of thousands) of Muslims? How to stop destroying homes and businesses? How to stop creating new tens (hundreds) of thousands of refugees?
    ISIS, the Taliban, and Queda recruit easily. All they have to do is to show pictures and videos of the destroyed homes and villages and of the dead and charred Muslims on the grounds where we have bombed. All they have to do is show pictures and videos of our troops with their women and children. All they have to do is to show the black SUV's of our contract and CIA killers driving through their villages.
    So stop the bombing and killing. Send no more arms. Remove all troops, contractors, and CIA. Recognize all governments: Iran, Syria, Palestine, etc. Negotiate agreements among Iran, Syria, and Iraq to coordinate their fight against ISIS. Start a Marshall Plan to rebuild what we have destroyed. Start first in Palestine building infrastructure and housing and spread it out through the middle east.
    Most of all, learn from our mistakes and don't keep repeating them.

  71. Start, rather, in Iraq. Don't mix the Israeli-Arab conflict into this. That's been the strategy of Arab despots for over a hundred years: blame the Jews. The British encouraged it once they got the Mandate, their purpose was to create strife so that they would be justified in maintaining control to keep the peace.
    The problems of the Arab world are their own. We need nation-building in Iraq for ALL its citizens or more likely to break it into 3 countries: Kurds, Shiite and Sunni. The problem is that the resulting states would not have the strength to resist conquerors be they ISIS or Iran or Turkey.

  72. Our mistakes in the past have also included isolationism in the 30's and 40's. It worked until Japan and Germany declared war on us. ISIS will do likewise.

    By the way, how do you propose we get out of the Middle East and, at the same time, start a Marshall Plan for them? Does that include hiring ISIS murders to help us rebuild like we hired and protected NAZI SS members after the war? Great idea.

  73. ...now you're being Rational. We don't do rational...WE DO REACTIVE!

  74. Nazi Germany redux , it's going to take an Allied force to defeat them

  75. This article brings to mind the Hitler youth programs.

  76. America decided to live with Germany in peace and harmony for years, even as France, Eastern Europe and Britain were fighting them. We have not been the best people in the world to look to when it's time to make military decisions based on political considerations.
    It behooves the daesh to cease their military actions and posturing if they ever want any peace and quiet in which to play at running a civil society. I doubt they have either the desire or ability to do so. They are about 2 people thick anywhere one goes in their settled territory. All it will take is another few years or months for them to fall to fighting among themselves, again. This is the problem they need to attend to first before they celebrate their arrival as the new governors of some sort of theocracy for a minority nation of Sunni Muslims.

  77. Except Nazi Germany was a genuine threat to the world at large. ISIS is a threat to the Middle East, no question, but it is not a direct threat to the US other than as an inspiration to a tiny minority of homegrown wannabes, Lindsay Graham's state of panic notwithstanding. This is the Middle East's problem not ours. There are powerful countries in the region who, either separately or together, are quite capable of defeating ISIS - Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan. What they lack is the will and/or the inclination. They're making a terrible mistake but it's their mistake to make.

  78. ISIS is trying to establish its own state and economy financed by obtaining money from totally illegal and criminal means from:

    1. Oil production and smuggling
    2. Ransoms from kidnappings
    3. Looting and selling stolen artifacts and antiquities
    4. Taxes, aka extortion
    5. Stealing money from banks and the conquered

    To which country is ISIS selling its oil ??? Turkey … a NATO partner … go figure !?!?

    In addition, one of the most important sources of ISIS financing has been support coming out of the Gulf States, primarily Saudi Arabia but also Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. The duplicity of the Gulf States is appalling.

    The ISIS strategy is to operate and govern with fear. ISIS is killing and destroying its enemies with one hand and giving our charity with the other hand to curry support from its conquered.

    Meanwhile all the other Arab countries are too afraid, cowardly, corrupt and incompetent to do battle with ISIS.

    The latter is the main enemy of the U.S. and its coalition of partners to defeat ISIS.

  79. Do you have even a shred of evidence that funding for ISIS is coming from the Gulf states? ISIS has attacked inside Saudi Arabia and threatens the other Gulf monarchies, why would they fund them, or allow their citizens to? ISIS is raising its own funds by selling stolen oil, trading in slaves, stealing from the banks in the cities it captures, it has no need for outside funding.

  80. @ david Sorenson

    Funding for ISIS coming from the Gulf states is well known among experts. My comment on this is based on the following:

    "Günter Meyer is Director of the Center for Research into the Arabic World at the University of Mainz. Meyer says he has no doubt about where ISIS gets its funding. "The most important source of ISIS financing to date has been support coming out of the Gulf states, primarily Saudi Arabia but also Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates," Meyer told Deutsche Welle. The Gulf states' motivation in financing groups like ISIS was to support their fight against the regime of President Bashar al Assad in Syria, according to Meyer."

    http://www.dw.de/who-finances-isis/a-17720149

  81. We can't blame the civilians in areas controlled by ISIS that they subjugate themselves to the IS rules. Their instinct of survival is stronger than their sanity.
    Many Afghans endured similar ordeal under the Taliban rule. They were glad when the Taliban government was toppled in October 2001.
    Syrian children are vulnerable to ISIS indoctrination. Indeed, we had seen child soldiers in armed conflicts in Africa. It would be a daunting task to rehabilitate them. But it's not a mission impossible!

  82. The only stability in the Middle East has come from dictatorial governments. The Arab Spring was a nice idea, satisfying to us in the West, but apparently not appropriate to the Middle East.

  83. "The only stability in the Middle East has come from dictatorial governments."

    What about Turkey with a honest election with 85% turnout which does not happen also here in US?

  84. We will kill every one who disagrees with us and will destroy your homes. But we will afford you some "services" instead. Their altruism is outstanding, I must say, they now don't seem to be a group of militants, it's a powerful force, and why all protectors of freedom are so weak against them? What's wrong with the strongest armies of western civilization?

  85. From Bush's Hold-my-beer-and-watch-this war to beheadings-as-a-service ISIS, we have no business with this 14th century mess. Stay home, do not go in again.

  86. It seems not manyh Americans or others remember how Germany and Japaan both defended their cruel and vloody states. How many have seen propaganda from the era. Certainly the Germans LOVED the new Nazi state. The new highways(autobahn) the introduction of the Volkswagen, of superior air service. I have found letters from Germany stamped via the giant lighter than air ships they alone flew commercially. None of the soldiers in German armies thought of themselves as anything but the best fed, best educated and best led and equipped armies since Rome. They were close to being right. None of any of this means German film and life of the era were not filled with hate, stupidity and bloodthirstiness. Because an enemy manages to run a few towns as if they were almost normal Western style civilizations, does not by any means make them acceptable as a political force nor a group that will easily succumb to the ways of our ordinary world. If they cease making war and stop chasing people out of their homes they might be reaching for some semblance of normal society but it appears that this is all a quick coat of spackle and paint to hide the ugly realities of primitive theocracy. Regards to their propaganda departments but it takes more than Sunnis to run the Arab world.

  87. I'm sure they feel similarly about US government and society. Why should they be obliged to "succumb to the ways of our ordinary world", but we are not obliged succumb to the ways of THEIR world? It is our government that is behind most of "making war and ... chasing people out of their homes" that goes on in the region.

  88. A critical difference between ISIS and the various coalitions aligned against it is a sustainable long-term plan. As ISIS digs in with its brand of brutal methodologies designed to pacify and rebuild the territories under its control the harder it will become to defeat it. Since the U.S.is reluctant to re-engage in a serious way in the mid-east, and Iraq and Syria in shambles, the prospect of ISIS establishing some form of permanent foothold seems ever more likely.

  89. Not our business. Let the people in the region this most affects deals with the psychopaths they created. One thing should be clear, we have wasted our money, we have wasted our time and above all we have wasted the lives of young people who had hopes and dreams and went there on a lie. No more. No more blood, treasure, no more anything. Let's make sure that our infrastructure is taken care of, our people are taken care of. We can't integrate people who actually believe that beheading is a rational reaction to anything in 2015. Get out, stay out, let those countries most affected deal with these issues.

  90. gee and I thought you only get results if you terrorize people ,,, imagine, giving them schools, hospitals etc

  91. Borrowing from Sean Connery in the Untouchables, this is a fight we can't win because we keep bringing knives to this gun fight. What are you prepared to do? Bomb the oil fields. Bomb the dams. Bomb their homes. Bomb their child fighters. That's how we beat the Japanese, and the Nazis, and that's how every major war in the history of mankind has been won. You cannot win a war when you play by one set of rules while your enemy plays by another; since we started that nonsense we've yet to win a major conflict going back to Korea.

    When you confront a society where war is not politics but culture (John Keegan), you cannot fight the same fight. Something far more comprehensive than pinpoint war is required. It's called total war, and we certainly have the capability to defeat a few thousand terrorists in the desert by total war (if we can't we're in bigger trouble than I thought); but are we prepared for the political blowback that will result? Since Vietnam it's been apparent we are not, which is why we fight half-hearted everywhere and lose time and again.

    I suppose ISIS is no existential threat to us, or Europe, so we'll allow this to go on indefinitely.

  92. A balanced and accurate view of life under ISIL domination by the NYT. My perception, after reading this piece, is that the Islamic State's military and media propaganda prowess is accompanied by an efficient and ruthless administration of cities under its control.

    Law and order is a premium public good avidly sought after by urban middle class all over the developing world. Bottomline: ISIL is winning the battle for hearts and minds of millions of Muslim in the Middle East.

  93. Imagine if Mr. Bush and Mr . Cheney did not go on their little adventure. All the innocent Iraqis not killed, all the brave U.S. soldiers not dying or maimed, all that wasted money which could have been used at home for trade schools or infrastructure.

    Instead we have isis and an Iran on the verge of fabricating a nuclear weapon. What a waste!

  94. You can thank Obama for giving the Iranians the green light.

    And there was no ISIS in Iraq until our amateur POTUS decided to abandon it. Another brilliant foreign policy decision by the worst president since Carter.

  95. ....and now there's JEB!!

  96. ISIS is too big of a threat and it needs to be dealt with. They are doing these services to cover-up what they are really doing. It looks like that they are going into these areas and helping, then taking over and making the area their territory. The people that have spoken are basically slaves to ISIS. They are under the threat of death from ISIS if they don't work for them.

  97. Since Truman was a pup, Organization's have sprung up to fight against policies of "Government's that Kill and Maim any Opposition".

    Swatting them down like flies, the US makes Preemptive Wars upon other nation's shores.

    Names of such Organizations are not important. They have always found themselves at the bottom of the Economic Heap. Thus many of them are trying a new tack. Provide services to those residing within their claimed territories. A pseudo government, ruling by dictate (In the middle-east rules by religious-dictate.

    Americans have allowed our Government to make continuous war upon these pseudo governments. The military funding, we taxed payers have provided, has been used to build a Goliath Military. Funding today being supplanted by international corporation's who act in pseudo partnership with one another and governments .

    Not once, has anyone in the republican or democrat parties come forward to question the moral conduct of our government, and why this is occurring.
    Since Truman was a pup.

  98. Our next president will be forced to use our troops to destroy ISIS. Think of the collateral damage. Door to door counter insurgency techniques. Slaughter.

  99. Indoctrination of children and parents who are afraid of what the children might repeat? Killing captives and training child soldiers? A sick totalitarian regime that is bringing ISIS areas back into a Dark Ages. Of course there is more security. Stalin could claim the same, as could Genghis Khan. The Sunnis have sold their souls if this is the kind of society they want to live in.

  100. Follow the money backward and SHUT IT DOWN, from all sources. That's the best, and least expensive, tool we have to disrupt and destroy this scourge. I realize this isn't rocket science and that our government and our allies are working the problem, but is it really getting the kind of financing and attention as the drone killings or bombing raids? If we spent more time on this problem, we would not have to worry so much about civilian casualties constantly! (Also, let's ask our military/industrial sector to help so they won't get too upset about not being able to make so many other tools of war.)

  101. ISIS = The Obama Legacy.
    What an abysmal failure.

  102. But not, apparently, a failure for Syrian President, al-Assad or Iraqi leaders, al-Maliki and his successor, al-Abadi. Nor, according to this comment, has it been a failure for David Cameron, Angela Merkel, Benjamin Netanyahu or Vladimir Putin.
    Your comment implies that President Obama has to send American forces to defeat ISIS and then provide for Iraq and Syria's permanent policing and military needs, as they cannot do so themselves.
    When will Republicans realize that dependency on the US Government never solves anything?

  103. Excuse me. ISIS = The George W. Bush and Neo-Con legacy. 100%

  104. Saving the economy from collapse Stunning rise in the stock market. Health care reform. Unprecented job growth. Cutting the annual budget deficit. Energy independence. Improved consumer protections. Improved environmental standards. Restoring long overdue relations with Cuba. All while being hamstrung by the most antagonistic, partisan and unproductive Congress in history. Legacy secured.

  105. It's shocking but according to this extraordinary piece ISIS leaders appear to have an understanding of fundamental human physical, psychological, social needs the West and coalition lack. And it's not democracy or self-determination people crave (unless/until their basic needs are met). Instead their main focus is getting their basic needs met; regardless the manner. Human needs and how those needs affect behavior can be found in Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs." For example, survival needs are at the bottom of the hierarchy. And until those needs are met (even if that means meeting them within a framework of punishment, intimidation, and brutality) higher order needs like self-determination are shelved. And those who adapt and play by the rules, even if restrictive and punitive, as with ISIS, they live; not die. It's a black/white existence. And for those now controlled by ISIS who have experienced other types of lawlessness resulting from lack of rules and order ISIS becomes a clear expression of "any old port in the storm." Something to hang onto. And although ISIS may not be capturing hearts, it's capturing minds grateful for what they have now compared to before. And worse, that includes capturing the vulnerable minds of the young. In a strange way it seems that ISIS, which sees itself as creating an Islamic State for oppressed Muslims is peculiarly not that different from how and why other states throughout history were created. The US and Israel come to mind.

  106. The terrorists win by not being defeated. As time goes by, they will gather in strength. Our current strategy (or lack thereof) has seen ISIS become operational in over 12 countries and draw support from 90 countries. It is past time that we adopt a strategy to defeat ISIS completely, and begin to destroy it this year not next decade or next century. I can appreciate Obama wanting to run out the clock and leave the tough choices to the next President (since he is simply not a war time leader), but events are now occurring so fast that we may not be able to defeat ISIS 3 years from now without killing a lot of people in a major war.

  107. The best counter to Sunni terrorists (the ones who attacked us on 9/11) is to improve relations with Shia Iran. But our long time girlfriend, Saudia Arabia, is jealous and hateful of Iran. And because SA is the dealer of our drug of choice (oil) we have capitulated to their desire fo demonize Iran.

  108. Bush, the war time leader, got us into this situation. ISIS is beginning to act as a government. A fanatical ,religiously zealot government ruled by a murderous regime and ideology. The good news is they are acting as fly paper sucking in extremists from the West. The bad news is if the flies return. The region is a cauldron of competing 7th century ideas. Aside from drones and smart weapons, we have no place there.

  109. We went to war with Iraq to rid the country of a totalitarian Sunni government under Saddam Hussein. Now those Sunni's have joined ISIS to form another totalitarian government. We support the Shiites in Iraq now and the Sunni's and Shiites continue to fight a religious war that dates back hundreds of years. We cannot resolve their differences by starting another war.

    Is ISIS in the dark ages? Yes. Are the children being indoctrinated? Yes. But I think any intervention short of what we are now doing, would kill so many innocents that we would still be perceived as the "bad guy". I hope our current Present or the next one shows restraint when dealing with the politics of those countries.

  110. Obama has virtually capitulated to ISIS. Once they have full control of Iraq's oil money they will buy a nuclear weapon. By then Obama will be on his post-presidential lecture circuit making $500k a speech. And he will still be blaming Bush for everything. Count on it.

  111. it is Bush's fault. Obama inherited it and has tried to fix it, with some success.

  112. This is Bush's fault. And ISIL will never have full control of Iraqi oil.

  113. The "extreme version of Islam" promoted by ISIS is, actually, a carbon copy of the "moderate" theocracy called Saudi Arabia. How amazing that beheading, the systematic oppression of women and any other religion or sect of Islam, and rule by a cockeyed interpretation of the qu'ran can be moderate in the case of saudi arabia and extreme in the case of ISIS, and yet amount to the same thing. American foreign policy in the Middle East is never going to work if it refuses to see reality. The NYT should do a much better job of seeing that reality, but it plays by the establishment rules; thus we get our skewed views, and our endless war policy.

  114. The greatest danger of the continued occupation by ISIS of Syrian and Iraqi territory is that residents will gradually get brainwashed by these terrorists and come to accept their distorted beliefs and practices. The Iraqi government is hopeless and unable to gain any support of the Sunnis. It is better to think about Mr. Biden's earlier views on partitioning Iraq along ethnic/religious lines. The Kurds are doing fine. The Sunnis could have their own province. The petroleum revenue could be equitably shared. That way some reasonable governance might emerge. Syria needs stronger medicine including massive air intervention to beat back ISIS.

  115. What makes ISIS different from any other government? Why is this the business of the US?

  116. Uh, the fact that they've threatened on numerous occasions to destroy the U.S.? The fact that they murder its innocents gruesomely? Even the Viet Cong never did that.

    Does this not concern you?

  117. As a Muslim African-American citizen, imam, chaplain, and author of the book "We fundamentalists," I am not surprise by my imperialist country, our bias Western corporate secular media conglomerates when they realize that ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and other Islamic resistance org. are successful in their jihad-Iraq, Syria, and other Muslim countries! Today Western politicians, military, and media propagandaist here at home are saying to their citizens this (ISIS) Islamic Sunni theocracy is offering services unto it`s people, that they have an in-touch civic leadership agenda, the people under it`s Islamic rule are not viewing themselves under oppression-like Iran an Islamic Shiite theocracy?
    Keeping it real-we Muslim Americans are fully aware of that social media hypocrisy here in the secular West when it comes to confronting that chilling inconvenient but pragmatic truth of the lies of president Obama when he says: "America is not at war with Islam!" Indeed, my country and Europe are abetting injustice and ruling by way of imperialism as a foreign policy in their acts of supporting civil-wars (Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Somalia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Sudan, and Afghanistan). Also supporting sectarian-civil-wars (Iraq, Syria, and Bahrain)!
    What worries me-is their denial of the counter-attacks by Islamic resistance forces upon Western secular nations because of their oppressions! In light of what has happen in Boston, Paris, and Copenhagen, injustice will make their world full of terrorist!

  118. ISIS is an Islamofascist 'state' - that's what you are defending with your naive explanation. The structure is a carbon copy of any extreme totalitarian regime we have seen in the current history and since based on an extreme rigit ideology (religion) it fits the fascist formula perfectly. It seems you feel comfortable with the mass executions of civilians who happened to have little different beliefs; Yazidis, Shiites, Christians? Or this is actually a Western social media creation?.. If you know a little bit of history you you would see that fascism in Germany was also appealing to many (too many!) with it's order and stable 'security', same was the case with the Soviet Communism during Stalin's bloody reign or Mao's China: all had quite a lot of support by the masses, which does not make them right. Young children indoctrination was very common and methodically practised as well.
    There are enough good studies & analysis of the internal failures of Islam that created the extremism in it and this has little to do with the 'secular Western media' as you are suggesting (you seem to be implying that secularism is a kind of a shortcoming ;-) Don't know why you chose to live in a Western country with your way of thinking.

  119. your comment is a poster-child for considering Muslim American citizens as second-class and likely disloyal. you have bought into the ideology of your group and taken an oppositional stance to your citizenship.

    however, as an American, I find your comments interesting if distasteful and biased.

  120. What to believe? And how accurate is the news?
    The West is delusional...we think that we can impose solutions to problems we know nothing about despite having a heavy hand in creating them. The only solution that is sustainable has to come from within. It has to originate locally. The Marshall plan was the tool to rebuild Germany. It was the Germans, German women that is, and the guest workers who rebuilt Germany. It was not military might that reconstructed the country.
    ISIS will not go away militarily. The locals must have a better alternative in order to make ISIS vanish. That alternative has to be "home-made".

  121. That is the moral question at hand. Saddam Hussein was not a good man, but he kept order in his neighborhood. Do you ignore the violent excesses of such a man or replace him with another like him with the promise of a better society?

  122. My answer: Let the locals decide. Dictatorships have a way of vanishing. Saddam was not going to live forever. And by the way, at one point we supported Saddam!!!

  123. The same was or is true of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Gadaffi in Libya (I'm not convinced he was, in any way, a bad guy), Assad in Syria.... They maintained stability. But when the U.S. decides a government is insufficiently compliant, that government has to go, regardless of the consequences. I agree with Kathy. Solutions in these countries have to come from within. That process may get ugly, but I think they will end up with peace and stability.

  124. And we Americans made it all possible for ISIS. And what do you think will happen if we overthrow Iran's government?

  125. You don't have to guess. The reason Iran is in its current state is because we helped the Shah overthrow the previous democratic government.

  126. So far, the US has not been successful imposing our will in the Middle East through military means. The fight against ISIS will be no different. Why? Because ISIS is viewed by the residents as better, or at least no worse, what passed for the government ISIS replaced.

    While Americans find it difficult to believe that a draconian theocracy is tolerable, what the vast majority of people on Earth want is a decent job, food, and a stable, non-violent civil society. As long as ISIS provides these things, people will put up with fines for short beards.

    This is the essential lesson of Vietnam. When the people are for the insurgents, our military might is not and will not be sufficient.

  127. The US has made efforts to bomb the oil fields in Syria, which had been a principal source of funding for ISIS. The recent capture of a border crossing into Turkey, previously used to earn smuggling income, also will reduce the money coming to run ISIS.

    The services that ISIS is providing, in captured cities, most likely will grind to a halt, as the ISIS treasury runs dry.

    After that, ISIS will have to give up on winning hearts and minds. ISIS then will resort to extortion and intimidation, only.

  128. Israel is reportedly preparing to create a buffer zone on more Syrian land "for the Druze" If you believe that isn't part of a plan to annex more territory, I have some of Saddam's nukes to sell you.

    Of course, given Israel's help to Al Nusra {Al Qaeda} and alleged help to ISIS - it seems likely that "the rebels" - mostly foreign jihadi mercenaries of course, will leave Israel's annexation unmolested, as they focus on killing Christians and Shia.

    If ISIS finances are strong from selling oil - someone is buying it. We never hear as to who that is, which strongly suggests it is ... Israel. and likely Turkey, as well.

    The US has 'accidentally' bombed the Iraqi military 3 times in the past month alone. It has 'accidentally' dropped weapons to ISIS at least 3 times, and probably more.

    Let's tear this band aid of quickly : It seems possible, perhaps even probable, that ISIS was created, funded, and armed by the CIA, and/or Mossad, and/or the Saudis to depose Assad and destroy Syria and keep Iranian pipelines from running through Iraq into Syria and on to the sea where it would compete with Qatar's gas, and Israel's Leviathan gas field.

    ISIS is too well armed, and was left to cross in the open from Syria into Iraq without being bombed by the US when it was too easy.

    ISIS is a proxy terror force. It is an Emmanuel Goldstein that will do the dirty work.

    It is a "golem" of evil.

  129. If you could prove your alligations.... but still they are worth to think over the very complex matter. At least I applaud that you mentioned the Christians, which are wiped out by ISIS of their ancestral lands without much lamentation by the christian american fundamentalists.

  130. Thinking that everything is the fault of the CIA and Israel is just another way of hoping that it's actually under our control. It's not. People do bad things, including us. Nations and actors have their own agendas. We are not in control -- we are just actors with a really big and expensive army, so our mistakes are particularly dangerous. And McLean is in Belmont, not Cambridge.

  131. Why are we so inept that we fail to help the Iraqi people by helping them in the same ways as ISIS but without the harshness of ISIS. ISIS is winning out in many areas because it apparently gives the people a structure to live within while our only offering seems to be some drone strikes and shows of force. The question for us is how long can we survive using only a military approach when ISIS does much more to give the people an environment to live in? Twelve years of Bush/Cheney ignorance, compounded by Obama ineptitude, has been far more than enough. Let us give Bernie Sanders a chance to use a much more intelligent strategy to dispose of the mess that Bush and his associates created. We can't keep playing into the hands of ISIS by our repeated failures to do anything but drone strikes and training of recruits who seemingly have no heart for supporting us as destroyers of their country.

  132. It seems like most posters here are inclined to blame the whole mess on the U.S. Leaving aside the issue of crying over spilt milk, and leaving aside the possibility that most Iraqis (Kurds, Shias) really are better off free of Saddam's regime, and leaving aside the fact that the U.S. had little or no role in the collapse of the Syrian regime, we must ask the question: must the Arabs choose between the likes of ISIS and the likes of Saddam, Qadahfy, or Asaad? Must it be one or the other? Was it a horrible malignant mistake to think the Arabs might be capable of democracy?

  133. The answer to your questions is yes.

  134. Like most human beings, Arabs have the capacity for government they desire. If you're asking for a choice between Americanizing their culture or settling for something else, the latter would be my expectation.

  135. If only Obama knew that ISIS was worse than ISIL then maybe he would evolve and get involved.

  136. How many ex-Baathists are in ISIS, and are they running the government services described here? Many of them were experienced civil servants under Saddam Hussein, and are excluded from the current government in Iraq. If they were welcomed into regular government, could they be split off from ISIS? Not that this would be easy, just a remote possibility given the regional politics. Thanks to Bush and Rummy for excluding them and making a bad situation worse.

  137. Iraq is a failed state indeed if ISIS is considered a better alternative. The Bush administration played a huge part in this fiasco and I hope voters remember next year. Next time leave the "evil dictator" in place, because, in this part of the world, the next one to come along can always be worse, much worse.

  138. True. Benevolent dictators are hard to come by.

  139. None of the comments I've read so far are taking a longer view of the history of the region. The borders of Iraq and other gulf states were created by the British in order to control the oil fields. When the Iranians elected Mossadegh and he nationalized their oil, the CIA overthrew him and installed the Shah--a bloody dictator and U.S. puppet. When the Iranians overthrew the Shah, we armed Saddam Hussein to attack them--and the cost was a million or so dead. Saddam Hussein was our puppet, until he became too independent. Then we invaded Iraq, then instituted sanctions for around 12 years, then invaded Iraq again. How many million Iraqis died as a result of 2 wars and the sanctions? I don't know. But I do know that if I were an Iraqi, I'd hate America too.

  140. If the US had supported Saddam Hussein as our surrogate against Iran we would not have to worry today about the mad mullahs going nuclear.

  141. Do you apportion any blame at all, any responsibility, on the part of local actors for some of the grotesque actions the world has witnessed in the last couple of years?

  142. We can defeat ISIS if we do it right. The President should recognize the new Sunni entity that ISIS has created. Find and support new Sunni leaders in the area in conjunction with the Sunni states in the Middle East , even if it calls for the rejuvenation of past Baath and Sunni tribal leaders. his can all be done with the support of the local Arab countries. The case of the Mahdi during the end of the of the 19th century in Sudan is a good example of a transient extreme movement.

  143. Awesome ISIS services...lets all immigrate.

  144. Since ISIL seems to be the only viable force in the region overlapping Syria and Iraq, bringing a modicum of order (at point of a sword or gun), maybe it is time we try to negotiate with them.

  145. They are not interested in peace or negotiations. The leadership of ISIL believe the establishment of a Caliphate will enable them to usher in the "End of Days" prophecy in the Koran. They seek the destruction of the "Armies of Rome" (US, NATO) and ultimately the arrival of their version of the apocalypse. Not a good foundation for partnership.

  146. This is the only comment of the 152 posted so far that has the courage to make a suggestion towards action rather than attempts to show how intelligent the commenter is. There is not a comment here that every one of our foreign policy makers know but what good is understanding the situation if you can't make a concrete suggestion . No one can accurately predict the consequences of an action but commenting without taking responsibility is irritating
    Good for you Diogenes

  147. Unlike our leaders, they know how to win the hearts of their people. Granted you'd better be one of "their people" However it does show a sign of strong organization, and the desire to set up an actual "society"

  148. good for society? unless you're a woman or a girl

  149. Offering perks to newly weds is more effective than drone-bombing wedding parties? Go figure.

  150. We know that something was very wrong in the first place when a group of inexperienced, foreign fanatics can rule a couple countries during a war better than their former governments. Talk about nation building. If these guys were more like human beings than blood thirsty gouls they could show real progress in the area.

  151. Under the Baath regime, many were members of the Iraqi Army, which was dissolved by Paul Bremmer and Donald Rumsfeld.

  152. I'm not sure about their capability of building a nation. Nationality not just a common religious belief, it's a plenty of characteristics. It's really hard to imgine they'll turn Iraqis, Syrians, Libyans into a common Sunni nation

  153. Yes, we can thanks Cheney/Bush/Rumsfeld with help from Wolfowitz etal for the rise of ISIS.

  154. Successful revolutionaries (yes, in this case, terrorists) around the world have always known that the way to win a population is to provide basic services. People care about ideology and freedom to say what they think and to vote, but not if basic food, shelter, and safety are missing. Opening schools is a no-brainer since it allows to indoctrination - and eases parents because kids are off the streets and, hopefully, also getting some basic education in the 3 Rs.

  155. The end of the Disneyland of atrocities and human rights abuses in the Middle East with advances of peace and stability

  156. “It is not our life, all the violence and fighting and death. But they got rid of the tyranny of the Arab rulers.”

    This encapsulates the problem: the paramount need for security but also the need for a fair distribution of wealth and the elimination of corruption. The model the West has to offer no longer provides security and never provided a fair distribution of wealth or tackled corruption. Israel’s expansionist policies in Palestine and the egregious greed of the Gulf’s dynastic rulers represent two poles of the same problem. The Western model is perceived as unjust and tyrannical (and they have a point when in the US itself the top 0.1% of the population owns as much as the bottom 90% (ring bells with Saudi Arabia?). a young black man is more likely to end up in jail than go to university and US money and arms are buttressing Israel's expropriation of Palestinian lands). No wonder the painter from Raqqa quoted above would rather life under Isis than a regime propped up by Western arms and values.

  157. I am tempted to present historical parallels but given the audience, let us just say there are parallels to the 16th century religious upheavals. Consider the politics of radical Protestantism as well as the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. They are connected as they both deal with improving (in the ends) the lives of ordinary people offering stabilty.

  158. The tragedy is that no one seems to have learned a lesson from this chaos. The whole Middle East is on fire due to the illegal and disastrous wars that the neocons and the Bush Administration waged and now practically all Republican presidential candidates are advocating more of the same. The same war criminals who created that fiasco are now serving as the advisors of various Republican candidates.

    Why is nobody rising up against the repetition of the same warped ideology that has inflicted such heavy costs on the region and on America itself? The rightwing indoctrination is so pervasive that even some Democratic candidates feel obliged to bang the drum of war in support of “our allies”. So long as the bankrupt ideology of the Neocons is not exposed and discarded, similar or even worse disasters are awaiting us.

  159. We are at war with ISIS and it us winning. They will continue to win as long as they are not defeated, which probably isn't going to happen until after Obama leaves office. Right now ISIS is active in greater than 10 countries, but has supporters in about 90 countries, which means it will take a major war to destroy them 2 years from now. Currently, here in the US we are arresting an ISIS terrorist about every other day and it's only a matter of time before a few are able to kill Americana here on our own soil; but luckily most of us don't live in New York which is usually their target.

  160. Obama has to wipe this threat out. ISIS was created and flourished on his neglectful watch and on that of his Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton, with the presidential aspirations. They're both responsible and couldn't care less, apparently.

  161. Daesh is trying to rewrite the artificial borders that the West imposed on the region at the end of WW I. Daesh's initial efforts to gain a foothold in the region were effective, but far too brutal to move forward to nation building. Daesh has started to see the light and has now commenced the process of nation building in a more lasting and effective way. The history of the region has shown that people are willing to accept any ruler that allows them to have a reasonable existence. If Daesh shows itself as being capable of doing that in a way that is more consistent with the needs and interests of the region, Daesh will likely succeed and displace the existing rulers.

  162. if we want to defeat isis and terrorists, we need to stop buying oil from the middle east period. then they wouldnt have the power to make bombs and kill innocent people.

  163. Their legal system and precepts are indistinguisheable from those of Saudi Arabia's. We appear two faced to the Arab street. One is our ally and one is our enemy. They want to establish a fundamentalist Moslem state though force, birthrate and piety. If we believe in religious freedom what is the problem? Is not the Muslim religion part of the US just as it is part of Germany?

  164. Winning the hearts and minds of the populace has always been key to a successful invasion and takeover...and the easiest way to win hearts and minds is to provide the infrastructure necessary for a functioning community. Once the populace has dependable housing, food, water and light they can be persecuted and exploited fairly severely without rebelling.

  165. Imagine all the services we could provide for the price of our horrible military machine, which only kills and devastates and makes us hated. In the end, apparently, what really counts is the good either side does for communities, and we could do it so much better (if we wanted to).

  166. ISIL's methods are not much different than what we have seen from many other regimes in history. Carrot and stick. Sugar and salt. Use terror to subdue, then disperse goodies to pacify. Eventually, however, any rogue organization that becomes burdened with actual longterm governing and service providing becomes vulnerable and accountable, losing its flexibility. Inevitably, internal power struggles, rivalries and in-fighting will ensue and begin to splinter the group. That's when other rival powers in the region will strike at them. Remember, even more than it hated Rome, the People's Front of Judea hated the Judean People's Front.

  167. One can attempt to prettify this situation with talk of new sewers, food inspection and gainful employment, but it is still the description of life under military occupation. History repeatedly demonstrates that occupiers can not stamp out everything that existed before them, no matter how hard they try, which makes this life inherently unstable. It would be a mistake, therefore, to consider what's going on in these territories a new normal.

  168. The Western coalition that defeated Saddam Hussein could have won easily the favor of Iraqis if we had not so horribly mismanaged direction of "reconstructing" Iraq after the fall of Baghdad. In stead of firing all Bathists to let unexperienced amateurs run state facilities in Iraq who never succeeded in supplying basics such as electricity and water to citizens, we should have fired Bremmer instead and kept the professionals to provide basic services. ISIS has done exactly that to such a successful degree that Syrians and Iraqis under their control welcome the stability of a functioning government albeit a detested one for many because of its radical ideology. They have learned to tolerate a warped, extremist ideology to have some basics services function as they did not with US mismanagement in Iraq. We blew it from the first of the collapse of Baghdad when US forces stood by guarding only the Ministry of Oil while some of our soldiers even assisted citizens in their plundering Iraq's major museum and library. We then failed miserably at providing basic services such as water and electricity. We defeated Saddam but our mismanagement afterwards destroyed the victory we could claim on the battlefield. ISIS has demonstrated exceptional barbarism but its leaders outsmart us in providing civic services that give some stability to the lives of citizens, suppressed though they are. Had we not failed in reconstruction of Iraq, ISIS would not likely be our problem today.

  169. Western coalition (US more precisely, as there were never any 'coalition') didn't defeat Saddam Hussein, it defeated itself. And it continues to suffer defeats virtually every week. Ironic (tragic really) that western incompetency created power gap that created IS.

  170. The feeling is growing that the Islamic State may win: That ISIS will continue to gain territory in Syria and Iraq and will consolidate a permanent government, a state ensconced in the Islamic caliphate.

    Can ISIS prevail in Iraq and Syria? Providing food, health care and housing is defined as such in their "mission statements," along with committing any savagery necessary to "clean and hold" territory gained.

    Some might look to Mosul per the article, where ISIS for almost a year has run the municipality without collapse or great violence, presenting it as a prefiguration of caliphate society. ISIS in power provides jobs and pays salaries on time, whether to local officials or its fighters on the battlefield. Outside the region, everyone - and especially Americans for whom everything about Islam is unknown - should be aware that even for people who hate Islamists, ISIS rule offers a kind of stability.

    And that's a very scary thought.

  171. It's not like the people who are now ruled by ISIS are coming from liberal democracy. They're coming from extreme misogyny, Sharia (we tell you what to eat,drink do, not do, how to live your lives) law, authoritarian, corrupt, incompetent governments. so what's so different about ISIS?

  172. I do believe Hitler employed a similar tactic in removing minorities and promoting social unity. He also brought prosperity and justice, but time will show just as it has for the US established government.