How to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) 101


I just got back from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  after speaking about the danger ISIS poses to the region and the globe and explained to the audience the main tenets of ISIS and how it differs from Al Qaeda.



and here is what I said:


“The Islamic State is considered “Extremist” by al-Qaeda, so imagine how terrible and barbaric you must be to the way al-Qaeda consider you an extremist.

I want to explain what is the main difference between al-Qaeda and the Islamic state is conflict of vision, al-Qaeda is promising the eventual establishment of an Islamic state, while ISIS leadership, (Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi) is about: let’s do it now while the conditions to create a state are there.

Since the United States pulled its military out of Iraq, then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki applied sectarian laws that discriminates against the Sunni Minority in Iraq, al-Malaki who is heavily Iranian influenced was so happy that the United States would pull out all of their troops without any strategy so he can have it all his way.


From the Guardian


And The Sunni minority in Iraq have been used to being in power for decades so it doesn’t take much to piss them off! 



Iraq and Syria are the opposite sides of each other, Iraq is a Shia majority and Sunni minority while Syria is Sunni majority and Shia minority.

The battle of ISIS is a regional one as well as a global one.

The Syrian Alawite government is an alliance with Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon and Iran.


While ISIS is a Sunni Militia supported by funders from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, many of their weapons were smuggled to them through Turkey and as a result of U.S. support to the Free Syrian Army who are the liberal fighters which lost the battle with ISIS and Jabhat Al Nusra who are the al-Qaeda branch in the conflict.”


So it’s really important first to know what we are dealing with before we jump to any policy regarding intervention.

And I don’t think the problem can be solved all militarily but it has to be political because the one the main cause of the conflict is political, and by political I mean religious as well, because religion specially Islam and politics intertwine a lot in the Middle east and considering we are dealing with an “Islamic State” not the Soviet Union, even though some may argue that Communism is a religion as well but I will leave that debate for later.




So let’s get to the solution.   


The United States does have a relationship with the Iraqi government in Baghdad and the Kurdish government in Erbil who are now are in direct conflict with ISIS and they have been asking for help since the expansion of ISIS for more than one province in Iraq.



I think if the United States is going to offer help, it has to be conditional.


and that condition must be that the Iraqi government especially has to “get their shit together” and apply policies that are inclusive of moderate Sunni forces just like the surge happened in 2007 with General David Petraeus making alliances with moderate Sunni tribes and it worked, while now there are  no American boots on the ground to make that happen, the Iraqi government has to be the one doing that.




ISIS is a Sunni militia first and foremost and you can not face them with a sectarian Government and army.

and Iraqi Sunnis are here to stay and Sunni Muslims make up the majority of the Arab and Muslim world.

any radical policy that advocates for killing all Iraqi Sunnis and create a Shia government must be defeated.

That doesn’t mean Iraqi Shias have to accept all the conditions that Sunni leaders give them and vice versa and forgive the militia members who committed abhorrent crimes but there is something called “negotiation” and both leaders,whether Sunni or Shia, must learn how to apply it and the United States can play a role to pressure them to do so.

Sunnis and Shias both need to get it that the they will be the ones most affected by the continuous terror of ISIS, the majority of the victims of ISIS are Iraqis, Syrians and fellow Muslims.




So here is my proposal, the five steps to defeat ISIS:


1- Iraqi government getting their shit together by trying to be more inclusive.

2- Expand U.S. airstrikes  



3- Equip the Peshmerga with better weapons to defeat ISIS from the north  

4- If the Iraqi government achieved step one, they also can get better equipment and advance from the south and northeast.

5- Equip the Jordanians who are also U.S. allies to defeat ISIS from the west.


If ISIS loses control of Iraq first, it would be much easier to defeat them in Syria and that will push the dictator Bashar al-Assad to follow different policies than his strongest allies in Tehran tell him to.




Best Regards

Faisal Saeed Al Mutar

Email : [email protected]

Twitter: @faisalalmutar

  • MichiGan

    How do we beat ISIS in Syria without helping Assad?

    • Sommer57

      Assad would be an ally, if the US would give him the chance.

    • oremfrien .

      The only way would be create a really effective Free Syrian Army. The problem is that there are very few Syrians who would actually be on board with creating a pluralistic secular democracy in Syria.

  • DeWolfe Miller

    And please no American boots on the ground. None. That said, you could add cutting off their money, oil, cell towers, internet, … its war …. bomb anything that moves, etc.Food, water … .. I would like to think of someway of helping the people trapped there and who would like to return some favors…

  • DeWolfe Miller

    Ridicule. I know it does not sound like much of a weapon, but these pretentious jerks just provide so much good material. Like ISIS are pussies: they are cowards hiding behind women’s’ skirts. Try it out.