It seems that very quickly, Britain has changed its approach from aiding humanitarian relief efforts in Iraq, to aiding Kurdish forces in their efforts to stop the Islamic State form acquiring Kurdish territory. Whether or not Britain escalating that support level is wise, communicating the rationale to the British voting population as clearly as possible and as quickly as possible is certainly wise. Especially after the relatively recent (and unpopular) invasion of Iraq to seek out what turned out to be non existent weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
In my view, the article written by Sir Malcolm Rifkind in the Daily Telegraph (18 Aug 14) ‘ If we have to work with Iran to defeat the Islamic State, so be it’ usefully laid out the landscape of Arab politics very well. It also outlined, from Britain’s perspective, how choosing to work with less than ideal allies partners to defeat a common enemy is needed at times, Britain & the US working with Russia to defeat Nazi Germany in WW2 being a good example.
Personally I don’t understand what Islamic State (IS) is actually trying to achieve. Its leaders must know what will happen when they ‘pull the tail of the tiger.’ Regardless of what I think, it’s hard to see how a small force of Sunni jihardist fighters can possibly hope to defend some recently captured desert territory, against the combined forces of Western Intelligence (with pin-sharp satellite surveillance), multi-national oil companies, the international banking system, benign Global Islam, the United Nations, NATO forces, the forces of neighbouring threatened Arab states (Shia majority ones in particular) & Israel.
That super group could if it quickly imposed its will, turn the IS caliphate into a giant Guantanamo Bay-style containment camp for jihardist fighters, surrounding them in a ring of steel, disarming them and shipping all convicted jihardist terrorists from other countries into the same internment camp.
Instead, it’s probably more likely that the super group will, as for the Al-Qaeda challenge, close ranks against a common threat & systematically dismantle IS leadership from the top down, take down its websites, try harder to close down its financiers, while rolling back IS influence and captured territory, with help from local Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq & Syrian leadership, as necessary.
The problem in nature with any ultra-violent entity is that it cannot last, because of its extreme impact. Ebola being one example, the Roman Empire (that crumbled into corrupt decadence) being another and the ‘Thousand Year Reich’ that Hitler aspired to being another. In contrast, weeds & grass have become the most successful plants on the Planet, because at worst, they only pose nuisance value to those with the most power.
Perhaps there is a lesson from nature for aspiring leaders who don’t just want to grab power, but also rule on a sustainable basis?