Can The Fight Against ISIS Be Won?

In this article I will just be comparing two opposite articles. One that was written by John McCain and Lindsey Graham by the Wall Street Journal titled “How to Defeat ISIS Now- Not ‘Ultimately'”(1). The other article is “Why ISIL won’t be defeated”(2) written by Al-Jazeera Staff along with comments made my John Mearshiemer, who is a specialist of international politics and he has also written a few other books.

Fighting ISIS as of right now is a 3 pronged approach. There is the Syrian front where the oppressive Syrian government led by Bashar Al-Assad is fighting against ISIS and an anti-Assad opposition. The Syrian front is home to the self proclaimed Islamic State. Their fight has expanded into Iraq, the second front,  where the Iraqi military has been struggling to fight off ISIS fighters and other terrorist organizations. The third front of this war is one of the hardest parts to fight.The world is their battleground. There have been attacks in Africa, Europe,the Middle East and the United States with links to ISIS. ISIS has one of the biggest marketing campaigns with numerous recruiters online, creating websites, twitter accounts and several others that are spreading Islamist propaganda.

How to Defeat ISIS according to John McCain and Lindsey Graham:

The first article with it being written by John McCain and Lindsey Graham is obviously going to be biased of the republican way of thinking from the United States. It is critical of President Obama’s plan to defeat ISIS and suggests a more invasive approach to defeating ISIS. In this article it is suggested that the United States send in special operations soldiers to be in Iraq permanently. Senators Graham and McCain have pointed out that while Iraq is in a weakened state they are going to rely on  on stringing nations like Iran for support. The point is that after this main conflict is over they are going to want to have a country that can be stable on its own. Having Iran be such a strong influence in Iraq could cause more problems for the country in the opinions of the senators. The same concept could be applied to Syria. These nations should be stable after the conflict is over but once ISIS is removed in Iraq who will take over the power in the sections that were left by ISIS? In a perfect situation Iraq would take over the territory that was lost, but others will try to take that land. whether they be another country or not. Iranian militias are on the ground and the United States is worried. In the article it was stated that “America must not only win the war, but also prepare to win the peace” there must be a secure way to ensure that after the major conflicts are over that the right people are going to be in charge of the whole nation. The Iraqi Prime Minister is trying to keep foreign soldiers out of his country he wants to be in charge  of the nation and feels like foreign involvement will only complicate who is in charge of the nation.

In Syria the conflict is a little bit more complicated. The Senators believe that negotiations to end the civil war and getting rid of the ISIS influence of the country is the only way to resolve the conflict. They believe that as long as the Assad regime is in power there will always be ISIS or groups like it out there. The senators believe that with an increased amount of intelligence gatherers that they will be able to find ISIS and take them out quicker.They would also need to make safe zones for the refugees to avoid government intervention and the war.

In conclusion the senators believe that they should have an increased military presence in both countries and keep the fighting over there instead of stateside or against any other civilian population, and that once the fight is won, the right people should be in charge of the nation completely.

Why ISIL won’t be defeated according to Al-Jazeera:

John Mearsheimer has suggested that ISIS cannot be defeated because “you do not defeat an ideology” Mearsheimer begins by analyzing the United States and western method to fighting ISIS in Syria. They want to take down the Assad regime, they believe that with him in power there will always be trouble with ISIS. That approach looks like it will not work though because there are so many other nations that are interested in maintaining the current leadership in the country. Another problem with ISIS fighters that is shared among many terrorist groups is they do not fight the military head on most of the time. They blend in with the population and there are civilians that support them. The United States has a military with billions of dollars, air support, advanced weaponry, members with years of experience in counterterrorism but as of right now there is not much of an effective way for all of that power to fight an ideology like ISIS. It is a theology that has evolved from just a religion, but they are trying to become their own state with their own sect of radical beliefs.

The current belief is that there needs to be boots on the ground to take down ISIS militarily. It’s been acknowledged that with western involvement it would only felt the fight for ISIS, it’s actually what they wanted. Now, Saudi Arabia has been talking about forming a coalition to fight ISIS with several other nations talking about joining in. It would be Middle Easterns fighting to support their own region. It would be more effective than western nations coming in and fighting them. The western nations would be able to coordinate in the skies and defeat the ground targets but even if there are only a few members left of ISIS they will still find a way to attack. The Taliban, which cannot even afford to pay it’s own fighters, and operate off of very limited funding have been able to stage substantial attacks against the government and civilians even after over a decade of being at war with the West.

In the end it comes down to the fact that the fight against ISIS is a fight against an ideology a way of thinking that is going to inspire people to follow them.


In the end no matter how you look at it the fight is complex, and there will need to be a combined joint world effort to win over the ideology that has become ISIS.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s