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Iraq is Lost, Save Syria: Kamal Khashoqji

ISIS is no longer just an organization; it is now a real state with oil resources and a million-strong constituency
Iraq is Lost, Save Syria: Kamal Khashoqji

We must save Syria from falling in the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). But this does not mean we must save Bashar Assad and his regime, as he is the origin of all this evil.


It is now just a matter of time and before ISIS draws its borders against the Iraqi Shiite state in the south. As for the borders with Turkestan, they are already drawn, but the responsibility in containing the ambitions of the Kurds in Kirkuk and its surroundings will move from the former central government in Baghdad to the secret headquarters of the Caliphate. In the end, everyone will agree on the issue of borders, border crossings and logistics. Of course, no one will sign an agreement at the Arab League in Cairo, but it will be a matter of fact.


ISIS has capitalizd on its previous mistakes and expanded the scope of its alliances; some of those allies have gained from the experiences and strategies of the old Baathist regime. ISIS is no longer simply an organization; it is now a real state with oil resources and a few million people in population, a constituency for who it is responsible for their security and livelihoods, their factories, farms and national products.


Thus, ISIS will act as a state and government, although it is does not agree with the international definition of "government" according to the norms of international relations.


Its basic strategy will be to move gradually, avoiding the battles in which they might be defeated. This strategy became obvious as they advanced towards Baghdad last week and went around Samarra. ISIS know they do not have the same popularity and fury that opened the doors of Mosul and Anbar to them there.


The next battles will reveal how mature ISIS is. Most ilkely it will stop when it reaches its maximum extention in the south, as it does now with the Kurds in the north; relaxing a little and taking advantage of the international inaction. The United States will certainly not get involved in the war, as beating ISIS will require a full fledged confrontation, no less than the invasion of Iraq or Afghanistan.  The Obama administration does not want wars like this. Iran knows that the truce with Al-Qaeda and ISIS is over, and remembers the message the jihadists sent in 1994 through Ramzi Yousef, a messenger of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the real founder of Al-Qaeda, when he blew up the shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad. Someone in Al-Qaeda or ISIS must have sent a message to the Iranians, saying: Remember what we could do, your eastern and western borders are open to us.


The next soft target for ISIS is where there is a similar environment to Mosul, Anbar and Ramadi. That is Syria, where the Sunni are oppressed, and there is daily killing and neglect of the community. People hate ISIS there, but it has some support, and success attracts more. Force changes previous convictions.


Now, the Nusra Front and its Emir, Golani, are the most worried, but there must be some common ground for a reconciliation between them, the Islamic Front and other groups. The Free Syrian Army has almost come to an end, and the next attack by ISIS will completely destroy it.


Anti-aircraft weapons, which the U.S. prevented from the Syrian rebels are now available to ISIS, and no one will prevent it from transferring them to Syria. As we woke up a few days ago to the news of the fall of Mosul, we will hear soon that Aleppo and other regions are now in the hands of ISIS. Is this good news? Everyone wants to get rid of Assad's daily explosive barrels, and escape the neglect of the international community, therefor, anyone who wants peace will accept ISIS.


Those who are worried about this fundamentalist state which wants to change all the rules of politics in the region, for those who prefer to lock it in its current Iraqi circle until it exhausts itself, would do better to try to topple the Assad regime and maintain a Syrian pluralistic state that depends on the constitution and elections. Let it be done by our own hands, and not the hands of others.


Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer


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