The Best Defense

The Best Defense

ISIL 3-24: Do they do counter-insurgency?

By Michael Knights

Best Defense guest columnist

What happens when poacher must become gamekeeper? That's what the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) must be asking itself at the present time. Once it was the insurgent force skulking in the shadows, ambushing and bombing, then fading away. Now ISIL believes itself to be a state and it knows that a range of powerful enemies are planning to spark local insurgencies against it in Iraq and Syria. ISIL needs a game plan to face the looming threat. So if ISIL had an equivalent of FM 3-24, the U.S. government's guide on counterinsurgency, what would it look like?

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The Best Defense

Quote of the day: Ambassador Crocker on the core problem facing the Iraqi military

From one of the best American analysts of Iraq:

"Iraqis have a strong military tradition. They've got good soldiers. They need good leadership. And clearly, the current government is aware of that. We're in a position to help to get the right commanders in the right places, to serve their troops and their country well."

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The Best Defense

Donnelly: Sean Kay is wrong because, like so many realists, he overvalues realism

By Thomas Donnelly

Best Defense guest respondent

Sean Kay may be correct that I have misdiagnosed what ails the Obama Administration's foreign policy, though I would note that the level of elite anxiety about the Levant, Ukraine and maritime East Asia seems only to be rising: Marc Ambinder is no neocon, but he declares the world to be "en fuego" and that, while "Obama seems to be flailing in front of everyone," it's also true that "there is no GOP alternative."  If that's not a measure of Establishment melt-down, I don't know what is.

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