Saturday, November 21, 2015

Before flattening Hama was cool

Excellent New York Times analysis by Tim Arango on the options for defeating ISIS; particularly striking: the at least partial Russian-Israeli consensus that heavy weaponry urban combat may be the best option --

But if the world is wedded to a military solution, it is likely to come at a high cost in human lives. Some Russian and Israeli experts argue that an effective military approach would have to meet brutality with brutality. It could not, they say, be waged only from the air. Some Russians pointed to the operation to tame an Islamist insurgency in Chechnya. Russians effectively adopted a scorched-earth policy, devastating the capital, Grozny, and even holding the families of jihadists hostage. In Chechnya, the houses of relatives were demolished or burned, and brothers and other members of militants’ family were abducted. Mr. Kabanov, the former Russian intelligence agent, said jihadists should be forced to think twice before strapping on a suicide belt. “He should understand his relatives will become accomplices,” he said. Speaking on Israeli radio on Sunday, Shabtai Shavit, a former chief of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, said the international coalition that has been fighting the Islamic State for more than a year must “stop talking and start doing.” He continued: “With this enemy, we have to push aside arguments on law, morality and comparisons of security and the rights of the individual. That means to do what they did in World War II to Dresden. They wiped it off the map. That is what has to be done to all the territorial enclaves that ISIS is holding.”

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