Thursday, March 7, 2019


Tens of thousands of Daeshi brides and children have streamed out of the last caliphate stronghold in Baghouz.  And also hundreds of surrendering Daeshi fighters.  Many appear to be unapologetic, unashamed of their allegience, and still radicalized.  Some of the brides in refugee camps are chanting "<i>Islamic State is great, Islamic State will stay."</i>  Some of the surrendered ethnic Turkmen Daeshi fighters are asking for asylum in Turkey with <i>"brother Erdogan"</i>.

Per CINCCENT General Votel:   <i>“Observations by our men & women on the ground highlight that the ISIS population being evacuated from the remaining vestiges of the caliphate largely remain unrepentant, unbroken & radicalized”</i>... <i>“what we are seeing now is not the surrender of ISIS as an organization but a calculated decision to preserve the safety of their families & preservation of their capabilities”</i>


  1. And the obvious question is...what now? These folks aren’t likely to settle down in Damascus and run a bootleg DVD shop.

    The old school solution would be genocide. Kill the men (and probably the post-adolescent women...) and foster out the kids with the victors’ families.

    Frankly if I was Assad I’d do that anyway. How much more of a monster can he make of himself? The cost of keeping these people from being trouble is way more than they’re worth to him.

    To me this is just another reminder that the notion of finding some sort of non-barbaric U.S. Middle East policy becomes more risible the further the U.S. is tied to one or another faction here. The combination of sectarian division, post-colonial dysfunction, economic and political chaos...there’s just way too many land mines to step on.

  2. Many of the Iraqi Daesh and families captured in Syria by the SDF are being sent to Baghdad to face justice in Iraqi courts. Ditto for many foreigners and for Syrian Daesh that were stupid enough to admit they had fought in Iraq.

    What will happen to the remainder is currently undecided. Russia I believe is taking back Chechens, Dagestanis, and any other Russian national. Those will surely disappear or end up in the Gulags. Perhaps the Central Asian xxxx-istans will take back theirs and imprison them? Not sure if China is taking back the Uyghurs, but I would give odds that they do.

    The SDF wants the West to take back their jihadis. But it will be hard to convict them in western courts - impossible in the majority of cases. What then?

    The Syrian Daesh perhaps should be turned over to Syria's court system. But I don't see Assad taking them. Better for him if they are a burden on the US, and the SDF, and western NGOs. And the US and other Coalition members would probably not condone it anyway.

    Some Syrian Daesh had enough clan or tribal ties to get their Sheikhs to vouch for them and have been released into tribal custody. They were claiming not to be fighters, only clerks or some function that had never handled a weapon.

    I wonder though how many hardcore Syrian Daesh slipped thru the net, and are now biding their time in sleeper cells. Like in Iraq where the Daesh were declared defeated in 2017 after the liberation of Mosul and Tel Afar but now are coming back with guerilla attacks.

    1. My guess is that "Syria's court system" IS Assad. At least, it'll be run by Alawite officials more than happy to produce whatever "verdict" the Assad regime wants.

      The bottom line is that the Sunni fundamentalist genie is out of the bottle; bin Laden wanted, at bottom, a religious war and he's got it, thanks in large part to Dummya and Dick and their idiot fans, including the Democrats who were to goddamn stupid to see this tarbaby back in 2002 when they voted for the AUMF. There's no putting it back. These Sunni muj are going to be troubling the region...well, as long or longer than the Afghan muj did after the Soviet defeat. And, of course, those jokers are STILL around...

    2. Technically, what's there to convict the Britons, say, in a UK courtroom? It's not illegal to kill people in Syria; British writ doesn't run there. Maybe they could be shipped off to the Hague...but, again, there's no crime in fighting in a civil war. If the ICC could round up people who could accuse them of, say, war crimes...but most of those people are likely already dead.

      That's the problem and always has been the problem; there's no way for modern means to deal with people like this. That's where the Western versions of counterinsurgency fall down; when they're confronted with this sort of irrational sectarian or racial hate. You can certainly try. But that's a hell of a big risk if you fail and these folks rampage.

  3. "Syria's court system" IS Assad."

    Yes, Assad can probably sentence someone to death without even speaking. Like a mob boss. "I have a problem, can you take care of it?". There are a hundred hanger-ons who understand what he means. But he will want to appear fair and just, so it will be son-of-the-Soviet-show-trials. At least for the hi-level jihadis and for the unrepentant foot soldiers. He may possibly treat some of the low level ones as prodigals if they swear allegiance and kiss the flag. Or hump the flag as our own dear leader likes to do.

    1. I cannot resist.

  4. "Technically what's there to convict the Britons, say, in a UK courtroom"

    I assume the Brits and other western Europeans have similar laws to us regarding terrorists and giving support to terrorism. The problem as I see it though is the chain of evidence. That is if any evidence was collected by the SDF when the Daesh perp was captured. They will all be claiming that they were NOT Daesh, but simply innocent bystanders.

  5. The Daeshi bride on the video below is hard core. She says: "We left so that Allah can give us another generation to become mujahadin." Later while boarding a truck to the refugee camp at al-Hol she and other Daeshi brides get snarky at Western journalists - yelling slurs & throwing water bottles.

    I personally do not blame her for being ornery with the media. In-your-face-journalism is highly overrated. But I suspect her sons will grow up to be be foosball fanatics or video game groupies despite her best efforts to turn them into miniature clones of their jihadi father.

  6. If Syria was Wales I could see the former Daeshi becoming football yobs and videogamers. But the poverty and chaos and brutal governance is unlikely to provide the material comfort and social peace needed for that to happen. Daesh sprang from the effect of Syrian and Iraqi government malfeasance on the mass of unemployed Sunnis in Anbar and the Syrian East. There were just way too many young men with a grudge and time on their hands, and the result was war. How many other times in history have we seen that..?

    What's so frustrating is that we know that Syria and Iraq won't have any more work or wealth for these people in 2020 than they did in 2015. The conditions that incubated this rebellion won't change. Why should we expect a different result?

  7. Good points all. But I was speaking more of the time when her infant grows into manhood (2040? instead of 2020). And I was also speaking of the generation gaps between children and their parents, which is NOT just restricted to the West. Or perhaps I was just wishing for some bad karma to be heaped on this particular Daeshi harridan. Maybe her and her sister zealots will prevail in brainwashing their children. Women know how to do this better than men.

    But there are some (not many) moderating influences. The ethnic and religious tolerance in the Syrian northeast is one. Shia proselytization in the Syrian south and west is another. Iran and Hezbollah have already done some conversions in Syria with the al-Baggara and other tribes. A third possibility is Assad's adoption of 'divide-and-conquer' strategies, probably pushed on him by the Russians who are the masters at that. A fourth possibility is the apparent turnaround of the Saudis and Emiratis towards Assad. They and Egypt are putting on a charm offensive towards Syria and have stopped providing weapons to the FSA. The last sole supporter of Syrian jihadis seems to be Turkey, but even Erdogan has now sworn off regime change. And lastly, the horrific nature of this civil war is going to shape the opinions of some people on both sides to deplore a return to another massive bloodletting.

    And yes, I understand that there will be hardcore jihadis that will never change. Hopefully they will end their days behind bars.

  8. You say: "What's so frustrating is that we know that Syria and Iraq won't have any more work or wealth for these people in 2020 than they did in 2015."

    True for Iraq I think. Not so sure in Syria. Reconstruction jobs in Iraq went predominantly to Shia workers. That is not possible in Syria where Sunnis are in the majority. Many of the low level jobs are going to have to go to Sunni laborers. Of course those won't last forever. But it is a start. And many have already emigrated. Perhaps the Saudis will welcome a Syrian diaspora within their kingdom?

  9. Frankly, I am irritated by this topic. It's unusual for MilPub.
    Since when do you guys pay attention to such scaremongering subjects?

    (I don't say you're scaremongering here, but the subject was used for such.)

  10. The reason it caught my eye, Sven, was how strongly it pointed up several thins that drive me nuts about my country;

    1. The whole “war works” business. The “conservatives” here are the worst, but a ton of otherwise sensible people here continue to ignore the long-term disasters our use of violent force has produced. The fact that these people are going to be a long-term problem is a reminder of what a stupid idea things like the Shah and the Iraq War were. The U.S. has been a source of trouble in the Middle East since WW2, and,
    2. How messed up the current Middle East IS. The mess there has become self-perpetuating. There’s increasingly no good option other than to stay the hell out. And even then, the troubles will find their way outside. “Do no harm” may be the only option...and even that may not be enough. Can you imagine if a mini-9/11 occurs on Trump’s watch? Christ...

  11. Sven - As the author of this post, my take was that we need to understand these people. Knowing your enemy is critical IMO even if it was not said directly by CVC. How else do you devise strategies against these bozos if you do not look into their soul.

    Plus I admit freely to having an interest in the Cantons of northeastern Syria.

    Sorry if it offends you.

    I'm not sorry if it scares any readers. If it does they need to pay more attention.

    1. Perhaps the scared ones prefer the message touted months ago by the flag-humper-in-chief that ISIS is defeated 100 percent. By himself of course.

    2. I'm not so easily offended, but I am irritated.
      Why do you call these women "enemies"?

      If anything, they have an elevated risk of committing crimes, at least compared to other women. "enemy" is not part of law enforcement lingo.

    3. I have not called these women 'enemies'. I'm a bit irritated myself that you think I have.

      The reference to Sun Tzu's well known citation was directed at the Daesh caliphate. And not to those brides who are probably suffering Stockholm Syndrome. Furthermore, my concern is past crimes and not the risk of future crimes. Some of these women participated in crimes while with Daesh: abetting kidnapping and rape of Ezidi girls, beating Ezidi children, participation in beating and torturing unveiled women while part of the al-Khansaa religious police, some carried weapons and manned Daesh checkpoints, inciting and fomenting other crimes.

      As for the male Daeshi fighters themselves, they are NOT merely terrorists to be handled by law enforcement. There is no way that Inspector Gereon Rath or a real life counterpart is going to arrest them. Unless of course they return to their roots and become sleeper cells. But in the meantime they are still an armed force in the field, which BTW includes many other countries in the ME and the Maghreb, and also in Afghanistan and the Philpprines. And probably in western China and former Soviet Republics in central Asia.

    4. The bigger problem now is neither law enforcement nor defeating Daesh militarily.

      The refugee camps at al-Hol and others in northeast Syria are in a crisis. “The IRC and other agencies are doing all they can do help the new arrivals but Al-Hol camp is now at breaking point,” the organization said on Friday. The population at al-Hol has tripled. That is not counting the tens of thousands fleeing Baghouz in the last two weeks. The YPG and Shaitat tribesmen in the SDF are not able to provide relief and depend on NGOs. Most of the recent refugees are suffering from undernourishment and hypothermia. They have been transported in open trucks in winter weather with little if any assistance en route.

      The vast majority are women and children. "Since early December at least 29 young children and new-borns died while on their journey or shortly after their arrival. Malnourishment and hypothermia have been the principal causes of death. Medical facilities in Hassakeh town, where the most critical cases are referred to from the camp, are overstretched caring for acutely malnourished children."

  12. To change the scaremongering tone, see video below. How can you not like these Kurds after watching them indulging in one of my favorite pasttimes.

  13. Again, what's frustrating about this is that the alternate path to the present is so clearly visible and the decisions made to not take it are so clearly mistaken.

    The elites in the Arab Middle East emerged from the colonial era fairly solidly secular. They'd seen that Allah was pretty useless against 800 rounds per minute, and were determined to move into the 20th Century the way the West had - without religious baggage. Many of the post-colonial states were ruled either by secular parties like the Ba'ath, or by secular strongmen like Nasser and Assad.

    The U.S. had no real reason not to be an honest broker there; doing whatever business it needed to and keeping out of the regional quarrels.

    But anticommunism caused a lot of local anticolonial forces to get tossed into the Red Menace heap. Corporate greed caused stupid mistakes like the Shah and the Mossadegh coup. And, of course, the worst was Israel, forcing the U.S. to oppose anyone who opposed Israel.

    Between them the West and Israel made the secular Arab leaders look either corrupt, or weak, or both. The Koran-wallopers, on the other hand, were the only ones to look like they had both the will and the ability to make the ferenghi suffer. And here we are.

    We ourselves have created a hell of a lot of the problems we're now facing...