by John Brian Shannon | September 1, 2014
Let’s hear it for efficiency! Not that anyone is surprised — but when Germany decides to act, as it did this week in the fight against the Islamic State (or IS, ISIS, or ISIL, if you prefer) — the phrase ‘killing two birds with one stone’ doesn’t even begin to describe the various layers of hurt that Germany has begun to lay on the Islamic State.
In one stroke, Germany has doubled the Islamic State’s troubles in northern Iraq via Germany’s decision to arm the Iraqi Kurds which govern Iraq’s three northernmost provinces.
Ms. Merkel and top ministers decided Sunday to deliver thousands of machine guns, as well as antitank missiles and armored vehicles, to Kurdish forces battling ISIS in northern Iraq.
The deliveries, from existing German Army stocks, and worth an estimated 70 million euros, or almost $92 million, will take place in stages over the coming weeks, the Defense Ministry said. — via the New York Times
Suddenly IS must now contend with a two-front-war, instead of merely avoiding the US Air Force bombing campaign which is a lethal, but strictly one-front-war type of operation.
As any veteran battlefield commander will tell you, “a one-front-war is a living hell, a two-front-war is Hell’s definition of Hell.”
Now the Islamic State has big trouble and it knows it. Suddenly, it cannot move at will throughout the region wreaking havoc or taking entire cities without first carefully considering troop levels and capabilities along its eastern front. At least a third and maybe as much as a half of its manpower, equipment, and materiel must now be devoted to their eastern flank — but no more than that, or they will find themselves light in other areas that they now hold or are attempting to gain.
In a ground war, having sufficient numbers of troops, ammunition, medical assistance and food/water to carry the battle forward, is everything. Finding yourself ‘light’ means that you have a 50/50 chance of winning any given battle, and in the case of ambush it means that you’re soon dead or a prisoner.
All of the Islamic State’s successes thus far have come because they were fighting against an indecisive Iraqi Army and civilians, and by using asymmetric warfare techniques against them it made for battlefield success after success. To experienced military observers it’s small wonder that ISIS gained all that it has. In fact, we wonder why they didn’t bother to take more territory while they had the luxury of fighting the war on their terms, in the asymmetric warfare style that has worked so well for them.
That’s all over now, however. Germany has changed the course of this conflict with the stroke of a pen and now the IS must fight a mainly conventional war. Not to say that IS fighters can’t still find opportunities to use asymmetric warfare in their crimes of opportunity and attain stunning (but most-likely smaller) successes — their wide-field operations are now permanently curtailed.
The tide has begun to turn against the Islamic State
Instead of individual groups of IS fighters caught in heinous acts being bombed by American fighter-bomber jets, Germany has transformed the battlefield into a much less mobile war for the Islamic State, one where their fighters will be pulled back into ever-smaller zones in the country.
To win in war, you need; 1) better weapons, or; 2) better-trained and more-dedicated troops, or; 3) you need better thinking
If France or the UK do for Syria, what Germany has done for the Kurds, we will see astonishing progress against the terror threat known as the Islamic State.
And if the U.S. would do the same for Turkey, it would be the end of the Islamic State as a fighting force by the end of the year.
Using better thinking — that’s how to win a war
Congratulations to Germany!
- Iraq Crisis: Arming the Kurds (BBC News)
- Germany to arm and train Iraq’s Kurdish fighters (The Telegraph)
- Kurdish fighters defeat Al Qaida militia at key weapons depot near Syria-Turkey border [Oct, 2013] (World Tribune)