Paris, the Russian airliner, Lebanon: ISIS is enlarging the war

The center cannot hold.

The house of war comes to Paris. (Image: EPA, Etienne Laurent via UK Guardian)
The house of war comes to Paris. (Image: EPA, Etienne Laurent via UK Guardian)

his will be a quick update tonight, with less of the usual analysis, because I just don’t have time.

I have no doubt that ISIS is behind the recent attacks that have been spreading out around the Syria/Iraq theater.  ISIS has claimed responsibility for all of them, and it is credible that ISIS is behind them (although they are being executed through ISIS affiliates in each local area.  The core leadership of ISIS doesn’t have to be involved in planning or managing each attack, and I assume unless it’s proven otherwise that it is not).

But this is not a minor campaign of pinpricks from single-venue terror attacks, randomly distributed here and there.  This is a full-blown campaign: a strategy on ISIS’s part.

It is not a defensive strategy to punish the outside coalitions that are now operating in Syria and Iraq: the Russian-Iranian coalition and the Western coalition.  I urge you to understand this.

ISIS’s strategy is to enlarge the war.  This may seem startlingly aggressive, but it is how ISIS operates.  ISIS has only just started mounting major attacks outside the Middle East, but Egypt, Jordan, and Libya would all vouch for the point I have just made.  Prior to the ISIS attacks on their strategic rears and centers of gravity, Iraq and Syria experienced the same thing.  ISIS creates chaos, over territorial areas, so that it can be exploited on an ever-expanding footprint across the map.

I call it guerrilla blitzkrieg, because ISIS does it through lightning-speed attacks using asymmetric, guerrilla and terrorist methods.  But whatever we call it, it’s ISIS’s calling card.

ISIS is sowing chaos and disruption, as far into the enemy’s rear as ISIS can reach.  The purpose is not to make us draw back from Syria/Iraq.  The purpose is to enlarge the house of war so that it encompasses our territory.  ISIS wants to put us in play: knock us off our equilibrium, cause internal dissent and disruption, make life unlivable, sap our will, compromise our sense of organization and perspective, and soften us up for destruction from within.

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