Even after the recent Paris attacks, it appears that very few of the Western countries have changed their mind regarding the use of military troops “on the ground” in Syria and Iraq in order to defeat ISIS. The basic contradiction, however, is that the same Western entities seem to be finally acknowledging that airstrikes alone will not be sufficient in order to destroy this vicious terror enterprise.
To date, it seems as though all Western policy makers and experts continue to focus upon a strategy of “incremental steps” only, with U.S. President Barack Obama continuing to insist that “his” current strategy "is ultimately is going to work," and, rejected any suggestion that any substantial amount of American soldiers should be deployed.
The problem exists that if ISIS does in fact carry through with its threats of further attacks on the West, such a contradictory (and effectively unexplainable) approach may soon become impossible to justify. That is because public pressure would demand action more effective than the combination of airstrikes and minimal ground advances conducted by a few local allies … a failing approach.
While an international ground operation could be conceivable, but which would unfortunately not reply upon the U.S. as the “lead”, the fact remains that a host of nations, including Egypt, the Gulf States, Russia and the European countries have become increasingly enraged at the ISIS behavior and atrocities.
We must however recognize the fact that even the prospect of massive military intervention seems not to adversely faze these extremists in any manner. Instead, through both “online chatter” as well as “official statements”, they taunt the West to launch another Middle East “doomed crusade”.
The narrative of a "holy war" against the infidels is strong in radical Islamic circles. While losing their territorial "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq would be a setback in the short term, a costly and bloody outside intervention would also fuel the group's apocalyptic appeal, and, in itself, could serve to convert yet more Muslims to their cause.
The conundrum is quite obvious. In dealing with such an adversary, all “rules go out the window”, and, we can expect ISIS to react in a way that defies all rational behavior in the furtherance of their “global jihad”. This Author believes that if the U.S. would act properly and take the “lead”, the prospects for the future would dramatically improve.