An article at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) considers the ISIS strategy. The Institute for the Study of War is a Washington based think tank.
ISIS have taken over parts of Syria and Iraq and have plans for a wider control of Asia and much further afield. ISW highlight three geographical rings for the ISIS strategic influence: firstly an Interior ring in Iraq and al-Sham (Syria), the Near Abroad ring in the wider Middle East and North Africa, and the Far Abroad ring in Europe, Asia and the United States. Here suicide and terror attacks are one of the tactics being deployed. In the other two rings traditional warfare, and guerrilla attacks are being used.
This document highlights the fact that a fundamental shift in thinking and strategy is required to defeat this terrorist organisation that has rapidly taken root in the Middle East and North Africa. The vast territory covered cannot be tackled in a similar way to previous wars in the Middle East. ISW states “surgical counter-terrorism strategies are no longer valid. Policymakers must now make strategic planning decisions assuming that disorder … will continue into the future”. They go on to suggest that a “guarantee[d] ground force” occupying, securing, and rebuilding Syria, and Iraq is the only way to have an impact.
The recent political complications of Russian involvement in the region supporting the Syrian regime adds a further dimension to the already complex ground situation that is affecting a much wider region. Affiliations on many levels is creating a scenario that is going to be extremely difficult to resolve quickly and is affecting millions of people. There are sectarian wars being played out in the wider region, international wars, religious wars and complications of fundamental human rights abuses and war crimes. These include use of children as young as eight and chemical weapons being used against various opposition forces. ISW states that there should be unified state-building missions in order to defeat ISIS and al-Qaeda. Unfortunately there are several failing (e.g. Syria) or failed states (as an example Libya) in the region. The wider war extends to Yemen and Nigeria. In the latter, the Boko Haram group are killing many innocent people. On 24th October 2015 another major attack took place on a mosque in Yola, the Adamawa State capital. See this Nigerian Guardian news article.
The Institute for the Study of War are right to highlight the need to have a very clear strategy to deal with the wars being played out in Syria and elsewhere. Times have changed and the strategy cannot be considering previous approaches that have been used in the Middle East in previous decades for example.
Hurricane Patricia: Entropy Increases
This year has seen an increase in entropy associated with a changing climate. Entropy is the measure of disorder in a system, in this case the global climate system. The hurricane Patricia is the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Western hemisphere. It had winds of 325 km/h (200 mph) at its peak and moved along the western Mexican coast.
Recently there have been exceptional El Nino climate events in the Pacific Ocean. El Nino is a weather event that occurs every three to seven years. It affects the physical relationships between wind, ocean currents, oceanic and atmospheric temperature, and the biosphere. There is a typically destructive weather pattern that can result. It affects global weather patterns.
The Pacific Ocean receives the most sunlight of any region on Earth. This has the impact of warming the water. This year there has been a major increase in water temperatures in the north Pacific. Warming of the water affects the jet stream which affects weather in the northern hemisphere. NOAA state that this El Nino is among the strongest on record. It is expected to influence weather and climate patterns this winter by affecting the position of the Pacific jet stream.
Hurricane Patricia is likely to cause flooding over parts of America after weakening over land having initially hit the western Mexican coast. There have been some severe and more extreme hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons over the last few decades. They are essentially the same thing but hurricanes form east of the International Date Line, while typhoons and cyclones form to the west.