It goes without saying that ISIS (or ISIL, or IS, or Islamic State…) are vile. But as Gary Brecher notes, they’re a lot more like the LRA than the Taliban circa 2000–locally monstrous, but hardly a tide sweeping across…well, much of anything (boldface mine):
Keep this timeline in mind when you’re trying to assess the significance of IS’s big push toward Kobani: IS(IS) took Jarabulus, only 25 km west of Kobani, more than 15 months ago. If it really were anything like the powerful, mobile force it’s being made out to be, it could and should have swarmed east to take the next significant border town, Kobani/Ayn al-Arab, immediately afterward.
But that didn’t happen. Instead, IS did what it always did: Publicity. It declared this nowhere little town of Jarabulus an “emirate.” You could have heard the Syrians laughing even over the celebratory AK fire. “Emirate”? Jarabulus? Those two words just don’t go together in Syrian Arabic. It would be like Bakersfield declaring itself an “Empire.” No, even that doesn’t catch the absurdity of “Emirate of Jarabulus,” because Bakersfield is a fairly big town. More like “The Empire of Turlock.”
…What they didn’t do was mount a serious frontal attack on Kobani, even though the town was defended only by lightly-armed YPG militia. It wasn’t until June, 2014—when IS had a big success on its Eastern (Iraqi) front, panicking the weak Shia-Arab “Iraqi Army” into abandoning all of Anbar Province without a fight—that IS was able to transfer some of its captured heavy weapons to the attack on Kobani, overrunning Kurdish town militias who were trying to stop tanks and artillery with nothing more than AKs and a few RPGs. With all this armor—paid for by you American taxpayers, so thank Mister Cheney the next time you see him—IS was able to take several dozen Kurdish villages in the enclave around Kobani.
But stand back a second and squint at this supposedly significant advance. First of all, it came a whole year after IS declared its “Emirate” in Jarabulus, just 25 km west of Kobani. So the front lines barely moved in that year, even though the Kurdish forces were no more than neighborhood militias with nothing more than small arms. Second, it only happened when IS, using its one good move—shifting forces across the Iraq/Syria border, away from pressure and toward opportunity—gained a huge, though temporary, advantage in weaponry by bringing Iraqi armor against those village militias. And third—and most important: It failed. Even with that huge advantage in weaponry, IS has failed to take Kobani, after a year and a half of woofing, a massive bulk-up with captured Iraqi armor, and the covert help of the Turkish authorities, who have been doing everything to make life easier for Islamic State forces and harder for the Kurds opposing them.
Even with all that overbalance of forces against them, the Kurds of Kobani have kept this supposedly unstoppable IS juggernaut at least 14 km from Kobani. That’s weakness, almost laughable weakness.
Nonetheless, that’s not stopping the fear mongers at Fox News from stoking panic about how ISIS is poised to sweep across the Mexican border; wingnut Jeanine Pirro hosted an entire show whose topic was how to protect yourself against terrorism (wimmenz: if you’re wearing heels, bring a pair of sneakers, so you can run quickly when the terrorists try to gitcha! Not kidding). While that sort of lying is just part of Fox’s business model, the viewer comments are just mindboggling:
“I know my family takes the threat of ISIS seriously, we are locked and loaded,” a viewer name Angie wrote.
“Our shores and borders have already been penetrated,” Ray wrote in. “Every one of us has to be vigilant in our neighborhood, and on our jobs.”
“If the Obama administration won’t do it, we Americans must band together to protect ourselves from the terrorism here on our soil,” Ann told Pirro.
“I am locked and loaded, let them in if they can get past my guns,” a viewer named Wendy said.
Felicia said she was preparing with a three month supply of food storage, 1,000 rounds of ammunition, and she was living “as normally as I can.”
Felicia, that’s not normal. At all.
But there’s more:
Susan wrote in that she had been “practicing at the gun range, and I just bought myself a pretty pink pistol.”
Pirro added that viewers needed to stock up on ammo before Homeland Security hoarded all of it.
First, I can’t believe Fox News is still pushing that DHS bullet hoarding crapola. Second, Susan, I don’t think that “pretty pink pistol” is going to that much good against heavily armed terrorists–or bombs.
By the way, these loons are the Republican base, ‘reformicon’ fantasies notwithstanding.
Have a nice day.