A pro-ISIS news agency has released a video showing two Islamic State fighters blaming airstrikes by the US-led coalition for the ISIS defeat in the strategic Kurdish town of Kobani. Contrary to far-left and far right predictions that the US policy was in ruins two weeks after the coalition challenged ISIS in Kobani, ISIS lost about 1,000 men, the Kurds, 350, and the US, none.
“America’s plans to fight Islamic State are in ruins as the militant group’s fighters come close to capturing Kobani,” said far-left correspondent Patrick Cockburn two weeks after the US entered the fight for Kobani on Sept. 27. But organizing an air war, negotiations with Turkey, and bringing in Kurdish reinforcements all took time.
This victory does not mean the tide has turned. But the US-coalition is doing reasonably well considering that we have no troops on the ground, and that it requires organizing a bunch of Middle Eastern Sunni states to fight Sunni extremists.
By the end of the Kobani siege, the ISIS was sending in 15 and 16-year-olds, and there is evidence they are running short of fighters.
Kobani was a real propaganda loss for ISIS. As Cockburn explained, when he thought ISIS was winning Kobani, “one of the reasons why the Islamic State has been so intent on capturing Kobani, is that they wanted to have a very visible victory to show that the airstrikes were really not holding them back.”
The coalition has also significantly cut the flow of fighters to ISIS across the Turkish boarder and has substantially cut oil sales which were their main source of income.
The principal problem however, remains the Shiite government in Baghdad, which Bush installed in 2006. This is what caused most of the trouble for Bush, because it has so mistreated the Sunnis in Anbar Province, and prevented Bush from obtaining an agreement to keep US troops in Iraq by insisting that they be subject to Iraqi law.
The new Iraqi leader seems better than Bush’s Maliki, whom Obama finally forced out, but the Sunnis are still not being treated well enough for them to turn on ISIS, which is also Sunni. To break Iraq into Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish regions would make the most sense, and has been true since the 2003 invasion.