Monday November 21, 2016
Although Obama’s effort to help Hillary Clinton’s campaign by taking Mosul on the eve of the election failed, there is a good chance that Mosul will fall to the heterogeneous coalition that is attacking it. Be that event in six weeks, six months, or a year, the United States and its allies will rejoice over the event as if it is the death knell of the Islamic State (IS). They will be wrong to do so, showing again how deeply ignorant they are of the Islamist enemy and the religious war it is waging against them.
IS has lost in Palmyra, Anbar, Ramadi, and other territories, and yet its troops are putting up their hardest fight yet in Mosul. Why? Two reasons: (a) IS leaders prematurely declared the caliphate, ignoring Osama bin Laden’s guidance that the lasting re-creation of caliphate was impossible until the United States was driven from the Arab World; if he was alive, he would probably add Russia to that guidance; and (b) because in the minds of IS leaders, fighters, and their supporters, everything, good or bad, comes from Allah; victory is from Allah, and defeat is a trial sent by Allah to test His followers’ faith and perseverance. While far from irrelevant, IS’s defeats in 2016, in Islamist minds, are in part a consequence of a IS leadership mistakes, but overwhelmingly because Allah did not grant them victory at this time.