A basic rule of war is not to permit one’s enemy safe harbor in which to retreat, regroup, resupply, and plan new attacks. That was our main handicap in the Vietnam War – the U.S. never allowed itself to take out Ho Chi Minh’s safe havens and Chinese supply lines. Our complete victory at the end of World War II was never handicapped that way, and in the upshot, Germany and Japan are non-aggressive and prosperous countries today.
Anthony Codevilla, the well-known military strategist, has just pointed out that the Islamic State has two crucial allies who constantly evade retaliation. The tiny Gulf regime of Qatar provides money and arms to IS, and Turkey runs protected supply lines to a fast-expanding Islamofascist empire.
Until a few months ago, the Obama administration boasted that Recep Erdoğan, the Islamist ruler of Turkey, was “Obama’s best friend in the Middle East.” Erdoğan is a snake in more ways than one, a treacherous “friend” indeed. As for Qatar, even Saudi Arabia and other Gulf regimes reject its alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Yet Obama has consistently treated Qatar as an ally.
Now both of those “allies,” Turkey and Qatar, are supporting the greatest terror threat to the West. Kuwait, which we saved from Saddam’s invasion in 1992, is said to be supporting terrorists as well. We can’t seem to make up our minds about the real enemies in the Jihad War, as much as they keep screaming, Death to America! Death to Israel! Death to all infidels!
Obama’s lack of coherence and seriousness reflects his own life history as an enemy of “Western imperialism,” which ended sixty years ago with the Egyptian takeover of the Suez Canal. Obama is deeply confused, morally, conceptually, and strategically, unable to hew a consistent line of action.
(Valerie Jarrett’s six years of back-channeling with the barbaric mullahs of Tehran reflects this strategic ambivalence and blindness. Obama must have proclaimed that “Iran will never get nuclear weapons” a hundred times while his closest aide was discussing with the mullahs how best to violate that policy.)
Oil is the biggest reason for American softpedaling in the Jihad War. But the Gulf regimes are losing control over the price of gas and oil as fracking and other novel extraction methods spread around the world. The United States has turned into a net natural gas exporter in half a dozen years, and the Saudis themselves have warned that the end is in sight for their near-monopoly on the price of hydrocarbons. In less than a decade, the biggest economic weapon in the Jihad War will be gone.
IS may have been launched this year in the no-man’s land of Sunni Syria and Iraq, precisely to establish a permanent territory for jihadist warfare before their oil monopoly is gone.
Long before the monopoly runs out, nations threatened by Islamofascist aggression may launch covert attacks on the terror sponsors. Qatar’s oil fields are vulnerable to sabotage today. Turkey is dependent on external supplies of oil, which can be disrupted. When the Gulf oligopoly runs out, the newly impoverished players will likely revert to their previous lifestyle, that of constantly warring desert tribes.
The key to victory for the civilized world is to spread alternative oil extraction methods. That is happening today, thanks to the engineering genius of George Phydias Mitchell, the Greek-born Texan who developed fracking to the point of practicality. As the politically primitive oil regimes of the Gulf lose their control over the world price of hydrocarbons, maximum pressure must be placed on them to stop financing the likes of IS.
When producers control the price, they can play consumers against each other. But when production becomes worldwide, that same strategy of divide and conquer can be played against the war theologies of Sunni and Shi’ite Islam. The time may come when the towering skyscrapers of the UAE and Dubai turn into abandoned wrecks, because those regimes produce nothing beyond the historic good fortune of John D. Rockefeller’s oil.