Defeating an Armed Ideological Movement

The Conditions of Victory and Peace

by Shoshana Bryen  •  September 9, 2014 at 5:00 am

How do you defeat an armed ideological movement with a territorial base if you are unwilling to fight in that base?

Neither Israelis nor Americans are prepared to control enemy territory as a means to determine the ultimate outcome. But that means there will be no destruction, no elimination of the enemy; no "victory."

Control of territory and the ability to subject one's enemies to enforceable rules are the only known mechanisms for ending, rather than managing, a war.

The U.S. has been in South Korea since the 1953 Armistice, allowing a democratic, technologically advanced society to emerge. The withdrawal of American forces from South Vietnam allowed North Vietnam to capture the territory.

Neither Israelis nor Americans are prepared to control enemy territory as a means to victory against, respectively, Hamas and the Islamic State. (Image source: The White House)

The Israeli public is in a notably bad mood.

The Hamas rockets have, for the time being, stopped; the current cease-fire is holding. The tunnel threat, a strategic one most Israelis had not understood until several days into the war, has been alleviated; many Hamas rocket manufacturing facilities have been destroyed; a substantial percentage of the Hamas arsenal has been used up; and Hamas achieved none of its strategic goals -- not large-scale Israeli casualties or physical destruction, an airport, a seaport, or the opening of border crossings. Israeli children have returned to school and, after a brief dip, the Israeli economy is expected to grow for the year. Continue Reading Article 

Turkish President Erdoğan's Expansive Ambitions

by Veli Sirin  •  September 9, 2014 at 4:00 am

Erdoğan is apparently determined to impose a new political system on Turkey, replacing the parliamentary order with a state under a powerful president.

The constitution authorizes the president to call a cabinet meeting under certain circumstances. Otherwise, the president has no executive authority.

"[T]housands of children whose parents preferred secular institutions have been allocated places at Islamic schools." — Daniel Dombey, Financial Times.

Abuses of power will likely continue in Erdoğan's Turkey.

Abdullah Gül (right), the presidential predecessor to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (2nd from left), along with their wives, in a happy moment. (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected Turkey's first directly elected President on August 10, representing the Justice and Development Party (known by its Turkish initials as AKP). He had served the Islamist AKP as Turkey's Prime Minister continuously since 2003. He was sworn in as President on August 28.

As pointed out by Daniel Dombey reporting from Istanbul in London's Financial Times and published the day the Erdoğan presidency began, "Mr. Erdoğan remained prime minister right up until taking the office of president: both offices provide their holder with immunity from prosecution. Turkey's official register also held off publishing the results of his election as president -- which according to some of his opponents would have necessitated his resignation as prime minister -- until the day of his inauguration."