La sintetica e corretta analisi di Seth Jones pubblicata sul Wall Street Journal nella quale il brillante analista della RAND evidenzia la necessità di non sottovalutare la strategia di espansione dello Stato Islamico. Qui di seguito un breve stralcio:
[…] Islamic State’s strategy of expansion has included several components.
First, the group has attempted to exploit local grievances and leverage established militant networks. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, for example, Islamic State leaders reached out to disaffected Taliban commanders.
Following the death of several Pakistan Taliban leaders, Hafiz Saeed, who is currently the head of Islamic State’s South Asia branch, became increasingly disenchanted with the Pakistan Taliban. Saeed had apparently been one of the main contenders for the Pakistan Taliban’s top spot, but he was passed over. This discontent provided an opening for Islamic State, which began to woo Saeed and his network. Islamic State used a similar strategy with disaffected Afghan Taliban in Helmand and Farah provinces.
Second, Islamic State has given money to prospective allies. The group has accrued substantial financial resources in Iraq and Syria from smuggling oil, selling stolen goods, kidnapping and extortion, seizing bank accounts and smuggling antiquities. In Nigeria, for example, Islamic State used its booty to aid cash-strapped Boko Haram, which had suffered military setbacks at the hands of the Nigerian and neighboring government forces.
Third, Islamic State’s victories in Iraq and Syria, which have been broadcast around the world by an effective social-media strategy, have attracted more sympathizers across the globe. The group has been able to retain—and, in some areas like Ramadi, to expand—control of territory in Syria and Iraq, despite a withering U.S. air assault and Iraqi and Syrian government offensive operations. These successes have attracted a coterie of followers in Africa, other countries in the Middle East, and Asia.[…]
The U.S. response outside of Iraq and Syria has been tepid. U.S. officials initially understated the threat. Some argued that its predecessor, al Qaeda in Iraq, was largely defeated and no longer represented a significant threat. As U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq in December 2011, President Obama said the U.S. was “leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq.” In an interview published in early 2014, Mr. Obama dismissed Islamic State fighters as a “jayvee team” compared with al Qaeda.
What’s more, the U.S. and its allies did not shore up sufficient support in vulnerable countries. In Libya, the U.S., France, and Britain helped overthrow Moammar Gadhafi. But they failed to provide sufficient resources to build a competent successor government, eschewing anything that smelled like nation-building.[…]
Islamic State has increased its operations overseas and is now linked directly or indirectly to attacks around the globe in Paris, Ottawa, Brussels, Copenhagen, Sydney and Garland, Texas. There have also been arrests of individuals affiliated with Islamic State in such American cities as New York and Minneapolis for plotting attacks or planning to fight with Islamic State overseas.
A successful U.S. response must now go beyond countering Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. It should begin with an accurate diagnosis of the group’s expansion. The U.S. must then work with international partners in endangered countries such as Libya to undermine Islamic State’s ideology, cut off its sources of income, target its key leaders and assist local governments. Failure to do so will result in more Islamic State victories.