By Micah HalpernI've Been Thinking:
It is a crap shoot. That is the answer I give when people ask me what the chances of defeating ISIS are.
I know the West can win. But ...
Every day, about 30 times a day, I get reports about battles and conflicts with ISIS and al Nusra. I read about losses and injuries, casualties and beheadings. I get regular reports on the vast numbers of people running away to escape the horror.
The real issue is not if the United States air force will inflict enough pain on ISIS or whether ISIS can endure the pain of the aerial strikes. The real issue is will ISIS be contained, do the Kurds and Hezbollah have the where-with-all to repel them.
Hezbollah and the Kurds are the only real groups on the ground with the psychological power to confront ISIS, they are the only groups with the need to succeed.
The reports I get concerning battles between Kurds and ISIS bare very important. If the Kurds trounce ISIS, that is a very good sign.
And if Hezbollah forces ISIS out of major parts of Syria, that, too, is very good.
It has nothing to do with agreeing with Hezbollah or liking Hezbollah. It has to do with wanting ISIS defeated. And other than the Kurds one of the only groups who care enough to fight them face to face and who have the experience, the weapons and the gumption is Hezbollah.
So I watch the daily skirmishes. I get moment by moment updates and I count the casualties. I also watch the map very carefully to make certain that areas and rings and swaths are or are not being connected.
This fight is happening even without US boots. And it may be over before you know it.
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