Donald Trump Calls For Ground War — But Is This What ISIS Wants?

Donald Trump AP

Donald Trump has called for a ground war in Syria as the conflict wears on, according to Business Insider. The middle east mess began as a battle by rebels against hated Syrian leader Assad, but has now expanded into a conflict between ISIS, rebels of various stripes, Putin’s Russia and several Western countries.

Trump outlined his plan, saying,

“Here’s what I’d do. I’d knock out the capital and I’d knock it out big and strong. I’d take over the oil and I’d keep the oil. … You’ll need some ground troops, yeah.”

The real estate mogul and presidential nominee also talked about the need to rob ISIS of their funds.

“The only way you’re going to beat ISIS [is] to take their money away, and the way you’re going to do that is by banking and by knocking out their oil.”

Not everyone is convinced this is the best course of action — ground infiltration of ISIS territory by the U.S. may be exactly what ISIS wants.

Experts point out that back in 2003, when the U.S. invaded Iraq, a man named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who would go on to found the terror cell that came to be known as ISIS, was not dismayed by the invasion. In fact, he celebrated the entry of U.S. troops. He excitedly called it “the Blessed Invasion,” as reported by The Hindu.

Why would ISIS want to lure the U.S. and its allies into a ground war, when the Western powers are clearly better equipped, both technologically and in terms of numbers and funding? The reason relates to a prophecy that ISIS bases its teachings on.

“[ISIS] bases its ideology on prophetic texts stating that Islam will be victorious after an apocalyptic battle to be set off once Western armies come to the region.”

Jean-Pierre Filiu, a professor of Middle East Studies, spoke to the media, saying:

“Because of these prophecies, going in on the ground would be the worst trap to fall into. [ISIS] want troops on the ground. Because they have already envisioned it.”

Republican contenders seem to be unaware of this as they push for a ground invasion. It’s not just Donald Trump who has called for a ground war — senator Ted Cruz has been vocal about his desire to “carpet-bomb [ISIS] into oblivion”.

“[ISIS] follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy.”

The Atlantic has just published an in-depth exploration of the goals and beliefs of Islamic State, strikingly titled “What ISIS Really Wants.”

“The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic.”

The organization is reportedly “medieval” in many ways — a fact that has been obscured due to well-intentioned but misleading books like Paul Bergen’s Holy War Inc. The book painted terrorist leader Bin Laden as a figure who sprung from the secular world, and who was happy to enjoy modern comforts, such as service stations and McDonald’s, as well as subscribing to contemporary business ethos.

New reports claim that ISIS is far from Al Qaeda in this regard. Insiders paint a picture of ISIS fighters who are indeed “medieval” in character, speaking mockingly of “moderns” when they refer to Westerners, and constructing strategies and policies with reference to “precepts embedded in Islam by the Prophet Muhammad and his earliest followers.”

“They often speak in codes and allusions that sound odd or old-fashioned to non-Muslims [and] refer to specific traditions and texts of early Islam.”

The men of ISIS even reportedly demonstrate a “learned” quality when discussing Islam and drawing inspiration from the Quran.

“The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.”

Threats and orders issued by ISIS are also delivered in this pre-medieval tone. Just this September, the Islamic State’s chief spokesman Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani sent out a rallying cry encouraging Muslims living in Western countries to take their anger out on “infidels.” Adnani’s instructions to Muslim residents of France and Canada sounded like they were taken straight from one of the nastier stories in the Old Testament:

“Find an infidel and ‘smash his head with a rock,’ poison him, run him over with a car, or ‘destroy his crops.'”

Stoning and crop destruction is strange and biblical-sounding to Western ears — they are not the homicidal images that spring to mind when terror is imagined. The Atlantic notes that,

“[The ISIS leader’s] speech was laced with theological and legal discussion, and his exhortation to attack crops directly echoed orders from Muhammad to leave well water and crops alone.”

Will a ground invasion help ISIS in their recruitment drives, thus extending the war? Is Donald Trump right to call for a ground war?

[Image by AP Photo/Eric Schultz]