See, many Sunni Mosul residents felt that Maliki was oppressing them: that the troops were there to keep them down.
What people don’t get; what they refuse to get, is that people like ISIS believe and that matters. Like the early Communists or Hebollah, they are far less corrupt that their opponents.
ISIS does what they think is right. That includes things we don’t like, such as their treatment of women, but it means that they can be trusted more than their opponents. The Taliban kept the peace, ended the drug trade and so on.
Napoleon said the moral was to the physical as ten is to one. Only by immense application of power and money can the West keep people like the Taliban or ISIS in check.
The Taliban is winning in Afghanistan on a budget that is not even a rounding error on a single Pentagon appropriation.
We no longer offer a credible alternative which is ethical and which provides prosperity. We don’t actually believe in democracy, or human rights, or equality for all people. Our actions say we don’t; our troops know we don’t.
We did, once. Go find pictures of Afghanistan in the 60s. You’ll see women dressed like western women; you’ll read about colleges, you’ll see economic growth and hope.
A hegemonic ideology offers something to people that they can believe in. We don’t: out western secular philosophy has failed the people of the Middle East and Africa (and large chunks of Asia) for decades now.
Of course many are transferring their loyalty to another hegemonic ideology.
(And note, again, that their armies are FAR cheaper to maintain than ours, and better able to actually maintain order in areas they control. Only an overwhelming spending advantage allows us to “win”. That should chill any smart statesman or military strategist to the core.)
By Ian Welsh