To defeat ISIL we (all of us) must defeat ISIL’s appeal. Defeating ISIL’s appeal will build antibodies and anti-viruses against those who, inevitably, will seek to succeed the defeated ISIL.
Military strategies will not defeat ISIL or its would-be successors. In fact, military strategies in a vacuum might forestall ISIL’s defeat and foster new successors. Conversely, military operations and tactics that support the civilian-led drive toward good governance, justice, and dignity for all citizens could contribute to sustainable stabilization of Syria and Iraq.
If I were an ISIL leader, I would see a new element of hope on the horizon. I would do whatever I could to help the new US administration to abandon America’s long-standing international position on Israel, settlements, and a two-state solution. I would use every deception, prevarication, “false news” I could muster to push America faster into the arms of the Israeli settler movement and those Israeli politicians who yearn to abandon the establishment a future Palestinian state. Indeed, perceived Israeli occupation, aggression, and arrogance toward Palestinians is the one factor that could effectively reunite and turn the Arab Muslim world against America and its Western allies. A win for ISIL and its ilk, and a clear loss for everyone else, especially Israel.