ISIS strengths and weaknesses in one article

Here’s a description of ISIS moving into new territory.

“They are ready to die, willingly. They are not afraid of anything,” said Capt. Iyad Shamsi, who witnessed the Islamists’ walkover in June in Abu Kamal, Euphrates river town on Syria’s eastern border with Iraq.

But it, as the McClatchy reporter says, was a walkover.

“They brought their (black) flags, they distributed their videos,” he told McClatchy. “Everyone was afraid. Some (rebel) fighters just dropped their weapons. Abu Kamal fell after a very short battle, and it caused a Dominoes effect in the nearby town of Shahfah, Sh-hail and to the west.” The Free Syrian army, by contrast, had done no “hearts and minds” work to reassure the population and didn’t even have a flag to plant.

A government that loses is being out-governed, etc. Also this:

Islamic State commanders not only had tactical intelligence, but also powerful means of communications, with antennae and receivers in each vehicle, Abu Mousab said.

Good communications, good mobility, and good propaganda – not far from a definition of blitzkrieg as practiced, especially if you read Strange Victory: Hitler’s Conquest of France.

That said, the late cold war airpower infrastructure of the Western powers was basically built to identify mechanised columns and operational-level command structures, and kill them with precision strike.

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