It appears as if Russia is making the same mistakes in their battle against ISIS, and the United States made in their battle against the Taliban and Al Qaida. When The United States invaded Afghanistan after the September 11th 2001 attacks, they went in using a strategy called “shock and awe”. This basically entailed using an overwhelming show of military superiority. The theory was that it would cause the opponents to cower in fear and surrender knowing that they could not defeat such a powerful advisory. At first, it appeared to be working. The Taliban, and Al Qaida fighters scattered. What the United States didn’t realize was that these fighters were, in fact, going into hiding as “sleeper cells” that would later make up the “insurgent” forces that they faced in Iraq.
Russia is now using the same tactics to fight ISIS in Syria. Russia is also making the same mistaken assumption that the enemy is giving up. Recent reports on Russian state run media (Sputnik is an international multimedia news service launched on 10 November 2014 by Rossiya Segodnya, an agency wholly owned and operated by the Russian government, which was created by a Decree of the President of Russia on 9 December 2013), have been gloating about reports of ISIS terrorists shaving their beards and fleeing. It would seem more likely that these jihadists are shaving their beards so that they can fit in with the flood of refugees infiltrating European countries. Once imbedded in the refugee camps, the will act as “sleeper cells” quietly requiting, planning, and preparing for their next wave of terrorist attacks.
— Hala Jaber (@HalaJaber) October 12, 2015
It seems odd the Russia would not have learned its lesson from the 1980’s Afghanistan war (which many call a proxy war with the U.S.), or that they would not have taken note of the United States failures of strategy in both the Afghanistan, and Iraqi wars. Maybe Russia is counting on the ineptitude of the United States current leadership to help make its job easier. Or maybe, Russia isn’t concerned about the obvious change of ISIS tactics into a guerilla force fighting from refugee camps considering those refugee camps will be mostly in the EU, and the United States.
That being said, maybe this is Russia’s strategy. They can use their overwhelming force to drive the ISIS terrorists out of the middle east, and away from their allies with little resistance from the west, all while driving the terrorists into the west to help Russia destabilize western nations.
The United States invaded Iraq not because Iraq was a supporter of Al Qaida, but because they wanted to give the fleeing Al Qaida terrorists from Afghanistan a battle ground that didn’t directly effect western nations. Russia may just be trying to send the terrorists to the west.