Probably only what they have managed already is as much as they will ever manage. If there were some sanity about them they would know that by a combination of their own resolve and their enemies weakness, they have made unprecedented gains that under normal world circumstances could never have happened. They would hunker down, dig in, and try and hang on to what they have gained.
|Dassault Mirage 2000 N.The 'N' is for nuclear strike capability|
The Islamic revolution in Iran is considered unique. A popular revolution of the people, led by the theocracy, toppled an unpopular government, almost overnight.
No one really agrees why the Islamic revolution there succeeded and endured. The Shah was unpopular. And repressive. And corrupt. And factional. And tribal. and...
But the same conditions could have been said to have applied to very many countries around the globe, which did not have a lasting revolution. The most popular cause give for the enduring success of the Iranian revolution is Ayatollah Khomeini.
A one vision, driven, popular leader who fashioned the revolution in his own image and inspired others to great feats and sacrifices. A Fidel Castro leader. A Ho Chi Minh or Mao Zedong.
The hostage crisis of 1979 strengthened Khomeni immeasurably. His power increased and his influence in the Arab world grew too. But he was lucky to have Jimmy Carter and the recession as his Presidential foe. The oil crisis caused by the dramatic curtailment of Iranian oil exports of 1979 pushed the US oil price to its all time 'real-price' high, that was not exceeded again until 2008.
If had been a Bush or Reagan presidency, the response to the hostage crisis might have been different.
"Give us back our people or we will come and get them..and if you harm just one, you will regret it just once. And that will be continuously."
Iranian terror has been a feature of the modern world. especially against the USA and Israel. The running of weapons and training of troops and insurgents to fight for the militias during the war in Iraq was particularly annoying for the USA. But the USA had enough on its plate without invading Iran as well. Like the US in Vietnam watching the Chinese and Soviets supplying the North Vietnamese, with the most sophisticated air defenses on the planet, they knew they could only fight one war at a time. Iran was a solid, mostly united, fully fledged nation. Difficult and expensive to topple quickly. So a strangle by sanctions policy was adopted instead. That did, eventually, bear fruit.
ISIS have no such luxury. They are not a unified, well led, determined and resourced nation.
The only reason they are still in being at all is the weakness and and unwillingness to fight of its western opponents. The same weakness that allowed the Fuhrer to occupy the Rhineland and the allies to do nothing is that which protects ISIS. The knowledge that the answer to aggression is war.
And all the unpredictability that brings.
The UK and USA lost the Iraq war. The US adopted the same post Vietnam strategy of defending Iraq, that, as in Vietnam, was nothing more than face saving and failed just a spectacularly as the defence of South Vietnam had gone in 1975. Total failure.
Neither UK or USA have any desire to embark on a foreign adventure with boots on the ground that will require a commitment of 250,000 combat troops fighting an insurgency for twenty years. Neither has the money or the resolve. Neither nation's civilians want anything to do with a second war. France wanted nothing to do with the first one.
But ISIS are supremely foolish if they mistake this unwillingness for a lack of ability. The western powers are fighting ISIS with a tiny fraction of one percent of their ability. When Hollande said he would respond, he could, if he had wished, have fired nuclear battlefield artillery into the ISIS strongholds and destroyed them utterly. Five men in an AMX-13
Instead he has called for an attack by France and its allies on ISIL. A call to arms. A call to war. Putin has referred to the French as 'our allies'.
This, in all likelihood will come, in some form, to fruition. The UK, US, France and Russia, by moving into only second gear, will destroy the black flag strongholds.
ISIS attacks on mainland France and the bombing of the Russian airliner has brought about their own destruction. The western democracies may be weak. But they are weak by choice, not by resource. It is a fool who imagines press reports of defence cuts means an unwillingness to fight. It simply means an unwillingness to spend.
If a reason occurs to spend tomorrow, then the money will be found. Its only the willingness to take action that is lacking.
An ISIS machine gunning of a school, pub, cafe or a village hall in the UK is all it would take to make the people demand action. demand invasion and retribution. Attacks on holidaymakers is a horrific act by madmen. Attacks on our homes demands retribution.
The attacks outside their own sphere was the one thing guaranteed to force the democracies and the Russians to face ISIL head on. And to defeat them in their homeland. A strategic error by the leaders of terror that will bring about the end of their dreams.
"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."
attributed to Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto regarding the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor by forces of Imperial Japan. Almost certainly was the invention of a script writer for the 1970 film Tora!Tora!Tora!
But the sentiment stands.