There's a Very Clear Path to Victory Over ISIS with the Peshmerga, but the Door is Closing

Peshmerga Fighters

All of the pieces to the puzzle of defeating the Islamic State without American combat troops doing the heavy lifting are in place. The United States and our allies can destroy all but a remnant of the Islamic State if we act quickly. If we continue to pursue the current atrocious policy regarding them, the window of opportunity may be closed, leaving nothing short of a massive ground war with the United States in the lead as the only viable option.

The Kurdish Peshmerga are already at war with the Islamic State and they’ve had more success than anyone else. Listening to the President, helping the Peshmerga is basically not an option. It isn’t because his military advisers haven’t told him it would work. It isn’t because doing so would upset anyone as some pundits have suggested. Even Turkey, who is completely against arming the PKK in any way, has accepted that arming the Peshmerga is a good idea.

The reason the administration has refused to wholeheartedly support the Peshmerga is because they only solve the Islamic State problem while his mild policy of sortakindamaybesecretly assisting the al-Qaeda-led Syrian rebels would solve both the Islamic State problem as well as his bigger concern with Bashar al-Assad. Unfortunately, this policy is destined to yield defeat on both fronts. The ousting of Assad is all but impossible with Russia involved and the “rebels” are joining the Islamic State in droves.

Some of the candidates such as [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] have talked about arming Sunnis. This is a blatantly political statement that takes advantage of Americans’ lack of understanding of the geopolitics of the Middle East. It’s not just that he’s not giving specifics. It’s that he doesn’t really have a plan that he’s willing to announce. Considering his position in the Senate and his extensive foreign policy knowledge that many have heralded as being beyond his years and experience, it’s easy to see that his plan is one that leaves too many options open. In reality, there’s only one viable option and that’s very specifically arming Peshmerga.

Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, and John Kasich have been pushing for nonsensical solutions to the Islamic Sate problem, while Ben Carson hasn’t really said much at all.

Carly Fiorina (surprisingly), [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ], and [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] (not surprisingly) have both pushed for supporting Peshmerga with modernized arms and extensive air support. It’s not difficult. If we arm the Peshmerga, who haven’t had enough resources to pay their 200,000 troops in three months, and support them with an exceptional level of air support, they would literally become our boots on the ground. They want it. They’re begging for it.

The important thing to remember about the Peshmerga is that they’re the most motivated fighting force in the world when it comes to destroying the Islamic State. Unlike the Syrian rebels, they have zero chance of aligning ideologically with ISIS. Unlike Turkey or Iraq, they’re not just interested in defending their borders. If the United States arms, supports, and most importantly leads the Peshmerga, they will fulfill our aligned goals of destroying the Islamic State, driving them out of their lands and pursuing them throughout Iraq and Syria.

There are no longer borders between Iraq and Syria. The Peshmerga are the right answer to destroy the Islamic State. They may not be able to last until the next President assumes office, which means that we have to hope that President Obama comes to his senses and listens to his advisers soon.