The Economist magazine and ISIS - an unholy alliance?

Bryan MacDonald
Bryan MacDonald is an Irish journalist, who is based in Russia
© Heinz-Peter Bader
When I was a student, the Economist was the magazine of choice for teenage college debaters. Nowadays, it appears to be a magazine written by teenage college debaters.

So, it seems The Economist has a new plan for the Middle East. In a strange bit of positioning, it doesn’t want Iraqi forces to rout ISIS in the ongoing battle for Mosul. That’s because the headbangers - and enthusiastic head-choppers to boot - could be useful for another purpose on the journal’s agenda; taking over Syria and removing the ‘evil’ Bashar Assad from office in Damascus.

That’s right, you’ve heard it all now. The British news weekly, beloved of folk unable to form their own opinions, has entered an unholy alliance with ISIS. And water coolers everywhere will provide a focal point for middle managers expounding on the thesis this very working day. If unfortunate enough to be in proximity, you’ll hear them contend how “the wisest strategy for retaking Mosul is to leave IS (sic) an exit, eastward to Syria.” Because this is what the Economist told them to believe.

Geography Class

The problem is that The Economists’ edict is bullsh*t. For two reasons. Firstly, if ISIS are left “an exit, eastward” it won’t take them to Syria. Instead, it will deliver them to Iran, via Erbil, which is the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. Now, given how the Kurds are tough cookies and well able to stand their ground, this is precisely where the ISIS fanatics wouldn’t want to be heading unless they fancy a quicker passage to the afterlife and all those promised virgins.

The Economist’s social media whizzes surely meant westward when they mentioned Syria. Because in that direction, ISIS can be useful in helping achieve the Anglo-American dream of regime change in Damascus. And then in a few years time, after the new crew predictably turn out to be Islamist loons, both countries can re-engage to fight ‘terror’ and keep the wheels of the lucrative weapons industry turning. After all, it’s good economics, isn’t it?

A Lesson In Tactics

As for the magazine trying to convince its followers how leaving ISIS any form of exit is “the wisest strategy.” Well, that’s nonsense. Because the best soldierly plan is to encircle Mosul and take the city by force. Indeed, this has always been the best military strategy. We know that because it says so in all the books ever written about military strategy.

Thus, either the teenage debater in charge of The Economist’s Twitter handle knows better than the likes of Carl von Clausewitz and Sun Tzu, or the journal’s real goal is topple Assad. Even if it means sparing ISIS. Which do you think is a more plausible scenario? A fiver says the latter.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.