For all the US Republican tirades about being tough on ISIS, they’re missing the best thing they could do. Take in refugees. As many as possible. Welcome them in. That’s how you actually hurt ISIS.
ISIS as the Islamic State depends on having a population to tax, recruit from, and to lend it legitimacy as an actual state. 50% of their revenue comes from taxation and confiscation. The other chunk (43%) is from oil sales, which is already fucked (Reuters). If you take the population away, they have nothing. Perhaps more importantly, if people are fleeing, they have less and less legitimacy.
Now people under ISIS control have declined from 9 million to 6 million. Which is a good thing.
The West complains about refugees but gets all excited about dropping more bombs on people and committing troops. It’s insane. In this case helping people escape ISIS is the way to weaken then. As Sri Lankans should know.
At the end of our fight with the LTTE, another brutal terrorist organization, the most important thing was getting hostages out of LTTE controlled territory. The most important thing long term is still reintegrating them. It seems like the West would somehow prefer to bomb them into oblivion, but if you’re looking at it purely strategically, the refugee crisis isn’t a problem, it’s an opportunity.
People are voting with their feet to get away from ISIS. If you want to defeat ISIS, the best thing to do is help those people out.