This Is How You Defeat IS and (Hopefully) Solve Iraq, Syria and Kurdistan

Original content provided by James Stevenson
Modified for the purposes of this site by Samantha Young
Courtesy of LA Times

Courtesy of LA Times


The Players

ISIS- Sunni Muslim extremist group that rose to power in 2014, currently controlling parts of Syria.

NATO- An acronym for the North American Treaty Organization, NATO includes the US, Canada the UK, Turkey, and various other European powers. NATO is an alliance focused on collective defense, both politically and militarily. 

Russia & Iran- Not NATO members, but still important and powerful players in this situation due to strong support of Syria and the Assad Regime.

The Assad Regime- The current government of Syria, challenged by multiple rebel groups and denounced by U.S., U.K. and more.

Courtesy of

Courtesy of


The Background

Syria was plunged into crisis and civil war in 2011 due to conflict between the Assad regime and citizens, which later turned into various rebel groups. Violence broke out across groups of various ethnic, religious, and ideological backgrounds, including the Islamic extremist group IS (also known as ISIS or ISIL). World powers such as NATO, Russia, and more got involved to fight IS, but support for Assad was split. 

Courtesy of Daily Mail

Courtesy of Daily Mail


The Story

A Proposed Solution to the Syrian Conflict


1. Convene a meeting of NATO, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Syria and the Syrian non-Islamic opposition in Syria, including Syrian Kurds.

2. Agree that the ultimate reasonably attainable state of Syria for the next decade of the State of Syria for the next five years will be a state that exists of cantons that have a loose alliance with the central government but autonomy within regions that are controlled by the Assad Regime, relatively moderate Islamist Sunnis, with protection for Christian, Druze and other minorities.

3. Push off the final solution for Syria for five years and use foreign assistance to work with the parties to establish a working model for Syria of the future.

4. Agree with Russia and Syria on the reasonable borders of a rump Alawite federal state that will be guaranteed by Russia and the international community.

5. Assad does not have to go unless his own constituents reject him; but he only has suzerainty over his own area of the federal state—a rump state of predominately Alawite areas and Damascus. 

6. All parties agree to defend the agreed demarcation of negotiated cantons.

7. If parties cannot agree, NATO and Russia impose the delineations.

8.    This is all done basically in secret.




1. Russia, Iran and Syria agree to defend only the agreed borders of the Assad federal area.  “Moderate” Sunni fighters agree not to attack it.

2. Moderate Sunni forces agree to attack only extremist elements. This will be tough.

3. Sunni forces carve out their areas of influence.  They also fight IS, as do Ahrar Al Sham and Jabhat-al-Nusra.

4. NATO and Sunni Arab allies develop a battle campaign that involves Turkey, Jordan, Kurdistan and Iraq permitting combined operations by NATO and Russia through their territories.

5. Allies, with Russian air support (token) simultaneously launch mechanized and air attacks from Turkey south down the Euphrates River, attacks from Jordan up the Euphrates to the border of Iraq.  (Landed through the Gulf—not Israel.)

6. Iraq and the Iranians are a blocking force that rolls up IS.  (Does not solve the Sunni-Shiite divide in Iraq or stop Iranian influence, but we cannot do much about that.) 

7. NATO with no Kurd or Iraqi support takes down Mosul—let the Kurds and Iraqis sort out who controls it.

8. Use all elements of air power, but do not bomb with dumb bombs until IS is drawn into the open.  Then annihilate them.




1. This is the tricky part.

2. Intensive negotiations with all parties to de-conflict our interests with theirs and what the people of the region really want.   They all hate each other.


No problem—this is easy.  Not!