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    Many opponents of Western foreign policy talk about blowback, about how intervention in foreign societies inevitably leads to violence and that when you attempt to suppress that with your own force, you will simply create more hatred.

    I completely agree with this. It was probably a huge mistake for the Islamists to intervene in America on September 11th, 2001. By killing thousands of civilians, they ensured that the families and friends of every one of those civilians would be moved to extreme anger and want a violent response. That attack on 9/11 undoubtedly radicalised the USA.

    The real questions the Islamists (and Arab Muslim populations amongst whom they move) should be asking are; was it wise of us to provoke the Americans like that? Have we created too many enemies?

    The United States successfully defeated Al-Qaeda in Iraq (ISIS' old name) in 2006/2007 through their Surge programme. They induced the Sunnis to fight with them against Al-Qaeda with the Anbar Awakening movement. By 2010 and 2011, when the Americans left Iraq, the deaths were down to about 5000 per year (comparable, perhaps less, than South Africa's murder rate) and Al-Qaeda in Iraq was a spent force; defeated and exiled to the Western deserts.

    Unfortunately, the twin events of the Syrian Civil War and the Shi'a Iraqi PM Maliki's crackdown on the Sunnis led to the rebirth of Al-Qaeda in Iraq / ISIS. But I am reasonably confident that, despite misteps, our methodical programme of airstrikes and special forces raids, and our support to the Iraqis and Kurds, will lead to the defeat of ISIS. I do not think the Sunnis of Iraq will see it as being in their interests to rebel again after the situation is normalised (though clearly they must be offered some kind of federal autonomy like the Kurds)

    Increasingly, I believe that Arab Muslims will report/inform on, and reject, any attempt by Al-Qaeda to set up a base in their lands because they know that whenever this happens, it leads to intervention and drones. I think the Arab Muslim world knows that whenever they provoke the West, they suffer blowback and that it will only provoke and anger the Americans, creating a larger backlash. The same lesson can be learned from the fates of Ghaddafi and Saddam Hussein; if you make an enemy of the West, you will be punished.
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