“[T]he following is not an alarmist article. The public has no idea how strong IS is or is not in the Persian Gulf. Hell, even regional governments may not know.But that doesn’t undercut a key geopolitical truth: to secure itself permanently, the Islamic State must wage war on the Gulf states. With the suicide attack in Kuwait, that war has begun.”
As IS strategy goes, beyond merely surviving Iraqi, Kurdish, Syrian, Iranian, and Allied attacks, the next inevitable step must be an assault on the Persian Gulf. Key to victory will be destroying Saudi Arabia.
Of course, we shouldn’t forget how outgunned IS currently is, which is why they won’t try to invade Saudi Arabia directly.
The Saudi army and air force would obliterate a direct assault; they’d also enjoy American air cover. Whatever IS has left in terms of tanks and artillery is difficult to measure, but the U.S. air campaign has certainly made it harder to mobilize those assets, let alone group them together in big enough numbers to win battles.
Even if that weren’t the case, from a conventional standpoint, IS has no clear and stable supply lines or communications to maintain a proper invasion. Anbar province is not secure without controlling Baghdad, and it would be from Anbar an invasion would have to come.
But that’s not really the IS style, either; it’s not a developed enough state to fight anything but warlords and broken armies. Instead, IS must do what it tried in Iraq during the American occupation, accelerated in Syria at the beginning of the civil war, and perfected last summer.
And that means making Saudi Arabia as despondent, confused, angry, and murderous as Syria and Iraq.