NPR

Opinion: Here's Why ISIS And Al-Qaida Will Lose Their War Of Attrition

"America sees this as an existential fight," writes former CIA analyst Aki Peritz, who argues in this case, the classic insurgent strategy of bleeding a better-resourced adversary is doomed to fail.

Aki Peritz (@AkiPeritz) is a former CIA analyst and co-author of Find, Fix, Finish: Inside the Counterterrorism Campaigns that Killed bin Laden and Devastated Al Qaeda.

The Islamic State may be on the ropes, but is certainly not defeated. In an exceedingly rare video that came to light this week, its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, shows his face and renews his call for jihad against the terrorist group's adversaries by calling for, among other efforts, a "battle of attrition."

This is a classic insurgent strategy of bleeding a better-resourced adversary using a blend of regular and irregular forces to harass and degrade. Over time, the theory goes, the enemy becomes exhausted, frustrated, and loses the George Washington to varying degrees; Mao Zedong and others codified it; Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap deployed it against U.S. forces in Vietnam. Today, the Taliban use it against allied forces in Afghanistan.

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