Islamic State is a mirror image of the Zetas. They have no roots, no place. They have no soul. While there are always exceptions to any rule, I think you could offer $10 million to people in the Sinaloa region to give up El Chapo and they wouldn't do it. Not for any amount of money would they betray him. He is a son of Sinaloa, their blood. On the other hand, any Mexican with the guts will rat out the Zetas if the price is right because the organization is no one's son.
As Zetas was created by deserters from the Mexican Army, so Islamic State was created by former members of the Iraqi Army. While they can be loyal to each other they can't expect loyalty from those they control.
So although the Zetas Cartel is bigger than Sinaloa Cartel they command no respect, no love; they have to control through terror -- beheadings, indiscriminate killings of innocents, over the top sadism, you name it.
The tactics used by IS are so similar I wondered whether their leaders had studied the Zetas. This year, when I learned who'd created IS, I realized it was the type of founders that were the match. While the conditions that led to the creation of both organizations weren't quite the same, they were close enough to produce remarkably similar results.
The one notable difference is that Zetas is at least a home-grown affair made up principally of Mexicans. Islamic State commanders had to hire a vast hodgepodge of fighters, technicians, and administrators from all around the world -- 80 countries by U.S. intel estimate, 100 by Syrian intel estimate.
Muslims always liked the idea of the Ummah but now that they're seeing it in action, they're finding themselves overrun by foreigners yelling "Allahu Akbar!" at them in the most grating foreign accents.
As a Libyan told a reporter about his experience with Islamic State moving in on his town in Libya, "How would you like a foreigner pointing his finger in your face and telling you what to do?"
Well, often the foreigner has no choice but to point because he doesn't speak the local's language.
I'm sure American readers will be relieved to learn the gathering in Baghdad isn't chanting 'Yankees go home.' They're chanting, 'Turks go home.'
But it's not just the Turkish military, which refused to leave when the Iraqis asked them nicely. That wacko John McCain was the last straw, I think. He went over there and told the PM or someone in government, 'Don't worry, we'll save you. We're raising a vast army from all over the Arab world to fight alongside the American coalition.'
This led the Iraqi PM to announce to the British and everyone else that while Iraqis appreciated the thought, they just wanted their own army to fight Islamic State.
Of course he didn't add, 'With Russian air cover' but then he didn't need to.
Why do the Russians get a pass? Because everyone knows they don't have the money or inclination to drag things out into a 100 Year War, then stay on another century to rehabilitate the Natives. The Russians learned when to quit. They learned to focus on the task when they go to another country.
Those are just the two lessons Americans have yet to learn.