This guest post comes to SOFREP from a YPG cadre involved in the front-line fighting against ISIS. -Jack

Merely fighting and winning battles is not all there is to winning a war like the one in Syria and Iraq. As militias grow and merge into something more akin to a regular Western army, supplies, ammunition, intelligence, and establishing relationships with local imams and villagers become crucial to success. Those things may not typically be the fighter on the ground’s responsibility, but to maintain a longstanding presence and network of support in an environment such as ours, by necessity—as I argued in the first article in this series—all YPG and PKK fighters (note that I say, specifically, fighters) are equally capable politicians.

Blossoming from militia to army

Something Western military officers first learn about is the Clausewitzian Trinity at their respective military academies (whereas in the PKK cadre, its officer class learn about Marxist theory—not very helpful). This trinity describes three essential elements of war: army, state, and government.

Where non-Western militias of Syria have evolved, and not intentionally, some have become Western-world equivalents. These armies are uniformed, with hierarchical command structures, governments (I use that loosely) which require popular support from the people, and so on. I even saw a copy of Clausewitz, in the original German, on the dead body of an ISIS commander near Sinjar (maybe he didn’t mind Clausewitz thought of himself as a Christian knight).