ISOF is the greatest force in the Middle East and it’s because of U.S. Special Forces, unconventional warfare and Foreign Internal Defense (FID). FID isn’t sexy – you aren’t going to somersault towards a target, jump to your feet and kick in a door Chuck Norris style. But you might make a lasting difference for a nation’s security.

We can’t beat the Islamic State without the Iraqi Forces. They represent our most controversial decision, but also our greatest achievement in the ISOF and other Iraqi elements. These men are not sectarian and closer to what you would expect of an American soldier. They’re warriors and compared to their peers, professionals.

They’re doing an incredible job on the road to Mosul. They remain a testament to FID, a hallmark capability of Special Forces. I’m ecstatic to report that these guys are crushing it. They’re protecting and securing their country. This was a joint effort of  5th Group and 3rd Group Assault units. During the time when Iraq was shut down – other ODAs from 5th Group filled the void and kept our presence and relationship alive with the ISOF.

They’re precious to our units and they’re an example of the professionalism and work of SF, not SOF, but SF. Special Operations Forces are incredibly capable. If we’re talking about war in the modern age, SOF are in the fight. Akin to nights of the middle ages these forces ultimately get the job done. There’s no shock and awe but a gradual and assured degradation of the enemy. Simultaneously, a cultural reinforcement of rapport with partner forces in the region.

At last, our forces can Advise, Assist, and Accompany Iraqi forces. It will make all the difference. I wish we had that opportunity years before. But it signifies an ability to clean up the mess. While the hard part remains the political and diplomatic woes post battle.

I got to work with the ISOF, myself. They had their issues – but looking at history – they were in a similar position we were after the Vietnam War. They had lost their identity, unsure where to go and what to do next and were losing soldiers, quickly. It’s incredible that the ISOF has maintained any integrity at all amid sectarian clashes and internal politics.

Even when we were there – the coming civil war and rise of ISIS – was obvious. What was also obvious was that the ISOF would be the catch-all to solve all of the nation’s problems. Just as SOF and JSOC have become our avengers, the ISOF is the same but tenfold.

Feature image courtesy of iFunny. As usual the ISOF operator depicted is a bit silly – but welcome to the Middle East, they’re still the best there.