The ‘War’ against Islamic State: A Military Strategy Doomed to Political Failure

Joseph Daher,
New Politics.

Tsyria-2015-photoshe last terrible terrorist attack by the so-called “Islamic State” (also known as Daech) killed at least 300 people in Baghdad’s central shopping district of Karrada on July 2. It was the worst single car bomb attack in Iraq since U.S. and British led forces toppled the dictator Saddam Hussein 13 years ago and deepened the anger of many Iraqis over the weak performance of the security apparatus. This followed other terrorist attacks in the region and elsewhere. This put forward once more the question on how to answer and end the threat that represents Daech. The Western states led by the USA have shown that they consider Daech as the main enemy for the region of the Middle East and North Africa. Daech constitutes in the opinion of Western officials a source of regional and international instability, particularly with the terrorist attacks in West. However they propose to use the same elements that fueled the development of Daech to try to stop it militarily. This is therefore a recipe for defeat.

In Syria, the United States, as well as other Western states, have been concentrating their military actions against Daech, while a change of the authoritarian Assad regime is not at all on the agenda, and actually never was.  In addition to this, on June 30, the Obama administration proposed a new agreement on Syria with the Russian government that would deepen military cooperation between the two countries against Daech and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, in exchange for Russia getting the Assad regime to stop bombing groups of the FSA with contacts with the USA. The allies (Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Iraqi Shi’a fundamentalist militias) of the regime continue on their sides their military assistance to Damascus to eliminate all forms of armed opposition, democratic (Free Syrian Army) and reactionary (Jabhat al-Nusra and Daech) while continuing their crimes and abuses against Syrian civilians. The raids of the Russian aviation on June 25 against the town of al-Kouriyé, southeast of the city of Deir Ezzor, for example, have killed 31 civilians, while 16 others died without anyone knowing if they were civilians or jihadists.
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