Monday, July 4, 2016

Defeating a Monster: Finding a Solution to IS

With more than 200 confirmed deaths, as of now, Baghdad has just witnessed the most horrific act of terror in years. It is just one of the many cities to be targeted over the past week, however, it was the only one in which the Islamic State wrought such gargantuan chaos. These attacks, all inspired by IS, propagate the despair of the situation in the Middle East. With Ramadan nearing its end and the Islamic celebration of Eid al-Fitr just days away, the scale of terror is on an uptick; even so, it remains difficult and daunting consider further atrocities to come.

The week of terror comes ahead of the July 4th celebrations in America, inciting fears in the United States concurrently about security.

The numerous attacks show how the most important current issue in the world, or the rise of the Islamic State, is not just a battle on the field. Although we may at times hear of gains on the ground, that is ISIS being pushed back, we fail to consider the full scope of the group's core activity: terror.
What sets the Islamic State apart from its rivals in bloodshed, like Al Qaeda, is its use of ideology for fighting a war on the field, inciting acts of violence abroad both actively and passively, and establishing a pseudo-state all at once.

No group like IS emerges from sheer luck, they appear when a government makes the wrong decision and considers short-term implications over the long-term ones. This has happened in the past with the Taliban, who then played into the hands of Al-Qaeda. It happened to Iraq with the U.S. support for Saddam Hussein for many years, even helping him ascend to power in 1963 through the Ba'ath party's seizure of power. Both these events in history have triggered modern extremism in one way or another.

So, it is important to understand what nations have aligning interests with the Islamic State to truly understand the nature of the current conflict.

Turkey is possibly the nation with the most evident support for the Islamic State. Research by Columbia University found that the Turkish government "knows the movements of all persons and can control the flow across the border if it chooses."Over the past decades, Turkey has been fighting against the Kurdish minority in the Eastern part of the country. The Kurds happen to be the most formidable fighting force currently tackling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, but the Turkish government is making the short-term call and fighting against those Kurds in a bid to secure the status quo and ensure that Kurds cannot achieve nationhood home or abroad. Support by the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia is known also in the creation of IS. Those nations are also the ones that have largely avoided large-scale act of terrorism, unlike Iraq and unlike Syria. Support to IS helps to promote Sunni dominance in a shia region of the Arab world, which is why nations support a group as sinister as the Islamic State.

It is in the interest of even those nations to stop the Islamic State, with it becoming more and more unpredictable and decisive against civilians. Saudi Arabia has just witnessed three suicide attacks across the Kingdom in the past 24 hours. In battling the Islamic State, it's paramount that all sides remember that coordination against IS must be joint and fully binding. There can be no second interest in a fight against an ideology with no leniency or understanding. The Middle East has to stop the monster that it created by drying up the financial resources of IS and this is something that has to be internationally adopted and internationally monitored.


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