What to do about ISIS
by: John Tyrrell
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There is no question in my mind that ISIS is a thoroughly evil organization and the world would be a better place if it was completely eradicated.
The measures being taken against it today are not going to achieve that.
What should we in the Western World be doing about it?
We should start by recognizing that the current situation in the Middle East and Near East is the result of a century of Western intervention. We created the borders. We stage-managed the accession to power of many of the governments. We destabilized some regimes, and stabilized others. We made a thorough mess of things.
There is an argument that those who create a mess have a responsibility to clean things up. But our experience of the past century should have shown us that attempts to clean up our previous messes in the Middle and Near East have only made things worse.
Further, our willingness to intervene has meant that governments in the area have abdicated their responsibility to take measures themselves to deal with the problem. They are only too willing to let the West take action. They are only too willing to let the West take the blame for suppressing the virulent strains of Islam. Yes - let the West be accused of being anti-Islam rather than local governments facing that accusation.
Enough! It's time to get out.
Overwhelmingly, the victims of ISIS are local citizens. Unlike its predecessor, Al-Qaeda which had a mission to attack the west, ISIS is focused on ruling the Islamic world. And it should be local governments which take the lead in fighting back.
It is time that governments of the region recognize that they have the primary responsibility and that they are all at risk if they do not take decisive action. By taking action in their own defence without western support, they will undermine the suggestion that they are no more than Western puppet states. Perhaps they might even recognize the need to work together in spite of the Shi'ah / Sunni divide. We might see real regional co-operation rather than vindictive self-defeating local rivalries.
We have somehow stayed out of the fight against both the Lord's Resistance Army and Boko Haram in Africa - we see rightly these religious extremists as an African problem. And both these organizations are as evil as ISIS. And it is time we let the nations of the Middle and Near East fight their own battles.
We might think that ISIS cannot be crushed without direct Western involvement in the fight. But we should recognize that while direct Western involvement might have short term benefit, in the longer term it only feeds the extremists' anti-western sentiment. And that will result in an even worse mess.
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