Saturday, December 12, 2015

Matt Purple- Why Bombing Syria Won't Defeat ISIS

Matt Purple, Deputy Editor of Rare Politics, has written an interesting commentary on why bombing the heck out of the Islamic State in Syria won't do a darn thing to end its reign of terror, even with France, Britain and other allies finally joining the fray.

Unfortunately he's right.

The United States and its allies can bomb the caliphate to shreds—turn the entire desert into a glass parking lot—and it won’t defeat ISIS. 

There are two reasons for this.
The first is the nature of the enemy we face. For all its fearsome weapons and grisly execution videos, ISIS is just one iteration of the greater jihadist threat that’s spread with alarming alacrity across the Middle East. Want to prevent future terrorist attacks? You’ll have to weaken al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has expanded thanks to the recent turmoil in Yemen and is determined to attack the United States. The latticework of extremist and Salafist groups in Syria will need to be picked apart. The Taliban must be re-defeated. The processing plant of Wahhabi terror that is Saudi Arabia must be confronted.
Indeed, not only is ISIS far from the sole jihadist threat in the Middle East, it’s not even the most dangerous jihadist threat in Syria. That honor goes to al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s local affiliate. Unlike ISIS, which ruthlessly stamps out dissenters, al-Nusra has proven itself a team player in the quest to take out Bashar al-Assad, working with more moderate militias and winning over beleaguered Sunnis. So effective has the group been that it’s easy to imagine it becoming integrated in post-war Syrian society, the way Hezbollah did in Lebanon. And al-Nusra shares most of ISIS’s goals: a tyrannical caliphate, suffocating Sharia.
As the Islamic State wanes, the far more cunning al-Nusra will fill the void. Bombing ISIS won’t defeat radical Islam; it could even end up empowering it.
The second reason why pummeling the Islamic State will be ineffective sounds like it was pulled from an alternative medicine textbook: bombs only attack the symptom, not the root cause. ISIS’s key resource isn’t oil, but young, angry, Sunni Muslims, many of whom grew up under the American occupation in Iraq, toiled in destitution, and are now dependent on the Islamic State for a purpose and a paycheck.

The whole commentary here.

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