Saturday, 21 November 2015
Defeating IS Without Going To War
Neither could anybody claim that it has protected us from terrorism on our soil as the Paris attacks show but it appears that a large collection of Governments are once again readying their military to attack another Middle Eastern country.
Heavy aerial bombardment of Raqqa would be fine if the bombs and missiles dropped only took out the bad guys but they don't, bombs and missiles don't discriminate and they take out everyone within radius and in the sixth largest city in Syria, a fair proportion of those killed will be innocent civilians.
The British Government are bullish that they would likely seek, and gain, parliamentary support to extend the current UK bombing of Islamic State in Iraq to Syria.
My question would be if the two most powerful military nations of USA and Russia have been pounding IS for months in Syria and they are still gaining ground, what would adding the 8 UK bombers available to the attack achieve apart from gaining more hatred towards the West and acting as a recruitment officer for Islamic State who will present itself as Islam under attack from crusaders.
In a joint bulletin recently issued by the US Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, they warned that while single events will not provoke an immediate response from homegrown extremists: 'we believe these air strikes will contribute to homegrown violent extremists, broader grievances about military intervention in predominantly Muslim lands, possibly motivating Homeland attacks'.
The mood seems to be we need to do something but if air strikes won't make any difference and increases the likelihood of more terrorist attacks in the West, what can we do?
Although IS receives donations, especially from Gulf-based financiers, the bulk of their income comes from oil revenues from the fields it controls in Iraq and Syria. American officials estimated that it was making £2m a day from oil so find out who is buying the oil and slap sanctions on them to stem the flow of money which goes towards buying military equipment.
Diplomatic pressure should also be applied to the Gulf states to push them to clamp down on their citizens funding and supporting IS.
As the overwhelming majority of new recruits are found in the Sunni Muslim branch of Islam, we need to support states with a large Sunni Muslim population such as Bahrain, Jordon, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and deter Sunni's from wanting to join Islamic State. If we can somehow prove (not easy i agree after what we have been doing there) but if we could show the West in a good light and IS as the murderous cancer that they are then they would be less prepared to fight us.
If we can bleed them of financial support, cease the recruitment and show the Middle East that we have their interests and not just protecting their oil in our minds, we may not be able to wind back the clock to put right the many wrongs of the West in the Bush and Blair years, but we may be able to avoid adding fuel to the fire and making things a whole lot worse over there as well as over here.