econintersect.com
       
  

FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.



posted on 24 November 2015

We Must Prepare For A 30-year War In The Middle East

from The Conversation

-- tis post authored by Paul Rogers, University of Bradford

Twelve years ago, George W Bush gave his "Mission Accomplished" speech from the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, confident that the Saddam Hussein regime had been consigned to the dustbin of history, the Taliban regime had been terminated, al-Qaeda was dispersed, if not destroyed, and the desperately needed New American Century was back on track.

That's what he thought. Instead, over the following decade, hundreds of thousands died in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

In the past two years, the latest manifestation of al-Qaeda's terrorist ideology, Islamic State, has grown apace to affect millions of people across north-east Syria and north-west Iraq, even in the face of an intensive air campaign against them. The US air war, Operation Inherent resolve, has - according to the latest figures from the US Department of Defense - involved more than 8,125 airstrikes and has hit more than 16,000 targets. An estimated 20,000 IS supporters have been killled, yet the number of fighters that IS can deploy - between 20,000 and 30,000 - is unchanged.

Moreover, the assessment of US intelligence agencies last year that 15,000 people from 80 countries had joined IS and other extreme groups has been raised to 30,000 from 100 countries.

Mission accomplished: George W Bush on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, May 2003 US Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Tyler J. Clements

War is good for IS. It relentlessly portrays itself as the defender of Islam under attack from crusader forces as it creates a rigid and determined caliphate, a pernicious world view hated by the overwhelming majority of Muslims - yet appealing to a tiny minority that is still worth proselytising.

Until last spring, IS concentrated primarily on developing and protecting its proto-caliphate. But it has now taken a leaf out of the old al-Qaeda book and extended its operations overseas.

This has taken two forms - developing connections with like-minded groups: whether in Libya, Nigeria, the Caucasus, Afghanistan or within the Middle East - and fostering direct attacks on the "crusaders", whether it's the tourists killed at the Bardo Museum and the Sousse resort in Tunisia or, more recently, on the Russian Metrojet, and during the horrific attacks in Paris last weekend.

Image published in Islamic State 'Dabiq' magazine shows according to IS the components that were used to build the bomb that brought down the Russian Metrojet. Dabiq

As IS no doubt hoped, France has reacted with renewed air strikes in Syria, and across the West there is talk of an expanded air war and even the use of ground troops. This will be music to the ears of the IS leadership. Some of them will be killed but what does that matter when they are part of a divine plan? Moreover, if their acolytes can carry out more attacks then there is a real chance of rampant Islamophobia evolving rapidly in France and elsewhere, with all the recruitment potential that it provides.

What should the West do?

If we follow the logic of IS wanting war and suggest quietly that it might not be a good idea, then the inevitable response is: "What should we do?". It is not enough to say, for example, that we should not have invaded Iraq in the first place, true though that is. There are, though, some clear steps that can be taken to start the multi-year process of curbing IS.

An early priority is putting far greater emphasis on ending the Syrian civil war, the necessary precursor to constraining IS in Syria. There are some small signs of progress here with the two recent meetings in Vienna involving all the proxies to the war including Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia. But the process must be accelerated and, however difficult, Assad and key militia leaders must somehow be engaged. It is the most difficult of all the tasks and will require the best skills of highly competent conflict resolution specialists.

Nusra Front fighter: just one of the many factions fighting in Syria and Iraq. Reuters/Ammar Abdullah

Close behind that in importance will be a huge and immediate effort to aid the 3m or more refugees from Syria and Iraq, principally in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, many of them facing an appalling winter while the UNHCR and other agencies struggle to provide support. The core motive must be humanitarian - but if help is not provided, these camps also will provide a remarkable recruiting ground for IS.

A third element is to work as hard as possible to encourage the Abadi government in Baghdad to reach out to the Sunni minority, especially in those many parts of Iraq where persistent neglect of that minority is helping maintain support for IS.

Finally, there is the issue of the expansion of IS, not least in Libya. The need to support UN attempts to bring stability to that country is urgent yet seriously lacking at present.

In this context, perhaps the most urgent need for any state seriously interested in preventing the further growth of extreme Islamist movements is to foster a change in the repressive policies of the Sisi government in Egypt. With more than 1,000 Muslim Brotherhood supporters killed and well over 10,000 imprisoned, many under sentence of death, this is the one country that is ripe for Islamist expansionism.

None of these measures provides anything like a full answer to the many challenges of IS but they collectively point us in a different direction. We have recently entered the 15th year of what used to be called the "War on Terror" - and that war is about to intensify with little thought about the long-term effects or the reasons for past failures. If we do not take a new direction then we should prepare for a 30-year war.

Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies, University of Bradford

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical Opinion Post Listing










Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted.  As the internet is a "war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its defences against ease of commenting.  We have joined with Livefyre to manage our comment streams.

To comment, using Livefyre just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.



You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.





Econintersect Opinion


search_box

Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF


The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.


Take a look at what is going on inside of Econintersect.com
Main Home
Analysis Blog
The Problem With Obamacare Is That It Did Little To Reduce Overall Healthcare Spending
Joan Robinson’s Critique of Marginal Utility Theory
News Blog
Joe Sixpack's Situation in 3Q2016: The Average Joe Is Better Off
Why Are Some People More Delinquent On Loans Than Others? - Part 1
Gravity Returns To San Francisco Housing Market
Violent Bond Selloff: An Eye-Opening Perspective
Infographic Of The Day: Identity Theft: You Should Be Worried
Early Headlines: Russia Hacked GOP, Trump To Drain Energy 'Swamp'?, New Sec'y Of State Candidate, India IP Shrinks, India Has World's New Largest Solar Plant , China GDP Hides Volatility And More
Most Coup Attempts In Recent Years Have Failed
The Global Cost Of Diabetes
The Universities Churning Out The Most Billionaires
Five Amazing Ways Plants Have Created New Technologies
Where U.S. Weekly Wages Go The Furthest
What We Read Today 09 December 2016
How To Stop Using Filler Words Like Um And Uh
Investing Blog
The New Art Of Utility Investing
Investing,com Weekly Wrap-up 09 December 2016
Opinion Blog
Trickle-down Economics, Trump Edition
Looking At Everything: Trump's $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan
Precious Metals Blog
Silver Prices Rebounded Today: Where They Are Headed
Live Markets
09Dec2016 Market Close: Wall Street Closes On A New High, Trump Sugar High, Crude Prices Testing Resistance, US Dollar Melts Higher
Amazon Books & More






.... and keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government



Crowdfunding ....






























 navigate econintersect.com

Blogs

Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day
Weather

Newspapers

Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government
     

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed
Google+
Facebook
Twitter
Digg

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution

Contact

About

  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2016 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved