Mohammad Hassan Al Harbi
Since ideas are stronger than words, Daesh (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) was set up based on an ideology that soon spread to and later encompassed all Islamist groups operating under its umbrella. These groups exist in Iraq, Syria and other Arab and regional countries, which are home to Daesh’s opportunistic sleeper cells. These cells are waiting for an opportunity.
Such an opportunity is not implausible for an organisation that has unmistakeably demonstrated the extent of its ambitions driven by the belief that it can return humanity to the straight path, so that people can once again prosper under ‘justice’ that is currently absent. They believe that such a goal will not be achieved except through terrorist acts carried out against fellow humans, undermining civilisations and subduing them. The entire world is in consensus about Daesh’s terrorism and about the fact that the group should be destroyed. Prior to the war launched against Daesh, the world, however, was in disagreement on how to eradicate this organisation. Will the war unleashed by the international coalition, led by the US, successfully wipe out Daesh? Will the organisation cease to exist, along with any possibility for the appearance of a new Daesh-like group that is more vicious and operates under a different name and religious slogans?
Despite the fact that the war is ongoing, and the consequences for Daesh are getting ever more severe, such an objective was never part of the war, and no one can provide answers to these questions, which are strategic and related to the future. Such questions must drive allies to address this issue from different aspects. One key issue concerns drying up the sources of terrorism at the global level, starting by paying more attention to social culture, educational curriculum and media strategies. Above all, politicians and intellectuals are required to follow through with their implementation, to stop using religion in politics, and to respect others’ faith and culture.
Undoubtedly, if it were not for aspects of vague and inhumane policies, hatred would not be rampant in the world.
Was it really necessary for the US to lead an international coalition to eliminate Daesh? Many have raised such a question. However, could any other Arab country, all or some, have successfully handled such an operation without seeking help or coordinating with foreign nations? Many doubt the capabilities of Arab nations to record any form of success in vital combat missions. Arab political and military history, after all, is filled with disappointments on various fronts, though there are a few exceptions.
Would it not have been possible for some Arab countries to deal with this crisis, by rallying around and coordinating with one another to combat and eradicate the danger of Daesh? Many people in Arab countries do not think that such a feat is possible, but not due to lack of capabilities, because the threat of Daesh can be dealt with using airstrikes. The reason is that many Arab nations have different views about Daesh, and consider the current war on the group to be superficial with underlying political objectives, such as getting rid of the Syrian regime and the return of US bases in countries surrounding Israel.
This makes Arab nations, individually or collectively, powerless before Daesh, because of nationalist sensitivities they harbour against each other. It makes it difficult for anyone to undertake this mission. Coordination with western countries, such as the US and others, is much easier for Arab nations, even given the security related issues posed by Daesh. After all, Arabs have their own complicated internal issues to address. Time waits for no one, and the Daesh crisis grows more serious by the day. It has now become a global target for eradication.
Perhaps some observers wonder whether the Syrian regime can play a part in the war against Daesh. Could the world not have backed the Damascus regime in achieving the objective of eradicating Daesh, despite the fact that the government was deemed an enemy by many Arabs and the West? Sometimes it may seem that a practical and pragmatic goal in the elimination of organised and cross-border terrorism is through backing some totalitarian regime, despite the fact it may be unjust and tyrannical.
The world’s political history can provide us with many examples of pragmatic-political dealings similar to what is currently happening. Often, such dealings are timely for the sole purpose of achieving an objective.
There are many questions that still need answers, such as how did the Syrian regime drag the US into its battle? Another question is, why has Turkey not taken part in the war against Daesh, despite being a Nato member? Who benefits from the war against Daesh?
The war may come to an end next year, or the year after. The world will emerge victorious against terrorism, and the Arab region will flourish to contribute once again to human civilisation.