Islamic State, Syria and the need for sensible policymaking

  1. Do you think we are being told the whole truth about the fight against Islamic State?

I don’t think it’s about the ‘truth’ or not  being told the ‘truth’ I think it has to do with acknowledging the reality of the situation on the ground and some parties are reluctant to do so because this would mean defining an end-game strategy and there isn’t one, as the situation exists today. If you recall, there was great hope placed in the so called ‘Arab Spring.’ This has become a disaster and humanitarian tragedy of epic proportions, not only for the Middle East but the West. We are watching the creation of a terrorist state. This is unlike say Somalia which dissolved into a terrorist state. Syria was a stable secular state (an important factor in the Middle East today) and President Assad is a rational state actor. IS has an end-game strategy and that is being successfully implemented. While al Zawahiri, the leader of Al Qaeda may disagree with me on this one, IS for all intents and purposes is a state. It’s a state that’s in the process of swiftly consolidating its power, it has extensive resources, a core leadership, incredibly savvy recruitment program and the time to really make an impact to reverse IS has passed us by about four years ago; when Russia offered to negotiate a peace settlement which would most likely have averted IS taking over strategic points in Syria and Iraq. The focus on removing Bashar al Assad, so over shadowed the real threat to stability and peace (IS) that it obscured strategic planning.

I have spent years assessing Syria’s unconventional weapon capabilities, long before Syria was on the radar or at war. I was one of President Assad’s ardent critics when it came to his WMD programs. I worked on areas related to UN Treaty Verification under the BTWC.  I think the fear now is a political one for those who insisted President Assad be forced out of office. The meteoric rise of IS due in part to oil revenue, their exceptional command structure and operational capabilities caught the West, I would say completely by surprise. They were used to dealing with Al Qaeda who moved at a more predictable pace and whose leadership was well known and could be targeted. As long as the West continues to underestimate IS they will be unable to contribute to any kind of regional stability and will be fighting IS on the streets of Brussels if they don’t change track soon.

Read full article in: Pravda

 

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