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ISIS … Painkillers Do Not Pull out the Roots

ISIS … Painkillers Do Not Pull out the Roots

Saturday, 9 May, 2020 - 11:30

Is ISIS breathing again, or is that an exaggeration? The truth is bitter, but it seems that things are moving in that direction. The group is resituating itself in a suspiciously calm manner with the support of the axis of evil that the region has long suffered from. Of course, there must be a favorable environment in order for it to reinvigorate and activate its tools.

Nothing seems more tempting than the scene in Iraq, which is hemorrhaging and suffering as a result of the Iran’s destructive interventions. It was not surprising that an Iraqi official in the Ministry of Defense said that “the (Iranian al-Quds Forces), the Lebanese militia (Hezbollah) and the Iraqi (Popular Mobilization Forces) cooperated to coordinate the transfer of hundreds of (ISIS) fighters from Syria to Iraq and provided them with arms.”

Iran could not find a better solution for breaking its isolation, alleviating its misery and loosening the pressure being exerted on it than preoccupying the world and the region with the revival of the terrorist entity, ISIS, so that it bullies and attacks.

Asharq Al-Awsat reported that in "Mosul city, and particularly in the center of Nineveh province, some traders have complained that ISIS members have once again started imposing levies on them, and they are complying out of fear of reprisals.” Some have estimated ISIS's revenues from these "levies to now be around 100,000 US dollars a day".

The painful blow that Iran suffered after Qassem Soleimani's death has pushed it to fill the gap that he left. It has thus ordered Hassan Nasrallah to move militants from Syria to the Iraqi border so that its presence and the spread of its forces are enhanced, and its dominion over Damascus, Beirut and Baghdad is strengthened.

Radical movements reassemble and cells are born in loose and unstable environments, especially when there is a financial incentive, like that provided by a terrorist state like Iran, which always exploits such circumstances to facilitate the spread of terrorism.

One cannot forget the transcontinental ISIS horror show that showcased new ways of killing and terrorizing, handing the radical right¸ which is always keen to exploit such political events, this spectacle on a golden plate.

On the one side, it aims to destroy and sabotage, disrupt security, and stir fear and chaos in those countries and to create tension between societies and put them in conflict, using any means necessary. On the other, it does so as a reaction to its collapse and the collapse of its state project, to prove that it is still present on the ground.

ISIS fell as an entity but did not disappear. What is meant by this is that the ideology is still there, even after it collapsed, as “painkillers are not the same as cauterizing”, and a temporary solution is different from one that tackles the roots of the issue. This also applies to terrorism. The struggle is first and foremost an ideological one, which means that ISIS may fall ill and become weak without dying out. It may disappear for a while, but so long as we have not eliminated the roots of its ideology and exposed it, we cannot prevent it from resurrecting, as it is now doing. Ideology cannot be confronted with anything but an opposing ideology, and we must therefore, eliminate everything that incentivizes its growth and reproduction.

ISIS members’ actions reflect a desire, conviction and ideology, the implications and dimensions of which they are aware of. These ideas and desires are based on a comprehensive vision found in their literature, which starts with spite and attrition, passes through monstrosity and reaches their empowerment.

Saudi Arabia realized the severity of the situation early on, announced the formation of an alliance of more than 40 Islamic countries to confront terrorism and established a center for joint operations in Riyadh. Terrorism cannot be beaten from the angle of security alone.

It must be confronted with a holistic vision that is based on thought and includes other aspects, such as the media, security, politics, finance and military, within certain mechanisms, with timetables set and results meticulously monitored and constantly re-evaluated. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the godfather of this project, mentioned that the new alliance will confront terrorism through military and intellectual means and through the media. This means that we will see a comprehensive strategy and an unprecedented qualitative leap in how we deal with this complicated issue. The sensitivity of the circumstances, the delicacy of this phase and the size of the risks today require that this alliance becomes worldwide, as fighting terrorism is the joint responsibility of all nations.

An international alliance against ISIS must be military, ideological and popular, which requires international mobilization, cooperation, and security and intelligence coordination.

No group or movement has ever seen an alliance formed to confront it like that which ISIS faces. Nevertheless, this alliance remains fragmented, which means that it needs to be renewed, reactivated and revitalized. Responsibilities need to be shared, and every party needs to be committed. The results will be shaped by the degree to which parties commit to this vision and implement it.

This is an urgent step for the good of humanity and may take years to bear fruit. It is a difficult task but not an impossible one if there is a will.

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