Launched in 2004 as a branch of al-Qaeda in the Middle East, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) took control over the territory stretching from the Northern Syria to central Iraq in 2014. The financial facilitation of the terrorist group comes from controls over oil in Mosul (Iraq) and strategic resources in Syria. This argumentative essay suggests feasible ways of ending ISIS through both warfare and non-violent means (Thompson 1).
Most international analysts and geopolitical experts agree that regardless of the success on the war against ISIS, the international community will hardly put an end to global terrorism. Even though NATO had crashed Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the terrorism continued in the form of a new global threat known as ISIS. Hence, the core question on a global antiterrorism agenda is whether stopping ISIS will end the idea of terrorism. The root of the problem is not in destroying one another terrorist group, but in disseminating no-violent incentives that would promote justice and education in the endangered regions and among the troublesome communities such as the Sunnis.
In his article Want To Stop ISIS, Here Is What You Will Take, the professor of International Relations at Boston University, Angelo Codevilla suggests ending ISIS in the Middle East in a non-violent way. His point consists in isolating the regions controlled by ISIS by depriving them of vital resources. According to Codevilla, the root of the problem is Wahhabism that poisoned the regimes in Saudi and the Gulf area, as well as the Sunnis in Iraq fighting for power in the region. The author suggests stopping ISIS by setting a ban on economic and trade transactions with Qatar and Turkey, which, he claims, somehow support ISIS. The imposition of economic restrictions on these two countries will make ISIS less powerful. This will enable international forces to fight Shia in Iraq who are powerless without the backup of ISIS radicalism (Codevilla 1-3).
In his article How to Stop ISIS, Israeli journalist and security commentator Yossi Melman explores the background of the ISIS foundation. For this purpose, he refers to the Algerian writer Kamel Daoud to recognize that there are two different Daesh’s, black and white. Nonetheless, the representatives of both black and white Daesh do almost the same – killing people (Melman 1). Regarding today’s geopolitical controversies in the Middle East, Melman condemns Saudi Arabia and its radical Islamic Wahhabism. Regarding the Western policies, the author describes them as hypocritical while the Western leaders wage war on some countries and shake hands with others at the same time. Countering ISIS is impossible, Melman claims, without international consent, unity, and cooperation in a broad sense. Currently conflicting countries (China and India, for example) should cease their controversies for the sake of reaching a much more global goal – defeating ISIS. Contrary to the previous author, Melman suggests sending air and ground forces to weaken ISIS positions. Regarding the West, the author suggests that the western leadership should press on Turkey and Al-Assad to stop purchasing oil from ISIS and weaken the financial inflows that way. Finally, Melman states that the Intelligence capabilities should crack sleeper cells of ISIS internationally and target ISIS leaders (Melman 4).
The article by Ross Harrison and Michael Ryan The Master Plan: How to Stop ISIS published in The National Interest came with an overreaching viewpoint that Arab identity can play a vital role in defeating ISIS. There are various flaws in ISIS ideology, the authors claim. For instance, they argue that a “state” consisting of two different countries that are in civil war cannot thrive on the background of the radical, salafist jihadist ideology. Furthermore, Ross and Ryan claim that ISIS disregards fundamental layers of political identity, including family, tribe, and ethnicity. Aftermath the Arab Spring, ISIS tried to promote Arabism by brainwashing change-seekers. However, ISIS neglected the factthat the change-making required the leadership to get rid of ethnic, religious and sectarian boundaries restricting political and economic development, as well as of the autocratic rulers relying on a split society they can easily rule.
Furthermore, the authors refer to the ethnic Kurdish minority, which soldiers are actively fighting against ISIS on the ground. They suggest securing the Kurdish territory, while the unification of Iraq will much help stabilize the situation in the Middle East, and therefore weaken the ISIS. The authors argue that stable Arab countries (Saudi Arabia and Egypt) should be more active in withstanding ISIS dissemination. Two other states (Lebanon and Jordan) fiercely protest against the possibility of widening ISIS borders. They are both in for weakening ISIS and ready to make political and financial impact on launching strategically important negotiations with secular Sunni and Shia leaders in Iraq and Syria. Future talks, the authors suggest, may de-stabilize ISIS and its leadership.
Finally, Harrison and Ryan point at the role of the United States. Both claim that the United States should play “behind the scenes,” and that way persuade Egypt and Saudi Arabia to prevent further spread of Islamic militancy and potential rise of a new radical Arab nationalism. For that, the US should facilitate Syria and Iraq with financial aid to revive their states (Harrison and Ryan 3).
In his turn, Phyllis Bennis (2014) forwards a completely different approach in highlighting the Syrian-ISIS crisis. An American writer of the Six Steps Short of War to Beat ISIS deems the airstrike on ISIS to be a false option. The airstrike that would target the Sunni areas potentially easens the takeover path for Kurds and Shias. However, the same targets complicate the situation for Sunnis that would then suffer from the ISIS, on the one hand, and from the airstrikes, on the other hand. Bennis argues that the most feasible solution is arranging diplomatic partnership with ISIS while for the past 14 years all the military interventions have failed in the Middle East. In this respect, the United Nations can build a productive coalition to press on ISIS diplomatically and economically. The same approach will end the civil war in Syria according to Bennis.
For several years so far, ISIS has been the main subject on the international agenda. The issue is global, while various branches of ISIS internationally threaten not only the Middle East, but the United States and European countries as well. While I am originally from the Middle East, any news on ISIS activities cause disturbance and unrest. For example, many hold that ISIS represents Islam. Conversely, ISIS is vivid representation of a terrorist ideology. However, the international community cannot defeat it by means of fighting, which proved ineffective in the course of the past years in the Middle East. On the contrary, the path against ISIS should be through enlightenment. Effective counter-propaganda should free people from false thoughts and perceptions related to ISIS. I will further explore proper ways of disseminating anti-ISIS propaganda that will help people in the Middle East understand the genuine identity of this anti-human organization and its real intentions against international peace and stability in the world. My further research will involve wider pool of academic references and expert opinions regarding the threatening effects of ISIS and relevant counter-actions.
- Bennis, Phyllis. “Six Steps Short of War to Beat ISIS.” The Progressive. N.p., 10 Sept. 2014. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.
- Codevilla, Angelo. “If You Want To Stop ISIS, Here Is What It Will Take.” The Federalist. N.p., 25 Aug. 2014. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.
- Harrison, Ross, and Ryan W. S. Michael. “The Master Plan: How to Stop ISIS.” The National Interest. N.p., 21 July 2014. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.
- Melman, Yossi. “Analysis: How to Stop ISIS, the Most Dangerous Movement since Nazism.” The Jerusalem Post. The Jerusalem Post, 21 Nov. 2015. Web. 01 Apr. 2016
- Thompson, Nick. “ISIS: Everything You Need to Know about the Group.” CNN. Cable News Network, 10 Feb. 2015. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.