ISIS AND SYRIA: A COMMENT
"The US and its allies must be prepared to work with the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad to have any hope of defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as Isis, one of Britain’s most senior MPs has warned. Sir Malcolm Rifkind – the chairman of parliament’s intelligence and security committee and a former foreign secretary and defence secretary – told the Financial Times that the “ghastly” killing of US journalist James Foley this week underscored the need to act against the militant jihadi group, whose rise to power in the Middle East has so far gone largely unchecked. “[Isis] need to be eliminated and we should not be squeamish about how we do it,” Sir Malcolm said. In recent months, Isis has seized a vast swath of territory across northern Iraq, but its core power base remains in Syria. “Sometimes you have to develop relationships with people who are extremely nasty in order to get rid of people who are even nastier,” Sir Malcolm said, referring to working with Mr Assad’s dictatorship, which is an international pariah after it carried out brutal attacks on civilians in the civil war that has divided Syria and allowed Isis to flourish. Any consideration of working with or alongside the Assad dictatorship has so far been completely absent from pronouncements in Washington and Europe on how to best deal with Isis. Ben Rhodes, President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, said on Wednesday that Mr Assad was “part of the problem”. Sir Malcolm was previously one of the most outspoken members of parliament in calling for the UK to intervene with military force against Mr Assad’s regime – an option he and others pressed for in the wake of a devastating chemical weapons attack by Mr Assad’s forces on civilians in Ghouta one year ago. “We have to deal with facts on the ground, not as we would want them to be but as they are,” Sir Malcolm said, acknowledging that it was a deeply unpalatable choice. He likened the need to work with Mr Assad to the way in which the allied powers worked with Joseph Stalin in the second world war. “The idea that we can have a military operation in Iraq that won’t have a Syrian dimension is inconceivable. For Syria to become an Isis safe haven – that is ludicrous . . . I don’t see how we can avoid it....”Sam Jones, "US and allies must join Assad to defeat Isis, warns British MP". The Financial Times. 21 August 2014, in www.ft.com.
"The Obama administration's escalating air war against the Islamic State is running up against a dispiriting new reality: The militants are becoming as good at governing territory as they are at conquering it, making it considerably harder to dislodge them from the broad swaths of Syria and Iraq that they now control. U.S. intelligence officials say the leaders of the Islamic State are adopting methods first pioneered by Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite militia, and are devoting considerable human and financial resources toward keeping essential services like electricity, water, and sewage functioning in their territory. In some areas, they even operate post offices. Taken together, the moves highlight the fact that the Islamic State, already the best-armed and best-funded terror group in the world, is quickly adapting to the challenges of ruling and governing. That, in turn, dramatically reduces the chances that the extremists will face homegrown opposition in what amounts to the world's newest territory. "ISIS is the most dangerous terrorist group in the world because they combine the fighting capabilities of al Qaeda with the administrative capabilities of Hezbollah," said David Kilcullen, a counterinsurgency expert who spent several years working as a top aide to Gen. David Petraeus during the height of the Iraq War. "It's clear that they have a state-building agenda and an understanding of the importance of effective governance."'Yochi Dreazen. "From Electricity to Sewage US Intelligence says Islamic State is fast learning How to run a country. Foreign Policy. 18 August 2014, in www.foreignpolicy.com. The fact of the matter is, that however distasteful and indeed disgusting it may be to Western moral consciousness to ally itself with the regime of Assad Fils, au fond, I cannot for the life of me fathom why such a mésalliance would be any worse than the West's current relationship with the egregious sectarian and authoritarian regime in Saudi Arabia? Or for that matter with the nominally friendly (at times indeed very nominal) regime in Peking. Not to speak of course of the alliance with the Soviet regime in World War II. The fact of the matter is that by far, by every indicator, the threat posed by the madmen of ISIS, far outweighs any threat posed by the truncated regime in Damascus. No one would or indeed could reasonably argue that Assad Fils and his minions and coterie are agreeable people, or the type of people that one would invite to an evening's entertainment at the Reform or Garrick. That fact unfortunately is wide of the mark. The Western powers face a threat of such evil nature, that indeed one is tempted to retreat into theological discourse and characterization and describe the men of ISIS as something conjured up by the Prince of Darkness himself, something akin to a pure diabolical composition of nature in fact. And this entity is as the above referenced report notes, putting down roots and assuming something akin to the operations of a state apparatus! A development which in some ways is the most frightening aspect of the entire ISIS movement. Sans a rapprochement with the Assad regime, it is difficult to imagine a quick and or total defeat of ISIS. As the American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff mentioned yesterday in a press conference, ISIS:
"would have to eventually be defeated in Syria but that it was "possible to contain them" for now. But "not in perpetuity. This is an organization that has an apocalyptic vision and they will have to be defeated' " 1.Given the fact that the Western powers are already de facto aligned with the equally nefarious regime in Teheran, sponsor and protector of the Assad Regime, with some even advocating a closer linkup, one is at a loss to explain the rationale for continuing a policy of endeavoring to overthrow the Persia's junior ally. In short, the very wise words of Sir Malcom Rifkind must be heeded and some sort of misalliance with the Assad Regime will prove necessary in order to put down and then destroy the mad dogs of ISIS before it infects both the region and the febrile minds of Muslim youth the world over. 1. On this see: "Analysis: In Iraq, the United States and Iran Align Against the Islamic State". Stratfor: Global Intelligence. 20 August 2014, in www.stratfor.com. 2. "IS threat 'must be defeated' says Pentagon". Deutsche Welle. 21 August 2014, in www.dw.de.