17 November 2015

War aims

It is all very well declaring war on ISIS but what would victory look like?  Paul Mason in The Guardian sets out the difficulty:
... the biggest challenge comes if you imagine what victory would look like. Isis-held territory being reoccupied by armies that, this time, can withstand the suicide bombings, truck bombs and kidnappings that a defeated Isis would unleash. Mosques and madrassas across the region stripped of their jihadi preachers. A massive programme of economic development focused on human capital – education, healthcare and institution building – as well as physical reconstruction. Nonsectarian, democratic states in Iraq and Syria and an independent Kurdistan state spanning parts of both countries. To achieve this you would need to unleash surveillance, policing and military action on a scale that could only be acceptable to western electorates if carried out with a restraint and accountability not shown in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The alternative is to disengage, contain Isis, deal with the refugees and try to ignore the beheading videos.
Let us hope that the politicians and generals bear this in mind.

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