It has many names: ISIS, ISIL, Daesh and Islamic State etc. Whatever you may choose to call it, there is one thing that you cannot deny: it is the worst terrorist group the world has ever seen. What make it even more dangerous is its immense flexibility, battlefield prowess and exponential brutality.
The group has shown that it has the ability not only to survive but to thrive under pressure. The group’s parent organization, Al Qaeda in Iraq was defeated in 2009. It took billions of dollars, countless lives and the cooperation of Sunni tribal leaders.
After the coalition left Iraq, the group rose up from the ashes and morphed into something more brutal, efficient and determined.
They regional powers of the Middle East as well as world powers agree that Daesh must be eliminated, but the question is, how to beat ISIS in such a manner that it doesn’t resurface again.
There is simply no simply and clear strategy for defeating this group. However, there are some ideas that can be useful. First of all, the Syrian conflict needs to be resolved through a political settlement.
Second, all the actors who are involved in the Syrian conflict must come together at the negotiating table with the intention of solving the problem rather than getting the most out of the situation. The Syrian conflict began when the Damascus regime used brutal force to crush opposition. Obama immediately said that Bashar-al- Assad should leave.
The American president has stuck to his position even today; however, he is ready to tolerate the dictator for a brief period of transition. The US has tried in vain to fight the ISIS in Syria, but it cannot be done without bolstering Assad.
Russia, on the other hand, says that ISIS is the priority and Bashar al Assad is an ally in the war against this group. The Americans have failed on both counts: they couldn’t defeat the Islamic State and Assad is still in power. Experts say that the United States should abandon one stance and focus on the other.
Americans should prioritize the removal of Assad since he is responsible for much more carnage in Syria than Daesh. With Assad in power, there is no chance of aligning Sunni tribes with the coalition to fight the Islamic State.
The Sunni tribes played a decisive role in defeating Al Qaeda in Iraq.
In short, there is no chance of beating ISIS until Assad is beaten. The group thrives in chaos. Until Assad is in power, there will be no peace in Syria.