After ignoring for years the threats posed by Islamic extremists in countries like Iraq and Syria, the US administration has now come to realize that the powerful and fast expanding ISIS or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has to be destroyed. Although the realization by the government is a small ray of hope, it should be followed by concrete action on the ground. In other word, the US administration needs to show that it is serious about tackling the rising threat in the Middle East.
The beginning of the year saw the US President dismissing offshoots of Al Qaeda as low grade terrorist groups that did not deserve the attention of the United States. The President also promised the American public that America’s war engagements were coming to an end. In recent times, John F. Kerry, the Secretary of State has said that the Islamic State or IS is an “evil” that needs to “be destroyed.” Even the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey had opined that the group will be defeated in due course.
According to Chuck Hagel, the Defense Secretary, Islamic State is “as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen . . . beyond anything that we’ve seen.”Islamic State, on the other hand, continues to notch up its booty with military accomplishments in not only Iraq but Syria including the capture of air bases. Three years ago, President Obama was pressed on to shore upthe opposition and one of the reasons given at that time was that by not extending support to the moderates would lead to the appearance of a number of radical groups that would in due course spread into other areas.
Unlike other terrorist groups, the Islamic State possesses solid financial means with steady income coming from the different oil fields captured by the group in addition to ransom payments made to the group. With regards to weapons, it possesses sophisticated weapons captured from the Iraqi military including US arms and ammunitions. But most importantly, it is an ambitious extremist group whose goal is to establish a caliphate, which it has by capturing areas in Iraq and Syria.
Up until now, the US administration has been focusing all its might on Iraq but a serious approach involves a much larger theater of war. Since the extremist group considers Syria and Iraq as one entity, the US administration should follow suit if they want to defeat the group. The partners in this theater of war and who can help America fight its enemy are the Kurds, the Sunni tribes, the Free Syrian Army and the Iraqi government.
By hesitating to take action, these groups would eventually end up destabilizing the region and the options available to the President would be not to his liking, but the call for action will only continue to increase with each passing day. To help different parties in the region, President Obama does not need to start a full scale invasion but simply need to send human resources to the ground which has been done by the President in the form of the return of one thousand Special Forces to Iraq.